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...

Oct 27, 2021

Record-Breaking Storm/ Last Preparedness Post 14.0 UPDATED, Canning Tomatoes Vs Dehydrating

Record-Breaking Storm/ Last Preparedness Post 14.0-  ***UPDATED***
If you've been watching the national news there was an "atmospheric river", a Cyclone-type rain storm that hit the West coast and the Pacific NW. We definitely got hit with lots of rain and some gusting winds. We had almost 3" of rain in three days!!! While that's not record-setting that is a lot of rain in October! We haven't had any real damaging winds in Boise luckily. Supposedly there were much higher winds up in the mountains. Just glad we finally got some rain, as it was so dry! We have cooler temps coming next week, time to get out the comforter and add the sunroom to the coop. The sad part of the storm was it hit some areas with high winds, mudslides, power outages and road closures in parts of California. Info here Record Rain Storm California Excerpt- A rainfall record was shattered in Sacramento-Northeast of San Francisco, 5.44 inches (13.82 centimeters) fell on downtown Sacramento, shattering the one-day record for rainfall that had stood since 1880. Lake Oroville, a major Northern California reservoir, saw its water levels rise 20 feet (6.10 meters) over the past week, according to the state's Department of Water Resource. 

We got lots of notice ahead of time which was good-

Good news for the fires and drought! More goods news here-

Yosemite falls come back to life

Autumn here-

Time to stash the table/chairs, empty the pond! 

Some blue skies today

Fall colors

Last Preparedness 14.0-  
I decided this will be the last specific prep post for a variety of reasons. You're either getting prepped or not. There's plenty in my previous posts for those who are interested! I went to our local Natural Grocers store a few days ago and their section for oats was completely empty. An herbal supplement I've taken for a long time was out, they said they were having supply chain issues, not a surprise. I stocked up on a few more bags of wheat berries, Natural Grocers had 2 lbs for a $1.50.  Our Winco grocery store has been looking pretty good, as far as being stocked, but I have noticed some of their produce is looking pretty sad. Meat prices, especially beef, continue to go up. Two of our largest local school districts are running out of foods for school lunches. Supply chain issues. Supply Chain Disruptions School Lunches  While some can start packing homemade lunches many high-poverty families can't. I saw this first hand working in my school as a librarian. Doesn't matter why but kids need to eat to function and stay healthy. I've been stashing extra veggies with some leftover freezer baskets-

I was watching a video blogger and she was talking about doing self rationing moving forward. That idea, if things start getting pretty tight, might be VERY useful. People survived the Depression doing that. 

*** UPDATE*** Here's the video I was speaking about, I really like her approach (on this blog I do, however, stay of politics)

If you can't see videos on your phone choose "web version" at the bottom

Another good vlog of her's is called Make Them Feel Pain NOW, about cutting back and getting used to it!

I also think it is really about RESILIENCY. We might have to change how we shop, how we eat, how we garden and preserve foods. How could we barter moving forward? What do we spend $$$ on? Do we really need the newest technology, streaming services, etc? Do we really need to spend, spend, spend like we used to? I just shake my head when people buy certain things. People are worried about buying plastic toys for their kids and not buying food or fuel. With everything on the news about this perfect storm people still bury their head in the sand. There are also so many people that can't cook anything from scratch, at all. If I gave somebody a bag of flour, baking soda, baking power, etc. they would probably look at me and say "what am I supposed to do with this?" I used to make homemade mac and cheese for our kids, on a work night, and it didn't take that long! Cook the pasta, make a simple cheese sauce, toss toss toss and it's what's for dinner. No preservatives, no fake food coloring, just plain food. I'm hopeful that some folks can make the tough transition I think is coming with some flexibility. I hope so. For now winter is coming, time to get your house in order... 

Canning Tomatoes Vs Dehydrating-
We harvested all of the tomatoes recently so I finally had enough to can some! Pretty easy to do, add a some lemon juice to water and off they went. Because some of them are really dead ripe I didn't really push them down hard enough. There were a few floaters, but that's okay. I have some more, will wait another week and let those ripen a little bit. I mixed the really ripe ones with the slightly less ripe ones to balance out the flavor. After thinking about it I decided to dehydrate the rest, it's faster and take less space to store. They'll look like this-

This jar is full now, 1/2 gallon

We have made some nice pizzas too! I buy dough from a local pizza place, add tomatoes, herbs, etc, yummy!

Pepperoni, tomatoes, some Moz and it's dinner

Oct 13, 2021

Preparedness 12.0/ Final Harvest, Winterizing The House and Coop


Preparedness 12.0/ Final Harvest-
Our first hard freeze is here! Eastern Idaho had several inches of snow two days ago. This is the time of year where you start preparing for winter. As they used to say in Game of Thrones WINTER IS COMING! We wrapped up the harvesting, except the Basil and herbs, covered those with a row cover-

High winds so need to weight it down

Only some small green tomatoes are still outside. We'll check on those this weekend. We picked our last really ripe tomatoes and peppers. With the cold snap warning Dave harvested all the last of the large green tomatoes in advance-

This is only one tray!

