Thursday, July 9, 2020
Looking Ahead and Frugal Doings Now and for the Future
Anybody following the latest updates not just in the USA and Canada, but around the world on the covid-19 situation, new plagues and flus popping up in China and other places, and civil unrest along with many natural disasters? Who could have ever imagined that we would be facing ALL of this so far in 2020? Is it any wonder that so many of us have been feeling the "nudgings" to get prepared all across the world? The more I read from friends who are bloggers in this country and others, the more I realize that there are many of us who have and are taking this seriously. The news stations, along with our world leaders and scientists, are warning us that things could become much, much worse before they get better. I do watch news from all over the world and follow some scientists and epidemiologists on YouTube and so far, they have been spot on. I trust their judgement over the WHO or even the United States CDC because they have been shown to be politically motivated in one way or another and I just want straight up facts.
As many of you know, my husband Jeff is home recovering from a total knee replacement. Since we are unable to go anywhere due to my not being able to drive out of this tiny little town with no real grocery store (we do have a convenience store that has been closed for remodeling), I have spent lots of time organizing our pantry and doing other things to try and keep us as frugal as possible. At this point it looks like Jeff will be out from work for 6 weeks minimum. We have our finances covered with money coming in from his employer for the month of July, and then we are in a bind. Because of this, I am trying to put back as much money as I can to cover at least the first half of the bills in August and then praying he can go back to work. We already have a small income, so this has proven to be a real challenge, but we are doing it.
Most of our garden has been a bust this year except for the berry bushes and the apple tree. Oh yes, the peas have done well also, but the squash, peppers, and most of the beans do not look good at all and I am praying the tomatoes will produce something. We do have lots of kale and herbs though, so I am dehydrating a lot of them for future use. Speaking of dehydrating, I am doing the same with strawberries and some sale priced bananas that Jeff did not get eaten in time before the got "too ripe" for him. The strawberries will be added to cereals and oatmeal in the Fall and Winter for me and the bananas can be eaten like chips or powdered and added to pancakes and muffins. YUM! The raspberries are putting on more fruit than I have ever seen them do before, much to the delight of my grandkids, daughters Rachel and Heather and my hanai sister Shannon. Bradley and Isaiah discovered yesterday that if they crawled into the tunnel inside the raspberry patch, that there are loads of ripe berries that they can reach under the canopy of the upper bent over stalks. I asked them if they wanted to pick more for their mom, who was mowing our lawn for us, and they said no and happily gorged themselves silly. They are the same way when they go huckleberry picking. Those boys love their fruit and the Grammie is not going to stop them from eating all they want. 😉 I will be picking some more for their mother though and I have asked if they would like to come over once a week to pick more on their own. There is no way I can keep up with all the berry picking myself. They were very happy about that plan! Of course some of the berries will be frozen for future use, as will the blackberries which are just now blooming out.
My plan at this point is to make applesauce, apple pie filling, etc. with the apples and even dehydrate some of them. The berries will be used in muffins, breads, syrups and homemade fruit liquors. I also am going to see if I can trade some of them for squash from other people in our town since my squash will most likely not produce this year. I need to get more homemade vanilla going since some of it will be gifts this Christmas and I want a good supply on hand for us and the kids too.
As for other frugal things being done around here I have been doing much less laundry with Jeff not working and going through two complete outfits a day. I'm also hanging a lot of our laundry out on the line to dry. Any fruit or veggie scraps, along with any non meat or dairy food waste, goes straight into the compost pile. The grass from mowing the lawn is also added in. I can already see some good broken down compost at the bottom of the pile when I turn it. Yeah!!!! I will be adding this to our gardens in the Spring to enrich the soil so that hopefully the gardens will again produce abundantly. Grocery wise, I had Rachel and Jaysn pick us up some basics that we needed. Milk, cheap bananas, celery, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and a few other things were on the list and only came out to $15.
Meals are becoming "creative". I am digging deep into my freezers and finding things that I had forgotten I had. The other day I found a package of 3 salmon fillets and some raw unseasoned sweet potato fries. I seasoned the salmon fillets with lemon basil from the garden, salt and pepper, along with some lemon juice and butter and them encased it in foil. I put this on the lower rack of the oven and then seasoned the fries with chipotle salt and put those on the top rack. They both baked in there together and came out utterly delicious and gave us multiple meals. I have also made yaki soba going super heavy on the veggies and light on the meat. Tonight we will be having some reduced priced chicken I bought from the Walmart deli and had stuck in the freezer along with some pasta in a pesto sauce along with some kind of veggie. That chicken will be stretched for a few more meals also.
I'm making another stock up list on basics that I will be shopping for when Jeff is able to go back to work. Right now I am working with about $100 for groceries to get us through the next 5 weeks (and possibly beyond), so no stocking up at this point...but I will ASAP. I know this is doable since we are so well stocked at this point and I have extra bags of cat and dog food, along with more kitty litter, so that does not deplete the budget. There is another $100 in there, but that has to be used for medications and co-pays at the doctor's office. Thank goodness for Winco and their low prices because without them, we would not be able to do as well as we are.
As for my stock up list for when we can afford to do it again I have the following in it (that I hope will keep us going for a few months): dog and cat food, kitty litter, more TP and paper products, laundry detergent, foil pans with lids from the Dollar Tree so I can make more make ahead meals and freeze them, more OTC meds and 3 month supplies of my prescription meds, cheese, more flour to make breads, etc. with, coffee, hot cocoa mix, and more canned meats, fruits and veggies. There are more items, but at the moment, the heat is getting to me and I can't think straight and my neck is burning and screaming at me for overdoing it yet again today. I'll end this post here and will be updating on further things as I do them. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!