Tag Archives: Garden

Vegetable Garden Update-June 11, 2022

We did quite a bit of work in the garden this past week. Despite the seemingly constant rain, we are finding some times when it is dry enough to work in there without ruining it by compressing it too badly. I weeded several times.

The blackberries and raspberries almost died during our record-breaking hot summer last year. There are not very many fruit-bearing vines this summer as a result. However, the bushes are sending out numerous new vines that will fruit next year. I have paid special attention to those berries this spring. I have weeded beneath them, added compost and fertilized them.

You may notice baby corn next to the fence. We found some old (like 2018) seeds in the bottom of our seed box. Rob planted them in the greenhouse, just to see what will happen. It was amazing how many sprouted. This is just part of them. I normally plant corn in blocks, so they can be pollinated well. I have no room to do that, so I planted 2 rows next to the garden fence, and will see what happens.

On the right you can see red, white and yellow onion plants, English peas, lettuce, more onions, cabbage and broccoli. On the left, the tomato plants that are starting to look better and better. They started out pretty sad, as we couldn’t get them in the ground due to rain.

I decided to try the potato box again. Rob made it a couple of years ago and potatoes didn’t grow well in it. I think it was a location problem, so I got sprouts from the compost heap that grew from potato peelings and am trying again. The idea is to add dirt and more surrounding boards as the bushes grow so they grow more potatoes.

Peppers are scattered throughout the garden. They are in groups, by variety. They would love some warmer weather, but are struggling along.

I didn’t grow very many bush green and yellow beans this year, as I have quite a few jars left. You can see that they came up well and I will can this section. It takes about 8 weeks to get a crop, and they produce in a concentrated harvest.

I do have some green Blue Lake pole beans, and some Purple Podded pole beans in other places for fresh eating and freezing. They take longer to grow, but will produce until frost.

There are 2 raised beds by my deck. This kale and cilantro overwintered and are about ready to pull out. The snow peas have just started to make peas, so will be done before long. I have tiny lettuce, cilantro, a few flowers, and some basil planted to take their places. I added a bucket of compost wherever I removed plants and put in new seeds or seedlings to keep the nutrition of the soil up. The other raised bed by the deck is full of English peas that are making pods, but not at all ready to pick and shell. It will be a few more weeks.

I have a long, double-length raised bed on the side of the house. It gets warm there. I planted some BlackTail watermelon. It’s an experiment. They are supposed to grow with nighttime temperatures in the 40’s…we shall see. As you can see, I have some strawberries in there. They aren’t doing super well, but were only put in there last fall. I have more runners to add this year from the plants that are in my flowerbed out front. Next year may be their year to shine. You can see more snow peas, as I succession plant those and have new batches going all over the place. In the back are sugar snap peas to grow up the fence. The part you can’t see has some left-over peppers–a mixture of kinds, and some overbearing strawberries that are going to be removed. They are so sour. I’m not loving them.

Some work has been done on the compost heaps in this area. They are both ready to empty when I get some time. The worm box on the left has been renewed with red worms, and fresh compost, and scraps for them to feed on. The worms that were in there before were released (sounds good, doesn’t it–actually a lot of them escaped–oops!). Our garden is becoming a fertile area where you can find those red worms when you dig around. When we first moved here, we found very few worms of any kind. We constantly take gardeners’ coffee grounds from the Starbucks at Safeway when we shop. The worms seem to like some of those, as well as the scraps.

We have eaten artichokes a time or two, and more are on the way.

Cucumbers, dill and basil are starting to grow. (And more snow peas, of course!)

The cabbage and broccoli are doing fine in this cool, wet weather, as is the lettuce. (And the new batch of snow peas). We are getting so much lettuce we are eating salads almost every day. I have seeds, small plants, red, green, multicolored, romaine and head lettuce here and there, in all stages of maturity. I planted the latest batch on Friday. I’ve now harvested all the spinach and boc choi I planted, and filled those spots with other things.

