Category Archives: Saving Money

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 6, 2020

The garden is really starting to pump out the produce. I’m having to spend more and more time picking and dealing with it all! What a wonderful “problem” to have:)

Most of these greens were chopped up and put in baggies in the fridge for Rob to stir-fry for his breakfast scrambles. The bowl of blueberries was full last night. I guess everyone was super hungry for blueberries!

In the past, I’ve had trouble with these blueberries being too sour. My mom suggested that maybe I was picking them too soon–so I waited 2 weeks longer than I have in the past, and picked very carefully. They are nice and sweet! There are a lot more out there and I will start freezing some soon, but we might as well eat what we want while they are fresh because we won’t get that chance again until next summer once they are gone.

After Rob wore the tips off his walker by taking so may walks, he changed over to trekker poles as he was starting to make gouges in the floor. He is going out 2-4 times per day for a walk, with company, and with all the trips added up, went about 2 miles yesterday. Today marks 1 week since his surgery. I’m completely amazed, but so happy. He hasn’t been able to walk this much for years.

I have family members coming in Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to help me out this week. It’s so nice of them to come, and we plan to garden, do laundry, and things like that.

thriving In My thrifty Week–June 28, 2020

We got the chance to pick cherries this week. My sister has several trees and shared them with the family. I canned some and made a cherry crisp. Yum!

Since there were several nieces, my oldest daughter, both sisters, it was like a family reunion, and we all worked hard on scattering the required 6 foot distance from each other while trying to get the best cherries. It was a little comical at times, and some finally went and got masks to help the situation out a little.

Rob got the tiny tiller going and I tilled up 2 small sections where other crops had been pulled. In this place, I planted several small lettuces he had grown in the greenhouse, and some Russian Frills kale. My friend, Jeannie, sent Rob the seeds for both the kale and the Red Merlot lettuce. He planted only part of the seeds she sent, and plans on growing more in the fall. He also grew Buttercrunch lettuce and Drunken Frizzy-Headed Woman lettuce. I watered them in and netted them. We have so many birds, they are hard on lettuce.

I picked berries several times this week. Besides the raspberries and strawberries, I picked a small handful of Marion (black) berries. The blueberries are turning blue, but are still sour, so I’m leaving them for a while. I froze most of them, and we ate the rest.

I picked cabbage, snow peas, green onions, basil, cilantro, 2-4 try tomatoes and 2 tiny zucchinis.

We went to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups. It took a long time, due to the extra Covid cleaning, but I am so grateful they could do Rob’s teeth before his surgery. I am the only one who has to go back, they need to replace an old filling.

We spent hours cleaning and organizing for the upcoming surgery. I finished today with a thorough cleaning/bleaching of the bathroom, mopping all over, bleaching doorknobs, doing dishes, cooking a little, and a little garden work. We now have a shower/bathtub bench (after all our scurrying around looking for a free/cheap one, we found that our insurance covered a brand-new one, in full. Hmmmm. Wish we had known that first. We are the proud owners of compression socks and trekker poles. The rest of the little gadgets will be given to us at the hospital.

Rob had his Covid test this morning, and tested negative. Praise God! Now, we just go down there in the morning, and get the operation done. The nurses at the orthopedic clinic said the cafeteria either isn’t open at all, or is open for very short hours only. I’m taking no chances. Instead, I’m taking a lunch:). I’m so grateful I can go at all, at first only the patients were allowed in the hospital. I will need to come home at 7 p.m., as that’s as late as I can stay. If all goes as it should, I will bring him home on Tuesday. We have people for Patsy to be with, and people lined up to help when Rob first comes home. I’m as ready as I can be, and Rob is more than ready. Since they made him stop his ibuprophin a few days ago, his pain level is very high.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 23, 2020

This week, I was able to preserve some cherries. A friend had some left-over cherries that his friend had not sold at a farmers’ market and gifted us a box. I had a little sorting to do, as some were over the hill, but most were wonderful!

