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...

Dec 10, 2021

Big Snow! Birthday Ikea Trip/ Holiday Decor Downsizing, Preparedness & RX Shortages


Big Snow!
Our first big winter storm is arriving! Woke up to about 1/2" of snow and 21 degrees this morning. We're talking lots of feet of snow in the mountains in the next week. This is our first really big snow storm to hit. I've seen there's more weather problems up in Canada and Washington, sad. We usually get snow November/December, but it varies every year. So far nothing big down here in the valley, but look at the forecast! 

Birthday Ikea Trip/ Holiday Decor Downsizing-
It's that time of year! I started putting up our winter decor about a week ago since I like to take a break after Thanksgiving. I also had my birthday! I won't say which one, but a BIG one. I like doing something fun since I never had a birthday parties as a kid. I always got combination birthday and Christmas gifts, what a bummer. Dave and I did a one-day birthday drive to Salt Lake City Ikea so I could buy some holiday goodies for my birthday present. I did about 95% of the driving, perfect weather. I know it may seem crazy but I've wanted to buy some of their winter decor, and you can't buy it online. We never go to the Portland Ikea for family visits in winter. So we went! We never got a vacation this year or last year, so we didn't feel guilty. Just gas, a couple meals, and shopping. They were out of a few things but I got most of the fun holiday items-

Finally a Dala horse! And a Tomten with deer (ceramic)

Fox and tree candle holder, ceramic too 

I really wanted their 3-piece glass mushroom set, but were out. I found one on eBay for a bit more, I was thrilled! Three sizes, heavy glass with heavy clips-

 Red and white mushrooms were said to be the basis for Santa's hat! 

I added to my display, I love the nature look with the greenery-

Bigger shot here-

Also from eBay, an Ikea LED mini candelabra, battery operated, $10.00-

I stocked up on their amazing whole grain/Rye crackers, cookies and a little Swedish cheese. Got a mistletoe table runner, some mini star lights and some stocking stuffers. I really love Scandinavian folk art and natural types of holiday decorations. So there's a sneak peek of what we have out. Our Christmas decor will be coming out this weekend! 

Dining room farm window

Kitchen window, thrifted new prim snowman

Dining room

Living room

Entryway Gingerbread theme

Living room window

I moved my Jul decor to the living room this year! 

Holiday Decor Downsizing: 
Phase two was letting go of some winter  decor. I decided I wanted to get rid of at least one or two chunks. I always start off with putting winter decor out first. Then I add Christmas things a week or two later. First thing I did with the winter stuff was spread it out and open the totes which created quite the mess! Then I started going through things that I really love versus things that I was ready to let go of. Since a lot of my holiday decor was thrifted there wasn't a huge amount of financial investment. I looked at what do I really love, how much storage do we have, etc. I wound up emptying out one complete tote and donating all of it. Next phase will be going through all the Christmas stuff. The biggest part of that is our artificial tree, wrapping paper, ditto. The rest is tree decorations and tabletop things. Over time I'm liking something less cluttered looking, although my style might be more cluttered than other people's. That's okay. I think decorating for winter is my favorite thing because I've always loved snow! Probably from growing up in Southern California where I didn't really see any except way up in the Sierra mountains.

Preparedness & RX Shortages-
What's new here for preparedness. I have noticed some distinct shortages in the grocery stores and escalating prices. I saw some bell peppers for a $1.75 each, instant noodles ramen type of foods completely off of all the shelves. This was in a Walmart Market. I see our gas prices here are going down a bit which is good. I was happy to see the Walmart Market did have some canned Keystone meat on hand. I picked up a couple cans of chicken. Keystone meat comes really really highly recommended, it's affordable only meet in a lightly salted Brian no other flavors and big chunks. Still getting a few eggs here and they're usually about one a day, glad I had some frozen! When we were getting four per day in the summer I decided to start freezing them. I did also buy some sprouting seeds in case the quality and price of greens gets really exorbitant. I have noticed some quality issues with some things like romaine and spinach . Not sure if it's from the trucking shortage? I also found a nice deal on a bread proofing basket (Ikea) with a cloth cover-

I also bought an Ikea knife sharpener, has a well for water to wet the sharpening stones-

As for RX shortages- I'm hearing this from some of my medical employers insurance  members, more RX's are getting more backordered. This is a sobering list from Drug Shortages, what's scary is it's so long, and growing. Wondering how are you doing in your neck of the woods as far as availability of foods and products, prices? 
Our house

Coop's ready too! 

Nov 29, 2021

Independence Days Challenge/ Preparedness, Using A Kerosene Heater

Winter 2017
Independence Days Challenge-
We're ready for winter! It's been colder, in the 20's at night, but dry. The forecast is a wetter winter, so may be snowier than usual, time will tell. I put away the Autumn decor yesterday.  We had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving with just our daughter and her boyfriend coming over. Our one daughter went to her in-laws with her husband for turkey day. Our other daughter had a very sick grandchild and they decided to stay home. We're trying to break the cycle of having anybody over who's actively sick, we were on the same page with that. Still sad. We did send them over a whole bunch of hot food right before we sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, so they were covered! Consequently we have quite a bit of turkey left which is nice. Will probably be making some turkey noodle soup and turkey enchiladas. If we still have more leftovers it's going into the freezer.

Will be putting out indoor winter decor and our Advent wreath with candles. Dave put up the front lights yesterday, since it was mild, not turned on yet though. I like a break between holidays, we did add this outside-

Bring it on! I love snow...