I’m happy with the way things are growing, despite the struggles we have had with the rain. The things that love cool weather are super happy, and I haven’t had to water very often, which has been nice.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 24, 2022

I spent hours and hours weeding and clipping in this flowerbed. I filled the entire yard debris bin. Then, Rob drove me to a business that leaves its excess sawdust in a pile for people to take, free of charge. Patsy helped me shovel it and we got 4 huge trash cans full–enough to spread over the entire bed. Now the weeds will have a harder time re-growing. It also helps that this bed is not irrigated. The bulbs are not harmed by drying up in the summer and it keeps the weeds down. Let’s hope it doesn’t keep raining so much that I have to weed it all again!

We met some of our friends at a park for a fun picnic. My sister, Jake, and Michaela were there and my daughter and both grandsons. Our mutual friend brought several children of her own, plus some daycare kids. Rob made a fire in the BBQ box and the kids roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. I made potato salad and coleslaw and brought some graham crackers. Others brought chips, buns, drinks, etc. We all had fun.

Yum!

This guy was happy to cling to Grandpa for most of the picnic. Grandpa was not sad about that!

Of course, if Auntie Patsy will take me swinging, I might just let go of Grandpa for a while:). And, yes, those are chips all over my face. With so many kids to hand me one whenever I squawked…..what can I say, but yes, please!!!

Jars came in full and went out empty, as always. I’ve had to buy very few groceries the past couple of weeks. I did grab milk, a little produce and some cheese slices that were only 84c/package. Since we are having a big party next Saturday to celebrate Patsy’s graduation from homeschool high school, I am working on emptying the fridge to hold the party food. Over the past few weeks, I’ve bought most of what I need for the party, but will go out Friday and get perishable items, such as strawberries to dip in chocolate and other yummy items.

I used some of my home-canned tomatoes and salsa to make taco soup. I pulled frozen pork bits and frozen black beans in, as well. My cilantro is going to seed in the overwintered raised bed, so I put a lot of that in there, as well. I baked a pan of cornbread to go with the soup.

Other meals were cooked. Rob BBQ’d chicken legs, and made chicken-fried steak. I baked several potatoes and they were eaten for dinner or diced and fried for breakfasts along with our usual eggs. Some rice was cooked. We used various veggies and fruits from our food preservation, as well. We make large batches of food and eat the same foods for several days–mix and match style. It’s not fancy, but it tastes good and is especially handy when I’m out in the yard so much at this time of year.

I’m enjoying the flowers that are starting to bloom in the flowerbeds. Even more, I’m enjoying the fact that there are many, many more to come. Rob grew or overwintered so many flowers. I have planted almost everything from the greenhouse now, but I had him start some little head lettuce and kale for me and I will have him do a succession planting of broccoli and cabbage for a fall crop.

The extra plants have either been tucked away in corners here and there, or given away. Rob has a dahlia on every corner, so to speak, with a few more to plant or find a home for. I have to say that if even half of his flowers bloom, it will be a real showplace around here.

My aunt gave us tiny little Delphinium/Larkspur seedlings from her friend and we are trying to grow them to a bigger size in the greenhouse. I’m expecting them to be large enough to plant out later in the spring or early summer.

My sister attended a charity auction and bought us 2 beautiful flower baskets. They are full of shade-loving plants so I’ve put them in places they will hopefully like.

The wild daisies are beautiful down at our local park. We visit there frequently. Yesterday, Ja’Ana and Patsy and I wheeled the boys down there for a nice, long play time. Zai loves the swing and Malcolm loves the play equipment, the flowers and throwing sticks into a little stream that is there at the park.

The weather has finally warmed up a bit and most of the garden veggies that were already established have literally doubled in the past week. The poor, spindly tomatoes are starting to sprout new growth at every joint, which is hopeful. The newly planted peppers are looking good, too, but I still am waiting for seeds to come up. Patience, patience, patience:). My earliest planting of English peas (Maestro) have burst into bloom, so it won’t be long until we have those. In the meanwhile, we are eating garden lettuce, chives, cilantro, and I even snipped off a piece of an onion here and there when I was in a pinch for green onions one day.

