Concord and Table Grapes The Prudent Homemaker


It’s the middle of summer and temperatures here reached 114º (45ºC) last week. We’re mostly staying indoors, but we did get some things picked from the garden, including table grapes and Concord grapes. I’ve had a Concord vine for many years, and this is the first time I’ve harvested from it. I have 2 more Concord vines that I grew from cuttings from my other vine. All are fruiting this year. I’ll be cutting more from the garden this week and making grape juice with them.

We picked figs from the garden. I have a Mission fig tree. One of the reasons I chose it is that it fruits twice a year. It’s wonderful to get fruit twice from the same tree! I froze figs to use later.

I sliced and froze the last of the peaches from the garden.

I cut rosemary and Swiss chard from the garden. I picked our second zucchini for the year.

I canned strawberry jam. I also made strawberry popsicles and strawberry shortcake from the strawberries I purchased for $0.87 a pound.

I made yogurt in the crockpot.

I mended a bed skirt, hemmed a pair of pants, and mended 2 pairs of sandals.

I cut pomegranate branches from the base of my potted trees and put them in a vase on my entry table.

I found more free resources for foreign language learning for the children (in addition to Duolingo, which we have been using every day). is one and French With Alexa on YouTube is another. Alexa has a paid option, but she also has several free videos on her YouTube page for beginners. 

We watched several children’s television programs on YouTube.

What did you do last week to save money?

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  1. Our garden is starting to roll in just like yours. Last week I harvested beets, peppers, herbs, tommy toe tomatoes, and lettuce. It’s so nice to have fresh vegetables out of the garden again! Although our temperature is no where near yours it’s been hot for us in the upper 90s at times.

    Here is a list of the rest of my frugal ways this past week:

  2. I so enjoy reading about your garden and everything you are able to harvest from it! Envious of your perennials, especially – since we move every few years, I look forward to the day that I can plant things in the ground that can bear for ages. 🙂

    My husband was gone for a few months for work, so this past weekend we had a semi-frugal date weekend. My folks had the kids and dog over at their place and we had some time to ourselves. We had dinner out on Friday night, but the portions were so big that we had leftovers for Saturday dinner as well. On Saturday we went antiquing and found some amazing treasures, most of which we did not buy. (I joked with him that we saved thousands – just keeping our wallets closed. LOL) We did spot a large-ticket science related item that my son desperately wants – on Amazon it runs in the hundreds and this one was $35, so we bought it to save for Christmas. I also picked him up a transistor tube ($3), an old technical manual about RCA transistors ($3), and a glass telephone line insulator ($3); they will be stocking stuffers. (Luckily we just lay stockings on the dining table anyway for Christmas morning, as that will be a heavy and fragile stocking!) We also found some older books for ourselves, genealogy titles for me and some outdoors titles for my husband, all for a fraction of their cover prices. We carried drinks with us but those didn’t last the whole day, so we did pay for drinks and split a large appetizer as lunch. We stopped for a snack at the end of the day – expected to spend 2 hours and ended up there for 6, as we didn’t realize there would be an “antiques fest” going and there were blocks and blocks of street booths in addition to the brick & mortar stores! – our plan to split a cinnamon roll turned into one for each of us. The young lady who rang us up forgot to heat one up, so when we asked if it happened to be ready yet, she said one more moment and surprised us with a roll each for being patient with her. All told we had just as much fun just wandering and spending time together and had time to talk and visit the whole time and on the drive, but also picked up some items that were on our lists. 🙂

    Last night we spent some time in the yard planning for our fall/winter garden. We went down our region’s planting/harvesting list (free from a local nursery), figured out what we want to try to grow, and pulled out our gardening containers. After we figured out how to optimize our watering, my husband moved all the larger containers into place for me while I pulled in the smaller ones and figured out what plants will fit in which containers best. Today I will go through our seed tote and my daughter will be checking the containers for weeds and getting them ready to plant, then I’ll plant throughout the week as my hands/joints allow. I have powdered fertilizer on hand still from last year as well as dried coffee from my folks to fertilize the blueberry bushes in their containers, so I will get that all done this week as well. If we have any expense for the garden, it will be a few dollars; I’m pretty sure that I have almost all the seeds we’ll need – if not, we will only need a couple of packets and the nursery offers a military discount (plus we enjoy supporting their family & locally-owned business).

    Wishing you a lovely week!

  3. Last week we:

    1. Made spicy fried chicken “wings” (small pieces of fried chicken, not the actual wings, like the ones at Buffalo Wild Wings) with a cauliflower puree to look like mashed potatoes. Guys, this was one of the best meals we’ve ever made at home. It just cost a couple of bucks and even made enough for today’s lunch!

    2. Mr. Picky Pincher had quite the adventure trying to change the oil in his truck, but he did eventually get it done. Poor thing!

    3. I cleaned out my closet and listed a lot of things on eBay. Hopefully we can bring in a little bit of money for house expenses. 🙂

    4. I cooked a few meals ahead of time this weekend to save my weeknight sanity. I made butternut squash soup, which we’ll eat with grilled cheese, and a big batch of sloppy joes. I made a large batch so we could replenish our stash of available freezer meals. I even froze hamburger buns to go with the sloppy joes.

    5. We had a lot of leftover fruits and veggies, so I made a big bottle of juice with our juicer. The only downside is that I can’t drink juice with my current allergy medicine, so I need to switch allergy meds before I can drink it. So I froze the juice for another day!

    6. On Friday I was craving ice cream. Instead of spending a lot of money going out for ice cream or buying it at the store, I blended my stash of frozen bananas. We whipped them until they were fluffy in the blender, and topped with Nutella and peanuts. SO. GOOD.

  4. We’re hunkering down to avoid the heat here in Central Texas, as well!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    We made fried rice for dinner Friday, and used up a lot of the bits of meat and veg in the fridge.

    I’ve been slogging through the hassle of dealing with our insurance company’s mail-order pharmacy to save the equivalent of one co-pay per prescription every three months. I’m sure the process will smooth out eventually!

    We brought homemade loquat jam as a hostess gift to a party we attended, and presented it in a cute gift bag that had contained product samples from my dermatologist.

    I USED all the free samples from my dermatologist 🙂

    I tried a new-to-me way of cooking eggplant (slice and broil for 5 mins on each side), to add to a pasta salad for an impromptu picnic potluck. The smokey flavor was a big hit!

  5. Picked & dehydrated more elderflower, since the plant is still blooming on top.

    Picked more rhubarb. Dehydrated the bulk of it, then juiced some with a small handful of red currants & 2 small cut up strawberries for color, & froze the juice into cubes for later use in beverages. I also dehydrated the leftover pulp to use in fruit teas. Took one quart jar of dehydrated rhubarb slices to my oldest daughter when I took my grandson, who was visiting for a couple of days, back home.

    Picked up grounds for gardeners to use on the back perimeter.

    Cashed in my pine cone research funds & picked up 6 more Lodgestones with the money. Filled in more of the back perimeter bed.

    Continued to pick blackberries & red raspberries & added them to their respective cups in the freezer.

    Bottled Rainier cherries & the rest of the apricots from the ripening bowls. Allowed the jars to cool in the canner when I bottled the fruit, then reused that water on the potted crabapple tree & the comfrey.

    Picked any peaches with color from the branches that broke off on one of the peach trees during some high winds we had this week. I also picked two peaches that were riper from another tree, because the birds were starting to peck on them, even tho they were not yet ripe. I put the fairly green peaches in one of the ripening bowls, with the two riper peaches on top. It costs me nothing but a bit of time to see if the greener peaches are close enough to finish ripening in the bowls. If they do, I get more peaches. If not, I throw them away a week or two after the fact.

    Replaced the sugar used for canning, while it was still on sale.

    Used the dried seed pods from our orange Oriental poppies to seed some on the other side of the large peach tree along our back perimeter.

    Bought 2 new dishtowels on clearance at Kmart. One is red & one is brown, colors that will work well for canning without showing stains.

    Made some “pins” from a bent wire hanger, to hold strawberry runners in place until they root. I saw some for sale on the Deliberate Agrarian website, & thought to myself, I could make something like that! His look nicer than mine, but mine work, & they cost only the time to make them.

  6. We were able to finish paying off two debts. Gosh it feels so good!

    Hubby bought (although more expensive) deer fencing for a couple garden projects. Thankfully we have been able to use it in 3 other projects!

    We harvested cucumbers- suyo long and pickling , kale, and I’ll be picking my first tomatoes this afternoon! Snap peas and zucchini real soon!