I have today off (Monday), since I currently work Tues. - Sat. It's "open enrollment" for the insurance company I work for, but only for a while longer. I decided to take tomorrow off, giving me a three day weekend. Taking Friday off too, for my birthday! Dave and I went to McCall for our anniversary for two nights a couple weeks ago. He's been working really long hours, so it was a much-needed break! Not much snow on the ground, nice weather. Sunset Alpenglow over Payette Lake-

The next day- 

City park pretty empty, got snow the next week after

I found some fun thrifted items for our new granddaughter! She was born Aug 27th, with red hair! Fun to shop for a girl baby. The two grandsons are doing great too, very busy busy. It's nice we all live in the area and can see each other. Hoping everyone is healthy for Christmas!

Watching the news about Canada's epic flooding, with more on the way, it's a sad reminder how important it is to prepare. Prices still going up here, shrinkflation with packaging, some of the local craft stores had shortages and empty spots. Grocery produce is going downhill quality-wise. Worker shortages in businesses. My own employer is having trouble hiring staff, maybe they'll raise the pay!!! So here's what we've been up to-    

1. Plant Something- It's winter here, nope 


2. Harvest Something- Eggs, chives, herbs. Herbs froze but are still hanging in there!


3. Preserve/Store Something- Freezing butter, cheese, baking supplies, chocolate (heck yes!) storing extra chicken feed/pine shavings for coop. Dave just cleaned it, ready for winter with extra thickness to keep the girls warm. I bought some cracked corn for the really cold days coming. We're only getting about one egg a day, glad I froze lots!!! 


4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- Got a new phone, mine was Galaxy 8S Active, 2G and 5 years old. Free with a slight plan upgrade, temporary for 3 years. Nice phone, got  a Galaxy S21, lots more photo options, although I love my DSLR. Buying extra cereals, butter, pastas, peanut butter, c leaning supplies, shampoos, various food items when I see a good sale. Got some clearance artisanal breads to freeze. Got a new 2022 wall calendar, two Amaryllis bulbs, one is already blooming, from a big box store! Only $5.00, had the stem 5" long when I took it out of the box! Added to my antique coffee pot, a gift from my cousin when I was young-

Red and white

Deep red blooms to come

Dave bought a MONSTER poinsettia from Costco, I have NEVER seen one that big! Going on the top of the entertainment center soon-

I also bought some more clearance priced seeds, .50 cents each.  More to store for next year, just in case. Bought more kerosene, in case we lose power. 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- Just discovered a new Foodnetwork show on our anniversary trip (hotel had cable!) Girl Meets Farm , lots of unique fun recipes, especially the fried turkey breast! I may try that. I love her old farmhouse kitchen re-do, with Grandma's old range too! It's nice they actually film in a real kitchen, not a set somewhere- 

6. Build Community Food Systems- Farmer's market closed.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- Roasted a medium sized decorative pumpkin for the hens, food time! Thrifted baby clothes, on sale/half off, got several outfits (new on the hanger) for .50 cents, WOW! 

Pumpkin for the girls
8. Skill Up- Did some new research on using kerosene heaters and learning more about emergency heating. I really appreciate some of the Youtube vloggers out there- Alaska Prepper, Canadian Prepper, City Prepper, etc. I edit out the politics and look for things I can use. We don't have a wood stove, for instance, but can use lots of other ideas. Thinking outside the box in the main thing.


9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- Bought some small cans of paint to touch-up the kitchen, main hallway and big bathroom, a few dings here and there! 

Using A Kerosene Heater-
I have a couple of kerosene heaters, including some brooder heaters. These are for emergency use for us. I thought I'd share my experience with these. So before we get started...
Here's my DISCLAIMER- Kerosene heaters burn oxygen in the air and release carbon monoxide. Kerosene heaters can also release other pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. To reduce the risk of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you must vent the room being heated! Crack a window or door, always have a working carbon monoxide. Safety first, don't burn down your house. Never leave a kerosene heater unattended/when you are sleeping, keep the instruction manual nearby, use clear kerosene, store kerosene in containers clearly marked. Refilling should only be done outdoors and when the unit is cool, keep heater away from all flammable and combustible items (such as curtains, furniture, aerosol sprays, and gasoline). Do your own research. Thanks. 

The large one above is a Perfection M525, probably from the 70's, info here Millesstair Perfection History. I bought is for about $15.00 several years ago at a thrift store.  I have another large one, an Alladin, I need to get it down to fill. I had trouble lighting it before, then read you need to fill and let sit for an hour, dry wick otherwise. DUH! Anyway, I filled and fired up the small brooder heater first, bought at a estate sale years ago, unknown brand, $10.00, like new-

Tips open to change wick

Open brass plug and fill

Nice, with the Mica window

I fill these up with WATER THE 1ST TIME, to check for leaks. Next, I filled these up outside, on the grass. Then snapped down the chimney. It got hot fast and you can adjust the wick as needed, very little odor and smoke! These were used to keep eggs and chicks warm in the coop, but an obvious fire hazard. You can find these on eBay on occasion. 

Now the Perfection, probably from the 1970's, in pristine condition! First you push a tab and open the top-

Fount in base

Silver tab to open and snap shut

open, take fount out

The fount-

Unplug and fill (outside) push plug back in, the cork floater will tell you if fuel is low-

Put the fount back in, light wick, roll up as needed, snap top down-

nice and toasty! 

I used this kerosene above, less smoke, recommended on many websites. This is an EXCELLENT website I have used, and bought wicks from, he really knows his stuff Kero Fuel
Remember do YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!!
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