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...

Feb 28, 2018

Apple Crisp w/Pecan Oatmeal Topping & Beef For Dinner, Chicken Recovery Success

 Apple Crisp w/Pecan Oatmeal Topping-
With a cold, snowy weekend it was a perfect time to bake! A furry friend even came up on the deck to score some cat food out for the neighbor's cat-

Saturday morning, cold and snowing-

I wanted to make an apple crisp, to use more of our home canned apples. Since I had a nice big bag of pecans in the freezer I added some to the mix. I used this doubled this basic recipe Martha Stewart Apple Crisp, added 1 cup raisins, nutmeg, then topped with about 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans. Baked up with a great crunch on top! After I took dessert out of the oven I made dinner, using one of the beef chuck roasts I bought on sale-

 I used this as a basic recipe Beef Pot Roast I added 4 large carrots, 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, 1 cup beef stock, with 2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce. Searing the meat FIRST is key! At the end I added 2 cups fresh mushrooms, then adjusted the seasoning before serving. I used my dutch oven enameled cast iron pot since I was home. Works great in a slow cooker as well!

Gwynne (Welsh for white)

Chicken Recovery Success-
After my favorite hen became really ill and I doctored her up last week, I'm happy to report she's back to normal! I transitioned her back to the coop gradually over the weekend. The coop was closed due to the snow and I turned on the heat lamp for extra warmth. She ran out today for treats, spinach and bread, looking alert and happy. I think this was a good experience as far as using observational skills. When your animals seem OFF pay attention! You get to know their patterns of behavior, eating, etc. With attention and some TLC you can save yourself a lot of grief. We even got 2 eggs today! She must be laying again.

Snow's melting

Feb 23, 2018

A Little Something About Photos Of Me

Me, in my previous life

A Little Something About Photos Of Me-
I wanted to address something since it just came up and I was pretty surprised, actually. Recent comment here-

Kate said...
I would love to follow you, but, and please don't take this as an insult, it bothers me that you won't put a photo of yourself on your blog/facebook. It's like you want to connect with us, your readers, but you don't *really* want to connect. If I follow you, you'll see *my* face, right? I guess I like to see the person that I'm following and reading. Just something to think about.

I've been blogging for 6 years, reached people all over the planet, and I've never had anyone complain that there wasn't a photo of me on my blog. Or on my new Facebook page. It's never been important to ME what people look like if I'm following their blog/Facebook. I'm there for content. I loved Mama Pea's old photo with a pot on her head and a mug of hot cocoa for instance! Having worked in technology for a very long time I tend to lean towards more privacy, but I know that's a novel concept for some people. I've addressed this before in this blog about why I don't post more photos of my adult children, grand children or other specifics. I know lots of other bloggers like that as well. I know there are a lot of people in the world who let it all hang out through social media and that's their choice. They post everything about everyone with no thought for whether it's appropriate, or permanent. Personally I abhor "tagging" and facial recognition. I mean who needs to know this stuff? Big brother?

There are people who job hunt, for instance, who don't like the data that shows that potential employers will search your Facebook or other social media accounts. Those wacky photos of drunk and disorderly people, body parts hanging out, or worse, may not get them hired and then they wonder why? I've never really posted a photo of myself on this blog for a variety of reasons, mostly because I hate having my photos taken and I am sensitive about my appearance. If someone wants to see photos of me with the expectation that I'm 20 years old and a size one, sorry, not going to happen. There are some people that only want to socialize with people who look like them. Maybe they're from a certain racial/ethnic background, and are only comfortable with people that look similar. Or are the same same size, financial status, wear the same clothes? I could go on.

Anyway if you want to know what I look like click on the Facebook tab on the right side bar ,go to my Facebook page and you will find out! And if you don't like it I guess you can just visualize and use your creative, right sided part of your brain. I do have blue eyes! And for laughs on hating having your photos taken read this hysterical article, all the way to the bottom! Say Cheese

Nursing a Sick Chicken

Nursing a Sick Chicken-
Chickens can get sick at any time, for all kinds of reasons. Over the years I have dealt with worms, and hens just literally dropping dead for no apparent reason. With a small flock of three and all hand raised from chicks you can get attached! This week my favorite hen Gwynne was laying on the ground in 10 degree weather with bitter cold winds. Normally chickens will walk around outside or go into the coop. I went out and brought her in, her feet and combs were almost frozen. I warmed her up and set up my chicken hospital on my kitchen counter-

Some leftover spaghetti (looks like worms!) and fish

Basically I use 2 large laundry baskets, one on top of the other, with a thick towel. With food ad water, it's easy to just throw the towel in the washer when it gets soiled. After she warmed up she drank some water, ate some soft bread and applesauce, homemade of course! I noticed a little later she was heaving and breathing hard, and wheezing a little, no other symptoms. I started doing research and read about Vetrx, a natural remedy for poultry, with great reviews. Sadly no one locally sells it, so I ordered it online, still waiting-


In the mean time I had to do something. It was a good sign she was eating, but she was very lethargic. I decided to use my essential oils I already had. I used my Tea Tree oil mix I use on myself. I put a tiny amount on her wattles, and turned on my vaporizer with Eucalyptus oil.

