Tag Archives: Garden

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 19, 2018


I have worked on my berries 3 or 4 times, in small bits of time.  So far I’ve finished tying up the June-bearing raspberries, the Marion blackberries and cut down 1/2 of the every-bearing raspberries.  This year, I am going to cut down the entire patch of ever-bearing ones, as that is a choice.  Rob wants to re-string the wire that was there when we moved in.  It is in bad condition.  According to the internet, if you cut all canes down, you will get one large crop mid-late summer next year.  I’m fine with that.  The June-bearing ones are finally old enough to give me some berries in the first part of summer, and I’ll rely on the other patch at the end of the season.  It’s worth a try.


It was a very dry summer.  I don’t think there are as many canes on the Marion blackberries as there would normally be.  Still, I’ll fertilize and care for what are there.  I can go to my sister’s house and pick wild blackberries if I need more next summer.  She always has lots of those.


I have shopped until I’ve dropped!  I have been to the store so many times, I’ve lost count.  It’s become comical. I’ve purchased every sale and bargain item I regularly use from at least 5 stores that are near my house. I’ve bought hams, turkeys, baking ingredients, dairy products, goodies, produce galore, normal items such as sugar, treats such as peppermint mini marshmallows, and everything in-between.  Or so I thought.  I no sooner got home and began to make cucumbers (with marked-down cakes) and onions in a vinegar-sugar-salt and pepper mixture, which is a salad Rob likes to eat frequently, than I realized I was out of sweet rice wine vinegar.  I substituted, but went back for some the next day.  I got that, and no sooner got home than I went to make something….and I was out of cornstarch.  And, so it went. “I’m out of yogurt, honey,” was the next cry! I just had to laugh.  I was able to use all the grocery money and then some, my Ibotta money, my Bottle Drop money, and then some.  I actually had fun gathering all these things, but now, I’m tired of thinking, so will cruise along on what I got for the next few weeks, and only need to get produce and milk.  Or so I think:).


I re-purposed a little container from last Thanksgiving, by putting a geranium start in it and placing it on the windowsill.  There were 5 tiny geraniums that volunteered in the compost heap, and this is one of them.  The other 4 went into a large pot, and I put that in the greenhouse to see if they will winter over.


Jake planted some seeds my friend, Jeannie, sent him.  There is a little Columbine plant in the corner of the pot, just in case he forgets about the seeds and they die–he will have something, I hope.  That went in the greenhouse, too.

Last night, we had a slumber party with Jake and his older sister, Caitlyn.  (She’s in her 20’s and works full-time, so it was a treat to have her). Patsy played games with them after church, we watched the British Baking Show on Netflix, and ate sandwiches.  This morning, we went swimming at the YMCA, and I took Caitlyn to a natural store where she could get some gluten-free rolls she really enjoyed eating here.  (I bought gf cornstarch, for one thing!). We also hit up Winco for yogurt (much better price), and she got some groceries she needed.   We can’t beat the price of the $1.17/lb. ham they have right now.   It was fun to spend some time with her.  We used to spend quite a bit of time with her when she was little, but time has a way of passing, and those days are understandably rare any more, so it was special to me to have her spend a night on my couch once again.

I did some cleaning and organizing for Thanksgiving.  I started cooking the things that could be made ahead, such as cornbread I made and froze, to add to the dressing later in the week and some candied walnuts to add to the sweet potatoes.  We should have a great day on Thursday, and every day before that promises to have a little holiday fun in it as well!  I hope you week is shaping up well, also.

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–September 30, 2018


I picked a large bowl of Lunchbox peppers (Territorial Seed Company) and Carmen Peppers (Johnny’s Selected Seeds).  It was like they weren’t ripe, then all of a sudden, they were!  Maybe it’s because I was so busy lately (?)….  We put quite a few of them in the fridge for fresh eating, and the rest were chopped and frozen.