Quite a bit of hoeing and weeding was accomplished. If you look carefully, you can see volunteer dill plants on the top right hand corner of the picture. I weeded around all those so I can start snipping bits to use in cooking without waiting for my row to sprout.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 17, 2022

We pulled the camper down to the Oregon Coast for a few days. The wild rhododendrons were in full bloom and we marveled at their beauty during one of our walks.

Jake really, really, really wanted to go camping, so we did. We had 2 gorgeous days and a couple that were very rainy and wet.

We were delighted to find that the Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center has re-opened after a very long Covid closure. I made reservations and bought tickets on-line and we went on one of the very rainy days. Our other special activity was visiting a candy store. We took several walks, visited the campground play ground and did school in the camper.

The price of gas is high, so we decided not to do any extra drives on this trip. We also saved gas by choosing a campground that was closer to us, vs. one we like that takes 3-1/2 hours to get to, or another one we like that takes even longer to travel to. We went to South Beach State Park, in Newport, and it took about 2 hours to get there, including a stop.

I didn’t have much time to pack, due to helping Lovana with that marvelous party I mentioned last week. So, I just grabbed a lot of food from my freezer and crammed it into the camper freezer. I had put some celery and carrots in the fridge, some potatoes and onions in the cupboard The camper has lots of pantry items that stay in there all the time. I was pleased to find that I had stuffed so much in that we didn’t need to eat out at all, and only had to get $9 worth of groceries during the week. We did not suffer at all. Rob even made steak over the fire.

Once we got home, we had a couple more rainy days, and then got to work on the garden. Over the past 2 days, I have been out there for many hours. I transplanted jalapeƱo, ancho, mixed bell, Hungarian Wax, Anaheim, and Serrano peppers from the greenhouse. I planted seeds for pole beans, bush beans, more lettuce, slicing cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, dill, basil, more snow peas, and what seemed like endless little onion plants. I planted hills of Tromboncini zucchini, yellow zucchini, green zucchini and scallopini zucchini. I even dug up some potato plants that had come up volunteer in my compost bins and transplanted them into the garden. We have a potato tower Rob made a year or so ago, and is didn’t work because there was not enough sun where it was. I thought I’d try again in a sunnier spot, with absolutely free potato starts, so I’m not out anything if it fails again.

I also worked on the flowerbeds a little and filled the yard debris bin 1/2 way up with mostly clipped ivy. I got the lawn mowed, but it was so tall, I’ll need to do it again pretty soon as I had to set the mower up pretty high.

I picked and froze all the rest of the overwintered spinach. I’ve been picking off leaves and using them, but it was time to pull the plants.

I picked Boc Choi for the first time this season. So far, I’ve made chicken stir-fry with it and added some to the chicken and dumplings I made yesterday. There was also some lettuce to pick.

The irises are starting to bloom. I divided quite a few of these last fall and I’m enjoying the extra blooms now.

I plan to crawl into bed early tonight. I’m quite stiff and sore after so much yard work. The reason there was so much pressure to get a lot done is because our spring has been very, very wet. I prefer to spread my yard work and garden work out over many evenings, not do marathons. But, this year, it has been too wet and muddy to work out there very often. Rain is predicted again tomorrow. I took my window of opportunity and am very happy that I got one! There are many weeds to pull and a few more things to plant, but I made huge progress and I’m pleased.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Feb. 21, 2022

Grandpa with sweet Zai, who finally fell asleep on Grandpa’s lap after resisting everyone else.

