Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kitchen Scraps...

One of the memories my youngest daughter and I share is the Thanksgiving dinner we were prepping the veggie tray and someone who will remain nameless thought they were helping tossed the peels in the trash and we looked in the trash can and mourned the lost of the the veggie broth we would have made... that is when my Daddy told me that sometimes I get too frugal in the kitchen. I looked back at him and asked who was it that told me each and every bite was important because when you are hungry one bite can mean a lot...it was him.

I wash my veggies and  keep the peelings off onions, carrots, potatoes, stems of cauliflower and broccoli plus the strings and ends of celery, bell pepper cores (without most of the seeds) and toss them in a freezer bag, when I get a gal of peelings I make veggie broth/stock. Price it at the store and you will start tossing your peelings in the freezer also. Garlic skins in the freezer bag..The ends of mushrooms also (store mushrooms in a brown lunch bag and put in frig and they will last longer). They can go together and make veggie broth or I can use the broccoli stems for stir fry,salads or cream of broccoli soup or slaw if I have enough. Mushrooms simmered are a good base for sauces, gravies or mushroom soup. Potato peels simmered make a good starch water for gravies and I have used the water also for potato soup or baked potato skins. I don't do cabbage for broth... I will make freezer slaw if I have enough of the outer tougher leaves to make it with.

I eat radish greens,carrot tops,beet greens and turnip greens...and the greens of scallions(AKA green onions).I also saute these and freeze them to toss in broth or casseroles or soups.

Citrus peels go in vinegar for cleaning or dried for zest or put in salt or sugar , I will candy them during the holidays to give as gifts.

Bones go into a stock pot to make broth... fish (which isn't very often since the grandson isn't around that fishes) pork (goes well in cabbage dishes and stews) ham (beans, cabbage) beef (noodles, soups, stews) poultry(soups, stews, noodles) not touching gravy. Gravy and bread was my Daddy's breakfast during warm months, oatmeal was for winter. That's what he ate for 16 yrs every morning.I also keep, strain and freeze these meats fat (well not fish). I have kept shrimp shells for seafood broth but Hubby's cholesterol goes up with shell fish so I don't do that unless I know the kids are going to be around.

Dried out cheese or rinds are saved to thicken or flavor sauces and casseroles.I will cut mold off and use the rest of the cheese.

Fruit skins and cores can make juice or jams or syrups including watermelon rind  as pickles or shrubs.

Bread heels, crumbs etc go into bread crumbs, bread pudding (sweet or savory) French toast, into soups, salads, dressings (AKA stuffings) coatings for foods.

Herb stems are kept in bags for adding to stocks and broths. I'll be straining it anyways and it gives the same flavor.

I simmer corn cobs to make corn cob syrup (good on corn bread and Johnny cakes/hoe cakes) and corn cob jam.If you save the husks you can make tamales.

I reuse my pickling brine including the pickled beet brine.

At one time both my parents grew grease bean a type of green bean. Mom called them shuck beans... regretfully they thought you could only eat the bean inside (like a pea) and threw away the outside which is called leather britches that can be cooked long time after you dehydrate them.

I use old cookies for topping on fruit crisps or pies or as pie crust (like a graham cracker crust)

No wine goes down the drain no matter how old or how long is has been open. I either use it in cooking or turn it into vinegar ...usually cooking.

We drink coffee, we drink day old coffee or even a couple days old coffee, or it goes in stews or gravies. Grounds go to the compost or garden.

Egg shells get washed, dried and crushed for the gardens.

Put bread heel in sugar and it will soften it that goes also for cookies when sealed in a container or bag.

Tea bags as I sit here drinking my 3rd cup of tea from the same bag. I have gathered a couple of the same tea bags and brewed in water then cooked rice in that water. Used it as a hair conditioner, tossed in the garden ...tons of things to do with used tea bags.

I cook all my winter squash including pumpkin, dehydrate it for using later. I use the squash seeds in shell for snacks and out of the shell as nuts.

When I was growing up Daddy always had a spot for the compost from the house went. He moved it every year. Just didn't plant that area... about a 4 ft x 4 ft area . Here on this farm we use the fields as we get enough compost from the manure/straw from the barns. When I check the ph in the gardens late fall I will put what is needed for it on it then to "marry" over winter.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Done this week.

I pray that everyone is finding a blessing each and every day.

As today I was up at 3 am sick with allergies and praying it wasn't like the sinus infection Hubby came down with ...my blessing is it's just a bad allergy flare up and the meds I keep on hand are working really well. It's a day of rest anyways so being totally worn out from not being able to breath and being sick from the meds I can rest.

I cleaned another shelving unit in the basement. This is one is the speciality flours, assorted bread crumbs,dehydrated eggs (top shelf) pastas (2nd and 3rd shelves, ramen noodles in 1 -5 gal bucket)) and different rices, bottom shelf (and 2 of the 5 gal buckets). School scissors is in the hanging basket to cut the panty hose the onions are in (not shown) along with the cleaning rag that I had and put there so I wouldn't forget to toss in laundry.Like it was hard to walk 10 ft to the washer and toss it with the rest of the cleaning rags...SIGH. 5  shelving units to go.

