As the season turns...

I grew sunflowers this year. Big, beautiful heads of sunflowers, some larger than others, all bright and cheerful - at least until the squirrels found them! I managed to save a few by sprinkling them liberally with red pepper, but the squirrels still got the best of the harvest.

The stalks stood, still green and tall, but headless, which was a rather strange site in my front yard raised bed, so we cut them down and cut them into lengths to be bagged for the trash man. What a waste!

Sunflower stalks can be dried and used as a supplement to burning wood. They burn faster than wood so they're good to revive a dying fire, or to start one with. If I had a woodstove, the trashman wouldn't get these, that's for sure.

The horseradish spilled out of its container this year. I'll have to be very careful digging up all the roots that escaped. The neighbors might not appreciate it in their yard.

And then there are the dandelions. There is a corner that's never mowed, where the dandelions and lambsquarter are free to grow. Each year I dig dandelion roots and roast them for dandelion coffee over the winter.

I wish for cattails in this kind of weather. Different times of the year, I wish for yucca. Guess I just can't have it all!


Homemade sandwich bread??

I've made bread for years and years, but I've yet to find a recipe or a method that guarantees a soft enough crumb for sandwiches. Too often the bread is dry or it falls apart when you try to bite into a sandwich made from it... so I went looking on the internet to see if I could discover the secret.

Well, I didn't. Not yet, anyway. What I did discover is that no one mixes bread by hand any more. Not even to stir sugar and salt and yeast into some milk or water. What's so hard about that? Mixers, for heaven's sake! If it's electric, plug it in. After all, we don't want to use a muscle or two when our money can pay for the electricity to do it for us. As far as kneading bread goes, not too many even know how any more.

Okay, end of rant. But I still need a good homemade sandwich bread recipe or method or something. I make sandwiches from my homemade bread but I'm ready for something better. Does anyone know what it takes to make a soft, slice-able bread that won't fall apart in a sandwich?


Back to Frugal

I've had a few requests to resurrect the old "Extremely Frugal" blog, so I'll try to keep up with it again. If you have any extremely frugal tips that haven't been already posted there, send them to me and I'll post them. Let me know if you want your name published with it, and exactly what name to use.


I love it when the weather cools down. I always want to make bread... so I did. :) Beans. Stew. Soup. All those good things go through my mind (and my kitchen) as soon as the weather turns from hot to cool. This year, it turned overnight. One day the air conditioner was running and the next morning I was shivering and wondering about turning on the heater. No, I didn't.

I don't want to turn it on until it's necessary, but I have used the little electric heater a couple of times.

The garden is still trying, but after such a late start due to the weather, we're not getting a great abundance. I'm grateful for what is coming in, though and have done some canning and freezing.

The peppers, tomatoes and squash are just now starting to produce heavily enough to make it seem worthwhile. Every night the temperature has been dipping into the 40s and it's nerve wracking. There was a frost about an hour away from here and there is snow in the mountains already. What kind of winter are we heading for?

A wood burning stove sure would make me feel more secure! Maybe that's just me and maybe it's just the time of year. I always want to gather in all the harvest, stack the firewood and make sure everything is ready for cold weather.

Regardless of what we do to prepare or whether we prepare at all, winter is on its way. After a sweltering summer, I'm ready, garden or not.