Thursday, January 31, 2019

Garden Calendar and Amish cutting ice

It is hard work doing it and there was 3 more than came to help. I kept watch in case some went in the pond. I know they have a 20 ft extension ladder and rope to pull anyone back out. I have a couple blankets at the door I can toss to them if needed. It looks like it will be an all day job. Our neighbor told us that the ice he cut from the pond last February was still solid in his spring house. BUT we didn't really have that hot of a summer.

Hubby asked me last night to put my start seed dates, transplant and plant dates for this gardening season on a calendar. I had bought this calendar for that reason. It also helped me to decide what I was going to plant in spring and then in fall. I was able to work out succession planning at the same time. I ordered the items I need to make soil blocks a first for this attempt (Eliot Coleman), that will be in Feb the 7th for pick up. I do have some empty water containers to do some winter sowing in (Kevin...a Garden for the house) I haven't decide what to plant in them.Plus I need a place they can't get blown away.

I am making sure I don't start my transplants too soon, which I have done and then had to transplant them into bigger pots and then transplant in to the garden... wasn't the best for the plants or me as it added stress along with starting other transplants.

February seeds to start transplants : Tall Utah celery (first time) Celeriac (first time)Tokyo onions, long purple eggplant and diamond eggplant.

March is going to be busy over 40 different seeds to get started or planted if the weather works with me which it usually doesn't. If it's too cold to plant my peas ( March 18th)in ground I will start them in seed blocks. I do have them broke down to so much a week instead of doing all of it at once.

There will be around 38 to start in April. Plus April 19th is potato planting. Sweet potatoes will be May 23rd.

What I did realize was I have no banana pepper seeds which I need and all of my tomatoes are determinate which is good for canning as they come mostly in within 2 wks but not good for having tomatoes to eat during the season.I probably have too many varieties of carrots,lettuce and Swiss chard. But I don't know what will grow well here.  I am planting more heirloom but  still deciding on what to harvest seeds from. My field paste tomatoes is a given.  I hope my fall garlic produces good so I can use my own garlic to replant this coming fall. I have Egyptian walking onions already planted. Scarlet runner, painted lady runner and sunset runner I will use to replant next year.I just have to make sure I don't plant in a way something cross pollinates.

I need to start labeling my markers so I don't have to do that while trying to start seeds or plant.

Stay warm , blessed be

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Choosing my "garden staples"

I have certain "garden staples" that I usually buy each year due to lack of space in the garden. Since I have plenty of space now I intend to not only grow what I bought but to grow other varieties. These are produce that require little or no processing to get them in the pantry. Hubby could handle it if I went down with Crohn's without worry about losing produce.

This year I am planting 3 sisters... well actually 4 sisters.

Japanese hulless popcorn (sister 1)
Lazy housewife beans (dry soup bean) (sister 2)
Boston marrow winter squash (squashes are sister 3)
Jack be little pumpkins
Butternut winter squash
Delicata winter squash
Sweet dumpling winter squash
and Bee balm which some would consider sister 4

In other places I will be planting what will be dry beans, basic, plant, keep weeded, and allow to dry on the vine and shell (which I have done once the garden is all in and I need something to do while watching the news)
Pinto beans
Navy beans
Small red beans
Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans
Charlevoix dark red kidney beans
Cannelino beans
Cannellini lingot beans

I will also grow these winter squashes... winter squash I allow the rind to be hard , then rinse in bleach water and dry out of sunlight before putting in storage of a cool dark place AKA loft.

Burges buttercup winter squash
Honeybear acorn winter squash
Cha cha kaboocha winter squash
Red Kuri ( one variety is called Hubbard the other one is Japanese)
Spaghetti winter squash.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019 winter garden

We haven't decided yet where to put it or what to cover it will but it will be unheated. We have done low tunnels but I would like something I can stand up in instead of kneel in the snow to harvest. Hubby thought about attaching it to the south side of the barn... it's a thought.

I did decided what to grow and pulled those as I don't want to have a repeat of early spring or late fall veggies coming in. I know we could easily get tired of them.

I chose the following 34 varieties for the winter garden. I did read Eliot Coleman of Four Seasons Farm and for a list of what to plant, taking in the differences of planting zones.

