One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Puttin' Up Strawberries and other Tidbits ~ Fun in the Run

Hubby tried the strawberry margarita jam and gave me the green light.  He loves it.  Said it was "amazing."  I will be making more if the strawberries are available again.  I do have to say though, it has a lot of foam that needs skimmed off, more so than any other jam I've canned.

Canned another batch of reduced sugar strawberry jam. Froze one quart.  Saving the last qt. for a surprise dessert for the family.

Washed two mountains of dirty dishes.  Only to start to dirty some to prep dinner.

We had a good dry and surprisingly sunny day.  I got the potatoes hand hoed, all but two rows too wet yet.  Green beans are starting to come up - so happy about that.  Two zucchini plants sprouted, along with the greens, and all the grow bags.  Radishes look great, so I hope the sunshine will speed up the process.  I'm hankering for garlic scape - radish spread, radish hashbrowns, and simply eating them.

Filled the clothesline up too, and it was a glorious feeling.  Got the coop mucked (not so fun with the heat now) and deadheaded the petunias I swore I'd never buy again.

Aurora, our only barn cat, brought us a gift to the porch.  Twice.  Two days in a row she has brought baby rabbits.  I guess she found a nest.  Good rodent control, but the front porch? Sigh.

Our 19 year-old came out for another "Father's Day" dinner.  Sigh.  

The meal?

Fried chicken
Mashed tades
Baked Mac n' Cheese
Jalapeno creamed corn
Homemade rolls
Homemade brownie Sundaes with whiskey butterscotch sauce

I would have had a photo, but we were all licking our fingers and Hubby and I were so tired.  Daughter showed up late and brought a friend and stayed a while.  We literally, went to bed afterwards and left the dirty dishes for morning.  All I can say is Mother's Day next year better rock all week long.  I haven't made fried chicken in over 12 years or more.  

Fun in the run, is chasing chickens.  My newbies are too dumb to go up and out the run.  I have to literally put them out, and chase them around and put them in.  I'm thinking I need two new runs with bigger rungs on them.  I know I at least have one hen out of the 7.  Not sure yet on the rest.  I can see 2 roosters though.

Bad news.  Rain arrives tonight, and with a vengeance.  Just what we don't need.  Possible severe storms with it all too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Homemade Biscuit Recipe and other Random Chit Chat

I was asked about how I get my layers in my homemade biscuits.  Click "Here" for the recipe on my blog.  I hand cut the butter into the flour.  I also don't work the dough to much, and when I cut them, I roll them out with a rolling pin, but the least amount of rolling I have to do.  Hope that helps.

I got another small batch of strawberry jam canned.  I am tall, so I can a batch daily until the strawberries are gone.  That's a lot of standing to do.

First I have to wash them all, and hull them.

Then I have to cut them up and crush them.  Then can the jam.  It's a process for sure. Our favorite produce stand has them now, but want $5/qt.  I paid $30 for a flat at the other source, and that comes down to $3.75/qt.  I did not have one bad strawberry in the last 4 qts I canned either.  When I buy the other kind, I get about 3-5 bad strawberries in each qt.  I may stick with this new source this year.

Super excited to see my soap order arrived, and it came with a sample of citronella!  Thank you Debby at Ole Lake Farm!  You saved the day!   I still can't find anyone local with raw goat's milk, and our youngest daughter can't use anything but goat's milk soap.  They all smell so good too!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
My kitchen has been pretty busy lately.   Hubby had to work 10 hours on Saturday and 12 hours on Father's Day, so his "dinner" was made Saturday night for him.  The kids seriously need to learn to cook.  

I made homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes.  English muffins on the side with home canned strawberry margarita jam.  Already sold 2 jars of the jam too, although selling any more is halted.  The rain is halting u-pick farms from operating.  Unless I can get another flat of strawberries, the remaining will be for just us.

I also made whiskey butterscotch sauce and a half batch of flourless brownies - Family Circle, recipe is also online (we still have strawberry pie to eat).  I was in my pj's by 5pm.  I was just whipped from canning, baking and cooking.

The weather outside is . . .
(view off the porch on Sunday)

Foggy, 61°F, humidity 91%, dreary, cloudy, and only a 25% chance of rain today.

On my reading pile . . .

Movies or shows I watched over the weekend . . .

