Wednesday, July 26, 2023


 for the dew to dry so I can go pick Roma beans, yellow wax beans and blackberries which is all that I left unpicked yesterday.  Got our first small batch of purple potatoes, enough to 2 meals also. They will go in storage for fall which is 8 weeks away. 

I will be canning Roma beans, yellow wax beans, beets (I bartered for ) and zucchini as I found 3 the size of my thigh that we missed on Saturday. I am also dehydrating zucchini.

I will then water the entire garden as we only got 1/3rd of inch of rain 2 days ago and the excessive heat is coming in tomorrow afternoon. I will also apply blossom rot meds (ha ha) to the tomatoes so I can quit throwing them over the fence towards the pond.

Hubby has put all 15 metal beds together and started filling them with dirt. He is piling the old wooden beds to the side as E said he can burn them in his one pit he has for that type of stuff, then he then cleans the metal out of it. I need to get started planting the fall/ winter crops but it's not going to be the next two days with this heat coming in.

 Today he went to go pick up a wagon that has a lift so it can dump what ever is in it. There is a part broke but he thinks he can fix that himself if not there are a couple places around here that do that type of work for reasonable $. It will help to have our own wagon for getting wood from the sawmills plus be able to dump it means I am not standing on top of a pile of wood tossing it at Hubby.

The guy said no one wanted it even though he had it for sale for 1/10th of the rest. He took pictures of it and measurements for Hubby. It has a PTO (Hum drive shaft to hook to a tractor to run) and not a motor. The guy is surrounded by Amish. E thought it  was funny as he would have picked it up in a heart beat and rigged it for a motor. Told Hubby he would help change it to a motor if he couldn't get the PTO fixed. 

It's now drifting to the back side of my arm also. It hurts to lift my arm over my head .  I caught it on a part of the 50 pound canner when lifting it up on the stove. I definitely seem to having issues with bruising easy this summer. I am NOT on blood thinner or on OTC stuff that would thin your blood also.  

Looks like the dew is drying up... back to work

Friday, July 21, 2023

In the pantry and freezers.

Starting to over run the shelves . 

The fruit and veggies freezer (22 cubic) is FULL and is now running over into the pork/nuts/seeds freezer(22 cubic) and the beef/bread *frozen French toast, pancakes and waffles* freezer (22 cubic). There is a little room left in the poultry/ice cream freezer in the barn (7 cubic ft.) But I am trying to keep enough room for M to put bacon when they butcher, she freezes it about an hour to slice it easier. All 3 refrigerators freezers are FULL.

I have half of the corn (frozen) I need for the year. IF I don't get any more, we will only have corn every other week. E's corn has not came in yet and he's thinking it's not going to make very good. So I might check at a couple places to see if I can find some more. 

I still have room for tomato stuff in the pantry.

I have room for cherry pie filling (if the cherries I ordered come in, store I ordered them from said they got a phone call stating they might not get them due to damage done to the cherries). I have room for mixed berry pie filling as I am no longer getting enough of red raspberries to make pie filling so will mix them with blackberries (which the bird that nested in as done a good job of eating the blackberries) for pie filling.

I have room for the green beans (M got ran over and sent enough to for me to get 7 quarts worth, she grows Jade green beans) and my Roma green beans and  yellow wax beans  is coming on right now. That spot might get ran over.

I have room for applesauce. I can dry apples also as that goes in to the loft for storage. I might move herbs and spices to another loft to free up a couple shelves in the pantry even though I have no shelving to put them on in that area. 

The dried beans I canned to have canned beans and the meat area is FULL.

Dried fruit area is FULL but I will find a place for dried apples if I dried some more. Maybe in the loft under a bed ??? 

The jelly, jam and fruit butter is full but I will find room some where for the apple butter as it's low. Hubby eats it on cottage cheese.

