Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 19, 2020

This week, Rob cooked the last turkey from the deep freezers. We want to make sure we have room for the new turkeys that we usually buy in November, and hope will be on sale this year, as usual. Even if the sales aren’t as wonderful as they are sometimes, frozen turkey does not improve with age, so it’s nice to make sure we are using things up before they get freezer-burned.

We’ve been making our own lunchmeat for quite some time now. I simply slice turkey or chicken or other meat if we have it, up into very thin slices and freeze little cartons of the slices. That lunchmeat is much lower in salt, in most cases, and much less expensive than buying packages. We will still buy some on occasion, such as when we go camping and don’t have any cooked up, but most of the time, we make our own. We don’t like it thickly sliced, and the answer to that problem is to have Rob sharpen the knives extremely sharp and I can slice the meat thinly that way.

I froze several packages of turkey bits for use in soups and casseroles and to sprinkle on salads. I boiled bones twice and made lots of broth. I froze some, and used some for soup.

Our fall/winter broccoli made some heads!

I was also super surprised to pick another bundle of zucchini. The bushes are usually dead by this time of year. One night, we had stir-fry with garden zucchini and kale, and other veggies from the fridge. We are eating the last picking of tomatoes I got before pulling the bushes, and the green ones Rob wrapped in tissue paper are starting to ripen, so we are eating those. We ate lettuce all week from the garden, and I can see that there are some more plants that will produce. I even was surprised with an handful of strawberries!

We filled the yard debris bin again. There is so much clipping, trimming and weeding to do, and we like to fill it with the bulkier things like sticks or noxious weeds each week if we can.

This was a week to re-stock the freezers with baked items, so I made applesauce muffins and Patsy made cupcakes. I have several items to make this week, if I get to it. Having frozen baked items helps me tremendously on busy days, and I want to fill up my supply again.

My grocery list was small this week, so I just had Rob grab some sale and bulk items for me, along with the few things I needed. I had him grab another 25 pound bag of sugar, as I used so much up in canning. It’s nice to have those weeks where I can stock the bulk supply in the pantry, using my regular weekly grocery budget money. One of those items I also stocked was Progresso soup for 99c/can. The clam chowder is gluten-free and we like it a lot, so he got 12 cans for the pantry shelves for that amazing price. I’m pretty sure 11 made it to the pantry shelves…….:)

Sewing A Cape–October 2020

Patsy wanted a cape. She gets cold in the mornings, and thought it would be fun to snuggle in a “wearable blanket.” So, we finally braved JoAnn’s and she chose this fleece. They were having a sale for $2.99/yard, a wonderful price in my opinion. I got 3 yards, which was a little more than was actually needed. I used McCall’s 7202, view B.

McCall’s patterns were on sale for $1.99 and I got a handful. I have not been able to get any new patterns for a while, mostly because I have not been to the store during any sales, and, in truth, haven’t been going at all. Although I have quite a bit of fabric, and quite a few patterns, I have been frustrated with the fact that the patterns I have either aren’t in Patsy’s size, or don’t fit the size of the fabric pieces I have on hand. I’m hoping I now have some patterns that will work with some pieces I have on hand. I’m hoping to go get some Simplicity ones when they go on sale.

The pattern called for snaps to close the front of the cape. I bought a package of the large snaps called for, and they were $5. For snaps. So, I decided to experiment with some buttons I had on hand to see if they would work. I interfaced the front, and did not have trouble putting buttonholes into the fleece. I do find that these large buttonholes on the fleece are showing a tendency to stretch out already, and I didn’t even cut them as big as I would have on 100% cotton fabric. So we shall see how that works out.

The other change I made was omitting the line of sewing on the sides that would make sleeve-like openings in the cape. She wanted it to just flow.

For around $11 Patsy has a new cape. I told her to wear it and wear it and to not save it for “good.” I figure this one is an experiment, and the price was right! If it wears out quickly, or the buttonholes don’t hold up, I’ll make another one and use the snaps. It took a little longer than I thought it would, mostly because of the buttons and buttonholes and the fact I had not made this pattern before. It would be much quicker another time.