Sylvetta arugula
Bull's blood beets
Napoli carrots (have never grown any other carrot but little finger carrots)
Danvers carrots (have never grown any other carrot but little finger carrots)
Champion collards
Wrinkled Crinkled cress
Palla Rossa Radicchio (never had luck with growing so one more time)
Red Russian Kale
Purple Vienna kohlrabi (will also be planted for spring or fall)
White Vienna kohlrabi (will also be planted for spring or fall)
Winter density lettuce (first time)
Rouge D Hiver red lettuce (first time)
Vit mach
Erba Stella minutina
Mizuna mustard greens
Sugar Ann peas
Round black radish
Philadelphia  white box radish (long time favorite for early spring)
Bloomsdale long standing spinach
Bright lights Swiss chard
Tatsoi Asian greens
Purple top white globe turnips
Diablo Brussels sprouts (first time for this variety)
Five star greenhouse lettuce mix (first time for this variety)
Nero tondo radish
Shiso green (first time for this variety)
Shiso red (first time for this variety)
Spicy micro mix (first time for this variety)
Mild micro mix (first time for this variety)
Miz America Asian greens (first time for this variety)
Space spinach
Chervil for microgreens (first time for this variety)
Fall and Winter blend lettuce (first time for this variety)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Polar Vortex and a smile from the neighborhood kids

Our Amish neighbor asked us last year before Christmas if they could use our pond to skate on, he specified there would be an adult or an older teenage with the kids at all times. They didn't want to buy their kids skates for Christmas if they couldn't use our pond, the other nearest pond is over 3 miles away.

We were glad we agreed because we got such a kick out of watching them and us staying warm. Amish dad checked condition of ice. He actually does this weekly anyways to help us monitor the pond.

Then Amish dad cleared the snow off the ice using pathways. That way he said the kids have to learn to turn not just go straight.They brought a sled also to sit on to change into skates but also to pull the youngest 2 that was there as they didn't have skates.
Amish Dad showing the younger one just starting to skate how to do it. I really missed it as he also showed them how to fall...which he didn't do on purpose.

Then the word went out and we had more Amish neighbor kids show up to skate also. The oldest teen took over when Amish Dad went to start chores.It was good to see a teenage pick up a 6 yr old and skate with him in his arms especially when they aren't siblings. The oldest teen made sure everyone got home on time and made a point of thanking us for the use of the pond.
There are 8 in this picture, they blend into the tree line with their dark clothes. At one time we had over a dozen plus a dog that did his little walk across the ice and then got scoped up by several to be skated around the pond in arms.

The polar vortex is suppose to hit us Wed morning. We are planning on it coming in Tuesday night. Since the dryer and the stove help warm the house I plan on doing laundry Wed and Thurs. along with baking the last of the winter squash to freeze in serving meal sizes. I can shut the bedroom off and hang blankets in 5 doorway if needed. Going to depend on the wind coming through. I know at 22 below the house is warm as it normally is. We will check gas levels in car, trucks and generator tonight as Hubby got gas for our cans when he got gas for the neighbors. On the menu, chili and taco soup for Hubby's lunches and turkey and noodles and mashed potatoes for one meal, turkey noodle soup from the leftovers of noodles. Custard as I have 1/2 gal of half and half. Might be a good time to make fresh mushroom soup LOL.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

lousy week and weekend.

The best part of this week is the Amish neighbor checked the ice in our pond. It's 4 inches of ice, 4 inches of water and then another 4 inches of ice. When the top layer is 6 inches he will allow his kids to ice skate on it. We already gave him the okay before they bought the kids new ice skates for Christmas. Plus he will cut ice blocks for his spring house when the ice gets closer to 7-8 inches. He puts a 20 ft extension ladder across the pond a rope tied to it in case anyone falls in , the way to get them out is already there. He has fell in himself and so have I so between an adult and the ladder and rope, and 6 inches of ice , it's as safe as we can make it. He walks the ice all over before his kids get on the ice also.

Hubby has been working split shifts which definitely throws a wrench in his sleep pattern and our home routines. Doesn't help he broke a wind shield wiper on his truck and now has to go back to town this afternoon to get new ones. I told him to pick up a second set.

I went to the hospital on Thursday evening thinking I had Crohn's since I had dry heaves and couldn't even keep my nausea meds down... they said it was a bug but didn't run the CT scan to rule out Crohns....well it was a bug that started it but I am definitely in the middle of a Crohn's attack. GI called to check on me and decided that since the hospital where GI is at was pretty much full with accident victims and elderly with broken bones and the roads were bad he would order meds for me to stay home and if it got bad for me to go to the local hospital fondly called band-aid station and have them page him. Hubby got meds... that tastes like CRAP. It is better than it was but no where as good as it would have been if they had kept me when I went in. Pain is at level 8 , which is down from 12 but the pain meds make me throw up that even the nausea meds won't kick down  so I can throw up and have dry heaves that triggers the hiatal hernia ... 6 one and half dozen the other... I'm sucking up the pain and keep reminding myself I have went through this all my life without pain meds and survived it. But right now the quality of my life is in the toilet.

