Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It is a rainy morning here.  Not a heavy rain, but I will take what I can get.  Especially when I got to get in my last planting of bush beans yesterday.  If I have them in the ground by August 1st, I can get one last harvest before the first frost hits here around the end of October.  So I can check that off my list. Right now I know I should be canning limas and navy beans, but instead i'm on here.  Hmmm.  I'll get to it in a minutes.  Don't rush me!
Anyway, I have been somewhat productive this morning.  I put up my first dried parsley.  I still have some store bought that I will need to use up so this was crushed and then stored in the freezer.  Apparently drying herbs isn't as hard as I thought.  You cut them, wash them well, tie them into a bunch(preferably but the stems), hang them upside down in a cool place that gets good air circulation, and let them dry thoroughly.  Then all you have to do is remove the leaves from the stems, take the leaves and roll them in your hands.  Kinda like rolling dough for cookies.  The herbs will crumble. Roll it until it is the consistency you desire.  Then store in a jar either in the freezer if it will be a while before it is used, or on your shelf for immediate use.  See!  Easy Breezy.  Right now I have Oregano, Rosemary, Mint, and Thyme drying.  My closet smells soooo good.  Oh FYI, my walk-in closed is split into two.  Half is for our clothes, and half is my "pantry".  I will try and get a pic, but right now I can't find my camera.  Ya know there are just some times when I get a small inkling of how weird I am.  But I embrace it!  EMBRACE THE WEIRDNESS!
On a normal note, I can share a blessing I received yesterday.  I try to say "blessing" instead of "lucked up".  Sometimes I slip, but I try to remember that "every good and perfect gift comes from above" so I figure if God can take the time to count the hairs on my head (that gets easier as I get older lol), He must want to  take the time to bless me with small little gifts as well.  This gift came in the form of more herbs.  I went to the local Ace Hardware yesterday to get some more bush bean seeds to plant.  When I was going into the store I noticed some really rough looking plants in the corner.  They looked about dead.  I said something to the cashier about them and she said they were throwing them away.  I said if they were throwing them away I could take some off her hands.  She said to take what I wanted.  I picked out three "orange citrus"mint, 1 dill, and one Parsley.  I know I don't need parsley, but it was fighting for life.  I didn't have the heart to leave it to die.  So I brought everyone home.  Once I pulled the dead branches from around the mint I realized there were living little mint plants bound and determined to live.  I am happy to say they made it through the night and seem to be doing well.  I will share one with a friend(hey K), one with my sister (hey D), and keep the last one.  The dill and parsley were replanted, dead branches removed, well watered, mulched, and shaded yesterday to let them get their roots established. Then I gave them the talkin to that I usually give my transplants/volunteers. " I have done all I can.  If you die it is not my fault".   That speech has worked so far.  Why mess with a good thing ya know?  Today is a perfect day for them to come out from the shade a bit because of the clouds and rain.  So far they are looking Okay, but it is still a wait and see.  The dill I believe is a perennial and so I will be very excited if I can get it to come back.
Speaking of "coming back".  My tomato plants are doing what they do every year.  They will die, or at least look about dead in the hottest part of the summer.  Leaves turn brown, no blooms. The blooms just wither and die back.  Then just about the time I go out to pull them up, I notice new growth, blooms, etc beginning. So I make sure they are well watered, weeded, etc to give them the best chance.  After a while I will have lush green tomato plants hanging with tomatoes.  Just about the time they are ready to start ripening, We have our first frost and that kills the tomato plants.  The tomato don't ripen and I end up with a lot of green tomatoes use. I have canned green tomatoes for fired green tomatoes, I have made green tomato mincemeat, and salsa.  I don't need anymore.  So my plant for this year is to cover them with a hoop house prior to the first frost.  If I can just give the plants enough time to let the tomatoes ripen naturally, I think I will get a good second harvest.  Well worth the cost of making a hoop house.  In addition to beans, and tomatoes in my "fall" garden, I will plant beets and spinach in the next few weeks.  Other than that things should slow down.

So now that I have rambled for a page or so, I have to go can beans and BBQ sauce. I can't put it off anymore.  Well unless I can think of something else to do.  Lol  I hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We're Back!

