Ok, I still feel somewhat behind, but compared to last week, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Here’s hoping it’s not an oncoming train.)
Some really positive things happened this week – including finalizing the curriculum planning for Bella’s cross-disciplinary study of The Odyssey and dealing with the last of the garden pears.
It may not seem like much, but finally clearing off a few feet of counter space and doing something with the last of the ripe tomatoes, pears, zucchini, etc. has really helped me feel like I’ve made some progress against chaos. Much needed!
Here’s this week’s list of accomplishments. Please join in, and list your own weekly (or monthly, or whatever!) achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link it up, that’s great too.
Planted & Maintained
- Garlic!!! Yay! Felt great to get this planted. I’m growing a mystery variety I bought from a farmers market in Moscow Idaho.
- It’s definitely wind down time out there. All the cucurbits vines were dead, or near enough that I yanked them. Lots of vines and overgrown cucumbers were dumped into the chicken run.
- In between wind and rain squalls I’ve been just grabbing the obvious dead stuff and composting it.
- I’m hoping to get a full “fall clean-up” in this weekend.
- Harvested the remainder of the tomatoes and have them lying on towels to finish ripening inside (photo above).
- Harvested the remainder of the eggplant.
- Harvested lots of peppers – but still a few out there.
- Picked cool season herbs to season cooking.
- Found a few clusters of Elderberries on a shrub I thought was dead.
- Made spiced pear sauce with the last of the pears
- Made a batch of kombucha
- Made and froze tomato sauce
- Made a small batch of elderberry ginger syrup
Cooking & Eat Down The Larder
I’m still eating down the last of the food from last week’s batch cooking. Man, is that ever the way to go. I will most likely harvest some cool weather stuff like kale and chard this afternoon and then plan another batch cook for tomorrow (Sunday) for the upcoming week.
- Basic maintenance.
- Paid kids to deep clean the coop.
- Feed store run to buy more feed for the birds.
- All eggs at this time of year from our new ducks. The chickens are all a bunch of freeloaders.
- Oliver goes out and visits Goldie’s grave with some frequency. He cleans it and in general just seems to feel drawn to visit her and say hi.
Business, Finances & Frugality
- Over $565 of direct funding on my Patreon page.
- This isn’t frugality specific but I’m obsessed with beans and lentils right now. All the food I’m loving eating is leguminous. Don’t really know why, but it’s sure frugal dining.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
Hello fall! You can really see how much the cloud cover and shorter daylight hours impact Solar Production. Add in the heater, night-time heating blankets, and far less line drying and we’re using more electricity and generating less.
- Total electricity used: 198 kWh
- Total solar energy produced: 61.5 kWh (= $33.04 in production incentive)
- Energy purchased: 136.5 kWh (= $14.33 in net spend)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $18.71
Home & Readiness
- In anticipation of Pacific Northwest storm season, Nick checked and cleared all our exterior drains, checked our sump pumps and the crawl space, and confirmed downspouts and gutters are all clear and free-moving.
- I had a mild anxiety attack yesterday (I don’t say that lightly – I haven’t had one since I was pregnant with Oliver) which prompted me to kinda take the afternoon off to just clean up, sort out my space, and calm my environment and my mind. The dining room table is still a mess, but much improvement was made.
- All week I’ve been treating a urine stain on our hardwood floor (thank you so much, new cats) with hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide has lightened the stain a ton, so I’m going to continue. If I can lighten the stain enough, the boards will only need refinishing, not replacement. First world problems.
- The whole family participated in The Great Shake Out (emergency earthquake readiness) on 10/19 (photo above).
- Attended ALICE training at school with Bella – this is training that focuses on how to respond to an active shooter event. Highly recommended. See if your school or office offers it!
- Reviewed campus evacuation and meet-up location with kids. Did a mock evacuation drill, where kids walked from campus on their own to our designated meet-up location. They thought it was great fun.
Homeschooling & Family
Huge improvements since the beginning of September. Everyone is finding their groove. It’s just really lovely right now.
- Regular tablework with Oliver. This is going so well. Oliver works very well and with far less argumentation if I set a timer and he knows there is an end to his “work session.” His reading ability has just blown up in the past 2 weeks. I’m a very happy homeschool mama.
