Monday, November 30, 2015

Garlic Planting Time & Frugal Accomplishments

I hope everyone in the U.S had a nice Thanksgiving.  I'm happy to be joining in with Brandy's Frugal Accomplishments today.  Last week, I planted two celery ends in the hoop house.  Prepared tomato rice loaf with our tomatoes, garlic, and homemade bread crumbs.  Made pasta and broccoli with our garlic.  Made a large batch of laundry soap.  Washed laundry with homemade laundry soap and hung it on the line.  Picked chard and greens for the chickens.  Harvested carrots, and grated broccoli stems and carrots for the pups.  Recently, it's not uncommon to get 7 eggs in a day, so I've been boiling lots of eggs, and we and the dogs share them.  Some eggs are shared with friends as well.

I brought our homegrown sweet potatoes to my family's Thanksgiving, along with a fresh cranberry relish.  Took advantage of a few online Black Friday sales- 30% off a book on Amazon, discounted fabric and shipping at Joann's, & 30% off men's clothing on Amazon.  I went through Swagbucks  and ebates when they gave points, and went through The Prudent Homemaker's website, when it was a category that didn't give points, as I believe those type links get a credit regardless of category. If that's is  incorrect, please share.  After delivering soap to a client on Black Friday, I stopped by a couple of thrift stores, for their 50% off sales - one store had everything at 50% off, the other had all clothing at 50% off and housewares at .10.   My favorite find was a large floral rug at 50% off.

the seasonal creek

After we ate Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday, I still had a bit of sweet potatoes and cranberry relish.  On Saturday, I turned those into muffins, using our eggs.  Made colcannon using our potatoes.  I've been reading about the benefits of bone broth.  As I'm a longtime vegetarian, I asked my sister if I could have the two drumstick bones to make bone broth for the pups.  Though I followed directions, my first try boiled dry in the slow cooker, so I tried again, on low this time, and they were very happy pups.  I'm adding a few spoonfuls of broth to their dinners each night.

J and I planted our garlic.  With rain in the forecast, it seemed like a good time.  I harvested the dried pods of okra for seed.  Made progress on my new item for next week's show,  I've got 6 finished, with high hopes to finish more this week.  I'm pleased with how they're turning out, and need to take a photo to share here.  Made a frittata using our eggs and potatoes, and roasted brussels sprouts with our garlic.  Made yogurt.  How was your week?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Fall Table & Frugal Accomplishments

Though The Prudent Homemaker has not been doing her Frugal Accomplishments posts due to a recent fall, she is doing a Thankful post each day of November.  Reading the post and comments helps me remember all I have to be thankful for.  I repaired my slippers, where the sole was coming away from the wool.  Made spaghetti using our tomatoes, garlic and herbs, and made a salad with our lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.  I submitted a $10 rebate for paint.  Each time I eat a mandarin, I add the peel to a batch of cleaning vinegar.

soap ready to be wrapped for a local B&B
Joseph & I took a road trip to Arkansas, and arrived back home last night.  We attended a conference, a mix of science and spirituality, which was a perfect blend for us.  There were a number of excellent speakers.  The days were packed, but we took time to enjoy the thermal baths and a few good meals.  We both came home with books to read, as well as a few interesting stones.
driving home
May your Thanksgiving be one of peace, good food and good company to share it with.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Few Chores & Frugal Accomplishments

This week, I made kefir and yogurt.  Washed laundry with homemade laundry soap, and hung it on the line.  I got several household chores that have been on my list for some time done.  Four glass light shades were taken down and cleaned, as well as the bathroom vent.  I had a frugal fail in part.  The tiny apples  and a couple of pears we grew were languishing in the crisper drawer.  Around half of the apples were beyond good eating.  Those went to the chickens, and the remainder were cooked up, along with the pears, and turned into an especially tasty sauce.  We ate it along with our canned green beans, which I roasted, along with a pan of our potatoes & herbs.  The other long standing chore was cleaning the oven glass.  I used a hanger that I straightened out & stuck up through the bottom holes to clean the inner glass, using a citrus based cleaner first, & then glass cleaner.  It took several passes with each.  The glass that was accessible from the inside of the door was cleaned with a baking soda paste.  The glass isn't perfect, but it looks so much better.  I also organized the linen closet, which had recently become a mess.  I'm happy to cross those chores off my list.

Two friends visited, to learn about making soap.  We had an enjoyable visit, and this mini class helped me to prepare for teaching the women's homestead group this coming week.  One of the women gave me several crocheted head bands as a thank you, which I love using to keep my ears warm during cold weather. The other woman gave me some of her homegrown lavender.  I fed the pups chopped chard & tomatoes, some leftovers, & kefir with their dinner.  Pulled chickweed and holey greens for the chickens. Found some passionfruit that weren't ripe, but with a hard frost coming, I pulled them and fed them to the chickens.  A few really loved them.  I boiled eggs for us and the pups.  Found vintage porch posts on Craigslist, in great shape, and got 4 of them for less than I'd seen one selling for.  I'm happy about that!  I made good progress on a new item I'm making, sanding all the handles and cutting a groove in each with the table saw.  Next, I need to assemble them.  I want to have some ready for a show I'm doing in a few weeks.  I'll share more when I've got some finished ones to show you.