Now that the garden is finished except for the fall and winter veggies, I’m hoping to devote quite a bit of time to sewing. Patsy needs several new things. We went ahead and purchased a few items and I plan to sew a few, and her wardrobe should be back in great condition.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 13, 2020

We slipped away this week for a few days and went camping.

We went to South Beach State Park, at Newport. The weather ranged from nice, warm and relatively sunny to stormy, windy and rainy. It was extreme and very changeable! One stormy day, we took a short drive south on Hwy. 101 and saw lots of beaches that would be fun to explore on a nicer day than that one.

Rob and Patsy spent several afternoons down on the sand, collecting rocks. Even on days that were rainy and windy, they enjoyed their time down there. I stayed back at the camper and read several books, sewed, and slept. I had downloaded several books from the library app to read, and took a couple of actual books, too. At the last minute before we left, I grabbed some fabric and my sewing machine and during the trip, I worked on putting together a quilt top with fabric I’ve had for a long time. I also used several pieces I received in kits at a shop hop I went to a year ago. I had decided I didn’t want to make those particular blocks, but didn’t want to waste the fabric. I’ve got a ways to go, but I have a plan now, and am making progress.

I took several long walks with them, went for a drive, and we took Patsy to the candy/ice cream store one time.

Camping is super fun and economical for us. We used our park pass to pay for the campsite. We took food for all our meals, and I packed a picnic for the first day. Lots of our home-preserved food was used in those meals. Our trip was fairly short this time, so we wanted to get down there early. We knew our campsite wouldn’t be ready until afternoon, so we just went to the day use area until it was time. It was funny when we checked in to see if we could get into our spot early. The ranger suggested we drive into town for a “bite to eat” while we waited. I politely said we’d be back at 2, like he told us, and got back in the van, inwardly chuckling. Think that one over….why would we want to drive a 15-passenger van towing a 32 foot trailer back to town, find a place to park it, and eat at a restaurant and then find a spot to turn it around to come back? During Covid-19, no less? Someone else might want to do that, but not us–it was much easier to pack some food into a cooler:).

Last evening, I took one more quick walk down the beach look-out path. We woke up again to a windy, stormy, rainy day.

Rob hooked up the camper while standing in about 2 inches of water this morning. I helped him. The rain was blowing sideways in the gusty, strong wind. Because you have to empty your trailer tanks at the entrance of this park, we put dry clothes inside the camper door, and just changed real quick after we hooked up, then drove to empty, so we didn’t have to stay soaking, sopping wet!

Before we went, I was able to pick several items from the garden to use in meals, and we took the rest with us. I was surprised at how much garden lettuce I ended up with. We had salad every day, mixed with a head I had on hand. Yum! I packed leftovers into the camper out of the fridge in the house and we ate them up. I cooked rice and marinated some chicken for the first night to make it easy. I did some cupboard cleaning while I was camping, and pulled out a basket of food that needs to be used. I ran out of time and didn’t make it to the store for last minute food items before we left. We made out fine. I won’t go again until next weekend, as there is still plenty, which always saves me money when I skip a week of shopping. I have several meals planned for the next few days, starting with chicken-rice soup, which I made for supper tonight. Jake will come over tomorrow, as usual, and he eats that, so I won’t have to run to the store for “Jake-food” for a few days.

It was great to get the camper out. For various reasons, we’ve had to cancel almost every reservation we’ve made, so this was only our second camping trip during the last year. Hopefully, there will be more before too long!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–October 6, 2020

This is my miracle. Rob picked up some wood from my brother-in-law, came home, split and stacked it.

He is still limping, and has a few other muscles that aren’t working quite right, so he was improved for another round of physical therapy. He started that today.

When Patsy was helping Rob pick up wood, she found a praying mantis. We also found caterpillars in the garden and brought them in with the hope of her being to observe them turning into butterflies. So far, no luck, but it’s good to try.

Our onions are dried nicely now. Rob built some wooden boxes to store them in. We have many, many more than this:). He’s sorting them, a little each day since the white ones will go bad first, then the red and yellow because of the varieties and storage capabilities they have.

He worked with Patsy in the shop while he was building them, and taught her how to safely use a tool she had not used before.