I have been spending a few minutes outside every time I get a chance, working on cleaning up the garden, picking things, mowing, trimming, etc.  I only had time for a few short sessions of yard/garden work this week, but I did get a few things done.  We’ve already used a few of the Celebration acorn squash, but have plenty left.  Underneath the  spent vines, I found a small bucket of potatoes I had missed earlier.  I’ve still been picking zucchini from bushes that have clearly seen better days, but are still slowly producing.  There have been a few cucumbers, a few berries, tomatoes, and lots of cherry tomatoes.  I’ve got a lot more fall clean-up to do before I’m done!

Friends delivered another, even larger, load of wood late this afternoon.  We threw it onto the driveway and now I need to start stacking it tomorrow.  We feel so blessed by this.  Now we have enough to make it through the entire winter.



Rob went up for the second time and helped his friend get ready for new baby pigs.  He figured out a better feeder and helped build it a few weeks ago.  They checked the existing pen and made sure there were no escape holes.  Yesterday, Rob rode along with his friend to pick up the ordered weaner pigs. Then, he and our son’s friend went and got straw (Rob drove and son carried it all–whew!) I’m not sure exactly how many baby pigs there are up there (probably around 6-8), but one is going to be for us.


Rob picked several assorted, strange squash and pumpkins from the pig pen when they put the baby pigs in.  They are mixed squash that grew from last year’s dropped seeds.  The big ones are zucchini that crossed with pumpkins or something else.  The skins are tough and hard, but they are all great decorations.  He also brought home an inexpensive bale of hay (so cheap because they bought so many).  I have some corn stalks I cut from the garden that I want to add to the decoration, but so far, I’m really happy with the “presents” Rob brought home for me!  I forget if Rob said the hay was $1.50 or $2, but I feel happy that we got a really nice fall look for such a small amount of money.

The kids’ parents were working many, many hours this week, therefore we did, too.  We put Jake on the bus.  We took Jake off the bus.  We ferried Michaela from here to there, took her swimming, and packed lunches, cooked dinners there and here, and ate wherever we were.  We used food from our house and their house, the garden and the store….it’s all a blur, but we were all well-fed.

We ended the week by keeping Jake for a couple of nights–he loves coming over.  After the busy week, we were both very tired, so we had a relaxing Saturday while Rob was off with his friend.  Jake is on a “Betsy” book kick, books written by Carolyn Haywood,  and wants me to read those books for hours on end.  We finished the 2 we had ordered in from the library–“Betsy and Mr. Kilpatrick” and “Betsy and the Circus.”  No worries.  He went and dug up a copy of “Betsy’s Little Star” which we have recently finished reading for the SECOND time! I protested reading it for the 3rd time, so after one chapter I brought out a book I own by the same author, “Penny and Peter.”  He barely tolerated it, but finally got interested, but I noticed he powered through a few pages of the one he really wanted–reading himself!  He hasn’t really embraced chapter books, but I was very proud of him for at least trying.

I did some grocery shopping on Friday morning, the only morning I had off this week.  I grabbed the free item, got sales, etc.  I am stocked up for the next 2 weeks (I hope) because I really don’t want to take the time to shop next weekend, just because I’d like a little time to myself for other projects.  I made a tentative 2-week menu plan and hopefully, I won’t run out of anything much. It will be easy to send Rob to the store if I do.    The last time I did that, he brought home 50 pounds of pinto beans.  Yes.  50.  That is not a typo.  I was on board since they were so cheap–$18 for the 50 pounds.  It was cheaper than the 25 lbs I usually get every year or two.  The last time I checked, it was $20 for 25 lbs.  I have seen 25 lbs. for less than that before, but not for $9/bag–so this was a great deal.   We will share part of them, either when we cook for the college age, or at family meals, or dry for anyone who is running low.  I made a mega batch of refried beans at once, as we have been limping along with cans for a while–we love the home-made ones the best.  I froze a few cartons for later, and we ate a lot already, both plain and in a nacho for Family Sunday Dinner.

I entered my receipts on Ibotta and ended up with some bonus money, which is always a nice treat.  I’m always trying new items if they are almost free, as long as they look like something that we will eat.  Recently, there seems to have been a mayonnaise and ketchup war going on between brands, so I have a lot of that now that was free or very, very inexpensive using rebates and coupons combined.    Lovana came home with some snack food that happened to have an Ibotta rebate, and so I got another $2 of rebates, which is free money to me since I did not pay for the snacks.  I’m letting both my bottle and can money and my Ibotta account grow because I figure there will be a lot of holiday sales that I will love having extra money on hand for.

