Random Thoughts

The last two months have been a challenge. I had surgery in September and was on a 10 lb. weight limit for lifting for 6 weeks. That in of itself was a big challenge because all I do is lift stuff at the bakery. Luckily the six weeks went by quickly and I am back to my normal self with only a few aches and pains here and there.

I have been restless though. All of the bills came in from the surgery and added thousands of dollars of more debt on to us. With our high deductible health insurance plan, what we had to pay out of pocket was way more than I expected. At first I was upset, which isn’t a surprise, who wouldn’t be, but after a phone call to the hospital and a payment plan later it will eventually get taken care of.

Still restless. I have been researching what it would take to earn a degree in herbal medicine. I am fascinated with plants and what they can do for us. Alas though, money and time are not on my side so I have been getting as many books as I can check out from the library and devouring them on the topic.

Restless still, I got a new phone after four years and this one actually works. It doesn’t shut off in the middle of using it and it keeps it’s charge. Unfortunately it works so well I can play games on it again. You know those Candy Crush and Pigs flying around kind of games that are super addictive? Yeah, I wasted 3 whole days playing a stupid game on my phone, ignoring my husband and home responsibilities for a genie and gems. I’ll never get that time back. I realized what I was doing and promptly went into the app and disabled it. I felt better after that. No withdrawal, but I felt stupid. A day later the little genie tried calling me back when she popped up on my notifications saying she missed me. Delete. No wonder we are addicted to stupid stuff.

Ok, this restless thing is making me restless. I am a grown woman but I can’t seem to make myself stay focused and get my work done. I know I have a lot on my mind and I can give any excuse I want but bottom line is I have no real routine anymore. Do you find this to be true for you too?

I was watching The Talk on CBS the other day and one of their topics was that Walmart was working on home delivery service for groceries. Great. But get this. Walmart is not only working on delivering right to your home but they will also put your groceries AWAY for you so when you get home your fridge and pantry will be well stocked. So someone will have a temporary one-time use security code for your home (if you have a security system), they will unload the groceries and put them away for you. Seriously people how lazy can we get. How impersonal and removed from society are we going to take ourselves? “I don’t have the time to go grocery shopping,” is what I hear from people. We all say we don’t have time to do stuff. That’s just bullshit. We do have the time.

Here’s an example. I saw a woman, probably in her sixties, cashing out canning supplies a few months ago at the store and I, being my friendly, nosy self, asked her what she was going to can. She told me she was working on tomatoes but she wasn’t doing it for herself, they were for her daughter and son-in-law. “They just don’t have the time,” she said. “They are so busy with their children and they are both teachers.” I tried not to roll my eyes. We are all busy with our children and families. You have to want to make the time.

I haven’t posted in a while other than my SAL (stitch-a-long) posts because, well, I have been doing stuff. My Facebook addiction is done. I don’t care about it anymore so I have been doing stuff. Actually cleaning my house, mopping floors and cleaning baseboards. You know, the glamorous stuff your mom used to do every week. I have been changing bed sheets every week and vacuuming under the couch cushions and down the back steps. I ripped apart the china cabinet and re-arranged and cleaned every dish and glass on the shelves.

My restlessness has gotten less restless. I still have my days where I am not focused and wonder if I need medication haha. There are also days that my brain won’t stop with creative ideas and I have to calm them in order to stay on task.

If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have the time,” stop and ask yourself what you can do to make time for that idea. What can you cut-out? What can you take off your plate to add this one thing you want to accomplish?

I want to make the time to finish painting my baseboards. I have the time for it, I really do. I guess I better get off the Internet then and get moving. I’ll put some music on and a pair of old jeans and I’ll be done by noon. See you! -MM

 

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Food Preservation Goals and Garden Update September 13, 2017

The summer has flown by and we are now in the middle of September already!

I never got a second crop of anything in because I have been so busy with work now that the college workers are back in school. It has been a fabulous growing season mostly for us. The wet Spring damaged a lot of our fruit trees but the garden itself produced its heart out for us.

I am having surgery next Tuesday and will have a 10 lb. weight limit put on me for six whole weeks which will drive me nuts at work but will unfortunately cut my gardening season short this year as well.

