Thriving in My Thrifty Week–September 2, 2018

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This is one of my favorite times of the year.  The canning cupboard is getting full, the garden is winding down but still producing, and the weather is cooling down.  There is still more preserving to do, but a lot has been accomplished.  It won’t be long until I turn my energy to other projects, like cleaning!  There are some areas in the house that have been neglected, for sure:)

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We spent a few deliciously cool days down at the beach, camping.  While we were there we went crabbing, clamming and fishing.  Since we already had our licenses, were able to camp for free using our park pass, and took our food with us, we spent very little extra money.  It was very restful, which is good, because we hit the ground running once we returned home.

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We purchased albacore tuna from off the docks and canned it once we got home.  We got 40 assorted jars, mostly 1/2 pints.  We caught both crab and clams.  I made clam chowder, ate crab, and froze the rest.  There is just a little bit of each in the freezer, and I need to use them quickly, as they don’ t last very long.

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Before we left, I picked peaches at my sister’s and she gave me some pears.  I put them in the drawers in the fridge, and they lasted just fine until I got home.

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I bought grapes for 99c/lb at the beach and brought them home, since they would have been off that great sale price once I got back.  Marachino cherries were purchased before we left, in a big container at Cash and Carry.  They are much more reasonable that way.   I was all set to make fruit cocktail once I got home.  I also made crushed tomatoes from the ones that had ripened while I was away.

Not long ago, my rickety pear tree in the back yard just fell over one Sunday afternoon.   I was able to pick a few now-ripened pears from it where it lay, and use them in the fruit cocktail.  I cut a bunch of branches off, and will put them in the weed bin once it has been emptied.  It is full now.  The tree is being removed little by little, and then Rob will chain-saw up the trunk for firewood. Ironically, we have not harvested good pears from that old tree until now:)

I also got one load of beef broth canned.  There were two packages of soup bones in the freezer that I wanted to put into a more usable form.  I still have some broth and all the bits of meat to deal with in the next couple of days.  In the next couple of months, our beef farmer will be calling to let us know that our 1/4 beef is ready.  We need to make room in the freezer for that over the next few weeks.

We watched several library movies and I read 2 books I had downloaded for free onto my Kindle before I left for camping.  Once home again, Rob took Jake to the library to pick up some books that were on hold and also took him to garage sales while I canned.  In the afternoon, since I was pretty tired from canning, I read several chapters to Jake of a much anticipated book, since it had arrived at the library!

Jake did not go camping this time, as his big sister took him to Disneyland.  Yes.  Really.  She did.  They had a blast and he arrived at my house yesterday looking like a character from Star Wars–a starfighter in full regalia.  He was so cute, but not in a mood for pictures, so I respected his decision, as hard as it was!

I grabbed a few more school supplies at rock-bottom prices, once I realized I needed a few more of certain items.

I did not have time to grocery shop on Friday, as I normally do, and I did not get time yesterday, either.  I will hang on to the weekly money for later in this week, or save it.  We have plenty to eat for now.

What did you do to save money this week?

 

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46 thoughts on “Thriving in My Thrifty Week–September 2, 2018

  1. Wow. The canning shelves look terrific. You are definitely well stock now but I imagine they’re still will be more to come. Great job.

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    1. Thank you. I love looking at canning shelves, too! I do have some more things to can, such as more tomato products, as I was very low on those after this past winter. I always try to do enough for the year, plus a little extra.

      I still hope to make some vegetable soup from all the little bits leftover in the garden, along with the bits of meat and leftover broth from my broth canning session yesterday. I did it a few years ago, and Rob really has spoken about how much he enjoyed the soup ever since. So, this might be the year. Soup is healthy, economical, and would be a very quick meal this winter.

      There are enough peaches, pears and grapes left for about 10 more pints of fruit cocktail. I’ve just been waiting for the rest of the pears to ripen, probably tomorrow.

      I hope to get one small batch of pear butter, as I have none left.

      I think there will be a few more pickles before the vines die off–they aren’t looking very good, but might have a little life in them.

      I have a few more ideas, but I’ll see what I can get done. There are also a couple more things I want to add to my Christmas gift stash, if I can get them done.

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  2. Love that canning pantry. Just WOW!

    I finally made it to one of my gardens this morning after a two week absence. Between the rain and some doctor’s/vet appointments and then recover for me, I’ve been gone. I was able to pick cucumbers, tomatillos, tomatoes, chili peppers and yellow squash. I looked at the few remaining yellow beans and thought I’d leave them a little longer and then save the seeds. I’m still not up for canning so will shred most of it and freeze.

