Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's the Cream in the Coffee

I just ordered Coffee Mate Non Dairy Creamer Lite on Amazon, 12 containers for $12.86.
Used the subscribe & save + a promo code on amazon's website which brought the price down to $1.07 per container.
No biking to the store, no coupon clipping, no swinging by the service desk for a rain check.
Just shopping in my nightgown.
Free shipping.
No handling charges.
$ in my amazon account was all earned by doing swagbucks. So no out of pocket expense.

Now to hunt down a deal on whole bean coffee, anyone got any amazon promo codes out there ?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rain drops, collection, and solar pumps

Thumbing through the recently delivered All You magazine before I give it to my gf the coupon queen. On page 15 @ the bottom under the magazines giveaways section is a product that me the every "green consumer" that I am yeah ... k, call me what I am a cheap broad, caught my eye.

It's called Rain Perfect Solar Powered Pump System that attaches to your rain barrels so you can water your plants using a hose instead of a watering can or gravity fed irrigation system. All You mag gave it a $139 value but on sites that the manufacturer lists it's retailing closer to $150.
I can't help but think that this product could easily adapt to other uses where water needs to be moved from one location to another. I wonder how far this pump would be able to pump water threw a hose. I'm thinking more along the lines of pumping water to the second floor of my home into the bathroom.
Or as a prep tool.

As much as I sometimes dislike having to water my garden by hand (watering can) I do appreciate the fact that it makes me slow down and spend time in the garden. That said I am so thankful for the good solid rainfall that we got late last night. Garden was parched and all of the rain barrels were dry. Except for the two that have gold fish of course.

Today I'm gonna take those cat litter jugs I get from the neighbor and fill them with rain water for later use. This week we 're suppose to have more rain I'm sure that some August I'll be praying for drops.

If anyone has seen this product in action please give me a review either in the comment section or by email @

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Judging a Book by it's Wish List

Sitting here in my new living room sipping on coffee doing my online stuffs like checking my blog, local news which really means weather (rain please rain) and my swagbucks account.
Opened my gift cards section & find that I had a $5 Amazon gift card waiting on me. My 4th for this month. I'm about 93 swag bucks from my next & final $5 denomination (your only allowed five of any one denomination so five of $5, five of $10 ect.)

Logged on to Amazon to apply the gift card to my account and up pops Amazon's suggestions based on my shopping habits. A la personal shopper.
So as I peruse over the suggestions I start to think what if someone else could look over my virtual cart so to speak. Similar to when your stuck in line @ the grocery store and u check out what the person next to u is buying. Then of course u make judgments or observations. Well I do.
Really your buying how much soda and it's not diet ... or hmm I wonder how she cooks that chard ? Wish I could afford steak.

So what does Amazon's suggestions say about me pelenaka, an urban homesteader fugal to a fault? What does it say about me the atypical unemployed middle age married woman with almost grown children living below 30k ?

They believe me to be a cycling enthusiast which I kinda am. If u count my mass produced cruiser style urban bike as a valid Tour de France ride. No you won't see Lance Armstrong pedaling this white wall tire built for comfort pink bike. If u do and it has a coffee travel mug holder call popo I've been robbed.

Amazon apparently knows that I'm into home food preservation since I wander around the canning cook book section @ least once a week. Other suggestions based on my window shopping show that  I am interested in preparedness training, hunting, and intensive gardening heirloom version. Based on my wandering their also think I can knit well which I can't.

So my wish list has taken on a life of it's own since Amazon seems to sell just about everything except ammo. Who knew ... my original  plan was to stock the pantry for free or score a few much needed homesteading tools.

To better organize my Wish List I've separated it into 3 categories.

  1. Short term/too good a deal to pass on, this category is mainly food items that are deeply discounted in addition to Amazon's normal prices. The Amour Lard is a good example.
  2. Mid-term or snag be4 Fall/Winter - cleats for my boots so I don't fall on icy sidewalks, hunting clothing & gear, long term freeze dried food in #10 cans, extra water filters for the set up hubby built .
  3. Long term - items that I wish I had like a bicycle cargo trailer or gamma lids for our long term food storage. There is also a portable solar set up the base camp model from goal0 that I am lusting over. 