I received an ebates check in the mail.  Cut a bouquet of roses, zinnias and salvia before a freeze. J recently made a stand for our Berkey water filter, so I could fill glasses and pots without dragging it across the counter.  I'm enjoying it so much, we decided it would fit right in as a new item in our SoulSeeds shop.  You can see a thumbnail photo in the right sidebar.  I worked on getting a few things ready to list on ebay.  I cleaned them up, photographed, and researched them.  All that's left is to calculate shipping. I've been burned on more than one occasion, when I've let ebay determine shipping, so now I always find an appropriate box, pack it with shipping materials, weigh and calculate.  It's more work, but at least I know my shipping costs are covered.  These are items I'm selling for a friend, and will only receive half of the selling cost, so every bit helps.  I sweetened and bottled another jar of elderberry syrup. We've got another road trip scheduled this week. I'm not sure when I'll be posting again, but I hope to have a picture or two to share.  Be well, friends!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Week in Autumn and Frugal Accomplishments

In the past week, I cut a bouquet of zinnias and asters, & another later in the week of asters, zinnias, salvia & roses.  I'm delighted to still have blooming flowers in November.  Made colcannon with our potatoes.  Gave the pups chopped chard, tomatoes, cabbage and homemade kefir with their dinner.  Walked with the pups for exercise.  Combined errands when I ran into town.  I had opened a gallon of apple juice for the hayride.  We didn't use it all, so I froze it in an ice cube tray. That way, I can defrost some when I need it, and it won't go bad before I can use it up.  It will be handy when I make granola (3 of my ice cubes= 1/4 cup).

We've been getting a good amount of rain.  I planted the Turks Cap I got at the beach, and a couple of mums I bought as decoration for the hayride.  I made scrambled eggs with our garlic and tomatoes for breakfast, and crowder peas I had canned for dinner.  Made tapioca with our eggs.  Harvested greens that had been munched on for the chickens.  Made kefir and yogurt.  Made a purchase through ebates, which will go towards cash back.  Used a 20% off coupon code on the purchase of a ceiling fan.

I usually do pretty well in using up our leftovers, but had some that didn't get eaten quick enough this week, so the pups got them a few nights with their dinner.  Used mostly recycled shipping materials to ship several online sales.  Paid for shipping labels online, and had our postal carrier pick them up, to save me trips to the P.O.  Baked three of our smallest squash, 2 butternut and a Hopi Gray, for soup.  Saved the skins in the vegi broth bag.  Made an apple pie.

I accompanied J to the unveiling of their mobile biodiesel trailer for the city of Raleigh, and received freebies of bottled water, and a key chain & T-shirt that say "Stay Calm & Drink Water".  I think that's a good plan.  The tea camellia is abuzz with many varieties of pollinators, including honeybees.  I took down the hummingbird feeders, cleaned them up, and stored them for next season.  I borrowed books from the library, and have been reading Little Heathens, a depression era memoir.  I'd love to hear what you've been up to.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Elf in my Driveway

Several months ago, the city of Raleigh delivered a trailer to the guys, for them to turn into a mobile biodiesel unit.  I had to smile when I arrived home and found this.  The view at my kitchen sink looks out in this direction, and what better to look at than an elf, flowers and a magic tree.  There are a lot of different tractor trailers out there, but few as charming as this one.
folks preparing to tour the trailer

They worked hard through some mighty long, hot summer days, and delivered the finished trailer to Raleigh last week, where an unveiling was held. There were speeches, and a Dept. of Agriculture official in attendance.  The unit is pretty impressive, using sunflowers from fields fertilized by the water treatment plant, crushing, cleaning and pressing those seeds, and turning the oil into biofuels to run some of the cities' fleet.

The elf was eventually covered up, but it's still a nicer than average trailer.  There are photos of the job as it progressed, if you'd care to follow the "finished trailer" link above.  That's Joseph and Rick, and David Thornton, who helped with the initial concept.  I'm proud of all they do to make this beautiful planet just a little bit nicer.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Up On The Roof and Frugal Accomplishments

The Prudent Homemaker had a bit of a fall last week, and will likely be a few weeks recovering.  I'm not sure when her next Frugal Accomplishments post will be, but I will continue posting mine.  Shopped at the discount grocery store.  My favorite finds were natural cane sugar for .50/# (after researching, I found this sells for .62/# at Walmart, so not huge savings, but some), 3L tins of olive oil for $7.50 ea, and an herbal supplement that retails for $53.95 for $2!.  I was very happy to find the oil, as my soap making supply of olive oil was running low.  Began culling the imperfect sweet potatoes, and dehydrating them for pup treats.  Colored and trimmed my hair.  Canned eggplant, and added the end bits to the vegi broth bag.  Made yogurt and kefir.  I liked the view while working up on the roof, and snapped a few photos.

