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 31, 2020

How To Use Time In Isolation & Independence Days Challenge

How To Use Time In Isolation-
UPDATE- Just had an earthquake, we're ok. More later..

We are having a very wet Spring day today! The weatherman was right with lots of intermittent showers today and windy. I cleaned my windows few days ago and now they're all covered with rain, but what can you do-

The rain has been a blessing since since it can dry here and every Spring is different. Our cool weather crops that we planted in the cold frame are barely up and we've only had to water them once in the last several weeks. I put the chickens inside this afternoon because it is just pouring rain. They loved the greens I gave them for a snack! I love having fresh eggs right, especially considering the girls will be 6 years old this next month! Chicks are selling out locally and I'm hoping to get some next month, as I'm sure our local hatchery is trying to keep up. Time will tell, but I think more people are waking up to the REAL idea of FOOD SECURITY. Grow/produce whatever you can. NOW. I might buy some pullets that are 3 months old into the summer, as a last resort. RESILIENCY is showing up, a local cafe turned themselves into a grocery store, since they have a different set of suppliers than regular grocery stores- Sunrise Cafe Shifts Business Model They'll be able to stay in business hopefully and help the community. Smart. A small local Organic nursery/store has opened up appointments for one person at a time to come in and shop alone. YES. Think outside the box. 

My work life right now is VERY dynamic. Last week we got new higher speed internet set up since our old internet was slow. My boss was planning on sending hardware home with me to start working remotely. We cleared off Dave's desk, that he only uses once in a while. I deep cleaned the room as well. Our main computer is in the kitchen and he has a laptop. Space all ready-

Yesterday I was sent home, after working two hours, because our work load is drying up. While there is re-training going on among different staff I am basically in a high-risk group, which my employer is aware of. While I have a healthy immune system I do have respiratory issues and other things that put me into that category. Luckily I'm home (away from viruses) and I am being paid out of my own PTO and extended sick leave. When that runs out, if it gets to that place, the corporation I work for has stated they will be paying staff. Since I work for a huge medical organization at some point this will be over with and life will return to normal. In the meantime I am doing projects at home and taking things one day at a time. I saw this fun Permaculture art and I thought it some great ideas, as well as the one at the top and bottom of this post. Both are by Brenna Quinlan-

Upcoming projects will be- tuning up our bikes, getting them usable to ride again. They've been gathering dust. Start doing Tai Chi again, daily when home, since class is over. My sweet instructor posted classes on Youtube to be able to follow his directions, with the warm ups. Deep cleaning areas of the house, starting to grow Micro Greens, backing up all my blog photos and more. A lot of the general Permaculture ideas tie right in with the Independence Days Challenges that I have posted for years. So I thought I would add this today!

Independence Days Challenge-

1. Plant Something- Cool weather crops, all Non GMO-  Salad Mix, Mammoth Spinach, Baby Romaine, Evergreen Bunching Green Onions. As soon as it dries a bit I've got seed for French Radishes, French Breakfast Radishes, Cherry Belle Radishes, Little Finger Carrots in the ground. We'll either start some summer things by seed, depending on the market, or use starts. Local nurseries are amping up production I think. It's been pretty chilly (25 at night this week) so things are starting pretty slow-

If you think you can't grow food read this transformation 8 Weeks To Victory Veggie Patch From Scratch In A Rental photo below-

2. Harvest Something- Eggs, chives.

3. Preserve/Store Something- Freezing some additional items like butter, breads, flours, odds and ends. Luckily my food pantry closet is well stocked, and freezer with last year's fruits and tomatoes-

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- I've been doing more creative shopping as some supplies have been running out off and on. When I heard some of the Corona virus news, I bought extra WW pastry flour and veggie seeds as I knew they would fly out of the store. Some staples like sugar are low some of the time. Flour has been in short supply. I've been alternating between some different places and sharing the info with our three adult girls. Luckily we got TP at Costco right before it started running out! One of them is getting set to start growing more food as well. I'm so proud of her! We miss our family, as we are not getting together in person, not worth the risk. We send videos back and forth, a little digital hug.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-  Looking more at eating what we have and what's available. New cookie recipe, oh yes! Chocolate Biscuits I was looking for something not too sweet and good for tea and coffee. Simple ingredients. I'll make a quick soup for tonight with something I had on hand-

Will add veggies and make some Farmgirl Fare Cheddar Beer Bread to go with it. Good for a cold rainy day! I use WW pastry flour and add more herbs.

