Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It Was a Productive Weekend

This morning is a bit cooler than it has been.  Without looking at a weather report, I'd say it's in the seventies.  When a person is use to the nineties, they need a sweatshirt to keep warm.

I went out to the garden to pick what is left over from the few plants I have planted.  To my surprise there were more beans.  Quite a few of them.  I picked the ones that were ready and left a few on the vines to turn to seed.  I have been missing some and they have gotten too big to be sweet.  So they will provide nourishment next year.

I found 4 cucumbers.  Two of them were rather large.  How did I miss those while picking this past few days?  Oh well, they're good eating.  I'll save them for my grandson who would be a cucumber if he didn't eat other foods, too.  The sparkle in his eye when I give him fresh cucumbers is enlightening and satisfying.

The basil plant is again going wild.  So I'll be dehydrating a bunch of that today.  Just a few hours in the dehydrator and our family has an organic spice to enjoy all winter long.  I have parsley planted in a pot, but that herb is slow growing.  Parsley is the herb I use the most.  This fall I plan on planting it in the garden rather than a pot.  Lots of it.

I'm saving seeds from the heirloom tomatoes my daughter harvested.  Saving tomato seeds is a bit more time consuming than drying other seeds.  Most seeds need to only be harvested from the veggie and laid out to dry.  There's a link below to demonstrate the process. I have parsley, cucumbers, peppers and tomato seeds drying for next year.  I have a small pot to plant a couple seeds of each in so I can see if they are producers.  I'll do that as soon as the seeds dry well enough to plant.

Also when I couldn't sleep the night before I made some peach freezer jam.  I made three batches in less than half an hour.  The batches are much smaller than the canned jam so I got four and a half pints from them.  I used 14 peaches.

Freezer Jam (One Batch)

2 2/3 Cups of chopped peaches
2 T of freezer pectin
1 T lemon juice
2/3 C sugar

Mix the sugar and pectin in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice to the peaches.  Add the peach mixture to the pectin and sugar.  Stir for 3 minutes.  Put in clean jars.  Let set for 30 minutes on the counter.  Freeze or enjoy right out of the jar.

I canned this peach jam on Saturday.  I used the regular method and did it in a water bath.



I had five peaches left over so I couldn't resist making peach cobbler.  Needless to say I was a naughty girl and had this for breakfast and lunch the next day.  Since the peaches were the free ones my daughter and her boys picked, I felt compelled to share most of it with her.
This morning's and yesterday's harvest.  The tomatoes are from my daughter's garden.  I threw them in the picture for color.
Pictured are the pepper seeds and tomato seeds I'm saving.  The pepper seeds were taken from one heirloom pepper.

Here's a link to my favorite gardening guy on yootoob showing how to save tomato seeds.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Angie's On Facebook

Angie's Frugal House is on Facebook.  Stop on by and give her a 'Like'.  It would make her day!

Go to Facebook dot com and type in Angie's Frugal House in the search bar.  She's just waiting to meet her new friends.

Take Care of the Pennies and the Dollars Take Care of Themselves, Shopping, Part 2

Today I'd like to talk about shopping styles.  There's only a handful of them. 

1.There's the 'I don't have time for this, but it has to be done' method.  This is the not make a list, go to the store and make a beeline to the item, grab it and go method.  That was me when I worked full time.  This is the one most of us avoid.  We like to shop. 

2. There's the 'stroll' method. There's something relaxing about the stroll through the store looking for any item we think we need or want.  I think it's a way of leaving all of the stress life can bring our way behind, if only for a few minutes.

3.  Finally there's the ' I got it on sale.  You won't believe what I paid for it' method.

I have transitioned through all three of these methods at different stages of my life.  I have also learned that all three of them have pitfalls.  I now am distinct in my shopping habits, most of the time.  Now that I see there are pitfalls I'm rather focused when I shop.  I know which type of shopping I'm in the mood for.  Being aware helps me keep my money close to me. 

Years ago a light bulb went on.  I had a choice.  I could make other people rich, or I could keep my resources close to me.  Keep in mind I was always frugal, seeing the benefits of that life style.  I just didn't have the whole picture back then.