Friday was dubbed, “The Day I Was Buried In Boys!” It was a super exciting, busy day. My nephew, Jake, had spent the previous night and the 2 neighbor boys were coming over to play with him since both of their parents had to go into work that day and there was no school here. It was a golden opportunity for Jake to have someone to play with, as well. All 3 boys had a great time. I expended a LOT of energy, especially when we all went to the park–those boys can RUN!!! Everyone was good and waited for me at the next bush, next car, next whatever while I trotted along behind, always catching up, but always making it just in time for them to run to the next bush, car, whatever:). Whew! So glad they all listened so well. On the way back, Rob trailed behind carrying badminton racquets, discarded coats, and enough other things that one neighbor lady stopped and spoke to him about it:). “Out for your daily walk ? ? ?” “need help?” etc. :):)

Badminton was played in the back yard, board games were played, books were read, bubbles were blown and there was lots of running. Jake was so tired and happy afterwards. I’m so pleased. THEN… our daughter, J, got called into work unexpectedly and I got to keep the babies for 8 hours. Thank goodness for Patsy and Rob. We divided and conquered and had a great day, at least on my end. I had fun. My life is not boring, and I love that!

I also was able to enjoy a day celebrating one sister’s birthday with our other sister, Mom, Aunt and some nieces. I had a very relaxing day. It was a week of contrasts, for sure.

I was able to slip outside a couple of times this week and get to work on my raised beds. I cleaned this double one out from all the dry plants from last fall and weeds that grew. Raised beds dry out faster than the regular garden, which is one reason I do both. The kids planted radish seeds as a fitting ending to their 4-week, 20 experiment radish science unit. I want Jake to see how much better radish seeds actually grow in the ground compared to the little planters and glass jars, etc. I got the strawberries weeded, and some early seeds planted, such as lettuce, snow peas, green onions, etc. It’s a bit of a gamble for some of them. It’s very early. But, most are pretty hardy and we’ll see what happens.

I actually got into the garden a little and planted a few things in there, such as carrots, beets, boc choi, a very few Swiss chard seeds, spinach, and winter lettuce. The garden is a little wet, but we were able to get a small area ready to plant things in. One thing I did was put some bagged steer manure/compost in that small area, and some compost from one of my bins to improve fertility. I have 2 sections of my compost bins that need to be shoveled out sooner, rather than later so we have somewhere empty to put weeds/scraps, etc. I was a bit sore from shoveling after a winter of not shoveling, so I obviously need to get out there more frequently and build up my shoveling muscles. It’s great exercise!

Malcolm tried to use his little tricycle. He’s not quite big enough to manage it alone, but between the two of us, and Donald, he had a pretty good time. This trike was given to him by another child who grew out of it. The bell is his favorite part. We took him on several stroller rides this past week, and sometimes we even let him out to walk at times now, when it is safe.

After having so many people and babies through the house, I couldn’t put off the grocery store for another week. I needed diapers for one thing, and I’m not willing to go without those when I just never know when I will need them! Saturday afternoon I finally went. I grabbed the specials and items we were out of from both Fred Meyers and Safeway and hopefully won’t have to go again for 2 more weeks. I downloaded coupons from both stores onto my phone before I went and used a gift card and Bottle Drop money for part of the bill, so that helped tremendously. At this point, I’m well within my grocery budget for the month.

We cooked brownies, chicken soup, banana muffins, steak, home-baked chicken nuggets, sandwiches, peach crisp, and more. We used a lot of home-canned and frozen items, along with many, many pantry items. I’m actually noticing a few emptier spaces in my freezers and blank spots on my canning shelves. That’s good, because Rob has my little baby plants going in the greenhouse and the cycle will start all over again.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–October 12, 2021

My plants are getting a little sad and sorry looking, but I’m still enjoying every last blossom I see. We had a pretty heavy frost this morning, the first of the fall, but many plants are still alive.

Since frost was predicted, yesterday I picked what I could find in the garden.

It’s looking pretty bad out there:)

I may still get a little more, but the nights are getting so cool that the growth rate of the veggies is very, very slow and the plants are looking about finished in most cases.

I’m glad I put the cover on the raised bed. I’m not sure what I’ll get from these tiny plants this fall, but they should be able to put on some growth in the spring if the slugs don’t consume them and I’ll have early veggies. I’m hoping the walnut shells will be discouraging to the slugs. It seemed to help last winter/spring.

