Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garden, saving money, cuteness (I'd say random)

The summer has gone by so fast! Looking back I have realized that I didn't really keep up with things like I normally do. I have weeds in my garden (not many) and some of my flower beds became overrun with them. I also didn't hang out in my own yard as much as normal. I usually sit on the front porch, back deck, or in our gazebo every chance I get. This year was different. Maybe that is why things haven't been as upkept as normal.

We did spend most of the summer being active. We went on many nature hikes and bike rides. We would ride around and go on short day trips. Had many family get-togethers. I guess I still haven't figured out how to balance everything that needs to be done. When I was having my panic attacks and wasn't leaving the comfort of my own home and yard, things were kept very clean, inside and out. Now that we are an "on-the-go" family, I can't quite balance keeping yard/house/everything neat and tidy. Maybe some of you out in blog land could give me some pointers.


 I wanted to share this close up of the fabric I will be lining Lucy bag #3 with. I saw this fabric and absolutely fell in love with it. The colors of yarn I am using in my current bag are cream, light blue, brown, and black. I think it will work well. Not to mention the fabric has a little saying on it; "Oh what tangled threads we leave when first we practice to stitch and weave". Isn't that so cute and so true?


 Our kitties are doing well together. They love when I am doing laundry because they try to take over the laundry basket. This picture is of Daisy (striped one) and Wicket (the grey/white one) looking through the handle of my laundry basket.

 Our kitties from another angle. They were lucky the day I took this picture. I was multitasking and didn't get to fold these clothes right away. They enjoyed a nice little siesta on the warm clothes.

 Another of our little Daisy. This is my exercise machine thing. (Kind of like a Total Gym). It folds pretty upright for storage. Daisy loves climbing it and sleeping at the top. I thought she had choked herself on this day. Her neck was firmly pressed on that bar. I am happy to say she is alive and well.


Friends you may well remember that I have a goal with our meager little residence here in our small town.  I would like to be able to have an edible landscape. I would love to grow enough veggies, fruit, and herbs to enjoy fresh foods while they are in season AND to freeze and can the food so we can use it in the off season. We are bigger than the "normal" family of 4 and we are living off of a single meager income. We live with mostly the basic necessities. To explain further (and maybe help others) we do the following things. #1 since we do get a decent amount of money back from income taxes at the beginning of the year, we put an entire years worth of house payments, house insurance payments, and property tax payments in an interest bearing account. Basically it is close to $4000 dollars so we put $4000 in an interest bearing account. The good thing about this is we don't have to worry about making the payments as the money is there AND the account makes us money every quarter. As far as bills go we have our basic utilities: water/sewer, natural gas, and electricity. We practice energy/water saving techniques in order to make these typically expensive bills less so. We have a phone/internet/and cable bundle package. Our cable is just basic channels, our phone is a call anywhere anytime deal, and our internet is cable and cheaper as bundled. Our car insurance is cheap because quite frankly we own 2 junky older cars. We do plan on upgrading at least one of them to a minivan within the next year. We also have to pay our own trash pickup and we have a cell phone plan for my hubby and I. Our oldest daughter uses a "pay as you go" plan. We use our phones far more than she does and I wanted her to learn minute/texting responsibility before putting her on our plan to avoid overages. Our household income covers our bills/groceries/gas every month with a tiny bit left over. We save as much as we can but most of the time there are things that need to be addressed such as medication for illness, house/car repairs, ect.

This explains my desire to save as much money as possible. I use coupons (learning as I go), we shop at thrift stores a lot, I grow a garden every year. I would have animals for milk, eggs, meat as well but we live in a city limits and those types of animals are prohibited not to mention our tiny yard doesn't have room. I thrive to be as self-sustaining and cost efficient (frugal) as possible. I have found a great website The Morris Tribe put together of a mother of 9 here in Ohio. They practice many of the same things I do. She has tons of recipes and helpful hints. Please check it out. She has a free e-book called "Just get em Fed" that has wonderful tips on grocery shopping, stockpiling, organizing food. Sure makes things a lot easier.


