Monday, October 15, 2018

Another Storm & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.   Last week, I harvested okra, beets, cucumbers, eggplant, and tromboncino squash from the garden.  Four celery ends were planted, which replaced some that rotted from Florence.  For a dinner, I cooked our beets and potatoes, and incorporated our cucumber, carrot and sweet pepper,into a salad.  The bedroom still smelled slightly musty, so I washed the throw pillows and rag runner, and added in one of the pup's bed covers.  I was a little concerned about washing the rug, but washed it on a light wash, then pulled my car in the sun, and draped it over the car to dry (J's suggestion).  It thankfully did fine with that treatment, and seems to smell just fine in there now.  Now we're supposed to get another 2 to 4" of rain from Hurricane Michael.  Knowing that was coming, I caught up on laundry, and hung it on the line, as well as cut a bouquet.  Last week, I learned that some people think it's not a good thing to make your own laundry soap.  The soap supposedly does not come out of fabric or your washer well, attracting dirt and smells.  I've been making laundry soap for years, and always blamed the smells on our water, but perhaps not.  I bought Biokleen laundry detergent, through Vitacost at 3% cash back, and am seeing if I notice any difference.  Towels and J's work clothes were the worst, as far as being smelly.  We'll see what happens.

I've had redyeing the pair of leggings on my to do list.  So much of the plant dyeing info is geared towards wool and silk, and I spent a lot of time researching what I could do with what I had on hand for cotton fabric.  I finally decided to try dyeing with oak galls with some added iron water (prepared months ago with iron filings, water and vinegar).  They're soaking as I type.  Hopefully, I'll have something interesting to show you.  I accepted an offer, and sold a book on ebay.  I sold another book a different day, and reused mailers to ship them.  Our okra, a quiche which used our eggs, sweet pepper and parsley was made, and two rolls that were in the freezer to go along.  Thanks to Becky's encouragement, I planted more chard seeds.  Maybe this time, they'll do something.  We'll be getting lots of rain from Hurricane Michael starting tomorrow, so as long as they don't get washed away, that should help.  I dug our peanuts, and got less than I planted.  They were in a somewhat shady spot, and they'd been chewed by something (again), either rabbits or deer I expect.  I may have to add peanuts to the list of things I can't grow here.

the leggings just pulled out of the dye bath
I rinsed out the leggings the following day, and am happy with the results so far.  We'll see how they look after going through a machine wash.  I had gathered them with rubber bands in six spots, which made an interesting design, as did the mix of oak galls and iron water.  We did well eating leftovers last week.  Tropical storm Michael came through on Thursday, which brought less than 3" of rain, some major wind for a short while, which brought many trees down in the area and knocked out our power for 18 hours.  We ran the generator as needed, and were thankful to have it.  I worked on sewing the bed cover for a while, than prepared baked ziti for dinner, with squash brownies for dessert.  Neither of us got much sleep that night, with McNibs having two barfy episodes, and the neighbor's dog barking loudly, among other things.  My shop sitting job on Friday and Saturday was canceled, thinking that there would likely be no traffic at the shop.  After almost no sleep Thursday night, I was thankful to have the day at home.  I did work on cleaning up and painting several shop orders, and did some easy sewing, but not much else.

Michael's rain brought more mushrooms.  With the first nights in the upper 40's (hooray, the lows have lately been upper 60's and low 70's), I brought in all the orchids, the aloes and Christmas cactus.  I've been gathering holey greens and wild dock for the chickens.  I really wanted a salad on Sunday, but didn't have a lot to work with.  I grabbed the few lettuce leaves I could, found some chickweed, tiny lambs quarter and violet leaves, arugula growing with the winter greens, added our cucumber, a carrot and there you go.  I made soup with our tromboncino squash, tomatoes, basil , parsley and a few bought items.  I placed an order through ebates, with 12% cash back.  It's supposed to get to 81 tomorrow, so we didn't want to get the wood stove going just yet.  We turned on the heat pump just long enough to get the chill off, after the night in the 40's.  I brought my wool slippers out, and hot glued some spots where the sole was pulling away.  This week, I think it's time to switch to cold weather clothes and sheets.  I'm looking forward to flannel, cashmere sweaters and cozy clothes again.  Have a great week, friends!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Beautiful Music & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Last week still felt like summer here, with days in the 80's and high humidity.  Yogurt was made from powdered milk, as I'd only frozen a pint before we left for vacation, and a small batch of hummingbird food was made.  I continued to see one or two hummers at the feeder up to Oct. 4.  Pasta Norma was made with our eggplant, tomatoes and herbs.  A new recipe for Amish Pear Pie was made with our pears, which was yummy.  Running errands after working in town, I stopped and bought a 6 pack of red Romaine lettuce (with 8 plants in it), after much of our lettuce rotted during Florence. I was also hoping to find some chard seedlings, because try as we might, we just can't seem to grow it this year, but no luck there.  I added some pear pieces to the vegi broth bag, a new experiment.  I'm adding quite a bit of celery pulp, which can be bitter, and I'm hoping this will balance out the flavor.  Two books were picked up at the library.

