Thriving In My thrifty Week–February 24, 2020–Greenhouse Refresh

Patsy and Jake and a few friends started a set of swimming lessons this Saturday. Patsy’s lessons were a gift from her auntie, and will hopefully solidify her swimming skills. She can swim, but it’s never a bad idea to get better, and she loves to be in the water. Jake has never had a formal lesson before that I know of, but can swim a little, thanks to the fact that they have had him in the water since he was a baby and have worked with him a bit. Both my sister and his big sister were lifeguards and swim instructors once upon a time, and have both worked with him over the years.

Patsy transplanted baby basil starts into a larger pot so they could get on the table faster! Every year, I take this old poinsettia pot with the little rim of support and put basil in it and let it grow in the greenhouse for early table use. You can see the wild jungle of snapdragon babies to the left that need to be transplanted soon. Not bad for Dollar Store seeds. Some things from there work very well. With other items, I prefer to get certain varieties with disease resistance, short length of time until they produce, ability to grow in cooler weather, etc., so I order exactly what I want from the seed companies I trust.

Rob has done most of the cooking this past week. One thing he made was a casserole from leftover mashed potatoes. He basically added eggs, cheese, onion, and I’m not sure what else and baked it. It puffed up nicely and tasted wonderful. He also made teriyaki chicken, meat loaf, hamburgers, and some other items.

I did take 2 “Hello Fresh” meal bags that were given to me when the person who ordered them had a crisis and could not use them. The recipe cards were lost in the shuffle, so I played “Iron Chef” and made food. I used every single item except the wheat bread crumbs and one lemon. I added some things from my fridge and pantry and ended up with a nice salad with apple (them) and dried cranberries(us) on it over a mixture of fancy greens (them) and iceberg lettuce (us). I crusted the chicken with pecans and bread crumbs and cooked it in a pan–will use oven next time–it burned slightly, and took the small package of pork and made it into sweet and sour pork. I used the itty-bitty bottle of balsamic vinegar in that, and it was delicious. There were some new potatoes and rosemary, so I fried them up together. I tossed the green beans, since they were over the hill by the time I got the bags–not the company’s fault. I’m glad I know how to cook. The ingredients were not wasted, but I will say the whole concept would have been easier WITH the recipes:). The timing was perfect, since some of my grown kids walked in right as I was finishing and helped eat some of the food.

A lot of my time this past week was spent driving back and forth to Portland, and visiting someone I love very much who ended up in the hospital from some complications of a surgery she had a couple of weeks ago. I will say I’m not the only one who has been visiting. Everyone wants to be there, but we are organizing the family to go up there in turns so as to not overwhelm her. We have a pretty big family:). The nurses finally dragged a couple of extra chairs in there yesterday, so that helped. We take the children for short periods of time, in shifts, choosing our times judiciously so as to not disturb the patient, or the kids. Although this has been, and looks like it will continue to be, a long road, we are hopeful that the latest problem is on the mend.

We were given a gift which we used for a Costco run and extra gas. So thoughtful! We are very grateful and it’s nice to be loaded up with some of those things that are not very exciting, but oh, so necessary:)

Rob is working on the greenhouse again. He has been cleaning it out with either Patsy or I to help him manhandle the big stuff and is building a bench for the other side. We will have so much more room for starts as soon as he finishes.

He’s using reclaimed wood.

You can look on the floor and see how he cut that pallet Patsy was holding to make a little place for things to sit on down below without having to be on the ground. When he made this greenhouse, he made it so it could be taken apart and moved if needed. We have been talking about a better place to put it, but that’s a project for another year, when he is healthy.

The library has moved to it’s new temporary location and opened back up this past Tuesday. I took Michaela and Patsy down there and we all got some books and movies. I have been treated to Michaela reading out loud to me about cheetahs and snakes. She also read to her Mama. It’s very rewarding and sweet. It wasn’t very long ago that she absolutely would not step foot into the public library and now she’s been begging to go. It has been a lot of slow steps, helping her see that it is a fun place with things she likes. Patsy would, on the other hand, live in the library if that was an option and I wouldn’t be far behind:)

12 thoughts on “Thriving In My thrifty Week–February 24, 2020–Greenhouse Refresh”

  1. Wow! What a busy week for you all! I pray your family member will recover quickly. And Rob looks fantastic, good for him!
    Becky, do you mind sharing what seed companies you choose from, especially for green bean? Mine have been duds the last 2 years and it’s disheartening.
    Thank you!