1. The ' I Don't Have Time For This' method

Like I said, I went through this method when I worked full time.  My poor husband thought we were going to stroll and check things out.  I just couldn't.  There was very little time for me to accomplish everything personal during the weekends.  I had to do some batch cooking, laundry, some cleaning, and resting so I could put in another  sixty or seventy hours at work. I had budgets to create, people to manage and had to stay after my staff went home to finish paper work or meet with my COO. (Chief Operating Office).  Because we had an open door policy, both she and I took care of employee needs before ours.  The staff was happy, but it made our lives filled with work.  The pitfall is I missed a lot of good sales and coupons.  I didn't have time to make a list so we just bought whatever looked good.  There was a lot of wasted groceries with this method and clothes in the closet that never got worn.  No time to think and plan out our purchases.  Thankfully, we were not the big purchase types.  It was still the thought process of 'if we didn't have the money to back up the purchase, we didn't get it'. 

I began to see the errors of my ways after I read the article about the fabric softener in 2006.  (I posted about this in an earlier post.  Fabric softener is a petroleum by product.)  That article was so enlightening that it opened many other doors for me.  It was that single article that opened my mind to other streams of being frugal.

Is this the way you shop?  Can you find a way to alter your habits in an effort to keep your money closer to you?  Perhaps scheduling time for shopping.  Using lunch hours to go over the sale flyers for any items on your needs list.  (Keep in mind the needs vs. the wants principle.)

2. The Stroll Method

I distinctly remember one time I did this when our lives were filled with so much stress.  I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened.  I had to pick up my daughter from Girl Scouts.  I was early so I stopped at a local store to browse the sale items hoping to find a Christmas gift at a bargain price.  I was 30 minutes late picking her up.  The leader was quite upset with me.

I know I use to use this method quite a bit when I could steal some time away from personal duties.  Raising four children with two chronically ill family members could be quite daunting at times.  So I would stroll when I had the opportunity.  I didn't have much discretionary spending money, but I could always find something we 'needed'.  I have since altered my thoughts on what the word 'need' means.  Today need items are only those things I need to survive.  I'm not saying I don't purchase items I want.  I'm only saying I am now aware of the difference between a need and a want.  Awareness is key to an educated buying decision.

For example, I need food.  Proteins, energy producing carbs, fruits and veggies.  What I don't need is asparagus out of season or a 12.00 a pound steak when 3.49 a pound hamburg will serve the same need.  I don't need 10 pair of jeans when one or two will keep me covered just as well.  I'm not saying to not buy ten pair of jeans.  I'm saying if you have a desire to get out from under the burden of debt, then ask yourself,  'Do I need this, or do I want to put this money towards debt'?  Pennies turn into dollars.  After a while the dollars turn into paid off debt.

3.  The I Got It On Sale method. 

This was my biggest and longest running shopping style.  I really thought I was being frugal when I bought that juicer at a good price.  It never occurred to me in thirty five years I used it only twice.  It took up precious space in my kitchen for years.  It was pushed back in the lower cupboard though.  I could have seeded the free grapes we grew in the yard by hand rather than spend the money on a juicer I barely used.  But, I wasn't mature enough in my thought process to see the big picture.  Now I have time and mistakes behind me to assist me in my spending habits.

I'm writing this to inform young families of the not so obvious.  I wish to help anyone who is seeking help in this area.  I wish Home Economics was still offered in school systems.  I think that's where I got my start - when I figured out what the word economics really meant when it was attached to the word home.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

DIY Natural Garden Pest Repellant

I finally found a garden pest repellant that makes sense to use.  Noreen not only gives the recipe, but also tells you why a kitchen ingredient is in it.


This Week's accomplishments

This week has been an active one.  I have been accomplishing more lately.  I think the lazy week I had a while back made me upset.  Writing a post about accomplishments encourages me to not be so lazy.  This week I:

Pickled five more jars of cucumbers.  I used some from my garden and 16 from the free ones my daughter got from a farmer at the market.

Vacuumed and Swiffered the entire downstairs.  I need to steam the hardwood floors this week.

Scrubbed down the master bathroom from floor to ceiling.

Ripened free peaches from a local farm to make jam today.

Watered the garden every evening.

Washed down the table and bird bath on the patio.

Covered the new blackberries with the cheese cloth shroud.