The buckets do show that gamma seal lids we got at Menards during the 11% rebate for all the food buckets so I don't have to either fix something else because I forgot to have Hubby pry open the bucket before he goes to bed or hurt myself (sure did ) trying to pry it open with my bad arm. I have found since we put them on that I am using more from the buckets than I was and we are having a better variety on the table. Boy do I miss my strength.

Other side of the same shelving unit. On the floor( actually it's on a board) you can see my shortening...the oils and vinegars sit there also but Hubby had the storm door sitting there and the flash from the camera kept reflecting so it wasn't a good picture.I didn't think I should share a picture of the flash of my cell phone. ;)

I found paprika and cayenne at my price point so stocked that up. I will make my spice blends AFTER I finish the gardens. I did go through my spice blend recipes to make sure I had what I needed to make them.I make over 2 dozen spice blends that can be bought at the store. but is cheaper for me to make it at home. A negative of being a professional personal/private chef is the costs of spices, herbs, condiments and booze that is can be required. I am thankful that I had several instructors that taught how to grow herbs, buy spices in bulk and what to sub for what you didn't want to use(broth or flavored water for booze) or couldn't afford to use. I can now use my dried cayenne for just straight cayenne powder. Next year I will have to grow cayenne so that's on my buy list for plants. Positive side is I serve a variety of foods from different countries.

I did get the good news that I will not have to have surgery on the left shoulder at this time. I do have a slight, very slight bone spur and a lot of arthritis but nothing damaged or in the way of being damaged UNLESS I throw the shoulder out of place and don't immediately get it put back into place. The reason I am not able to put the right hand behind my back isn't the surgery but how my cerebral palsy has reacted to the surgery and sling. I have some stretches added to my daily stretches for my CP and my appointment to start therapy at Hubby's company's wellness center (we pay $26/yr for the 2 of us... yes just $26) . Doc did suggest I talk to my back doctor (pain doc) and see if he can help ease the stiffness as I am due for my injections. Shoulder doc, pain doc, Crohny doc and doc...doc is primary who is also a friend. that's the only way Hubby can keep the doc's straight .

We met with our friends for dinner , no coupon and not during lunch time so that was not really frugal and worn out from being at the auction  but her hubby let us know at the dinner she was having knee replacement surgery and wouldn't be going out for dinner for a couple months.Very glad we decided to suck it up and meet them.

Our youngest owes us money and is now at the stage of being able to make us payments (She's finally back to work full time) It was going to cost her to transfer it to me since we live 1 1/2 hrs away and neither of us is driving it. I said something to our son that I owe money to (he paid the deposit for the rental hall for our Tday dinner) and he suggested she pay him because he can transfer to me for free AND since he owes our mechanic and is making payments to him on a monthly basis through me (son uses debit/credit card only and mechanic charges a fee for use of  debit/credit card) I could just pay off the bill he has with the mechanic instead of paying him. He will also get the hall cheaper by being the one to sign for it since he is a member.

A friend that stays in motels all the time due to work sent me the tea they leave in the room. Housekeeping told him they have to pitch it when he checks out because it might be contaminated so he kept it and sent it to me.

I've saved my butter wrappers and they are in the freezer. I bakes a beef roast in the oven with root veggies, a pork roast with sweet potatoes in the crock pot for the first day of fall and made cheeseburgers and onions for the last day of summer. We ate leftovers the rest of the time except when we with friends that one time.

We went to Amish produce auction. We have NEVER left with spending so little (only 1 /5 of what we budget and usually spend) and still we got most of what we went for. We got 40 of 10-15 lbs pumpkins for $28. That is 70¢ a pumpkin.We got 43 wee be little pumpkins ( the type that most people use for decorations.. we eat them) for 50¢ a piece, they are big enough that one will make a serving for each of us. We got 50 lbs of candy onions (think sweet onions ) for 60¢ lb. I have now gave the kids most of the others and will dehydrate what is left of what I had as the new onions are cured better so will store better. We got 70 lbs of apples for 40¢/lb. We wasn't going to get any but our friends let us know that it looked like not many would be coming from their neighbor. Better to have too many than not enough as we eat applesauce daily if I have it canned.

We stopped at the produce market farm and got the last of the winter squash. They didn't have delicata or hubbard so we will most likely go without.

We delivered pumpkins/potatoes and onions to 5 of the 6 kids. We got to see 4 of them as the one was running her kids to games and the other parent. She was happy we had dropped off the food but not thrilled her dad put a 50 lbs bag of potatoes on her driver's seat and passenger seat of her car.Lucky for her that her boyfriend stopped in and moved them for her as he laughed at watching her rolling them out of the car onto a blanket to pull them into the house. She might remember to get that key she made us to us before we deliver something again.  I got to play a bit with my great grandson while his momma helped Hubby unload what she was taking... and she took the rest to deliver to 2 of our friends that wasn't home so we wouldn't have to make another 1 1/2 hr one way trip or leave it where it could be stolen. I got to see my one granddaughter that I haven't seen in over a year as she is always doing something when we are in the area.

Hubby mowed all of the yard and ditches including all the trimming.

We had 5 not so good pumpkins in the 40 that I decided instead of trying to process it right now along with tomatoes etc that I would just use the for decorations. Hubby decided afterwards he would toss them to the cows and pig landlord's son has here. They were okay with that.

