Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Jan 28, 2018

More Crazy Weather/Bye Bye Winter Decor, Origins Of The "Keep Calm and ... ", Minestrone Soup & Pesto Pasta w/Eggs

Sunset Wednesday Night

More Crazy Weather/Bye Bye Winter Decor-
We've been on a recent roller coaster weather wise- warm, cold, rain, snow, sun, warm~~~~  We had torrential down pours on my way to work (in the dark) mixed with snow Wed. nasty commute! We were supposes to wake u to 3 " of snow yesterday (Saturday), but only had a few snowflakes mixed with rain. Today we had VERY dense fog in the morning, which burned off to a pretty fairly sunny day! It's 54 at 3:00 this afternoon. With a warm forecast for next week, I'm ready for spring! We went to Joann's Fabric yesterday for a few things. We put away all the winter decor yesterday and I put out my normal things. On the dining room shelf, I dded flowers on the top right from Joann's for a few dollars-

I also found this thick wooden bird with a white hook, it's about 10" wide, too cute! $5.00 I think. It's in the living room, and I may hang a little batch of my lavender on it-

I had a pretty, ceramic clock who's mechanism had died. For $9.00 we bought the clock rehab kit at Joann's. We took off the old one, just unscrewed, then I wiped down the face- 

Added the new kit, problem solved!  Here on Amazon- 


Anya decided she would fill the empty coffee table basin, since it's now empty of the winter goodies. I mean- what more do you need! 

Origins Of The "Keep Calm and ... " Posters-
Like everybody else I have see a lot of different versions of the poster above, personalized, on mugs, tee shirts, you name it. I thought it was from the 1940's, from WW Two It was actually from 1939, in Britain. Fascinating history here- Origins Keep Calm and Carry On. Link to a story of the couple who found a copy  Here's a link to a site where you can make your own, free! Make A Keep Calm Poster

Minestrone Soup & Pesto Pasta w/Eggs-
With snow in the forecast last weekend I decided to make some homemade minestrone soup. I found this recipe, pretty close to what I'd had Minestrone Soup . I used just kidney beans and skipped the zucchini. You can add extra pepper, or red pepper flakes, if you like some kick. This is a fast soup too! Serve with some Parmesan on top and hot bread. It's VERY healthy with lots of veggies and uses no meat.

I had set out some homemade pesto made from my organic basil to make pasta with. I wanted to add some protein and was scratching my head. I brought in an egg from the coop and set it on the jar so it wouldn't roll of the counter. I had that eureka moment! Poached eggs on top of the pesto pasta! A little fresh Parmesan cheese, salad and bread. Perfect! 

Jan 21, 2018

Wacky Weather! Independence Days Challenge, Free Essential Oils Class Starts This Week & Class Content

Wacky Weather!
We have had some very wacky weather this last week! While the east coast and southeast has gotten hammered, we were lucky to have the mild version. A week with cold rain, a record high of 57 degrees, and snow forecast for tomorrow morning. It was 25 degrees last night and a sunny 42 today. We've had more of a "normal" winter with a little snow here and there. Since Boise is high desert, precipitation traditionally is about 11" a year, but that varies. Boise is called "the city of trees", but it's only possible thru major irrigation. Most people here don't plant native type plants, just urban turf and trees, etc. I'd love to see more education on low water friendly landscaping that like the cities of Tucson and Albuquerque. The recent snow in the foothills and mountains is great, and while the emphasis is for skiers, I tend to look at the SNOW PACK. We need the water and don't want early fires with an early melt off. Time will tell. I have the girls out free ranging with the nice weather, they loved it! Since it was so warm it felt like spring to them as well. I heard them to the cold frame, and the area behind it, so they don't disturb our perennials-

Digging under all those nice rotting leaves!

What's under there?

Independence Days Challenge-
Here's a little breakdown down of some recent things we've been up to!

1. Plant Something- Too early, but I'm looking thru seed catalogs.

2. Harvest Something- Eggs, one or 2 per day, some days zero. New chicks coming this summer! I love getting new chicks, seeing how they grow, and develop their own personalities. It's great having a hatchery not too far from here. I had bad experiences with 2 different local feed stores- wrong labeling as to breed, and one died. No problems with the hatchery!

3. Preserve/Store Something- Nope.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- I froze some artisan breads I bought at the Grocery Outlet. Bought whole grained breads, high protein shakes mix, veggies. Working on replenishing the freezer, since it's about 1/2 full right now. I stocked up on supplements, whole grain waffle mix and canned chicken breast meat at Costco yesterday. Dave got a price quote on a new set of glasses, much cheaper than where we had been going! We also got a price quote on new tires for my car, better deal as well. We bought Norton's software we buy yearly for our 2 PC's (local Staple's store) the antivirus, etc. Got a free utilities disk, MUCH cheaper than their online offerings! The utilities disk really deep cleans and speeds things up. It pays to shop around!!!

