It's been a busy week as I tick things off my to do list.
One thing I've been waiting to do until it was a decent day with no rain is clean up the car. We had road tar on the bottom half of it, probably from the pot hole filler they put in. We have so many pot holes, they are filling them and even when you try to avoid them, you still wind up running over some of it. So, yesterday afternoon was spent working on the car. About 4 hours later, it looks a lot better inside and out since we vacuumed and put some of that Armor All stuff on the plastic inside and out and washed and waxed the exterior. It's 7 years old and other than a few paint chips here and there, it isn't faring too badly.
DH worked some in the garden too. We had so many gloomy, rainy days, he was very worried about his vegetable garden. We've had some sun the past couple of days and I think the plants are excited.
We were hoping our peonies were going to open so we could put them on graves for Memorial Day. Sadly, only a couple have.
I asked DH to plant radishes earlier this spring and he did so, reluctantly. Well, we've had a few ready to eat and I pointed out how healthy they are for us, now DH can hardly wait to get more planted since we've eaten all that are ready. Funny how when you have to stay home and not go out, your taste buds appreciate different things.
Since we do not have room to grow green beans, I buy fresh ones from the store and can them. I'm about done canning beans for the upcoming year. I also decided to try my hand at making dill pickles. I've never made them before. DH doesn't like them, but I do, so I bought a couple of cucumbers to work with. I was pleased with the outcome. Here is the original recipe:
8 pounds of small pickling cucumbers
4 cups distilled vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c Kosher salt
4 c water
3 T pickling spice
7 heads fresh dill
7 cloves garlic
Place cucumbers in large pot and cover with ice. Let sit for 2 hours. Drain and pat dry. Place all other ingredients in sauce pan and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add to large pot with cucumbers and cover. Put cucumbers in sterilized jars. You can hot water can them if you wish.
I of course did not make this much because I wanted to try making them and I didn't have fresh dill; I used dry so I used less, but they are pretty good and will satisfy my dill pickle craving I have every so often. I guess I continue to be astounded how expensive pickle products are. So, I made 2 1/2 pints of dill pickles for myself for a little more than $2 since I had the vinegar, sugar, dill, and garlic. Figure that is a good way to save money.
It's been a busy week as I tick things off my to do list.
As Ceejay wrote, everyone's life has been touched by the pandemic and everyone's is a little different. Yes, indeed.
DH has put in a little bigger garden as far as tomatoes this year. He had 18 last year. He has 20 this year. We've been enjoying green onions and radishes so far and a little bit of lettuce. Our cool, damp, gloomy weather has not helped. I sure hope we get some sun this week.
I took stock of my canning pantry. I noticed I was about out of sweet relish. We don't use tons of it, but I like to have some on hand for things like egg salad, tuna salad, tuna cakes, etc. So, while at Aldi I bought some cucumbers and some bell peppers. I used the green onions I had on hand. I made 2 pints and 4 half pints. The two 2 pints will be enough for us (I still have a little left from last year) and I plan on giving the half pints as part of Christmas presents. There's a meme on Facebook of people wrapping up rolls of toilet paper for Christmas presents. Funny, but a little of sad truth. I thought, perhaps I could make some food baskets for Christmas gifts this year. In the past I have shared some of our canned goods at Christmas with a couple of people, but thought maybe I could do a little more this year.
I bought some grapes and after using some for chicken salad and fruit salad, I thought I could make some grape juice and make some grape jelly. I have the grape juice made. I plan to make the jelly later this week. Again, a jar for me and the rest for Christmas gifts.
I have already crocheted a few Christmas presents. I am working on a table runner for a friend that I am embroidering. Fortunately I had everything I needed. I guess I could order stuff, but at this point, I don't need anything.
So, anyone planning for Christmas yet?
Cool and damp is our weather. To be honest, with that and the gloom, it is very discouraging. The garden isn't doing well, and twice we have had to cover plants because of a chance of frost. Yes, we knew taking a chance planting stuff so early, but DH needed the garden to help him keep busy. He walks about every day in addition to the gardening.
We did get some of our first radishes on Friday. What a delight. My leaf lettuce still isn't big enough to pick.
One of our local grocery stores has had fresh green beans on sale so I bought some and started canning. It's funny, no one seems to be making a run for these so I don't feel like I'm hoarding or anything. Glad to start building up my pantry. But one thing I realized is that canning supplies are starting to dwindle. I don't need jars or rings, but do need some lids. I bought some the other day at the grocery and then at a farm supply store. The grocery has really raised the price on them. A friend said he went to get a freezer and that every appliance store in town has them back ordered so I guess people are gearing up and trying to have stuff on hand.