Still I managed to clean 30 of the 56 pantry shelves, figured since walking during attack (besides running to the bathroom) is encouraged that I would be productive without straining anything.

I also when not feeling up to even walking down to the pantry worked on the layout of the gardens... good thing I did it on paper because it would have been a major screw up in the gardens. Not only did I not focus on tomatoes being determinate or indeterminate, I didn't note harvest times... having 4 different types of tomatoes coming on at once is NOT good. The beans weren't as bad, but added to the tomatoes would have overwhelmed me and triggered a Crohn's attack.

Hubby went to the store, neighbor needed rock salt to make ice cream, kerosene  for lights and gas for the motor(lawnmower motor) to shell corn for the 100 calves they just got in. We needed gas for the generator, fuel for the truck, milk, 1 qrt of half and half, 1 lg container of large curd cottage cheese and 4 cans of Campbell's chicken and noodles or chicken and stars soups... please note the sizes and the brand name I used because as much as I  rely on Hubby I am not sure I will let him to go the store with even a WRITTEN NOTE. He got the milk and the cottage cheese right... but brought home 1/2 gallon of half and half (custard is on the menu a lot this week which I am not up to eating yet) AND Great Value chicken noodle soup which is one of the brands I can not eat.SO I am now down to bouillon and ramen noodles broken up... stars and alphabet pasta are now on the list, as I have already wiped out my broth supply and am not up to dealing roasting anything to make broth. I have tomato soup, can make homemade tomato soup but having it 4 times a day gets too weary of a meal.  Thankful as I am to have food in the pantry, I need to add SICK food to the pantry. LOL

How was your week?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Two neighbors came to tell us it was 22 below at 7 am.

Hubby plowing again as he plowed yesterday for 5 hrs after working all night plow state routes. Neighbor and his brother in law saw Sherm out and thought they should come tell him how cold it was. It was just around 10 below when they were talking. Hubby grew up farming with livestock so he knows how to bundle up.

I put laundry on the drying rack and got a new sock dryer on clearance with 15 % off to dry the socks.
Suppose to hang it from a clothes line or shower rod but this spot has a heat vent in the kitchen. Wished I would have had one of these when the kids were little with all the wet mittens , hats and socks there was in the winter.

I have bread rising and a pie crust in the frig chilling to bake custard pie.The kettle on the stove has hot tea.We had fresh eggs (another free 2 dozen from the Amish neighbor) and bacon and toast for brunch as we both slept in from working out side yesterday. I stayed up and watched the moon ellipse ... had to go outside as it passed directly over the house and dumb me didn't go look out the skylight in the upstairs north loft. I went out side in the freaking snow and cold. I roasted brisket yesterday while roasting our chuck steak. It's now just a reheat for today as we didn't know if Hubby would be called into work or not.

I've adjust my baking schedule and what to fix according to the coldest days this week. Tomorrow is decent starts at 5 above and goes to mid 30s. and Wed is the same and then it's a down hill slide again through the weekend. Winter squash and definitely a turkey in the oven this week.Might do another pie and cookies, maybe bread pudding.

I tossed the grocery store ads directly in the trash when Hubby brought them in with the newspaper.

Hubby now has 19 % saved for one trailer, if he buys both trailers he is wanting together he has 15%. The one place sells both and he is hoping when he goes to buy there he can get a deal with buying 2 for CASH. BUT if he went and bought the smaller one first he would 76 %.

I have 85 % of the garden stuff with 10 %  saved for what is left I need.

I am still at 35% for the deck gravel as the garden is coming first.

We are still at 50% for the health ins which is okay as we won't NEED it for 18 months but still don't want to need it and not have it.

I spent $55 on groceries this month. 2 gals milk, 2 lbs carrots, 6 lbs of onions, 2 lbs of limes, 3 avocados, 2 bags of tortilla chips, 1 container of cottage cheese, 1 of ricotta cheese and 1 of Greek yogurt, pkg of 16 of 8 inch tortilla wraps,6 lbs of apples and 4 lbs of mushrooms (marked down). I needed celery but I wasn't willing to pay that price for something that looked that bad.The neighbor had some and gave it to me in exchange for going after gas for them , wasn't out of the road as Hubby had to go to work.

It's easy to be frugal when you can't go anywhere due to the weather. I did research online the items I need to make soil blocks for my seeds and another grow light. Along with that I priced out gravel for the entire driveway, the deck and around the pond...if I pay for it ALL then I'm 10%. Hubby is trying to find someone to loan him a dump truck, he has a couple ex co workers that own them. IF we can borrow the dump truck for the price of fuel it's cuts the cost by 45 %.

