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...

May 15, 2022

Independence Days Challenge


Independence Days Challenge-
Here's a look at some of the things that we have been up to. With our crazy weather we've had to put some plantings on hold but are getting started. I had a nice Mother's Day with two of my girls. One's living in Oregon now, and she sent me the most touching hand written letter about what my being her Mom meant. So lovely. I got a gift card from one of my other daughters which I always use every Mother's day to buy flowers and herbs locally. It's really nice to have our grandchildren in the area too, got to see them!

New Arbor Vitae

1. Plant Something-
We had to replace one of our Arbor Vitae plants that we planted last year in our mound garden. We found a good deal last weekend but decided to leave it in the garage for protection with the crazy snow weather. I did buy a few herbs for my herb box, some perennials and Nasturtiums. I bought a bird's nest Pine shrub for my herb garden area which looks pretty sad most of the year-

I'll be starting some calendulas from seed. With my job change and everything I just didn't have a chance to start some seedlings inside in our mini indoor greenhouse. The good news is all of the local nurseries seem pretty well stocked so far and the prices seem very reasonable. I will start some vegetables from seed out in the garden soon. Mostly I usually buy tomato starts for the garden, it's ready to plant-

We extended the chicken run this spring, so we can plant the veggies more intensively. It's nice and shady in the summer, once we finish the fall garden we will open the main garden back up to them. I made this decision last fall, after seeing where things were headed. They will be limited to the south part of the garden and the run. During SUPERVISED visits I will let them into the veggie area. This should increase our production by 30 % or thereabouts. 

2. Harvest Something-
Still getting lots of eggs and have been harvesting some of the wintered-over kale and collard greens, mostly to the chickens so far. I bought some more collard greens and we'll tear out the old one since they're really going to seed. Will probably buy, or start, some kale as well and give those old ones to the hens. 

3. Preserve/Store Something-
Been buying random things to freeze and put in the pantry closet. I got some two-for-one ice cream yesterday and had a coupon for another one's so into the freezer it went. While I have to take it easy with dairy I can have a little ice cream once in awhile and doesn't seem to bother my stomach. I'm keeping up with having lots of flour stored as well as wheat berries. I had bought some Bob's Red Mill flour which comes in kind of a heavy plastic bag. After seeing some things about food storage I decided it would be best to actually put it in a vacuum sealed bag just to make sure it was absolutely airtight. Into the freezer it went. I don't freeze all my extra flour, I do have some in food grade storage totes. I was able to buy a couple of 2 gallon food storage totes yesterday with lids. I move some of my vacuum-sealed flour into those so they can be stacked.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
I found a great deal on butter today so I bought two extra pounds to freeze, spray oil for baking, Dutch cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. We bought extra cat food for Bonnie, crackers and salad dressings. Just filling in all the reserves. I've been seeing a lot more caning supplies in the stores!!! Good news for us who can our own foods! Bought tow new sets of sheets, our were shot. I got some nice percale ones on sale, queen size $25.00, score! Got a nice LL Bean blouse on eBay cheap, like new. 

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
About every two or three weeks I hard boil a dozen eggs and work on them through the week for lunches. Sometimes they eat them playing with salt or make deviled eggs with spicy brown mustard. Yummy! I roasted some chicken from the freezer and we had a Greek chicken salad, with feta cheese, greens, Kalamata olives and some Kalamata olive bread. I thought out some huge country style spare ribs and will make those tonight for dinner barbecued.

 6. Build Community Food Systems-
We're going to the farmers market soon,  they should have some spring veggies in although the weather has been crazy. I heard the diesel prices are going to get really awful, also in a short supply in some areas of the country. Please support your local farmers and ranchers! It's going to be a tough year for them. Ditto feed prices. 

Bonnie photo bombed!

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
I wanted to spruce up my kitchen computer chair. I stumbled onto these covers for desk chairs on Amazon. It's a nice fabric lots of designs, and you just pull the two pieces onto your chair and viola! $10.00. I decided to go with the blue for a pop of color since I have some blue accents in the kitchen. At some point (before we bought the house 16 years ago) someone put a desk in the dining room and we actually really like it there. We thought about it moving the computer area to the spare bedroom but I like that it is centrally located. I'm hoping to replace the desk with a slab of butcher block for something different and do some different storage underneath. I decided to sell my bicycle that I hadn't ridden for a few years on Craigslist possibly. It's in really good shape but it's just not comfortable for my back. I donated some clothes and got rid of old office stuff we didn't need. 

