Friday, November 30, 2018

Planning the gardens, planning in December

First I am looking at what we actually eat... what is going to be low or completely out of (grape jam, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage for freezer slaw (slaw already gone).

Then I am looking at using the space to produce the most I can and have things staggered so I don't get all of it at the same time. Variety is a big key for us as I can some of the more exotic things like roasted red bell pepper or pickled asparagus or something we run across and decide to try. Victorian conserves (rhubarb and raisins).

I am looking at heirloom and open pollinated to save on buying seeds. Which also means I have to watch were I plant things so they don't cross breed along with increasing my perennial garden.

I would like to grow cannelini beans. They only come in a can around here and that's only at one store for over a $1 a can. I need to figure out how much to plant and if it is feasible for me to do or is my time (as it take time to shell dried beans) worth more than ordering the beans from Amazon or some other supplier.

I want a spring garden followed by a summer garden followed by a fall garden and then have a small hot house for winter garden... especially lettuces as Hubby would eat salad every other day if not daily. 

I am keeping track of how much onions, sweet potatoes and white potatoes we eat a month along with the rest... as the Amish neighbor told me focus on what you need to go to the next season then deal with the extra. You don't want to run out of canning jars, space etc because you put up 100 jars of pickles and jam and not have room or jars for tomatoes, corn and green beans.I won't run out of room because I will shove it under furniture, behind doors, use it at stands (covered with cloth). If we don't need it, I can promise you one of the kids or grandkids will.

Son 2 went to the store and priced what I gave Daughter 4... it came out to about $500. Since I keep track of what I spent this past year I knew what it cost us....$150  because of the  canning, freezing, gleaning, accepting garden stuff, and only buying meats on sale.Cheapest turkey he could find in their area was 98 cents/lb. The 2 turkeys I gave her were 37 cents/ lb.

So the month of December I will be working out plans for what to plant, where to plant and how much to plant.

Blessed Be

The pantry... what I am buying in December.

I will start with Son 2 that gave me some of his recipes he got from Home Chef, he thought I could make some of the seasoning blends etc instead of buying it because he has found that the "spice of life" is actually the "spice in food" for him. So I made a list of what I didn't have and then went online to find out if I could make it myself... 98% I could make myself. The other 2 % I needed anyways as I didn't get enough herbs from the gardens this year.

The root veggies: 20 lbs of potatoes, 20 lbs of sweet potatoes, 3 acorn squash, 3 butternut squash, 3 spag. squash and 3 kabocha squash are in the north loft as it has the correct temp and humidity for that type of storage. I am not storing onions this year. I haven't found a place in the house yet that would be good and not be with the potatoes.I am looking at making a place in the barn for them if I have enough insulation next year. I didn't take a picture of this. I have them in milk crates with other crates under them so they have air flow and over a rubber backed rug so it something gets nasty and I miss that it's spoiling it doesn't mess up my new flooring. I check at least once a week but usually daily when I go up to get something.

I have on the grocery list 50 lbs of all purpose flour (yes I am down that much) 50 lbs of sugar again down this much. ( I gave 5 lbs of sugar and flour to Daughter 4), dried Italian salad dressing (used more for rolling cream cheese in), ground pork (found recipe for Spanish chorizo on Pioneer woman), cashews (From Aldi's)milk, half and half, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms, a small jar of basil pesto. I already ordered my seasonings, spices and dried peppers that I can't buy in this area. Cheaper for me to order it than buy fuel to drive 2 hrs to buy it.

Daughter 4 was here the other day and wanted a tour of the pantry. Since she was one of kids (Son 2 was the other one and an out of state friend) that put food on our table for 2 yrs when Hubby's plant went to a 3 day work week, I have no problem with her checking ...she also got a few things that I canned that she just won't buy at the store like roasted red bell peppers. 

This is what she saw when I opened the basement door.
Hubby put the buckets of flour, sugar, and rices that I use most often on the landing at the bottom of the stairs.

more of the flours, sugars, regular oats, quick oats, grits, under the stairs.

the oils, 3 empty buckets for sugar and flour,dry goods cabinet, over flow cake mixes in washer..hey at least the bugs don't get to it ;)

aisle 1 as it was named. Couple shelves on the low side but that's the broths that I make during the winter from turkeys, hams and beef roasts.

Center or end aisle

aisle 2..dried beans are on low side but I won't refill them until next summer. Low on grape jam as I made juice since we didn't get many grapes.Will have netting to deal with birds getting to the grapes before us next year.
Buckets have different rices, pasta and specialty flours.

the 3 deep freezers, sorting the meat and veggies into cloth grocery bags has been a great. First, it's easy to pull up a bag or two to get to what I am hunting for. Second, like foods are kept together. Hubby has even mentioned he like it when he was wanting bacon and I said, first freezer, left back corner, gray bag.

Refrigerator freezers hold open bags or leftovers...chocolate LOL Bread items.

Dried fruit teas, drink mixes pantry staples I use daily and the over flow of spices and herbs.Maple syrup,molasses, sorghum, honey,agave, boiled cider etc.
100 plus herbs and spices. I grew most of my herbs, didn't this last year which is why basil pesto is on the grocery list. Herbs are in on my garden plans which I am still working on.

On the home front

We have started eating our supper by oil lamp, something I grew up with  until Daddy wired the house for electric. We have found we slow down with our eating, fill up faster OR just acknowledge we are full and I am cooking less as a result.Better for our health and will make the pantry last a bit longer.

