Monday, September 17, 2018

Hurricane Florence & Frugal Accomplishments

monarch chrysalis on lambs quarter, close to emerging
Hello, friends.  Monday morning, after some searching in the garden, I found a monarch chrysalis on lambs quarter, as well as what I think may be red admiral chrysalises on stinging nettles.  When I went by a couple of hours later, the monarch had emerged, and was drying it's wings.  A couple of checks later, it was gone, hopefully flying off to a safe place.  Thankfully, the storm has weakened, and though we'll get wind and rain, it will not be to the extent as originally forecast.  Several of J's extended family, further east, are without power and dealing with flooding.  In these days of technology, we're thankfully able to talk or message with them, and know they are OK, even though one family had to leave their home due to flooding.

Pasta Norma was made with our eggplant, tomatoes and herbs, and caprese salad with our basil and tomatoes to go with it.  Some deep cleaning and decluttering was done.  I went through my jewelry box, and put aside a bag to be donated, as well as a pile of bits and pieces, such as single earrings, that will be given to a jewelry maker or thrift shop.  A collection of antique paper ephemera has been collecting dust.  I thought of someone who might be able to use it in her creations, and she is thrilled to take it.  So, a bit of progress made on the simplifying front.

I enjoyed some of our yellow watermelon for lunch one day.  It had been picked around 10 days earlier, and was rather soft in the middle.  Those bits, and the rinds and seeds went to the chickens.  J enjoyed some for lunch another day, and what he didn't eat went to the chickens.  The evening after we planted carrot seeds a few weeks ago, we had a heavy rainstorm, so a number of the seedlings had escaped the bed.  I transplanted those seedlings back into the bed, and hope they will live.  The kale seedlings seem to be doing well, and there are a few lettuce seedlings.  I made my Swagbucks goal once, and received a sample of catfood in the mail, along with two $3 coupons.

I gathered pawpaws and pears most days.  Many of the pawpaws had to be turned into compost, but I did make pawpaw parfait again one evening, with the last of this year's fresh blueberries.  We keep the chicken coop opened up during the summer. With the storm coming, I covered the window in their coop, and replaced the windows along the bottom of their little enclosed covered yard, to give them some wind protection while eating and drinking.  It feels pretty cozy in there now.   Greens and concord grapes were gathered for them to enjoy several days, and occasional cherry tomatoes.  I used one of our pumpkins, as well as cinnamon sticks and whole cloves from the pantry in a photo shoot for the Pumpkin Chai soap, and listed it in my shop.

As I was getting tight on freezer space, knowing I was going to be staying indoors due to the storm, I decided to simmer and can 2 1/2 gallon bags of frozen vegetable scraps into broth.  Thankful for more freezer room, and a few more jars on the pantry shelf.  I pulled a few carrots and about half of the beets before the storm arrived, concerned about them rotting with all the rain coming.  I also dug the small bed of potatoes we planted from small ones we grew last year.  We knew there wouldn't be much, but there ended up being enough potatoes for 2 meals, so two meals of potatoes we won't have to buy.  I took advantage of another mostly indoor storm day, by taking an online course and test for my massage license renewal, wrapping soap, and writing a letter I'd been putting off.  It's good to cross those off my to do list.

Late in the week, I found another monarch chrysalis in the garden, where I had seen one form a J the day before.  I was pretty sure that meant it was getting ready to form a chrysalis, so it was pretty neat to find.  I checked it on Saturday, about midway through the storm, and it was still there.  Last week, I made my Mom's zucchini soup and Brandy's Tuscan Tomato Bread soup, with our squash, tomatoes and herbs.  A batch of Butternut Chocolate Chip Brownies was made, using homemade vanilla, our eggs, and subbing seminole pumpkin in place of the squash.  I found a free series on Amazon prime, called Pioneer Quest, and have enjoyed it so far.  Watching these types of shows always makes me very thankful for modern conveniences.  During a hard rain, I noticed a good bit of rain flowing over the gutters.  We have guards on our gutters, so during a lull, I went up a ladder, and cleaned off the main rain water collection area, where the two rooflines meet.  Our cisterns are all full now, which is always a good feeling.  The gutter guards don't work as promised, as they still collect leaves and other bits that fall on the roof, but it is easier to wipe them off than having to dig all the detritus out of the gutters as before.