- Finalized curriculum planning for Bella’s 6 week in-depth study of The Odyssey. This incorporates history, literature, language arts, visual arts…it’s a fairly massive cross-disciplinary assignment package for her. It takes a fair bit of time to plan for Bella’s education because I have to go back and refresh or re-learn so much stuff. It’s wonderful, but also very time consuming. But having a complete 6-week curriculum done feels like getting a big chunk of breathing room. Do you care what the full plan is on this? I can share the entire project if people are interested.
- This week Bella completed reading of Books 1 – 4 in The Odyssey, we did quizzes and discussion of each book, and she began work on her map of the route taken by Odysseus on his journey.
- Lots of continuing discussion, plus a little formal grading and evaluation work for both kids.
- Helped out at school by making posters for a movie on teen and child anxiety.
- I am listening to a fantastic audiobook while I do stuff around the house and as I fall asleep. It’s called Sapiens. Highly recommended.
• • •
From the last couple of weeks:
-planted carrot seeds
-planted two varieties of garlic (one hardneck, one softneck) and one variety of shallots
-planted few each of a variety of greens (collards, cabbage, chard, beets, spinach, and I forget what else)
-meant to clean up the tomato plants, didn’t get to it
-several sugar pie pumpkins, three white moon pumpkins, still waiting on the two Long Island Cheddars to ripen
-intended to gather what tomatillos are out there, didn’t get to it
-pulled all the carrots left in the growing buckets for this weekend’s dinner
-harvested herbs & greens as we used them
-mashed pumpkin – probably put up 16 pints altogether so far, not counting what I’ve already used in cooking
-froze 4 spaghetti squash halves, 4 sugar pie halves, the 2 halves of last & tiny white moon
-saved a couple of handfuls of seeds from each variety of squash (white moon, sugar pie, spaghetti, and kabocha) for planting next year
-turned a bunch of the carrot tops into chimichurri – will make notes of the alterations I made to the recipe, so I can make and freeze it as we pick carrots in the future
-took a class on making Japanese fermented pickles – let’s just say I’ll never take a class from those folks again. also, discovered I like the taste of koji and shio koji, and I now have a tub of soy-free chickpea miso I can use when my soy-allergic friend comes for dinner.
-made a batch of sauerkraut that went horribly awry – will make a new batch this week
-made pumpkin oatmeal for workday breakfasts
-made toasted pumpkin seeds from this weekend’s squash
-assembled workday lunches from previously-made freezer meals
-made a corn chowder earlier in the week to last a few days,made a tomato/rice soup yesterday to last us a few days, will make bean/ham soup tomorrow for a few more days
-helped to keep the four cats safe and healthy
-keeping the birdfeeders full – saw two different species of woodpeckers today, along with the usual variety of crows and Little Brown Birds
-trying to keep the kitchen and garage clean so we have fewer mice and rats about
-I’m coming off about 6 weeks of serious depression, mostly related to a variety of things around me that are out of my control; spent some of this week just catching up on stuff I would have done over that period
-worked 45+ hours/week at my day job
-spent some time organizing a new collection
-planned a trip so I can Run Away From Home for a weekend, all by myself
-spent some time hanging out with friends
-started work on a blanket for a friend
-laundry, mine and all the towels & t-shirts on cat beds and favorite cat-resting places
-bought a new smart phone, my partner spent no less than 5 hours either directly working on setting it up for me or on the phone with Apple Support to figure out why he couldn’t get it all set up on his own – involved both of us talking with the Support agent on at least two occasions. It’s all good now. *sigh*
Paul Rink says
An interesting week for us in N. Calif. My son and I set up rain bird sprinklers on the roof of the house and barn as well as cut a fire break around the entire ranch. Then we anxiously waited, watched and lost a ton of sleep as the fire roared towards us.
Thankfully. The last of the Cabernet was harvested the week before the fire. Sadly. Many friends and family members have lost everything. We fortunately were spared from the flames a 1/4 mile away. Our home is currently a safe place for friends to call home. Sonoma and Napa Counties will never be the same….such incredible devastation.
In times of anxiety and stress keeping my hands busy steadies my mind. I dried the fall harvest of pears. Netting approx. 30 pounds. So good this year.