Sometimes items that I place in one category are bumped up to another or demoted to the last or completed deleted. An air horn rated at over a 100 decibels for my bicycle is one. Originally that product started out in the long term wish list column, but I've been in a few bike vs. car altercations lately due to texting (them not me texting is extra on our cell plan) and road construction.  My bike bell just isn't cutting it and now with hot weather no one drives with their car windows down so I can't just curse them out.
And of course every time I go out and end up needing to carry more home than my three bike baskets will hold I pine for that cargo trailer. Yeah I know I could buy one of those child bike trailers but it wouldn't match my bike (that for another post - the responsibility of looking good one has when u bike because people can see u when u wear a ratty bathrobe to go to the drive threw ATM on a bike).

Woodsrunner, mentioned building me one but the project is far down on the honey do list. Besides I really need to get our long term food stores increased.

If I had a cargo trailer in my virtual shopping cart would u judge me to be a someone who is concerned about her carbon foot print or one who just needs to lug more stuffs home like diet soda & chard ?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Potato

Hard to see but in this broken recycle bin are both Jalapeno (sale 50¢) & two or three found sprouted potatoes planted. Total cost for this garden container = 50¢.
Truth be told potatoes are a forbidden food for us due to diabetes but every once in a while  it's a treat.

In a shtf scenario with a decrease in our daily calorie intake eating potatoes would be a good thing.  I do have a supply of professionally dehydrated potato in our long term storage.

A space saving method to grow large amounts of potatoes in is the barrel or trash can method.

Besides we're working on decreasing our wastefulness, we need to make amends for neglecting those potatoes on the cellar floor. Bad Homesteaders bad.
Waste not want not.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, July 18, 2011

Scent to Scent Combat

After much internet research and label reading @ the not so local big box home improvement store ($15.99 for 8 oz. of a solution containing capsaicin/chili pepper ) this is what we have come up with to deter our family of skunks.
Hot sauce as in Buffalo Style Wings, hot sauce bought @ the restaurant supply store. Secretly hubby hopes we have enough left over for a dinner.
Sprayed around the perimeter of our city lot.
So far so good.
We were able to find their den, which is directly behind neighbor's shed in a ten foot high pile of leaves he built last Fall. His son-in-law suggested we call the city to which I replied, "really you want the city back here", while I stared at his father-in-law's listing cinder block chimney. Really I was think about all the borderline homesteading activities we do ...
No we don't want the city back here replied my neighbor.
No we don't we replied.

Why is it that people are so quick to moan about government intervention in their lives but they are so quick to call ?

So far it's been one & half days without a skunk sighting although it did rain heavy this morning. Tomorrow I'll reapply to our lot.
Neighbor who's providing shelter said that he had his own methods.
Should be interesting or rather aromatic, hopefully whatever he does doesn't bring the man down on us.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yo Pepe Le Pew

For the last few months my hood has been battling a skunk problem that was more of a annoyance personally for us. Then it became personal once I planted my raised beds as the skunks started digging up plants. Now it's become a combination of personal safety, inhibiting our use of our city lot, and to an extent food terrorism.
The skunks are everywhere. They are in the driveway preventing us from coming & going. They sit out on the city sidewalk halting the shoe leather express which has greatly curbed our neighborhood's favorite past time porch visiting. Yesterday I had to hang wet laundry inside instead of my clothesline.
We weren't able to sit out on the patio enjoying a cold beer.
There destruction of our garden equals taking food out of our mouths.

Urban skunks unlike rural have no fear. They will tread on by within a few feet of us on their way to their den or a water source. You could if your brave enough sit on my glider on my patio in the back yard and when one meanders by, reach out and pet it's head.

This is a pic I took when I went out to hang laundry on the line. The clothes line/swing set is the 6x6 post you see directly behind that black pot. The raised bed is actually on the neighbor's property. It holds 2 y.o. Red Raspberry shrubs, flats of potted strawberries and violets, along with Shasta Daisies to be used for bartering or selling.
I'm oh about 8 feet away. I had the camera in my apron pocket so I could snap a few pics after pinning hubby unders to the line.

Needless to say the clothes were hung on the enclosed front porch.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cart Garden

Normally we set these containers potted with tomato plants in the driveway along the house to grow but this because of a city owned tree the shade factor has become insurmountable. Really needs to come down. Core is rotten but that's a blog post of a different topic.

Utilizing the garden cart to follow the Sun, which you can tell by the shadow is still shinning behind my house. And yes there's a hundred year old Maple there also blocking the sunlight only it's privately owned.
I pull the cart out in the morning and pull it back behind the house in the evening.

Haven't completely figured out security measures once the tomatoes start to ripen.  Any suggestions ?