I found some winter curtains in the barn that daughter 4 had passed back (we don't get rid of curtains, someone will always need them). They are way too long and I had to put one panel at a window to have enough but they are helping keep the home warm. I did get scissors. I like the new ones better than the old ones, don't strain my wrist as much when I am cutting. Hubby did tell me he wanted me to use shower curtain hooks for all the windows. He LOVES how they slide when he opens the curtains as he is usually up before me.

I did not go shopping on Black Friday. I hate crowds. I did check prices on some things we needed on Cyber Monday but they were not low enough. Today the prices were where I was willing to pay so that's been ordered. Spices and dried peppers is not something that is stocked as well as over where we used to live and something I use daily.

We had a doctor appt (Thursday) so took the dogs along and stopped at the vet's office as both Charlotte and Wilbur were due for their annual shots and 3 yr rabies shot, Rascal is March for heart worm testing. All 3 got their nails trimmed. Because we were okay with the vet assistant doing the shots and nails they gave us a discount. They are not sure if they are going to continue the discount or the practice . We have talked about Hubby giving the annual shots, getting the rabies shot at the local TSC during their clinics.I bought nail clippers like our vet has .

We have been eating from the pantry except for Wed night. Hubby went to the funeral home (his aunt died) while I stayed home (coughing again don't want to pass it) and he went to the grocery store and got a couple items that he could heat in the microwave. All of it was marked down and was around $10, it feed us 3 meals so I guess that wasn't bad.

I found out Tuesday that the meds I was on for 3 wks for my Crohn's has caused me OTHER problems that I am now dealing with. My GI wanted to have me take another med... no thanks. My primary backed me.

We started to put Christmas decorations up...very slowly as we don't have very many lights since we agreed and really want to focus on only having LED lights.The windows here are about half the size or smaller than the windows we had so a lot of the window decorations do not work. I still haven't figured out where to set my candles or stockings since we gave the mantle to daughter 1(it was the one her late father grew up with).

Hubby called the appliance repairman. The front big burner on the stove will only light with a lighter and has more yellow in the flame than it should. It hasn't worked right since right after we moved in. Repairman said he would run the bill through the warranty before billing us. He is local and was happy to find out we moved back into this area as we all went to school together.

Hubby called about getting a bill from blood work that we had paid two months ago. He gave them the confirmation number and they immediately corrected the billing.

I called and ordered propane (we prepay for the whole year) but since I agreed for it to be delivered when he was already going to be in the area I don't have to pay an extra delivery charge.

I called our ins guy and told him I was looking for new auto ins as their cost for the new truck was horrible... he went back through  it and found they had the price as the month price when it was the price of 3 months NOT ONE. Made a lot of difference. He also caught that even though he changed the address (four times now to be exact) billing still had the auto policy listed at the other place. When that was corrected we are back down to where we was before I got rid of my car plus they gave us a credit since it was THEIR mistake.

We decided to give a couple years of trying to sell produce from the garden at the produce auction..but only what I don't need to have in our pantry. Most use boxes, but the one Amish lady told me to just use either plastic grocery bags or bread bags the first year to see if I really want to go that way. It is a lot of work to grow it, harvest it the night before or the morning of the auction along with cleaning it and making sure it is dry.

Hubby applied for a part time /seasonal job at Ohio Dept of Transportation AKA ODOT. He was hired, filling out paper work today (Friday) and will start towards the end of Dec Unless they call him in sooner. I did not want him going back to the plant and working 40 hrs a month. Common for the workers to go back and do that as it's enough money to pay their health ins.It's Mon through Fri. unless there is a snow event and first shift. He hasn't worked first shift in over 20 yrs except when he was in Alabama building the plant down there and the kids and I stayed here in OH.

He did get the stuff from his brother in law to set up his portable welding. Just needs to set that up.

He also went to a couple people that were looking for someone to haul pallets. His trailer isn't the size they want and he isn't going to go buy a trailer for a couple trips... not enough work/money to justify it. BUT another one told him that if he ran across a 20-24 ft live stock trailer that he could afford, he would have work as the Amish are always looking for someone to haul animals to the butcher. THEN another Amish guy put him in touch with a guy that was going to get a new live stock trailer that was still deciding if he would trade the old one in or sell it. He agreed when he got to the place (went to work at local fab shop to earn enough to buy a new one) where he was getting the new one, he would call and see if Hubby could match the price offered for trade in...but that won't be until spring. HE also told Hubby if he heard of anyone looking for someone to haul on a 16 ft flat bed, he would send them Hubby's way.

We have an appt on Monday to talk to our finance guy, he asked for the budget for 2019 so he can help figure out how to make the retirement to last as long as possible and us figure if we should take Social Security at 62 or wait. Stock market went down right after we retired (figures) and the medical bills were higher than we budgeted but the house only was over budget by $50. We are saving for gravel to put the deck on this spring as we don't want just weed barrier. Gravel for the driveway and pond. Need to replace posts on the kitchen porch and both front and kitchen porches need railing and painted (railing will help bring down house ins). We need new windows and the house needs siding but we can handle waiting for those for a couple years. We have the deck stuff and ramp in the barn but will need to save up for the awning that will go over the French doors. We want to redo the steps and awning at the back door. We think we have enough left over wood to do the steps.

The worse case is we pull the cash from the retirement, pay everything off  and put back enough to pay health ins until we are 65 and live on the balance and not pull the SS ... would take a hit on taxes (like we are this year) but stress would be lower as we would only be paying utilities and what ever we need for medical copay,'s a thought.

Blessed Be