We’ve already been opening and eating jars of home-canned food.  I’m also using lots of freezer food as we anticipate our yearly 1/4 beef in a couple of months, and there’s also that baby pig…..a few months and it will need to fit in there, too.  It’s a constant rotation.

I started a dress for Patsy for homecoming.  I am working with a pattern I already owned and it isn’t the right size.  They are not on sale right now, and I don’t even know if they still make that one, I’ve had it a while.  So, I adjusted it, and cut it out from some old muslin I had on hand and basted that together.  I’m now ready to cut the real fabric, and I hope it fits as well as I think it will.  I want to work on that in-between homeschooling Alissa and working with the kids this week.  And the garden/yard work.  And stacking that wood before the rains come.  And the batch of tomatoes that need canning.  And Jake and Michaela next weekend as their parents want to attend an event with Alissa.  And…And…And…… It’s a good thing I have lots of paper to make lists on!

What did you do to thrive or stay thrifty this week?


Home-Canned Taco/Enchilada Sauce


The 11 little jars on the right are the enchilada/taco sauce.  I was asked how I made it, and if it was a secret recipe.  The truth is, I am writing it down for my self as much as anyone else, because if time passes, it will be a secret–I won’t be able to remember what I did!

This is my second attempt at enchilada sauce this summer.  The first one was good, but we wanted a little more spice and a smoother texture.    My pamphlet from the county extension office states that you can change the spices without affecting the safety of the finished tomato product, but nothing else, so that’s what I did.

I took a large bowl of tomatoes and washed and cut them up.  Then, I put a layer of them in a pot on high and crushed them with a potato masher while they cooked.  When that layer was softened, I added more cut-up pieces and kept crushing and cooking until the pot was about 3/4 full.  You have to keep stirring, because this will stick and burn if you are not careful.  Then, I put these cooked tomatoes through my Foley Food Mill to get the seeds and skins out.  I put that puree back into the pot.  At this point, it was nice and smooth, mostly seed-free, but pretty runny.  I thickened it up with a combination of cooking it down and added some tomato paste until it was the consistency of taco sauce such as I would buy at the store.  Our favorite is La Victoria, and we usually get the mild, but sometimes the medium.

I used about 2 cups of paste in the large pot that was 3/4 full, but then it was too thick and so I had to add some water to thin it slightly.  If you are making this, the amount of paste you will need depends on several factors, which include the dryness of your tomatoes, the variety of the tomatoes, and the amount of time you cook the tomatoes down before you add the paste. Use trial and error until you reach the perfect consistency.  Each time you make it, it is likely to take a different amount because the tomatoes are so variable.  Taco sauce should be thicker than tomato juice, but not as thick as pizza/pasta sauce.  We buy our tomato paste for these kind of projects at Cash and Carry in the gallon cans.  I open the can, use what I need and then freeze the rest in baggies to use over time.  It is a real money-saver to purchase it that way instead of little cans for 50c-$1 each.  The last time we bought a can, it was slightly dented, and cost around $3, but it is usually a bit more than that.  Still a great deal.

This is my best guess at the spices I added to the pot:  1/4 cup mild chili powder, 2 Tablespoons dried oregano, 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons ground cumin, 1 Tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  The truth is, I was putting in spices, tasting, adding more spices, tasting, etc. until it tasted right to me.  The chili powder, oregano, etc. added an underlying layer of flavor but there was no zip at all, until I added the cayenne.  It is not very spicy, just enough to give a little kick.  When I make it again, I will start with this mixture, then add more of those same spices and/or salt if I don’t feel like there’s enough.

I put the hot mixture into the jars and added 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to each larger jar (not quite a pint) and 1/2 Tablespoon to the 1/2 pints.  Then, I canned it for 35 minutes in a hot water bath canner, as instructed in my Ball Blue Book for tomato sauce.

