February 28 garden at sunrise The Prudent Homemaker

The garden at sunrise Saturday morning

I have another child’s birthday coming up shortly, so I have some sewing to do! She asked me for a blouse and some pajamas, so I need to make those this week, and possibly another gift or two. She also asked for a puzzle, so I’ll make a trip to the Dollar Tree to get one. Making presents is my top priority for the week, like it was last week, so garden chores are secondary.



1. Make birthday presents for Wren



1. Prune apple trees. This is very late, and I am never this late, but it needs to be done (I usually do this in January, but I was ill twice in January and it didn’t happen). Ideally, I’d actually like to take out several espaliered trees that have never flowered here. Despite reading that these would do well in low-chill areas like where I live, I think they are not getting enough chilling hours still, which is why they are not blossoming. My Dorsett Golden apple, in contrast, was covered in blooms in February, and is a reliable apple for this climate.

2. Continue to prune hedges in back

3. Fertilize fruit trees, berry bushes, roses, and grape vines

4. Finish planting tomatoes

5. Take out non-producing apple tree (yep, it’s still on my list!)



1. Trip to Vons for pork shoulder roast

2. Quick trip to library (across the street from Vons; combined trip)

3. Trip to the dollar store to buy Wren a puzzle

4. Trip to the nursery (around the corner from #3, so a combined trip) to see if they have chocolate mint plants

5. Trip to Winco for potatoes and oats (I didn’t get over there last week; I will probably combine this trip with 1 and 2)


Other goals:

1. List 5 things for sale on Facebook garage sale pags, and bump other items that still haven’t sold


Website goals:

1. Finish blog post on Elsa’s birthday


Similar Posts


  1. You forgot the goal about making people in the midwest and on the east coast crying with despair and jealousy over your beautiful garden pictures when we are still getting snow, ice, and freezing rain with predictions for more of the same this week. Sigh…

  2. I love chocolate mint, I planted it in a troubled spot in the garden. I love pineapple sage too. This week is birthday palooza, my son is three on Thursday. He is feeling very ” middle child” right now. We are making the favors, and I am doing all the cooking. My friend volunteered to come watch the baby while I bake and make two dozen meatball sliders. He also asked to serve cocoa and truffles, so I am making those as well. Tomorrow I am dusting and polishing, and cleaning the chandelier( most dreaded chore).

  3. My goal for the week is deal with a snafu in my son’s university bill once and for all. If this doesn’t get taken care of, I’ll be out $750 for nothing whatsoever. Very, very frustrating!

    Otherwise, my goal is to do a deep cleaning and decluttering of the house, as I have someone coming over to photograph the house. It’s good to have a deadline sometimes. The house is actually quite clean and organized right now, but a few focused hours would do it a world of good.

  4. I am in the middle of purging our basement and making the space more use-able. I also need to list some things to sell, because I’m starting to run out of space for the things we want gone. That will make it feel like there is more progress too, as the space down there opens up a bit.

    I was wondering…espaliered trees are on walls, yes? I wonder if your block walls are holding enough heat that your trees just aren’t getting the chill that they need to thrive there. I really admire all you’ve done with your food and flower gardens. 🙂

    I hope your week goes well!

  5. I think it’s still the lack of general chilling hours. Some of the varieties flower and fruit, but several do not. They are all on the same wall. My espaliered Asian pear is fantastic. If I take them out, I can grow beans and Armenian cucumbers in their spot and get something from the space. I’ve got the same problem with a concord grape. I just found out they are high chill, which would explain the lack of fruit. I want to make sure each space in the garden is productive; if not, I am just wasting the resource of the space and dirt that I have.

  6. I espaliered Fuji and Pink Lady apples on a split rail fence. They barely produced, and it was very time consuming to prune them. I loved the idea of it, but practically it did not work. They also were prone to disease and insects. I finally took them out. With this drought, if it doesn’t produce, it’s gone. I replaced them with grapes after seeing your big harvest. My Anna apples do great. Loaded with fruit at a young age.

