Category Archives: food preservation

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 10, 2021

Here is my lovely Mother’s Day basket Rob grew for me in the greenhouse. Each of our mothers got one as well. Grandpa helped our grandson a little with his present selection, by doing some shopping for a very small gift and a card. So did I. I put the one choice on the table and let him crawl toward what he wanted to give his Mama. Not surprisingly, he chose the present I put out, although for moment I thought an empty milk jug in the vicinity might actually win out:).

Much of the week centered around work and a small gathering we decided to have on Mother’s Day. Many significant people, including both of our mothers, had other important places to be, so the numbers were few. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I severely pulled a muscle in my leg while working on the flowerbeds. Rob and Patsy did all the work to get the house ready and Rob did most of the cooking. I sat on the couch and read or watched t.v. while they did those chores. Hmmm…some people will do anything to get out of work….. I say in my defense that I did clean 1/2 the bathroom. Gladly, I’m much, much better now and Rob and I took 2 super short walks today to get that leg back in shape. Tomorrow’s going to be much better yet, I can already tell.

I saved a lot of money sitting on my couch. How, you ask? Well, we made up a menu entirely of food we had on hand, except for some sugar soda Rob picked up. All we use here is diet soda, but some like the regular kind. It was on a very good sale, so that didn’t cost much. Thankfully, I had shopped last weekend for 2 weeks, and my plan payed off. We still have lots of groceries. People also brought things, and that’s always a nice gift to the host! This time, we really appreciated it more than ever.

I did not buy paperwork at the Dollar Store or anywhere else. I used regular silverware, not plastic and my usual glass plates for dessert. I did use a few paper plates I had in the cupboard, but bought no special napkins or anything for the occasion. I put fabric placemats here and there on t.v. trays and on the table for people to use, so did not buy a paper or plastic tablecloth. I put basil plants Rob grew in the center of the table for a centerpiece with the intention of giving them away after the party, so did not buy flowers or any other decorations.

I did not go to JoAnn’s as planned to buy new patterns on the pattern sale. Because I was not there, I bought nothing else, either. Because I’ve not chosen to go often during the pandemic, I do buy things when I’m there and can find something I like. There will be other chances to go to JoAnn’s, and other pattern sales, even though my phone is constantly telling me “It’s you LAST chance to get a good deal at JoAnn’s!” I have so many projects to work on, I’m not worried.

We also spent extra money when I sat on the couch. For one meal, Rob ordered me some gluten-free pizza from Dominos. Yum, yum, yum. If it didn’t hurt so much, I would definitely think it was worth doing it again…..but….it did hurt, and I got very bored sitting down, so I’m not planning on it.

I sent artichokes home with my oldest daughter. I said anyone who wanted some could pick some, so she did. She picked some for us to eat as well.

I picked lettuce a couple of times already and have more getting ready. I was able to re-use the nets from last year to keep the birds off.

The Little White Snowpeas are blooming and the Maestro peas on the left are about to bloom. In the back the Sugar Snap Peas are climbing the fence, as they should. Since we can’t till properly, as the new tiller is still delayed, I’m so thankful for the new raised beds Rob built last fall.

My aunt kindly texted me that there were eggs for 98c/dozen at her local Waremart (like Winco). Rob needed to run over there anyway for another reason, and, since I didn’t have as many eggs as I thought I did, he stopped to get me some and SCORED!!!!! Around here, jar lids are still very scarce. But, now we have enough to add to what he’s purchased here and there to finish up what we need for this upcoming canning season and so do the rest of my sisters and my mom, as some of these are for them. He just couldn’t believe it when buying a whole case was an option. He couldn’t believe there were any at all, much less that many! He has checked over and over in basically every store he has entered for any reason, and also on line. (Yes, there are some there, but we refuse to pay outrageous prices like $9/box, or other equally ridiculous prices.)

Now, if that elusive jar lid super sales comes along, I may buy extra to have a backlog, but for now, I’m super happy with what we have. The people he’s talked to where we often buy lids told him they got some, quickly sold them, and have no idea when, or IF, they are ever getting more. And, there are limits on how many a person can buy posted on the shelves when they are found in this area. We are not jar lid hoarders, but it is a fact that I canned over 1,000 jars last summer and that’s a lot of boxes of lids. I’m also a jar lid snob and only want Ball or Kerr. I’ve had some bad experiences with other brands and it’s just too much work for me to risk repeating those experiences. This year, I probably don’t need to do quite so many as I tried to can a few extra of each item last year, but we hit some items pretty hard this past winter. Good thing I love canning and gardening.