Cut the grass.  It needs it again, but a rain storm just passed through so I will have to wait until the grass is dry later today.

Did three loads of laundry.

Cooked bacon for BLT's and ate two sandwiches.  Yummy.

Made sauce with tomatoes from my daughter's garden.

Made noodles to go with the sauce.

Picked a very large cucumber and removed the seeds for next year's garden.

Washed and dried the seeds.

Cut up the cucumber for more pickles.  It will easily make two jars.  I have enough small ones for two more jars.  Then all of the pickle supplies will be exhausted.  I have the veggies and more brine in the refrigerator.

Talked to 2 friends and my daughter that lives up North.

What did you accomplish this week?  Comments are moderated, but welcome.

Stay safe.
The one large cucumber nearly filled a bowl to the top.  This batch will be cut in chunks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Take care of the Pennies and the Dollars Take Care of Themselves (Simple Life Series) Post One

A young woman came to me yesterday very upset.  Her husband was being shifted to another site in his job which means she won't be able to work her night shifts. 

I've been trying to think of a way to help her.  I thought if she is having trouble with the changing environment perhaps other young people are as well.  I thought that everyone has been reached during these last few years of economic upheaval, but I may not be on the right track.

In hope to reach young people I'd like to do a series on budgeting and tightening up the household money flow.  Some of these things you may do, others may be new to you.  Either way I'll write about them in an effort to reach those who are not aware.

The first area that you can look at is grocery shopping.  We all know about coupons and sales.  Stockpiling supplies has also been discussed through the media in detail, so most people know about that.  I have a friend who is a wiz at setting up scenarios  to save big money on her groceries.  I mean big money.  She was laid off and focused on making money in other ways.  Looking at the whole set up in an opposite light.  Not concentrating on what she brought in in terms of cash, but what she keeps in. ( She has not been able to find a job. in over two years.)   Last time she told me her savings (she keeps records) it was well over $11000 for the year.  That was just on groceries and house hold items.
Needless to say, I look up to her.  Not only for her efforts, but her research and pulling together the scenarios.  I'll cover more of this in a later post.

Today I'd like to talk about waste. Ask yourself this:  When you go to the grocery do you purchase more than you use?  Are you always throwing out food because there's more in the refrigerator than your family could eat before shopping again.  This may seem simple, but I found out about six years ago that I was buying more of an item than we could eat before it went bad.  I could have kicked myself for going through all those years without seeing my error.  How much money did I throw out in a year? 

I think in terms of annual savings, rather than day to day.  As an example,  Peaches are .50 cents each.  They look good so I buy 4 for the week.  We eat 2 and 2 waste.  For that week I wasted $1.00.  If I did that every week I would throw out $52.00 a year.  On just one item.  Put that together with other foods gone bad and you would be shocked at the amount of money that was wasted in a year's time.  That money could be going to paying off debt.

Household cleaners are another area where we bleed money.  I don't even know how much they cost anymore, but for ease of explanation let's choose $3.00 an item.  I don't think I'm far off.  Most likely under the cost of some items.  I'll choose three items that most households use.

Toilet bowl cleaner, $3.00
Kitchen surface cleaner, $3.00
Kitchen trash bags, $3.00

Toilets are cleaned once a week, or more.  Most homes have three toilets so the cleaner may last about a month.  In a year the cost is $36.00.   This amount appears to be minimal, and on it's own, it is.  I use a few drops of bleach, let it sit a few minutes, and brush the bowl.  Cost is minimal.  Around $1.00 a year.  Savings: $35.00.  Add that to the $52.00 in wasted peaches and you now have $88.00 wasted.

Kitchen surfaces are cleaned every day, at least once.  This item is purchased twice a month.  The yearly cost is $72.00.  I make orange cleaner out of citrus peels (I keep them in the freezer until I have enough.) and white vinegar. (recipe below)  A gallon of vinegar in my area is $2.89.  I use one cup of that.  There are sixteen cups in a gallon.  The vinegar cost is 14.12 cents a cup.  Let's say it gets used up in the same two weeks.  The cost is 3.20 annually.  A savings of  $68.80.  Added to the previous savings the annual savings is now $156.80.

