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 29, 2021

Garden Re-Hab Begins!


Garden Re-Hab Begins!
We had rain last week, pouring rain, 37 degrees. Yesterday it was 75, then a cold front came thru last night, coming in with 65 mph gusts, then back to 29 degrees this morning!  Nice to be able to have lots of fresh air when the weather's warmer! This last weekend we started our backyard garden rehab, here's a few things we will be doing. We will re-use/recycle as much as we can, as usual!  *Check newer posts for the photos of completed areas! *

Phase One- The west side of our backyard fence takes the brunt of bad weather coming in, as well as the large dogs of the renters who live behind us jumping on it. I could go on about the different people who've lived there, but the people are pretty nice right now. The dogs not so much. They're the kind of dogs that bark all day long on and on randomly. My fantasy was that the house would come on the market, Dave and I could buy it, and create a cohousing situation with one of our kids and family. Not to be and we don't have the money for that anyway. I digress! So Dave found three broken posts-


We didn't want the whole fence to collapse obviously, especially with dogs on one side and our chickens on the other, that would not be a good idea! 

Behind the coop

Previously when we had put posts in the ground we used gravel and then a layer the concrete. The problem was when the posts broke you have to dig out all the concrete. There's some nice post brackets you can buy now, about $20.00 each with the bolts-

It's a bit of an investment but once you put the post in the bracket and set it in concrete, you're done. Just level and brace until it's set up.  The advantages if the post itself ever breaks you simply unbolt,  pop out the post and add a new post into the bracket! No more busting out concrete. So we decided to invest in three and it works great! We did re-use the fence clips on the stringer boards, since they were fine-

I helped Dave cut the 4" x 4" to size and level the posts once they were in the hole. Once they were shored up Dave poured the concrete and let it sit overnight. Problem solved, nice solid fence again! So that was Phase 1. We saved the 6' old posts to shorten and use in a garden fence project.

Phase Two-  The raised bed, which is rotting and pretty unsightly. I found that I can grow the vegetables in another sunnier area. I looked out one day and I thought this is just an ugly view (see top picture too) to look at every single day-

Bamboo and 2 Boxwoods will be re-located here

Lots of hardscaping materials in the right corner 

Bear with me here I will get to the point of this. I was channel surfing one night and caught the last 15 minutes of a movie called Dare To Be Wild- 


I was fascinated by the story, really got hooked and so I bought the DVD used on eBay. I highly recommend this movie, if you love to grow things! It is based on the true story of Mary Reynolds, the youngest competitor in the British Chelsea Flower show. She created a totally natural design that looks like something in the Irish meadows in the forest. It was totally unlike anything anyone had done before there, she won first place!!! She became an international sensation and is now listed as one of the top 10 garden designers of all time. She has also moved into Permaculture work more recently. Lots of great interviews with her on Youtube. Here's her award winning design-

Celtic Sanctuary

After I watched the whole movie (which I absolutely loved), I got her book from the library. It's called The Gardening Awakening, Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves (she's working on a second book) :

I looked at some of her designs and they're just amazing. Lots of curves. I flipped through the book one day and spotted this design and that was my Eureka moment!

With our square house, sitting in our square backyard, and the square fence a circular design would be perfect! We will modify it to fit the space with our hardscaping on hand. We have bricks, river stones, pavers and some Flagstone. Since we already had a pile of hardscaping leftover from various projects, and that we acquired for free, I thought we could do a nice semicircle. I decided to go ahead and grow different plants, flowers, an evergreen tree and herbs in this area, since it gets partly shade. Create some habitat for the birds and critters, something soothing. So basically we will remove the cold frame, add some hardscaping to create the curves. We also have two Boxwoods to be moved and a Bamboo-

Behind the maple tree

In the chicken shade area

In the sunny veggie area

We're going to plant the bamboo and the boxwoods between the maple tree and the spiral to fill in the space. I'm wanting to get some bamboo that's tall for privacy screen against our fence, but haven't found any yet (sold out) , I will keep looking. Taking out the cold frame soon to start the process! The sunny bamboo area will be to grow more veggies and food, better se of the space. More coming...

Phase Three- The Garden on the south side of the house which has been problematic-

Solarizing the soil over the winter to kill weeds

We've had some luck with green beans there, some with corn or squash, but very inconsistent- 

I thought the best use of the area might be for pollinators garden. I might have Dave build a little bench in there, a kind of a quiet place to go sit. Since it faces south I can do lots of  my new seeds of Rainbow Echinacea, Rainbow Zinnias, Rainbow Yarrow, Milkweed Also some Lavender, Poppies, Salvias, Dwarf Russian Sage (just found those!) maybe some sunflowers. It's a blank slate! Maybe add a birdbath. I want a nice naturalized, low maintenance area...

 Phase 4-  The chicken run/garden fencing, which is also rotting and falling apart. We used mostly recycled lumber last time, and we got quite a few years out of it. We'll re-use the posts Dave replaced, since we can cut them down. Dave found some wire panels we may buy. Slightly flexible and a nice, clean look. Maybe stock/hog panels. I'm hoping we can run cedar across the tops. Dave may build a new gate. I'd like a metal one that won't get chewed! We thought about relocating the coop to where the cold frame is, but lumber prices have gone way up. We decided not to go that route this year. The coop is in pretty good shape, but it does eat up some of our sunny garden area. Just one of those compromises you got to make. So we will start from scratch with tearing all of this out and re-doing it-

Sloppy chicken wire for my flying hens! Safety first

Note marks on gate on the left, squirrels chewing! 

Will add larger gate and remove boxwood

Girls had to come say hi!

Luna and Debbie


Rosie the matriarch, soon to be 7! 

