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Entry I Wrote on October 25, 2020

October 28th, 2020 at 10:24 pm

The lack of progress on the blogs is really starting to frustrate me.  I know it’s a platform change and that just makes everything drag out longer.  It looks like a better system when I can get into it.  At least one from this century anyway.

So, I added up the numbers and this is what we have harvested this year:

102 pounds of potatoes

5 pounds of bell peppers

5 pounds of Anaheim mild chile peppers

3 pounds of serrano chile peppers

6 pounds of Trident poblano peppers

2 pounds of jalapenos

12 pounds of radishes, plus their greens

3 pounds of carrots

64 ears of corn

104 pounds of green beans

6 bunches of celery

12 kohlrabi

12 broccoli heads

45 pounds of cucumbers

3 months’ worth of lettuce greens

2 cabbages

30 pounds of tomatoes

5 months’ worth of chard (still going strong)

10 pounds of beets, plus their greens

1 quart jar each of dried peppermint, spearmint, raspberry leaves, bee balm, calendula, and yarrow for tea

1 quart jar each of dried basil, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and nasturtium buds (dried they taste peppery)

 

I will be drying and powdering some of the poblanos to make ancho powder and the serranos to make a substitute for cayenne powder.

 

Sirloin steaks are on sale this week for $2.88/lb.  Hopefully I can make it over to the store this week and get some.  I’d like to grind some for burger.  You can’t beat that price right now.  Don’t know if I will make it or not.  This sinus infection is still kicking my butt.  I did go and have a car appointment on the 23rd and the doctor I saw put me on prednisone and an antibiotic called cefdinir.  I had to get the liquid kind though, because the pill form is red #40 and red #28 and I really prefer not to have migraines, thank you.  It tastes like artificial sweetener, which I also try to avoid, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.  Since I can’t take penicillin without getting hives it is the lesser of two evils.  And the Z-pack didn’t work last time.

 

Mom canned 14 jars of beef for me and seven jars of potatoes, so even though I’ve been in and out of it, things are still moving in stocking up the pantry for the upcoming cold and flu/political upheaval season.  Time is running short and I want to be ready in time.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention, DS passed his driver’s test.  This makes my life so much easier.  His license should be here in a few days.

Entry I Wrote on October 23, 2020

October 28th, 2020 at 09:57 pm

Things have been trucking along here in the days of a non-functional blog platform.  Mostly, I've been canning beef.  They had a massive sale on chuck roast, $2.99 a pound, at Fred Meyer on the last ad flyer and no limit.  I went in 3 times and ended up with a total of 34 roasts.  I did check with the meat guy and he said people just weren't stocking up and to take what I wanted because if it didn’t sell they’d grind it into hamburger.  I always made sure there were plenty left.  I will never clear a bin or shelf of anything except the particular type of chili DS likes.  It is hard to find so I grab it when I do.  I will be canning 14 jars today and putting the rest through the meat grinder for hamburger.  It is far cheaper at the roast price than at the burger price right now.

DH dug up the last of the potatoes.  It was a little over 4 pounds of baby reds.  So that is done.  I harvested all of the peppers and pulled them because I want to plant garlic in that bed, assuming I can find any to plant.  I’m checking the feed store today.  I cut off the side shoots on the broccoli and pulled them, too.  I still need to finish that bed and then we will be using it for strawberries.

I picked the dried out snow pea pods and harvested the seeds for next year.  With the way things are going seeds may sell out faster than they did this year because of the pandemic.  I’m saving bean seeds, too even though I still have a big packet left.  Thankfully, I’ve got quite a bit of corn seed.  And if I can’t get seed potatoes in the spring, I can do the organic grocery store potatoes again.  Maybe some of the ones I harvested will keep until March and I won’t have to worry about it.  I have tomato seeds and zucchini seeds and sweet meat squash seeds that I harvested a couple years ago.  And I have copra keeping onion seeds.  I am most concerned about finding an open pollinated carrot seed so I can start saving carrot seeds in the future, too.  There are a lot of seed packets in my bin of some older seeds so maybe some of those will germinate, too.  I’ll be starting a lot of my own seeds in the spring.  I’m going to do a full set up, no playing around this time.  It was hard to find all the starts I wanted last spring.  I need to be better prepared this time around.

