Monday, July 22, 2019

Plenty of Cucumbers & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Last week, laundry was dried on the line.  Plenty of cucumbers were harvested, and some were shared.  Also, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley and oregano were harvested.  The loofahs have begin climbing up the twine.  I did some weeding around the melons, but the heat drove me back in the house.  Half of the gifted cabbage was made into asian slaw.  Eggs were boiled, and the water used to water plants.  I went through swagbucks for 6% and used a 15% off code for an online order.  A bill was received from a test done 16 months ago, which I thought had already been covered by the healthshare.  Thankfully, when I called them, they said I didn't need to pay it, and they would reprocess it for payment.  Hooray for that.  I took pics of, and listed my new Bright Morning soap in the shop.

One evening, I noticed the bronze fennel had been munched on.  I started looking around, and saw a swallowtail caterpillar nearby.  I planted the fennel for just that reason, and was delighted to see it.  I reused bubble wrap and other packing materials for an ebay order.  I went through swagbucks for 4% off to purchase a bathing suit for our GD at 50% off.  She'll need this in a few weeks, on a zoo day, as the children's section has several water features.  I recently tried the food saver sheets that are paper embedded with a spice blend, and was really disappointed.  Though they got great reviews, they didn't work well for me.  The main reason I wanted to try them was to keep nectarines from going from unripe to moldy within days.  Of the first 6 nectarines I tried, 3 went from hard/unripe to moldy in 3 days, and all did the same within 6 days.  I considered that it might be the nectarines, and wanted to give it a fair trial, so tried a second round.  The first 2 went from unripe to moldy within 2 days, and the 3rd was moldy on day 4.  I really wanted it to be a great natural solution to food waste, but that wasn't my experience.

The elderberries have begun ripening.  I harvested the first quart, and began a batch of tincture with them.  One of J's clients gifted us a bag of produce.  There were tomatoes (yay!), a couple of white peaches, yellow squash, and an eight ball zucchini, which was a new one for us.  I researched recipes, and made Eight Ball Zucchini Parmesan with it, also with a mix of our yellow and zucchini squash.  I took the suggestion to double the spinach, garlic and basil, increased the cheese slightly, used lambs quarter for the spinach, and used provolone instead of parmesan, because that's what was on hand.  We thought it was very good.  Along with that, I prepared chard I harvested that day with our garlic and broth.  I was commiserating with a friend recently that cooking this time of year often seems like damage control... what needs to be used most today? After dinner, I harvested purslane, and the next day, made a triple batch of purslane pistachio pesto.

The tromboncino squash are almost ready to begin harvesting.  Another box of donations was taken to the thrift store, while in town to deliver a soap order.  While there, I picked up oilskin reproofing cream for one of J's coats.  I paid $2 for 2 jars, and it lists for $12.24 ea. on amazon.  At the library, I found out that in addition to e-books, we also have access to audio books and magazines online.  I had another lovely moment on an evening walk.  There are rolling hay fields that meet our property in the back, and this is where I walk to in the evenings.  They had just rolled the hay into large round bales, which always look pretty scattered across the field.  The evening light was hitting a multitude of small flying bugs, which looked rather like sparkles, and many dragonflies darted here and there.  It was lovely, and just one of the many reasons I feel blessed to live here.

Over the past week, the birds have gotten wise to the blueberries.  At first, they were focused on two bushes, and I was still able to pick from two.  Now they're picking all of them clean before I can get to them. Oh well, we've gotten to eat them fresh, and I've frozen 2 quart bags.  On another note, the new bird feeder pole seems to be working.  The squirrels are mostly eating the seeds on the ground, with occasional tries for the hanging feeders, which makes me happy.  I've got plenty of jam from last year, so decided to make mixed berry syrup.  I use these when making berry vinaigrette's.  I pulled bags of mulberries & raspberries, cranberries and elderberries from the freezer, freeing up room there, and adding more syrup jars to the shelf.  I used the mehu-liisa steamer, which makes it really easy to move the already fairly dried remaining fruit to the dehydrator, to use in future bird suet.

Making granola has been on my to do list.  I ground wheat into flour, which is the first step.  J picked our first large tomato.  It had a bad spot in the center, which hastened ripening, but he said it was good despite it.  I picked up birthday cards at Dollar General for $1 each, instead of several times that at the drugstore.  The boots I wear on my morning walks were getting tough to zip up, so I rubbed beeswax on the zippers, which helped.  I made swagbucks goal several days, and sent a message about points I didn't receive after shopping, which I then promptly received.  Like a lot of the country, the heat index has been 100 or more most days, so the a/c has been running 24/7.  There are cooler temps in the forecast next week, which I'm greatly looking forward to.  Though we recently had a half dozen peaches still ripening on the trees, I saw there was only one left on Saturday. I asked J to harvest it (it was high up), and we found that Japanese beetles had already been munching on it.  Man, it's hard to provide much fruit for ourselves here.

The Prudent Homemaker's Spanish Rice was made, to go with bean burritos.  Neighbors stopped by, and were given a bag of cucumbers.  Some of the wheat flour, along with our blueberries and an egg, were used in pancakes on Sunday.  With our tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, oregano, and a few other ingredients, I made a triple batch of my Mom's caponata.  I froze several containers, and kept one for us to enjoy this week.  I shared cucumbers and eggs with my sister and BIL.  On these hot days, I've been adding ice to the chicken waterers, and bringing them frozen corn treats in the afternoon, to help cool them down.  Pups are given grated cucumber, and various other vegetables with their dinner.  While grating the pups cucumber, it occurred to me that the chickens would probably enjoy cold grated cucumber too, and indeed they did.  I guess you can tell from the cucumber theme, it is our biggest garden harvest at the moment.  Laundry was dried on the line.  There was still a gallon bag of eggplant slices I baked and froze last year.  As J was grilling, I filled a baking sheet with them, and added our garlic and oregano.  He covered them with another baking sheet, and cooked them on the grill.  They were quite tasty.  Wishing you a most lovely week!


daisy g said...

Your produce looks wonderful!
I hope you got some of this glorious rain we've been gifted with.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Laurie said...

Thanks, Daisy. We are beginning to get some much appreciated rain. Yay!