October chceck-in thread

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Littlesister 32 minutes ago.

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  • #23482

    Crow Bar

    See the title!

  • #23487


    Muffy the percolator. Check the water levels. I have an electric one and it will do exactly what you described when there isnt enough water.

  • #23491

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Happy October.

    The brick sidewalk is finished.  Some tweaking remains to pull up some bricks and level off some others.  DH decided to fill in the triangles, where the brick walk angled to accommodate the “Z” to get from the house to the drive, with concrete stained a charcoal color to match some bricks.  It looks good.  He did a great job.

    While he could not figure things out last week, he was right on target and quick to figure out how much mix and water was needed to finish the concrete.  I guess we will all have our days.  (There is a medical appointment set for early Dec.  I have a hunch it will be to deal with his borderline sugar levels, but also, when we had our check-ups in August, I asked the doctor how to treat days when his thinking was fuzzy.  We’ll see. Maybe he needs to start eating jellyfish.)

    Temperatures are supposed to drop to freezing this weekend.  The earliest snow I remember was Oct. 12 here in gardening zone 4, and there are snow threats for this weekend.  Time to dig the carrots and parsnips, and pull the dried black beans.  Plus, take a walk through our woods and gather kindling before it is buried under the snow.

    Someone mentioned garlic.  I have never planted that.  Can I just take apart some garlic cloves from the grocery and put them in the ground?  I have a spot for that. Does garlic like to be a companion plant to other crops?

    Green Bean Report:  I planted one bed with only green beans – Provider Green Beans on one end and Blue Lake Green Beans on the other.  I planted the entire packages of bush beans on the same day, (although I did not count the beans therefore I really don’t really know how many plants there were of each) and they got the same treatments. I planted parsnips in the middle of the bed and zinnias for color and pollinators.  Only half of the parsnips ever come up, no matter where I plant them, but they seemed to like being with the beans. Since nothing needs to be done to the parsnips, or carrots, all summer long they do fine hidden in the middle of the bed.  I weighed each harvest of beans and this is the report:

    Provider Beans =19.2 pounds.  Blue Lake Beans  14.75 pounds.

    The Provider beans produced earlier on bushes that were smaller in stature than the Blue Lake.  The Blue Lake Beans grew seedy more quickly and I prefer the green hull rather than the bean seed. Later in the summer the B. Lake also seemed to have a mottled green surface that I had not seen before.  Too much rain?  After I weighed the beans I mixed them together for processing.  And I stopped weighing them a couple weeks ago since there was little more than a handful from each.

    So, my little experiment showed me that, in my garden, the Provider beans are the better of the two.  I have a caveat, though, I have never planted pole beans so I do not know how they perform.

    Since it is going to freeze this weekend, I am going to cut off some of the leaves from the Brussel’s Sprouts and cut/blanch/freeze them to use as stir fry greens.  Perhaps the cutting will encourage more of the little sprouts to grow.  I need to rethink the broccoli for next year, too.  Not very many heads.  I wonder if it was too shady where it was.  My three-bed broccoli experiment failed.

    Assessment for year’s garden:  stagger the lettuce planting, more herbs, more onions, and find a way to avoid the gophers! Perhaps try some celery for the first time.  I had enough paste tomatoes, but not enough cherries (only two plants). I had planted the cherries for eating out of hand and in salads. I had forgotten that I needed some for dehydrating. This year’s plants were tiny compared to last year’s, too.

    I also decided that next year I am not going to put in the little plants of Pak Choy.  I planted one entire bed of it and it was too much, too fast, all at one time.  If it was not harvested, it bolted to yellow flowers quickly.  Next year, I think I will intersperse the cabbages with some Pak Choy for early harvest before the cabbage needs the space.  More of the larger Bok Choy plants for me; more leaves there and less stem.


    Gardens are a continuous science experiment.  They keep us guessing. People who say, “I can survive. I’ll just plant a garden,” are delusional. The gardens my mother and MIL had were just for the summer, with some pickles and tomatoes for the winter. Up here in zone 4, I know most people could NOT survive the year on a summer garden. I cannot yet and I have a large area dedicated to vegetables and it increases in size each year.  I enjoy gardening, but really appreciate the freezers and pantry filled with produce.

