New Walkway from Old Material

We installed our side walkway in the summer of 2018 and after a couple of years it has settled in and looks like it’s been there forever, which is a good thing!

We used the bricks from our old outdoor fireplace that was destroyed by a fallen apple tree and re-purposed them into this walkway.

Old Outdoor Fireplace removed but we left the base stones
New path mapped out
Grass dug out and soil tamped down
Ready for placement!
It was like a puzzle to find the right placement for everything
This was pretty much the final placement with a few tweaks here and there
Fall 2020 just a few months ago and the walkway has settled in nicely.
We really love it!

We know that technically we should have put a base of sand or underlayment down before we placed the stones and bricks, but we wanted this project to be a no cost solution to our walkway problem, so if it sinks a bit for now we are ok with it. When we have more cash for projects like this we will definitely have a professional do it.

For now we love it and like it’s imperfections. Let’s dream of flowers and bees and warmer weather shall we? -MM

Quarantined Day Three

Symptoms are still mild for both hubby and I.

For me, more nausea, stomach upset, and chest ache. Restless leg has been so bad the last two nights that I have had to take Tylenol to ease it. I haven’t had restless leg since I was pregnant 20 years ago!

Hubby’s symptoms are still back pain, headache, runny nose at times and brief coughing here and there.

We got tested today at our local CVS. It was a little weird going through the drive-thru and having the clerk walk us through the testing procedure which we had to do on ourselves. It was easy though and hopefully we didn’t screw it up. Results in 2-4 days.

Meanwhile, we had a dumpster delivered last week and had to get going on getting it filled so after we got home from testing we spent about an hour hauling stuff up from the basement. It was exhausting but needed to be done.

After lunch we napped, did a couple of light chores, had dinner delivered from a local restaurant and lastly I got a little cake frosted for us to enjoy.

Hey when you work close to 70 hours a week like we both do, just being together to eat, no matter what the circumstances are, is a blessing!

This experience has brought our life to a screeching halt. It’s just us and the cats. No work, no going out to church or meetings, no grocery shopping or errands.

I don’t like the reason and I am scared of what may come but we needed this halt to our life. We really did. We needed the rest and the time to be together.

More tomorrow…- MM

Quarantined Day One and Two

My husband and I were both exposed to people who tested positive for the Corona Virus and now we are experiencing symptoms. We get tested tomorrow for COVID (our first time) and have quarantined ourselves to keep others safe just in case.

I thought it would be interesting to keep a daily account of what we experience and how we feel each day.

Day One

I woke up with nausea and stomach upset. Not the greatest way to start the day. This continued most of the day but by dinner my stomach felt better. Other than the stomach upset and ache I just felt an all over malaise. No fever, cough or congestion

My husband had a headache, and was very tired. Again, no fever, cough or congestion for him either.

Day Two

I woke up with slight stomach upset and backache but that went away. Mostly today I have been tired, glands swollen and again just a blah feeling.

My husband still has a bad headache, is coughing more and has a runny nose off and on. Very tired though!

We assume our tests will come back positive for COVID-19 but it could take days to find out for sure.

I pray our symptoms will stay mild. Many people ask how can you assume you have COVID with so few symptoms? My answer to that is everyone has different symptoms. I would rather assume we have it than be out in public and find out later we tested positive.

More tomorrow – MM

From Pumpkin to Pie

Another frustrating item missing from the shelves this fall has been pumpkin puree. The kind of pumpkin used in sweet breads, pies and cookies.

The shortage is not due to the pandemic but due to the wet growing season last year.

While waiting for pumpkin supplies to replenish in the grocery stores I for the first time tried making a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin.

Certain varieties of pumpkin are better for pie making and others are better for carving a Jack-o’-lantern.

I bought four pie pumpkins from a local organic farmer and friend and figured if I liked the end product I would grow my own pie pumpkins next year.

Here’s a step by step from pumpkin to pie.

These are a variety of pie pumpkin called Long Pie. They are a heirloom variety so I can save the seed and grow them next year!

On the advice from my farmer friend I treated the pumpkin just like a winter squash when cooking it.

I cut it lengthwise and scooped out the seeds and microwaved it on high for about 15 minutes in a glass pyrex pan covered with a piece of plastic wrap with a corner vented.

After cooling I scooped out the cooked flesh and got about enough for one pie. Now other articles I have read stated that you need to squeeze out any excess liquid from the flesh before using it. I did not have this problem with this variety of pumpkin. It was very dense. No excess liquid to be had.

I was concerned because this pumpkin puree did not look anything like what you buy in a can at the store. It looked exactly like butternut squash. No worries though! It looked like pumpkin once I got all of my ingredients in.

Once you cook and scoop out the cooked flesh run the pumpkin through a food processor or in my case a mini chopper to puree even more.

