The Week Behind: In Bloom
Saturday: What a luxury it is to wake up on a Saturday morning and know that I've nothing to do all day long except rest. Yes, I make the bed, and I do cook but for the most part, I don't do housework and I simply rinse and stack dishes.
Yesterday in going over the fridge I found a small container of leftover corned beef and corned beef broth. I cut up potatoes into tiny dice and put in the container. Today I put that on to cook with a bit of onion. Homemade Corned Beef Hash is delicious! I'll definitely try to have extra to do that again next time I cook a Corned Beef.
We went over to see Taylor and the baby boy. Such a pleasure to get to see that little girl once again. I knew John was missing her, too, as he picked up a favorite snack of hers when we were in Aldi last week. "We've got to see her someday!" he said, as he added it to the shopping cart. He carried that to her today, proud as he could be that he'd followed his intuition.
We didn't come home until much later than I'd thought we would be back. I hurried to put supper in the toaster oven and then I did something I do only about every two years. I put oil on to heat and fried French fries.
I used the calcium water (water I'd boiled eggs in) to water the tomato plants and bee balm. I'd almost let them go too late. I really need to get those potted into bigger pots but I need soil.
Meals: Cereal with Berries, Toast
Corned Beef Hash
BBQ Beef Cups, French Fries
Sunday: My emotions are all over the place this morning. I had a pretty rough night filled with wrenching anxiety attacks that kept waking me and then John was restless from about 4am on. I woke in a foul mood, as foul as they come. I was determined however NOT to let it get better of me. I'm absolutely certain that the barometric pressure caused the anxiety attacks. It's happened before when stormy weather was impending.
Well dogged determination is often thwarted on another front. I was feeding the pets and ruing that I'd forgotten to buy dog food yesterday while we were in town though I knew I was out of their food. So I filled up the pans with cat food, which is not nutritionally the same but the best I could offer. I thought of the leftover broth from our corned beef hash meal and went to fetch it to pour over the food. I sat it on the console in the entry way, picked up the food pans turned to pick up the container of broth, the same which I'd just carried into the living room and the lid popped off and the whole thing hit the floor. Fat blotched beef broth all over the carpet at the entry. I ran from the room wailing "Oh no! Oh NO!" to get rags to clear it up. John had foresight to put Dawn dish detergent directly on the carpet which has likely saved it from getting stained beyond ruin. I stood by weeping.
Need I say John was far more disturbed by my reaction to the mess than he was by the mess itself?
I took my sorrow to the kitchen and found my coffee had gone cold...
And it began to pour rain...
Goodness gracious! I reheated the coffee, warmed bagels and spread them with creamed cheese then settled with my coloring book and colored while John turned up the tv so that I could hear the televised church service. By the time I'd had a hot cup of tea to follow that coffee I felt a good bit better and determined to turn that leaf all over again.
I moved on to Bible study then started to clear up the kitchen. I wiped down the cabinet doors this morning. Then I stripped our bed and remade it fresh. I just didn't want to spend another night on those sheets after such a hard night. Anyone else ever change our their sheets for similar reasons? It will give me a wee bit of extra time tomorrow when Josh is here for school.
John decided our lunchtime music today should play to the weather. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" and "I can See Clearly Now" among others. This led to a discussion of the songs that 'woke' us to music. I mentioned that one album I'd always wanted was Carole King's Tapestry. I don't know why on earth I had never thought to look for it on YouTube, but he did and played the full album after we'd eaten lunch.
Why such a longing to have that album? Well it goes back to an 8th grade composition class. Lynn Campbell was our teacher and she brought in several albums including King's Tapestry to teach us composition, poetry, etc. She had us start a journal that year. We wrote every day in that class and it awoke the fire in my bones, so to speak, to express myself in written form. I wrote my first poetry in her class and continued to express myself through poetry for the next 25 years. I have journaled since that first day in her class. To say that she changed my life is not said lightly. It was through her class that I was opened to the great authors, like Tolstoy and Thomas Wolfe, and Mark Twain, among many others. So my two greatest refuges in my life became books and writing and there I have found solace, or at least unburdening, for a lifetime.
Anyway, John did a grand thing but with my mood today, I burst into tears listening to this album and recalling the great impact of that teacher upon my life. By the way, when our class graduated that same woman donated a goodly sum of books to the high school library in our class year name. She said it was because we'd so impacted her life... Imagine that!
Now I may have wept thinking back to those long ago school days and a teacher who was one of the two most pivotal mentors in my youth, but I felt plum happy by the time I'd listened to the whole album. And incidentally found my theme for this week's "Worth Sharing" post.
