Where has the time went?

13-11-08snow

Fall leaves by the garden a few years ago.

It’s the last day of September.  How can tomorrow be October?  I love fall, it is my favorite season, but it seems summer slipped by somehow.

It is a bit odd not to be harvesting from the garden.  We didn’t purposely leave it fallow, we really did intend to put in a great garden this year.  It just got put off by so many other things.  In the end, leaving it fallow isn’t a bad thing for the garden, but I do miss the fun of reaping the harvest of what we planted.  Now it needs to be cleaned up and prepped so that we can be ready for spring.

But we do have eggs.  Our three hens Marigold, Lucy, and Izzy are laying some beautiful eggs and they are such fun to have around.  It is time to start buttoning down the coop and run for winter and start making plans for what we need to do.  Since this is our first winter with chickens it will be a lot of trial and error for us.  I’d love to hear some winter tips from experienced chicken owners.

13-08-08harvest

One of our past harvests.

We might not have a harvest from our garden, but now that it is cooler I will still be doing a bunch of canning, freezing and dehydrating.  We can get some produce here locally (golly the prices have gone way up since last year!!) and we’ll be getting meat as we find some good deals.  Apples are in season so I want to start off with that, and I’ll see what deals I can find locally.  I also want to try using the apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar.  We’ll see.

The end of summer has brought a real struggle with my health.   I’ve been having a real battle with my asthma and all the medication that goes along with that really scares me.  Fall is always harder for me anyway because there is a lot of leaf burning around here and the smoke seems to hang in the air.  I really want to find some good ways to help my asthma that would reduce the medication or maybe even eliminate the need for it.  I can hope.  I have tried a lot of stuff but have never really seen any benefits.  The biggest thing I know I need to do is get back to eating healthy and avoiding foods I know do not help…like dairy and sugar.

6thgrade

Throwback, first day of 6th grade.

Homeschooling is also in full swing.  Hard to believe it is the last year.  Also hard to believe that we homeschooled 12 years.  Wasn’t always easy, but I would do it all over again.  It is going to be weird hanging up this chapter of our life and not homeschooling next year.  I also can’t wait to see what God has in store for our son as he moves on to college.

That is it for now, off to do some chores around the house.  Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….

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A little bit of everything….

20141007leaves

Taking a break from working on homeschool planning (yes, still working on that) to type out a little update.

Fall is here, the weather is cooling down and it is time to have the windows closed more often.  This is a great time to deep clean the house and get rid of a lot of dust that has built up over the summer.  It is a slow process, but just sticking with my regular cleaning plan and add some extra cleaning is making it manageable.  Last week I pulled the bed apart and vacuumed everything.  Oh the dust!  My asthma went crazy and I had to put on a dust mask.  You’d never believe I had done the same in the spring with all that dust.  Whew!  Today is Tuesday and my Living Room/Dining Room cleaning day.  It isn’t in my nature to clean, my mother was a cleanie and I didn’t inherit that gene.  Having a good cleaning schedule keeps me focused.  I’d really like to get behind the sectional sofa and clean, but it is a beast and I’ll need hubby’s help.  That will wait for an open weekend where we don’t have anything going on.  So instead I’ll clean out the closet and get all the winter gear ready to use.

The garden is winding down.  I am waiting on a few tomatoes and all those plants will get pulled out.  The fall broccoli and spinach are doing great..at least the spinach that came up.  I planted a large patch of spinach and only half came up.  But at least I’ll have some.  In the raised bed up by the house is a volunteer tomato plant that started growing in mid summer.  That bed is where I grow lettuce and such.  In an effort to try and have more fresh tomatoes later in the season, the bed is now covered.  Not sure how this will effect the lettuce, but I’m hoping the tomatoes do well.  We’ll see.