Every time Rob goes up to my sister’s farm, she send home garden goodies. We have been enjoying corn. We have dried the last of her tomatoes, as she has what she wants, and worked with apples, apples and more apples. We also dried zucchini, made Giadiniera, and apple pie filling and bread and butter pickles. I thought I was done with pickles, but found more cucumbers. Those were the absolute last, though, and I pulled the bushes up. My canning shelves are over-full, so Rob build me some wooden boxes to store empty jars in as we empty them to free up a little space on the shelves so I can safely move things around without danger of breakage and more easily see what I have as things in front are used up.

She sent kiwi and kiwi berries for us to snack on.

I spent 4-5 hours tying up my blackberries this week. The new vines grew extra long and were very tangled up with each other, grown into the garden and covered with weeds and otherwise entangled. It was not fun, but it’s done.

This was the week for people to give us food, multiple people for several reasons. What a blessing they all were! I was given a bag of popcorn, many fruits and vegetables, and a box of assorted cans of foods that Rob’s mom was given, but could not use. In that box were canned beans, a can of baby corn, some clams and oysters, and some sauces, plus more. I sorted them. The ones that were slightly over-date were set out for immediate use, the rest put on the shelves for later. I made a baked bean medley from some of them, plan to give away the oysters as we don’t eat them, have a stir-fry planned for the baby corn and will make clam chowder soon. I ate the can of very strange soup, but….hey, we don’t all have the same tastes and it’s gone now:).

I picked some lettuce, the first I’ve had for a while. Summer heat and smoke were not kind to the garden and there wasn’t any for a while. I also picked peppers, green beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and beets from the garden.

I went grocery shopping last week. I used the $10/off $50 coupon at Safeway and also clipped several store coupons to my phone account. I will need very little at the store this week, between what I bought, the end of the garden, and what I was given. I like to stretch out my shopping trips if I can, to save time and to stay home, and as always, save money!

A Fall Frenzy of Food Preservation–October, 2020

My sister’s apple trees have yielded a bumper crop this year. She has kindly shared a LOT of apples with us over the last couple of weeks.

This week, I have made apple pie filling, dried apples, and we have eaten SO many apples!

As you can see, the garden tomatoes are coming to the end of their days. But, despite a few spots, Rob brought home this box from my sister’s. We also picked some equally spotted ones from our garden.

We dried them. I did this a few years ago. You can use them in any recipe calling for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil.

In the cabbage mixture I grew, there was one head of red cabbage. We ate a little off the side of it, then it sat in the fridge. I found a recipe for a German cabbage with apples in it and used the rest of the head to make it. It’s a sweet and sour, pickled mixture and I’m getting excited to try it. I’m just waiting to let the flavors meld together before I do.

Rob wanted to make Giadiniera. He found huge heads of cauliflower at a farm stand. They were only $3/each. We froze some and used the rest for this pickled vegetable mixture. There were many, many recipes on the internet, and they all seemed to be different. I did a little research to make sure the brine was safe, and then just picked one.

The zucchini, Tromboncini and summer squash bushes all ripened more fruit. We dried them. I did this a few years back and used them primarily in soup. I added them at the end of the cooking process and they rehydrated nicely and did not turn to mush. I have another idea or two that I plan to try with these.

When I went out to dump one of my many bowls of apple peelings into the compost heap, I felt a “crunch” under my feet. Much to my surprise, there was a cucumber under my feet in the bushes I thought were finished. I started searching and found enough misshapen cucumbers to make 8 little jars of bread-and-butter pickles. That was a very nice surprise since I had not made any this year and a great way to use these ugly cucumbers in a tasty way.

We have spent considerable time this past week preserving food. This task is winding down, though, as we have also spent a great deal of time putting the garden to bed for the winter. We are not done, but are making great progress. The last few fruits are being picked, bushes are being pulled, vines are being tied up, compost is being spread from the one bin that is finished, and Rob is planning to till soon. I have hoed around my fall plants that will not be tilled up, as they are not finished. I hope to finish that job in the next couple of days, before the rain that’s supposed to arrive this weekend. It’s been a wonderful gardening year, and I’m grateful for all that we have been able to harvest.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 27, 2020

Another eventful week! Can you see the sea lions in the background? One day, Michaela needed to get out of the house, so we kidnapped her and drove down to Newport to see the sea lions. We were looking for what she calls a “country drive” and some sight she could look at that were outside. This fit the bill. These sea lions are a fixture along the waterfront of downtown Newport and they kept the girls, and everybody else, entertained as they barked like sea lions do, pushed each other off the docks, and swam playfully in the water. Of course the girls wore masks, they just took them off for the picture……the seal lions did not seem to have any:).

