Friday, December 31, 2021

Sandhills C C Horticultural Gardens Visit

Hello, friends.  With all of the chaos of the fire, I realized I never shared photos of the Sandhills Community College Horticultural Gardens visit in September.  I thought you might appreciate seeing it now.

They had an amazing sculpture, created by Patrick Dougherty.

Happy New Year, friends!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Holidays 2021

Hello, friends.  I hope you had a lovely Christmas, if you celebrate it.  J has been working on our solar project, first creating our battery room.  He also dug and put concrete in the footers for the frame for the array.  Last week, I harvested lettuce, broccoli, and parsley.  I found usnea on a walk two days, and started a jar of glycerite with it.  For my lunches, I made soup, which used homemade broth, our onions, oregano and parsley, and pantry items.  I received some duplicates for presents.  One was able to be returned, but it had been too long for the other, so I listed it on ebay.  I finished the cross stitch, and framed it on the 23rd.  Unfortunately, our mail carrier didn't work on the 24th, so it will be a late gift for her.  Our home and auto insurance provider was able to recommend someone to assist with health insurance.  I was able to switch to "real" insurance, vs the health share I had been using, for almost $50 less per month.  A batch of suet was made for the birds, using dehydrated bits leftover from canning tomatoes and berries..

Veggie bits were added to the broth bag, and the rest were composted.  Paper and cardboard were shredded.  I'd been saving the kraft packing paper that came in orders, and ironed some to wrap a large package of J's.  After an appointment, I went by Harris Teeter.  It was a bit of a madhouse, but I hung with it, and got J's bread B1G1 free, organic canned beans for .85 can, and received a 5% senior discount on the total.  Two new GF cookie recipes were made on Christmas Eve, and a plant based eggnog.  All were healthy, fitting with our current diet, and good.  Daisy shared these Pecan Sandies with me, and I made cinnamon cookies.  A bit of sweetness to celebrate the holiday.  The amaryllis I had intended to gift, then forgot about, are making buds.  We enjoyed watching some holiday movies, including It's a Wonderful Life, which I got from the library.  I also enjoyed the Call the Midwife's holiday special.  Now that we're in wood heating season, our electric bill dropped around $50, which was most welcome.  J took his car in for an ABS light, and ended up getting two recalls the previous owner hadn't taken care of done while there, having to do with his seat belts and door latches.

I caught up on laundry, and hung three loads on the line.  Our broccoli was used in noodles with Thai peanut sauce.  I made a batch of toothpaste, trying a little different recipe this time, which used peppermint, vanilla, frankincense and nutmeg essential oils.  Another 15 cups of broccoli were blanched and frozen.   For Christmas, J requested our potatoes with mushroom gravy, my Grandmother's stuffing (veggie version), Wild Blueberry cranberry sauce, and I made a salad to go along.  My latest favorite salad uses our lettuce, pomegranate arils, dried sour cherries, roasted pecans for me and pumpkin seeds for him.  We had a quiet day, which was fine.  I enjoyed reading one of the sweet books I was gifted.  For the first time ever, we decided to stop taking orders for our metal home goods after early December, mostly because we had already begun having problems with shipments being lost and damaged, but also to give us time to enjoy the holidays.  I'm planning to use the coming week to catch up on some things, before the orders start rolling in again.

Last summer, I really enjoyed making egg scrambles with lots of veggies, mostly from our garden.  Not being able to use eggs put the "eeks" on that, but MM recently posted a recipe for a similar plant based version.  Though you wouldn't mistake it for eggs, it satisfied that desire.  I rehydrated maitake mushroom for it, and added asparagus, grape tomatoes, black olives, and yellow pepper.  It's pretty good, and as the base is potato flakes, quite filling.  On Sunday, we took our GD out for breakfast.  Afterwards, we went to a local park, where she opened her gifts.  It was an amazingly warm and beautiful December day, in the 70's.  The bench we were at had a little free library near it.  J found a book, but I didn't find any I really wanted to read.  I wish I'd known we would see the library, as I have a pile of books I've been intending on donating.  After we dropped her off, we stopped at Food Lion, and got a couple bunches of asparagus for $1.59/#, with a few other things.  Here's looking to a happier and healthier 2022.  Be well, friends.  