I soaked pinto beans and made both refried beans and chili. At the beginning of Covid, we had a choice between 50 pounds of beans for about $23 or no beans at all. I’ve shared a few and we’ve eaten a lot, but trust me, I’ve still got lots of pinto beans to work my way through. I added peppers and onions from my garden to the refried beans to give them flavor. Later in the week, I made some enchiladas with some of them, we ate some and froze the rest. Our meals were very simple this week, as I was extra busy with many things.

I made salad a couple of times from this leaf lettuce mixed with a head of iceberg from the store.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 8, 2021–Food Preservation Edition

I have canned so much in the past 2 weeks, I haven’t had time to post. I’m feeling really good about how much Rob and I have accomplished.

Last night, I picked the green bowl and the yellow one full of strawberries. (This picture just shows the bowls, this time they were full). I’m getting so many berries. The problem is that they seem very sour this year. That’s kind of frustrating as it’s been one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. They should be sweet. I’ve frozen quite a few and today, I decided to make a batch of jam. I did that this afternoon. When I’ve been freezing them, I’ve started adding a little sugar. They will be great in smoothies this winter, regardless of their sour flavor, as we can add sugar when we blend the smoothie. Oddly enough, Jake likes them sour, so he’s been picking and eating them cut up with sugar sprinkled on top. I’m glad someone likes them this way.

My sister gave us so many peaches from her farm. These are New Havens. This picture only shows part of them. We canned 70 quarts. Some are for me, some my mother graciously agreed to take, even though she wanted to can another kind, when I realized how many I was going to end up with. They are really, really good, so I know she will enjoy them, and we will as well.

They came out beautifully.

We dried several gallons of peaches. I also dried zucchini for soups. I froze broccoli a couple of times. Then, I pulled the bushes. All they were producing anymore were side shoots that were getting smaller and smaller each time. The last picking was about 1/2 cup, so that was the end for me. In the place where the broccoli was, I planted lettuce, kale, snow peas and spinach for a fall crop. They have not come up yet.

While up at the farm, Rob picked a lot of wild blackberries. We made jam from those. I froze several baggies as well, with what was left over from the jam making.

We have canned green/yellow beans every-other-day and I’ve done many, many pickles. These bowls are the first step for sweet pickles. I finished them Thursday. They involve a process where you pour boiling water, then syrup/brine over them each morning and night for 4 days. I canned 18–1/2 pints when I was done following all the steps.

I’ve made many dill pickles which were a mixture of plain (with garlic) and zippy (with jalapeƱos) and a batch of Bread-and-Butter Pickles.

I pulled all the carrots in the garden and we canned 7 pints, plus put some in the fridge in bags. I could fit the jars of carrots, in the pressure canner with the pints of green beans, so I did. My big one holds a double layer of pints.

I was able to can a few pints of crushed tomatoes on a different day.

I froze quite a few peaches, strawberries, and blueberries as well as the broccoli I mentioned above.

When I wasn’t preserving food, I was working on the garden and yard or working with the kids. I’ve pulled several old bushes up and composted them in the garden.. I’ve weeded there and in a couple of flowerbeds. After picking beans today, I’m all geared up to pull the bean bushes in a couple of places. They seem to be finished. I have a few more bush beans that still have some life left in them and all of the pole beans. They haven’t got any large beans on them, but small ones are starting to form so we will eat those fresh until frost.

My garden is large, and is yielding well this year. I’m very thankful to have so much to work with, along with what we got from my sister’s farm. There are still a few items to can later in the summer/fall, but I made huge strides on the project this past couple of weeks. We are also eating daily from the fruits and veggies we are picking.

We ate so much garden produce and things from the pantry and freezers that I didn’t shop for most of 2 weeks. When I did, I used the $10 off $50 at Safeway. I bought some things to stock up the camper for our next excursion and some items I don’t normally buy, such as first aid items. I also got some things at Grocery Outlet. It felt good to be able to stock up on things with the extra money I had left over from last month’s grocery budget due to eating so much garden produce.

Rob and I inventoried our canning shelves. I like to keep a detailed record of my food preservation, recording what was left over of each item and what new jars have been added this year. Last year, I was out of so many items that I over-canned on purpose. I like to have a little carry-over in case of a poor crop, an item being hard to get for some reason, etc. There’s not as much left over as I thought there would be. So, I’m taking care of that!