  7. I got nothing I’d planned for last week done.
    My son asked me to make his daughter a costume and that took almost 3 days work.
    Then I got sick. *sigh* So I am not sure what my goals are for this week.
    I’m not feeling well still so I think I will just be doing small sewing that I need to get done.
    Your garden is lovely, Brandy.
    I hope the same for my garden one of these days.

  8. More garden/flower/shrubs/ anything alive please! I am buried under 6 feet of snow and more is coming. Please , please, pretty pics plz……LOL!

  9. What do you use to fertilize your fruit trees? We just planted our first apricot tree, and I’m not quite sure how to take care of it. 🙂

  10. I have been contemplating getting an Anna apple. I’ve also thought about pistachios in the same place. I’m wondering if I could espalier a male pistachio next to a full-size female pistachio and have it be enough to pollinate it, since one male pistachio can pollinate 6 female trees. I’ve heard about good successes with these here, being a desert fruit.

    Martha Stewart Living had a very interesting article about date palms in the issue before last. They showed all of the different kinds, and they can produce fruit when short, too. They produce 600 pounds of fruit each year. At one point, though, they get VERY tall, and dangerous to pick on extension ladders with harnesses. Still, it’s very interesting; that is a LOT of fruit for one tree. Again, these are great desert choices, so I’m thinking. I wish I had known about pistachios when planning the garden; I would have included them for certain.

  11. My goal this week is to continue to do some sewing, I am working on a quilt that I start and stop as other projects become more important. Planning to do some more cleaning out of some cabinets-hope to start on some in the basement.
    Days are getting longer and the sun shining more, feels so great.

  12. Gilcrease used to have beautiful date palms, but I believe they were bulldozed to make way for development. IIRC, they are a messy tree, so you’d have to make sure they didn’t drop fruit in your neighbors’ yards. Pistachios would be very cool to grow and since they are so well suited to the desert, they’d probably need less water than the apple trees.

    Since you use intensive planting techniques, it’s possible that the apple trees are too close together and the soil can’t support them. Conversely, they might getting too many easily available nutrients from over-fertilizing, which encourage branch and leaf growth, but not blossoms.

    I wonder if you could use the apple wood to grow mushrooms in the coolest, shadiest part of your garden?

  13. My goals this week are to finish putting in the edging along the front of the lawn at the street. Put in the edging around the mailbox and lantern to make a small flower bed with leftover stones after I finish edging the front of the lawn and plant the Mexican heather I got on clearance at Lowe’s ($3 for 6!). Friday night I want to dust, vacuum and clean the bathrooms. My son will be here for 10 days over his spring break, and I want to get those chores out of the way before he gets here.

    Have a productive week ladies!

  14. When we lived in Southern California we grew a Beverly Hills apple that was enormously successful. It was a dwarf tree that never got more than 6 feet tall so it was easy to pick and prune. It was a great cooking apple and I made quarts and quarts of apple sauce and dozens of pies every year. My friends and neighbors all enjoyed our bounty, too.

  15. They should be fertilized three times a year, and I only fertilize them once, so it’s not that. I do think they are too crowded; they have come too far away from the wall and are close to the citrus. Water amounts wouldn’t change, though; I water with drip irrigation.

    I couldn’t keep the mushroom kit I got moist enough in the house; I got one from it and it dried out and was yet moldy at the same time 🙁 I really wanted to see some success with mushrooms; I like them a lot. So I don’t know how well I would do. What kind of mushrooms grow on apple wood?

    I get Gilcrease’s emails and the guy that runs it now is someone I know; he worked with me on my last yard here. (He has done a lot to increase what they grow and their year-round production). I haven’t seen date palms there. They actually have them in the parking lot by my husband’s office, but it would be dangerous to pick them that high and near the street and parking lot.