This yielded the 11 assorted jars in the right hand side of the picture above.  If I get enough tomatoes, I might make this again this year.  It turned out yummy and we are already opening and eating it:).  At this rate, it won’t take long to use up those 11 jars!

A Little More Canning and What Did We Eat? September 20, 2018


This week, I was able to get enough tomatoes for both pasta/pizza sauce and taco/enchilada sauce.  I’m super happy with the flavor of both.  I was surprised with more cucumbers when I looked under the bushes that really look as if they are dying.  So, I made more spicy pickles because I also found a couple more jalapeños and Serranos on those bushes.


One night I roasted a pan of sweet potatoes, white potatoes and acorn squash.  They all turned out great.  The Carnival acorn squash plant has been prolific and I just keep taking the biggest ones that look the most mature, and using them.  This is the 3rd one we’ve eaten so far.  There are quite a few left out there.  Some probably won’t mature, but several will.

We have had chicken with plum sauce twice.  Since I made a new batch, and there are enough prunes to do it again if I get around to it, I am glad that we are finding a way to use it in such a tasty fashion.


We are still eating zucchini, although I’m happy to report it has slowed down to a manageable level.  It is nice to saute some zucchini with onion until just crisp-tender.  This is an old picture, so it doesn’t show the yellow crookneck squash, or the scallopini squash or the round ball squash that came up from the few seeds I planted from a summer squash mixture in early August.  The old plants are about done, and will probably die before long, so it will be nice to still have a fresh veggie when that happens for a few more weeks.


I had Eritrean food with Harnet one day.  Danait was proud as can be of her bike-riding skills.  The bike and helmet were birthday gifts back in June, and she has improved a lot.  Since the only place she can ride is the parking lot of their apartment complex, there is a little routine they do, so I had to do it, too.  It consists of her riding off quickly, with the grown-up chasing her, all the while looking for stray cars and cats (there might be one, you never know!).  She was telling me they do it 3 times some days.  I was done at one trip around their course:)  It was a good workout.  Lunch was great. I took a salad to add to the food Harnet cooked.  Of course, she sent some home.  This time it was the red lentils she likes to make and some rice with mixed vegetables in it.  The girls here at home have been eating it as taco filling.

I got some pork cutlets on mark-down last week, so we used them this week.  Rob grilled them after marinading them for a while in one of his concoctions.  They were delicious.  We ate lots of salad, piles of tomatoes, some canned and fresh fruit, a few potatoes, and some other side dishes.  It’s going to be harder to plan dinner when the garden dies, but it’s still limping along for now.  I’m glad. It’s an awesome time of year when I have so much fresh produce.




Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 6, 2018


We enjoyed a wedding yesterday afternoon.  This is the car they drove away in:). We enjoyed seeing many friends we had not seen for a while, the beautiful bride in her gorgeous dress, the handsome groom in his suit–a young man we’ve known and loved since he was 5,  the cool breezes as we sat under the hazelnut trees for the wedding and reception–a lovely venue and a very pleasant afternoon.



The rest of the week was not as restful, but it was fun as well!  At the beginning of the week, I worked in the garden quite a bit, processing or serving the harvest as I picked it.




On Tuesday afternoon, we escaped the heat and drove down to the beach.  We did a little shopping at the outlet mall for Patsy, and then just went and sat on lawn chairs and watched the waves. IMG_7580 I often forget that beach is only a little over an hour from our house now…we could go more often if I just remembered that it was an option.



Since Jake and Michaela spent from Wednesday-Sunday with us, as their parents were out of town, we did a few extra things with them.  Rob took Patsy and Michaela to a train museum one day, as trains are one of her absolute favorite things in the world.  It was free, not very big (so not overwhelming) and they had fun.  He also took her to her volunteering opportunity so her schedule could continue uninterrupted.

Alissa showed up one evening with popcorn, popcorn buckets and a movie, and we had a movie night.  We had a very fun evening, and Jake loved seeing his big sister.  I really liked the music in the movie she brought–The Greatest Showman.


Jake and I are in the book, “The Long Winter”,  so one morning I made him “flapjacks” and bacon like Almanzo and his brother ate during the winter storms.  He was sure theirs were bigger, and I am too, but he didn’t even finish these, so…..