The really ripe ones we're using on homemade pizzas this week! Got the dough from a local pizza place. Some of the others I'll be freezing or I may make a big pot of pasta sauce. The green ones we will lay out and let ripen slowly. They never have quite as much flavor but they're good to use in soups and things. I dehydrated lots of dead ripe tomatoes, more coming!

This time of year we winterize the house, doing things like closing up the foundation vents, putting out some fleecy blankets for snuggling. I'll be adding our heavy comforter this weekend to our bed. I moved my summer clothes into our spare bedroom closet. Got out all my flannel blouses and fleece. Luckily I bought more wool socks last month! One of the things we do to winterize the houses is buy some of Costco's amazing chocolate/almond biscotti's! They are so good with a cup of something hot on a cold day. Winterizing the house includes the yard like putting away the hoses, pump is out of the pond and we moved some of the perennials in pots to winter-over in the garage. I'll pack up my garden bench and cover with plastic this weekend. Got out my small space heater for the kitchen. The big sliding glass doors make for a cold spot near the desk-

Link to my post Low Cost Ways to Keep Your Home Warm for more ideas. We got the cars ready for winter- new wiper blades, got out the snow scrapers, added a blanket in the backseat of each car. All those little things in case you get stranded and buried! What I bought this week- more acorn squash, lemons (small amount of pesto to still make), misc stuff.  

FOR MORE REALITY CHECKS- 5% inflation (today), new of possible brownouts/blackouts in some areas possible, droughts equal less foods, last springs freezes equals less foods and feed for ranchers, gas is going up, sizes going down /prices up (shrinkflation), less food in the stores, restaurants having less staffing/ more areas closed off, less available online to buy, trucking shortage, blackouts in China affecting manufacturing. Here's some visuals and links-  

Again- no down side to being prepared 

Winterizing the coop is actually fairly easy. We have a large window on the bottom of the coop that faces East. In the spring we switch it out, put on a frame with hardware cloth for ventilation (Dave built). We also took off the glass panel on the storm door. It was part of our Coop Rehab  Works much better than the old warped wood door, and it was recycled! The upper coop window (recycled) slides and can be opened as needed-

Lower vent on the left

Dave put the big glass panel on the coop wall back on and added the glass panel to the storm door before the freeze hit. They still have good ventilation through the lower vent and the coop itself is not airtight. There's also a vent in the roof. The main thing with the coop is that you do not want to have too much moisture inside. We also have the upper window that we can open if it gets really warm. Will be adding our exterior extension cord soon, to plug in their water so it won't freeze. It also allows us to turn on a light inside the coop if we have to go out after dark. I decided not to add a light at night to get more egg production. We do use a hardwired-in heat lamp and a reptile ceramic disc for additional heat if it gets really cold. Usually that would be in the teens or lower, but it depends. The good thing about the deep litter method is it actually generates some heat in the winter as it slowly breaks down. We love that method and there's never any odor! We'll add the sunroom soon, the new design worked great last year-

Just knocked off the snow once in a while!

Oct 7, 2021

Preparedness 11.0/ Amaranth Grain


Preparedness 11.0/ Amaranth Grain
Good ideas above, time to remind myself on occasion! First hard freeze is coming next week, winter's coming. We'll be winterizing the coop, closing the house vents, getting out the warmer bedding and winter clothes. Bye bye summer! So it was time to harvest Basil. I made a big quadruple batch of Rosie's Pesto. The Basil plants did great with three big pots full,  I harvested about 80%

Luckily the pine nuts I get at Winco are bulk, so I save quite a bit there. I always grate the cheese first in the food processor then set aside, juice the lemons, etc. I make it and freeze in small jars I bought years ago-

Little jars ready with fresh lemon juice

made 13 jars total, off to the freezer! 

I also saw Rosie's recipe for this Cajun Seasoning- 

We harvested another nice batch of tomatoes, cukes and peppers, tons more green on the vine to bring in next week-

headed for freezer, and/or pasta sauce this weekend

I had heard of Amaranth, but had never eaten any. I've tried lots of various unusual grain over the years- Millett, Teff, etc. I decided to buy some, it was less than $3.00 a LB, so I bought about 2 Lbs. I did some research and here's a nice looking breakfast dish Blueberry Amaranth Porridge  You could do lots with this, since it's a great source of protein! Lots of info here on nutritional info Food Facts Mercola Amaranth

I hit the Dollar Tree and scored four bags each of black beans, Northern beans and rice. No price changes yet, may coming according to the national news-

Bought two bags of these to try-

I've continued to stock up on bulk spices, more cabbage for the fridge, filling nooks and crannies. I seasoned my new thrifted cast iron pot, came out great! What are you doing to prepare for winter? 

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