    Now, what to do with my acorn squash.

    Time to harvest. Talk to you all later.


  • #23490


    I did that….checked water level and added more, up to spout inside…still no luck….am wondering if perhaps the basket holder stem might need to be settled just perfectly on the bottom to create some sort of suction, maybe? Well, at least I know I can boil water in the can and I do have a French press I could use…gotta have my coffee in the a.m. 🙂 Tried just dumping the grounds in the boiling water to do the Cowboy coffee thing, but where those youtube guys make it look so easy, my coffee grounds just wouldn’t settle to the bottom. Still, it was an interesting way to spend a couple of hours of my yesterday. Learning. My favorite activity. Never to old to learn, right?!

  • #23493


    I got a pour over basket for my emergency coffee maker. The french press involved too much cleaning for me. I could use paper filters and position the basket over a thermos.

    For todays thrift store haul I got rolled gauze. 4 1/2 inches by 4 feet. Dont know how many total cause they were packaged in 3 bags.

  • #23494

    OldMt Woman

    We’ve had a lovely extended fall.  Ducks still enjoying pond with no ice.  HOWEVER, that might change.  We’ve got some real cold descending upon us and no guarantee that it will warm up again.  Tho I’m hoping…..

    So today DH and I were busy!  Take out A/C window unit.  Wrap swamp cooler in plastic for the winter.  […hope we don’t have any really warm days now ]  Put horses to pasture with shelter…in case of snow???  And I really pushed to finally take down a temporary shelter that certainly wasn’t supposed to be up this long anyway.

    I think I got some wind burn.  I got choked with dust cuz the rare road grader chose this day to keep going back and forth, stirring up dust.  It was worse in evening when wind died…I didn’t go with DH to feed critters.  I don’t get along with dust/smoke/etc.  I carry masks all the time.  Besides, even after hot shower…I can barely move!  Ack!

    We are really a couple of ACHING old folks tonite.  Told DH I’ll set my alarm to get up and walk around every hour thru the nite……else I might not be ABLE to get up in the morning.  This too shall pass.  But we’re pleased to have gotten so many projects done quickly before this sudden change of season.  Very much hoping for more autumn….dislike winter more every year.

    OldMtWoman   G’nite all.

  • #23496

    Olivia Green

    RE: gophers.. from man in hardware store who said his dad & grandfather were farmers..
    put a tablespoon of dry lye down open holes.
    set flat-ish rock or piece of wood on top and cover w/dirt.
    dirt will hold fumes inside.
    haven’t tried it yet but sounds logical.

  • #23528


    Still got to finish cleaning out the garden. Don’t know where my tard man is. Haven’t seen him in 2 weeks. He was suppose to trim some bushes and bring mulch. If he doen’t show tomorrow I will call him. Could be he has some broken equipment he is dealing with.

    They came today and tore out the front and side of house walkway.. The front porch is going to be a problem. Seems the nut that replaced the tiles many years ago had nothing under rebarb to hold what was on top. So big mess to deal with. Might have to go ahead now and call them to jack up at the front door before they can go any further on the porch. Yikes. That will slow things down a bit. But when that is all done, then they are going to do the driveway. That thing is huge.

    We had to dismantal our well pump and remove it while the driveway is being redone. Just glad that we are not planting anything that needs watering. otherwise would have to use city water.

    Don’t know if I can do this or not, but want to put up greenhouse for the winter at the back porch to grown lettuce and a few herbs this winter. Just wondering if it would get to cold this winter even for a greenhouse. it is just a small one and can’t put awhole lot into it but would like a few things for winter like lettuce. Maybe some of you would know.. The coldest it has ever gotten here is around 30 degrees but that does not include windchill. Trying to work on inside of house today, mopping floors and dusting. I don’t know where all the dust comes from but when I am done it will be back tomorrow. What can I say.  Never ending job.

    Seems everyone here is getting geared up and ready for winter. Hoping the snow won’t be to bad this year but sounds like blizzards are starting in some states. Stay safe and no slipping and sliding.  Don’t need anyone falling and getting hurt.  Later.