I'm drinking celery juice most mornings.  I'm drinking about 1/2 of what is recommended (~8 oz), and most days it does seem to give me an energy boost.  I've found that Food Lion carries nice organic celery.  I continue to plant the celery ends in the garden, and have 7 now, though one is looking pretty sad after Florence.  I harvested okra and a few fresh and dried lima beans.  A gallon vegi broth bag was filled, and put in our outdoor freezer.  The only way to get it in there was to take a bag of okra out, so I knew I needed to work on eating out of the freezer.  I pulled a bag of Spanish rice from the freezer, as well as taco shells, and doctored a can of refried beans.  I cut up one of our last tomatoes, opened a jar of our salsa, one of recanned black olives, added some cheese, lettuce, and sour cream, and that was dinner.  I had two avocados, but both ended up being bad, so we did without.  Flower seeds were picked up on sale at Dollar General.  I spoke up when I noticed I'd received 50% off instead of the 70% advertised, and actually ended up getting a bit more of a discount from the manager.

On Thursday, I made a soap delivery and ran errands.  There were no chard seedlings at the Feed & Seed either.  All but one of our cabbage seedlings had died, so I picked up two six packs of cabbage and one of red leaf lettuce while there.  Recently, I've read that molasses along with other ingredients, which seem to vary, helps eradicate fire ants.  If you've tried this, I'd love to hear your results.  It would be fantastic to find a natural way to deal with them.  We'd leave them alone most places, but in our garden and flower beds, we'd love to not be stung while working.  After I got home from my delivery, it was in the upper 80's, so it seemed a perfect day to give the pups a "bath" in the outdoor shower.  A pitcher was used to wet and rinse them.  Being the shower has a spring-loaded door, it kept them captive until I was finished, which made it easy.  After October, I usually don't bathe them again until it warms up in the spring, unless they get into something stinky.

Two more experiments were tried last week.  The first was using my home canned sweet relish to make thousand island dressing.  It was good, but I'll tweak the recipe some.  The one I used had a little garlic in it, and that flavor didn't seem right, plus it could use a little more pizzazz.  The second experiment was cooking up mushrooms that I'd been keeping in a paper bag in the crisper, as was recommended.  The mushrooms weren't slimy, but I thought they were slightly questionable.  I went ahead and cooked them up for mushroom sandwiches, and both of us had a bit of an upset stomach the next morning.  In the future, I'll probably cook and freeze any mushrooms we don't use quickly.  A pan of egg shells were crushed and added to the outdoor compost bin.  The late planted cucumbers are starting to produce.  I picked two, and a small tromboncino squash.

On Friday, I made a soap delivery, then ran errands.  I dropped off household goods at the SPCA thrift shop, and clothes, books and CD's at Goodwill.  At the SPCA shop, I found a large piece of fabric for $1 and two pieces of felt for .10.  I really ought to stop gathering fabric and create before I buy more.  I stopped at the discount grocery store, and they have less food every time I go.  I suppose they make a lot more money on "stuff".  I did find organic beans for .50, Grey Poupon mustard .50, whole wheat and 2# pasta for $1, and Lindsay black olives for .50.    All the pasta was put in the freezer to eliminate any chance of pantry moths.  I made waldorf salad using our apples, and used our potatoes and tomato sauce plus pantry items in Shipwreck casserole.  Bread from the freezer was warmed, making just a bit more room there.  Since Florence, we'd been noticing a musty smell in our bedroom, and then splotches of mildew on the walls.  When I got home, J had pulled all the furniture away from the walls and was washing them with a vinegar/washing soda mix.  While the furniture was still out, I vacuumed and mopped the floor around the perimeter.  It smells much better, and I'm sure is a healthier room to be in.  We washed all the bedding on Sunday. J's pillow "exploded" in the washer, but he sewed a new side on the one that had the hole.  I had the perfect fabric for him to use, so that was a plus.

