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 23, 2020

Decor Changes, Happy, Scrappy & Resilient, Garlic Mushroom Pasta, Thrifting Scores

Decor Changes-
Wow, it was 57 degrees today! Feels like Spring. Yesterday the local weather people said it was the 4th warmest winter on record. It felt like it. Today I put away the last of the Valentine's decor and put out some of my other things I'd stored from winter-

Put a new primrose in my vintage Swedish coffee pot

Kitchen window 


Neighbor Posey cat 

Coffee table, homemade topiary

Side table living room

Happy, Scrappy & Resilient-
Wow, it was 57 degrees today! Feels like spring. Yesterday the local weather people said it was the 4th warmest winter on record. I heard the phrase happy, scrappy and resilient the other day and for some reason it really resonated with me. I started thinking about if I was basically a happy person or not. Have a fairly happy life and the answer is yes. I think there are some people who choose to relive the drama in their lives over and over or create new drama. Then I think there are people who have drama in their lives and are able to pull themselves out of those situations and move forward in a positive way. Some don't. I've been there.

I looked up the definition of scrappy because I'd heard a few different things. One is disorganized untidy and incomplete. The other definition is determined, argumentative or pugnacious. I'd like to think our house and property is not disorganized. I do think that we are determined and not real likely to listen to limitations on what we can do here. I hear people all the time talk about how they don't have time to do gardening, or grow food, or learn how to preserve it. Instead they're parked in front of their computers all day, all night gaming, shopping and doing unimportant things. You just have to set up a PLAN, think about how you want to do it, how much you want to spend and how to maintain it.

I've been reading a lot about resilience last few years. Urban homesteading definitely needs to incorporate the idea of resiliency. For instance there are crops that we've tried to grow here that haven't done very well. After a while we eliminated them. The things that do grow well we can grow quite a bit of. If you have a really big surplus that kind of begs the question- is that the right path as well? We're going to try some straw bale gardening this summer in a very hot area to see how that goes. There's lots of information online, more coming later.

Jamie Oliver's Garlic Mushroom Pasta-
I saw this channel surfing on PBS last week and tried it. Jamie Oliver has a lot of 5 ingredient meals that are great! The pasta Jamie Oliver used in this recipe is much smaller, and slimmer, called Trofie. I have never seen that before. I used the Fusilli (Rotini) instead. Next time I would go to a specialty market to get mixed mushrooms. This time I stuck with one type. Nice recipe and FAST! Jamie Oliver Mushroom Garlic Pasta

St. Patrick's Day decorations 

Thrifting Scores-
I had some donations to make recently and so I went to to thrift stores. The first thing I scored was a really cute set of four brand new little wooden cars, $4.00 great for my two grandsons to play with!

Next I scored a collapsible tote which I thought would be perfect for some of our road trips and possibly some summer picnics down at a local park now that our two grandsons are getting a little bit bigger. It's amazing to think that our grandson River will be for in May!

A non thrifting score with a cute little pom pom banner from Cost Plus World Market for a couple of bucks-

Is it Spring where you are????

Feb 9, 2020

More Crazy Weather, Italian Mountain Bean Soup, Bird Houses Project, Cleaning From The Top Down

More Crazy Weather-
Last Wednesday it snowed when I was home sick, a stomach bug, and I took a couple photos-

It all melted by afternoon. Two days later, it was 57 degrees! Today the sun is shining, breezy and it is about 45 degrees. The grass is starting to green up just a little bit and I've noticed some shoots on my Oriental Poppy bush-


Lamb's Ear

After my tummy bug I was thrilled to find some sheep's milk yogurt. Technically I'm allergic to dairy cow products, and was told to avoid goat's milk cheese. I can eat Sheep's milk cheese with no problems though. I tried this, has tons of probiotics and pretty tangy! I've been really tired lately with working too much overtime, especially on Saturdays, but it was good to have the money coming in since we had a big car repair. My super reliable Mazda needed a new belt and tension rod. All fixed. I'm not working next weekend, I'm going to have two full days off!