  • #23546

    Crow Bar

    Found this big guy while picking the last of the squash.  Those are the last of the beans too.  Will save them for next year.

  • #23547

    Crow Bar

    And the squash. There are more to the right of these, but not in the pic.  Made spaghetti squash ravaloi last night.  Will save some of the seeds from each of the squash too.

  • #23581

    grannyj smith

    The vegetables look so good, how do you do it, we can’t get anything to grow, even tried container gardening without success.  I printed out a monthly planting guide for our zone that tells what vegetables to plant for that month and going to try and have a small fall garden in the back of the farmhouse when we get moved.

    I am worried because I see things getting worse in our country and know I need to get prepared with food, hope next month will be better for me preparing for winter.  I shopped some online clearence sales and got the babies enough warm shirts, long pants, lined indoor booths and pajamas to get through the cold months and enough to last them a week for power outages.


  • #23584


    Yes, those veggies really do look good.

    Crowbar you really have the green thumb.  You have done very well with your garden.

    grannyj smith, you are right about this world getting worse. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that war is coming to the USA. We are right in the middle of where a neuclear blast won’t give us much of a chance of survivial.  Naval bases and Washington DC about 3 to 4 hours away. No where to go as traffic would be bottleneck. Have been working on several ways to get out if we have enough warning. But to get somewhere safe is still very iffy..  We have been trying to stock as much as we can and need to work on our water situation a lot more. We now have enough food to get by for over a year depending on how many mouths we will be feeding. We will have family members heading our way.  I have just started to add somemore long term food. But am trying this time to just stock the freeze dried veggies and fruits as a lot of that has salt and with DH in congestive heart failure, we have to steer away from salt.  Lots of label reading on the long term foods. I have been canning as much meat as I can and need to order somemore tattler lids. I don’t trust the ones that have a 18 month limit on them. Don’t want to trust them.  Right now I have veggies and meat that I canned 5 years ago we are still eating on and I know I can go up to 8 years on some of the things I have canned. that is pushing it, but am doing it for a trial and error to see just how long things will last. So far it has worked well for us.

    I am looking for a cabnet now to store my boxes of spices in so I can find things when I need it without having to dig into boxes.

    I am getting ready to go through my shoes to see what I can still wear or not. I know there are some that after I broke my big toe, I can no longer wear.  It broke in the joint and will never heal like it should. Though it doesn’t bother me, it does at times with some shoes start to hurt after a few hours. So some will be heading to good will. Need to get DH some slip on shoes as he has a hard time now bending over without loosing his breath.

    I am looking to get some blanets on sell. I do have quite a few but when family ends up coming in a SHTF situation I want to make sure I have enough of them. Looking to get some wool or wool blend also.

    After Christmas has passed, I am going to take total inventory of everything I have so I will know what I still need.  Looking at all catergories. food, water, bathing, paper goods, cooking,  grain mills, just anything and everything and then getting buckets to keep things like the candles all together, flashlights and radios all together in one, etc. Need to get better organized.

  • #23587

    Crow Bar

    In a word: Compost! Well aged!
    Mine is a mix of spent hay, rabbit, goat and cow manure.
    Then I let it age for 2 years. Then apply to the soil, mix well.
    Wife and I are going to expand the gardens next year. While the squash are great (saved seeds from last year), they tend to shade out everything else that was growing in the raised bed boxes.

  • #23588

    grannyj smith

    Crow Bar

    I have a large composter that I started putting things in months ago, so would I add dried cow manure to the composter or till the dried manure in when we break up the ground for the garden area.


  • #23589

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

    Yesterday we had unexpected company for brunch. Our neighbor (27) is going elk hunting and wanted some large jars in which to freeze the stew he wants to take. I offered to can the stew for him, but he declined. He brought his delightful 3-year-old along, just in time for our traditional Sunday morning pancakes and sausage. She gladly ate my sausage, and even a pancake. She does not come up enough and it is a bit shy here in our place. She will have a baby brother about Christmas time so that will be fun.