This week, I have so been enjoying this song.  I must admit that when I find a song that fills me with joy, I can listen to it over and over.  I've listened to it while I worked in the kitchen, worked on soap orders, even in the car.  I'm so glad there is beautiful music in the world to listen to.  Watching the video brings joy too, in seeing how beloved they are to one another.  On Saturday, honeybees were really working the wild dayflowers.  J & I planted a dozen cabbage seedlings, red leaf lettuce, and a goji berry I started from a cutting.  While weeding, waiting for J to dig holes, I found a couple of potatoes we had missed.  The mosquitoes were horrendous.  We both got many bites even with spray on, and got back to the house as soon as possible.  It confirmed we made the right decision to cancel the hayride.  I cut pieces of sweet potato to fill the dehydrator for pup treats.  We enjoyed one of our cucumbers with our last tomato, basil, oregano and black olives in a pasta salad.  My husband enjoyed several hot peppers with this that were given to him.  Wishing you good things in the week ahead. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Last Pawpaw & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Because of Florence, we had to make changes to our trip to the coast.  We usually go to Atlantic Beach, but our lodging was affected, so we switched to the Outer Banks. The trip was shortened by a day, and I booked our room through Swagbucks, so we'll get 8% back.  Our room had no kitchenette, but an adequate breakfast was included and we brought food for lunch and snacks, plus our tea, milk and beverages.  We enjoyed the coffee included in the room, which was better quality than what was served at breakfast.  I grabbed a few real half and half containers at breakfast to use in it, as the room only supplied the powdered stuff, and I'm picky that way.  We visited a small free arboretum and teaching garden.  It started raining just as we were heading back to the car, so that worked out well.  We had two nicer meals out, and two less expensive meals.  Our favorite was a Sicilian place, obviously the favorites of lots of others too.  We had gotten there almost 30 minutes early.  By the time the doors were opened, there were at least 20 others waiting.  Our meals were fantastic, and I enjoyed leftovers another day.  The last night, we picked up a pizza to enjoy in our room.  We checked to see what was playing on HBO and the other movie channels in our room, but there wasn't a thing that interested us, so the TV was never used.  We both brought books to enjoy, and I finished two while there.

At thrift stores, J found several pairs of work pants, a thermal shirt, a couple of books and a kitchen knife.  I found 3 linen shirts, a thick cashmere sweater, some cotton and linen threads & some silk alpaca yarn to craft with, and a lightweight watering can.  The guys fabricated a lovely steel one for me a few years ago, but it is very heavy, even when empty.  Add water, and it's almost impossible to haul around the older I get, so this one will be used and enjoyed.  J spotted a lampshade to replace the one I bought for our bathroom (but really disliked) for $4.  I was surprised when searching online, how expensive lamp shades are.  I had bought the least expensive one I thought I could live with, after the last one got damaged during the redo, but it just doesn't go with the room at all.  One I liked better was around 6 times as much, about $45, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay that.  The thrift store shade fits perfectly.  We enjoyed free wine tastings at two wineries, though we did end up buying wine at both places.  On two days, I enjoyed a scoop of frozen custard.  Some years ago, I was introduced to frozen custard while in MD, and was hooked.  I'm not much of an ice cream eater, but this is so good.  It's a good thing there are none closer than an hour away from us :o).

When we got home, we had the leftover pizza we'd brought back, and I turned the boiled eggs we hadn't eaten into egg salad sandwiches.  We had turned up the a/c two degrees while we were gone, and turned it back down when we returned.  I came back to an unpicked garden, as expected, and cut many large okra, which were cut open and the seeds given to the chickens.  The tomatoes are almost done, but I managed to harvest a handful, as well as two pawpaws.  J found one of the cheese wheel pumpkins had started oozing while we were gone, so I threw it in the chicken pen.  The day we left, I noticed one of our older Barred Rock hens looking poorly.  I gave her some extra treats and attention, but found her dead when we got home.