    Bought two kids new tennis shoes, buy one get one 1/2 off.

    Had movie night at home with the kids. We made nachos.

    Used up the water from the rainbarrel. Will use the sprinkler until a good rain comes again.

    Lots of landscaping work: mowing, pulling weeds, trimming bushes.

    Started printing off free printables for homeschooling.
    Which reminds me to buy/get together a busy box for the youngest while big kids are schooling.

  7. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

    How wonderful Brandy that you were able to pick grapes and two lots of figs from the garden, it all helps with reducing the families grocery budget.

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    – Ordered a years supply of vitamins, minerals, herbal arnica back rub creams, cold and flu tablets, allergy tablets, and liquid disinfectant for the first aid kit online saving $149.21 on what it would cost in our local pharmacy.

    – Purchased a years supply of vitamin c to take with my iron tablets on special from a local small supermarket saving $20.88 on what our local pharmacy charges.

    – Purchased a years supply of high potency magnesium tablets for my husband muscle spasms on 50% off special at the supermarket saving $24 + on usual prices at our local pharmacy.

    – Purchased a years supply of my sensitive toothpaste that usually costs a fortune on a 50% off special at our local supermarket saving $30 on usual prices in our local pharmacy.

    – Purchased 2 pkts of 25 C5 envelopes from one of our large discount variety stores saving 0.80c on prices I usually pay at our local post office, for posting my handcrafted items in sold in my internet shops.

    Craft & Garden Earnings –

    – Made $5 from the sale of vegetables from the home gardens.

    – Made $240.54 profit from the sale of 27 handcrafted items from my internet stores.

    Money used from craft money earned to save spending from our usual budget –

    – Paid for a $40 recharge for the mobile phone, we haven’t recharged it since February.

    – Downloaded $110.00 to pay for overs in our medical budget, we get a small pharmaceutical allowance in our pays for the year and it normally doesn’t cover all of DH’s and my medications and vitamins. This now brings it back into line with the budget.

    Gardening –

    – Picked tomatoes and strawberries from the garden.

    – Froze 613g of cherry tomatoes from the garden, saving $11.27 compared to purchasing them in the shops.

    In the kitchen –

    – Cooked all bread from food storage items all week.

    – Cooked all meals from scratch with food storage and vegetables either picked or frozen from our organic gardens.

    Water Preservation –

    – Hand watered all the house lawns with saved grey water from our washing machine and shower waters all week to save on any town water use.

    Electricity Savings –

    – Turned off all power points to unused household appliances when not in use.

    – Washed all loads of washing in off peak electricity times at night in cold rather than warm water.

    – Started cooking bread in off peak electricity times at night.

  8. We decided to borrow a cousin’s tent instead of purchasing one to prepare for camping. We did this last year as well. My sister, sister-in-law and I saw Ghostbusters as a matinee. We liked it a lot, but I would rate it too scary for my 8 year old. I worked a lot this week. Nothing like working to keep you from going out and spending money in the summer.

  9. Hello everyone! Last week:
    -Stayed home unless it was absolutely necessary to leave the house, saving gas.
    -made a crockpot full of pinto beans. I froze half the beans and made beans and rice with the other half for my lunches. I made a big pot of mexican lentil soup for my lunches this week. I made scalloped potatoes and ham, “made right” sandwiches. All meals were cooked at home from scratch.
    -My mother in law brought me a huge box full of different kinds of baskets and my daughter a big bench toybox, an antique metal dollhouse and doll cradle and several stuffed animals she got from a huge, once a year rummage sale.
    -I harvested basil and applied another dose of calcium to my apple trees.
    -I got 2 packs of 10 BIC pens for .14 each (coupon), a school shirt for my daughter for $2 on clearance. I purchased a gallon of milk on sale for $1.69 and a package of cube steaks on clearance.
    -I submitted an application online for a different job, saving gas.
    -I continue to do the usual things: save warm up water and use to flush toilet or water plants, same with water leftover in cups and dish rinse water that isn’t to soapy. Turn off lights and electronics, unplug things whenever I can.
    -Used youtube videos to exercise and do yoga for free at home.
    Have a good week everyone!

  10. Yay, it’s frugal accomplishments time!

    Last week, I:
    – canned lemon curd, using leftover egg yolks from a meringue recipe
    – made another batch of vanilla apricot jam
    – bought 10 lbs of blueberries for $2/lb CAD, which is super-cheap for Toronto, and am dehydrating some right now. I’ll turn some others into blueberry jam and baked goods, and freeze some too.
    – dehydrated some pineapple (my favourite snack and way cheaper than store-bought)
    – received a free sample in the mail that I’ll send to the DH’s mother
    – used my mother’s free guest passes to the McMichael Art Gallery to go see an exhibition with the DH
    – turned a free burlap bag into a wine gift bag
    – made my own yoghurt for the first time (so pleased with the results)
    – used dried kidney beans for the first time
    – made my own tortillas

    And a bunch of more stuff, but that’s all I remember right now! Am looking forward to reading everyone else’s accomplishments!

  11. I gathered the last of our Corot Noir wine grapes this morning. Our Concord grapes have not ripened yet. I harvested our first green zucchini this morning, after the first couple of tiny ones rotted. I’ve already harvested a few of the golden zucchini that I grew from my Mom’s seeds. Many of the dill seed heads were ripening, so I cut those this morning, & have plenty for next years seed, as well as for seasoning. I forgot to mention in my post that we made ice cream on Saturday, using our eggs & 2 bags of our peaches I had in the freezer. I ate it for dinner that night, as I was thinking it was an ice cream kind of day at 96 degrees :o). I remember being in Las Vegas once when it was 114… whew! Isn’t air conditioning a blessing?! Joining in here:

  12. This week I was able to buy 16 pounds BLSL chicken breast for $1.25/pound, 16 pounds of strawberries for 77 cents/pound! I cut and grilled the chicken with different spices and packaged for freezer. We also froze the strawberries whole.
    I was able to give a quart of cherry pie filling that I canned last week to a friend for his 90th birthday party. His wife told me that he would be thrilled with it when she heard I made some and he was!
    Was able to make 5 dozen deviled eggs for a wedding reception (a friend’s daughter) without having to buy anything at the store! I bought two beautiful cut glass deviled egg holders to put them on at a thrift store for 99 cents each ( they were on half price sale)!
    Since I have now lost over 55 pounds, my clothes have been changing sizes so I was able to buy 6 new pairs of pants and 5 tops for $19 total!! These will do me for now as my weight continues to change.
    Have been rotating (eating) our way through our freezer storage to make room for summer produce and sales.
    Made the 4th set of 4 matching trivets to give to daughters and daughters-in-law (10 of them) for Christmas. Used batting and fabric scraps so no OOP cost! I usually allot $30 per Christmas gift so already I’ve saved $120 and when I have all 10 sets made, it will be a savings of $300!
    I cooked up our freezer meal of crockpot beef stroganoff for dinner. It was delicious. We had leftovers that I put into the sauce (more sauce than beef chunks in the leftovers) so when I made scalloped potatoes using dehydrated potato slices, I used some of the extra stroganoff sauce with the water and milk I added and baked the most delicious potatoes stroganoff I’ve ever tasted! Win-win! 2 meals from one!! Reduced food waste in fridge at the same time!!
    I’ve done all the usual this week- meals at home, washing and reusing baggies,etc.
    We sold and were paid for 4 more state outlines from our free pallet wood- that brought in another $60!
    All in all, another good week!

  13. Just came indoors from hanging laundry to save money here in Maryland. It is 95 degrees on my thermometer in the shade and I just looked on line, the heat index is 112 degrees here. I thought of you all in the desert while hanging clothes and am just amazed at all that you do. A lot of things in our garden are bolting from the heat. The electric company issued an alert that for six hours today, that if you use less energy than normal, you can earn a credit on the bill, so I am going to try to do that today too! I enjoy reading and getting ideas from your website!

