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Trying This Again

June 13th, 2019 at 11:52 pm

If SA were a person, I'd want to be banging it's head against the wall right now. That being said, I was able to comment while signed out, so I think that part is working. Now, on to my day.

DS and I finally got the two garden beds mostly cleared of morning glory. The rest has to be shoveled and sifted, though we got some done tonight until we ran out of light. We also filled another garbage can and half filled a second one with manured hay, mostly composted manure and compost, and then a top layer of what we sifted and topped it off with a bag of organic Miracle Grow. I planted 3 bell peppers in there and I will plant the other two in the other one once we get it filled tomorrow. We need to pick up one more bag of that stuff tomorrow.

I also tied up the cucumbers so they will grow up the trellis. There are two flower buds on there as of today. I also have one little bitty bitty zucchini flower bud and several closed tight patty pan buds. The plants have doubled in size this week. Then I planted two more tomatoes I picked up today, a Champion II and an Early Girl. They were pretty big, a couple feet tall.

I also planted two jalapeños, a banana pepper, and a hot red pepper that looks like cayenne but did not say cayenne. I might still be able to dry it in place of cayenne, though. I don't think I have any cayenne seeds or I would stick some in the dirt and hope for the best. I'll have to go through them tonight. I know I have some pepper seeds and it is so hot this week that they might have a chance of germinating. I do have paprika seeds. It is late, but we tend to have Indian summers so it might produce and if not, it's only a few seeds.

I also planted some flowers. I put in a red wave petunia in place of the double wave that is not flowering much (I moved it), put in some Gazanias (never seen these before but they are pretty, and something called osteospermum which sounds like a disease but is a really pretty flower. I needed to plant some more flowers so that the pollinators are used to going around and come in to the summer squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes once they start to flower.

To the herb bed I added some pink yarrow (they gave me for free as it was looking pretty brown at the base, but the root was good and it comes back from it so I knew I could save it), some common sage, and marjoram (I found some!).

I bought some bee balm, but can't plant it until I get a container for it. It has runners that are invasive, but not difficult to get out. Still, I don't want to deal so I have a large round tote it will go in eventually, but right now I will just put it in a larger pot because it is only in a 4 inch pot and these things get 3 feet high or so.

I do have an initial input of about $200 by the time I am done buying stuff every garden season, since I mostly do starts and I do purchase a few bags of potting soil for containers, but I harvest about $1000 worth of organic produce every summer, so it more than pays for itself. In spinach, lettuce, blood-veined sorrel, kohlrabi, broccoli, strawberries, green onions, and herbs so far this summer I've already harvested $75 worth of produce and we haven't even hit peak production when tomatoes, corn, peppers, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and green beans will come on and be canned or frozen for the year.

Tomorrow I hope to get some more done, at least the other garbage can filled, but it is also grocery shopping day. I don't need to get a ton, but I do need to get a few things from 4 different stores and that is a lot of running around, although they are all close together, so not as much as one might think.

I also need to process the chicken now that it is thawed out. I need to cook up a couple batches to make lunches for the week for me, DS, and DD. I need to make up meatloaves for the freezer. I need to make a dozen stuffed bell peppers for DH's lunches. I need to get those breakfast burritos made. So it may not be a ton done in the garden tomorrow, but some, assuming my energy holds, which on some days can be assuming a lot.

Nearly Finished with the Raised Bed

May 27th, 2019 at 11:06 pm

We got some more work done on the raised beds. The two long sides were primed, painted and assembled today. Hopefully we can attach it all together tomorrow. We ran out of light. It is going to look very nice once it is done. DH also drilled some holes in another garbage can for me that I will fill tomorrow. I think I am just going to plant my peppers in the garbage cans. I can do 3 per can, maybe four. I can always do up another can if there isn't room for four per can. I probably should just do that to begin with.

We started taking down the turkey pen. First we took the gutter garden off the two sides of the pen, then removed the perches, and then we got the lattice off of three sides. Then the sun came out from behind the trees and it was too hot to work in that section of the yard. With the lattice off, though it will be much easier to go inside and get started weeding the area.

I also weeded the three 8 x 2 foot garden beds, which hold the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, patty pan squash, basil, and herbs. That leaves me with one 8 x 4 foot bed left to weed. And I still need to ring the long bed of onions. I may just show DS how and have him do it. Before I work on anything else tomorrow, though, we need to clean out a corner of the pad that the new raised bed is going on and dig out the weeds, so I can place the bed in a different position than it is in now.

I have to pick the strawberries tomorrow, too. I haven't picked for two days and suddenly there is a ton of red ones. I didn't notice until twilight and I didn't want to pick them without enough light to make sure they were completely red all the way through. I will harvest some basil, thyme, oregano, spearmint, peppermint, and rosemary tomorrow as well.

I hope to make it over to Joe's Garden tomorrow and pick up some calendula, marjoram (if they have it, they probably won't), another pot of cucumbers, maybe sunflowers if they aren't too big yet, and peppers. I may just plant sunflowers from seed if they are too big. I've got a couple different kinds. I like doing business with them as they are a no spray garden that provides starts, seeds, sets, and once the season gets going, produce. I really like using them as they use organic methods, they just don't want to spend the money for certification as it is ridiculously expensive.

