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 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 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

 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 ( 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 ( 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 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 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