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

Monday, June 24, 2024

A Journal of My Days 2024: 6/24

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

We're talking gardening, bargain shopping and pantry building and how we utilize all three to keep us feed and cared for without breaking the bank!

So, how did we do this week?

In the garden:  It's so hot and dry that our watering system for our container garden and raised beds are getting a regular workout!  Even so, what we have growing is suffering from heat fatigue!  

Be that as it may, it's time to start thinking about our fall garden.  Within the next couple of weeks, I need to start getting our fall crops planted in our row garden such as peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, etc, that is if we get some rain.  If it doesn't rain, it's pointless to plant!

In the kitchen:  While our kitchen has been the hub of lots of preserving activity this week, the kind of cooking we mostly did was quick foods.  One day we pulled hot dogs from the freezer and prepared a quick meal around those and a couple of days we had leftovers.  

Our one big, freshly cooked meal was the anniversary meal we prepared.  Yes, we opted to cook our own anniversary celebration meal this year ... almost completely straight from our pantry.

Another thing we enjoyed was this bowl of cucumbers, onions, water, vinegar and salt.  Yum!

Thrifting, Bargain, and/or Loss Leader Shopping at the Grocery Store, farmers market, etc:  We only spent money for milk and half and half this week!  We didn't need anything else, didn't find any re-stocking bargains and so, didn't spend any more of our grocery budget.

In the Pantry:  A lady at church asked if we wanted some corn from her garden.  They had harvested all they wanted and asked if we wanted any.  Of course, we said yes and on Monday morning we headed to her house where her husband and my husband harvested approximately 200 ears.  

While our hubbies were working in the corn patch, she and I set and worked on a wheelbarrow of corn they were in the process of shucking and silking before we arrived.  We talked gardening and living prepared as we worked.  Before we left, she gave me a tour of her garden, orchard and the area where their animals were kept.  It was a great visit in so many ways.

Monday and Tuesday were spent shucking, silking, cutting corn off the cobb and preserving what we had brought home.  Since we were unable to get a summer garden planted this year, we have been asking God to provide a way for us to keep our pantry re-stocked.  In our opinion, the offer of this corn was just one of many ways God is answering that prayer.  (This lady also shared enough squash and cucumbers with us for a meal.)

Yes, all this corn was a lot of work, but sometimes God's answer to our prayers comes dressed up in hard work!  We are so thankful!

Notice the table bus bins in the pictures, these are so handy for prepping food for preserving.  You can see in this picture that they are both full plus a huge dishpan.

Another lady from church brought cantaloupes and shared with the congregation.  Everybody that wanted one got at least one.  They were delicious.  Yes, we have some amazing folks that attend where we go to church!   Usually, we come in on the sharing end, but this year, because we don't have a summer garden, we find ourselves on the receiving end ... and we are so thankful!

(pictured:  corn cut off the cob, bagged and ready for the freezer.)

I jarred up several of the herbs and spices I've been drying over the last few days and added them to the pantry.

Pictured below are:  (left to right from the top)

elderberry flowers
pine needles

grape leaves

The small brown objects are garlic nodules that came off our garlic that we harvested this year.  They will be planted in the fall and become future garlic bulbs.

Not pictured, I also started another jar of plantain vinegar tincture.  I don't want to run out of this as it's my go-to for stings!

This year's garlic has been harvested and cured.  It is now time to bring it inside, preserve it, store it and start using it.  But before I start using it, I need to use up the last 3 - 4 small bulbs I have left from last year's harvest.  I'm thinking a garlic tincture for the medicinal part of my pantry is the way I will put them to use.

In other news:

Click HERE to read what I've been up to in the sewing/creating world this week!  I'm loving sharing what I'm doing on Grandma's Got a Sewing Machine.  I usually try to do at least one new post per week.  It has re-energized and awaken my love of sewing and creating.

I completed lessons 3 and 4 in the herbal tea challenge I mentioned last week.  I picked up several tips that I plan to implement in my tea making journey.  (I don't know how long these links will be active as the instructor mentioned that they would only be available for a limited time.)

My granddaughter and I are thoroughly enjoying book one, The Bad Beginning, in A Series of Unfortunate Events that we are reading together.  This week, almost every day when she got home from daycare, she video called me and we read to each other, one page at a time adding in our opinions and comments along the way.  We finished book one on Saturday and are ready for book two!  Oh, how this grandma's heart is enjoying this!

It's the time of year for those living in hurricane prone areas, as we do, to get 'hurricane prepared.'  Waiting until a hurricane is forecast for the area is really too late as that's when the panic sets in and shortages develop.  Things I'll be looking at are back-up water as well as power sources.  (We need to be prepared to not have access to water or power for several days, possibly weeks.)  There is a lot more to getting prepared for a hurricane, but these two are the foundation for us. Having lived through several hurricanes, some very devastating, I know how important being hurricane prepared is.  This week I'll be taking stock of where we are and what we need to do.  (Hurricane season actually started June 1st ... I need to get this task done ASAP!)