I was able to freeze several baggies and can 11 pints. My fingers are still purple:)

The everbearing raspberries and strawberries are really pumping out the fruit right now. Every other day I have been picking them and flash freezing the ones we don’t eat right up or give away. Then, I package them up for winter use. Since most strawberries are used in smoothies, we like them frozen separate, not in a big clump, to make it easier to drop into the blender.

Patsy has been working at odd jobs. She’s been doing yard work for the aunties and got to mow the neighbor’s yard for money when their lawn mower broke. She had wanted to get a job when she turned 16, but Covid-19 has put a hitch in her plans. It’s been wonderful that other jobs have turned up that she can do.

Rob found an entire van load of good firewood in the free pile. We spent a day helping him get that put away for winter. He can stand by his chop saw and saw it into pieces and Patsy and I can haul it. The wood shed is getting very, very full, which is nice because he will be unable to work with wood at all for a while after his surgery. I think I have convinced him to let it lie, no matter how wonderful the wood looks that he might see, until after the surgery!

We are trying to get all the odds and ends done around here, as we are planning for me to do only the bare minimum right after he gets his surgery and cannot help. We have the relatives lined up to help, which is a great relief, but don’t plan to make them do things like collect and saw free firewood, fill yard debris bins full of trimmings, or other jobs like that. (I’ll bet you relatives are relieved, huh?).

I finished a baby quilt I’ve been working on for a few months. I really like how it came out.

I sold and shipped some more of Patsy’s old school books.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 14, 2020

A cascade of slippery plastic bags full of garden produce slid out of the fridge one too many times this week. I completely cleaned the fridge and re-organized it with a couple of old baskets. Now, the baggies can go in the drawers and baskets, and hopefully everything will be easier to find and use.

I washed and re-used many plastic bags this week.

The garden is producing more and more each day, and we are eating a great deal of lettuce. I picked one last picking of spinach and pulled the plants. I froze a lot of it. Of course, it shrank down to almost nothing, but I put it in very small baggies. Rob can put one of those in with his morning stir-fry if he needs more greens. I picked snow peas, lettuce, spinach, the last of the boc choi, broccoli, raspberries and strawberries. I froze 7 bags of broccoli, in 2 different batches. We also ate it a couple of times.

I picked strawberries several times. I made freezer jam one day. It did not set very well, but I froze it anyway and it will either set some more and be good jam, or it will be berry syrup for pancakes or ice cream. We’ve also been eating sliced berries for dessert.

I got a ripe tomato on Wednesday! It’s a Glacier Ultra Early, but for around here…it’s really early. I’m thrilled!

We worked with the kids a great deal this week. Rob took them for a drive and looked for trains. This time, they saw some. Yea! We did school with Jake on 2 days, took him for walks, read for hours, had him help me with chores, and he helped me pick strawberries in the yard.

Our biggest news is that on Wednesday, Rob had appointments regarding his upcoming surgery. There are many things to be thankful for. 1) His wounds on his legs are healing nicely and will not delay the surgery. 2)His weight is at a great level, several pounds below the weight required to have the surgery. 3) The date of the 29th is a “go.” 4)They just changed the policy again so that I can accompany him to the hospital and be there during surgery, and into the evening. I cannot stay the night, still, but I can live with that!

In response to things the physical therapist we met with told us, I rearranged our bedroom to make it better for Rob’s upcoming recovery. We have some work to do on our bathroom–we need to tear off the shower doors. We are waiting for a new shower curtain to arrive from Amazon, and we will do that. Rob found a walker at a thrift store quite some time ago, but now know we need a bathtub bench, so will go look for one before we buy new. The doctor wants Rob to get tracker poles for after he uses the walker for a while. So that’s another item to look for used, or order new.

It’s going to be another busy week around here!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–June 8, 2020

My sister and niece, Michaela, u-picked some strawberries for us and drove them by as a very nice surprise. Rob and I had just been discussing whether or not our patch at our house would yield enough for all the jam we wanted to make, and we had just decided to go pick a few, so it was a very timely gift!