Although canning has taken up a huge portion of my time this past 2 weeks, that’s not all. we did.

Jake and I made cinnamon sugar toast cut-outs one day. This is a birdhouse, in case you didn’t know. All we did is toast bread, spread with butter and cinnamon sugar and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, but he had a wonderful time doing it and eating his concoction.

Rob filled the kiddie pools for the kids one day and watched both the pressure canner and the kids at the same time, as we do all of our canning outside in an enclosed porch area.

I started science with Patsy this week and she and Jake did an experiment. We’ve been reading aloud for hours and I’ve received Jake’s science from his Mom so we will start that this week. I like to do some school in August, to ease into the process. We will go full-bore in September.

We had a family gathering potluck for Rob’s side of the family one evening and had a nice time. We had an aunt and uncle from Idaho visiting our aunt who lives here and spent some time over at her house visiting, which was also nice. Of course, the babies have been through the house a few times, and we have seen some other relatives from time to time. We aren’t bored, but will admit to being quite tired once night comes! It’s a busy time of year:)

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thriving In My thrifty Week–July 20, 2021

The weather has remained hot, but manageable. Rob has been making jar after jar of sun tea so he always has a cool drink.

The garden keeps pumping out the produce.

This morning, I got 2 small bowls of cucumbers, so I will make pickles later today. I noticed a few dill heads beginning to form, so they will be dill this time.

I picked all this broccoli this morning, as well, and it is soaking in salt water while I do some other things. That gets rid of any critters that might try to hide in the florets. Then, I will put it with what I got the other day and blanch and freeze it. Last time, we ate a bunch fresh, but I’m not sure we can eat all the veggies we are picking right now, so I’m happy to freeze some for later.

We froze several baggies of blueberries and ate raspberries and blueberries fresh. The June-bearing raspberries are winding down, but there are still a few every couple of days.

We are spending as much time as possible with the babies. So cute, and so much fun:). This one gained a pound in the last week. Go, baby!!

We took a drive on Saturday and hit a community garage sale. We found a man who was selling grocery bags of kids books for $2. We filled a bag. Since I’m going to be working with my nephew this fall, doing part of his schooling, I grabbed several educational books for the whopping price of 25c each. Even if I only use one idea from each, it’s worth it. We also scored a few fall flannel shirts and pants for $1 each for our older grandson. The baby has plenty for now and there’s a huge bag of the next couple of sizes up Rob got at a yard sale a while back, plus the outgrown clothes of his brother. So, right now, we look for the bigger sizes.

Yesterday, Rob cooked a small turkey we got last fall for a very low price. He put it on the BBQ, so it didn’t heat up the house, and we will use a lot and share some.

I’m off to Safeway to get a couple of things. 74c ice cream tops my list. I can have 2, so I will get them if there are any left. I don’t need much, actually, as we are eating mainly from the garden and freezers. It’s a good time of year for my grocery budget!

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 13, 2021

A few years ago, Rob picked up quart-sized ziplock bags full of home-saved zinnia seeds at a yard sale for 25c/bag. He got several. I planted some in the garden then, and then they started dropping seeds. This is one of many volunteers in my garden that I am enjoying immensely. I found one bag left in my seed stash and I planted in in a front flowerbed. Many of them came up and a bunch of them survived the slugs. They are blooming now, which makes me happy.

My newest planting of lettuce came up. I like to keep it going all summer so we can have salad all the time. I was doubtful that this planting would sprout because it’s been so hot, so I was delighted to see them pop up. A few snow peas sprouted, too, and so far I have one new summer squash sprout. Succession planting is one way to keep the veggies coming until frost.

I was down at the hospital all day yesterday. A family member broke their leg and needs surgery. We are taking turns going over there until they get fixed and released. While I was gone, Rob took leftover fruit and made a mixed cobbler. He used canned cherries, a handful of blueberries from our bush, leftover pie filling from the 4th of July and whatever else he could find that was getting old. The fruit was not wasted and tasted great.