The weather was cloudy, but not cold, and we enjoyed looking at the bridge in the distance.

After a stop at a candy store, we stopped at Depoe Bay and were fortunate enough to be there at the right time–high tide–to see the spouting horn spouting water up into the air. Then, to make it better, in the distance, we could see whales spouting! What an amazing day!

Rob and I spent a day canning chicken products. I have been waiting for months to see split breasts come on sale for 99c/lb. I was starting to think I was not going to see that price again, until Rob finally spotted it in an ad. I de-boned the breasts, and made broth and soup from the bones and the bits of meat left on them. I filled 1/2 pint jars with the chicken and a little broth and made a huge batch of soup while Rob babysat the canner(s) (all 3) until the processing was done. Thankfully, we can do 2 at one time, and thankfully, we were able to triple stack the tiny jars (separated by racks) in the biggest pressure canner we own. That all helped speed up the process.

A different day, I canned 7 more quarts of diced tomatoes. I had 1/2 bowl from my garden and asked my sister if she had any to fill a canner of pints. Boy, did she, and more…and I did quarts instead. Most of our tomatoes are done, though, so I think this will be the last batch of those. I have to say that’s kind of a good thing, although I do love food preservation. My freezers are full, and my canning shelves are so full that I sincerely cannot fit many more jars in there. A friend gave me some jar lids that she was not using, which I thought was very nice. I’ve used them.

When my sister brought the tomatoes down, she brought a box of apples as well. Rob’s been drying them. This is the first year we’ve used our dryer for a while, and we’ve done several kinds of fruit, some chives and some parsley, so far.

I used mixed cherry tomatoes to make tacos one night. It just felt so gourmet….

We’ve also had potato soup and potato salad…can you tell I had a bag going bad? When I went to Winco for a few items, though, I found 2 bags for 99c/each so now I’m stocked back up on potatoes.

I used up a few items on my pantry shelves that had been there for a long, long time. I re-filled several spice jars in the kitchen from my bulk supply that I keep in the garage pantry. I also filled cocoa powder, 1-1 flour, sugar, and more containers from my bulk supply. I made some buns and bread from the mix I made, and some applesauce muffins. After so much time spent in the garden, and on food preservation, my kitchen needs some cleaning and organizing and my supply of frozen ready-to-eat food needs replacing. There’s lots left to do, but I got a little done this week.

We were able to see Anthony and Allison at a park near where they live. It was Allison’s birthday this week. I made some cupcakes and frosting, decorated them with some sprinkles we had on hand, and packed a picnic for us all to enjoy during our visit. It was simple and we all had to keep our social distance, but she enjoyed her gift, and her picnic, I could tell. It’s going to get way more difficult to do these outside visits as the weather changes, so we were grateful that it worked out this time. For those of you who are new to my blog, Anthony is one of our sons. Allison is the love of his life. They both live in a group home for special needs adults in a town about 30 minutes from where we live. So, it takes a little bit of organizing to get to see them, but it’s worth it! They are both so sweet.

We are very grateful and praising God that we got another soaking rain. The wildfires are still burning, but they are being contained. The rain soaked the forest and it will not burn as easily. There are still many, many people who are affected, and we will continue to pray for them.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 20, 2020

The wildfire smoke finally cleared enough for me to get outside. It took 2 sessions, but I got the weeds pulled around the raised beds, old plants pulled and trimmed and new compost spread in the back one, a few more fall veggies planted, and bark dust spread around the paths. I had 2 bags of the darker brown bark dust left from last spring, so used them. The rest of the paths I spread with some shavings Rob’s been saving in an old garbage can from his woodworking in the shop. I’m hoping the paths will remain walk-able for me this winter as I hopefully harvest lettuce, kale, green onions, spinach, snow peas and boc choi. It’s a little later than I wanted to plant, but if things don’t fruit before the winter, sometimes they will over-winter and give me some goodies very early in the spring. Last year, that’s what my over-wintered snow peas did.