When M sent over the green beans as hers ran her over, she also sent broccoli that I blanched and flash froze as they are tired of eating it.  I will vacuum bag it today. We got enough to have broccoli every other week thanks to her. I have some side sprouts coming on my own plants for fresh eating as I had already harvested and blanched the big heads.  She also sent a head of cabbage. I turned down the green bell peppers as I can't eat them. She got tomatoes off her brother in law to make salsa with them. I don't need salsa. 

I have to dehydrate zucchini to toss in soups and sauces. I have enough in freezer for zucchini bread pancakes, zucchini pie and fritters etc. 

I have to process today and tomorrow, green beans, wax beans, berries, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples and bag the broccoli. THEN GO HARVEST AGAIN and WATER as the storms went north and south of us SIGH. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

I'm not the only one on over load plus July finances

 Hubby has tried almost daily to start putting the garden beds together. E yelled at me from the road that they needed help hauling hay, tell Hubby to bring tractor. The tractor goes same speed as horses and that's all the faster E wants his wagons with metal wheels to go. This is the second cutting and they got 10 times more than the first which is unusual. Even with 5 of them hauling the hay, it took 2 days to get it all up into the barns. 

He had one Amish come ask him to dig post holes for another neighbor that wanted to put a deck on the backside of their house. He had 3 come ask for him to weld something. He had one stopped and asked for him to come move the Loader. (fork lift) as the Englisher that was supposed to do it never showed up. 

Then the 350 work truck is FIXED AND HOME. I pointed out that he had a small crack from stone in the windshield so he is going to get that dealt with. Then he back up and realized the back up alarm wasn't working. He also checked the estimate list and found they were suppose to replace the ball in the gooseneck and they didn't. He is calling in the morning . Will have to run it back over but he is also taking a receipt where he had to buy a wind shield wiper as the driver's side one was completely missing. GEEZE. But that can be "a sit and wait for it" not leave it.  Returned the rental.  Ended up going to McD's for a sandwich. Haven't ate there in over 5 yrs. Sandwich was good especially since we both missed lunch and it was way past supper time. 

I canned 6 more quarts of zucchini. It's in a syrup base and has garlic, dill, peppercorn, carrot, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini.  I figured one quart a month even if we hate it we can handle that amount. M told me to just chunk it and can it with hot water. She'll add a jar of tomatoes sometimes when serving it. 

I started fermenting cherry tomatoes, has garlic and basil. Has to sit 5 days and then should be ready. If Hubby likes it (he loves fermented foods) I will make more. 

I froze 2 batches of strained blackberry puree for ice cream

I froze 2 batches of red raspberry puree and some raspberries for ice cream.

I froze golden raspberries as there is never enough to do anything with them besides eat them. 

I canned 7 qrts of red raspberry pie filling. There was 1 1/2 pints left over. I shoved it in the frig. Hubby ate part of it last night over cookies and milk and said it was good. To put pancakes on the menu for Monday.

I've moved some of the pantry around to make more room as it's really starting to fill up 😁. Okay some areas are over flowing.

Went to a informal get together of high school classmates for a late supper. Was nice. 

Hubby went to store and got me garlic bulbs as I was completely out and a gallon of milk. That is the only shopping done this month. I don't see needing to stop this coming Thursday after chiro as with the gardens coming in and he just got a gallon of milk, we don't need anything.

Electric was $104 ...$71 lower than last year. We still have not turned on AC. 

I paid the school taxes for this year completely 6 months before they were due. 

Hubby said he has a couple outstanding bills to come in from the business and then he can finish closing the bank account down. He was aiming for August first, the major part of it is closed as of last week.  He said he doesn't miss it at all as the Amish have made a point of connecting to him in other ways. 

