Monday, May 21, 2018

Life on the Homestead & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I always keep my eye out for a good butter sale.  I almost passed it by, as the price was still about $6.50 for a lb of organic butter.  But then, I noticed a "special today" sticker on the butter, and it was marked  $3.18, which is great for organic butter here these days.  The best buy date was in two more days, so I bought all 7, and froze them when I got home.  We should be good on butter for a while now.  J had gotten a coupon for free dog food in the mail (7 small trays of wet food for small dogs).  It's not a natural brand, and something I wouldn't normally buy, but I was happy to pick it up for free, and add it to our stored food for the pups.  We've enjoyed several salads with our lettuce.  A dinner of broccoli fried rice used our eggs and broccoli.

Asparagus, rosemary, oregano and peas were harvested.  I sold a dozen eggs, and transplanted two volunteer swiss chard plants in the garden.  J transplanted several volunteer dill plants.  I ordered a few things on amazon, most of it supplies for our online shop, which will get 4% back.  I also used a .75 reward on the purchase.  The house plants were all finally brought outside for the warm months. Now I really need to get serious about spring cleaning.  As soon as I put the last one in a large stand J made to hold them, it began raining, so all the dishes and tiles that were below the plants, and plant stands, were put on the porch floor to move another time. 

My first daily swagbucks goal was made several days.  I continue to walk with the pups, most days  we walk twice for about 4 miles total.  J was accepted recently into VA healthcare, and had his first visit last week.  Though we're both in pretty good shape, he hadn't seen a Dr. in several years, and we're very thankful he can have some things checked.  I harvested red clover blossoms to dry for medicine.  I snipped nettles, dandelion and violet leaves, and enjoyed them in an omelet.  I made another batch of chick food, using wheat I ground, ground corn from a neighbor, dried nettles and lambs quarter grown here, and dried milk and kelp from the pantry.  Wild lettuce, plantain, mock strawberries and dandelion greens were gathered for the chickens.  My daughter in spirit gifted me a hummingbird feeder for Mother's Day.  J and I had created a new flower bed for hummingbird vine last weekend, and the supports seemed a perfect spot to put the feeder.

The Hospice where I do massage regularly has silent auctions to raise money for various causes.  I bid on a beautiful quilted bed cover recently, and found out I won it for $5 last week!  The woman who takes care of my schedule will bid for me if I let her know to.  I told her to bid to $20, but nobody bid after me.  I've been looking for a summer weight bed cover, as one we bought online in the fall for this is too heavy.  This one will be perfect.  I'm pondering sewing a sheet on the back, in part to protect it, as it's just one thin layer.  I'm tickled to have won it.  A few weeks ago, I received a letter stating that I was receiving $300 less of my tax refund, as their records differed from mine.  It turns out because I paid estimated taxes as a single woman, but then married last year, that money had not been applied properly.  I had my tax person call, because a phone call to the IRS is something I'll gladly pay for, and I should be getting the $300 within the next two weeks.

Windows have been opened when it's cool enough, usually bedtime to mid morning.  During the day, I close up, and use a fan if needed.  When J comes in in the evening, he's usually ready for some A/C after working in the heat all day, so we run it a little while to cool things off and lower the humidity.  I planted an amaryllis outside I had bought during the winter.  I was surprised to see one I had planted outside from another year looks almost ready to bloom, which will be a first. The wintersown mignonette and amaranth were planted.  A friend and I went to a rummage sale at the local cooperative extension office, and I purchased cleome and creeping moss sedum, and a new pack of Wall O Waters for $1.  Afterwards, we went to the discount grocery.  We both found a few items, but it's sadly becoming more furniture and stuff, and the food is dwindling.  She gifted me jigsaw puzzles and a chicken tote bag.  While out, I also purchased parsley, and all of these were planted on Saturday, in between rain showers.

 dance of the walking onions
Sadly, while I was out on Friday, one of our hens died.  She'd been doing poorly for a couple of weeks. I'd isolated her, given her electrolytes and yogurt, and had a remedy ordered that arrived a day too late.  Then on Saturday, J found our little, weak chick dead.  The way she looked, he thought her internal organs never properly developed.  Sad days on the homestead.  The other chicks and chickens all are looking good, so we'll hope that there will be no more sickness or losses this year.

female kiwi w/ possible tiny kiwi fruits
There is quite a bit of fruit doing well at the moment.  Lots of apples, blueberries, pawpaws, some peaches, raspberries and plums, mulberries, and our male kiwi is blooming for the first time!  It doesn't have as many blooms as the female, but hopefully enough to help pollinate a good amount of fruit.  We've been waiting many years for kiwis.  We enjoyed sitting on our porch one evening, watching all the birds at and around the feeders.  We observed a chickadee taking suet back to one of the bird houses, and another feeding 5 others on a nearby tree.  We assumed they were the little ones, though they all looked about the same size.

Yogurt and suet for the birds was made.  Not long ago, I did training for a course called Candid Critters, where our local library has joined with the Smithsonian to find out more about wildlife populations.  Last week, I picked up a camera at the library, and have set it up on our land for the first deployment. In late May, I'll move it to another location, and download any photos it took.  So, the update on the honeysuckle lemonade is that it's OK.  There's not any noticeable difference with the honeysuckle in it.  Perhaps there is with different honeysuckles.  Because of the extra work and time, I'll stick to regular and lavender lemonade from now on. Unless, of course, another type catches my eye :o).  Wishing you good things to drink and eat this week.


cookingwithgas said...

If you have extra eggs for sale let me know, I would be happy to buy them. Love the new bed for the hummingbirds.

Michèle Hastings said...

Kiwi fruit, how exciting!

Anonymous said...

Laurie, I must say how much I enjoy your blog! The beautiful photos of your garden wonders, coupled with practical knowledge, is a lovely combination! I see that your post today begins with a picture of comfrey. Do you do anything with your comfrey? A balm? Perhaps a tincture?

I will visit often!

~Nancy of The Bonnie White Hare

Beckyathome said...

Your flowers are beautiful. I'm glad to hear that you will be getting your $300. That's a significant chunk of money!

It sounds like you are getting a lot done, and spring has truly sprung around your homestead.

Laurie said...

I will, Meredith. Since I took the photo, I added one of your birdhouses to the new bed supports.
I hope we get some, Michele!
Nancy, I have made both salve and fertilizer tea from the comfrey, and a couple of times have just taken the dead lower leaves and put them around plants that needed a boost. The bees love it too.
Spring cleaning is in progress, Becky! I just finished blacking the wood stove, a messy job. After my lunch break, I plan to tackle the hearth. I'll be happy to cross those jobs off my to do list!