I used all the little odds and ends from our patch, plus some I froze, plus the ones they brought and made 18 jars of jam.

My friend, Jeannie, sent me some Tattler, reusable, canning jar lids. Because I’ve never used them before, I used one in this batch. I followed her instructions, did not tighten the ring very tight, and as far as I can tell, it sealed nicely. I only did one jar in case I got it wrong, but it worked! I appreciate her thoughtfulness, as I don’t think I would have had the courage to try these without her encouragement.

She also sent Rob some seeds for various greens she saved from her garden. He chose a few and already has little babies sprouting in the greenhouse to plant out when space frees up in the garden. He’s excited to see what grows.

I am picking a small bowl full of berries every few days from our patch. We are eating those fresh, and I’ve been freezing a few here and there. It’s very easy to just add to a bag of berries until it is full, and transfer it to the big freezer so not a berry gets wasted. We use the frozen strawberries for smoothies during the winter.

I picked raspberries, strawberries, green onions, lettuce, snow peas, cabbage, boc choi, cilantro, and thinned out a few collard green plants from my very small planting. That is a new vegetable for us, and it seemed a bit tough in Rob’s stir-fry. I’m going to do some research and see if I need to cook it differently.

Patsy had her 16th birthday yesterday. She felt very spoiled as 3 different groups brought her treats, flowers, and gifts and left them on our doorstep. I made a chocolate cake and thankfully we let her start it Saturday night, since another friend brought a cake and ice cream over on Sunday. She and Rob drove out for a Little Caesar’s pizza Saturday and I made tacos on Sunday.

Rob made her a jewelry box. The brave man also did the ear piercing she asked for by ordering an ear-piercing gun off the internet and doing the job. He’s much, much braver than I am, but it was the only way we felt comfortable granting her birthday request so we had to get what we are calling “Covid Creative.”

Now she’s got that little second earring right above the one she got when she was very, very young. It’s what she has been wanting for the last several months for this birthday, so….whew–he found a way.

Of course, he had to play a trick on her first. He made a very crude jewelry box with garish paintings on the top and a necklace made from a rusty chain and a wood disk with her name and other words on it and wrapped it elaborately. When she opened it, he told her she had asked for jewelry and a jewelry box. Then, he gave her the real gift which was out on the porch. She about died laughing.

I do think we are making memories that will last far beyond Covid19. It’s different. That’s for sure. But, at least she will have a story to tell her whole life long, about these unusual, strange, but sometimes wonderful, times.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 31, 2020

This week, I was able to cook some really delicious meals. For one, I was able to make strawberry spinach salad twice, using the small handful of berries that ripened, along with the garden spinach. I have picked the outer leaves of the spinach 3 times, and we have consumed every single leaf. The bushes look decimated, but there are a few more leaves trying to grow yet again, so I gave them a shot of fertilizer and am hoping for at least one more picking before they go to seed.

Most of the meals this past week were based on one of the 10-lb bags of chicken Rob found last week. It was $2.90 for the entire bag. We had barbecued chicken. The drumsticks were marinated in teriyaki sauce. The thighs were bbq’d with seasoning salt and purposed into various meals, such as salads, sandwiches, pieces of chicken on a plate, etc. We also used a jar of our home-canned tuna in some meals, had lots of salads and veggies, and ate popcorn for several snacks.

Rob continues to eat veggies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I was delighted to pick more pac choi for him to stir-fry up for his breakfast scramble. I also picked quite a few more snow peas and lots of cilantro. We continue to buy other vegetables for him to eat. His weight is slowly creeping downward again–success!

I made a casserole with ham and broccoli. I got the recipe from a magazine. It’s not a favorite and I’m not sure why. But, there it sits in the fridge! The simple chocolate cornstarch pudding, on the other hand, is almost gone even though I made a double batch. One way we’ve been using part of that is in popsicles. Patsy is really enjoying the home-made fudge pops, as a change from her usual pear/raspberry popsicles that she eats by the handful.

