Hello dear friends! Hope all is well in your corner of the world! Have to say, this is one of the coolest summers ever, but boy! does it ever produce some beautiful big blooms.
In the garden we harvested cauliflower, kale, beets and strawberries. We dried the beets and kale and ground them into our stealth health powder. We used some in guacamole and no one even noticed the added nutrition. :) I also canned the strawberries.
We mainly eat fruit desserts, so we use a lot of canned fruits in the winter and early spring. Here's a simply crumble recipe that works with any of your canned fruit or fresh:
1 quart of fruit (berries, apples, peaches, pears, etc) cleaned, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/2 C. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch (add an additional tablespoon if the fruit is really juicy)
Combine and place in a greased 8 inch pan.
For the topping:
1 C. oatmeal
3 tbsp. brown sugar
cut in 1/4 C. cold butter. Sprinkle over the fruit and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling.
We also made faux Alfredo sauce with the cauliflower, by whirling some boiled cauliflower and about 1/2 C. of the cooking water in a food processor until it was smooth. Added some sauteed onions and lots of garlic. I played with it a bit and added fresh oregano and basil (you could use dried also). We topped ours with a bit of Parmesan cheese but if you're vegan it's not necessary. I don't think it fooled anyone into thinking it was the real McCoy, but it certainly was a thrifty meal, direct from the garden. And a lot less fattening!
this free pattern for our new granddaughter, Violet. The little flower sprigged one is made from a piece of vintage fabric that has violets on it. The fancier embroidered one is made from some old linens that had holes and stains that I strategically cut around. And the pink chambray one was made from a shirt that I bought when the thrift store was having a sale. I think they make wonderful inexpensive baby gifts. Don't you? And the instructions were very easy to follow. One dressmaker's secret is to make the lining a hair smaller than the outer garment. This pulls the outer fabric inward and gives your sewing a professional look. Here's a picture of little Violet (and I do mean little, just barely six pounds) modeling one. She's so tiny that the newborn size is too big for her.
Isn't the internet amazing? You can find so many free instructions on line. I'll never buy a cookbook or a knitting pattern again.
I love to bring the green inside during the summer, but more and more of my garden has been taken over by vegetables so I no longer have a cutting garden and I can't bear to cut the flowers in the borders. Besides I have very limited table space for bouquets and the guys are likely to throw their hats or something else on them. So I get my green "fix" by tying bundles of herbs together and suspending them from twine in my windows.
I love the old-fashioned rustic look of them. Plus they smell wonderful.
Instead of lettuce, which is bolting and becoming bitter, we've been using purslane in our sandwiches. We also gathered and dried it. We also picked a bunch of woad and dried it to use for dying. I have a solution going right now. More on that next week.
On June 30th around 9 p.m. Eastern standard time, you can see the star of Bethlehem, which hasn't been seen in our skies for two thousand years. I'll be watching, only it doesn't get dark here until around 10:30. Hopefully, it will still be visible then. Stargazing is one of our family's favorite (and cheapest) amusements.
GO OUT AND PLAY!
Speaking of amusements, I've noticed that when you send children out to play now days, they just stand around because they don't know what to do with themselves, so I thought every once in a while, I'd give some instructions on common schoolyard games we used to play in the "olden" days, when TV only had two channels and phones were attached to the wall by a wire.
Pick an object in the yard to be your goal. Also choose something to be your "hazard" like a hedge or tree branch. Each person takes turns throwing the Frisbees toward the goal and going through the hazard. The person that takes the fewest throws to reach the goal wins.
I mentioned in my previous post that Ran and I were experimenting to see how low we could get our natural gas and electric bill down to, by doing things like switching off the hot water heater every other day and turning off and unplugging all the electrical appliances. Well, we just got our natural gas bill and we only used $10 of gas for the past month. The actual bill was $19 because the tack on so many taxes and fees, but we're happy with it. Now we are experimenting with our water bill. It isn't the water that is so expensive, it's the sewer fees, which is based on how much water you use. So we are using "grey" water, such as the cold dishwater, and the water when I'm finished canning to flush the commode and to water our plants. For me, this is fun, trying to see how far I can stretch a dollar.
DON'T BUY IT, MAKE IT
I love the scent of lemons, so I made this simple recipe for a solid perfume. If you're a soap maker, like I am, you'll probably have all the ingredients. Love that it's all natural and it's very portable. I would use less beeswax next time, though, it is rather hard.
THRIFTY THING WE DID THIS WEEK
Baked dill bread from our own dill. (my husband made that knife, BTW.)
Made three baby bonnets from material I already had.
Dehydrated beets, kale, woad and purslane.
Canned seven pints of strawberries.
Bought chicken thighs for 99 cents/ lb. that I'll cook and freeze for casseroles.
Made several meals completely from the garden.
Bought several plants (sedums and lamb's ear) from a garage sale for $1 each.
Found the cutest antique pie stand for $3 at a garage sale. I love prims!
For amusements we went for walks and visited with neighbors.
It's been so cool this year, we haven't had to use fans or air conditioners.
Salvaged some lace from old stained linens.
Hung the laundry on the line.
Generally, just stayed home and didn't spend money!
Well, that's it for this week! Hope you have a lovely week!