Monday, June 11, 2018

A Tart, Bug Duty & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Last week, a friend and I shared a bucket of strawberries from the farmer's market.  When we walked by the first time, they were priced $13.  When we walked by again, they were priced $10, but what sold me was the fact that they used no herbicides or pesticides. They were beautiful and very fragrant berries, which also didn't hurt.  J and I ate them fresh, and I used them in smoothies a few days.  A friend with German heritage had given me a pan for fruit tarts, and I decided to use it for the first time to make a strawberry tart (this one).  I tweaked the recipe, using homemade vanilla pudding and didn't use glaze,which J said they never used in the area he lived in Germany anyway.  I did a silly thing, and filled it before moving it off the wire rack.  It was delicious anyway.  I haven't quite figured out why we don't get strawberries from our plants.  We  must have at least 3 dozen plants scattered around.  I often see what appear to be starts of little fruits, but none develop.  There are so many pollinators here, I really don't think that's it.  I'll try feeding them.

The dahlia was one J got me at the grocery store a few weeks ago. It seems happy in the ground.  When I pulled in to park at the hair salon last week, I noticed a mullein plant at the edge of the grass.  When the owner pulled up, I began telling her the medicinal benefits of the plant.  She had been looking at it just a day or two before with a friend, wondering what it was, and was excited to hear about it.  While waiting during my coloring, we researched several more benefits than I'd known of, and she was planning on making an oil from it, and possibly more by the time I left.  This was new territory for her, and I was happy to share my love of the many benefits of plants.

I was thankful I managed to talk J into going with me to get my tires rotated last week, as cars are an area in which I don't have much knowledge.  Well, the plan was to rotate them, but it turns out I needed two new tires and front brakes.  One of the tires was so bad it had a broken belt.  The mechanic showed J what he saw, and J agreed with him.  Thankfully, he took care of both while we waited.  An unplanned expense, but we've got an upcoming road trip, and I'm thankful we'll be safer on the road.  After letting it lapse several months, I renewed my AAA at a discounted rate, with the road trip in mind.   I've really been enjoying the Victoria series through Netflix, and watched my favorite episode so far this week, one in which they are lost in Scotland.  I enjoyed listening to free Pandora and podcasts.

One dinner, I made Brandy's Spanish rice recipe, and made bean burritos to go with it.  I froze half of the spanish rice, and used our lettuce and tomatoes, recanned black olives and dehydrated onion in the meal.  I've stopped harvesting asparagus, and will let the remainder put energy into next year's growth.  I'm very happy that our asparagus bed is regenerating after we relocated it.  Various seedlings were watered with the water I had used to wash lettuce.  I fed other plants with fish emulsion.  Our gardenia was cold hurt this winter, but it's reviving.  I enjoyed the single bloom while it lasted.  The peanuts I planted are coming up very nicely.  Now, if the deer will just stay away.  The amaranth is coming up, though a bit spotty.  Suet, yogurt and hummingbird food were made.  On nights that were cool enough, we turned off A/C and opened windows.  I requested several books from the library, and made a purchase through swagbucks, saving 5%.

I harvested our first cucumber, as well as broccoli, lettuce and mulberries. Laundry was done with homemade soap, and hung on the line.  A batch of soap gel was made using soap scraps and water.  Our bathroom redo and outdoor shower are coming along, thanks to J's hard work.  When we checked online, it said our hardware store had 4' sections of privacy fence in stock.  It turns out they didn't, but they gave us half off two 6' sections that had damage at the bottom, which worked perfectly for what we needed, and was less than the 4' sections would have been.  By Saturday evening, J had our outdoor shower up and running.  We'll have to try it out soon!  Every year there are branches that reach for the light, and need trimming along the walking path.  I put the large pruners on the mower, and mowed and pruned as I went, saving me from carrying it's weight about a half a mile.  These days the guys usually do the mowing, but there is a lot of scullcap growing right now along the path, which I make into medicine every few years, and I wanted to make sure it was able to regenerate.   

Since my favorite vet moved out of state, I took Guinness to a new holistic vet, who is an hour away.  I found out our local Tractor Supply does vet clinics every Saturday morning, so J & I took him there for his rabies update.  This saved driving time, money, and we were given coupons for a free 5 lb. bag of dogfood, and 10% off treats, a bag of which was already in my cart.  There was a bit of a wait, but the benefits outweighed the minor inconvenience.  We picked up needed chicken supplies while there too.  We have so many pests around here. I recently thought it was scale on the raspberries, but it's actually woolly aphids.  I also found them on the roses and bee balm.  I've made a couple of rounds with insecticidal soap to deter them.  Japanese beetles have arrived, though so far there are not too many.  For those, I carry a container of water with a drop or two of soap, and collect them off the plants.  Bug duty :o).  For more encouragement of a frugal nature, visit Brandy and her virtual frugal community.


Michèle Hastings said...

What do you put in your insecticidal soap? I assume you put it in a spray bottle. I have bought some all natural spray, but it doesn't seem to be doing too much and it's very expensive. Making my own would be a better way to go. I haven't seen the Japanese beetles yet. I sure hope there are less this year. The last couple of years were terrible. They ate a lot of blackberries.

Anonymous said...

Though not yet Midsummer, summer is in full swing where I live. I notice that some plants are struggling this year...don't know if it was the rains we have had, followed by days of intense heat, or what. I'll just be checking and watching as the summer rolls by. The only real spot of color now in my gardens is the echinacea and some chrysanthemums, but more color is on the way. For now, there's just a lot of greens!

I will have to look up mullein!

Laurie said...

Michele, I bought it this time, though I've made some in the past. I don't remember which recipe I used, though.

Nancy- where do you live? I'm not sure if I've seen. Still waiting for the echinacea to bloom here. Green is good!