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...

Jul 25, 2021

Food Price Increases/Being Prepared, Independence Days Challenge!

Food Price Increases/Being Prepared- 
It's still hot and smoky, but we're hanging in there! Flowers are blooming, the pond is full of Water Lettuce! Makes me feel cooler hearing the water running-

Weeks and weeks of 100 degrees. We did actually get down to 58 the other morning which is almost like Autumn weather. We may have some possible rain on the horizon later this week just hope it won't spark any fires. Still smoky-

I thought these two different blog posts go together given the current state of food prices, etc. Like most people I've been seeing food prices going up over the last year. I was reading last night that food prices have increased by around 60% in the last 12 months. I certainly realize that may not be true for every area and every type of food stuff. It does really show them a very alarming trend that I think is not going to end anytime soon. Having watched the news you can see about the flooding in the Midwest, droughts in the West. I was hearing about droughts in China as well. When you have foreign countries that are buying up huge amounts of American commodities it does make you wonder where we are headed?  People sometimes take for granted that you just go to the grocery store and there's food there. I recently saw an article on the BBC about the shortage of truck drivers in the UK. The shortage of  drivers left some grocery stores with some empty shelves. Because they left the EU many of their foreign truck drivers left and went back to Europe. Driver shortage here too! Interesting article here China Buying Corn and Clogged Ports. I read there's a wheat shortage in China too, interesting article here and how Australia is responding ABC.NET.AU   Our breadbasket, California, farmers and growers are really struggling with the heat and drought there too. California 1000's of Farmers Losing Water Access  I heard this last night though that gave me a good reminder- 

There's no downside to being prepared

That's really true! What's the downside to getting good deals, storing extra foods, water, etc? After we went thru a tough time a few years back (Dave's layoff) we realized we did so much better than most other people. We had savings, a freezer and a pantry. We also think outside the box. I love eating out, but realized right now I need to do more creative cooking and invest the $ elsewhere. Like food! Better to be prepared than caught off guard. Just do a little every week, every pay check, then pat yourself on the back! 

Independence Days Challenge-
Here' what we've been up to! I have been re-reading Sharon's book, still very relevant to today! Great ideas! 

1. Plant Something-

We bought a few more peppers and tomatoes as some of ours died. I started some collard green seeds in a pot since many of mine in the ground died. Ironically I did notice yesterday I have about five or six little tiny collard green plants in the ground! I guess they survived the blistering heat after all. I am going to go ahead and transplant some of the seedlings into the garden when they get a little bit bigger-

Need to thin

2. Harvest Something-
Things growing...

Kale, nice and tender!

Kohlrabi, not sure if we'll get the heads?

Hens photo bombed

Tomatoes coming soon

Pickling cukes

"German Queen" heirloom tomato, bought for Dave's German Mom!

Peppers and strawberries soon

Last 3 strawberries, at least one heirloom survived! 

Tons of eggs! Pickling cucumbers, Basil, and blackberries are almost ready! 

Not much of a harvest this year for some reason, not sure why since they seem to like wet springs. I'm wondering if it's just the really brutal heat we've been having?

3. Preserve/Store Something-
I checked some of our pantry food supplies, didn't have a whole lot of protein on hand except for beans and rice. At Costco today I bought some wild-caught salmon to freeze, and some canned pulled pork. I have a pretty good supply of tuna which is good! Already some beef and pork in the freezer. Lots and lots of eggs, many of which I am starting to freeze. Will buy some canned Salmon soon to store, nice protein!


4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-

Bought half price tomatoes and pepper plants. We do have lots of peaches coming up fairly soon for canning and freezing. Looking forward to that! Dave spotted lots of unsalted butter 1/2 price and bought 5, I am freezing in vacuum sealed bags. 

My neighbor always gives us her rhubarb and it looks like some of it will be right soon. It freezes so well! Nothing like a rhubarb strawberry cobbler.  I must say I really love having my little vacuum sealer, great for freezing! I also bought some extra nuts (pecans) as well as has a large 20 Lb bag of sugar (canning soon).  I decided I'm going to stock up on some whole wheat pastry flour while prices are what they are. There's a lot you can do if you can bake basic things from scratch. 


5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-

I'm switching back to more whole grain recently, cleaning up our eating. I had left over chicken breast and modified this recipe Fried Catfish BLTs -

I used chicken and cherry tomatoes on ciabatta rolls, fabulous! I also tried this Shrimp sandwich, lovely! Shrimp Salad Sandwich w/ Lime Aioli I used Dave's Killer Bread WW hamburger buns (on sale)-

Great on a hot day, no cooking! I added diced celery, home grown cuke and red onion. Tried some Keto ice cream bars at Costco, not bad! I'm buying some herbal teas with no caffeine, easy to use too much. I also found new Kodiak products, we love their pancake mix! 

