Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Sweetness & Frugal Accomplishments

Last week, I canned my first red noodle beans.  I used the same instructions as green beans, and was happily surprised to find they kept their purple color during canning.  I made pasta sauce with our tromboncino squash, tomatoes, tomato broth & basil.  For a breakfast, I cut up and enjoyed one of our pears and pawpaws.  While in town for work, I ran errands.  After picking up an order at Lowes, I checked the marked down plants, and bought creme caramel & garnet coreopsis, a large red lorapetulum, yellow hypericum, and large kaleidoscope abelia, all for $24.  These will help fill in some of the new areas around the drive, and near the house.  I charged my phone while I driving.  Just pennies saved, I'm sure, but such an easy way to save a few.  I walked with the pups for exercise.  I'm joining in with Frugal Accomplishments today.

prolific red noodle beans
Laundry was done with homemade soap, and dried on the line.  I transplanted the two types of cabbage and collards from one big container into smaller pots.  I want to give them a better chance when planted into the garden of surviving whatever has been chewing on the direct planted seeds.  We harvested our first cantaloupe & enjoyed it.  The chickens enjoyed the rind and seeds.  I picked and shelled lima beans, butter peas and field peas.  Before going out of town, M gave me some walnuts, eggs & a 2# block of cheddar cheese.  I bought groceries, including organic bananas & strawberries, and lemons at Aldi's.  Our Aldi's will soon be closed for renovations for 6 weeks.  It's a tiny one, and they will be adding on an aisle.

I had a birthday last week, and enjoyed several days of celebration, including receiving a large bouquet of roses from my stepdaughter, dinner with friends at a favorite restaurant, dinner at another lovely restaurant with family, a visit to a botanical garden, and gelato.  If the photos from the botanical garden came out well, I will share them in another post.  With temperatures cooling, we've been able to open the house up at night.  I made yogurt, hummingbird food, & kefir.  We enjoyed salads which included our tomato, cucumber and carrot.  Besides the various beans, I harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, pears, hazelnuts & okra.  I continue to gather zinnia seeds as I find dried flower heads.  I bottled and refrigerated the sauerkraut I started some time back, and find it very tasty.  I've been shelling some of the red noodle beans that got a little bigger than I like, saving the beans to cook up and adding the shells to the broth bag.

When J finished the custom table we sold online, we packed and weighed it, then searched for the most economical shipping.  We have been burnt badly in the past by different freight companies charging us significantly more than they quoted us, and even UPS has added $25 to the charge from what we were quoted online.  As every table is different, and we don't know the exact size until the layers of various packing materials are added, it's difficult to know what to charge a customer before building it, especially when the quotes can't be trusted.  We were pleased and relieved, after the final freight company and UPS quotes came in quite a bit more than we charged the customer, that Fedex came in significantly less.  It's my shop policy to refund any shipping overage, and I'm happy to do that.  It's just nice to know we won't be paying any shipping out of pocket.

a garden friend
I harvested parsley, and froze it using Margaret's log method, which has worked very well for me in year's past.  I harvested basil, & for this batch, pureed it with just enough water to blend it, then froze it in an ice cube try.  The house smelled like herbal deliciousness.  I froze an earlier batch of cubes this summer, using oil instead of water.  Other than one or two picked on the way to see the chickens, we've not gotten any concord grapes this year.  The birds have been eating them as they ripen.  Happily last year was a good grape year, & I froze and canned some juice.  I took 3 pints of grape juice from the freezer and made jelly.  I made a batch of Simple Soap, which uses my homegrown herbs of calendula, comfrey and nettles.

This article, shared here, is rather discouraging news regarding bar soap, showing convenience matters more than the mess we leave behind, in some minds.  I'll always prefer simple & simply packaged products, over mass marketed items in plastic.  On a positive note, the triclosan in many antibacterial products, which in studies has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor and a possible carcinogen, has finally been banned from products, never having been proven helpful nor safe.  A sign of true progress in my mind. If you feel the need for an antibacterial product, I've enjoyed using this safe, effective and natural brand for several years.  The small spray bottles make good stocking stuffers, and can be bought in bundles of 6 or 12 on Amazon and elsewhere.  The uplifting thyme scent is a lovely added bonus.

There was almost 1 1/2" of rain in the gauge after Hermine blew past our coast.  The plants look visibly perky after the long dry spell.  Whether it was the change in weather or some other reason, I woke up one morning with a bit of a sore throat and stuffy nose.  To support my immune system, I took some homemade elderberry syrup and fire cider.  These had me feeling better in no time.  I cut a bouquet to enjoy in the house.  The rain had knocked over one of the many branched sunflowers, so I tied it to the fence with twine.  Every few days, I find 3 or so little hazelnuts and add them to my small pile.  We've been keeping our eye on one of the watermelons.  The plan is to harvest and enjoy it for our Labor Day celebration today.  I wish my U.S. friends a celebration that is simple and sweet!


Michèle Hastings said...

I was in Aldi to weeks ago and I saw the work had started, I didn't realize they would be closed for 6 weeks! You would think with the renovations they could add more than just one aisle to the store. I suppose even one aisle will be an improvement.
Glad you enjoyed a happy birthday week.

Laurie said...

They were talking about it to another customer when I was there, Michele. They told the dates, but I didn't write it down, so it went whoosh...... :o)

Susan said...

Hi Laurie! I'm just stopping by from The Prudent Homemaker. I read your blog often but don't often post. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your posts and beautiful photographs!
All the best,
Susan in So Cal

Laurie said...

Thank you for your visit and kind comments, Susan. I lived in LA in the early 80's... Highland Park, & worked in Pasadena then Santa Monica. It was a good adventure!

Susan said...

Ah! Pasadena is a favorite of mine. I hope you were able to visit the a couple of the botanical gardens while you were there. Descanso Gardens and the Huntington are fantastic! (I can see you enjoy gardening). I'm up in the high desert. It's beautiful in it's own way. We have the California Poppy Reserve and when they bloom it takes my breath away! From your photographs I would say you live in a little piece of heaven!

April said...

I'm a bar soap fan, although I have both bar and liquid in my home. (The liquids, with one exception, all entered as gifts. I pour the contents into a ceramic dispenser and recycle the plastic.) Your conclusion--convenience over any other consideration--I agree with 10000%. I see that trend everywhere, not just in the soap aisle.

I love reading your blog and immersing myself in your beautiful photography.

Laurie said...

Susan, the Poppy Reserve sounds beautiful. I do love my little clearing in the woods.

April, it sounds like you're very environmentally conscious, even with items that are gifted to you. I can always improve on what I'm doing. Always in a learning curve, don't you know.