  14. * repaired a clothing item for son
    * bought 25# pintos for stockpile
    * really concentrating on getting stocked up
    * sold an item on eBay
    * got my tomatoes staked
    * returned some items
    * was gifted a new body wash that will be used for Christmas gift
    * cooked pinto beans in crockpot (I went a little over board and now have a lot of cooked beans!). These will be used to make enchiladas in bulk so I can put several trays in the freezer 🙂
    * was gifted a toy for our bunny

  15. I’ve been dodging the rainshowers to get laundry hung on the line. Most of the time, it’s been successful.
    I’ve been snipping dried flower heads from the native flowers planted in beds by my house to toss into a wildflower patch we’ve started out at the edge of our (rural) yard. Buying the native wildflower seed is expensive, so this is the easiest, cheapest way to do it, although the results are less certain. If it doesn’t work, though, I just do it again– the existing plants keep on offering me more seed, so I haven’t lost anything. Our wildflower patch is slowly growing larger.
    We’ve been picking figs from our tree, mostly to eat fresh as it’s a small tree, but I’m also making fig vinegar with them. First time trying this, so we’ll see how it goes.
    My husband is drying peppers to get the seeds. Super hot pepper seeds can be unbelievably expensive. He got one Scorpion pepper from a nursery — a plant for sale had several mature peppers on it and they allowed him to pick one for free — and he’s raised several plants off of those seeds. Now he’s preparing more. He was given a single Carolina Reaper pepper by a lady who grew them for curiosity after taking a hot pepper growing class, so he has several of those plants as well. We’ve seen prices as high as a dollar a seed for some hot peppers.
    I’m working on decluttering and hoping to have a yard sale when the weather cools and dries some, which will be in the late fall here in Florida.

  16. Hi everyone:

    Our older set of twins turned 6 this week so we had a family dinner for them on their actual birthday and then a party with family and friends on Saturday. It was just a simple barbeque at home but my son’s have never had a birthday party before so they were thrilled. Everything was homemade and simple. The kids played on our trampoline. We set up our slip and slide and my friend’s husband brought his guitar. It was a lovely party.

    This summer in PA, no one has tomatoes!!!! Typically they are bursting out all over the place by now but Bec we had a wet spring. They are hard and green. My garden is doing well with pole beans, cukes, I still have lettuce despite the run of 95+ degree days, but I’ve had my kale decimated by cabbage worms. My basil has done badly as well. Luckily my friend at the farm stand down the street, offers me here. I accepted a bushel if white beans too rusty for sale ( turned into dilly beans), and a ton of nectarines ( jam). I gleaned wine berries from the wilds behind the elementary school my children attend and froze for more jam. Have a good week everyone!

  17. Hello everyone. I am very grateful that I am not having to deal with the heat some of you are suffering through.
    I am starting to get a few things from my garden — the first tomatoes and okra, carrots and parsnips. I collected seeds from my arugula to sow this fall and planted broccoli, collard, and bok choy seeds for a fall harvest. I pulled some of my garlic and hung it to dry. I also dried some sage and am letting some chard go to seed in order to save for planting later.
    The heater on our hot tub went out and my husband was able to repair it for only $38 — a big savings, since a service call is $200.
    I went through my closet and organized everything. I took a good look at everything I hadn’t worn in a while. I put a couple of pieces aside to donate, but four others went into my mending basket. I realized I didn’t wear them because they were either too long (I’m short) or too baggy — so I am going to tailor them and hem them and I will end up with garments I actually like and will wear.
    We used our annual park pass twice — to hike, and to take our new inflatable kayak out on the reservoir. The kayak was our birthday gift to each other and we purchased it using Amazon gift cards I had saved — so our out of pocket cost was only $30.
    We cut another cord of wood in the National Forest — only one more to go. My husband already has most of it split and stacked in the wood shed.

  18. we love ‘fake ice cream’ ! and I like giving it to the kids more so than regular ice cream. our current favorite is frozen peaches, splash of vanilla, and a tBs or 2 of water if needed!

  19. Blueberries in containers? I never thought if that. How big are your containers and how many years for first harvest? Thx.

  20. I managed to make one tank of gas last three weeks, and filled the tank completely last week with gas points, saving $6 on the tankful.
    I mostly cooked at home all week, but the two times we did have a quick meal out were budget meals! I made my own bread, granola (from Brandy’s recipe)and salad dressing. Since it was too hot to go outside much, I washed two winter jackets and dried them and put them away until fall. so they are ready to go. Went to yoga twice a week every week this month. I’ve been checking my supermarket tapes and am regularly saving 20-30% each week buying items which are on sale, using the few coupons I find for things I buy and checking the store ad every week before I shop. Went swimming in my sister’s pool once, in my new-this-year swimsuit—I only replace swimsuit about once a decade these days because I don’t swim that often! Finding it hard to adjust to the high temperatures and not getting a lot of housework done. Over the weekend it was too warm in the house even with two ACs going, but is cooling down tonight for a while. It’s much hotter than we are accustomed to. We have watered the vegetables but not the lawn. Nor has the lawn been mowed in about 3 weeks. Nothing to mow but weeds. Grass is brown and crunchy.

  21. Made a big batch of “chicken” flavored seitan….much cheaper than buying Morningstar Farms or Boca, etc. Went to my daughter’s (95 degree!) soccer tournament all week-end and only spent 2.00 on Saturday because I packed plenty of tofu salad sandwiches, fruit, and homemade gatorade. (blew it on lunch on Sunday though..still kicking myself) Made both pinto beans and black beans in my crock pot, which turned out perfectly and saved me from opening eight cans from the pantry. The kidney beans made in my Instant Pot did not turn out well, so I pureed them and they are waiting to be turned into burgers tomorrow. Last but not least, saved the aquafaba from at least 4 cans of chickpeas and white beans this week…did not have an immediate use for it, so put it in the freezer to be used as an egg substitute, or in vegan ice-cream (still collecting ideas and recipes for it’s use)

  22. Our temperature seems back to normal today. We just had 3 days of 90+ with very high humidity and several thunderstorms. We did use the air conditioning during this time due to the humidity and no cooling off at night. Last night was down to 65F so could go back to opening the windows and using the attic fan. It’s 80 and sunny now, but still kind of humid.

    The garden is producing well for us. We picked beets, lettuces, broccoli, kohlrabi, green onions, red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, Early girl tomatoes, hot and mild chili peppers, green and wax beans, edible pod peas, dill, cilantro, mint, parsley, green bell peppers, slicing cucumbers regular and seedless, zucchini, Swiss chard, kale, yellow summer squash and eggplant. Sweet corn is very very close. We picked raspberries and blackberries and currants and rhubarb. I keep picking rhubarb until Fall. I know some won’t go past July, or even June. Most of our rhubarb buyers want it as early as possible, then not much after that.

    I notice someone on a post said they canned raspberries…I’d like to know more about that. I don’t know anyone that cans them; we only ever freeze. I’d like to know how they turn out and what they are good for in a canned state. Thanks if you see this and respond.

    Cooked from scratch and ate mostly at home. Baked 4 loaves of white bread, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb pie, raspberry kuchen, zucchini-broccoli quiche. Made and frosted 8 doz sugar cookies for Church Library open house for halfway point of Summer Reading Program. Youngest girl used this as cooking lesson for her babysitting children last week using all supplies we had on hand. Made vegetable stir fry with garden vegetables, homemade bean sprouts and canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Served with rice from rice cooker. For another meal chopped up the leftover stir fry and mixed with the cold rice and added scrambled eggs for fried rice. Made cold chicken salad with with grapes and celery and a vegetarian version using garbanzo beans instead of chicken. Chicken was from leftovers on grill. Made taco salads with garden produce, pinto beans cooked last week, pepper cheese, yogurt and last year’s salsa. Mixed up tuna salad and egg salad for sandwiches. We also eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwiches too. Made 2 4oz containers of basil pesto. Used garden lettuce on sandwiches and made daily salads using garden produce.

    At grocer bought 4 pounds of red grapes on sale .99/lb. Bought 2 gallons of milk 2.99 ea and 1 free gallon from gas station with filled in card. Bought 2 bunches of celery, one of radishes for .99 (our radishes are over). Bought graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars using store coupon and promotion and double mfgr coupons. Husband picked up clearjel, 10 lb of angel hair pasta and 3 jars of peanut butter fluff at the bulk store while he was making a delivery. Accidentally saved money on gas as didn’t stop to buy until on way into town as was getting the milk and it dropped 4 cents in the meantime as I was on way home.

    Canned green and waxed beans, pickled cherry tomatoes (in refrigerator), made pesto, froze 22 pints of raspberries individually frozen and 2 pints mashed and frozen with sugar for sauce. Made 4 pints blackberry jam. Froze 3 quarts of blackberries. Froze 18 quarts of blueberries. Made 5 pints and 9 half pints of blueberry jam. Made 17 12oz jars of dilled beans. Dried dill, mint and parsley. Cooked greens with garlic and a little broth and froze in 1 cup cubes. This week I am doing pickles, so won’t do a whole lot else.

