~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~

Monday, February 5, 2024

A Journal of My Days: 2/5/24

 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 …

In the Garden:  We had a couple of days last week that hit the upper 50’s and lower 60’s.  As soon as my household chores were completed for the day I headed outside.

I also worked on cleaning up and even moved a few of our container garden pots around a bit.  When we were digging the trenches for our new well pipe the pipe needed to be laid where some of our container gardens were located so they had to be moved.  I started putting that back together this week as well as starting a new container garden area.

My rose bushes got pruned as did my herbs that didn’t die back over the winter.  In almost every herb container, I saw new growth popping through the soil, it was all so exciting and invigorating to see new life coming forth again.

I noticed that my nettles patch is producing lots of young nettle plants.  I’m going to try to harvest some this week and get it dried for tea making purposes.

In the Kitchen:   I boiled a dozen eggs for the purpose of making potato salad for an upcoming meal and some chicken salad for sandwich making.  (Our chickens are finally starting to lay again.)

In the Pantry:  My preserving day this week was on Tuesday, I harvested collards from the garden and canned them.  (Pictures in this post are of the collards from the garden to the jars.)

 I also started a list of things I wanted to preserve from our garden this year.  I’ve just started the list but here’s what it looks like so far: (Having a list will help me know what I need to plant!)

 Meat broth and caramelized onions

Apple pie filling

Tomatoes, caramelized onions and red-hot peppers

Pickled asparagus

Hot pepper relish

Tomato sauce

Pizza sauce

Pickled coleslaw

French onion soup

Chili base 


Marinara sauce

Health/Fitness:  I read this quote earlier in the week by James Clear that really resonated with me.

New goals don’t deliver new results.  New lifestyles do.  And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome.  For this reason, all of our energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.

I’ve been working on habits that will allow me to switch from counting calories to intermittent fasting in my fitness journey and I’m baby stepping my way through the change.   A new lifestyle takes time to develop!

Bargain and/or Loss Leader Shopping:  We spent $19.36 at the grocery store this week.  Shrimp was on sale, BOGO free and hubby wanted to take advantage of the sale.

From my Sewing Nook:  No sewing this week, it’s the first time in several weeks that I didn’t get any sewing done, but the warm temperatures beckoned me outside!  What can I say!

What I’m Reading:  I’m still reading All That She Carried by Tiya Miles and Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.  Both of these are being read on Libby the library app.

Bible Study:  I completed and posted lesson 16 in our ladies Bible study on Esther.  It can be found HERE.

In Addition:  I picked up sticks and debris from the yard that had accumulated over the winter.  I broke the tree twigs/limbs into small enough pieces that we could use for fire starters in our wood stove.

Update:  I've had requests to do a tutorial on how I can collards.  I did one several years ago that can be found at this link ....

Mrs. Patsi @ A Working Pantry: Canning Collard Greens

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 

My second blog:  From This Heart of Mine, where I share my love for God and His Word through my personal Bibe study.  Physical preparedness is important, but not near as important as spiritual preparedness.  Ladies, join me over at From This Heart of Mine and study God's Word with me.

You can view my privacy policy HERE.

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders. I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay, and it helps me keep my pantry well-stocked! 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means.


  1. Oh I enjoy your posts!

  2. What a nice batch of collards. I can just about taste them!

    Last week was our second week away at the lake. The weather was much nicer then the first week of rain all day for many days. The lake level is up by about five feet! The storms cleared the air and every where we went and saw the Blue Ridge Mountain view they were beautiful and truly blue. We really enjoy the small town life and slower way of everything. People walk down Main Street in the evening with their dogs and stop to speak to friends and the traffic is so little and few are impatient. Every visit we try to patronize some local businesses. We ate at a local BBQ and a Mexican restaurant and got ice cream downtown at the coffee shop. There was a little bit of anxiety when the empty lot next to our little house went up for sale but our next door neighbor on the other side told us his parents bought it and we know them. We were glad to know that we will not be getting a million dollar house next door!

    Friday we went to our favorite thrift store and found a beautiful basket for organizing and some canning jars.
    The lady who checked us out had to be at least 75 and every item she went to ring up resulted in her shaking her head and suggesting a lower price. She said they have this old lady in the back who overprices everything. This was so funny to us as she was an old lady too! But, if I had known she would give me all the caning jars for 25 cents each I would have gotten more!

