Home > Archive: July, 2014

Archive for July, 2014

Creating My Winter Food Stores

July 31st, 2014 at 07:46 am

I got another 7 quarts of green and yellow beans canned. I am picking up 20 pounds of organic nectarines in the morning to can with a few lemons to treat them with lemon water first to prevent discoloration and also for lemonade. That should give me between 12 and 14 pints. I am going to can it in a very light honey syrup. I'd really like to get three times that canned, so we could have about a pint a week through 3 seasons, but organic is expensive, so I doubt I'll do more than one box. The thing I like about nectarines is you don't have to peel them like you do peaches. That makes processing them so much easier.

I will also be getting some corn as it is 4/$1. I want some for us, but it is also a nice treat for the turkeys at that price. I have thought about canning some, but we usually get our canned corn from Trader Joe's and it is the best canned corn I've ever had, so unless I can find some organic corn, I probably won't try to can some myself.

I'd like to get some potatoes canned this week as well. Canned potatoes are good for stews and for making fried potatoes. It's a lot of work to peel them all at once, but better than doing it several nights a year in my book.

It's going to be a hot week in the kitchen. But it's going to be a hot week outside so I might as well be canning anyway. Besides, the nectarines will be gone soon and I want to get them done. I want to be able to open a jar of this during winter and remember how great this fruit is right now.

I have lost a few kohlrabi and broccoli in the garden. They just can't take the heat. Day after day of high 80's is too much for most brassicas. The ones that get a little shade in the afternoon are doing okay, but the ones that get full sun are getting scorched or dying outright. At least my summer squash is doing great and the green beans are trucking along. I should have some kohlrabi ready to pick in another week. At least one, maybe two.

This week I have harvested one whopping zucchini and a pint of yellow beans and have several tomatoes and one cucumber close to the picking point. My bell peppers are turning red so I imagine they will be ready to pick soon. I'll give a full tally at week's end.

I forgot to post links to my most recent garden updates. They are almost a week out of date now but they are here if you want to see them:

Hay Bale Update 6

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Straw Bale Update 6

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I'll be making new ones in a day or two. It's been crazy what has changed just since I made those ones. The winter squash has gone just through a ridiculous amount of growth. I really hope it tastes great. Sweet Meat is an heirloom variety that I have heard great things about and I should get at least half a dozen judging on what has formed so far. There are more flowers blooming every day, too, so we might even double that. I hope so. It's a good keeper squash, but it also cans well, too. And the seeds are a natural dewormer for animals as well. What I don't save to replant will go to all the animals.

Well, I better get to sleep. I've got a long day of canning ahead of me.

EF Update

July 31st, 2014 at 07:11 am

$9,661.53 Beginning EF Update
+___10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9,671.53 Ending EF Update

Weight Loss and My Knee

July 27th, 2014 at 07:35 pm

So I've been back on a controlled carbohydrate diet for a week and lost 6.8 pounds. I always lose a lot the first week and then it settles down to about 2 to 3 pounds a week if I stay on the diet and don't cheat. I am not eating anything processed at all except for organic soy sauce, tomato sauce, and organic condiments, mostly our homegrown rabbit and chicken or the organic, sustainable beef and pork from the farm we go to, and a lot of vegetables and a balanced amount of fruit, corn, or potatoes at one meal a day. It is nice to be able to go outside and pick my salad daily. The freshness makes the lettuce so good.

If I have any bread products, which so far I have not, I will bake them from scratch. I might make my own noodles if I decide later on to have pasta, but I do have a few boxes of organic kicking around, so may not.

According to the x-rays I got on the 22nd I have degenerative bone loss in my knee, which I think is another way of saying osteoarthritis. For every pound of weight I lose, it will take 6 pounds of pressure off my knee. So to begin with I am aiming for a 50 pound weight loss. That seems doable to me, especially considering I am 14.7% of the way to that goal. 85.3% or 43.2 pounds to go. If I can lose 2 pounds a week, which I have done in the past on this diet, I should have lost 50 pounds by the 21st of December. After that I will set a new goal.

Next week after I've done their course of treatment for a week, which is hydrocodone, ibuprofen, and elevate and ice the knee, I can get an MRI to make sure there isn't more going on like the doctor and I both think there is. This is just what we have to do to make the insurance company happy. We have met our deductible now so the insurance company will be paying the majority of this bill, thank goodness.