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    1. 2 weeks! Wow! I’m glad the weather has cooled down, so you could still get things that were nice from your patch. They have slowed down here, too, and the zucchini is now manageable:). I’ve never grown tomatillos. I do have one recipe that calls for them–salsa verde, but I’ve always used green tomatoes, since they are listed as an option. My peppers are slow, as always, and I don’t have many, as always, but hopefully will get enough for some salsa in the end. I also may need to visit my sister:). She always grows tons and never seems to want them all:) :).

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      1. Two weeks away from the gardens only because I have people who will water my plot for me. One of the community gardens is very organized with a ‘watering calendar’ that covers three days each week. And the rain helped.

        My tomatillos have been self seeding for me. And they grow like weeds here. Much more predictable then tomatoes. I never know year to year if the tomatoes will produce much, if anything.

        Looking forward to more canning stories.

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        1. That makes sense! If someone is watering, you could stay away for that long. And, rain, too. We simply haven’t had any rain for a long time and it’s easy to forget that other people are getting it!

          I’ll bet you have some great salsa verde with those tomatillos!

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  3. Not a thing…..I was all about spending money and time with my grandsons this past week and thru the weekend. So I am a little envious of your thriftiness. Wow! what a pantry full of beautifully canned fruits and vegetables. You certainly have been busy this season; I hope your family appreciates your efforts. Good job on the tuna. I don’t think I would be brave enough to try canning tuna but good on you! Thanks for sharing your week

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    1. I think time with family is priceless. I’m glad you got to have some.

      My husband is so appreciative of my efforts and helps as much as he can, even if it means sitting down by the canner for an hour and 40 minutes, which is how long tuna takes. We won’t leave the pressure canner alone, it takes too much adjustment. It sure helps the grocery bill stay lower during the winter, and I do give things like jam as gifts.

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      1. How wonderful to have a ladder packed for the future seasons. I used to can quite a bit but haven’t in years. Now I enjoy my daughter’s efforts when she send home gift of my favorites: raspberry jam, caramel Apple butter or dilly beans

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            1. Me too. Apple butter does sound good and apple crisp, and apple bread, and apple muffins, etc. . But I’ve got a trip to Michigan then another to Texas once I get home from Baltimore so no canning plans till well into October. Maybe I’ll get some apples in Michigan and store them till I get back. Maybe the hubby won’t eat too many of them….maybe pigs will fly. I’ll let you know

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            2. You have a lot of trips coming up! We have quite a while to get some apples around here–the season is several weeks long, so I’m not in a rush to get some. I have actually finished all the applesauce I want to do, but still will want some other kinds of apples for various reasons. I have time, so I’m finishing up some other projects first:). I hope your trips go well.

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            3. Have a wonderful time! I’m working with the kids today, and hopefully will squeeze in some time to make pear butter. It was very late last night when we finished our canning projects for yesterday, as much of our day was taken up with caring for Jake. So, we will see how much energy I have today:)

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            4. I got it done tonight, after working on it in bits and pieces all day (before and after work). It came out great, and I got 8 —1/2 pints. Not bad for pears from a downed tree that we never got a single good pear from in the 2 years we’ve lived here–until now:)

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            5. See, there’s always something good that can be found even in a seemingly bad situation like a downed pear tree. Just look at all that delicious pear butter you’ll get to enjoy this year. Good job. Wish I were there to share. Enjoy!

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  4. WOW! WOW! WOW! Your canning is amazing. I have canning envy if that is a thing. You are amazing. Maybe next time Jake will let you take a picture. I would love to see it. We are HUGE Star Wars fans. I have been making sauce and canning. I made a new to me recipe, horseradish pickles. They take 2-4 weeks depending on how strong you like them. I hope we like them. I also made some cherry jam. The garden is still going strong. My full list is here:https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-frugal-list-week-of-august-27-2018.html

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    1. Those horseradish pickles sound great. I had to send Rob out for more jar lids today, since I’m having such a good time canning this year–even more than normal. They were on a good sale, so he got a lot.

      Jake’s outfit is of Po Something, and he looks so cute, but he was not in the mood that day. Hopefully soon. I want a picture myself!

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  5. What was ever decided about Rob’s job situation? I haven’t heard you mention it for some time. Good work getting ahead for winter with the canning. I’m glad you got some rest too.

