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

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Journal of My Days: 5/20/24

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

How did we do this week?

I was actually home one day this week; the rest were taken up with multiple medical appointments!

(picture:  a bowl of homemade chicken salad was a hit with all our busyness!)

In the Vegetable Garden:  While mowing the yard I accidentally got too close to the row garden and took out a really sad looking potato plant.  The plant was about 5 inches tall and looked really pitiful.  I didn't think much about it for as soon as hubby is released from his light restrictions, he's going to just plow it under.

Imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw a potato, it was a fair size potato!  I made a mental note to come back and get it after I finished mowing.

I did and when I bent down to pick it up, I noticed another one and another one.  Long story short, I kept digging and pulling up about 6 more equally looking sad potato plants and found, much to my surprise, more potatoes.  Now, they're not going to win any contest, but they look mighty good to us, especially when we didn't think we would harvest any!

Can you see the sad little potato plants right above the bucket in the picture?  These are about the size of the ones I got the potatoes in the bucket from.  Usually, by this time of the growing season our potatoes are knee-high, and the plants are touching each other across the rows.

Nevertheless, we are thrilled and yes, I intend to dig every one of them up and preserve them!  Only God could give us a harvest from those pitiful potato plants!

I also harvested the last of the spring green peas.  I added a gallon bag full to the freezer part of our pantry.  That will be plenty for us until next year's harvest.

In the Kitchen:  Hubby made a pound cake while I mowed the yard.  It was delicious!  We enjoyed it later in the day with some fresh strawberries, whipped cream topping and ice cream.  

In the Pantry:   I harvested a few more carrots and plan to do a canning in the upcoming week.

I also added several herbs to our pantry after drying them.

Health/Fitness:  I had a pretty healthy serving of pound cake/strawberries/whipped cream and ice cream this week.  After letting it digest for a couple of hours, I took myself off on an hour long walk.  I only let myself indulge that one time.  I try not to deprive myself of treats, but I also realize that it can't become a daily thing and that I need to offset it with some extra exercise.

Thrifting, Bargain, and/or Loss Leader Shopping:   The only grocery shopping we did this week was to purchase a container of ice cream to go with the strawberries, pound cake and whipped cream we enjoyed.

From my Sewing Nook: I pulled out my sewing patterns to look for a knee length shorts pattern that I could adapt for summer wear.  After looking over what I had, I decided to stick with my original plan of using a pajama pants pattern making the necessary alterations to get the fit I want.  I have plenty of 'basics' patterns and I can usually draft something I want from them; this is a huge savings when it comes to sewing.

Bible Study:  I finished Lesson 1 of our ladies Bible study on Mary of Bethany and posted it on my other blog, From This Heart of Mine.

In the Flower Garden:  My original plan for my flower garden this year was to put a row all the way through our row garden.  Because of hubby's medical situation that didn't happen, but I have come up with a plan B.  I have an empty raised bed and I'm going to plant it full of flowers from seeds.  I would plant vegetables in it except it would get too hot and humid before the vegetables could produce, but flowers ... hmmm, I'm going to give it a try!

In the Herb Garden:  There are two herbs that I'm growing that are time sensitive meaning that their blooms are only available a short period of time and the blooms are what I need to harvest.  They are St. John's Wart and Elderberry flowers.  Each morning, I make a quick trip out to where they each are and check for blooms.  I harvest what I find and head back in to start the process of drying them.  I have a lot more elderberry plants to harvest blooms from than St. John's Wart however, I'm working on planting more St. John's Wart so that in future years I'll have more flower blooms to harvest from them.

Picture:  as you can see, we have plenty of elderberry flowers for harvesting and for saving to make berries.

What I'm Reading:  I started reading Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert.  Of course, I'm reading it on Libby the library app.

Continuing Education/Skills:  I continue to educate myself and study on herbs.  This week I learned how to make culinary herbal oils.

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.

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  1. Patsy, I wish you could see my smile! The unexpected potatoes you found are a wonderful gift, indeed. The chicken salad and cake look yummy and what a LOT of elderberry flowers on very healthy looking plants! Thank you again for the Bible study on Mary of Bethany.