Everyone be safe. 
Prayers for peace
Blessed Be 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

3 jobs and Frugal moments

 Sunrise started with fog coming across the fields. Never crossed the road. I think Charlotte "scared" it. 😂

Hubby and I was talking about how he felt with closing down his business. At first he was trying to figure out something else to do with it as  it was hauling and odd jobs, he knows he needs purpose.... then after dealing with spraying the lane for weeds, mowing twice in one week, picking apples and twice helping one of the Amish, he decided he was fine with closing it down. He also after I repeatedly nagged about going up to the sawmill and ordering a wagon of scrap wood (about 4 cords would be enough to finish what we need for this winter), he stopped and the Amish owner asked if he would be interested in doing some "cleaning up" around the mill in exchange any wood he cleaned up was free for him. He will start next week when he has his truck back. Should be hearing something about that today or tomorrow. Hubby looked at the wood that needs cleared... said he was going to have to take the chainsaw with him and the Amish guy was going to ask the other Englisher that owns the fork lift at the mill if Hubby could use it. Hubby thinks about 2 weeks of work that he wouldn't have gotten while hauling and it's FREE wood for our stove and a discount on the wagon full he ordered that will come in this fall because the Amish couldn't find anyone willing to clean it up.

HB stopped over and asked if Hubby could help him dig post holes. Hubby has a post hole digger for the tractor. Got that job done in 1 hrs. 

E stopped last night and asked if Hubby could use his red horse (aka tractor not the truck ) to pull a wagon with steel wheels loaded with hay. As E doesn't want the wagon to go more than 10 mph with that type of wheel, it would damage the road. That will be tomorrow barring rain. 

Then he mentioned I was doing 3 jobs... I asked what he was thinking of... gardening, processing the food, and finances of keeping frugal. I noticed home keeping was not on that list. 

We harvested the last of the peas and pulled them. I have zucchini, red and golden beets, red raspberries, golden raspberries and the beginning of blackberries harvested. I still have blueberries in the frig to do today and should be getting a call in next week or two that the cherries are in.

I got to thinking, after the second cup of coffee this morning that I needed to puree 2 cups of each of the berries, put in a sandwich bag, then freezer bag to freeze for ice cream this fall and winter. I already did it with the strawberries. 

I use grape jelly, about 1 tablespoon in my stir fries for a glossy sauce. I told Hubby I wasn't making it because I only have a large jar of grape jelly and I knew it would go bad before we used it up. I will use it in thumbprint cookies. I got to thinking about the small jelly and jam packages at restaurants... I ordered them through Amazon.  Hubby laughed and asked if we could have a few in the "jelly, jam and fruit butter" pan in the frig. I have a sheet cake pan to keep that together otherwise I find half used ones with mold shoved to the back.

We have not turned on the AC. Hubby wanted to a couple times at night. I told him to switch to sleeping in his "gym shorts" instead of flannel pjs. He's now complaining of getting too cool (use the freaking blanket and close down the window beside you.) 

We bought take out Chinese on Friday late afternoon (got lunch prices) we ate it Friday, Saturday and Sunday for lunch. I was either harvesting or canning 12 hrs. a day.  I have 2 cases of wide mouth pint jars left. Having to use quart jars now for everything.  Hubby strongly suggested I order more wide mouth pints.  I will have to price them first.

I best get back to the blueberries, Hubby is picking apples today.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Made today's to do list

 Told Hubby I wanted it written in some what of order of what needed done first.

He quickly started with 

3 cups of coffee and sitting with Charlotte on the kitchen porch. 

Laundry  and then dishwasher. 

I was really talking about black raspberries ( need to finish last 7 quarts of pie filling) red raspberries, golden raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. The "applesauce" apple tree needs picked as they are ready. I have red and golden beets, turnips, zucchini, Swiss chard, herbs, bolted lettuce and spinach to dehydrate, red cherry tomatoes to dehydrate, Hubby already took the onions we harvested to the barn to cure. We found some huge black radishes when pulling pea vines (got enough of peas and snow peas we won't have to grow any this fall) If they are pithy I will cut them into dices and dehydrate them. Works well in soups etc. Might fry some as that works also when pitchy.