Monday, December 20, 2021

A Little Afternoon Trip, Rain & Cookies

Hello, friends.  Last week, I potted up the amaryllis and paperwhites, and wrapped all the presents for the family gathering on Saturday, while enjoying free holiday music.  While working on this post Sunday night, it occurred to me that all the amaryllis are still sitting in my studio windows.  Oops!  I somehow totally forgot to take them with me.  Sheesh... The GPS sent me a new way to the dentist recently.  While driving home, I drove through the most quaint intersection, and realized it was the edge of Gold Hill, a tiny historic town my sister and I had planned to visit a few years ago, but never did.  I asked if she'd like to go while it was all dressed up for Christmas, and we did.  I actually saw a chicken cross the road at the intersection, and bought one last gift for J.  We had dinner before heading home.  It was a fun afternoon trip.  I made Pasta Norma for our gathering, using our garlic, onion, eggplant, tomatoes and herbs.  

We lost the blind rooster last week.  We're actually surprised how long he made it after his health challenge.  I think having one of the hens in with him the past year kept him going a while longer.  Now the hen is back in with the others in the main coop, and we have our chick area free again for the spring.  We enjoyed homegrown pesto and a salad for a dinner.  I cut up, blanched and froze a large bag of our broccoli, ending up with 17c of broccoli for future meals.  Lettuce, oregano and chives were harvested.  At the grocery store, I was able to get asparagus for $1.59/#, and dogfood on sale for $6 off.  M is still attempting to create drama from afar.  I'll be so glad when the last few belongings he has left are gone, which we've said must be by the end of the year, and that chapter is in our rearview mirror.  

We got more rain, including just under an inch over the weekend, and were able to switch our home back to rainwater.  Hallelujah!  J then had to work on cleaning out the shower head and the toilet float valve from all the gunk from the well water.  We're hoping we don't have to go back to well water any time soon, if ever.  I've been making good progress on the cross stitch.  All the details are done, and I'm just working on filling in the main color.  I'd been feeling sad about not being able to bake some of my favorite Christmas cookies, due to not being able to have gluten, eggs or butter.  But then I started seeing cookie recipes that MM posted.  I made the first ones, Snickerdoodles, on Sunday, and they're good.  Not exactly the same as crispy, buttery cookies perhaps, but still quite good.  While the oven was hot, I roasted garlic and baked sweet potatoes for future meals.  

Many wishes from our home to yours for a peaceful and joyful holiday!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Holiday Cheer

Hello, friends.  Last week, I made a double batch of Medical Medium chickpea noodle soup, and froze several portions.  I'd read some discussion recently about having soups on hand, to have in case you were to get sick.  I have lots of food in the pantry, but haven't been good at having much in the way of ready made meals, so this is a step towards being more prepared in that manner.  Hopefully, it will be eaten in times of health, but it's there if needed.  I decorated the tree, and J topped it with our rustic angel, and hung the last of the ornaments.  

I haven't cross-stitched in years, but saw a free post office pattern in Country Living a few months ago, and wanted to make it for my mail carrier.  I finally went through my supplies, and found all the colors of floss I need.  They weren't all the exact color called for, but similar enough.  The least expensive fabric was at Hobby Lobby, so that's where I went, and only bought that, even though there was a vintage looking pitcher that wanted to come home with me ;o).  On Tuesday, I started stitching, and have made sure to do a little every day, even if it's only five minutes.  We enjoyed our sweet potatoes, our lettuce in a salad, and a cauliflower dish for a dinner.  Another night, I harvested collards, and tried a new dish with them, as well as a new potato dish and a new roasted carrot dish.  They were all OK, but not wonderful.  I'll probably try the carrots again, but cover the pan with foil this time.  I think that may do the trick with them.  

