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...

Feb 23, 2022

It's Never To Late To Be Prepared, Thrifting/Costco Scores


It's Never To Late To Be Prepared-
As I'm going to press (so to speak) the situation in the Ukraine is looking very ugly. If you want more information I do highly recommend the Canadian Prepper on Youtube, as he does a really good job with a-political world news and other topics. This war may be a game changer on an international level. 

I can't stress enough if you haven't started prepping now better that are late than never

Go out and buy canned/ dried foods, fuel, batteries, water, whatever you can afford and start a pantry.  Also have extra cash and coins stashed in case of Cyber attack and ATMs go down . Also get seeds to grow some of your own food, anything you can to be a little bit more self-sufficient if it all possible. If you're thinking about going shopping for new fun stuff put food on the list first. It's amazing how many bags of dried beans/rice, etc. you can buy for pretty low costs even now. Prices are really skyrocketing,  I'm seeing other bloggers seeing some major shortages in large grocery stores chains. This is only going to get much worse in my opinion. Best to do what you can now before things get even worse. And take care of yourself! I recently went to the dentist and got my regular cleaning done. I'm following up with my regular doctor on miscellaneous non-urgent stuff. Get OTC meds, buy anything you can, make a plan. There's no downside to preparedness

Thrifting/Costco Scores!
It was 15 degrees this morning, not spring yet that's for sure. We'll start indoor seeds soon for the veggie garden. We'll have our huge maple tree trimmed and add on to our garden space soon, more news to come on that! Last weekend I finally hit a thrift store. I haven't been hitting them much last several months for a variety of reasons. I stopped at a local store, walked in and found two really great like-new items. The French Country vase with gorgeous pale cream, white and green flowers. I love the bee design, and only $4.00. Next I found this large resin chicken with a shovel! For $5.00 it will go on the deck when it warms up, both items were like-new! 

Next we went to Costco to stock up on a few things. I was really happy to see the their canned pulled pork back in stock! Multiple big cans, less the $10..00. I found a huge jar of mixed olives which we love! Somebody else had this on their blog, sorry, I don't remember who. Much cheaper than "olive bars", and a nice mix. I got two jars, they will last almost indefinitely in the fridge once opened, I consider this a "comfort food"- 

We also stocked up on some of our miscellaneous things that we use, like like cat litter. We bought two totes this time, since we've got two cats right now! We also got a huge bag of cat food. 

When we went to Winco I had noticed they really had a lot of their large preparedness foods out. A LOT there. They used to have a certain amount of large bags of foods like rolled oats, rice, beans. We bought some more black beans, and a few other things. Now they're also selling large 10 lb boxes of granolas, made in Canada, in bulk boxes. All whole grains, very little ingredients. We bought one box. We opened up the 10 lb box which was lined with a big plastic bag and the granola was amazingly fresh! We split them up in large canning jars to keep fresh-

Almond honey granola

I noticed they had a fairly decent supply of canning jars in stock, but absolutely zero lids.  Glad I stocked up on some last year. I'm hoping to see some back of the store is at some point.  A little spring in the entry way-

Feb 13, 2022

Preparedness 20.0/ Independence Days Challenge, Orwell's Truth, New Furry Member of The Family


Preparedness 20.0/ Independence Days Challenge-
We woke up to 21° this morning! The ground is still frozen pretty hard. We had a few really warm days and all the snow is gone in the yard finally. It's going to be in the 50's this week. Spring is around the corner! I was feeling bad for the chickens yesterday that the ground is too hard for them to dig through. There was an incident Friday were one of our very passive hens started attacting two of the others. Very vicious, never saw anything like that. After doing some research I saw that boredom can be one of the causes of this. I started thinking that the ground was frozen so long they didn't really have a lot of digging to get into. Luckily Dave was able to turn some of the garden soil to give them something to go through. So far everything is calm again. I also realized that with the construction Friday, noise and vibration right in front of our house, it may have caused her to really stress. So here's what we've been up to-  

1. Plant Something-

Too early for outdoors! Will be starting seeds soon indoors in our grow light rack. Just ordered some fave tomato seeds, lots of other from last year. Will start veggies, herbs and flowers. 


