Home > Archive: September, 2022
Archive for September, 2022
September 22nd, 2022 at 10:16 pm
Yesterday was officially six weeks on the garlic drying so today I get to go out to the garage and sort through them. I will pick the best looking bulbs of the bunch to save for planting towards the end of October or the start of November. It will be great not to have to pay for bulbs this year. I have already picked out 4 bulbs of the Elephant garlic, it is just the Music I have to sort through. I figured it out, though, based on current costs in seed catalogues or their websites.
1 bulb of elephant garlic goes for $13 for conventionally grown and $18 for organically grown. Yes, just one bulb. I about fell over. The bulb I bought last year was from the grocery store and was $3.99. I am assuming it was conventionally grown. I bulb of elephant garlic only has 7 cloves, no more, no less, so you can never grow more than that. So this year I will be growing 28 elephant garlic plants for free and next year I will double that to have 48 and the next year I can consider them organically grown, since I will have grown them using organic methods.
I won't go above 48 the following year for my family, though. There is only so much elephant garlic one can use I will grow and sell some for seed to other people for far less than what is in the catalogue. Maybe $6 or $7 per bulb which is more than reasonable for organic. I'll check the catalog price the year I would sell them. I would have space to grow 96 plants so could sell half of them.
Worst case scenario, I dehydrate them and grind them when I need garlic power or rehydrate them night before if I need them in a recipe the next night. After taking out my 48 and the additional 14 I'd hold back for seed for the next planting, that would give me 34 bulbs to sell to others. The following year I would know if I saved to many for myself and could adjust accordingly. And I'd know the demand.
I do, eventually, have plans to sell organic Music bulbs of garlic as well. That's something that sells out so quickly that it is almost impossible to get. I barely got the conventionally grown ones last year. They are going for $9 for one bulb this year. Last year I paid $50 for 21 bulbs. When I went back the next day to see if they had shallots, the Music was marked as sold out. So were the shallots, but I will get some this year.
So once I build up past how much I want to have only for us to eat, which would be about 30 bulbs for cooking and dehydrating (we use a lot of garlic so between that and the music we should be fine), any extra could be sold as seed bulbs. People on my farming list are asking all the time if anyone knows where they can buy Music. I could eventually do a small bag of Music bulbs, maybe 5, for $15.
Garlic involves some labor at the begining in the planting. During the growing season, you pull the occasional weed, and you turn on the soaker hose consistently. It's pretty care free as it has no predators. I keep a cage on it anyway so the deer don't bed down in it. Then at the end you dig it out and put it in drying racks for 3 weeks, trim the stems down, dry for 3 more weeks, and then box up and put in a cool, dark place to store. I spend maybe 2 hours total, so selling 6 bags of garlic would be more than enough to pay me back for my time, plus I get a lot of garlic out of it, too, for my family.
It's time to turn the onions over, too. They need to be trimmed down the rest of the way and dried out for 3 more weeks. And it is time to start digging up the potatoes. Most of the plants are completely dead. The rest can go another week.
DH is going salmon fishing. Apparently they can only get 2 each, which sucks. In Alaska they get to bring home 6 fish each on each type of salmon and some they can bring home 25 to 30 per household. Then B.C. gets a ton. No wonder there's no fish by the time it reaches Washington. I'm okay with the tribes getting their share, they deserve that above anyone else, it's all the other folks getting tons and tons with crazy high limits that bugs me, while we have dinky ones.
It used to be worth the gas money to go out when gas was cheap, but it isn't really anymore, especially with only 3 of them going out to split the cost. And that's assuming they catch any fish. Otherwise, I'd just as soon go to the grocery store and buy 2 whole wild caught coho salmon. It'd cost less, unless they come home with monsters. I'd be tempted to get a fishing license and go out so we could get two more fish, but again, we could just buy a fish with the cost of the license. This is probably the last trip of the season, too.
Mom wants to do a dump run on Sunday. Well, she wanted to do it on Saturday, but fishing. She's probably going to pout about it for the rest of the week that it isn't on the day she wanted, and then forget what day of the week it actually is, think it is Sunday on Saturday (happens a lot on the weekend), stomp around and have a martyr complex that slips into an "Oh, woe is me," thing, until someone reminds her it isn't Sunday and she'll snap out of it like she wasn't behaving that way at all and not apologize to anyone for acting that way. Gotta love dementia. Monday through Thursday are generally pretty good, though.