The garden’s getting pretty messy, but there are some plants in there that I still have hope for.

My winter lettuce is very tiny. The Chinese cabbage is growing, and I can see that the cabbage is growing nicely. The spinach didn’t come up. Such is life:).

A little dose of reality? Yup. That’s really what my zucchini patch looks like. But, I still keep getting a zucchini or two every couple of days….

And, a few tomatoes. You can also see the gluten-free flour mix I stirred up. I want to make bread in the next day or two. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I do eat it now and then.

I made some chocolate cupcakes and used 1/2 the batter to make a loaf cake to slice, freeze and keep on hand. I also froze some turkey meatballs and 1/2 of the pork Rob marinated and barbecued. It’s so handy to have things to grab from the freezer and eat when I’m in a hurry.

My canning and preserving project is slowing way, way down, as the garden is also slowing down. However, I did get enough tomatoes to can 9-1/2 pints of diced tomatoes this week. I am thinking of things to do with all these, as it’s a little too much to eat, but not quite enough to can. Pico de Gallo comes to mind, as does sharing with my extremely good-natured neighbor. She has graciously accepted all extra veggies, including some of the less “popular” ones that others might turn down.

My sister gave me 5 tiny squash. I peeled, chopped, and roasted the bits and we gobbled them down.

Once the hot weather was over, the pole beans bloomed and started producing beans again. I’ve had several bowls in the past couple of weeks. I’m hoping that we will get quite a few more dinners from them before it frosts.

I can’t say things look great out there, but I’m still very satisfied with all of the food we just keep getting. Now that the light can shine on the garden since the smoke is gone, and we’ve had a little rain, I think I may be surprised at what may grow. Here’s hoping anyway……..

The rest of the week was filled with spending time with Jake and Michaela, doing school with Patsy, and a little cleaning. We started exercising again yesterday. We just couldn’t go outside to walk until then, the smoke was that bad.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 12, 2020

I want to say thank you to all of you who have offered prayers on our behalf here in Oregon, and all along the west coast. The fires are still raging in our area and thick, choking smoke fills the air and ashes cover our yard and garden. The town where we recently vacationed with my sister and family, Detroit, is almost gone, as our many other towns around the state. So many of our family and friends who live in different towns than us, are evacuated. Many others are on Level 2, which means “get ready to leave.” Hopefully, the weather system they are forecasting will bring rain in the next few days, and that will help the situation out.

But while we waited for rain, hunkered down, inside, trying not to take big breaths when we were outside, I finished a few projects. I had the assorted hot peppers my sister and aunt gave me. I dashed out to pick the ones from my bushes and Rob cut them all up and we pickled and canned them. Rob will eat some of these on salads and sandwiches and I will use some of them when I make refried beans. They are so pretty in the jars, even with the light coating of ashes that persists in spite of wiping and dusting them. No worries…after this picture I got it all off!

After my pathetic carrot crop was exhausted, in one afternoon I might add, I knew I wanted to can a few more. Rob found a 25 pound bag for under $9, so I canned 20 pints. There are lots left to cook with in other ways. You may ask me why I bother canning carrots when you can buy them cheaply and store them easily. It’s because there are occasions when I want to make my chicken-rice soup in a hurry. Like yesterday. And the day before. At those times, I just dump in one of my little jars and I’m good to go. We do occasionally eat a jar as our vegetable at dinner, but that’s pretty rare. I tend to use fresh ones for that. I don’t can carrots every year, but this year, I’m out so…… I kid you not. I ran out of so many things this year–things I usually only can every 2 or 3 years. It was the summer of canning, for sure. This batch of carrots will last quite a while.

We cooked several things this week. I made chicken-rice soup twice, using frozen broth, and frozen bits of turkey. I shared a couple of large bowls, and we ate the rest. Jake was with us quite a bit this past week, in fact, he still is as of Saturday night, and he likes that kind of soup. He was quite put out to hear I have given away the last of the first batch, even if it was to evacuated friends in a hotel near us…. who had no food because they had to leave home in a hurry…..who really needed dinner…….No matter. He was fine with helping out, and wanted uncle to check on them the next day, as long as there would be more soup coming. (They are fine, by the way, and will stay in the hotel for a few nights and then hopefully return to their home, which was still standing yesterday, anyway). So I made more soup. It’s one of the few things he will eat that is full of veggies and other good vitamins.