He also made a sweet and sour chicken and rice. I’m still getting snow peas from the garden and he used chicken I got on sale for 97c/lb for boneless/skinless breast. Carrots and celery are almost always in my fridge. We are still working on the 50 lbs of Jasmine rice Rob got at the beginning of Covid for only $10. It was marked down because the store had gotten in the wrong item, so were selling it quickly.

I cooked a lot this week, and made chicken-rice soup, salmon, sandwiches with potato salad, and lots more.

We have had our older grandson quite a bit this past week. Our daughter also brought new baby over for us to hold several times. With both Rob and I on baby-holding duty and Patsy and Jake to amuse Malcolm at times, she can keep getting stronger and we can have fun:). I also went to several doctor appointments with them, driving, carrying kids and/or carseats and carriers from here to there, and so forth. A few food items were cooked and sent over to their house, and I helped facilitate grocery shopping.

I made 2 receiving blankets. I used flannel purchased on sale some time ago. My daughter wanted ones that were slightly larger than the 30″ x 30″ size they come in around here, I just cut the flannel and narrow-hemmed it. It wasn’t hard.

The flowers Rob grew or wintered over continue to amaze me with their beauty. I look at them every day.

Thriving In My Thrifty 2 WeekS–June 8, 2021

I picked berries from my yard. I also went U-Picking and got 20 more pounds. Some were for my sister, but lots were for us. As you can see, there are some that got bitten by critters, such as slugs and potato bugs, from our yard. I cut all of those places out when I got them ready for dinner.

Today, Rob set up my canning area on the outside porch. I used it immediately.

I made quite a bit of strawberry-rhubarb jam and a smaller amount of strawberry. My niece helped me. She measured out the sugar and watched breathlessly to see if the pot was at a full rolling boil or not, while staying way back so she wouldn’t get burned. We had fun. I have only 1 jar of the strawberry-rhubarb left but more of the plain strawberry. We’ve also been cutting them up and eating them for meals.

It was nice to have a frozen gluten-free pizza in the freezer to have for dinner tonight. Rob got a few for $4 each at Grocery Outlet a few weeks ago. That’s a great price, and they are easy when I’m tired.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve had the recipe and ingredients for these blueberry muffins out on the counter for days. It became a household joke, but I FINALLY made blueberry muffins this evening!

It’s birthday season at my house. 3 of my 8 children have birthdays within an 8-day time period. There was a party on Saturday for my oldest, and we went and had a great time. Sunday, after church, we took Patsy and Ja’Ana to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, then out to dinner in a restaurant, a big deal for us since we have been only out to eat a very, very few times in the last couple of years. We used the membership we purchased a few months ago for admission to the aquarium, so that helped make the day feel more affordable. Of course, baby came, too. Our daughter, Lovana, joined us as well, so we were able to get the maximum amount of people our pass covers in, utilizing it to the max!

If I look like I was drenched with a bucket of water, you are close. We were caught in a heavy rain shower while going to our car. Perfect timing, I thought, as the aquarium in part inside, and part outside.

He wasn’t sure what to think. He tried in vain to “get” those fish, but mostly just looked around with wide eyes the entire time.

The raised beds are looking good. I was able to get in there and weed and do some succession planting. The garden is all planted and things are coming up. We even got a bunch of trimming done and filled the yard debris bin each week. Quite a few weeds were removed from flowerbeds, as well. It all takes time, but things are looking much better around here. Except the cucumbers. Just as fast as the pickling cukes come up, some bird pecks them out and leaves them laying there to die. I. AM. NOT. HAPPY. with those birds. I replanted again, and Rob rigged netting over them. I have a few new ones, but now the birds are trying to take away the netting…….Hmmmmm. We will see who wins.

We are eating lettuce frequently, along with artichokes and the strawberries. The pea pods are very prolific, as well. In fact, there are so many ready that I’m going to have to freeze some. We like them fresh the best, but I can use a few frozen, as well.

Our flower pots are looking great. Rob grew these all from seeds or cuttings. We have several hanging ones, pots on steps and porches, and flower beds galore, all from his efforts.