When I made Mac n Cheese this evening I went ahead and cooked the whole box of pasta...Whole grain elbows are mighty hard t o find by the way. I ordered them online a year ago and now have one box left and can't find any...I made up two mac n cheese pans and put one in the freezer. Nice to have a few ready meals put by and yes, I do consider the extra as another of those 'Harvests' in my kitchen.
"The better the cook, the fewer the peelings." ~ Marceline Cox LHJ April 1954
How finely one could peel a potato or apple was considered the mark of how far you'd progressed as a frugal cook in my family and a skill to be worked upon.
Meals: Bagels and Cream Cheese
Chicken Sausage, Mac n Cheese, Roasted Vegetables
(We've had such a low amount of meat today that I felt I'd best add sausage to the menu...We'll eat leftover mac n cheese for lunches)
Monday: Goodness Gracious! What does a girl need to do to get a decent night's sleep?! Well no fault of the girl, nor the guy she's married to but weather. We went off to bed last night but at about 3am we had a weather warning flash up and it was all about flash floods due to all the rain we had yesterday and last night and it was a lot. But honestly, if we start to float up here on top of our hill, we're pretty much gonna be stuck in the water until the water recedes! Us and everybody who can cram themselves up here with us. The alarms went off again at 4am and 5 am and at 6am it was the electric blasting back on once more, sigh. At 7am I gave up and got out of bed at that point.
I showered and had breakfast laid out ready to make and read my Bible study and drank coffee and tea both before John finally got up.
It's my habit to open the shades and sit in the back corner of the kitchen where my little rocker sits and admire the day about me. This morning I was startled to realize that I was indeed looking at standing water in which my Faith tree and the blue sky above was reflected. It really was quite lovely, but since the dog food still hadn't been bought (who wanted to go out in all that rain yesterday?) I didn't dare poke my head out the front door to get a proper picture. I took one through the window instead.
Sam drove Josh over this morning. There was no way he was going to be able to walk across that terraced hill with all those low places with standing water in them. He came in with a whole sheaf of new papers to be worked on. I really needn't bother wasting my ink or paper printing out anything except his special study sheets. We did a good 10 or so sheets of work this morning and he worked very well indeed.
I asked him what he wanted to study and we discussed it. He does want to study bugs and he said the first bug he wants to study about is the roach! Ugh! But I shall see what I can find for him to study about the roach. I wish he'd chosen beetles or dragonflies or even bees but the roach is what he wants.
I did sort of chuckle to myself because you see at about 4, just a bit younger than Josh, Sam kept telling me and a friend of mine about his friend "Herbert"...We heard about Herbert for days and were sure he was imaginary but one day Sam told us very specifically, "Do NOT move that red bucket in my room! Herbert is under there!" I asked why a person would want to sit under the bucket and he said "He's not a person! He's a roach!" Lisa and I looked at each other and when he went outdoors we ran to his room and lifted that bucket...Much to our relief there was no roach there but it didn't make me very happy to know that there was one running loose in the house, more than likely one of those horrid flying Palmetto ones that are so common in the Southern states. We never told Sam we'd checked that bucket but we both laughed when he came out later that evening and announced sadly that Herbert was lost.
I noted that John, once up this morning, had dressed to go out. I had no idea what his plans were but as soon as Josh was finished with school, I took him home, then returned to ask John his plans. Gracious! Some days it's like asking him to commit all over again to taking on a family of five and he's cautious about it, lol. Seriously...I just want to know plans so I can see how MY plans fit in. I hate to ask to do something and it wasn't even near what he'd planned. Well I ended up having to tell him what I wanted and wouldn't you know he really didn't need to go out of town to acquire what he wanted but mine were only available out of town! So out of town we went to get the potting soil I have been needing for weeks. I'll get that planter set up this week and repot a few other plants besides including those tomatoes.
One of the places we stopped was a grocery where John bought a special soap he requires. We can't get that just anywhere. It's a savings over the stuff I'd been ordering for him online by a good bit. He also got plain old Ivory soap which is also a help to his skin. He picked up a box of fried chicken while he was in that grocery and I made no complaints at all. He reminded me we'd bought macaroni salad last week at Aldi and there was an easy dinner awaiting us when we were ready for that meal this evening.
I have to share that while we were out today I had a lot of anxiety. I didn't go into any store. John insisted that only he would go in and he didn't waste any time on any errand. What we bought today (except for the needed soap) really was the main hold up on moving forward with necessary tasks. But it is beyond disturbing to drive through a much bigger town than our own and see so very many businesses closed, to realize that each of those represents the unemployed and financial hardships for employees and business owners alike. I think that's part of my anxiety is not fear of the virus itself (though I do have a healthy respect for that!) but the worry I know so many must be experiencing in this time. I keep telling John that I'm feeling anxious because it's so heavy in the atmosphere over the world just now.