We went swimming with them a couple of times.  We went to the library to check out books and movies.  He got another “Betsy” book (by Carolyn Haywood) and we had to read part of that, as well.  He likes having the Little House books going on all the time, with Betsy books thrown in.  It’s a treat for him to find one at the library we have not read yet.

They both did very well, and we were pleased with how it went.




I did get some gardening done, such as clipping off some vines, a little weeding, and Rob tilled up a small area in the garden that was finished and I planted some more seeds–lettuce, spinach, snow peas, cilantro, basil and beets.  The lettuce I planted a couple of weeks ago is up, but patchy, as it’s been so hot.  I’ve been out there all morning again today, but, now, I’m going to tear into the inside work as it’s pretty hot out there now.  Today’s my only day off for a while, so I have lots I want to do.

I have no grocery bargains to share this week, as I didn’t have time to go shopping.  I guess that’s the best bargain of all!  We are making out like kings and queens with all the garden produce, and things in the freezers and cupboards, so I think I’ll hold off until next weekend, unless we run out of milk.


Zucchini Dill Chips


I made zucchini dill chips today with the 8 more zucchini I picked this morning.  I picked them very small, so that should take care of the problem for a few days:)

I checked out a book at the library Wednesday called “Pickled Pantry” by Andrea Chesman.  The recipe I used was on page 116.


I put about 4-1/2 + cups of zucchini slices in my big measuring cup and salted them according to the directions.  I used 1 Tablespoon salt, since it was about a double batch.  I let it sit about 5 hours.  There was a lot of water in the bottom of the container, and I dried the zucchini off as instructed.


Then, I packed the zucchini and other ingredients into the jars.  (dill seed, garlic, dill head) I used 1/2 pints.  I added red pepper flakes because we like things spicy–probably about 1/8 teaspoon per jar.  I left the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar out.  I’ve had sugar in my dills before and don’t care for it.  I also added mustard seed, as I like that in dills–about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per jar.  Then, the vinegar and water and the pickle crisp.


I canned them according to the directions, which was 10 minutes.

It clearly states that you can make any dill recipe with zucchini.  Next time, I am going to make up my regular recipe of brine, minus the salt because you sprinkle that on the zucchini at first.  It seems like it would be easier to me.

We opened a jar already, even though it said to wait weeks.  I wanted to make more if they were good, and never make them again if not……They are amazing.  Even on the same day.  There is little crunch, a nice dill flavor, some heat from the red peppers….I’m making more for sure!   I got 5 small jars today.  The recipe is set up for small batches, which worked well for me.

There are lots of other good-looking recipes in the cookbook.  I’m not sure if I will make more or not, but this one was a winner.

Garden Update–July 5, 2018


I’m so excited!  I picked the first zucchini, and stir-fried it up for dinner with a few snow peas, onion and celery.  There are 2 others that will be ripe soon.


There is more broccoli to cut, beets that are close, the first planting of snow peas is almost done, and I’ve moved on to the 2nd planting of lettuce.  I have a lot of weeding and some re-planting to do for the next succession of lettuce, snow peas and may do a few more green beans for fresh eating into the fall months.  It takes about 2 months to get green beans to produce, so anything planted now will come ripe in the beginning of September.   So, I have time to grow a few more plantings of several items for fall eating, but I have to start planning for that now.  (Update:  I started working on this post on Tuesday, and yesterday I was able to re-seed a little lettuce here, a few snow peas there, and a few green bean plants.  The garden is pretty full!)


There are a lot of nice herbs.  I’ve been using them frequently this year.


I’ve been picking raspberries, black (Marion) berries, blueberries, and a few strawberries.


Rob and I have been freezing them all, except for the few we eat fresh.  He used some for this dessert for 4th of July.  We had my aunt, and my niece over, and had a very relaxing evening.


Jake’s method of planting is working!  After 2 unsuccessful plantings of slicing cucumbers, I handed him a packet of seeds from the Dollar Store (25c) that were from years past and told him to go for it!  He planted them in a big clump, down the sides, buried extremely deep, and so forth.  We covered them up, and wow!  They came up:) So there will be slicing cucumbers after all, at least in August:). I may have to start marketing the “Jake Method of Planting.”  I might make a fortune!


