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...

Jan 19, 2022

Preparedness 18.0/Storage Containers, Instagram Deletes Gardening Info


Preparedness 18.0/Storage Containers-
Winter is still here! No more snow, but cold temps. We took down the Christmas decor last week. We still have up some winter decor, like these-

kitchen window

coffee table with new wood tray I bought

side table

Snowmen and winter fun will stay out for a few more weeks. So, here's some ideas that you might find useful! Onto the practical things in life............

If you're just getting started with preparedness I thought I'd go over some easy, inexpensive/free ideas for storing foods and other items. Some people think you have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff to start a food pantry or food storage area. Pinterest is full of really gorgeous pantries that waste a lot of space and cost a lot of money to set up. From a practical standpoint you don't have to have a fancy-schmancy looking pantry to be prepared! Here's some ideas for some inexpensive/free storage containers you can use for getting more prepared. You can check out your local thrift store and yard sales for containers! Why buy new when you can get used, keep them out of the landfill and store your foods! Here's some ideas!!!

Glass jars, see above. Almost everybody buys things that occasionally are in glass jars and they are perfect for recycling for storage! Just wash them make sure they're dry and fill with all kinds of things like beans, pasta, Etc. For some foods you can use O2 absorbers. 

Baskets, they're great, whether wicker, plastic, wire, or metal, all can be used to store lots of things- 

Extra 1st aid and supplements basket

Extra meds

wire baskets with veggies

Bins and boxes. Leftover cardboard boxes are great for storing things in especially if they're smaller. Canning jar boxes are great! You can not only store your empty canning jars but because but you can stack them easily. You can cut down the edges and customize and make it work in your space. Plastic bins and totes work well also-



Vacuum sealed bag. I have one of these machines and they work great! While I primarily use these for the freezer I do occasionally use them for dry goods like nuts. They're a little bit of an investment initially but I noticed that they have completely eliminated any freezer burn on meats and things. I have frozen some for up to a year with no damage.

Plastic Ziploc bags. These come in handy if you have things that you want to store in a more flat way, like bags of chop nuts that you want to freeze. Put them in a ziploc bag, get out as much air as you can, roll them up, label and put in your freezer. Ditto to lay on the shelfs. 

Totes.  Like this leftover cat food one. I will clean, sanitize and line with food grade plastic, don't want our people food to smell like the cat's! 

Instagram Deletes Gardening Info -
I know that social media is clamping down on things for a variety of reasons. I won't get into the motivations. I was reading an email from Melissa from Instagram Melissa K. Norris Modern Homesteading  The email/post was about how to grow one year's worth food for your family. I love her blog, Youtube channel, she's got lots of great info. I saw the post flip up on an email and on Instagram and I thought I'd to check it out. Later I went to find it and it was gone. A little later she posted that (Facebook-owned) Instagram, had actually deleted it, including in her archives. Needless to say I was pretty shocked, to think that growing food for your family would be some kind of subversive activity! This is a really great reminder about how much to trust social media. Freedom of speech is our first right for a reason. What could possibly offend somebody wanting to grow food for their family? Maybe it's not about offending somebody maybe it's about controlling information. Buyer beware. Here's a new link with great new info on her blog!  How to Plan A Medicinal Herb Garden

Jan 3, 2022

Big Snow! Little Homestead 2021 Year In Review! Struggle Meals Show


Big Snow! 
We some snow before Christmas and got even more a few days later. The temperature dropped and snow started, we woke up with about three/four new inches. Since the temperature stayed cold none of it melted. We got hit hard Tuesday/Wednesday about 4" more, more Thursday, then stopped Friday.  We had a nice Italian lunch out for New Year's Eve and then stayed home. We had a nice evening watching Christmas movies. We packed up the Christmas tree (artificial due to allergies) New Year's day. I made a big pot of minestrone soup, with salad and bread for dinner. I used this recipe Olive Garden Minestrone Soup .  Nice and hot when it's 13 degrees out, under the deep cold front! 

Here's some shots of the snow and the holiday decor we still have up, will pack up next weekend-

we feed the critters

Cozy coop with sunroom

Sun room doing it's job! 

daughter's yard art

winter wonderland

Herb boxes

It did!

Fresh greens in a vase from Target

Dave gave me the barn for my birthday!

Our tree

backyard view

Flowers in time for New Year's!

Little Homestead 2021 Year In Review!
Here's our year in review, not in any particular order!

Our biggest indoor home project was having our shower tile redone in our large bathroom Tile Upgrade We had done a total remodel quite a few years ago, but we had installed plastic panels for the shower due to time/ money constraints. We had always wanted to do some kind of nice ceramic tile. When we got our "stimulus" checks we decided to invest that money into the house. We did some pricing and I did a lot of research. I saw a couple homes that had really large tiles with light gray grout. We hired a local tile company and they did a great job! We wanted niches but the studs were in the wrong spot. We have absolutely loved it and is very, very low maintenance with the epoxy grout. We clean it once a week with vinegar/water spray and then we do the normal tub cleaning, etc. I feel like I'm in a spa when I get in!
Floating stainless steel shelves

Some of our other stimulus money we used to invest in some other smaller things like insulated curtains, an oil-filled radiant space heater for my office, upgraded some other home items to keep it more energy efficient.

