Super Mom – No Cape!

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Archive for August, 2009

Independence Days Challenge – Aug 10th to Aug 16th

Posted by supermom on August 17, 2009

For Sharon Astyk’s latest post… Independence Days Update: Summertime and the Living is… Sweaty.  Make sure to check the comments section for even more updates.

1.  Plant something: I haven’t been able to decide exactly where would be the best place to build my herb garden, so the herbs I bought a couple of weekends ago got transplanted into hanging planters and once they’ve had a chance to adjust for a few days, I’ll hang them from the old gazebo frame we’ve converted to a clothesline.

Over the past week, something got to eating the pac choi and it was looking pretty awful, so we pulled that out, added some compost to the bed and planted beets and collards.  We’re still having trouble with one of the neighbour’s cats using our gardens as a litter box, so we recovered the bed with garden cloth and we’ll cut slits in the cloth once the beets and collards are up.  There’s enough room in that bed to add swiss chard, which I’m going to experiment with starting inside this coming week.

Bought petunias that had been discounted and repotted them into hanging planters.  They look a little scraggly right now, but in a few days they should perk up and look nice.  And while they’re not food… they do attract pollinators.

I also divided one of the houseplants that had outgrown its pot.  That gave me one plant to bring back into the house and three to trade or sell.

2.  Harvest something: Tomatoes from the Lincoln tomatoes.  I’m really impressed with the Lincolns and hope to be able to save seed from them for next year.  We just have to figure out some kind of temporary covering to keep the birds out.  And then over the winter, maybe we can work out a better solution.

Picked up the veggies from our CSA.

3.  Preserve something: No

We have discovered that none of us really care for eggplant, so this past Thursday, I traded eggplants for tomatoes from the swap box when we picked up our CSA veggies.   With a few of the tomatoes from our square foot garden that the birds haven’t gotten, I may have just enough tomatoes now to make a small batch of salsa.

4.  Reduce waste: Dave made our regular trip to drop off the recycling.   Conserved water by catching water in pails while waiting for the hot water to arrive.  Used reusable bags when shopping.

All veggie matter got composted.

5.  Preparation and Storage: Our local fabric store had 50% off on all notions, so I stocked up on cheese cloth, sewing machine needles and thread.

Bought several lbs of various types of dried beans.  Wheat and oat bran.   And my order of clearjel arrived.  I should now have lots enough to making pie fillings and pressure can soups this fall.

Bought four cases of jars; on sale combined with coupons they were a pretty good price.   Also bought some replacement lids since those were on sale too.

With the three storms brewing in the Atlantic and Gulf, Dave decided it was time to refresh my memory and teach our son how to start the camp stove.  We’re not so far inland that a big storm couldn’t knock out power, so this was a good time to do this.

6.  Build Community Food Systems: I mentioned in a previous update that I had volunteered to teach a new friend to can and we’re getting together this week to can some pears she picked from her father’s trees.

Bought eggs from our egg lady and raw milk from a local farm.

7.  Eat the Food: I cook most of our meals from scratch, so the food definitely gets eaten.   This week we ate a lot of stir fry type dishes in an effort to use up all the little bits of leftover veggies from the CSA.

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Independence Days Challenge – Aug 3rd to Aug 9th

Posted by supermom on August 10, 2009

We had an interesting week last week as it was the first week of school and the first time for our son driving himself to school.  I’ll tell you, watching him drive out of the driveway by himself was heartwrenching.  He didn’t start his internship until today, but last week had appointments to get that set up and so needed the car to get to them.

It’s strange not having access to a vehicle during the day.  I haven’t had to do this for several years, so we’ll see how I adjust.

Anyway… on with the update.

For Sharon Astyk’s latest post… Independence Days Update: Summer Visiting.  Make sure to check the comments section for even more updates.

1.  Plant something: Nothing this week

2.  Harvest something: Picked up the fruit and veggies from our CSA.

Bought crowder peas and butternut squash from the farmers’ market.

A gentleman posted on Freecycle that he had 5 pear trees and hated for the pears to go to waste.  So I replied and we arranged a time for us to come pick some.  The trees really were loaded with fruit and ready to be picked as there were several pears that had already dropped.  It only took Dave and I and our son about 45 minutes to pick four 5 gallon pails full (three of one variety and one of another.)  The man even loaned us the use of a tall step ladder to pick the ones that were too high to reach.

We brought them home and washed them and they are now in boxes lined and covered with newspaper waiting to ripen fully before we can them.

The man didn’t know what kind of pears they were because they were there when he bought the place three years ago.  And the only way we know they are two different varieties is because the leaves of the two trees are shaped differently.    We’d love to know what variety these pears are, so if anyone can help identify them, we’d really appreciate it.

This is the first variety:  Pears from tree 1

And this is the second variety:Pears from tree 2

3.  Preserve something: Froze green beans (from CSA)

Sunday we ended up canning the pears with the red tinges on them.  Many, we only got half the pear as the other half was overripe or rotten.  Then there were some that weren’t quite ripe, but we decided to can the lot rather than lose them all.  I’ll test a jar in a week or so and see how they turned out.

4.  Reduce waste: Dave made our regular trip to drop off the recycling.

Conserved water by using canning water and water saved while waiting for hot water to come to water plants.

All veggie matter got composted.  We also spread out the grass clippings on a tarp to dry and then dumped the contents of the compost bin on top, mixed it by spreading everything out, then lifting the tarp edges to put everything in the middle, then spreading it around again.  After several times doing this, it was well mixed and went back into the compost bin.

One good thing about the downturn in the economy is that in order to save money our landlord has quit spraying the lawns in our area.   It’s been several months with no spray and I feel safe adding the grassing clippings to our compost.

5.  Preparation and Storage: Purchased new axe and pick axe.   Bought four more 1 gallon water bottles for emergency drinking water.

6.  Build Community Food Systems: Got to talking with the lady we buy eggs from and told her about the pears we’d picked and she asked if there were more, so I passed on the name and number of the man for her to contact.

7.  Eat the Food: I cook most of our meals from scratch, so the food definitely gets eaten.  This is just one thing I made over the last week:

Eggplant pizzas:  Slice eggplants in 1/2″ rounds and spread on baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil mixed with garlic powder.  Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and add a slice of tomato to each eggplant.  Sprinkle with dried basil, salt and pepper.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Again remove from oven and top with a thin slice of cheese.  We used Dubliner but use whatever you have.  Put back into the oven for another 10 minutes.  Then turn the oven off and leave for 30 minutes.  This will allow the eggplant to soften further without burning.

Posted in Budget Savers, Conserving Resources | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Creating Space for a Clothesline

Posted by supermom on August 4, 2009

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

Creating Space for a Clothesline



Posted in Budget Savers, Conserving Resources, Creative Repurposing | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Independence Days Update – Jul 20th to Aug 2nd

Posted by supermom on August 3, 2009

It seems like the only thing I have the time or inclination to post lately are these Independence Days updates.   And even then, this update is for the past two weeks, since I didn’t get around to posting last week.

For Sharon Astyk’s latest post… Independence Days Update: A Day On, A Day Off.  Make sure to check the comments section for even more updates.

1.  Plant something: Potted up seven more strawberry shoots.

Purchased some small herb plants at the farmers’ market and will get those into larger pots this week.

2.  Harvest something: Nothing from the garden.

Picked up the fruit and veggies from our CSA.  Bought Georgia peaches from farmers’ market

3.  Preserve something: Corn relish, canned chicken breasts, canned peaches

4.  Reduce waste: Dave made our regular trip to drop off the recycling.

I’ve forgotten to mention this in previous posts, but we continue to use reusable bags for any shopping we do whether its at the grocery store or the farmers’ market.

Used water from canning to water plants.   We also save the water when we’re waiting for the hot water to come when we shower or fill the sink for dishes and use that to water plants as well.

All veggie matter got composted.

We purchased a new set of sheets for our bed, since the fitted sheet had worn so thin it kept tearing and repairing the tears was no longer lasting more than a day.  So I’m cutting the good parts of the old fitted sheet into several 17″ squares and after hemming, they’ll make really nice, soft hankies.   The top sheet and pillowcases are now stored with the rest of the extra linens.

5.  Preparation and Storage: Purchased good quality spade.

Found two old matching oil lamps at a farmers’ market/flea market… for lighting should power go out.  They need a good cleaning, but they are good sturdy glass.

Bought more canning jars and extra lids.

Stopped off a Costco on way back from a farmers’ market on Saturday and picked up sugar, olive oil, coffee and dried cranberries.

6.  Build Community Food Systems: Supported local farmers’ markets.

I put up an ad on Freecycle asking for canning jars and the lady who responded offered to drop off some jars she’d been given.  We got to talking and she mentioned that she’d like to learn to can, so I offered to teach her.  We’re going to be getting together the next time I get enough from the farmers’ market to can something.  And then again in the fall, once it cools off, we’ll get together again so I can show her how to use the pressure canner for canning soups and stews, etc.

7.  Eat the Food: I cook most of our meals from scratch, so the food definitely gets eaten.  This is some of what I made over the last two weeks:

Potato puffs from lefover mashed potatoes and fried chicken tenders (I cut these off of the chicken breasts before I canned them.)

Pasta with Pesto.  I’d never made pesto before, but we’ve got a basil plant that was getting tall and starting to flower and needed to be cut back more than just the little handfuls that I have been taking, so I decided to give it a try.  And the pesto tasted great, what I didn’t like was the after taste that last all evening long.  Oh well, not all culinary experiments work out.

I had a bit of corn relish left after filling jars.  That got put in a bowl in the fridge and I’ve been using it in toasted cheddar cheese sandwiches.

Yellow beans from our CSA as a side dish one night.

For snacks, we ate the melons from our CSA.  They were so sweet and clean tasting.  Melons bought at the grocery store simply can’t compare.

Used the sauerkraut that didn’t get canned to top off hot dogs and hamburgers.

Fried up zucchini with onions (both from CSA) as a side dish.

Made Peach Kuchen with the peaches that were too bruised to can and the cream I skimmed from our raw milk.

There was more, of course, that I’m not remembering right now.  I guess that’s what happens when you wait two weeks to do an update.

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