It’s ok though, like I said our little garden out-performed itself this year and I actually kept up on it for once.

As far as the preserving of all of this lovely produce, here’s where I have been super busy!

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Grape Jelly
  • Peach Jam
  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Dandelion Jelly
  • Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  • Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  • Apple Sauce
  • Grape Juice
  • Pickled Beets
  • Canned Beets
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Blackberry, Peach,  Cordials
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peppers
  • Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  • Red Root Relish
  •  Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  • Chili
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers
  • Frozen summer/zucchini squash
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Blackberry Syrup
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Pickle Relish

With my surgery cutting my growing season short, it also cuts my preserving goals a little short too. I still plan on getting the grapes and the apples done but the beets might have to wait until next year.

I made a gigantic pot of chili using my tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic and will get that in the freezer for easy meals today.

I have also been busy drying herbs. Basil and lemon balm so far. Chives will get frozen, parsley and sage will also get dried as well.

I’ll post one more update sometime in October to wrap up my season.

What have you been up to this summer with your garden and preserving? I would love to hear from you! -MM

 

SAL Project Peacock Done!

Woohoo!  I can do the happy dance because Mr. Salvador the peacock is complete. The only thing I would like to add to him is possibly some tiny beading to give him a little sparkle before I frame him.

I am still looking for the right frame for this project so I will post again when it is complete and I can give it to the intended recipient :).

Other than that, I consider this beautiful cross-stitch project done and I can’t wait to give it away!

Now I have to figure out what my next project will be. A gigantic new project or my own design project.

The above is a chart I had made of a photograph I took of my back shelf after I harvested these gourds and onions. I had the photo converted into a cross-stitch chart by an online company. It’s 10 pages long!  I think you all may get sick of looking at this if I choose it for the SAL though lol!

This other project is my own design. It looks simple right now but there is a lot I will be adding to it which will be fun to see.

What do you think?  Which project should I choose for the SAL?

If you are wondering what this SAL group thing is all about we are a group of stitchers that update each other every 3 weeks with an individual project we all pick for ourselves. I could not have finished Mr. Peacock as fast as I did without having that gentle push and reminder every three weeks from Avis and the rest of these lovely like minded stitchers.

This update we’ve added two new members too. Welcome Connie and Heidi!!

If you are a stitcher and would like to join the group please contact Avis via email which you will find when you click on her link below.  In fact I would encourage you to check out all of the wonderful stitchers in this group. Their blog links are highlighted with each of their names.

See you in three weeks! -MM

Avis,ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKate,JessSueConstanzeDebbierose,ChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelen,StephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,TimothyHeidiConnie

Gardening and Preserving Goals July 25th Update

This summer is the complete opposite of last summer.  Last summer, barely any rain fell, this summer it hasn’t stopped raining for more than two days at a time.

We have lost some things like the cherries, however, most of my plantings have thrived in the rainy hot weather. 

The bold items in the lists below are what I have accomplished so far for my 2017 goals.

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

The lemon balm finally sprouted from the seed that I planted back in May. The lemon balm plants I purchased from a nursery however died within a week of planting them. Hey, at least I got something out of all of that, right?

    CROPS

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

      PRESERVING

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers
      41. Frozen summer/zucchini squash
      42. Shredded zucchini 
      43. Strawberry Syrup

      I have tons to go in the preserving category but it is very early in the canning season. Typically, September and October are the busiest months for canning. 

      I added number 41 and 42 because I have been going nuts with so many squash. I put up 8 lbs of shredded zucchini and 9 quart bags of squash slices that can be used for anything from stir fries to ratatouille to soups in the winter. Yum!

      Number 43 I added because I got 16 quarts of strawberries to do something with and this syrup is wonderful on pancakes so I made a double batch!

      That’s it for now!

      What have you been up to in the planting and preserving dept? – MM

      Gardening and Preserving Goals Update July 12, 2017

      I can’t believe what a difference a few short weeks has made in the garden. Tons of rain and finally some heat have made my garden GROW. I can’t keep up with all the summer squash!

