Garden Update

We have reached the point of the summer garden that is both scary and nice. Everything has sprouted and is growing well for the most part.  So, we wait until we started getting fruit.  It is scary because who knows what harvest we will get.  But I am hopeful that we will get a huge harvest.

Overview of the entire garden from the back!

We have two beds of cantaloupes and one bed of watermelon. They are growing but it seems so slow to me.

We have lots of squash they are very small but tasty.

Zucchini is growing and we have one zucchini growing!

Tomatoes are growing with a couple of blossoms but no fruit yet.

This bed needs something. I am going to try fertilizer this week The plants are hanging on just barely.

We do have some wild flowers growing!

Big Batch Cooking- Hamburger

We were able to pick up the whole cow that I had ordered on Friday evening. This was 350 pounds of meat at $8.00 a pound.  It filled our entire chest freezer!  The plan was to spend Saturday, processing as much of this meat as possible.

I am proud and grateful to say that we have accomplished this task, with the following results:
21# of canned shelf stable ground beef. These are in pint jars so approximately 1# per jar.
4 meals of Sloppy Joes canned in addition to our lunch for Saturday as well.
30 Salisbury steaks cooked and vacuum sealed in the freezer.
30 Cheddar Bacon Hamburger patties
38 Regular plain Hamburger patties!

For a total of 123 meal proteins ready for use!

Matt even started the day by cooking a big batch of French toast that we were able to freeze left-overs for future breakfast!

I am exhausted but happy with the results!

Five Things Friday

1. I officially have 3 weeks left of work. However, this is my last 5-day week as I have other things happening that require time away from work during these last three weeks.
2. Every Bit Counts- as school winds down, I am starting to work toward a total restock of our pantries and freezer.  This week, I decided to attempt one item a day.  Tuesday- gallon of Strawberries, Wednesday- 10# of mashed potatoes Thursday- 3 # of bananas frozen for smoothies.
3. We are planning to pick up our cow tomorrow.  It is 350# of meat. I am hoping to get around 100# processed this weekend.  I will keep you posted.
4. May is the most expensive month for us. We have car insurance, pool fees on top of end of the year expenses.  We also added Kendall’s birthday party to this year. I am happy to say. We have survived the month and covered all the expenses.
5. Chicken Drama- Wednesday this week, the door did not open. Lily was going to feed at 2pm and let them out.  We have been monitoring and it has not missed again so who knows what is up.   Then on Thursday evening, a dog that we have not seen before was at the chicken coop and growling at the back corner. “Lucky” the rooster managed to get all the hens in the coop before anything went wrong.  We are also struggling with keeping the coop dry with all the excess rain we have been having.

 

Monday Menu Plan

The past several months have been extremely busy. We have been surviving on eating out of the freezers and pantries.  I had to go back to March 4th to find a menu plan.  Trust me we have had a plan almost every week or we would not have survived. As of today, my focus changes from using up meals and surviving to beginning to restock the freezers and pantry for the next school year.  We made a trip to Costco yesterday and purchased 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 pounds of bananas as part of the restocking process. We are also supposed to pick up our cow this weekend.  You will notice that the menu is basic and simple. I still have 3 weeks of work left.

Breakfast- Saturday- Breakfast bowls Sunday-I had grits and egg and others had pop tarts.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it (breakfast burritos, muffins, oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs).  I made a couple of bowls of the egg scramble from Saturday morning, and we bought Costco muffins as well.
Lunch- Saturday- Chicken nuggets and French Fries.  Sunday- Red Robin   Monday, Tuesday, -Wednesday, Thursday I have a chicken cucumber wrap and left-overs.

Dinner- Saturday-Egg rolls and chips and Salsa.    Sunday- Costco chicken, stuffing, fresh squash and cranberry sauce.  Monday- Baked – Mexican rice and cheese quesadilla   Wednesday- Pork Chops with Mac and cheese  and  apple sauce .  Thursday-Grilled chicken salad   Friday- spaghetti and garlic bread.

Sunday Garden Update

Warning 20 pictures to view!

We have been enjoying a couple or 5 snap peas on a daily basis! This are so good and tender that they never last long!

Our squash plants are alive and thriving!  We were able to use these three small but delicious squash as part of our dinner.  I did buy these starts and will plan to seed save for next year!

These are zucchini plants they don’t have blossoms yet, but they are beautiful.

We have approximately 100 green bean plants that are at different stages but are looking great.

