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Here we go another month!

Now is the time to watch for canning items to be on sale. The perfect time to pick up that extra canner, jars, lids, etc.

Christmas is not that far away! Start shopping sales now so you don't go overboard when it does arrive.
 

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I was cleaning out one of my raised beds (mostly walking onions) and found a pleasant surprise. Under the weeds, I still had garlic growing! I have enough to harvest some for the kitchen and tons of tiny bulblets(?) to plant back to grow for next year's harvest. Now that I have the bed cleaned out, I'm adding plenty of compost, which should help grow bigger, healthier garlic. I also transplanted walking onions to a new raised bed - I have an amazing amount of them and am looking forward to a bumper crop next year. I harvested some, but planted most of them back to increase next year's harvest.

I've been concentrating on improving my perennial fruit and veg gardens this year, rehabbing and rebuilding my raised beds, transplanting currants, rhubarb, raspberries (red and gold), strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, onions, garlic and asparagus, and working hard to keep all the fruit trees and bushes watered. It's been a very dry summer and I may have lost several fruit trees despite my best efforts, but most of them are thriving. My efforts are paying off - my apple trees are loaded, and I have my first pears on my young trees this year. I should be able to harvest asparagus from my patch next year, lightly on the plants I started from seed last year and the year before, and more heavily on the older plants. I figure the more perennial garden plants I have, the more I can depend on something growing even if I'm not able to plant for some reason.

While I'm rehabbing raised beds, I'm also preparing them for next Spring. While I can still plant some fall crops such as carrots, for the most part, I am focusing my efforts on weeding, adding compost, and then covering the beds with newspaper and cardboard for the winter. Come Spring, I can pull off the cardboard, cut holes through the newspaper, and plant.

I've enjoyed cheap entertainment and exercise the last couple months, thanks to a (free to me) 13' round above ground pool. I set it up after my new water system was put in in early July, and have been pleasantly surprised at how little work it's been to keep the water clean and clear without a filter unit (which didn't come with the pool). Daily swimming keeps the water oxygenated, a few jugs of bleach (dispensed as needed) and a skimmer have taken care of most of the maintenance. I also found a venturi filter that uses the flow from a garden hose to siphon up debris into a fine net bag - well worth the $20 or so from Wal-Mart. Not only have I enjoyed daily (or multiple per day) swims, but I've only run my AC once since the pool was filled (101* day), so it's saved electricity, too.
 

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My life is going to be changing 100 percent in the next few weeks with a new traveling job. My frugal/healthy things are going to be very different! But all good!

I posted the flylady thread about cleaning and organizing your home in the cleaning and organizing forum:
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=75

I may not be able to post every day, but I am now soooooo glad I started this because it makes what I will be doing--doable!
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Thanks for the tool link and I am so jealous of your pool, Wendy.
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Made Minestrone soup for the week's lunches. Need to make some bread today. Will be grilling chicken that will be taken off the bone to make stir fries and curries later this week.

Yesterday I was in the big city and bought food at the deli counter at whole foods. I like to see what combinations of vegetables they use and try to recreate them at home. The girl at the counter was answering my questions about some of the ingredients and said: look at the price sticker, it will list the ingredients. She even gave me a price sticker for two foods I didn't buy (things were expensive and I was only allowing myself a little treat) so that I could try to make them at home. I don't live anywhere near this store, so I really appreciated it.

I also bought some gruyere cheese there to make a wonderful grits recipe I ate recently.
 

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Canning, canning, and oh yeah.... canning! Bought peaches and pears on sale yesterday. We also made a gob of cider... I think around 20 gallons of it. I kept the pressed apples and started 7 gallon jugs of vinegar (they will make about 1-2 quarts of vinegar each).

Thank goodness the pears are a little under-ripe, so I have time to deal with also canning spiced apples (I have plenty of applesauce and apple pie filling) and making plum jelly and jam.
 

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September already! I don't really have tips but questions: we have a wild blackberry patch that yielded about four pints of teeny berries so far (in the freezer waiting for me to make preserves). We also have a grapevine on the fence that we actually did plant on purpose. Last year had a magically good grape harvest and made grape/blackberry preserves that my friends loved. It was more frugal last year because I got a dozen fat half-pint jars at a yard sale for two bucks.

This year, I had to buy jars. Uwaaaa.... (for hand-delivered preserves I have always used wineglasses, since these are refrigerator preserves.

But back to the berries and grapes...lAny tips on increasing the yield on both plant types?
 

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It's raining here so I put out the dog's towels to let them get some natural washing! Then I will throw them in the washer. Helps keep my washing machine cleaners during the muddy seasons. Since we are down to one dog I can take a little bit more time between washings, it's amazing how well the rain cleans them.
 

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Both Goodwills in the surrounding towns are over priced. But I still check in when I am nearby. You just never know. I have in the past found wonderful quality winter coats that I am still using. Also a very complete set of green glass vintage dishes and glass ware, bowls of all sizes too. I wouldn't make a special trip though. Just like garage sales in our area are usually not worth the gas to get there...and I really don't need anymore stuff.

I have a 20+ lb home raised turkey in my fridge thawing out. I will have to cook him in "shifts" since he is too big for my oven or my pan! But he will do for something ; )
 

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Trailrider, I have a storebought turkey in the freezer, and I was planning to "part it out", too. My plan - Separate the breast section and roast it. Take off the wings, legs, thighs, brine them and then grill/smoke them. (Making the brine about half strength so they can stay in it an extra day to break up the "turkey-thon" of meals.) The back, neck, giblets for the stock pot. I haven't done it yet, but that is the strategy I am taking.
 

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MoCows, I hope this turkey is okay. It had been frozen for quite a while. Looks like I can cut off the drumsticks today and roast them. The backside of the turkey is still a block of ice. My mother was concerned that it wouldn't keep as it was taking so long to thaw. But hey, if its till a block of ice it shouldn't go bad.
It occurred to me that at 49 cents a can for cat food (I split on my 4 indoor cats) each day, that's about 15.00 a month. Shoot I could buy 3 whole chickens for the crock pot for that price and chop up the meat for the cats. (If it wasn't for the salt, I could buy the cats rotisserie chickens for that price!) Why had I never done the math before? No more canned cat food for us. From now on I will keep some of the lesser quality chicken and turkey meat for the cats.
 

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Got our property tax bill yesterday. Its gone up $212 for the year so $106 extra each half and, of course, half is due 9/30/14 so no time to save the extra. Fortunately, I have extra in my checking account from the sale of several items on consignment so this year is taken care of. However, this means 2015's budget will need to be adjusted for this increase which means cutting in some other place. Fixed income doesn't allow many options. I had recently increased my grocery budget from $200 to $300 a month due to sharp increase in price of food. I'm thinking I'm going to have to go back to $200. We really don't need meat all that often.
 

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I am canning tomato juice and I don't want to throw out the tomato pulp. Can anyone recommend what to make with it? I am going to let it cool and then freeze to can later but I could use all the help you want to give. Lol.
 

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I use the tomato pulp to dehydrate and then grind into tomato powder ..
Some say that if seeds are left in it is bitter but I haven't found that to be true in my case so far ..
I use the powder in all kinds of ways and even make paste and sauce with it and some herbs and spices ..
if bitterness does come thru a bit of sugar either brown or white or even a sweetener can be used to offset the bitterness ...
tomato powder allows me to not waste any of the wonderful flavor of my summer tomatoes ...
 
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