Sunday, July 22, 2018

Summer of Squash & Frugal Accomplishments

While watering the pond garden, J noticed a different reptile, this broad-headed skink.  Apparently they spend most of their time in the treetops, and the males have orange red heads which fade after mating season.  A dinner was made from our fruit, herbs and vegetables... fried apples, stir fried broccoli, and potato salad.  I was thinking, sometimes cooking during the summer feels like damage control, using up what most needs using while you can.  Cucumbers, tromboncino squash and eggs were given to friends during the week.  A batch of blueberry lime jam was made, some of which I plan to use as gifts.  It was made using lemon seed pectin, and appears to have set up nicely, so I'll be trying that again.  Sometimes I just stand a watch the variety of pollinators on the mountain mint (above).  The second dye experiment, this time with trumpet vine (below) instead of virginia creeper, yielded no more color, which is to say very little.  I'm going to research to remind myself how many marigolds it takes to use as dye, and if I have enough, will try that next.  If you've been following here a very long time, you may remember the first marigold experiment

I made some bathroom redo purchases at Lowes during a 10% off sale, using my cc (5%), and got another 4% through ebates, for 19% savings.  Plus, I qualified for a free Google home mini with my purchase, which will be shipped to me.  I didn't know what it was, but my understanding is it is similar to an Echo, which a friend gifted me last Christmas and I still don't have up and running.  I need to remedy that.  I'll likely save the mini for a gift.  J took a sledge hammer to the tub on Tuesday, so outdoor showers are the only option for a while.  The only challenge I see is if it's raining.  Right now, I'm enjoying taking a shower with bird song and moon light.  I received a phone call from my bank, telling me that during their transition week when they changed hands in April, I won a $100 gift card from the giveaways!  I did make sure I entered daily that week.  What a lovely surprise!

I tried a new recipe for summer squash, zucchini rice gratin, and a new cucumber recipe with dill and lemon.  We both liked the zucchini dish, though it messed up a huge amount of things to be washed, and took quite a while to make.  J liked the cucumber dish, but I didn't love it.  My sister took vacation time this week, and we met for breakfast one morning, then visited two thrift stores.  I made 4 purchases, but my favorite find was a vintage set of dishes I plan to use in the fall.  Everything was half price, so 8 pieces were $5.  Several pieces have interesting cracks that don't go all the way through and one is chipped.  They look quite old, though there is no makers mark.  I think they'll go nicely with the other vintage brown dishes I bought not long ago, and plan to use them for our hayride dinner in the fall.  I gifted my sister cucumbers, tromboncino squash, and blueberries.  This tanager's colors seem a cross between a male and female, but I expect it's a juvenile.

I received a refund on the incorrect card reader I purchased.  For a dinner, I cooked a mix of our frozen lima beans and butter peas, frozen okra, and gifted brown rice.  It removed four bags from the freezer, making more room for this year's harvest.  There was one gifted zucchini remaining, which I didn't want to waste.  Now that our summer squash is coming in, and the gifted one was a baseball bat of a squash, I decided to cut it up and add it to the broth bag.  No waste, and we can enjoy our lovely, tender squash without guilt.  Several things were decluttered, and added to the give away box.  I ended up with only one parsley plant producing anything, and another that just isn't growing, so I picked one up while getting home supplies, which had 4 plants in one cell.  I watered it when we got home, promptly forgot about it a couple of days, and got the 4 plants in the ground on Friday.

Making a quick visit to see a friend before running some errands, I arrived just in time to see a swallowtail butterfly she'd been assisting since caterpillar stage fly to some lantana to finish drying it's wings, then fly off to a hopefully long and happy life.  I also learned about spicebush caterpillars, and have been keeping my eyes open for them.  I'd been a little under the weather, and trying to figure out what to have for lunch, decided to make hummus with lots of garlic and lemon, both good for what ails you.  I cut up carrots, celery and our ever present cucumbers to enjoy it with, which I did.  For dinner, I used our squash, herbs & cherry tomatoes (frozen last year) to make my Mom's zucchini soup.  I added a good amount of garlic and onions in it, upping the medicinal value.

I brought the first basket full of potatoes in to store in the basement, but then realized I needed to clean the area, as some squash had molded there and left some residue last winter.  I ended up sweeping the entire basement, and wiping down the area where the potatoes are going with water and a few drops of tea tree oil.  A bit longer task than I intended, but it looks and smells great now.  After a very dry past several weeks, we received a couple inches of rain Saturday night.  On Sunday, I gathered over 8# of tromboncino squash, and more than 26# of spaghetti squash.  If I'd known there were that many spaghetti squash, I'd have brought the wheelbarrow instead of my largest basket.  I'm going to have to find some new recipes for them, as there's only one I use now.  We're not fond of the usual faux spaghetti dish, but I'm sure I can find other ways we'll think they're yummy. 

tromboncino squash
Still on a garlic binge, trying to knock out my cold, I made us a dish my grandmother, Mama Rosie, called Popeye cream eggs for breakfast.  It's scrambled eggs with fresh garlic and tomato.  I used our first tiny ripe tomato, along with store bought, and eggs from our girls.  J requested it, and I was happy to oblige.  He's been working very hard on the bathroom redo.  Adding the garlic to the herbs I'd been taking seems to be working, as I'm feeling almost back to normal today.  I was happy to see four nice sized cheese wheel pumpkins, several butternut squash, some humongous cushaw squash, and some pretty large Hopi Grey squash after gathering the spaghetti squash.  We plant things in that garden that don't need constant attention, so I don't visit there as often.  Looks like I'm going to have to get creative with winter squash ideas too.  Our fall seeds are beginning to germinate.  The only seeds we should have left to plant are kale and lettuce. 

The way things are shaping up with the bathroom project, it looks like we'll have an indoor shower again in a few days.  Here are a couple of views from the shower.  The only window that you can see from the shower is in our bedroom, and it has a large stained glass window sitting in it, so it feels quite safe.  I love the enameled soap dish I found for the shower.  I was looking for something that would hold up well outdoors.  I considered pottery, but living in the woods, limbs fall on a regular basis, so this seemed a better choice.  I thought the color seemed perfect for a shower in the woods.  Well, that's the latest on the homestead.  Many wishes for a lovely week.


Mrs. Mac said...

An outdoor shower in the moonlight ... must be heavenly. I have the same soap dish in yellow. You've been quite busy with your garden and are reaping the rewards of your labor. Enjoy!

Laurie said...

The dish in yellow would be a cheerful thing. Moonlight & twinkly lights :o)

Beckyathome said...

I'm cracking up thinking of you taking your showers outside! This is the time of year to do it! Hopefully you will get the project done soon, and the weather is warm until then:)

I love tromboncini zucchini. I didn't grow it this year, but have in the past. It was firmer than some other kinds, and worked well for me in recipes where I didn't want mushy squash.

Laurie said...

I love the tromboncino too, Becky. They're my favorite squash. Yes, the warm weather is welcome for the outdoor showers. I've had to take some with the skies rumbling, in between rain showers, but so far have managed to take them sans rain. I've literally taken a rain shower in the past, and I can tell you it's cold!

Michèle Hastings said...

We are finally enjoying Jeff's hard work in the garden. We have had a lot zucchini and finally some tomatoes. I have heard of a lot of people with summer colds. I hope you are on the mend quickly.

Laurie said...

The first of our tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I'm excited to hear about your garden! Thank you for your healing wishes. I do believe I'm on the mend.