I have been bad all summer about making menus.  I used to make them a month at a time since we shop monthly.  Somewhere down the line I let it go and have been winging it.  Hubby and I both agreed that it isn’t working for us.  Our grocery budget has increased and we have been eating out more since meal planning has stopped.  That is hard on the budget.  And because we have some big ticket project we are working on (for example, a new roof) getting back on budget is a must and planning out meals is a big part of that.  One of the things I’ve done to help me is to give each day of the week a meal category.  It makes planning meals for the whole month much easier.  Here are my categories:

Mondays:  Casseroles/Crockpot
Tuesdays:  International
Wednesdays:  Pastas
Thursdays:  Breakfast 4 Dinner/New Recipes
Fridays:  Finger Foods/Fish/Date Night
Saturdays:  Soups/Salads/Sandwiches
Sundays:  Roasts/Sunday Suppers

I’ve been making homemade yogurt for a long time, and the last time I made it I added gelatin.  The reason for this was hubby likes the thicker yogurt and I usually drain the whey after I make it.  It seemed a waste though losing all that protein.  So after some research I found a recipe that added gelatin to thicken the yogurt keeping the whey.  It seemed all right at first.  Hubby said it had a different texture that he wasn’t sure he liked.  I usually make yogurt with a gallon of milk at a time since we go through it so quickly.  (Since it is dairy, I don’t eat it.  Only hubby and son do.)  But hubby said that it got bitter and that he didn’t care for it.  After a busy weekend which included a trip out of state, I began making hubby’s lunch for work that Monday morning only to find the yogurt molding.  ACH!!  Never had that happen before.  I may have done something wrong, but that was half of that batch of yogurt going to waste.  So from here on out I’ll go back to the way I was doing it and drain the whey after it is made.  Thoughts?

We live at least 30 minutes from Walmart, 60 minutes from all other city shopping.  I truly hate shopping at Walmart, so it is worth it for me to drive the additional miles to get to Meijer and other big shopping stores.  This really puts a crimp in shopping sales and using coupons.  Back when we lived in Michigan in the city and close to all sorts of shopping, it was easy to hit all the sales and coupon as needed.  I was an extreme couponer before it was cool!  I was really excited to find out that they are building a Meijer store within 30 minutes away!  This just might allow me to get back to shopping sale ads and couponing.  Maybe not once a week, but maybe twice a week.  So I went online to coupons.com to see what coupons they had.  I was a little disappointed that there were only a couple coupons that we would use.  One was for shave cream that hubby uses, the other was for Mucinex.  I think it is great when people can play the game and get free things like toothpaste (I have even got money back in the past), but when you only use fluoride free toothpaste, there isn’t as much savings.  I don’t think I’m going to walk away with a cart full of couponing gems for $5, but every little bit helps, right?

I’ve stalled again on my decluttering.  While I do have a pile ready to be donated, I haven’t added much to it.  I’m hoping this weekend we can make a run to the mission to drop what I do have off and start again.  The holiday season is fast approaching and I’m starting to think of all the decorations that just sit and take up space in the garage most of the year.  I have been putting out less and less decorations for the past few years and I think I’m ready to start letting things go.  It isn’t easy in today’s world to minimize holidays when every thing out there screams at us to indulge more and more.  Fall decorations as of right now is a wreath on the door.  I haven’t pulled anything else out…and I’m all right with that.  It is much less stressful, not to mention cheaper in the long run.  Have you thought about minimizing your holiday decorations?

After being without a second vehicle for a couple years, we were finally able to pick up a new-to-us vehicle.  Hubby has the commuter car for the hour drive to work, and I have the big work vehicle for us here at home.  This will allow me to take care of more errands during the week freeing hubby to get more projects done on the weekend.  A win-win!  And hubby is happy that he is back to having a vehicle that will pull the fishing boat.  Priorities!  😉

Well, that was a ramble and not so little.  I have to get back to work now, hope your day is blessed and productive.  Grace and peace!

