Monday, May 9, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

 Well, there was good and bad last week.  The week was depressing for sure, but there was some good there as well and I managed to get some things done.

1. Monday, before I had to go and pick up the kids early due to allergy issues, I managed to rebuild the rock wall in our driveway.  I had wanted to start on the back yard that day, but the rock wall was getting BAD.  The rocks just sit in the bank and the previous owners never used concrete to set them in.  So when the bank starts to just crumble in dry weather (of which we've had a lot the last couple of years) whole sections of the wall will just collapse.  I stacked a lot of rocks that day, killed off one ants nest that had been built underneath one of the rocks right by my house with some diatomaceous earth and then I took a push broom and swept about four years worth of accumulated leaves and other stuff that had piled up along where the wall was and swept it all into the ditch on the opposite side of the driveway (it's a drop off type of ditch on that side, so the more I throw down there to slowly fill it, I figure the better off we are).  I probably recovered two feet of driveway by doing that and the best part is that it looks SO much better now than it did was looking pretty derelict by the end of the winter.

2.  I did some research online on when and how to move rhubarb plants and found that you can move them in the spring or in the fall after they seed.  If you move them in the spring you don't get rhubarb for a couple of years, which panicked me a little as I know I need to move my rhubarb plant, but I don't want to be without rhubarb as I need it for winter preservation.  So, I will move it in the fall once it goes to seed.  I also contacted a friend of mine who had offered me her rhubarb plants and asked if I could wait and harvest the rhubarb in the fall (they don't use it) and then when the plants go to seed come back and grab them.  She was okay with that (thanks so much, Davina!) so hopefully I'll have plenty of rhubarb for canning and for the freezer this fall and I'll be able to have time to clear the bank where I want to put them.

Bright side to the colder weather we're having this year (it's been dry and HOT the last couple) is that the raspberry bushes that I thought were just going to finally kick the bucket on me are actually growing WELL right now, so hopefully if I can clear the underbrush from the bank and stake the raspberry bushes as they grow (and move the one from further up in my yard to said bank) I might be able to preserve the bushes I have left.  If this works I might be able to rebuild my raspberry patch and this time control how it grows (the previous owners just let them grown wild) .  I'm then hoping to plant my rhubarb on the same bank and hopefully get some sort of rock (pea gravel or something) in there to help with drainage and help to control weed growth (anyone got any tips on how to do that without spending a fortune in things like landscaping plastic or anything?).

3.  I got some canning done.

I got the rest of my discounted apples canned last night for use in recipes later as well (seen above).  I'm really happy how the preparations for winter are going so far.  I pray that my lucks holds and I'm able to get more accomplished as the summer goes on.

4.  I started to fill out the paperwork for TEFRA only to get e-mailed an entire new packet so everything was filled in right in the fields.  So, time to start over again.  At least I have appointments this week (orthodontist tomorrow, root canals for husband on Wednesday, occupational therapy for son on Thursday) where I'll have time to get it done and e-mailed back to his new care coordinator. 

5.  We went to the nurseries on Saturday where I was after a few things with my limited budget.  I wanted to get some thyme, some sage (I planted some seeds but I wanted some that would be ready to harvest sooner...I LOVE sage) and some rosemary for my one planter out front, which I got.  My daughter REALLY wanted to plant petunias, so I found some cheap wave petunias at one of the nurseries and we planted those in the front raised bed (I figure wave petunias can compete with the chocolate mint once it starts spreading and hopefully fill in the bed a bit).  I also got some Nasturtiums to plant in my one other white planter up front as they are edible flowers, are pretty, are good in cool weather and are easy to grow (so said all the online resources anyway *laugh*).   I'm just all excited as I've been looking for Nasturtium seeds EVERYWHERE and couldn't find any, but finding the seedlings was inexpensive and will hopefully allow me to grab some seeds when they go to seed later for next year.  So, all totaled this year I spent about 20.00 on the garden and 13.00 of that was compost and soil that I bought earlier (I'm hoping to get some rabbits this year sometime and hopefully next year I'll have compost and not have to buy any because of that, but time and finances will tell if that gets done this year).