I washed some jars I found in the garage that had came from an auction last year and was shoved under the bench behind the metal tool box that used to sit in the truck bed. Hubby uses it for storage.

I bartered 7 pumpkins with the landlord's oldest son (he has a boy and girl) in exchange of him hauling the dead plants and straw from the gardens when I wrap that up. He said he could actually use it because they need  that type of stuff for the compost pile they have at his grandmother's house.He can get the stuff when he cleans the barn next month or in early Nov.

My son gave me a pair of flannel pj bottoms that he didn't like (too warm for him) that I can wear as long as I roll the waistband when I am walking so I don't trip on the length. So that's off my to sew list.

We decided against planting anything for winter since the gardens are still going crazy. I can buy romaine lettuce at Aldi's once a month for our lettuce needs. Our friend planted lettuce 3 times in the last month and this heat just killed it off.

I have 3 appointments still to schedule but am waiting on the one so I can hopefully tie at least 1 if not 2 in with the trip.

Hubby told me this morning after he went out and played 10(ball as we started limiting him to 10 throws after spending 8 hrs doing nothing but playing ball with him as a pup) with Rascal that I have herbs, tomatoes, and eggplants to deal with and he wasn't sure but maybe bell peppers by the end of the week as they still haven't turned orange or red yet. I know I have some onions in the one box in the north gardens that need pulled and cured. I know I have flowers to dead head.

Blessed be and have a wonderful first week of fall.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Warm snap/ preparing for our new future

Menard's had their 11 % rebate sale still going on so we replaced the bad turkey fryers that went out while I was using them canning. Hubby bought 1 new fryer (not the pot part just the burner and stand) and one burner saving over $60 of buying 2 new ones.Which was good as I canned over 20 pts of caponata in one day. We got 40 lbs of dog food bringing us up to 80 lbs so that should take us through 4 months with just Rascal. I bought 2 new throw rugs for less than $4 each, a rubber one (think front door rug) to go on the metal trunk at the end of our bed so Rascal's nails don't scratch it and it stays in place and one for in front of the stove(the picture) as that one was sliding on me and that's an accident waiting to happen... I have accidents every day don't need to "plan" for one.

Caponata: eggplant, onions and tomatoes and in this case bell peppers because I still had 6 left after canning and didn't want to see them any more LOL.

I sorted through my bag of chef potatoes (baking potatoes) and they are in the root cellar.I still have 50 lbs to dehydrate for mashed potatoes though a few of them might go in storage.

I rewrote the stock up list as I can't trust my brain and more than I can my body, as once again I fell and hit my arm that I had surgery on...GRRR.

Daddy's first ride in his Goodwill wheelchair fixed by my sister in law.Daddy was smiling all the way up the hill as Hubby pushed him up, said he enjoyed the ride back down as Hubby took him down backwards since it was so steep. Grandson(14 yr old...Daddy's great grandson) asked if he could sit on his lap for a ride. Daddy told him no...then waited a beat and said he would sit on the grandson's lap instead and it was okay if he popped a wheelie....as daughter told everyone the boys had found an old wheelchair in the barn and they cleaned it up and brought it in a pop wheelies through the house with it.

I made brownies with mini choc chips and carrot cake (cut the raisins up as Daddy can't eat whole raisins) for the family reunion from the pantry. My older daughter let me know while in route she forgot to get the veggie tray and since we were going to be there early could we stop and get something and she could pay us back. She told us what she was going to pay. We stopped and got a veggie tray, a fruit tray and a  dozen of assorted muffins and still was less than what she would have paid. PLUS she told us to bring the leftovers home.

Since we both forgot to grab some chicken that my brother brought to the reunion to bring home for dinner we snacked on the veggie and fruit trays along with what was left of the brownies and carrot cake (grandsons didn't realize  they left it or we wouldn't have had it to bring home) Hubby had a lunch meat wrap to go with is even though he was not feeling good all day. Woke with no voice and a nasty sore throat Sunday and today.

On the way back home from the reunion, we realized the route we take to the Amish auction (this coming Friday)was going to have a detour that day which also meant we couldn't get to the 2 places that was on our list with the towing the trailer to pick up winter food from so today I went over and got what I could. Winter sq isn't coming in for them very well but I got 4 squashes when I wanted 12. Might be going without if I don't find more. I did well at the Amish country store, even though I didn't get the paprika or cayenne like I wanted because of the price.I will see if I can find fresh cayenne that I can dry and grind myself.They were out of paprika so I will have to get it else where as I make other spice blends with it. By going today we can go another way to the auction and not add 60 miles detour to get to the other places while hauling a trailer which cuts the gas mileage in half as it is.

Hubby woke me up coughing through the night and when I did get up this morning he couldn't hardly talk so I called and got him in to the ENT doc which Hubby was NOT happy with me for doing...good thing I did as he has an infection and it was triggering his GERD to the point it was going to be doing DAMAGE... he is on meds for the infection and will have his primary deal with allergy meds to take in the spring and fall for now on. OTC just doesn't work for him it seems.

