The pictures weren't photo-shopped, that's what the sky actually looks like. One of the many reasons I love it here. These are pictures of our little guest shed that Jamie and Ran built. I think it looks like a fairy tale illustration, as does the delphiniums and hollyhocks growing by the door.
We're a finally starting to harvest vegetables in the garden and are relying on it for most of our food once again. Been a bumper year for peas, which I blanch and freeze because no one likes the canned ones.
So far we've frozen about a gallon of them. I first freeze them on cookie sheets so they don't stick together before putting them in freezer bags, then it's easy to just portion out as many (or as few) that we need for soups and pot pies.
Other crops that are being gathered are broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, green onions, and soon we'll have zucchinis. Getting rather tired of cauliflower, but we had this interesting recipe today for cauliflower cheesy bread to use some up. It was very good and great for those of you that are trying to eat gluten-free. We served ours with some of our home-canned spaghetti sauce. It was a hit.
Well, the birds are just taunting us by eating all the cherries on the bottom branches and leaving those that we can't reach at the top. I finally gave up. Cherries were on sale for $1.79/ lb, so I bought about 15 pounds and canned 8 pints of cherry juice (it can be diluted to make more) using my steam juicer. Once the juice was extracted, I had a lot of mash left over that I couldn't bear to waste, so I plopped it into a jelly bag and extracted enough juice to make six half-pints of cherry jelly. BTW, cherry juice is very good for inflammation, particularly gout. People always tell me that they wish they knew how to can. Well, no one taught me. I learned by reading how-tos and by following the instructions that came with the canners. How I would have loved to have had YouTube back then! Just to say, that if you really want to learn something, there's no excuses now days. Most wishes can be fulfilled by dint of hard work, I've discovered.
Basic Jelly Recipe
3 1/2 C. fruit juice
5 1/4 C. sugar
3 Tbsp. pectin
Place fruit juice and pectin in a large pot and bring to a hard boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) for 1 minute. Add the sugar and bring to a hard boil. Boil an additional 1 minute. Place in sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place lids and caps on jars. Process in water bath for 15 minutes.
Oh! I almost forgot! Eggs were 60 cents a dozen, so I bought five dozen and froze them for future baking. To freeze eggs, you simply whip them up and pour them into ice cube trays and freeze. Then just pop them out and place in a freezer bag. When you want to use them for baking (I wouldn't recommend them for eating) just thaw out and use as you would any egg. The trays I used were a bit smaller than a large egg, which is ok, because most recipes will work with smaller eggs, or use two cubes for one jumbo egg. Now I'm all set for eggs for the rest of the year for just three dollars!
After last week's craziness of entertaining family and friends, I'm happy to get back into our thrifty lifestyle (we spent more on going out for ice cream then I spend on two weeks of groceries!). Rarely do we have a day where there's a monumental savings or a windfall, like buying a scarf for a dollar and selling it for $179, or saving several thousand dollars on a car purchase, but every day we make an effort to save. It can be as small an effort as using one egg in a cake recipe instead of two, or sitting a while longer in the evening before flipping the light switch on. I believe it is all those small economies, that in the long run have enabled us to put our children through college without them being indebted to school loans, and retire early. We definitely weren't born with a silver spoon in our mouths! Some of the things we did this day to save money were to eat a simple meal from the garden rather then give into the temptation to buy something at the grocery store or go out to eat, open the windows and use a small fan, rather than use the air conditioner, hang our clothes to dry out on the line. (and reuse the wash water for plants), baked two things in the oven at the same time so the house wouldn't be heated twice and use half the electricity. You get the picture. It the little things in life that have the biggest impact. Once you start doing them, they become second nature and before you know it, you have built nice little nest egg! Every day we try to do at least one thing to save a dollar. Some days the savings comes from not giving into the temptation (there's a lot of temptation out there!) to spend money and making do with what we have; mending small holes in nightgowns and work clothes, settling for a meal comprised of pantry and garden items when I'd really rather have fish, walking to the post office when it would be faster and a lot cooler to take the car, etc. Basically trying to differentiate between a need and a want. I've discovered over the years that thrift and hard work are synonymous.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Canned cherry juice.
Canned cherry jelly from the left over mash.
Frozen about a gallon of peas from the garden.
Bought eggs for 60 cents a dozen and froze them.
Turned off the air conditioner and used a small fan in the window instead.
Harvested cauliflowers, broccoli, lettuce, peas and spinach from the garden.
Cooked over the fire outside to keep the heat out of the house.
Amused ourselves by star-gazing.
The usual things of eating from the garden, washing our clothes in the old wringer washer, reusing the water, hanging the clothes to dry, walking rather than driving, etc.
Well, that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house! I hope that you all have a delightful week filled with thriftiness!