I do need to stop by the grocery store and pick up a couple of things as well. I want to get some honey ham, and tomorrow is the last day of the steak sale. Also, I am out of carrots. So there is a lot I want to get done and hopefully I can get to all of it.

A Do Nothing Day

May 26th, 2019 at 11:27 pm

Every morning after I take my Enbrel shot I wake up nauseated. Sometimes I shake it off, other times I throw up and this was a throw up morning. I hate that side effect, but I guess it is worth it for the benefits. But it kind of messed me up for the day. So I did nothing today except make pico de gallo. I used cilantro from the garden. Oh, and I guess I did harvest some lettuce and spinach and make the salad, too. DH did the cooking for dinner which was carne asada for our tacos al carbon. I didn't eat other than dinner today because it took until 5 for the queasiness to go away.

However DH painted the boards we primed last night. Now all that is left to do is the outside frames for the long sides. I hope to get them primed before we go to bed and then painted in the morning so they can be assembled in the afternoon tomorrow.

DS weeded the last 32 square feet of the onion beds, so all I have to do is ring those onions and then I can start weeding on some of the other beds. I should feel a lot better tomorrow and can do that while I am waiting for the paint to dry.

I am still hoping that on Monday we can take down the old turkey pen, because we want to use that ground for the garden as well, probably for potatoes. They'll be late potatoes, but that is fine. I just want to get them in the ground. It will be very fertile in there due to the bird droppings over the years.

I forgot to say that yesterday I turned over the compost pile after I cleaned out the rabbit shed. Things are getting done even if I have to take a couple days off here and there. I also had DH drill holes in one of the garbage cans, filled the bottom with the hay we swept up from the garage, put in 8 shovelfuls off compost with lots of red wigglers, and then topped it off with garden soil.

I am wavering between getting another tomato plant or putting acorn squash in it. We do have four other garbage cans that we can use, too, so maybe I will just do both. I am waiting for the dirt to settle and weigh down the hay and see if I need to top it off before planting in it, though. Sometimes the soil can drop as much as 8 inches, so it is always good to wait a couple of days.

I think we are going to come a lot closer to providing our produce needs for the year than we ever have before. Well, obviously we will still need to buy some fresh produce during the non-growing season, but those numbers are really going to come down for everything else.

When the onions are ready, I am going to try this really simple recipe for roasted whole onions I saw on Townsends [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV9spqCzSkQ[/url] Actually, I might try it before that. It just looks really good and we love onions.

No Shopping

August 17th, 2018 at 01:09 pm

It was really nice not to have to plan a grocery trip for today. I wasn't sure I was going to like only shopping once every two weeks, but I definitely think I am. I did glance at the ads this week just in case there was something good, but it was all processed foods or real foods that were pretending they were on sale, but really weren't. You know, the buy one get one free where the one you buy has been jacked up to cover the cost of the "free" one sort of thing.

We still have plenty of milk and plenty of bread, so I don't even foresee a quick run at this point. I did such careful planning on last week's shop that we might not even need to go to the store right away a week from now. But we'll see.

My mother went to visit her sister and brought a ton of produce home from eastern Washington. So this week we are canning tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, applesauce, pears, and I am chopping and freezing candy sweet onions (they keep a long time and are better tasting than Walla Wallas, which rot fast) and bell peppers. The peaches and apples are hers and half the nectarines, but everything else is for me. I will pay her back for my portion out of the next grocery budget. It is less than $100.

I canned the first batch of tomatoes yesterday and got seven quarts. Today I am working on some of the bell peppers and onions. I am going to do some strips, some chunks, and some dices. I will be doing a lot of freezer bags that are half onion and half bell peppers, so they will be ready to grab and dump into the Instant Pot or crockpot when I want to make fajitas or sausage stew. I also need to work my way through more of my zucchini. I put nine bags of shredded in the freezer the other day, but I have just about that again I need to prepare, and there is more to be picked out in the garden.

It will be a very busy week for me, but it will be good to meet a lot of our winter food needs.

Simple, Yet Delicious

April 6th, 2018 at 11:17 pm

I made another great meal tonight. My new focus on not eating out (i.e. hemorrhaging money through the drive thru window) is paying off, but I don't think it would be going so well without the electric pressure cooker. I did my potatoes in there, tonight. All I did was quarter some baby reds, toss them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley, put a cup of water in the pressure cooker, put in the steamer basket, and pressure cook them for 10 minutes. They were delicious and yet so easy and tasty. I've found out I can make mashed potatoes in there, too, which will be quite a boon.

Then I made up some Morrocan spice rub and rubbed down some chicken legs with it and cooked them in the Nuwave oven. Chicken legs only take 30 minutes in the Nuwave. The chicken was pretty good, but I think it needed salt in addition to the rub. Next time I will do that since I have quite a bit of the rub left. There was enough chicken left over that I can make some chicken soup tomorrow.