This week is suppose to be mid 80s with rain... I put the flower pots out to get rained on. We had to turn the AC back on as it's is way to hot in here especially for Hubby without it. AC is set at 78 °.

We are ate out twice ( medical appts both times only 9 more to go and hopefully none will result in surgery),  got the cheapest meal (bfast)we could and used coupons and both times brought food home for another meal with only adding a veggie or fruit. I only bought milk and lettuce from the store for us for our weekly (well biweekly now). The rest is stock up only.Hubby told me he would rather see me spending the money to stock up on sale NOW rather than put the money in an account earning next to nothing in interest and then spending more for it AND paying for gas to go to town for it this winter. We have 3.75 mos. of our budget saved right now for this coming winter. Our goal is/was 4 mos as we know we will have money coming in with in 2 mos of his retirement of Dec 1st.It's just the time of the retirement being winter...higher utilities, more gas costs to drive to town due to having to warm up the truck and weight in the back of the truck, on top of the health ins costs.

 In middle of writing this we lost the transformer in the back yard so everything shut down. Power surge caught it.BUT since it didn't make any sound ( they usually explode)I didn't realize it had blew. Everyone in neighborhood was out. So Hubby cranked up the generator. Two hours later everyone had electric but us. Landlord  came down to see if there was something going on that Hubby was missing and found the insulator laying in the yard, it was split in half. An hour later the repair truck was here and the transformer on the road blew as he was pulling up. He shut down the electric and within 30 mins had everything fixed (thanks (NOT) to now dead squirrel) .Waited to make sure we could turn lights on in the house before leaving.  I can say we can handle being without electric for about 24 hours before we would need to go get gas. We can get gas from the neighbor that is 1/2 mile from us. Their generator is propane ran and they have gas tanks due to their business. The propane tank for the grill is full and there is backup if needed.

Hubby took another night of work off due to still being sick. I had my MRI for my other shoulder this morning so we got all our prescriptions while in town.We also swung by the chiropractor to see if he could squeeze us in since we were in town instead of us coming back in 2 hrs later. Worked better for the doctor also as he had no one this morning and was back to back with clients later.

I washed foil and box inserts and hung them on the drying rack to dry. I hung a load of laundry I washed in cold tap water and homemade laundry soap (I use vinegar for softener). I added water to shampoo and conditioner. I saved veggie peels in freezer to make veggie stock later. I save meat grease for later also. I am collecting scarlet runner beans as they dry to replant next year. I get one bean about every other week.The birds pretty much munched down on the blooms and the mole did a really good job of messing up all the flowers and those beans in that sq ft garden.

Bought myself 2 pairs of jeans (first in 10 yrs if not longer) that was marked down 30% and bras (sorry to the  guys). Nothing is fitting right and beyond my sewing talents or it's so worn out it's not worth wearing any more...and believe me I have clothes I bought and wore regular since 2005, my jeans I've been wearing is my youngest daughter's and she bought them in 2001) I might cry when I have to give up my one skort that I bought in Philly PA in 2005 at an USPCA convention. I have taken it in more than once as I now weigh close to 25 lbs less.I found socks that fit with a rebate so I am set for winter mostly... I think I'm set but I haven't put all the warm weather stuff away and put the cold weather stuff out completely. Hubby thinks jeans is all he needs and only a few pairs for wearing for good. He has to try on his dress pants also.

Electric bill dropped 20 % since I went to doing the canning outside and not heating up the house or using the electric stove as much as I do use the pressure canner on the kitchen stove.

We checked our board games and puzzles for something to do this winter when Hubby first retires. He would like a few new board games and puzzles so I will be checking the yards sales in 2 wks. I have made a yard sale list...I am hoping to find winter curtains (need 8 sets) along with bookshelves  and maybe ...a desk. Son is going to check the Goodwill he bought his desk at to see if they have anything. Manual can opener, my spare is getting in bad shape.

I called the wellness center to see how it was going about starting my rehab there ... The lady doing it finally got the release she needed and is working out a program for me. I had glenoid labrum tear with SLAP lesion along with bone spurs, bursitis and tendonitis along with the bicep tendon having a hole in it. I am still struggling to put my arm/hand behind me.

Our son got us a hall for Tday dinner to get it out of everyone's house.At first he hated the thought when I asked him to rent it and I was paying for it until he saw the costs of us transporting everything including the gas and renting tables etc and realized we would be saving over half the costs we have spent.PLUS I made it clear it was a potluck meal this yr. so it's not us providing all the food.

Can't really remember much else that I haven't posted on Thursday...

Blessed be

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Frugal bomb...

It's only Thursday and I am going to start this because I know I won't remember much by Sunday when I usually write due to a family reunion that is 3 hrs away one way on Sunday and I will have to drive as Hubby works Sunday night.

Daddy gave me 800 jars, about 100 of them is old glass mayo jars that I won't can in but will put dry goods in so I can free up my canning jars. I'm down to about 50 jars to can with.

My new dehydrator, about half the size of my Excalibur in 2015 , this new one that I got on sale...well I got what I paid for. It either over dries the bottom and everything on top molds, OR I am rotating trays ever hr and the food falls off and it still won't dry what ever is in the middle . I decided to send it to the craft room and maybe when I get around to making something like ornaments it will work well there. So we ordered another one just like I have and it has replacement parts so if something goes wrong I can buy the parts, or strip it off the other one.