We have no mantel, so get creative with our stockings.  I went to town to pick up books at the library, and also got a movie and a series to watch.  While there, I went by a thrift store, and found a frame for the cross stitch, several small Christmas bowls perfect for amaryllis, and plain scrap book paper I intend to make bookmarks with, using a free design.  So, the last of the gifts are taken care of for $5 and change.  I've been enjoying my free Peaceful Holidays station on Pandora while working in the kitchen and my studio, as well as some podcasts.  I decorated the house, and added two things to the donation box.  With changing over to well water, and the discoloration that comes from the high iron content, we noticed the toilet has a leak.  That may have been part of the reason we ran out of rain water.  We did have 1/2" rain midweek, but it only added ~1K gallons to the tanks.  I noticed one of the hellebores has a hint of a bud forming.  

I made a cranberry pie, which we enjoyed through the week.  Saturday started off with some rain, and more was in the forecast in the evening.  It ended up not being much, so we're on well water for the time being.  But, in the meantime, it was a breezy day, so I decided to do two loads of laundry, and hang them on the line.  The first load dried entirely on the line.  The second mostly dried, and 20 mins in the dryer finished them off.   The last of the Christmas cards were written and stamped.  I used our onion, garlic, and a pint jar of tomatoes in a tomato rice loaf for dinner, along with our lettuce in a salad.  J splurged on asparagus, so I roasted them while the oven was going, to have as well.  On Sunday, I harvested a head of lettuce, and 8 heads of broccoli.  It's been a better than usual broccoli year.  I used some in a new to me recipe, shared by Heather at Northridge Farm, which we both enjoyed.  There were a few adjustments, to fit our diet restrictions, but we both agreed it will make it into our rotation.  Wishing you a week of peace and good cheer.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Early December Days

Hello, friends.  Last week, I hung laundry on the line two days.  I tried a couple of new recipes.  The first used our kale in a quinoa salad, with dried cranberries and walnuts, which was very good, even better leftover.  I changed up the dressing, using less oil, and using lemon juice in place of the ACV.  I also tried a new burger recipe, which used lentils and oats, which was also good, and helped use up some of the lentils that need using.  Oregano was harvested and dried, for those winter nights when it's already dark, and I don't want to go outside when a recipe calls for oregano.  I dehydrated a batch of sweet potatoes that had been chewed on.  We had tried eating some of the larger ones, but they were bland tasting, so I decided to use them for dog treats.  My soap business has been quite busy, for which I'm so thankful.

One night last week, we ran out of rainwater, which is the first time that's happened in more than two years.  Though we had a couple of good rains in September and early October, it obviously hasn't kept up with household use, which means we're back on well water.  We both notice how drying it is to our skin, and I've got discolored fingers and nails again, from the excessive manganese.  Though we do collect warm up water, turn it off while brushing teeth, and follow the mellow rule in the bathroom, we could both do lots more to conserve.  I wish there were some way to track how much water we have in the tanks, but J says there's no way to do it.  He says an attached outside gauge would just freeze and break, or grow algae.  Needless to say, we're both looking forward to rain, and there looks to be a good chance midweek.  Hopefully, there will be enough to make a difference.  Thankfully, we have a separate rainwater tank for our drinking water, and it's still half full. 

After a soap delivery, I returned and picked up books and movies at the library, and got groceries.  Though the price of our dogfood has increased, it was on sale, and I purchased a couple of bags for $6 less than the new price.  I'm thankful it has remained in stock, as I've heard of some shortages of other pet foods.  I harvested mint, and dried it, as part of a Christmas gift.  Suet was made for the birds.   I'm not sure if it's the same across the country, but shortening has really gone up here.  I usually buy it at Aldi's, but have not seen any on the shelf this holiday season, which is usually when I can find it there.  Another hen has begun laying again, so we've actually had 2 eggs a few days, something we haven't seen in a while.  We've got some big, beautiful heads of broccoli that I'll soon begin harvesting.  I sauteed the last of the tromboncino with mushrooms, our onion, and all but the last two of our tomatoes.  A cube of frozen basil was added.  Orange skins were added to a pot on the woodstove, along with cinnamon pieces that were first used in making cranberry sauce, making the house smell cozy. 