I bought a new cookbook for $3.00, free shipping, on eBay-

 6. Build Community Food Systems- Sharing ideas with our kids. If I can get more chicks I may start  selling eggs again, time will tell. No farmers markets open, not sure if that will change. Atleast I have my farmer's market print-

7. Recycle/Re-Use-  Yes, especially now.  I've had to buy some new things, but got some new sheets on, good prices.  I was down to my last set. No more driving around town for deals. I bought Dave and I new sneakers on Amazon, free shipping. We don't belong to Prime, since I already have plenty of streaming and don't like to pay for a membership. Shipping is usually free anyway if the order is over a certain amount.  Why join? I took our bedroom metal cart and moved it into the living room for storage and set up a charging station. Now I've added gloves, sanitizer and hand wipe clothes to it, for easy access-

8. Skill Up- Learned all about different versions of high speed internet! Learning about simple French cooking.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Tore out non-productive garden area of old raspberries. Will plant some cool weather veggies, buy new berries plants (if we can find some). 

Mar 23, 2020

Spring Planting, Bedroom Closet Remodel, Working From Home, Northern Heart's 5 Best Ways To Handle Coronavirus Anxiety & Isolation & Stay Positive

Cabbages and Butter Lettuce

Spring Planting-
We've had our cold frame for several years and we usually plant summer veggies like collard greens and kale there. Given the state of the world I decided to plant some spring, cool weather crops. Here's the seeds I bought this weekend, all non GMO-

With 30's in the forecast at night, we tucked everything under a new row cover. I tucked in the 2 lettuces before the birds ate them!

Being resilient and adaptable we decided to tear out our low production/old Raspberries row and our one Marion berry plant along the low fence- 

I let the hens out and they had a blast digging in the bed!

The ground was soft after the rain so Dave ripped them all out for composting with the city. We will plant something else in the space, possibly things like carrots and radishes. We will probably reconfigure more rows going south/north and plant more new berries. The East/West rows didn't do as well as the one North/South Blackberries we kept. Haven't decided what kind of berries to plant yet. It's always good to look at what works and what doesn't! We love having a supply of berries that can be eaten fresh or that we can freeze.

Bedroom Closet Remodel-
Originally when we moved into the house 13 years ago we added these wire racks to all the bedroom closets-

They were good for clothes and shoes, but not all the other things I needed to store eventually after the kids moved out-

Stuff partially pulled out

I had the thought to tear the wire rack out, add 2 rods for Dave and my off-season clothes and crafts/decor stuff. I helped him measure and came up with this-

Tape's a great way to mark things!

Dave bought the rods, brackets, nails and 3/4" particle board. All of this was about $35.00. I made the management decision to not paint the closet knowing the walls wouldn't show much anyway. I had bigger fish to fry. Here's how it went, took everything out first, then taped-


My nice metal cart went to use in the living room for a charging station & storage

Next Dave started adding the supports, adding 1" x 4" furring strips-

Next adding the shelves-

Adding the rods, upper for Dave, lower for me, as he's taller!

 All done!

Anya had to inspect, of course!

I hung up the clothes, sorted and filled the shelves!

Bedding on the top-

Extra decor-

Craft supplies-

Fabrics and wrapping papers/bags-

It took about 4 hours and was well worth it, and I got my bedroom back!

Working From Home-
I was surprised when my boss texted me out of the blue this weekend asking if I had wireless in our house (we do). First thing Monday morning I got an email that I would be set up work from home "temporarily", along with some other staff. They'll provide the hardware.  I suspect this will be ongoing for quite some time. I'd actually love to work from home to avoid the Corona bug, be able to open windows, get some fresh air, not have to listen to overly chatty co-workers. People sometimes don't realize how loud they can be! And kitty Anya can keep me company. I'll save money commuting, less wear and tear on the car, sitting in traffic, contributing to air pollution. Our work load has slowed down considerably, so I won't have to drive to work and potentially turn around and go home a bit later. All in all not a bad move for me. I'll move my PC from the kitchen to another part of the house and work there. More coming soon!

