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Thursday, November 18, 2021

My Week: A New Toy, Tree's Off the Roof and Domestic Duties

Hi friends. How was your week?

I mentioned last week that I'd ordered another light garden for starting seeds indoors. This was a birthday gift for 2020 and 2021 plus a Christmas gift for 2020. I had put off ordering something for my gifts for those occasions, telling my husband not to buy me anything, instead I wanted to choose something. I had thought I'd be buying some clothing. But had another idea. I decided to buy something that could be useful for my job here.I really couldn't get all of the seeds started that I wanted, nor did I have the luxury of letting seedlings grow until larger indoors before setting out in the slug-infested cool late winter/early spring garden. With this light set-up, I can now start as many seeds as I like and not feel like I'm rushing any of them before planting. And since I'd decided on this as my big gift for those 3 occasions, I also thought it would be a good idea to order it now and use it over winter to grow vegetables for the table indoors. My light garden arrived Friday morning. Yay! It came in 115 pieces. Boo! The website said "some assembly required." This wasn't "some assembly," this was "all assembly!" Anyway, it was a long 4 hours putting this thing together. The end result is an attractive and very functional unit for starting and growing a gazillion seeds each spring. I immediately filled 6 containers with soil and started some spinach seeds, 7 seeds per container. By mid-week, several of the seeds had sprouted already. I'm looking forward to spinach salads in another month to 6 weeks. On Friday, I also moved some struggling kale and lettuce potted plants under the lights, as well as my tomato plant that I grew from a cutting.

Friday evening was pizza and movie night again. It was Grace's turn to choose the movie and she chose an Australian animated film from 1972, Marco Polo, Jr. Versus the Red Dragon. We were able to stream it for free through our library's Kanopy streaming service. The film was entertaining and family-friendly -- a good choice.

Saturday was the day the tree guy came over. He went up on the roof and cut the tree into long lengths then moved them off the roof with a rope. Once the long pieces of trunk were down, he cut them into fireplace lengths for us to split in the future. The logs did some damage to our garden, but overall things look okay. After he left, my husband went up on the roof to put temporary patches in place. We have 2 holes in the roof that will need professional repairs. The good news is the holes are on the small side (could have been much worse) and the leaking was into attic space and not living space. While my husband put patches into place, I began the clean-up below, dragging branches to a mulch area and the logs to a place where we can split them. I worked until the sun went down then headed inside to make dinner. This was a tiring day.

Sunday is my day to recover. After church in the morning, I just do whatever I feel like for the afternoon. I went for a 3-mile walk, baked a large loaf of French bread, and puttered in the house and garden. On my walk I noticed more than a couple of houses have. Christmas decorations up, including Christmas trees in their living rooms. We're not to that point in the season yet. I'm still working on a couple of birthdays for this month, then I'll move on to Christmas decorations. 

I have been in the mood for some holiday cheer in my beverages, however. You know that I prefer to make treats instead of buying them. Doing so saves money and allows me to tailor the treats to what works for my health. One of my favorite Christmas-y treats are peppermint mochas. If I buy one at Starbucks, it'll cost over $4 for a short. I can buy a 2-pack of peppermint oil for baking for about $4, regular price (even less if using a coupon). A 2-pack of peppermint oil will make dozens of cups of peppermint mochas. These little vials contain 1 dram each. There are approximately 57 drops per dram of oil. I use 1 drop per small peppermint mocha. So, each mocha costs me about 3 cents in peppermint oil, about 3 cents of cocoa powder (184 teaspoons in 1 pound of cocoa powder), 5 cents in sweetening, 10 cents in coffee, and optional 10 cents in heavy cream when I have it, for a total of 21 to 31 cents for a homemade peppermint mocha. (If I could have regular milk, this would be even cheaper. I can, however, have heavy cream in my mochas. The sacrifices I make for my health. . .) $4 vs. 31 cents -- Starbucks has a racket going on.

I've been tackling my fall housecleaning in small chunks this year. This week, I did some detailed dusting/cleaning of furniture, washed more baseboards, and cleaned up the back door area. I finally got the last of the saved seeds into envelopes for planting next year and potted some spring bulbs into 3 pots. These are bulbs that I salvaged from 2 larger pots that I repurposed into vegetable pots for this past garden season. I had taken all of the flowering bulbs out in order to add some fresh soil and plant some spinach seeds. The dried bulbs had been sitting in a bucket on the floor by the backdoor for months.

As usual, I baked a lot. I gave up on trying to keep up with the demand for French bread when baking 1 large loaf at a time. And on Tuesday I baked a double batch of French bread (uses 8 cups of flour). I hope this will hold us for a few days. I also made another batch of yogurt this week. I make yogurt about once every 3 weeks, waiting until we run out before starting the next batch.