I was listening to a news report yesterday while I worked in the kitchen. One person interviewed said her family has fixed so many things and cooked at home like never before and said when things open up, she isn't sure they will go back to eating out as much as they have. I chuckled over that. I wonder how much they cooked before. I think most of us on SA cooked a lot before and treated eating out as a treat.
I certainly those of us with gardens have a great gardening year.
Our weather pattern has been weird. We get one or two decent sunny days and then 4 or 5 rainy, dreary, cool days. Not good for the garden, that's for sure.
DH has decided to try and plant a few more tomato plants and when he was digging in the yard found a wire. He quit immediately and will call about having Julie come out and make sure it isn't anything bad. We can't see where the wire goes. Doesn't seem to be coming from our house or the neighbors nor does it seem to be a part of the electrical boxes. Better to be safe than sorry.
I have been trying to get a few projects done around here, like everyone else. I decided I can officially start on making some Christmas presents. I already had the items, just need to work on them. It gives me hope anyway.
I have run out of library books and basically am rereading some books we have here. A friend left a sack of books on my doorstep, but I have read them already and it was too soon to try and read them again. Some of them were the ones I lent her.
Is it just me, or are you seeing an increase in your grocery spending? I am finding some things are going up. We aren't eating anymore than we did. Don't want to get on that snacking bandwagon. I think part of it is the stores aren't running big sales either. Guess they are just trying to keep up with demand. So, we aren't spending as much doing other things, but are spending a bit more for the groceries. Guess it will even out.
After watching the news, both local and national, and reading stuff online, I often wonder how the food supply is going to hold up. There were stories where dairy farms were dumping milk and Florida farmers were plowing under crops because they could not get their products to market. More recently many of the meat processing plants have had to close due to Covid 19 cases and I read an article in the Chicago Tribune last night where some of the places that do the actual butchering are also closing. I'm not saying let's go hoard food, but do you think it is likely we will have a shortage in the next few months?
I always try to keep a full pantry and freezer, but decided the other day to be a little more organized and made a list of things I feel I need to have on hand. Most of the stuff I already have, but I figure it was a good incentive for me to check to make sure.
Snack foods like potato chips
Herbs: Oregano, Basil, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Celery Seed, Garlic
Anyway, here's my list. Is your similar?
After a cool, dreary week, it has been nice to see the sun yesterday and today. Well, so far today. It's supposed to get cloudy as a cold front moves in with a chance of showers, but right now it is bright and looks springy.
DH is impatiently waiting until the chance of frost passes so he can start to plant part of his garden. We picked up some bell pepper and herbs as well as a few tomato plants before the governor has said lawn and garden places can only sell online or do curbside service. So, we move the plants inside on cold nights and then take them back outside when it is nice. We are getting our exercise anyway by doing this.
I'm impatient about the lettuce I planted way over a month ago. It's been so cold and gloomy that it has come up, but not much else. I have been covering it at night when it gets cold trying to keep it from getting frostbitten. It will probably surprise me and get big all of a sudden and I'm looking forward to when that happens.
We received our stimulus money and we let it sit in our checking account a couple of days and then moved it into savings. Right now we are doing OK money wise. I did order some whipped honey online this week and did a small Kohls order for underwear, but other than groceries and paying the regular bills, haven't been spending a lot. Other than these items, we haven't need anything. Just waiting and staying home, hoping this will soon pass.
We've seen things get a little better at the grocery stores the past couple of weeks. We shop at Aldi and Kroger. It's funny though, Kroger was totally out of flour and sugar last week. We didn't need any, just happened to go down that aisle to get something else and noticed the bare shelves. But Aldi had both. Kroger honestly had regular size packages of name brand tp too and Aldi had no tp. So, I guess it depends on the store and clientele as to what is available and what isn't. I was happy to be able to buy the loaves of bread we like. We haven't been able to for about 4 weeks.
Hope everyone is doing OK in the SA community. Hope you are all hanging in there!
We watched our church's Facebook streaming service. I will say our Pastor and his helpers have done a good job trying to keep things normal and uplifting.
I haven't really had much to write about. Just the day to day stuff. We've been staying around the house like everyone else. Grumbling about the neighbors who don't follow the shelter in place orders who are running and visiting and doing whatever they darn well please.
Like many, DH has been working a lot in the yard. We bought this house about 22 years ago this month. So, sometime after that he planted what were labeled "dwarf" burning bushes. I tease him it's a good thing he didn't buy full size ones since they are over 7 foot tall. Well, one of his projects has been to trim them down. What a chore. I helped him as much as I could. Due to allergies and the fact I sunburn so easily even with sun screen, I don't usually do much outside. But we got both trimmed and the branches cut up and put in lawn bags. Then we had a wind storm with big branches and DH had to deal with those. I'm sure the lawn waste guy wasn't happy to come by our house. But we are not allowed to burn, so this is the way we have to get rid of these items.
