Monday, September 28, 2015

Sound Healing and Frugal Accomplishments

Though there's not a lot to report this week, I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments.  Last week, I took a class that will go towards the CEU's needed to keep my massage license current.  The class was on sound healing, at my alma mater, and they give a 10% discount on classes to alumni. I brought lunch, snacks, and tea each day.  The instructor had a couple sets of tuning forks that students could buy, and I purchased one of them.  They were the same price as online, not frugal but minus the shipping cost, which saved me $21.95.  It was a fascinating subject, a wonderful class, and I'm excited to use the knowledge and tools.

After using lemon juice in recipes, I used the peels to start a batch of cleaning vinegar.  Made kefir and yogurt.  Cashed in Swagbucks points for an Amazon gift card.  Harvested tromboncino squash I had let mature for seeds.  Harvested tomatoes and okra.  Made a dish with our corn, okra & tomatoes.  We should be done using the A/C for the year, and hopefully it will be a few weeks before heating season begins.  I colored my hair at home.   Gave the pups some grated winter squash and chopped tomatoes that had blemishes and wouldn't last.  Mended a shirt.  Did a couple loads of laundry on a rainy day, and saved the dryer lint in TP rolls for fire starters.  I made good progress on my frugal crafty project for next week's Fall Festival.  We're off for a few days of rest and relaxation, with a couple of good folks minding the homestead.  Be well, friends.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Summer's End and Frugal Accomplishments

As summer comes to a close, I'm conscious of the warm days growing shorter.  Soon enough it will be time to swap out our summer clothes for winter, put rugs back on the floor, and fire up the woodstove.  Today I'm joining Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker.  During the past week, I cooked the egg whites left from making mayonnaise for the pups breakfast.  I have a goal to try more recipes that are made from my pantry, and tried making yogurt using powdered milk.  Unlike Brandy, I've never had to solely live on what was in my pantry, but there were a couple of years where it made a huge difference in what was available to eat.  One thing I know is that life is full of changes, and a little preparation can sometimes go a long way.  I cooked up the bags of vegi scraps in the freezer, and canned the tasty broth.  Planted more kale, lettuce and collard seeds, to fill in the gaps that didn't germinate.  Weeded the sweet potato bed.  It needs more work, but the tallest weeds are gone.  It's a challenge having a garden space farther from the house.  I made sure J didn't plant anything that needed daily attention there, but it still gets ignored more than it ought to.

Sunday bouquet with grasses, goldenrod & hops
I made a zucchini casserole with our squash, herbs, eggs and homemade bisquick.  Made asian cucumbers, for the last time this season.  Used homemade mayonnaise in broccoli slaw.  Gave the pups grated cucumber, winter squash, chopped parsley, purslane & basil with their dinners.  The cooler temps have allowed us to turn off the A/C, and open the windows.  With a couple of nights in the upper 40's, we closed windows in the afternoon, to conserve the warmth of the sun and cooking heat.   I made Swagbucks goals most days.  Went through ebates and Swagbucks for online purchases, to receive credit.  I told someone about ebates.  They checked it out, and wanted to try it, so I got to refer them (my first referral).  I crushed a pan of dried eggshells, and added them to the compost.  Made bread crumbs from a pan of bread ends, and froze them.

one of our two figs
Harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, butter pea & crowder beans, and eggplant.  Canned eggplant.  If you're interested in canning eggplant, this is how I do it.  I listed several items on ebay.  As usual, used homemade soap, deodorant, & laundry soap, washed plastic bags, and composted.  Made zucchini bread with our eggs and squash, potato and pasta salad with homemade mayonnaise and our tomatoes, cucumbers and basil.  Harvested shiso leaves, which I dried for the pups.  Strained and bottled a jar of elderberry tincture.  Made okra and caprese salad with our vegi's and basil.  Made hummus with our garlic.  Canned tomatoes.  J & I were invited to a cookout at a neighbors.  I brought asian slaw to share, which is my favorite new recipe.  I made zucchini breads for this neighbor and another who came and lent their muscle on a homestead project.