    1. Nancy,
      I love the Territorial Seed Company for green beans. I get a Blue Lake variety for my main crop. I also buy “Carson,” which is a yellow bean. The Carson is slightly slower to produce than the Blue Lake, but I usually get some to mix in the jars and it’s really pretty to have the yellow and green mixed. But, my main crop is the Blue Lake kind. Right now, they are calling them “Blue Lake Bush Beans” but there have been other names like “Venture” that I’ve really loved in years past. It was also a Blue Lake kind. I get bush beans, which concentrate their harvest because I want to can. I plant them very close together. They like to be crowded. So, I actually put the beans in every 1/2 inch at least and even stagger them as to fit more into the row. Since beans fix nitrogen in the soil, I’ve not had a problem with them producing. That being said, if the soil was very poor, I would amend with compost or a little fertilizer. They do grow longer and make more beans with that kind of help.

      I plant in succession. The first 2-3 short rows go in as soon as I possible can get them in, but I know it’s a bit of a gamble if it’s too cold because bugs and slugs eat them off as they slowly grow. Then, every couple of weeks, I plant more, until my garden is full or I have enough planted. They take 8 weeks, so I’ve even planted into July or once, early August, before. However, I prefer to plant early on and get them over with and canned long before September.

      Occasionally, I will put in a few Blue Lake Pole beans, or Purple-Podded Pole Beans (several names for this kind). They produce a few beans all along until frost. I use them for fresh eating if I have the energy to get them planted and put up on poles because the longer I can eat fresh produce, the less canned I need!

      1. Thanks, Becky! I never thought to plant that close together. I think my problem has been really hot weather (like 100) right when they should flower. But I will do more staggered planting. Thanks for the tip on Territorial seeds. They’re sold out now, but hopefull will get stock in soon. I’ll get some locally (I’m near Denver) Botanical Interests are local, and I’ve enjoyed their lettuces and other varieties.

        1. Beans don’t like high temperatures, that’s for sure. One thing we have done is run a sprinkler over the bean patch during the high heat of the afternoon–it doesn’t always work, but sometimes lowers the temperature enough so the blossoms don’t drop off. But, maybe getting a short-growing, 8-week variety would cause them to ripen soon enough to miss the extremely hot part of the summer or plant them so they ripen into the fall a little bit. Then the challenge is to get them to sprout in the heat……always a challenge.

  2. Your meals sound good. I’ve wondered if the Hello Fresh stuff was good, but it’s probably too expensive for me.
    Your plants look great, and the green house will be so nice to get an early start. Hope you have a good garden this year.

    1. Thank you! The Hello Fresh ingredients were great. The beans that went bad was not the fault of the company, just a casualty of a situation:). The recipes looked very interesting, but never made it to my house, so….therefore….Iron Chef! I don’t know what they paid for the meals, but I know there are some really good introductory prices out there, or so I’ve been told.

  3. Your food looks great. Love that you got to play Iron Chef and use up the items gifted. I sometimes think what I would say while I’m preparing a dish if I hosted a cooking show. Haha. So exciting about the greenhouse. I know Rob must be more than ready for surgery, hope it happens soon for his sake. Have a good week. Vicky in Ky.

  4. We are in the middle of a winter snowstorm this morning. School is cancelled today which means I get to stay home all day!!!!! It will be fun until I have to go out in the snow and wind to plow the driveway. No gardening for us inland of Lake Erie NW PA for a while. But one can dream. I separated my iris, day lily bulbs, and some other perennials this fall. I am so excited to see how my new garden layout looks when they all come to life. Since I had so many I just started digging holes and planting them by just cutting back tall weeds and planting them along the yard line. We shall see. I will lay a weed barrier down around them this spring. I shared bulbs with friends so they will have some beautiful flowers too soon!!
    It warms my heart to see Patsy learning to sew. My mom taught me at a young age with a needle and thread. I love to sew!!!

    1. Your flower garden sounds beautiful! Right now, we are getting daffodils, crocus, primroses and pansies. I took a walk yesterday and saw so many lovely flowers in people’s gardens. So, I’m sure all your friends and neighbors will enjoy your new bulb flowerbed.

      Snow…..brrrrrr….. We really didn’t get much this year–just a skiff a couple of days, but for the Pacific Northwest, that’s very common most winters. Enjoy your day off!

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