Friday, September 22, 2017

I've now moved!

I did start a new blog, but not on frugality.  It's on healthy eating and all that goes with it.  The right way!  No processed food should apply.  Come see me!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

In the words of Carol Burnett...

357.  357, this makes 358 posts in this one blog.  I blogged on another sight for a few years, but this one has been my longest run.  I've always been frugal maven from the get go; only my location changed.

We're coming up on a year since my dad passed: 2 weeks from tomorrow.  All of us in the family have started the "a year ago we were", because he was still with us then.  Now he's gone on, and we won't be able to say that for much longer.  After he passed, I considered ending my blog.  If you look at my list of "followers", Daddy was two of them: three if you count the account he set up for Mama, and I was one (by accident).  I never really gained a following, and that's fine.  This blog served it's purpose.  It kept my dad entertained at any rate, and, well, I hope I was able to give a few tips to help someone save money in the future.

It's gotten harder and harder to find things to write about.  To be honest, I don't think my heart has really been in it since Daddy passed.  Over the past year, I've watched as fewer and fewer people tuned into what I had to say.  It doesn't bother me in the least though.  It just points out to me that maybe now would be a good time to move on to other things.  Will I blog again?  Hmmmm maybe.  Who knows.  Etsy is taking a lot of my focus as well as the running of my home.  My boys are almost on their own.  It's a season of changes.  Not sure what the future holds, but I know the man who does.

I want to thank each and every one of you who read my blog; once or consistently.  If you commented here or in person, Thank you.  If you never commented, but I saw where you tuned in, you made my day as well.  I hope in some way, this blog helped someone.   It was my journal of sorts.   It would be nice if it also shared more than just the thoughts of one woman.

So thanks!  I appreciate your support more than you would believe, and in the words of Carol Burnett

"I'm so glad we had this time together
Just to have a laugh or sing a song
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say so long"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Love Yellow Wax Beans!

This is the first year I've planted yellow wax beans in the garden.  It was purely by accident.  I went to the feed store to get green beans, and, well; one should always have their glasses on when shopping.  That's all I'm sayin.  By the time I realized my mistake, they were sprouting.  So I let them go.  I have yet to can any.  Not because we aren't getting them coming in, but because we have discovered roasted beans.   The clouds parted and the angels were singing!  It takes a lot of beans to roast, and you will eat every one I promise.  Just toss them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Preheat your oven to  450.  Spread them out even on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Toss once about half way through the time.  Enjoy!

I always knew about roasted potatoes.  Who doesn't.  Then I learned about roasted carrots.  Now roasted beans.  I'm thinking this roasting thing is going to be my new go to.  I still need to can beans for winter, but I think I'm gonna keep them whole and try roasting them from the jar.  It's an experiment in the making.

The squash is covering me up.  I have grated Zucchini, and sauteed Zucchini and put them in the freezer.  I've made Zucchini relish.  I've also sauteed yellow squash for the freezer.  We've had it for dinner multiple times as well.  In fact I will cook some for just myself some lunches.  I still have it coming in.

So far I have about 4.5 lbs of blueberries which is more than I thought I would get.  The blackberries are coming in as well.  All in all, I'm very pleased with the results.

I have to say I like the "Back to Eden" garden.  I know it isn't at it's full potential this year, but it has seriously cut down on the amount of maintenance needed for my garden.  I can't wait to get all I want covered in wood chips done.

So do you have a garden this year?  How's it going?  Share your stories or pics!  I would love to see them!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Uppin My Game

My latest book read is "Folks this ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin; owner of Polyface farms in Virginia.  Highly recommend this book.  He's a big proponent of not just local eating, but scratch cooking, old skills, hard work etc.  Anyway, he got me to thinking and so I started looking around for local sources as well as organic, free range, pastured sources for food.  Here is what I know.  I can't do it all.  So if I am going to be able to buy truly local and organic foods I will need to grow most of it.  Next on my list is raising pastured  chicken cause that is out of my range too, but I digress.