Obedient bumblebee
I harvested a good amount of basil, oregano and rosemary.  Some of the basil went into a purslane pistachio pesto, and the rest of the herbs are drying for a gift idea I have.  The purslane is already starting to seed, so I took the remnants and seeds and spread them around some of the elderberries.  It's such a healthy food, we do want a patch of it where it can freely reseed, but outside the garden.  I will be taking part in a local Fall Festival in early October.  I'm trying a new product that I think will be perfect for the Heritage Village I'll be setting up in.  I harvested saplings of cedar, hickory, sassafras and maple for the handles, removed the bark and have them drying.  I have been saving my old cashmere sweaters and had some thrifted wool sweaters found at a good price.  I have felted them, & this will be the other main material in these items.  The only other material will be some sort of twine or something similar, which I need to decide on.  If they turn out well, I may share a photo here in the coming weeks.  Crafting can be frugal too!  Enjoy these last sweet days of summer, friends!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Persimmons, Pawpaws and Frugal Accomplishments

It has been another busy week, and I'm happy to be joining Frugal Accomplishments today.  J added bags of Black Kow manure and organic fertilizer to the hoop house garden bed, and we planted kale, collards, winter salad mix and lettuce.  Depending on the winter, some years greens do better in the hoophouse; other years they do better in the garden.  I went by Trader Joe's, as it was 4 mins out of the way, when I took a friend for a procedure.  I bought produce including artichokes, sea salt and a few other items.  I steamed the artichokes, with bits of our garlic & olive oil drizzled over, and put the stem ends and top bits I cut off into my freezer bag for broth.

I harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, lima beans and crowder peas.  I did some weeding in the bean bed.  Canned tomato juice, & the cooled canning water went on plants.  The pups got small amounts of leftover pasta and okra, grated squash and cauliflower stems, and basil with their dinner.  Did laundry with homemade laundry soap, & hung it on the line.  J grilled on Labor Day, with okra, tromboncino squash & tomatoes from our garden.   I bought cabbage and broccoli seedlings for the fall garden, and planted them, just before a good rain.   Canned tomatoes.  I gathered wild grapes on my walks, and fed them to the chickens.  They also got the large okra pods, which I cut open and threw the seeds out to them.  Swiss chard leaves and other greens were given to them as well.

 I bought 4 limes for $1, froze the juice, and started a batch of cleaning vinegar with the peels.  Made pasta sauce with our tomatoes, garlic and herbs.  Planted a celery bottom in the hoophouse, to regrow.  I've been doing this for a few years, and it works wonderfully.  I made kombucha and hummingbird food, & kefir. After putting a box of pure cane sugar cubes in a canning jar to store, I looked it up online, and was surprised to find the box I got for $1 at the discount store goes for $8.28 on Amazon.


I harvested the last of the pawpaws, and froze the pulp.  I had pears that needed using, and made a Double Pear crisp, from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook.  The dried pears were some of ours that I dehydrated last year.  Made caprese salad.  I harvested the calyces of the rosella hibiscus, which I'll dry and use in teas.  Harvested our only watermelon of the year, which we enjoyed.  There was one jar of tomatoes that did not seal last week, and I tried making Brandy's Tuscan Tomato Bread soup with it, our fresh garlic and herbs.  I'll be making the soup again, as we both enjoyed it.  I initially planned on making squash casserole, a recipe of a good friend's Mom, which calls for Bisquick.  I found a recipe online & mixed up a batch.  When I decided to make soup instead, I used some of the "bisquick" mix and made biscuits.  J loves him some biscuits :o)