  16. I know right!?!? She gets to plant tomatoes, and I haven’t even started seeds yet. I’m thisclose to getting out there with the hair dryer so I can at least SEE the garden lol

  17. My goals this week are to dust, vacuum, and clean the bathrooms. I also want to clean and polish the hardwood floors. I need to pack up some of the knickknacks cluttering my kitchen counters and store until next winter.

    We have snow on the ground but by the end of the week the weather forecast is for temps in the 50’s. Can’t wait!

  18. I have chocolate mint as well..smells wonderful. What can I use it for…any suggestions? I have regular mint as well I use in some meals , water, salads.
    Patty from the NW

  19. I also need to plant/start more seeds and get out in the garden and pick broccoli. I was going to do it over the weekend but we got involved in a project digging up and moving the mailbox.

  20. I am really hoping the snow starts melting here soon or it warms up. I want to get some outdoor work in soon, but I am not sure that will happen. I am going to try to go room by room and gather things to sell for our yard sale. The neighborhood yard sale isn’t for another month, but I like to plan way in advance. Now that it is March I am so ready for spring!

  21. This week I hope to spend some time going through the boxes in our home office area. We are currently using it as a holding space for some boxes of clothes, but I am anxious to get it set up as a usable office/craft room. I am planning to bring some clothes and toys the boys have outgrown to a consignment shop. Since they will only take spring/summer items now I need to do some sorting. I also hope to do a lot more cooking for the freezer. I am planning on bread, muffins, and some soup. The only other to do on my list is to try and earn some more Swagbucks. I wish to purchase a gardening book and cookbook. I’ve borrowed both from the library recently and have decided they would be worth purchasing.

  22. This sounds interesting, Brandy (a working date farm with some free attractions nearby):


    I believe that the date palms at Gilcrease were cut about 10 years ago. I had friends that were native to Las Vegas that talked about how sad it was to see them go. I don’t know what specific types of mushrooms grow on applewood, only that it can be used. I am hoping to start a mushroom patch by the end of the summer. I’m still researching varieties.

  23. This week I bought some much needed items from Amazon. I used my $100.00 I earned from taking surveys at MySurvey.com. Ate lots of meals at home. I have started working 2 days a week and my son has at least 3 wrestling meets a week. It is hard to cook on the days I work and we are gone until 8PM. I am picking up lots of tips from those of you who work. So far I have packed my lunches, and brought my own snacks and drinks from home. I work in a large hospital that has a nice café but the first week I was eating there and quickly realized that I did not want to spend $3-$5 a day eating lunch. Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be bringing a sausage/chard soup that I made over the weekend. I am going to put it in my vintage Thermos that I bought at a garage sale for 25 cents. It does a great job of keeping foods nice and warm. Frugal Accomplishments is one of my favorite parts to the week!!

  24. This week is the first week since my family member passed, so I am focused on getting back on “routine”.
    There are sewing projects, that I had collected the materials needed so this week I hope to get a few finished.
    Getting my half hour daily work out routine re-started. This helps my mind tremendously. I haven’t taken time for myself like this for some time.
    This weekend I started scrubbing the house as if the Queen was coming for a visit. It will take me the rest of the week (few hours here and there) to finish.
    I want to make each family member silly cross stitch sampler for Christmas. I would like to get one finished a week.
    I should try and get a batch of muffins baked for the freezer in case we need a quick breakfast in the near future.

  25. My big event this week will be attending a Food Trade Show with my husband. He is a cook in a restaurant and they receive free tickets to attend the trade show. In past years he attended with his co-workers and always brought home a treasure trove of free samples and other endorsement/promotional products (free reusable bags, magnets and/or other cool gadgets with the company logo printed on it). All the big names are usually there, including Kraft, Pillsbury, and the big wine/alcohol producers. This year he asked if he could get a ticket for me, and his work graciously printed the extra ticket. I have been informed I will not need lunch as there are so many samples given out. I’m so looking forward to this!