Will try these then maybe make my own

6. Build Community Food Systems-
Went to our local farmers market out in Caldwell the week or two ago. Bought some amazing fresh garlic, cream, some breads and a pie. Will go out again soon. 


7. Recycle/Re-Use-

I have upcycled a thrifted hose reel. Dave cut off the fleur-de-lis so I could reattach it in another spot. He removed the hose reel part too. Nice rusted patina, but I painted it flat brown since it was a bit scraped. I tried construction adhesive that didn't work too well so Dave screwed it together for me and I touched up the paint-

I donated some nice wools sweaters, shoes and extra planters recently. Found some nice, low cost tops on eBay. Low prices, high-end brands. I love things that last! Used my 3 year old collard seeds and they sprouted! 


8. Skill Up-

Learning all kinds of new things about my new job and benefits! Reading up a lot more about commodities the last few days. I am re-reading my book 


9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-

I thought I might have to buy a new desk for my new job at home, but realized I needed to just reconfigure it. Since we may be going back into the office this fall I really didn't want to spend the money for any desk anyway. I'm working my and cooking more since we just got into some really bad habits the last 6 months. More whole grains, high proteins, lower carbs and more fruits and veggies. 

And now some flowers!

Jul 18, 2021

Hot and Smoky! Stuffed Italian Peppers, Time for Turkey Tacos! Sun Valley Day Trip

Hot and Smoky-
It's still in the 100+ degree range and now we're getting lots of smoke for the Oregon fires. Praying for rain! I can imagine how much worse it must be for the local residents! It was in the high 90's today, a little cooler. We're watering and watering and I'm avoiding the smoke as much as possible. I'm keeping the hens cool as can be. I got the BIGGEST EGG EVER yesterday!!!

Almost as big as a duck egg, bet it's a double yolker! 

Rosie, my oldest hen, has been limping the last couple of days, but ran out for treat, so not too bad,  hoping she's okay. Will check her in a few days if she's not better. We've been thinning our peach tree, tons  and tons of fruit! I've been freezing more eggs for winter. I decided to invest in a new "kit lense" for my Canon DSLR, since the other one was being glitchy. Best deal ever, $99.00, new and works great! I know some people like to use phones, but once you try a real camera there's nothing better! So much more to play with and you can get creative with the settings. Got some summer camp style decor up, fan had to go up for the heat in the kitchen! 

Thrifted arrow ($3.00) and print on the left, $4.00! 


Stuffed Italian Peppers- 
Last year I froze some of our organic Marconi Giant Italian Frying peppers. It's one of the latter things we harvest due to the size. I froze them after vacuum sealing, along with our organic tomatoes-

I used this recipe but modified a bit A Family Feast   I doubled the filling and sauce since our peppers were much bigger! I didn't fry ours for a healthier version. Freezing the peppers to softened them a bit.  Thawed, the split them and stuffed, then baked. First I thawed the peppers and tomatoes (for the sauce)-

Cooked down our tomatoes for a Marinara sauce, look at the juice!!!

Mixed all the ingredients for the stuffing

Getting ready to go into the oven

Ready to eat! 

I made a garden Fritatta to go with it for dinner, since the peppers had no protein. Made my own version of this Taste of I skipped the tomatoes and used roasted red peppers. I also re-hydrated some dried homegrown, organic yellow squash-

Time for Turkey Tacos!-
Dave and I love tacos. I make mine a bit healthier, with still tons of flavor! Here's my basic recipe-
Use ground turkey, cook and brown in a skillet with a little oil, drain off excess liquid, add your favorite salsa, Cumin, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook down till done, season as you like, I have added Tabasco before for some heat. Stuff your shells, add grated Cheddar/Jack cheese, Cilantro, olives and hot sauce. Enjoy! Also works for burritos or topping for nachos.  

Sawtooth Mountains 
Sun Valley Day Trip-
Dave and I didn't really have any plans for Fourth of July, but we really wanted to get out and go somewhere. So we decided to take a day trip. We went from Boise through Idaho City and up and over from Lowman/Stanley down into the Sun Valley/Ketchum area. There's a shorter way to get there but it's a pretty boring drive thru the Flatlands mostly. We decided to do the longer route up and then take the troop coming back. We took lots of extra water and snacks and it was such a beautiful drive! As soon as you start getting up into the mountains outside Boise it's green with fresh air and we actually drove through a few rain showers. We saw lots of Pronghorn Antelope, but I couldn't get any shots. We stopped at a place and had lunch at over 6,000 feet looking out onto the mountains- 

Next we went ahead and drove down to the Sun Valley and visited a few different places including Ernest Hemingway's grave. Since Hemingway is such an iconic American author and amazing Idaho figure, we decided to take a brief side. You leave a penny as a thank you to him, others left all kinds of things! 

We drove around for a while and then decided to head home. It's really nice to sleep in our own beds at night! Here's a few photos of our trip and I can tell you that the photos just don't do it justice!

River of No Return valley

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