I planted some lettuce in two different pots, two different plantings. Both have come up and if we had decent weather this week, I bet one would be ready to use. But we are supposed to get really cold weather this week with a chance of snow. I covered the pots up this afternoon because there is a chance of storms and then possible freeze.
DH planted onions, radishes, and lettuce almost two weeks ago. His radishes and onions are starting to peep through. Hopefully we won't have extreme temperatures. He's worrying about getting tomato and bell pepper plants the first of May. Hopefully the place where he does will have them and be open.
I read that many folks who haven't planted gardens are thinking about it due to food shortages. I see Miracle Gro has an ad about gardening and suggests planting a "Victory Garden" like people had during World War II. Are you planning to plant a garden this year?
The weather here in Central Illinois has been nothing short of gloomy until yesterday. We actually had an afternoon of sun after a morning of pea soup fog. DH got a chance to go out and work in the yard which delights him. He found two baby bunnies in the front yard. They've since moved which is good. He will be planning his garden and hopefully when it warms up, planting a garden and he doesn't like bunnies to use it as their personal buffet.
Illinois has been ordered to shelter in place since Saturday night. Two days ago I suggested to the Facebook group that our subdivision has that maybe we could do a zoo with stuffed animals for kids to see in windows since yesterday was supposed to be nice. One lady took the suggestion and ran with it so to speak...she made a list with street names and which animals, and it was nice seeing families going out with the checklist looking for the "zoo animals." This was not my original idea; I saw it online somewhere else. The best thing was people who normally never say anything would shout a hello if you were in the yard.
I guess one bad thing is I can see some neighbors who are not following the shelter in place order. People can still go to work if their place of employment is considered essential and that's not what I'm talking about. It's seeing people going to other people's homes and having people over or going shopping for non essential stuff. It angers me because it means they are doing this and however many other folks are doing it which is going to extend the outbreak as well as the sheltering in home.
I've kept busy doing cleaning and some crafting. I don't have the ability to make masks. So, I've worked on other items for donations later when this passes.
I think our grocery spending has increased some as some items have sort of increased. Last week there was so little bread at the store we wound up paying $4.50 for a loaf of organic. Granted, it was tasty, but, that over $2.50 more than what we would pay for a loaf. Last week the grocery stores were slammed and there were empty shelves in so many areas. When we went this week, there were many items there that were not there last week, including toilet paper. We didn't need any so we passed. Figured let those who were without get it. It was weird seeing the yogurt aisle riddled though. We eat yogurt for breakfast and although we found some for our breakfasts, not the kind we normally get, but oh, well. Guess it means we are having to be more flexible. As we walked by, we saw the ice cream case was pretty empty. I wonder if many of us will have put on weight once this is over. LOL
Hope you are all staying safe.
I shared this on Facebook this morning. I'm not a sage by any means, but to be honest, I'm a little tired of the complaining and negativity as well as the panic on the news.
I was thinking about our situation and then remembering something in the past. In 1978 I was in high school. That year we had missed so many days due to bad weather. Either a snow day was called or we had early release since many of the students at my school district lived in rural areas. We were supposed to have a longer spring break, but the board of education decided to have us go to school on all those days except Good Friday to help make up some days.
However, on Good Friday we had an ice storm. Power was knocked out in many areas of our county. Sadly, the school board had to close schools for the following week. Like many, we did not have power so we had to rely on a battery operated radio for any current news.
We basically had the phone to keep in touch. My dad went to work, and life went on. We didn’t have the money to go shop. We played Monopoly at night with candlelight and we used the fireplace to keep some heat in the house. We ate what we had at home. My mom found some dry ice to put in our freezer so our frozen stuff didn't spoil. This went on for over a week.
Right now, we are very blessed we have electricity, heat, and water. We can still turn on the television, computer, or phone. There are so many things we can access online and we can order things to be delivered. God has blessed us with so many wonderful things. We need to keep things in perspective. Maybe we can’t go out and meet with friends, but we can still contact them.
Look beyond yourself. If you are feeling lonely, think of the many people who live with this every day. Do something for someone else. Write a letter. Write an email. Give someone a compliment. If you are crafty or handy, make something for someone else. Pray for someone. This may be a way for us to be creative in helping one another. Look at history, so many people have suffered so much more in things beyond their control. Having to sit home isn’t that bad if you have a home. We aren’t living the miserable life of captives in concentration camps. Find some kindness and share it!