Monday, May 20, 2024

Lovely Spring Days


Hello, friends.  Last week, while having a cool spell, with a couple of nights in the upper 40's, I decided to catch up on broth making.  I'd gathered 7 1/2 gallon bags of veggie scraps, which is not hard this time of year, between asparagus ends, pea pods, chard and beet stems, and the ever present celery ends.  I simmered it one day, strained and refrigerated it overnight, then canned it the next day, adding 15 pints to the pantry.  I use it regularly, and am happy to know it's there.  At last week's gathering, J's Mom had been given many loaves of day old bread.  Everyone took what they wanted, and we took the rest for the chickens, which I'm slowly adding to their daily mash.  The bread is low-quality, with some if not all of it having bio-engineered ingredients, so isn't something we'll eat.  But the chickens are delighted to eat it.  J threw some in the pond, and said the fish were also quite happy with it.  



 

I received $2 in digital credit for delaying shipping  Three books were picked up from the library, and my free Kindle book was chosen for May.  I enjoyed reading Lost Moon, a book about Apollo 13, then saw that our library had the movie, which I enjoyed watching over the weekend.  I used a $5 gift card to Harris Teeter, and shopped on senior discount day, getting 5% off.  I harvested asparagus, onions, peas, arugula, mache, radishes, lettuce and swiss chard.  I've been freezing the peas, as I shell them, until I accumulate enough to can.  I read that it takes ~20 lbs. for 9 pints.  That's a lot of peas, and I doubt we'll get that many, but I'm hoping we'll get at least half that amount.  Bananas close to getting overripe were frozen for smoothies. 


Aren't these potato blooms pretty?


The potatoes have started blooming, and the critters have begun eating our produce.  Our nectarine, which had dozens of fruits, is almost bare, thanks to the squirrels.  Peaches are similarly stripped.  The deer found our sweet potatoes, and have chewed many of them down.  We've planned to repair the garden fence, which a tree fell on, and also make it taller, as we did in our main garden, but hadn't gotten to it until this weekend.  It gave us both a good workout, as we had to do a lot of stretching upwards, putting up and flagging the deer fencing.   The potato bags from last year now have 16 returning potatoes in them, which is a happy surprise.  Stinging nettles were gathered, and dehydrated for teas.  Sweet potatoes were baked on a cool morning.




There are some tiny kiwis on the vines.  We're hoping to get our first fruit to eat this year.  The sunflower patch was a bust.  I'd see a sprout one day, and by the next day, it would be gone.  I guess the birds or rabbits enjoyed a sunflower buffet, but it was worth a try.  I used our asparagus to make soup for our dinner.  Hummer food, golden paste for the pups, and bird suet were made.  A code was used to get free dog treats with a dog food order.  I grabbed a jar of our tomatoes, our garlic and onion, and harvested oregano, basil and parsley, to have with pasta.  It's so nice to be using fresh herbs in the pasta sauce again.  Extra oregano was harvested, and is air drying.  I bought dog food on sale, and received a $5 reward after buying it.  At this time, McNibs and Guinness are on different food, and I was glad to get a little perk with each of them.




I've needed to get some more things in the ground, and got to it on Sunday.  In the midst of planting, I found this little monarch cat on the milkweed, which gave me a smile.  The wintersown calendula, forget me nots, and a shasta daisy were planted in flower beds and a window box.  All but one of the wintersown black eyed susan vines died during a cold snap, and the remaining one has been barely hanging on.  I figured it would be happier in the ground, so planted it near a trellis. The gifted marigolds and borage were planted in the garden.  Besides planting, I decided to make pizzas for J & I for dinner, which was quite an endeavor, making two very different ones from scratch.  He wanted to try a goat cheese pizza for the first time, and liked it enough to eat it again, with some tweaks.  An extra GF pizza crust was frozen, and pizza sauce, so this will make it simpler next time.  J repaired our grill, which a tree had fallen on, so we're thinking we'll put it to use sometime during the upcoming long weekend.  Wishing you a wonderful week, friends.


Friday, May 17, 2024

Bedroom Storage in the Skoolie

 


The past week, Joseph finished making the rattan cabinet doors, and hung them.  I like them so much better than the green door that had been hanging here. Didn't he do a great job?