    We had game night at Church Friday night with a snack potluck. Church supplied ice tea, ice water and lemonade. I brought a vegetable tray with dill dip. Played a new game at our table…Sushi Go. Was fun. Everyone is given a number when they sign in telling you what table you are at. We used the basement so it was nice and cool. Girls and I went to one wedding shower with a meal…it was a little different as the boy was from our church; she met him while attending here while going to college. They are actually getting married at her home church and then starting mission term. Presents were to be things small and personal or small and useful. I made them each a laminated bookmark with embroidery floss tassel. Then we could make monetary donation directly to the mission for their support since they don’t need a lot of household goods.

  23. Yay! I love hearing about everyone’s accomplishments. Brandy, the grapes are so beautiful!

    This week,

    I cut chives, mint and basil from the pots on our deck. It has been consistently 99 to 105 degrees here in California, so everything else is really struggling and not producing.

    I mended my daughter’s stuffed animal and her shirt. I sewed 4-H patches onto her hat and mended her scarf.

    I traded a friend some dried beans l had for several giant zucchini, a large cucumber and some plums. I baked several batches of zucchini chocolate chip muffins to freeze, and shredded and froze 7 bags of 2-cup portions of shredded zucchini. I made a batch of vanilla plum jam with the plums. I used the other half of the vanilla bean to make a batch of vanilla sugar.

    Another friend gave me a giant bag of lemons, so l made 2 half-gallon batches of limoncello to give as gifts at Christmas and juiced the rest of the lemons to freeze the juice.

    I made a batch of sourdough crescent rolls and something went wrong with the texture. I didn’t want to throw them out and waste the bread, so l turned them into a breakfast bread pudding with pecan streusel.

    I sold some of my chickens’ eggs for $10.

    My daughter has been showing animals at our county fair for 4-H. I made sure to pack lots of water, snacks and treats, so we don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive fair food. I did splurge on a $7 large slushie container for my daughter. She can reuse it through the whole fair to get $2 refills. She has been using her own savings to buy refills at the fair.

  24. Those grapes look delicious, Brandy!

    OK, I have to admit, the heat is really getting to us this summer. In fact, meal making has become a bit of a problem. We have tried to find some things to make that don’t require cooking…and succeeded some days. However, we have also caved on more than one occasion and opted for meals out or take out. Although I am not a fan of this idea, after dealing with several days working with no AC, in several layers of historic clothing, I just don’t have the energy to fight about it. I can only hope that the weather will cool down to a more comfortable temperature soon and stay that way for more than 1 or 2 days. Until then, I am reciting the serenity prayer (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference). Yes, I know you live with worse heat than us, Brandy. We’re just plain not used to it up here in Canada… and I hang my head in shame…its embarrassing!:p

    Frugal accomplishments for this week include:
    *Harvested more red raspberries from the wild raspberry bushes at work. I wash and freeze them as soon as I get home. So far, I have filled a medium sized freezer bag with free berries and have started on a second bag.
    *Harvested more beans from my garden. I am now letting my heirloom peas go to seed, so I will have some for next year.
    *Meals made at home this week include hamburger helper, BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots, sub sandwiches (made with store purchased buns, cheese slices and cold meat from the freezer) with potato chips, and leftovers one night.
    *After attending a funeral reception for my SIL’s father, my MIL treated my husband and I to dinner.
    *As part of the social skills camp that my daughter attended earlier in the summer, the group of autistic teens went out to dinner at a restaurant to practice all the skills they learned. After we dropped her off at the restaurant, we decided to use this time to do a shopping trip at Costco, as well as have our dinner there. It cost just under $10 for both my husband and I to eat dinner out. My daughter’s meal, on the other hand, cost close to $30 for her meal (including dessert and tip). She said she had a great time and they all talked about Pokemon Go over dinner. Well, at least she practiced those conversational skills!;)
    *My MIL gifted us with a fresh bag of cheese curd she had purchased. She said it gives her heartburn. We’re not sure why she bought it in the first place, but were thankful for the treat. The cheese curd was so fresh it still squeaked when you ate it…YUM!
    * I did a huge shopping purchase this week between Costco, the farmer’s market and the grocery store, spending more than my normal budgeted amount for groceries. However, I was able to stock up on some really good deals including 2 Costco sized packs of chicken breasts on sale $4 off per pack (each pack was just over $20 with discount), 1 large tray of ground beef for $19 (divided into 6 family size servings making it $3.17/meal), a Costco sized bottle of dish detergent on sale for $7.80 (refills several regular sized dish soap bottles), 4 cans of solid white tuna for $1.88/can (normally $1.99/can), 4 bags of flavoured rice for $3/bag (DD’s favourite), 2 bottles of Bulls-Eye BBQ sauce for $1/bottle, 4 brownie mixes for $1.50/box and 4 cake mixes for $1/box (easier for autistic DD to make and encourages her to learn cooking skills), 12 tubs of margarine for $1/tub (froze for long term storage), a 2.5kg bag of instant skim milk powder for $24 (we use this for cooking and baking to save on buying fresh milk), 6 bunches of broccoli for $1/bunch (will blanch and freeze for winter), several peaches for $1/lb, a bag of spinach marked 50% off making it $0.89, a bag of waxed beans marked 50% off making it $2 plus a basket each of green and waxed beans from the market for $5 for both (will blanch and freeze along with beans from my garden for winter), a dozen cobs of corn for $6.50/dozen (mostly for fresh eating but may freeze some for winter), a basket of farm fresh carrots for $3, 4 boxes of breaded stuffed chicken breasts for $2/2 breasts in box (DD’s favourite and quick meal option to avoid eating out), 8 packages of bacon for $3/pack, 8 smoked cheddar sausages for $1/sausage (stock up for winter as this is a seasonal item), 8 packs of English muffins for $1/6 pack (froze and pull as needed for breakfast) and a multi-pack of chewing gum marked 50% off making it $1.50/4 packs of gum (put away to use for Christmas stockings). I’m so grateful to have the extra money to devote to purchasing food and other necessary items when they are on sale, as this saves us so much more in the long run!
    *We delivered my daughter to camp on Sunday. She will be there for 2 weeks this summer and I’ve never seen her more excited to get there. We miss her already, though. On the way back, we stopped and bought a basket of wild blueberries from a roadside stand for $40. Yup, that’s extremely expensive, but the taste of these wild berries is out of this world! So this is a treat we only enjoy when my daughter goes to camp. Most of the berries will be frozen to use sparingly throughout the year.

    I will be working though everyone’s comments over the next few days. Can’t wait to read them, though. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  25. I made “energy saving thermal light blocking” curtains for our bedroom- for $6.25! i found a white sheet at the thrift store that had some lovely embroidery along the top, along with a large piece of brown heavy weight jersey material. They were 2.99 and 5.99, but as everything is 25% off on Mondays, I got them for 2.25 and 4.00. The sheet was large enough to use for both the front and back of the curtains, with the jersey in between. I used the embroidered part to make an attached valance, and trimmed them with a bit of cotton lace I had. I have been wanting new curtains for this room for awhile, but light blocking ones are terribly expensive (I work nights, and have been making do with some old navy curtains and a couple towels thrown over them- which didn’t match the room at all!)

    I planted more zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots for a fall crop, I’ll wait until Labor Day for another round of spinach and lettuce, as it’s too hot for them now. I made a batch a double batch of laundry soap, and shared some with my daughter. A batch will last us each 4-5 months, which is much cheaper than buying laundry detergent.

  26. My goal each week is to limit eating out to two meals and to make that successful, I have tried very hard to improve the quality of my homemade meals and to feed us more economically. I have been a subsistence cook…never enjoyed it but cooked enough so we didn’t starve. 😉

    Last week, I tried three new recipes and they were all excellent (refried beans from scratch rather than a can, chicken stir fry and minestrone soup). Brandy, thank you again for the information on building a pantry and homemaking. Another success, we invited a friend over for dinner at the spur of the moment. Usually I would think of a meal then go out and by what I needed. Instead, I opened the freezer door and decided what we could have (spaghetti with sausage meatballs, homemade bread). Cost $0! It is so wonderful to open the freezer and find good food ready to eat, it has changed my whole view of eating at home. There a lots of times I enjoy a fresh home cooked meal, but there are days when I just don’t have the enthusiasm. The practice of “make enough to freeze another whole dinner” is as important to me now as having a freezer!

