Sunday, December 18, 2011

English Lavendar

My new English Lavendar.
I picked him up at the Beaches Green Market, on my way home from the library.

Another farmer's market find...
fresh rabbit meat!
We've been considering raising rabbits for meat. But neither Ben nor I have ever had any. I've been shopping around, and none of the stores in our area carry it. Not the health food market, not the local butcher. So I was thrilled to find it at the farmer's market. Even at
$7 per pound!
Wow. I don't pay that much for steak!

So now, we wait and see if we like it or not.

Do you eat rabbit? Do you raise them yourself?
Please share advice and recipes!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Beach Cheap Tea-Bag

During pregnancy, I read Aviva Jill Romm's "Natural Health After Birth" and made some herbal teas from her recipes. I especially love the Keeping Your Balance blend for emotional health and the Energy Tea. I think I've become addicted to making my own herbal teas from bulk herbs. It's a great feeling to blend together all these great-smelling herbs.
So I bought a tea-ball from the health food store. Stainless steel. But it made my tea taste like metal. And, I have all these coffee filters left over from the days before we used the percolator. So, I put my herbs in a coffee filter, twisted it closed, and pinned it with two clothes pins so that it would be suspended over my cup.
A Beach Cheap homemade tea bag!

Finally! A BLUE EGG!

At last!
All 3 girls are laying.

The bottom pinkish one is from Rhoda, the Rhode Island Red.
The brownish-slightly speckled one is from Princess. I thought she was an Americauna. Now I'm not so sure.
The blue egg arrived this morning, with much cackling and crowing, from Stanchella, the (now proven) Americauna.

This post is linked to The Homestead Revival Barn Hop!

The Newest Addition to Our Beach Cheap Urban Homestead

Less than one day old! Loralinda Joy joined our family "officially" at 6:15 AM on Thursday, November 10, 2011. We had an Unassisted Homebirth. Caught by Mama, Assisted and Witnessed by Daddy. Big sister Lyliana slept through the whole thing; she was probably tired from the day before which was her 5th birthday.

She was 7 pounds 9 ounces, 20 inches long. A gorgeous healthy baby girl. We had no ultrasounds during this pregnancy, so her gender was a complete surprise.
The birth was amazing and beautiful.
God has blessed us so richly. I could type all day and not come close to describing His love.

After a period of adjustment, we are trucking along. Loral is nursing and sleeping well. Lyli is loving being a big sister. The chickens are finally getting some attention from me, after being fed and watered by others for the past 2 weeks. And Charcoal, well, he's pretty happy. He spends most of his days guarding my garden from the neighborhood squirrel.

I am so thankful to have a husband who understands my soul's need to be outside in my garden. For the first week postpartum, all I did was walk around and look at everything, usually with Loral nursing in her baby wrap and Lyli playing on her bouncy-horse, drinking in the beauty of growing things. We were blessed with rain that week.
During the second week, I did some small chores like watering the plants from the rain "barrels."
And on Thanksgiving Day, my husband tended to the baby while I got up early to clean out the chicken coop, adding all the scratched bedding and manure to the compost pile. I couldn't have asked for a more splendid morning.
Since then, Lyli and I have raked up the sycamore leaves to be added to the compost. We had such fun! And we've harvested a couple of salads from the garden. The cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are doing well, and the carrots and beets are hanging in there.
All in all, I'm glad to see that our homestead can survive a couple of weeks of Baby-Brain fog.

This post is linked to the Homestead Revival Barn Hop! Come join in the fun!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Urban Homesteading Mom's Version of Nesting

Includes a trip to the Farmer's Market.

Tomatoes are being peeled and canned today.
Sweet potatoes and Apples will become baby food tomorrow.
And oranges and tangerines for juicing.
I also picked up a spaghetti squash and 2 butternut squashes because I LOVE them.
Roasted butternut squash seeds are SO much yummier than pumpkin seeds.

What a lovely fall day!

The Littlest Egg

Rhoda laid the littlest egg the other day.

That's a TEAspoon!

It was so funny. Rhoda was a bit agitated, so I went out in the late evening to check on her and found this in her nest. "What the heck is that?!" I asked the sleeping birds.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Am Now a Worm Wrangler

I don't have the patience required by my compost pile. Nor do I have the money for one of those fantastic compost tumblers that I saw at the hardware store.
My plants need better nourishment, and I am tired of buying new soil.

Solution: a Worm Bin

Worms make marvelous compost. Their castings (poop) are like gold dirt for gardeners.
I got the original directions from The Urban Homestead by Coyne/Knutzen and simplified them. And made it...
Beach Cheap.

I used a free bucket from Chick-fil-A. Most fast food places will give you free buckets if you ask. Dill pickles come in these buckets and the restaurants just toss them in the dumpster.

I drilled 1/16th holes around the top and bottom of the sides for ventilation.

I drilled 1/4" holes in the bottom for an escape hatch should the worms need food or water or get too wet. The bucket is sitting on two bricks on top of a bucket lid. I check each day for escapees. If I see some, I figure out the problem, solve it, and put them back in before Lyli sees them and feeds them to the chickens.