Peppers are looking great with small peppers on the one bell pepper plant I purchased!  The pimento plants also have a small start.  Most of our pepper starts have survived and hopefully will get larger soon.

The tomatoes are now way over the beds in just a week. The Cherokee purple and roma tomato have blooms!

This is our fail.  Both the cherry tomato plant and the pepper plant that I put in this bed are basically dead. I purchased another cherry tomato plant on Saturday so I hope it will survive!

The cucumbers are at very different stages but they are growing and green!

We did add mulch to our blueberry bed which is looking very promising especially this one!

Current view of the back garden area!

 

Garden Update

 

I am so excited to post this update!  We have had almost a solid week of rain with more expected in the coming week. Tomato’s have taken off! They have officially peeked over the top of their beds!

Wildflowers are going in front of the tomatoes.

We have about 10 baby squash, we are diligently attempting to keep the squash bugs away. We are using coffee spray and trying this cloth as a barrier. Three zucchini plants have survived not flowers yet!

24 cucumber plants have sprouted from seed with an additional 2 self seeding and I moved to be with the others!

Peppers do not like rain but these plants have started to bouncy back. This weekend we found Ashe County Pimento plants and have plant those in a different bed. We also went back and plant 7 more wax pepper seeds.

We have two containers of cantaloupe plants from the seeds we saved last year!

Five watermelon plants are hanging on as well!

This bed is in front of the house, it currently has 4 broccoli plants, snap peas, a cherry tomato, a pepper and basil has finally spouted!

Cherokee purple tomatoes and another cherry tomato.  One wax man pepper and we planted alot more!

Finally the green stalk is blooming!

 

5 Things Friday- Summer is Coming

  1. I officially have 5 weeks left to finish out the school year!  I will have one holiday and two other days that I will be off during that time.  I can do it. Lily is starting her new summer semester next week.  Kendall has three weeks and a week of exams. Zach has 4 weeks.  Kendall and Zach will both be heading to camp during my last week of work.
  2. I have alot of things I want to get accomplished during the summer including re-stocking our freezer and pantries if needed. I purchased 50# of flour today to get the process started. I am hoping that by spreading out the expense we can maintain and even lower our grocery budget for the year.
  3. We plan to purchase and receive a whole cow in two weeks. This means that I have been spending some time trying to clean out and re-arrange our freezers.  Currently our chest freezer is unplugged. I am working on the freezers in the house as well as continuing to eat food from the freezer in the building. We wil be having steaks for dinner tomorrow just for that reason.
  4. I brought out a whole chicken last week. I cooked it on Thursday and even Lily said it was some of the best she has eaten.  I decided to start our stock up this weekend. I cooked chicken stock in my roaster oven Thursday night. I have been working on pressure canning it this evening. We will end up with 5 quarts and 25 pints of chicken stock!
  5. We will be having the floor measured in the kitchen and dining room this weekend. This has led to us cleaning the canning closet, kitchen pantry and most of the laundry room!   Organized stuff makes me happy!

Gardening Update

We have several days of humid rain, no storms but just rain but it has been perfect for my garden!  I was excited to see that we have green beans that are starting to grow! We also have pea blossoms!

The tomatoes are starting to take off as well. I was not going to take any pictures this week but I had to because of the progress! I bet by next week they will be seen over the top of the boards!

I am very pleased with the progress of the Greenstalks!

Saving on Saturday!

Sometimes to save money you have to spend money. This is the case for today!  Lily, Kendall and I were at a women’s conference this morning. Matt and Zach worked on my canning closet!  Matt has added three more shelves to make room for lots of spaghetti sauce and other canning projects that I want to do this summer!  I am so excited to  have everything labelled and put in place.  The total cost was approximately $80. But I found several items I had forgot about and this will save lots of time and money this summer!  I was also able to confirm that I do not need to purchase jar!  I have around 6 dozen unused ones!  Goal for the summer will be to use up all the available jars!

The second way I am saving money this week is by shopping a sale. My mom text me last Thursday to let me know that Food Lion, would have 2 Liter Diet Cokes on Sale for ninety nine cents.  This is the best deal I have seen in almost a year!  So I sent Matt and Zach for the first round. They were able to grab a total of 8 between the two of them. Matt used some “reward points” for his four!  The second stop was all 5 of us for 20 more bottles and the third stop was another 20 bottles. We were surprised to learn that we had earned another $3 in reward points. So I ended up paying 81 cent a bottle and saving over $105 by purchasing all of these on the same day!