After we'd unloaded the car and washed up, I sat down to read the news that our state's governor is going to slowly begin opening the businesses. Seniors and elders are still being urged to stay home but in this first phase of reopening, restaurants and salons, gyms and churches will reopen. As it happened I spoke this afternoon to the guy who does our pest control service (he saw me and checked to see if we wanted to go ahead with our service call this month) and he mentioned that his wife had to close her business for the past 8 weeks as it was considered non-essential. I don't know anyone who has had the virus...but I do know many who are unemployed and hurting financially. Not saying that the virus threat isn't real. It is indeed real but it has had a side effect of hurting many people's livelihood which is as disturbing.
Meals: Cheese Eggs and Toast
Leftover Mac n Cheese and Leftover Beef BBQ Cup
Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad, Cherry Tomatoes
Tuesday: Made waffles this morning. As I made them I contemplated why I so seldom bother. For one thing, I dislike the waffle machine. I wanted one of those that are round or just 4 square and which had reversible plates. Mine is a very good quality name brand but it's heavy, bulky, awkward and large. It's inevitable that the batter will run out front and back but the side waffles (it makes six at a time) will not be full waffles despite putting equal amounts of batter on each plate. It's a right pain to clean as well because the outside has many lips that catch all that gooey batter. I'm convinced I'd use my waffle iron more if it weren't for those facts listed. Nevertheless, I made waffles this morning and put a dozen or so into the freezer.
After breakfast I deep cleaned the waffle iron. I had to use a toothpick to get gunk out of the lips and from around the dial...Speaking of the dial, anyone out there know just why they want to mark settings with paint that is so easily wiped off? Is there no way they can etch or mold these dials so that you can have a permanent setting mark on them? Because I assure you, the decals are useless as gnats in my opinion. I had a perfectly good thermometer and after two uses it was done. All the temperatures has slipped off it when used to check temperature of warm milk. Never mind...the waffle iron is cleaned, top to bottom.
John had told me that 'we' had a project to to clean the car today. I have no idea why he thought 'we' needed to do it when there's just one hose to be used and one brush...But it did upset my plans for the only day this week that is actually mine to do with as I would have liked. I didn't protest but after rushing through the most minor of household chores, went outdoors only to find him busy in his shed. I took up the potting soil and filled that planter which now sports a dozen teeny tiny basil plants and four green onion sets. I repotted all of the tomatoes, though the Golden pear will need to be repotted into something bigger still. I potted the bee balm. I repotted the two mandevilla that I wintered over. I also potted a dozen teeny tiny basil plants in an egg carton for Bess to nurse along and repotted six Kolanchoa, five of which I'd rooted from cuttings. I decided to dig up the forsythias that have remained tiny and struggling for years and left the turkey foot oak that keeps coming up. I also dug up the glut of Spider Lily bulbs that were next to the tree and forsythias. I thinned those out and replanted and incidentally created a neat little rectangular bed about the tree. Then I planted the largest bit of forsythia next to my shed. I may end up having to move it again but it has a home for the next few months at least and will look lovely blooming it's pretty yellow bell shaped flowers next to that grey shed. I used every last bit of soil bought yesterday and will go for more as I've a long way to go yet with repotting and potting and planting.
And yes, all that was a great deal of work and I was done with the day when I came indoors. I did ask John if he wanted 'us' to wash the car but he shook his head. "No...You're too tired..." ha.
After showering I put together a quick lunch. Then I started a load of dishes washing and settled to do my Math work. I did two days worth since I didn't get to touch it yesterday.
Sam ran by to borrow ranch dressing and onions soup mixes.
He hugged me as he was about to leave and exclaimed in horror "You're awfully hot. Gosh Mama, I can feel the heat waves coming off you! You're too hot!" Well I wasn't...I'd just opened the dishwasher door to let the dishes air dry and was standing right next to that open door. It just so happened his arm was on the same side of me as the dishwasher, lol. Made me laugh and laugh which felt pretty darned good.
Brought in the clothes off the line and folded them up. We did two loads of laundry today, one of clothes and one of towels/sheets.
Sigh, completely forgot to get a thing out to thaw for meals. Hurried to remedy that but really not sure what we're having tonight. Guess I'd better make up my mind now that it's 5pm...