I also planted the basil seeds indoors.  We'll see how they do.

So, yeah, that's what I was up to this week (other than obsessively watching the garden for signs of seedlings popping up and throwing it tons of good vibes.  Little seedlings are starting to pop up pretty much everywhere, but now the true test I growing vegetables or are the weeds starting to come back into the garden.  Only time will tell, BUT I know that I have at least two pea plants coming up (yayyyyy!!!) and my mixed lettuce and cabbage planter is popping seedlings up, so I have that going for me at least :).

And so onto this week's goals!

Canning Goals:
  • Can cranberry sauce (have a bag of cranberries in the freezer that need something done with them).

General Goals:
  • Cook potatoes and freeze in different types of packets (home fries, hash browns, etc).
  • Fill out TEFRA paperwork and get it passed back in to new care coordinator
  • Get through appointments this week.
  • Work on yard work if weather (and kids) cooperate

Cleaning/Household Goals: 
  • Get caught up on sorting and putting away laundry (I'm so behind on this as I've been so tired lately it just hasn't gotten accomplished).
  • Restock toilet paper in bathrooms 
  • Scrub bathroom toilets and vanities
  • Dust ceiling fans (this seems to be a constant chore)

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on mending at least one of husband's work jackets.

And there you are folks.  My limited goals for this week.  With so many appointments I know that I need to keep it simple or I won't get anything done.

What are you up to this week?


  1. The driveway looks great and once I can find some time, I want to read some canning recpies to get some ideas for things I can do.

    This week we have a graduation party to go to for a little, Im going to mix a jar of pepper jelly with some Cream cheese and bring that with crackers. I really need to finish the room swap but waiting on my husband to move an old metal desk thats just too big and heavy to do myself, and a mattress so I can finish the rooms. Also need to dig out the next size up summer clothes and wash those, plus sort the too small clothes. Getting the upstairs finished has been my goal the last three weeks, but until I get help moving those things, I cant do it.:(

    1. My recommendation is to get the Ball Book of Home Preserving. I just ordered last year's edition off of Amazon for like less than 10.00 shipped (I got it from a newer seller so it was cheap :) and it has 500 recipes in it. Even the older editions, though, could probably be taken out of the library and are great sources of knowledge on canning and different recipe ideas. That book is one of the "if we ever have to evacuate we are taking that book period" types of books.

  2. Hi Erika,
    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you. I'm just curious what youre going to do with all your rhubarb. Except for strawberry rhubarb pie filling, I'm stumped as to what to do with all of mine. Thanks, Lynn

    1. Well, I freeze some to make into rhubarb crisp in the winter when I get the chance, or you can can it with some water and sugar to use that way too. I also make strawberry rhubarb jam. And I have a recipe for a fruit based BBQ sauce that uses rhubarb and I love to use it to mix in with regular BBQ sauce during the winter for added nutrition when I make BBQ chicken or ribs or whatever :). I'll try to post the recipe for it as it's a great way to use up rhubarb.

    2. Missed one! Rhubarb concentrate makes a pretty tasty drink once reconstituted or you can thicken it by boiling a bit more into a syrup and use it on pancakes and things as well.

    3. Last year I made cinnamon rhubarb jam (recipe link: which was very good. Tasted great on bagels with cream cheese or would have been mice served over brie cheese. I gave some of my jars as Christmas gifts! Recently I've found recipes for rhubarb cherry jam (link: and rhubarb peach jam (link: which I may try this year.

      I also use rhubarb to make a rhubarb cobbler. It's a really yummy, uses very simple pantry ingredients and frozen rhubarb works fine. Free rhubarb makes it an even more frugal option. The recipe I use is from an older cookbook, but I'm sure you should be able to find something similar on-line.

      If your looking for more ideas, try searching Pinterest for rhubarb recipes. You'd be surprised at what you might find on there!

    4. *Laugh* I did as you suggested. I now have a board dedicated to rhubarb on Pinterest. Now I'm about triple excited at the prospect of getting rhubarb this year ;).

