Thursday, September 14, 2023

Frugal Adventures for September so Far

 Well, I have had a gap in posting again, but I have been busy, so at least nothing catastrophic happened this time.  We have been having issues with my father-in-laws health, but after visiting a neurologist today, hopefully we'll know more and have a plan of action moving forward to improve his quality of life.  

My husband also went in for a CAT scan on his lungs as he just can't seem to shake his cough, but it came back good, so I was relieved when those results came back okay.

More on the immediate home front, I'm now down to a regular dose of Zyrtec every day until next Tuesday.  So far, so good *knock on wood*, so hopefully I'm going to be okay here.  The large doses of Zyrtec have definitely been getting to me the last month, so I'll be glad to see the end of this if I can.

We launched into fall with not much to show for it with changes in the weather.  It rained all summer and it doesn't show any signs of stopping now.  The amount of mold and pollen this year has been horrible.  I scheduled to get our septic pumped next month after dividends come in and my husband and I are both dreading what the report will say about the state of our leech field.  After constant rain the last two summers and then the masses of snow we had over last winter...I'm imagining that "saturated" is going to be a vast understatement.  Poor leech field.  I wish I could send all of you who are having weather on the opposing end of the spectrum some of our rain this year.  Prayers are with you all.

Quick garden update...there really isn't much to report.  The garden didn't do much this year.  We had rain all summer, which definitely impacted growing rates.  The chard I got about three harvests from, but they were small and then it did get hot enough, despite the rain, to bolt.  The lettuce was much the same...slow growing and then it bolted.  The only plant that has seemed to just love the weather and performed wildly beyond my expectations was the parsley.  It was amazing all summer long!  

I now have four pint jars jammed full of dehydrated parsley which will last me for quite a long while.  

The rosemary didn't do much, but I did get enough to dehydrate a tiny bit to add to my rosemary in the spice cabinet.  The basil just pretty much shriveled to the plant and did nothing all summer long.  It was just too cold and didn't like it.  I got one small harvest off of the two plants I got which was enough for dinner one night, and that was it.

The tomatoes finally developed green tomatoes...and stayed at that state for months.  I finally decided it was time to pull them as the tomatoes were starting to die off this last week and I found one ripe tomato, which thrilled me to no end.  I got a total of six ripe tomatoes off of the two plants all summer long, but they were yummy.  I harvested every single green tomato I could get off of the plants and then had to figure out what to do with green tomatoes.  I found that the tomatoes were not ripening on the counter, but were rotting instead just because they had gotten so much rain this summer I think and it was still so humid in the house.  

I went through a bunch of different thoughts on what to do with them, but decided to settle on Easy Green Tomato Chutney.  I had enough tomatoes for a half recipe, so I went with those portions, but ended up using apple cider vinegar instead of malt vinegar and I used craisins instead of raisins because that is what I had on hand.  I ended up adding some extra sugar when I tasted the final product because it was very sour still and then I cooked it down, put it in two pint jars and a half pint jar and threw them into the fridge to mellow out over the next month or so before I try to use it.  Hopefully it will be tasty when it comes time to use it.  I'll keep you informed.

After harvesting everything, I dumped out the soil into the old garden spot that I felt could use the additional soil, broke it down with a hoe and then stacked up the planters and furniture under the eves of the roof where it was protected from the weather.  After everything was dry, I put it all up into storage for the winter.  I feel accomplished a bit, I have to say, as this is the first year that I got the garden cleaned up before I was dumping out frozen hunks of soil into the woods to compost the following Spring or something and this is the first year with the container garden where I got all the containers put into the shed for safe keeping instead of putting them into a somewhat protected spot on the deck for the winter.  

In other news...

1.  I got my mending pile all caught up.  This is the first time in years where every button, every tear and such was finally gotten to and items returned to the respective family members.  I feel really good about getting that off of my plate :).