Blessed Be

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Winter storm 1/18/2019 thru 1/20/2019

It started the 18th, Hubby said I really didn't need to give him a present of plowing snow for the weekend of my birthday. I thought it was good as I was born between a snow storm and a flood. I spent Friday baking and figuring out what I wanted to fix that could be cooked and reheated.

Saturday morning we did a test run for a hour of the generator running the house. Hubby made sure it was full when we turned it off.Four deep freezers, 2 refrigerators, sump pump, water pump and furnace... the small generator did fine, you almost couldn't tell when the furnace fan or the deep freezer kicked on, the pull wasn't enough to make that much of a difference. I am glad Hubby got one that he knew would handle the whole house. Can't run the dryer on it as it's 220 and that would pull hard. But I am not running the dryer much any ways. I did pull drinking water so if we ran out of fuel while Hubby was working and couldn't get home that I would have water. I can drain the water lines and have small "buddy" propane heaters (with a window open some for ventilation). My gas stove burner work without electric but the oven won't if we don't have electric. As long as the generator works everything is about normal as we don't run a lot of things at one time anyways. Hubby had to go to work at midnight so supper of leftover lasagna was early. I pretty much worked in the pantry in the basement so not to disturb him while he was sleeping.

Sunday. this morning I woke and was surprised the dogs hadn't woke me up during the night or early this morning like was normal for them. Guess they didn't want to deal with the nasty weather either.Temp was 5 with wind chill of 8 below. I let them out through the basement to go up the ramp and through the garage that is just a tarp covered garage in a box, so Wilbur could actually go potty away from the house, he slid off the kitchen porch last night trying to jump through the drift and only caught part of the porch , not hurt but worried us enough to change how he goes out until we clear a  path for him and the porch isn't slick. Charlotte and Rascal seemed to wait for him and he followed their footsteps this morning. We call Charlotte snow bunny as she loves running around in the snow.

Hubby cleared the back door when he got home this morning. Could not get the F350 (large dual wheel truck) up the driveway so he has spent all morning plowing his own driveway.I'm not sure he will get to snow blowing the sidewalk to the barn , drift is up to my waist or the couple pathways he was talking about making for Wilbur and Rascal (as Rascal has had a leg injury and that flares up when it's this cold) to go potty away from the house. They still haven't let him know if he is working tonight or not. They might have him come in on Monday instead since it's a holiday and they weren't suppose to work the holiday.

I have a chuck steak in the oven on low as if it was a roast for supper.  I will start a brisket for tomorrow in a bit.

 I did put a load of laundry in to wash this morning, with the wind chill I won't be using the line but want to keep the electric down. I can get one good load on my drying rack. So it's a load or two every day this week.

I need to get started on the brisket, it can share the oven with tonight's supper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Garden planning.. rotation and spring planting

I have my rotation for the south garden

grasses (pop corn at this point) or lamiacea (herbs)

legumes (beans)

brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli cabbages etc)

Umbelliferial (carrots celery etc)

Asteracea (sunflowers, lettuces etc)

legumes (again)

amranthaceae (spinach, Swiss chard, beets)

solanaceous (toms, peppers, eggplant)

allium (onions garlic leeks)

cucurbits (cucumbers summer squash, winter squash, melons)

This year I am planting Grasses (popcorn) in the north garden as a 4 sister garden with bee balm, Lazy housewife beans(dry for soup) and 5 different winter squashes.

So I  will put lamiacea which is herbs. It will be the annual herbs as I intend to plant the perennial in the north garden  this year.

Morning glory family (sweet potatoes) will be planted in grow bags so I am not digging but dumping a bag.

Fingerling potatoes (solanaceous) will be planted in grow bags for the same reason.

Can you tell I am still working on learning plant family names?

I chose what I was planting each season

Spring is:
little white snow peas
little purple snow peas
Alaska pea
Royal snap pea
Sugar Ann snap pea
snow bird snap pea
red wethersfield onion
candy onion
patterson storage onion
zebrune shallots
American flag leeks
evergreen bunching onions
Tokyo bunching onions
white spear bunching onions
Danver carrots
St Valery carrots
Napoli carrots
Little finger carrots
Florence fennel
bronze fennel
Tall Utah celery
par cel celery
mars pelleted celeriac
bloomsdale long standing spinach
electric neon Swiss chard
cylindia beet
bulls blood beet
chioggia beet
Burpee golden beet
basella malaber spinach
Joan rutabaga
Daikon long radish
starburst radish
Philadelphia white radish
cherry belle radish
red glow radish
early scarlet radish
white beauty radish
Fioretto 85 cauliflower
redarling Brussels sprouts
Diabo Brussels sprouts
large Charleston wakefield cabbage
alcosa cabbage
Late flat Dutch cabbage
minute F1 Chinese cabbage
red dragon Chinese cabbage
Roamesco cauliflower
early snowball cauliflower
red Russian kale
champion collards
scarlet kale
snowdrop kalettes
autumn kalettes
mistletoe kalettes
calabrese broccoli
green goliath broccoli
green leaf salad bowl lettuce
red leaf salad bowl lettuce
Jericho lettuce
buttercrunch lettuce
rocket arugula
green party mesclun
red rouge d hiver lettuce
red romaine lettuce
four seasons lettuce
ez serve lettuce
looseleaf blend lettuce
flying saucer red lettuce
heatwave lettuce
summer bibb lettuce
super red romaine
Tom thumb lettuce
green ice lettuce
palla rossa radicchio
chio Italian dandelion