I picked another 2 pounds of tomatoes yesterday. It was mostly the little yellow pear ones. I need to wash, destem, quarter, and roast tomatoes, so I can make roasted tomato ketchup. I saw a lady make it on youtube and it looks so good. I might have enough yellow tomatoes to make one jar of just yellow ketchup. That would be interesting. I love making roasted tomato spaghetti sauce, so I can't imagine this wouldn't be good, too.
I got my first purple green beans yesterday. They grow purple, but turn green when cooked. It's about 2 quarts. It's not enough to run the canner, but considering the way this summer went, I am grateful to have gotten any. The canner instructions say to run it with 4 jars, and I don't want to do pints of green beans, because we eat a cup each at dinner. But if I hold off for 2 days, there might be enough ready to do 4 quarts. There were some that were almost ready and there were some that could be ready since I gave them a good soaking and we are back to weather in the mid-seventies again. Or I could just run them with pints of carrots, since carrot pints and green bean quarts run for the same amount of time and I am almost out of carrot pints. Then I could do a full canner load and I can do that again when I have more green beans. Two birds, one stone and food on the shelf. Perfect.
I would have canned it with the ketchup, but that is waterbath canning and the other is pressure canning and they take different times. Food safety first and foremost. I really hope the ketchup turns out well. I'd hate to waste all those tomatoes.
Extra Income Sources,
Towards Healthier Living
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September 16th, 2022 at 09:05 pm
Anyone else having issues with the post tags and avatars not loading and captchas not working? I'd figure it was just the blogs being buggy as usual, but I had issues on my banking website today and youtube last night, all after the Windows update, so it is entirely possible it is just me.
After my little freak out earlier in the week, I realized it was a 3 paycheck month for us and that I am only $32.88 short to pay off our last credit card statement balance based on a typical paycheck. But when we get a month with a third paycheck, that month does not have medical taken out of it, it doesn't have life insurance or long term care insurance taken out of it, it doesn't have dental or vision insurance taken out of it, it only has 401K and the company's version of a debit card with $3K you get for medical expenses pretax at the beginning of the year and then they deduct the amount from your paycheck all year, but you can use it at anytime for any medical expense, including devices like canes, walkers, and nebulizers.
Anyway, that means this paycheck will be larger than normal. I don't know by how much. The last one was usually by $300, but I don't know what it will be with the new raise amount. However much it is, it will cover the shortfall so we won't pay interest. There will still be $812.92 charged onto the next billing cycle, but we can absorb that next month.
Usually we would have paid that off, too, this month. We will probably have a couple hundred to pay towards that, just not all of it, but still, no interest will be charged. Just no more erratic purchasing, only planned and deliberate ones, and we need to cool even those for a while. I will come back to tag this entry once they are working for me again. Just wanted to let you all know I did not screw up as badly as I thought I had.
Bringing Down the Evil Empire
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September 13th, 2022 at 11:12 pm
We are spending too much money again. I am not sure if we are going to get out of this month without carrying a balance forward into next month on our credit card. Some of it was paying for glasses and contacts for me and my son, but a lot of it was eating out way too much and being a little too fast on the draw with that amazon mouse click thing. You know when you suddenly get a big raise and you think, "Yee Haw! I can spend again, I don't have to be tight anymore!" And you overdo it? Yeah, that's us. So now I need to reign it back in and get us back on track. I don't want to use the emergency fund to cover us. Maybe interest is what we need to teach us a lesson here. Moving on.
I read an article the other day that said that those who get debt forgiveness for their college loans are going to have to claim that amount as income on their income taxes. I wonder if they know that? I bet it is going to hit a lot of people hard in the gut at tax time. It'll make a lot of people used to getting a tax return have to pay taxes, maybe for the first time in their lives and they probably won't have that money to pay because they won't know about it. No one is preparing them. No one is showing them the dark side. Just the la la la skipping through the daisies side. It's not really forgiveness if it comes with that kind of string attached. If they are going to do it, they should do it free and clear, not with a price tag.
It is so nice to see clear, blue skies again. The forest fires were blowing their smoke this way again, giving us the apocalypse sky of light brownish gray with a brilliant orange sun behind it. The sun always looks amazingly pretty when this happens, but I prefer to be able to go outside and breathe. I did have to go outside one day with one of those medical masks they wouldn't let anyone buy at the start of Covid and quickly pick tomatoes, but otherwise stayed inside. Even with that, I had to use a nebulizer treatment afterwards. I got 12.2 pounds of tomatoes, making the running total of tomatoes 23.6 so far from the garden. I'm going to pick more today, so will update that in the next post.
