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...

Mar 17, 2024

Independence Days Challenge, Happy St. Patricks' Day!


Independence Days Challenge-

We have finally been getting some spring weather the last week or two. We had some snow off and on the last month but finally broke into the 60s. Supposed to be was pushing 70 today! We've been getting some rain off and on which we definitely need since we're high desert here. Grass is greening up and bulbs are up. The chickens are really enjoying getting out more with a nice weather. Debbie is still hanging in there, I have no idea how. The Vet said almost a year ago that she didn't have much time left. She's still eating and moving around, just slowly. I think because animals don't have belief systems like we do that they can hang on a lot longer. I'm thinking about getting two or three chicks early in the summer. Debbie hasn't laid for a year and the other two don't lay much between October and April. I'm always fearful of having just one chicken in the end. They don't do well alone from what I've read. With times being the way they are not bad to have extra eggs to sell/barter. I learned the hard way not to get chicks too early in the year, then you have to keep them inside in the cold weather until they feather out. The hatchery we use locally sells chicks until almost June. Works much better for us and the chicks!

1. Plant Something- 

 Will be starting some herb/flower seeds soon.


2. Harvest Something-  

Eggs, one to two every day! So great to have the two girls back in production. Chives are up, collard greens wintered over. 


3. Preserve/Store Something- 

I will be making some South American fermented Curtido soon. Bought 3 extra Irish Soda bread loaves from Trader Joe's, freezes great! Bought Dave some extra socks/shirts on sale.


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

I have been buying and freezing extra meats and cheeses. We just had to buy a new washer and dryer but got a really good deal. I did have to remind the salesperson we were on a budget. We recently got new batteries for both cars. My husband won a gift certificate that paid for our overnight anniversary Hotel in McCall, that was great! Found some great Eddie Bauer percale sheets marked way down, love the blue ticking stripes!

I bought a plain wood box for some storage, used the water based wood stain I have used before, still drying, but nice! $10.99 at the craft store. Easy cleanup with the water base-

$2.99 a bottle, have one bottle leftover

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

I am embracing my newfound Scandinavian DNA with exploring more Scandinavian foods I'm not familiar with. I had found out about a famous American Scandinavian Chef I had never heard about Beatrice Ojakangas. She has some great YouTube videos with a lot of different types of food. I found three of her cookbooks used on eBay and bought some. One is on baking with tons of really unique whole grain bread recipes. I'm looking forward to trying some! The other book is on it's way-


6. Build Community Food Systems-  

Too early for the farmers market.


7. Recycle/Re-Use-  

We are looking at removing the rest of the turf in the front yard. We may move some of our plants from the backyard to the front as well as start some from seed. We'd really like to eliminate mowing and I've been pushing Dave to do this for sometime. He has been re-inspired when he saw a family members yard in Portland. I'd like to have some nice raised beds and more shrubs/pollinators.


8. Skill Up-  

Been wanting to expand the types of breads that I make and I think the new cookbook will help. I'm learning new Physical Therapy exercises with my physical therapist for helping my back strength post surgery. Going really well so far!


9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-  

Had all our carpets steam cleaned, looks much better! Also doing my physical therapy. My back is stabilizing and I'm starting to get some endurance back. When you're in a lot of chronic pain you don't move around much and really affected my strength/endurance walking. But I'm doing much better lately. Hope to be on my bicycle and riding with Dave by summer. I decided to redo a little bit of my kitchen decor and I removed my aqua colored antique jars and a little sign I had. I decided to go with something a little bit more Scandinavian. I bought a nice print for $5 on Etsy and printed it myself it's a famous Finnish concept, Sisu, artist on Etsy is BellissiCasa -


I already had the frame so I just printed it out, cleaned up the frame and it's perfect on the kitchen counter. Then I also have another smaller frame and I found a free Dala Horse folk art print that I printed and fit in. I added my little Shamrock wreath for St Patrick's Day. It's nice to freshen things up a bit! And only cost me $5.00-


I stored all my other items, but for now it's a nice refresh!  I bought a cute Dala Horse garden flag, going out soon-



Happy St. Patricks' Day! 

I made my corned beef last weekend since Dave was out of town this weekend. Made carrots and cabbage to go with it and bought some of Trader Joe's Irish soda bread, which is so delicious! Moist and has Caraway seeds. It was nice to have a weekend to myself to do some little projects here.

Feb 7, 2024

Time For A Blogging Break


Time For A Blogging Break-
Things have been winding down for me for quite a while, in the blogging realm of things. I've always loved reading and then I also really learned to enjoy writing. I've been blogging for quite a while and I've never made any money off of it, which is fine. I was never one of those people who wanted to monetize my social media to make big bucks, especially in the early days. The 13 years of blogging has left lots on my blog for people to peruse if they want to. I'm just not feeling really inspired to write much right now. In general- my back is healing up well, that is good, and one of our chickens layed the first egg since last Autumn!

The snow has melted here with record highs, almost 67° last week. We're getting some of the rain from the moisture stream in California. 

On the other side of things- my spiritual side is calling and so I am going to be going a little bit more inside. At some point I may be little bit more external and write.  I don't know if that'll make sense to people but it makes sense to me. I find that spiritual growth for me seems to come in waves and cycles. It was interesting after seeing the series from HBO His Dark Materials DVDs from the library (10 stars!) it got me interested in The I Ching again. Funny how things work out that way sometimes. 