I am behind on starting seeds for plants for fall planting. Have to get that started this week. I need to sort through the seeds for what I am planting (plants and seeds) and then list what needs ordered for next year. I would like to grow more head lettuce that leaf lettuce. But small heads so I am thinking bibb lettuce. 

Hubby had already dealt with the onions when I took these. They are in half bushel baskets. 

To the porch for Charlotte time LOL

Friday, July 7, 2023

2:43 AM.

Just became great-grandma again. Zi'liyah, family is going to call her Zi. 8 lbs. 6 oz. 20 inches long. Daddy and Mommy doing good too. Born at 3:02. Grandma Daughter 3 is still struggling with becoming a grandma but the entire family keeps pointing out her daughter followed in HER FOOT STEPS. Graduated, working full time and 18. Daddy is also. AND just like her mother, not married. SIGH. 

I would say it's a weird name but we actually had an Amish family name their baby using the initials of several family members and then had to spend a year teaching everyone how they wanted it pronounced. 

Since my back injections I am sleeping better, just not very long. I rest daily at 2 pm at the insistence of Charlotte. She wants me to lay on the bed with her for 30 minutes. Probably has been a good habit as I try hard to have my work down by then so when I get up from the rest it's prep supper and take laundry down and put it away.

Sherm found out the Country Variety store (Mennonite store) had black raspberries so we went to get some. I couldn't find them anywhere last year. I got 46 pints . Making pie filling (quart wide mouth jars) and jam (pint regular mouth jars) . We have one Amish family that is selling a little bit of them. I'll get some from them for fresh eating this weekend. Hopefully our will make enough next year to cut down on what I have to buy. It was half of stores prices.

They also had blueberries, Hubby had already bought 12 jars of blueberry preserves. But I am short on blueberry pie filling. They had a 20 lb. box for half of what all the other stores were selling blueberries for. I got it.

I also ordered sour cherries, 27 lbs. to make pie filling. Hubby had already ordered those preserves also. 

IF I have enough blackberries and red raspberries ripe I will mix some of the black raspberries and blueberries with them and make a mix berry pie filling. 

They had peaches, smaller than regular and not as juicy. I okay with what we have with peaches.  I need pears though but haven't found a supply yet.

Our "applesauce" tree is almost ready to harvest, The ones now falling are turning ripe faster than the ones on the tree. Today , Hubby is picking up the ones that fell so he can mow and is taking a bucket out with him so if there are any good he can bring them to the house for me. The bad ones Hubby tossing in the tractor bucket and take them over and dumps them at E's for their pigs. We call the other apple tree the pie tree or cider tree... because that's what the apples are good for and no one knows what type of apples they are.

We bought eggs from an Amish lady that grows beets for me. We bartered 5 gallons of asparagus for her for 5 gallons of beets for us. She was at a Sister's day so her Husband had the 5 little ones and taking care of selling eggs.  Said she had tripled her flock to have enough to sell and almost doesn't really get enough. I think it's the humidity as chickens don't lay good in hot or cold weather and they don't heat the coops in the winter.

Hubby got his hearing aids fixed and I had a hearing test. I am still good with the hearing but they noticed the left ear isn't as good as it was 2 yrs. ago but still within normal range. So him saying I am just not hearing him went out the window as the Doctor told him he was mumbling and his voice is gravelly. Told me to make sure I was getting B vitamin especially folic acid B 9, Magnesium and Zinc in our diet. So I checked what foods was needed to be in the diet. 

I know there are red raspberries, blackberries, peas, snowpeas, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, cherry tomatoes, herbs, and maybe onions, beets and turnips to pick today to deal with on top of berries I bought. We don't have any appointments until Hubby gets his truck back, hopefully next Wed. Figure I can do some canning in the morning while the beds dry from dew, then harvest and do more canning when it's too hot/humid to be out.

The last of the garden beds we ordered are in. Got them unloaded from UPS truck before the rain dumped buckets on us and the driver. Got so bad we couldn't see the end of the porch 8 ft from the door. We want to get them in within the next week so I can start planting fall/winter crops. Our primary doctor asked us how to do that as he just started last year growing any garden, first time for him and his wife. 