On the medical front, I continue to lose weight, this time in a more healthy manner than when I had that horrible stomach flu. Once I started eating again after that, the weight loss that stuck was 12 pounds. I've now lost 20 pounds. I'm eating mostly chicken and fish, regular vegetables, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and squash. I'll have rice or corn on occasion, but no other grains.
I can't remember the last time I had beef, maybe 3 weeks ago when we had spaghetti, though we did have a ham from our half a hog a week ago. I didn't have much, though it was very good, just a little too salty for my taste. I cut off all the fat. We'll save the other one for a holiday when there will be more people to eat it. I did save the ham bone and will make broth with it later on. It will flavor broth nicely with it's smokey saltiness.
Plus I have all the scraps I have been saving, onion skins, garlic skins, shallot skins, carrot peels, celery tops, parsley stems, and a few herbs from the garden, to add in to making the broth for extra flavor. I used to always do that when times were tight, but over the last couple years got out of the habit. When food costs started skyrocketing, I got back in the habit of doing a scrap bag in the freezer again for broth. We have to be economical with food in these times of massive food cost rises. I always try to be, but it is necessary now more than ever to go back to my previous cost cutting ways. Which, in the end, is better for my diet.
As for other medical stuff, yesterday I got my mammogram. It's been 7 years since I've had one done and the technology has changed. It is very futuristic robot looking as opposed to a garage workshop vice clamp. Don't get me wrong, in the end it is still a vice clamp, but looks like it belongs on a space ship. They really ought to have some kind of chair that moves with the machine for disabled and old people though. Getting into position hurt my back and legs, which was the part that caused pain. Now my doctor will stop nagging me, though.
I know I should have done it sooner. My mom had breast cancer at 40 and I did one at 30, one at 35, one at 40 and one at 45 and I was supposed to do one at 50 so I am 2 years overdue. But I've has so much other medical crap to deal with between me and my daughter these last few years, I really didn't want to deal. My eldest sister (64) had uterine cancer recently, so it has hit my family of origin twice. That's what got me to go in. That's the only one I don't have to worry about since I had a hysterectomy at 33, but still.
I'm thinking about having DD tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and probably me, too, depending on cost. If insurance covers it, great. If it doesn't, than just DD. I'd like to do genetic testing for Ehlers-Danlos on her, too. If we can afford it.
Then today I went to the cardiologist and got my patch. It's a portable EKG. They used to have to do a harness thing, but now they can just attach a patch to your chest and it monitors stuff. It has a button you can push if you feel anxious, arm or neck pain/tingling, chest pain or pressure, dizziness, fainted, light headed, pounded, fluttering or racing, short of breath, skipped or irregular beats, or other. Then you mark it down in a book with the date, the time, the duration, and what you were doing. It only gives 13 pages. Hopefully that is enough or I might have to add some. Some weeks I have a lot of incidents and others I have none.
It is a two week test. It was ordered by my neurologist to try to get to the bottom of my fainting spells to see if I was having syncopy. My regular doctor has been wanting to do one for a while, too, but we have been trying to control my asthma first, which got bad with Original Covid, then Covid II: The Return, then what they call long Covid. Then the summers with smoke from forest fires have not helped.
The treatment plan I'm on has helped some, but not completely, so he has wanted to look at my heart next, because I have racing heart, and I was born with a heart murmur that may have gotten worse, and sometimes I feel pressure, and shortness of breath when I am sitting still that may or may not be caused by asthma or long Covid. So this test will satisfy him as well, or at least give him information. And if there is nothing wrong there, than I think the next step will be an MRI of my lungs.
Honestly, the possibility of heart issues, is what has kicked me into gear with the diet this time. If that is something I have to fight, I need to get into a healthier body to do that. I need to anyway. It is exhausting to be this way. Losing weight will help with my fibromyalgia and my joint pain, so it will help lesson some of my RA symptoms, too. What I have to do is just stay motivated, even if there is nothing wrong with my heart. I am sick and tired of always being sick and tired.
I am going to be stopping the shot I've been on for RA. The side effects have been bad. They are frequent colds and respiratory infections. I have had nothing but that since I started this drug. I wash my hands all the time. I use sanitizer when I'm out. I sanitize the steering wheel and door handles if my husband drove last because he brings stuff home from work.
I santize the door knobs. I wear my mask and vinyl gloves in stores on the rare times I go in one even though we are not required to and I still get sick. Sure the RA pain has been completely gone, but I can't live like this. Every time I've stopped it with antibiotic use and gotten better, then taken the shot again, two days later I've caught something else. So, no more of that. I can't deal with it. It has been a miserable summer. I've barely had a chance to enjoy it. I want to enjoy what is left of it.
