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Thursday, October 28, 2021

My Week: It's Definitely Fall Now

Last Friday, I made a Walmart pick-up order in the morning. The parking lot was about half full, and I was the only pick-up while I was there. They were out of a couple of items on my list and made substitutions with more expensive brands. Our state has implemented a plastic shopping bag ban in stores and all stores must now charge a bag fee. This went into effect on October 1. My family and I have since made pick-ups at a few different stores and have had differing experiences with the bag ban. With pick-up orders, most stores allow the option of not using their bags and having the employee transfer the merchandise to your own bags, avoiding the bag fee. The information for a bagless pick-up is not always easy to find on the order form. At Walmart, I have so far avoided the per bag fee, by ticking the bagless box on the form. However, they've continued to use bags and not charge me the fee. At other stores, I've either paid a per bag fee or had small numbers of items transferred to boxes or bags set up in my trunk. 

In the evening that same day, we had our usual pizza and movie night. We watched Beetlejuice, which seemed appropriate for the Halloween season.

Saturday was a day of puttering. I got quite a lot done and felt productive. I had been thinking about using the preserved figs and decided to try pureeing them and mixing them with the last of a jar of applesauce. I used our smoothie blender to get a good puree. There wasn't much applesauce in the jar, so this was mostly green figs. The flavor was flat and color was a little off-putting (pale green applesauce), so I doctored it up with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. We all enjoyed this very much and I plan on making another batch to go with tonight's dinner. I think this would be a good solution for other fruits that don't seem popular in my household that we wouldn't want to waste. I have some pears in the freezer that I've been avoiding, but now think I'll puree and mix it with applesauce.

I made a delectable pot of tea over the weekend, using 1 cheap black tea bag and some lavender from my garden. I've mentioned this before, black tea with lavender tastes a lot like Earl Grey tea to me. I was able to get several mugs of tea from that pot.

I potted the tomato cutting that I rooted in water and have noticed it now has some new growth! I don't know if I'll be able to keep it alive long enough to actually grow a tomato or two, but I'll give it a shot. not only can I see new growth, but there are also the teeny tiny buds just beginning to form. This just might work . . .


Also this week, I picked the last 2 green pumpkins. One of the pumpkins has a slight yellow cast under the green skin. This one may ripen fully to orange, given time. The other pumpkin I'm not so sure about. I'll wait another few days to see if it, too, shows signs it could ripen before deciding if I should cook it as a green pumpkin or wait. I took a long length of vine with each pumpkin, with the hope that a long vine would continue "feeding" the fruits for a couple of days. Both pumpkins are sitting in a south-facing window, not that that would help with the dark and dreary days we're having this week, but a little extra light nonetheless. So, my morning ritual of going out to the pumpkin patch to check on my pumpkin babies has come to an end for this year. 


My new morning ritual is to check on my radish babies. The radishes are not only growing greens, but several radishes are now developing red, bulbous roots.

Later in the weekend I watched the Christmas edition of Victorian Farm. This was very interesting. The crew celebrated Christmas in the Big House -- the landowners home. Everything was much more elaborate than the humble celebration shown in a previous episode, from gifts, to gift wrap, and the foods eaten. I have made plum pudding before and may try it again this year. My recipe for plum pudding looks a lot like their recipe for Christmas pudding.


I packed up most of my collected seeds, using repurposed envelopes from solicitations for donations. We get a lot of requests for donations to various causes. I save the inside envelopes for purposes just such as this -- something to hold small items.

My new computer arrived, and I can't believe how much easier this is to use! I should be able to do some things with this blog that weren't possible with my last computer. I answered a lot of questionnaires to earn enough for this new computer!

On Wednesday, a bunny managed to get into a fenced area where the Brussel sprouts are growing. I spent a good hour fixing the fence. Fortunately the bunny didn't do too much damage to the sprouts. He did, however, manage to clean out the Swiss chard in another bed. Oh well, I can let a little garden produce go for nourishing our cute critters. I will, however, work on fencing for all of the beds before planting in the spring.

Our natural gas company is now sending out audits where they compare your natural gas usage to that of similar homes in the area. It didn't surprise me that our usage falls very low in comparison to other homes. We do keep our home on the cool side and we try to take shorter showers. While their comparisons were interesting, I think that their analysis doesn't take some things into consideration. The utility company doesn't know how many people live in each house (more heated showers or loads of laundry) or how well insulated each home is. In addition, some folks need to keep their homes warmer in winter. I don't think a utility company should be guilting some folks about their natural gas use.

My baking this week included 2 large loaves of French bread (instead of sandwich bread, for a change of pace), blackberry and rhubarb crisp (using frozen fruit from the summer's garden and foraging), no-egg pumpkin snack cake, and a batch of brownies. It seems to take a lot of baking to keep my family full! I also made a batch of yogurt on Thursday. I'm still using decedents from the same original yogurt as my starter, freezing a few cups of freshly-made yogurt every other month.

More baking, a garden coming to completion for the season, the furnace running daily, and lots of rainy days -- this definitely feels like fall is here.

What have you been up to this past week?

