Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monthly Goals: May 2016

Yay!  April is over!  It was a long and depressing month in a lot of ways, but I'm happy that it's out of the way and May is here!

This month is going to be busy.  School ends for the summer this month, so I'm going to be jamming as much in to the first 20 days of this month as possible on the work front before I end up having to worry about summer intensive speech therapy and occupational therapy as well as summer school...oh and keeping two kids entertained and occupied.  It's going to be fun (and I mean that both sardonically and sincerely *laugh*).

A good portion of my goals this month are going to revolve around this...

This, my friends, is my yard.  And my land.

When we moved here it was like this, although a bit less overgrow around the edges of the yard (the undergrowth reclaims a bit more of the yard every year it seems). 

We actually own over 2 acres of land, but it's mainly overgrown with trees and wild rose bushes and devil's club (a really nasty spiked weed that grows up here). 

We kept hoping to rent a piece of equipment so we could clear the land and use more of it, but we've been dead broke since we moved here by the summertime (the one year we actually made money since we moved here was the year my daughter was battling her stomach condition, so medical bills ate every bit of money we had saved), so it just hasn't happened.

I have finally decided that I'm tired of it.  I'm tired of waiting for things to happen that probably never will.  So, I'm going to hit the yard with things I do have.  Mainly me, some heavy clothes to protect me from thorns and thick gloves along with some pruners and a tree saw.  I might not get far, but if I can even reclaim some of the land from the super freaky fast growing varieties of trees we have up here, I'll feel good that I at least was able to accomplish something.

I actually regularly talk to the man who built our house.  Every school day pretty much, in fact (how many people can say that?  *Laugh*).  I found out from him that the land used to be horse property, which explains a lot.  You can see patches where the land used to be nice and clear with some trees planted for shade throughout, so at least I have that going for me.  Even if the land was cleared back in the 80's for that purpose the bones are there as it were.  So, yeah, "land clearing" is my big goal this month.  Hopefully I'll see some improvement to the land from it.

I am hoping to clear out a spot to the right in the first photo above.  That's where my raspberry bushes normally would be.  If the moose hadn't decimated them over the past two winters as well as a blight a couple of years ago.  Out of ten raspberry bushes in the back yard I now have two left and they are producing nothing at this point and I got a LOAD of dead underbrush there that needs to be removed.  I'm calling them a loss and am just going to work on mowing them down and clearing them.  I'm then going to move my rhubarb plant that is not doing well in the damp compact soil it's currently in to that area and hopefully I can find someone who is willing to part with some more rhubarb plants to plant there as well (I had a friend who offered me some plants last year and I need to contact them again and see if the offer is still open). 

I'll worry about replanting raspberry bushes at some later date (I have one in the front yard at least that I can hopefully salvage along with a kind of scraggly one in the back yard.  I'm hoping that is enough to at least keep them producing SOME fruit, right along with gooseberry bushes, fruit trees and kiwi vines.  But, that's for when we have money to spend and when we have land cleared to put them *dreamy look*.

Anyhow, that's where the majority of my time will HOPEFULLY be spent this month.  We do have other commitments, though, such as eye doctor appointments for my son, allergist appointment for allergy shots (for the son again), dental appointments (for my husband), orthodontist appointments (for my daughter) and chocolate appointments (for me...ha!).

Past that, this month is going to be seeing me canning more things as I find them cheap enough to work into my reduced grocery budget (as the 60.00 per week grocery budget is just going to be there until further notice).  I found some raspberries and blackberries from last year in the freezer and it's enough to actually do something nice with, so I'm planning on pulling those out this week to can and also canning more apple products since I have two drawers pretty much full of reduced apples (yay!).  I also am planning on canning some orange products (like marmalade...if I can find a good recipe for JUST orange marmalade...the recipes I have in my Ball book are all fancy ones that I don't want to make) as well to use up some oranges in the fridge.

And I am determined, once school let's out and working on the yard becomes harder (I can't leave my son unattended as he's a flight risk) to get some clothes sewing done.  I really want to start on some clothes, especially for me as a lot of my clothes (like my sleep pants) are just plain dying on me.