Several of the nieces and nephews have birthdays at this time of year. We generally have one big party for all the cousins at once that have birthdays near one another.

This year is different, so we just celebrated Michaela, her sister, Caitlyn, and Patsy yesterday at a small party, with only the ones attending who have been in close contact the whole pandemic. I made a chocolate bundt cake for Patsy’s cake, Caitlyn got an ice cream cake, and Michaela had a white cake with white frosting and white filling with a picture of the Lion King on top for hers. It was so nice to be able to celebrate with the kids! (Patsy’s birthday is not for another week, but the other 2 girls has theirs this week).

I helped Rob fix a broken sprinkler in our watering system. He provided the know-how, bought the part, started the job and instructed me on how to crawl around down on the lawn and hook it up and set it! I’m so happy to have it fixed, and I love having a system to water for us without moving sprinklers. It cost much less to do it ourselves, but I would not have had the courage to do it without his excellent instructions, since I’m not mechanical.

I continued to weed and hoe in the garden. I’ve harvested what was ready and planted a few more seedlings in any extra space I can find. I put in a 25c packet of spinach seeds. It may be too late to get much from them, but it was worth a quarter to me to try.

We’ve given the front yard some attention, but more is needed to get it whipped into shape. I hope to get to some of that this coming week.

I spent a morning organizing Patsy’s school books from last year, and I listed them on e-bay and sold most of them yesterday. That money, after fees, will go straight into the bank since I’ve already purchased her new schoolwork. I spent some time organizing the new year’s work, and she has done 2 day’s worth of it, so she’s off to a good start. We will not do school every day since there is so much outside work to do, but will do some when there is time.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–Garden Update–May 24, 2020

Most of this week was rainy and wet. On the day we homeschooled Jake, one thing we did was venture out with umbrellas for a nice walk–he’s required to exercise daily for P.E.

Rob took Michaela train spotting.

They saw one this time!

Jake spent the night, as he’s been doing every Wednesday. His Mom works Wednesdays and Thursdays, from home, and needs complete peace and quiet to do so. This is a great schedule for us, as well, and he loves it, school and all.

One day we had a pretty bad hail storm. It was brief, but violent, and beat down some lettuce, put holes into cabbage leaves, crushed some spinach, and laid low some other delicate garden plants. Thankfully, most things survived, or will outgrow the damage with no problem, but a few had a setback, to say the least.

I went ahead and picked the outside leaves and the damaged ones off the spinach and Rob ate them in salads this week. I froze 2 very small portions for later, using the torn up leaves that way. The inner leaves have already grown since then, in the few days since I did it.

We picked most of the artichokes on the bushes. I froze 2 packages of artichoke hearts from the small ones, shared some and have some to eat.

We put strings up on the pole bean trellis so they can climb up as they grow.

The box on the right is a potato box Rob built after seeing it on U-Tube. The bottom box has some old potatoes in it, covered with dirt. (As in, we did not buy them, they are left over ones that are trying to grow anyway and some his mom couldn’t eat in time, I guess–). The idea is that as the potato bushes grow, they are covered with dirt and another board layer is added, making it taller and taller. Supposedly, the potatoes will continue to make bushes and then more and more potatoes as you stack it higher and higher throughout the season. He thought it would be fun to try. He used reclaimed wood and junk potatoes…..so it’s a fun experiment for no out-of-pocket for him.

Every time I think the garden is full, I find another place to tuck a few more plants…. Like celery under the sprinkler tripod. They say it likes it really wet. Rob planted some really old seeds that have been around for several years, and got them to grow. There are more, but no more space right now.

Tiny head lettuce plants around the rock that holds the sprinkler head and hose down….

More head lettuce by the dahlias….

