Monday, May 18, 2020

May Blooms & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Monday evening, we again covered everything up, due to a frost warning.  It didn't appear we got any, but it's worth it not to lose future food.  On an evening walk last week, I spotted a new to me frog.  It was sitting right on the path, and I was afraid the dogs might walk on it, so I picked it up and set it on a nearby tree branch.  The next morning, I found it happily sitting several feet away on the same tree.  For the first time, I redeemed cash back on a credit card, for $31.98.  I did pay off each bill early, and incurred no debt, so it was a good experiment.  A pan of dried bread ends was ground into bread crumbs and frozen.  I thinned all the fruit trees as far as I could reach with a ladder.  A new sweet potato recipe was tried while we still had a few.  It was good, a nice change, and beautiful to boot.

A code for $15 off courses for massage CEU's was used.  As we're still mostly sheltering at home in NC, the board is making an exception this year, letting us get all our hours online, which is several hundred dollars in savings from live classes.  It won't be the same as hands on learning, but I'm thankful they made this provision at this time.  I froze the last of a bottle of apple juice, for 2 future batches of granola, so I won't have to buy more just for 1/4 c of juice.  J asked me to freeze some of our eggs, instead of giving quite so many away.  He eats 4 scrambled for breakfast, so I froze 2 pucks of 4, and individual ones in a muffin tin.  With research, I learned that some salt (or sugar) helps keep the yolk more like fresh, which has a tendency to get rubbery.  I froze the first 4 whole, but then learned it's best to mix them first.  A batch of yogurt was made.

Weeks ago, I started four o'clocks with seeds shared by a friend.  They were big enough to be put in the ground, so I did that on a cloudy cool evening.  We got a little shower that night, which was perfect.  Another friend had given me zebra hollyhock seeds, which I planted last year.  This week, it started blooming.  J had an online Dr's appointment, which saved gas and risk.  We got the summer sheets down from the attic, now that the nights are in the 50's and above.  I created three more sheet sets.  With the linens all being second hand, some become threadbare and tear each year, so I enjoy mixing and matching, and putting new sets together.  My summer clothes were taken down too, and the clothes swapped out.  Sweet potato was grated for a few of the pups dinners.  I took the recyclables to the dump.

I've been keeping alfalfa sprouts in constant rotation, to supplement any lettuce we have.  All laundry was hung on the line.  We did get a surprise shower one night, but the laundry was dry the next afternoon.  I made two salad dressings.  I t looks like we are finally done with needing heat.  I've been opening windows every chance I get, but need to be closing up during the day soon.  Of the recently gifted foods, I've been using blueberries in my oatmeal, goat cheese in fritters and pasta sauce, and made a cobbler with the apples.  The pasta sauce used our fresh peas, and called for boursin cheese, which I made using our herbs and the goat cheese.  I enjoyed watching Call the Midwife online, and continue online guitar lessons and spiritual classes.

I'm starting to miss the discount grocery store, and the local thrift stores.  I expect the grocery store is open, but I've been shopping minimally, and not quite ready to venture there yet to look for bargains.  A batch of hummingbird food was made, as well as lemon iced tea (lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena) with local honey.  Speaking of hummingbird food, in the last week or so, I've had a squirrel jump on and start sucking on the feeder like a bottle.  It's broken all the little spots where the hummingbirds can stand.  I am not happy about this.  We moved the feeder to a different spot, and I rigged up a way to pull it farther from any poles or trees.  The sad thing is I can no longer see the feeder at the kitchen sink, because of a tree in between.  I wouldn't have believed it without seeing it... several times.  Crazy squirrels.

walking onions
I believe I forgot to mention last week that we started up the solar hot water, now that the freezing temps are behind us.  I went through swagbucks for a needed business purchase, for 4% back, and went through The Prudent Homemaker's site to buy a birthday gift on amazon, so she will make a tiny commission.  Swagbucks were redeemed for a $25 gift card.  One of my local potter friends put up a post that she had veggies and plants to share.  I went by there and bought a beautiful bibb lettuce, and parsley, basil and echinacea plants.  Her prices are already very low (ie: $2 for a 4 pack), and she always seems to throw extras in.  This time, I got four free yellow pepper plants, a mystery butterfly plant, and an extra echinacea.  Everything I've gotten from her in the past was beautiful and healthy.  I'm so happy she is again sharing her bounty.  Bonus is she's only 8 mins away, which is close, when you live out in the boonies like we do.

Our first amaryllis is blooming.  The birds are really going through the suet, and another batch was made.  Instead of fritters, this time I made fried rice with leftovers and bits that needed using... chard stems, broccoli stems, leftover cauliflower, and a carrot.  It was good.  With a return to temps in the 80's, I open lots of windows in the morning, and close the house as it warms up.  Though it was 86 on Saturday, doing this kept the house cool enough where we did not have to turn on the a/c.  I'm hoping to keep it off as long as possible.  J planted the basil and peppers in the garden.  I sold an item on ebay.  The gifted milkweed were planted, as well as the nasturtiums I started from seed.  We worked on a bunch of orders over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to cooler temps and some rain this week.  Wishing you a most pleasant week.


daisy g said...

What a cute lil' frog. I have seen those here. They camoflage themselves so well on trees.
That black bean/sweet potato recipe sounds delicious.

Your peas look lovely. We are just now getting snap peas on the vine. We have Egyptian walking onions that were gifted from a friend. It's the first time I'm growing them, so any advice on harvesting would be appreciated. I think I may have waited too long.

Sounds like you snagged yourself a mess of goodies from your green-thumb friend. What a treasure to have friends who share...

Enjoy the rain this week!

Laurie said...

The sweet potato dish was good. I'm bad about harvesting the onions, so the patches have gotten larger. Lately, I've been pulling ones at the outer edge, to keep them a little more in check. Yes, green thumbed friends are good to have!

Jeannie said...

I am curious about your Amarillas. I was given three in pots this year by a friend who received them as office Christmas gifts. She has a frisky cat so there is no way she could keep them. I put them (still in the pots) in the garage and then moved them outside when the weather warmed. They are sprouting now and looking good. Did you leave yours in the ground all winter? This is my first time growing one so I don't know what to expect. I didn't think it would bloom again until wintertime. I'm in gardening zone 6b/7a.

Laurie said...

I've also been surprised that they overwinter here, Jeannie, but they do. I knew people grew them in the coastal part of the state, and was pleasantly surprised they seem to do well here. At first, I followed instructions to keep the bulbs cool and dark for some months, and kept them in the crawl space before planting, but they've done better just putting them in the ground when it warms.

Jeannie said...

Well! I will experiment and plant one in the ground and see what happens... or I might plant all of them. This is good to know because storing them in the dark garage is something I will probably forget.

Laurie said...

I hope they do wonderfully! I planted all this winter's ones outdoors yesterday, between rain showers.

cookingwithgas said...

as usual your pictures are wonderful.

Laurie said...

Thank you!