Most kitchen trash cans hold the thirteen gallon size bags.  I'll go with the $3.00 price for a box of 10. (I'm not sure about the amount that comes in a small box.)  Most people throw out the trash every day, whether it's full or not.  So in ten days you've spent 3.00.  That's thirty six boxes a year which brings the total cost to $108.00 plus tax  annually.  I use grocery bags in the smaller can I have for the kitchen.  I pitch the trash every day with no cash leaving my pocket. The savings of $108.00 added to the above total comes to $264.80 annually.  With just four (of the many items a household uses)  the savings adds up to a car payment or a credit card payment.

The challenge today is:  Take time to check into your use habits.  Can store bough items be dropped for a few minutes of time invested? 

Other ways to save:

1.Use dryer balls or vinegar in the rinse cycle in place of dryer sheets or softener.

2. Have a candle light dinner once a week.

3.  Learn how to sew buttons on a shirt or skirt or pants.

4.  Reduce meal portions by one tablespoon per person.  You may have enough left over for a lunch the next day.

5.  Reuse glass jars from olives and sauce (and other items) to freeze single portion soups in.  This provides a quick dinner or lunch for each or your family members.  Just remember not to fill the jar to the top because the food will expand when frozen.

Does all of the research take time?  How about making the citrus cleaner?  Yes.  But, there's an old saying; Take care of the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves.

What frugal things do you do or know about?  It would be so helpful for all of us if we shared our experiences in the comment section.  I have an average of eighty readers a day.  That's quite a nice community that can help each other.  Good luck on your new adventure.

Citrus Cleaner

Fill a glass jar with citrus peel.  Add enough vinegar to cover the peels.  Put the lid on and set in a cool dark place for two weeks. (I use a cupboard)  Transfer to a large spray bottle (The $ store has them) and add an equal amount of water.

Dryer Balls  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Simple Life, Peace of Heart, and Economics

I have been simplifying life since I first read about fabric softener being a by product of petroleum.  That was in 2006.  That simple article led me down a path I knew I would be comfortable in.  I dragged my husband - sometimes kicking and screaming - down the path with me.

It's not that I didn't enjoy the simple life in the past.  We lived in the country when our eldest was born.  That's when I learned how to can and budget and cook from what appeared to be nothing.  But, when my husband got a great job, we packed up and moved thinking we were advancing in our economic life.  What a mistake that was.  We lived on that premise for years until illness took over our lives and I was thankful that blackberries grew on our land.  I stopped spending money on paper towels and anything fancy dancey.  I was on the path at that time, I just wasn't aware of it.  I was so busy being a care giver, I only fell into bed at night thanking God for another day with my family.

One thing I should clear up is I have always been frugal and kept a balanced budget.  So I think I had a good head start, without realizing it.

Realization set in when I read the fabric softener article.  Then the long road of a simple life style began.  Simple, meaning I had to look at every aspect of life.  Every detail of every move we made each day.  But, one thing I'm confident about is when I make up my mind, I just do it.  Simple was different from frugal.  Simple included thinking about what I thought I needed.  Did I need two closets of clothes?  Even though all of them were bought on sale.  Did I need kitchen appliances I used once or twice a year cluttering up my cupboards?  I didn't think so.

 In 2007 I relieved my cupboards of all things unneeded.  Since I was in a forced retirement, I took a lot of nice work clothes to a thrift shop.  That's when another light bulb went off.  If I take my nice clothes to the thrift shop, others must too.  And, this  began my thrift shop adventures for my clothes.  I needed casual clothes, not too many though.  My first find was a pair of Loft jeans.  I was hooked!  To this day I refuse to cram my closet with clothes that may never see the light of day.  Yet, I'm more content now than when I was making quite a bit of money on a government contract and had multiple choices in my closets.  I'm content because I have traveled down the simple life road.

The two words, content and simple, when put together have great meaning.  Together they make the words 'peace of heart'

Stay safe.

Monday, July 21, 2014

An Italian Feast or Eat, Angie, Eat

Tomorrow will be another busy day.  My daughter received some pickling cucumbers from a friend.  Twenty five of them, so enough for a six jar batch of pickles.  I first thought I would get the spices I needed to make bread and butter pickles.  But, I have enough of the veggies needed for dills left over from last week's batch.  So dill it is.

