Monday, March 28, 2022

Lots of Soup & Fickle March

Hello, friends.  Last week, I redeemed Swagbucks for $25 at Paypal.  I'm working on using plenty of potatoes, so J can have the eyes to plant, and made home fries.  I gathered up our smallest potatoes from last year, for him to plant as is.  Our garlic was used in our favorite brussels sprouts, a MM recipe.  We like to steam them first, and the cayenne was left out due to current dietary restrictions.  I pulled cranberries from the freezer, and made another of his recipes, Wild Blueberry Cranberry Sauce.  I wasn't satisfied with the twine I had put up for the peas, and added some lower twine to stabilize it better, then added some rocks and bricks to stabilize it further, after this photo was taken.  All the green you see in between the rows of peas are volunteer lambs quarter and greens.  We've grown greens in this bed several times, and let them go to seed.   I plan to harvest the greens, which I expect won't overpower the peas before they're done.  Vegan pecan sandies were baked for a sweet treat.  

A batch of golden paste was made for the pups.  For dinner after some dental work, J requested vegetable soup, which used our garlic, squash, tomatoes, broth and butter beans, along with bought vegetables.  I dehydrated sweet potatoes for pup treats.  On a dreary day, I cleaned and calculated shipping weight and dimensions for items I'll attempt to sell on ebay.  These are some of the antique items from my friends.  I am getting reasonably close to having gone through all their items, and hope to finish that this year.  I made another round of home fries, to go with sweet and spicy cauliflower and green peas.  J tilled up the final row for potatoes on Saturday, and planted it.  

After stopping by the library to pick up books, I went by the discount store, and bought bags of organic lentils 8 oz for $1 vs $4.49 online & organic turmeric for $1 vs $2.99 online.  Both were slightly outdated, but should be fine.  The sad thing is the food now comprises about a 4' length of shelf, instead of several aisles.  I'd think it could be due to food shortages in general, but it's progressively gotten smaller over the past few years, with housewares sadly now taking over the store.   Food Lion had asparagus on sale for $1.99.  The recent cold snap put our asparagus on hold, and they're just starting again, so I took advantage of the sale.  They also had a sale on organic strawberries for $2.99/# instead of $5.89, brussels sprouts were $1 off, and I used a $6 reward towards my purchase.

J serviced the mowers last week.  I made a batch of ketchup.  Most condiments include vinegar, which is not recommended on the MM protocol, so I make my own these days.  Two of the containers were frozen.  I dried all laundry on the line, and as usual, we caught warm up shower water, used for flushing.  A bag of books were dropped off at a little free library.  Leeks and asparagus were harvested for our use, chickweed and dandelion greens for the pups, and various greens for the chickens.  I tried a recipe for vegan potato leek soup, made with our veggies.  It was fat-free too, and not the tastiest soup, so I'll try adding vegan "butter" with the leftovers.  A container of chickpea noodle soup was defrosted for lunches. 


Friends picked up our barely used propane heater and M's lathe and tools for their son.  The propane heater was only bought to meet code when moving into the house, as we always intended to heat with wood.  After J set us up with central heat and air, he took it out.  I'm glad someone can use it.  Over the weekend, I took photos of the ebay items, and got them listed.  Hopefully at least one item will sell, for the effort.  Several more pre-sprouted tomatoes were planted in potting soil, as well as another artichoke.  The wintersown mizuna and bought lettuce plants were planted in the garden, after J prepared a spot.   We already had a frost this weekend, and expect lower temperatures tonight.  Ah well, thus is fickle March.  Be well, friends.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Happy Spring!

Hello, friends.  Last week, I filled my car when the price dropped .10/gallon, to $4.09.  Pasta sauce was made with our tomatoes, tromboncino, garlic, basil and rosemary.  I baked our sweet potatoes, and made enough extra to have enough for a pie and my lunch one day.  I harvested our last cabbage, and made southern fried cabbage.  Three loads of laundry were dried on the line.  The rain forecast moved up, so the second load was brought in and dried in the dryer a few minutes to finish it off.  Frozen pawpaw was eaten twice in oatmeal, along with raisins and a banana, and a bag of frozen figs were started on in oatmeal.  On a business purchase at Staples, I used a $30 reward and went through Swagbucks for 2% back.  