I just want to be ready for whatever is going to be thrown at us next.  I really dread what the next three weeks are going to bring for this county.  If riots come to my city, I don’t know if we can protect ourselves.  We should be far enough away from Seattle, but we do have about 100 or so of that sort who like to cause trouble here downtown.  Mostly college students and university professors.  Usually armed citizens come out to deal with it and protect the shops, though, just as a presence that keeps things from getting out of hand, so who knows?  There’s three months to go after that before we see if things will even go back to some kind of normal.

Hopefully, it’ll just be bad for a week.  We have to go to Virginia Mason in Seattle two weeks post-election to the liver specialist to see if my daughter’s liver tumor has grown, although we should have the MRI results back in her patient portal sometime this week.  I still like things interpreted by a doctor.  The day before that she will be meeting with the new endocrinologist who specializes in adrenal insufficiency, so there will be an overnight down there which makes me even more nervous.  Most of the rioting has been going on a half mile away from the hospital, but that is not very far.  The talk is that they will riot no matter who is elected.  Fun times. /sarcasm  Remember the days when people accepted the results with dignity and grace?

This afternoon I have to take DD to the rheumatologist and remake the appointment I cancelled for myself because I was sick while we’re there.  I think I’ll just make mine a telemedicine visit, though.  This time of year I tend to get sick a lot.  I really need to make an appointment to get my eyes checked for new glasses, too so I can get them and some contacts.  I am sick of my glasses fogging up every time I put on a mask so I want contacts for the days I have to go out in public.

I made a very good loaf of gluten free bread last night, in the bread machine, using Jovial gluten free bread flour.  I tweaked it from the last time I made it and it was far less dense and the crust was amazing.  It was almost as big as regular sandwich bread.  I think with a bit more yeast, honey, and salt I can get it to be a fantastic loaf, but this one was enjoyable.  The one before was too dense for my liking.  I am getting this thing down.  And once I do I’m going to try to find a way to make a crispy crust gluten free pizza.  I can make a soft crust, but I want to get that crunch I like so much from the gluten pizzas.  I think this bread flour will help.  Jovial’s been in the business of gluten free since way before it came a thing and just belonged to celiacs.  They have the best pasta and I am looking forward to trying their pastry flour, too.

Well, I’ve wasted enough time on here, I best get back to real life for the day.

Are We Working Yet?

October 22nd, 2020 at 07:51 pm

Testing

Got Some More Potatoes Dug

October 11th, 2020 at 06:19 am

We harvested two more rows of potatoes and got 22.6 pounds of mostly gold potatoes. Organic gold potatoes go for $1.79 a pound right now, so that is $39.38 worth of potatoes. Two rows took 9 seed potatoes cut in thirds. There were about five reds in there. The golds were a lot bigger than the reds were last harvest.

We have 7 more rows to do and I am hoping we will be able to get a couple more rows dug tomorrow. It depends on the weather. It takes 15 pounds to do a canner load of potatoes. Technically it is two pounds per quart, but by the time you peel everything and cut away any spots you've lost about a pound, so I always plan 15 pounds.

These rows got more water than the initial 3 rows, so I think that is why we got so much more from them. As we continue to go on they got even more water, due to sprinkler reach. Next year I am going to make sure I have a sprinkler directly in our potato patch. It needs to be watered at least once, if not twice a week, and more evenly.

I am just really happy I did so well on Trader Joe potatoes and not even seed potatoes. Next year we will get seed potatoes for sure, though. I am not playing any late garden games. It will be ready early no matter what the excuses are from the men folk about weeding and preparing the ground. If I can do it with my chronic diseases, then they can do it without having any of them and work right by my side. To be fair, DS did help in the beginning, but I had to bribe him, so there's that.