    I blanched then froze my rutabagas yesterday. I tried to cut them into one-inch squares, and ended up with 8 meals, 2 servings in each, 3.5 ounces is one serving. I used to just fill a pint bag for freezing, but I am trying to be a bit more accurate. I am looking forward to trying a root soup during the winter.

    24-OZ Jars: I like to made canned dinners – beef stew, chicken corn chowder, Tuscan Bean Stew, etc., full meals in one jar. But a regular quart jar is just too much for our slowing metabolism. Menards frequently has 11% Rebate Sales. Since we went frequently to purchase the bricks for the walk, each time I also purchased some 24-ounce canning jars. I want to move to more of that size for our future use.

    I think I said that I found some “fake cheese” in our grocery. It does taste very vegetable-y, it is made with pea protein, but it works. I was able to have some French Onion Soup with the “Daiya Monterey Jack Cheese”. While it does not melt very well, it still allows me to enjoy some dishes.   There is no substitute for Pizza, though.

    This year I am going to get a large bag of onions from CostCo and make up some more onion soup, and just regular canned onions. Canning them in ½ pints will make it easier to use for dinners.

    SQUASH: I washed the dirt and junk from our squash then wiped each with a bleach/water soaked rag. Hopefully, this will allow the squash to last longer in our basement. I grew an orange cushaw and was not impressed with the flavor. It seemed a bit flat. It was very large and I must do something with the leftovers. Yesterday we had one spaghetti squash, and I covered it with spaghetti sauce and canned meatballs. The squash tasted good with the oil, s & p, but when I covered it with the sauce the squash made the dish too sweet. Hmmm. I have 6. I will need to find some other way of using the spaghetti squash. The butternuts were quite small, but we had 8 large acorns.   I was able to give some to our neighbor.

    LIDS: Little Sister, is there a trick to using the Tattler Lids? I’d hate to think how many lids I would need in order to have a year’s worth of food put up. I usually buy two boxes of lids every time we go to the grocery. That way I don’t run out. I store all of my empty jars with a fresh lid and ring, and have cardboard boxes with new lids on a shelf.

    SPICES:  I figure of all of the items I can afford to do without in a survival mode that Spices are NOT one of them.  We need the spices, seasonings, etc., to keep our palate fresh.

    I have two deep plastic “sweater-type” boxes with lids that I store my spices in.  They are organized by first and last half of the alphabetical, with the letter of the spice on the lid so I can find them quickly.  So many are in plastic jars that I don’t want to risk the plastic breaking down or letting the spice essence out.  I try to purchase the glass jars whenever I can figuring they will last longer. I always buy a new one or two when I start a new bottle.

    CUCUMBERS: Today I am going to try dehydrating my super-sized cucumbers and the one extreme zucchini we found. Peel, deseed, and then grate. I made some potato soup and put fresh cucumber, and lemon juice, in it and really enjoyed it. (Plus a few cannellini beans to make it thicker without dairy.) I figured that I could add the dried cucumbers to a variety of dishes for a brighter flavor in the winter. At least, I hope so.

    I understand the shoes, bit. I used to be in retail sales, and wore suits and high-heeled shoes. I got rid of most of the heels and just kept a couple pair for special occasions. At my age, comfort and safety are far more important.

    We fought with the wind a few days ago to cover our tomatoes. I was very frustrated! Since I put them in late I will lose hundreds of tomatoes to the cold weather. Time to see what happened to our tomatoes that we covered with plastic. Next year I will get them in much earlier and plan on protecting the small plants instead of the 5-foot tall ones. There were a lot of garden mistakes this year.

    Take care and enjoy your Autumn.

  • #23595


    Cinnamon Grammy, seems you have been very busy.  I have been buying and using tattler lids now for about 6 years. I try to buy up about 2 or 3 dozen every chance I get. i still use the other ones, but I figure in a SHTF situation where we can’t buy anymore of the one use lids, I will have the tattlers to fall back on.  I also have bought several boxes of the rubber rings for replacement for the tattles as needed. I deydrated some hot peppers last week, but my garden is done. I still need to get out there and clean up the garden and get it ready for mulch.