      Check out all the greeny goodness in the pics below.

      The potatoes are loving their new converted fireplace planting bed

      The blackberries are abundant this year. I have never seen them so loaded with beautiful berries.

      I only have 6 basil plants but it’s almost too much! (not that I am complaining)


      Not only have we had spectacular wins in the garden but we have also had spectacular fails as well. I planted lemon balm and celery and I don’t know if they just didn’t like the soil or maybe each other but they both withered up and died within days of planting them. That was a real bummer I tell ya!

      My garlic, my beloved and most anticipated garlic, is failing. I have never grown garlic before so any advice would be welcome but it did not make scapes this year and it’s leaves are already turning brown.

      Also we lost all of our sweet cherries to the cold rainy Spring. That’s 3 years in a row we have not had a harvest from these 2 trees. Some re-evaluating will be going on after this season on what to do about it.

      And finally our Bosc pear and our apple trees are in trouble due to fire blight which I will catch you up on in another post. Sigh…

      On the bright side I have gotten some things preserved and stored in the pantry and freezer for the winter.

      7 pints of strawberry syrup, 5- 12 oz. containers of strawberry freezer jam, 5 quarts of sour cherries (which we had abundant crops of despite the sweet cherry fail) and tons of shredded zucchini for cakes and bread all got done last week.

      I will give you a more detailed update next time but until then happy gardening! -MM

       

       

       

      Re-Purposed Outdoor Brick Fireplace

      It’s a fact –  I need more planting space in order to meet my 2017 Gardening Goals.

      With that being said I got inspired this week to do something with our unsightly old outdoor fireplace. About 15 years ago an apple tree fell on it during a storm and crushed most of the left side. I would have taken the whole thing out but the right side of it has an electrical outlet on it and I didn’t want to mess with having to remove the power line and to tell you the truth it comes in handy when I need to plug in power tools and Christmas lights.

      Without a lot of funds and a need for more planting space I decided to gather all of the old bricks that were scattered around the yard and turn them into a potato planting bed.

      Potatoes need a deep planting bed. As they grow they need to be continuously buried in order for them to form lots of underground potatoes.

      Check out the before and after pics. I even threw in a couple of short videos.


      After a couple of hours of work and lots of back filling of a combination of soil and sawdust it was ready to plant. I even planted a few flowers at the base of it. The only cost was the seed potatoes. Everything else I had.

      This is a pretty good sized space. I am excited to see how the potatoes do in their new home. As the seedlings start to sprout I will add a few more layers of bricks and more soil until they reach the top of the bed.

      I don’t plan on mortaring in the bricks. Right now it is a semi-permanent bed and I plan on keeping it that way.

      2017 Gardening Goals: Plant Potatoes– Check!

      I’ll keep you updated on this project. Let me know what you think! -MM

      Gardening and Preserving Goals Update June 5th 2017

      It’s been a busy few weeks without a lot of time for updating. I did get my entire garden planted but of course I have run out of room. I thought my husband Scott would just shake his head at me but he surprised me instead by saying “where should we dig new beds?”

      I am not sure I can handle more space to fill but I am thinking about it

      Below is my goal list for preserving and gardening. Everything in bold is what I have accomplished so far. The only thing I have preserved is 2 batches of Dandelion Jelly and I see I forgot to add that to my goal list!

      HERBS

      1. Garlic 
      2. Chives
      3. Aloe Vera
      4. Dill
      5. Artemisia
      6. Calendula
      7. Chamomile
      8. Cilantro
      9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
      10. Sweet Woodruff
      11. Lavender
      12. Lemon Balm
      13. Mint
      14. Catnip
      15. Basil
      16. Oregano
      17. Parsley
      18. Anise
      19. Rosemary
      20. Sage
      21. Dandelion
      22. Thyme
      23. Nasturtium
      24. Valerian

      CROPS

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

      PRESERVES

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

      Garlic


      Shallots




      I named my rooster “Cluck” he guards the garden from vicious predators.

      I guess that’s it for now. Have to wait for Mother Nature to work her magic!

      See you next time. -MM