~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~ surviving today's economy ~ a can-do spirit and attitude ~

Monday, February 19, 2024

A Journal of My Days 2024: 2/19

The theme for this year is “Laser focused, hunkered down and spending as little money as possible.” 

Let’s see how we did this week …

(picture:  rhubarb)

In the Garden:  I worked on getting seed potatoes ready to plant so that we could plant them when the weather cooperates.

I also shelled out dried fall peas from last fall’s harvest.   I got those shelled out and bagged up ready for planting in the later part of June.

I finished shelling out the dried okra from last year’s crop as well.

Our early spring garden is shaping up and so far, we have planted:

Fingerling potatoes


Multiplying onions 

Spring greens


By the end of the month, I hope to have potatoes, cabbage and broccoli planted as well.  Then it will be on to planting the spring garden.  I break down our planting time frames as follows:

Early spring garden (February) … highs in the 40’s - 60’s

Spring garden (March) … highs in the 70’s & lower 80’s

Early summer garden (April, May and June) … highs in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s

Summer garden (July and August) … highs in the upper 90’s plus (we’re pretty much in garden survival mode during this season because of the heat and humidity!)

Fall garden (September and October) … highs in the 60 – 90 degree range.

Winter garden (November, December, January) … highs in the 30’s to 50’s range (Gardening consist of things that winter over like collards, carrots and garlic along with things that are grown in the greenhouse.)

I plan to plant 3 different gardens this year:

vegetable ... for eating fresh and restocking the pantry

herb (culinary and medicinal) ... for cooking, making spices mixes and herbal remedies

flower ... for beauty

In the Kitchen:   I made a pecan pie for valentine’s day.  We mutually decided that we would not spend money on gifts for each other this year, so I made one of our favorite pies instead. 

I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce, enough for a couple of meals this week and some to freeze for a future meal. 

I also made pizza flavored hot pockets and sourdough crackers as well.

In the Pantry:  
My preserving day this week was on Monday, and I preserved sweet potatoes.  Last fall we were given permission to glean a local farmers sweet potato field after they were finished harvesting.  We’ve had them in storage and have been eating on them throughout the winter, but I noticed that the squirrels had found our storage spot.  In fact, I caught them in the act, they were eating our sweet potatoes and not being shy about it either!  I knew if I wanted enough sweet potatoes to last us until gleaning time again, I had to act.  So, I went through them, culled out the ones the squirrels had been chomping down on, and started the process of preserving the rest.  I simply scrubbed the potatoes, cut away any questionable places, cut the bigger ones in half and placed them in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  When time was up, I took them out of the oven and let them cool.  When they were completely cooled, I bagged them up and put them in the freezer.  No sir, Mr. Squirrel, you may not have my sweet potatoes!

Health/Fitness:  One of my most helpful tools in my fitness journey is a food diary.  I write down everything that I eat during the day.  Even now when I’m weaning myself off of counting calories and changing over to intermittent fasting, I still log what I eat, not the calories per say, but the amounts.  I still need that accountability.  My food journal contains more than what I eat though, it contains my stats, quotes to keep me encouraged, fitness goals, stickers and or doodling for making it look pretty and anything else that helps me keep on keeping on in my fitness journey.  It really is a most valuable tool for me. 

Bargain and/or Loss Leader Shopping:  Nope, none, nothing!  We are intentionally staying out of the grocery store as much as possible.  At this point, it's going to have to be a really, really good sale to lure us into the store.

From my Sewing Nook:   I meant too, I really meant too … but I didn’t sew a thing!

What I’m Reading:  I finished reading The Preacher’s Daughter by Patricia Johns and Lydia’s Charm by Wanda Brunstetter that a friend had loaned me.  I haven't decided what I'll read next.

Bible Study:  I completed and posted lesson 18 in our ladies Bible study on Esther.  It can be found HERE.

I continue to work on writing the book of Genesis. I'm up to chapter 9 now.

Continuing Education and Skills:  My husband’s mother used to make the best potato flake sourdough bread. I ran across her recipe this week and decided that I wanted to see if I could duplicate her delicious bread.  I’m still in the ‘feeding’ stage, so no bread made yet, but it won't be long.  

This will give me two different sourdough bread starters, the original old fashioned one and this potato flake one.  I want to learn what can and cannot be done with each.  I found this website that had some good ideas for the potato flake sourdough starter.  I never, ever want to stop learning!

(picture:  sourdough starter for old fashioned sourdough bread.)

Herbs:  I pulled out my herb seeds and am planning what I want to plant.  I'm also making note of when each can be planted along with any other pertinent information related to planting and growing them.