Cleaning up the porch before the storm, I realized I hadn't done anything with the dye pot full of hickory and hazelnut husks.  The liquid looked darker than it had when it started, so I strained it and added the pair of leggings I had originally tried to dye with pine bark.  After a couple of days, the leggings have taken on enough color to be tan or light brown.  I'll leave them a bit longer, and see how they end up.  The sheet I dyed with marigolds was machine washed, and it kept all it's color.  I watched several online tutorials on tying quilts, ordered basting pins to do it, and hope to start on it soon.  All the plants that had been on the porch were moved indoors, to prevent a repeat performance of pots being flung hither and yon during the storm.

There's a plant I'd noticed, but hadn't paid much attention to this summer.  I had thought it was one of the grapes we planted a few years ago, but seeing blooms on it last week made me realize it was a volunteer hibiscus, such a welcome surprise.  I'm thinking it's a hardy hibiscus, but not really sure.  It would be most appreciated if you'd share, if you happen to know this plant. 

I generally try to work on these posts as the week goes by, and am typing these lines on generator power Sunday morning.  The power has been out for an hour or so, and the map shows a rather extensive area out.  I'm loving the jumble of morning glories and day flowers along the garden fence right now.  J emptied the rain gauge today, which holds 5".  It's been raining steadily since,  We were in the 10-15" forecast, but I'm thinking we may get a bit less when all is said and done.

Though it does take diesel to run our generator, J said it's good to run it for a while now and then, so I thought of chores that use electric to do then, instead of paying for the electricity when it comes back on.  I got a load of laundry washed and dried, ground a pan of bread ends into bread crumbs, and vacuumed.  Just a bit over 3 hours, and the power returned. I took advantage of a free listing offer on ebay, and listed six books, part of my decluttering efforts.  I mended a pair of shorts.  For dinner, along with bought corn, I cooked our okra and a new lentil based vegi loaf.  We weren't fans of the vegi loaf.  It was decent, and we'll eat it, but it won't make it into my repertoire.  There's a chickpea based one I still want to try, and there's a nut based loaf I love, but rarely make any more, as it's pretty expensive.   I may have to find that recipe.  Though we've got some warm days coming up, the storm has made it feel like soup and meatloaf (vegi) weather.  I hope you are all staying safe, and wish you a good week ahead.


cookingwithgas said...

Do you know how excited I am to see your butterflies?! I am super excited. I have so many Black swallowtails that still need food. I took a plant from a friends house yesterday and it is nubs today! Love the flowers. Stay safe.

Laurie said...

What do they eat? Things are flattened in lots of places here, but maybe some thing for them? I just found the chrysalis mentioned in the post is still hanging on the milkweed :o).

Michèle Hastings said...

Glad to hear you fared well through the storm. You certainly go more done than me!

Laurie said...

I'm not sure why, but I really felt motivated to use all that indoor time well. Glad you did well too!

Jeannie said...

I loved the picture of the chrysalis. A few days ago I thought I saw one in my garden, but it was gone when I returned the next day. Next time, I will stop, put on my reading glasses, squat down and get close enough to be sure. I think seeing one will be worth the work trying to get back up on my feet.
I am glad you made it through the storm.

Laurie said...

That made me chuckle, Jeannie. I've been saying the only thing I've been noticing that's changed in my massage work is the difficulty in standing up after squatting down, which I do when I work on their arms (in a massage chair). Lower cabinets too. Boy, this getting older isn't for sissies.

Jeannie said...

A person in their 20's would not get the joke or think I was exaggerating...they'll see.