    So now we are home and easing back into regular life. I am so thankful for our place to rest and get away from the internet and TV which we do not have there. Lots of sleep and time to talk are restorative! We both kept up with our scripture writing and had time to really talk some of it over. We do have to go on a produce run since we have to have our daily salads but this weeks ads of Super Bowl snack and such we will not be shopping for at all.

    Have a good week!

    1. Lana, your lake get-a-way place sounds so restorative!

      I can our collards with a small piece of seasoning meat that just adds to the flavor. I'm just glad that they are harvested during the winter months in our area as it takes several to make a full canner!

  3. Your blog posts are always so inspiring, Patsy. What healthy looking greens! As someone new to canning, just this year in fact, I wonder if you'd be willing to post a few step by step instructions? Per your recommendations, I've picked up a few good canning books, but it's always nice to see how someone does it in a real kitchen vs. a test kitchen. I've watched a few You Tube videos as well. Can't hurt, might help! Your garden seems to produce a LOT. One son got me a book on high altitude gardening, and I found 2 others for low/no cost produce gardening. Guess you know what I've been reading! ;-)

    We're a few months out from being able to do anything, though, as we can get snow into April... rarely early May.

    1. Elise, I understand what you're asking about the canning. How it's done in a test kitchen and how it's done in real life can look different. How it's done by someone with the latest gadgets and equipment looks different than someone canning with basic equipment. Here's a link to a post on how I can collards.


      On this particular day, we had a lot of collards to do and chose to set up outside. Most of the time though I can them inside using pots I have in my kitchen that I use in my cooking.

    2. Thank you, Patsy! A woman I know in our area does most of her canning outside, too. Makes sense as it's the hottest time of year. I'm looking forward to learning to use the electric pressure canner I picked up at Christmas. --Elise

  4. I love reading your posts. I can't wait until it gets warm enough here to do some gardening. I did a good cleaning of my house yesterday with some home made cleaners and have been keeping my spending to a minimal. I was proud of myself for only buying the items that I had on my list when I went shopping this week. I also did not spend all of the money that I had anticipated for last month, so I took that much less out of the bank this month. I feel like that is a win for me -- April

    1. April, I'll say what you accomplished financially is definitely a win! You go girl!

  5. would also like your canning directions for those collards too. i have started to gather my seeds together for spring time planting. enjoy your posts. bonnie

    1. Bonnie, I added a link in the post that leads to a tutorial I did on canning collards. I hope it's helpful!

  6. Oh, to be able to get out into the garden containers in February! We've been unseasonably warm this month, but I know it won't last and we'll be back sub-zero and with inches upon inches of snow in the not-too-distant future! I love canning fresh produce, direct from the farmstand. I've only waterbathed, though I have a pressure canner I'm been extremely hesitant to try. Any guidance, I too will be grateful.

    1. Lori, do a practice run on canning water in your pressure canner. Also, it might help for you to write down the steps you'll need to take and then just go by those steps. Do a canner of pint jars of water and use 'used' lids. You won't be wasting expensive lids that way. Once you go through the process, you'll see that 'canning fear' is simply like most other fears ... conquerable.

    2. Lori, I was intimidated by pressure canning, too. Now I prefer it to water bath canning. You can do it!

  7. I just love seeing your jars of food!
    Last week I did some cleaning in a few parts of our home that had gotten away from me. I also cleaned out our vehicle. It feels good to have things set back in order.
    After homeschool coop, we took the opportunity of being in town to take a couple bags of donations to the thrift store. I walked around and felt glad I found nothing to buy. I know the ladies in there and they know I have been decluttering, so when Colton walked up with a syrup dispenser in his hand, one of the ladies teased, "Ok, what are you going to get rid of when you get home?" She said her husband teases her with a one in/one out rule. Colton said, "I'm going to get rid of the container the syrup comes in." 😂 Then on our way out, we were chatting with one of the ladies and she said they had just got in lots of mini refrigerators/freezers that had been donated by a hotel. They worked and looked brand new. Colton and I looked at each other for a moment, as we have talked about getting one for the garden shed for storing extra eggs/produce (and let's face it- ice cream for gardening breaks). We asked how much and she said $5! So now we have a mini fridge. I always say, it pays to wait! James also bought a little toy cow, which gave him practice handing over his quarter for something he wanted. The lady snuck his quarter back into my purse before we left. "We let kids take toys all the time. I just wanted him to think he was paying." They are so nice.
    Hunting season is now over. Colton managed 3 deer and this is processing week. The best meat will go into jars for canning and the scraps will be ground for the freezer. I am grateful we are able to do this!