Northern Heart's 5 Best Ways To Handle Coronavirus Anxiety, Isolation & Stay Positive-
I stumbled onto Maria from Northern Heart on Youtube a few months ago. I loved her videos! She's an incredible photographer and person. She's lives in a remote Swedish village, is fluent in English, and brutally honest about her life and is very inspiring to me. She has a lot of chronic health issues, many documented in her videos. I love this new video, watch and get to know Maria!!!

The author of the poem, "And The People Stayed Home", Kitty O'Meara is profiled here, she is an ex-chaplain Kitty O'Meara Interview  And just look around for something to wonder at-

Mar 16, 2020

Spring Is Here & So Is The Corona Virus, Irish Soda Bread With Currants

Spring Is Here & So Is The Corona Virus-
We've been having really nice mild weather, then this weekend we had some heavy rain which we needed. New snow on the foothills which is good for fire protection later. Little green shoots and flowers are coming up all over the garden in the front and back yards! The hens are still laying which is so wonderful, having FRESH organic eggs! I made whole grain pasta, poached eggs, steamed asparagus with Parmesan cheese, for dinner Saturday, oh so good!

So now we have five cases of the corona virus in Idaho, that we know of. The first person traveled to New York and then realized she was infected, bringing it into Idaho. She was smart, she went and got tested as soon as she had symptoms and is now self isolating. Don't know much about the other cases.  Almost all of the school districts closed school yesterday thru the state, for the next 2 weeks. That would be til the end of Spring break. That left parents high and dry for child care since they need to go to work. My employer has lots of patients calling in, panicking. There's been a lot of panic buying in Idaho which I shake my head at. We have a full 55 gallon rain barrel and a filter if we needed to filter it for drinking or washing. We also have bottled water stored. That's just part of our normal mode. We also have food stored and lots of toilet paper! It's really funny that people are panicking about not being able to buy toilet people paper, because so many places are out. Find a box of tissue people and cut it up (not for septic tanks). It's funny to me that there's no run on cold remedies and cough syrup? I mean if you're sick for 14 days and can't go out, wouldn't you want some on hand? We bought some groceries yesterday, and interestingly enough they were sold out of bananas and potatoes. Why?

The Press isn't really talking about anything about keeping your immune system healthy. That would be boring news. Vitamin D3 is really great to take to keep your immune system healthy. Do all the other normal things to keep yourself healthy, so that you will be less likely to become infected. This is always a good reminder to be prepared for the unexpected. I have some long-term food storage as well as short-term, we have a freezer, our hens are laying and I am planning on getting three more chicks in a few months. We have three fruit trees and perennial beds that are edible. We have home canned goods and we'll be planting our summer garden soon. I always keep homeopathic remedies and essential oils hand for colds, cough and the flu. Ironically, ahead of the Corona virus, I had a terrible stomach flu bug early last week.  I had terrible vomiting twice in one day and no energy. I told my husband he didn't need to take care of me and stay home, so I just drank the fluids that I could and slept. Hubby brought me home some ready to eat Jello on his lunch break, a life saver!

The good thing was we had all kinds of  OTC remedies on hand that I actually didn't need to take. I stayed home for two days and rested. To me this is just a real wake-up call, hopefully, for people to in general be more prepared. The Red Cross for years who said that everybody should have several days worth of food and water on hand. I heard a co-worker say his relatives back east were out of food. Since they lived 4 blocks from their grocery store they always shopped there. Now the store is empty, and they'll drive way north to buy supplies. Most people just don't listen. RESILIENCY to me is a really good thing in this kind of a situation. Be flexible, think outside the box, do something nice out in the Spring weather that doesn't involve being around other people. Sunday, when other people were panicking about the Corona virus, I made some Irish food! Go bake my friends!!!

Irish Soda Bread With Currants-
In early celebration of St. Patrick's Day I made Ina Garten's Irish Soda Bread. It came out great, moist, a little subtle orange and the currants were a nice addition-

I served it warm with corned beef, baby Yukon golds taters and carrots. Fabulous! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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