This Spring weather is way too early, but there's nothing we can do about it. Since we can get hard freezes in April sometimes I hope that if it's going to be mild, that it's going to stay mild! Forecast next week in 20's at night, mid 40's during the day, still cold. It's so nice to have the windows open a bit for some fresh air, hear the birds singing and see the sun. The sparrows are out fighting over our bird houses, so good thing Dave is building more! I'm making gardening plans since summer isn't that far off.... I do have some winter indoor flowers hanging in there-

Last Amaryllis from the bulb "garden" from Trader Joe's

Cream colored Poinsettia, also from Trader Joe's

Speaking of gardening-


Italian Mountain Bean Soup-
I was channel surfing last night and stumbled onto this recipe on the Ciao Italia show on PBS. Fascinating combo of ingredients and fast to cook! I loved the idea of having thin, dried smoke ham in the soup (you could use prosciutto). I was lucky to find some today, from a local high end meat and cheese company. You add beans, veggie broth, potatoes, rinsed sauerkraut, onions for thick hearty soup. The recipe calls for cranberry beans, which I saw a long time ago in a local store, but didn't have any on hand. We went to the grocery store today and I found something called European Soldier beans, an heirloom variety that was canned. I had planned on buying small kidney beans, but bought these instead since I think they're closer to the what the original recipe calls for. I was actually really lucky spotting them and they were on SALE. So instead of using dried soaked beans I used the canned ones, rinsed well. At some point I will see if I can find some dried ones. Here's the recipe! Italian Mountain Bean Soup Yoda  I used fresh sage and dried thyme, bay leaf and rosemary and added to the broth, didn't use a bundle. The flavor was different and we both loved it! I served with hot whole grain Italian bread. Dave, who doesn't like sauerkraut, loved it even though it was in there. I rinsed it a LOT and squeezed out until pretty dry. If you go to the link there's a short video showing how to make it. It's a keeper!!!

Bird Houses Project-
Dave really enjoys doing woodworking and sadly we don't have room for a wood shop for him. I encouraged him to build some bird houses since a few of ours have gotten pretty bad and had to be pitched. One was full of a yellow jackets nest and I'd heard once there's that smell they will keep coming back. Off to the trash it went, after we sprayed it. I really like adding birdhouses for our local birds to our garden growing space. I LOVE birds! Since we had lots of scrap lumber on hand Dave did a lot of research, then came up with some plans. He came up with some really cute designs he found online. These are all demo projects that need to be finished. They will be for our yard, made from mostly recycled items/wood we had. He might make some for sale locally, we will see how time goes. Here's one I will paint white and add some trim-

For smaller renters, license plate roof, needs the hole and a perch-

I bought a vintage funnel off eBay for this, needs chain, and a stopper on top-

Cleaning From The Top Down-
Sometimes roaming around your house you notice all kinds of little things. Recently I noticed how dusty a lot of my frames were on my wall art. I always dust my furniture and vacuum, but it's easy to miss those other little things. I started thinking I really needed to start at the TOP of the walls and work down, as far as dusting. I had a brilliant idea that David I could tag team this. I gave him a long handle Swiffer and I took the short handled one. These kits are available in Costco, so cheap and work great! They're slightly sticky and don't spread the dust. He started along the ceiling and the corners of each room making its way across the house. He also went down about a foot below the ceiling corners. Then I came along, did the tops of all the framed prints, wall art, light fixtures, etc. This way is all the dust falls down and you come back and I suck it all up with your vacuum! Everything is clean, tidy and you let gravity do some of the work.  If you have allergies and respiratory issues (like we do) it's really helpful. I also cleaned the outer filter of my HEPA living room filter, all dusty and covered with cat fur. All clean now! We breathed a clean sigh of relief....
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