That's it for me 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 

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  1. What wonderful gifts and blessings you received. Some years the giver and some years the receiver. It all goes around.

    1. Cheryl, we need to be ready to accept whichever role God sees fit to allow us to go through don't we?

  2. I like hearing how God is filling yo. ur pantry this summer. We are desperate for rain here as well.

    We have finished hanging all the art work and we now look like an art gallery! One nice surprise was finding a note in my Dad's hand that one painting was a 28th anniversary gift from him to my Mom

    Our Marketplace listing is sold and will be picked up mtomorrow. The buyers are coming from two states away. They had been praying for what we had so we are excited to be able to help them. This helps us too because getting that money back allows us to put it back into something better for us . We found a new type of very light electric wheelchair that folds down small and only weighs 40 pounds. It will go on any surface so this will allow us to go places we have not been able to go for years. I balked at the price but Hubby asked me how long it took me to know how valuable our chair lift is and I said one night going up to bed was it. And so he says the value of this chair will be for us.j

    1. Lana, I love that you found the note in your dad's handwriting, I too have notes in my mom's handwriting and in my dad's as well who passed away 20 plus years before my mom did. They are priceless to me!

      I agree with your hubby on the electric wheelchair ... for what it's worth!

  3. Allow me to echo other sentiments, Patsy... that's an amazing gift of corn! Well worth the work involved to get it preserved, as it looks enough to last the rest of this year!!! Nice, too, to get cukes and melon. Big smile from my kitchen table.

    It seems this week was about abundance; our son volunteered at a Knights of Columbus event over the weekend and brought us enough leftover food to fill the fridge. Beef. Squash. Salad. Potatoes. Rice. To make room, I put leftover pork roast in gravy into the freezer for next Sunday dinner. He took leftover, stale donuts home himself and asked for my recipe to make a kind of bread pudding out of them that will be his dessert for the week. For anyone interested...
    Donut "Pudding"
    1/2 to 1 doz. stale donuts (plain glazed works best) cut into cubes
    1/4 c. or less of brown sugar
    butter, melted
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a baking dish suitable to the amount of your stale donuts (8 X *, 9 X 9, or 9 X 11 inch). Arrange the cut up donut pieces in the baking dish. He had 1/2 doz. so 4-5 large eggs beaten well with 1-1 1/2 cups milk, poured over the top of the donuts and allowed to sit until most liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar. Pour melted butter over the top (1/2 stick or 1 stick, depending) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool before serving. Any leftovers should be refrigerated and can be rewarmed in the microwave. This works with leftover cinnamon rolls, too.

    Lots of busy in the yard to get the retaining wall up before our rainy season begins. Happy to report it's done!

    1. Elise, yes, the corn will last us until harvest time next year. Thank you for sharing your Donut Pudding recipe. What a great way to use up what would otherwise go to waste!

      I'm glad you got your yard work done, it's so hot and humid here that anything that doesn't get done outside by 8 a.m. just isn't going to happen!

      I loved reading about your 'gift' of leftover food! Your son is a very wise young man! You are very wise to utilize it so well!

  4. /What wonderful blessings you've received this week. God is so faithful in his provision for our needs. We have been under the heat dome for the last two weeks, so we have been getting up at the crack of dawn and tending to outside work to keep our raised bed and containers growing. After that we are indoors for the rest of the day. Hubs and I had routine visits this week, me for annual mammogram and ultrasound and him with cardiologist for results of echocardiogram and Holter monitor. Thankfully all is well with both of us.
    In the kitchen I did a little bit of baking using my countertop airfryer oven. It did a terrific job on bread for hubs and also cookies without heating up the kitchen. Basil got harvested and the leaves are currently laid out on a try per your instructions and under the ceiling fan. Cookie

    1. Cookie, I'm so glad you both got good results back from your tests.

      I would have never thought to do cookies in an air fryer. I continue to learn about just how much these machines can do and right now, keeping the kitchen as cool as possible when cooking is a bonus!

  5. How wonderful to hear how God provided for your household this past week! Thank you so much for sharing that part of your stocking up.

    You are so right about being prepared for hurricane weather. I need to start collecting jugs once again. I was well stocked with water jugs prior to the renovation in December and having no place to store them, they ended up being trashed. I also need to figure out where I'll store said water jugs.

    I have been arguing with myself about going shopping this week. I would like to take advantage of two sales at two different stores, one for milk and the other for a low carb tortilla. On the other hand those two things are not necessary right now, so I can push it off. I also have some expired milk products I need to use up (they are not spoiled).

    It's going to be very hot here this week. We had a bit of rain this morning, are due to get a little more, but not quite enough to offset the daily temperatures. I am resigned to losing plants.

    1. Terri, I am well acquainted with the battle to go bargain shopping or not ... it helps to stop and reason it out doesn't it!

      We are losing plants in our garden as well; the heat is just horrific. It makes me somewhat glad that we weren't able to get a summer garden planted. It means fewer plants to watch suffer and die in this heat.