  3. Hi - I was also interested in how you are going to can your rhubarb. We have a ton of plants (when you move yours, divide it into two or three plants). It is starting to grow right now (we live in Wisconsin) and we generally use it until the end of June. If it starts to send out seed heads, we chop off the seed heads so it will put it's energy into the stalks. Can it now if it looks good and then move it in the fall.

    1. Yeah, our plants are JUST starting to come up here as well and will be ready to harvest about June-ish.

      I'm just going to quote what I posted above as it's easier and I'm tired on the rhubarb ;).

      "Well, I freeze some to make into rhubarb crisp in the winter when I get the chance, or you can can it with some water and sugar to use that way too. I also make strawberry rhubarb jam. And I have a recipe for a fruit based BBQ sauce that uses rhubarb and I love to use it to mix in with regular BBQ sauce during the winter for added nutrition when I make BBQ chicken or ribs or whatever :). I'll try to post the recipe for it as it's a great way to use up rhubarb."

    2. Oh and this is pretty tasty too!!!

  4. I got a Rhubarb plant from the cashier at my pharmacy last year (yep, she's and awesome lady) I babied it through the summer then planted it in the fall in the ground. Was told to cut it down by the first frost and cover with leaves. That was hard to do but I did it anyway thinking it would never come up again. I know how I am with plants. Well it popped up this spring so I uncovered it and it's doing great. I live in Nevada so you might want to research what you need to do up there. We have had a snowy wet winter and early spring.

    1. My rhubarb plant comes up every year, but it's just small and straggly every year and I get some rhubarb but not much out of it. I found out that rhubarb does best in well drained soil, which where it is now it isn't even CLOSE to that. It's well compacted dense soil down in that part of the yard and with our 40' cargo van parked where it is it is always in shadow on top of it. And then there is the weeds, namely fireweed and devil's club that it is competing with in that area and both devil's club and fireweed are pretty tall so they are getting the sun and things, so I'm thinking the rhubarb just needs to move to a more well drained and sunny location. I'll move it in the fall and give it a shot to see how it does. At least I found out that rhubarb is really hardy so if I move it more than once in the next couple of years it should survive okay. Good to know as when it comes to perennials I tend to have a black thumb (I'm learning though :).

    2. When u move/replant remember rhubarb loves compost and horse/rabbit manure. I bought my 2nd rhubarb plant this year and thot I had lost it when my lovely 4 y/o grandaughter wanted the dirt out of my rhubarb plant for her mud pies...I saved it and due to our cooler weather is sending new leaves off weekly. I am thanking God for that. BTW love ur blog.

    3. Good to know :). I might have to go and buy another bag of manure (don't have a source for that yet) before the "gardening bug" season is over around here, but at least that is in my budget (since it's less than 5.00 per bag). I'll be sure to have some around here for when I need to replant it. Do you work the manure into the soil or place it around the rhubarb roots when you plant? My grandfather put in a huge rhubarb patch and would sell rhubarb to the local restaurants for pie, but he put that in when I wasn't there one day *laugh* so I'm kind of lost on the rhubarb planting :).

    4. I have heard to work it in and then put it around plant on gop of soil once planted. I have a spot my son is going to work up for mre at the end of one of my raised beds. I have had straw overwintering there and am going to haul some aged cow manure in there too. Hope to plant in a couple of weeks. Good luck and google how to plant rhubarb for more hints. Some people from my church is going to wasilla sometime in June On a mission trip. Sure wish my knees would allow me to do more things as I would go too. It would b fun to meet u. Conversing thru blogland will have to dp for now. We have had rains lately and my lettuce, peas, beans, chard, broccoli, and cabbage are doing so well due to them. Hope to get my tomatoes and peppers in the ground as soon as it warms up a bit more.

  5. Your driveway looks really good! One of the things I want to learn is how to stack rock on a slope. We have a lot of rock on the steep slope in front of our house that is gradually eroding. I would love to be able to fix areas of it myself.

    I despise paperwork like that.

    I am on vacation from work this week. My goals for the week:

    1) Paint the utility room cabinets - done! They look so much better! They are the laminate and wood grain cabinets and I just hated them. I spent less than $25 on the knobs and remaining materials I needed.