Hubby mentioned that made 15 beds... I looked at him and told him I only needed 13, he forgot he still had 2 beds in the barn... Sigh... we will be finding a spot for them. He thinks we have enough weed barrier to make another row.

In the past 5 days, he has told me at least once a day, that he didn't understand what I meant when I told him something. I stopped and thought about what I said and resaid it and then asked him to tell me what he thought I said. He had it correct... that is an IMPROVEMENT as before he would just say, I didn't say that, and he wasn't catching he didn't understand what was said. I told him yesterday that was an improvement after he was laughing at my brother, who was struggling to understand the text I sent. My text was had lunch at the Inn, ran in to cuz Judy L Daddy's side and her friend whose brothers see you several times a week. She didn't give her name. Manager working floor at the Inn grew up down the street from us. You know her brother Tom P. He came back with we don't have a cuz Judy (we have one on Daddy's side and one on Mother's) He didn't know anyone working at the Inn. Manage texted her brother who just happen to be eating lunch with MY BROTHER. Hubby understood the text but he realized I am dealing with it from two sides. At least my sister in law and their kids are dealing with the issues more than I am. 

Some of Son2's test results have came back. He worked burn pits in Iraq for a solid 12 months. He has PSTD (I figure all soldiers in battle would have that) and mild to medium COPD. Still has more testing to jump through. His girlfriend is struggling to handle it and the changes that have to be made to be supportive of him. He said the only blessing of finding out now that her answer was to ignore him and not be there like she said she would is they are not married or even living together. He is glad he already quit smoking (again) He has a support system of us and several other veterans that live around him. Daughter 3 and Daughter 4 both have PSTD (both lost infants) and mild COPD from smoking so he's called them also.

I did remind him she might have PSTD herself and not know it. Her dad was a vet from Nam, he ended up shooting himself in the car in the driveway and she was the one to find him. It could have triggered her and her not understand or know  that it did. He hadn't thought about that but he was going to go talk to her mom (she was raised by her dad) to see if she would check on her regularly,

Going to grab coffee and go sit on the kitchen porch with Charlotte so I don't start rattling pots and pans and wake Hubby

Prayers for peace

Blessed be

Monday, July 3, 2023

Pantry Challenge

We  decided on what we would buy from the Amish first.

Honey, maple syrup, molasses, garlic (if B has extra when she harvests late summer and I ordered mine to grow last week, they come in mid Sept in time to plant), 6 dozen eggs a month (Charlotte eats an egg a day to keep her allergies down) and in the fall it will be butternut squash, acorn squash and pumpkins.

Meat for holidays: 2 hams, 2 turkeys, 2 spare rib racks, 2 corned beef briskets, 1 pork roast, and 1 prime rib.  

What we will buy from the store each month not spending over $175 (not including the meat or Amish)

14 gallons of milk,  will make yogurt, yogurt cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream (and chip dip), puddings , gravies and whey for baking. I specified that the day after shopping is Kitchen day. Don't count on me for anything else.

3 quarts of heavy cream, will make cream cheese, whipping cream, ice cream and custards.

2 quarts of half and half, will make gelato, and mix with heavy cream for custards and white sauce.

6 lbs. of butter but ONLY if it is below $3.50 a pound.

12 colored bell peppers (I can't eat green, triggers my crohn's) or 2 bags of the mini sweet peppers.

6 lbs. of carrots (Mine won't be ready until fall)

3 bunches of celery (Mine won't be ready until fall)

4 lbs. fresh mushrooms. I use can for pizza, sauces etc. 

10 lbs. of sweet potatoes. Didn't even get one to last from last year for starts. 

20 lbs. of potatoes. Probably by October that will only be baking potatoes with fingers crossed mine will produce a good harvest.

