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Archive for July, 2020

Homemade, home grown, home canned are not free

July 27th, 2020 at 09:26 pm

I apologize in advance for this rant. I'm tired and hot and frustrated.

I enjoy either crocheting, loom knitting, or doing embroidery. Many of the items I make take time and materials. Materials that are not cheap. I try to make individual gifts for people that I think might like them. I also work on hats and scarves and dish cloths for my church's knitting group that we donate to area nonprofits.

My husband took up vegetable gardening late in life. He has always loved gardening, but never thought he could grow vegetables. I suggested he start with a couple of tomato plants, then he would get onions, then bell peppers, and herbs. We don't grow our own from seeds, so most of the stuff we have to buy as plants or in the case of onion sets. The only thing we do get from year to year is garlic; a friend gave us some starts a few years ago and when we pick it, I save enough back to plant more. As many of you know, a garden is not free food. You buy the seeds or plants, you spend a lot of time working the soil, you fertilize and water and weed. You worry about too much sun, too little sun, too much rain, too little rain, too much wind, hail, and varmints eating your stuff. It's a lot of industry, but for some, it is worth it.

I started canning tomatoes a few years ago because DH got a good crop. I had to buy jars, rings, lids, as well as the canning supplies. As DH has started planting more plants, I had to buy more supplies. Granted, I haven't bought many new jars as far as quarts and pints because I have really stocked up on them, but I do have quite a bit of money invested because I can a lot of things besides tomatoes.

I am absolutely shocked when someone claims that the tomatoes I canned were free. I asked what do you mean, free? He said that they came from your garden. Yeah, the garden DH spent lots of time working on not to mention the water, fertilizer as well as tomato cages and the cost of the plants themselves. I said canning them wasn't free either, and it was hot, messy work. It means bleaching my sink before I start, bleaching it after, and washing and sterilizing jars that I have washed before, but you can't be too careful. Then this person whom I had stupidly given some jelly I made said well, you didn't spend much on the jelly. I said, have you priced what goes into jelly. He had no idea. And I had to beg this person to return my jars because he didn't think they cost that much and felt he could just pitch them!

DH planted lavender and I made some jelly. Not a ton, but I wanted to try the recipe. One gal who has culinary training and is always throwing in my face she's a chef said she'd take a jar off my hands. I wasn't offering her any. I was making conversation that I had tried a new recipe.

Last year I canned so much, I ran out of room for storing, so I emptied shelves and stacked up dishes and stuff to put the stuff away. I can't say we would have had the best and most varied diet, but when the grocery stores had empty shelves, we had plenty of applesauce, green beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and jellies.

So, I wonder why people think homemade, home grown, or home canned are free?

Photographs and Memories

July 19th, 2020 at 09:28 pm

When I was a little girl, my dad would take me to Fairfield, Iowa, to visit my great aunt during the summer. I would stay a week with her. She lived in this old house that had been made into three apartments. I remember loving that old house with the huge glass in the front door, the beautiful woodwork, and the light fixtures. Huge evergreens flanked the driveway. My aunt's apartment had a turret and that was her bedroom closet. The people who lived on the first floor had a huge apartment with a side porch. It was a nice time and a beautiful house. Sadly I only got to visit a few summers until she got very ill.

One of the projects since I've retired is to go through photographs. When I was a classroom teacher, I would invite people to come and speak to my class and take photographs. When I retired, I went through these photos and mailed them to the people who were in them, some from 30 years before. I figured they might enjoy seeing them.

Anyway, I ran across the 4 photos I took during the summer of 1970. I would have been 9 years old that summer I spent with my great aunt. I had taken two photos of the outside of that glorious house and two inside. One of the ladies who lived on the first floor and this one showed the lovely fireplace mantle and vintage chandelier. The other was one I sneaked of my aunt in her apartment; she wasn't happy with that. These photos were taken with an Instamatic? Remember those? So, a 9 year old with an Instamatic, not exactly quality shots, but still a little remembrance. I wasn't allowed to take many photos when I was a kid because it was expensive to develop film.

The other day I decided to Google the address to see if the house was still standing. To my amazement, Zillow had it, said it was a single family home, and had a recent photo of the outside. I was pleased it still looked nice.

I decided to be bold and I wrote a note addressed to the owners of the address and included the photographs and wrote about my staying there with my aunt and the two ladies who lived below my aunt's apartment. I started the note with "I am not wanting or expecting anything so please take the time to read my note." I explained I was 9 when I took the photos, but I talked about how lovely I thought the house was even then and I was delighted to see it was a single family home. I expected nothing in return.

I received a pleasant surprise. The owner wrote back and talked about how they love the old house, that the woodwork is still intact as is the vintage ceilings and light fixtures and how much they love the home. She thanked me for the photos.

I realize this has nothing to do with finances. However, it made me remember some good times of my youth and how happy I was to learn about the house and that it is still faring well. I think sometimes we need to stop and think about things in our lives and how they can bring us satisfaction or happiness.

Sunday, Sunday

July 12th, 2020 at 06:01 pm

We had quite the storm last night -- high winds, hail, rain, all in a matter of minutes. Due to the storms, many were without power in our area. We were fortunate that ours only flickered a couple of times, but just a couple of streets over, they were without power for hours. DH was absolutely worried about his garden. I think most of it fared well.