radishes and onions are good companion plants to help deal with some insects that aren't good... so they will be what is called a trap plant.

My lettuces produce from 30 days to 80 days.Since I am only planting a little bit of each I shouldn't be ran over, if I am, they will go to the neighbors, family or auction.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I know I am going to

I thought I would jot these frugal moments down.

I put foam insulators in the outlets and switches. Since I didn't have many (I know we have a ton some where in the barn) I started in the wheelchair bathroom as it's outside wall socket is on the northwest corner... WIND  came through the actual socket. YIPS. I put the insulator on and then did the north wall in the front room...same WIND. The front room east wall had some but not as bad.

Hubby went out in the barn and found some pieces of insulation board and a couple wood boards and put them on the northwest and north walls foundation of the house. He also insulated the old breaker box that is NOT connected to anything but we didn't get off the side of the house last summer and thought that was also part of the draft probably. There is still a 3 degree temp between the front room and Wheelchair bathroom and the rest of the outside walls. We will be doing insulation this summer. I don't think they put insulation where the garage walls met the foundation when they converted the garage to the front room and bathroom.

I found a hole in the foundation of the pump house that Hubby now has plugged. We have a gas heater in there also so that also saves on the propane being used to keep the pump from freezing.

I already noticed a drop in the amount of propane we use each week even though our propane company let us know we are 5 % below average usage for this house and what appliances use gas including me canning and baking.

I found more outlet and switch insulators so I continue around the outside walls.Child safety plugs are on the to buy list to stop the cold air coming through the actually outlet holes ( update, got some and have about half the house outlets now plugged)

With the change to LED Christmas lights even with more expensive electric here than the old place where the bill would have been around $225... it was $128 . We averaged 45 cents/day compared to the month before for the use of the LED lights. I see more LED Christmas lights in the future as the fake tree had regular lights on it this year so that is on the to buy list.

I continue to turn the furnace down to 60 when we are out of the house more than 4 hrs, I turn it down to 64 when we are gone less than 4 hrs.

I now unplug my laptops not just turn them off along with unplugging phone chargers and the 2 extra landline phones base. I found the landlines don't go dead for a week even off the chargers. I want to see if this brings down the electric this month. Hubby put his on a power strip as it doesn't plug in to an easy place to get to.

I had to bake 4 different things at 4 different temps so I started with the lowest setting and time it so there was only about 10 min between what I was baking. The last was dinner at 400 for 15 min.

I wrote up the menu and the baking menu..figured out the temps so I can do more combined baking to save propane.

I have to replace some baking pans. Since I bake  and I will be doing more of baking I am not buying cheap, but well made sturdy that will hold up years. I checked out Wilton first , it's been my go to for decades but the last 4 pans I bought did not hold up past 3 yrs. My son 2 had a pan from King Arthur that he has used for everything, deep dish pizza, lasagna ( I use glass for this but son uses parchment paper to line when using acid stuff in his metal pans), cakes, etc. YES HE BAKES. He has had this pan for 10 yrs. So I am going to try King Arthur (had a gift card from Son 2 which made the cost more in line with what I was willing to spend and stay in budget. This is out of my spending money for myself budget.

I ordered my canning supplies through Fillmore. Mason jar rings and lids. I pick up jars when they go on sale at the end of the canning season and stores are clearing them out.That was in the garden budget.

The house humidity is 36 and needs to be at least 42 so Hubby is picking up distilled water for the humidifier  after work today after he goes to the bank... won't have to back track for anything that way. I don't NEED anything from the store.Usually we have to start the humidifier in Nov so we have save $$ not having to buy distilled water for 2 1/2 months.

My Auto ins agent was checking our policy (he does every 2 months) and was able to reduce our payments by $80/ month since I turn 60 this month.

I am hanging laundry on the kitchen porch line to freeze dry LOL or become damp and finish drying on drying rack. When I don't want to do this I remind myself that I want the deck this early summer not next year and the money I save pays for the gravel we need to put the deck up.