A pan of egg shells was crushed, and added to the compost bin.  At Walgreens, I got B1G1 cashews, and used a $5 reward towards my purchase.  On St. Patrick's Day, I made a sweet potato pie, and used our potatoes in colcannon.  The first batch of sprouts ended up going bad.  Thinking about it, I had washed everything with hot water, but had not sterilized the jar with boiling water, so I'll do that, and try another batch.  The onions J planted a couple of weeks ago are looking good, and the first round of potatoes are coming up.  He tilled a few spots, planted more potatoes, and I planted the lettuce plants.  From two containers, I got 10 plants, which was a bargain at $1 a container.  He also moved all the raised beds to along the fence edge of the garden, so he can more easily mow and till the middle as needed.  I planted one bed with cabbage, and transplanted all the kale to another bed.  The parsley that overwintered in a pot was planted with the kale.  

The peas are coming along nicely.  I ran twine to support them as they grow.  Trying to get all the potato eyes we need for planting, I made mashed potatoes, and mushroom gravy to go with them.  Our garlic was used with sauteed spinach.  While packing orders, I listened to a youtube video, and part of an On Being podcast.  Inspired by Daisy at Maple Hill 101, I tried pre-sprouting tomato seeds, by wrapping them in a damp paper towel, and placing in a recycled clamshell next to the woodstove.  I'll be interested to see how quickly they germinate.  I scrubbed the shower with baking soda, to remove hard water stains, which worked much better than the bought cleaner I tried.  Wishing you a lovely first week of spring.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Healing & A New Toy


Hello, friends.  On Monday, I debated whether to paint orders, but the forecast was for an 80 degree, windy day, so I began cleaning up beds instead.  Two flower beds and a garden bed were finished.  I harvested winter greens, and made a winter salad for J.  It smelled so good, but I'm doing an MM cleanse at the moment.  I had planned to do one soon, but moved it up, in case produce supplies worsen or become too expensive to afford.  This should put me a little farther along the healing path.  Though I still have a little itching on my hands, I'm very encouraged by how well I'm doing.  I've been asked why I don't just go the conventional medical route and be done with it, but I've always been about healing the true cause, rather than just suppressing symptoms.  From the many stories I've seen shared on IG, conventional medicine isn't great at symptom relief for eczema anyway, but so many with far worse (ie: whole body) eczema than I have fully healed themselves on MM protocols, though it often seems to take 2 to 3 years.  I'm already over a year in, and doing the Advanced cleanse again this round, which works so much better for me than the regular cleanse, due to the food choices.   The advanced cleanse has a good tasting smoothie for breakfast, choice of soup or smoothie for lunch, and a half dozen salads or other choices for dinner.  I also see an acupuncturist, and with using food as medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs, I've just about beat it.

vibrant Liver Rescue smoothie for lunch

I used a 20% off code for a business order, and went through Swagbucks for an additional 2%.  A hen started doing poorly, so I separated her, cleaned her poopy butt, and tried giving her electrolytes, but she still died.  She was getting up there in age, but I have an awful track record of keeping sick chickens alive.  It's just so hard for me to tell what's going on when they get sick.  We haven't bought chicks in a few years, and intend to get some soon, as we don't want a repeat of adding more roosters to the flock, with eggs that hatch out here.  Greens were gathered daily for the chickens.  There was a fortuitous walk one morning, when I saw an interesting frog, mottled copper and brown next to our creek, and a red eared slider turtle near our pond.  We dropped off our taxes with the accountant, and received some information which may be helpful in lowering our taxes going forward.  J replaced halogen bulbs with LED's in two spots in the kitchen, to lower electricity usage.

