Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where We're Growing Our Food This Year ... part 1




 
garden # 1
(zucchini, cucumber, and yellow squash are planted here thus far.)
 

 
garden # 2
  (butternut squash, miniature pumpkins and howden pumpkins are planted here)


 
in raised beds
(garlic - to be harvested later May, early June and onions, which we're waiting for the seeds to drop and start another crop for this year)
 
 
raised beds # 2
(strawberries!)
 
 
and in our orchard
  (only 4 of the trees are bearing fruit, the others haven't been planted long enough.)
 
We have less than an acre of land here and we try to utilize it to get the most out of it!
 
Coming up ... Where We're Growing Our Food This Year ... part 2  (yes, there is more!)
 

 patsi

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Monday, April 27, 2015

My Clothes Line ...



I was recently given 2 metal T clothes line poles to replace 2 of the 3 wooden ones I was using.  My husband worked very hard and got the metal ones installed and the wooden ones removed.  I thought you might like to take a peek ...
 
 
 


Here's one end of the clothesline ... the rose bush is just beginning to put on roses.  The big cedar log standing there is part of a cedar tree that we cut down several years ago.  It makes a great place for a pot of flowers!
 
 
 
Here's the middle post ... we're still using a wooden T post here. (We're looking for another metal one to replace it with as well.)  The cedar log here is where I sit my clothes basket when I'm hanging out clothes or taking them down.  When I take them down I fold them as I go and add them to the basket that way.
 
 
Here is the other end of the clothes line.  I just recently planted a yellow climbing rose bush by the pole.  The cedar log here will be home to a pot of flowers too.  This cedar log as well as the other two all came out of the same cedar tree.
 
Do you use a clothes line? 
 
patsi
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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pantry Challenge #17 ...2015


 
The weather has been beautiful in our area this past week and we have spent our available free time working outside.  There is always so much to do in the yard and with planting in the Spring!

Do you like my old fashioned dinner bell?  I do!!!!  We purchased it 3 years ago at a Mennonite auction sale such as the one we attended this year.  Life kept happening and it has set waiting all this time to get settled in at its new location.  This week we gathered all the materials we would need which included a tractor and a portion of an old discarded telephone pole that we had been given.  My husband worked hard for an entire day getting it set … it now sits in front of one corner of our front porch.  It has a cord attached to it that allows me to ring it without ever having to leave the porch.  Looking out at it transports me to a less hurried and busy mindset … I guess you could say it is my reminder to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life!
 
My to-do list from last time:   

Finish planting garden … We’re still working on it!  This week we replaced blueberry bushes that didn’t survive the winter, made and planted an asparagus bed and started a tub of rhubarb.
Plant herbs … Got this partially done!  I planted rosemary, basil, spearmint, peppermint and sage.

Vacuum seal Cheerios … Didn’t get done!
 
Vacuum seal tea bags … Didn’t get done!
Strain ginger tincture … Done!
 
Finish vacuum sealing oats … Worked some more on this, still not done but I’m getting there!  I added 4 more quarts of vacuum sealed oats to my pantry.
Add 1 low-carb freezer breakfast casserole to the freezer … I am going to remove this from the list for the time being.  With so much outside work to be done and with me nursing a messed up knee … honestly, this is not on the priority list right now!
 

In addition:
I started another jar of plantain tincture. (I shared how I use this to treat wasp and bee stings in the herbal/essential oils/home remedies series we’re doing in the A Working Pantry Facebook Group.)  You can also read about it HERE.
I made some lavender scented carpet/rug deodorizer using this recipe. I also started a jar of lavender medicinal oil using this recipe from the same site.  I want to make some of her lotion bars using this recipe as well.  I really like the smell of lavender and when I saw these recipes I knew I had to try them.
We were in the garden center at Lowe’s one day and as usual I found out where the clearance items were and was looking them over.  A sales associate came by and told me that I could have any of them I wanted for $.25 each.  I brought home 6 containers of creeping phlox for $1.50!  Score!!!  I planted some in an old pair of boots my husband had worn out, some in an old broken watering can and some in a willow planter box.  I can’t wait for them to start cascading down the sides of their ‘containers’ and putting on their pretty pink flowers!
Our Sam’s Club finds this week are … 2 free muffins and double stuffed Oreo cookies for $1.91/ package. Regular price for the Oreo’s was $7.98 / package.  We’ll be donating the Oreo’s to our church’s VBS in June.  (The expiration date on the Oreo’s is September 2015  so they’ll still be good!)