Otherwise everything is doing really well here and I'm looking forward to Spring. I may get three new pullets to expand our little flock since I have two who will be laying. Debbie, God bless her, is still with us but not laying (for the last year). I frankly don't know how she's hanging on but animals can be quite inspiring. The Vet last spring made it sound like she would be expiring soon. That was almost a year ago! I've given her extra TLC this winter by lifting her up onto the perch at the end of the day so she can be up there with her friends. She's still cleaning herself,  eating and moving around. I think some animals don't have a belief system about death, so they just keep putting one foot in front of another until they decide not to anymore. Time will tell with her. Otherwise we'll still be here and I may throw in a post now and again. Explore some older posts and will still be on Instagram, link on the side bar. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!!


Jan 14, 2024

Big Snow!!! Queen's Cake Baking


Big Snow!!!-
Well we got the big snow that was predicted! I was watching the weather really closely Friday because we knew it was coming, but wasn't sure exactly about the timing. I follow a local young meteorologist on Facebook (Treasure Valley Weather Headquarters Kody) who is much more on track than the TV weather guys and he really nailed it right down to the hour or so. No snow Friday night on the way home which was really nice, forecast from NWS-

We ran some errands Saturday morning (yesterday) and got home, the snow started in the afternoon. It really picked up after about 4:00 p.m. and then we really got hammered. The high for the day was 17°! I kept the heat lamp on in the coop overnight. I do turn it off during the day even though it's hard wired in. I'm always a little paranoid about a fire. Had about a good five or six inches on the ground when I went to bed, woke up to about 4 or 5 more inches! The top photo of our herb boxes, the solar light are buried completely. There's a video of the snow on my Instagram account, just click on the link! Looks lovely but Dave definitely had a lot to dig out. He shoveled the front sidewalk or driveway and the neighbor sidewalk as well. Lows of 6 degrees tonight, 2 degrees tomorrow night! More snow later in the week.

Love our little tree!

He created a little walkway for me to get to the coop and he cleared off the sunroom. This is the reason why we always put this up! 

Gives the chickens a lot more dry space when the weather is bad. I've been going out every day and giving them some greens and some wild bird food to give them something to peck at and keep them busy. Deck-

Solar bulbs still showing last night 

Queen's Cake Baking-
Since I had tomorrow off as a holiday I decided to do some baking this weekend. Since I was still recovering a bit for my surgery I didn't really do any traditional Christmas/holiday baking. I love the recipe for the Williamsburg Queens Cake. I've made it quite a few times before. It has lemon and orange extract with Currants. It takes about an hour and a half to bake but it's worth the wait! You want to let it cool completely before you slice into it and it's even better the next day. Keeps really well! Today or tomorrow I'll be making some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with bittersweet chocolate chips. I did make the cake yesterday with half whole wheat pastry flour to make it a little bit healthier and I'll do the same with the cookies. When it's 17 degrees out it's a good time to bake!

Jan 9, 2024

More Snow & The New Year, Recovery, My DNA Results!


More Snow & The New Year-
***Update! We got over 5" yesterday, a near record!*** If you followed this blog at all you know I love snow! Living in the high desert we don't always get very much, but it varies year to year. We had a couple of small snowfalls  maybe an inch, but it melted. Then we got into some record high temp weather in December where it was almost 47°! Last week we finally had a good snow of 2 inches. Really beautiful! I had intentionally left a few holiday decor items on the deck so that it might look nice if it snowed and we got lucky, the bulbs are solar lights-

We got another 2 inches this last weekend which stayed due to the cold weather. We did get another inch overnight last night, it warmed up and some of it did melt. That mountains are really getting hammered which is good for the snow pack, tourists and the ski season. More on the way if you check the map. This is definitely winter winter winter. I've been putting extra food out for the chickens, some snacks and things since they don't go outside much to keep them occupied. More snow expected the next several days, first "BLIZZARD" warning in years -


I am loving it! The city's been staying on top of the roads pretty well so not too bad going to work. Loved doing Christmas/winter/Yule decorating my "buffet" I created last year- 

My favorite new purchase was this little tree, it lights up. I put in in my big Ikea crock and looks perfect!

My Trader Joe's bulb garden has done amazing (as usual)!

We spent Christmas morning with our family and had a quiet New Year's. Happy New Year to all! PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS BLOG FONT IS TOO BIG? THANKS!

I didn't know what exactly to do a photo of so I decided to add this since the Acupuncture has been so helpful! I have been back in the office for about a week, all going well. Since most insurances don't cover acupuncture much at all (if any)  I'm very fortunate that Boise has an Acupuncture Co-op! Kind of a sliding fee scale kind of thing once established as a patient. The acupuncturist I work with is really awesome I must say. I've been seeing her every two weeks and I noticed it really helped with the inflammation and healing. I also worked with my long-term Chiropractor as she did some really really minute adjustments (not on the surgical site)  but around it. My low back, separate from where the surgery was done, took a beating with being in bed so much and not moving around. After the first adjustment I walked out and I was actually upright completely with little pain. All in all everything is going super well, only been eight weeks and I'm about 98% recovered! Pain-free and all of the tingling in my legs is pretty much gone except on rare occasions. Very perfect outcome with lots of prayers involved. Great way to start the new year! 

My DNA Results!
Dave did a great job, for my December birthday/combo Christmas present- a DNA test from Ancestry. I had already done our family trees there. It was funny I always had loved Scandinavian culture and it turns out I'm part Scandinavian! And much more so than I ever would have guessed. Turns out my mother was 25% Scandinavian, as well as a large portion of Northern British, much of which apparently was settled by the Vikings. I was sort of aware of this migration, but not much. Anyway it's been really exciting to see. I guess there's a reason I've always gravitated toward Scandinavian culture, etc. Since I was a very young child when I first read about the Laplanders now known as the Sami (I think) I was fascinated by the Far North. I already knew about the Austrian/Czech side but never heard any family member mention any Swedish/Danish/Norwegian!  More DNA details here, interesting and a few potential family members popped up, probably won't contact, time will tell-

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