8. Skill Up-
Learning lots of new software at my new job. Also learning more about the types of procedures we do and what they entail. Everybody's been really helpful at work so far. It's a nice relaxed environment so far! Great change for me. 

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
A lot of people who work in cubicles (like I do now)  personalize them. I'm lucky that mine is V shaped and pretty open-

I was looking for something fun to do under my big metal overhead cabinet and found this cubicle re-do on Pinterest, loved it, check out the photos on the link! 

I wanted to bring nature in and decided to go with the white shiplap look after seeing that re-do. I can swap out some seasonal things as needed. I started with some white shiplap contact type sticky paper (removable)-

will rotate so the lines go horizontally

I then bought this-

Fun, 7" wide from Amazon $7.00

I saw a poster I really liked, took the idea and made my version, in a Word doc-

I'm going to do a color print and hang in my cubicle! I already have some other farm style things, so I'm spending very little on this. I may have Dave make something fun out of scrap wood. I already have this- 

Here' my idea so far-

I will post photos once I'm done. I think the white with rusty silver and green plants will pop, and then can rotate in some seasonal fun things too. May add a plant on top of the storage cabinet?

May 10, 2022

28 Degrees and Record Snow in May!

Boise Foothills  

28 Degrees and Record Snow in May!
We have had very weird weather this May, almost more like March weather with warm temps thrown in. Yesterday morning it was 29 degrees and snowed quite a bit! The last time it snowed this much in Boise was in the 1890s! Because the weather has been so bizarre lately I'd been holding off on planting outside which was probably good. Typically around Mother's Day it's warm enough during the days to put out hanging baskets and annuals. Not so much this month. Heading into next week we're supposed to hit the mid-70s! It's been a real roller coaster. 

Waking up to snow

More info here-


May 5, 2022

Full Swing Spring! New Job


Full Swing Spring!
We had some cool weather, but it's been definitely spring in the daytime! We had some 60s/ 70s, then back to the 50's with heavy rain, 30's at night. Almost time to take off the comforter and put on the quilts and blankets. It's a ritual every Spring. We have such a heavy thick winter comforter that we start cooking when the weather is milder. Everything is really coming up in green and it's just gorgeous! Our curved garden we added last year came through the winter really well with a minor loss of plants. Dave touched up the bar dust a little bit and it looks great! 

space for a replacement shrub

Interesting garden visitor, a Tippler Pigeon

I did some research and found out our feathered visitor is a racing pigeon, more here  I will see if I can get it used to me to see if I can find the owner by the band #.  The chickens for laying 2-4 eggs a day and are in full swing. Ironically with egg prices skyrocketing I actually don't know how much they cost in the stores? I know our feed has gone way way up and I'm hearing information from the NW and the South feed prices may double soon, if they haven't already. That will not bode well for farmers. Not enough corn for Ethanol either according to hubby's co-worker. We have a little extra feed stockpiled and I do have some ideas if things get really bad as far as how to feed the hens over the winter, etc. Anybody else seeing skyrocketing feed prices or other animal supplies? Cat food seems to be staying pretty level it's up a little bit but not too much.

New Job-
It took me awhile to get there, but I decided to quit my job last month. The job I started with was customer service, but since the first of the year it morphed into a high-volume call center environment. It  was not my background, and adding of more and more stats was confusing. I reached a point where it's just really wasn't worth the stress, especially given the current job market. Since I have a great skill set I applied for a job with a large private practice and got hired! Happy dance. I'll still be working in the medical auth biz but it has been more of a quiet work environment. Listening to phones ringing off the hook all day is not my thing. I may be doing more of a hybrid kind of job, working from home two weeks/office two weeks.  It's flexible. My previous employers tried to talk me into staying by offering me more money, but when I mentioned moving into a different position they had no response. That confirmed my decision. When you're already short-staffed the last thing you want to do is squeeze your existing staff harder and harder. It was time to go. I LOVE my new job and staff so far. Really great group. Biggest work space so far, time to decorate! 
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