Okay, well, after all that word vomit, it's time to go make dinner and not order it. Baked chiken thighs, roasted potatoes, and green breans. The chicken I pulled out of the freezer said 99 cents a pound and was from May 7, 2022. It was the last time I saw that sale price. I'll proabably never see that in a store again. But I've got 8 more pack of it in the freezer, so there's that.
Bringing Down the Evil Empire,
Medical Issues and Spending,
When Life Happens,
Towards Healthier Living
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September 7th, 2022 at 02:40 am
Payday has come and gone and I have re-funded all of my envelopes, funds, and sinking accounts. I had money left in my grocery envelope, quite a lot actually, so I started my savings for the next beef, hencetofore to be known as "Beef Envelope" because I am fancy like that, with $208. We just didn't buy that much. Part of that was bad sales at the grocery stores both weeks, part of that was picking up our hog, part of that was having a lot of produce to go through from the previous pay cycle, some of it long lasting, like cabage, and melons. There just wasn't too much need. Based on how much it cost in July of 2021 to buy a whole steer, which was $2,955.64, I need to save up at least $3000. And since that was 2 years ago, I probably need to build in an additional raise of .50/lb on the farmers side of things and .10/lb for the cut and wrap and $10 added to the kill fee, just to be on the safe side. That was what it was for the hog. So I need to set aside $3500 total for the steer.
On top of that I have raised the grocery budget by $100 to $500 a payday with the new raise DH got and with most of our meat taken care of now we had a lot more freedom at the grocery store. Maybe I didn't need to do that, but it gives me plenty of money to put in the Beef Fund.
The only meat I have to buy now is chicken, turkey, deli meats, and fish, unless he ever gets to go fishing again this summer. Work has been crazy and the last fishing trip was unsuccessfull for the guys who coud make it because the fish were still too small. DH couldn't, because we were all down with something so bad he was afraid to leave us alone in case someone needed to go to the hospital (nobody did).
They didn't go out over the holiday weekend because the guy who own's the boat, his mother had hip replaement surgery earlier in the week and was coming hom the friday before. Those first few days after are a 2 person job/challegne/nightmare. Then it calms done enough that one person can handle it. And if not than he can work from home for the bad times. They are very flexible with hours as long as you meat goals on time, show up for meetings even if on Zoom, and do your walk downs at the right time. So hopefully, next weeked we can still get coho salmon. It is my favorite.
Anyway, the garden is doing very well. Last night I harvested 10.4 pounds of tomatoes from the garden bringing the tomato total up to 14.4 pounds for the year. There were 3 more zuccchini, briging the weight totoal up to 3.8 pounds. They were nowhere the size of the frst one, more like normal sized. I weeded the zucchini finally and I'm sure it will appreciate not having to fight for light. There are lots of healthy litle zuchchini on most of the plants. I did have to take a couple of dead ones off one plant that had been completely shaded out by weeds, so now maybe it will flower again. I also transplanted the nasturtiam away from the cucumers, and one day later they are liking it already. I did pick my first two cucumbers. They are small, pickling cucumbers, so their weight was .7 pounds. I was starting to think I'd get nothing off those vines at all.
I think I am going to transplant my pepper plants away from the tomato plants and give them a batch of rabbit manure and see how they do with full sun and not fighting the tomatoes for resources. I just have to hear back from the rabbit rescue place about rabbit manure. The other two bunny farmers I've called ghosted me after a couple of days, so trying to find something more reliable now. If not, I guess I'll just have to go with stinky fish emulsion or try to find a stables that is open this weekend for manure removal. It was so much easier when cow manure was available in the stores instead of having to hunt sources down on my own.
If worst comes to worst we are off to the beach to harvest as much dead seaweed as will fit in the back of the truck to dry out, break up with our hands, and bury in the garden beds. The nutrients in that will feed the beds for a couple of years. That is included in his gathering license for shellfish, and they really don't care if you are just collecting the dead stuff if you have one or not, but safe side so he'll have it on him. I'll just go to keep him company and to have some time away from the kids.
I really hope the fertilizer industry gets back on its feet soon so they stop taking up all the organic stuff because that is all that is left. It makes it really hard for us gardners. And then they have huge crop failures and we can't make up for it the way we might, because we don't have the inputs that were available to us before because big ag took it all.
