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...

Mar 25, 2018

Spring Rains & Snow, Hardboiling Fresh Eggs- Egglettes Review, Swedish Washcloths, Thrifting Scores!

Spring Rains & Snow-
We've had an unusually cold, wet week. Almost an inch of rain in 3 days! Good timing since we just put out the rain barrel! Beats the huge snow back east for sure. Everything is greening up and the hens have enjoyed some time out-

then we woke up to snow this morning-

Luckily it started to melt in the afternoon-

Lots of hazy sunshine. Not bad but classic, unstable spring weather, stay tuned...

Hardboiling Fresh Eggs, Egglettes Review-
Over the years I've tried a few different ways of hard boiling my fresh eggs usually I've tried lots of different combinations and then one night I stumbled onto Egglets Egglettes are silicon pods with a twist off lid to use in boiling water. Basically boil eggs without the shell. I started thinking it seemed like a perfect solution to my fresh egg issue. Typically I just wound up buying store-bought eggs to hard-boil since my fresh ones would be one big mess when I tried to peel them. I did a test drive of them today, cracked my fresh eggs inside and I did three-

Pods with lid

Egg inside, ready to go

I started the water boiling and put the eggs in and left them in for the suggested amount of time. For hard boiled egg time the suggested amount was 13 to 16 minutes. That seems a little long to me but I decided to do it the way they suggested. They came out about 3/4 the way done after 13 minutes-

White not smooth, but a little undercooked 


One of the things you can do is use the mini-recipe book that comes with this set. You could do little omelets, adding things like cooked meats, ham or bacon, cheeses or vegetables. For people watching their cholesterol you can also use egg white substitutes. You can certainly soft boil eggs as well, you don't have to hard-boil them. I did find a spoon helped release the eggs easier and you do want to use tongs to remove from the boiling water. With enjoying poached eggs on the weekend it's certainly less cleanup. No pan to wash, just wash the pods. I'd give it two thumbs up!


Swedish Washcloths-
A few years ago when we remodeled our bathroom I added some Scandinavian touches. I was looking for a few different things online and stumbled onto Swedish washcloths. I wasn't quite sure what they were just, so I just ordered one for a bathroom and really loved it! Basically it's a combination of an old-fashioned cellulose type sponge and fabric. You can wipe up almost anything with them, they rinse out great, and they absorb a huge amount of liquid. While I like cotton washcloths for my kitchen they just don't absorb any liquids. Sponges are small so this seemed to fill the bill. I keep one behind the faucet in our master bathroom for quick spills and wipes-

 Recently I was on Amazon placing an order and decided to buy some new ones and found the ones listed below. I bought a set of four, and they really do double duty as sponges/washcloths! You can get them a lots of different colors and designs. Ikea sells very inexpensive ones but they are plain with no pattern. You can throw them into the washer and we'll just let them air-dry and they last for several years. They will stain however so if you're mopping up anything like blueberries, grape juice or anything like that be aware, it may not wash out. Got to leave it to the Scandinavians to come up with a perfect solution!


Planter $6.00, Grocery Outlet

Thrifting Scores!
I hit a thrift store on the way to an appointment after work and spotted these, perfect for the 2 grand babies, .99 cents each, like-new melamine-

Brand new ceramic serving board with removable wood board, $5.99-

Wood removed, love it! I also donated a box this weekend. More cleaning out!

Mar 18, 2018

Getting Started With Permaculture

Getting Started With Permaculture-
I was thinking today that I have never blogged about permaculture. So to get started here's a quick intro into what permaculture is. Basically permaculture is a form of  lifestyle/gardening, that can combine land and various resources into a mutually beneficial system. It can include agriculture, water harvesting, building, forestry, animal systems, aquaculture and more. The term was first coined by Bill Mollison an Australian gardener. He was really the first leader of the concept, helping it go worldwide. Some of the real simple ideas are things that we have included in our little Homestead, like keeping chickens and using the leftover deep litter in our gardens. Harvesting rainwater then using that in our garden. We planted fruit trees, under the fruit trees we grow vegetation that keeps the fruit trees base cooler and retains water. There are lots of people that farm fish in tanks and use the water to feed their vegetables with the rich manure liquid. Those are just a few examples and lots of people are doing permaculture but don't know that's what it's actually called. There's lots of free information out there. I have included his starter book that I found extremely useful, explaining of the concepts simply-

Click on photo for info

If you'd like more advanced info if you're familiar with the ideas, this next book is also excellent- 

Click on photo for info

Mar 17, 2018

Cold Spring, Happy St. Patrick's Day! Corned Beef & Pesto Flat Iron Steak, Blog Hop Mystery???

Cold Spring-
It's been raining/snowing off and on all day. Snow and rain and cold. Then some brief sun with amazing blue skies. A good day to be inside! Luckily we're seeing signs of spring, bulbs coming up, crocus up, and other flowers/ground covers greening up-


The sun is peeking out, but more cold is on the way. The rest of the weekend and next week- lows in the 30's, high in the 40's. Several weeks ago I took off our flannel sheets, but left on the heavy comforter. Still too cold at night. The hens have really been using the "sun room" on the coop, too wet and muddy for them. Dave wanted to take it down, but I disagreed BIG TIME. It's too early, we still have to get thru this month, then April. For the backyard we got a great deal today- six  METAL (not cheap plastic) solar yard lamps for $20.00 at Costco-

Will clean up soon, sad looking garden

The cheap plastic ones don't hold up well with the 100 degrees in the summer, then down to possible zero degrees in the winter. They crack, split and wind up as trash after a year or two. These new ones are HEAVY, aluminum, copper and glass. We spread them around the back yard for some extra light. Nice! I think they'll last a very long time.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I'm part Irish so I love the showing/wearing of the green! Here's at look at some of the things in our home-