We still may be having food shortages next year, so we will be more prepared than ever as we go through 2021. It might be worse than this year and I am determined to keep my family fed if this virus continues keeping so much of the economy closed.

Getting Ready for My Sister to Move in

October 9th, 2020 at 11:28 pm

My plan for the weekend is to get the rest of the potatoes dug, so I can get them curing for 3 weeks so we can bag them up and store them in the basement. We also need to move the piano from the great room to the living room. My sister will be moving into the great room soon. She's not going to have an easy time of living here. There won't be any privacy for her and Mom is already making things difficult, not wanting to give up an inch more of space than she has to. She's always been kind of stingy with space, like that. It took us years to actually have full use of the cabinets in our own kitchen.

Mom is a bit of a pack rat. She holds onto things well past when she should. She still has a lot of my dad's clothes and he's been dead for years. She's also been hanging onto my Dad's dresser. Not because she needs it, it is empty, but because it was his. It takes up a lot of space, though. I get that it holds sentimental value, I suppose, but its been like 10 years. She won't let anyone refurbish it and use it, either. It's a nice, solid wood dresser, but it is very dark. We would have liked to have stripped it and done a nice pine colored varnish or a pretty paint or something and actually used it, but she's a little irrational about that idea. Bringing it into this century would make it useful.

She also needs to get rid of some books that were Dad's, but won't. He read a lot of westerns. Mom doesn't read westerns and no one else does either. Mom doesn't really read much at all. She still has all of her books from college, which she went to in the 60's. I don't even have all my books from college. I kept the history book. She says she'll never read any of them again, but she doesn't want to give them away.

She also has a bunch of dresses from the 80's she doesn't want to part with. Like ten of them. She'd have to lose 100 pounds to wear them again, which is never going to happen, the woman lives on carbs and won't touch most vegetables, but she is keeping them because she might lose the weight. At 81, I don't see that as happening. And yet she goes on to complain that she doesn't have enough space in her closet. She has two closets, plus one in the upstairs full of useless clothes.

She's said over and over she doesn't want to leave a bunch of stuff in the house for us to have to deal with when she dies, but then she holds onto it with a vice grip. It's weird and maybe a mental issue. I figure there will just be a lot we have to deal with when the time comes.

There has not been much going on in the financial realm for me this week. It's been 7 days since the last time I spent any money. I've been working on the pantry, or rather, on filling it. There was a great sale last Friday on chuck roast, so I canned 10 quarts of chuck roast and 2 pints of chuck roast. And I helped Mom with 9 pints of chuck roast for herself. Meat takes a long time, so there is a lot of baby-sitting the canner involved. It's about half an hour waiting for it to vent, 10 minutes venting time, 5 to pressurize, 90 cooking time, and then a half hour to come down from pressure, and 10 minutes with the lid cracked to equalize to room temperature before taking them out. A regular canner will hold 7 quarts or 8 wide mouth pints or 9 narrow mouth pints. So it was a lot of work and wait time. And that doesn't even include the amount of time to cut all the meat up.

There is a new sale on chuck roast at a different store this week, so I will break my no spend streak and pick up some more roasts. Depending on the limit, I'd like to get at least 4 for a canner load, or 8 if they will let me for a double canner load. Fred Meyer didn't have any limits, but Safeway usually does. Right now I have sixteen jars on the shelf, but I would like to double that before winter hits. I also want to do at least another 14 jars of chicken.

Today, however, I have to do tomatoes. I cut them up last night, so all I need to do today is heat them, fill the jars, and get on with it. Tomatoes are quick in the pressure canner, just 25 minutes for pints (plus all the wait time at the beginning), so they are not a several hour process.

I also think I have enough green beans for 4 pints, so will hopefully get that done tomorrow. There might be enough still in the garden to pick more. We have gotten nowhere near a frost yet and they will keep producing right up until. If we are lucky we will have a late frost. Generally it is on Halloween, but there have been years we didn't get one until Thanksgiving. The tomatoes have slowed way down, though, because the nights have been in the 50's and they don't like that. I am tempted to just go strip them and let them ripen in the house, so I can be done with that part of the garden.