So, anyway, here's my goals for this month!

Monthly Goals:  May 2016

Gardening Goals:
  • Continue to watch and tend garden.  
  • Try to keep on top of weeds to give seedlings room to grow (and make sure they ARE weeds before pulling them ;).
  • Plant basil seeds indoors (I finally found my few ceramic indoor planters I had out in the garage).
  • Go to nursery.  Buy flowers for daughter to plant (I think she wants petunias now...I'm trying to lean her toward completely edible flowers, but we'll see how that goes *laugh*).  I have been saving change I found on the ground or in the laundry specifically for garden plants (we said "nope" to yard sales this year as we can't really afford any disposable income that doesn't have a specific purpose, so I reallocated my "fun money" for the garden instead), so I'm hoping to buy a couple of rosemary plants and the flowers with that (I have had NO luck since moving here growing rosemary from seeds and I've tried several different brands.  It's sad, but it works so well at repelling insects that I really do want to get some more to help repel the spider mites). 
Land Clearing Goals:
  • Clear raspberry bush bank.  
  • Look up online how (and when) to move rhubarb plants and move rhubarb to cleared bank.
  • Clear as many trees and bush undergrowth as I can before school lets out for the summer.
  • Move one still alive and actually doing "okay" raspberry bush (look this up online too on how the best way to do that is) that is in the front part of the yard to a better spot, preferably out of direct sunlight (it grows, but the raspberries bake into little briquettes every year).
  • Spray yard with Aza Max to disrupt spider mite breeding cycle (it's an organic product I bought last year and I'm hoping it works).
Cleaning Goals:
  • Scrub children's bedroom walls down and clean their ceiling fans before school lets out (and it gets really hard to do with kids underfoot).
  • Work on general plan to reorganize master bedroom closet (as it needs to be cleaned out and reset BAD!).
  • Finish deep cleaning kitchen.
General Goals:
  • Get through various appointments for the month.
  • Get TEFRA care coordinator paperwork filled out and e-mailed back to new care coordinator so she can get wheels in motion.
  • Redeem Swagbucks and order new edition (or newer as it's last year's edition) of the Ball Book of Home Preserving (it has 500 recipes in it and my old edition really needs some rest as it's been used hard over the years).  This I already got done today, so yay!  
Canning Goals:
  • Can apple pie filling
  • Can apple sauce
  • Can raspberry pie filling
  • Look up orange canning recipes online and in Ball book and figure out what neat things I can make with some.
Sewing Goals:
  • Work on clothing for myself after the end of school.
  • Work on mending.

And there you are folks.  Some of my goals for this month.  You up to anything this month?


  1. Maybe you could borrow a goat or two from a friend or 4-H kid (or barter some sewing for the use of a goat) to help clear the weeds! As for outdoor planters you could try old tires or old dresser drawers. We live in more of a city environment so I am able to scrounge/curb surf discarded items to repurpose. There is some debate about the safety of vegetables planted in material not deemed food grade so I'll let that up to you!! Also, some people use a technique where they plant in hay bales. Not really sure how that works so you'll have to google that.
    I had a few volunteer trees that needed removed this year so I tasked my 11 yr old son with cutting them down. He has mild autism (formerly called Aspergers) and loves anything to do with tools and gadgets.

    1. I actually think I have the planters sorted. I thought I'd have to plant in some old little trash cans that we used to use for paper trash in our offices back in our old house and a few Tupperware containers I bought that I haven't found lids for at the used store, but I found a bunch of empty planters that I used to use to grow a few veggies in back at our old place and filled those up with different veggies (sprouting potatoes in the old tree planter, some more potatoes in a smaller planter that I want to develop small new potatoes instead of bigger ones, planted a "variety planter" of cabbage seeds in another to use as a salad bowl planter, etc). Now if half of the things I planted grow I'll be happy :). Thanks for the suggestions, though. Once I start clearing land planting in things like old tires might become a necessity just to stamp out the weeds from growing again.

