Monday, June 8, 2015

Homemade Tomato Cages, Berry Syrup and Frugal Accomplishments

It's always a happy Monday when I can take part in Frugal Accomplishments.  I brought water and snacks with me on my work and errand day in town.  Stopped at Big Lots, and bought several bottles of organic pear juice and lemonade for 1.00 each.  J likes to drink juice, and I like to mix a glass of lemonade with beer on occasion during the warm months.  A coworker years ago taught me this concoction, which is called a shandy.  It tastes better than it sounds :o)  Picked up a few needed things at Walgreens on Senior Day and got the 20% discount.  Harvested parsley for potato salad.

Weeded lambs quarter in the garden and gave it to the chickens.  Harvested raspberries and a few thornless blackberries.  Went through ebates to purchase a couple of books on for my niece's birthday.  Gathered eggs from the chickens.  One egg was cracked, so I cooked that one up to add to the pups dinner.  Harvested parsley for a pasta dish, and chopped up a few of the less perfect leaves for the pups.  Harvested lambs quarter and froze enough for 2 meals.  I usually use it in this spaghetti squash dish.  Harvested chard and made chard gratin.  Tried a new recipe for crustless quiche, and used our eggs, frozen red pepper, garlic and leftover limas and corn.  It was surprisingly tasty.  Lots of feta cheese didn't hurt, I'm sure.
berry pulp for suet
I had 2 gallon bags of frozen vegi scraps for broth, simmered and canned them, and ended up with 7 pints.  Except for a small bag of blueberries I kept for smoothies, I cooked up the rest of the berries left in the freezer. They were a mix of blueberries, mulberries, blackberries, and even a few wild chokecherries and sparkleberries thrown in.  I took the pulp and seeds that were strained out through the jelly bag and dehydrated it for bird suet.  Up until last year, I had composted this, but then realized it would be a perfect addition to the suet.  I canned 5 half pints of mixed berry syrup, which  I like to use in a vinaigrette for a pear blue cheese salad.  The salad I typically make is lettuce, bits of pear, dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and the dressing.  As I've got some berries coming in, I used the last of the frozen blueberries and some frozen figs to make a cobbler. A new combination to me, but we both liked it.

We've found that hog wire is the best thing to use for tomato cages.  It's a bit pricey up front, but they last for years and years.  We were in need of more, so SO brought home a roll of wire on Saturday.  I snipped 25 6 ft. lengths of wire, with a little help from SO on the top and bottom pieces, which were thicker, and he and M joined ends to make tomato cages, which I placed in the garden.  I watered parsley plants, a redbud, hollyhocks and lettuce with nettle tea fertilizer.  I gathered seeds from our winter salad patch (mix of kale, mustards, turnip and more), as well as our collard patch.  I haven't always been very good about saving seed, so I'm happy to have done so with these.  The collard plants still had green leaves, so I gave these to the chickens, who were very appreciative.  I've started cutting and sewing my quilt.  The photo above isn't very good, but that's when I was playing with it on a design board.


April said...

I love reading your blog because you have such a nice rhythm to your writing. I have been away for a couple of weeks, so it is nice to catch up at the same sweet pace!

Laurie said...

April, you are very kind! I'm happy for your visit.