We had a wonderful time.  Caution: vacation pictures ahead.  Read on at your own risk!   We really didn't go very far afield, but we did go to the North Georgia mountains which are about a 45 minute drive from here.  We left Wednesday after noon.  We went out to lunch to kill time until we could check in , we thought, at 1:30.  Unfortunately we arrived at the cabins only to find we had to wait to check in til 3 pm.  We decided to drive around a bit and ended up in a little flea market.  Not much to write home about, but it killed some time.  We also found a covered bridge my dad told me about
This bridge was built in 1890 after the original bridge was washed away.  I am sorry to say there have been quite a few people vandalizing the bridge.  If you look closely you can see the vandalism.  But we walked across the bridge and it seems so solidly built I am sure it will be here for another century.
.  By the time we got checked into our cabin there really wasn't much we could go do in Helen.  Most of the shops start to close down around 6 or so.  Instead we went to an ice cream parlor.  They serve Mayfield Ice cream and it was yummy.  Yea, I come by my weight honestly.......Anyway.  Thursday was our main gallivanting time.  We set out to breakfast at this cute, cute cute restaurant called Hofer's restaurant in Helen Ga.  Helen is a small town in White county Ga that is built to resemble a Bavarian Town in the Alps.  Hofer's lives up to the image.  It is a bakery/ restaurant.  Everything in the restaurant is Shipped over from Germany.  The waitresses all wear dresses with full skirts and a ruffled apron.  Cute.  I tried to get a picture of a gorgeous dough bowl on top of the china cabinet, but I couldn't get a good enough pic to do it justice.  I was however enamored of the coffee pot with which they brought our coffee. Here it is
And there are no coffee creamer packets.  Oh no.  They bring the cream in a little matching pitcher with cute little coffee cups.  I felt like we were having a tea party.  Oh and should you guys think I would forget about the food(you don't know me very well).  Our breakfast was great and plentiful.  We were planning on stopping back by to purchase some baked goods to take home, but never got back.  We will remedy that later.  Here are some shots of the temptations we were faced with:

I can feel my waist expanding as I look at these.  Yummy.  Now I know why fat people are jolly.  Beats the heck out of  a celery stick!  Anyway.   We also went to Habersham winery and tasted a couple of different wines.  We bought a peach one that was really good.  We went to a coffee shop called Jumpin Joe's and bought some caramel delight coffee.  It was really good.  The lady running the place was very sweet and helpful........and....uh....ENERGETIC!  I commented to my Dh that I believe the saleslady had tried a little too much of the product.   Just sayin.  My absolute favorite place is Nora Mills.  It is a water powered stone mill that still mills its grains each day to sell.  In addition to that it has all these little things like old fashioned candies, home canned goods, cast iron pots and other old timey kitchen essentials.
I have found they have the best price on wheat germ so next time I need some wheat germ that is where I am going.  They also have 50lb bags of wheat berries you can buy for $35.  These wheat berries do sprout so Kristen that is for you....and me if I can steal your bread recipe!  Went went a few other places: The Old Sautee store, lunch at the Nachoochee Grill, a two floor antique shop, a collectibles shop, and we topped it off with a hike to Dukes Creek Falls.  The trip down to the falls if fine cause you get to go down hill, and down, and down.  It is a mile down and a mile back.  The path zig zags.  You have three levels til you reach the bottom.  The middle level is deceptively "level"  When you are coming back you realize it is not level, but is still a gradual incline.  The final level before you reach the parking lot (this is one the way back up) will increase your prayer life exponentially.
So that is our mini vacation.  We came home Thursday night instead of leaving first thing in the morning Friday Morning.  Much to our sons dismay, who were loving having the run of the house.  Nice to be missed right?
So today has been an out door gardening day.  I have picked tomatoes, limas, my watermelon, pinto beans, navy beans, and a couple of peppers.  Now I am going to sit and watch something and shell beans, and more beans, and more beans.....   Fall is looking pretty good right now.  So I have to go now.  See ya round the block!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gonna be away for a few more days

Dh and I are going away for a few days to a wonderful cabin in the mountains....  Then it will be weekends and I will work, but I promise come Monday there will be a new post here for anyone interested in my little life.  I can report my final tally for my blueberries is 32 lbs.  3 lbs less than I wanted, but the birdies got to the rest before I could get to them.  But I do have three more bushes that will start producing next year.  Very happy with the outcome.  SO everyone have a great week and I will see you come Monday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

They call me The Power Nazi!