I don't like the course of treatment as the hydrocodone makes me spacy and queasy, but it does help some with the pain. Not enough to be worth the symptoms on a long term basis, though. And I don't want to go on any of the arthritis drugs as they have nastier side effects than that.

I am using my knee brace a lot and that helps a bit. I've been able to hobble around the last couple of days and get a small amount of outdoor work done. Not much, mostly picking veggies. And I was able to do the grocery shopping. Most of that was at Joe's Garden and Goode's produce stand, with just a quick run to the store for our glass bottled milk and a few odds and ends.

We are meal planning quite closely now and trying to do a lot of prep work on the weekend. While the others are not dieting, they have all gone non-processed with me, since it is easier not to have junk in the house. I am hoping that the grocery budget will go down now that I am not buying TV dinners and chips and $5 loaves of bread for the others. If I could save $100 a month off the grocery budget, that would be really nice.

EF Update and Some Bird Vids

July 25th, 2014 at 05:10 am

$9,651.53 Beginning EF Amount
+___10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9,661.53 Ending EF Amount

$338.47 to go to hit my $10K goal.

The Royal Palm turkeys with Gobbles strutting his stuff and full tall spread:

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The Welsh Harlequin ducks:

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Went to the Doctor

July 23rd, 2014 at 05:18 am

I went to the doctor today for my knee and he thinks I am probably right, it is likely a torn meniscus based on how I reacted to his manipulation of the knee. Then I went and got an x-ray, because of course the insurance won't pay for an MRI unless you have had x-rays first. Which is dumb to me because it isn't a bone injury, it won't show up on an x-ray, and they end up having to pay for two things, not one, and so do I. At least I've met the $5000 deductible now so they will have to pay a lot more than I will.

I got a call back from the nurse at 6, but just missed it since I was eating corn on the cob and had butter all over my hands. So that probably means they got the x-ray results back. Do you remember back when it took 24 to 72 hours to get an x-ray film back? Now it is so fast with digital x-rays on the computers. All we have to wait on now is for it to be read, which they do pretty quickly.

Anyway, so I have to call tomorrow and find out what is what, since of course due to privacy laws they can't leave an actual message with any medical content, even on my private cell phone that no one but me can access the voice mail on. And likely schedule the MRI.

I did manage to hobble around the garden today with my cane and my daughter (to make sure I didn't fall) and my camera so I did some filming. I did 5 vids today, but will only be uploading them one day at a time. I had to check on everything so figured I might as well do all my weekly updates for my farm blog at once.

This week I have picked 5 tomatoes, 3 zucchini, 1 quart of yellow French beans, 1 cucumber, and a bag of salad leaves. Below is the tally based on local organic produce prices:

1.5 pounds zucchini $2.00
2 pounds of beans $2.60
1.5 pounds tomatoes $4.75
1 pickling cucumber .50
Salad greens $2.50

Total: $12.35

$212.00 Previous Total
+_12.35 Most Recent Tally
$224.35 YTD Produce Tally

Fruit Garden Update:

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Anyone have any good zucchini recipes?

Edited to add this happy surprise I got after posting:

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New Babies and Preserving Food for the Winter

July 21st, 2014 at 06:51 am

We had two litters born today and have 11 new kits. The older kits are 2.5 weeks old and doing great as well.

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I canned 9 quarts of green beans and 1 quart of yellow French beans.

I plan to can another 92 quarts of beans this summer to get in my year's supply. Well, if all goes well. If not, I want to get at least 42 more quarts. I only have 3 pints left from last year. We eat green beans almost every day during the fall, winter, and spring and a little less in the summer when fresh green are available. But we eat a lot.

Either tomorrow or in the next day or two we will have several tomatoes ready to be picked, so I will can either some salsa or just some diced tomatoes. If the jalapeno pepper is ready it will be salsa. It is getting big, but I don't think it will be big enough by the time the tomatoes are ready.

I also sliced up and froze 2 gallons of red peppers and yellow onions. These I just got really cheap from a no-spray, sustainable garden. I hope to do some more soon. Since we eat a lot of stir-fry with peppers and onions having some on hand that I did myself will be nice. Especially during the summer when field grown peppers are cheaper.

Slowly but surely we are filling our freezer. Later this week we will butcher another five rabbits and put another 13 to 14 pounds of meat in there as well. It is a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it to have additive and preservative free food that doesn't make us sick.