I made a fruit fly trap with cider vinegar in a mason jar, and a paper funnel.  With all the rain from Florence, we now have a multitude of huge mosquitoes, called gallinippers. They're very aggressive, and make it really tough to be outdoors, even with spray.  I'll be glad when it gets cold enough for them to go away.  It's been so miserable, we ended up having to cancel our family hayride that was supposed to be next weekend.  Still, I know we are lucky, seeing the flooding and devastation elsewhere.  Searching for parsley on Friday, I noticed two of the plants were just stems.  Then I saw the culprit, a black swallowtail caterpillar.  Though he was looking pretty fat, I moved him and his stem to another parsley that still had lots of leaves.  While doing this, I noticed something orange, and learned it is an osmeterium, which they put out when disturbed and which apparently smells like rotten cheese.  So glad I didn't notice that :o).  On Saturday, it was munching away on the new plant. Also, I saw two monarch chrysalises on the milkweed in the garden.  Update:  I'm sorry to say that the milkweed was mown down on Sunday.  Not sure why, as it's been there all summer, but that's life on the homestead.  You take the good with the bad.

There were some frugal fails due to our vacation.  I had intended to do something with eggplant before leaving, but didn't get to it, so a few needed to be composted.  I cut the good bits out of three more and added those bits to the broth bag.  I found all but two of our tromboncino in storage had started going, so I composted the bad bits, and made soup with the good parts, along with our tomatoes, homemade broth and herbs.  A bag of our "winter" salad greens hadn't been used in time, and those went to the chickens.  Though it's not really wasted if it's composted or fed to the chickens, I'd certainly prefer to not have so much unused of our garden produce.  I had the two pawpaws and the good bits of a pear that had been chewed on, along with a banana for lunch one day.  Plastic bags were washed for reuse, and laundry was done with homemade soap, and hung on the line.  Our 6 yr old washer has not been rinsing correctly; not filling up with enough water to rinse and then not spinning all the water out.  We looked at washer reviews, which was pretty dismal.  Nothing seems to be made well any more.  Even the Speed Queens, which were expensive and spoken highly of, seem to have gone down in quality with this year's models.  J is going to try some things to see if it helps ours, but if it doesn't work, and the computer board needs changing, we think it's best to get another.  The washer I had before this was one I bought used, and it lasted 15 more years.  I sure wish things would turn back in the other direction, when there was pride and good workmanship in making things.  Otherwise, I really don't know where we'll end up.

Decluttering has been ongoing.  Most recently, when I was looking at what to take on vacation, I got rid of several items of clothing I wasn't wearing, either because it didn't fit well or I just didn't love it.  I'm also working on fall cleaning as I can, in between other things.  I made my daily Swagbucks goal twice.  Our shower head has been leaking for some time.  Though we changed the head during the redo, the working parts were from the one I originally put in the house 12 or 13 years ago.  After several tries, J wasn't able to fix it.  He called the manufacturer (price pfister), they sent replacement parts for free, and it seems to have fixed it!  I harvested dried zinnia heads for seed.  We received another 2" in rain since arriving home, but it looks like it may dry off for a bit now, thank goodness.  The nights are finally cooling off, so we've been able to turn off the a/c and open up overnight.

Two books were requested from the library.  Potato salad was made using our potatoes and parsley.  There is one last pawpaw in the orchard.  We enjoyed the good bits from one of our yellow watermelons, and gave the rest to the chickens.  Warm up water was used for flushing and watering plants.  The goji berries have been blooming for weeks, with plenty of pollinators, but I can't tell if there are any actual berries.  I remember last year, all of a sudden it seemed that there were red berries, right before frost.  I'm still figuring them out.  We brought in the best sweet potatoes, and put them in storage.  I boiled some of the smallest ones for the pups, and J fried up some that had bad spots, and dehydrated some others.  Happy October!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Welcome Fall & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  After working in town last week, I ran errands... the bank, groceries, and a soap delivery.  At the grocery store, I found 1 lb. pasta 5/$5 and bought 2.  I also bought a bouquet, which was marked down to $2.49.  Though I do have a few flowers left, they're looking quite straggly after the storm, and I kind of like leaving the ones I have in the landscape to cheer me for a few weeks longer.  I picked up books I had requested at the library.  When I was putting groceries away, I noticed some dishes I had frozen previously, and it seemed a perfect time to use them.  Along with leftover vegi loaf, we had spanakopita and eggplant crumble from the freezer.  More freezer room is always a good thing.