Our garden did really well this year, but it took a while to get established due to the extreme high heat we had. We had quite a few weeks of a 100 degree weather and that stunted a lot of the growth. Once the weather moderated a bit we had a bumper crop of apples, pears, peaches, peppers, tomatoes-

We had such a bumper crop we decided to invest in a second, smaller freezer that we have in my home office. That's worked out really well especially with doing more food storage for preparedness-

I also used my dehydrator and vacuum bag sealer a lot this year, preserved a lot of different fruits and vegetables. Did lots of fermenting, more food production/preservation/storage in general. In the Spring I felt a real need to be more prepared and work on the pantry. Sadly what I feared came true with higher food prices, availability, supply chain issues, etc. No down side to being prepared! 

After years of being really frustrated with a job that I could not transfer out of I decided to quit my job. Bye Bye SLHS. My current job almost tripled my vacation, has amazing benefits and it's basically a nice group of people to work with. While it can be pretty boring I am looking at retirement at sometime hopefully in the not-too-distant future. I'm still doing research on that and time will tell. I plan on working part time, hopefully back in education, we'll see. 

We were gifted with our third grandchild, a girl, in August. I know a lot of people post a lot of photos, but I think that it's good to have some kind of privacy from social media. Her name is Ripley, named after Ripley from the Aliens movie franchise. She's very happy baby, a real sweetheart and was born with lots of red hair! It's kind of fun having a granddaughter after having two grandsons. The grandsons are doing well and five years old. We're really lucky that we can see our grandchildren living in the area.

Chickens are doing really well, had a real bumper crop of eggs and so I froze a lot of them. We had a bee swarm, nicely relocated! We did a partial re-do on the coop  Coop Update and Garden Fencing  We had wanted to build a new one and relocate it, but lumber prices were just way way too high. Since we had some free scrap lumber Dave I suggested that he rebuild part of the floor, which he did. He also used some leftover bricks that we had to brick the floor where the dirt floor had been. There are two levels in the coop. The chickens were almost digging under the edge of the walls on the bottom level making it unstable. I suggested a new design on the sunroom for the winter. We were able to ditch the really heavy glass shower doors and use some flexible plastic tubing. It's a lot easier to set up and less weight and does a good job! We also added a used metal storm door, the old one was really warped-

Major landscaping re-do was in the backyard and we had some duck visitors! Garden Rehab  I was really tired of having a ugly view from the kitchen/ dining room of the rotting cold frames. We had opened up another part of the garden for those veggies and I had seen a design that I really liked  Garden Re-hab Begins. We were able to use the dirt, mound it, curve it, and plant mixed sun/ shade plants and shrubs. Wood was rotted so we composted it. We also dug out the two ugly shrubs that were along the fence line and replaced them with Arborvitaes. We will have privacy from the backyard rental house and it really softens the fence. We did it on a budget and everything has grown in really, really well. We moved the huge bamboo on the left from another area. Only thing I forgot about was to plant spring bulbs, but will plant some other little flowers in the spring. It's grown in really well and we absolutely love it! We will have a tree pruner come in at some point and trim back our huge maple tree for more sun on the veggie garden.

Our veggie garden fence was falling apart, so we bought new metal fence panels, quick install and should last a long time! Garden Rehab Phase 4

We love the curves! 

We bought some extra panels this fall and will make the shade are for the hens longer and start keeping them out of the veggie garden. With preparedness, we need to grow more food. 

The city/county is going to be putting sidewalks through our street since we don't have them all the way. Basically they purchased three to four feet of our frontage on our lot. Construction will start this month. Will basically rip up our street/re-pave, widen the street and create curbs all the way. Good news- they will also fix part of our broken concrete driveway. Glad they are doing this, will be safer for the neighborhood. We decided to use this as an opportunity to re-do part of the front yard. Dave dug up the perennials we felt that we could salvage and planted them in another area of the yard. He also removed part of the picket fence, since they will tear it out. There's only a few plants left and they will go (sick or stunted). Then once it's completed in the spring we'll put the fence back, some of the perennials and add some new things. We're trying to really naturalize the front yard more. May add some edibles too. 

Went to Hood River, Oregon in the spring for Dave's brother's belated funeral. We stayed at the Columbia Gorge Hotel, great off season rates and gorgeous gardens in the spring-

Got to see Mount Hood up close from Parkdale! Gorgeous!!! Wish we could live there. 

And lastly-

From Target!  

Struggle Meals Show-
I ran across this show over the holidays, on our free Tastemade Channel's called Struggle Meals . The premise is low-cost, no-waste meals. Frankie Celenza is the host, a chef and he's a hoot! You can watch online for free. He was inspired to create healthy meals for people with not much $ with simple ingredients. I watched a show with a weekly budget with three meals a day, he was very creative, has some great ideas! He posts on Instragram and has some Youtube videos too, check him out! 
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