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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.

Meal Prepping

June 2nd, 2019 at 04:12 pm

I am going to be doing some freezer meals this week so we don't get caught in the takeout trap if I get injured again or sick. We way overspent last month and it is going to bite our budget in the butt, so I need to get some meals put together that we can just pull out of the freezer and dump in the crock pot or the Instant Pot. I think I will do some casseroles, too.

So for casseroles I am going to do:

2 baked lasagnas
2 baked rotini
2 pans of enchiladas

For pour and dumps I am going to do:

2 bags of chicken fajitas
2 bags of chicken shawarma
2 bags of pepper steak
2 meatloaves

Then for precooked food:
2 beef and pepper skillets
2 bags of Baja Pork Tacos
4 bags of meatballs (beef, chicken, pork, lamb)

Then individual meals for lunches:
1 dozen stuffed bell peppers
2 batches worth of individual servings of chicken fettuccine Alfredo
1 batch worth of chicken glop (chicken and rice with cream of chicken soup)
1 batch of black pepper chicken
1 batch of chicken and broccoli.
1 dozen sushi rolls with shrimp
1 dozen rice balls with shrimp
2 dozen pizza roll ups (made with tortillas)

For breakfasts:

2 dozen breakfast burritos
2 dozen sausage, cheese, and egg muffin sandwiches
2 dozen Canadian bacon, cheese, and egg muffin sandwiches

I plan to work on getting these done over the next week or two. I have planned these as much as possible based on what I have in the house. I will have to pick up tortillas, ground chicken, limes, onions, peppers, jalapeños, pepperoni, 2 bags of mozzarella cheese, and make up a couple batches of English muffins, but otherwise we have all of those ingredients in the pantry/freezer/fridge.

Most of the recipes come off of this list:

Text is https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/freezer-meal-recipes/ and Link is
https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/freezer-meal-recipes/ but a few of them are just in my head.

This will be much healthier for us than getting takeout. After DS and I tackle all of this, then I will look towards getting a month's worth of meals available and start a rotation system.

Quiet on the Homestead

May 16th, 2019 at 01:01 am

I haven't been posting. I managed to pull a muscle in my back last Friday (didn't do anything, just happened) and am finally able to move around without being in agony. Today is the first day that sitting in the computer chair wasn't super painful. Hopefully that means I will sleep better tonight. I have been waking up a lot due to shifting and my back twinging. This was not a good week for my chiropractor to go on one of his many vacations.

I used my mom's jetted upright tub with the bench seat a couple of times and her massage chair. It is good to have someone with things like that in the family. MIL has one of those tubs, too.

I was able to manage to do the dishes today and I have been able to cook (but not clean) since Monday, so I think I am starting to get back to normal. I hope so. This Friday is payday and I need to do the grocery shop, although I might have to use the ride on cart.

We haven't spent anything on take out. DH cooked when I couldn't. I hate having him do that on weekdays after a full day at work, but weekends don't make me feel guilty. DH's meals were sandwiches, burgers, and fish and chips, so easy meals.

I am hoping to be able to go out to the garden tomorrow with DS. We need to start ringing the onions. I would have done it last weekend if I hadn't hurt my back. Hopefully DH and I can get the raised bed finished and painted over the weekend. But if I can't, I can't. Maybe DS will help him. Maybe even DD with the painting. I will just have to pace myself and be very careful.

I went online and got the grocery ads so I could start preparing for Friday's shop. There are some good steak prices at Fred Meyer and Safeway and FM has whole wild sockeye salmon on for $4.99/lb so I will get one whole salmon filleted.

I am starting meal prepping this week with help from the kids. Today DD and I made chicken glop for her. Appealing, isn't it? It is just chicken, rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We just plopped everything into my giant mixing bowl and stirred it up until she liked the consistency. Then we divided it up by putting two cups into freezer bags. This is something she can easily digest with her gastroparesis.

Tomorrow we will be making lamb glop, which will be rice, ground lamb, and gravy and we will divide it up, too. I know the name isn't attractive but it tastes good and I don't have the energy to write a big, long name on a Ziploc.

Then for DS and I we will be making up steaks and chicken thighs and cutting them into strips, measuring them out and dividing the into baggies for the freezer. He will get 9 oz and I will get 6 oz. Then we can easily pull out what we need the night before and make salads the next day or just warm up some veggies.

I will also be cutting up and putting 24 sausages into the Instant Pot, cooking them quickly, and measuring them out into containers and making some bell peppers and onions on the side. I have bags of cut up bell peppers and onions in the freezer still. I think I will also make some zucchini patties from the frozen shredded zucchini and then refreeze.

I just want to make our lunches simple and easy and not something we have to think about during the week.