Today I spent time in the kitchen making home made tomato sauce.  The tomatoes came from my daughter's garden, with only one bag left over from my last year's harvest.  The garlic came from my garden and the cheese (sheep's cheese) came in the mail as a gift from a friend.  I have to say it is so delicious.  I soaked a piece of Italian bread in the sauce to test it.  The best.  Thank you, Gramma D for the old world recipe.

The tomatoes were wizzed in the processor, skins and all.  The veggies and sausage was added along with spices.

Here it is, almost completely cooked.  Tomorrow I will make meatballs and add them to the sauce.  Whenever all of the family members are available, we'll munch down on a fine meal.  I think adding  green beans, cucumbers, and tomato salad from the garden and a loaf of home made bread will round out the feast. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Bargain Threw Itself in My Face the Other Day

I don't consider myself a big shopper.  When it's time to grab groceries, I hesitate, finding a million other things that take priority.  Of course, they don't.  I only tell myself that. 

The same goes for any other type of shopping.  But, get me out the door and I am all for finding a bargain for something I have wanted, but wouldn't pay a high price for.  One of those items came to me as I was in a local home improvement store with my daughter.  She found it.  There in her hands was a door mat for my small porch.  The perfect size and the perfect design.  Made out of cocoa shreds and embellished with a fancy letter 'D' that represents my last name.

My heart jumped!  I had been looking for one for more years than I can remember.  And, get this, not 30.00 or 40.00, but 6.96.  6.96!!!!  Woohoo!  I hit pay dirt. 

On top of that it is the same one I saw in a Frontgate catalog just this spring.  You know, the catalog that thinks it's attractive to charge 10000 times what an item sells for on the open market.  I don't know why they feel I would be interested in parting with my money for their bottom line.  Just stop sending me the catalog.  Maybe not.  I get to see the difference in their prices and the real world outlet prices.  Come to think of it, that works for me.

The porch is small so I needed a smaller mat.  The flowers were a gift from a friend of my daughter's.  The debris is a gift from the last rain storm we had.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes, Angie's Way

I wasn't too hungry this morning so I just had a bowl of cereal.  I got a bit distracted so the milk was all soaked up with cereal when I went back to it.  Here doggy, doggy.  I tried eating the rest of it, but had a difficult time.  So Marley had a small treat.

By lunchtime I was hungry as a bear.  What to eat?  Hmm.  Ah, my daughter brought me 2 green tomatoes from her garden.  I had strict instructions that I wouldn't get a green one until at least one tomato turned red and she ate it.  Her tomatoes began to turn red, but I think the dog ate the first one!  The dog thought the tomatoes were her own personal supply of play balls.  She 'picked' a green one and got chastised for grabbing the red one.  To my daughter's surprise the dog sat and ate the red one.

So lunch today was fried green tomatoes and a glass of milk.

I only ate my first one last summer.  I was experimenting with my tomatoes and thought I had been stubborn enough for long enough.  I didn't like the sound of the name, so I would never try them.  I will say I have been cheating myself for years.  They are delicious.  Sweet and warm.  Salted just right, they are a delight.  It took me moving to the South and hearing everyone talking about them to try them.  Did I say how good and delicious they are?

I'm not sure if I make them correctly because I just made up the recipe.  I am satisfied with the outcome.  Maybe you will be, too.

Fried Green Tomatoes, Angie's Way

1 medium green tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 C bread crumbs
2 T flour
1 large egg
2 T milk
Salt. pepper, parsley to taste
Oil for frying (I use only enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Olive oil is not a good choice as it has a low burn rate. (Ask me how I know.  Let's just say the fire department was very helpful.)

Grab two plates and one bowl.  In the bowl beat the egg and milk until mixed well.  On one plate put the flour.  On the other mix the bread crumbs and spices together.

Heat the oil until a speck of water splashed in it sizzles.  (Just a speck.)  Coat the slices on both sides in the flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumbs.  Place in hot oil.  Cook on one side about 2 to 3 minutes, then turn.  Place on a paper towel or brown paper bag to remove excess oil.  Splash a bit of salt on the surface and enjoy.  A small amount of jam on top is also yummy good.

Let me know if you've tried them and what you think.  It would be interesting to hear about the different experiences.

