Friday, August 14, 2015

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

The garden is starting to go into it's downward slide for the year.  I pulled the rest of the lettuce this week and used the greens from the bolted lettuce with the one lettuce plant that waited a bit to bolt, so the lettuce was normal tasting.

The kale is still producing well, despite cabbage loopers that have decided to munch on them.  I would try harder to kill them, but I've gotten enough kale out of the plants at this point that if I have to pull it I won't cry.

My rhubarb plant, though, got nailed HARD by little green caterpillars and I fear it might not come back this year it looks so terrible right now.  It looks like someone dumped acid on it.

The cabbage loopers decided they liked the potato plant and since the potato plant was butting up against the turnip plants my biggest turnip plant was being chewed on too, so I dug the potatoes.  The plant was acting like it was ready for the potatoes to be dug, anyway.  I got seven potatoes out of the one plant, which I've done better in previous years (read: cooler years), but I'm still happy with the result since the initial potato I planted was free anyway.  I cured the potatoes and am going to use the two potatoes that have obvious blemishes/problems first and store the rest in the pantry for later use.

The turnip plants are doing really well now that the potato plant is out of the way.  I turned up the soil well on every plant I pulled to make sure any worms weren't hiding there for one and to make sure I would dry out and kill any worm eggs that were in the soil before I regretted it next year for two.

I pulled two more garlic plants and found mini garlic had developed, so I cured them and I'm just going to use them like I would bulbs of garlic in recipes.  They sure are cute.

I harvested loads of mint, parsley, thyme and sage this week as well as more rosemary and oregano.  I dehydrated it all and hope to get a bit more before the herbs go to seed.

I've not been at all impressed with the pineapple sage.  It smells like pineapple, when it's fresh, but it doesn't taste like much when you chew it and when it is dehydrated it tastes like grass.  Not my thing.  Kind of disappointing since I worked so hard to keep it alive early in the year, but now I know better for next year.

On the bright side of things though, I got my first ripe tomatoes this week (seen in the basket above)!  I have enjoyed them in salad, as a snack and as tomato sandwiches for lunch.  I'm looking forward to getting more as some are nearly at the breaker stage.

I decided I wasn't going to let the fireweed dying off quickly and being buggy stop me from making jelly, so instead I harvested as much fireweed as I could and padded out the blossoms with johnny jump ups (which is trying to take over the universe).  I'm not sure how the wildflower jelly will taste, but it's worth a shot anyway.

And so now onto other ways I've saved money this week.

1.  My brother-in-law is redoing some trailers to resell later and a couple of them had furniture left in them when he bought them.  He offered us a queen sized headboard and foot board and a dresser.  My husband said "yes" sight unseen, but when I saw what we got I was really surprised.  The furniture is VERY well made!  I'm kind of excited as we'll have a real bed once my husband gets the queen sized bed from my mother-in-law.  The dresser I'm thinking about just using as my dresser instead of trying to dig the one out of storage, as it's a bit bigger than the one in storage for one and for two it's taller so I won't have to worry about my son crawling up on it.

2.  My mother-in-law asked if we'd like to go over and pick raspberries as she heard of my plight with my raspberry bushes.  We finally made it over today, which my daughter, who has been super excited at the prospect of picking raspberries immediately picked one raspberry and took off on me to watch TV.  But I picked every raspberry I could get my hands on out of her two bushes.  It's enough to make some jam, anyway, which is great.  She also offered to let me come back in a couple of weeks and pick the ones that are still too green to pick now.  I'm definitely going to take her up on it as the jam will definitely help pad out our yearly supply.

While I was over she also gave me some rhubarb she wasn't using that a neighbor gave her.  She had gotten a ton and was just tired of making rhubarb things, so I gladly accepted that as well.  I'm still up in the air over what I'm going to do with my rhubarb this year (I have like four ideas), but for the time being I just cut it up into pieces and froze it with my other rhubarb.

She also gave us a couple of six packs of flavored water that she'd gotten for cheap at the store.  I gladly accepted it as my daughter's school room (we went to an open house this afternoon to meet her teacher and drop off school supplies) was sweltering when we were in it, so I worry about her only having a juice box with her lunch for the time being.

3.  I baked branch bread and bread (both white and cinnamon swirl).  I managed to do both of those right before we got a visit from my sister-in-law, one of my nieces and my nephew.  It was a great and fun visit and I was able to give her a big box full of baby clothes for my nephew out of the ones I'd gone through from storage. It felt good being able to help her out and getting some of the stuff out of the house.

4.  I found whole chickens for 4.00 a piece at the store when we went earlier in the week to get milk and back to school food.  I bought two and also a tube of hamburger.  I poached one chicken in the crock pot, baked one the same night and then cooked up the tube of hamburger, just browning it without seasonings.  Some of it I turned into taco meat last night for a quick dinner and tonight we had chicken sandwiches with the leftover baked chicken before I put it into the freezer for use later on.  Tomorrow I'm going to pull the meat off of the poached chicken and boil the carcass in the crock pot with the stock the chicken made when it cooked.  I'm going to use that to make myself some chicken noodle soup for lunches later on.

Yes, the menu plan went a bit awry, but it all worked out and I figure I'll reuse some of the meals later on anyway.

5.  My husband and I cut my son's hair (we use clippers for him) and it came out looking good (he HATES hair cuts).  I then trimmed my daughter's hair and had my husband trim mine.

6.  I cooked all of our meals at home, which saved us money.

7.  I shopped one day only this week to keep gas consumption and money spending to a minimum.

8.  I cashed in swagbucks to get some giftcards.  I then used them to help pay for a new pair of sneakers for me as my other shoes are just plain dying on me.  I found some New Balance sneakers (one of the few brands I can wear...I have a weird shaped foot) for 25.00 on Amazon.  After giftcards I paid 15.00 for them.  I then ordered the shoes through the Swagbucks link as well also so I'll earn Swagbucks from the purchase (I hope...I've never done that one before).

9.  My children and I have spent a lot of time playing outside this week as the weather has been cooler.  It's made getting things done around the house a bit harder, but worth it.

And there you are folks.  Some of the ways I've saved money this week.  How did you do?

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