  27. * I “re-set” the pantry and took inventory of what we had as well as what needed to be topped off. Then we headed to the grocery store but only bought what was on sale and will wait to top off the other items until they are on sale. Now I have to do the freezers which should be a pleasant task since it is soooooo darn hot here right now.
    * I used all of my Kmart Rewards points and stocked back up on dry cat food.
    * I taxied a client to go pick up her RV from the repair shop (she pays well for me to do this for her)
    * I have been picking pickles and carrots in the garden and carefully watching the little cantaloupes and baby peppers that are growing – the bugs are unreal this year and the earwigs seem to be eating my pepper plants?! That is the only bug I can find on the plants but the leaves are full of holes. My tomato plants are loaded in little green tomatoes but not a single one is showing even a hint of color yet.
    * I am jealous of you all who can hang your laundry out – I am going to have to figure out a new spot for my lines since our Great Danes think any thing hung on the line is a play toy for them – and mom yelling at them and chasing after them makes it even more fun!
    * We sold an old RV awning that we wouldn’t be using for $125 which helped pay some bills.
    * We found a used yellow RV toilet that matches the yellow appliances in the ’68 trailer we are redoing + a used water pump for CHEAP! I just need to make some curtains and she will be ready to list for sale.
    * I still haven’t found a new job but hubby has gotten 2 jobs for this week which is a major relief!
    * I made sure that all leftovers were vacuum sealed and frozen so we aren’t throwing out much food.
    * Made most meals in the crockpot or very quick cook ones on the stove top to avoid heating up the house any more than it is.

  28. When we visited my daughter in Tennessee, we went to a farmer’s market. The garden center had discounted their seeds 50% so I was able to get Botanical Interest seeds at a nice discount to plant in the fall. I got stevia and some different squash seeds.

    I worked in the garden. I harvested 3 pineapple, replanted the crowns, pulled the plants and divided and planted the pups.

    I spent some of the garden budget. I bought potting soil, 2 huge pots, a dwarf papaya and meyer lemon (both for the pots), and a blueberry to replace one that I thought died. I used a $10 off $100 coupon. When I was pulling up the dead blueberry I noticed it had a couple of green leaves poking up from the base, so I planted the new one in it’s place and potted the one I thought was dead. Hopefully it makes a comeback. I topped off my potted plant with potting soil, and I still have a lot left to start seeds, etc. I probably will not have to buy any potting soil for the next year.

    I also ordered another tumbling composter. Now I can have an active one and one finishing.

    We ate from the freezer. I brought leftovers home from the catered lunches at work. The only grocery shopping we did was a gallon of milk and my every other week CSA.

    I’ve decided to cancel the CSA. I need to work harder on growing and preserving more and filling in with sales at Aldi and having the CSA to fall back on I don’t work as hard on the garden. That should be a net savings of $40 a month.

    My SO and I had a discussion about retirement goals (we are in our early 50s).

    I completed 2 Pinecone surveys.

    Have a great week!!

  29. Bethany, thanks for sharing your curtain success. I never thought of sandwiching another fabric between sheets. Did you use a regular sewing machine and/or needle? I could really use a good window block in our bedroom. There’s this reaaaaally annoying street light that is spaced just right to hit my face. I’d love to sleep without a pillow on it!

  30. I read your blog every week and enjoy it. I love how you bring things home from work. I do the same thing. Most of my co-workers rarely take anything. It’s the same couple of us that will take home leftovers or freebies.

  31. We are really in ultra mega savings mode at this point in time! I am avoiding going to the shops and am doing grocery shopping once a fortnight with a $140 budget (Australian) for 3 people. Outings are free, and include picnics, parks, walks, duck/turtle/swan feeding at our lake, free dancing and singing sessions for my children and hosting and visiting friends and family.

    To save money when i have guests over i am doing morning tea only instead of my usual big lunch spread. Very strict meal planning is going well, and this week a cooked chook was used for 4 meals plus stock made from the carcass.

    A lot of children’s birthday parties at the moment. I am using what i have on hand…i buy potential gifts when they are on mega sale and stockpile. Cards are hand made by my daughter.

    House payoff is scheduled for mid-end 2020.

  32. Mandy, did you mean you made made-rite sandwiches? Those are good. We are always served them when we visit Iowa family.

  33. Gardenpat, this summer I have seen many pallets painted as USA flags and displayed on porches, in gardens .

  34. Miriam, I definitely do not have an appetite when too hot. I seldom serve hot foods either, like soups, stews and casseroles in the summer. We eat a lot of sandwich type food, cold pasta and vegetable salads and grilled (cooked outside) food.

  35. Oh, I won a vanilla jar candle at the shower. I will use it for a present as I don’t burn candles like that.

    Debby in KS last week at very end of the frugal accomplishments asked about how we can still cook and keep the house cool. I know for me that my oven barely makes a difference. I have a double wall oven, built in, so I don’t know if it’s just insulated real well or what. But you can stand next to them and not notice they are on. I also have a “summer kitchen” in one end of our garage. It has a sink that we can pump water in via hose. It also has a propane cooktop . We use it mainly for large canning days but I’ll send things out there to be cooked on occasion. I plan on cooking one of my corned beefs soon and will probably send it out there in a crock pot. Also my husband loves to grill out…We use charcoal.

    My kitchen faces south-east and we have a relatively wide roof overhang that does some shading. We have lots of large trees too. My kitchen is in the front of the house which may be odd to some but the back of th house is woods so the living room faces that. Off the kitchen and the front entrance is a large patio and my husband built a wooden slatted patio cover …pergola? That gives dappled shade. Can you put up awnings to help?

    In the old days my great grandma and my grandma used to have the wood cookstove disassembled and moved to the large screened in porch off the kitchen. They did that until they were able to be hooked up to gas.

  36. Hi Belinda and another Australian here 🙂 . We are saving to purchase our home with cash without borrowing from the banks, or worst case scenario save most and borrow only a little.

    I must say you are doing so well with having such a low grocery budget for 3 people , congratulations. We do similar with family sized cooked chicken and are a two person very early retired couple household, and a cooked chook lasts us 3 – 4 meals for the two of us as well. We make a lot of stir fries and pasta, garden vegetable and meat with white sauce with grated cheese and breadcrumbs to make it crunch bakes in the oven and that stretches our meat considerably.

    Good luck and we hope you reach your target of paying off your mortgage in the time you have planned.

  37. Same here.. We eat a lot of BLT sandwiches and salads. Here in the south a good tomato sandwich screams summer. We grill pizza, chicken legs(treat them like hot wings) and other things that do not require a lot of grill time. I also use my crockpot for a large boston butt that I can make several meals off of, BBQ pulled pork, carnitas..I would rather cook once in this heat. Also we eat a lot of veggie dinners, always with hot water cornbread. I takes just a minute on the stove top and no heating the oven. We use our coleman camp stove on the back porch or the grill side burner. That helps even more. Cool house= happy momma

  38. Lisa, we really like it. Yesterday was our first time to use it and I was impressed with how easy it was to use — and very comfortable for two people. We wanted it to take camping with us. (We have a regular canoe we can use locally, but it is much heavier than the kayak and too big to carry camping with us.) We both agree it was a very good purchase.

  39. This week the figs have been showing off. We have brown turkeys they are smaller than the teacups but I will pick free gleaned figs happily. I sugared down some for fig preserves, made a no sugar added fig butter and dried some in the dehydrator. My Armenian cucumbers and eggplants are still battling for dominance in the garden they have both really taken off. Even edging out the tomatoes, so roasted eggplant dip and grilled eggplant spears it is. I would love to can some of the cucumbers but my kiddos and nephews eat them as fast as they grow.

    I traded a gallon of figs for a much needed haircut. I gave my husband a haircut. I am going through school supplies and clothes this week to inventory what is needed, school here starts in 3 weeks.

    My husband turned 40 and in lieu of a party I surprised him with a fishing trip down da bayou as we say here. Some wonderful friends of ours have a fish camp at the end of Louisiana and I reserved our camper at a nearby campground. Nine fellow(including my husband) fished and had a great time. They caught enough to fill up a 150 qt ice chest of cleaned and filleted fish!! Two of the men surprised him and rode down from Ohio. It is a blessing to see family and friends that you love like family come together to celebrate and make memories that they will talk about for years to come. I even precooked gumbo and breakfast sandwiches for them. Making it a frugal trip and from their descriptions and pictures and awesome one.