I've noticed that we have fewer and fewer critters coming to eat in our yard these days. I saw a larger bunny on the back lawn one afternoon and a smaller bunny on the front lawn another afternoon. My small red squirrel stills come by from time to time. He's funny, territorial, and seems to have an eating spot right outside my bedroom window. He drags a pinecone about twice the size of his head up onto the deck railing, perches on the center post, and picks apart the pinecone until he's done. He's left quite a mess of pinecone bits for me to clean up. But the entertainment value of having him around is worth the extra work. I do believe that he is the one who dug out and ate several of my spring flowering bulbs this past summer. Again, I try to be generous of spirit with these creatures and forgive what they do to my plants.

My daughters had a couple of things they wanted from Walmart this week. So I piggy-backed their pick-up order and bought carrots, cabbage, celery, bananas, and pepperoni. I really appreciated that they let me add to their order and they did the pick-up. This saved me an hour of my time to get our produce this week through them. I stick to the cheap supermarket fresh produce this time of year, for the most part, with carrots, cabbage, celery, and bananas fitting that description. I still have produce from our garden and orchard and canned veggies/fruit that I can rely on for fall meals. Currently, I'm harvesting Brussel sprout leaves, kale, Swiss chard, turnips, beets, green onions, cauliflower leaves, spinach, and nasturtium leaves from the outdoor garden and radishes (and their greens) and lentil sprouts from the indoor garden. In addition, we have a ton of frozen foraged blackberries, lots of home-dried prunes, cherries, apples, and figs, some frozen rhubarb, and many jars of preserved green figs to use for fruit and lots of already harvested garden-grown carrots, potatoes, garlic, pumpkin and squash to use for vegetables. Considering my grocery purchases of produce this time of year are fairly limited, we still eat quite a variety of fruits and vegetables. I can't say this enough -- having a garden is very beneficial. Even if all I had was a balcony or small patio, I think I would always try to grow some of our food.

I'll be picking up another order from Fred Meyer over the weekend to take advantage of their butter sale -- $1.77/pound (limit 5 with coupon). I also buy our milk at Fred Meyer now, as it's cheaper than Walmart and I think higher quality (always good results when making yogurt and freezes better than Walmart's milk). And I had a couple of birthday gift items I needed for my 2 family members with birthdays this month. I easily made the $35 minimum for a free pick-up.

It's been a good week, and I feel I was productive. What were the highlights of your week?

One other post this week. Read it here -- Cheap & Cheerful Meals.


  1. I know it feels a lot better to have the tree off the roof and a patch on it so no more leaking will happen until you get the permanent fix. I like the looks of your plant stand. It looks like the lights can be raised and lowered. Is that true?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      One step at a time with the roof. At least it's not leaking and the weight of the tree is off. We're in our rainiest month of the year, so it's been hard to find dry weather for someone to work up there.
      That's correct, the lights can be repositioned easily as seedlings grow. I like the way it looks, too. And it will be very useful in late winter when I begin my seeds for the outdoor garden.

  2. You should be able to grow lots of stuff with your new light system. Good purchase for sure. My parents used to have a huge indoor greenhouse thing that she grew all kinds of stuff in year round. When they downsized one of my sisters took it because she was the only who had room for it. That thing was the size of a dining room table lol.
    I haven’t decided what I will grow this winter. I’m sure I will come up with something. Last winter I did spinach and green beans.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thank you. I hope so.
      How did your indoor spinach and green beans turn out last year? Did you need to hand pollinate the green beans? I look forward to hearing what you choose to grow this year.

    2. Both the spinach and beans did very well. I didn’t help with pollination at all. The beans weren’t as prolific as they would be grown normally. I think Dh and I ate them twice for dinner, and then the last little dab got thrown into something. But they were very good. The spinach just kept growing and growing. That went to my dd who loves spinach.

  3. Well, you are making progress on your roof. Dealing with downed trees is an expensive and time consuming job.

    Sounds like you are enjoying your new plant system. We are still getting a few things from our garden, mostly greens. My husband is using his cold frame again for lettuce. I think he still needs to pick the root veggies.

    I refuse to decorate or listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I get tired of it too quickly if I start early. Since we aren't traveling this year, I think we'll decorate Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. My son will be home so that would be a fun activity.

    Hope you have some good plans in place for next week!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I wondered about some of the families that have their Christmas trees set-up and decorated whether or not they tire of the holidays too early. One thought with some homes/families, maybe they celebrate Christmas early with out of town family. We decorate most of the house the weekend of Thanksgiving, then do the tree in early December. I think you have a good plan with your son being home from college for Thanksgiving to decorate while he's home so he can enjoy it too. Enjoy having him home for the long weekend!

    2. Good point. My MIL always has a tree up at Thanksgiving on the years that we have celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas at their house. It's too far away to make multiple trips in that short of a time span. I would do the same thing in similar circumstances. So I guess I will back off from my"never" stance. ��


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