The finished product.  Total time spent cooking and preparing was less than 10 minutes.

I forgot to put the flour in the picture.  I think you get the idea, though.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The First Batch of Pickles is Done

I learned how to make dill pickles over forty years ago. My husband's aunt was very patient with me - teaching me everything from how to pick the cucumbers, how to make sure they were free of any dirt or debris, making the brine, and packing them so tight that you think you have overdone it.  She explained to me that the cucumbers will shrink when they are processed in the water bath.

She was right on all accounts.  She was also a great teacher with a willing student.  I'm thankful for her time and patience.  I had no idea -at the time - that a person could make their own pickles.  As far as my mom knew, pickles came from a shelf at the local grocery store.  Although I found out just before she passed that she knew how to make pickles and a number of other things.  She just hated doing it as a child of the Depression.  Never once in her 89 years did she let on that she had such skills.

Today I made a batch of dill pickles.  Organic ones, from my garden.  I got six pints out of the 22 cucumber's I've collected over the past four days.  There was a time people canned to save money.  Not so much today unless your other veggies come up at the same time as the cucumbers.  Mine did not.  I had to buy celery and a green pepper.  Both being organic the cost was a bit more than it was forty some years ago.

I used half a pepper that cost 1.29 for the whole pepper.  So about .62 cents.  I had the garlic, but the celery was (on sale) 1.69.  I used 3 stalks.   I had to buy dill because I didn't have the foresight to grow it this year.  That was 2.49.  I used 1/3 of the bunch.  I also had the salt and vinegar.  Now that I see it in print I guess it was a frugal adventure.  Added up the cost was:

Pepper, .62 cents
Celery, .43 cents
Cucumbers, one seed, .00 cents
Salt, 3/4 cup, .19 cents (.50 for 2 cups)
Vinegar, 2 cups, about .34 cents (Gallon was 2.89)
Dill, 2.49  I used 1/3 of it, .81 cents

If my math is correct that is under 2.15 for six jars.  The jars were my birthday gift from a family member, as were the lids.

So, yes, I did pretty well on the frugal front.

I used the recipe that I used 40 years ago.  These (the above list) were the items in the recipe.  I double checked in a current canning book for processing time and they had all sorts of added ingredients such as pickling spices along with the basic ingredients.  I dismissed the recipe and used the tried and true one from my earlier years..

If all of the flowers on my plant turn to cucumbers, I will have enough for another batch of six and some for salads and snacks.  It will take 5 weeks for them to set and become pickles.  Well worth the wait.  Yum!

Six pints of yumminess.  I sliced some long and slender for sandwiches, one jar was packed with whole pickles and the rest were sliced.  In five weeks we will be enjoying the fruits of my labor.  This is where my patience is tried!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


There was a day that my list of daily accomplishments would have taken quite a while to jot down.  These days not so much.  But, I stay active, yet mostly do whatever comes to mind.  Many things I just do as part of my day and forget that they are accomplishments for the day.  I'll try to remember what I have recently done.

Learned how to make ice cream from a Pioneer Woman yootoob video.

Learned how to use my ice cream maker from yootoob.

Dried two batches of basil.

Picked veggies each day.

Watered the garden each night.

Cleaned out the table top bird bath.

Cleaned out the milk delivery cooler.

Processed and froze two bags of beans.

Went to the grocery store to pick up dill for making pickles, but forgot the dill.  The cherries on sale got me focused in a different direction.  Back to the store today.

Wrote down three recipes.

Cleaned two bathrooms and my bedroom.

Scrubbed down the kitchen after watching a hoarders type show on BBC yootoob.

Made a medical appointment I don't want to go to.

Explained a few things about life to my baby brother.  He asked, I don't offer advice.

Did two loads of laundry.

Cut the grass.

Drying parsley seeds for the fall planting.

These are things I have done since I've been back from vacation.

Now on to you.  What have you done this week?  Comments are so welcome.  They make me feel like I am meeting new people.  The more the merrier.  Comments give readers - and myself - new ideas.  Don't be shy.  But most of all, enjoy your day.

Stay safe.