Oh, and DD and I will also be making sushi rolls (with cooked meat) and freezing them. They will just be seaweed, rice, and either shrimp, salmon, or crab. Seaweed is one of the few vegetables she can still eat without getting ill. Then she can take one out as she needs it and cut it up. She needs to have simple foods that are easy to digest. I just need to pick up a new bamboo mat for rolling. I think they have them at Winco, but if not I'll go to the Asian grocery store. I just don't like to go there unless I have to because the aisles are not exactly ADA compliant.

Hopefully with the kids helping me, we can get the meal prepping done without it hurting my back too much, we can be eating better, and I can spend more time outdoors.

Stuff and Things

April 26th, 2019 at 08:12 pm

Yesterday was the first day all week I didn't have to run for a doctor or dental appointment and today we are back on it, taking my daughter to the neurologist because of suspected petit mal seizures, or what they now call absence seizures. Also her migraines have increased.

Anyway, DS and I worked in the garden for 2.5 hours sifting dirt to pick out the morning glory roots. I hope we got it all. I used the sifted dirt to top off two of the 8 x 2 foot beds. If we didn't get it all, I've contaminated everything, but it really appears as if we did. I now have 3 8 x 2 beds I can plant into.

I am going to plant two tomato plants this year, into the end of two of those beds and then on the other end will go cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini into the other. The third one I have already transplanted my rosemary into and will add the rescued yarrow, calendula, and oregano. I also want to put in a few thyme plants and then some basil when it gets warm enough. With the echinacea in barrels, there is room for all the herbs in an 8 x 2 bed, although I may have to tuck the basil elsewhere if the other herbs have expanded too much by the time it is warm enough to put the basil in.

Today after DH gets home from work, around four, we'll go to the industrial area and look for free pallets. There is always a ton on Fridays. I want to stack three or four pallets and then put an old duck wading pool on top to plant my strawberries in. We have two pools so we can do this twice. I want to put 12 plants in per pool. One of the pools is slightly smaller, so I'll put the ones who have less of a runner habit in that one.

I need DH to pull all the hoses out of the garden and check them for cracks. They didn't get put up last winter and at least one of them is badly cracked. I think one of them is good, but I don't know about the other two.

We'll continue to sift dirt so we can fill up one of the 8 x 4 foot beds that is pretty low and then we'll have to start dumping it on a tarp so we can get it out of the way. Once the bed is empty and we can lift it up out of the way, we can get the last of the morning glory that grew underneath the bed out. Then when we put it back, I can move it over about a foot. That will give us more room to maneuver the wheelbarrow in the future.

I really hope I don't have to resort to poison on the morning glory. I have had a chemical free garden for nearly a decade here. I would hate to change it, but it might end up being the only way. It would be at ground level, though, and the raised beds are two feet high, so it likely would not get into the food at all. Plus I'd put down a thick layer of cardboard before putting the dirt back in the bed. I think it would be okay.

I am just so glad I am feeling good enough to do all this garden work. I am still doing really well with the Enbrel. And the scale is moving again, which coincides with me not eating two chocolate chip cookies at every dinner for a week. Go figure. LOL The more I lose of my stomach fat the easier it is to garden and the longer I can go without a break. I went down a pant size so I am very happy about that. I sure hope it continues.

Test Results

April 22nd, 2019 at 04:25 pm

So I've been working really hard on improving my diet since my last lipid panel and I've had some good results back from the one I did last week. It still has some room for improvement, but I was very excited to see that my work is paying off.

My HDL, which is the good cholesterol has gone up from 35 to 43 and is now barely withing normal range, which is 40 to 59. My LDL, which is the bad cholesterol has gone up, though, from 57 to 67, but it is still less than 99, which is where they want it to be. My Triglycerides saw the biggest change. They have gone from 271 down to 162. They are still not in the normal range of 0 to 149, but they are a heck of a lot closer. My total cholesterol went from 145 to 142. Normal is 0 to 199.

So my goal for the next six months is to try to lower my Triglycerides to normal levels and to raise my good cholesterol. The ways to do this are to limit sugar intake, eliminate bread and pasta, exercise more and differently, avoid saturated fat and transfat, drink less or no alcohol, lose weight, eat more fish and oats (they also say avocados and beans, but I don't like either), and avoid foods linked to high triglyceride levels.

I am going to continue to focus on losing weight, eating more fish and oats, doing more exercise, and limiting sugar. I only eat bread or pasta twice a week and I'm not ready to give that up. I don't drink alcohol at all unless I need elderberry tincture which is 2 tsp while I'm sick. I have been eating a little too much in the sweets department, though. Not overeating it, just having one sweet thing a day, which I really don't need. I won't give up eating animal fat, though. That is what has raised my good cholesterol. But if I eat more fish it will mean less beef or pork fat.

I am already doing most of the things to raise my good cholesterol, but the one thing it said was to choose purple produce. So I am going to try eating more purple cabbage, purple or scarlet carrots, purple onions, purple sweet potatoes, black grapes, and blueberries.

