Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Was On Sale and What I Did With It

If I just had a bit more time.... and a bit more energy... I could get so much more done.
Have you ever thought that? I think that all the time. Then I wonder if I am just wasting time when I am resting....but sometimes my body says that I just HAVE to rest.

Anyway, there was some good stuff marked down at the store this week and even though it meant I was going to have a looong weekend, I couldn't resist. I started this morning with carrots- actually, that isn't true, I started this morning with violin practice. In case I haven't mentioned it violin practice is an EVERY DAY thing. I believe if you want to play well, it will always be an EVERY DAY thing. I want to play well.
But back to the carrots- 8 lbs of multi-colored carrots for $4. I ended up with 9 pints (a  canner full) and a few to spare. Here is one of my earlier blog post on canning carrots.
Then there was chicken. This chicken was not on sale this week but several weeks ago whole chickens were on sale. I don't know how many pounds they were, they are fairly small but they fit in the rotisserie just right and I cooked one in it yesterday and it was wonderful. However, one of our big problems with just the three of us here is food waste. We just don't eat a lot of leftovers. So I took what was left and took the best of the meat off of it and put it in the crockpot with some canned alfredo sauce, then I took the carcass and put it in a fairly large pot with water, some onion and some of those spare carrots and I made some great chicken stock that I have really been missing lately.
 I see I don't have a particular post on just canning chicken stock. I basically put the chicken bone carcass in a large pot and boiled it (then simmered) while I was making the strawberry pie (below).  I am not sure how much time that was but it was long enough to make the rest of the chicken meat come easily off the bone. Then I strain it through a metal mesh strainer which I put in the canning funnel, into the jars. Do the usual, wipe the jar rim, and can it at 10 lbs pressure for 20 minutes.

The other thing that was marked down was strawberries -the large containers of them (I don't know how much is in them but I think it is two pints). Strawberries are my favorite fruit but usually the marked down containers aren't worth getting but this time they still looked good and I got 5 of them -yes, that was a bit much and I had no idea what I was going to do with them but, of course, google came to the rescue and came up with the recipe for this strawberry pie.

I got the recipe for this here. We have not tried it yet but I just don't think we can go wrong with basically strawberries and sugar. This only used up 3 of my 5 things of strawberries though. I have been urging Phil to eat some and he has started on one of the containers--can't wait too long as they we already marked down so were already good an ripe. 
So this has been my weekend. I still have flowers to plant too but nothing will get done tomorrow as I have a doctors appointment--first time in almost 15 years. So nice that my works insurance started covering people who worked over 30 hours instead of 40. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update on the Home Gardening

Got out and took some more pictures today. We are going through another couple days of cold here. I hear that we are stuck in a weather system that is just doing circles over us that is why we have several normal warm days and then a couple of cool days...over and over and over again. I really wish it would stop.
Anyway, I'll start with the vegetables and then move on to the flowers.

Here are the potatoes. Aren't these huge?! I hope all that foliage means they are making nice big potatoes.

This is one of the two new pots of lettuce I sowed. The first two pots only germinated on each end for some reason...

but these two new ones look great.

I got busy and planted some peppers and tomatoes in pots as well. These are hot yellow peppers. I didn't know I had picked up a hot one I thought I had the sweet ones but too late now. The rest of these were planted down in the garden.

Here is that cherry tomato that I planted.

I took a few pictures of the flowers again as well. No more tulips, they've gone by but here is one of the hostas. I have one of these cement pots on either side of the swing in the front yard.  I put a few petunias in them several weeks ago when there were only tips of the hostas showing. Now they are just about over run. They did not grow quite fast enough. I do like how this one is peeking out from  under the leaves though. 

These next two pictures are of my ranunculous. They are a bit of a disappointment as they don't really look rose-like as they should but they are a pretty flower anyway. 

Here are a couple of cute pots I have growing. I have two of these little watering pots both with Gerber daisies.

And there are two of these pots on their little chairs in the back yard both with marigolds and petunias. 

And here are the first of the roses. These are on the rose bush by the mailbox. It is not in full bloom yet though, just a few here and there. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Club Gardens in April

I just wanted to give you a little update on the Club gardens now that things are really starting to sprout.  Here are the annuals. I can't wait until they really fill in!

I love the violas.

The strawberries are blooming. I hope to get a chance to get some mulch around them but don't know if I can get some or not.

Look at these onions!

All of the beans have sprouted! They are kind of hard to see in this picture but they have all sprouted, all three colors.

The squash have sprouted too (we have 4 hills in each bed). And so have the cucumbers though I didn't get a picture of them.

This last picture is of a blueberry bush. Two of them are blooming nicely like this. The other two seem to be slower. The ones that are blooming are the pink lemonade which is kind of funny since I have two blueberry plants at home that are a "blue" variety and those are blooming good but my pink lemonade ones aren't. 

