Monday, July 18, 2016

The July Garden & Frugal Accomplishments

I hope summer is treating you well, friends.  I'm happy to be joining in with Frugal Accomplishments today.  Last week, I colored my hair at home.  I harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, basil for pesto, blueberries, a few raspberries, & kale.  Picked up 2 pots of caladiums for the shade garden.  I was able to divide them into 6 plants when planting.  We've had some very hot and humid days, but on days when it cools down enough at night, we open the house up for fresh air and save on electricity.  I took the water collected in the dehumidifier and watered plants.   Grated a few of the smallest carrots & a couple that something had chewed on for the pups dinner.  Papers that had a blank back side were saved for scrap paper.  Greens and japanese beetles were picked and fed to the chickens.

I made hummingbird food, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. After an appointment in the town where my food co-op is (I live an hour away now), I bought groceries including several sale items & received a 10% discount for owner appreciation month.  I also found a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread on markdown.  I delivered soap to a B&B that has a little book swap library set up outside, and donated 6 books while there.  I looked through the books, but didn't find any I was interested in reading.  Ran into a nearby thrift store, & got some pretty floral fabric to use in wrapping my Garden soap.  I requested 2 library books from another library in our system.

At the show I did a few weeks ago, another vendor spoke to me about chalk paint.  The thought of a durable finish with little to no prep work intrigued me, so I took a class this week.  I painted a table that we got from Joseph's storage shed a few weeks ago, in Old White paint, which I then distressed.  For my first time painting a piece of furniture, I'm pretty pleased.  There are two larger tables we got from storage at the same time, which I want to paint for the porch, & possibly a rocker.  Then there is a large wardrobe that will be used for storage in the new room.  I was a little intimidated by this piece, but after getting my feet wet with this class, I'm feeling more confidant than I can do it justice.  I'll try to take a photo of the table this week.

mountain mint is a good pollinator plant
I'll admit it, I've been petting bumblebees again.  What can I say?  It makes me smile.  I've also been talking and singing to the frogs who live next to our porch.  We've put plastic down in preparation for gravel there.  It's holding water, so they decided it was the perfect spot.  Sometimes I'll see six little heads poking up out of the water.  That makes me smile too.  I'll be happy once I don't see the plastic, but it will make me a little sad too.  I suppose I'll just have to mosey down to the pond to visit them.

We're growing our first Armenian cucumbers, which apparently are not a cucumber at all, but a melon.  The pros are they're prolific, early bearing, have small seeds & withstand high temperatures.  The cons are they're quite susceptible to cucumber mosaic virus and powdery mildew, & will pass it on to other cucumbers.  I wish we'd known that before planting them next to our other varieties of cucumbers :o(.  We're enjoying them so far, and are hoping they remain healthy.  I expect I'll soon be canning pickles.  I thinned the plum trees.  It's always hard to thin fruit, especially in a year when there is not a lot to begin with.  I made tzatziki sauce to go with falafel.

darn June bugs
I shopped at the discount grocery store.  Some good finds were a new quart Weck canning jar for $2, and 24 oz. of organic whole flax seed for $2 (good til 2018 & $7 savings over Amazon price).  I decided to begin harvesting the wine grapes.  The bunches are almost all ripe, & the June bugs continue munching on them, so it was time.  There are not enough for wine, so I will probably juice them.  I had tried a tip we read online, which said to mix 1/2 c molasses into a 1/2 gal water. & place in a milk jug near the June bugs to trap them. It didn't work.  There are lots of little eggplant now, & I found out that several touching the ground were getting eaten, probably by pill bugs.  I harvested those with holes in them, and a couple that were still intact but touching the ground.   Also harvested the first summer squash, a golden zucchini, which were planted from some of my Mom's seeds.  A friend gifted us some lovely peaches.  I've been buying a few here & there, when I run across organic ones, but the prices have been fairly outrageous.  I expect the frost that did ours in hurt the orchards too.  So that's what I can remember from the week.  Are you growing anything for food, medicine or beauty?


Michèle Hastings said...

We are battling the June bugs and Japanese beetles too. If we turn the patio light on to grill, the next day the patio is littered with dead June bugs... ICK!

Laurie said...

Michele, I'm going to try leaving a light on, if that does the trick!

April said...

My garden is full of weeds right now--I keep looking at it and think "I have to do something...SOON!" Tomatoes are just coming on. Butterfly weed is done for the year, but coneflowers are still going strong and blanket flowers are just starting to open. I am letting the basil flower--the bees love it. So do I!

Laurie said...

April, there are plenty of weeds in the gardens here too! I use the basil flowers along with the leaves in pesto, but leave some for the bees too.