My old pressure canner needs new seal and gauge...so it's now a water bath on the stove, but the new one is doing okay still.

Meantime 2 of the 3 turkey fries that I was using for the water bath (aka Cold packer) ...are out of commission. One died completely and the other is struggling to heat up correctly. Hubby is going to replace 1 as we need 2 for when we deep fry turkeys for the ham radio group at Christmas and see if he can take the bad two and make one working one. Figures when I am starting back up on tomatoes.

I've dump hot coffee all over the kitchen floor and was thankful I hadn't put the sugar or milk in it. Tripped over a metal trunk that has been sitting at the end of my bed since 1985. Nice bruise on the shin now , along with catching myself with the arm that had surgery so I wouldn't bash my cheekbone on the corner and have to have that repaired again. Then took Rascal out to play 10 (ball) and hit the ceiling of the porch with the ball and beaned myself in the head....all of that was from 5:15 to 6.A,M.

Next day I went out with Rascal and went to kick the ball off the stoop for him...bent all 5 toes to my shin by kicking the stoop instead and falling because of it, it's not as smooth as the porch as my shoes slide very well when I kick the ball off the front porch.

Today I ran the knife through the tip of my thumb working on bell peppers.(50 lbs plus now roasted and skinned). I've yet to figure how I did that but I can tell you that bell pepper juice BURNS on open cuts.

Good thing Hubby is an EMT because we saved a small fortune on me getting medical care this week from HIM instead of the Doctor's office or ER.

Went an hour away to pick up 400 lbs of potatoes. Got 100 lbs of what they call 2nds..green spots, nicks , weird shapes LOL (18¢/ lb) I will sort through these tomorrow and the nicked ones will be used to make mashed potato granules. The rest will be split with family that only wanted 5-10 lbs. I have 2 daughters that wanted 100 lbs each for storage along with my in laws wanting to split a 50 lb bag between their family  (24¢/lb) I got 50lbs of "chef" potatoes...more like what we would buy for baking potatoes (30¢/lb)...so I walked out with 400 lbs of potatoes that averaged at a bit over 23¢ a lbs. FRESH POTATOES that have been cured by people I know as our kids grew up together and Hubby played baseball on the church baseball league with the Dads.

 I did get a couple more shelving units clean, straightened and  inventoried.
This is pretty full, there is one spot that it looks full but isn't and that is where the Miracle Whip is...Hubby won't eat mayo . That's the last jar from last year. Need that refilled.

This is chips of different flavors, marshmallows of different sizes, choc condense milk, caramel condense milk, condense milk, evaporated milk, coconut cream, coconut milk, instant milk, powdered white sauce and powdered sour cream.It also holds the majority of the appliances that we use for our family meals that are of about 50 plus people.

and last but not least...the last of the canned butter. I will use this for our "eating" butter, the dried powder butter will be for baking and the stick butter will be for cooking, mostly for pancakes or French toast. That should get us through until the cash flow starts back up.

Prayers for everyone to stay safe. Including MYSELF LOL

Blessed Be

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Where is the Energizer Bunny when I need him???

Because my batteries are definitely running low.

I forget what I have canned this week but I know today I did 24 -1/2pints of butter, 5 pints of pickles, 6 pints of peperonata, dehydrated 3 dozen eggs, 4 bunches of celery,20 lbs of roasted tomatoes for olive oil and fire roasted bell peppers to put in freezer for Brandy's Red bell pepper soup (www.theprudenthomemaker.com) I also cooked some orange tomatoes to strain and cook done for sauce tomorrow.  I put some onions that were cured in the hose to hang in the basement and picked some of the coriander off the dead cilantro.

Dishes are stacked, dinner is over due to Hubby bringing Wendy's home after he worked 36 hrs straight himself ( at the plant, then security at 5 k and the Ham Radio operator at park )

I did start working on my monthly goals. Straightening the pantry is one of them. I got this shelving unit dealt with and took a picture. Side benefit was I realized I only had one shelf of applesauce (we use 2 each year). And there is next to none of cherries or apricots.

Since this seemed to be a good way of looking at what is missing or what I have to much of  I did this shelving unit.
This one looks good, or at least will until Thanksgiving and Christmas then half of it will be gone.
To the left is another shelving unit ...it has bare spots that need filled in. ONLY 8 more shelving units to clean and straighten.

I went through Hubby's clothes. He does NOT need socks LOL... I forgot I ordered him a case as he takes a unusual size.  The rest he pretty much needs. He found hiking boots half price so I talked him into buying 2 since finding something he can wear with his ankles is hard. I found tee shirts with pockets in different colors on sale as he likes different colors but has worn black,dark gray or dark blue for work. Figured since I could afford them with this sale I would get him a nice variety of COLORS since he is retiring.

I went through my clothes, or part of my clothes and I NEED socks LOL. I wear a girls size but have a hard time finding them heavy enough for winter. My feet get cold but sweat easy. I am thinking about trying to crochet a pair for myself and see how that works , I can always wear them in bed if it doesn't. I need pj bottoms, I have flannel and I have a pattern I don't have the time right now as the garden is overflowing.