The other thing Rob and I did last summer was dry more items. We plan to do even more of that this year, as we found uses for most of what we dried. There’s just no point in growing such a large garden to preserve if I can’t find supplies to do just that and a way to use what I preserve. If they don’t like it, they won’t eat it. Plain and simple, sad, but true, and any other cliche you have heard. They are all true around here:)

Are any of you having success finding lids where you live?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–December 7, 2020

Or otherwise known as “Eating Cinnamon Rolls All Week!” Patsy has been making gluten-free cinnamon rolls all week long. There are some in the freezer, we have shared a few, but, I have to confess we’ve eaten quite a few! I think one of the reasons I have been enjoying them so much is because it has been a long, long time since I’ve had any, as gluten-free cinnamon rolls are few and far between in my world:) While gluten-free ingredients are not inexpensive by any means, it would have cost even more to buy them.

We have taken a few walks this week, for obvious reasons!

We finished up the cherry tomatoes. I picked them green and put them in a dish in the garage and most of them did ripen. We also finished the last of the larger tomatoes Rob picked green and wrapped in tissue. Not bad for the first week of December, we thought!

I got a small bowl of Yukon Mix Winter lettuce from the garden. I mixed it with iceberg from the store for 2 salads. I cut it off, rather than pulling the few bushes remaining, and maybe it will grow some more. Who knows? Not me. I’ve never harvested lettuce in December before. I’m thrilled with what I’ve picked and will happily pick more if it grows. There’s some little plants under my covered cold frame, but they were planted later than the ones I harvested today.

I also got some cilantro and some celery, which is still mostly leaves. I made soup with celery leaves and a small Waldorf salad with the tiny stems and an apple.

I have been working on a grocery list for the past week or so, by simply writing down items as we run out and scouring the ads for good deals. It took me until today to get a big enough list to use my coupon, as my menu plan has focused on my stored food. I sent Rob to Safeway to get the items and use the $10 of $50 coupon. He also had to go into Fred Meyers during the weekend to get prescriptions so picked up a few of the good deals there. I had him get plenty of head lettuce, carrots, milk and other things that will hold well since I don’t plan to shop again for 10 days or more, if we can make it.

I did notice I was making a few more substitutions as I cooked toward the end of this stretch, but it worked out.

I made a menu plan again, to continue to manage my food. I was able to use up a few more items that had been around for ages and lots of my preserved food.

A while back, Rob built me some wooden boxes to put empty jars in to leave me more “wiggle room” on my shelves until we use up more full jars of canning. We canned so much this year that he was afraid I might break some while shuffling things around getting desired ones out. Once the boxes are fully full, I should have no trouble fitting the remaining empties on the shelf.

I was also able to repurpose some food that was leftover from the free school lunches. Some celery went into soup and some chopped pears and peaches were mixed with my frozen raspberries and made into popsicles. One of the apples went into the Waldorf salad. Michaela helped drink up the extra milk and ate one of the leftover apples.

Snipped, dried tomatoes went into a pasta salad, dried zucchini went into a vegetable soup at the last minute so they wouldn’t get mushy, and grated zucchini went into a snack cake. We are sharing most of the cake with some friends, as there have been just too many desserts around here lately.

My Azure Standard order got lost for the first time, ever. After a few phone calls, they just mailed me another order, instead of sending it to the drop site. There were a couple of things they were out of, but I was glad they were so quick to make it right and glad to have the things I got.

I watched another beautiful, absolutely free, sunrise! It was even better than the picture.

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.

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.

thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 18, 2020

A trip to the docks in Newport, Oregon, led to this….

A trip to the farm and garden led to this…..

So, pretty much all I’ve been doing this past week is this….

Rob’s cousin gave us 2 huge boxes of food she did not need from a gleaner’s group she belongs to. In it were 2 huge bags of broccoli, which I froze, some chicken, which I canned and lots of other yummy food, which we ate.

The peaches are from my sister’s farm. Rob helped up there several days this past couple of weeks and hauled home peaches and wild black berries more than once. My sister was given pears, and she shared with me. I have spent countless hours canning, freezing and drying produce. I’m delighted, but a bit tired, I will admit. There’s lots more to do, but I am trying to do it in small batches when ever possible. My freezers are getting stuffed, so I’ve actually turned down a couple of items lately, like blueberries and more green beans, and I canned the chicken we were given for that reason. My shelves are filling nicely out in the shop.