 

 

Harvesting and Canning

2015Aug13RelishI am elbow deep in harvesting and preserving.  Doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging.  Beans are almost finished, cucumbers are at their peak, and tomatoes are just starting.  Busy, busy busy.  I have carrots and green beans canned, and some in the freezer, I have four pounds of onions chopped and frozen…with much more to go.  Today I canned sweet pickle relish.  Tomorrow I’ll be doing pickled beets.  I also have a pork loin that needs to get canned.  But that is in the freezer right now and can wait until the harvest slows a bit.  Lettuce has bolted and I pulled most of it out.  I left a couple to go to seed.  I really should have done some staggered planting so we could always have a harvest of lettuce.  Now that the onions are almost done I’m planning to fill that area with a fall planting of spinach.

It is also homeschool planning season.  I need to decide what we are going to use this year, get it ordered and get the year planned out.  Eleventh grade…I can hardly believe that we are nearing the end.

And lastly, this is my birthday and our wedding anniversary season.  So we want to try and plan something big this year, maybe a short trip somewhere for our anniversary.  Usually for my birthday we go to the local art fair, but it didn’t work out this year.  There are a couple other art fairs coming up that we can check out, so all is not lost there.  But quite honestly, right now everything “fun” just seems like work and I really just want to go somewhere to do nothing and relax.  Maybe just sleep.  I just don’t have the energy for much more.

How are things where you are?  Are you doing any harvesting or preserving?  If you have a garden, do you do any fall planting?  Are you children back to school, or will they be going back to school soon?

I’m off to get some dishes done and get the chicken cut up for dinner.  Hubby is grilling it tonight, and fresh corn and fresh green beans to go along with it.  Yum!  Grace and peace!

Been Busy…Scattered Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, we’ve been pretty busy.  On top of that I don’t sleep well so I’m also exhausted.  Between the two I am almost overwhelmed.  But still pressing onward.  Here’s a quick rambling update:

2015July28beans

Kentucky Wonder Wax Beans

The green beans are in full production and I’ll be getting ready to can some tomorrow.  This is the first year of using raised bed and I think next year that the spacing for the pole beans should be farther apart.  The Provider Bush are doing great this year, but hubby says that the White Half Runners we have growing taste much better.  The Kentucky Wonder Wax beans are just starting to turn yellow.  The McCaslan Pole beans are just starting to produce.  I also bought 10 lbs. of blueberries and 20 lbs. of organic carrots over the weekend and I’ll be canning those as well (the carrots I planted didn’t come up at all.)  All the tomato plants are flowering and have green tomatoes so it shouldn’t be long before we start seeing them start turning red.  The volunteers that came up from last year turned out to be mostly Romas, but a few are Marglobe.  I’ll be saving the seeds from the nicest ones.  We actually have cucumbers this year! Last year we didn’t get one flower, this year we have lots and lots of flowers, and I should be harvesting the first cucumber this week. The peas are almost done, I’ll be planting a fall crop of here soon.  Didn’t get enough to can or freeze since hubby and son ate most of them.  Note for next year, plant twice as many.  Hubby and son finished the third raised bed, we filled it enough to plant a fall crop crop of broccoli.   After lots and lots of rain that flooded the bed, the seedling have poked through so I hope they make it.  The white onion tops have fell and are starting to brown, so I’ll be harvesting those here shortly, but they are really small.  Onions usually do well, I’m wondering if all the rain stunted them.  The yellow and red onions are still going so hopefully they will be bigger. Speaking of rain, we haven’t had any for over a week now. It actually seems weird that it isn’t raining almost every day. And for the first time this year I had to water the garden (not counting when I planted seeds.)  To top it off, this morning I knocked my plastic watering can down and it cracked when it hit the ground.  Glad I have a spare.

I can’t believe that July is almost over.  Public school with be starting in another week and I need to start planning for our upcoming homeschool year…11th grade.  Seems like it was just yesterday when we were ordering kindergarten materials and starting out on our homeschool journey.  Now we’re not only planning for the last two years of high school but making college plans as well.

I guess that’s it for now.  I’ve got laundry to finish and housework to catch up on.  Since my dryer is just barely running I’m glad to have rain-free days to hang laundry outside.   I’m glad dinner tonight is simple…blueberry pancakes and sausage.

Hope you are doing well!  Grace and peace…

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.