I first shredded some paper (already shredded old bills- recycling at its finest), wet it, rung it out like a washcloth, and filled the bottom 1/3 of the bucket.
Then I filled another 1/3 with soil from my compost pile.
When I add food (kitchen scraps bound for the compost pile), I cover it with more dirt.
Then I cover the bucket with the lid that came with it. I also drilled 1/16 holes in the lid for air.

Worms like to be wet, but not too wet. And they don't like light.

I love them. I hope they make lots of babies so that the chickens can have an occasional treat.
And their castings are a wonderful addition to my plants. I've already harvested a little bit for a box of lettuce that I've placed in a window,

and a basil that I found growing on its own. I gave it a new home in a beautiful pot that I found at Ben's grandmother's old house.

When my worm bin fills up with gold dirt, I plan to make another bucket drilled with identical holes. I will fill it the same way and then set it (with fresh food in it) inside the current bucket. The theory (from The Urban Homestead) is that the worms will migrate up into their new home in search of the yummy food, leaving the bottom bucket full of worm-free compost for me to use. If this system works, I can dump the compost directly on my garden without having to pull all the worms out by hand. Sounds good to me!

-The Worm Wrangler, aka Lainie

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Love My Chickens and Their Eggs

This marvelous bit of God's magic was waiting for me in the chicken coop this morning.

I yelled for Lyli to come and see. She put her boots on and rushed out in her nightgown.

And then announced to me that she was going to draw on the egg and color it.
Into the boiling pot it went.

I photographed it in its pristine natural state. Isn't it beautiful?

Chicken Tricks

Okay, so when we first got "the girls," I complained. A lot. But there were a lot of bugs. And the stench, Oh My!

But things have vastly improved. Here are some notes on what works for us.

My original plan was for the coop to have a wire roof over half of it. I guess I thought I would reach in from one side to clean it out? Bad idea.

It now has two hinged plywood "doors" on top. I leave one closed and open the other when I don't want the girls to fly the coop on me. During the day, when they are in their play pen, I rake out the coop and leave it open so that the sunshine will disinfect it.

This is the nesting and roosting area. I can lift this one door to scoop out the poop or gather eggs.

In order to battle the flies, we practice the deep litter method that I gathered from The Urban Homestead (a terrific book and enjoyable read. I borrowed it from the library first, then decided to buy it). The trick is to pile the bedding up a few inches deep in the nesting/roosting area. It gets pooped on, then I rake it down into the "run" side of the coop. The girls scratch it up until it turns into lovely compost. My corn loves it! Then I fill the nesting/roosting area with fresh bedding. By keeping it scratched up, raked out, and sometimes scooping the poop into a bucket with a lid (that I got for free from Chick-fil-A), we've managed the bug problem.

Also, I got this tip from -- hang a vanilla tree car air freshener in the coop. For some reason, flies do not like the vanilla smell and will stay away.

This is a close-up of the other side of the coop. I had a problem with the girls scratching bedding and grass and dirt and food into the waterer. So I placed two bricks in the coop to raise it up a bit. It hasn't solved the problem, but it helps. It also holds the waterer level. It is a nice vacuum-operated can, but if it's tilted, the water will all run out and the chickens will be thirsty. Very bad.

And this is their favorite place--- the Chicken Play Pen.
We made this portable coop from PVC pipes and wrapped it in chicken wire. I draped a shower curtain over one end for shade, and we tied it all together with neon colored zip ties. The whole family helped and we had a ball! The girls love to move around the yard. They eat grass, but prefer weeds. Heehee. They're my little weed-eaters. ;)

Oh, how I love my chickens. They are so much fun to watch. I peek at them out the back window, and my blood pressure goes down. They are such natural, stress-free animals. I love to see them enjoying a carefree afternoon of weed-munching and dust-bathing. Their simple joy puts a smile on my face. Lyliana loves to hold them and pet them. And even their cooing noises make me smile. Except for Rhoda (the Rhode Island Red). Her noises sound a bit bossy. But the Americaunas coo at us. Such sweet birds. The only one who isn't happy with the situation is Coal, our Pekingese-- I won't let him chase the chickens. When he's outside with us, he spends most of the time pouting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

So We Got Chickens...

We finally got the chickens that I've been wanting for four years. Lyliana and I built the coop by ourselves. She was a great help, spurred on by the promise that she could paint it. And she did, inbetween painting herself and her clothes.

Our 4-legged baby wanted inside the pen, but we had to break the news that it wasn't for him.

This is Rhoda, a Rhode Island Red. She is the undisputed queen hen, top of the pecking order.

This is Giraffe, an Ameracauna.

And Princess, another Ameracauna.

The coop fits into our Redneck Beach Shack backyard seamlessly.

