Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Loss

Well, 2014 has certainly been a year.  Since I was here last, I lost my Dad.  As it's only been a little over 3 months since my Mom passed, the blow was especially hard.  He had a massive stroke, and in a week's time, faded away.  I'm so thankful to have memories of our trip to see his old battleship last year.  I'm aware I have so many blessings.  It's just going to take some time to get through these losses.  I won't say over, because I suspect one never really gets over the loss of parents.  But, I do believe there will be a time when it's not quite so raw.

I'm really enjoying the blooms while they last.  So far, we've made it a bit longer than our average frost date of October 15th.

The grounds of the hospice my Dad was at were just beautiful.  Each room had a patio and birdfeeder, and there were paths with a waterfall, a windchime,  a multitude of blooming things, and many areas to sit.  This sweet fountain was outside my Dad's room.  I loved watching the birds splash about in it.  

Joseph and I washed the car on Sunday.  He worked on the outside, while I worked on the inside.  Neither of us is prone to do this often.  Both of us are thankful to have vehicles to take us where we need to go, but don't feel they are extensions of us, and certainly don't pamper them.  Though I'm sure the same attention to detail was lacking, I believe my Dad was smiling on us.  

I hope to be joining in with The Prudent Homemaker and Frugal Accomplishments again next week.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments

I'm joining in with Brandy for last week's frugal accomplishments.  I harvested passion fruit, raspberries, pears, tomatoes, okra, & persimmons; decanted pineapple vinegar & started another batch; juiced some grapes we were given, and froze them for future use; made pumpkin pie using homegrown pumpkin and eggs from our chickens; made a quinoa dish, using yellow squash, onion & parsley from the garden.

At the discount grocery store, favorite finds were jasmine rice @ .60/# (best by 3/16; compared to sale price 1.50/# this wk at Lowes) bought 15#, OG raisins 1.25/#, Annie's Organic mac & cheese .50 ea, kalamata olives 1.25 a jar,  Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid @ .70, and maple syrup 4.00/ 8 oz (sale price this wk 4.99 @ Lowes). I see more maple lattes in my future!

I froze yogurt and made a batch of yogurt.  A few times a year, I buy a small cup of plain yogurt, to start fresh with.  After a few months, I know that stray bacteria gets in a batch, so I like to begin with new yogurt again.  I usually forget to freeze the remainder of storebought yogurt, but remembered this time.  It seems in years past, the frozen yogurt did not perform well, but reading about all the other people that do it made me want to give it another try.  I made batches of kefir.

I made tomato rice loaf using the above jasmine rice, and tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, kefir and breadcrumbs from here; froze sweet red peppers & dehydrated hot peppers, dill and basil from the garden; made balsamic vinaigrette - the recipe is here. The lettuce in the coldframe is growing nicely.  Looking forward to having some homegrown salads in the not too distant future.

I cut up a Cheese Wheel pumpkin & Hopi Gray squash that the borers had gotten to.  The pumpkin was in great shape, with only exterior damage.  The Hopi Gray was in bad shape, so the chickens got it, along with our last 2 watermelons.  Pumpkin soup was made with the pumpkin.

Froze celery for the first time.  My Mom had been freezing hers, and I've been meaning to do it for months, as I only use celery in small quantities, for waldorf salad, and a couple of cooked dishes, and end up throwing most of it into the compost.  While this won't work for the waldorf salad, it will for the cooked dishes.  And when I need raw celery, I have some in the coldframe, from planted celery bottoms.  I have planted celery bottoms several times, and have gotten some nice celery from it, but it has always rotted after a time. In looking at the link again for this post, I realized I was not totally covering it with soil, which allows rain to settle in the bottom, making it more likely to rot.  After I took this photo, I covered my celery bottoms with soil, to see if I can keep these going all winter.  If you use celery, try this... it works amazingly well!  If you use Pinterest, there are tutorials on regrowing all sorts of vegi's from scraps.  Celery is the only one I've tried.  Well, except for an avocado pit, but I don't expect to get actual avocadoes here in NC.  I also started lemons from seeds last winter, which are doing well.  This was another Pinterest idea.  It would be lovely to eventually get lemons.  I remember a neighbor girl who used to come to my door, when I lived in Los Angeles, selling lemons and avocadoes from their trees for a dime each.  I, of course, always bought some from her.  Have a good week, friends!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Funny, It Doesn't Feel Like Fall

Today, I was shop sitting for one of the local potteries.  I wandered a bit, noticing the signs of fall all around me.

It does not feel like fall, however, with the days in the 80's.

After work today, I joined my sister on the outdoor patio of a local establishment, where we enjoyed glasses of seasonal pumpkin brew.

I hope this photo is not terribly offensive.  I was beyond delighted when I was able to coax that splinter from my finger yesterday, after a week had gone by.  I had gone through all the packing and unpacking of the car and show, and made it through 10 massage appointments with it in my left index finger.  I happen to be left handed, so it made for some rather uncomfortable days, and just would not budge, no matter how I coaxed, until yesterday.  Now I know why... it was 5/16 of an inch long! Can you feel my glee?  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pears, Pasta & Frugal Accomplishments

There was beautiful fall weather for the Fall Festival over the weekend.  A little gusty at times, but clear blue skies and lots of sun.  I was set up very close to one of the stages, and was able to hear lots of music, a book reading, and see some young dance groups.  There was even a harpist on Sunday.  I so enjoyed sitting in the sun, listening to that lovely music.

I'm still enjoying maple lattes.  The mug above holding one was purchased from Blue Hen Pottery.

pear vanilla sauce
Joining in with Brandy for this week's:

Frugal Accomplishments

canned 10 half-pints of pear vanilla sauce

made "zucchini" soup, using tromboncino squash, tomatoes, garlic & basil from the garden

harvested rainwater

borrowed books from the library- finished this, which I enjoyed

purchased a number of sale items at Aldi's, including 6 lbs of organic quinoa @ $3.99/lb.  The best price we are usually able to find is $4.99/lb.  Purchased cans of organic black beans for .40 ea. at the local discount grocery store.

used homemade soap, laundry soap & deodorant

washed plastic bags for reuse

made Pasta Norma using eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano & chives from the garden.

brought lunch, water and snacks both days to the Fall Festival, & cut a bouquet from the homestead for my booth

That was the last of the eggplant, used in the pasta dish.  As temperatures were dropping into the 30's this weekend,  I brought in all the orchid plants, plus a couple others, and covered the remainder with plastic.  Joseph did preparations for and started our first fire of the season on Saturday.  Nights have been in the 50's and 60's, so that was a bit of a surprise, but they are rising again. I think we have a bit more time until our first frost.  I expect there won't be much else harvested from the summer garden, save a few okra and tomatoes if we're lucky, and chard.  But, we'll be harvesting greens, carrots, and the hardier herbs.  Onward to the next season.  I'm looking forward to making the first batch of pumpkin soup.