That’s it for this week, what has your week looked like?

until next time,

mrs. patsi @ A Working Pantry

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27 

Sharing 44 years' experience of frugal, prudent living and pantry building 

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  1. Naughty squirrels! Yours must be kin to the naughty ones at our house!

    I made a chocolate pie for Valentine's Day and we had a steak meal from the freezer.

    We continue to keep the TV mostly off. The results are clear now that Hubby talks and talks and I feel less lonely. I also find that am more content without the ads telling me I need a new car, furniture, a vacation, new clothes and how happy my life will be if I get Door Dash or grocery deliveries. I am not telling anyone else that they need to turn it off but it has been life changing here.

    Only milk, a few bread items and produce from the grocery and then I got an email for a store about 15 miles away for a weekend sale. Wowsa but our favorite sausage that is regularly 12.99 a box was on sale for 6.99 and I had $2 coupons from the company's email. So off we went and bought four boxes for about $20 for ten pounds of frozen sausage slices. There is no waste there! I sealed each one in a ZIploc freezer bag to help them keep longer.

    1. Lana, I don't think we realize how much we are influenced by what we allow in our homes whether via TV, social media, books or just the internet itself. I love hearing how cutting way back on TV has been a good thing for you all.

      That was an excellent deal on the sausage, if I were in your area, I would have met you there!!!

      As for the squirrels, I don't think they're very happy with me right now!!!! Toooooo bad!!!

    2. Lana, when we moved here in 2022 for our retirement, we decided NOT to get cable TV. We haven't missed it at all. I especially don't miss those commercials! GREAT price on the sausage. --Elise

    3. Elise, Believe it or not we have been married almost 46 years and we have never had cable.

  2. Oh, Patsy, thank you SO much for sharing your planting plans, along with seasonal temps! It will help me adjust that to our area for planting plans. Quick question... do you use sprouted potato for potato starts? Happy you were able to save those gleaned sweet potatoes from the squirrel! The sourdough starter I was given all those years ago was a flaked potato sourdough. Hubs love that bread. It makes a heavier loaf, as I'm sure you know, but is also great for dinner rolls. I'd like to get a starter of that going in time for Easter.

    Over the weekend we did take advantage of an AZ grocery chain's sales on chicken drumsticks (59 cents lb.), asparagus (99 cents lb.), canned beans, vegetables and soups to restock the pantry. Total price of $42.45, total of 26 items, saving $46.77 and well under budget for the week. Happy news.

    Speaking of happy news, I just got a call from the oral surgeon. My pathology report is back and it's all GOOD.

    P.S. Anyone want some potato salad? LOL! I used 1/3 of 10 lbs. + 6 eggs for a big batch on Saturday. Served our guests yesterday. Sent some home with son. Looks like we'll have potato salad for every dinner this week until it's gone. I must've been in Church Potluck mode.

    1. Elsie, I'm so glad your path report was all GOOD! Praising God on your behalf!

      We purchased certified seed potatoes for planting from a local feed store. I had a few potatoes we grew last year left over that had sprouted and I planted them in a separate place so I could see how they would do.

      That's a good price on chicken drumsticks!

      LOL, you must have been in church potluck mode with the potato salad... that's one dish that doesn't look like much when you start but grows as you keep adding ingredients to it! I bet it is good ... enjoy!

    2. True story, Patsy. Hubs told me, "Next time your brain thinks you're not using enough potatoes, remember that it's lying to you." LOL! And yes, I've been thanking the Lord all morning. --Elise

    3. Elise, I chuckled at what your husband said ... so very true!

    4. Glad to hear your good news! I am that was with pasta salad. My goodness it gets huge quick!

    5. Patsi, we watch MeTV too. We love the old shows. In our location we would not get any TV unless we had cable. We we first moved here cell phone service inside did not exist. If we wanted to use a cell phone we had go outside and face a certain direction. Crazy, but true. We can get cell phone service in our house now as there are more towers but if we turn a certain way the calls get dropped. It's interesting to note that there was no electricty where we live until the late 1940s and then it only happened because people got together to form a co-op, of which we became a member when we moved here. Cookie

    6. Cookie, it sounds like our areas have a lot in common!

  3. For me this week seems to be a blur it went so fast. I finally came out of denial that I will ever be able to eat canned food again, and gifted those friends who can with boxes of canning jars rings and lids. Ever since being diagnosed with a histamine issue, I've hung on to those jars hope springing eternal that I will be able to can again. Nope. It was time to move on. I did save a few boxes for myself to use for freezer containers.

    For valentine's day I made a special dinner of London broil, chopped salad, twice baked potatoes, and green beans. Everything came from the freezer. I continued to "use it up" in the kitchen and there was no grocery shopping. I found what I think is the absolute best gluten free website and I made her pita bread recipe. It was outrageouly delicious and I had all the ingredients on hand. With some of it I made pita chips in the airfryer and topped them with salt and cumin. I will make these again and again. Temptation came knocking on the door in the way of art supplies, but I did not succumb. I got started on cards for March birthdays and Easter and finished some notecards for myself and made my own envelope liners. We are mostly readers rather than TV watchers, but when we do watch we prefer PBS, the Family Channel, UP and TCM as we love old movies, comedies and musicals. I've been conciously trying to get in more activity by getting up every 25 minutes if I'm in a sitting position and walking around the house. It's been very cold and snowy here and outside is not the place I want to be. Cookie

    1. Cookie, I know that had to be hard to hand over all those jars, etc. At the same time, it was probably freeing in that they weren't a constant reminder of what you couldn't do anymore.

      The majority of our TV watching comes from MeTV as we don't have cable, satellite or any kind of streamed services. We're quite happy with the old shows, Andy Griffin, Monk, etc.

      Our day times high are running in the 50 - 60 range, but I'm careful about exercising outside as there is a dampness and the wind has been working overtime! My exercising is being done inside until the weather gets a bit warmer.

    2. Cookie, would you mind sharing what histamine issue? Or what the symptoms are? My husband has tummy issues quite often. It could just be the diabetes medicine he's on (Metformin, among others), we're just not sure. Thank you. --Elise

    3. Elise, it is a long explanation and I don't feel comfortable using this space to do that.
      My best recommendation so that you will get s full explanation is to Google histamine intolerance and read the Cleveland Clinic explanation. Hope this helps. Cookie

    4. Thank you, Cookie. I'll look that up, understand, and apologize to Patsy.

  4. This week I got 3 three pound bags of organic Yukon Gold potatoes on Flashfood for $2.40/bag (80 cents a pound) that I will use as my seed potatoes. I did this last year and got over 30 pounds of potatoes harvested!

    I also found, on Flashfood today, 4 packages of ground beef (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds each) for about 63 cents each (49 cents/pound) !! Today is our 53rd anniversary and I can remember back then buying ground beef for 53 cents a pound so this price is unheard of!!
    Took bananas out of freezer and made 2 loaves of banana chocolate chip bread for a church event. Everyone loved it and it didn’t take any OOP to make!
    I’ve been working on a scrappy quilt to use up some of my stash- so far 8 blocks- https://pin.it/2aTes71AY.
    Other than that, been staying out of stores and not spending!

    Glad to hear everyone’s ideas and successes!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Happy Anniversary, GardenPat!

      What a fabulous, unheard of price on ground beef! If I can get it for under $3 per lb. (very unusual now), I stock up. Glad to hear, too, that using store bought potatoes works for potato starts in the garden. 30 lbs. for harvest is wonderful. Thank you! --Elise

    2. Elise, potatoes you purchase at the grocery store won't sprout as they've been sprayed with an anti-sprouting spray. They need to be certified seed potatoes or potatoes from ones grown from the previous year. I'm sorry I didn't make that clear.

    3. Gardenpat, happy anniversary, being married 53 years is something to be proud of.

      That banana chocolate chip bread sounds delicious! I'm off to have a look at your current quilting project!

    4. Thank you for the clarification, Patsy. We have a Tractor Supply and another ranch store in town, so I'm hoping they'll offer potato starts. You know I make BIG potato salad. LOL! Actually, I fried up some bacon, added that and leftover tomatoes (diced), and we're having it for lunches this week to not waste any.

    5. Elise, your potato salad story will become a family 'joke' that you'll not be able to live down!!!

  5. I'm late to the party but here I am! It has been an exciting week around here (aside from the cold, which I am just about over). We got sheep! And a pig! The sheep were supposed to be next month, but I found a ram lamb for a fraction of what we were going to pay, so we bought him, as well as his brother to keep him company until we get the ewe lambs next month. Two for half the cost of one. We also found a piglet for a fraction of what we expected to pay. Pigs were a more distant goal, but with what we have saved by finding these bargains, now we can have both. So while these were expenses that we had planned for another time, they were planned nonetheless, and ended up saving us money in the long run. More importantly this is a goal and a dream ACCOMPLISHED! We pick up pig #2 later today. That may not sound like much to report, but it has consumed our week, in a very good way.

    1. Congratulations, Kelsey! That's SO exciting! And for good prices, all the more. I (for one) can't wait to hear more about them. --Elise

    2. Kelsey, what fun and a good thing for your whole family! Your boys are going to love the sheep and pigs.