Another of our stored watermelons was cut, and not surprisingly, the middle was soft.  McNibs and I shared some good bits, then I brought it out to the chickens for a treat.  Our tomatoes were used in vegi BLT's.  My summer slippers needed a wash, but are too fragile for the machine, so I used some homemade soap gel, scrubbed them with a brush, and hung them on the line. I'm thankful that there are still jars of tomatoes on the pantry shelf from the past couple of years.  This will be one of those years that there were just not enough tomatoes to can.  The majority of the tomatoes are dying from all the recent rains, as well as one of the basil plants, both of the sweet peppers, and our green bean posts fell over with all the wet.  I'll be surprised if we get any more squash, as they're looking very sad.  Okra is still producing some, and it looks like we'll get more eggplant.  Our recently planted cucumbers have blooms, so it's possible we may get more cucumbers before first frost.  It looks like about half of the fall lettuce seedlings have rotted.

sweet potatoes drying under the carport
After an out of town appointment, I stopped at a thrift store I pass, but didn't find anything I needed.  We shared okra, pawpaws and eggplant with friends.  Our eggs and homemade bread crumbs were used in a broccoli quinoa dish.  I've heard and read good things about celery juice, so have been giving it a try, drinking it some mornings.  The celery pulp from the juicer goes into the broth bag.  J dug our sweet potato crop, which we then harvested.  We usually wait until the first frost is forecast, but ants and other critters have been munching on them, so he decided to get them now.  We got a bigger harvest than expected.  Though some were partially eaten and others were cut, we should still have a gracious plenty to eat through the winter.  The hummingbirds have been at the feeders, often with two fighting over the same feeder, though there is another feeder.  I'm sure they'll soon be flying to warmer climes.

Last week, a potter friend gifted me a beautiful spoon rest.  It's such a pleasure to enjoy handmade things in my daily homemaking tasks.  Another friend gifted me several canning jars and two shirts.  I took the leggings out of the dye pot.  When I rinsed them, they sadly lost lost much of their color.  I'm going to keep at this, maybe trying oak galls next.  I'm wanting a nice deep mottled brown, so we'll see.  After Florence, many leaves fell.  Along the walking path, it's beginning to smell like autumn, that lovely spicy scent of decaying plants and leaves.  It's looking more like fall too, with asters blooming and hearts-a-bustin' along the paths.  We had to make some changes to our upcoming road trip due to Florence.  It's always good to be flexible.   I'm so looking forward to cooler days and lower humidity.  Wishing you a lovely first week of autumn.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hurricane Florence & Frugal Accomplishments

monarch chrysalis on lambs quarter, close to emerging
Hello, friends.  Monday morning, after some searching in the garden, I found a monarch chrysalis on lambs quarter, as well as what I think may be red admiral chrysalises on stinging nettles.  When I went by a couple of hours later, the monarch had emerged, and was drying it's wings.  A couple of checks later, it was gone, hopefully flying off to a safe place.  Thankfully, the storm has weakened, and though we'll get wind and rain, it will not be to the extent as originally forecast.  Several of J's extended family, further east, are without power and dealing with flooding.  In these days of technology, we're thankfully able to talk or message with them, and know they are OK, even though one family had to leave their home due to flooding.

Pasta Norma was made with our eggplant, tomatoes and herbs, and caprese salad with our basil and tomatoes to go with it.  Some deep cleaning and decluttering was done.  I went through my jewelry box, and put aside a bag to be donated, as well as a pile of bits and pieces, such as single earrings, that will be given to a jewelry maker or thrift shop.  A collection of antique paper ephemera has been collecting dust.  I thought of someone who might be able to use it in her creations, and she is thrilled to take it.  So, a bit of progress made on the simplifying front.