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- I made a peach raspberry crumble (sorry no pics)  last weekend, with our own frozen peaches. We've been using our frozen tomatoes. I've been eating less wheat, sugar, junk. I'm modifying recipes as Dave as he has developed dairy issues. No more heavy dairy dishes for us. It's not too hard to do- think pizza with faux cheese, bread pudding with almond milk! I'm making a big pot of homemade minestrone soup today, great for the old weather.

6. Build Community Food Systems- Nothing, wrong time of year for us.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Donating some framed art, holiday decor, since there's just too much stuff in the house. I added some baby items since both the grand babies are walking now! 

8. Skill Up- I taught my first blogging class thru a local library. All I can say is- glad I took a paper outline I created, since there were multiple tech issues on their end.  Next time I will know what to check. Dave built a great floating set of shelves for us-

 9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- I've been altering clothing, repairing shoes, fixed a purse strap with Shoe Goo. 

Free Essential Oils Starts This Week & Class Content-
Wherever you are in your essential oil journey, I think you'll discover some great info that you can start using today! Consider this an all-you-can-eat buffet of expert tips and DIY hacks to help you and your family enjoy more health with essential oils. The Essential Oils for Abundant Living Masterclass delivers an easy-to-follow road map so you can start to use essential oils in your home with more confidence. Use your own oils, no oils to purchase. Here's a list of what will be covered-  

Quick Start Guide/Setting the Foundation

Lesson 1: Aromatherapy Quick-Start Guide

Lesson 2: Inhalation Guide & Safety Tips

Lesson 3: Topical Application Guide & Safety Tips

Lesson 4: Internal Use Guide & Safety Tips

Natural Solutions for a Toxic-Free Home

Lesson 5: DIY Body Care Products

Lesson 6: DIY Cleaning Products

Lesson 7: Cooking with Essential Oils 

Regaining Control of Your Health

Lesson 8: Preventing Disease with Essential Oils

Lesson 9: Treating Disease with Essential Oils

Lesson 10: Advanced Strategies & Protocols

Reserve your spot- Register Here- Register Here- EOcourse

Jan 13, 2018

DIY Floating Corner Shelves, Free Online Essentials Oils Class! Homemade Chicken w/Biscuits & Gravy

DIY Floating Corner Shelves-
It was 54 yesterday and felt like spring! WOW! I'm loving the sunny, mild weather for now. It's still winter so time will tell. I'm grateful we haven't have the terrible snow we had last year.  Last weekend Dave built the shelves I had been wanting. It got put off until after the holidays and babysitting. I first got the idea here- Corner Shelves I asked Dave to build some in our front corner hallway. He looked at the plans and he said it was VERY overbuilt. Since he's great at carpentry I trusted his design. We used lighter weight wood, saves $ and it's very sturdy. Don't waste your $ on heavy wood for such a small use project. Before we had a wire rack, that folds up, with a Swedish country shelf above. Dave took it all down before I could get a full shot, but here's the old one I had-

Dave took everything down, we talked about how wide and high the shelves should be, then marked with painters tape-

View down the hall-

Sorry, kitty box showing!

Next he leveled, then mounted the supports to the studs and nailed in, using his little nail gun. It worked great for this, no huge, messy holes!

Supports all installed

Adding shelves

Winter decor is up, daughter made the bowl and house in high school

Here's the materials list we used, all about $25.00 locally-

1/4 sheet of 1/4 " Birch plywood for shelves, cut in triangles
16' of 1" x 3" utility wood, he cut to 1/2" for 32' for the braces
25' quarter round for the top edge of the shelves, looks more finished
12' finish grade 1" x 3" for front edges
Nail gun nails, or use finish nails
Fine sandpaper for the edges, just to smooth a bit
You could have a big box store cut the squares for you, but then you'd have to cut the triangles another way. 

At this point the wood is bare, since I wanted to see the color in the lighting. It was also too cold outside to do any painting. I may do a white wash on the wood, or a light pine stain. Haven't decided yet. That corner can be dark, but there's a light "straw" color on the walls. All I'd need to do is tape it off and throw down a small tarp. I'll do a clear coat of nothing else to protect the wood. I really love the size, perfect for the space. I'll spackle a couple of holes, touch up and call it good. Thanks Dave!

