Sunday, August 9, 2015

Frugal Happenings 8/9

Happy Sunday everyone.
It looks like we all made it through another week, one way or another!  I am sure some had a great week and others just so-so.  I guess I would have to call mine great, as nothing bad happened, and we were blessed with lots of goodies from our garden.  I got to talk to a niece and two nephews that live out of town, and that was nice.

I have really gotten into watching programs about the new "tiny house" movement.  I find it so encouraging that folks can live and live well in less than 500 sq. ft.  I always thought we were original tiny house owners (950 sq. ft.) - but ours isn't that small compared to some (plus we have a full basement).  It is fun to see how creative people are with their storage.

My week was frugal as usual.  We had all meals from scratch, filtered water and made tea, did laundry in cold water, etc.
  • I made many batches of salsa, pasta and pizza sauces and canned it.  For those that don't can, always remember that you can make sauces and freeze in appropriate size containers.
  • Dried all the tomato peels and powdered.  Tomato bullion is very expensive at the store.
  • Cut and froze chives for the winter
  • Used the scalding blanching and canning water on weeds
  • Picked lots and lots of garden veggies and used in many ways
  • Froze more bell peppers for winter
  • Got to have AC off for a couple days
  • Used rain water when I needed to water garden and pots
  • Stayed home 6 days
  • Replanted lettuce and cucumbers. Cukes are on their last legs and we still should have 60+ days before frost.  Here's hoping!
Out tomatoes are probably at their peak right now.  I am picking 10 lbs. plus a day.  Not too shabby for 10 plants.  We have just had tons of cherry tomatoes.  The bell peppers are really producing wonderfully.  This is actually the first time we have had this many peppers.

This is dehydrated tomato peels along with the grinder I use.  At the left you see the jar that I keep the powder in.  It really does add a lot of flavor to dishes in the winter.
I have 2 grinders (both bought for $1 each at yard sales).  One is used for herbs and anything I need to grind that is mild.  The 2nd is marked and is strictly for hot peppers!

Not sure how well you can see this picture (just couldn't get the light right).  It is an old individual pop bottle I saved for storage of chives in the freezer.  I cut and chop the chives, then place them in the bottle.  Keep in the freezer.  In the winter I can have 'fresh' chives for cooking - simply shake out what I need!  Make sure you put them in the bottle dry.
I just keep adding to the bottle as I cut chives.

Guess that is about it for me this week.  How did you do?  If you have any unusual things you do to save $ please let us know.  We all love to learn!!
Have a wonderful and blessed week!


  1. Hey Cheryl, real quick, do you dry the tomato skins in the oven or a dehydrator, and how do you keep them from sticking?

    1. I use the oven. 225* for about 3 hours - then turn off the oven and leave them overnight. I use parchment paper on the pan. Some of the peels stick together - but break apart when dry.
      I turn them over at about hour 2 then continue.

  2. Yes, we made it through another week! It was a gloriously beautiful week weather wise, rain just enough to keep the gardens watered, and enough produce to keep our plates full and healthy. The second sewing of lettuce is coming along nicely, the last of the first we’ll use this week. The seed we used was a Giant Romaine, and yes, the stalks are now 3 feet tall but the leaves are still tender and tasty. Tomatoes are coming on and I enjoy the candy snack at work for a mid-morning delight. A bus buddy has offered both pickling and slicing cucumbers, I’ll bring my Rolser on Friday to pick them up from him! I didn’t know I could put in a second planting of cukes this late, so I will see what seeds I have and if I can get them started up.

    Our pork order is ready so the freezer now needs to be defrosted before we load it up. One meal we created with the last of the 2014 sausage was a Pan Casserole: Fry up the sausage and set aside. Fry up the onion and set aside with the sausage. Fry up the sliced potatoes with some salt. Pour over all scrambled eggs with diced peppers. Sprinkle with cheese and the sausage and onions. Cover and cook on medium low until the eggs are set. Slip under a broiler to brown the top of the pan casserole.

    I like the chives storage you do, Cheryl. Back on July 9th I started a pot of chives on my windowsill at work. I hope they carry us through the winter. So far, so good. My one vine plant in the mulch pile is sad with that virus so not sure we’ll get anything from it. But the others are still good to go, blossoms aplenty.