I enjoyed some of our yellow watermelon for lunch one day.  It had been picked around 10 days earlier, and was rather soft in the middle.  Those bits, and the rinds and seeds went to the chickens.  J enjoyed some for lunch another day, and what he didn't eat went to the chickens.  The evening after we planted carrot seeds a few weeks ago, we had a heavy rainstorm, so a number of the seedlings had escaped the bed.  I transplanted those seedlings back into the bed, and hope they will live.  The kale seedlings seem to be doing well, and there are a few lettuce seedlings.  I made my Swagbucks goal once, and received a sample of catfood in the mail, along with two $3 coupons.

I gathered pawpaws and pears most days.  Many of the pawpaws had to be turned into compost, but I did make pawpaw parfait again one evening, with the last of this year's fresh blueberries.  We keep the chicken coop opened up during the summer. With the storm coming, I covered the window in their coop, and replaced the windows along the bottom of their little enclosed covered yard, to give them some wind protection while eating and drinking.  It feels pretty cozy in there now.   Greens and concord grapes were gathered for them to enjoy several days, and occasional cherry tomatoes.  I used one of our pumpkins, as well as cinnamon sticks and whole cloves from the pantry in a photo shoot for the Pumpkin Chai soap, and listed it in my shop.

As I was getting tight on freezer space, knowing I was going to be staying indoors due to the storm, I decided to simmer and can 2 1/2 gallon bags of frozen vegetable scraps into broth.  Thankful for more freezer room, and a few more jars on the pantry shelf.  I pulled a few carrots and about half of the beets before the storm arrived, concerned about them rotting with all the rain coming.  I also dug the small bed of potatoes we planted from small ones we grew last year.  We knew there wouldn't be much, but there ended up being enough potatoes for 2 meals, so two meals of potatoes we won't have to buy.  I took advantage of another mostly indoor storm day, by taking an online course and test for my massage license renewal, wrapping soap, and writing a letter I'd been putting off.  It's good to cross those off my to do list.

Late in the week, I found another monarch chrysalis in the garden, where I had seen one form a J the day before.  I was pretty sure that meant it was getting ready to form a chrysalis, so it was pretty neat to find.  I checked it on Saturday, about midway through the storm, and it was still there.  Last week, I made my Mom's zucchini soup and Brandy's Tuscan Tomato Bread soup, with our squash, tomatoes and herbs.  A batch of Butternut Chocolate Chip Brownies was made, using homemade vanilla, our eggs, and subbing seminole pumpkin in place of the squash.  I found a free series on Amazon prime, called Pioneer Quest, and have enjoyed it so far.  Watching these types of shows always makes me very thankful for modern conveniences.  During a hard rain, I noticed a good bit of rain flowing over the gutters.  We have guards on our gutters, so during a lull, I went up a ladder, and cleaned off the main rain water collection area, where the two rooflines meet.  Our cisterns are all full now, which is always a good feeling.  The gutter guards don't work as promised, as they still collect leaves and other bits that fall on the roof, but it is easier to wipe them off than having to dig all the detritus out of the gutters as before.

Cleaning up the porch before the storm, I realized I hadn't done anything with the dye pot full of hickory and hazelnut husks.  The liquid looked darker than it had when it started, so I strained it and added the pair of leggings I had originally tried to dye with pine bark.  After a couple of days, the leggings have taken on enough color to be tan or light brown.  I'll leave them a bit longer, and see how they end up.  The sheet I dyed with marigolds was machine washed, and it kept all it's color.  I watched several online tutorials on tying quilts, ordered basting pins to do it, and hope to start on it soon.  All the plants that had been on the porch were moved indoors, to prevent a repeat performance of pots being flung hither and yon during the storm.

There's a plant I'd noticed, but hadn't paid much attention to this summer.  I had thought it was one of the grapes we planted a few years ago, but seeing blooms on it last week made me realize it was a volunteer hibiscus, such a welcome surprise.  I'm thinking it's a hardy hibiscus, but not really sure.  It would be most appreciated if you'd share, if you happen to know this plant. 