My ultimate goal is to be able to get off the high cholesterol drug, which is controlling things, but if I lose enough weight I may not need it anymore. It would be nice not to have to shell out the $30 a month for that drug anymore.

I am hoping if I ever get down to a more normal weight I will be able to get off my high blood pressure medicine, too. That will require exercise and maintaining the better diet I am on, which is the recommended high protein, low carb diet.

Our insurance also offers a $20 discount per month on the premium if we all get our blood work done and have our waists measured by November to qualify for the discount in 2020. While I find the waist measurement invasive, I'll put up with it for the discount. Besides, I think all of the weight I have lost has been from my waist and stomach anyway, so it is getting smaller as I go along.

I also saw my sleep doctor last week and got a new c-pap mask, a new modem for my c-pap because it was broken, a new hose, and a six month supply of nose pieces and the monthly filters plus a replacement of the big filter that needs to be changed once a year. Not sure how much I am going to get charged for that, but they did say our insurance covered most of it.

Sleep doctor has changed the dosage on one of my pills, doubling it. It has made a tremendous difference since. I can sleep 7.5 to 9 hours now instead of the 4 to 6 I'd been getting. I feel so much better getting decent sleep. That also helps me not cheat on my diet, because when I am exhausted I just want starch and sugar.

I am doing really well after a month on Enbrel. I am able to do so much more around the house and in the garden. I feel like this drug is giving me my life back. It is nice to have stamina again.

Gardening and Cheese Wraps

April 9th, 2019 at 11:58 pm

I am pretty tired out, but I am trying to post more often. While I'd like to post daily again, it seems to be more than I can do, but five days a week seems like a good goal to aim for.

Today DS and I worked in the garden We cleared one bed that is 24 feet by 2 feet and my mom had cleared the twin of this bed for about 8 feet this morning. I want to try to get the second one done tomorrow. I hope those two beds are enough for all the onions, but I may need to clear another bed for them.

My knees and ankles are pretty sore from being on them so much today, but my bank isn't too bad. I mean, I feel it, but it isn't tweaked out. Maybe because I only worked for an hour and paused often to stretch and do waist twists.

Yesterday we signed up for the gym membership. I think I'll go to family swim tomorrow and just do some pool walking and maybe a couple laps. I need to build up some strength. I will start off pretty easy. I don't want to overdo things. It will be nice to be in the water for a while and then use the hot tub. I think I miss the hot tub most of all. Maybe I'll use the sauna, too. It might just bake the last of this cold out of me.

Have any of you tried those cheese wraps from Costco? It's a tortilla-shaped wrap that is just made from cheese. I bought some a couple weeks ago and forgot about them. I am going to do some turkey and bell pepper roll ups for lunch tomorrow, and cut them into pinwheels, because I like my food to be fun sometimes. I had planned to do a stir-fry, but I think I will be too tired tomorrow.

I hope it is good, because then I could have a "tortilla" at a meal besides dinner. I only eat high carbs once a day. I don't know if these would warm up, though. I think they are meant to be eaten cold. But I could put fajitas in them and taco meat. And my chorizo con heuvoes.

Well, I best toddle off to bed before I turn into a pumpkin.

Hand Me Ups

March 24th, 2019 at 04:56 pm

I was just given several t-shirts, tank tops, and one long-sleeved shirt by someone who has gotten too heavy for them. They are younger than me, so I call them hand me ups instead of hand me downs. I was just saying I needed to buy a couple of t-shirts to get me through until I am in the next size down, but now I don't have to. They are all in great condition, too. I like it when life works out like that.

The only one that might not work for me is a yellow tank top. I don't wear yellow well. But I guess I can use it around the house or in the garden where I won't be out in public. Now all I need to buy for myself is a cardigan and some socks.

So far I have kept the weight off that I lost while super sick. I am still sick, can't seem to shake the runny nose and throat cough from post nasal drip, but I am pretty functional. I am going to go ahead and go to the doctor this week, though. I think my flu may have turned into a sinus infection and that is why I can't seem to beat it.

My legs swelled up after my second day of grocery shopping, but what is really great is that they did not swell like they used to when I was eating the food with the nitrites and nitrates. Of course I have also lost nearly 18 pounds, so maybe it was all in my calves? No, most of it is in my stomach that I have lost, but maybe it still helps me to swell up less. I never felt like my skin was going to burst like a sausage. My ankle and knee joints hurt all day yesterday, but are somewhat better today.

I get my first enbrel delivery on Tuesday. I am hoping that will make a big improvement in my RA symptoms. It takes about a month of use to see a difference, though, they say. I'll be taking it in addition to my hydroxychloroquine. I'm not thrilled about the long term possible side effects of enbrel, but if it does help with the pain and inflammation, then I guess I can worry about those later. I'm 49. It's not like I'm going to live forever anyway.