I'm sorry if this comes off all fragmented. I think the hamster on my brain fell off his wheel today. Anyway, I am going to put as much aside as I can within limits to save for the beef to meet that goal, put as much aside as I can to refill the EF, and extend my garden season as long as possible while preparing the beds for next year.
Emergency Living and Preperations,
Towards Healthier Living,
Gazelles in Envelopes
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September 1st, 2022 at 06:35 am
I have my harvest totals for onions and garlic. I did not lose any garlic to rot and it is now dried. I have 10.1 pounds of it. I am setting aside 4 heads of elephant garlic to replant. I only planted one last year, so I want to have a good amount to plant this year. That leaves me with 3 to use, one of which I had already used (but recorded the weight of). The ones I am using soon or did use had split their skins and would not store until planting time.
As for the Music garlic, I will replant half of that, which will be double what I planted last year. And I won't have to pay for any garlic to plant at all. I did have a couple head of garlic where the cloves split the skins as well, so those will get used up first. So anyway, next year I will spend $0 on the garlic I will plant. I don't remember what I paid this year, but it was far, far too much. But I figured it was a one time investment. Music is a hard variety to come by, but it is supposed to be the best, both in flavor and long-term storage.
I will dehydrate some of the garlic for making garlic powder as needed, but most of what I keep will be stored in a bag in a cool, dark cupboard. It will last quite a while. I don't fancy paying $1 for a head of garlic. If anything starts to sprout I will dice what's left up and dehydrate it.
As for the onions I got 50.3 pounds of a yellow keeping onions, 30.6 pounds of a red keeping onions, and 20.1 pounds of Walla Walls sweet onions. So a grand total of 101 pounds of onions. I lost one yellow keeping onion to rot, so didn't count it in the total weight. It was a small one and weighed .4 lb and was trying to grow a baby onion off its root system.
This year I spent $10.89 on 4 4 inch pots of itty bitty onion plants. Next year I'm going to order seed and grow my own onion plants. It won't be that much of a savings this year, but the packets will have enough for the following year as well, so that year will be free. And that way I can get the Candy sweet onions instead of the Walla Wallas. The Candys are better, even if the Walla Wallas are pretty darn good.
Our onions will take six weeks to dry, with a trim down to about one inch of stem at the 3 week mark and then I can bag up and store the two types of keeping onions and they should store for 6 to 8 months. As for the Walla Walla, they won't store for very long, maybe 2 or 3 months, so I will mostly cut those up into strips and dices and freeze them.
I will dehydrate some of the yellow keeping onions so that I can grind them up for powder as I need them. If any of the keeping onions start to sprout it will be time to cut them up and freeze or dehydrate them as well. I am just not going to pay $1.39/lb for yellow onions, $1.59/lb for red onions, and $1.79/lb for sweet onions, so I will not waste one scrap. Any sprout can go into broth.
I picked my first two tomatoes yesterday. Between them they weigh one pound. I am going to keep a running count. I will be using them with one of my sweet onions to make some pico de gallo tomorrow. I think I will have some of those little yellow ones that look like pears ripe tomorrow and maybe a couple of paste ones. They were pretty close today. And the green beans are sprouting. So we will get a crop. The garden isn't a complete fail this year, even though everything got in so late.
We will still save a lot of money on food. Especially when the potatoes are ready. Potato prices are getting outrageous. I think I may try to sneak in a carrot crop. It would be cutting it close, but I have coldframes. With the raised beds they would survive the November freezes. I'm definitely sowing some radishes. They'll be grown before the first frost.
This fall, after we harvest the potatoes and pull the dead plants and weeds out, we will rototill lime in and then cover it in black plastic so we don't have weeds growing in there for the rest of the fall and as soon as it warms up in the spring. I don't know for sure if we will plant potatoes there in the spring again or not, but I want the ground prepared if we do. If you do grow potatoes in the same place every year and you don't use lime you can get black scab on your potatoes.
I figure we will get at least 120 pounds of potatoes this year since we expanded our potato plot. That's still not enough potatoes to get us through the year, but I'll buy some extra to can and we'll get there. Buying direct from a local farmer who charges less than the stores is our saving grace there.
Next spring we will be able to pick up all the black plastic we laid down in late July or early August and everything will be dead under there. We will be able to rototill everything flat and get started on making a proper fence to keep the deer out of the garden and also build two more raised beds, possibly three, spring weather permitting.
Before summer's over we need to take the deck off the front of the house and clean off the back porch. Maybe even organize the garage, but that can't be done until the onions are done drying, because the drying racks are in the way of pretty much everything.
Emergency Living and Preperations,
Organize My Life,
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