I’m not sure if you can see all the zinnias that came up volunteer at the edge of the Sweetmeat Squash bushes.  I just left them.  A spot of color in the middle of the squash?  Works for me:)



I’ve got some dahlias and calla lilies starting to bloom.  Frankly, I’d like a lot more flowers to bloom, so am waiting impatiently for my zinnia to get big enough.  I planted them from inexpensive seeds, and there are plenty.  It’s just a matter of time.  Patsy also planted 3 more dahlias in the corner of the garden, and I’m eager to see what colors they turn out to be.  It’s fun to be surprised sometimes:)




What Did We Eat? June 15, 2018


We ate the leftovers from last weekend’s party.  For the beginning of the week, we feasted on deviled eggs, veggies, sweet and sour turkey meatballs, pickle rolls, chips, tortilla rolls, dipped strawberries, rice, and sandwiches.  There is still a little cheese left, but most of the rest has been devoured.

My oldest daughter had some baked potatoes left over from a party she had given.  She asked if I wanted them, and of course, I said I did.  I was surprised when she came in with a plastic grocery-store bag full of the largest potatoes imaginable!  They were all baked, and there were just too many for them to use up. It was quite a challenge for us, as well!!

I had baked potato bar one night with broccoli from the freezer, cheese sauce, and cottage cheese.  I tried the Tillamook cheese sauce mix in a package that I purchased last week.  It was $1.99 and I had a digital coupon for $1.50 off.  It was delicious.  There were 2-3 occasions when people ate a portion of a baked potato at a meal.  I fried one for breakfast one morning, and put in a few slices of kielbasa sausage.  With the last 2 potatoes, I made potato salad.  I included some hard-boiled eggs.  As you can see, it was almost devoured before I could even snap a picture!


Michaela ate many, many peanut butter sandwiches with no jam, honey-nut Cheerios, and about 1/2 gallon of milk in 2 days, if not more.  She likes milk.  And, there’s a new rule that she cannot have soda until after she drinks a full bottle of water.  So, she drank water, and in fact, drink more than the forced amount a couple of times.  That’s great.  We are still on water restrictions, and so I bought a bunch of bottles of water. They say the water is safe for anyone my size, but I don’t want to take chances with my health, Rob’s health or the children’ health.  So, I don’t panic if I use some in cooking or drink a little, but try to use other water for the most part.


Jake ate Cup-o-noodles, chicken flavor, aka instant lunch.  In fact, I just bought a new case of it last night, because he used them all up from my pantry.  We don’t go through many of those, except when he is here.  Frankly, we don’t care for them as much as he does, but I’m happy to get them for him if he wants them.  He drank a lot of apple juice, and ate as many frozen Otter Pops as he could con out of me or anyone else.  He also drank some water–very rare for him–declaring that he was not under 6 years of age and didn’t have any health problems.  He was being a silly little stinker at the time, smacking his lips and declaring how good the water was because one of the other kids had just told him to not drink it:), but at least he got some water down for once!

Rob and I ate out one night, as we wanted to have a date night, and we got to talk in peace:). We packed picnics the rest of the times we were out and about with a bunch of children, or just had them wait until they got home to eat. (I wasn’t very popular a couple of times, but I’m trying to establish healthier habits at the beginning of the summer that will hopefully last the entire 3 months!)  I want French fries to go back to being a treat and not an expectation.   So, there went some of the cheese slices, lunchmeat, bread, peanut butter,  fruit, various snacks and bars, and drinks, all for a good cause–children’s stomachs:)

Birthday week continues–2 down, 2 to go!  Today Ja’Ana wants pizza for her birthday dinner, so Rob will grab an inexpensive wheat-crusted one somewhere, and I will eat one of the gluten-free ones I made and froze last week.  Tomorrow, Rob is barbecuing for our little friend, Danait’s party, and so I’m making a large potato salad again today.   I will put green onions in it, again.  Good thing they are growing so well in the garden right now!  I will also pick lettuce today for salads and to take for the hamburgers tomorrow.