I’ve done a couple of batches of salsa, several small batches of pickles, lots of jam, wild blackberry and strawberry syrup, and I’m working on fruit cocktail today.

A few of the fall/winter gardening seeds have come up and some of the cabbage starts that looked so awful when I planted them look much better now. In between preserving, I’ve been trying to clean up the yard and garden a bit….it’s getting pretty weedy. But, the weeds will still be there when I’m done canning, I’m pretty sure. So, I’m not getting too worried about them:)

So, why do I do all of this? Several reasons: For one, I actually enjoy it. But, even if I didn’t, I still would preserve food. There is so much food in our area. Farmers have a bounty of crops that are available for little money. My garden is bountiful. But, during the winter, little grows, and it is so nice to be able to go out to the shop and grab what I want or need. It saves me both time and money during the winter, and I can cook so many delicious meals with the food I preserve.

During this past spring, it become apparent that things had changed in our area. The stores were having shortages, as they did everywhere else. We have chosen to not shop as often, due to Covid, and sometimes, things on my list were not there when we were. This summer, I’m preserving extra, because we ate extra last spring and I ran out of some items. I know I will enjoy the convenience of having the food right at my fingertips. Right now, in our area, farmers are selling their wares at fruit stands and farms for the same prices they did in the past, or with a slight, normal increase. With other food prices going up in the stores, that’s attractive to me.

Are you preserving anything extra this summer?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–August 10, 2020

The canning is stacking up around here! This week, one of the things I did was pull the carrots. Some we ate and some were canned. Frankly, my carrot crop was small, and not impressive, but I dealt with what there was. I grew multi-colored colored carrots, for part of what I grew, and I like how they look in the jars. During a normal winter, I use between 5 and 10 pints of canned carrots, that is all. I use them for one purpose–making chicken-rice soup when I’m in a big hurry. Therefore, I don’t can them every year, but this year, I’m down to one jar left, so it’s time.

Pickles are made every few days and the tomatoes are just barely starting.

We have a peach tree in the back yard. It’s somewhat pathetic and the peaches that grow are usually eaten off by squirrels before they even ripen. The peaches are often covered with scabs. But, this year, some survived–probably 20-25 pounds and they are quite nice. I was expecting very little-none as usual, so this gave me extra peaches. I have been freezing them in slices for smoothies, gave some of the frozen ones to my sister, froze a few for a friend, and made another double batch of peach jam.

We are eating so well from the garden now.

My lettuce is really good right now, but some of it wants to bolt soon. I will be hauling some out to family members on Wednesday so it gets eaten.

Rob has been saving seeds from some of our open-pollinated flowers and vegetables to use next year. It’s his first try, but he’s become very infested in the process–so I’m on board. I’ve got a small patch of the lettuce in the center of the picture saved and will let it go to seed for him. I’ve got a huge cucumber yellowing on the vine for the same purpose, and one freaky carrot that bloomed so is being left alone to see what happens.

I’ve been working hard in the garden to pull up old bean bushes, pull the onions so they can dry, and otherwise clean up out there. One day, Rob tilled this section and I planted cabbage, some sad broccoli plants and a few seeds. The plants are not amused at the 90+ degree day we had today. I’ve ran the sprinkler daily and hauled a few watering cans full of water out to them, so they will likely survive if I keep doing it. I have plans to plant a few more fall/winter crops when I get the section where the onions were prepared.

I went to the dentist today and got a filling replaced. It had a small crack in it. They felt I could wait until after Rob recovered from surgery, but not 6 months…..I really don’t like dental work, but was glad to get it fixed before it caused problems down the road. I was able to use my insurance, so that helped ease the pain.

Rob has been helping my sister/brother-in-law on their peach farm a little over the past couple of weeks. They are in a busy time, and he’s available. While he was there today, he picked wild blackberries and we made jam this afternoon.

My aunt and sisters picked and snapped more green beans for me while I was at the dentist. Rob and I canned them this afternoon. I got 7 more quarts and 18 pints, plus 4 baggies to freeze. Thanks, guys!

Rob gathered free wood from the side of the road and made me screens to dry my onions on.

One day, while we were watching Michaela, we packed a picnic and took her up to Silver Creek Falls State Park to dip her toes in the creek, and enjoy her picnic. We are all trying to find things for the kids to do while still staying safe–so although the park was somewhat crowded, we just stayed away from people as much as we could, so we were able to find a way to social distance. We did take a walk, but it was around the parking lot and a field–we never got anywhere near the falls this time around. It was still extremely fun!

What did you do this week to save money or have an awesome week?

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