    I do have one questions…it is too hot for rubarb here I believe.. But I with so much talk of it on this blog, I am curious to know what it tastes like and how to use it. I have seen it at the grocery store and while a little on then pricey side, I am just gonna purchase some and try. So what do I do with it?! 😀
    Have a great week and try to stay cool everyone.

  40. I believe it is technically a vegetable. But we treat it primarily as a fruit. Maybe even exclusively, here anyway. It’s very sour and quite stringy when raw. That sourness works well with fruit and sugar, though. I’ve made rhubarb and strawberry/raspberry cobbler/muffins/bars/scones. I’ve made a “stewed” rhubarb with sugar, apple/raisin and spice to serve as a sauce with meat – chicken and pork. I even made a low to no sugar bbq sauce with it, which actually is pretty great! Oh, and roasted with a glaze as a side with chops, too, wasn’t bad.

  41. I would suggest that, if you have a freecycle website for your area, you post on there stating that you would like some to try, maybe even ask for a plant start. It grows like a crazy weed once established. I’ve frozen 10c for myself and given away far more to a couple of friends on several occasions this summer already.

  42. I made frozen banana “ice cream” at home also! I will put strawberries or other fruit in it and blend it up. We love it and it’s healthy!

  43. Yes, that’s what I meant! My husband grew up eating them, I had never heard of them until I married my hubby 🙂 They are delicious and now we make them at home. My husband says that the recipe we use is pretty close to how they tasted when he was growing up.

  44. Somewhere in my past I learned that you have to cook it, eating it raw will make you sick…. That might just be a rumor but thought I would mention it since folks here will be more knowledgeable on this topic.

  45. Mariana, I click on your link too. In this recent one I like how you said you made 5 meals plus leftovers out of the “nothing” you were told was in the refrigerator 🙂 The sausage you show in the picture is from a meat maker less than an hour from where I live. Delicious treats.

  46. I have a friend that is going to your area Brandi to work for a couple weeks. I warned him about sunburning in a few minutes like you did. He is so fair we call him Caspar and has no hair on top of his head (what is left is white).

    I’ve been in and out of town, the good side of this horrible heat is the garden didn’t produce much and run Hubby over.

    Been checking to see what I need in my pantry and making a list of what I still need to stock up and focus on stocking up and not buying what ever

    Blessed be

  47. We have been eating harvested yellow zucchini and green ones also – not too many tomatoes yet. I have picked maybe a handful of yellow pear ones. I purchased a fig tree and used a coupon so I’m anxious to harvest figs next year. I was at Walmart today and their garden plants are all half price so I purchased a few. Last Friday my husband brought home an almost full gallon of milk left in the refrigerator at work. It had expired but still smelled fine so I made a batch of crockpot greek yogurt and a batch of banana pudding. I hate to see waste. We were also gifted about 4 – 5 pounds of fresh Alaskan halibut because we helped cook a dinner at church. We have been able to eat it in about 4 meals – in tacos, with rice, and mixed with tartar sauce. So yummy! I also made french bread this past week.

  48. County fairs are so much fun. Ours is still a month away. We’d always buy food from the 4H stand to support them. My oldest girl has 3 items to enter the Adult open category. Other than that, no one does animals or foods anymore. I do miss those days.

  49. Hi Brandy,
    I hope your family is surviving the summer heat.
    This last week, I made strawberry/rhubarb jam- enough to last my family for a year. I purchased a pineapple cake mix for .94 cents and my son made two small round cakes with it, added sliced bananas and cool whip in the middle. It was a very nice summer treat. I went thrifting over the weekend and purchased a brand new LLBean shirt for myself for .99 cents and a large wool blanket for $12.00.(it gets cold where we live in the winter so this will keep us warm without having to turn up the heat) I also purchased a small wood cabinet for $20. It is very similar to one I liked in a furniture store for $399.00. I need to clean and paint it and it will be perfect for storing over-flow grocery items. We filled up a large kid’s pool in the yard for my grandson. Coming to grandma and Papa’s and playing in the pool is frugal fun for him and his mom. My husband and I spent a few hours providing free labor to our son who is working on his fixer upper house. I also purchased a shower curtain rod and shower curtain liner for his bathroom. This helps our son stretch his re-modeling budget as far as possible. I picked a pint of blueberries from the garden and froze them for my grandson to snack on. Blueberries are his favorite.
    This week we are expecting very warm weather so I am going to take advantage of that and wash my wool blanket and put it in the sun to air dry. I will also dry some parsley in the sun- it takes 1-2 days on covered trays. I will also be putting the laundry out to air dry.
    I love reading everyone’s comments- Let’s all keep up the good work!

  50. 1. I just got back from mailing two packages sold on eBay and meeting a lady to sell something from Craigslist. An extra $65 from stuff just sitting around my house!
    2. I spent some time yesterday cutting up the lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and watermelon. I find when I take the time to do this, I waste less produce and eat healthier because it’s convenient to grab it all and throw together a salad, versus thinking about a salad and not wanting to spend the time to cut stuff up!
    3. Went to two different grocery stores yesterday to stock up on their sale stuff (88 cent cauliflower and 69 cent eggs from Fresh Thyme? Yes, please!). When I was checking out from the second store the young cashier gave me the receipt and said, “You did some savvy shopping!”
    4. Went to Sur la Table yesterday to kill some time while my daughter was at dance and casually asked about the cooking classes and what the people working there do to get hired. Ended up talking to the resident chef who told me about the kitchen assistant position (as the people teaching are actual chefs). The pay is lousy and I’m not actually looking for a job but he basically said I could have it if I wanted to!
    5. Speaking of part time jobs, I did some research yesterday about different ways to work part time from home. I’m curious about being a test scorer for Pearson. I have a masters in education. Does anyone have any experience with this or know anyone that does it?
    6. Used a free packet of Greek yogurt dressing that I got from Pinch Me on my salad today.
    7. There are currently workers outside putting up new gutters from our new roof project that was paid for by insurance (minus $1000 deductible) due to hail damage. So nice to have a new roof paid for because we knew we’d need one eventually and now we are basically saving about a year of one of the kids future college payments!

  51. No Hilogene, someone was kidding you. You can eat it raw just fine. That was always one of a favorite snack…pull a stalk and dip the cut end in sugar and eat. It is like getting super sour and sweet all in one. Just don’t eat it after first frost and never eat the leaves. It is kind of stringy raw, but like celery is.

    Sooo many recipes are available. Jennifer Murch MAMA’S MINUTIAE blog just had a recipe for rhubarb muffins that a couple of us have tried on here and they are very good. Gina at HOME JOYS blog posted on her 8 favorite rhubarb recipes in June. TASTE OF HOME website would be a good tested place to look for rhubarb recipes also along with MENNONITE GIRLS CAN COOK blog. Good luck. You shouldn’t have to buy a lot. A couple good size stalks can almost be enough for a small pie…when I see them for sale in the store the stalks are quite big, but expensive as you say. They wanted 3.99/lb at the grocer here last week. You’ll usually chop them in 1/2″ pieces to fill up the cup. Make sure they are heavy and don’t feel hollow or spongy. They should be nice and firm. Green does not necessarily mean unripe…rhubarb varies in color though I do see mostly red for sale in store. Same at our stand…folks that don’t know always want just the red and won’t take the variegated or green types.

  52. Have you every tried making corn bread waffles? I just use my regular cornbread recipe and make them like waffles. My husband prefers it this way now and the house isn’t heated up by using the oven.

  53. Good point about the leaves, Athanasia. Just to clarify, rhubarb leaves are poisonous, but the stocks are edible. A quick google or Pinterest search will produce tons of delicious recipes to try! Maybe pick an easy one for your first efforts, like rhubarb muffins or a rhubarb cake.;)

  54. Hi all,
    I have a questions for the gardeners out there, since I don’t have a green thumb at all. First, I live in Minnesota and my garden consist of rhubarb and tomatoes. This year my tomato plant has 2 tomatoes on it, that’s it. No other blossoms. In 30 years of growing tomatoes I have never seen this. any thoughts on what would cause this? Thanks.