…And leaf lettuce under the Tronboncini trellis. Rob can eat a head a day, if it’s small, or close to a gallon ziplock full of leaf lettuce, when he’s in a salad mood, which is almost always. He’s been eating lettuce at least twice a day, stir-fried snow peas, zucchini and mushrooms with onions and peppers for breakfast with his eggs….you get the idea of how much produce we are going through right now! I’m going to keep planting lettuce everywhere I can, all summer long, and fill in every area with other succession plantings as space fills up. He’s got another batch of lettuce growing in the greenhouse, so I can plant it out when space frees up. It’s all worth it to me!

I picked all the rhubarb. I froze some and shared some.

We did get into the garden to weed and hoe, but not until the end of the week. There is plenty left to do in the upcoming week, and the weather promises to be very nice. I’m glad, because some things really need some sunshine to explode with growth. They are just sitting there, waiting for the opportunity.

I made banana bread again, using up the rest of the bananas Rob found in the chest freezer.

He stumbled upon 10 pound bags of chicken for $2.90–29c/lb. He bought 6. He was at the store getting prescriptions and a little produce. Go, Rob!

This was the week we usually would not shop, since we’ve been going every-other-week, so it was a real blessing that he had to go in there for another reason, and found the chicken.

Our county is opening up a little. For us, since we have so many underlying health conditions in those we have around us, it won’t make much of a change for a while. Speaking only about ourselves, my diabetes and asthma keep me at home. Rob absolutely cannot risk getting sick before his surgery. As it is, he’s got a couple of owies on his legs that are being well cared for so they will hopefully be healed in time. But, it’s still encouraging to see that things are moving forward. Let’s hope this pandemic continues in the right direction! In the meanwhile, I can be found at home, pulling weeds:).

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 17, 2020

Does it look like I have ripe strawberries? Well, I don’t! Those are rocks that Patsy painted red. We hope they fool the birds and stop them from pecking the strawberries once they get ripe. Let’s hope it works!

I spent hours in the garden and yard this week. Everything is growing, including the weeds, so I’ve pulled weeds and hoed.

I also cut and trimmed in the front yard. The people who lived here before us planted many bushes, such as rhododendron, azalea, peonies, Oregon grape, and sadly, ivy, that have all grown greatly over the years. Over the past 2 years I have tried to cut some of it back to more manageable proportions, one yard debris bin at a time. The latest project was to have Rob take a chain saw to some rogue blossoming cherry tree suckers that were now about 15 feet tall and chop them down. I removed ivy from below and harshly trimmed the bushes under the remaining main tree. Then, I hoed out grass and weeds and roughly edged the area. It looks a lot better now, but there will be on-going work to do. I was glad to finish as we have been working on it for 2 weeks and filled 2 yard debris bins from that one area alone.

Rob covered my lettuce with netting. The birds took part of one row down to the stubs! I notice they leave it alone after it gets to a certain size and I’ve planted a lot, so it will work out ok in the end. (And, yes, that’s a renegade potato plant on the end. I didn’t plant any this year, but a few volunteers came up anyway.)

I’ve been harvesting from the garden and making lots of stir-fries. Rob’s been eating vegetables for breakfast each day, as well, so the harvest has come in handy.

I made a batch of bread and buns. I am still using up odds and ends of gluten-free flours, some of which are literally a couple of years old. I am happy to report that I used 3 partial packages of flour all the way up! I don’t normally eat a lot of bread, so I froze most of these items. I have eaten more sandwiches then usual lately after working in the garden, because I sometimes don’t feel like cooking. It’s easy to pop off a couple of frozen slices, slide them into the dedicated gluten-free toaster, and always have fresh bread when I want it.

We cooked black bean/pinto bean chicken chili, Patsy’s peanut-chicken stir fry, smoothies, pancakes, boiled, fried and scrambled eggs, millet-crust pizza, lots of salads, brownies, pear-raspberry popsicles, and many stir-fries. Lovana came over and made coconut shrimp. It was so good! We also worked on a ham we bought right after Easter. We had ham sandwiches, ham with eggs, and just ate ham. Some packages were frozen for later use, as well.