 

I found this Leappad game for preschoolers on clearance for $3 … regular price $19.98. Remember the deal my son and daughter-in-law helped me snag that I told you about last week?  I purchased 2 of the games and added one of them to my gift trunk as I know someone else who is getting a LeapPad for Christmas and will need accessories to go with it.
I needed to clean out our worm composting bin as I’ve ordered worms that will be here soon but instead of just dumping the worm casings leftover from the old worms I sprinkled some around our blueberry bushes, elderberry bushes, added some to my pots of lemon balm and nettles and made compost tea.  I filled two 5 gallon buckets ¼ full of worm casings and then filled the buckets to the top with water. This will be my composting tea.  I’m letting it sit for a few days then I’ll use it to water my ferns and other flowers.
For those who are interested this is the kind of ‘worm bin’ we have.
I diluted a new bottle of dishwashing liquid by dividing its contents into two bottles and finished filling each with water.  I shook it up really well and started using it.  The dishwashing liquid was still strong enough to do the jobs needed and I was able to stretch it into twice as much.  Yeah!!!!
The lemon balm that I harvested last week is dried and in a jar.  My herb harvesting for 2015 has begun!
I’ve earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for a $25 Amazon gift card.
We added $4.50 to our change jar.  

New on A Working Pantry blog this week:  Table of Contents  (this is a continual work in progress)
My 2015 gardening journal can be found HERE!
Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Continue planting garden and replacing items that didn’t survive the winter
Continue planting herbs
Vacuum seal Cheerios
Vacuum seal tea bags
Vacuum seal oats

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

patsi
A Working Pantry

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This post linked to:  The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wasp and Bee Stings ... treating them with herbs!




One day I was out in the green house working with my ferns when I got stung by a wasp. It hurt so bad! I tore out of the green house and ran … yes, this old woman ran … it hurt that bad … and made a bee line for my medicinal pantry and my bottle of plantain tincture. I quickly poured some out in a small bowl and stuck my finger in it (I had gotten stung on a finger). It wasn’t long before the throbbing stopped so I took it out of the solution. The throbbing started back up again and I stuck my finger back in the solution. I left it there a couple more minutes and then tried removing it again. This time the pain was not nearly as bad but it was still hurting.  I stuck my finger back in again and left it there for another couple of minutes. When I removed it again it was not hurting … it was a bit sore but not hurting. I had read that plantain tincture was good for stings but had not had an occasion to use it since making it. After getting stung I was sold on plantain tincture and have not been without it since. It is most definitely a staple in the medicinal part of my pantry!  You can buy dried plantain HERE and HERE, grow your own or harvest it most likely from your own yard.  It grows everywhere!
 
How do I make it?

I fill a quart jar nearly full with fresh plantain leaves that I grow (Can also use dried plantain but only fill the jar half full if using dried plantain.). I do not pack the jar, but leave the leaves loose. Then I fill the jar with vinegar. Put a plastic cap on it, shake it good and set it in a cool, dark place for about a month. I shake it a couple of times a week. Strain and bottle in an amber colored bottle or if you don’t have an amber colored bottle, stick a sock on it … yes, I’ve done that too!!!!

How do you treat wasp and bee stings?

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.  Any information shared is purely from a research or personally tried it point of view. Always consult your doctor or other medical professional when treating ailments.)


 patsi


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This post linked to:  The HomeAcre Hop
 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pantry Challenge #16 ... 2015


 
I’ve heard from 2 friends recently that either they’ve had a reduction in income or are being threatened with layoff.  It’s hard when the unexpected happens with no notice.  One day everything is fine and the next you’re wondering how you’re going to keep the bills paid and food on the table.  No one is immune to this sort of thing happening so let me take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of building and keeping a well-stocked pantry.  It could literally be the thing that makes putting food on the table doable during a difficult financial time.


Here's what's been going on with my pantry building since last time ...
 

My to-do list from last time:   
The garden needs planting … We’ve started this!  We planted onions, yellow squash, egg plant, cayenne pepper, jalapeƱo pepper, bell pepper, red bell pepper, banana pepper, celebrity tomato, roma tomato, okra and cabbage.


My herbs need planting … Didn’t get done!

The Cheerios we purchased on sale right before we left on our trip need to be vacuum sealed in jars … Didn’t get done!

Tea bags that we purchased on clearance right before we left on our trip also need to be vacuum sealed in jars … Didn’t get done!

I have ginger tincture that needs to be strained … Didn’t get done!

