20 for ’20 Challenge – October Update

October has been a busy month and with a wedding, three funerals, a sinus infection and 2 colds, Scott, Doug and I are glad October is over.

Despite all of that I did get a ton accomplished. Here is an update on my goals.

1. Build a new garage – Nothing going at the moment

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed.

I started the HUGE Modern Folkart, Fraktur Hex project and just the one single outside border I stitched was 1073 stitches. yikes!

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows).

Did not have any time this month to work on these.

4 – Books read a month.

I only got two books read, the fourth installment of Factory Girl, by Stephanie Bond and Virgins, by Diana Gabaldon.

Virgins is an Outlander Novella which was kind of fun to read. If you are an Outlander fan it tells the story between the time Jamie was so severely flogged and when he met Claire gor the first time. It was pretty good. Nice short read!

5 – Windows replaced in our house.

Waiting until Spring on this one.

6 – Blog posts a month.

I got 7 blog posts done yippee!

7 – Movies at the theater with my family.

Nothing new on this one.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology a month.

It’s been an interesting month for number 8. I only got about 4 hours in but what I have learned so far has been amazing.

I signed up for a free course with Herb Mentor and then I liked it so much that I decided to subscribe to the whole shebang.

It’s a monthly fee for 12 months but I will always have access to it and the information they provide is well,…overwhelming at first but as I start to implement what I have learned I think it will be less overwhelming.

Rosalee Delforte is the herbal teacher and I am really enjoying her style. One thing I am concerned about though is that there are multiple mini classes you can take which are not included in the subscription price and they tend to push that a bit.

I want to see first if that information is already in what I am currently subscribed to or if that information is in addition.

The cold and flu section is of course something we should all be interested in learning about right now.

I’ll keep you updated on my experience and progress.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends. Nada so far.

I really have to do better on this.

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year.

Nothing new

11 – New herb varieties planted for the year.

This again is for a Spring project but I have been doing some research on what I want to plant and how I will use the herbs. The above course I am taking will help determine the varieties I choose.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son.

I have been spending more time engaging my son in at least helping me cook but I did teach him how to make homemade teriyaki sauce. He seemed to enjoy doing that so I will keep at it with him.

13 – Minutes of exercise a day.

I know in my heart I am just not going to do anything with this goal. I am not a traditional exercise kind of gal so I am going to think on a different goal to do for #13. I’ll update you next time.

14 – Walks a month.

I got 10 wonderful walks in! What a lovely time of year for walking.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off.

I got $1000 paid down on our debt this month. Check out my update tomorrow.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned).

My hubby loved the musical we went to last month so much that he wanted to see another this month. We saw The Book of Mormon at our local Broadway Theater. We had a good time. The music and costumes and dancing were wonderful but I thought at times the story was a bit disrespectful but what else can you expect from the writers of South Park. Lol

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month.

I got 29 listings done! On one of my sick days home I laid in bed and got 25 listings up and I already sold one of them 🙂

18 – Books of the Bible read.

Still working on this.

19 – New Recipes tried.

I posted about the recipe I tried in this previous post Butternut Squash Green Curry rice noodle bowl

20 – Visits with people.

See my post – 20 for ’20 Visits Update

Well that’s it for now. As always I will keep you updated! -MM

20 for ’20 Challenge

I read a blog post by one of my fellow stitchers about 19 for 19.

19 for 19 was a challenge she was doing to motivate herself to accomplish specific goals for the year.

I have done yearly challenges before but none quite like this.

I am coming in late to the game for 2019 so I am going to start 2020 early. Why wait, right?

I like this challenge because I have so many interests and hobbies and 20 distinct goals will help motivate me in all of those interests and hobbies plus starting now will give me 16 months to complete things instead of just 12 months.

Here is my 20 for ’20

1. Build a new garage

2 – Major cross-stitch projects completed.

3 – Projects completed in our house (not to include windows).

4 – Books read a month.

5 – Windows replaced in our house.

6 – Blog posts a month.

7 – Movies at the theater with my family.

8 – Hours a month studying herbal medicine and/or herbology a month.

9 – Birthday cards sent out to 9 friends.

10 – Small cross-stitch projects done for the year.

11 – New herb varieties planted for the year.

12 – Recipes I teach to my son.

13 – Minutes of exercise a day.

14 – Walks a month.