This is the video on making home made ice cream.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Harvesting Has Begun

Today is the day I can begin to brag about my garden.  I'm tickled that the bees have found my plants.  They are industrious little guys and a great help.  I can't count the number of flowers I have on the cucumber plant.  I have picked a total of twelve cucumbers from that one plant.  Today I'll need to go get some dill to make pickles.

Pictured is one of the little guys on a cucumber flower.  He soon left this flower for the next.  Oh so much to do, not enough time to do it.

The week I was away was the week all of the plants grew to 'Audra' size.  (Check out the movie Little Shop of Horrors)  The tomato plants are now taller than the six foot fence.  My open pollinated one has multiple flowers on it that look as if they may turn into tomatoes.  The other one looks as if most of the flowers will drop off.  No matter, I still feed it milk in hopes of rescuing the newer flowers.

A lovely sight to see.  This plant has quite a few flowers on it that look just like this one.

This morning's harvest.  I now have enough beans to save for Thanksgiving dinner.  I froze the earlier ones and will freeze these also.  At the moment they're in the sink in cold water starting the cleaning process.  Even though I don't use pesticides I am most comfortable washing them four times to remove all of the garden soil.  Then into a pot of boiling water for three minutes.  Straight into ice water, then dried and individually frozen.  I use the food saver gizmo to pack them in so they will be fresh when we celebrate Thanksgiving in November.
Basil going into the drying rack.  I had five racks of basil to dry when I got home.  I now have had to begin a new container of dried basil.  You've got to love good soil!
This is what I came home to after spending a week away.
The bean plants have been very good to me.  I will harvest most of them, but the plants are open pollinators so I will let a few beans grow to seed for next year's crop.
On top of all this our daughter has tons of tomatoes - all sorts of varieties.  And if that's not enough my girlfriend is sending me (get this) seeds from an heirloom variety of melon.  The seeds are from melons that were discovered by monks in the early 1500's.
So when my friends ask me how I'm doing.  I say very well, thank you.  I feel so blessed with the people and things in my life that I could shout from the rooftop.  God is very good to me, indeed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I Had Loads of Fun, But Home is a Good Place to be,too

I'm back from the wedding and our trip to New England to visit my son in law's dad.  What a whirl wind week we had!  So much fun and a bit of emotion thrown in there as well.

The wedding was perfect with everyone having a good time.  There was a playground on the grounds so even the little ones had a blast.  I found it amazing that my 4 year old grandson, who has a difficult time doing what his mom asks, was being led around by a 4 year old girl he never met.  Whatever she wanted he did.  At least until he got tired of it.  Then I once saw her trying to physically drag him to do her bidding.  He was having none of it.

I saw family I have missed for 4 years and met new members I have only interacted with on Facebook.  It was so good to see them and find they were all doing well.  Strong, healthy, and prosperous. 

My son gave me a gift.  He wore his dad's ID bracelet only to hand it over to me as a gift.  This is not just any bracelet, it was the one his grandfather gave to his dad and he gave to me.  I wore it with my dress and loved it.  The only other jewelry I wore was given to me by my husband the Christmas before he passed.  A most delicate gold filigree necklace.  The bracelet was a heavy silver.  I didn't care much that they didn't match.  I only cared that the men in my life were represented.

There are now two Mrs. Robert D's walking this earth. 

The trip to New England ended at the cozy cape cod home of my son in law's dad.  He's always a gracious host and welcomed us with opened arms and a ton of food.  The following night  after we arrived most of his family came to visit for a cook out.  Lots of conversation and interaction.  More fun to see families happy to see one another.

We took the kids to see the duck farm and feed the peacocks.  It's not my fault they have an ice cream stand there for the kids.  Yum.

The last adventure before we headed home was to Atkins Farm.  This place is like heaven on earth.  Raw honey, heavenly fudge, local syrup and olive oil from Italy.  The gift section had Polish pottery and Burt's Bees hand cream.  Together - in the same area.  The bakery smells were pulling me to the back of the store.  Yummy, apple pie.  Not mine, but good non the less.

This is the only place I spent any money.  I bought raw honey, maple syrup, olive oil, and tea.  Everything cost more than I would consider frugal, but all of the items were fresh and straight from the garden.