In the past couple of weeks, our young Buff Orpington chickens began laying, so there have been days I've gathered 5 and 6 eggs.  It's been some time since there have been that many.  With that bounty, I made egg salad and tapioca pudding, and gave the pups boiled egg.  J & I have been scattering oats that a neighbor gave us into the chicken yard, the side of the yard they have not been using.  The oats have grown nicely in this fall weather.  The chickens were let into the green side this week, & J scattered oats on the other side.  We're getting some nice rain, so we're hoping they will grow a bit before it gets too cold, giving them more greens to eat. I've also been harvesting imperfect greens in the garden for them, which the caterpillars, cabbage loopers, grasshoppers, etc. have been munching on.  I also gave them any of these critters I found.

I made some progress on my quilt.  Lois snapped a photo of me "sandwiching" the quilt, which is basting the quilt top, bottom and batting together, so it will stay together when I begin machine quilting it.   The summer & winter linens have been swapped out, as well as summer & winter clothes.  It's nice to have cozy flannel sheets on the bed again.  I did laundry with homemade soap, & hung it on the line.  Chopped and froze a red pepper.  Gave the pups chopped green pepper with their dinner.  I've never been fond of the taste of green peppers, & only like ripe peppers in small doses.  I picked the green one before the first frost hit, so at least it won't be wasted.  Gave the pups the good bits of some tomatoes that are ripening in the house, as well as chopped chard.  I made a Staples purchase for M through Swagbucks, and will get the points toward a gift card.  I saw pomegranates at Aldi's for .59, and am considering getting several this coming week.  They're tasty and so good for you.  What have you done to save time or resources recently?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and a Hayride

The weather warmed up again this week, and we've been having beautiful days.  I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments today.  I harvested chard, parsley, & oregano.  Gathered eggs.  Trimmed my hair.  Added vegetable trimmings- chard stems, carrot ends, bean pods to broth bag in the freezer.  Gave the pups chopped chard & parsley, grated carrot, small tender bean pods & a boiled egg with their dinners.  Gave the chickens a bag of squash I found in the freezer that was from a couple of years ago.  Frugal fail, but they loved it.  I enjoyed a library book, Our Souls At Night.  I made an online purchase through Swagbucks, to get points towards a gift card.  It was from a local store, but it saves time to just pick up my order, and then I get the points too.

We redirected the path to our house last week, and along the edge, I planted two peonies, 20 mediterranean bells, and 35 snowbell bulbs.  I planted phlox I started from cuttings there Sunday evening.  The new path has more curve to it, and comes from the area where I park, rather than coming from the driveway across from J's shop.  It was his suggestion, and I like it for several reasons, one of which is my preference for curves in a landscape.  Our original plan was to use 6" cedar logs for the path.  We thought it would hold up for at least 10 years, but before we were able to finish it, some pieces began to crack and fall apart at the edges.  I'm still trying to figure out what material to use for Plan B.  It needs to be easily swept, as it comes through a wooded area.  Suggestions welcomed.

My siblings and their families came out for a hayride over the weekend.  The weather was lovely, with sunny blue skies.  If you look close, you can see a tree loaded with persimmons behind everyone.  A few learned the difference between an underripe and a perfectly ripe persimmon.  It's been something like 10 years since there has been a hayride here, and it was a most enjoyable day.  I prepared Brandy's Tuscan Tomato Bread soup, baked potatoes with fixings, warm spiced apple juice and rounded it out with cheese & crackers and olives.  I also fixed this apple cake.  It was good, but both J & I agreed it was a bit too sweet for our tastes.  I almost never make frosting, so will probably try it again without it.  I decorated with our pumpkins and gourds, and created signs using cardboard from a cereal box, attached to 2 scarecrows, directing family around our new path and current construction project,  My SIL left a bag of shredded cheddar and a container of sour cream.  I've been eyeing some fall desserts with sour cream, so that was a nice bonus. I did some overdue cleaning to get ready.  If only I could keep the house looking like this all the time.

Cooked a new chard recipe, and quiche with our eggs, pepper, garlic, & tomatoes.  Sliced tomatoes a couple of nights with dinner, enjoying them while we can.  Ate some pear sauce from my pantry.  Made yogurt, kombucha and kefir.  I have a goal to take down all the hummingbird feeders this week, and make the first batch of suet.  I dug the remaining potatoes.  Not a huge amount, but enough to enjoy a few meals.  Collected some zinnia heads for seed.  Washed plastic bags for reuse.

I did laundry with homemade soap, and hung it on the line.  Used homemade soap in the shower and at the bathroom sink.  Worked in the kale bed, removing leaves with holes and cabbage worms, and gave it all to the chickens.  Assisted J with electrical work on our project.  Walked with the pups for sunshine and exercise.  What did you do last week?