We did splurge and bought dinner at a different Chinese restaurant. Hubby paid using the money he got helping the neighbor. We had enough left over of 2 dinners(Hubby eats SPICY) that we had 2 more meals each. So that actually made it as cheap as the Chinese buffet with a coupon. Hubby was happier as he got SPICY. Next he will get something with seafood...I know him. LOL

I was making the grocery list last night as my basement frig froze my carrots and celery (grr.. This happens a couple times a year and I can fix it myself since my Appliance guy showed me how). I asked Hubby if he still wanted apples for his lunches. He thought about it and said NO, he wouldn't need them to next week... I came back with I am not going to the store next week so you will need to figure out what you want to use instead....He changed it to YES, he wanted apples. He takes apples, crackers and peanut butter for snacks for work. They work nice if he's not able to get back into the main post to eat something. He takes a thermos of hot food, trail mix and a thermos of coffee as he drinks water when he is at the main post or out post.  I am going to the store about every 2 wks I would love to stretch it to 3 if I can get milk that is dated a bit farther out than 1 week.

I had some errands to run to pay some bills and appointments this week. I am glad I made phone calls. One bill was not only paid over the phone they set me up for auto pay, they don't have a website. Two others told me of better times to come in on different days. Sounds like Monday and Fridays are horrible. I was suppose to go to 4 stores(rebates combined with sales) BUT two of those might not happen as the one appt was cancelled so I won't be in that area. I am not sure the savings is worth the trip and the rebates don't have expire until next month. So instead of running around using $20 of gas and waiting in long lines today I am home making soup (was suppose to be creamy enchiladas from The Prudent Homemaker) but decided to do a soup(carries better for hubby in his thermos) of dried diced potatoes, dried carrots, dried red onions, dried celery, dried parsley, dried oregano,powered marjoram , 2 cups of diced turkey, 6 large bouillon cubes and 8 cups of water. Was good...think I will do beef bouillon cubes, diced beef and add dried mushrooms next time and see how that goes. Might toss barley in there also.

Hubby has 10 % of what he needs to save for the trailers he is wanting. He should get his first paycheck this week so he can fill his truck up as he as made his fuel last 4 wks ...he has a 40 gal tank. His pay goes into his savings for the 2 trailers he wants to buy.

We have 50 % of what we will owe on taxes, might be more with the changes of deductibles.

We have 50 % of what we want saved to pay for health ins in 2 yr when Hubby's old employer no longer pays our share.

As I remind myself daily when looking for ways to save Money that I am saving for the gravel and gardens and maybe some Christmas lights that are LED at this time.

I have saved 35 % of the amount needed for the gravel for the deck.

I have 75 % of the amount to cover what I feel I need in the gardens.

I probably forgot something LOL

Friday, January 11, 2019

Planning the garden

Garden goals

#1 to grow a variety of produce that will feed us from season to season of all FOUR seasons.

#2 to have a rotation of plant families so disease is kept down

#3 to be organized, know what variety did best , what worked and what didn't and what we preferred.

#4 to be able to handle the gardens on my own with little to no help from Hubby. That way if I am in hospital with my Crohn's Hubby can handle it on his own.

#5 To acknowledge that some of my tried and true varieties will not work in this area. I am farther north and altitude is lower (less time canning 😄) but I do have longer growing time due to "protection" of being on the east side of the highest point in OH.

#6 to have salad greens during the winter or most of the winter so I needed more variety so we don't get tired of the same old thing.

#7  To NOT overwhelm myself with upkeep, harvest, replanting, and processing the gardens.

I was advised to read Elliot Coleman New Organic Grower. I just started that and it has helped with setting up the rotation. I have had his Four Season Harvest book for years.I used my swag bucks to order it for my kindle

I am learning plant family names, at least to recognize what plant goes in that family even if I can't pronounce it 😉. Some list them under sub-families. And some spell the names differently so that's a pain at times.

Allium (onion and garlic) I have 11 varieties

Amaranthaceae (spinach, Swiss chard, beets) I have 20 varieties (several winter garden)

Asteracese (salad greens, sunflowers) I have 38 varieties. (that's about 9 per season, most are leaf not head lettuce)

Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kale) 45 varieties Several of the winter garden is in this family.

Cucurbits (cucumbers, summer sq winter sq,melons) 23 varieties. I was give 2 varieties of pickling cucumbers and I chose 11 winter squashes as I usually don't grow these as I could pick them up at the one farm market that was close from where we lived last year. I also wanted more variety that 4-5 since we will be eating them during the winter.I also added watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. We'll see if the longer growing time helps.