While packing orders and wrapping soap, I listened to an On Being podcast with Jane Goodall.  What a beautiful human being she is.  J & I enjoyed a quick getaway, meeting dear friends at a historical Inn an hour away.  It was such a treat to spend time catching up, not to mention the dinner and breakfast we enjoyed in the French restaurant on site.   Before we went, I researched and found a tree farm in that town, so on the way home, after finding a few treasures at an antique store, we stopped and got our Christmas tree.  Service was great, the trees were all sitting in water, and the cost was $15 less than our local big box hardware, where all the trees are piled together and usually drying out.  After getting home Saturday, J got the tree inside.  We got all the Christmas boxes down from the attic, and put lights on it Sunday.  We need to pick up another string of lights, then will start decorating it.  It's a bit early for us to have a tree, but this seemed the best chance to have a healthy tree at a reasonable price.  Have you started any holiday preparations?

Monday, November 29, 2021

November Days

Hello, friends.  Last week, I went by a nearby Hallmark after an appointment, got a free card, redeemed a $7 reward, and got a 20% senior discount on the remainder.  I then stopped at Harris Teeter, and found organic diced tomatoes 10/$10, so got 6.  Lettuce was harvested, then covered before a night in the low 20's.  Kale was also harvested.  I enjoyed watching the PBS series Manor House, which came from the library.  I've watched many similar series, and was happy to find this one.  While checking out at the library, there was a screen of their home page scrolling across from me, when I noticed something about videos on demand.  I had asked about this a few months ago, so was surprised to see we now have access.  I haven't had a chance to check it out, but it sounds like mostly HBO documentaries and PBS shows, which works for me.  I look forward to enjoying some of the free shows during these long nights.  The guy who picks up our trash let J know the bags from the fire came to just under a ton of refuse, and we settled up with him.  

A book I enjoyed last week was The Giver of Stars.  It's the second book I've read about the Packhorse librarians in rural Kentucky during the Depression.  I listened to an On Being podcast with Bryan Stevenson, who wrote Just Mercy, while wrapping soap, and that evening watched the movie from the library.  It hadn't been planned, and was just a happy coincidence.  The movie had been in my Amazon queue, but wasn't free, so I was happy to find it at the library.  When we bought the sweet potatoes, I also got some pears and plums.  The pears were lovely, but the plums were picked too early, and never ripened nicely.  To use them up, I made a GF vegan plum tart, which turned out better than expected.  I tried another recipe that used some of the riced cauliflower bought at the discount store, and we both liked it.  It was pretty simple, using our parsley and garlic, and lemon juice.  J drove to Charlotte, and picked up solar panels, so the solar project has begun.  He's been researching inverters and batteries.  We enjoyed two Thanksgivings, first with my family, and then with his on Saturday.  It was the first time we've all been together in a couple of years, and it was wonderful.  Wishing you a week of seasonal pleasures.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021



This morning's walk.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, filled with good food and surrounded by loved ones.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Wood Working & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  During the week, J worked on cutting the burnt trees.  Our elderly neighbor likes to use smaller pieces in his woodstove, so we set those aside for him as they were cut.  He came by one day on his tractor, and we all loaded it into his trailer.  He brought us three bags of dried cranberries that had '21 on them, and said the store was going to throw out.  I'm guessing they were last year's, and expired earlier this year.  We were happy to get them.  They were put into mason jars, and will be sealed when we next do that.  He also brought us a few sweet potatoes.  J & I finished getting a large pile of split wood stacked under the woodshed.  All the pines cut down went to another neighbor who plans to use them for lumber.  There's been a delay in our solar plans, as we learned that there can be high tariffs from solar items imported from China.  J is sorting that out, and researching US sellers.  