4 Burpee Long Keepers hybrid, 2 heirlooms a Bloody Butcher, and a Yellow Pear my only one.

Can you find the rain barrel ? Look close you can just make out the spigot. Remember it's wrapped in the pretty factor.
Post holding the garden hose was a porch post from down the street discarded after a remodel.
A little cement, a little paint, a hose holder pulled from the trash, top it off with a solar garden light.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, July 7, 2011


This was the before, and yes according to the date stamp on the pic, it's been almost a yearsince we started. I'm gonna hold on to that date in my mind so I can finish up all the minor details on our punch list such as trim that goes on the inside of the window sashes which is original to the house. I was able to save it but I still need to strip, sand, stain, and install.

Same wall, new insulation well there wasn't any insulation to begin with. New wiring & outlets, drywall, primer, paint, refinished baseboard. Far top left hand corner of pic is speaker wire awaiting a cover. No we don't speakers per say but I thought it would be a good selling point in the future. Or who knows I may make enough swagbucks one day to buy a new t.v.
Mirror is one of my collection from either curb or antique shopping. I've been asked to limit my mirror fetish.
Early 1900's Standard treadle sewing machine given to me by a good friend here in the hood. The last person to sew on it was her daughter for a home ec project in the late fithties. There's extra feet for buttons & pleats, along with a belt.
The carpet cost us only $40 as it had been a retrun due to the wrong color. Not my 1st choice but I'm happy with the results.

Almost directly across is the side window in our front parlor.
Still working on the medallions that go in the upper corners of the window moulding. After 100 + years of curtain rod thingies hammered into them they are proving to be complicated in refinishing. I could buy new but dimensions are exactly the same. I'll give it til October them if I can't come up with a decent refinished look I'll admit defeat.

 This is the front window overlooking the street.
I bought these (other sash needs repair) from an antique store in the Buffalo area. Both will eventually hang inside each of the parlor windows.
I'm thinking of cafe style curtains in white lace hung just below where the stain glass window.
I have wooden rods that I stained to match.

Opposite wall that faces the window in the above pic.
On the other side of that wall is the staircase. I don't have a pic but when I bought this home there had been a odd geometric shaped cut out where the mirror is now. Made for an interesting descent since the stairs were built to 1900 standards - narrow treads, steeper incline, narrow width of staircase.
Mirror belonged to Woodsrunner's Maternal Grandmother. Frame is plaster and @ one time came with two wall sconces which have long since been lost.
Hanging lamp was a curb find in an upscale burb of Buffalo. It was a dull gray metal so dd#2 spray painted it black and I stained the two wooden accent pieces to match. Original shades that cleaned up well. Hubby rewired it & added the black chain.

Since the room is only 12.5' x 10.8' I went with a monochromatic color scheme based on my huge couch. When you have children & everyone wants to sit near Mom this is what you end up with. A sectional that seats 6.
Little did I realize that I was really designing the parlor to match my red headed step son Hunter.
He has claimed his area and even dragged the couch cover up & over to give himself a bed.
The shelf behind the sectional is just a piece of pine that hubby mounted with L shaped brackets and I stained.
It's main purpose is to keep the couch in place. Unfortunately the sectional doesn't fit in due to the bump out (heating duct added in the '50's) there's a tendency for the corner section to be pushed up against the wall while the corner is smashed up agianst the bump out. 

It's hard to see but I wall papered this wall with a textured pattern.

The entrance of the parlor which originally was square with moulding & two doors. Sometime in the 1920's putting in these rounded doorways was all the rage.
We briefly thought about reinstalling moulding but then I priced it out @ a salvage store.
Not to mention there would be no room for the doors. Since we now heat primarily with wood being able to close off unused rooms is a must.
The curtain rod we made with a wooden closet rod, found wooden finials, and wrought iron plant hooks.  
Having a curtain will allow the parlor to be used as a guest room and close it off to redirect heat from the wood stove.
Which btw is in the pile of remodeling supplies somewhere in that far corner.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cooling Pad & Dual Flush Toliet

My cooling pad was delivered on the 1st, I hate to admit it but I should have ordered it weeks ago.
It's working like a charm.
And yes I do get an extra bit of pleasure knowing that it was free bought with swagbucks. Much like I enjoy my PB&J (free peanut butter bought with swagbucks).
Still I would have so much preferred to have bought white gold a.k.a. powdered milk.

Our new dual flush toilet has officially started paying for itself. The h02 bill came and it's 22 gallons less than our last quarterly bill. That's saying allot since there's teenagers in our household. While they do abide by the 5 minute shower rule, they tend to take two showers a day due to sports.

~~ pelenaka ~~