I generally try to work on these posts as the week goes by, and am typing these lines on generator power Sunday morning.  The power has been out for an hour or so, and the map shows a rather extensive area out.  I'm loving the jumble of morning glories and day flowers along the garden fence right now.  J emptied the rain gauge today, which holds 5".  It's been raining steadily since,  We were in the 10-15" forecast, but I'm thinking we may get a bit less when all is said and done.

Though it does take diesel to run our generator, J said it's good to run it for a while now and then, so I thought of chores that use electric to do then, instead of paying for the electricity when it comes back on.  I got a load of laundry washed and dried, ground a pan of bread ends into bread crumbs, and vacuumed.  Just a bit over 3 hours, and the power returned. I took advantage of a free listing offer on ebay, and listed six books, part of my decluttering efforts.  I mended a pair of shorts.  For dinner, along with bought corn, I cooked our okra and a new lentil based vegi loaf.  We weren't fans of the vegi loaf.  It was decent, and we'll eat it, but it won't make it into my repertoire.  There's a chickpea based one I still want to try, and there's a nut based loaf I love, but rarely make any more, as it's pretty expensive.   I may have to find that recipe.  Though we've got some warm days coming up, the storm has made it feel like soup and meatloaf (vegi) weather.  I hope you are all staying safe, and wish you a good week ahead.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The September Garden & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  On Labor Day, I prepped eggplant and okra, for my husband to grill.  We had sliced tomatoes to go with it, and made ice cream using our (toasted) hazelnuts.  It gives me such pleasure to have most of a meal come from this land.  Last week, I harvested green beans, okra, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, pawpaws, lima beans, pears and a plum.  Ironing was caught up.  I shopped at Walgreens, getting the Senior discount as well as the equivalent of over $18 in bonus points, plus a $5 off $20 coupon, just getting a few things I needed.  Laundry was done with homemade soap and hung on the line.  I shared pawpaws, tromboncino squash and cherry tomatoes with several people.  A large amount of pawpaws had to be composted, as they're so very perishable, and I just couldn't give them away fast enough.

I celebrated my birthday last week, a landmark 60.  Beautiful flowers arrived from my daughter in spirit.  One bloom was open when they arrived. By the time I returned from out of town, they were a riot of color.  A lovely dinner was cooked by J.  One of my presents was an IOU to attend a festival this fall, one I've been wanting to attend for a few years.  I'll share more about that once we've been.  While we were at the pond, J noticed a good sized Eastern painted turtle on a log.  A sweet friend gifted me this very special book, a peek of it in the top photo.  I've admired it for some time, and had enjoyed a copy from the library.  The illustrations and notations take you through the seasons.  It will be a lovely thing to be able to follow it along as the months go by.

A dear friend and I took a short road trip to Charlotte.  We attended an opening for an artist acquaintance, enjoyed a fantastic concert, and ate extremely well.  The only somewhat frugal part of the trip was shopping at thrift stores, and a discount grocery.  I was happy to find several things for my granddaughter, including rain boots and three pieces of dress up/Halloween clothing.  Favorite finds at the discount grocery were organic crushed pineapple, regular price $3.79 for .99, maple syrup, sale price $4.99 for $2.99, and smoked basmati rice, regular price $15.81 for $1.99/ 2#.

Two friends have been sharing photos of monarch and swallowtail caterpillars, chrysalises, and emerging butterflies.  Last night, I was excited to see at least 10 monarch caterpillars on the milkweed in the garden.  I didn't explore much, as I didn't want to disturb them.  Hopefully, I will spot at least one chrysalis this week.

Another order for a Berkey stand came in while I was away, as well as several inquiries, which means our vacation fund happily continues to grow.  When I returned, the garden had not been picked, and I harvested tomatoes, green beans, eggplant and pawpaws.  I didn't get to the pears or the okra, but plan on doing that today.  I'm sure a lot of the okra will be too large, but they'll make good compost.  On occasion, I open the big pods to give the inner seeds to the chickens, as they love them.  Thanks to McNibs, I didn't get a great deal of sleep last night, so it depends on how much energy I have if that gets done or not.  We've started getting rain, much needed, ahead of the storm.  We'll go over our hurricane prep today, and be ready to batten down the hatches if needed.  Be well and safe, friends!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Early September & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I tried two new recipes on Monday, and both were keepers. It's nice when that happens, because let's face it, cooking from scratch takes some work.  The pawpaw recipe on Sunday was good, but J has come to the conclusion that cooked pawpaws do not agree with him.  He does fine with it raw in a fruit salad, but not so well with it baked in a pudding (think persimmon pudding, but with pawpaws).  I froze the remainder, then shared all of it with several friends.  The keeper recipes were lemon rice salad, shared by Susan Branch, and zucchini gratin, and I'm sorry to say I can't tell where it came from, other than it was adapted from a recipe from Just A Pinch, and the recipe I used was doubled.  I used tromboncino in place of zucchini.  The tromboncino seem to be winding down now, with just a few manageable ones ripening a week.  We're letting one mature, to save seed.  The latest kale planting is germinating well, and there are a few sprinklings of carrots and lettuce coming up.