Two more posts this week:

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers For the End of October

Making Instant Cocoa Mix


13 comments:

  1. We have had a bag tax here for years now. We use plastic grocery bags when we clean the litter boxes, so our supply has dwindled. However friends, who live outside of the area, save their bags for us and so far we've had enough.

    We don't have gas, but our electric company does a use comparison like the one you described. I'm not sure what the motivation is for the information, but I find it interesting. We are usually average or below, but as you said there are a lot of variables than go into usage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      The city of Seattle has had a bag fee for years, but this has just now gone statewide. That's nice that you can get plastic bags from friends outside your area. We use the plastic grocery bags to line the kitchen trashcan. Fortunately, we have a large supply that should last a couple of years. But I do remember my parents used paper grocery sacks for kitchen garbage, as there weren't plastic ones from stores at that time. So, I guess we'll figure something out once our plastic bag supply is used up.

      Yeah, I thought the "audit" was interesting, but I can really see the flaws in their process. And I don't like the idea of the utility company making some people feel guilty for using something that is a necessity.

      Delete
  2. We don't have a bag ban yet but if it's happening elsewhere then I'm sure it will trickle to us sooner or later. I use mostly reusable bags for most of my shopping anyway but it's only 2 or 3 of us. I'm not sure how that would have worked with a younger family of 5 from my years past. I would have a van full of groceries every other week.

    I bought a bag of dried figs and we don't like them at all. They are so bitter. I put them in the freezer and will find a way to use them.

    We make bread often also. I alternate between different types. French bread, sandwich loaf bread, no knead, buns, biscuits, etc. And I found a bag of hamburger buns in the freezer that were not looking fresh so they turned into a bread pudding that was eaten within 12 hours. Chocolate brownies with a bag of chocolate chips I found in the freezer, peach cobbler with the last of the peaches that weren't so tasty, raspberry pretzel dessert.

    Alice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      Good save on the stale hamburger buns! Every so often, I clean out the freezers and find a bunch of small bits of different breads, mostly crusts. Those usually go into bread pudding or bread stuffing.

      You could try rehydrating the figs then pureeing them to add to a quick bread. If the bread is spiced, that could cover up the bitter taste of the figs. Good luck with this!

      Before the lockdowns and me using pick-up service for grocery shopping, I mostly brought my own bags to the store, as one store offered a per bag reuse rebate. The incentive was enough for me to reuse bags as much as possible.

      Delete
  3. I wish our WM pickup had the option of no bags. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves about the service-too many bags! It’s strange because when I worked at WM they were always telling us to be sure to fill the bags, and use good judgement when double bagging. I usually use reusable bags when shopping, but do like to have a few plastic around. When my dd lived in New Mexico they stopped allowing plastic and she missed having a few so I’d take some down to her lol. Montana is not an environmentally conscious state so I don’t see us banning them any time soon. I took a couple reusable bags with me to Spokane last week, not even knowing WA had changed the law. Yay me lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane,
      Our Walmart and Kroger sometimes use too many bags and sometimes use too few with pick-up service. I just don't get why someone would only put 2 or 3 items into some bags, then a a dozen cans into another bag. All I can think is they are trying to work as quickly as possible and tracking the bag-use just doesn't factor in. But for pick-up, now, there's a box I can check for no bags, which is a great option for me.

      Oh, great thing you brought your own bags to Spokane! Saved yourself some change, at least.

      Delete
  4. Hi Lily, thank you for another lovely post. May I request to share the no egg pumpkin snack cake recipe, please? Thank you, in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Farhana,
      Here's the post with the recipe for no-egg snack cake. There are several variations, so scroll down the page to find the one for pumpkin-spice.

      http://www.creativesavv.com/2016/10/double-chocolate-snack-cake-with-4.html

      Enjoy!

      Delete
  5. When I was young my mother lined her trash can with newspaper. She also used that same can as a mop bucket so it was always clean and fresh. Just an idea if someone wants to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my jobs when I was little was lining the trash can with newspapers.

      Delete
    2. Hi Mary,
      Your mother was brilliant and very efficient. I may give this a try. We don't subscribe to a newspaper, but I receive sample newspapers every few months, and I save them. Thank you for this suggestion, Mary.

      Live and Learn, this must've been a thing. My parents always used paper grocery sacks because this is what we had a surplus of. But if a family didn't have many paper sacks (like those who grew large gardens) found alternatives such as the newspaper. I'm going to give this a try, as I said above.

      Delete
  6. I like to use the plastic grocery bags for disposing of our cat's litter. I notice that when I bag my own groceries at Meijer, I use fewer bags than when the clerks do it for me. I don't need a ton of them but it is nice to have a few around the house. They definitely get used and re-used a lot.

    Lili, hooray for a new computer! I'm eagerly waiting for the day when we get a new one. It's time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      I've noticed the same thing about how when I bag my own groceries, I think I fit more in with fewer bags. When plastic bag bans reach your area, would using newspaper work for disposing cat litter? We currently have a large stash of plastic bags because I reuse them all multiple times, washing them and hanging dry on the laundry rack in between, if needed. Some day, though I will run out of those plastic bags.

      Yes! I
      'm so glad to have a working computer again. I can't believe how much extra work I had to put in just to keep it running with my old one. I hope you can get a new one sometime soon, too!

      Delete

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