Yes, it is amazing how proactive you become regarding power usage when you are no longer on a budget billing system through your power provider(for those of you unaware of what "budget billing" is, its where your provider averages the use for a year and the average is what you pay each month).  I had become lax in hanging clothes on the line or the kids leaving lights or a TV on because we paid the same each month.  I have been watching our bills for the past few months and we have been ahead of the game over this past year.  Way ahead.  This was due mainly to the fact that my daughter and her family found their own place last summer, but the bill wouldn't reflect it til the anniversary of the budget billing, which is in August.  So armed with the information regarding our normal monthly usage for each month, I called and cancelled the budget billing.  I feel this is going to help over the long run.  While it is nice to know what you are being billed each month, I feel it contributes to a less than committed desire to conserve electricity.  Now, I am reminiscent of my childhood and the loving nostalgic phrases like " CLOSE THE DOOR YOU'RE LETTING OUT THE HEAT!(or cold depending on the season), "WERE YA RAISED IN A BARN!", "turn the lights off we aren't made of money ya know", and other wonderful phrases which I find myself repeating to my kids.  Rubic jokes and says "mom makes us turn our lights and TV off now".  to which I reply "when you have a job and you are paying the power bill we will talk".  So I am back to being the power Nazi and proud of it.  It is making me think of different ways I can save on power usage and that can only be positive (no power charge pun intended).

Along the same lines as power conservation, but also contributing to time management, I have discovered a little trick on making tomato sauce. I think I have shared my" how to"on making the tomato sauce.  The trick comes after I have cooked the tomatoes.  I still remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon, and place them in my food mill placed over the pot to cook down the sauce.  I let the tomatoes sit in the food mill draining the rest of the juice into the pan.  I have the burner on high and it boils down the juice.  Once the juice is boiled down, I run the actual tomatoes through the mill.  Heat the sauce up and can it.  It takes a lot less time to cook down the juice that way than to let the sauce itself cook down.  I make less mess because I don't have sauce splatters, and I don't end up with some of the sauce sticking to the pan. Over all I believe a power and time saver.

I think that is all the earth shattering, mind blowing (uh right)news from my little homestead.  Work is this weekend, and so pretty sure I will have nothing to report til next week.  In the mean time I am plugging along doing my best to be a good steward of all God has entrusted to me.  I hope everyone has an awesome day.  See ya next go round.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Okay, Okay... but there is a reason I have been gone!

I know.  Hasn't been much daily raving from this frugal maven.  Huh. Seriously.  It has been a little looney tunes around here.  The garden is coming in full force and so I am going back and forth between weeding and garden maintenance and picking/canning.   Here are some examples of day before yesterday's offerings
That was the first load, then I went back out and got
That is Corn, parsley, Lima beans, pinto beans, 3 bell peppers,and a few potatoes(oh and our cat Clapton.lol).  I also picked another pound of blueberries and 6 1/2 pounds of onions.  The corn looks like this after all the shuckin and jivin
I have to say this is the first year I have been able to shuck corn and not have any(and I do mean any) bad places to remove.  Granted there were some kernels near the top of some of the pieces that didn't fill out, but they were all at the top and so easy to remove.  This was my prettiest corn ever.  This has since been blanched and stuck in the freezer.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of the Lima beans shelled.  Apparently I planted colored Limas.  While they are pretty right out of the shell(pink,purple, and white), once canned they look an awful lot like pinto beans.  I made sure to label them.  Pintos are like that too.  Really pretty out of the shell then brown when cooked.
In addition to this days offerings, I have put up 31 quarts of tomato sauce, 20 pints of salsa, a batch of peach jam, a batch of mixed berry jam, and a batch of blackberry jelly. Onions are done for the season.  Only got 6.5 lbs, but this was an experiment to see how it would do.  Haven't decided if I will do it again.  I came out on top, and they didn't take up a lot of space so I might do it again. The tomatoes, peppers, beans, Lima beans, corn, and peanuts aren't done yet for the year.  I can't wait til I can post a final tally of all my garden produced.
Now , I want to share something else with you.  Take a gander at my watermelons
See that vine climbing all over the place?  There are two watermelons in sight.  If you are wondering what is around them, those are t shirt sleeves left over from making "yarn" out of old t shirts.  I used them to make a melon hammock.  These watermelons are free.  They are volunteer plants from watermelon seeds I planted last year from a store bought watermelon purchased the year before. Very proud of these little buggers.  Well you won't believe what I have now.  I was out reclaiming one of my peanut beds.  The weeds were getting pretty tall surrounding the beds.  So off I go to pull them up.  Here is what I uncovered
Yep.  Two more volunteer watermelon plants.  So I pulled out the weeds from around them, lay some pine straw around them, gave them something to climb on and a good drink of water.  I have done all I can.  The rest is up to them.  Hmm maybe more watermelons for labor day...or Halloween.  Lol.  Last but not least I will share the progress of my little pinto bean babies that I grew from pinto beans bought at Aldi.
Their germination rate was much better than the pinto beans bought at Sams club.  So Sams club is for cooking and Aldi is for planting.  So that is why I have been off the air for so long....Well part of it.  Through in the everyday stuff and you pretty much have it.  I promise I will be better at doing this in the fall when things slow down a bit.  So until next time dear people!  Have  great day!