On the menu for this week . . .
Tequila-Lime and onion sandwiches, fireball grilled pineapple
Pulled pork sandwiches, steamed broccoli and corn on the cob
Pesto pasta, beets
Fried chicken, mac n' cheese, mashed tades
Flourless brownies, whiskey butterscotch sauce
Make pie crust crumbles for the freezer

On the to-do list . . .
Master bath
Sweep and mop kitchen
Can more reduced sugar strawberry jam
Freeze strawberries
Muck coop
Scrub chicken's watering unit
Cut garlic scapes (hoping for some Garlic scape-Radish Spread soon)
Trip to the library
Make Doc appt. for Youngest (school required vaccine - ugh)

What I am creating . . .
Christmas ornaments, embroidered towel, scrubbies, a knitted dishcloth and more.  More photos to come soon.

Looking forward to . . . 
A dry day and a long motorcycle ride.  A camping trip.  An island trip.  

Looking around the house . . .
I have drying racks everywhere.  Darn rain.

From the camera . . .

I canned more strawberry jam - reduced sugar. Definitely not my favorite jam to can - so much chopping and crushing involved.

One of my simple pleasures . . .
Camping.  Another one of our "sanity savers" and we haven't had one trip this year due to Hubby's long work hours and heavy rainfall.

Prayers . . .
Our entire state, where rain has devastated growing season, personal requests

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Strawberry Margarita Jam

Saturday the rain  came back again with a vengeance.  I forgot one item at the grocery store - limes.  I had planned on canning jam first thing, but had to go back to the store first.

However, on Friday, I picked up a flat of locally grown strawberries.  Hubby got his cold strawberry pie for Father's Day, and I got some to can jam. 
I made strawberry margarita jam for the first time. I did an immediate taste test -  super sweet but very good.  Just a dab ol' do ya'. The recipe is in Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication:  Canning, preserving, and freezing and drying (Sept. 2013).  The recipe is also online.  

With all the rain coming, we forfeited the last of the sweet potato slips.   I hate to do that, but it's a weather crisis, and I don't want to spend the extra cash on buckets and a truck load of dirt.  Did you know organic soil for vegetables is $6.77/bag (2 cu. ft.)?  I am hanging onto about 6-7 to plant if I can, but that's all the tilled space I have, and we are running out of time.  They take much more time than regular potatoes.

We are getting more rain today.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Plan H ~ Grow Bags ~ Windshield wiper warning

We had a dry day yesterday, so I backed the truck out yonder and planted my 15 grow bags - carrots, beets and 3 more sweet potato slips.  The remaining are in plan I.  Our future 7 days of rain increased to 16 days of rain now (which we know can change).  All other plans are now off the table.  I tossed seeds into a till row, as it was the only area tilled, and my last chance to get greens in Thousandhead kale, Russian red kale, orange and red chard.

It's the first year to use grow bags, so I'll update as we experiment.  I may need to invest in more for next year.  I hope they do well and we have food in the freezer this winter (and canned too).

Since we couldn't plant popcorn, I will be making a trip to Amish country this month to purchase organic for the winter.  I also have another produce source not far that grows their own popcorn.  If they are not flooded out anyway.  Everyone who plants any sort of garden is struggling right now.

I spent some time writing out a shopping list for the other "Big City."  I saved those errands for rainy days.  I also placed orders online etc.  I had to buy a replacement kit for grill grates for the grill.  No more grilling until they arrive.  I love grilling, as I don't have to turn on my electric stove.

Speaking of electric, since the weather has been unseasonably colder for June, we haven't put in the air conditioners, so that is saving us some money.  It's been too moist to paint the doors though.

I've written out a weekend list, but Sunday is iffy.  It's not only (just maybe) Hubby's only day off, but it's Father's Day also.  Hm.  Not sure what'll get done or not with the rain and Hubby's work schedule.

errands in the other "Big City" - many stops with more lists (TSC, Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, Produce Stand)
bake peanut butter cookies
can jam
Visit Dad, and take him jam
can BBQ sauce
weed herb garden
muck coop
sweep and mop kitchen
clean up office area
weed un-mulched flower bed areas
put down 453# of mulch
drop screen to be repaired, get quotes for some windows
bake bread
update homesteading journal
work on unfinished projects (another long list of it's own)

Our "handy man" biker friend came over and worked on the mower, changed the oil in it, and weed whacked everything!  So thankful we can afford to hire him right now.