It has definitely turned into sweater weather here. Long pants and socks, too. So far we have not turned on the heater or the heated blankets, but I have added a second blanket to the bed. It is also getting to the point where I have to wear my hair down and not up or the back of my neck and shoulders is goosebumpy. The leaves are turning and we have some really pretty yellow ones going on right now. The red and orange ones usually take longer to show. The roses are still blooming, though. It is very pretty. Stew weather is here. I think that's what I'll make for dinner tonight.

Orchard Visit and Harvesting in the Garden

September 21st, 2020 at 06:39 am

The air quality is back to normal here as of yesterday and thank goodness. We still have the new air purifier going because the house still feels a little smokey, even after cleaning the duct work and the furnace filters (has a cooling function, but not air conditioning). It is working really well. We got a Japanese made Zigma, which can do 1580 square feet. It's very quiet and it is doing its job well. After 3 days, I think we will be able to turn it off tomorrow.

Yesterday we went out to a U-pick apple orchard, but we didn't actually U-pick. The apples we wanted that are ripe right now were Tsugaru and those ones are 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot. Honeycrisp was also available for U-pick and those ones are a 1/2 mile walk. Now they do have a tractor train, but because of social distancing they only fill every other car and only one family group per car. The line to wait would have been an hour.

Instead we paid the extra 10 cents a pound and walked out with 11.7 pounds of Tsugarus (my favorite apple) for fresh eating for us and 7 pounds for Mom. I spent $33.17 and Mom spent $20 even. She didn't go, we just got them for her. I did break my gluten free thing for the fresh apple cider doughnuts. They weren't as good as I remembered and I'm swollen today, so that wasn't worth it.

We picked corn and beans today and yesterday. We got 31 ears, five of which we gave to Mom. There was probably a canner load of green beans. I'll be canning tomorrow. Tomatoes, too, since I have a ton of ripe ones in the house. Raccoons had gotten into the corn, because some of the stalks were pulled back and partially eaten. There isn't any more mature corn out there and I don't know if we'll get the rest or not as it may be too hard to keep the raccoons out now that they have found it.

We'll be eating corn this week quite a bit and I'll freeze a few ears. I don't know if I want to bother with corn next year. I know my mom does, she wants more than we planted this year, but she didn't really help with the garden much this year at all. Maybe two hours total of helping to weed and get stuff in the ground.

Preparing the ground for corn is not on my priority list and is a job that requires my son and I to do most of the work. He is likely to have a job next spring and I don't want to do it myself. I'd rather give it to things that will last all winter, like potatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans (canned). We never plant enough corn to can it and if we did we wouldn't be able to plant anything else. Mom is really good at planning work for other people to do.

We had to buy a hand rail for the inside steps where we are going to be putting a ramp. They are so expensive, it is ridiculous. But trying to design one was driving DH insane so I just said to go ahead and order one. It will be easy to install and it will be done. That was $335.71.

As to things that are completely irrelevant to my life and finances, I finally got around to watching the first episode of the new season of Dancing with the Stars on Hulu, my one reality show. My favorite pairings are Nev Shulman and Jenna, Justina Machado and Sasha, and Jennie Mai and Brandon. Justina's personality is so much fun and she moves really, really well. Nev seemed like a natural. I thought Vernon (the football player) and Peta Murgatroyd had a very good chemistry and balance between them and he had some natural grace..

The basketball player was, as they usually are, awkward on the dance floor, and too, too tall for a natural posture with his dance partner. They had the best costumes, though. The ice skater, Johnny Weir was a natural, but I always feel skaters have an unfair advantage. He's a little untrusting of having a partner since he is a singles skater. You can see it and feel it, but once that has passed I think he has a real chance to win. The others were good but didn't stand out to me.