July 20th, 2014 at 10:05 am

I think I'm in for some big medical expenses coming down the pike. I'm pretty sure I've torn the other meniscus in my left knee or possibly even the ACL. That's going to mean a doctor's visit and probably an x-ray before they'll do the MRI that it is going to need. Then a follow up visit for the MRI results. Then a referral to an orthopedic surgeon because I'm not going back to the one I had before. He has the bed side manner of...House. Or not anything so pleasant as that. And then surgery, follow-ups, more physical therapy.

I'm back to using my cane and am seriously thinking about using the walker. It hurts pretty ferociously right now. It hasn't hurt this much since the first time this happened and I had to have the original surgery. I'm using ice packs to try to keep the swelling down and Ibuprofen and oxycodone. Not a lot of fun.

I hate the idea of having to dip into the EF, which is what we would have to do, but at least we have an EF. Fortunately we have finally met our deductible so our portion won't be so outrageous. I guess I'm grateful my knee held out this long. I hope if I need surgery I can get it done right away. Like before school starts so the kids will be able to take care of the animals. Or at least schedule it for right after DH comes home.

I hope they can just fix it. I don't want to go through a replacement. I saw what my mom went through with that. Nasty recovery period and medications that put her out of her head a lot. I don't want to go through that. Though I am always a much better patient than my mother...

Payday Report for 2 Weeks

July 18th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I didn't do last week's payday report, so I am going to combine it with this weeks, and just do one big one.

$1500.00 BoA VISA
__272.00 AMEX
_1000.00 Loan from Mom
__400.00 Mom's utilities
__100.00 Emergency Fund
__125.00 HoA Dues
___30.64 Electricity (Old House)
___48.60 Phone (Old House)
___75.65 Internet
___55.25 Garbage Two Months
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__225.00 Chiropractor
__180.00 Physical Therapy (2 sessions)
__173.68 Medical
__225.00 Chiropractor
___30.00 Prescriptions

I also spent $75 on feed and hay for the animals and about $500 for groceries.

And Yet Another EF Update

July 18th, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I'm a little scatterbrained about this today, sorry. I deposited rolled coins, ones, and a co-op refund check today.

$9,546.14 Beginning EF Balance
+__105.39 Amount Added
$9,651.53 Ending EF Balance

So now the total I need to reach my goal is $348.47. I think I can reach that by the end of September. Then I got start focusing on rebuilding the funds I wiped out to pay off the mortgage.

Another EF Update

July 18th, 2014 at 08:26 pm

$9,446.14 Beginning EF Balance
+__100.00 Monthly Deposit
$9,546.14 Ending EF Balance

$453.86 to go to hit my goal of $10K.

EF Update

July 18th, 2014 at 07:42 am

$9,435.29 Beginning EF Balance
+___10.85 Weekly Deposit plus interest
$9,446.14 Ending EF Balance

First Canning Session of the Summer

July 16th, 2014 at 01:06 am

I spent about an hour and a half canning pickles today. 68 cucumbers, 36 cloves of garlic, 16 sprigs of dill, 1 cup of pickling salt, 2 tsp of red pepper flakes, 8 cups of water and 8 cups of vinegar later and I have 8 quarts to show for it. 2 quarts sliced, 2 quarts spears, and 4 quarts whole of Crispy Dill Pickles.

This is enough dill pickles for me (I am the only one who eats them) for about half the year, so I will need to do another batch. This is so much cheaper than trying to find pickles that don't have allergens in them. It is almost impossible to find pickles without yellow #5 and when I can, they cost an arm and a leg. I didn't grow the ingredients for this batch so it worked out to $2.75 per quart. I wanted to make sure I at least had some if my cukes don't make it.

DH wants me to do a batch of bread and butter pickles. I've never made sweet pickles before, but the only difference seems to be sugar and a few spices, and no dill. I'll make sure he is home to help with the slicing, though.

I should have yellow beans in a few more days, but I don't know if it will be enough to can. It'll probably just be enough for fresh eating a couple times a week.

I think I am going to pull my kale. I pulled one of the bok choi because it was going to seed. Those are not doing well in this heat. Then I will move my leeks and watermelon. I might transplant my cantaloupe. I think I may pull the lettuce, too, because it is suffering. It needs to be in a shadier area.

Hay Bale Garden Update:

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Straw Bale Garden Update:
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It's been too hot to pick berries, but hopefully tonight it will be cool enough to get some blueberries picked.