Sunday, January 8, 2017

He Had Stars in His Eyes & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I hope you're staying warm.  Last week, I baked a spaghetti squash, and froze enough for 3 meals after using some in a dish with frozen lambs quarter, then steamed some of our frozen corn on the cob, which was so good!  I ran errands while working in town, charged my cell phone while driving, and folded & reused a piece of scrap paper to make a grocery list.  Only a few items were purchased at the grocery store, including dog food and wine on sale.  Before covering up the greens against the cold temps and predicted snow, I harvested a large amount of chard, some carrots, and a few leaves each of kale and collards.  The pups got some holey collard leaves and grated carrots in their dinner.  J & I made our first batch of mead, using this recipe.  It wasn't terribly frugal, what with using an organic orange and local honey, but I hope it's tasty.  It should be ready to taste by Valentines Day.  I'd love to hear if you've ever made mead before.

A large part of the work J & his business partner do is related to green energy, from hydro power to biodiesel projects.  Vegetable glycerin is a byproduct of making fuel from vegetable oils.  The guys swear by my biodiesel glycerin soap when they're cleaning up after shop work.  They'd used the last of the soap I'd made, and since J was able to get some glycerin recently, I made a new batch of soap.  They don't want any scent added, so it is the most economical soap I make.  One night when I couldn't sleep, I wrapped soap.  Another night, I embroidered a new face on a snowman a dear friend gave me some years ago.  The original face was drawn on with marker, which had bled, so I cut fabric from a good piece of old curtain I was given, and sewed a new face on, which I then embroidered.  I also finished a couple of books on those nights of little sleep.

For breakfasts, I made an egg sandwich with our egg and lettuce, and fried eggs another morning.  For lunch and snacking, I made hummus with our garlic and pantry items, and for a dinner lentil soup with our carrots and pantry items.  Chickweed was picked on the way to collect eggs.  I put down more straw in their coop, in light of the single digits coming, and picked an armful of spearmint, adding it to their nest boxes for it's insect repelling and aroma enhancing benefits.  One of the nightgowns J gifted me for Christmas was longer than I care for, so I cut and hemmed it a shorter length, saving the cut off length of fabric.  Next I mended a clothes hamper liner.   One of my goals is to make at least some of my nightgowns, and I'd love to begin that this year.  A couple of years ago, we experimented with adding biochar to the garden, & it seemed to have very positive benefits on our potato crop.  As we have the means to make biochar, I have begun collecting twigs when I walk around the homestead, adding them to a bucket for this purpose.  It's one of those things we've been meaning to do, and having the materials to create it readily on hand will help make that happen.

Laundry was done with homemade laundry soap and soap gel.  Two loads were hung on the line to dry, and two were dried in the dryer as the chance of precipitation went up.  I'm thankful to have the option.  I wanted to be caught up with laundry before the winter storm arrived, in the event of a power outage.  I put all my saved soap scraps with water in the blender, and made soap gel.  Generally I pour a dollop in with laundry, and use it in a soap dispenser at the bathroom sink.  J & I were gifted solar lights, and placed 4 of them along the flower bed leading to the carport.  I paid the propane bill within 10 days, getting a small discount.  The Call The Midwife Christmas special, free through online PBS, was a joy to watch.  Continuing to work on eating down the freezer, I heated frozen peas and a squash casserole & we finished leftovers with this.

Stars in his eyes
Other weather related chores included cutting small heads of broccoli, which wouldn't have fared well with the single digit temps.  I'm hoping the plants themselves will do well under the blanket of snow.  There are a number of windows we've gathered over the years, and I placed them around the enclosed chicken coop area where the food and water is located.  It does look a bit tacky, but isn't visible from the road, and does well in keeping the area warmer and dryer during snowy times.  In the spring, I'll move them away from the chicken wire again, to allow in breezes.   I harvested oregano and parsley, and decided to harvest some leeks too, thinking potato leek soup would be yummy, which also used our potatoes and carrots.  Along with the soup, I made a pear blue cheese salad with our lettuce.  I'm wondering how the lettuce is doing under the snow in the cold frame, hoping it's insulating it enough to keep it alive.   If you could use some frugal encouragement to meet your goals for this month or year,  there are lots of good folks to join at The Prudent Homemaker community.


Debdeb said...

I look forward to hearing how your mead turns out! :-)

Laurie said...

If it's worth sharing, you'll have to come taste, Deb!

Debdeb said...

I'd love that!

Jane said...

The little snowman looks much cuter now. Thought of making mead, but haven't yet. Sounds interesting, I too will be interested in hearing how it turns out. Stay warm!


Laurie said...

Hi Jane! I read a bit more today about the mead recipe, & it seems most are saying it's not fit to drink in two months, but takes a bit longer before it's pleasantly drinkable.

Michèle Hastings said...

I did a lot of laundry before the storm and cold weather too. When we lived at the cabin the drain for the laundry often froze. Thankfully, that hasn't happened in this house.
Many of my herbs had survived the frost up until last week, and I was thankful to have them.
Curious to hear of your mead venture... I don't think I have ever had it before!