As a result of my new found determination to grow as much of my produce as I can, My garden is slated to be in over drive for the season.  I'm fortunate that we have a long growing season.  Our first frost usually isn't until Oct 21st and we normally don't get brutally cold (teens and twenties) until Jan.  This give me extra time for cold weather crops to come in.  Currently there is no more room in my garden for anything else, but as things play out and are pulled out, I will be replacing them with something else.

Squash- The first to go.  I currently have 9 squash plants growing.  These were all planted a few weeks behind each other.  The first set of three is about done.  They will be pulled out and some volunteer lima beans will take their place.  The volunteers are currently growing next to my decks bottom step.  Green beans( bush) will more than likely replace the other squash plants.

Cucumbers-  These are only the first 3 sets planted.  I have four more that haven't started producing yet.  Okra will go there

Corn-  The corn is going gang busters!  Once these beds are done, I'll plant more green beans.  Corn is a heavy feeder and so before I plant the beans, my plan is to mix in more compost and let the beds sit a few weeks.  I will plant these beans about August 1st.  Beans take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the ground through their roots.  It will continue to replenish the soil.

Yellow Wax, and Lima Beans- These are currently growing and beginning to set pods.  As these finish, I will begin planting my cool weather crops: Beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers, spinach, and lettuce,

Cherry tomatoes_ despite my no volunteer pledge, I finally got to the point where I had to let some stay.  The are relegated to one main branch,  however.  As these die back, the plants will be pulled out and maybe snow peas will be added.  The cherry tomatoes will be dehydrated (I hope).

Roma tomatoes-  Once they die back they're done.  I'm not gonna try to let them keep going.  I'll replace them with snow peas if possible.

When my slicing tomatoes die back, they will be allow to stay.  When it cools off, they will come back and make the prettiest tomatoes.  These I will pick green and can fried green tomatoes for the pantry.

How cool will it be to have a garden last until Dec or Jan?  AWESOME!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Garden Update

The Garden is in full swing now.  Things are starting to bloom and I'm finally getting some squash.

Not sure if the "romance" worked or if my problem was one of a pest causing the squash to not produce.  I went to an area farmers market and, while there, talked to a very nice farmer who recommended I remove all of the babies and spray with an organic spray.  Desperate to try anything, I went home and did just that.  Well I did almost that.  I removed all of the affected babies; those that were no longer viable.  So not sure if the assisted romance worked or if his idea worked, but something did and for that I am thankful.  You want something good to eat?  Melt a little butter and chop up a yellow squash and some onion.  Saute it all in the butter with a little salt and pepper until the onions are kinda caramelized and the squash is soft.  Oh YUM!

This is one of my favorite beds.  I have no idea why I took this picture without putting that flat cinder block back in place, but it is what it is so just disregard that and feast your eyes on the pretty plants!  Tomatoes are all along the back.  Then from left to right we have Parsley, Marigolds, Basil, Bell Peppers, More Marigolds, More Basil, More Bell Pepper, and last but not least, More parsley.  By the Way, far left you see something growing out of the cinder block.  That isn't a weed.  It's Marigolds.  I let them stay where they landed and they are thriving.  Go figure.

The corn has sent up it's tassels and is currently taller than me.  It's over 6 ft at this point.  At least this bed is.  This is my first batch of corn.  There are 3 more beds behind this one in development.  Ironically all of the seeds were planted in the bed you see before you.  The subsequent beds of corn were transplanted in place to thin this area.  Once you transplant a plant, it sets it back a bit because the plants has to re-establish itself.  That takes time so the regular growth is interrupted for a bit.  This is a great way to succession plant without having to pull out the seeds each time.  I planted them all at once, then moved what I needed to.  You can go to my "How to" page to see a tutorial on transplanting successfully.  Here's the link to the page :

Click Here

So here is the organic garden spray recipe I use:

1 onion, chopped
4 gloves garlic (you can use garlic powder)
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 TBS cayenne pepper
1 TBS dish soap
Enough water to make a gallon.

