4 hours ago
Monday, December 28, 2015
Today I'm joining in with Frugal Accomplishments. Last week, I mended the carrying case for my massage chair. Received a rebate for paint. Strained, added honey and bottled my first batch of Fire Cider. It's surprisingly tasty! I enjoyed holiday music on Pandora. I made a pumpkin pie with our pumpkin and eggs, cooked our potatoes with rutabagas, harvested and prepared chard, boiled eggs which we and the pups shared. Chopped the chard stems and leaves with holes for the pups, and put some chopped stems in the vegi broth bag. Harvested greens for the chickens. Did laundry with homemade soap, and hung one load on the line. Rain was expected in a few hours, so I dried the remainder in the dryer. Used scrap paper for lists.
Shopped at the discount grocery store, and found kalamata olives for $2, 3L olive oil for $8, pack of 12 toothbrushes for $1, natural cane sugar for $1/lb. Got 5/$5 evaporated milk at the grocery store. Made broccoli fried rice with our broccoli, carrots, garlic, onions and eggs. Added the carrot tops to the broth bag, and gave some grated carrots to the pups, along with a couple of chopped collard leaves with holes, and grated apples. Made Swagbucks daily goal several days.
Friday, December 25, 2015
It's been my tradition to take a walk with the pups on Christmas. On a typical day, we pretty much keep to the path. But on Christmas, we enjoy wandering the woods of this piece of land.
There are no ticks or mosquitoes to bother us, and it's easier to wander with the leaves off the trees.
Like much of the country, it was an unusually warm Christmas here, with temperatures in the mid-70's.
|an interesting tree "skeleton"|
Thanks for coming along on our walk. I hope you had a most enjoyable day, however you spent it.
Monday, December 21, 2015
I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments today. I've been enjoying some holiday traditions, baking cookies, writing cards and wrapping presents. Our ladies homestead group had a cookie swap and potluck this week. I brought gluten-free peanut butter cookies, sesame cookies, crispy oat cookies with orange zest, and apple beet salad. From the homestead were beets and the eggs for the sesame cookies. We also had a gift exchange, and I brought a bar of Kitchen Thyme soap and a wool duster. It was lots of fun to see what the ladies made for the exchange. I was gifted a mason jar of cookie mix with recipe. I spent a morning with my sister in law, helping my niece's third grade class make Christmas crafts, which was great fun.
When I went by the discount grocery store, they were in the middle of a major overhaul, so there was very little on the shelves. The owner had passed away a few weeks ago, and they now had permission to set the store up as they felt was the best use of the space. It was certainly cleaner than I'd ever seen it, and I'm looking forward to seeing it when fully set up. I ordered Real Simple magazine, free through using my points on Recyclebank. I wonder if anyone has experience with AARP Rewards for Good? I haven't spent a lot of time on there, but it seems as though the rewards are for things like jewelry, restaurant cards, electronics and such, things I don't really need. I know many are not of the age to be using AARP, but if any of you knows of simpler rewards on offer, I'd love to hear about them.
I made yogurt and kefir, lentil soup with our carrots, and collards and rice with home canned broth. Gave the pups chopped greens, grated carrots, cut the brown spots from an apple and grated the remainder for them. When I cut my round bars of shaving soaps, there are always smaller end pieces left over. I had sold all of the bars in stock, so I cleaned up two end pieces and packaged them together, so I could sell one last shaving set for the holidays. Borrowed several books from the library. Prepared roasted brussels sprouts with our garlic. Used a Lowes gift card I got from Swagbucks points for a gift. Using wood for heat, there invariably are sticks that get brought into the house. The pups have a good time making just a bit more mess for "Mom".
J found a great deal on some especially dense wood, perfect for our new porch floor. The catch was we had to drive to Asheville to get it. While there, we also found all the door and window casing we need, for significantly less than I had seen online (a bit over $3 for a 7' length vs around $12). This place had all sorts of interesting things, and I found tins of olive oil at 3L for $8, so I got all 5 on the shelf for soap making. We stopped for lunch on the way home, and had an especially nice meal for a reasonable price. I trimmed my hair several inches. Our tree is finally up, the lights bringing cheer and ornaments bringing sweet memories. Wishing you and yours a very merry holiday!
Monday, December 14, 2015
Last week, I used a $3 off $30 coupon at Lowe's Foods. Bought 3 bubble wrap rolls at Staples with a buy 2, get 1 free sale, using a gift card I received as a rebate. The card paid for the bubble wrap, with a couple dollars to spare. Gathered a few rose hips from the wild roses. Made yogurt and kefir. Reading a borrowed book from a little library box at Small B&B. I tried a sweet potato smoothie with one of our homegrown leftovers, adding homemade yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla and leftover apple juice I had spiced to drink warm. I took it with me as I ran out the door, & though it was good, it was a bit too thick for my taste. Next time I will add more liquid.
I took my car in for a repair that was a recall. The repair was free, but while there, I was told my front brake pads were getting thin. J said if I bought the pads, he'd replace them. I purchased them through ebates, and used a 20% off coupon code, saving me 27%. Prepared a winter salad with our greens and garlic, served with crowder peas I had canned. I baked chestnuts (not a frugal accomplishment, but a seasonal pleasure & one that brings back sweet memories of my Mom), & while the oven was hot, I baked 2 of our spaghetti squash and froze the "spaghetti". We do have two chestnuts planted, but they are still little saplings. Some day... Gave the dogs chopped greens stems with their dinner, & gave the chickens the last of the smoothie, along with chickweed, dandelion greens & creasy greens I picked on the way to see them.
