Monday, September 27, 2021

A Trip to the Coast

Hello, friends.  Last week, J & I took a much needed break, and headed to the coast.  I brought a library book, and finished it, The 100 Years of Lenni and Margot, which I enjoyed.  I also brought a copy of Saving Jemima.  I'd been holding on to it, waiting for vacation to read it.  It was also an enjoyable read.  Several magazines, a Netflix movie and another book from home were also packed.  All breakfasts and lunches were eaten in our room (with kitchenette), and 3 of the 6 dinners.   We tried a new to us place for one dinner, which ended up being the best meal of all.  We'll be returning there.  Some food was brought from home, including our last watermelon, and some was purchased at the grocery store.  

We did our usual thrifting rounds, but did not find as much as in years past.  J found two pants, a shirt and two books.  I found a winter shirt, two linen shirts, a skirt, sheets, a pillowcase and two books.  Another thing I found was a box of artichoke steamer stands for .25.  After purchasing two artichokes, I realized I had no way to steam them there, so this was perfect.  I'd never known there was such a thing, but it worked well, other than not being able to put the lid on fully.  The largest pot provided in our kitchenette was not very large, needless to say.  I brought a good knife with me.  Next year, I'll also bring a steamer basket.  

The garden had been picked pretty well while we were gone, so there wasn't the usual harvest needed when we returned.  I harvested a couple of yellow squash.  There was a small tromboncino the borers had gotten into, so I cut off the wormy parts and grated it for the pups dinner.  There were two cucumbers, and a couple of small, sad tomatoes, and I picked the first lettuce.  A few muscadines were harvested in the past 10 days.  There are plenty of noodle beans, but there are still a good amount in the fridge, so I don't feel the need to harvest more.  J decided to clean up the garden on Sunday, so the noodle beans are now gone.  I can't say I'll miss them, lol.  Two loads of laundry were hung on the line the day after we returned, and I finally got around to working up a bed and planting carrots, beets, chard and lettuce.  It's very late, but you never know what the weather might do.  The goldenrod is blooming profusely.  I decided to gather some to use for dyeing.  Several pieces of cotton were scoured, and a pot of goldenrod started.  The first round of plants did not turn very yellow, so I gathered two more rounds, added them to the pot, and I'll let it sit overnight.  I'm so enjoying these cooler days and nights.  Wishing you beautiful days.   

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Last Sweet Days of Summer

Hello, friends.  Seeing this monarch caterpillar on some of the milkweed made me smile.  Last week, lemon balm was harvested to finish filling an already started jar of glycerite.  I gathered more stems of dock seed, and dried them for future baking.  Three trays of figs were dehydrated.  I'm thinking of baking fig bars during the cooler months, and came across a healthy, GF recipe I can use.  For several weeks now, I've been gathering hickory nuts as I come across them.  The best place is our driveway, as the vehicles run across them, and take the outer husk off, so each time I go to the mailbox, I gather some.  There are still some from last year I've not used, but they'll last a long time in their shells.

On Tuesday, I canned eggplant.  If I have more eggplant bounty, I intend to make caponata with at least some of it.  On a roll that day, I went ahead and canned up yellow squash too.  It felt good to catch up with those.  I also prepped the noodle beans, some while watching the canner.  All the end bits went into the vegi broth bag, which filled the 4th gallon bag.  Soon I'll need to be canning broth.  On that day, I was on the 9th and final day of an advanced Medical Medium cleanse.  I was worried my energy might be low, because on this final day, only liquids were allowed.  It turns out my energy was great, which has been the case throughout the protocol I've been doing, which tells me I'm on the right track in supporting my health.  My weight has dropped to 100, the lowest I've been in, well... decades, but still a good, healthy weight for my height.  I continue walking daily with the pups for exercise.

On Wednesday, after painting orders, I canned noodle beans, and froze red pepper.  Another day, I cut and dried several sweet peppers.  The ground is still quite dry here, so it has not been a stellar mushroom year.  Still, I found a few more small chanterelles on my walks and dried them too.  A juicer I tried, but didn't work for me, was returned to Amazon.  The tomatoes in the garden are pretty much done, but I'm still harvesting figs, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, the last pawpaw and noodle beans.  The yellow and tromboncino squash are slowing down, but we're still getting a few of those.  Herbs have been harvested for meals, including basil, oregano and chives.  We enjoyed our watermelon.  I saved the seeds, and harvested our last one.  Our little home goods business has been booming, and we're looking forward to a little break.  Enjoy these last few sweet days of summer, friends.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

A Road Trip for J & A Dwindling Garden

Hello, friends.  Last week, J noticed I'll soon need new tires, and definitely will before my January inspection.  We'd heard tires may get difficult to come by, so he found a good sale, and we went ahead and purchased them.  I gathered potatoes from our outdoor potato stash, and all I could see were looking good.  I'm sure happy about that.   From the garden, I harvested tomatoes, yellow squash, yard long beans, figs, pawpaws, eggplant, a tromboncino, and a small butternut squash, which I believe is the last one.  I also harvested what I believe are the last of the hazelnuts.  The garden is definitely dwindling.