I picked, blanched and froze the hearts from all those artichokes and the ones in another place that you can’t see. I got 3 tiny bags full. We simply couldn’t eat them all, and we can use these in salads or casseroles. It’s a lot of work for a small amount of gain, but since they grew so well, I didn’t want to just waste them.

Rob peeled and chopped up a large quantity of onions left from last year’s garden.

He froze them in bags, in one or two cup amounts. I will use them when I make salsa or relish at the end of the summer. We grew so many onions last summer, and they kept until June, but were starting to show some signs of starting to rot, so it was time to preserve them in a different way.

We exercised several ways. We went for walks, down to the Kroc center for swim classes or to walk in the lazy river, and took a big hike to Silver Creek Falls. Last time, we hiked the shorter, lower loop. This time, we hiked the longer, upper loop and went about 5-1/2 miles. It was so beautiful.

I didn’t grocery shop, except for one watermelon and one bunch of celery. The last time I did a major shop was before Memorial Day. We’ve got a lot of food, and I have been working on making room in the freezers. It really helps that the garden is starting to produce, and that I have a good stockpile. The need for milk will be the thing that forces me into the store, I think, and it will be soon.

There are so many things that are keeping us occupied these days. We are needing to take one day at a time, and hopefully get most of our list completed before we collapse on the couch, and are trying to stay frugal while we do so. Mostly, we are succeeding!

Thriving In My thrifty Week–May 24, 2021

Rob, with help from our nephew Jake, cleaned out the heat pump. He noticed there was so much ash and smoke from last summer’s wildfires he was scared to use it without giving it a good cleaning. He called at least one person to possible come do it for us, but they were unavailable, so he watched U-Tube videos and did it himself. Now when it gets hot, we will be ready. Doing basic cleaning and maintenance on our things saves us a ton of money, as they last longer. Doing it himself saves us even more, but it isn’t always possible, even for Rob. I’m glad it worked this time.

Rob took Michaela, our niece, to see horses twice this week. She loves going places and doing things and this is a totally free activity, other than a little gas, as both places were at friends.’ He’s always looking for fun things for them to do and is always excited when he finds good activities.

This past week, we mostly finished planting the garden. I worked a couple of long, hard days doing that. I didn’t take pictures because there’s nothing to show–the seeds aren’t up yet. So you get pictures of my other obsession–the baby:). There are a few small things to finish, but the bulk of it is done, and I’m not sorry it’s raining today. We need it badly.

I got into the flowerbeds a little bit, but there’s a lot left to do on those. The weeds will wait.

I cooked quite a bit as we had meals to deliver to a couple of places, plus our normal cooking. Patsy has been in a mood to cook, so baked brownies, lemon bars and lemon-poppyseed muffins, twice. Rob has been BBQ-ing everything in sight, so it was a group effort.

I spent quite a bit of time taking my rotation with a family member who is recovering from surgery, and we scheduled out the next bit of time as well on a Zoom call with the family. It’s one good thing that has come out of the pandemic–we just set the time up and all got on there and said which days worked for each one of us, then sent out the schedule via text. Now we know who goes over there and when, who cooks, who takes to appointments, etc. all without leaving home. This should eliminate people being scheduled on days that they are already busy and having to trade, but we can trade if we need to. It’s so nice to have several of us able and willing to take turns and to be able to choose convenient times to do so. And, it’s been great to have so much time to visit with that person more than I usually get to.

By Saturday, I was ready for time with the baby. So, I borrowed him for about 6 or 7 hours and Patsy and I just played with him. Rob was gone to a mens’ conference, but he got a turn once he got home. When his mama came and got him, she surprised me with pizza, which we gobbled right up:).

Rob really enjoyed his conference. It was the first thing like that he has been able to attend in a long, long time. It’s very encouraging to see things like that starting back up in our area. Our family is ready to get out there a little more, now that we’ve all had our vaccinations. Patsy got her second dose this week, so she needs to be patient a little longer, but things are definitely looking up.