I caught a sale at King Arthur's flour and still had a discount coupon so I ordered all that I could and keep the shipping at the same price.

I've scored my Swagbucks goal twice this week...probably because I've been up at 3 am canning.

Did 2 Pinecone  surveys

I turned the furnace on twice for about an hour to take the chill (62°) off. I've been opening the bathroom curtain and the kitchen door to the mudroom to let the East sun come in and warm the house.Once it starts getting cold I won't open the kitchen door to mudroom as we don't heat that area.

I did the usual of opening curtains in the morning and shutting them at night, turning lights off, turning computer and printer off. Turning my coffee maker off at power strip so even the clock on it doesn't run.Turned ceiling fan off in bedroom.

Got rid of dehumidifier as it was only working as a fan now. Landlord will replace next year. Got stuff on sale with rebate also to set up humidifier when we start the furnace full time.

Use short cycle, tap cold with laundry with homemade laundry soap. Used the drying rack for light weights since I still can't hang clothes out on line...arm is cranky...better but cranky.

Added water to dish soap, shower soap and used the "rinsed" out shower soap to refill sink soap. Just have to shake it before using.

Continue to use turkey fryer bases for cold packers while doing water bath canning which in turns actually lets me get 3 times more done and doesn't run up the electric bill.

We are "interviewing" different financial advisors about investing Hubby's retirement money.... I had one tell me I didn't know a thing about investing and staying calm for the long haul  etc...Hubby actually started laughing out loud. Needless to say, we thanked him for his time and started to leave when his boss stopped me and asked what I would invest in and I rattled it off with the reasons why.. Told me to remember I did know about investing and asked to see the one that was so sure I didn't know anything in his office.We see another one tomorrow that a friend's parents (who did investing on their own most the time) used while they were alive.

Guess all those years of reading the Morningstar for Dad has paid off, just not what I really want to do but frugal wise I'm not willing to pay someone 1 %... example..if we take 4% to live on, and we pay the broker 1%...that's 25 % of our income NOT INCLUDING the cost of the stock/bonds etc that we would be buying.... I'll do our own financing for that price. BUT man do I hate reading the Morningstar. To those that don't know  the Morningstar evaluates funds (stocks, bonds etc) for up to three time periods: three, five and 10 years. It's like watching the Dow Jones which I didn't like doing either.

Meantime back on the home front , the garden is running over me and I can't even give the produce away as everyone else's gardens are running over them.

To those that are dealing with Mother Nature at her worse....I'm praying for you

AND thankful I'm not dealing with her.

Blessed Be

Monday, September 4, 2017

Preparing for winter

This is a woolly worm aka woolly bear worm. He/she was at my door yesterday.

Their job here is to predict the coming winter. HA HA Blonde or light brown means light and warm winter, if they are just brown means normal winter, striped colors means a winter that will change, example black then brown then black means hard winter, normal winter, then hard winter...you will notice this one is BLACK...I really hope he/she is WRONG because the last time they were black we had the a lot of snow and the year after that we had the winter vortex.I would rather have the snow, not ice or wind, just snow. Just saying, not asking for it.

Our local weather forecaster is waiting to see what type and when Canada gets snow but did say it could be a crazy winter.

Better to prepare more than usual since we also will be retired and a lower income means tighter budget, which in turns means the electric bill needs to stay down and we don't need to be having to order more propane with a service charge of $100 if we don't fill the tank. I already ordered and paid for this winter's fuel of 700 gals. That is a huge check mark for done.

SO Hubby and I agreed...grill propane tanks need to be filled after SCARES Christmas dinner (we deep fry turkeys for it). That's the first part of Dec and when Hubby is retiring. Those tanks not only run our grill but run the MR Buddy propane heaters we use in the house when it's extremely cold and provide another way to cook when the electric is out.

Draft old farmhouses out in the boonies with no wind block gets COLD.

I have plastic to put over upstairs windows including the trim as wind leaks there also. In late November I put Christmas decorations that are heavy plastic  like this  WOWindow Posters Santa Claus Jolly Christmas Window Decoration 34.5"x60" Backlit Poster  No I don't get money for this. but I have 3( Christmas tree and snowman also) of them and I put them on the worse 3 windows upstairs....it helps. I do set a reminder on my cell phone to go up and turn the overhead light on at dusk and back off before bed as that is how these are lit up (lamps work but I have 3 in one room so overhead is cheaper to do with LED light). All windows will be checked to see if they need caulked. Landlord checked outside when he power washed the siding this summer. I will put up the heaviest curtains we have (I lined them with BLANKETS) on the worst windows. I have a set of insulated drapes (came with this house) that will go in the north upstairs bedroom. That leaves 4 rooms that need heavier curtains due to the loss of ones I had . I have sheers to put under the curtains.I will tape the windows ...sigh, yes I use tape and tape the windows shut. The windows are that bad.

I will make sure we have the winter bedding aired, washed and ready.I might need blankets sooner as the nights are down in the 50's now.

 Winter clothes also...Hubby needs clothes as he has lost weight so I know his winter clothes isn't going to fit. I should be okay except for some flannel pjs bottoms, I have flannel fabric ,might need elastic with a slight shove to get the craft room cleaned back up so I can sort out my sewing supplies.