2. Harvest Something-

Lots of eggs, that means more bread pudding in the future! Herbs in the yard are frozen.


3. Preserve/Store Something-

Working on replenishing the freezers. We did an inventory of both freezers this weekend. Nice to have it all written down.  


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

What I bought this week: chicken quarters, $1.30 lb. decent price, organic grape jam clearance, organic flour, ditto some organic cereals, herbal supplements. I finally found some Ricola sore throat/cough drops (family size) bought four bags, bulk herbs, sneakers for both of us. I'm watching sales/discounts closely. Please stock up now, if you're not already! There are rumblings of an American trucker convoy. If so there will be even more disruptions to the supply chain!  Buy what you can where you can, think ethnic stores, outlets, bulk grocery stores, etc. Get used to thinking outside the box as far as what you're used to eating, versus what you may be able to find. Get creative, and barter, etc.  


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

Made French style Baked Eggs. Have lots of home frozen homegrown peaches/apples. Will start making some cobblers. Will work on more frozen meats, but keeping some in reserve. 


6. Build Community Food Systems-

Not this year so far, need to wit until spring for farmer's markets. 


7. Recycle/Re-Use-

Dave pulled part of our front fence out, as road construction has started here. They're finally adding sidewalks to the whole street! Afterwards we can install the panel again-

Extra panel under tree

Made more donations, clothing and household items. Found a fun wooden holiday item, $3.00 at a thrift store today and a small snow man lamp-

8. Skill Up-

Had to update my tax withholdings. After I changed jobs I didn't realize the 2019 tax code changed, and didn't have enough withheld, ouch. Luckily can change for this year. 

 9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-

I asked Dave several times to add another shelf to our little cabinet-

He had a spare stair riser and worked perfect! Free upgrade!!! Easy to see what's in there and relocated some stuff-

Bonnie's scratching post/perch needed some love, the lower carpet on the post was shot. We removed and I hot glued new sisal to the bottom and rubbed on some catnip. She loves it!

Orwell's Truth-
I read 1984 so long ago I don't remember when. George Orwell's novel, which I highly recommend, is one of the world's most famous books. 1984 is like a deep dive into the psychology of power and how the ways that manipulations of language/history/the press can be used as tools of control. I was reading some of his quotes recently these, really grabbed me-

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it

Good ideas.... 

New Furry Member of  Family-
Recently one of our daughters move to another state. Because it was during a really bad snowstorm we suggested that she leave her cat here with us. It was a good move as she drove thru one of the worst snow storms we've had in quite a while. We knew that there would be a little bit of hissing involved with our new furry friend getting used to Anya our Empress of the house. Anya is a super mellow cat, 11 years old and really curious. Our new furry friend Bonnie had been through some jostling around with the move. Luckily we had her kitty scratching post perch in the spare bedroom for the first week with cat box, food and water. We let her out when we were home, to supervise, to make sure the cats along okay. It took a little bit of time but now both cats are really enjoying each other's company, chasing each other up and down the hall. It's great for Anya because she's older and now she's more active! Bonnie has a really sweet disposition, very affectionate and likes to be held. Anya is more likes to lay on a blanket on your lap, but not a lap cat really. I think that was from her former owners. We will be keeping her for a few more months until our daughter can pick her up, but depending on how things go she may wind up staying here permanently. She's really enjoying the house and loves looking out the windows and watching the birds! She's been a great addition to our furry and feathered family. Her cat post needed some work and so I decided to fix it with some sisal that I had left over from a project. The bottom part of the carpeting was pretty well torn up so I removed it, and replace it with some fresh sisal with lots of lots of hot glue. Looks great!

Feb 2, 2022

Sickness & Shortages, Teaching Kids A Good Work Ethic, Eggs and More Eggs!


