Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Road Trip with My Sweet Sis

When our Mom passed away, my sister and I promised ourselves we would take a sister trip in the not too distant future.  Well, the week has arrived, and I am so excited to be able to spend time with my sweet Sis.  Today, we are heading to a lovely inn in Virginia, close to art galleries, the Blueridge Parkway, wineries and other fun places.  See you soon!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Frugal and Repurposed

As it's Monday, I suppose you know I'm joining in with Frugal Accomplishments.  I transplanted the tomato seedlings into bigger pots, bought 4 larger tomato plants, swiss chard & basil with a gift certificate a dear friend gave me.   These were all planted in the garden.  The tomato seedlings I'm growing are still pretty small, so this should give us tomatoes quite a bit sooner.  I walk with the pups for exercise most days.  If there is a light misting rain, I typically walk, but if it is a harder rain or an especially raw feeling day, I tend to skip it.  Some bargains found at the discount grocery store were 25# sunflower seeds, organic apple juice, organic crushed tomatoes, 3 liter tins of olive oil, and novena candles.

I canned the second #10 can of olives, & got 16 half pints.  One jar didn't seal, so I made pizza using them, our garlic, mushrooms I canned, & frozen red peppers.  We had another cold spell, with nights in the 40's, so I cooked up the last winter squash and canned the olives to add some heat to the house.  Switched from cool weather to warm weather clothes and sheets.  No air conditioning or woodstove were used.  On one morning, J ran our heat pump to take the chill off.

Made quiche with our eggs, peppers and garlic, along with store bought ingredients.  Made a green bean dish with our beans, garlic and thyme.  Made tomato rice loaf, using our tomatoes, garlic and celery.  Vegetable scraps went into the broth bag or the compost.  Used our oregano and chives in a potato dish.  Made Brandy's black bean burgers.  Fixed ravioli with our garlic, and made a vinaigrette using muscadine syrup I had canned.  Frugal Fail: with the last winter squash, I tried a new recipe, a soup with coconut milk & garam masala spice.  I had to come up with plan B, as we both tasted it and said "yuck!"  Good thing I had some leftovers and a fresh out of the oven Fig Sherry bread... still trying to empty the freezer.

J transplanted a large portion of our asparagus patch last year, as bermuda grass and mint had overrun it, and he wanted to get all perennials out of the garden, so he could till as needed.  The asparagus has really been set back by the move.  There are very few spears large enough to harvest, as they're putting energy back into the root system.  I did harvest two spears from what's left of the original bed.  These plants still need to be moved, when we have time.

I've been collecting canisters for several months, and got to work on them this weekend, turning them into compost crocks.  The holes are drilled in the lids, they were washed & measured as to what they will hold.  Once I've fit them with carbon filters, taken photos, and calculated shipping, they'll be listed in my shop.  Are you planning on growing any edibles this year?

The clematis have started blooming, as well as a few others.  Once the rain lets up, I'll be getting photos of those to share with you.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and a Quick Trip

National Museum of Art
Last week, J & I visited Washington, DC.  I did not purchase anything other than food and metro tickets.  We stayed in an apartment belonging to a family member of an in law.  I paid for a nice dinner in thanks for the accommodations.  Food there is quite pricey, but we brought everything for our breakfasts and snacks, and not having to pay for lodging saved money.  All the Smithsonian museums we visited were free.  We walked 20 miles in 2 1/2 days (J's daughter wore a pedometer)!  I'm joining in today with Brandy's Frugal Accomplishments.

Just a few weeks ago, I shared my canning adventures with a failed Tattler lid.  Last week, I saw they have changed their lids due to this very thing.  Bravo!  Follow the Tattler link for more info on this. 

money plant
Fed tomato, lettuce and spinach seedlings with diluted fish fertilizer.  I typically use fresh basil, but it's too early for that, so instead I used oregano in a pasta salad, as well as some of the black olives I canned.  Weeded the asparagus.  Renewed a library book online, to insure I would not be overdue.

cherry blossoms

apple blossoms
The ants found my hummingbird feeder.  When I tried filling the ant moat with water, it leaked badly, having weathered and cracked over the years.  I repaired it with epoxy.  I cleaned up a flower bed along the driveway, and hauled 7 wheelbarrows from it, leaves and such, into the woods.

wild violets

blueberry blossoms & a butterfly
Did laundry using homemade laundry soap, and hung all but one load on the line.  Went to the Cooperative Extension's plant sale this weekend, and bought a horseradish, Fanny's fall aster, culinary sage (I seem to kill these on a regular basis), mountain mint, and sweet woodruff.  The plants were $2 and $3 each, except $5 for the horseradish.  All of these, as well as wintersown plants - zinnias, tithonia (orange torch and yellow torch), and night scented stock were planted.  There's a good chance of rain the next three days, and no frost in the 10-day forecast, so I'm hoping that was a good decision.  The tithonia seeds came from the Hospice my Dad was at.  They had bountiful flower gardens there, and yes, I did snitch a few flower heads, so I would have a good memory from his time there.  The money plant earlier in the post came from my Mom's house.  I hope they will both thrive here.  I feel that's one of the sweetest things about gardening... the memories that various plants conjure up, of friends and loved ones.  Beets and potatoes are coming up in the garden.  With the rain, I hope to soon see carrots up too.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Happy Easter & Happy Passover, friends! We're off to Washington, DC, while a couple of friends mind the homestead.  We'll be spending our days visiting the Smithsonian, and hopefully the cherry blossom festival.  May you have a most enjoyable holiday, however you choose to spend it.