I need to clean out the garage...basically move garden table and stuff and swing so we can put a car in the garage during the winter.

Hubby moved generator out of garage to outside electric box so if we lose power it's just flip the switch and plug generator in and kick it on. He built a "lean to " to cover it so it's vented but protected.Another big check mark in the done area.

All 3 freezers are full, both refrigerator freezers are full...well might not be if I took the 50 million ice packs out of them but full enough that we need to do some eating to get turkey and ham in there.

 I have empty spots in the butler's pantry of dry goods. That's now on the stock list

We ordered dehydrated foods from Rainy Day Foods suggested by Brandy at theprudenthomemaker.com

 I have empty spots in the pantry in the basement.
This unit needs applesauce..I use 2 shelved worth what ever I can will have to be put somewhere else until I get some some room. I need cherries (next to cranberries that is next to store bought fruit) and apricots (lonely can on bottom shelf). Bread flours are to the left, all purpose to the right.

Tomato juice and pasta sauce are big holes but after walking the gardens today it's more of me having the energy to get the canning done before we lose the produce without messing up my shoulder.

I should be able to fill it before Dec.

Make sure we have extra staples to cover what I use during Thanksgiving and Christmas baking might be a tight one since I usually restock that in Dec during the Christmas sales and won't this year as we won't have any income.

The loss of the winter curtains is going to be the hardest as I have to make those because otherwise they are $100 per window due to the size of windows. I will have to look for cheap blankets if I don't find they at the yard sales the end of this month or thrift shops to line the fabric I have.

Blessed Be

Frugal 1st week of Sept

I reread Brandy's (theprudenthomemaker.com)frugal posts along with all the comments on a daily bases, there always seem to be another suggestion or thought I can use.

I reread Brandy's (theprudenthomemaker.com) post of eating from the pantry and checked her pantry menu to my pantry. I found a couple holes that will be filled as I didn't realize I was out of bouillon.

I finished Rehab at the hospital for my shoulder and can now work out at the wellness center where Hubby works. So instead of 2 trips at a 40 mile round trip each time at a total of 3 hrs away from home and cost of gas at $20.40 (current gas is $2.55). I will now do 3 trips to the wellness center which is a 10 mile round trip each time for a total of 3 hrs away from home (because I will take advantage of whirlpool which will equal in time of driving) and $7.65 at current gas price.

I use Hubby's bungee cords for my exercise bands instead of buying exercise bands here at home.

I washed foil, cold cereal inserts, and freezer bags for reuse.

I open curtains for sunshine, close at dark. Use lights only when necessary. Changed when I read so I am not using light just to read. I changed the bedside lamp to a smaller lamp with LED so if I do read after going to bed it's using a lamp that is cheaper to use, plus gave me a bit more room on the night stand.We don't get enough sunshine in the winter to use solar lamps.

I kept my grease from meats and onion "juice/oils" from cooking onions.

I tried to extend each main dish to feed us 2 -3 times, one to stretch our food but also to cut down on my time cooking meals when I am processing food for storage.

I canned (water bath aka cold packer)outside to cut down on electric costs as I am running 2 dehydrators and cut down on the heat in the house...which now I wouldn't mind some heat in the house as it's in the mid 60s in the mornings without the furnace. I ran the furnace 1 day on 62, kicked on 1 time, ran 30 min and didn't run again so OFF it went BUT at least we know our furnace is in working order unlike last year when it wasn't.I will be also using the pressure canner this week.

I continue to shop sales, coupons, rebates etc to stock up the pantry and non foods.

I rewrote the stock up list in a priority first with it listed per stores that I know I will be getting it BECAUSE  Hubby's company is changing next year's retirement package...so he is coming out in Dec. That is the month I spend $$$ for restocking the staples that I used to make Thanksgiving and Christmas so that stock up is being done prior to the holidays. IF I have money I will get choc etc that goes on sale at Christmas.

I harvested tomatoes, eggplant, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and bell peppers.

I put the potted plants out in the yard around the annual flower bed so if it does rain as forecasted they will get watered, also looks good if it doesn't and I don't get out to move them back to the porch. 

Blessed Be

September stocking the pantry

I would love to say that these boards that are on the side of my frig that is at the door of the butler's pantry, are cleared because we don't need anything ...

but actually they are cleared because the amount was more than the boards could hold.

Right top is items needed for household..softener salt, filters, auto items etc.

Right bottom is for canning items, freezing items and whatever is needed for holidays upcoming .

Left top is weekly needs of food (which we plan to go to biweekly when we go to chiro)

Left bottom is monthly needs of non-food.

Fall months are my prime stock up for items I don't grow or can't buy at the Amish produce auction.

Even more now with Hubby retiring out beginning of Dec rather than Jan. so it will be 3-4 months before he gets seasonal work instead of 2-3.

I am blessed with the over flow of food to produce.

This week's to buy...Hummingbird food, I think we are starting to get  "visitors'" as they travel to their winter homes. Milk,lettuce, ice cream (maybe) eggs and butter (price depending) Aldi's has ground beef and strawberry jam on sale so I will check on those.

