Thursday, July 27, 2023

Rescuing Dogs and Digging Potatoes


This is Todd.  Todd was rescued from being hit by semi-trucks on the highway north of our town.  Shannon, our very tenderhearted hanai sister saved him while trying not to get hit and killed by the semi-trucks herself.  She brought him home to me and asked if I could help her find his family since she had just come off a 12 hour shift at the hospital and desperately needed to get some sleep so she could do the same long shift again that night.  Steven and I put out posts on Facebook groups and tagged people in the area where he was found along with taking Todd to a local vet to see if he was microchipped.  He was not.  We took him to some local families here who farm up that way to see if they recognized him.  Finally we found out that Todd's family was desperately searching for him and we got into contact with one another.  Todd's very grateful family came to pick him up and brought us a bouquet of flowers as a thank you.  I am so glad we were able to find his family as he is a total sweetheart and the young children in that family were so sad when he ran off.

   In addition to reuniting dogs with their families, we have been busy in the garden digging up potatoes.  The last batch to come out were our all blue potatoes that are supposed to stay blue if you do not overcook them.  I would say I dug up about 25 pounds out of that raised bed.  We also finished digging up the Huckleberry Golds and got another 20 pounds of those in addition to the 20 pounds or so we already dug up out of the half whiskey barrel. The Yukon Golds yielded us about 25 pounds.  All in all, I would say our potato harvest has been very successful and I still have a small patch of volunteer Huckleberry Golds to dig up once they are ready.  It has been hard work digging them all up, especially when you are dealing with health issues like I am, but it has been so worth it and I love the "treasure hunt" aspect of it!

      The garden has kept me busy.  I've been harvesting raspberries, which are thankfully winding down, along with blueberries.  I have also been getting the first of the zucchini and yellow squash and some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  I replanted one of the raised beds that had the Yukon Gold potatoes with bush beans and some spinach.  The beans will help fix nitrogen back into the soil and who does not like fresh beans?  Am I right? 😉  My front garden bean patch is growing like crazy, as are the rest of the tomato plants.  I had to put tomato cages up around more of the cherry tomatoes and it looks like I will need to be staking the Black Crim tomato plants up to the trellises soon.  I still need to do some seed saving on some flowers that I love that have their seed pods filled to the brim.  The apples will be ready in about 2-3 weeks, and I will be busy making applesauce like crazy.

   Meals around here have had to be quick and easy.  Homemade steak fries, coleslaw, green beans and chicken stir fry, mashed potatoes and ham steaks, and potato cheese soup made with the leftover mashed potatoes, have all made their way onto our dinner table in the past few weeks.  Tonight will be taco salads, using up some of the bottom of the tortilla chip bag broken chips.  The taco meat is already cooked and in the freezer, and the cheese is already shredded.  Thank goodness because today I am continuing to work on getting things ready for our town wide yard sale.  I have gone through my closets, drawers, etc. and am continuing to go through my costume jewelry, our dvd collection, cds, kitchen cabinets and drawers. etc. .  Jeff has already gone through the garage and gotten things ready to go there.  I still need to wash down the high chairs and strollers, along with a nice wood dining room table and some toys that our grandkids no longer play with.  If I have the energy and time, I will go through books also.

   Our Isaiah turned 10 years old on Monday and to celebrate, went on a camping trip per his request.  We will be celebrating with him next weekend with a big family dinner and I will of course be making his favorite homemade macaroni and cheese. 😊 Steven, Rachel and Jaysn are on a trip at the moment visiting Rachel's cousin in North Carolina.  Steven was so excited to get to go on an airplane for the first time! ✈  I asked him to bring me home a pretty shell from Myrtle Beach that he finds while beachcombing.  

   I continue to be astounded by the rise in prices for groceries.  Going through the sales ads yesterday, I noticed that the sale prices are double what the sale prices were on some items just a few months ago!  It is beyond ridiculous.  How on earth are families supposed to be able to afford to feed their families at this rate?  I talked to Chris yesterday and he also shares my concern.  He is really hoping to be able to fill their freezers with venison and elk this Fall, as well as fill our's and Jaysn and Rachel's. With four of them hunting this Fall, they have lots of tags they can fill.  

   I had better end this post here and get dressed and ready for the day.  I have a long "to do" list and will try to get through as much as I can.  I am in a major Fibro flare and my arthritis and back are also in full attack mode today.  I don't think there is a part of my body that is not sore at the moment. Even typing this up is painful, but I wanted to get it done.  Enough of the whining on my part.  😜  Let's all try to focus on the positives in our lives and less on the negatives right?  


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

There is Always Something to Do Around Here


   I thank those of you who read my blog for being so patient with me.  Things have been super busy around here and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day for us to get everything done that we need to.  So today, I am making time to do an update on things that are going on in our world.

   Above you will see 2 pictures of a salad that I made for dinner one night and then the filet mignon that Jeff grilled and I served with mashed potatoes made from Yukon Gold potatoes harvested from our garden.  In addition to the Yukon Gold potatoes, we also harvested the first batch of Huckleberry Gold potatoes that we grew in our half whisky barrel.  That barrel was a wonderful place to grow the potatoes and we got a good yield from it.  We still have more of the Huckleberry Golds to harvest that were grown in a row on the ground near the whisky barrel.  We will see what kind of yield we get from that also.  I gave some of the Yukon Gold potatoes to our neighbor/hanai sister Shannon this morning and she was super excited about it.

   The raspberry bushes have been going gangbusters on us and I am picking gallons of berries off them.  I have also been getting a handful of blueberries off those bushes every few days.  The strawberries are at the end of their season here and did not do as well as I had hoped.  Jeff and I are going to put down a lot of compost and work it into the soil this Fall.  The rhubarb also struggled and we got nothing off it.

   We are still getting cherries off our tree, but those too are coming to the end of their season and to be honest, I am really glad they are. 😉  We have harvested and given away so many of them.  This year was a bumper crop year for cherries all over our part of the country.

   Oh yes, an update on the doctor's appointments for Jeff and I.  Let's start with Jeff.  He is going to have to do a follow up on the spot they saw on his kidney.  He will be having another more detailed CAT scan sometime soon.  We are still waiting to hear from the hospital on scheduling it since they only do it there once a month.  Now it has now been discovered that I have some arthritis in my right hip as well as in my lower back (which is really a mess according to my doctor) and I have degenerative disc disease as well.  Oh joy...NOT!!!!  I am now taking Aleeve twice a day to help with that pain, in addition to all my other medications, and it seems to be helping.  It's funny how the Pregabalin does not touch that kind of pain, but helps with my Fibromyalgia pain.

   Back to the things we have been doing around here.  Jeff got the chest freezer all cleaned out and reorganized.  It was a big job, but we both are very happy to have it done.  Now he and I both know what is in there.  We still have to upright freezer to do, but that will have to wait until sometime in August since we are getting ready for our town wide yard sale at the end of this month.  Jeff did get the garage all cleaned out too and we have some of the yard sale things in one area ready to be set out in our driveway when the sale happens.

    I taught a class on frugal menu planning at the library last night.  I only had 2 people show up, but they were a lovely couple that are still fairly new to our area and did not know the places to get the best deals on things.  We had a wonderful time and are very like minded.  They both said that my interactive class was really good and that more people should take it.  They want me to do a follow up class the Fall. Since they were the only ones there, they got the door prizes and we so surprised that I would still not only give them a door prize, but give them all three.  I gave then a book by a local author that is loaded with all kinds of recipes, ideas for free places to go to and enjoy (many of them not well known) in our area, gardening and sewing ideas, etc.  It really is a beautiful book.  I also gave them the :More With Less" cookbook and some of my Tuscan Herb Salt that I make.

   Our weather has been either delightful or way too hot for me.  Luckily, up until now, it has cooled off enough at night for us to just run the vent on our swamp cooler to bring in the cooler night air as we sleep.  That is now ending and we have a heat dome coming upon us once more.  I try to do things early in the mornings since it heats up quickly in the afternoon and I have to retreat into the house and turn on the cooling part of the swamp cooler.  If it gets really hot, I will go over and get the extra air conditioner that Shannon has and she saves for me to use when needed.  That time may come by this weekend unfortunately.  Yes, I realize how very blessed I am to have such a wonderful friend who is so gracious with me.

   I'd better get going and try to get a few more things done before the heat gets to me.  I have my laundry on the line drying but still need to get out into the gardens and check and see how things are coming along.  Be blessed my friends, stay cool and stay safe.


Sunday, July 9, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up


   Jeff and I were supposed to have our doctor's appointments this Wednesday, but got a call early that morning saying they had to be rescheduled unless we wanted to see the PA.  Knowing which PA it was, I declined and said we would like to reschedule.  So hopefully next Monday afternoon we will actually get to see our doctor.  Mine had already been rescheduled once before so praying that third time is a charm.

   Again I have not been good at keeping track of things, so I am going from memory here...

~Jeff and I went to the thrift store in Pullman and found 2 more seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD.  We also found another movie that I love.  In the housewares section I found a double sided melons baller, a beautiful china plate with chickadees on it (I found it selling for $49.?? on, and another old fashioned potato masher.  The craft area had some acrylic paint that I needed for a project and we got those for .50 a bottle.