Free Online Essentials Oils Class!
As a member of The Homestead Bloggers Network I can pass on a free class to you! If you’ve read some of my blog posts you know I have used essential oils with great results! They're affordable, easy to find and they store well. So why not give your medicine cabinet a makeover and start using essential oils? If you've been on the fence here’s your chance to learn about them from a Doctor and aromatherapist. Join the FREE online Essential Oils Master Class, with NO oils to buy. Use your own and learn some great tips on how to use them! If you're a novice this will point you in the right direction. You can Preregister Here- Essential Oils Master Class . If you take the class please let me know what you think?

Homemade Chicken w/Biscuits & Gravy-
What to make on a cold winters' night with leftover chicken and biscuits? Yup, chicken and biscuits with gravy! There's tons of recipes out there and here's what I did. Cubed up leftover roasted chicken breast (skin removed), sauteed about 3/4 cup each fresh carrots, celery, salt, pepper, Thyme and butter. Once cooked I added flour to make a roux, then chicken broth, cook until thickened. Add about 1 cup of frozen peas and chicken. Cook until nice and hot. Serve on top of a biscuit! Yummy! 

Jan 6, 2018

Fun News & Updates, Garage Door Adventures, Easy Crab Meals, New Winter Chicken Fount

Fun News & Updates-
As for news, you may have noticed this blog layout has been changed and rearranged. I saw some things I found annoying and thought it could be better! I have added another sidebar on the left, since the one on the right was WAY too long. Hopefully things are arranged so it's easier to find various sections now. I may eventually add more pages at the top, but that's too labor intensive for me right now. Juggling working full time and blogging can be a challenge at time. Since I work on a computer all day at work, the ideas of hours online on a work night isn't that appealing. At some point my eyes just need a rest! I also updated my blog header with some newer different photos. I tried to use a good cross section of shots. Hope you like the changes!

I have recently joined the Homestead Bloggers Network and I'm looking forward to learning new things from more seasoned bloggers! It's amazing that I've been blogging about 6 years! How time flies! Six years ago I don't think there was a whole lot of bloggers networking. I's nice to see that now. 

I've been invited by the Meridian Public Library to present a how-to-blog class Tuesday, Jan. 16th. I'm really excited! They reached out to me as a local blogger. Meridian is just outside Boise, and a large city. It's going to be lived streamed on their Facebook page I'm a little nervous live streaming a class (what could possibly go wrong?) but it's a great opportunity! I'm pumped!

Garage Door Adventures-
I really appreciate having an attached garage, and an overhead door with an opener. Just push a button in the car and presto, open door! After our overhead garage door had been squeaking really badly for a few months they've decided to buy some lubricants to fix it. The squeaking is gone thanks to this kind of DIY product Pro Garage Door Lubricant. Overhead garage doors need to be lubed once in a while, as well as balanced . They have a giant spring that needs to be serviced by a professional over time. Ours lasted 15 years, pretty average as far as I know-

We hired the company that put the replacement spring last year to come back and check out why it didn't stay balanced. A balanced door is easy to raise up and down manually if you lose power or your motorized opener fails-

Emergency pull, lift the balanced door easily

Short version- they put in the wrong sized spring last year, and didn't offer to fix it for free. So... we'll go back to the other company we've used and get it fixed correctly. Good example of poor customer service. If you don't do the job right the first time admit, then fix it.

Easy Crab Meals-
Once in a while I just want some crab! Maybe it's missing the Oregon coast? I bought a big can (16 oz?) of all crab claw meat for about $12.00, a lot I know. Since I buy it once about once I year I can live with it! I made the (top photo) crab salad with the following- 6 oz. of crab claw meat, tossed with a Costco kale salad mix with poppy seed dressing. Served with hot french bread, fabulous!

The next dish I did last night was a version of this- San Francisco Crab Melt Sandwich I used whole grain bread (Dave's Killer my fave), no onions (out), added a Tsp of Worcestershire sauce, and used Swiss Cheese. Also fab! Both recipes are easy and fast on a work night. Nice for something different.

New Winter Chicken Fount-
After several years our heated dog water bowl finally died this week. With temps in the 20's at night the bowl was starting to ice over. I'm happy Dave did a hard wire job in the coop for this and the lights, much safer! We decided to get an enclosed water fount, helps to keep the dirt out. It was easy to set up, plug in and walk away! Now the girls have much cleaner water. Apparently research says that poultry will actually drink more water in the winter when it's heated. It's three gallons and this is what we bought locally at a feed store. Girls are slurping down as we speak, and I always add a little Bragg's organic cider vinegar to the water-

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