    They pured the concrete for the sidewalks and porch today and hopefully they will be getting the driveway ripped out and ready to go by this weekend.

    DH was not feeling well this morning as the fluid had built up around his stomach and heart overnight.  Gave him double on his fluid pill and he is feeling much better this evening. Going to give him a double tomorrow as his feet still hasn’t gone down. Seems congestive heart failure is a bit hard to control. But we do the best we can.

    I have a great deal of spices that I was able to buy when Farm Fresh grocery went out of business. Got them for $1.00 and less. That is what the box of spices are from. I have a lot of spices that I grow myself. But the price on the store bought ones were to good to pass up and yes, that is one thing we don’t want to comprimise on.  Using the sweater boxes are a good idea. I am going to pick up 2 or 3 of them next time I get out to store so when I get to that project, I can get the spices organized and in order by date. Going to go through the shoes tomorrow as I wasn’t able to get to that today like I thought I would.  I have several and I feel I only need a couple pair of the good boots, my tennis shoes and a couple pair of sandles. Only need a couple of dress shoes for church as well. The rest will get donated. Will have that narrowed down to summer and winter shoes plus the dress shoes given me only 6 pair of shoes. The sandels are the earh shoes and last forever it seems.

    Crow bar, we get the cow manure from the feed and seed. That is really good for the garden.  I want to get the soil in better shape before the mulch goes down. Been busy with the sidewalks and driveway being redone that I just haven’t been able to get it done yet. Hoping to do it tomorrow before the rain hits here Wed. night.


  • #23600

    grannyj smith

    Many say they stock tatter rings for preparing in a shtf because they would not be able to stock enough regular canning lids, is tattler lids a preparing item I should add.  I read where they can be used over again, but don’t know if the rubber rings can be used over or just the tattler lids.  Do any of you seasoned canners know if the rubber bands can be used more than one time in canning.


  • #23601


    grannyj Smith  The tattler rings are reusable and the rubber rings can be used over and over several times. You only have to replace them when they get stretched out and look worn.  I have used them for years. They are expensive so I try to buy a couple of dozen about every other month. I have been using them for years now as they are different from using the one time medle lids. They are well worth having in your stock of SHTF items but you need to know how to use them the right way. If you decide to get some to try, then next time you are canning, only use them on a couple of jars and follow the directions to see how you like them and get used to using them. You would still use the same rings that you use on the other one time lids.

  • #23602


    As my decluttering continued I noticed a baggy with leaked batteries. This is the second instance of Rayovac leaking. The first was in one of my lanterns. An unopened pack was put in my donation pile. I’ll be ok if a storm hits before the black friday sales. No problems with energizers BTW

    Also purchased a cheap and but rather large multi tool from Kilimanjaro. Its the Rappel II. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

  • #23616

    grannyj smith


    Thank you for the info on my tattler question. I would like to stock a few of them for a just in case situation. I still have many of the metal lids and ring as I have not done any canning lately.


  • #23672


    grannyj smith glad to have been of help on the tattler lids. I really like them but it is trial and error to get used to them but that is a learning curve that is easy to learn.

    Corsaire I also had a large pack of AA batteries with a 10 year date on them. They still had  a good to 2024 and most of them had to be thrown out because of leakage. I am beginning to think that they are no longer making the batteries like they used to. Those were Duracell batteries.

    Well, the porch and sidewalk are done and we can now walk on it as of today.  They have most of the driveway torn out and they are hoping to have everything ready to pour concrete on Monday. But now it looks like we might get rain. So if that happens it will put that back about a week as they are calling for rain over 3 maybe 4 days. My garage will need a deep cleaning after this is over. Concrete dust is everywhere and on everything. Had to have the door open to break the concrete up at edge of garage floor. I really hated to spend that money on replaceing this stuff but it was really bad and a huge trip hazzard. There were so many cracks in that driveway that rain and the tree roots from trees that were taken down years ago really messed things up. But all will be fixed and done within the next couple of weeks, pending the rain not holding things up.

    I am getting rid of a lot of shoes. Didn’t realize I had that many. So most are packed up to go. That will clear me somemore room for things I really need room for.


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