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    1. Amy,
      Rob has joined me in caring for our autistic niece, and special needs nephew. My niece is done with school, and needs more care, so more hours came available that need to be filled, making this do-able. Together, we will have the equivalent of a one-income family. It will be a little tight, but there are some health issues that he needs to take time out for and get addressed. The main one is his left hip–it has progressed to where he can hardly walk. He is going from appointment to appointment, making a plan with the various doctors to see what can be done. They are talking surgery, but want to explore every option first, as doctors usually do. So, he will be working part time, and so will I, for a while, at least. Once he’s fixed up, he plans to work more hours, but for now….
      I’m really happy to have him home. He helps so much with everything. When there is something he can do, like drive kids around, he does it, and let me do the more physical stuff right now. I’m super excited to think that I will have more help this winter with things. I’m healthier when I get more rest. I’m just really concerned with how bad that hip is, and am excited and hopeful that they can fix it.

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        1. Thank you for your concern. He manfully went to 4 doctor’s appointments this week, one of which was a shot right in that hip. It may have given slight relief, but not the amount we were hoping for. Still, he is on the right path of doing what he can do to address the issue.

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  6. Wow! I haven’t seen a canning storage like that since we left from living in the mountains area. That’s a lot of work and it must feel so good to see all your pretty work, sitting there on the shelves waiting for you. The tuna looks so pretty!

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    1. Thank you. I actually love to can–it’s a useful hobby! I like seeing it all lined up, too. Although my freezer is full, as well, it just doesn’t have the same sense of satisfaction to look in it as it does to look at those loaded shelves!

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  7. Your canning pantry looks just like I imagined it would! Just beautiful! Do you organize the jars by the date they were canned to know which ones need to be used first? Or does that matter, since most of it is this year’s canning?

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    1. What I do is put a number on the top of every jar. 18 for 2018, and so on. Then, we grab the oldest number first. I always can what I think we will need for a year, or what I can get my hands on, and then a few extra if it is available. I’ve had years when crops fail and that particular item is simply not available, or I can’t get enough. For instance, one year, my tomatoes died from a blight after I had canned only 7 jars (out of 75 bushes). So, I was glad to have extras. Once in a while, the system fails, and something gets pushed behind and is not used in a timely fashion, but it’s rare. I do try to group the years together, such as all the 17’s together, and the 18’s together, and so on.

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  8. Your canning looks wonderful. Just a heads up on the pear wood, if you know anyone with a smoker, they might like to have it, would add a little sweetness. Have a great week.

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  9. Seeing your shelves with all the jars lined up made me smile. I know how much work it is, and how happy it makes me to look at the canning I’ve done. That’s wonderful Rob helps with minding the canner. That’s a job all by itself. Glad you got some time to relax in between canning sessions.

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  10. Your canning is so pretty! I am definitely living vicariously through you this year. One day I hope to be able to can everything we use that I buy commercially canned (within reason, of course), but so far it’s been kind of an unreachable goal. Glad you and your husband figured out employment options. I’ll send up a prayer for his hip. I hope they find a good way to help him.

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    1. Thank you, Erika. I have seen your struggles with your garden/canning this year and I hope you can have more success in the future. It seems like this was not a good gardening year where you lived! I’m sorry:)

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    1. In the state of Oregon, camp passes are offered to people who have fostered or adopted state of Oregon children. They are good at Oregon State Parks only, for camping or day use. We still have 1 of our 8 adopted children under 18, so can have the pass until she turns 18. She has to be with us when we are camping with the pass for it to be valid. There is a limit of 10 or 14 days per month that we can camp for free. (I can’t actually remember which right now, since we never use that many anyway.) I am pretty sure the passes are offered for some other groups as well, such as disabled people, maybe veterans, but a person would have to check with the park service. It is a really valuable gift to our family, and we use it several times per year.

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  11. Could you please describe again your outdoor setup for canning? I know you’ve shown it before but my brain somehow can’t remember how you’ve done it. Turkey cooker base? It’s propane, right?
    My goal for tomorrow is to get the dehydrator setup to do zucchini chips. Two more got away from me and I’m still not up for canning but think I can manage the dehydrator. Cheers.

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    1. Outside the back door, there is a covered porch. It has some walls, a couple of big openings, and a sliding glass door, so it’s like a semi-enclosed outdoor room with a concrete floor the previous owner painted green. So, we call it the green room. Sadly, it is a great place to put things, so it’s a constant battle to keep it cleaned out! I keep ripening fruit out there, pop cans to be recycled, a wagon full of wood for when we are using wood heat, empty boxes, kindling, and on and on and on:)

      I have a 2-burner camping propane stove, which is on legs. I usually only use 1 burner at a time because sometimes I have to pull the pressure canner a little ways off the burner to regulate the temperature. But, I have had 2 canners going at the same time before on occasion.

      Rob has a table set up out there to cool jars on, and a couple of lawn chairs for the person who gets to babysit the canner. I do leave the boiling water canner alone while I fill more jars–but the pressure cooker, we always watch. It’s working very well.

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