I recently saw a post one of the local potteries put up, with lots of photos of their offerings.  There were so many lovely handmade things, in addition to pottery, it inspired me to visit and shop there.  I bought a gift for all the ladies, and finished shopping for a nephew, a niece, and my daughter in spirit.  I consider it a most successful outing.  I heard from M, letting me know he had Covid, despite being vaccinated.  No surprise there, considering his lifestyle choices.  During a quick perusal of the jam section in our pantry, I found a jar of peach preserves from years ago, and enjoyed it on several morning's oatmeal to use it up.  The last round of tiny squash and eggplant were used in a pasta sauce, with our tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs.  

pretty tromboncino

I'm harvesting lettuce a couple of times a week, and especially enjoying it in salads with pomegranate arils, red grapes and toasted pecans right now.  Before meeting my sister in town, I ran several errands.  I'd heard that sunflower seed for the birds would be going up.  Sure enough, at Lowe's, a 20# bag was $24.99.  I decided to check next door, at Tractor Supply, and was able to purchase a 40# bag for $21.99, a great savings.  I wish I had room to buy a few, but I only have room for one at a time, besides the bag I'm finishing.  I dropped off three boxes of donations, and found a wicker laundry basket, canister, and lidded jar.  The last two items will be used in my shop.  I found another local, handmade present for our GD at another stop, as well as a gift for my niece, and picked up another handmade gift my sister had been looking for.  A book was returned, and two more plus a movie were picked up at the library.  I'm not sure how good a price it is, but FL had cranberries on sale 2/$3, so I bought some.  I pulled 6 gallon bags of vegi bits from the freezer, throughout the week, made broth on the woodstove, and canned it all on Saturday.

Despite cold temps, there have still been a few blooms around the homestead.  Lettuce, collards, rosemary and a few hickory nuts have been gathered.  I made mushroom gravy to go with our potatoes, a comforting dish I love this time of year.  A jar of our butter beans and a salad rounded out the meal.  Changing up the layout of the garden, J emptied out several containers in late summer.  There was a parsley in one of them that grew enough so that I found it last week.  It was transplanted in a container along with the beets growing in it.  With the hens molting, it's been around a month since we've gotten an egg.  I was happily surprised with one egg this weekend.  Hopefully, there'll soon be more to follow.  Slower delivery dates were chosen on amazon, for digital credits.  Wishing you a most happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Rainbows and Silver Linings

Thank you for all your kind comments.  We're doing OK.  Ten days out, we faced the fact that no help would be forthcoming in clean up, so we did it ourselves, with J shoveling, while I held and closed up the trash bags, 19 of the large construction type bags.   A man in our neighborhood was offered the chassis, which he gladly came and picked up, and plans were made for pick up of the bags.  Knowing that often the kindest thing one can do is to let people face the choices they make, and find their own way, that is what we chose to do.  After 8 years, we're more than ready to move onto the next chapter, where we have our peaceful homestead back, with just the two of us and the critters.  I'd been sad about the toxic patch of earth that remains, with all the electronics, plastics, bug spray, etc. that burned there, but J came up with an idea that makes my heart sing.  A year or two ago, we explored the possibility of solar, but were told we didn't have enough open space for panels (don't want to put holes in our roof).  With numerous trees burned badly and in need of taking down, we believe we may now have just the spot for a solar array, in a very accessible spot.  Though it's not definite, there's a real possibility we can turn a sad event into something wonderful.

Last week, I hung several loads of laundry on the line.  J and I did some needed roof repairs on a beautiful day.  While up there, we found another thing that needed attention, and took care of that too, all but the piece of rubber sealer that we're waiting on.  With lumber leftover from that project, J made us a new front porch.  It's a small porch, just protecting our front door, and all the wood decking was replaced.  I enjoyed reading library books, and listening to free podcasts while packing orders and wrapping soap.  The usual composting, shredding paper and cardboard, adding vegi bits to the broth bag, and washing plastic bags for reuse happened.  I froze one last ice cube tray of basil, and made the rest into pesto.  Enough was kept out to enjoy for dinner one night.  Another night, I pulled black bean burgers I'd frozen for an easy dinner.  Salads using our lettuce have been served with a lunch and dinner several days.  I managed to keep one of the Christmas cactus cuttings a friend gave me last year alive, and was rewarded with a bloom.