At the grocery store, I took advantage of a coupon for .50 off a can of beans and used a $2 reward.  Looking over the receipt now, I see I wasn't charged for brussels sprouts, which also had a coupon.  When ringing up aloe, he mentioned putting it in as brussels sprouts by mistake, and I said I had gotten those too, but I guess he deleted it.  There was also a coupon for sugar, but it was cheaper to buy another brand.  I enjoyed Ken Burn's Dustbowl documentary recently, and picked up Grapes of Wrath at the library, which I'd never read.  A pan of GF bread ends was turned into bread crumbs.  I bought a used drill press J found through Marketplace for $35, which will be used in making compost crocks, and I've also thought of other uses for it.  It needs a bit of cleaning.  The drill press in J's shop is really heavy duty, and not user friendly for what I need to do, so this will be helpful.  I already have several canisters waiting to be turned into compost crocks, and will soon put it to work. 

"flower" from a poplar

On Saturday, there were events going on at the local potteries, and a neighbor and I went by several of them.  Most of them had a tea event, with tea and wonderful baked goodies, which I couldn't take advantage of,  but I made a small purchase from each of them, as I like to support our local businesses.  Two items will be gifts.  One shop had a planter sale, with a nursery taking part, where I picked up lettuce and cabbage seedlings for $1 ea., and I made sure to pick ones that had multiples in them.  I have lettuce seedlings started, but they're 1/4" high at present, so this will help until they grow.  It was frigid and windy, with intermittent snow flurries, but it looks to be our last really cold spell.  I made a mailbox bow with the perfect roll of shamrock ribbon I got at a thrift store for $1 last year.  I've been meaning to start sprouting again, and started a jar of alfalfa sprouts on Sunday.  I steamed some of our potatoes for dinner, after cutting the eyes to plant.  A bag of frozen strawberries was finished, to use in oatmeal.  Have a lovely week, friends.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Time For Planting & Making Biochar

Hello, friends.  Last week, I planted two gingko seeds gathered last year, following these instructions.  It's a bit late to start them, but nothing ventured....  Several loads of laundry were dried on the line.  The peas are up.  Any spots that didn't come up were replanted, but it's looking quite good.  The wintersown containers are starting to germinate, including bachelor's buttons, yarrow and rudbeckia maxima.  Several new containers were planted.  I reviewed which seeds need cold stratification, brought the others in the house, and placed them on the hearth to facilitate germination.  I filled up my car before prices rose further.  J saw it .30 per gallon higher in the next day or two, and I expect it's higher now.

I read an interesting post on alternatives to using peat in gardening, which is in most potting soil mixes.  I remember stories my Irish grandmother told about gathering peat for heating, but otherwise didn't know much about it.  I helped J pull more wire for solar.  The system is working very well.  It keeps up with demand throughout the day, keeping the batteries charged at 100%.  In the morning, with what we've used since sundown, it's gotten as low as 82% charged, which isn't too shabby.   More flowers are blooming now, with forsythia, crocus and snowbells joining in.  Library books, youtube videos and a movie on Amazon were enjoyed.  I took daily walks with the pups.


I soaked items in a laundry stain mixture shared on The Prudent Homemaker, from The Tightwad Gazzette, which did a great job.  There's one piece I need to redo, but it took care of the rest.  J planted 325 onions and 42 potatoes, only because that's all the eyes we had cut off last year's potatoes so far.  More potatoes were eaten since, and more eyes are drying.  I got around to experimenting with reused canning lids.  All 18 jars of broth sealed, which surprised me and made me happy.  Here's hoping they remain sealed.  The first of the asparagus is up.  I weed whacked the original asparagus bed, which will be mulched when J has time to move a bale of hay with his hay spike.  Saturday was a good day to light the large brush pile we've been adding to in the pond garden.  When I caught up on chores in the house, I tended to the fire, and poured water as areas finished burning, to create biochar, which has more benefits to the soil than ashes.  Later, when J finished working in the shop, he took over.  The soil in that garden is not the best, so tilling in the biochar should be helpful.  It is long lasting, and only needs to be added to a garden once.  Biochar also sequesters greenhouse gases, an added benefit for the environment.  I hope you are able to find peace and calm this week, during these challenging times.