One last ditty bit before I sign off.  This happened to me at the grocery store in a town close to us, that is notorious for drugs, break ins, you name it.  My daughter and I were "rushed" in an aisle there by Gypsies several years ago (I was aware and got her and I out of the aisle quickly, so no worries).  Anyway, it's a scary world we live in now.

While I was in grocery shopping, someone put this torn paper, folded up, which appears to have something inside it, under my driver's side windshield wiper.  

I drove off, and let the windshield wiper throw it off, then washed my windshield with wipers and solution to clean off any possible anything.

There has been warnings around that this is being done, with a dollar bill of some sort inside, laced with drugs.  Also, it's used to make you put your purse inside, see it and get out and remove it, and while removing it, they hop in steal your vehicle purse etc.

Either way, I wasn't taking a chance, but curious minds wanted to know.  If it happens to me again, I'm driving to the police station and letting them check it for me.    I mean come on. I parked way out in the parking lot, no one next to me, and I looked over the truck (no dents etc).  I'm sure they were trying to steal my truck, drug me or kidnap me and the truck.  It's a nice truck.  Anyway, a bit of warning to you all about this.  Don't get out and remove it, nor touch it.  I need a new place to shop. Sigh. 

Oh, I was totally aware of my surroundings as well.  First, while shopping I noticed sketchy people walking around, no cart, no items, then leave.  As I left, I noticed a car, one SUV, and another car, all way out at the very edge of the lot with someone in them.  One guy looking at me.  Don't worry, "Gladys" was keeping an eye on everyone on the way to the truck.  I also carry my purse over one shoulder and across chest and under the other arm.  

Now I just want to clean out my garage and start working out on the heavy bag and speed bag again.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rain just keeps coming . . .

Thursday the rain fell hard again.   Temps were much cooler for June as well - 60's.  

Youngest Daughter had intern day, and her step-sister made an appt. for manicures with a friend, and I believe their daughter's too.

Dirty dishes multiply like rabbits at the homestead, so I figured I'd dirty more on a rainy day.  

I made blueberry buckle.  I wasn't feeling like baking, but I did.  I also cut some garlic scapes, so I whipped up some garlic scape/spinach pesto too.

I'm missing my husband more and more.  It's getting so hard to get through the week anymore.  We've now hired someone to cut down some trees.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Day Interuppted

Youngest came home from a day of internship at the salon and threw my Wed. plans off the charts.  Sort of.

She got another appt. for a manicure on her non-intern day, and in order to take the appt. creatively involved me.

"Hey Mom...." and so it began.

First, I went out to water my newly planted portions of the garden.  I had to drag my 100 ft of garden hose back up.  I was told the guy was coming to mow some time.  I had to move my ground hog trap too (haven't caught him yet).  More blurps in my day.  Had to drag brush out of the way I forgot I left behind too.

Chicken coop cleaning awaits again.  I was happy to get errands done, but it was a dry morning and afternoon, and I was itching to get work done outside.

We both went to the "Big City" to do my errands and do her appt.  However, she involved me and also gave me a manicure.  The day I was to drop 453# of mulch in the flower beds.  Hm.  I'm sure it won't last long, but thanks for the pampering moment.

My leather purse was dropped off for possible repair.  Finally.  Picked up dirt for the grow pots.  Finally.  Had to wait 15 minutes for someone to load it.  I loaded my mulch the last visit and wasn't about to load it this time.

I still need to find a suitable jewelry repair.   I haven't dropped off the soap saver bags to be sold at a business either (she's out of town currently). Bought a few hoes for some garden helpers this summer too.

Back home again, I reluctantly cut up chicken, bell peppers and pineapple for dinner prep.  I was told to bring home ground beef too.  We were feeding our friend who mows for us.  We fired up the grill for dinner and enjoyed much needed adult beverages.  Oh, we put BBQ sauce on the kabobs.  Yum!

Rain arrived Wed evening.  We may get a dry day Friday, but the forecast is rain for the following 7 days.  Yes, I said 7.  It could change, but....

Oh, and guess who her manicure appt. was for?  One of her sisters.  Sigh.  I guess she needs the hours, and had to do it at the salon vs. home.