I will be baking our own bread, biscuits, pie crusts instead of Daddy's favorite from Aunt Shirley (which I found out was Pillsbury), tortillas , tortilla chips, crackers,  crackers flavored like Ritz veggie chip, potato chips, and Fritos.

I plan to add eclairs, doughnuts (we do baked doughnuts) and cream puffs. One of the kids just gave me a scone dish and some scone mixes someone gave them . Kid took them to keep them from going into the land fill. 

Since Hubby is home for bfast and lunch I will probably add English muffins and bagels. 

Might be 2 days in the kitchen LOL.

IN the gardens.

I picked more  red and golden raspberries and 4 blackberries. Hubby asked for a pie until I mentioned pancakes with raspberry topping. He thought that was a good idea.

First batch of onions curing. I use 365 onions a year. I usually can only get about half of that and they store until January if temps hold decent.

purple grapes looks to be making for the 1st time and rhubarb that is regrowing

white grapes that we thought died, we won't get a lot but glad they really didn't die.

Herbs, rows 1,2,3,4,5,and 6

Rows 7 and 8

Rows 9,10,11, and 12

I have some pots of odds and ends but Hubby is cutting winter wood close by. I don't want to deal with ear protectors in this humidity. 

Snow peas, peas , turnips and lettuce is almost done. Any "edible leaves" will be dehydrated to be ground to add to sauces etc. this winter.

I'll be looking at what I want to plant for fall and early winter harvests. 

Blessed Be

Prayers for peace

Roller coaster

yellow rose #1

                                            Yellow rose #2

Pink rose
                                                   pale red rose

 I walked out to see if there was any more June dropped apples before Hubby started mowing. Got another bushel for E to have for his pigs.

I made a batch of caramelized onion and apple chutney using 1/2 bushel of drop apples. It's on the menu for this week.

Decided against making apple pectin at this time so E's is also getting a half of bushel  that I was going to use. 

Hubby said something about I needed to finish processing the groceries for the freezers I bought yesterday. I told him I didn't need to as it was what we were eating the next couple days. He thought I had a lot of meat... it was cheese and that was dump the bag into the bin in the freezer.

Paid the propane early, got a grill propane tank filled for free savings of $41.29 , get 5¢/ gallon off by paying in  full, got another 5¢off by paying before Aug. 1st. Put the charge on my Capital One and got $8.08 back. Total savings is $119.37.

Signed Hubby up for his Plan D (premium $5.10 month and meds are less than $5 every three months) and Supplement (through AARP is $123.36). It will cut his medical costs in half.

We sat on the kitchen porch and talked about cutting the budget, what to cut (how low can you go keeps running through my head). Figured it out including doing a pantry challenge for the rest of this year with limited (actually listed) buying.

And saw Momma with her twin babies.

OOPS Momma saw us

She took off with the babies following her but stopped at the woods to see what we were doing. Then trotted over the dip to finish grazing as E saw her as he came down the road and asked if they were up this way. 

Hubby brought in the mail, wouldn't you know the house insurance went up and that was after the taxes doubled. I already looked and the escrow account (required by mortgage)  is going to be short end of August so I need to put that in and that also means the mortgage payment is going up by $265.85. Our agent sent out notices to all his house insurance customers so they would have as much time as he could give them to get the extra money up. 

I harvested red raspberries, golden raspberries, peas, snow peas, onions for storage, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens,  turnips, last of golden cherry tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, zucchini and beets, the beet greens went into the dehydrator. 

I got my appt. for my back injections including follow up scheduled .A group of our classmates is having an informal meet up that is also on the calendar. We are thinking of changing our chiro appts to Thursday since Hubby is no longer working so we can go in the morning, would be able to take Charlotte along when she is to see vet and/or meet up with a couple friends in that area. We would only go over on Tuesdays every 3 months as that is the only day Doc will see "couples" and that is in the afternoon. 

Have a safe July 4th . 

Prayers for peace

Blessed Be