    My past week was blissfully quiet. I planted common basil, Italian and Greek oregano + lemon thyme. We used an expiring rain check to buy mild Italian sausage. We used 2 coupons for a free meal at Culvers. Looking at ranch/farm stores for a 1/2 barrel planter, I found one in rubberized plastic (lasts a lot longer than wood) for $23. We split a 98 cent, 10 lb. bag of potatoes with youngest son. I saw 3 marked down bags of fresh ricotta and spinach ravioli for $1.50 each and bought them. We needed a new stand fan for the living room and used a $5 off $25 Dollar General coupon for that ($20) and a can of wasp spray ($5). Study included your Bible study, continued reading re. herbs/herb gardening and watching YT videos re. cast iron cookware refurbishing, maintenance and cooking. Hope you--and all here--have a blessed week. --Elise

    1. Elise, you had a productive week! Love reading about your bargain finds! Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement regarding my Bible study.

  2. I love your potato story! It s so nice to have lunch sorted and easy to throw together. I hope you have more down time this week!

    We had some wins this week-
    I tried two new recipes and both were delicious and we will make them again-we are really suffering from food fatigue and both recipes are different than the meals that we eat on repeat

    Our friends brought items from Mom and Dad's estate back from Florida and we met them halfway from here to their house on Friday. My sister sent many treasures for me such as my great grandmother's Bible from 1883. We brought along a loaf of homemade bread and a jar of my favorite cherry jam for them. Hubby tucked gas money into the front pocket of our friend's bib overalls. He grew up on a big apple farm in Idaho and now that he is retired he is back to being a farmer. Hubby said maybe he would take up wearing overalls. I said um no, you are not a farm kid. LOL

    A stop at a salvage grocery we rarely get to go to on the way back from meeting our friends. Bubba Burgers are our summer favorite for the freezer and we got a great deal on those.

    Eight half gallon Ball jars from a Marketplace listing for $10 and only six miles from us. Only $1.25 a jar! I am busy filling up those jars and vacuum sealing.

    A yummy chiffon cake made by the two of us for my birthday. We waited to make it until after the bakery cupcakes that Hubby bought for Mother's Day were gone. I was thinking about how so many of our most delicious and treasured recipes use only the most basic ingredients. The chiffon cake is one my Grandmother always made for Easter at our house. It seemed so gourmet but really it only uses the basic ingredients of any type of cake. It is the same with your pound cake I am sure and it is best the first day when all that crusty goodness is still there on the outside.

    A fold up table bought on clearance to keep in the van with our chairs for meals wherever we wander this summer and for years beyond. There is a park where we go that has a waterfall right at the parking lot. We take our lunch there several times a year and just enjoy the water. We also have a favorite historic church and graveyard where we love to take lunch. We have been balancing everything on a little camp stool!

    Have a good week all!

    1. Lana, I'm glad you were able to get some of your mom's and grandmother's things ... treasures indeed!

      I agree that some of our tastiest goodies are made with simple basic ingredients. That chiffon cake sounds delicious.

      The fold up table is a really good idea for keeping in your van for picnic type outings. I may just borrow that idea!

      You found some really good deals this week, too!

      I hope your van repair is coming along good!

    2. The link for the table in case anyone wants it. Still $10. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-Quad-Folding-Camp-Table-With-Cup-Holders-Gray-28-x-28-x-26-H/492805191

  3. What a good harvest of potatoes from such tiny plants! No wonder you were amazed. We had some nice sunny days, so got some work done in the garden, including planting out tomato plants. My husband did a car boot sale and sold some more things from our childhood homes. He was very touched after he told someone that an item was from my late mother's house and the buyer said to tell me that they would look after it. I have started off some apricot liqueur for my daughter's wedding in the Autumn and I have just been pickling some shallots. We have also used apples gifted to us to make some tasty deserts. We went for our annual dental check-ups today and I was very grateful to be an NHS patient as the list of costs for private patients showed that we would have paid double if we had not been existing NHS patients.

    1. We went to a flea market when we had been married two years and an elderly lady was selling the contents from her kitchen because she was going into assisted living. We bought her turkey roaster and she told us that she had had it since she was married and that it made delicious turkeys. Forty four years later I still think of her every time we use it and it does make the best turkeys just as she said. It is possibly nearly 100 years old now!