Meals: Waffles, Chicken Sausage
Fried Chicken (legs and wings) and Egg rolls (from Freezer)
Cubed Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Biscuits
Wednesday: I promised someone that I'd share Bess' recipe for the Sweet Bread Pudding. She uses this one...and I assure you it's the only one I've ever eaten that I LOVE. I mostly don't even like bread pudding but this one is very good.
Last night I made biscuits. Lesson learned. I used my little toaster oven and the front row nearest the glass burned on top. And the bottoms were doughy and undone. I turned them over and popped them back into the toaster oven for an additional ten minutes which cooked the bottoms. But...Yeah...NOT impressed. It's worth it to crank up the big oven if I'm making biscuits in the future. We did as we used to do when the children were at home. Biscuits with jam were our 'dessert' last night.
This morning, I split and toasted them with cheese or butter. It's my favorite way to eat leftover biscuits.
So back outdoors this morning. I deadheaded Dianthus and roses, temporarily potted the other two forsythia, sorted out the bulbs I wanted to share with Bess, clipped dead branches from the Rosemary bush and then watered plants. I found the lemon thyme had put down roots and created two new plants which I repotted into the planter.
Then Bess and the boys arrived. Isaac was so excited to come spend the day with us that I almost feel I should offer to have him one morning a week but I just can't figure out a time frame that will work for me. I got to hold the baby girl and was rewarded with smiles.
Bess and I made bagels and they turned out delicious. I was a little disappointed in one pan of mine but I did put them on the bottom shelf and failed to time them. I must say they tasted just fine. Note to self though, if I'm going to make multiple batches in future it might be better to stagger the batches so everything doesn't need to go into boiling water or oven at the same time. The boys gave Bess a thumbs up on her attempt and she went home pretty happy over her first attempt.
I made tacos for lunch and used a variety of hard shells and soft flour tortillas. I had everything needed to make them on hand and enough leftover that we can have a single serve Taco salad or fancy nachos for two.
I was tired when everyone left and glad to take my seat. Found a new Lucy Worsley historical short series on the history of Home on YouTube. I watched episode one but will go back to watch it again as I was distracted during parts of it.
Easy meal tonight. Not a quick meal but I reasoned that the lack of overall prep required and the length of cooking time meant no real rush and that seems a good balance to me for a meal that might take longer to make.
Pulled a frozen chocolate cake layer from the freezer to thaw. Not frosting it and simply topped with a dollop of whipped cream meant it was a simple enough dessert to set out.
Meals: Toasted butter and cheese biscuits, sausage patties
Teriyaki Marinated chicken, Rice, Broccoli, Cake with whipped cream
Thursday: Boy did my back ache last night when I lay down in bed. I'd lifted Isaac onto my lap while holding Millie in my other arm and I'm pretty sure that is when I strained my back. Why these things wait until just about bedtime to start to spasm and hurt is beyond me. John kindly rubbed it and I took some anti inflammatory pills. I slept fairly well despite waking up with repeat spasms here and there.
Not a sunshiny day for our school day but despite this Josh and I had a pretty good time of it. I made up flash cards using construction paper that we used to form simple sentences. He's doing a good job of reading. I need to get some books he can read on his own here...Oh wait! I have a book I just thought of....Let me run go check it. I do!! I have a whole set of McGuffey's readers and there's a first reader included. I think this might work out very well indeed.
Josh showed his sense of humor today and I thought he was funny as could be. "What character is this one, Gramma?" I answered "It says her name is 'Cream'..." and he quickly pointed to the toy she was holding. "Oh then his name must be 'Cheese'!" While he was playing today for breaktime he asked to play with toys not Kindle. I said "Fine." He pulled out the cars and was having all sorts of conversations in his playtime but then he began to sing, "Backseat drivin' with Gramma!" That boy!
I was just starting lunch when our pest control man came by to treat our house. His wife is a salon owner in town and I asked if she was planning to re-open tomorrow. "We really need that income," Mark said, "but she can't get the sanitizing cleaners they are telling her she has to use. No one can get them!" He said that her application for unemployment had been reviewed this past weekend and they are hopeful she will be able to get some sort of benefits for her time out of work.
Georgia isn't opening up every thing every where all at once. I know that people are beyond ready to get back to work. Not, because, as one congressperson suggested, the national economy is so all important but because the personal hardships of not working are devastating to so many. They are teetering on the brink of disaster and it's personal financial disaster. While some might not see the importance of individuals being allowed to work once more...Well I can tell you from personal experience that job loss due to a layoff can create a whole lot of worry and stress on parents and children alike. I don't think any one means to risk their life or their loved ones lives.