  2. Girl you've got a lot planned! I thought my bucket list was intense. ~smile~

    Here's what I want to do, though it's looking doubtful that I'll get much done. Life is so busy!

    Please drop by and say hello!
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    ...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!

    1. You kidding lady? Your list makes mine look bad *laugh*. I'm impressed with your energy (and I like visiting your blog and "lurking" by the way ;).

  3. you are welcome to come snitch some rhubarb from us.. it generally gets ignored and just goes to seed. :) i'm the only one who likes it at all and most things you can do w it call for way more sugar then i should have.. so it gets ignored right now.. which is sad.. so by all means, come dig some up :)

    1. Excellent :). I was going to ask you if the offer for rhubarb plants was still open. I'll try to get over either this week or next ( you dig up rhubarb at this stage? I'll check on that before I go and kill the rhubarb by accident!). I'll Facebook you and we'll work out the details!

  4. ooh also.. check out
    it's my go to for most canning recipes

  5. Sounds great. Making *any* progress outside always feels so rewarding to me.

    As for the rosemary (and maybe even flowers), I'd suggest "putting out the word" to people. Gardeners may allow you to dig some up. I think it works about 50% of the time for any gardening-related things. There are often people who want to change up what they have where, or don't want so much of one thing that has spread, or just wouldn't mind if you dug up a small plant. Our yard is full of nice memories of "got this flower from so-and-so" and we share too, of course.

    I'd also suggest you "put out the word" if you want more planters. There are people like my parents who are scaling back as they age and have several in their garage they aren't using (too bad we're not closer!)

  6. Erika, I found a blog post about how to start a garden on a budget that you might find interesting. It gives lots of great advice on creating and developing a garden on a strict budget like you live with. Here's the link: I hope you find it helpful and comforting that you are heading in the right direction.

    Perhaps you might be able to find information on how to propagate the raspberry bushes you still have. It might take time and effort, but cheaper in the long run than buying a bunch of new ones. I also agree with those who suggested to put the word out about your gardening needs. Someone just might have some overgrown berry bushes (raspberry, blackberry, or blueberry), plants (strawberry, rhubarb, asparagus or perennial flowers), perennial herbs or even seeds (especially heirloom) that they'd be happy to share. Just like the canning jars, you never know until you ask!

    I hope you are able to reclaim a good section of your yard before the kids are done school. Good luck with all your goals this month!

    1. Cool! Thanks for the link, Rhonda :). I appreciate it!

      I think the raspberry bushes I have left just need to be moved to a more shady location. I talked to my mom today as we used to have LOADS of raspberry bushes when we lived in Maine when I was a kid. She told me that she had to plant the raspberry bushes on the shady side of the house or they would get too much sun and burn...and that was in Maine. Up here we give new meaning to "full sun". I'm thinking if I can clear some land around where some of the trees are growing and then transplant the bushes so they are shaded by the trees that maybe the raspberry bushes would grow better. Now how to deter the moose from eating them without spending thousands of dollars putting up a fence...that's harder *laugh*. But, I'm determined to save what I can of them.

      I have had NO luck growing blueberry bushes up here and I've tried more than a couple of times. I just seem to have a black thumb with them. I've even had some nice healthy looking ones given to me at our old house and within a season they were sticks. It was so depressing. Blueberry bushes do, however grow wild up here once you get up into the Hatcher Pass region and a lot of people go and pick them when they ripen in the fall. I'm hoping to convince a few friends of mine to go with me to go berry picking who have experience with my son so they can help me to keep an eye on him while we are berry picking. I think my daughter would have a lot of fun berry picking as she likes picking the raspberries (what few we get) off of our bushes here.

      I'll have to make a list of things I might need and put the word out, though. Who knows, like you said, maybe someone has extras (and maybe some advice) that they can part with :).

  7. My main goal this month is to get moved out of this house. When you move from property, there is so much to do! Today, we loaded 3 loads of wood for a friend--she just kept taking it home, unloading, then returning. I was thrilled she could use it. We've already taken several loads to my sister's house to pile up for either us when we get a house, or them.