    2. Tracy, what is a car boot sale?

      It's so nice when other people appreciate the legacy of items, isn't it.

      Dental care here is so very expensive, I'm glad you have the lower cost option.

  4. Oh my. That pound cake looks delicious

  5. So many blessings from your week, Patsi, especially those potatoes! Here, I needed to do a bit of grocery shopping and my "regular" store was having a "Buy 5" sale -- buy 5 items from a particular group of products and get them at a special price, some were an additional $1 off, others $0.50 or some other discounted price, you just had to buy in multiples of 5 items from the group not 5 of the same thing (buy 15, yes you get the discounted price; buy 14, you get the discount on 10, but 4 are then full price). They had some really good bargains on items I needed to stock up on for the summer months AND a couple items had digital coupons available. Stacking the coupons on top of the sale prices was certainly a bonus! Overall, I saved $15 in coupons and sales savings. Plus, they had family packs of ground beef on sale for the lowest price I've seen since last year. I vacuum sealed 6 1/2# packages for the freezer, plus 3 chicken breasts (on clearance, due to nearing expiration date), and 8 individual sausage patties that I can thaw and use for breakfast.

    Additionally, a good friend told me about a plant nursery she found in a neighboring suburb. It's in a less affluent ethnic section of the town and a place I wouldn't venture alone or after dark, but during the day it's fine. So 3 of us ventured there to check it out. I got a flat of Delphenium for my deck boxes -- red, dark pink, salmon, white, and varigated pink and white, as well as a flat of grape, cherry, and Early Girl tomatoes; red and green bell peppers, plus a habanero pepper plant; and spinach, romaine, and buttercrunch lettuce. One friend grabbed some romaine lettuce starts and 2 hanging baskets and my other friend got 1/2 flat of flowers and a hanging plant. The Delphenium are on the exterior of my deck rail boxes, and the lettuces and spinach are on the inside, visible to me only (strict HOA rules, I'm fudging a bit). Tomatoes and peppers are in large pots, and my chives from last year survived our -30 deep freeze over the winter and are about ready for their first haircut. I forgot to grab a basil plant, but that will get picked up in the coming week, and I saved a space for it in one of the planters. We're expecting rain this afternoon, so all of my planting was completed this morning. Looking forward to being able to shop outside my window this summer.

    Continued prayers for your hubs recovery and for blessings to continue to provide for your needs.

    1. Lori, this must have been the week for good sales. Everyone seems to have found several! Yeah!

      I love plant sales, not only for the prices but I love just taking all the beauty in.

      Thank you for your prayers, we are getting some answers regarding hubby, but are waiting on one more set of test results to come in.

  6. Patsy, you inspire me to run out and go check my potato plants that have died back in the compost. Maybe? We'll see in a few minutes. In the meantime, I had a chiro appt today and while in that town ran by the discount grocery again to get reduced clearance produce and meat. Today's pickings: 3.33 pound Chuck Roast, 2 shoulder steaks, a pkg of sirloin strips, 2 packages of Springer Mtn chicken patties (4 in each for $1!!), and a pound of ground chicken, also Springer Mtn. All the meat except the $1 chicken patties were under $3/#. For produce: 4 of the specially washed and wrapped baking potatoes ($1), $1 tomatoes (3 Roma and 3 slicing), a package of 4 Red Bell Peppers (75c), 5 avocados in slightly soft stage (75c) and a pkg of peppers. Not jalapenos, but Serrano I think? 75c for over a pound.

    I also grabbed 4 6packs of bell peppers, petunias (2 of those) and marigolds.

    Like Lana, we have tried some new recipes that are definitely keepers. It really pays to shake up meals and to do so using the usual ingredients just composed in a different way. I have a new to me Shawarma Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken and something else I can't recall.

    I took time this week to prune back rosemary and rosebush and am trying to root some of the rose. I'm following two different methods. We'll see...I also mulched that same flower bed and set it up to look pretty with pots of flowers I had on hand already.

    1. Terri, I hope you found potatoes in your compost! That would be an excellent place for potato plants to grow.

      You found some excellent buys as well as everyone else! Yeah!

      My herbs are in need of pruning back as well, including my rosemary. I'm trying to work on them a little each day.

      I have tried and sometimes had success with rooting rose cuttings. I hope your efforts are successful.