2.  I have been working really hard at getting the screens cleaned off in the windows, and getting the window frames themselves cleaned out as good as I can get them in preparation for winter.  Cottonwood pollen was awful this year (see above photo for evidence) and it got jammed into every little knook and cranny in the windows.  I got all windows done now, with the exception of the living room window and I'm hoping to get to that this weekend.  I even washed the windows on the ground floor as they needed it...they are right above ground level and get crud shot all over them from the weed whacker and the lawn mower and such.  They've needed a good cleaning for a while, but I finally got to them, which I was happy about.  I don't think people wash their windows much anymore as I got about five neighbors slowing down driving by who gave me odd looks *laugh*.

3.  I had ordered things from Amazon last month for a monthly subscribe and save order in a bid to save money.  It was a disaster.  I had damaged items, a big box of stuff got damaged in transit and returned to I said a mess.  I ended up having to call to get refunds and then I went and bought what I could locally at a higher price where I could.  Frugal attempt and fail.  

Inflation is getting so high that Amazon, I've found, isn't saving me much money on some items that I had been buying from them.  So, I guess the experience was able to highlight that for me.  

4.  I think I found Alvah a speech therapy place!  We go in for an eval next week, but this is the first speech therapy place I've found that lists LAMP in with their core abilities/skills, so I'm hopeful!  Here's hoping we can get Alvah communicating better!!!

5.  I rearranged our freezers and took inventory of what I had.  One of the main things I did was to make sure I streamlined the fridge freezer as all of my freezer shelves have broken from plastic fatigue with age, so I'm trying to nurse the fridge along for as long as I can before purchasing a new one.  I like how it is working out as with the shelves less cluttered I'm able to move meat that I need to use to the top shelf of the freezer so it is really easy to find for when I am making a menu plan for the week :).

6.  I had to use a ham hock from when we bought a pork pack a few years back.  I took some cans of baked beans and put them in the crock pot with the ham hock and just cooked it all day.  I then took the ham hock out and cut off the meat, cutting it into small pieces (as there isn't much meat on a ham hock) and added it back into the beans.  I then made corn bread to eat on the side.  The meal was tasty and the husband didn't even complain about eating leftovers along with me (turned out the meal made a lot of food) as he kept saying how surprisingly filling the meal was.  I might end up making the meal again as I have one more ham hock to use up in the freezer.

7.  We were trying to get Alvah out of the house and decided to take him to a local used store.  While there my daughter wanted to check out the books, so while she was looking at the fantasy books, I just happened to look over the DVD's and found a bunch of old Disney movies and they were only 2.00 a piece.  Since we only have Snow White and some of the really old Disney movies on VHS and our VCR's have long since stopped working, I picked up a bunch for the kids to enjoy and I had fun talking to my daughter how animation used to be done and how Walt Disney revolutionized how animation was done back in the day (I used to, back in the day, want to be a Disney animator more than anything...then I worked for the college program one year and came to really hate how the modern company was run and still am not fond of it...but the old animated movies are still enjoyable).

8.  We have been having a fun time, now that fall is officially here, watching Halloween cartoons on YouTube for free.  I'm working on a list of some things we watch and listen to to share with you all, so hopefully I'll be able to get that done in the coming days as I know we are all trying desperately to watch our budgets anymore.

9.  I got in contact with our care coordinator about TEFRA renewal and was happy I did as COVID screwed up our renewal schedule that we'd had for years and we were due to renew on the Federal end.  So, I got that paperwork filled out and sent off yesterday and will wait for the state paperwork to come in the mail before filling it out.

10.  I kept getting e-mails from Shutterfly saying that if you don't make one purchase a year from them that they would stop storing your photos.  I finally had the brain bandwidth to go and look what was stored on the site and was amazed as photos I had thought were gone years ago from outfits like the Kodak Gallery were on there!  I guess Shutterfly has bought out like every online photo outfit there is, apparently, as I had photos from like four different sites that were now available from Shutterfly.  And the nice thing was that I could go on there and download the photos in the albums to my computer so that if something should happen to the site, I could still have the photos.  I then ordered a few photo prints and used a code for free shipping, just as a security measure so that I could keep the photos on the site.  

And there you go folks.  Some of the things I've been up to around here.  Now that the heat is kicking on with the colder weather and drying out the house a bit, I'm. hoping to get the painting done that I wanted to get done over the summer as I'd like to get the hallway and stair landing done.  It's been really getting to me that those parts are the only parts in the house paint-wise that haven't been done yet.