I start with putting everything but the water and soap in a 2 quart jar and adding just enough warm water cover it all.  Then Pulse it in my blender.  I let it sit over night "steeping".  In the morning I strain out the "stuff", leaving the liquid.  Add the rest of the water to make a gallon and the TBS of soap.  Put in a spray bottle and go.  Spray either early in the morning or in the evening.  Try not to spray in the heat of the day.

This has served me well so far and is so inexpensive I don't mind having to reapply if needed after a rain storm.

Hope this serves you well as well.  Have a great day!  BTW aren't my free wood chips so pretty!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The art of romance

Ahem... never thought I would have ever done this, but a gardeners gotta do, what a gardeners gotta do.

I have three huge yellow squash plants and two huge zucchini plants all covered with baby fruit.   And I do mean covered.  I should be covered up with squash coming in right now.   Problem is, though they are covered with baby fruit, these fruit will grow no more unless pollinated by bees.     I could not figure out for the life of me why this wasn't happening.  I went out this morning to investigate.   At first I thought is was a lack of bees, but I don't believe now that was the case.  Something, probably bunnies (who are getting less cute by the minute) is eating the male flowers.  Not cool.  There were maybe two male flowers left between the two zucchini plants.  So quieting the voice in my head that said "give them some privacy",  I took the male flowers off, opened them up, and went around to the rest of the viable fruits (some had already started dying.  Nothing to do about that.) and pollinated the fruit (female flowers) by hand.  I did the same with the yellow squash.  I will more than likely have to continue this for now, each day.   I now have a keen knowledge of what a male flower and a female flower looks like with their petals off.  I know, I know.  Just feels wrong somehow.  But it had to be done.  Below are the squash flowers.  Left is male, right is female.  See how it is attached to the fruit?

On the wood chip front, I am off this morning for another load of free wood chips.  The ones I have already laid down are doing great!  The plants are thriving.  In fact, I thought we were done with asparagus for the season, but we have more coming up now that they are protected from heat, and have plenty of moisture.  We received a lot of rain these past three days and so the garden is exploding.  After the plants dry some, It is back to pulling off tomato suckers, cutting herbs, and other various garden maintenance.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Two totally awesome gardening tips I never knew!

Well, that title sounds like I know everything.  That is soooooo not the case.  The old adage of "You learn something new everyday" is really true.  That is if you are willing to learn.  That is a sermon for another day, so ON TO THE TIPS!

1)  Milk spray-  Yes.  That is milk like you get at the store.  While walking through my garden the other day, I noticed a lot of white spots on my cucumbers.  So, I went to the computer to ask why.  Well it's called "Powdery Mildew" and it is prevalent among the squash family.  In an effort to keep my garden as organic as possible, I looked up organic treatments for "Powdery Mildew".  I found many articles on milk spray.  Basically it's 1 part milk to 2 parts water.  You can use any type milk you want.  It's the protein in the milk that does the trick.  Something about the reaction created when the sun hits the milk.  It creates an environment that the fungus can't handle.  I sprayed yesterday.  You should spray in full sun when the leaves are dry.  When I went out this morning to check on things, I noticed the spots are fading and, in some cases, disappearing.   I'll spray again in 10 days or if it rains.

2) Back to Eden Gardening-  In a nut shell, deep mulch gardening.  Here is a link for the info.  It's kind of lengthy, as it's a documentary, but I watched the whole thing. Very informative.

***  check with your local landfill or tree service to obtain wood chips.  I should have some being delivered this week or next by a tree service, but I also took my little truck to our landfill and they had wood chips for days.  They filled my little truck to the tippy top of the bed.  The last two days I have been putting wood chips in my garden beds, flower pots, window boxes, etc.

Here's my garden so far with the chips added.  I need more chips to cover the last four beds and plan to put chips in between my beds as well which will get rid of the rock walkway.