We made a lot of white rice. Jake eats that, too. Rob made some pork chops, I baked a chicken with a spice rub from a cookbook. It came out great. We also had a Costco chicken. You can’t beat the $5 price. Since Rob cleaned out the freezers last week, we found a few things that needed to be used. One was ham bits, so we’ve had scrambled eggs with ham, baked potatoes with ham, ham sandwich filling…..it was a fairly big bag, but it’s gone now.

We bought 10 butters at $1.99/box and 10 peanut butters for .99/small jar. He got eggs for 89c/dozen. Rob did a Costco run for heartworm medicine for the dog (good price there), lemon juice (I’ve used so much in the canning…), and got a few other things we needed while he was there. So most of the groceries this week were for stocking up at low prices to use in meals later, keeping the grocery budget down.

Our neighbor gave me 2 Kiwi Co. crate kits. They were for her boys and they enjoyed them, but there were extra parts in the box, so she sent them over for Jake. They were science projects. He’s done one of them, and has the other one left to do. He really liked doing them.

We did school. I read and read to both Jake and Patsy. Jake’s mom just finished a book called “The Skippack School.” She read it to him for school and she sent it so we could talk about ideas about the character. (A modified character study.). He loves the book so much he made me start all the way over. We are almost finished reading it, again. It’s just a simple book about a little boy who lived long ago, who had a few struggles paying attention in school, and got into some mischief, but did learn to do better and learned to read. It is nice he enjoys it, and so nice that being homeschooled this term allows him to get to hear it again. (Everyone is homeschooled this term around here, due to Corona virus).

It’s been a strange week. We just feel like we are waiting for something, and we have a vague feeling of anxiety, especially when the sky is dark, or glowing orange, or so smoky it feels like it’s foggy. Or when it’s both smoky and foggy, like today. I’m sure when the smoke lifts, and the fires are under control, things will feel more normal. Until then, we will continue to pray and see if there are practical things we can do as well. It’s what you do at times like these.

Fires In Our State–September 9, 2020

Yesterday was disconcerting, to say the least. Smoke from wildfires in our state covered our area. We woke to darkness, as if it was a winter morning. The darkness continued until after 9 a.m. When it finally got light, the light was very dim.

Our cars were covered with ash, and the ash is worse today. Pieces of ash constantly drift down and swirl around, as if it was lightly snowing.

The plants in the garden are not amused. They are really covered with ashes today. I put the sprinklers on last night to hopefully wash them off, but they seem pretty dirty today. The lighting was so bad yesterday that I went out in mid-late afternoon to pick some green beans. I picked what I found. Today, when the light was better, I went out again and got another whole colander full that I simply did not see yesterday because it was so dim.

Long before 5, the sky darkened, and it was once again pitch black.

Today was a little better, but still very smoky and ashy and the light was dimmer than normal. The extreme conditions have moved up the valley a bit. Although it is freaky, we are very safe where we are, in the middle of the city.

I’m not complaining. There are entire towns pretty much wiped out. There are people who have lost everything they own, and some have even lost their lives. We have friends who have had to evacuate. Fire is raging in the canyon where we recently vacationed. We don’t even know if the cabin we stayed in is still there. That entire town has been severely damaged, we know from news reports.

One hard thing is that there are so many fires. They just announced that there are 27 in Oregon. They are all over the state. Down at the beach, one of our popular seaside towns has been partially evacuated due to a fire that is getting closer. In southern Oregon, my mother’s cousin had to evacuate a campground, and I read today that it burned up. (The cousins are safe) There are several fires in the county where we used to live, and one is extremely near to where our house was. Rob’s uncle and many, many others had to transport all their animals to the fairgrounds near them when they had to evacuate.