Now for the other pie ingredients. I followed the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe which is on the back of the can. 2 Eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp ginger, pumpkin puree (about a cup), 1 can of evaporated milk and an unbaked pie shell.

Mixed everything other than the milk together.

Looks more like pumpkin doesn’t it?   Then I added the evaporated milk.

The mixture got pretty foamy on top for some reason so I skimmed some off after pouring it into the pie shell.

I baked it at the same temperature and for the same amount of time as the Libby’s recipe called for. And out popped a perfect pumpkin pie!

It was so creamy and smooth and delicious!

This baking experience has inspired me to add this pumpkin to my to-grow list for next year. If I get as many pumpkins as I did butternut this year then I should be well supplied for next Thanksgiving.

If you have a chance to try a true pie pumpkin in your recipes I encourage you to do so! -MM

Not Impressed with Our Debt September 2020 Update

I haven’t updated since June so I thought I better get an update posted today.

It’s been a frustrating few months. I have made some progress in some areas and put some debt on in other areas.

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Honda loan balance in June was $1600 – Now down to $900. I made a triple payment in July and another regular payment in September. Yay!
  2. Our clothes washer finally said enough and died on us. Instead of paying for a brand new washer which was at least $800 we went on Facebook Marketplace and found the exact model we had currently only much newer for $250. We paid for it in cash we had saved. Double Yay!
  3. My big 20 qt mixer started to seize and spark. We put it off for a month but finally got someone to come in and repair it. Cost was $150. We again paid in cash. Triple Yay!
  4. I paid $525 on my credit card this month. I took the minimum payment and added in the few things I charged on it for the month then I added in the interest amount from last month and paid $525.41. I plan on doing the same this next month. Yay x 4!
  5. We did put about $800 on our other credit card this month. We bought a new couch. It was more than I wanted to pay but we have barely used our living room all year and I was very tired of each of us hanging out in our bedrooms and not being all together to at least watch a movie or football game once in a while. Our old couch (which was only about 6 years old) never was comfortable so we stopped hanging out in the living room together. $800 was worth bringing us back together I think so money well spent! Minus 1 point though for adding more debt 😦

Unfortunately school taxes are looming due and I know I am going to pay them late because I just don’t have the funds to pay them in full this month. It’s ok though. I’ll get them paid I just won’t be able to pay much extra on our debt in October.

That’s about it. Only $900 left to pay on the Honda! Until next update -MM

Lactose Intolerant

It’s official (at least in my mind) I am lactose intolerant. Especially after last night’s late night stomach problems after eating macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Most of my adult life I have suffered from what I would call random stomach problems and stomach problems suck right? The most frustrating part is that people love to tell you what they think is your problem (trying to be helpful) but in reality there could be a 1000 different reasons and combinations of foods that make you sick when you eat them so I have just always stayed away from eating much in public. I especially would never eat anything fried or greasy out unless I knew I was going home right after.

About a year ago I had one of the worst bouts of stomach upset I have ever had and it was at a party we were attending. About half an hour into the affair (the other guests said later) I all of a sudden turned green and then I left and headed straight home. All that night I was sicker than a dog. Stomach upset and ache, diarrhea, chills, nausea. I was so frustrated.

At one point a month later I had been feeling pretty good, no stomach upset for a while and then I realized it was because I hadn’t had a glass of milk in weeks. Hmmm…. But I had had ice cream and cheese and such but no pure milk.

Right then and there I stopped drinking milk entirely and voila, no more massive stomach upset. Life-changing to say the least. My doctor was on board with it. She said I didn’t need a test to tell me if I felt better cutting out dairy.

Now I am still able to have dairy once in a while without too much upset but last week I was eating way too much and I was suffering for it. A Klondike bar everyday and mac and cheese (even though I used Lactaid to make it) really bothered me. Not the massive stomach bothering that milk does to me but enough bother to slow me down.

I haven’t tried taking a Lactaid pill before I eat dairy. I will have to experiment with that. At this point I just avoid dairy all together and my tummy thanks me for it.

Don’t worry I will not walk into my next party and announce I am lactose intolerant to everyone. That’s just not my style lol!. -MM

Damaged Canning Lid Update

Last post I told you about the canning supply shortage and the shipment of lids I mistakenly purchased from a company in China.

I have received a $6.96 credit towards my over $45+ purchase for the damaged lids. I wasn’t very happy with this and I would never buy from this company ever again but I guess it is something right? And they were very prompt with getting back to me.

Below are a few screen shots of the exchange:

What do you all think? Should I have pushed for a bigger refund?

Lesson learned this time. I will, from now on ALWAYS research better who I am buying from and if I cannot find a mailing or shipping address on a website I will not buy from them.

Now on to the pumpkin shortage crisis sigh… – MM

Canning Supply Shortages

If you are a canner or preserver of food than you must have noticed that supplies are scarce this year. Every store I have called locally is out of canning supplies and no dates in site for re-stocking.

Along with TP and sanitizer, yeast and flour the newest shortage, at least in my world is canning supplies, in particular the lids.

I saw it happening about a month ago when at the beginning of the canning season the grocery store I work at part time could not get supplies in. We had some left over stock from the previous year but that did not last long.

I immediately went online and Amazon had lids but they were over $20 a box! Nuh uh…not doing that. I ended up buying 6 boxes of regular lids from mason-official.com. THAT was a mistake. I found out later that mason-official is not an American company at all but a company from China.

The lids took almost a month to get to me but finally today I received them. But they came in a BAG. None of the lids were in boxes. Just loose in baggies. Coming all the way from China in a bag and you probably already can surmise what I found when I opened the package today. At least a third of my order is damaged. The lids are bent. Not surprising considering they shipped them from China in a BAG. Did I say a bag? Yes, a small bag. That’s the last time I’ll say that.

I can’t use bent lids of course so I emailed the company. They immediately emailed back and said to email them photos of the damaged lids, tracking number and SKU on the BAG. Oops I said it again.

I did what they asked and sent them photos. Let’s see what happens right?

This isn’t the first time I have had an experience like this. I have purchased items on Ebay and Etsy and have found out later that the items I purchased were actually coming from China. I have nothing against China but when I buy from a company supposedly saying they are an American based company with an American sounding name (Jane Smith in the case of Etsy) one would expect to receive their package from somewhere in the US. Needless to say I think I got one Ebay seller shut down for selling me a bootleg set of Legos. Pissing off an American momma on Christmas morning is not a good idea!

My advice when buying online is this:

If you can’t find an actual address for the company you are buying from beware. Read ALL of the description of the item you are buying and if it says it will take 7 to 14 days to ship to you it is probably coming from another country AND if there are any typos or the grammar is off anywhere on the website that’s also a red flag.

I think it’s time for a “Call to Action”. There is a shortage of canning supplies this year and if you have canning supplies you would like to pass on because you aren’t using them anymore or if you are a canner in need of supplies let’s connect with each other! Feel free to get in touch with me by clicking on the CONTACT button in the header above. Tell me about your experience this year with supply shortages and what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Hopefully we can help each other!

Don’t worry I’ll keep you updated on my canning lid saga. 🙂 -MM

Victory Garden Update

I can’t believe I have forgotten to post about my garden this year. I am fully embracing the victory garden life this year. Mentally changing my gardening experience to embrace the idea of victory gardening has changed my perspective. Growing food as a hobby is one thing. Growing food to survive and as a necessity is another.

Here are a few snapshots of what my garden has grown into this year.

What I am growing so far includes:

  1. Lettuce
  2. Shallots
  3. Red Onions
  4. Basil
  5. Parsley
  6. Lemon Balm
  7. Sage
  8. Rosemary
  9. Thyme
  10. Chives
  11. Pumpkins
  12. Red Raspberries
  13. Sour Cherries
  14. Peaches
  15. Pears
  16. Apples
  17. Yellow Squash
  18. Zucchini
  19. Eggplant
  20. Green Onions
  21. Peas
  22. Green Beans
  23. Dry Beans
  24. Jalapenos
  25. Sweet Bell Peppers
  26. Lunchbox Sweet Peppers
  27. Roma Tomatoes
  28. Purple Cherokee Tomatoes
  29. Butternut Squash
  30. Lavender
  31. I am foraging black raspberries, wild ramps, wild garlic, and dandelions

I still have time to get some other things in the ground like beets, and carrots. I hope to use some season extenders as well to grow into December.

Another mission I have in regards to my growing food this year is to document how many pounds I harvest. I am trying to prove to the naysayers that say growing your own food is too expensive for what you get out of it and too much hassle when you can just go to the store and buy it. Yeah that’s a bunch of bullshit in my opinion. I intend to prove my point by the end of the season.

Total harvested so far this season since starting to document it May 26th is 417.1 oz. which is 26.06 lbs of food. These foods include: Lettuce, Lemon Balm, Peas, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Black Raspberries and Sour Cherries.

I’ll try to update more regularly! Hope your gardens are all doing well 🙂 -MM

Fraktur Hex SAL #11

Just a very quick update for me this time. I STILL did not get my 3rd corner done. Just haven’t had the time to work on it!

Here is where I left off last time:

And here is where I am now:

Not a lot done but it will have to do.

Please visit the other members of this lovely SAL group by clicking on the links below. Can’t wait to see what everyone is up to!


AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen