Monday, July 17, 2017

A Skunk, Summer Squash & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I'm joining in with The Prudent Homemaker today.  Last week, I canned summer squash and eggplant.  I saved the vegi ends in the broth bag, watered plants with canning water, and refilled bird baths. Another day, I canned pickled beets and lavender blueberry jam.  The jam is good, but next time, I'll try more lavender.  I added the lower suggested amount to be on the safe side, but it was barely noticeable.  I colored my hair at home.  We had to attend an out of town funeral, and then stopped for a late lunch on the drive home.  Between that and the heat (a heat index of 103), we didn't want much for dinner, so I made a caprese salad with our garden produce, and we finished up leftover asian cucumbers.  Laundry was done with homemade soap and hung on the line.

On one of our morning walks, McNibs had a run in with a skunk.  He had disappeared for a few minutes, then came running to me drooling, after he'd obviously been for a good dunk in the creek.  When we got back home, I held him outdoors while J poured a soapy water and vinegar mix on him.  It helped a little bit.  I had a class to attend, so had to quickly clean up and go.  When I returned, McNibs had a bath in the tub, with two homemade soaps, Sirius dog soap and the odor busting Kitchen Thyme soap.  These helped some more.  I've since washed his face with baby shampoo and more of the Kitchen Thyme, and each time it's a little better. That stuff is persistent!  I suggested that we throw some of our tomatoes in the blender, but J thought vinegar would do as well.  I'm thinking I may still try some, to get the last of it off.  I think he's learned his lesson, as he wisely seems to be staying away from the area.    I'm hoping for no repeat performances.

Lawn equipment and I are not the best of friends at the moment.   This summer, I've lost my only eucalyptus and lemon verbena to overzealous mowing and weeding by the guys.  Last week, I took a shirt with me to a natural dye class, and left it there as suggested to continue dyeing overnight.  It fell off the porch of the center while drying, and someone actually weed whacked it!  I haven't seen it yet, but am told it has grass stains and is torn.  The shirt is one I wore on my honeymoon, so it has a little sentimental value.  They say things come in threes, so I'm hoping that's the end of that story.  On a positive note, the instructor gave us some dried coreopsis to take home for dyeing.  Last week, I paid bills online, saving stamps, and made my swagbucks goal several days.   With these hot days, I get up early, so I can take a good walk in with the pups, then get some outdoor chores done before it gets too hot.  J can work in any kind of heat or cold, but it makes me feel bad, so I do all I can in the cooler mornings or evenings, then mostly stay busy indoors.

I went through my closet, and filled 2 large boxes for donation.  I pretty much followed the thinking of keeping only what you love, which was easier than I expected,  I suppose because it was time to let things go.  I got a shoe organizer to help neaten the floor, and it feels so much better in there.  Space to breathe is always a good thing.  The heat index has been over a hundred several days this past week.  One evening, I prepped ice cream which used our peaches, eggs and homemade vanilla, and handed it off to J to do the freezing part.  I subbed whole milk for half and half, in addition to the heavy cream, and added a splash of almond extract.  It was fantastic, and really hit the spot these sweltering evenings.  The skins and buggy bits cut away were put in the dehydrator, which I'll use when making bird suet.

heart shaped beet
In eating down the freezer, I found a couple of bags of blueberries from last year.  I canned those, along with fresh ones, to put another 5 quarts of blueberries on the pantry shelf.  I plan to use these for cobblers.  A pan of dried bread ends was turned into bread crumbs in the blender.  Though J prefers the cheapest whole wheat bread on the store shelf, I buy good organic seeded bread for myself.  I like that the bread crumbs have additional seeds and grains, which add nutrition to the dish they're used in.  The chickens get the cheap bread ends.  They apparently have the same taste as J, and don't seem to mind a bit :o).  I recently noticed our snake plant blooming.  J has had it for many years, and never saw it bloom, so that's pretty neat.  I read that being pot bound encourages them to bloom, though I repotted it this spring.  I started 4 varieties of collards that we already had seed for.

Our broccoli is trying to flower in this heat, so I cut off what I could, less than a cup, and blanched and froze it.  It will be a nice addition to fried rice or a stir fry.  I harvested eggplant, and prepped it with our garlic, oregano, thyme and basil for the grill.  I also prepped yellow and tromboncino squash for the grill, and added a little basil to it as well.  To round out that dinner, I sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, which was enough on a hot day.  Canning water was used to water plants on the porch and in the yard.  I did a little weeding around the broccoli, and around the eggplant.  The okra have some small pods formed, and the green beans have little beans forming.  I have to admit I'm not looking forward to picking either of these, as both take a bit of time.  Also, we still have okra from last year in the freezer, and quite a few quarts of green beans in the pantry.  They won't be wasted, but I don't think I'll enjoy the picking.  For a family gathering, I brought a bowl of cherry tomatoes, herb tea, and a side dish which used our yellow squash, oregano and onion.  What are you harvesting?


Debra Spinks said...

Cucumbers, cucumbers, cucumbers! And tomatoes, corn, beans, poblano peppers, and sweet onions. Also basil and thyme. My mom had the same plant as your snake plant for years; we called it mother-in-law's tongue.

Laurie said...

Sounds like good eating, Debra! Mary was eating cucumbers you shared the last time I visited. I'm sad about our corn, especially being J says that's the last time he's growing it. Darn raccoons!

Michèle Hastings said...

I am finally catching up with blogger friends! It sure was hot last week, which did make it a challenge to get outside work done. Sorry to hear about the skunk debacle. I haven't had a dog in many years but I will never forget the skunk encounters. It seems like months before the odors is completely gone.
A few years ago we had a raccoon problem. When we used organic fertilizer on our tomatoes they would dig them up at night. Our farm neighbor lost all of his corn that year too.

Laurie said...

So, you're saying we have lots of time to enjoy the scent, Michele :o) I've never had a dog hit full on until this time, just traces of the scent before. Such fun! Raccoons and deer and japanese beetles... makes it tough to be a gardener!

Terri Cheney said...

Like Debra, my grandmother referred to the snake plant as Mother in Law's tongue. Mine isn't blooming this year but it has bloomed the past three years. Those little flowers are soooo fragrant aren't they? I never knew these things bloomed until mine finally did. I left it out all winter this year and most of the huge pot survived. I shall bring it in this year. It survived but I prefer to have it indoors. I'm much further south than you are and had hoped it would do better, but apparently I need to be further south still.

Terri Cheney said... Laurie this is the shelf liner you asked me about on my blog...

Laurie said...

Thank you, Terri!