Monday, February 18, 2019

Thrifted Treasures & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I hope you had a happy Valentine's Day.  Last week, I made my Swagbucks goal x 3, and they finally gave me credit for our September vacation, which will be enough for several gift cards.   A gallon jar of queen olives that were given to us was opened, with a quart jar of them put in the fridge and the big jar put in the basement to stay cool (low 50's).  They may be fine in the brine, as we love olives and will likely eat them quickly, but the cooler temps seemed wise.  I gathered a bucket of sweet gum balls for a future dyeing project.  I also gathered magnolia pods.  A delightful chicken canister was won at an auction at Hospice, which I'll turn into a compost crock.  This is the perfect time of year to be working on them, as people's thoughts will soon be turning to their gardens.

A new recipe for vegetarian meatballs was tried, and I'm enjoying them.   I made mushroom gravy with one of the bags of maitake I had frozen to use with them.  I haven't tried the other suggestions, with tomato sauce and in pita bread with aioli sauce, but think they'd be good those ways as well.  After delivering soap, I picked up a few groceries, and stopped at several thrift stores.  I found a very nice blue canister to turn into a compost crock at one.  It was covered with old grease, and still had flour in it, but it cleaned up fine.  Another store had some men's clothes on sale for $2.  I was able to get J a soft merino wool sweater, and a NWT Land's End shirt.  Food Lion had asparagus for $1.99, which I purchased, as it will be a month or more before we can harvest any of ours.  I dropped off two books at a little free library.

two new compost crocks
At the quilt guild meeting last week, I learned about a sewing day they have each month at the senior center.  I attended, took the bed cover I've been working on, and got the border squares tied to the backing.  It was enjoyable, and I got tips from several of the ladies there.  Afterwards, I headed to the RSPCA thrift store to drop a box off.  I found a book of embroidery stitches for .50, three packs of candlewick thread for .25 ea, and a pretty, large blue bail jar for $3.  I'd forgotten about their policy of needing a $10 purchase to use a card, and had not thought to bring cash.  I started to put things back, when the man behind me in line offered to add several of his items to mine, to add up to $10, then gave me cash for them.  Wasn't that nice?  People are good.  I dehydrated green onions and oregano.  Butternut squash crumble was made using our squash and parsley, and asparagus was steamed.   In between coats of paint for an order, I got the holes drilled in the compost crocks.  It's turned cold and damp here this weekend, the kind of raw days where it's good to take care of indoor tasks and await warmer days.  J & I watched a movie on amazon prime.  Have a lovely week, friends.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Early Flowers, Permaculture & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  We've had a mix of warm and cool days this week.  I was able to hang laundry on the line three days, including sheets which I put right back on the bed.  They smelled so good to crawl into.  I made suet and yogurt.  Ziploc bags were washed for reuse, and fruit and vegi scraps were added to the compost.  A pan of dried, crushed eggs shells was added to the compost bin.  After work, I stopped at Walgreens, and bought sharpie pens BOGO, and got $4 in rewards for buying cashews.  I'd been given a couple of cords I didn't need when I bought the computer monitor at the thrift store last week.  When I dropped them off, I bought a canister to turn into a compost crock at half price.

I finished getting my taxes ready Thursday morning.  Yippee!  Every year, I learn something I can do to make it easier, and make notes for future years.  I drilled holes in the canister lid that I'm turning into a compost crock, and painted an order.  It's been unseasonably warm, and I've really been enjoying having windows open, as it's soon to turn cold again.  It's the longest it hasn't rained in a while, so after I vacuumed, I mopped the floors.  In the evening, I met a friend for an inexpensive dinner, then we went to the local quilt guild's meeting, where they had a speaker on basic sewing machine information.  We both picked up a few tips, and met some nice ladies.

After hanging laundry on the line on Friday, I worked some more on the chop and drop around the fruit trees.  I pruned the kiwis, cut and added their trimmings around two blueberries and several fruit trees along the driveway.  I then covered up the trimmings with some of the bale of spoiled hay.  It was a good workout, but I'm happy to have it done, and hope the trees will reward us with more fruit.  I baked our sweet potatoes for dinner.  The forsythia is making flower buds, and daffodils and one of the hellebores are flowering.

blackberry with chop and drop, before covering
On Saturday, I again worked on the chop and drop.  This time, elderberries were pruned and added around various berries.  A second patch of elderberries was pruned, and trimmings added around several figs.  For a year or so, I've been following a woman in Ireland who has created a beautiful permaculture paradise over 13 years.  She is in her 60's, and does almost all of the work herself, which is encouraging.  I also love the fact that she is only an hour or so from where my grandparents grew up.  If you'd like to view her lovely videos on fb, or visit her, she's at Bealtaine Cottage.  The compost crock and 5 ebay listings were photographed, shipping calculated, and then listed on Sunday.
It's turned colder and begun raining.  Soup and salad seemed in order.  I made a lentil soup, using home canned lentils and our leek and celery.  The celery was from some of the store bought bottoms I planted last year.  They're doing great in the cold frame.  Wishing you a peaceful week, friends.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Early February & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  If you've been having to deal with frigid temperatures, I hope you've been able to stay safe and warm and cozy.  Last week, I redeemed a coupon for a free can of dog food.  I made potato leek soup, using our potatoes and broth.  My new boots were sealed, and I've enjoyed hiking in them.  I worked many hours on taxes last week, and think/hope the end is in sight.  The main day I worked on taxes, I put a pot of apple cider on the wood stove, with a cinnamon stick and some cloves.  I sipped on this throughout the cold day.  A simple treat, but it helped to keep me motivated.  Scratch paper was used for notes and lists.  I made yogurt and thousand island dressing.  Our canned crowder peas and sweet potatoes were used for dinner one night.  Ziploc bags were washed for reuse, and egg shells saved in a pan to dry for compost.

Two loads of laundry were hung on the line.  I made carrot pineapple salad, and individually froze the remainder of the crushed pineapple, enough for 3 more salads.  Homemade yogurt was used in the salad.  I pruned several fruit trees and bushes.  I'm wanting to move more towards permaculture principles, and did what is called chop and drop, cutting up and piling the trimmings beneath each tree to break down.  We have a partial large bale of spoiled hay, and I intend to cover the trimmings with this.   I've enjoyed watching youtube videos on permaculture, and joined a permaculture fb group.  I'm writing ideas down to try as I learn them.  Even with gardening organically here for many years, there always seem to be challenges.  I know that permaculture can't fix the problem of squirrels or other critters getting our fruit, for example, but if there was more of a bounty of fruit, maybe there would be enough for everyone.  That's my hope.

hawk on windmill
Potato salad was made using our potatoes and parsley.  The hens continue to lay well, and I was able to share a dozen eggs.  I gathered chickweed, and gave them kitchen scraps.  We harvested collards, which were substituted for kale in J's allergy soup.  I made a purchase at Harbor Freight, used a 20% off coupon, and got a free tarp.  With J & I not able to have milk at present, I froze 2 quarts for the future, and used the rest for making yogurt.  I uncovered the cold frame with lettuce, chard, and celery, as there are no freezing temps in the forecast.  Though it looks like we're having a warming trend, I will keep an eye on it, and cover it back up as needed.  I had a couple of ebay sales, and worked on a number of new items to list.  Dinner was eaten by candlelight all but one night.  When I looked out the kitchen window one day, I saw a large bird on top of a non-functioning windmill by the garden.  I went out on the porch, and still didn't know what it was when I snapped a pic.  Shortly after, it took off in my direction, and I saw it was a hawk.  We often see them in February, when they're migrating.  Wishing you a good week.