Vaporizer for essential oils

I kept her in overnight, she seemed to sleep a lot. The next day I had to go back to work, so I kept her inside. Her breathing was much better! Still lethargic, but eating some. We're on day 3 and put I put her out for the day yesterday, with the coop door closed due to steady snow. I didn't want her going outside and sitting there all day. I brought her in last night, she looked tired and didn't eat much. She slept. This morning I made her a scrambled egg and she ate some more fish. She dozes a lot, but seems to be getting some energy back. I debated putting her outside today, but with 8 degrees this morning, I'll keep her in. Tomorrow is the weekend so I may set up a bigger space inside where she can walk around. I have an old outdoor baby playpen I use for chicks. That would work great for the kitchen with some towels down. Time will tell, but she seems on the mend!

Feb 21, 2018

New Facebook Page

New Facebook Page- 
Facebook broke up with our blog, so please go to the new page on the FB button on the sidebar to follow! I'm sorry for any inconvenience! Thanks.

Feb 20, 2018

Filling The Freezer, New Master Bedroom Paint Reveal, Thrifting Scores! Speaking Of Decorating

Filling The Freezer-
Last time I mentioned our freezer was about 1/2 empty, so it was time to stock up. I thought since we had tax refund money I'd fill it up with meats. Food is always a good investment, with times being what they are, with a possible economic down turn coming. I started at Costco this weekend, bought really thick pork chops, and country style ribs, all for $30.00.  I split up the packs and bagged them for the freezer, 2 bags for each cut-The beef cuts weren't want I wanted, so I looked at other stores. Before I added the meats, I rotated some frozen fruits to the top, so I could see the better.

Today I went shopping and bought this beef- two boneless chuck roasts, perfect for the slow cooker, total 6.5 lbs for $18.00 for both. Lots of meals there. Also two packages totaling 2 lb.s of flat iron steak for $12.00. I got the flat irons since they're great for a salad recipe I have. One package = 2 dinners, about $2.50+ per person. I may a couple of extra briskets, since they're hitting the stores for St. Patrick's Day. I don't know how this compares nationally as far as prices?

New Master Bedroom Paint Reveal-
Our peach wall paint from 10+ years ago needed a freshening and something lighter colored. Between low winter light, and heavy shade in the summer, the room is darker than we thought when I first painted. We loved the Behr Silverdrop 790C-2, a little darker than the Irish Mist we used in the master bathroom re-hab. It's a light gray and we went with it. Since we have sage green carpet and drapes we wanted something fairly neutral, but not beige or white. When I bought the primer/paint I bought 2 gallons. One might be pushing it and I would need to touch up later. Of course we used just under 1 gallon sigh. Good news we could re-tint it late if we wanted to use it. We bought all our supplies for under $100.00. Pretty cheap for a major update. We started about 10:30 a.m. Sunday by emptying the room, stripping the walls, vacuuming (under where the furniture was), and cleaning top of the windows and doors-
Very peachy

 Nest we put down tarps on the floor, some canvas, then plastic. We also covered the bed with plastic-

 Gray walls starting-

 All the little cobwebs, etc. need to go to paint. I brought in a flor lamp form the other bedroom for extra light. First I spackled all the nails holes with lightweight spackle. Nice to have a clean slate. I had back problems from the last exterior house painting, so no twisting for me! I asked Dave to do the upper edges and floor areas. I did the upper trim, windows, doors, and 2 closet doors. That was a LOT of brush work! I went behind him when I finished those with the roller. Rolling on paint is is so much fun! Suddenly the wall is different. Instant gratification. Even though it was cold outside, we had the window open 1/2 way. Midway thru painting dark clouds, strong winds rolled in, and it started snowing "corn snow", time to close the window-

A little later it was sunny-

We finished the wall color faster than I thought, by about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. I asked Dave to paint the white baseboards, pretty beat up from years of use, and a messy job from me the 1st time. I offered to do the closest and door trim, but he wanted to do it all. I vetoed him. I did the upper closest, etc, while he worked below. I also painted the trim on the window. Monday I finished the small amount of touch up work. I also touched up a couple of spots, in the kitchen, hallway and bathroom, filling screw holes from things we've moved. I may get a new duvet cover at some point, but this will work for now. We rotated a few prints and we love it! Nice and fresh.