That was all the pictures I had a chance to take today. It is spring break so we have the kids from 8:30 to 5:00 so not a lot of time for picture taking.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just a Little Potato/Flower/Railings Update

Took a few pictures yesterday to show you all. This is what the potatoes in the pots look like now. They are really growing great!

I also got around to cleaning out the front flower bed. It usually grows flowers among the weeds and lemon balm but I am going to try to keep up with it this year. I want to get some mulch for it. Was going to do that today but with all the thundering outside...maybe not. I planted some snapdragons along the front and some flower called penta by the side of the steps.

I always leave some of the wild violets. They are just so pretty.

Phil was busy yesterday too. He was finishing tiling a bathroom for some friends of ours and then he came home with some wood and finally made railings going up the porch steps. So much nicer on my foot and knees.

So glad it is raining today! The pollen has been terrible! Everything is completely yellow. Plus it means that I don't have to water the gardens at the Club for a couple days. Going to try to get out there tomorrow with a few kids and plant the tomatoes and a few peppers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thrift Store Finds

I truly believe the best way to help be self sufficient--cheaply--is to go to the thrift store every week. You do have to go with your mind set right though. If you can't find a use for it, don't buy it. That being said, I have bought several things I thought I could use and then never did. That is okay, too. I held onto my plastic meat  grinder for months before I ever needed it to slice up the bacon from the hogs. If you don't use it after a long time..send it back.
Anyway. these are my thrift store finds this week:

Another meat slicer. A nice metal one! It does have a bit of rust there on the tray but it seems to just be a little surface rust and I think I can get if off with some tin foil and salt (do you all know about tin foil, and salt for rust? Well, you do now, just wet it slightly and rub with the foil and salt). It works just fine though it is old.

This was taped in the box with the meat slicer. I hate when they tape over things. I guess they don't know what parts go with what but I really couldn't see what I was getting that way. I knew I wanted to see if the slicer worked but didn't know if it had all the parts or if this vegetable slicer had all its parts either. Luckily it did although it does need a new pin to hold the flap on the top. I believe so coat hanger wire will do the trick but haven't tried to fix it yet. So much better than a noisy food processor. The box with both of these in it was $5.99.

Then came this coffee grinder. I am always interested in these, not only because they can grind coffee but if they have a fine enough setting on it, it can also grind other things like wheat or corn meal. The grinder works but I haven't tried it on anything real yet. It was $4.99.

And last there was this watering can. I just plain like planting flowers in watering cans or old coffee cans. So I got this to plant flowers in though I haven't done it yet. I keep thinking it may be handing just for watering things in the greenhouse though :)

Anyway, these were the good thrift store finds for the week. I'll have some gardening posts coming up.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Even prettier!

Yes I promise I won't turn the whole blog will not turn into "my pretty flowers" but I am stuck home sick today but had to get up and walk out to feed the chickens anyway (because they have to be fed-sick or not) and took these three pictures on the way so I could do this post. However, I am not going to walk down to the garden to get pictures of the herbs I planted yesterday(sage, oregano and thyme) or get out to the front greenhouse to show you  how I had to add dirt all the way to the top of the potato containers (also yesterday) because they have grown so much or how the lettuce is growing in its little containers. You'll have to wait on those photos until I feel better. You're just going to get the tulips again today. More have opened up and all the yellow ones are open.

The tulips on the other side of the fountain are just now getting buds. I guess the fountain shades them some because I planted them all at the same time.

I have GOT to get more tulips next year!

It was a scary evening for us as one of my sons is stationed at Ft. Hood but he is was not hurt in the shooting there yesterday. Prayers to all those who weren't as lucky as we were.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Pretties

I am just so impressed with how well these tulips have done this year. I have never had tulips bloom for me before. These are just gorgeous!

The fountain got a good cleaning today and looks nice now too and as you can see in the background some of the grass has come back this year. I did put out more grass seed too this spring so hopefully we will eventually have a nice yard. 

These may not look like pretties but I hope they will be eventually. If you look real close you can see the little fiddleheads of the ferns that I planted by the pond, just coming out now. Ferns are pretty to me.  I have two different varieties of ferns that I planted by the pond. The other one is coming up too. 

Outside the fence there are more tulips. These apparently are yellow (I always forget what I planted). 

No pretties here yet but the taller of the bushes here is the lilac colored rose bush that I transplanted from the other side of the house last year. It had almost no leaves then but looks great now. There is also a small pink rose bush in this bed and the other plants are ranunculus that I planted from bulbs this spring as well. I have never had any luck with those either so I do hope they bloom. 

This is the same patch that I showed you before that had yellow daffodils. Apparently the white daffodils bloom later which is nice because it really extends the bloom period of this bed.

There are other flowers blooming that I haven't got pictures of yet and I have started to work on the vegetable garden again as well. It is completely overgrown with chick weed but the chickens had a nice feed this morning when I took some of weeds from the garden up to them.