  6. Nancy in Vancouver WAJune 24, 2024 at 11:33 PM

    What a blessing that corn will be! It is so wonderful that you have been blessed by others at your church. It is part of what being part of the body of Christ is about. I saw your note about the herbal challenge and went out and watched all the lessons in one week. It was a lot to watch in one week but I didn’t want to miss any of them before it was taken down. She had so much great information. I need to get my act together and start harvesting some herbs. Our garden is not doing very well this year but some of the herbs are doing well. Part or the garden problem is rabbits. We have begun calling my soft hearted husband Mr. McGregor as he runs out to chase them away from the beans. They got all the peas already. But then some times he will stand at the window and watch them run around and play. No corn this year as it did terrible last year. We might get some rain showers this Wednesday and Thursday. We have been very dry this month which is very unusual for June. It is usually called Junuary. Gray and rainy.

    1. Nancy, we have rabbit issues too! They got several of our bean plants in one night, the rest I put a cage around the next day. I'm hoping to get enough for seed saving for next year. Note to self for next year ... cage the beans when planting!

      I learned a lot from those herbal lessons too and took several notes.

      Our weather right now is pretty typical for us except for the lack of rain. When you put the lack of rain and the intense heat together, gardens are going to suffer! Thankfully we have a long growing season and will get another chance with our fall gardening.

      I chuckled at your 'Mr. McGregor' ... I confess that I've might have been known to do the same thing a time or two!!!

  7. We are usually on the giving and receiving ends. This year we seem to be holding our own. First too much rain (5 inches in 1 day) during May, corn didn't get planted until late, now no rain for the corn and it's under stress. I had froze extra last year so we will be okay. I inventoried all 5 deep freezers, 3 refrigerator freezers and the entire pantry. Wrote it out to see if we had enough of the 5 colors of fruit and veggies (need white/tan/ brown but we don't eat much potatoes). Low in some areas that I can focus on filling in. Harvest and watering before 9 or at 9 pm when getting dark.

    What do you use pine needles for?

    1. Chef Owings, I need to do the same kind of inventory with our pantry. I usually do an inventory and clean up in the spring, but it didn't happen this year with all that's going on. You've inspired me!

      The dried pine needles are for a herbal remedy that I have laid aside to do ... which at the moment, the name and purpose of are totally escaping me.

  8. In the garden, I harvested garlic scapes and some garlic, so I chopped the scapes and am dehydrating them to grind into powder. A year ago, I wouldn’t have even thought of doing that! But this year, no food left behind is our motto so even the smallest amounts are harvested!
    In the kitchen- I sliced and cubed one of my boneless hams and made a cold ham Alfredo! We will have at last 3 meals for the 2 of us from it! Brought more cream cheese up from the basement fridge. I had found a package of 6 small round steaks that had become a little freezer burned. I checked online and everywhere agrees that they are still safe to eat, so I put them in my crockpot in beef broth (using 2 of my 10 cent clearance cans, DIY ranch dressing mix, beef gravy mix from pantry and some butter from fridge). After 10 hours on LOW, it is juicy and tender and I added noodles to the broth/gravy liquid and it was spectacular! No safe food left behind! Made 2 meatloaves to use some thawed ground beef. One will go in freezer, one will be dinner and lunches this week.
    Shopping: Got 12 two pound packages of fresh strawberries for $1.49/each so I gave 2 cartons (4 pounds) to a widow friend who hadn’t heard about the sale until nighttime on the final day. She was surprised and pleased! I found 2 FF bags of produce- 1 had 12 nice slicing tomatoes and bell peppers and onions and the other had baking potatoes and onions . Each were $5 and each bag weighed over 13 pounds! I started chopping the onions in my food processor to freeze or dehydrate. I counted 20 big onions- white, red and yellow! A win to add to my storage!

    We got a nice solid wood cabinet with doors on freecycle to go into our laundry room for dry storage. Started putting my pasta, extra baking supplies, etc. into it! We repainted it first with leftover white paint and it looks like new!
    Sewing- I’m making another scrap quilt, this time for my next door neighbor’s first grandson. I love that I can use what I have to make something that will bring a smile to someone else! I also gave a pink/black scrappy quilt I made to another widowed friend who had fallen in love with it . My cost of time to make it was a small offering to someone who is now going through life without her dear husband. I am blessed beyond measure.

    1. Gardenpat, I simply love your 'no food left behind' outlook!!! You said it so well without saying it at all!

      Your comments are so inspiring. I learn something new to try or implement every time! I'm getting ready to do a complete pantry inventory, reorganization and cleanup and will add our pasta to the dry storage portion. Don't know why I haven't done that before!

      I have a bowl of onions I need to preserve too! You did really well with yours!

      Love that you're sharing the work of your hands with others. I know those quilts will be cherished.

  9. I’m a fairly new reader and I enjoy your blog so much. My husband and I have paid off our home and we are now tackling some credit card debt. It will be such a huge relief when that’s gone! We live in south Mississippi and always prepare for hurricane season, we lost our home during Katrina in 2005, but have since rebuilt. I never want to go through that again. God bless, Laurie