I went to town and picked up some groceries, getting avocados for .79 and pomegranates for .99.  I also found quarts of maple syrup at Aldi's for $13.95, and picked up three for the pantry.  Dandelion leaves and roots, and plantain leaves were harvested for food and medicine.  I used our summer squash and garlic in a side dish, with our chard, garlic and homemade broth to go with it and sweet potatoes.  Warm up water was saved and used for flushing, and filling the woodstove humidifier.  Water glasses were also emptied there, and water from washing lettuce.  I pulled a leftover potato dish from the freezer to have for lunch one day.  I managed to gather one persimmon this year, which we split for dessert one evening.  With the woodstove going again, I melted oils for soap making on it, cutting down on the use of propane, which I've heard is really going to increase in price.  I also took two gals. of vegi bits from the freezer, and put them in a pot on the woodstove to start the broth making process.  J found this lions mane close to the clothesline, but I wasn't home at the time, and he forgot to tell me for a few days.  It's a bit beyond fresh now, but I have hopes it will fruit again next year.

From the garden, I harvested chard, basil, lettuce, winter squash, and tiny eggplant and tromboncino before a frost, this one hard enough to damage the tender plants, a month or so later than our average.  Before it, I gathered a bouquet of the few flowers still blooming.  An item I had put in my cart for a Christmas present dropped $3 by the time I was ready to purchase it, a welcome surprise.  The last fig was enjoyed on my oatmeal.  Like so much of 2020 that made it an odd year, we had a hen who never regrew feathers after she molted.  Her back remained featherless through the winter, spring and summer, regardless of how much extra protein and goodies I gave her, and then when the hens began molting and regrowing feathers this fall, she joined right in, as though a whole year had never passed.  She never had any signs of mites, but for whatever reason, her feather growing skipped a year.  She looks great now, and I'm happy she'll go through the coming winter with feathers.  May your week provide all manner of things warm and cozy.

Monday, November 8, 2021


Hello, friends.  Last week, I swapped out the warm weather and cold weather clothes in my dresser.  A number of bananas that were getting past prime were frozen.  I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon credit.  Christmas cards were bought with a B1G1 1/2 price offer.  I started a jar of stevia glycerite, and put the dried oregano and sage in containers.  Some years back, I was given a large trunk.  In need of storage space for supplies in the workshop, I moved it in there.  I'd love a cabinet of some sort, but this will work well enough for now.  We had expected a hard freeze one night, but only got a frost, and not enough of one to harm the basil.  I did harvest all the yellow and tromboncino squash, eggplant, peppers, a large bouquet, and a large amount of basil before the expected freeze.

My dapper husband before the parade

A couple of months ago, J was invited to sit on the reviewing stand of his home town's Veterans parade.  We headed there early Saturday.  Though it was a blustery day in the 40's, it was an honor to participate.  This is going to be a shorter than usual post, as I just don't have more in me.  M's trailer burnt to the ground last week, and though he made it out unscathed, we realize how close we came to losing everything... our home and both of our means of livelihood.  J has always been my hero, but I truly believe his actions saved our homestead.  Though it seemed forever before the fire department arrived, it couldn't have been more than 10 minutes.  It was already fully engulfed when I called, as I'd been blissfully unaware, gathering ingredients for a pear pie.  Before they arrived, J put out fires on the carport fence multiple times, kept M's derelict vehicle and his propane tank hosed down, and kept my workshop just a few feet away safe.  It sizzled every time he sprayed it down, it was so hot.  If the workshop had caught, it's only a few feet away from two large fuel tanks, and if they had caught, our house likely would have.  I'm feeling so very blessed and grateful, and feel our angels were working overtime that day.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Late October Days