Mar 23, 2021

DIY Photowall Art Review & Discount For You!


DIY Photowall Art Review & Discount Coupon!
Periodically I get emails from different people/websites asking me to put a link in my blog, and they'll put a link back to me. Almost all of them have absolutely nothing to do with anything that really interests me or has to do with this blog. I usually just hit the delete button. But then I got an email from Photowall US. I thought I recognized the name so I looked them up. From Sweden, I thought oh yeah, I've seen them before! If you're a Jonna Jinton (Swedish blogger) fan they sell some of her amazing phots! Photowall Jonna Jinton  After I spent quite a while on their website I decided to email them back. Basically they offered me a free print in exchange for a review and a link on my blog. They gave me a link for my readers to get a discount if you'd like to order (if not that's okay too). I'm not making any money out of this, just a freebie that I got to review and keep. So first I had to figure out what to order. Ironically right before I got this email I had decided to take my current dining room print down and replace it with something, but I didn't know what-

Goodwill scores years ago, Italian/French-ish

I plan on keeping this print, will put back out in the fall. So Eureka! I measured the print (about 24") to get something about the same size, on a frame. I was on their website quite a bit and got it down to five choices-

With the light wall background I decided we needed to get something with a pop of color since most of the ones I liked where a bit too beige-ish. Dave and I went for the blue! I placed my order, about 5days later I got a nice slim package from Sweden! 

They had a nice video showing how to assemble the canvas on the frame on their website-

First I got out a card table, covered with a bit of wrapping paper (had some sticky spots on it) laid everything out-

Nice substantial wood frame! No tools needed, great directions.  A nice wall hook is included.I laid everything out and started with the frame. Just peel tape off the sticky edge, line up and attach the canvas (face side down)-

I worked my way around-

All four frame pieces attached! On with the braces-

No tools needed, just screw in the large thumb screws-

I could see I should have gone in about an 1/8th of an inch, but I can live with it-

All done and we love it!!!

If you'd like to order here is the discount code that you can use: littlehomesteadinboise2021. This code will give you a 25% discount on any product on the website, and is valid for a month!

Happy Spring!!! My Swedish coffee pot with flowers, how fitting! 

Mar 19, 2021

Happy Spring Equinox! Rare Seeds Rainbow Mixes!!!

Happy Spring Equinox!
About 3:30 a.m. tonight, in the Western Hemisphere, the days will be getting even longer! Enjoy!

 From Colorado Mix Yarrow

Rare Seeds Rainbow Mixes!
I got pretty excited when I saw some Yarrow seeds I hadn't seen before, too cool to pass up! Rare Seeds is formerly Baker Seeds. See above. Then I spotted these as well, what's not to love? 

Echinacea, Paradiso Mix

Lastly these, Cupid Zinnia mix-

Just in time for some seed starting soon. I also found some Old North Sea Strawberries, listed as:  This is a cold-hardy, old variety from Denmark; it was found growing in an ancient Viking village site. Plants are low-growing, which makes them harder to spot by birds and also protects the delicate fruit from frost-

I ordered some for an area we are going to open up. Happy dance!  I feel a bit behind with the whole abscessed tooth thing, lost 2 weeks basically, but life goes on! Happy to have some new things to plant on our little homestead!  

Mar 16, 2021

Spring Has Sprung! Surgery Recovery, Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Spring Has Sprung!
It's been like Spring here, in the 60's and bulb/ flowers and more are coming up. It's been great to have the windows open later in the day since it's still been cold in the morning. The weather we're having is cold (30's/40's) in the morning and 62+ in the afternoon. Nice weather! 

It's crazy to see the heavy snow not too far from us and into the Midwest! My husband has some co-workers who were buried in Denver with two + feet of snow that was really hard to get cleared out by the city. Bummer! We have big garden renovation coming soon, on a budget of course! Going to re-locate some things and re-purpose. We have to make tough choices about what works, what takes too much time for the pay out. Resiliency and flexibility are key when you don't have much room. More to come! 

Happy Tooth in Retirement

Surgery Recovery-
My surgery went really well as has the recovery. It is a bit disconcerting when you hear that snap of a tooth coming out! After 3 injections of Novocain I was definitely numb. The dentist and the tech did a great job, have me under a blanket. I was definitely kind of rocky coming out though. I was glad I had Dave drive me both ways since it was disconcerting and a bit stressful. The first hour and a half was the worst after the surgery, since you have to bite down on a piece of gauze. I was able to get off pain meds the next day which was great! They definitely made me feel loopy. I've just been on OTC Ibuprphen and chewing on my other side for now. The great thing is as I can eat regular foods now.  No swelling which was really nice and I did some preventive measures for that. So thank you for all the nice posts and sending me some nice energy, it all helps!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Since I'm part Scotch-Irish I always celebrate the holiday. Luckily I had the foresight to put up my Saint Patrick's Day decor the night before my dental surgery! It's nice to have all my green things out. I was able to make Saint Patrick's Day dinner Sunday since I was feeling better. I always do corned beef and this year I did it in a crock pot. I always buy a square cut since it's a lot leaner than the tri cuts. I will say that meat prices have definitely gone up, I don't remember paying almost $7 a pound before! I always cook mine with several cloves of garlic crushed, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, and a bay leaf. It came out nice and tender and served with Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Since Dave did the grocery shopping for me I had not been able to pick out the meat myself. He got a really small piece. I sent him back today to get another piece since we ate it all over two nights! I was able to get up to Trader Joe's yesterday after work and get some really nice Irish Soda bread. That was a treat, moist with caraway seeds and raisins. 

Hope you all have a nice holiday if you celebrate it, if not you can go celebrate some Spring weather if you're having some.

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