Mini Irish flags with the spring sheep

Front entry garland

Celtic wall hanging, a personal fave

Living room table, love my little pillow

Corned Beef & Pesto Flat Iron Steak-
Perfect day for corned beef that's currently cooking in the crock pot. I always make in on this holiday. I LOVE Irish potatoe soup, but it's too much carbs and Dave can't do much dairy anymore. I bought  a square cut, added lots of fresh garlic, black pepper corns, and the spice mix included. To serve I add taters, cabbage and carrots. Add some hot horseradish, mustard, and it's yummy. I bought an apple pie at Costco for dessert, since there's lots of little projects today. Tomorrow we're babysitting both River and Oliver. Two toddlers in the house = lots of eyes on. Not a day to get chores done. Great article here-Ultimate Corned Beef & Cabbage with a little history thrown in.

I scored a couple of flat iron steaks a while back and froze. I made this basic recipe before (used my own pesto) Basil Pesto Flat Iron Steak It has tons of flavor, cooks fast, and great for a work night. A little salad on the side with buttered pasta. It's super juicy and has tons of flavor. This website has lots of great ideas for cooking beef, just scroll down thru the whole page-

 Blog Hop Mystery???
Does anyone know what happened to The Simple Saturday Blog Hop? It seems to have disappeared off the planet. I emailed a couple of the hosts, with no response. Sad to see it go, but is it still out there? Thanks for any info if you have it! I always loved participating and seeing what others posted. 

Mar 11, 2018

Spring Is Here & New Garden Fun/Land Grab, Laziness = Thrifting Deals!

Spring Is Here & Garden Fun/Land Grab- 
Wow, it was in the low 60' today! While it still cool at night, the days are longer, and warmer. With daylight savings time gone into affect, we'll have even lighter evenings. Not happy about driving to work in the dark, again! Bulbs are coming up, tress are starting to bud. Great timing for the garden, and Dave bought me a surprise gift at Costco! It's a large outdoor wind spinner! I wanted one for Mother's Day last year, didn't get one, so Dave bought me one this year. It's in our backyard, love it!

One side dark copper

Other side dark copper/ silver-ish

We have had an unusual gardening/landscaping situation come up with the county widening our street. Basically we will lose two feet of our front property line facing the street  so that they can put in new sidewalks. On our street there are some sections with sidewalks, and some of the older sections are without. It will be a neighborhood improvement project. We think it's a great idea although some of the other neighbors aren't happy. We think it's nice for a side street to have safe sidewalks for residents and their children to walk on instead of having to dodge cars. We knew this was coming and get the paperwork today and will be receiving a nice chunk of money  in exchange for basically selling that area to the county. They will replace any fencing that has to be removed (then replaced) and our mailbox/post. We will use part of the money to replace plants in that section of the front yard. The nice thing is we were wanting to change a few things anyway. Since everything costs money we had put that on hold for a while.  We will find out soon when the project will actually start but we were thinking it's next winter. We'll call and find out the exact timing. 

As for spring, there's St. Patrick's day too! I bought a big slab of corned beef for next weekend, and a little something from Hobby Lobby, with more of the decor going up today-

Laziness = Thrifting Deals! 
I have always found great clothing deals at thrift stores, but there's one odd thing. When it comes to clothing I can't imagine that people are just so lazy. I have found items with missing buttons, only to find an extra button inside the garment. I have found things with very light stains that came right out with a simple stain removing spray. I found  very expensive down vest with a small 3" seam that had a gap, paid $4.00, sewed it closed, like new. I recently found these great jeans, fit perfect but the hems were all ragged. Someone's pants were obviously way too long, they walked around in them and ripped them all up. I bought them, measured them, and hemmed them up. Maybe 15 to 30 minutes tops, then washed. Now I basically have great jeans that I am currently wearing. I guess there's some people that didn't learn how to do any kind of basic sewing/clothing maintenance whether they are male or female? I know sometimes that I think Americans are basically lazy- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I guess I just don't get it. Maybe since I grew up hearing stories of the depression, and I take pride in my skill set, it bothers me. It does make for great shopping however! After shot-

Mar 5, 2018

DIY Floating Cedar Shelf

DIY Floating Cedar Shelf-
We painted our master bedroom a few weeks ago. When I was at Home Depot after that I had seen something cedar colored up against something gray, and it reminded me of the bedroom. I had wanted to do something that wasn't just more pictures on the wall. I started doing a little bit of browsing online, came up with the idea of having Dave build a floating Cedar shelf in the empty bedroom space. There's a short wall on my side of the bed between the outside corner wall and the window. I thought it would be a perfect place to float a shelf and add some decorative items on it-

We bought a nicer quality finished cedar board (not fencing) with one side is very very smooth. One board was about $22, but since I found one that was split on the end they gave it to us for half price. Yeah! I wanted to make sure the wood we bought had one nice outside edge with no knots since that would be showing-

Dave bought a couple of 3/4" L brackets and small screws, found a studs and mounted the brackets-

Close up of bracket, brass, Dave used one on the top/one on the bottom-

After he put the shelf in place I could tell that it was a little bit too deep. I had Dave rip off  about 1" inch to make it narrower. Perfect size! I also asked Dave to round the corners of the board for safety purposes-

Then he did a little bit of sanding with his palm sander. Once he got it up and installed it it looked great! Then I added the decorative items and it looks even better! They all have sentimental value like the feathers I found, the lighthouse trivet I found which reminds me of all our trips to the coast. I added a little fake plant I bought at Hobby Lobby for some natural color-

Anya approved!

Total, about $13.00, including having leftover wood for other uses. I love it!
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