I gathered just about all that's left of the plums, and made asian plum sauce.  As it ended up being only a 4 oz. jar's worth, I decided not to can it, but keep it in the fridge.  A large basket of lima beans, both dried and fresh were picked one evening.  I decided to take the beans with me to the hair salon the next day, as I  knew I'd be there a few hours.  I expected to be laughed at, but it turns out a woman there ended up shelling more than I did.  The hair salon is a tiny place, with no nails done, and no perms, so not a smelly place to bring food.  I haven't done a hair update in a while.  I suppose I'm still not ready to go gray, as I'm still using Hairprint.  To solve the issue of roots quickly showing up, someone near and dear to me, who is beautiful inside and out, shared that she uses root touch up.  I found a natural one I like, so have started doing that too.  Ah, vanity!

Pawpaws were shared with several friends during the week.   A "free" box was brought up to our little community store, and someone else picked up a box to share at the local animal shelter thrift store.  There are so many ripening, if J can't eat them cooked, that seems the best choice.  It makes me happy that everyone who has tried pawpaws this year has loved them, whereas a few years ago, nobody seemed to like them at all.  If I haven't mentioned before, they've been shown to have some serious anti-cancer properties, so a good fruit to have around.  I brought three beauty berry bushes J dug up to someone who had requested some.  The birds scatter the berries all over, so we have no shortage of seedlings.  I tried a new eggplant dish, called Poor Little Eggplants.  The dish was rather tough that night, but lots better when reheated with some water as leftovers.  I've been enjoying library books, and requested another.  A 40% photo coupon was used from Walgreens, with the cost of a 4 x 6 print at .20.

I passed McNibs one day outside, and noticed an Eastern Painted turtle just a few feet away.   That's the species that laid eggs near the pond earlier this year.  I wonder if we will see many more of them next year.  Yogurt and hummingbird food were made.  Laundry was done with homemade soap, and hung on the line.  Homemade soap and deodorant were used each day.  Composting, shredding paper and cardboard, and washing out plastic bags for reuse happened too.  I received a $10 off $50 coupon from Tractor Supply, and used it to buy chicken feed and dog food.  The three young roosters were offered free on my fb page, as well as craigslist.  A woman came and got all three on Sunday.  It's amazing how much calmer the chicken yard is without the overabundance of young male hormones.  I will say, I don't enjoy craigslist, with the multitude of messages, and people promising to come, but who never show up.  But in this case, it did serve its purpose, giving us three less mouths to feed and significantly less chaos in the flock. 

My online shops have continued to receive orders and positive reviews, of which I'm most appreciative.  I worked on painting four orders, and made two batches of soap last week.  There were also two local soap sales, a very nice surprise.  I enjoyed meeting my stepmom for lunch one day, then went to my co-op while I was in that town.  I bought a few needed things, including NC apples for .99#.   A canister was found at a new thrift store.  This weekend, I turned it into a compost crock, took photos, and listed it in my shop.   Pasta salad was made using our cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano and home canned olives.  The pups get a few cherry tomatoes with their dinner each night, and usually some pear pieces from ones that have developed a brown spot.  J made us delicious cheese biscuits for Sunday breakfast.  He'd talked about them recently, and I'd never had them, so was delighted he made them.   On the chance that someone reading has pawpaws to work with, I wanted to share this parfait recipe, which we both thought was yummy.  I substituted our blueberries for raspberries, Sucanat for powdered sugar, added a little homemade vanilla, but otherwise followed directions :o).  Happy Labor Day!