Saturday, June 4, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update
With my son's skin doing better, he's been a bit more destructive than normal and he's normally pretty active, so it's been a struggle to keep the house from looking like a tornado hit it. I've been able to do it with limited success (and I mean limited *laugh*).
So, let's get to some things I did this week shall we?
1. I ended up helping a friend of a friend who was having issues with her website not showing up. My friend asked me to help her as she knew that I had knowledge in "old school" webpage building (read: I know how to do html *laugh*) and asked me to take a look at her website for her. I ended up rebuilding her main page for her (the index page) when I had time over the last month and got it up and running. She insisted on paying me for my trouble and I told her to just pay me what she thought I was worth. She ended up paying me way more than I thought I was worth *laugh*, but the supplemental income was definitely welcome right now as we're at razor edge finances at the current time.
2. I canned the cabbage I had bought this week (seen up top). Per usual when I follow a recipe for canning it's like sometimes the yields are WAY off base. This was one of those times. I weighed out my six pounds of cabbage to the ounce, salted it just like the directions said and I found I had just the right amount of ingredients to spice the brine the way the recipe said too. Well, of course that didn't work out. I ended up having to reuse the one spice bag when I had to TRIPLE the brine called for in the recipe (and I packed the cabbage into those jars like you would not believe!) and made up a second one with what spices I still had plenty of (like mustard seed).
The recipe said you'd get about five pints out of the recipe. I got nine. But, it's done and the few pieces of cabbage that were left over tasted good, so I figure it will work out alright.
3. While working on the pantry and getting it better organized I used some of the dissovable labels I won to label the jars. So, that was a nice, free thing to help me figure out what was in the jars at first glance.
You'll notice the floating peaches. When you can you'll quickly realize that you have strengths and you have weaknesses. Some people can make beautiful cans of peaches that don't float, but can't get a jam to set to save their lives. You can make wonderful crisp pickles but can't get cherries to sit in a jar right. Well, I can't get peaches to NOT float no matter what I have tried throughout the years. I've tried extra light syrup, hot pack method and cold pack method, jamming the peaches in there until I worry the syrup won't fit in the cracks...nothing works. The peaches just float. So I gave up on having pretty peaches in the jar *laugh*.
5. My brother-in-law gave us a big bucket of brown rice given to him by some people who were moving and were getting rid of food storage that they didn't have room for. He was given 100 lbs of it and asked if we wanted some. Of course I wasn't going to turn down free food. The rice is a bit old, you can smell it, but once rinsed and things it tastes okay. I figure I'll use it in casseroles and save the white rice for my son who wouldn't eat brown rice if you paid him right now.
6. The weather is milder this summer than the last couple of years, which is great for things like my rhubarb and raspberries that were suffering so much during the past couple of years. The one bad part, though, is that bugs are EVERYWHERE in my garden right now. I'm battling cabbage fly, millipedes, ants, you name it. So, I spread some more diatomaceous earth around for the crawling insects and made up a batch of insecticidal soap (1 cup oil. Add 1 TBS dish soap, not dishwashing detergent, soap, to the jar. Shake it up before you use it every time. Add 1 tsp mix to a spray bottle with 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray on plants. It'll help suffocate any bug with a soft body) that I sprayed on the plants today. The way the rain has been falling lately, I might have to do this about once every three days or so, but if it'll keep the little buggers from eating my cabbages and other plants, I'll do what it takes!
7. I used home made shower cleaner to clean the children's bathtub today.
8. I mended one of my daughter's skirts and a hole in one of my husband's work shirts this week.
9. I got some free samples in the mail this week including a sample of Green Mountain coffee Keurig cups. I don't own a Keurig, but I found that if I put the coffee in my drip coffee cone, it works just fine and this way I get two free cups of coffee OR I can save the cups to put in with a Christmas gift later on.
10. I entertained my daughter by putting on, "Victorian Farm Christmas" on my computer as it combined two of her favorite things. Farms and Christmas *laugh*.
And now onto the garden update.
Look at my rhubarb plant!!! I even have a baby that sprouted up by it this year (which I'll transplant come fall :). I'm so thrilled that while smaller than a lot of rhubarb plants around, it at least looks like a rhubarb plant instead of a spindly weed this year.
I mentioned the bugs that I am killing with extreme prejudice, but luckily I also have some beneficial bugs helping me out too. I tried to get a picture of the swarm of dragon flies that are hanging out in my garden, but my camera isn't fast enough. I also have a ton of spiders helping me out with some pest control too.
I was thrilled at the growth in the garden this week, though. Check out how much things have grown!
Another shot of the carrot rows, the garlic with cabbages on either side, the potato plants (which I have a garlic plant growing behind one of those as well) and the bunching onions up front (which are still kind of "meh" in growth...I'm hoping they start to take off here or I might not get many this summer).
The front planters. This time I took a shot of the nasturtiums that are just starting to really take off.
The front bed is still not doing too much, so I didn't bother taking it's picture right now.
So there you are folks. My garden updates and things for the week. How did you do?