Saturday, July 18, 2015

Another Week of Summer Fun and Savings!

The peas in my garden are still producing (it has been a fairly cool summer with cool nights and, for us, a lot of rain) and have gotten taller than me.  I tied them to the fence this week, because some of them were pretty loosely attached.  While I had the yarn out I also tied the tomatoes, cucumbers and sunflowers, just to keep things in their places.  I did a bit of weeding and picked some herbs to dry for winter.  When herbs are dried the volume decreases significantly, but this is the second time I have picked oregano, so it is accumulating.  There was a lot of lemon balm, so I steeped some in water (for a lemony drink), and put some in vinegar for making dressings and marinades, and finally, a little in some vodka for lemon extract....I hope.  I will be picking the first zucchini very soon and I am starting to find some wee little green beans on the plants.  I hope to can some for winter - if the season continues like it has, that should not be a problem.

Husband has been sharing his birthday freebies with us!  A couple of times, we have made a plan, picked up his free meals from 2-3 places, then gone to the park for a family feast!  It's been really fun.

I picked flowers from around the yard for indoor bouquets.  I also pulled some lettuces (mostly curly endive) that were bolting and fed them to the chickens.

I booked travel for Daughter and I to go visit the mainland grandparents!  Southwest had some fantastic deals, we got a great price on a rental car, and when it's all said and done, it was pretty much break-even to driving there, except we don't have two days travel each direction.  Not driving 1,000+ miles?  I'll take that!

We went into Big Lots the other day and they had little pocket size 'Skinny Girl' liquid stevia for $1 each.  Each one is 50 servings.  It was a 20% off day, so we bought a couple.  We really like it, so we went back and stocked up!  One day this week I made green smoothies out of kale and lettuces from our garden, peaches and cherries I'd frozen from our trees and two squirts of that stevia.  They tasted good, and it fed the three of us for about 4 cents total!

There was a patch behind our barn that had things in it - a sled, a small wagon, some logs, etc.  We moved all that and mowed the very tall grass.  Once the clippings dried, we raked them up to use as 'straw' in our henhouse and to use as a cover for grass seed we used to patch some bare spots in our yard.  We moved the wood to the firewood pile, put the wagon in the barn and moved the sled (it is easy to move) to a place that was already mowed.  It's much tidier back there, and will be a lot easier to maintain.  We discovered a lovely friend in the straw...see her, near the bottom of the photo?  Sorry, but she's a little camera-shy.  We have since seen her out basking on the straw three times!

Near the henhouse, Husband cut down some rogue trees that were spindly and over-crowded.  The hens will still have shade, but a little more light, which is a good thing.  Since I have borrowed half of their run for protected garden space, this will help the garden plants too.

This wee garden is quite full...and now, a little brighter!

I had 3 dozen extra eggs that I was able to sell.  It has been just enough to fund their food this summer.  My hens are actually money makers, because of the library programs, so we get to have fresh eggs as a bonus!  I keep hearing about the high cost of eggs, and I wonder if more people will consider a small flock.  I know several families with 2-3 hens who get enough eggs to meet their needs, plus they have all the fun of having chickens.

This has nothing to do with frugality or summer fun, but I am wanting to get some quail.  I like the eggs...and I like quail, very much.  I'll be researching that the next few months and as we get the barn cleaned out, I hope to use the 'stuff on hand' to make an appropriate space for them.  I know a man who raises them, so I can get stock from him....if you have any experience and/or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

We took a day-trip and went fishing.  Daughter caught her first-ever all-by-herself fish!  She set the hook herself and landed it too!  She is very happy!  She insisted she would clean it herself, so she watched me clean the one that Husband caught....and then decided that she might try that another time.  (wink!)

Several months ago, Taffy had a urinary tract infection.  We caught it early, I was pretty sure that was the problem, but even though we were proactive, it was still about $90 for the test, office visit, antibiotic, etc.  She started to show signs of a UTI last week, so I looked up home remedies and treatments.  We are giving her cranberries and apple cider vinegar and she is getting better!  I do not like the idea of her taking antibiotics, even semi-regularly, if she is able to heal on her own and have stronger immunity.  We will certainly take her to the vet if she needs to go, but we are encouraged that the home remedies are helping, because in the long run, we think it makes for a healthier pup!  In the midst of all this, I gave her a bath and grooming as well. :)

Now, lets talk a moment about getting apple cider vinegar into a dog.  I can tell you with much certainty that full strength ACV in an oral syringe is not the way to go.  Then again, if you want yourself, your spouse and your dog to smell like vinegar, it works great.  We had much better luck with a tablespoon of ACV mixed with about a tablespoon of peanut butter.  The first time I offered this to Taffy was the day after the oral syringe incident (ahem), and bless her heart, she took a lick, ran to the living room and laid down facing the kitchen.  She returned a few minutes later and took a few more tentative licks, then finished the peanut butter/ACV mixture.  Poor doggy.  Luckily for us, peanut butter trumps the vinegar.

We had sunny-rainy days when there were beautiful rainbows, and we have done a bit of bird watching at our newly assembled bird feeding station.

Just today, I went to the afternoon session of the local garden club's free garden tours.  I decided to join the garden club - it is only $14 a year for the whole family and I met some very nice people.  I look forward to learning and sharing and making new friends.

One of the shrubs on display on the garden tour.

I grow this at home, and I was so happy to learn/confirm that it is tansy!  

We had milk that needed using, so I made this chocolate pudding.  Yum!

What about you?  Did you have a good week?  What did you do to spend less, save more and make do?  Feel free to share in the comments!

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