Thriving in My Thrifty Week–October 7, 2018


I was able to find more produce in the garden this week.  It’s looking really scraggly, many things are covered in powdery mildew or look crispy and dead–in short, it’s getting really ugly.  So, I’m delighted that there are still veggies out there.  I also bought a bunch of salad things to augment what I found out there.  Over about a week, I was able to gather enough tomatoes and got 7 quarts canned on Friday.  Now I feel like I have enough.  If I get a few more, it’s a bonus.

I had very few immediate grocery needs this week, and intended to not shop.  Until….sugar was $1.25 for 4 lbs.  That is a good price here, and I got 20 pounds.  I also got 20 lbs of brown sugar for 50c/lb. I got milk and bagels for the niece and nephew, since Michaela was spending Friday night, and Jake was spending both Friday and Saturday nights.  I went ahead and used money from my Bottle Drive account to get the extra 20%, and paid the rest from my grocery budget, leaving me in great shape for the rest of the month.  I had been setting that Bottle Drive money aside for stocking up, so I did.  Rob picked up cheap lunchmeat from Grocery Outlet (87c/package) and we got some other things we could use. (bottle drop doesn’t work there, so of course, paid cash for that.)


I have picked most squash that are out there, but still need to gather the Delicata that are next to the shop.  The dahlias are still lovely.  My sister brought 4 beautiful Butternut squashes for the family to divide, and the others either had some already, or didn’t want them, so I ended up with them all.  2 of them, I cubed and froze, we ate one already, and the other will store for a while.  Last year was the first time I ever froze raw squash cubes, but it worked well for the 2 little packages I froze, so now I have a few more for this year.


I also love how the zinnias are still giving me such a cheerful spot of color out there.  Many were planted from Dollar Store seeds that only cost 25c/package.  The rest were volunteers, and they are mostly purple/raspberry color.  I am letting seeds drop into the garden from several items.   Some of the items I harvested from volunteers this summer included zinnias, lettuce, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and green onions.  There was also dill, cilantro and parsley that self-seeded.  It will be fun to see what comes up next spring.


I dried some parsley and chives.


It’s amazing how much they shrink when they dry!


Patsy suddenly decided that she might want to do some food preservation.  There’s not too much left to preserve, so I put her to work canning some apples.  I think we can use them in a cobbler/crisp or she can just eat them out of a bowl.


Of course, Jake wasn’t going to be left out of that super-cool really fun apple project!


Since apple slices aren’t something I usually can, I followed the directions in the Ball Blue Book, and we packed them in hot syrup after they cooked for 5 minutes in that syrup.  I actually had her make a lighter syrup than called for, 4:1, and I still think it’s probably too much sugar.  I like to try to follow the recipe the first time, anyway:). Thanks to Auntie for the apples!  I was glad to have something for her to can when she got the urge at this late date!  She got 6 quarts and 1 pint.


She would like to try to do more 4H projects this year, as last year we were not able to accomplish the tasks needed for her to fully participate.  There are requirements for helping at a county level for each member to enter things in the fair, and we did not do them.  We also did not get very much project work done, and the county event that we signed up to help with was cancelled.  It was somewhat of a bust all around.  So, I told her we would try again this year, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but it’s worth a try if she has an interest.  I know we can teach her practical skills without it, but the 4H program gives me more incentive to carve out the time to work with her.  She made a good start, I think.  In my mind, it’s about learning skills more than gaining ribbons, so I’m glad she canned something I hope she will like and use, which will bring her satisfaction from the process.  I feel if a kid wants to do a 4H project, they need to practice skills from that project over a period of time, not just the week before the fair–there are always lots of last minute projects to do then, regardless.

We had our first fires in the wood stove this week, as the weather turned rainy and cool, and it was in the 40’s and 50’s.  It felt good.

Rob and I got horrible colds (thank you cousins!) so laid low all weekend (to the best of our ability with so much commotion going on).  Besides the cousins, Patsy had this computerized baby from one of her classes at school which squeaked and howled like a real one at all hours of the night and day, and she had to “feed” it, “change” it, and so forth and keep a diary of what she did.  They can track her actions on the computer chip in the doll, and her grade will depend on how well she took care of it.  It goes back in the morning, thank goodness.  It had to be done, and I felt she did a good job of it, and now other kids will get their turn.

Jake never got to play so many electronics, hear so many stories, and watch so much tv.  He had a ball.  I  expect I will have some work ahead of me the next time he stays over, convincing him that it was a one-time occurrence!  He was so cute.  One morning, he said, “Now, why don’t I read all of you a story,” and proceeded to do just that.  I took him to the library and we stocked up on movies and books, and I think he enjoyed the ones we got.  I know I enjoyed mine!


28 thoughts on “Thriving in My Thrifty Week–October 7, 2018”

  1. I feel like Patsy looks so much older in that picture! Just so much more mature. I’ve had to be away from home for four weeks and spent so much money buying groceries to get us back in shape this weekend. Your flowers are just beautiful.

    1. Thank you. Away for 4 weeks seems like an eternity. I’m sure you did need a ton of groceries to just get the fresh stuff back in stock! I hope you settle in well:) (Patsy is 14 now–time is flying for sure)

    1. Thank you. Really, this weekend was getting so ridiculous that it would have made a good comedy movie! Between the squawking “baby” the nephew, the niece, the colds we got….then the canning–I’m just glad we are through it, and made it through pretty well in spite of everything. This week should be calmer. I hope.

  2. I have really wondered if I need one of those apple gizmos. My daughter says yes but I am afraid of another thing I don’t use. I want to get up to the NC mountains very soon and get some culls to make applesauce but I keep thinking of all the peeling and cutting. Sorry you two have been sick. We were sick so much last winter and then I realized we did not take our D3 like we usually do. If we take 5000 IU daily from Oct 1 through May we stay well so we are taking it daily now and hoping for a better winter.

    1. My doctor has had me on 6000 for years now. My bloodwork showed that I needed it quite some time back. So, I do take that, and multivitamins, and other things:). Maybe that’s why it’s not lasting too long.

      I make my applesauce by chunking the apples, boiling them in a little water until soft (peels and all) and then putting them through my Foley Food mill. Then, I add sugar as needed. It’s not chunky, but pureed. The apple corer/slicer would be good for chunky sauce. The apples have to be firm, they can’t be getting soft or over the hill, or it doesn’t work. They also have to be able to fit into the device–super huge apples might be too large to go in. They don’t need to be teeny tiny, though.

      1. We like chunky so thanks for the info. I do have a food mill but found that it is too smooth for us. Sometimes the apples that are culls are the huge ones but I think that they are easier to peel and process so I don’t mind.

        I think that we need less D since we are in the sunny south. I do find that I feel better in the winter just from the vitamin boost if I remember to take it. We don’t take anything else so it is hard to get in the habit of taking anything for us but so far we have only missed one day.

  3. I’m impressed with all you’re still getting from the garden, and all you’ve done, even when sick! Florence pretty much took care of all our tomatoes and green beans. I’m still harvesting some okra, the occasional eggplant, and late planted cucumbers have started bearing. How wonderful Patsy showed interest in canning, though the timing might have been better. I don’t envy you that creepy baby :o).

    1. I’m sorry you lost the rest of the tomatoes and beans. I actually would have loved to just sit down and be sick, but that wasn’t going to happen this weekend, so I took it as easy as I could–which meant I let everyone watch way more tv than normal, etc. That’s about as good as it gets around here, so they didn’t feel any pain:). I fed bagels and peanut butter sandwiches, and didn’t fuss about people eating their veggies. Some times’, I just don’t have the energy:). That way I got some rest. If Rob hadn’t caught it too, he would have done everything, but as it was, we both had it, so we tag teamed.

  4. I was sick too. Hope you are feeling better. That is great that Patsy wants to learn and Jake wants to help. I have a question. What fruit/vegetable is that in the top picture at the bottom? I don’t think I have ever seen it before. Maybe it’s a west coast thing. I’m from the east coast.

    1. Those are lemon cucumbers. They are just the same as a regular eating (not for pickling) cucumber inside, but more round in shape. Around here, we buy them labeled “Lemon Cucumber” and a very similar seed from Pinetree is called “Crystal Apple.” We planted both, but you cannot tell them apart unless you look very carefully. The Crystal Apple is a little more elongated, and just slightly lighter in color. We don’t let the lemon ones get yellow, they are over the hill at that point.

  5. The creepy baby would have alone done me in….lol. Glad it went back to school for another kid to deal with!

    1. Yes, we were making lots of jokes, none of which would have been funny had the baby been real, such as she was returning it to the orphanage, and so forth. That’s what I explained to her several times–a play doll, no matter how sophisticated, cannot love you and you cannot love it, so it’s a nuisance. A real baby–it’s worth every cry, spit up moment, sleepless night, etc. I’m glad we are done with this project.

  6. Sounds like she did a great job with the assignment, even if it was creepy.

    For one of your readers above — I have an apple peeler just like Becky’s. Bought mine at the thrift store – still in its box and it didn’t look used. My other great finds have been my crockpots and a grain mill, same story. It takes more patience then buying new but worth the wait, imo.

    Trying to keep up with the leaves falling is a daily chore right now. I’ll win eventually. Gardens are almost done. Still want to plant out some garlic and there’s a garden wide cleanup this weekend at one of the community gardens. Then that will be it for this year. And now I need to dig out my sprouting jar and get some started for some fresh greens.

    1. I really need to clean up my garden, but there are some things that are still producing, so I can’t quite yet. Still, I pull some things out if they are done, so it won’t be such a job all on one day.

      I need to start scouring thrift stores for the next crock pot. The current one was in a clean-out from a friend and was filthy, but once cleaned up, it’s been the best crock pot ever:). The handle is broken now, though, but still works.

  7. Hello Becky. I was cleaning out an upper cabinet and found LOTS of gluten free flours and stuff. We’re heading out on our 5th wheel and I will be doing little if any baking. They are unopened but some have dates for end of ’17 so need to be used. Would love to send them to you as a gift – you can contact me by my email below. Mary (So. CO Mary on Brandy’s blog).

      1. If you want to send your address you can send it to or and I’ll get it boxed up and sent. or send me your email and then we can confirm. As a fellow camper person you can understand why baking isn’t going to be happening. The actual oven is amazingly small and heats quite unevenly (stove top is great though) and the toaster/convection oven is not really made for real baking!

        1. I think it all sent. Thank you very much. I tried to look at your blog, but somehow couldn’t get through the hoops to do so—probably because im on my phone and in a hurry because we decided to do a crazy, wuickly planned camping trip! If my email didn’t come through, let me know, but I sent it

          1. Package is on its way! Forgot to mention I sent some cinnamon as well – had two packs that I just bought and realized it was way too much! Mary

  8. Sorry to hear you’ve been down with a cold, Becky. And still, you managed to be so productive and get so much accomplished! You are absolutely amazing! I enjoyed seeing all the colorful produce you are still harvesting from your garden! I hope this week is going well and you are not quite as busy!

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