My garden has been doing pretty good this year considering the drought and my forgetfulness about watering. I had to pull out all of my squash and zucchini plants because the dreaded vine borers found them. My corn and my beans didn't produce very well for reasons unknown but the rest has been bountiful. 

 It seemed to have taken FOREVER for my wonderful tomatoes to grow and ripen. I love tomatoes and I wanted them to be ready so badly. These are better boy tomatoes. They have done pretty well this year. I gently tied the stalks to the trellis I had built as they grew. They have been wonderful. Oh. These tomatoes I grew indoors from seed and transplanted the little seedlings into my garden. It is so rewarding.
 These cherry tomatoes I bought from Lowes. They have produced so many little tomatoes I am overjoyed with them. Three of my children just love these little beauties as a snack. My other child hates all things veggie *sigh*
 I planted the mixed colored bell peppers this year and this is the first one to actually be another color but green. The red is absolutely gorgeous and I will thoroughly enjoy eating this one when it is ready.
 A green bell pepper. This one is probably ready to pick but I'm not ready to eat it yet.

 My poor dying corn. I stopped watering it so it would dry out. I plan on re-purposing it as a nice fall decoration for my porch.
 Okra was an experiment for me this year. My hubby loves fried okra and gumbo so I thought I would try my hand at growing some. I had no idea how it grew and was pleasantly surprised with it. It was a little stunted due to the enormous squash bushes around it. Once those were out of the garden beds, the okra took off.

 Another of my favorites. Cucumbers! We have enjoyed so many cucumbers out of my garden. I even tried to make refrigerator pickles (unsuccessfully...long story) I have thoroughly enjoyed eating the cucumbers this year.
 I have planted mellons several times and have had bad results due to bugs and rotting. This year I planted them and trained them to grow up the trellis I built. This is the third cantaloupe we have had this season. They are so sweet and delicious. We have had only 2 sweet juicy little watermelons this year though. Not sure why the plant was abandoning fruit.
 My broccoli has produced itself to death. So much so that our pet rabbit is so fat and sassy. She loves the broccoli from the garden. I have enjoyed it as well. I am not much for cooked broccoli but eating it raw dipped in whatever I feel like dipping it in has been a real treat.
 Here in this jumbled mess of plants, growing up the trellis are my watermelon plants and my cantaloupe plants.
 My poor gladiolus plants. Our lab enjoyed chewing on these plants every chance she got! I planted a mixed bulb pack that was supposed to have red, white, and blue flowering bulbs. I had a white one a while back ago and this survivor is going to be red. I am so excited. And you can see one of my favorite little annuals growing there too. Snapdragons. I always dead-head them and save the seeds to grow next time.
 Do you remember this post when I talked about the fern my mom left to die and I rescued it. (if you scroll to the very bottom of the linked post you will see the poor fern after I cut away the dead fronds. Well it has came back to life. It has absolutely loved all of the humidity we have had this year. I left it on the porch and watered it every once in a while and it is spectacular. A great fighter this plant is and a wonderful achievement for me.
 Just a shot of my lovely green basket full of wonderful goodies from my garden. I have several cucumbers, a watermelon and a cantaloupe (and a few store bought onions) for my family to enjoy.
 Here is what is left  from my latest pepper and tomato harvest. I just love the taste of vine ripened tomatoes. Their taste and texture is so much different than store bought.

Lastly here I am being quite cheesy posting a picture of myself sending a kind hello to all who reads this post. Many blessings to you all!


  1. Great post.. love all your garden bounty! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  2. Wow, that must really be very rewarding,to have those wonderful vegetables in your own garden.
    Whenever someone gives you a few hints about the "balance keeping yard/house/everything neat and tidy" I would love to hear it. Somehow I can't make the right choices in that area and well, I guess with a family you're just never done.