There was a lot of good potential with most pairings, but the cat lady needs to go. She got the lowest score so she likely will. It was weird not having a real audience and to see the judges so far apart from each other. I was very pleased to see Britt had made it out of the troupe and into being a pro. I've noticed her in the troupe the last few years and was hoping she'd get the promotion at some point. Her smile always seemed the biggest, she was the most energetic and enthusiastic, and I don't think I've ever seen a black female pro in competition on this show before, just males like Brandon and Keo, both two of my favorite dancers.

I wish Whitney and Lindsay were still on, but they are both Australian so may have had issues with travel like Len, who isn't judging, but will pop on via satellite a few times, it looks like. I am still ticked that Tom Bergeron is gone, but I haven't liked a female host since Brooke so I wasn't sorry to see Erin go. Tyra Banks does not seem at ease with the role of host, a little like she is trying too hard to be liked. I hope she settles down into a more comfortable rapport with everyone. It might have been a lack of audience. She just seemed really nervous. Hopefully she will get over that in the next couple of weeks.

It was a great episode, though, and a nice bit of escapism. I am surprised they let them make it though, with the Covid restrictions, because no one is wearing masks and the partners can't social distance from each other obviously. It's nice to see it, though.

Sore Knee is Getting Sorer

September 4th, 2020 at 05:10 am

I canned 10 more quarts of green beans yesterday, bringing the total count to 29. A deer got in the garden and ate a lot of the middle sections of beans and I am not sure if that part will grow back now that we've fixed the fence. It has caused a rush of growth at the top as the plants try to make up for the loss of leaves, so maybe it'll just get really full of beans up there where the stupid dear can't reach. It doesn't eat the vines, thankfully, so the plants are still alive.

I may have to buy some beans if I want to have enough canned for the year. I had really hoped not to have that happen, but I want to can 104 jars. I should have been able to with what I planted. I sure wish I could put that deer in my freezer to make up for what it has stolen from me. I am just glad they don't like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Maybe someone will trade me beans for cucumbers.

My knee was so bad today I didn't do anything but stay in bed and keep it elevated. I was pretty wiped out from snapping beans and canning them yesterday anyway. It doesn't seem like it should, but when when you've got two autoimmune diseases, it takes its tole on your body. Tomorrow is payday and shopping day, so I am glad I took the day to rest. I think I will have to use the ride on carts, though. I try not to unless I absolutely have to, but I'm not sure my knee can handle one store, even with the shopping cart for support.

I'll be through my antibiotics by Monday and they should let me come in for an in person visit on Tuesday at that point. If I can just get the fluid drained and maybe a cortisone shot I think I can manage. Unless I did tear something. If it gets any worse over the weekend, I'll just go to the hospital. Our out of pocket max is met, so it won't cost us anything to do that.

We've gained over $500 in the stock market in six days. It's been a crazy week.

Produce, Produce, Produce

September 1st, 2020 at 12:00 am

It always seems to take forever to get here in the garden season, but finally at the end of August everything explodes into production. I picked more green beans today and it is around the same amount I got last time, so I think I will have another 12 quarts at least. Something has been eating the middle portion of the vines. I am thinking a deer got in, so we are going to have to do some additional deer fencing. Darn dear.

I picked half a 6 quart bowl full of tomatoes and got 2 more zucchini. I gave half a dozen cucumbers to the neighbor lady. I will work on snapping them tonight and will can them tomorrow.

I did pull out a lot of weeds from the base of the beans. I am just glad I felt good enough to do it. I still have some things to harvest tomorrow. It looks like the first broccoli is ready, maybe two. The last of the carrots need to be pulled. And the potatoes still need to be got to and the herbs need to be attended to. At least everything got watered really well last night. One of the tomato plants needs more today, though. It really is suffering. I might want to pick up a bag of compost for it, too.

It will be nice having the veggie portion of our grocery bill go down for the next month.