I did spend some money today as I was in need of ground cloves, coriander, and cinnamon. Cloves are expensive, but fortunately a little goes a long way so it lasts much longer than my other spices. So $35 on spices.

I'm going to have to spring for a package of goat butter pretty soon. That's $11 for 8 ounces, but it lasts me a long time. I don't use it too often, I just like it on the rare occasions I actually make toast, which is only once or twice a month, usually. I am the only one who eats it. Well, I will make sure I do a complete check through of the freezers first, just in case I have one squirreled away in there, but I'm pretty sure I don't. I usually only buy one at a time. It's not a stock up item.

DH built me some new pantry storage shelves, so I am in the process of filling them and rearranging some of my other food supplies. Right now I have long-term storage mixed in with the working pantry, which is a pain in the neck. This should get that straightened out.

I need to work on the garden this weekend as well. It is time to get lettuce, spinach, green onions, kale, chard, and radishes going. There is some volunteer spinach coming up, but I need to transplant it, because it is not where I want it. I hope it stops raining long enough for me to do that. It cleared up this afternoon so I am hoping the weather holds and I am feeling up to it.

Draining Week

November 18th, 2017 at 11:43 pm

The funeral on Wednesday was beautiful. I was able to speak, which was a good thing, because neither DH nor SIL could manage, though MIL did. I got a lot of compliments on what I said, which was nice, because I did not go in with a prepared speech. I don't like speaking in public, but I didn't feel it could go by without one of us saying something.

My favorite of DH's cousins did not attend. Her grandson, who is only 5, has a brain tumor. They biopsied on Tuesday and found out it is a very aggressive cancer and the tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Wednesday he had the surgery to remove it and they were able to get it all, but they still had to see if it had spread to the bloodstream. I am at such a loss. I am so tired of cancer hitting my family. This year has been a horror.

I am still pretty sick, but Thursday was my worst day. I think I have turned the corner with this cold, but I've been wrong before and gone on a second downswing. Hopefully not this time, though. Unfortunately, both kids are down with it, and DH started sneezing like crazy today. He's dosing on vitamin C. I hope he can keep going, because I am not at the stage where I can do any of the household or farm chores. Well, I did manage to fold one load of towels and one of clothes and then had to rest before I could put them away.

DH's interview was on Friday. He was supposed to be interviewed by two people, but the second one had a death in the family and couldn't be there. So the first guy said he needed to talk to the second guy when he gets back and see if he felt he needed to interview DH, too, or just go based on the first guy's opinion. He wanted to know if DH could start immediately, so I guess that is promising, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

DH and I went down to pick up our turkey today. We asked for one in the 13 to 16 pound range when we ordered a few months ago, and it is 15.07 pounds. I also picked up some sausage since we didn't get any with our pork. They had chorizo, which I was excited about, because I've never been able to find a chorizo without some bad additives in it. So one day next week I will make chorizo con huevoes with rice for dinner. Or possibly for breakfast with cauliflower rice.

I also picked up some roasts for canning. The roasts from our beef all have bones in them and I like them for pot roast dinners, anyway. But I want to can some meat for stews and chuck roasts available at the farm have no bones so are easier to cut up. In the winter I like to have stew once a week and we've been out of canned beef for a couple of months now.

We're also going to juice up a bunch of the apples we got when we went to the orchard a while back. I clearly got too many. If I juice it, I can can it and it will be shelf stable. That is a relatively easy task, but it will still have to wait until I feel decent enough to do it.

I was really hoping to do a better job at blogging with daily blogs this month, but I just haven't had the energy, so catch up posts a couple times a week are just going to have to do it for now.







Use it Up Dinner

November 4th, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Last night we had something of a build up of leftovers in the fridge. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce with sausage in it from spaghetti night. And I had half a can of tomato sauce left from meatloaf night, so I combined those together. There wasn't enough meat in it for 4 people so I grabbed a cup of my freeze-dried sausage and rehydrated it.

Meanwhile, I looked through my pasta and ended up deciding on some shells I had. The shells were left from some Annie Bunnies shells and cheese that I stole the cheese powder packet out of to make cheesy popcorn one night, since it is a clean cheese powder. I cooked the shells in the microwave and by the time they were done, the sausage was fully hydrated.

I combined all of the ingredients together and poured them into a greased baking dish. Then I used up the last bit of Parmesan cheese, the last bit of extra sharp cheddar, some mozzarella and some regular cheddar on top. So I have two less almost empty cheese containers in the fridge now. I baked it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes covered in foil and then for 5 minutes with the foil off.

It was a really good dinner and about 10 times easier to make than lasagna, but tasted just like my lasagna. Everyone was well pleased with it and except for some gravy, there are now no leftovers in the fridge.

If anyone wants to know how to cook pasta in the microwave, the trick is to heat the water first and then add the pasta for the regular amount of cooking time. Oh, and you need a plate over the top of the bowl you cook it in and to add a bit of oil and salt to the water. It works great for shells, macaroni, rotini, penne, and farfalle (bowties). Also, the wide egg noodles. I have not tried spaghetti, but I would imagine you'd need to break it in half or thirds and stir in the middle of the cook time.

What kind of leftover meals have you all made this week?