~We went to three yard sales where I found a chickadee glass hanging picture (this matched the chickadees on my plate) $1, a garden kneeling pad (free), 2 Bath and Body Works brand new sprays in a peach scent and Dalia scent for $3 each,  more paints for $1 for the set, and 2 cute wooden puzzles for our sweet Peyton for $1 each.

~I stocked up on cheap vodka and gin at the Grocery Outlet to make my fruit infused liquors.  They had the cheapest prices on it.  I ended up making a quart jar of raspberry gin and a quart jar of raspberry vodka with some freshly picked raspberries from our garden.

~Grocery Outlet also had the best prices I have seen on different large heads of lettuce.  I picked up some green curly leaf lettuce and a large head of Romaine.  They had their bags of peppers with 6 good sized peppers for $2.98, so I got one of those and a few other items.

~We grilled some marinated boneless, skinless chicken thighs after Jeff got the big barbeque grill out and set up in it's spot for the grilling season.  We also grilled some marinated potato slices.  YUM.  We had 2 of the grilled thighs, the potatoes, baby carrots and a nice big salad for dinner.  I save one of the thighs for another meal.

~It was Heather's father Bruce's surprise birthday party over the weekend.  It was so much fun!  They had a taco and baked potato bar so we had dinner there.  They also had a huge amount of taco meat left over, so they sent us home with a big bag of it.  We made taco salads with some of it.

~The Fourth of July is also our neighbor's birthday so they invited us over to celebrate with them.  I made a big pasta salad to share.  I had everything on hand to make it.  Their grill was not working, so I offered to grill the steaks and burgers here.  We had a wonderful meal and then watched all the fireworks from their porch.  They have a great view of them all, whereas we do not.  It was a fun evening but boy were our freaked out cats happy to see us when we came home.  Poor babies were terrified of the fireworks and Patchy cat slept between Jeff and I that night making sure she was touching both of us.  I think Midgy stayed hiding under the bed.

~Chris, Heather and the boys came over on Wednesday afternoon to pick raspberries and cherries.  Soon enough, Chris and the boys were spitting cherry pits at each other.  I told them to all knock it off, but the shenanigans continued and both Heather and I gave up trying to get them to stop.  Yep, there were some stained shirts after that.  They did manage to pick a lot of cherries and raspberries and the boys are going to try to sell some of them to help finance buying a gun that they want. It is not a cheap gun, so they are going to share it.  Heather and Chris will pay for half of it and they boys will pay for the other half.  Since they do hunt (and are pretty good at it), they do need another gun since they are currently sharing another one.

~Two more loaves of fresh bread were made.

~Jeff and I finally got my hair cut.  It was driving me batty!

~I planted a replacement tomato plant (from my greenhouse) out into the garden where another one had failed.  I also used a strong dried out blackberry cane to act as a barrier to keep the hose from running over the tomato plants that are planted by the trellis when I am out there watering.

~More hummingbird food was made.  I am loving watching the hummingbirds.

~Speaking of birds, I have a robin building a nest in one of my hanging baskets.  I had to carefully water around the nest and was afraid the bird would not come back.  She did thankfully. I think she is getting ready to lay her eggs there soon.  It may be the same one that built a nest next to the garage door last year because it never attacked us as we came and went right past it and is not trying to come after us at this point with the new nest either.  Watering may become a problem though because I don't want to upset her when she is sitting on eggs or after the babies are born.

~Dinner Wednesday night was soft tacos for Jeff and grilled chicken Caesar wraps for me.  Yes, that is the leftover grilled chicken thigh from earlier in the week and leftover taco meat that Heather's mom sent home with us.

~I froze the rest of the taco meat.

~Jeff took another big bag of cherries from our tree into work with him for one of his co-workers that loves cherries.

~I snacked on fresh raspberries, strawberries and cherries from the garden while I checked on how things were going out there.


Monday, July 3, 2023

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 7/30/23

~Steven was here with me and we did that watering in the morning in the garden. 
~I did a load of sheets and towels and hung those up outside to dry.
~After lunch, Steven and I headed into town to run some errands.  First stop was the thrift store where they had their buy one book get one free.  I found some wonderful books for the grandkids and also for myself and my father.  I also found a rolling 3 tiered metal cart that I had on my "want list" for $9.99.  It now houses my garden seeds and other garden related stuff in the house.  Steven also found a nice lego like building set that he and his Daddy and/or Mommy can work on at home.
~Next stop was Grocery Outlet where we got Gummie Bears (I bought enough for treats for Steven for the Summer), some sugar cookie mix for .99 for a large package (Steven loves to make sugar cookies), some garlic and a few other items.
~Dinner was a pot roast and Air Fryer roasted potatoes along with carrot sticks.