I battled the puncture weed in the onion patch. Nasty stuff. If you ever get it check your shoes before you wander around the rest of the yard.
I’m back on Kauai now after a week in Calif. dealing with fire related issues. I’m up to my eyeballs in Avocados and making Guacomole like a mad man. Most will go in the freezer to be enjoyed over the next few months. The apple bananas are abundant.
Feeling very blessed and grateful.
April Brown says
Our family of four has been fighting a recurring bug all month. Last week, it was one son for a couple of days and my husband for most of the week. Since my inlaws (parents, plus extended family) were all converging on our house for a birthday party on Saturday, I had to really kick it into overdrive on Friday. Froze the fourth Ziploc bag of recently table ripened San Marzanos, baked a Victoria Sponge, cleaned the whole house, canned pumpkin, beef and chicken (separately!), and made appetizers for the party. Phew! Had a blast and as of today, everyone is at work or school. Fingers crossed, we are healthy again! We probably have one more Ziploc worth of tomatoes ripe or nearly ripe in the greenhouse, so next weekend will likely be another canning weekend. Also need to get out into the garden to clean up. Bunnies have been eating my broccoli and spinach, so I’ll need to deal with that. Beans are done, and dry so it’s time to pull them up (and dry them from the rain!). I’m looking forward to wrapping up the garden for the winter, although there are winter crops in there. For the most part, it’s done. Thanks for your update, it helps me to know there are other people who recognize the sense of achievement at clearing off a countertop. That can be a big deal.
Nancy Sutton says
Really love audiobooks… and listened to ‘Sapiens’ a few months ago….. lots of food for thought. Now I’m worn out reading your work week list : ) … got to go lay down and listen to a Tim Egan audiobook.
Valerie Stein says
Goodness, I can relate to the great feeling of completing lesson plans for a big chunk of time. Kudos to you! I’m just done emergency subbing at school (where we participated in this year’s Big Shakeout ourselves) for upwards of 5 weeks and glad my home and garden are here for me to step back in. IN a side note, my Spanish is improving. 🙂 Over the past 2 or three weeks I have:
All tomatoes and tomatillos
Herbs for some specific cooking
Banana leaves from hubby’s banana plants to make cochinita pibil (why have we never done this in years of growing banana??)
Researched how to save tomatillo seeds and they look great
Mustard greens for salad and wraps
Above pibil – we’ll do that again. At 1.69 a pound, that 3 pounds of pork shoulder butt made a cheap and amazing 5 meals…
Corn tortillas twice
Made half a gallon of tomatillo lacto-ferment – thanks to your fab recipe- it’s ready to jar tomorrow
Salvaged some problematic sourdough seed and the mother starter is busy in the kitchen right now
Baked multigrain Struan from my favorite bread book that pushes my science skills every time I open it (can’t wait to cut into it!)
Made a huge batch of vegetable stock from trimmings from the freezer, now freezing and bagging stock into cubes
Made amazing bone stock and turned it into beef stew
Garden and growing:
Cleaned my big tomato and tomatillo pots for winter
Pulled out dying stuff from the beds
Got a new compost stir thingy from my husband’s folks’ house and it is grand in our bin
Researched no-dig garden practices and got winter over seed for the cloche, straw for the beds to put over chicken manure for the winter
Designed my garden beds, made my sketch for record keeping
Made notes about purchased plants and how they did this year – trying to apply more of my knowledge every year, thanks to you
Planted some garlic from what I grew this year, made room for shallots and leeks too
Planted out more chard from my sun room grow operation for wintering over
Planted in the sun room (some on seedling mat) – basil, arugula, sunflower greens, more black mustard seed, beet greens, fennel greens, tried some red shiso seed I won in a drawing, radish greens
Took a great workshop at Write on the Sound Conference, that has transformed my thinking about structuring my middle grade novel
Continues participation in #inktober, with a new garden sketch every day of the month
I have given myself a pass on making tomato sauce in the fall. I simply freeze tomatoes whole in jumbo freezer bags, then use them over the winter and spring as needed. One less food preservation chore to deal with when everything ripens at once. I drop them frozen in boiling water for 30 seconds and the skins peel right off.