  26. Rhonda,
    With my job we have attended Fancy Food Expos and if that is anything close to what you are going to – you will be giddy with the samples given! I haven’t gone in the past year, but previously I had be given Indian spices, cookies galore, Swedish cheese, tried Kimichi fruit for the first time (tastes like grapes) – I would advise taking a bottle of water though. Have a great time!

  27. Hi All! Long time reader, first time poster. I’m 30 and a new(ish) mom, and reading your comments is like hanging out with a bunch of women who’ve been there, done that. Some of you talk about being retired, I imagine we’re chatting together over tea, like being with my mom or nana. It’s very comforting and soothing, so thank you.

    I practiced contentment. I’ve been thinking some of my bras look a little worn. I wear the same 3-4 regularly, even though I have 19 in my drawer from my spendthrift days (I just counted). There are more in a tub in the closet, too. Instead of buying a new one, justified by using the $10 off coupon I just got in the mail for Victoria’s Secret, I decided I would let myself buy a new one ONLY IF I went through and determined I had no other acceptable bras, and threw out any that are unwearable. What do you know, there are a bunch in the back that I had forgotten about that look great. And the thought of making myself throw away something that still has life it in is so abhorrent, I scrapped the urge to buy new and am looking forward to bringing some forgotten ones into the everyday rotation. I am chucking one, that I wear all the time, that the straps won’t stay up anymore. It’s so unattractive to see women fishing for their bra straps, right?! LOL

    I signed up for a spot for the community yard sale. I have a pile going in the attic already for that. We had a good time last year. Didn’t make much money, but it was a beautiful day, fun to be in town center, good people watching and the baby had fun. We donated everything that didn’t sell (a truck comes at the end of the day), and the basement was cleaned out as a result. Win-win-win!

    On Sunday evening, we went to a Lent evening event, about the history of our church/denomination, called Episcopal 101. It was very interesting. My husband is on the Vestry this year, so it was nice for him to support that. Our pastor’s wife made soup for dinner afterwards. I will offer to bring something to next week’s class. Probably rolls, as she’s making soup again.

    I completed 3 pine cone surveys for $9.

    I signed up for usertesting dot com. They pay $10 per survey, but it’s only 1x per month or so, I hear.

    Added water to the end of the shampoo bottle. Got 4 more washes out of it.

    Brought brownies and a home made get well card to my dad, who just had cataract surgery in one eye. I got the brownie mix on sale, $1/box. He loves the baby, so we visited for about 3 hours the day after the surgery. She gets so excited to see her Papa, and holds her little arms up for him to pick her up.

    I’m rereading the Tightwad Gazette Complete, books 1-3. I’m finding lots of new ideas I hadn’t gleaned in the first reading, about 2 years ago. It’s more a book about creativity in a lot of ways. Thanks to Katy from the Non Consumer Advocate, who mentioned it awhile back—I think you were using it to hold something down?!

    We’re going to a wedding in May. Bed Bath Beyond doesn’t seem to accept coupons online for registry purchases, so I purchased in store (batched the trip with grocery shopping next door). I saved $40 with coupon.

    The cat’s cardboard scratch pads are getting worn out. First, I put them on my shopping list, but thought I’d wait a week or so before buying. That gave the idea time to knock around in my head for bit, which gave me time to come up with a solution. I just flipped them over, and now he’s good for another year or so. Just waiting to make purchases helps so much. If given a week or two, another solution seems to come up a lot of the time.

    It’s been cold here. Instead of kicking the heat up in the baby’s room, we’re keeping it around 65 and putting her in double jammies to sleep- so she wears her 12 month jammies, then a set of 24 month jammies on top of that.

    We had some friends over for dinner. Several people brought bottles of wine. We were left with 3 open bottles at the end of the night. My husband and I don’t normally drink much, so I froze the leftovers into ice cube trays to use in future recipes.

    Usual things:

    Made all meals at home.

    Shopped 2 grocery stores to get the best deals.

    Made turkey soup. I made the stock using the turkey carcass, plus celery tops, carrot peels, garlic skins, and onion skins I had saved in the freezer. (never knew that trick before!) Now that I know how easy it is to make stock, and HOW MUCH BETTER it tastes, I don’t think I can go back to boxed stock.