I grabbed a few grocery items last night, such as the Instant Lunches, and a bag of potatoes. All this potato salad means I’m really going through potatoes right now. It’s great that they are very reasonable! I only had to pay $1.99 for 10 lbs. That’s a lot of good food for the price. I will look through my fridge today, but don’t anticipate buying very many other groceries for a few days, at least. Having lettuce in the garden really helps, and I was able to get a bag of 7 small avocados for $2.49 last night.  We love them in salads and guacamole.  Patsy and I just ran into Grocery Outlet on our way home from her first high school youth group barbecue (yikes–she’s getting so old!), and I was pleased with what I found.  You just never know what they are going to have.

Today, I need to get hot dog and hamburger buns for the party tomorrow, and a few tomatoes to slice, but have the rest of what I’m bringing.  My sister has been up with Harnet, gathering supplies for this party at least twice, and we have it well organized between the 3 of us.  It’s going to be very fun.  There’s nothing like cute little kids enjoying themselves to brighten a day!



Just Planted Garden Update–May 15, 2018


I finally finished planting what needs to be planted right now after work on Monday.  Rob and I worked out there until it was getting dark, with me planting and him getting the sprinklers set up.  We had several other previous sessions where we planted parts of the garden.  It was so good to be finished for a while anyway.  Patsy and I had been hand watering our newly planted rows and starts up until Monday night.  What a relief to have the sprinklers going!

On the lower right hand side, you can see tiny corn plants.  I started them in the greenhouse and set them out.  I’m trying corn for the first time in this garden and am trying an experiment.  Since the area is small, I’ve made small blocks for pollination purposes.  There are 4 extremely short rows, with about 5 or 6 plants in each row.  I bought a corn succession package from Territorial with Sugar Buns, Bodacious and Golden Jubilee.  The idea is that you plant them all on the same day and harvest at different times.  So, these plants are the earliest, Sugar Buns, and there is a small block of each kind in the garden, sown from seeds.  We shall see.  All I want is corn for fresh eating for here and for family Sunday dinners.  My sister often has extra that I freeze.  Last year, her extras came already in little cartons, because she processed it for me!  (Thank you sis!) That was the easiest corn I ever put into the freezer:). We don’t eat a large quantity of frozen corn, but love having some on hand for those times when Rob wants it, which he has several times lately.


You can see the little pepper plants that we started in the greenhouse.  There is another set of them planted on the far end by the sprinkler.  There are Anaheim 64, Jedi Jalepeno, Serranos (hot for salsa–I need about 5 peppers total for my salsa–whoops), Lunchbox (small red, orange and yellow sweet peppers), Carmen (sweet Italian–long, mild, and will turn red), and Pepperoncini (which are actually long and squiggly and have a tiny little bite).  My peppers did not work well last year.  I’m hoping by moving them around, growing my desired varieties, and fertilizing them, they will do better this year.  I still have a very few frozen ones from 3 summers ago–time to get those used up and new ones frozen!


The tomatoes look great with that red mulch. In front of them are Oregon Sugar Pod II snow peas.  I’ve already planted another small planting, as we ate them all summer long last year, in many little plantings.  I’m sure you can see that the lettuce and spinach are growing, and there is more lettuce planted elsewhere already for when we eat this.  I’m letting those green onions go to seed.  I’m having quite a bit of success letting the green onions grow themselves.


I finally finished the strawberry bed.  I cleaned out the berries I planted last year, tore out the really old ones, and planted bush Delicata squash and zinnias in the blank part. The soaker hose is not up and running as well.


I must have a thousand baby parsley plants that self-seeded in my herb bed.  Patsy potted some up for my sister.  Now there are only 980 left in my herb bed:)


I have nice oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and of course, baby parsley growing in front of my rhubarb.  They were planted last year, and came back strong.  I put a few of the clove pinks in front of them.  They were planted from seeds my sister brought back from England.  Also, there is a tiny winter pansy my aunt gave me last year, and I added some other pansies.  On the other side (not pictured), there are chives, mint, and a lot of weeds still.  I did plant some more basil, cilantro, and dill in the garden in rows, and hope to have many, many herbs this summer.