    1. Kelsey, our youngest son, who lives nearby, want to learn how to hunt and has some friends he hopes he can go hunting with who'll teach him. Here (AZ mountain region) there are deer and elk. We got him a small chest freezer after he bought his little house; we have a chest freezer, too. He told me he hopes to eventually be able to supply both households with meat. In exchange, I'll be growing/canning and baking our bread. That's the future goal. 2024 is all about learning. :-) --Elise

    2. Elise, that would be fantastic for both of you! When Colton and I got married, our first investment (besides our home) was a chest freezer that we picked up in the clearance appliance section at Sears. Having the freezer to stock up on sales and homemade freezer meals is a big savings in itself. Add in hunting and the grocery bill drops drastically. Not to mention, you are getting quality meat. I hope it's a success for y'all! I will report how many pounds and pints of meat we end up with after processing. We are saving the bones this time also for bone broth.

    3. Yes, indeed, Kelsey. An extra freezer is a good investment. My maternal grandfather filled a large chest freezer after hunting season every year. They rarely had to buy meat. We've got many lakes nearby, too, so fishing might factor in. I *do* know how to fish and clean fish. Looking forward to hearing how much meat you're able to store. Great idea on the bones for broth! --Elise

    4. Kelsey, you all really got a good deal/steal on the mini refrigerator! Those things are quite expensive!

      I loved reading how you made James use his money for purchasing the toy cow. Such good lessons there and the check-out lady played right along! Love it!

      Three deer! That is quite a blessing, don't work too hard!

  8. You had a really productive week and I do envy all the collards that got canned. I , too, am reading "All That She Carried". I was on youtube for something else and noticed that they had a lot of biographical things about Laura Ingalls Wilder on there. So I spent time looking at all of the videos. They were fascinating. I had never seen a picture of her or Almanzo before and there was quite a bit about them and pictures of their families. I have to admit that last Tuesday I was a slug and parked myself in front of the TV watching HSN Craft Day. They had so many new thing and great ideas. I came away with lots of ideas to use what I have in new ways and remained unscathed not buying anything. Aside from the baking marathon that I had and reported on using it up, I went into my scrap fabric pile and pulled out some 5 inch squares to make jar openers with. I top stitched and finished another apron. The volunteer lettuce that came up is flourishing under the mason jars. Two Christmases ago we were gifted with a Vitamix Food Cycler, which dries and grinds up kitchen scraps and turns it into fertilizer. We have been running it weekly and will have plenty to till into the garden come spring, or at least a nice warm day when the soil is a little dryer in the raised bed. In actuality, I think one could do this by just dehydrating the kitchen scraps and then running it through a high speed blender and make the powder. We dropped off a lot of books and clothes to the rescue mission. I inventoried all the pantries to see what needed to be replaced and made a list for shopping. We need to replace quite a bit in the way of mouthwash, drops for dry eyes, etc. This week will be a shopping week. Mailed out birthday cards and finished up valentines. I cooked some more of our butternut squash and saved the seeds to use for bartering. Cookie

    1. Cookie, after I read your comment I had to go check Youtube for Laura Ingalls Wilder videos, I found several also and have started watching them!

      How do you make your jar openers?

      I have to admit to having 'slug' days too ... every once in a while, it's nice to spend the day 'slugging!'

      Sounds like you had a busy week, in spite of your 'slug' day!

      Great comment, lots of good inspiration!

    2. Patsi, I use what looks like rubber shelf liner purchased from the dollar tree and cut 5 to 7 inch squares. I then take the same size fabric square and sew the fabric to the shelf liner wrong side of the fabric facing up. Sew. around the square leaving space to turn it so that the right side of the fabric faces out. Close the opening. Finger press the seam. Heat from an iron will melt the liner. Sew an X from corner to corner. That,s it