I need to finish vacuum sealing the oats that I started before we left on our trip …  I didn’t get it finished but I did get another 2 quarts done.  Baby steps!

Our yard needs to be mowed … you can image what it looks like with it not being mowed at all this year yet!  Done!  It took us several hours over 2 days to get it in shape, but we worked together and got it done!

My mom gave me two compost bins that I need to get put together and start using … Done!  I’ve been raking up leaves and adding them, adding vegetable scraps and tearing up newspaper to add to get it started.



 

I want to make a low-carb freezer breakfast casserole that a dear friend served us while we were at her house.  Our chickens are finally laying again and I want to make several breakfast casseroles to add to the freezer part of my pantry while I have plenty of eggs … this is the first one we’re going to try. … Didn’t get done!

While we were at our friend’s house, her daughter who is also a dear friend of ours, made some spicey mixed nuts for us to snack on.  (These two dear ladies are so accommodating to us in our low-carb lifestyle.) The nuts were delicious and we want to try to duplicate the taste.  Didn’t get done!

My lemon balm is ready to start harvesting as is my nettles.  Done!   I harvested two bundles of lemon balm and one bundle of nettles. They are tied up and hang drying right now.
 

 

The new fabric I purchased is itching to be stitched up into something … No sewing this week!

In addition:

I did a vacuum sealing session one afternoon and did Easter M & M’s we got on clearance, dehydrated ginger we got while on our trip and oats.

I needed some milk so I shopped from my freezer.  Remember the milk we got on clearance and froze!

I made a pattern from a little dress I found at Goodwill while we were traveling.  You can read about it HERE.  I’ll be using the pattern to stitch up one for my newest little granddaughter.

Our Sam’s Club ‘finds’ this week were 3 two pound containers of  Yoplait plain yogurt on clearance for $1.01 each and these freebies … 2 bottles of orange juice, 2 muffins, 3 sample packages of vitamin E capsules and 2 sample packages of trash bags.

I picked up several ‘Easter items’ for 90% off.  I packed them away in my ‘Easter’ tub for use next year.

We were given 2 metal ‘T’ clothes line post this week.  My current clothes line posts are wooden and I’ve been wanting to replace them with metal ones for a long time.  I am excited and you can’t beat the price!

Remember this … I got a fantastic deal on something we've been wanting to purchase for a while now thanks to my son and daughter-in-law ... they found it and called me, I sent them the money and they purchased it for me, that's what I call team work ..... it saved me over $100 ... have I got your curiosity up???? You'll have to wait until the next Pantry Challenge comes out on Sunday to see what it is!!!

Are you ready to find out what it is? 

LeapPad™ Ultra

I’ve been wanting one of these for the little ones in my life since I became a grandmommie.  Regular price is $129 on Amazon and I got it for $26!  Score!!!! 

I’ve almost earned enough Swagbucks to cash in for another $25 Amazon gift card.

I redeemed enough points from earnings through Bing to get $10 in Amazon gift cards.

We added $5.70 to our change jar.  

New on A Working Pantry blog this week:  I added a page where I’ll be keeping a journal of what we’re doing in the garden this year.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:

Finish planting garden
Plant herbs

Vacuum seal Cheerios
Vacuum seal tea bags

Strain ginger tincture
Finish vacuum sealing oats

Add 1 low-carb freezer breakfast casserole to the freezer 

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

 patsi
A Working Pantry

If you’ve found this post to be helpful please share about it with others or PIN it.  Thank you!

You can also follow me on Pinterest and on Facebook

 This post linked to:  The Art Of Homemaking Mondays

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Week-End Wrap-Up!





A Working Pantry has been busy online this week ... come take a peek ...

On A Working Pantry blog this week I shared about how I made a pattern from a dress I purchased at Goodwill; gave you a ‘heads-up’ about boneless, skinless chicken breast being on sale from Zaycon Fresh Foods; discussed the many things we  can do with the potatoes we raise in our gardens in our How Do You Use It Series; posted on how we earned extra money in March;  talked about how to read a Sam’s Club clearance tag; shared about a sweet surprise I got in the mail from a reader and posted the ever popular Pantry Challenge for the week.

On our A Working Pantry Facebook Group we talked about ways to deal with ‘fragrant feet/stinky feet’ and about some possible ways to treat inflammation in our herbs/essential oils/home remedies series. (We are not doctors so any information shared in this series is purely from a research or personally tried it point of view. Always consult your doctor or other medical professional when treating ailments.)

We did some sharing of posts we found online that help us in our pantry stocking endeavors.