  3. At camp this weekend my husband cut some oak trees for firewood. And while my wrists are sore from helping to haul a cord’s worth of billets into the wheelbarrow to then roll them uphill to the trailer, my soul is happy, for this is the wood that will carry us through three winters (part time wood burning) or one year’s worth of full-time wood burning. Yes, we do NOT have a tiny house. And sometimes I do wish we did.
    Our house is 3200 SF, a bi-level, and maintaining it is costly. In the summer and winter we close off two of the bedrooms against outdoors heat and cold, respectively. We also close-curtain the windows and use storm windows. It helps. We’ll be ordering two tons of coal this year. We checked and it is the same price whether they deliver or we pick up and shovel out ourselves. For $25 a delivery, it is worth it to have them bring it to us. We couldn’t make that up in gas and trouble. What do we keep our house temperature at? We installed a barometric damper a few years ago on the coal stove so we keep the house steady at 65F. When the wind begins to blow and the temps drop into the single digits, we fire up the wood burner for a little extra to keep the house between 60 and 67F.

    LOL, three years ago, when it was just my daughter and I (because my husband was travelling for work), we did look like something from A Christmas Carol, wearing our socks and mittens and night caps to bed, snuggling together under layers of quilts, the house at 55F at best. We couldn’t keep the wood fire going all night or during the day, so it was just the coal burner then. Oddly, like so many have said, neither of us were sick those winters.

  4. We also brought home 100 pounds of flat river stone from our property, so now I can finish out the garden path under the bird feeder that borders the strawberry bed. I’ve started a compost bin behind the bird feeder pole, so stepping outside this winter to compost will only be as hard as ten steps across the deck and then drop, rather than a hike to the far corner of the yard in my slippers.

    Yes, it is coming, winter is coming! And now we best make the most of the harvest time before us.

    In other expenditures, we may need to get the roof replaced, the estimate is $10,500. It almost makes the mosquito bites I experienced from this weekend not hurt at all by comparison! This will likely be the last time we need to do this. The next time we can watch it happen from heaven (I hope at least it’ll be heaven!). On the plus side, my husband finished his research study and that will go to the frame for the solar panels that have been sitting in the garage for three years. And I had two good visits with plasma donation so that will help with the tax bill due at the end of the month.

    1. Your house would be huge to us. The good parts of a smaller home, easier to clean and heat and cool.
      Cool on all the wood and free exercise. Keeps you young!

      Good going on getting some cukes for free. What are your plans for them? You are so right about enjoying our harvests. These great food stuffs will help get us through a long winter and will taste so good. A tiny taste of summer.

      Roofs are so expensive - but it's nice that they last so long.
      We have mosquitos bad too!!! especially toward evening.

    2. It is my dream for my daughter and her husband to buy a small farmette, and my husband and I would join them in caring for their children and the farmette while they are working, and in return, we will be cared for those last ten years of life when things in our bodies begin to break down. If my other daughter and her husband (to be at some point I would imagine) would join us it would be truly wonderful.

    3. We would then live in a tiny house and go the big farmhouse for most of our activities.

    4. I think pickles are the only thing I can think of besides eating them fresh, those cucumbers! Need to get online and see just what can be done with cukes!

      OF course, like with the zucchini, all the peelings go to the now hugely growing compost pile. I was able to get eight cups of shredded zucchini from one bat. Two more to go, one will likely be stuffed.

    5. I didn't find much on preserving them but I did get an idea...from when I froze melon slush...and then drank it in the dead of winter and it felt like a vacation to Florida...I could pulp up the flesh and then freeze it...either in a saved Talenti gelato container (my daughter gives them to us)...or even in an ice cube tray and let it refresh a winter glass of water with some mint infusion along with it.

    6. How about relish? When making pickles or relish I don't peel them.
      I have heard of freezing slush and using in water or in smoothies.

      Yes a small farm would be lovely! I call my little piece of this world my homestead, even though it's in the city. Yep, you could live in a tiny house on the property to have your quiet, then visit the kids in the 'big house'!

    7. The remaining zucchini are the kind that have long ridges on the skins, they will make very interesting pickles!

      I am so excited to be getting those cucumbers tomorrow! I am actually counting my chickens before they have hatched--need to slow down on the salivating here!