    I do want to keep working on the garden at my sister's.
    I did lots of school with J today, and will continue working on that with her when I am tired and need to rest. There have been some things she's needed help with and I have not been very available, so I am working it in better lately. I need to make an end-of-the-year list of what she has done so I can get the credits for her recorded. It's a big project, but I'd rather get it organized before we move so I know EXACTLY what needs to be finished.

  8. Here are some of my goals for May: get outside faucet replaced so I can plant my garden, plant garden (we live in the city and own two small lots right behind our house that we have fenced in with the original tiny yard. So our garden is only 20X3), cut down bush that is now too big for the space and plant sunflowers for our rabbits, they love the leaves, gather repurposed items to make container garden in lower yard, have son make holes in said containers for drainage, organize third floor which is the family room as it is an abysmal pit after hard winter indoor use, organize basement as it is just an abysmal pit for no really good reason, work on art project to "teach" to 120 kids at summer camp in June, gather materials for the art project, rip up carpet in son's room and paint the floor,

  9. I had no idea rosemary could deter bugs. I should get some.

    Maybe its too dangerous to suggest but what about burning the brush? Or xutting it as low as you can and digging it up?

    Funny you mention the raspberries. I just got black raapberry plants, been wanting them for 15 years and just now found 2, and for $13 each, so healthy! We potted them and they are on the side of a shed, and I was looking today, while theres light, theres not full sun because of the shed casting a litle shadow. I was about to try and move them, now im not sure. Ive got 2 blueberries in pots too, full sun, but im not sure im doing those right either, have to research it now.

    1. I'd consider putting up a burn area and starting to burn the brush but it is SO dry here right now. We had a pretty dry summer last year and then a dry winter and while this Spring we keep having threats of rain every day we've had very little rainfall (like a sprinkle and that's it) so our fire danger is HIGH right now. So, burning, at least for the time being, is definitely out. As much as I'd like to do that just to get the job done *laugh*.

      Good luck with all your berry bushes! That's great that you were finally able to get those!

  10. Chocolate Appointments are my favorite! :)
    I hope the other appointments go well for you.

    After rhubarb goes to seed should be a good time to transplant it. If you lived closer, I'd be happy to give you some but I doubt I can ship a clipping of mine to you from MN!

    Good luck with all your clearing before school gets up. I hope the weather cooperates and you get a lot done.

    I've seen a few recipes for just orange marmalade on British web site so you might want to check those out (if I can find the one I'm thinking of, I'll post a link).


    1. I think I found one, finally, that just has the good old ingredients of oranges, sugar and water and that's it. It seems like a lot of recipes now a days are depending on powered pectin for pretty much everything, but it's SO expensive this time of year that I just wanted to keep it simple without the pectin :). If you find that recipe, though, please do share the link! I have a kitchen scale so I can do the weighing and metric conversions and such :).

  11. WOW! I love your backyard! You have so much space to work with. It is better to have too much space than too little. Now I understand why you have a problem with a moose eating your bushes. Perhaps your husband can put that problem moose in your freezer for you. :)

    1. One day we will be able to afford a hunting license and then all bets are off with the moose that's for sure ;).

    2. I'm not sure how it is there, but this is a copy paste for our state when they changed recently: maybe they changed it for you guys too?

      Do you have to have a hunting license to hunt on your own property?
      Resident or nonresident landowners, their spouses, their children and grandchildren and the spouses of such children and grandchildren, or the landowner's parents, resident or nonresident, do not need a license to hunt, trap or fish (on inland waters) within the boundaries of their own lands.

    3. We have the most prohibitive and restrictive hunting regulations in the country I've heard. It's AWFUL up here. Basically if the moose is legal (which is hard to get one that qualifies as "legal" anymore up here) and we feel in danger of our lives I can shoot it on my property. Otherwise, if it is within so many feet of a residence you aren't allowed to shoot it period.

      We've had incidences of people shooting moose or bears that were actually charging them and fish and game would still come in and investigate the crud out of it. We've had people fined thousands of dollars and a couple have gone to jail just because they couldn't prove that the animal was charging them. It gets to be kind of nuts.