15 – $15,000 in debt paid off.

16 – Proper dates with my husband (planned).

17 – Etsy Listings posted a month.

18 – Books of the Bible read.

19 – New Recipes tried.

20 – Visits with people.

Some of these are pretty lofty goals but I will post about my progress often.

If you did this challenge what would your 20 for ’20 goals be?

Here’s to the next 16 months! -MM

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

      My Gardening and Preserving Goals 2017


      Each year I try to garden with a goal in mind. My goal is always to produce and preserve as much food as we need to get us through the winter and to help me spend as little as possible at the grocery store.

      Last year I had some pretty lofty goals and fell completely flat on my face. It was a horrible growing season in 2016. Heat and drought took it’s toll on the garden and a late frost killed all of the blossoms on the fruit trees. I have never seen anything like it really.

      I revisited my goals from last year and chopped some of the harder to reach goals out.

      Here is a list of my family’s 2017 Gardening and Preserving 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

      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

      wp-image-1321768642jpg.jpeg

      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

       

      So far, we are already doing mighty fine with our 2017 gardening goals and we have had plenty of rain too. Yippee!

      This last weekend we added 3 more raised veggie beds which brings my planting area to about 200 sq. ft. of space to work with. Yippee! Thank you Mr. Ripley for working so hard. (He said it was my Mother’s Day present).

      To date we have planted carrots, peas, radish, and lettuce but much more will be planted by the end of this week.


      How will I keep track of all of this? My journal. And lists. LOTS of lists. Should be interesting! Wish me luck and I will keep you updated. -MM

       

       

       

      Week 1-2 Pop Bottle Garden


      It has been a heck of a few weeks since I started the seeds for our 2017 garden. Here in Western, NY we had 80+ mile an hour winds which knocked our power out for well over 24 hours and closed school for two days. Then less than a week later we had a two day blizzard that closed schools again for two days and brought our lives to a grinding halt while we waited it out. Crazy weather I tell ya!

      However, while all that crazy weather was going on outside, my little pop bottle garden and its contents were snug and warm and working away for me.

      This year I planted peppers, both sweet and hot, celery, cilantro, dill, watermelon, basil, 3 kinds of onions, catnip and lemon balm. The only thing I have not gotten in yet are the tomatoes and I am getting a little nervous about it but I will get them started don’t worry.

      Below are a couple of photos of what has been happening inside the bottles these past two weeks. Pretty cool huh? See you next week with another update! -MM

       

       

      Parsley and Sage

      Historically herbs have been used not only to add flavor to food but also to preserve and for medicinal purposes. Another passion of mine is the use of herbs. I have started to research the use of herbs for digestion and anxiety and cold and flu. I struggled this summer to find herb plants to purchase locally for my garden so for next summer I will either grow the plants I want from seed myself or buy them organically online from a reputable grower.

      We had a fantastic year in our herb garden. Herbs are easy to grow plus animals leave them alone and they are virtually unaffected by insects.

      Last week I cut a huge amount of parsley, sage and celery from the garden. I don’t really consider celery an herb but this variety produces more leaves than stalk so I dry and grind the leaves into a powder and use the powder to flavor all kinds of dishes including soups.

      Take a look at my 6 foot island covered in what I cut. Keep in mind the amount of sage I cut was from one single plant and the celery and parsley were from only 6 plants. Wow huh?!

      20161101_154120

      It took me several hours to carefully look all the leaves over and remove them from the stems and clean them. About 6 hours in fact. But I enjoyed watching “Hot in Cleveland” on my phone while I picked.

      20161103_20275920161103_205117

      After the drying process in my dehydrators I ran all of the dried leaves through my mini chopper and got an entire quart of parsley and more than a pint of sage. I still haven’t finished the celery.

      20161113_183108

      I know you’re thinking I could have purchased dried parsley and sage from the grocery store and saved myself a lot of time and they wouldn’t have cost that much. Yep I could have. However those herbs wouldn’t be as fresh and Lord knows where those herbs are grown or under what conditions. I don’t mind the work. I enjoy it and other than the initial cost of a few bucks they are free. Also keep in mind I have been cutting the herbs all Spring, Summer and Fall and the sage is a perennial and the parsley reseeds itself. It’s definitely the gifts that keeps on giving.

      For me this is “Old Ways meets New Ways” because I produced my own herbs (old) and entertained myself watching “Hot in Cleveland” (new). I love Betty White.

      Do you preserve your own herbs?

      -MM

       

      My Gardening and Preserving Goals for 2016

      In past years when it comes to my gardening and preserving goals I tend to just wing it. Whatever canning recipe sounds good I’ll try. Whatever new plant or seed looks colorful and fun I’ll grow it. Unfortunately this leaves me by the end of the growing season with canned goods I will never use and produce that’s not very practical for our needs.pretty cabbages

      This year I want to have a plan in place to eliminate the guess work. In a journal I have written a carefully researched list of herbs that I want grow for their medicinal and culinary purposes. I have also thoughtfully picked out the veggies/fruits I will need for the preserving recipes I want to try and I have listed the goods I want to get preserved

      This is a VERY high achieving list. I am realistic in saying I probably will not do all of this this year but it is a goal of mine and now I will have a place to look for inspiration when I need motivation.

      Okey Doke! Here we go!

      I spent a while researching these herbs, plants and flowers and what they are used for. Many make good companion plants to certain veggies in the garden so I will most likely add those plants to the garden beds to enrich the soil and to aid its companion buddy.

      1. Yarrow (can be invasive so it will have it’s own bed)
      2. Anise Hyssop
      3. Garlic
      4. Chives (Companion for Carrots) (I grow now)
      5. Aloe Vera
      6. Lemon Verbena
      7. Dill
      8. Chervil
      9. Horseradish Companion for Potatoes)
      10. Artemisia
      11. Tarragon (Companion for Eggplant and Peppers)
      12. Borage
      13. Calendula
      14. Caraway (Companion for Peas)
      15. Bachelor Button
      16. Chamomile  (Companion for Cabbages and Onions)
      17. Cilantro
      18. Lemongrass
      19. Dianthus Clove Pink
      20. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
      21. Fennel
      22. Sweet Woodruff
      23. Lavender (I grow now)
      24. Lemon Balm (I grow now)
      25. Mint (I grow now)
      26. Catnip (grows wild around here)
      27. Basil (annual that I start from seed)
      28. Oregano
      29. Parsley (I grow now)
      30. Anise
      31. Purslane (Grows wild here and considered a weed)
      32. Rosemary
      33. Sage (I grow now)
      34. Dandelion (Also a common weed)
      35. Thyme
      36. Nasturtium
      37. Valerian
      38. Violet (Grows wild here)
      39. Pansy
      40. Eucalyptus

      wpid-20150824_180737.jpg

      For our vegetable garden I selected plants  based on what I needed for my canning recipes and what I would use fresh.

      1. Asparagus (will not produce until year 3)
      2. Strawberries (will produce better the second year)
      3. Rhubarb (will plant this year and harvest will begin next year)
      4. Corn
      5. Popcorn
      6. Sweet Peppers
      7. Banana Peppers
      8. Eggplant
      9. Onions (My #1 priority every year for storage)
      10. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      11. Snap Bean Pole
      12. Dry Beans
      13. Peas
      14. Spinach
      15. Lettuce
      16. Cabbage
      17. Swiss Chard
      18. Beets
      19. Radish
      20. Carrots
      21. Cucumbers
      22. Pumpkins
      23. Gourds
      24. Winter Squash
      25. Zucchini
      26. Yellow Squash
      27. Cantaloupes
      28. Water Melon
      29. Sunflowers
      30. Tomatoes
      31. Celery
      32. Broccoli
      33. Potatoes
      34. Jalapenos
      35. Yellow Tomatoes
      36. Paste Tomatoeswpid-20151014_132108.jpg

      And finally the preserving list. It’s even longer than the other two. I know, I know. It’s a lofty goal but it’s something I will try my best at accomplishing. And if I get it all done we won’t have to go to the grocery store until Spring. (Just kidding).

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

      wpid-20151014_080650.jpg

      I will also be drying the herbs and many fruits and veggies in our 2 dehydrators.

      What I haven’t mentioned is that we have 3 apple, 2 sweet cherry, 1 sour cherry, 2 pear, 2 peach and 1 apricot (1 died) and a hazelnut (1 of these died also). Plus blackberry, red raspberry, black raspberry, and blueberry bushes.

      fruit1

      So these are the goals. Am I missing anything? Am I nuts? We will find out! -MM