Hello, friends.   It's now been 2 1/2 weeks since we've gotten an egg from our girls, and J has resorted to buying them.  Most every day, I've given them gifted dry soldier fly larvae, to up their protein, which will hopefully get them out of molt sooner.  I harvested eggplant, a pepper, yellow squash, lettuce, black haw fruit, hickory nuts, swiss chard, and roselle hibiscus for tea.  I spent time weeding and working on a bed with carrots and beets.  There should have been lettuce, but it doesn't appear any germinated.  A full shredder bin was added to the compost bin.  I read about making stevia glycerite.  I've been drying stevia, so will give this a try soon.  Two pears were cut up and cooked with the black haw fruit, then put through the food mill to make sauce.  We had it for dinner, with potatoes and rutabagas, sauteed cabbage and black beans.  I finished it up in oatmeal two mornings, which was very good.  

some of our fall garden, with broccoli, cabbage and collards

 On Tuesday evening, we went and picked up 2 boxes of sweet potatoes, 2# ea. of plums and Bartlett pears, and a pint of molasses.  I charged my phone in the car, during the trip.  My sister sent her family's Christmas lists last week, and I quickly finished shopping for two people and a portion of another's.  My amazon credit, which came through Swagbucks earnings, covered it all.  Vitacost had a 13% off food sale, so I stocked up on our favorite GF pastas, and got a few treats for my husband's stocking.  I made pesto a little different this time.  In addition to gathering basil, I gathered purslane, chickweed, and some leaves of volunteer winter greens.  It turned out good.  It's been really wonderful to be able to harvest basil this late in the season.  We've also really been enjoying our tender lettuce in salads, which I also tried making slightly differently, using dried sour cherries, fresh figs and pumpkin seeds.  It was yummy.  

I was inspired by others online to pull out the fall themed dishes for my husband and I.  I originally collected and used them for our annual hayride family gathering, but we haven't had one since Covid, and I decided we could still be enjoying them.  I did some research into Buy Nothing groups near me.  There are none in my community, and when I tried to join a a nearby community's one, I was told I had to live in that community.  She suggested I start one here, but I definitely don't need to add another thing to my plate.  I ended up composting two jars of snacks that hadn't been eaten in a long time, due to being on a GF and lowfat diet.  J grew some hot peppers this year, which hadn't been eaten.  I decided to can some cowboy candy for gifts.   I collected milkweed pods and dandelion seed heads, and deposited them various places where I'd like to encourage them around the homestead.

After dropping soap off at a gallery, I stopped at a favorite thrift store, and got two pretty wine glasses with amber glass for $1 ea., plus an orchid pot, floral wrapping paper, and a folder to hold sewing instruction notes, all for $1 total.  I recently saw mention of  Sandhills Community Garden online.  I mixed up my usual routine on the way home, which had me going right past the gardens, so I decided to stop and check it out.  I'm so glad I did.  I believe I'll try to share it in a separate post this coming week.   A recent dinner was a dish of our yellow squash and onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, and our chard, and peas.  It's so nice to still be harvesting meals from the garden.  I got all my cold weather clothes down from the attic, and should be able to swap them out this coming week.  A free Amazon Prime movie was enjoyed, and several videos on youtube.  

On Friday, I ran errands in town, and picked up a few things at Big Lots with a 20% coupon, including coconut sugar for $2.80/# vs $4.15, cans of organic chicken soup for .80,  and also stopped at Marshall's, where purchases included jars of raw honey, pink salt, and a just under 5# bag of ww gnocchi marked down to $5 from $7.99.  I had first looked at their regularly priced smaller packs, and they had undesired ingredients, besides being more money.  Small bags of candy and shortbread were bought for little Christmas gifts.  J has been sick for a couple of weeks.  Thankfully, he tested negative for Covid, flu and strep, and was told it was just a virus.  On Saturday, I realized I ended up picking it up, though so far, mine is a lighter version.  We both had a slow weekend, and lots of soup, trying to take care of ourselves.  Hopefully, I'll knock it out quickly.  Many wishes for a healthy and happy week.