We did our grocery shopping for the next 2 weeks and ordered and received an Azure Standard order. Eggs were 4/$5. We got many dozens. I purchased a lot of produce such as cucumbers, mushrooms, baby carrots, celery and peppers, along with whatever was on the list. There were a few good deals, otherwise, the prices seemed to be the same or a little higher than they have been in the past. Overall, the bill is higher than what it was a year ago. It is not possible to shop several stores for deals right now, so if it’s there, I buy it, or I just pass it by if it’s unreasonable. I was pleasantly surprised to received most of what I ordered from Azure.

We worked with Jake and Michaela for more hours this past week. We had a French fry party one day. It was fun for everyone to make our own curly fries outside.

We also fried up some battered cod fish and onion rings, just to add to the fun.

We used a fryer we purchased from a garage sale a couple of years ago for a few dollars and then spent literally hours scrubbing to insure it was gluten-free and no wheat crumbs were left on it. Thankfully, it looked almost new when we bought it. The curly fry cutter was also from a garage sale and normally lives in the camper. Every few years, we make fries on a picnic table at a campground. We make fries so rarely that it’s an event and made an ordinary day into a party. Better yet, we kept the mess outside!

Did you do anything unusual to break up the monotony of Covid 19 with your kids or for yourself?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day! I had a nice, relaxing day. I hope you all had the same. We watched church on the live-stream, Rob drove me through McDonald’s for a Diet Coke (doesn’t seem glamorous, but I’ve literally not been leaving the house so it was an outing for me), and I talked and/or texted with many loved ones.

My sidewalk chalk artist daughter spent some time decorating the sidewalks in front of our house. I’m glad she enjoys doing that. I found another box of sidewalk chalk tucked away in the back room for her to add to her bucket of bits of chalk.

We found quite a few packages of beef bones in the freezer. They are from our 1/4 beef the last couple of years. I have made dealing with those bones one of my quarantine projects. I don’t use them in the form they are in, so I am turning them into something I will eagerly grab–ready-to-use broth. One day I boiled 3 packages of bones and canned 7 quarts. I also got a large bowl of broth and quite a bit of meat from those bones. I made soup with that.

I filled up my spice bottles in the kitchen from my bulk spice packages I keep in the garage. I wiped them off and wiped out one of the baskets I keep some of them in. I also filled up salt and pepper, and cornstarch. I save a lot of money by purchasing things in bulk, especially spices.

I used some millet flour to make a pizza crust. I also used some rice flour and cornstarch in some brownies. I went through my gluten-free flour supply and will continue to target the odds and ends that have been in the bin for a long time. To that end, I’ve been using my favorite 1-1 flour, but also looking for recipes that use some of the other flours in them.

I used the last 2 brown bananas in banana bread. I also put in some walnuts that I had in the freezer. I was going to share them with a friend, but I confess…..we ate them all! I shared some other food with our friends.

We’ve been eating a little fresh fruit Lovana left here last weekend when she was over, but mostly opening jars of peaches, applesauce and pears for fruit. We used many small packages of frozen bits and dabs from the freezer over the fridge in the kitchen.

I baked blueberry-cream cheese coffee cake with cream cheese I got free from the Safeway Monopoly game and some blueberries my mom sent our way. I found the recipe on the internet.

Pear-raspberry popsicles were made 2 times, and devoured. It’s an easy, practically free way to keep Patsy happy during warm days.

The garden continues to grow. I spent time weeding and hoeing. I also planted more Blue Lake Green Beans, Rob’s okra (I’ve never even tasted okra, but you can’t blame someone for experimenting!), dill, cucumbers, all the pepper plants, the remaining tomato and basil plants, and any and all odd plants that were left laying around. I even planted the “mystery-label fell off” tomatoes in a flowerbed and threw lettuce seeds under the Tromboncini trellis! Lots of seeds have sprouted, including those old Alderman Pole Peas that I wasn’t sure were good.

I’ve picked 2 large bowls of lettuce. I thinned out the lettuce and we’ve been eating the small leaves. Rob’s back to eating copious amounts of salad daily. He’s several pounds down again, and wants to stay ready for his surgery, which is still scheduled for June 29.