Almost every Wednesday for about 20 years, Rob and his friend have met for prayer, Bible Study and to visit. His son, a policeman, came by as his family was there for safety reasons, and Rob got to talk to him about the fires in the area. It was nice to have so much info. Rob drove up there today as usual, and they met in the pitch dark. The heavy, heavy smoke had moved up there today. He planned to visit a couple of friends and drop off a little garden produce while he was up in the area, but was unable to as one had evacuated to another location, and the other had been up all night, thinking they might have to go at any moment. So, those 2 dodged the zucchini bullet, just for today. They are safe, and their homes are safe as of tonight, and for that, I am very, very grateful. I heard from my friend that lives in Central Oregon, and she’s ok, too, even though there are fires there, as well.

I’m praying for the people who have lost so much. I’m praying for safety and strength for the fire fighters. I’m praying for everyone to make good decisions and stay safe. And, last, but not least…I’m praying for rain. Lots of rain.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 7, 2020–More Food Preservation

This week, we concentrated on food preservation again. It’s that time of year:). The shelves are starting to fill up nicely.

Rob emptied and cleaned all 3 freezers that we keep in the shop for the first time since we moved here. Then, I came and helped sort the items that were inside. Much to my chagrin, I found some very oldies, but no longer goodies and dumped them. Things like cauliflower from 2015 and zucchini almost as old is not worth taking up real estate in those freezers. Things just got out of order when we moved, and it was time to sort it. I have so much new, good, fresh produce I’d rather eat, and now I can find it.

I spent time cleaning and organizing the canning shelves. I decided the berry syrup from 2002 (yes, believe it–sad, but true) had to go. It was one teeny, tiny jar, but that stuff is so much work it was hard to throw it away.

But, now, I can look forward to eating fresh food. I know what’s there, everywhere, and love that knowledge. I have one turkey and one ham to use before the fall sales. There’s lots of chicken and fish and even some shrimp. I have room for the 1/4 beef we will get when the farmer gets it ready, probably October.

I finally met a goal I’ve been working on for several months. All of the beef bones are used up! Every time we get 1/4 beef, we get packages of bones. They are time consuming to work up, so I tend to procrastinate until I need broth. I wanted them all used before this new beef arrives. This week, I boiled that last of them and canned another 7 quarts of broth. Then, I made 14 jars of vegetable beef soup with what I saved out. I used broth, the bits of meat from the bones, lots of veggies, and especially every odd and end of a veggie I could find–a few beans, a little corn, carrots, onions, celery, even a huge bunch of parsley from the raised bed. Rob patiently sat and babysat the 2 canners for the 90 minutes they needed to cook, and I just checked and they all sealed! Yea!

Tomatoes are taking over!!! I picked tomatoes at my sister’s house, and my garden. I made salsa, tomato sauce, and jars of canned tomato chunks. I’ve finally met my salsa-making goal and that time-consuming job is done for the year. I’m through canning most of these tomatoes as of this evening, and will finish the rest in the morning.

This morning, we picked corn at my sister’s. We just don’t have the room or the good soil to grow good corn, so she generously grows enough for all of us. How much corn often depends on the weather and the hungry crows, who eat the seeds in the spring! Part of this is from her garden. The rest is from the field they lease out to a lady who has a fruit stand and told my sister she could take all she wanted. We took about 20 ears, because I wanted to do a little more than was ripe in the garden today. That was so kind of both of them. I got 25 pint cartons to add to the 8 that we got the other day of frozen corn. I also canned 19 pints of corn last week. We were simply out of almost out of everything this year.

Rob bleached the kiddie pool so we could cool corn in it. He and Patsy did most of this project, after I boiled the cobs, and then I worked on tomatoes and soup.

I did get to visit with baby again. Awww….so sweet.

I did not clean my house. I did not weed my garden. My laundry is a mess–the baskets have been dug through as needed. I don’t have a clean dish towel in the drawer. But, my shelves and freezers are almost full. We’ve managed to cook some very simple meals, such as tuna melts, tuna sandwiches and tuna salad. Good thing we canned so much tuna! And, I’m having a great week:). I love this time of year.

I did finally go to the store after a couple of weeks and got out of there for $77. For me, for 2 weeks, that’s awesome, so I’m thrilled. I had to go late afternoon, because I had things in the canners, and so many things were missing from the shelves. Maybe that’s why the cost was so reasonable:) :). But we got plenty! I’m going to have Jake and Michaela quite a bit this coming week and there are certain things they eat. Period. So, I got those, the other things they had on my list, and the rest we can live without.

Making My Home A Haven

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