    Washed out baggies.

    Turned off the oven 2-3 minutes early and let things finish cooking with residual heat.

    I worked 19.5 hours at my tutoring job. My mom, dad, and husband take turns watching her, so we don’t have to pay for child care.

    I made home made wipes for the baby (roll of paper towels cut in half + baby wash + baby oil + water).

    I made baby food using my blender, freezing purees in ice cube trays, then popping cubes into zip lock bags. No special baby equipment needed! She’s eating a lot of solid foods, but only has 4 teeth, so has a hard time with meats and fibrous veggies. I puree chicken breasts, pork chops, and a variety of fruits and veggies for her.

    Nursed 2x/day, morning and night (she’s over 1 year, but I still like nursing her).

  28. I’m getting back on track after vacation–back to routine. One goal is to gather the paperwork to have an accountant do my Mother’s tax return–she passed last January so that is the last thing I need to do before closing out her estate. I do my own taxes, and could start those any time also.
    I LOVE seeing photos of your garden, and while I am jealous, please don’t stop posting them. All we see out our windows is snow and ice. Tomorrow we are going to have a couple inches more snow, a period of mixed precip, and then fairly heavy rain. My husband has already seen to the ice removal around the drain in front of our house, and knocked down some snow with the roof rake, to make this as safe as possible. There is still easily a foot and a half of snow and ice most places and we don’t need it all to melt at once. I think the rain is only for one day and then it gets colder again.

  29. Take a bag with you!!! We own a local restaurant and LOVE to attend the food shows. . Not only do we get great ideas but I stock up on freebies. Take a few baggies or storage containers to put the cooked food in.

  30. As a puzzle fiend, Dollar Store puzzles are (at least around here) always cheaply made and don’t fit together well. A thrift store/Salvation Army is a much better bet for a good puzzle.

  31. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    I have not posted about goals for a long time. I made a few for this week. I mainly want to catch up on getting my produce cooked and in the freezer. I also want to clean my oven and range. Spring is on my mind so I bought some seeds and am thinking about where and what I want to plant. I hope to have an herb garden. I also want to sew a few things.

    That’s all I can think of at the moment.

    Blessing to all,


  32. Liz and all the rest of the readers … I just saw an article that when clothes are donated there are seldom bras . They said remember to donate bras in good condition as there is such a shortage. They are especially helpful when women are trying to put together an outfit for job interviews and returning to work.

  33. Welcome to this incredible group of women. I am one of those (semi) retired people and it does feel like a village where knowledge, skill and experience are shared (and laughter – I love that many share their frugal fails). I had to laugh – I’ve had cat scratching boxes for years and only this week thought about turning them over. Voila – new! And happy cats who can’t be outside. And the broth/stock hint about saving veggie bits and ends – I found that here after years and years of cooking. So we are all learning! And Athanasia is right on the bras – my favorite thrift store loves getting good use bras. I went through my stash of bras that I was ‘saving for good’ and handed off those that didn’t work for me and kept those that still work and are nice.b The other thing I’ve really worked on is laundering them correctly so they last longer – it does make a difference.

  34. Anna – so glad to see you are back! I am almost anxious for the first nice day when I can open the windows and clean the oven!

  35. Christa, I wish I had read your suggestion about taking a few baggies or storage containers with me before I went. I was full by the time we reached the halfway point, but would have loved the opportunity to bring some things home. As for the bag, I almost brought my own, but hubby said it wasn’t necessary. They handed out reusable bags before we went in and there were several companies who also had reusable bags available to take. I’m glad I listened to him on that one. It was so fun…I hope I can go again next year!!!

  36. Mint, chocolate mint is a wonderful add in to brownies and cookies. Mix 2 TBS of finely chopped into your batter. I also have used it to make jelly (like mint jelly) and serve with toast or on top of cream cheese for a party food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *