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!