I received a $5 rewards from Staples, I believe from bringing ink cartridges to recycle on my last visit. I took Guinness to the vet for his annual visit, and got a prescription for his heartworm med, as I can find it much cheaper online. A local gardening friend recently spoke of a tomato that did wonderfully in their garden, from Seeds from Italy. During a 20% off sale last week, I purchased the tomato seeds, plus a few others I'm excited to try. I've heard about beeswax fabric wraps, and just read about a tutorial to make your own here.
I spent Friday evening and Saturday with Stephen Jenkinson of Orphan Wisdom. A friend and I barely found a seat for the film screening about him, Griefwalker, on Friday. Saturday was story telling and wisdom shared of his many years of work with the dying. It was obvious with the packed house for both events, I'm not alone in thinking his teachings are so needed in these times. I made pasta using our tomatoes, oregano, parsley, basil and garlic. Began baking cookies to share for the holidays. Washed laundry with homemade soap and hung it on the line. The days have been warm and beautiful for December. I still have lots to do to get ready for the holidays. How about you?
Sunday, December 6, 2015
|male downy woodpecker|
|a few of the wool dusters|
I sold out of my two seasonal soaps at the show, Pumpkin Chai & St. Clements (Citrus Spice). The show was lots of fun, and I came home with some presents. On Sunday, I got all the show stuff put away by noon, and hoped I might be able to relax a bit. I had in mind reading on the couch, which is a rare treat. After packing up several online orders, gathering greens and carrots & collecting eggs, spending some time trying to make a decision on a piece of our ongoing project, walking with the pups and making dinner, the afternoon was gone. But after supper, I did indeed get caught up on a weeks worth of newspapers, and finished a library book. I made a pasta dish with some of our fresh parsley for dinner, and put the stems into the broth bag in the freezer. I'm looking forward to working on some holiday things this week... writing cards, wrapping, perhaps a little baking.
Monday, November 30, 2015
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
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|
Monday, November 16, 2015
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
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
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
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.
Monday, October 26, 2015
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?
Monday, October 19, 2015
We had our first light frost Saturday night, and a freeze predicted Sunday night. That always means a bit of scrambling to make sure all indoor plants are in, tender plants in the garden are harvested, & water lines are ready. I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments. Last week, I made my first ever batch of Fire Cider, using my garlic, rosemary & rosella calyces. The recipes allow for variation. I bought a pomegranate at Aldi's recently for .99, and added the seeds. I bought 4/$5 artichokes, and put the stem bottoms and trimmings into my vegetable broth bag when I steamed them. I love artichokes, & used to be able to find them on sale for .99, but no more. I saw some this week at Harris Teeter for 3.49 each! Made yogurt and kefir. Frugal fail- had to compost a zucchini I had forgotten about. The tea camellia is blooming, always nice to see during the cooler months.
The sumacs and dogwood are so pretty, with their turning leaves. I made some progress on my quilt. Picked basil and rosemary. Pulled a few carrots; shredded them in the pups dinner and saved the greens and ends in the freezer bag for broth. Made pasta with our tomatoes, squash and herbs for sauce, & put squash & onion ends in broth bag. Did laundry with homemade soap and hung it on the line. I had picked up a loaf of organic bread while at the grocery store, then found a loaf of the same bread on the markdown bakery rack, so put the full price one back where I got it. Got organic avocados 4/$3 at Aldi's.
My sister & I had a day together, enjoying some thrift stores & a trip to TJ Maxx. Found a 100% alpaca scarf for 2.99, a like new Pendleton wool scarf for 1.50, Burts Bees Baby organic cotton baby clothes for my niece's upcoming shower at TJ Maxx (total outfit $11). I made an online purchase at Lowe's through Swagbucks, and paid with my Lowe's card, which gave me an 8% discount overall. I paid off last month's bill in full, to avoid any interest. We were offered solid wood flooring that was left over from a project for .50/ft. Bought a bushel of NC mountain York apples at the local feed & seed for $24. I'm not sure how that works out per lb., as I don't know how many pounds, but I enjoy having them to use through the winter.
When our first frost was threatening, I harvested all the tomatoes of any size, quite a few eggplant, one pepper, a couple of squash, chard, basil, lemon verbena & pulled all the cranberry bean plants up. I had spent most of the day on the roof with J, working on a homestead project, so didn't have time to pick each bean by hand. On Sunday, I picked the beans off the plants, & got about 1/2 shelled. I also cut all the zinnias for a bouquet in the house, so I can enjoy them as long as possible. It's always sad when the flowers are done for the year. I finished washing all the windows, and got the last of the plants indoors. Pups got the holier chard leaves chopped up in their dinner.
J & I harvested all our sweet potatoes before the frost. We had a good harvest, which was unexpected, due to weeds, drought, then lots of rain. Voles had eaten portions of some of them, and with those, I will cut away the good parts and dehydrate for pup treats. They're good for them, they love them, and they're free except for time and a little electricity. I also dug one hill of potatoes, and was happily surprised. I ran out of time to do more, so will plan to dig the rest early this week. I added Home Fires to my Netflix queue, after Brandy's mention of it. Wishing you a wonderful week!