This and That

August 29th, 2020 at 11:29 pm

I spent 4 hours yesterday snapping beans. DS helped me during the last hour. All of that resulted in 12 quarts of green beans, bringing the total I have canned so far to 19 quarts. I need to go out and pick some more today, but likely won't snap and can them until tomorrow. My hands need a break. I need to pick tomatoes today, too, and maybe see about getting some of the herbs in and drying. The carrots might be ready to pull and I need to do a test dig on the potatoes that were planted the earliest.

All I really want to do today is veg out in front of Hulu watching ER. I forgot to take my blood pressure medicine yesterday until bedtime, not the ideal time to take it, but I took it then. I feel very hungover, but at least the fluid is leaving my body. I swelled up pretty bad. I thought it was just from all the repetitive motion of snapping the beans, but no. I think I need to start setting reminders, because I forget to take it at least once a week.

My weight loss continues. I am down 11.8 pounds and have 1.9 pounds to go to finish my dietbet. I have 11 days to go. I think I will crush this if I don't do anything stupid with food between now and then. I don't think DH will win his. He is only at 48% of goal, but at least he is losing something. Other than quitting pop, I'm not sure what he is doing. I don't think he is exercising at all. I mean, I'm not, either, other than gardening, but I am controlling my diet.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She is 81. It was pretty low-key as she wasn't up for anything. She did get calls from some of her grandkids, an email from one of them, and of course my kids saw her in person. She forgot it was her birthday for most of the day anyway. My eldest sister came over. I don't know if my middle sister called her or not. I didn't ask. She usually sends a card, but she's in the process of moving so I don't know if she remembered to this year or not.

I'm debating on what to make for dinner tonight. Maybe we'll barbecue some burgers and sweet onions, patty pan squash, corn on the cob and have some fresh cucumbers. That is a pretty easy dinner. If DH is too tired to drag out the BBQ than we will just do it on the griddle inside. I really am in the mood for burgers, just not takeout burgers. I'm avoiding wheat, so gluten free buns or no buns is the deal.

So far we only ate out once this week. My goal for next week is to not eat out at all. But once was sure better than four times. I am really tired of wasting money on restaurant food. I just need to have the energy to make it happen at home. DS said he'd step up to the plate more, so hopefully he actually will.

I need to try to make it to the grocery store tomorrow. Chicken and chuck roast are on sale and even with limits, they take the same amount of time to can, so between the two I can get enough meat for a canner load. DH will cut up the roasts and I will do the chicken. We'll get it done.

Bits and Pieces

August 28th, 2020 at 01:38 am

As of today, I have lost 10 pounds on my diet bet. I have 13 days until weigh in and need to lose 3.7 more pounds. I think I am going to make it. I can see a big difference already and my knees certainly feel better.

We picked green beans, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. I filled two plastic grocery sacks with green beans, 1 with cucumbers, got 10 tomatoes and two patty pans. I also harvested my first jalapeno, so I will be making pico de gallo this week. I will be spending a couple of hours snapping beans tonight so that I can can them tomorrow. I may have enough to do two canner loads.

It looks like DS is going to need a new mattress. That'll be around $900 I wasn't expecting to spend. We won't be buying bamboo mattresses again. It made it 3 years when it should have been five. DS has a huge wallow in the middle of it. We are looking into a Purple mattress.

We have just about got everything arranged so we can purchase a handicapped ramp for the back porch. It will make life so much easier for my knees and hips to not have to deal with stairs, and also for DD who has mobility issues due to hip dysplasia.

My poor mother got into an unexpected wasp's nest today. She got stung twice in the back of the head, once on the ear, once on the tip of the nose, and twice on the wrist. We gave her benadryl and got the one stinger out that was in. She used to do bee venom therapy on purpose, so she's pretty well immune to any allergic reactions, but we are watching her just in case.

We found out yesterday that one of her arteries, I believe it was one in her neck, is 95 percent calcified. But the ones around her heart are fine. Now that she's had the test we are waiting for her doctor's appointment to see what is to be done about it. She's probably going to have to have a procedure and change her diet. Good luck with that. At 80 I don't see her changing her diet.