This was not our grocery week, so we didn’t do a big shop. Rob just picked up a very few items (mostly tomatoes) when he got the prescriptions. A list is being generated on the whiteboard, and next week we will gather those items. I’d like to wait until the end of the week, stretching it to 2-1/2 weeks, but we will see.

Rob’s had Patsy and Jake out building in the shop.

I also spent a couple of mornings cleaning and bleaching the doorknobs, bathroom and so forth.

What we are filling our stay-at-home time with right now isn’t glamorous. It isn’t very exciting, and there are times when it isn’t fun at all (I’m not super fond of wiping down the bathroom, if you know what I mean). Still, we have a deep sense of satisfaction with every single project we cross off our list, and I think we are getting a lot of home-made entertainment out of the deal. We have lots of projects left on our list, lots of food left in our cupboard and freezer, and more on the way from a garden that’s growing like crazy. The house is cleaner than normal, and we haven’t caught any sicknesses. We’re making out fine, and feel thankful for all the blessings the Lord has poured on us during this difficult, crazy time, and we thank the Him for each and every one of them.

What have you been doing with your time at home?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–May 3, 2020

This past week was a nice one. We took several nice walks this past week. Some of the days were very sunny and we enjoyed getting out. We also received some much-needed rain.

Patsy loves taking pictures of as many flowers as she can. These are Camas flowers. They were growing in a wild area in the little park we walked to with Jake the day we had him.

This woodpecker keeps coming around the neighborhood. He loves to rat-a-tat-tat on this sign, and on a metal plate up on a telephone pole near our yard. We were lucky enough to sneak up on him while we were on one of our walks. Jake loves birds, so it was a real treat for him.



Rob’s cousin shared some food with us. She belongs to a gleaner’s group and gets food regularly and had more than she needed. She kindly set aside some items that were gluten-free because she knew I eat that way. She also saved a large box of Keurig K-cups for Rob because she doesn’t care for coffee and he loves it.

The other thing she gave Rob was a fully-cooked frozen turkey. I’ve never had one like that before. I thawed it out, removed all the meat from the bones and boiled them. Rob and I worked together and canned 7 quarts of turkey broth. We ate a lot of the turkey all week long, shared quite a bit, and I will make a turkey-noodle casserole to share with the rest of it tomorrow. I didn’t want to re-freeze the meat, since it had been frozen once already.

I did homeschool with Jake two mornings this past week. One thing we did was made rice casserole with some of the turkey. He ate a little bit, but I was informed that I don’t make it right. His mama makes it right. I was informed that she cooks it for 2 hours. Yes, Aunt Becky, 2 HOURS! And, I put too many carrots in it. But, he ate some anyway, so It was a triumph. (I can’t tell you how many times he’s told his mama she doesn’t make soup the way Aunt Becky does–it was her turn to be the best at something, so I teased her about it!). Any time we can get that boy to eat anything even resembling healthy food, it’s a win.

Patsy and I got a good amount of schoolwork done, as well. She’s only got 1 week of curriculum left other than the new Biology we just started and some math. I went ahead and sorted through old bins of school books and curriculum and was able to figure out what she needed for next year’s work. I owned many of the books already, but there were a few I needed to get. We were able to order most of them used, and went ahead and ordered the rest. It was very economical since we had so much from previous years. Our plan was to be done with school now for the year so we could have time for field trips and extra garden work. It’s why we started in August, but we are going to do a few weeks worth of next year’s school since we are still on lock down here in Oregon. Might as well!

The kids are getting a little stir-crazy! This is Jake, wearing one of the zippered pouches Patsy keeps making on his head, being a “French fry man.” He was playing he was working at In and Out Burger.

Patsy made another owl. This one will be put in a gift bag for a little friend and dropped on her doorstep. It’s her birthday tomorrow.

And, of course….the garden….the place I spent hours and hours this week. It’s my happy place right now. I’m at home so much right now that I’m finding more time to work out there than ever before.