I used my newly polished math skills to figure out the percentage of infected/tested positive vs. the overall population in our county and it came out to 0.25%. Our percentage for deaths is .0125. Mind you percentages do not take into account people and it's people that are/have suffered but all in all I think the social distancing and isolation orders helped our county as much as the fact that it is very rural.
I've started a loaf of French bread in my bread machine. Experimenting time again! I mean to build up a few bread recipes so I can make good use of that bread machine.
After our pest control man left I stayed busy enough but haven't a single thing to show for it...And that was our very rainy day today.
Meals: Skillet breakfast of hash browns, eggs, and sliced sausage, Toast
Hot Dog and Fries
Taco Pizza with a cornmeal yeast bread crust, Salad
Friday: Late afternoon before I even begin this day's posting. The French Bread recipe turned out fine, so far as appearance goes. I did find I had a difficult time getting it to release from the pan but it finally came out and didn't tear. I'll share that recipe with you.
1 1/8 cup water (80F)
2 tsps. sugar
3 tsps salt
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsps yeast
Add water, sugar, salt and flour to dough pan. Make a small dry well at the top of the flour and put yeast in it. On my machine, I simply chose 1.5 pound French bread, but on some you might need to choose 1.5/Basic/Dark Crust settings.
I did back off on the yeast by 1/4 tsp since I knew that my last loaves had not done well with the full recommended amounts. This loaf turned out crusty and lovely.
I looked on Amazon for a bread slicing guide. I gave up after every single reasonably priced one received multiple negative comments and low ratings. The bamboo guides were said to splinter when a knife passed through the slats. The plastic ones either didn't fit my bread machine loaves or were flimsy and broke easily. I'd love to have uniform slices but inevitably when I do it freehand we have a thin portion and a very thick portion on the same slice. Any recommendations?
Ordered Lily's birthday present online. She'll be 14 next week...Oh time has flown by!
Sent John off to work this morning with a lunch that would withstand sitting at room temperature all day long. He's never sure if there will be enough room for his bag in the fridge, so I try to pack things that will serve him just as well if he gets space or not. He also received a message yesterday that he could pick up a free lunch today at a local eatery that was giving a meal to the EMS.
What he earns today will go directly into savings.
I did housework this morning and put together the new pantry shelf unit that came yesterday. John got it half done then walked off and left it. Well I'd really like to get the pantry reorganized and that shelf loaded up, so I went to work on it myself this morning and slid it into the closet. It fits nicely. I didn't put any foodstuffs on it yet because John needs to check my work but I think I did it just fine.
After light housework, I headed off to Mama's. I took outgoing mail and trash with me. My first stop is always the dump which is about3 miles from the house on our way into town. Then to the post office and finally over to Mama's.
We had lunch from a drive thru and went out to the fair grounds to sit under a big oak tree and eat.
I knew Mama wanted groceries so I offered to go in for her. She had two lists. A shorter one and a longer one. She decided to go with the shorter list and then checked off the things that she 'really' wanted, lol. Well you know these days you get what you get. There were NO paper towels, no Spam and no tuna in oil. Plenty of tuna in water but that is absolutely not what she wants.
I found chicken breasts on sale (and it just now occurs to me I didn't even check to see if they were carageenan free...I sure hope they are!), a can of Crisco, opting for the large can this time, finding it much less expensive than the smaller cans or the measured sticks. I got lasagna noodles which have been out of stock everywhere I've been until today, bananas, and a coffee cake for Sunday breakfast. I got more than a bit frustrated with the clerk. I had clearly separated my things from Mama's by a great distance. I told her I had separate orders. She walked around and pushed all my things up to Mama's and then rang them all up together, sigh. I offered Mama money for my portion which she refused, as I knew she would. This is one reason why I am so careful to separate them. Oh and if you bring our own bags these days you load your own bags too, in Kroger at least. The clerks do not handle customer's bags. They can touch your groceries all day long and the cashier most certainly did handle every one of my items multiples of times but it's a no when it comes to touching my bags. Curious how folks are isn't it?
I missed my Starbucks coffee after leaving Mama's. The branch near her house is closed and it's the only one within a 15 mile range, none west of her town until you reach Columbus which is 80 miles away. I came home and attempted to make my own version of an iced coffee. It wasn't very good.
I should have tried one of those Dalgona coffee whips, but I really didn't want the additional caffeine...However, I remember too late that I seldom remember to ask for decaf at Starbucks anyway.
Well the house is clean, the table set for Shabat. There are leftovers for suppers tonight and I've nothing to do until John comes in from work. Hope you all had a lovely week and enjoy a beautiful weekend...at home, of course!
What did you do this week to save, harvest, or up your home skills?
(C) Terri Cheney