euonymus americanus aka hearts a bustin or strawberry bush
With some recent cooler days and nights, my urge to bake returned, which inspired me to grind wheat.  I've been meaning to try making mayonnaise, and had gotten the safflower oil to do so.  We ran out of mayo over the weekend, and I wanted a tomato sandwich, so I made mayonnaise.  It really is simple and easy, taking only a few minutes.  I was hoping it would be truly wonderful, but I thought it was a bit bland.  I'd like to try it again with some fresh mustard, and also try another recipe I printed at the same time.  Continue to compost, recycle, and wash plastic bags for reuse.  This weekend, I noticed the first scents of fall, that earthy decaying smell, while on my walk.  The afternoon light has shifted, and winter berries and persimmons are coloring up.  I plan to enjoy these last days of summer, while looking forward to autumn.  How about you?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Early September and Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I was gifted these lovely flowers for my birthday last week.  With several sprigs of eucalyptus, they smell as good as they look.  I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments today.  I shopped at the discount grocery store.  Favorite finds were 1 lb organic raw cacoa powder for $3  ($18.90 on Amazon) & 1 lb. organic ground cinnamon for $4 (normally $18).  Harvested cucumbers, tromboncino squash, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, oregano, chives, pawpaws, okra.  Canned tomato juice and tomatoes.  Gave the chickens holey chard leaves and tomatoes, and wild grapes I collect on my walks.  The pups got chopped tomatoes, basil, boiled eggs and grated cucumbers with meals.  Something was chewing on the last 2 winter squash in the garden, so I harvested them, cut out those parts, put the squash in the fridge and added the skins to the broth bag in the freezer.  I saved the seed, and gave the chickens the other inner bits.

We open the windows up when the nights are cool, and close them in the mornings.  I made a pasta dish using our eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and herbs.  Added the eggplant ends to the stock bag in the freezer.  Brought a friend to a procedure, and took water and snacks for the day, along with a library book.  I harvested a few hazelnuts, but the wasps had a new nest in the bush, and stung me once in the process.  This has been a very bad wasp year here.  J took care of the wasps, and I harvested a few more hazelnuts another day.  We have many native hickories on this land, and the nuts are falling.  I've been gathering a few here and there, when I walk to the mailbox.  They're a very tasty nut, though a bit of work.  I was happy to fill my car with $1.99/gal. gas this week.

I purchased marked down seeds of green beans, peas and lettuce, as well as bagged manure, organic fertilizer, bean inoculant and potting soil.  I bought Glide floss on sale at Walgreens, and got reward points for the purchase.  Made yogurt and kefir.   I colored my hair at home.  Frugal fail: I found several cucumbers in the crisper that were no longer edible, and composted them.  We grew 3 types of cucumbers this year.  Two types died fairly quickly (Armenian & Muncher), but the asian cucumbers Suyo Long just keep bearing.  Every year is different in the garden, but I'm impressed with them, especially since the second round of cucumbers never germinated.  J ordered more of these seeds, and a few more that we needed this week, as well as garlic to plant this fall.  When I began canning tomatoes on Sunday, I found a praying mantis in among them, and put him outside after I snapped this somewhat blurry photo.  The cooled canning water went on plants.

praying mantis brought in from the garden
I found a copy of Radical Homemakers on for very little, which I've been wanting to read for a while.  I'm enjoying it so far.  I purchased windows at our local home improvement store.   J & I had tried several Habitat Restores, a discount store, and the Pella store first.  The Pella store had what we needed, but at quite a bit more than I wanted to spend.  I had hoped they still had returned windows, display models, etc. at discount, but they no longer do.  The home improvement store had Pella windows on sale for 15% off this week, and putting it on my card, which I'll pay off when I receive the bill, saved another 5%, which ended up making the windows about 30% the price wanted at the Pella store.  They were not the same windows, and probably a bit lesser quality, but for 70% off, I can live with it.  I did have to go to the customer service desk, as 15% was not taken off the price at checkout as promised.  The manager got a bit snippy, saying she'd only give me 10%, but the original woman who helped me was rather insistent that she give me the 15% as advertised.   The window purchase may not be frugal, but I got the best deal for what I wanted.  May you accomplish everything you hope for this week!