  55. Athanasia, I have canned raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I thicken and make cobblers, pies, over ice cream or use, drained, in muffins, coffee cakes, etc. I also strain the raspberries and use the juice to make raspberry tea. The berries don’t hold their shape like frozen but we like them. I started canning berries because I needed freezer space for garden veggies, meat, etc. Hope this helps! Teri

  56. Thanks to all of you for your advice. I appreciate it. Once the fig harvest finishes I will have a rhubarb project.

  57. Miss Athanasia, I am blessed to be involved with 4-H and the County Fair through two of my g-daughters, ages 11 and 10. These girls both did very well with their projects last Spring and sold them in the auction at the County Fair, which has really encouraged their participation. They both are involved in non-livestock projects, which is canning, baking, sewing, needlework, etc., and I have been their instructor. So thankful for this special time in their lives and the skills for life they are acquiring!

  58. Blossoms on tomatoes won’t set if the temperature is too hot or too cold. So, if your daytime temps are above 90 or 95 or your nighttime temps are below 60, it’s hard to get good fruit set. If the heat is the culprit, keep watering the plants and as temperatures cool they may bloom again and set fruit. If it’s too cool at night (as it often is here in the mountains) a greenhouse may be the only answer. I can’t get tomatoes unless I grow in a greenhouse or under plastic.

  59. Love the “pin” idea. I have one strawberry plant that is going crazy with runners. We’re under severe drought conditions, so I’m saving every bit of water that I can from indoors. I expect we’ll have a complete outdoor watering ban next month.

  60. Lack of nutrients in the soil or unusual temperatures (either too cold or too hot), maybe? Sometimes, certain plants just seem to have an off year.

  61. did you take the sucker branches off? did you give it any fertilizer (I use Epsom salt)? If not, it might need it and if so , you might have done too much.Has the wind blown hard in your area (I lost blooms on tom and eggplants)? Don’t toss it out, I’ve had mine not bloom much until after the dogs days of summer.

  62. Hi–Just a comment about Rhubarb. We garden at the Community Garden and my son’s plot has a plant that is 5 feet tall. It will yield all summer. We freeze a lot for winter–it’s like a free resource. I’m not sure how much longer he will garden there so we are going to take starts from it this fall. We like rhubarb crumble best. I made 2 pans for potlucks on the same day. The first one came back with about half used. The second one had not a speck left!

    Even in Alaska we have had heat this summer. It is hard because we only have 3 windows that open. Now the weather is much nicer. Fairbanks is on the dry side of the mountains but we have had adequate rain to keep the fire danger down this year. Our gardens are producing cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, turnips, cukes, and peas and beans are very close.

  63. We’ve been hot here too, but nothing near 114–Yikes!

    Son and Hubs were at Scout camp last week, so I was on my own (except for the dog, chickens, and fish).

    Frugal efforts for the week:

    * Went to the thrift store and picked up several pairs of shorts and some shirts for son (some he can wear right away; some he will grow into). I also picked up a shirt for Hubs and some articles of clothing that I will cut up for quilt blocks. I also learned that on Thursdays all items with the “color of the week” are only $1. I plan to make future trips on Thursdays.

    * Harvested tomatoes, lettuce, basil, 2 strawberries, 1 blackberry (Ha!), apples, and broccoli.

    * The first part of the week was in the low 90s, so I was able to go without turning on the AC for two days (let the cool air in during the a.m. and then shut the house up before it got too hot inside–drank lots of ice water too!); set the AC for 80F the rest of the week and was able to turn it off at bedtime. Friday got very hot (triple digits), and we were getting smoke from a brush fire in the area, so the AC had to be on all night. Not frugal, but sometimes “ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.”

    * Colored my own hair (It’s vain, but I don’t want to be mistaken for my son’s grandmother. :p)

    * Used rainwater from the rain barrel to water potted plants and shrubs.

    That’s all I remember for now. Hope everyone has a good rest of the week.

  64. brown 1 pound of hamburger, making sure to break it up into tiny crumbles, drain the grease and put ground beef back in frying pan.
    Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups of beef broth, a couple dashes of Worchestershire,, liquid smoke, onion powder, minced garlic, pepper. We make broth using bouillon cubes or powder so we don’t add salt. Simmer until the liquid is gone and serve on buns 🙂 Super easy. My husband eats his the “classic” way with mustard and pickles, I eat mine plain.

  65. Heather I have never heard of hot water cornbread. I googled it and read a little bit about it. Does it turn out like a pancake? But it does sound quick and easy.

    Sue, a couple years ago my girls were waffleing everything they could think of like brownie batter and hash browns and smores. Smores didn’t work out the best…microwave works better. I’ll try the cornbread.

  66. Thanks Teri. I will look more into this, especially for the fruit I would use for a cobbler, and that is cooked up to a sauce anyway.

  67. I also canned raspberries for the first time this year. I put them up in pints since it is just me. My canning book by Bernardin had instructions for different types of berries. For raspberry and blackberry – they said to raw pack the berries. Add about a 1/2 cup of syrup ( I used light syrup although a medium syrup was also ok) to the pint jar then fill the jar with the berries. Then add the hot syrup over the berries. Gently shake the jar and use a chopstick to remove air bubbles. Add more syrup as needed. The headspace required was a “generous 1/2 inch”. Water bath pints for 15 minutes. Quarts are also fine to do but should water bath for 20 minutes.
    Blueberries they say to hot-pack so the berries are actually placed in the syrup until heated through. For the hot bath, they said to water bath pints or quarts for the same time – 15 minutes.
    I liked the raw pack method as it was quit easy.
    I, too, have full freezers and had to do something with a flat of raspberries. I don’t eat a lot of jam and prefer apricot jam to berry jam. I’m planning on making cobblers this winter. They’re easy for me as a single person to make and the pint jar will be the perfect amount of fruit. I’ll add cornstarch to the fruit & juice when I make the cobbler.

  68. About rhubarb – you only eat the stalks and not the leaves. The leaves are poisonous.
    My rhubarb comes up late January and usually lasts through March. It dies back once we get warmer weather.
    It is one of the first things available to eat from my garden. I like it cooked in a little orange juice and brown sugar to use as a topping for yogurt. I also add diced rhubarb in muffins.
    It’s a heavy feeder but once established it will come back year to year. I just make sure to add lots of compost after it dies back and then again when I clean up the garden for winter.

  69. I have a standing oven and can definitely tell when it’s on. I will sometimes use the toaster oven for small things, but I pretty much stay with cool meals or the crock pot. We had sandwiches tonight and salad last night.

  70. I had a very nice week! We had high temps also but closer to the 80s and 90s which to you must sound like child’s play.
    I took my kids to the neighborhood pool three times. This is free with the added benefit of free showers and I feed them lunch there which saves me from cleaning up after meals. This is also exhausting as the baby needs constant supervision around water and has no fear.
    I have been trying to use up food before it goes bad and have been failing. By the end of the day I’m exhausted and uninspired to cook.
    I have been harvesting lots from the garden. We made pickles with excess cucumbers, stir frys with eggplant and zuchini, salads with lots of tomatoes and cucumber. One garden fail was I picked a watermelon before it was ripe. It looked huge and ready to go so we picked and cut it and it was still green inside. I am still looking for a trick to tell me when the rest will be ripe. Any tips?
    We ate out once at a restaurant that has kid meals free.
    I accepted hand me downs from 2 neighbors with one boy each, these will go through all three and maybe 4 of my boys.
    I am still trying to find the cheapest and most effective way to get my son speech therapy. He switches his sounds like using W instead of L. The doctor said it was still age appropriate but best to fix it now before he becomes more self aware. The turning point for me was when he said he is embarassed that he can’t pronounce his own name, this broke my heart. I am evaluating three options only two of which are partially covered by insurance. This is going to be expensive but neccesary.
    Traded our old patio set that doesn’t fit the space to a friend in exchange for labor by her husband. My husband is a fantastic and talented person but struggles with some carpentry tasks. Her husband and my husband together are building a new compost bin and putting a hot wire around our fence to keep coyotes out. We have seen lots lately and they make me nervous.

  71. Andrea Q, be careful not to pin the runners down too tightly. I did that with one runner & it died, I think from the heat of the metal pin.