He finished the doors at the foot of the bed, and hung them.  With gardening, mowing, and everything else he has to do, the bus project has slowed a little, but we're still making progress.  We're awaiting the lights I ordered for the bedroom, and looking forward to seeing how they'll look.  We're looking again at paint colors for the outside of the bus.  Just moving on.


Monday, May 13, 2024

May Harvest & Gatherings




Hello, friends.  Last week, I dehydrated the last of our onions, which had sprouted, all except three small ones that were still holding on.  A batch of GF breadcrumbs was ground, from bread ends that had dried.  I harvested lettuce, peas, radishes, thyme, rosemary, chard, and one beet.  The beet greens were sauteed with garlic, along with the chard.  All the still-potted seedlings were fed with banana peel water, to encourage growth, then the peels were added to the compost.  As I use bananas every day in a smoothie, this is easy to accomplish.  Three pawpaw saplings were dug, and shared with friends.  We had our 7th wedding anniversary this week, and chose to have a quiet night at home.  Soon enough, we'll be having plenty of adventures in the skoolie. 



After an appointment, I thrifted a new/barely used magic bullet blender for $5, which I regularly use to make dressings and sauces.  I've tried it out, and it works great, so we've now got one for the skoolie.  I also found an immersion blender for $3, and incandescent lightbulbs for $1 per pkg.  I use an immersion blender for soups and soap (separate ones), and like to keep a back up on hand.  Though it may not be PC, I've been gathering incandescent bulbs as I see them, as the light is so much warmer and nicer than LED.  I figure these bulbs will be used by someone, and as we get a large portion of our power from the sun, it will offset the somewhat higher energy usage.




It was a busy week, with lots of time away from home, between appointments, gathering with friends, and J's family's Mother's Day gathering.  I brought apple beet salad, and a new lentil salad to share for our lunch.  A neighbor offered J his extra tomato seedlings, and J dug him two hazelnut saplings.  The tomato plants are much larger than any we had... Brandywine, German Johnson and Cherokee Purple.  J thinks he started them in November, in their greenhouse.  We're hoping that means earlier tomatoes for us, as it's often August before we start seeing any ripen.  He got them in the ground the next day, and put cages around all the tomatoes.  I made an online purchase through Swagbucks, for 6% back, and used a 15% off code.  I hope all the Mamas had a lovely Mother's Day.  Have a beautiful week, friends!



Friday, May 10, 2024

Cabinets of Various Sorts in the Skoolie

 



Progress was made in a few small ways on the skoolie this week.  Joseph drilled the holes for the cabinet knobs in the kitchen and living area, and I attached them.  Most of the screws were too long, so he had to cut them down to size first, then grind them.  A little more involved than we planned, but  that's how it goes sometimes.




He finished the doors that will go on the storage space under the bed, where the solar equipment lives, and whatever else we decide.  They're not on their hinges yet, but soon.



In the foreground are the doors for the storage space above the head of the bed, which he's been working on.  Neither of us was happy with the door painted green, so it was changed out for rattan.  Breathable, which is important in an RV, and we think prettier.  


Monday, May 6, 2024

This & That


Hello, friends.  Last week, I harvested lettuce, chard, peas, rosemary, thyme and parsley. I repotted all the seedlings into larger pots, and fed them with banana peel water, which is a good source of phosphorus.  I've been working on cleaning up the garden fence, which has lots of Virginia creeper and cleavers along it, as well as other weeds.  I brought a wheelbarrow full of weeds to the chickens.  Joseph placed our first order with Azure Standard.  Once he got it home, we transferred it all into jars.  I vacuum sealed some, and J dry canned some.  I recently borrowed The Martian from the library, and enjoyed it.  The movie was available on Prime, and due to my credits, I was able to watch it free.  




We've been on well water for a couple of weeks or so, after running out of rainwater again.  It seems we may have a leak, but it's not clear at this point.  We thankfully got rain, starting Friday evening, which  J refilled our backup tank with, then after the main tanks filled, we were able to switch back to rainwater on Sunday.  We got close to 5 inches.  So thankful!  J planted our largest tomato seedlings into the garden, as well as sweet potato slips, eggplant, basil, and a large patch of marigold seeds, which we hope will deter the voles from our potatoes and sweet potatoes.  We're always trying something new!



