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...

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!!!

Nov 18, 2021

Preparedness 17.0/ And 17 Degrees!

Preparedness 17.0/ And 17 Degrees! 
Well we hit 17 degrees the other morning! Winter is definitely here with a little bit of snow in the hills and mountains in a few days. I have been tracking the weather closely, so we already had all of our perennials fairly well mulched, and I put row cover over the kale and collard greens. Last year some of my collard greens wintered over with no cover but they were bigger. With the weeks and weeks of 100 degree weather this summer they got a slow start- 

under nice row covers

This weekend we will be taking all of the tools inside from my garden work bench on the back porch and storing them and then covering it up for the winter-

bench on right

Dave got the new sunroom design up on the coop, we'll be soon running a power line through for their water heater/ hard-wired in heat lamp if we need that. Gives them more dry/warm space-

For preparedness for the chickens we bought several months worth of food in advance and pine shavings. Same thing with our cat as well, we have at least a month or two's worth of extra food on hand. You just never know what's going to run out anymore-

Debbie left and Sunny right

Luna deep in thought

I'm also going to stock up on some sewing items. I'm a little bit short on various needles. Being able to mend your clothes or a pair of things over time it's a good skill to have! I cannot tell you how many really great thrifted designer tops I have bought that were missing a button, while there was one sewed into the inseam. When somebody is not knowledgeable enough (or maybe rich), they don't sew a button on, they donate to shirt instead, shakes head.

Part of preparedness for me is having the house ready for winter. We have the nice warm comforter on our bed now and we are lowering our heating temperatures during the day-

Since I'm working from home I close my office door and turn the down the furnace. I have an oil-filled electric radiant heater that I turn on first thing in the morning, then turn on/off as needed in my work space. That way we were not heating the whole house! I added a little battery operated Ikea string lights to my pantry rack, cheers up the space. I'll add some Christmas and winter decor soon after Thanksgiving!

On the preparedness front- as far as food I did notice a few anomalies here and there I went to our local WinCo last week to get some groceries. I noticed that there was actually zero beef lunch meat on the shelves, except for one brand. There was lots of turkey, chicken, ham, etc. but only one type of package of beef. Meat prices are definitely way way up so I'm glad we don't eat meat everyday. I did find some good deals on chicken breasts w/ribs for a $2.00 a pound which was not. I bought a four pack and roasted them with salt pepper garlic paprika and Sage. Roasted a couple of yams and it was a great dinner!

I think a few things are good to think about stocking up on would be things like laundry detergent, or components to make your own. Soaps, shampoos, deodorant those kinds of personal hygiene products you might need. And for you females you know what you might need certain products as well! Recently bought some extra things like Q-tips. Got to have my Q-tips! 

I have been seeing a lot on social media about ever increasing prices of gas, food, etc. I've also heard that there are people who were raiding grocery stores. They go in a group and get lots and lots of full carts of food, run out of the store into a waiting truck, load it all and leave. That's pretty scary,  stealing $1,000.00's worth of food. I think using the phrase repeatedly supply chain issues may be an attempt to normalize that. It is not normal and it never will be. Sadly the weather comes into play with this, in British Columbia one of their ports was hit with massive rain storms and was shut down-

I just finished up my last dehydrating tomatoes batch! I have a few fresh ones on the counter that I'll be using to make some pasta sauce with sausage this weekend. Good time for hearty food!

I have been watching some videos on YouTube of preparedness folks and one of them I actually stopped watching. She kept saying "oh my husband's favorite meat and oh my daughter's favorite drink is out!" I finally put something on her YouTube comments about being resilient! Maybe time to make some homemade flavored teas and time for husband to look at alternative protein sources? With things being the way they are (I don't see this changing anytime in the future) it is time to be resourceful, flexible, and resilient. No point being a victim through all of this, get creative! 

Nov 10, 2021

Preparedeness 16.0/ Grocery Recon, Autumn Colors and 27 Degrees!

Preparedeness 16.0/ Grocery Recon-
I went grocery shopping a few days ago at a store I haven't been in for quite a while. Started going to Winco in the spring with food prices going up, and they have a great bulk section! I was at my dentist's the other day right next to an Albertson's so decided to go in there for a few odd items. One of the things I'd read about was a potential pasta shortage coming up, due to grain prices. I was really shocked at the Barilla brand pasta that I have bought for years has almost doubled in price, and the box has shrunk about 35% at least. SHRINKFLATION. Luckily Albertson's had their store brand pasta and I was able to buy six boxes of pasta for $0.99 each. I love pasta in the winter! I did get a few of my other regular items at a slightly higher price. They did seem to be pretty well stocked. I must say our WinCo prices are definitely cheaper. I also stopped at a Ross discount store with clothing, etc. Their shoe section was 50% empty which was really a shock to see. They're bedding section which used to be several rows was now 1/3 of a row and mostly empty. I guess it makes sense that a lot of the discounted clothing from stores is not getting shipped around much. Not a shock, but the shortages are settling in. We have everything for Thanksgiving so I'm good to go! I'll be hosting our partial family, so we're ready!  

Oakleaf Hydrangea, love the bronze tones! 

Autumn Colors and 27 Degrees! 
We had a real cold front come in last week and woke up to 27 degrees in the morning! Our autumn colors are really pretty right now, but will come to an end soon so I decided to take some photos. The day after this it was pouring rain. So here's some of our autumn colors at the little Homestead!

Our little rainbow Zinnias I started from seed 


Rainbow Echinacea


We went to Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve early Sunday afternoon for a walk. It's a reserve that's not too far from our house. There were tons and tons of wildlife there, wish I would have taken my zoom lens! Lots of Canadian geese and various water fowl. Really nice oasis in the middle of town. We drove up to Bogus Basin after that, almost up to the mountaintop, but it was a solid sheet of ice, so we had to turn back. At least we got to see some mountain trees and snow! Here's some shots from the reserve- 

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