Part of Fall stock up

First we went to Brandy's website theprudenthomemaker.com and checked what she had listed as her pantry menu and then compared it to what we have...there was a couple "holes" that are now on the stock list and we feel good at what we are facing.

Usually in Dec I refill the pantry with staples used at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since Hubby is retiring first of Dec there won't be any pay coming in for 6-10 wks. He told me to stock extra for the holidays NOW.

Eggs if right price as I need 24 dozen between noodles and cookies in Nov. I am trying to have that much dehydrated and then another 24 dozen dehydrated for us. I have 18 dozen dehydrated and powdered.

Butter is running $3.78/lb right now, I will check Aldi's tomorrow. We ordered powdered butter from Rainy day Foods. We have never used powdered butter so will be doing a test run on how it does with cookies. I've already been told to lower the amount of water I use to make it.

Mushrooms if on sale, with coupons etc to dehydrate. I have enough canned...well not really I will never have enough canned or enough mushrooms. :/

Winter squash :3 Acorn,3 Butternut,3 spaghetti squash and if they have Delectia  3 of them. Hurley farms market is the best price. This will be Sept 22nd.on way past from Amish produce auction

Pumpkins, we have 4 for dehydrating and decoration, we will buy 30 for the kids,grandkids and great grandson for Halloween. We might also buy pie pumpkins to make pies from for Thanksgiving. Plus crate of Jack be littles or Wee be littles (usually used for decorations but edible and we roast them for side dish) if the price is good. Last year we got them for 1¢ each . These are bought at Amish produce Auction

Potatoes from Michael produce farm( I would have to drive to) if the price is less than 20 ¢ / lb other wise I will order them for Save a lot that has them running for 28 ¢/lb that is right here in 50 lbs bags The savings in gas will be enough to just order them.

Sweet potatoes, I do have some planted in straw bales in garden...not sure how they are making. I bought 20 lbs at Amish auction last week...I would like to have another 20-30 lbs.BUT if my crop hasn't done any and I don't get them at Auction or produce farm we will make do.

Apples, our friends neighbor said he thought he would have extra. If he does we might get enough to finish filling out the applesauce and dried apples needed. Otherwise I can go over to the Greenthumb market and get them there for cheaper since we no longer have a pick your own orchard near and it that's too much I might just go without.

Ginger...if it comes on sale at the stores I will get fresh to dry for powder and teas and a tube for fresh. ( I have garlic to dry and onions to dry). Whole cloves (Amish Country store before Amish produce auction )

Vanilla bean (I make my own vanilla extract and sugar) Vanilla bean paste.

Dried blueberries, mixed berries,cranberries, raisins, figs and prunes as they come on sale (check Amish Country store) King Arthur Flour fruit cake blend when on sale. Hubby's favorite and the kids/grandkids love it in oatmeal cookie bars at Christmas.

Dried veggie soup as this is the only thing Hubby likes as a dip.

Nuts:pecans. walnuts, peanuts, cashews,almonds,pinenuts and sunflower seeds

Peanut butter. I make over 100 dozen buckeyes at Christmas.. I don't use butter..just pb and xxx sugar and then Freeze then dip in choc.(Check Amish Country store)

Candy M&Ms and Reese's pieces... we use this for cookies,trail mix and on top of ice cream/frozen yogurt. Assorted choc chips on sale because I will wipe out my supply when I make cookies and fudge for the family. Generic is ok.

Staples: flour in Nov as I will already have the bulk of the Cookies and homemade noodles made and vacuum packed. Wheat germ for granola bars and yogurt, Wondra flour, Bisquick (Hubby insists) semolina flour(Amish Country store) chicken and beef bouillon, regular sugar,xxx sugar, brown sugar lt and dark, honey. This is going to be MORE than usual as Hubby said to "overstock" to make up for not stocking in Dec. I have already saved this money and put it aside.

condense milk and evaporated milk

Lard/Butter crisco/ oil (turkey deep fryer)

This is just part of the list but what I am focusing on getting in the pantry this month.

In the gardens...I have tomatoes to make pasta sauce, juice, steak sauce, and if still have enough BBQ sauce. The last 2 yrs I have ran out of pasta sauce.... I just walked the gardens and I should have plenty if I can get them out before they rot. I have some I will over roast.

I have onions to hang in nylon hose (about the only time I buy panty hose) that I will dry for the damaged ones or the ones starting to go bad for dried onions and powder for onion powder.

I have garlic I can dry and change to garlic powder

I have a bell peppers I can roast and then dry or can. Dried can be mixed with dried cayenne to make crushed red peppers ( I use any color not just red).

I have a few cucumbers left. Hubby asked for more refrigerator pickles since I now have enough bread and butter. I thought about small dill as we use mini dills to make dried beef cream cheese rolls for Thanksgiving. Since I have 3 quarts of refrigerator pickles sitting in the frig so the mini dills win out.

Menards is having their 11 % rebate still, so I will pick up more cases of distilled water for humidifier, humidifier treatment additive, washing soda, fly traps(usually marked down by now) ant traps(usually marked down by now) and paper plates...sigh, a battle I am not going to win but at least he is down to using it for his snacks and reuses it if it's just crumbs on the plate AND will put the crumbs in the trash instead of shoving plate and crumbs in to the microwave.

Blessed Be