~Jeff had to work until 2 p.m. so I worked in the garden for 3 hours.  I was really tired, but I got a lot of work done.
~I picked some cherries, strawberries and raspberries from our garden.
~A large load of laundry was done.
~Jeff and I decided to have a fun "snacky" kind of dinner.  We had Mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and herb salt crusted potato wedges.  We enjoyed them while watching the movie "80 for Brady" on tv.

~Our morning was a leisurely one.  Jeff made us pancakes for breakfast and I had mine with blueberry syrup.  YUM!
~We decided that we were going to have a "date day" so we got ourselves ready and headed to 2 yard sales first thing.  At one of the sales Jeff scored a really nice hydraulic car jack in a hard shelled carrying case for $15.  That was a steal of a deal!
~We went to a botanical garden that used to be well kept and were sad to see that it was not being well cared for anymore.
~Jeff took me out to lunch at one of our favorite places and we then walked across the street to a used bookstore.  I love just looking at all the books and seeing if I can find a new treasure.  I did not find one this time, but it was still fun to look. 
~Our last stop in town was up to Walmart where we ran into some good friends that we had not seen in ages.  We shared hugs and got caught up on each others lives.  Dave, our friend, was able to share with Jeff how to repair one of his tools that he thought was broken.  
~At Walmart, I hit the clearance aisles and found bath towels for .73 each and bath sheets for $2.00 each..  Some of our towels have been looking really "ratty", so picking up a few more new ones sure made me happy!  I also found Fushia plants on sale for $2 each, so I bought 4 of them.

~I got up early in the morning and got a load of linens going in the washer and then hung them out to dry.
~I finally got the kale all transplanted.
~I used a hanging basket that I had here and loaded it up with some potting soil and the 4 Fushia plants.
~I repotted about 25 cherry tomato plants into larger pots.  I am still trying to figure out where to plant them all out.  I already have about 17 plants in the front raised garden bed.
~All the watering for the day was done bright and early.
~Hamburger was pulled out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.
~Meatloaf and rice, along with fresh fruit from the garden made up dinner.

~Raspberries, cherries and a lone strawberry were harvested from the garden.
~Two loaves of homemade bread were made.  It has been at least 3 weeks since I made bread since we have had bagels, hamburger and hot dog buns that needed to be used up.
~It was a hot day so I closed the curtains to keep the cool air in the house and keep the heat out.  I also put on some soft jazz music with rain sounds on YouTube.  It helps trick my mind into thinking it is actually cooler.
~Dinner was chicken salad sandwiches on my homemade bread.

~I picked raspberries and gave them to my neighbor Shannon who loves them.  I just wanted to bless her.
~More strawberries were picked.
~The watering of the gardens was done in the morning.  While doing that, I was delighted to see that my bean plants are coming up.
~The rest of the chicken salad was finished for my brunch.
~Jeff picked 5 gallons of cherries super fast.  I had to finally tell him to stop because he was hurting doing it up over his head.

OK here is where things went sideways fast...Early Thursday morning, Jeff woke me up.  He was in severe pain in his back and chest.  So much so, that it was making it hard to breathe.  He asked me to call Shannon and an ambulance.  Yes, it was that bad.  Shannon came over and the ambulance arrived within 5 minutes.  Jeff took the ambulance to the hospital and Shannon and I followed along behind.  After many tests, a heart problem was ruled out and it was determined that it was in his muscles.  That made sense since he had been speed picking those cherries.  They did however find something on one of his kidneys which may just be a cyst, but we are following up on that this Wednesday.  I was able to add Jeff to my appointment time, so we will be able to just do it all together.  Thursday was spent sleeping and yes, Jeff was home with me per doctor's orders.  Friday he also stayed home since he was still really sore. but doing better.

I am beyond thankful for our town's EMTs who arrived so quickly, to the staff at the hospital, Jeff's coworkers and most of all to our neighbor/hanai sister Shannon.  Shannon helped Jeff and I get through something very scary and, with her medical background, was able to reassure us and explain what was going on.  She became my rock in a very scary situation and I cannot thank her enough for that.  I honestly thought I might lose my husband to something heart related and all I could do in that room was look at him and rely on God to make things right again.  Jeff is still a bit sore but is so much better now.  He reluctantly agreed that yes, he and I are getting older and we cannot do all that we used to do.  He, in particular, is going to have to ask for help from our boys to get certain things done.  This is not easy for him to accept, but it did get him thinking more about how he wants to spend the rest of his life and is having to make some hard changes.  Hopefully there will be no more ambulance rides in our future and that spot on his kidney will just be a cyst.   Now I need to come down off my high stress alert and calm back down so I can get our of this horrible flare.

So there you go...that is what our week was like.