I forgot to mention the hotel we stayed in - Hampton Inn.  I was so comfortable there.  It was spotless in every corner.  The lobby windows were washed every morning.  The floors were cleaned too.  The 'continental' breakfast was so much more.  There was fresh fruit, oatmeal, waffles, eggs, sausage, cereal, three juices, coffees, hot chocolate, milk, and bagels.  Since I have a difficult time with most restaurant foods they packed me a bag for the road with fruit, water, and a muffin.  Even after I told them I ate breakfast there. 

The front desk was staffed with bright and social staff.  The pool was warm and clean and the hot tub was divine on these old bones of mine.  We will never stay at any other hotel again when we travel if all of the Hampton Inns are like this one.

There it is.  Our adventure.  I must say even though we had such a good time, there is no place like home.  Even the thunder storms have a sound of their own here.  Thank you all for making our trip so pleasurable.

PS  Brandy S. - it was so nice to meet you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Marriage on Sunday

The excitement is mounting here - in the South.  We're all getting ready to go to our son's wedding.  He's 31.  He once told me he thought he would always be single.  I joked with him that it was difficult to find a woman who could meet his expectations.  His response was that there was no one like me out there.  I'm not sure if it was a compliment, but I walked away with a smile deciding that it was.

Two years ago he found the woman he wanted to spend his life with.  She has children.  Our son has stepped into the role of dad providing the children and his future bride with security, strength, and love.  Real love.  Not the kind people profess and when the going gets tough, they are no where to be found.  He reminds me of his dad.  Another reminder of his dad is the date of Dad's passing is the day after the wedding.  Needless to say he has been in my thoughts this week. 

I hope and pray these things for my son:

1.  That he has the strength to love his new family through thick and thin.

2.  That God's wisdom be showered on his spirit from this day forward.

3.  That God is always first in his heart and he draws from God's strength when he needs to.

4.  That he is as happy as I was with the person I married.

5.  That he learns to pick his battles.

6.  That he takes care of his health so he can live a long and productive life.

7.  That he is reminded of the first woman who loved him unconditionally.

So to you son and your future family, I say God be with you.  Remember to call your mom once a week.  I love you with all my heart.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making Ice Cream Sprinkles

My favorite yootoob lady came up with a great summer project for the kids and grandkids.  She made sprinkles.  The kind we use for cookies and ice cream.  You can check out how to make them here:


The Price We Pay For The Comfort We Need

I'm still on a quest to find two quart jars for the pantry.  Amazon has them, six in a box, for $10.84.  The price is OK, but the prime shipping is not available.  I'm not paying for prime shipping and extra shipping.  So Amazon has lost the sale.

My friend got hers at Wal Mart.  My Wal Mart doesn't carry them.  I don't think I live in an area where canning is a priority.  The supplies are very limited here.  I have two more choices that I need to look into.  Walmart dot com and Lowe's or Home Depot.  I'll have to put this quest on hold until we get back from the wedding up north.  I'll just keep at it until I find what I need at a price I want to pay.

I always set a price for what I want.  Call me stubborn, but there are so many ways we can part with our money.  If I have to part with it (or choose to) it will be on my terms.  Everything in my home has been bought on sale, at a thrift store, is a memory from my husband or children, or given to me as a gift.  As my girlfriend would say, everything in my home is deliberate.  It took me 2 years to furnish my home.  I went without comfort until I found what I wanted at a price I wanted to pay.  All the major furniture pieces were made in this country - North Carolina to be exact. 


One of a pair of matching chairs in the living room straight from North Carolina.  Since I live 10 minutes from the border the cost is not as high as it would be in other parts of the country.  The side table is from TJ Maxx.  What can I say?  The price was right!  The picture on the lower shelf is the one of 'grandpop' that the baby loves to kiss. 

The feathers from my son's first pheasant.  I hung them on the TV cabinet so they were visible.  I can't remember
how old he was, but he was in elementary school.  He participated in a hunting safety course at
the time.
A friend sent me the cross that sits by the front door.  You can take the girl out of Catholic, but never the
Catholic out of the girl.

My mother in law gave me this set of working women many years ago.  They are from her early years
as a wife and mom.  I think of her often - whenever I see the set.

I guess it comes down to personality.  The items we cherish can be as individual as we are.  Just go for a comfortable and stable environment.  You can't go wrong when you are surrounded by memories of loved ones.  All at good price, of course.