I've done some seasonal chores, including changing out the winter sheets and bedspread to the summer ones.  All the house plants were moved out onto the porch over the weekend, while it was rainy and cloudy.  I went through Swagbucks for a business purchase, for 2% back. Sunday was cooler and rainy, so I ironed the few things that needed it, and mended  a homestead shirt and shorts with iron-on patches.  I also mended a sweater.  Yarrow was gathered for salve, and steeped in olive oil.  I believe I forgot to mention I also did this with plantain and chickweed recently.  I mowed our walking path for the first time this year.  I've pulled many ticks off of myself already this year, and a few from the pups. I'm hoping this will help.  That's life on the homestead.  I hope you have a wonderful week!


Friday, May 3, 2024

Barn Door & Bedroom in the Skoolie

 


Last week, I forgot to tell you about the bathroom door, which Joseph attached with barn door hardware.  As there's little room to open like a regular door, this should serve us better in a small space.  




He's been working on the bedside area, laying the flooring, and making bedside tables, from the stepped up areas.  We have a rear engine bus, and these steps are the area which accommodates the engine, which runs the width of the bed.  Onward!


Monday, April 29, 2024

Spring Things




Hello, friends.  The wild atamasco lilies are blooming on this land, which is always a treat.  I'm still enjoying free episodes of Northern Exposure on Prime.  As coincidence would have it, the episode I watched Monday night is one in which Maggie prepares a seder for Joel.  I didn't realize, until after watching it, that Monday evening actually was the beginning of Passover, so the show couldn't have been timed better.  Last week, I harvested lettuce, asparagus, arugula, chard, and basil from seedlings that were already trying to flower.


newly emerged cicada

lots of cicada activity


After an appointment, I went by a favorite thrift store.  This one has four thrift stores on the site, though I rarely go to the two clothes stores.  At the "last chance" store, behind the main store, I bought a 100 year old butter crock for $1.50.  One sold on Etsy for $110.  It was obvious this one had been used as a planter.  I don't think I'll do that, but think it would be nice to hold things, though I'm not sure yet what that might be.  I had a nice conversation with the ladies running the store, and they were happy it was going home with someone who appreciated it.  Golden paste was made for the pups, and food for the hummingbirds was made.  The 17-year cicadas have started emerging here.  We noticed an occasional exoskeleton during the week, then on Saturday, we saw dozens of newly emerged cicadas, along with their exoskeletons.



On the subject of creepy crawlies, our Ameraucana hen has been flying out of the chicken yard the past few weeks.  On the way back to the house one day, I saw that she had gotten a small snake.  I couldn't get close enough to identify it, as she moved away each time I got too close, and was moving quickly in general.  She's a good forager.  On Thursday, my sister and I had a thrift day.  I did find a canister for my shop, but a favorite find was a cashmere poncho bought for $3.50, which sells for $129.  I do love cashmere, and am happy to be able to use it as a layer in my winter wardrobe.  The weather is warming up.  I'm thinking of turning on the water to the outdoor shower, and giving the pups a bath this week.  J tilled spots for sweet potatoes, marigolds and four o'clocks, and planted the flower seeds.  The sweet potato slips should arrive this week.  



Our garden spigot has been leaking for years, making it a mucky mess around the spigot. It was our second frost-free hydrant, so J ended up replacing it with a regular spigot this time, much cheaper and hopefully less problematic.  I helped him make a little deck for the area, a vast improvement.  Our compost bins are there, and the table I seed and pot things up on, so I spend a good bit of time there, under our largest mulberry tree.  I tried a new recipe, for a cashew-based creme fraiche spread.  I'll increase the spices next time, but it wasn't bad as is.  I cleaned out the chicken coop, the first time this spring, which is always the roughest one.  Mint was gathered to place in their nest boxes, and around the coop.  My car was washed and vacuumed.  I've thought for some time that receiving a gift of car detailing would be lovely, as it's not my favorite task, nor J's.  But, now it and the coop are done.  I'm sure both will be more pleasant to be in for a time.  I hope you accomplish whatever tasks you'd like this week!