I took advantage of a 25% off sale, and stocked up on toothpaste and hand lotion, and got 3% back through Swagbucks.  One afternoon, I mended a sweater, pillowcase, and pair of shorts.  I cut two favorite pairs of cotton batik scrub pants that I'd worn the knees out of into shorts, and hope to hem them soon.  I went through Swagbucks for a couple of business orders, for 2% back each.   We shared pawpaws with a neighbor who asked about them.  His wife has been ill, and she loves them.  We were glad to share.  I froze the pulp from several.  On a wet morning, I caught up on number crunching... balancing my checkbook, books for our home goods business, and for J's business.  All laundry done this week was hung on the line.  Several chanterelles were harvested and dried, and another stem of dock seed.

J took a break on Friday, and went to Charleston to see the submarine, CSS Hunley, which was used during the Civil War.  He also visited a distillery that an old coworker works at.  After picking the garden, and powder coating orders on Friday, I headed to town for groceries and errands.  There were no great sales at the grocery store, but I stopped at Marshall's, and got two jars of raw honey, and found packs of organic spirulina, which I use in my smoothies, in the clearance area for $5.  They came to $1/lb, much less than the $3.41/lb plus shipping I've been paying, so that was a happy find.  I also found dried white mulberries marked down to $2.50, which are in a recipe I plan to try from Medical Medium.  That evening, I gave myself a little self care, including a manicure and a facial mask.  Yellow squash, beans, a tromboncino and some figs were shared with a friend.  Wishing you a lovely week, friends.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Labor Day Wishes

Hello, friends.  Last week, I was delighted to see a monarch in the garden.  It alighted on a cucumber plant, and kept me company for a few moments.  From the garden, I harvested a few tomatoes, some eggplant, peppers, yard long beans, yellow squash, a tromboncino, hazelnuts, pawpaws, purslane and apples.  I harvested and dried lambs quarter and two chanterelle mushrooms.  Since the rain midweek, I saw two more tromboncinos beginning.  We planted collards, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce seedlings that J purchased. It's just been that kind of year.  I shared yellow squash, beans, peppers, and a couple of pawpaws.  For my birthday, my spirit daughter sent me these beautiful flowers.  (We prefer spirit daughter to step-daughter).  

I grew up using a sponge to wash dishes, and still prefer it to a dish cloth.  Though it's not the most frugal choice, I've started a new habit that makes a little more use of it.  When it's time to replace the old one, I use it for wiping several dirty jobs, such as the trash can, baseboards, and dirty places on the doorframes and wall corners where the dogs rub (do other dogs do that??), before throwing it away.  I do keep some older ones to use in the bathroom, and one to scrub the occasional egg, but the dirty jobs idea is a new one that's uses them up a bit more.  Warm up and dehumidifier water were used for flushing and to water plants.  The bamboo cutting board was scrubbed with baking soda and homemade thieves vinegar, to cut down on the onion and garlic residue.

After delivering soap to a gallery, I went by Hallmark, and received a free card, while buying other greeting cards.  At Harris Teeter, I got a 3L tin of EVOO for $19.99.  This time I made sure I got the sale price before leaving, and also got the 5% senior discount on my total.  J made a hay spike to move the large round bales he recently bought.  We're planning on turning the road garden into a hay field, once we enlarge it some.  That was the field we tried wheat and peanuts in in past years, but the deer ate our crops, so hay seems like a better use of that spot.  The garden is a good ways from our house, and they're braver there.  M has been getting videos of the deer over there on his webcam regularly.  After making soup for lunch, using homemade broth, I froze the remainder.  A dish was made, using our potatoes, peppers, onions and garlic.  

consolation scene

On Friday evening, we picked up our GD just after she got off the school bus, headed to pick up dinner, and then to the Paperhand Puppet event.  We were the second group that arrived, so we had our pick of seats, and enjoyed a leisurely dinner there.  It took place in a lovely venue, an 100+ year old stone amphitheater in the woods.  The pre-show was a local  kora player.  Though I was the only one of our trio, I greatly enjoyed it.  Things went south from there.  Right about when the show was to have started, there was a local power outage, which wasn't expected to be resolved for several hours.  After several minutes, they did a short scene as a consolation, and cancelled the show.  We plan to try again in a few weeks.  J and our GD planted lettuce seeds, while she was here.  After dropping her home, we met dear friends at a winery, and had a most enjoyable afternoon catching up.  Wishing you a lovely Labor Day.