Now I’m waiting for seeds to come up. I’ve planted green and yellow zucchini, pickling cucumbers along with slicing and lemon cucumbers.  There are Winter Luxury Pumpkin and Sweet Meat Squash seeds in their hills, along with many other seeds waiting to sprout.  The onions, tomatoes, and peppers are from starts. There are some potatoes coming up, some that I planted, and some volunteers from last summer.  The compost heap has potatoes and cilantro growing like crazy on the edge of it. It was no easy task to get everything fitted in that I wanted.  At our old house, Rob always used to just go till up another area for me to plant when I ran out of room.  We don’t have that option here.It helped to not have to make space for too many beans this year.  I kind of overdid the beans last year, but will succession plant enough to eat them all summer.  I may not have to can any this year.  I will count the leftover jars when the plants are bigger, because we will keep eating the canned ones until then.  There is still a small blank space for watermelon, cantaloupe and future small plantings of lettuce, snow peas, and bush beans.

The melons are in the greenhouse, getting a little more size before I plant them out.  I am going to try the green mulch with them.  I’m not going to on the zucchini.  Sometimes, you just don’t need or want a bumper crop of that!

I will re-plant any areas that open up as the summer progresses.  I always grow a new batch of zucchini and cucumber plants for fall, along with some other things like greens, boc choi, beets, and snow peas, perhaps.  It’s kind of what I’m in the mood for, have seeds leftover for, and can find space for in July and August.

The blue berries are blooming and forming small berries. So are the raspberries and Marion berries. The artichokes have been giving me a few artichokes, which I love.  The peach tree has little fuzzy peaches on it.  There is a head of leaf lettuce that I will cut this week from a volunteer plant, which I had tiller man go around.

It’s a time of promise.  The seeds and plants are in and the weeds have not started to grow around them yet.  So, I’m planning to bask in that feeling for at least a week and just keep turning on that automatic sprinkler system:). I will turn my attention to flowerbeds next.




Garden Update–May 5, 2018–Planting


Rob re-tilled the section of the garden he had tilled the other day.  Then, it was ready to plant.


Luke Skywalker used his trusty blue light saber and attacked the large overgrown plants that needed to go.  They were Darth Vader or someone else from the dark side.  (Star Wars is Jake’s world these days). They were defeated.

After we got those gone-to-seed plants removed, Rob tilled up the other 1/2 of the garden.  He will need to do another pass over that 1/2 in the next couple days.


I got tomatoes planted, and my little onion starts as well.  Each tomato plant has a little organic fertilizer in the bottom of the hole. I buried them deeply as they were getting leggy.  I also planted a few carrots and beans.  I have much more to go, but it was a good start.  I did cover these tomatoes with some red plastic mulch, as an experiment.  It’s supposed to help them grow better.  We will see.


The lettuce is up well, and the cabbage and broccoli is starting to take off.  The big plants in the back are artichokes. The peas are up well, and the snow peas as well.  There are tiny beets and carrots up as well.  The potatoes did not come up well.  There are lots of blanks.  I will replant in the empty spaces in the next few days.


The raspberries are about to bloom, as are the Marion berries (blackberries).


The strawberries are in full bloom.  I fertilized them and watered them a bit.  I put some fertilizer on the blueberries, too.

I worked in the garden for 4-1/2 hours today.  It was great exercise and I felt awesome to see what was done.  There is so much more to do, but I feel happy for what I did get done.

Patsy planted some zinnias in the greenhouse last night, and I planted a few more items in there as well.  Jake had some seeds that were his prize at Burger Ville.  We got those planted as well.  They look like wildflowers to me.  It should be fun for him to see them grow.

I have also done a little edging and weeding out front in the flowerbeds over the past few days.  There is also a place on the edge of the garden that I am working to get some serious grass out of.  So, I’ve been digging a lot with a shovel. I am going to be a little sore tomorrow.  The good kind of sore…the kind of sore that tells you that you did something worthwhile today.   I hope I can hobble tomorrow:).