    2) Fix the wiggly toilet paper holder where the drywall anchor had come loose. Also done - one of my most disliked kind of DIY, so I'm very glad it's done.

    3) My favorite goal of the week: go down and move my daughter our of her dorm and back home for the summer. I can't wait!

    4) Make chocolate covered bananas for my husband. I have the chocolate already from Sam's seasonal baking supplies, so just need to buy the bananas.

    5) Research some new-to-us recipes that I can make with ingredients I can get cheaply. I think I'll have some time to work on this while my daughter is studying and finishing her exams. I'm taking my More With Less cookbook with me, as I haven't read it in a long time.

    6) Time the loads in the dryer to see how long they are running when I allow it to auto-sense the dryness. I suspect it's running a lot longer than it needs to.

    7) Rest/relax and enjoy just being home.

    Have a great week! Reading these goals have really encouraged me to do the same and I've already accomplished things I wouldn't have otherwise.

    1. Aw, that's great! I'm glad the lists help you. I know writing things down sure has helped me to stay on task as with how little sleep I get if I allow myself I kind of slump into the "unmotivated to do anything but sleep" mindset and then everything kind of falls into disarray around me. Thus the list :).

      I know how you feel about the recipes. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest pinning recipes and came to the conclusion last night that I really needed to sub-pin boards better so I can keep track of things and look them up easier. Nothing like going through 300+ pins trying to figure out what to make for dinner for the week only to realize that like half of them were "ooo, this will work great for a special occasion" type of recipe, but you wouldn't be able to make it every day (I found some that called for creme fraiche. I wouldn't even know where to buy that locally and I sure know that I couldn't afford it right now anyway *laugh* so that should really be in a "special occasion" folder. I'm thinking about starting to pin by price to make a recipe versus if I want to try making it sometime *laugh*.

  6. This week I have only TWO goals:
    First my sons have unloaded EVERYTHING from their apartment or dorm room into the middle of my living room floor. My goal is to go through all the returned food, check the expiration dates and use up what is older. I will also be organizing my pantry to put some stuff back and take inventory again. This is a MAJOR job.
    My second goal is to get the garden out. My husband plowed it yesterday and it is ready for me...except that I am working on my pantry!
    Our meals for the week will be to use up as much of the old food as possible. When they clean out their refrigerators, all their food comes back. I now have three jars of ketchup, mayonaise, peanut butter, mustard and so on.
    We will have having some very strange meals this week.

  7. To keep the weeds down in the berry/rhubarb patch you could use strips of old carpet. It's not as pretty as pea gravel but I bet you could get it for free!! Also on the goal of getting a rabbit, my son raises rabbits and they are great at producing fertilizer!! We gave more than we can use. If you lived close by I'd drop,you off some!! We trade our extra "compost" to a farmer friend for veggie seconds she can't sell. We give the veggies to the rabbits! My goals for this week: finish planting beans, clean rabbit cages, work on cleaning up the basemen, plant more in garden if it ever stops raining, take my son to pick up two more rabbits, go dumpster diving at a local college on the day the kids move out of the dorms ( we go every year with friends and find tons of great stuff!!), finish the wash, and take some time to relax!!

  8. I think your rock wall looks great! I'm sure, for me, it gives me a big boost when I get a "big" job done--I just feel so productive no matter what the kitchen looks like, etc. I'm reminding myself of that as I keep packing and am spending so much time on that. I finally spent a little time doing "basics" in the kitchen and laundry yesterday. We were getting desperate for clean clothes.

    Paperwork is the pits. I have done reams of it over the years for my kids. Sounds like you are just gritting your teeth and getting it done--the only thing to do:)

    Good luck with the rhubarb. I'm leaving mine here for the next owners, and will get some more later. It's becoming too complicated to try to dig up bits and pieces of this and that and try to keep it alive all summer until we get another house. I've saves a few raspberries, but that's all. Time is passing so quickly and I'm going to barely be able to get our things packed between all the other stuff we still have to do. I worked about 10 hours yesterday, so am making progress, but I am sure getting tired.