The crockpot Monday’s and menu sharing days continue to be a big hit. Seems like all of us need a little inspiration when it comes to getting the most out of our crockpots and putting meals on the table.

We started a Swagbucks Station thread where those who want to learn how to earn Swagbucks can ask and get their questions answered.

And of course there is always lots of additional pantry talk going on.   I ended the week with the following teaser for the group …

I got a fantastic deal on something we've been wanting to purchase for a while now thanks to my son and daughter-in-law ... they found it and called me, I sent them the money and they purchased it for me, that's what I call team work ..... it saved me well over $100 ... have I got your curiosity up???? You'll have to wait until the next Pantry Challenge comes out on Sunday night to see what it is!!!


Next week in the A Working Pantry Facebook group we’ll continue on with our herbs/essential oils/home remedies series and I’ve got a couple of new things to throw at the group.  We’re having lots of fun and there’s a whole lot of learning going on not to mention the good chuckle that seems to erupt on a fairly regular basis!  If you’d like to join our A Working Pantry Facebook group go HERE!

 patsi
A Working Pantry

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making a Pattern from a Garment




Remember this little dress that I found at Goodwill while we were traveling ...
 
 
I told you I would wash it, then take it apart and cut a pattern from it, remove the buttons and add them to my button jar for future use and that the fabric would be added to my stash. I told you that I would add a pattern, buttons and fabric to the sewing part of my pantry for $1 which was the cost of the dress.
 
Today I started working on getting it done ...
 
I washed and dried the little dress and then started cutting it apart ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
After cutting it apart, I removed the buttons ...
 
 
 
 
Then I laid the dress pieces on some muslin scraps that used to be part of window curtains ...
 
 
 
 
I added 1/4 seam allowance to the sides and shoulders and made notes using a fine point sharpie on sewing the garment together ...  (I also noted the size on the garment.)
 
 
 
 
I then took the dress and cut it into useable pieces ... 1 inch strips, 2 inch squares and larger pieces that I left intact for future projects.
 
 
 
In a future post I will share how I take the pattern and make a dress for my little granddaughter.  I think I'll also add a pair of ruffled bloomers to go with it.  Stay tuned!  I love adding to the fabric/sewing part of my pantry in the most economical way possible!
 
patsi
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This post linked to: The HomeAcre Hop

How Do You Use It Series: Potatoes


 
In this series we’ve been taking a specific item that we grow in our gardens and talking about how we use it.  Thus far we’ve talked about onions and cayenne pepper.  This week we’re going to talk about how we use potatoes.

We don’t grow as many potatoes as we used to because of my husband’s diabetes. (This picture is of our potato harvest from a few years ago.) Potatoes are full of starch and not something a diabetic should eat much of.  However, we have found that if I can them, rinse them and then cook them; the affect on my husband’s blood sugar level is minimum which means he can have them in moderation.  I’m so glad because he dearly loves potatoes!

Here’s what I do …

I cut them up into cubes, pressure can them, rinse them when ready to use and pan fry them.

This summer, in addition to canning them cubed, I plan to cut them into wedges as well. I’ll can them, rinse them when ready to use, spray with oil, sprinkle with seasoning and roast in oven.

How do you use potatoes?

patsi
A Working Pantry

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sam's Club Clearance Tag's ... How to Read Them



I get lots of questions on how we shop at Sam's Club.  After reading this post, a lot of people wanted to know how we do it ... how do we find the bargains we get at Sam's Club. 

This post is going to cover one thing that we do and that is read the shelf tags.  We look for clearance items when shopping.  Clearance items are located all over the store including on the shelves, special displays, on a flatbed at the end of an isle and in a section of the store, usually in an out of the way corner, specifically for clearance items.  Here's an example of what to look for ... (This was a special display.)


 
If the price ends in the number 1 that usually indicates that it is a clearance price ... but not always, so we look at the numbers and letter in the upper right hand corner. If it ends in a 'C' then it is a clearance item.
 
 
Here's another example of a shelf tag.  You can't read the tag very well, but it will give you an idea of what you're looking for when checking the shelves for clearance items.
 
 
 
My husband's job often takes us to the town where our local Sam's Club is located and so whenever we are in the area we stop in.  We can usually walk the whole store and check it for clearance items in about 20 minutes.
 
We don't have any secrets or special connections ... we've just learned how our local Sam's Club operates.
 
Here's another post I wrote on shopping at Sam's Club with some additional tips.
 
I hope this has been helpful. 
 
 
 patsi
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This post linked to:  Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

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