  72. Hello! Late to the party as I have been preparing to go back to work but will add my list to the group. It has been frugal by default around here, and some lessons learned this week!
    1. Shopped my grocery budget as always. I bought sugar, milk, and ground beef on sale. I usually buy two loaves of bread but this week bought three because it was on sale. Completely out of bread by Tuesday. I didn’t have the yeast to make bread, so for two days, family has had to find other things to eat and has been very unhappy about it. I told them, you eat it up at the beginning of the week then you do without! We only use bread for lunch and maybe sometimes breakfast and two loaves has always been enough for a week so I don’t know what happened this week.
    2. My son has been able to go with me this week to get my classroom ready. Monday we stopped and got a dollar burger each. Tuesday I made turkey salad from leftover turkey, purchased a dollar box of crackers, and we drank sodas given to me in a meeting. Wednesday was a 3.83 lunch between the two of us. No one has gone hungry but it has definitely made us think outside the box!
    4. Used up some corn tortillas I had in the pantry. Corn tortillas are not our favorite but they were given to me so I am trying to make good use of them. Made a Mexican casserole that was actually pretty good.
    Not frugal, but made me smile. My sister, on a family group text discussion the other day, called me the “goddess of thrift”! Lol. I am far from that but it let me know that someone does notice my efforts. Have a blessed remainder of the week!

  73. Libby,
    Where are you located? I have a speech therapist in my family that might be willing to do some pro bono work with your child if you happen to be in her area. She is located in the Seattle, Washington area.
    Otherwise, I might suggest getting in touch with a local speech therapist and see if you can work out a payment schedule or possibly a trade of services? I know most speech therapists want to see all children get the help they need regardless of financial situations. I wish you the very best in your efforts to help your child be his best.

  74. SJ, thanks for the info. I do freeze a lot of fruit and it would be nice to can some since most of it turns into a cooked dessert anyways. Except for the raspberries…I like to eat those frozen as a treat or sprinkle them into fruit salads and yogurt. The Ball Blue Book which I mainly use had little about canning berries. I will check the library for the Bernardin book you mention.

  75. Miss Paula, how wonderful you are teaching food and handcraft skills to your granddaughters. As soon as my grandchildren are old enough I look forward to doing the same. I know they will be in 4H for sure.

  76. Oh, Rhonda I feel so sorry for you with this heat wave and with your heavier clothing you need to wear at work!! I think you know how we dress so I can relate some. I was at the grocer and waiting in a somewhat long line and I realized that the girls behind me wanted to talk to me (about Amish stuff :o) and I turned around and oh my, just mini bikini tops and teeny tiny shorts, all barely there. No matter how hot I was I just could not ever never do that.

    On the plus side you have the most absolutely interesting sounding job of anyone I know!!

  77. Terri, I always enjoy reading your posts on your blog. It is like having chats with a cousin or a friend, friendly. I love the old fashion pictures you include too, very much from my own life. You should post a picture of those potted plant you put together in the pots you painted…oh my, that was a lot of the letter “p”…they sound perfect 🙂

  78. Yes Sue, take off any sucker branches as they aren’t needed. You probably have similar weather to us. We also add epsom salts as mentioned. We also try and plant tomatoes that have the shortest time to final product, like Early Girl and Wayahead and lots of cherry tomato type plants. We do others…Amish Paste, Celebrity, Mountain Fresh, Wisconsin 55 that take longer but we start those indoor sooner than we start the others. I like them to start producing around the same time. Once September hits it’s like the switch turns off on them.

  79. I would check with your public school system to see if they have a speech therapist on staff and have your son evaluated. It should be free and they will meet with your child on a weekly basis either at home or at school. We’ve utilized speech therapy for our middle guy from when he was two and it’s been a Godsend! Just a thought. 🙂

  80. Here in MS kids cans get speech therapy as young as 3 FREE via public school. I even had a friend whose kids went to private kindergarten but got free speech therapy via public school. Also try local colleges or medical schools. If they teach it they sometimes offer services to public for reduced or zero rates.

  81. Sorry for this very late post. I just love reading everyone’s creative ideas. So inspiring!
    – My husband and I are trying to lose our extra fifteen pounds. Instead of a weight loss program we are doing the Mediterranean diet and are cooking all food at home. We are halfway there!
    – Going for lots of long walks and picking blackberries on the way. I’m starting to incorporate a little toning exercises, too.
    -Instead of vacation we have been going to free local festivals.
    -I am trying to focus on needs rather than wants. That being said, I did find a beautiful NW coast silver Native American bracelet at a thrift store. It was supposed to be $29.99 but I got the manager at checkout. I didn’t ask but she said she would just let me have it for $7.99. When I got home I looked it up and one of that quality would go for $300 to $400. My best find in a long time.
    -I am making my 92 year old dad a lap quilt out of scraps.
    I just finished knitting my husband and I slippers out of leftover yarn. Will be great for the coming autumn.
    I also found 6 yards of a high quality cotton material for $5, with my senior discount, at a thrift store.
    That’s all for this week.

  82. I was told by a farmer to look at the three curly vines coming off the stem nearest the watermelon. If there are three–they are a distance apart– that look dried up, then the melon is ready to be picked. I don’t normally grow melons, but I did one year and that seemed to work for use. That was back when my kids were here and my garden was bigger and I was younger!

  83. Myra, I love your new title! I call my DH “the master trash picker” and I mean it in the nicest way. He finds the BEST stuff! My friends are envious, even though they can easily afford anything. I guess that proves that everyone loves a bargain.

  84. “made-rite” was the name of the sandwich. It’s crumbled and browned hamburger cooked in beef broth and seasonings on a hamburger bun.

  85. I never get tired of salads though! Tonight we are having a tomato basil bread salad, Brandy’s white bean dip ( I have finally made it) with vegetables to dip in it and a fresh fruit salad.

  86. What is the sauce shown under good things to make this month? It looks good but when I try to click on it, it does not go anywhere?

    Thank you,

  87. I used my Janome 2212, a universal needle, and dual purpose thread. To get the middle layer in the middle without having to topstitch folded seams, I put the curtain material pieces right side together, the jersey on top, and sewed the sides and bottom seam, clipped the corners and turned it inside out, like a big pillowcase with an extra piece of fabric in it. I sewed a 1/4 inch seam on top, folded it over 3 inches and did a 1/2 inch seam on the top and bottom of the fold to create a rod pocket, but a long basting stich in the valance portion and gathered it, and attached it to the top (another reason for the 1/2 inch seam of the rod pocket.) I’d post pictures, but I use a prepay “dumb phone” so I cant load pictures on the computer. I think the longest part of the project was washing and ironing the fabric first, followed by making sure the measurements were right. The actual sewing went pretty quick!

  88. Thank you so much for the offer and advice. We have been very blessed and aren’t struggling financially, we just do our best to make the most of our money and put away towards our future and our children’s futures. There are free services offered through the school system, and we are in line for testing, which can take up to three months. The private therapist is $125 an hour and 50% is covered through insurance. The other option is going in network which is $35 an hour. I feel very lucky to have so many options to help our son and we are trying to evaluate which service is best for him.

  89. Thank you! I found a video on YouTube that said the same thing. Now I am too nervous to cut another one even though the curly cue is dry and brown. I have been trying to get my children to love gardening as much as I do and this is the only plant they were really interested in. I’m excited to see their faces when they get to eat a sweet one!

  90. Public schools usually have a speech therapist that will work with the children, but also check local universities to see if they have a speech therapist school. We live near a small city, and the local university offers reduced and depending on circumstance free therapy. It is part of the masters of speech therapy they have. Also most nursing homes and rehab facilites have a speech therapist that works with stroke patients. It may be worth checking to see if any would be willing to work a side job. Especially if they are recent college graduates needing to payoff loans. It never hurts to think outside the box. Also check to see if your child has a tounge thrust that could affect pronouncation. That may warrant a trip to the dentist. Good luck!!

  91. Bernardin is a Canadian company that supplies most of the canning jars and lids here. Any time I search for “Ball canning”, I get Bernardin in my search results. Just fyi.

  92. I grew up with my mom canning raspberries and didn’t know other people didn’t do it until I was an adult:) So, I continue doing it when I have more than I can freeze. We fill the jar with raw berries, lightly bang it on a rag on the counter to pack them in and cover with hot syrup then can. (Usually 3:1 for us). We put them in bowls and eat them like any other fruit. The juice is especially tasty to my children.

  93. Hi Libby, sometimes speech therapy is offered through school districts, even to children who are not yet school age. Also, search YouTube videos. This helped my daughter so much with her “R” sounds. I worked with her just a little every day and now she is doing a great job saying “R”. Good luck!

  94. Athanasia,

    How neat to have a 4-H food stand! We don’t have one at our county fair. My daughter had a great time showing poultry, dairy goats and arts and crafts. It was so HOT here in California…between 100 and 108 most days of the fair. I am glad it has cooled down somewhat to the mid-90s this week.

  95. Michelle, poultry and arts and handcrafts and foods…that’s what our children did. Now that we have goats I am sure the grandchildren will be involved with those some day.

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