Grasses  this is my Japanese Hulless popcorn. I won't grow sweet corn this year since I have several neighbors in the area that grow sweet corn. I only need to grow popcorn every 2-3 yrs depending on the incoming crop and how much I share.

 Lamiacea mostly herbs 27 varieties... instead of buying plants I am starting from seeds

Legumes (beans beans peas LOL)  32 varieties. I added mung beans this year along with 8 dried beans varieties.

Morning Glory , not growing the flower  but am growing sweet potatoes, using one of the sweet potatoes that the Amish neighbor gave me to grow slips. It was from her brother who lived here 17 yrs ago.

Solanaceous (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, okra) 20 varieties . I added 2 varieties of each of eggplant and okra and 4 of peppers I plan to dry. PLUS I added 3 varieties of small potatoes.

Umbelliferae (carrots, celery ) 14 varieties there are a couple herbs in this also ..cilantro being one.

PLUS  we will be growing what is called green manure... like buckwheat, clovers, corn salad , Claytonia , and annual rye.

We measured the south garden .We have a 8 ft gate to the pond that I was leaving a path from the driveway to it open but Hubby and Amish neighbor, Eli agreed they would both be okay using the other gate that comes from Eli's pasture on the south side of our pond.  SO the south garden is 40 ft wide and 112 ft long.

North garden is perennials. I have rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, asparagus, chives, garlic chives and 1 sage plant. I put my fall garlic there also. The area left to plant (as I already marked space to plant more berry bushes, is 24 ft wide by 74 ft long.

We have  3 areas in back yard by house that can be planted or have containers. One is 9x5, the other two are both 5 x 11.

We have a fence line at the kennel east side is 16 ft , south side is 48 ft that we can use for planting vines.

We are still debating on whether to do low tunnels or green house depending on $$ for late fall,winter, early spring growing.

I started Egyptian walking onions on the west side of the sidewalk at the flower garden on the north side of the house. I have 3 hostas that need moved from that area, they have out grown their spot. SO I will put smaller plants there that can handle the shade. I might save some of it for lettuce during the hotter parts of the summer.

Following Elliot Coleman New Organic Grower book I listed all the plant families on index cards. I wrote what varieties was in each family. I then highlight variety by what season it could be planted in. Green highlighter is spring, summer is NO highlighter, orange highlighter is fall and blue highlighter is for winter. I have a few that has all four.

The ones that can be planted for a winter crop will be pulled as I don't want to plant them during another season.

Then I will focus on summer only... I will list what needs to be started as a transplant and by what date so I can mark that on my garden calendar and make sure I have enough supplies.

A lot of spring crops can be grown in the fall also, certain varieties do better in fall than spring and vice versa so I will do them last. Listing transplants also and their start dates on my garden calendar.

Hubby found a couple metal filing cabinets in the barn so I can use them to organize files with plants and such. Since I am not taking my laptop out in the gardens I want sheet paper and a clip board to write notes on while I am in the garden and then will put over on to computer (called Scan and save)

Back to reading and organizing

Monday, January 7, 2019

After Reading The Prudent Homemaker

Where Brandy listed what she wanted to improve in her home, gardens and personal, made me think about looking at more than just the finances, gardens, pantry etc...

We are close to living our dream life... we are in the country in our own home doing our own maintenance when it needs done (instead of waiting months before the landlord decides it's worth doing or not doing which drove us nuts). We have the land we wanted to grow the gardens we want. We have an income but still need to work for the items we want that are WANTS not needs.AND we like that as it give purpose to be out and about.

We still have things we need (like ramps for wheelchair access and railing on the porches for ins reasons) that cost $$ that we are saving up. Hubby took part time work to save up for the 2 trailers he wants to buy that will bring more money in to the home in the long run.

SO what is left?


the mudroom is a dumping ground for anything that is to go to the barn or Hubby dumps things on the counter top for stuff he means to put away that he forget to put away because he goes into the I'll do it later mode.

My rocker in the bedroom is breeding magazines. I have canceled all except the 4 I read but Hubby finds one some where and puts it there so I can read it at night. I don't read magazines at night LOL

Area beside the kitchen frig which is at the door to the basement gets loaded with stuff that should be put away in the basement. Funny how we walk to the upstairs to put something away but not the basement.

Kitchen, Hoosier counter on over load, counters constantly is loaded especially the bfast bar area and my roll cart at the stove gets dumped on all the time.

In the laundry room, Hubby shoves boxes off odds and ends under my clothes that are on racks (Don't have closets yet). I think I might have got this stopped this weekend when I put the two boxes he did it with ON HIS DESK.