We went to church. Some could not make it due to the storm damage. One couple was blocked in their own place due to a fallen tree. I guess some of the streets were blocked and people had to go around or stay home. We are only having a limited number of people attend anyway, skipping every pew, have to use hand sanitizer when we go in, and wear masks throughout. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to be able to worship in our sanctuary and visit from a distance.

DH is out cleaning up some of the storm debris. Lots of leaves were torn from trees. Some leaves are from trees that are not ours so we wonder how far they came from.

I continue to make softer foods for DH to eat as he awaits having a root canal the 27th. We had chili last night. I made a big pot and after he said, we can just have it again tomorrow night -- this worked great. Fine with me. I'm using tomatoes I canned last year and onions and herbs form the yard. Figure it has to be fairly healthy with all the vegetables.

Our garbage bill went up a dollar. They had been warning us the prices would probably go up so I was pleased it was only a dollar. This is for every two months so I guess 50 cents a month. It seems like everything else has risen and in far greater leaps than this.

It's going to be a busy week for us. I'm seeing the allergist for my yearly checkup and we have hair cuts scheduled. This is our second hair cut since our state has allowed it. I'm sure the stylists and barbers are happy to be making money again. I'm not a person who spends a lot of time my hair and since we have to wear masks, my gal suggested we do something very simple because the mask would probably negate anything I would do as far as straightening my hair. For awhile I didn't do anything since we didn't go anywhere.

Hope you have a good week.

Happy Friday!

July 10th, 2020 at 09:30 pm

The week is starting to wind down. DH is out in the yard. He's mowing since it is a tad bit cooler and less humid. We had horrible heat and humidity last weekend and most of this week. He spent some time watering his garden before the mowing and we had a few tomatoes to pick! Most were cherry, but homegrown is homegrown, right?

There's something gratifying about going to the garden and getting a few things to use. I pulled up some onions that I'm going to use for a meal. I will be getting some herbs to add the spaghetti sauce tonight. It's my canned sauce, but I think fresh Basil tends to add to it although when I made it, I had cooked it with Basil.

Yesterday the looming group church met for the first time in months. There was a small group, we sat at a table each so it was like more like ten feet apart, we wore masks, used hand sanitizer before we sat down and used it again on the way out. The church hired a lady to come in and sanitizer the tables and chairs for every group that uses the room. But, it was so fun to catch up and visit with people. Many have been working on hats and scarves and they brought them. Our totals are as follows:

Hats: 585
Scarves: 223
Baby hats: 54

I don't think we will make as many hats this year as we did last year, but we aren't in a contest nor are we trying to break records. Another church had brought us a huge amount of dish cloth cotton so two of us have been making dish cloths. We are going to donate the lot to a local food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. This year I think we will have enough for every basket to get one. I know it's not a big thing, but I would think if I were on the receiving end, it would be nice to get a little surprise like that.

DH has had some tooth problems, so we are trying to have foods that don't aggravate his tooth. Lots of soft stuff. Glad I canned applesauce and tomato sauce last year. I know any money we are saving on food now will be more than taken and then some as he has a root canal and a crown, but that's why we save on other things.

I went to the Chobani site and did the "contact us" and asked for coupons. They are very generous with coupons and encourage me to write in each month. Talk about wanting to keep customer loyalty.

It's been great that our library has opened up. Not entirely, but I can still go and pick out books. I missed reading when the library was closed. I hate to buy books for my personal reading. I tend to read a lot and don't want to buy books that I will only read once. I finished book #58 last night.

We went to some thrift stores. I found a box of nice greeting cards for next to nothing. They were older, but that is fine. Made in the U.S.A. Yay!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. DH is almost done with the yard and I have the biggest share of the house cleaned. A good way to start the weekend off!

Going From Broke

July 7th, 2020 at 03:15 pm

It's hot and I don't handle heat well. DH went to the mall to walk so I actually had control of the TV remote. I was messing around and saw a show about paying off debt on Crackle. Crackle is a free streaming service so I figured I would check it out.

It was pretty interesting. Kind of reminded me a little of Gail Vaz Oxlade's "Till Debt Do Us Part." I wanted to check out the host who is CEO of Chegg which I had never heard of before. Apparently Chegg is some sort of educational resource for folks so it makes sense the person wants to help 20 some year olds with their debt, especially those with student loans.

Here is the website for the show and it looks like there are different sites to help people with information:

Other than that, not much new or exciting. DH has been seeing the dentist and there is a root canal and a crown in his very expensive future. I'm reading book #58 so far this year besides doing the crocheting and looming for church and keeping up with housework around here. We've had a few cherry tomatoes from DH's garden and some onions.


July 1st, 2020 at 11:57 pm

We have received a couple of rebates. One was from Menards for some things we purchased for a new sink and faucet. We didn't really need anything as far as home improvement stuff, but then I thought about it and decided to use the money to buy paper towels, facial tissue, and toilet paper. I figured that is stuff we would buy anyway and why not use this "found money" to purchase it?

DH uses Miracle Gro garden soil to enrich his garden and they had a rebate of $2 a bag. He bought ten bags, so that meant $20. We got the rebate for it and I'm going to put it in the home improvement savings account.