Sickness & Shortages-
It was 7 degrees a few mornings ago! Cold and clear, nice change from the inversion in the valley. Cold dirty air for the last two weeks on and off, yuck. Luckily we had a little bit of wind blow through. I got a yucky bug but I'm feeling much better. I woke up on a Wednesday in the middle of the night with the worst sore throat of my life. I called in sick the next day and felt really terrible, luckily I had lots of things on hand! I've always kept a good supply of homeopathic remedies oh, cough drops, pain meds Tylenol, etcetera. I still felt pretty icky the next day so I went to my doctor's office and got a strep test and the C Test both of which were negative. My doctor was checking my ears he said- oh you have an ear infection, then checked the other ear- oh this ear is infected too! He sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics which I dropped off at the pharmacy. I felt pretty lousy and Dave was out of town that weekend unfortunately. I thought I'd pick the RX up the next morning, but decided to go back that evening and pick them up. I called the pharmacy and it turned out instead of being open for 24 hours they had closed at 8 p.m. recording said "due to a severe staffing shortage". Bummer for me. I picked up my horse pills the next day and got started. Luckily I was off that Saturday, Sunday and Monday. That gave me three more full days to just stay home and rest. The interesting thing about shortages was this-  in the last week and a half I have gone to three different pharmacies and two grocery stores, (different chains), they were completely sold out of every single cough drop on the market, shocker. I know it's cold and flu season, but you never think something simple like cough drops is going to run out. I was able to find a few small bags of Ricola, my favorite brand, and grab those. Sadly I may have to resort to actually buying some off of Amazon, which is pretty funny on a certain level. You always think of something minor like cough drops as being readily available. Just a good reminder that we're not in Kansas anymore Toto. Make sure and buy what you need ahead of time and don't wait until you need it. Luckily I had plenty on hand for when I was actually sick, I was just trying to replenish my stock. I also had lots of chicken noodle soup on hand, soft foods, etc. It's easy to stash some cans of soup and other items, not very expensive and take up little space.

Teaching Kids A Good Work Ethic-
Dave and I were driving by his old employer's building today and it got me thinking. When our kids were about 10-13 my husband's boss was trying to get a small area weeded in their corporate yard. He couldn't really find a gardener that would tackle such a small project. There was basically a big weedy strip by their parking lot. I told Dave- why don't you tell him that I will come with our three kids if they will pay us and we will weed it. He asked his boss's boss said sure! Now it was summer and extremely hot, about 100 degrees. So we got there, took several hours, each of the kids made $10 an hour. They were hot and sweaty and filthy when we finished. We stopped and got ice cream on the way home, set up their little pool in the backyard, they all took a dip and cooled off. They also earned some money! Now it would be really easy to just not to have paid them, but I think working in blistering heat, doing a good job and getting paid was a really good lesson. All three of my adult girls have really great work ethic now. This is the kind of stuff people need to be teaching their kids instead of having them stuck in front of devices. If kids don't contribute to their family helping with chores, etc. as part of the group,  never may never have a chance to work for somebody else when young. Even a small one-time job they they can learn about the value of doing a good job for the sake of it, and also doing a good job for other people.

white egg not in shot

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs!
Our eggs are back in production! We had only been getting about 1 egg per day for quite a while. One of our hens is a brown leghorn and she's the only one who lays white eggs. We haven't gotten an egg out of her for four months or so and all of a sudden we got a white egg. Since then the last couple days we've been getting three eggs per day! I'm so proud of my girls they made it through the winter and are  ramping up production. I celebrated by making my favorite chocolate bread pudding using a full 10 eggs! 

This is another reason why more and more people, given the current state of the economy and access to food, should really get chickens. As long as they're willing to take care of them appropriately and have the correct space it's a really great investment. And they pull weeds and eat bugs in the garden! Selling or bartering extra eggs is always nice to be able to do. Enjoy! 

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