My office... MY Desk is the worse, but it's now over flowed to my table. I have 4 boxes in the corner plus of course the 3 drawers in the desk ... I need a bigger circular file and a filing cabinet and about 8 hrs to work on it.

Sewing room, box after box after box. I need to build shelves to sort the fabric and yarn on and set up my sewing machine. SO I can sew aprons, curtains for entire house (warm weather and cold), pillows and the Christmas gifts I didn't get done this year.

We would love to have the barn decluttered before the end of summer... I doubt if we will get that far as the house is the priority on that.

IN the garden

I would love to have flowers that I can at least have 1 bouquet a week if not two. I have plans for planting flowers.

Herbs, as I am starting a new garden from bare nothing I really have to focus on getting the herbs rolling. I did transplant my chives, garlic chives and sage that seems to have survived. My thyme and oregano didn't. I have garden mints that I will have to remove part of, not something I use a lot of.

I would like berry bushes, a new grape harbor with seedless grapes that is NOT on the driveway. Hubby has to almost put the F350 in the yard to not clip the concord grape harbor.More perennial onions. I started a few last fall and they seem like they are okay so far.


No Crohn's attacks that put me in the hospital... think of walking a tight rope on that one.

Eating healthier... I don't eat enough protein and with the work I am doing here I definitely can't put off not changing my diet.

Learn German.

Have at least 1 get together with friends and neighbors this year.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 A New Year.

Budget is in place...

I joined for the Jan. pantry challenge.

I joined for the Uber Frugal Money challenge.

Then we went out to eat last night at the local Chinese buffet... granted I sat down and went to sleep at 2:30, thinking I would just take a break until 3 and Hubby woke me up at 4 when he came in and wondered why I didn't wake up when the dogs carried on. I'm still recovering from the crud most likely or worse I am getting it again thanks to Son 2 that ended up in Urgent care the day after we met for dinner.

So while at the Chinese buffet, which I had a coupon for, and have 3 more so we can eat out ONCE a month and I am taking it out of the grocery budget. We have 12 days to the next pay and we are doing fine. We talked about our goals for this year, two years, 5 years, 7 years *we will be full retirement age for SS* and 10 yrs.

We talked about the south garden, that I measured wrong big time. I thought it 40 ft x 40 ft west of the pond gate, the gate was 8 ft and then 37 ft x 40 ft east of the gate...NOPE It's 80 ft x 40 ft west of the pond gate. the gate is 8 ft (Hubby thought 10 ft which is why he was out measuring) and the east section is 24 ft x 40 ft. Which made us both realize that neither of us knew what the north garden was. We will be measuring it this weekend.

We talked about over lapping big projects... aka gardens along with putting in the deck and redoing one of the porches or back stoop steps. Continuing to go through boxes. Down to 4 in the office and 12 in the basement as I finally got through all of them in my bedroom.  We talked about lack of storage and closet and how we are glad I didn't put the closets in where I thought to as it would have not worked well at all.

We talked about changing how we eat. I brought up that March I usually start buying what we term as spring crops, asparagus, beets, radishes, fresh greens, peas, snow peas ...when reality those crops don't come in until late April, some times May. I buy summer crops in late May/June but those crops don't really come in until mid June. We start eating winter squash in Oct when really we should not be eating it until late Nov or Dec since it's what we should be eating come Feb/March. If we are going to eat from what is in the garden in season...we have to think about when the harvest is coming in , not the planting time.

We talked about sweets... I will eat one piece, maybe 2 of pie, cake or brownies.I maybe eat 2 servings of ice cream or sherbet. Which sticks Hubby with eat the rest. He still needs to lose weight. Cookies I will scarf down, M&M's also especially after Hubby makes his trail mix of M&M's, dried fruit, peanuts and cashews. That's he snack at break at work.It's my breakfast most mornings.

We talked about me making room in the kitchen refrigerator freezer for bfast items, like homemade McD's egg mc muffin, sausage egg burritos, pancakes, waffles and French toast.

We talked about healthy sweets that put dairy in our diet, Both of us have low calcium levels.

I brought up that with the work load for me going up with starting into the gardens and yard work, that I needed a day of baking that I can do the baking for the week. We needed a menu that focused of using up what was needed to have a place to put the harvest in when it comes in. We decided that baking day should be Saturday, maybe Friday and Saturday depending on the type of bread thinking of brioche and sour dough. IF I am putting bfast items in the freezer then how much. Hubby thought a month supply of 5 days with weekends being a brunch instead of bfast and lunch. With changing the menu plan from beef on Saturday to soup so I am just putting it together and letting it simmer. Having beef on Sunday instead.

I will testing this "new" menu and routine starting tomorrow.

Blessed Be