Still loving the set I bought a few years ago over the bed-

More wall art coming on Dave's side-

Thrifting Scores!
Since I was off today, some vacation for me, I went to Goodwill and the place was empty! Right off the bat I snagged a like-new pair of navy corduroy slacks for work and some jeans. The jeans just need a little hemming. I saw this pillar, new $7.99- 

I thought of this, cute with the nests on top, might paint it-

Dave and I really miss the Oregon coast and we've actually been to this lighthouse, at Heceta Head. These kinds of things are SO expensive in gift stores there, $1.99 here! I'll hang it somewhere-

New table runner, $2.89, reversible-

New soap dispenser for my bathroom, $3.00 to get rid of my ugly Costco bottle-

Speaking Of Decorating-
I just LOVED this display at the local Kneader's bakery and sandwich shop! We had dinner there last week when I was too exhausted to cook. I never would have thought of decorating with ferns. Great combo for St. Patrick's day, Spring and just for fun. They always do a great job with their decor, all for sale of course! So cute. Ironically I have the exact same green edged light wood frame at home already. 

Feb 17, 2018

Winter Is Back! Independence Days Challenge

Winter Is Back!
So now, according to legend, we're in for six more weeks of winter because Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Here in Boise he's spot on. The temps have plummeted, back into the 40's during the day, 20/30's at night. The forecast for this next week in highs in the 20's/30's, in the teens at night-

We were blessed with some good snow fall in the mountains and foothills this week, with more on the way tonite. We REALLY need more snow pack up there. On the news last night we're at 65% of normal right now, not good. A good snow pack keeps things greener longer = a shorter fire season, adds more water to the reservoirs for the public and agribusiness. I had put away some heavy sweaters and gotten out some lighter spring work clothes. Good thing I have a spare closet, since sweaters are coming back out! I'm hoping these temperatures won't hurt the garden since some bulbs were just starting to come up, way too early. Oh well, what can you do? Everything is well mulched, so we should be good, hopefully.

Independence days Challenge-
Here's a little wrap up of recent things going on here-
1. Plant Something- I found a sweet little thrift store pot, with tray, for $1.50, for transplanting my holiday gift from a work buddy, a spider plant, perfect in the kitchen! 

 2. Harvest Something- Eggs, that's it.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Shopping this week, see below, freezing foods.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Our freezer is almost 1/2 empty so time to stock up. I designated some tax refund money to "fill the freezer". I'm going shopping for meat basically to add. I'll be looking for good deals on beef roasts and chicken primarily. Most of what's in there now is fruits, veggies, breads, cheese/butter- 

Hole to fill-

 5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- I thawed some frozen pesto to day to use on some big chicken breast. For diner tonite! Last week I bought this at Cost Plus World Market for Mardi Gras/Valentine's Day dinners-

Last year I used it with shrimp and veggies, this year I did chunks of chicken breast, peas and fresh spinach-

 Great served with warm french bread, spicy and tons of flavor!!! 

6. Build Community Food Systems- Nothing

7. Recycle/Re-Use- I just sold another item on Etsy, what fun! Nice Asian items that I don't need, at a great deal, to someone who wants them. Win-win. 

At Goodwill last week found thrift store pot, $1.50, great pair of Eddie Bauer like-new khaki slacks, $4.00. Found some great shoes on for work, cheap and free shipping.

Dave gave me this Japanese style stoneware vase years ago, made by a Portland potter. I really loved it, but it didn't really go with anything so it just sat in my china cabinet. I wanted to re-do it, but make it reversible if I hated it. Here's the before- 

I decided to cover just the script (some on the other side too) and leave the rest alone. I wanted to use hot glue and jute. I found this at Joann's-

Basically I started at the top back of the white clay and worked to the bottom-


It's not perfect, but I really like it! I may add some flowers or branches, but I love the texture and the still-exposed blue glaze. Dave did give his approval before hand.

8. Skill Up- I learned how to cover a vase. Dave and I are actively working on an Etsy craft/storage item, sneak peek-

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Painting commences tomorrow on our master bedroom, peach, going to white/gray-

Anya had to get in on the photo-

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