But it's a pain in my booty to clean out. Already the birds have done me in. The Urban Homestead assured me that they could not turn over or poop in the galvanized self-waterer. Twice a day, I clean out the grass that has been scratched into it. And, yes, I wash out the poop. My chickens poop into the unpoopable.

And the flies. Oh, my! Forget about lions and tigers and bears.

Flies and stink and... eewwww, gross!

I was assured by Jenna Wogenrich, author of Made From Scratch, that chickens eat bugs. "WooHoo!" I thought.

"No more mosquitoes, no more flies!" I sung to myself.

These girls are not into bugs or flies or mosquitoes. Rather, they attract more into my backyard.

I plan to stick it out at least until I get some eggs. Hopefully, the eggs will be worth it. So look for an update a few months from now. It will either be titled "I Love My Chickens and Their Eggs" or "Get Your Free Chickens Here!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And the Winner Is...



I hope you enjoy your beautiful candle.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I am so glad you all stopped by my blog and shop.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Etsy Shop

Hi, everyone!
I've just opened an Etsy shop and want to give something away!

All you have to do to enter the Giveaway Contest is visit my shop at and then leave a comment here listing which item is your favorite. The winner will be chosen by on Thursday, June 23, 2011 and your chosen item will be sent to you. (The item you choose as your favorite has no bearing on whether or not you will be chosen. All results are totally random.) Please comment only once.

And remember to check my Etsy shop periodically as I have plans to add Crocheted Fingerless Gloves, Sock Monkeys, and maybe some handmade journals before October.

Good luck!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Easiest Cheapest Ouchie Pillow

My original ouchie pillow was a sewn pillow with rice inside. It froze very well, and was comfortable to use (rather than the plastic guys that freeze you and "burn"). But when Lyliana hurt her mouth, the ouchie pillow got wet and was ruined.

Here is my solution:
Take a new clean sock, fill with rice, tie off with a hair-tie or rubber band. And put it in the freezer. {You can also heat in the oven or microwave for hot therapy.}
I love it. If it gets wet, I can open it, dump out the wet rice, wash and dry it, and start over. It is so simple and easy. And cheap because I already had these things in the house.

Beach Cheap! ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Garden Pictures

Too high to be picked, I can now enjoy my petunias.

A brocolli.

Pretty pretty hanging pots.

Two types of rosemary (green and clay pots) and my favorite herb ever, thyme.

Pansies in the sunshine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Beach Cheap Garden - year 2

I grew cauliflower this year. Successfully. My daughter and I enjoyed picking it from the plant and munching on it right there in the backyard.

To be Beach Cheap, use everything! This old toy bucket had a crack in the bottom. So now it has been resurrected as a brocolli planter.

A little spray paint makes an old rusted planter look like new.

A packet of lettuce seeds kept us in salads for the entire season. ($2.00)

I learned that if I put some hanging pots on the fence, out of toddler-reach, I would have plenty of pretty flowers to look at.
She's busy on the swings anyway.

And I suggest getting free pickle buckets from your local fast food restaurant. They just throw them away. Drill some holes in the bottom, and they make great planters. I have a mulberry tree in one, sweet potatoes in another.
Happy Springtime!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crocheted Soap Savers

Here is a crocheted soap saver I made while watching a movie last night. It's quick and simple. And, because I had free (here-take-this-I-don't-crochet-anymore) yarn, it only cost me the time.
I make my own soap, and that makes it pretty valuable to me. I hate to see small pieces wash down the drain or dissolve before their time. Now, I put the broken pieces into the soap saver. They last longer, and I am happy.
No, I'm not cheap... I'm Beach Cheap!

Friday, February 4, 2011

An Important but Random Thought

A man was bartering with Satan.
All the man wanted in the whole wide world was a life free from financial stress with health and long lives for his loved ones.
All Satan wanted was his soul.
He was about to sign in blood when he was struck with a sudden fear,
“Wait!” He said, “Satan, can you guarantee that my death will be painless?”
Satan laughed.
“You mortals… you amuse me... How can you fret over some insignificant thing, and freely sell that one thing that is of utmost importance?”

We on earth become confused easily, and the enemy uses this against us. We are so very concerned with money, health, safety and pain, but we are ignorant of true value.
For what would you sell your soul?
Money… Beauty… Fame… Adoration…Power… Sex…
All of these things are readily available. “Not to you,” you say? Yes, indeed. Any of you can have any of these things if you work hard enough.
But we have only one soul. One life. One eternity.
Where will you spend yours? What is truly of utmost importance to you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please check out my new blog

As you all know, I want to be a writer.

I wrote a novel in 2009. And then I stuck it in a drawer for 19 months. I knew I wanted to improve it. But I didn't know how.

Then something occured to me: my desire to write comes from a God-given need to help people. And my writing is not going to help anyone if I don't share it.

So I've taken it out of the drawer. And I am rewriting it. Again. But this time, I am sharing it with you all and the internet-universe. I hope that the accountability of posting on this blog will motivate me to finish what I started. And I hope that this story will help others, or entertain, or provide whatever it is that you need at the moment.

You can find it here: