Saturday, April 22, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - A little at a time continues

We are well into Spring this year with a very warm April.  Except for the blooming of the Dogwood tree, most blossoms have been replaced by green leaves in the smaller trees and bushes.  The tall trees in the forest have only begun to grow buds on their limbs but if past years are any indication, they could all experience a pop of leafy fullness almost overnight.

That beautifully scented tree on my neighbor's lawn near the gravel lane was in bloom only a few days this year but it was lovely.  I wish I knew what kind of tree it is, my husband says it may be a Tulip Tree. The kids and I always thought it amusing that he has a graduate degree in Forestry but can't always tell you the species of a tree.  He reminds us his degree is in Wood Science and Furniture Engineering, so give him a microscope and he may do a better job of identification.

I've been working about thirty minutes at a time outside, mostly near the fence line and around the deck so far.  However, I did clean up the perennial apple mint raised bed in the garden that was neglected at the end of last summer.  It now looks (and smells) lovely.  Even the dead plants and wood from the mint smelled beautiful as I carried it to the forest.

I also cleaned up the very small herb raised bed at the corner of the garden as I plan to plant a few extra herbs there.  The lovage looks quite healthy this year but the thyme plant is getting huge and woody.  I'm thinking I'll plant another one to get it started and then dig up the old plant at the end of the season.  It has served me well for a number of years.

I will continue to grow herbs as part of my "pantry" since since they are expensive when purchased fresh at the grocery (and even at the Farmer's Market)... and anyway, they look beautiful in the garden and on the deck where they grow.  

Part of me wants to grow veggies but the other part... the one that gets tired easily and my back that complains a lot... say it is wise to concentrate on one area this year.  My job is to do everything I can to clear brush, vines, tiny trees popping up, weeds, etc. and then Hubby will take over what I can't do.  The fence line won't need anything else and the area around the deck will only need a little heavy duty work.  But he has to take care of weeds and young trees that have roots on their way to China.

I finally got around to continuing the cleaning out and organizing of my primary pantry cabinets in the kitchen.  I had started it a couple weeks ago and finished last week.  It is a good thing I checked all the Use By dates for I had no idea two of the Amy's Mac and Cheese boxes were from 2013!  I will use a can of non-acidic veggies that far past the date but not a boxed food.

I also tossed a couple cans of crab meat (I just don't have people over and make crab dip like I once did) and a couple other unusual foods which I can't recall at the moment.  All were years past their expiration dates. Otherwise, I was very pleased with how organized these shelves had become and how useful they are to keeping my most used items handy.  Obviously canned crab was not one of them.

Whenever I do this kind of organizing, it reminds me how fast times goes and if one is going to keep even a small pantry, there has to be diligence about keeping an eye on those Use By dates.  Especially being sure to rotate the oldest products to use first and the more recently purchased either in the back of the shelf or on the bottom flats of the cans.

My freezer has been cleaned out and I'm planning to slowly restock it.  It is always good to have that job done before it gets hot in the garage.  Everything accomplished a little at a time and mostly in 30 minute increments.  There are some days that is all I can do and then there are others where I can handle two or even three 30 minute chores through the day (in addition to regular household chores and maintenance).

One thing I can say is this... it looks a whole lot better on the porch, in the garden, near the fence line, around the deck, and in my kitchen cabinets... than if I gave up and did nothing at all because I didn't feel well.  Lots and lots better.

When everything there is to do gets overwhelming, I just go out and do what I can for that thirty minutes.  Knowing that is a possibility.  Thirty minutes.  A slow thirty minutes at that.  I'm hoping my reward will be a few pounds less showing up when I see my doctor this week.  ;)


Anonymous said...

I have RA and so a lot of my gardening will be in pots. I have a small raised garden bed that my husband built on tall legs and besides that bed and a whiskey barrel for a tomato plant.. I just plant some pretties in pots for my deck.
A tip for you. I have found that now as I am an empty nester...we just don't use up special ingredients quickly. For my commonly used things...I leave those be but for my randomly used pantry items, I quickly note the expiration date in Sharpie in the top of the can. The big bold black numbers are easier to see and plan for then the tiny print on the side or bottom. It really only takes seconds.

The Journey said...

I can't find Apple mint any where this yr. Would you know it I was going to make all 3 tubs Apple mint. Bennetts lost a lot of plant this yr. Hail storm destroyed one of their green houses. I went to Master Garden show - it was so crowded. dd and I decided next yr we will go earlier.

Terra said...

I only grow vegetables in one raised bed, which requires little work and no bending down. I agree about growing herbs and they are always best fresh picked.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

You've said it before - bit by bit it gets done! This is really true!

How amazing that even with you being so terribly sick you have gotten all this cleaning, organizing and clearing done!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Anonymous said...

I have been getting jobs done around the house, one day at a time, this past week while hubby was gone turkey hunting. It's so much easier to get things done when he's not home! (he's retired) I use to get three days work done all in one day, but those days are over! I left one day to do something fun with friends, but I was more pooped out than when I did chores! LOL! I have an old, second hand horse trough planted with herbs, plus a few in pots on the deck. I Love having them available whenever I want to add them to recipes and soups, etc. At least they're perennials and come back every year! You inspire me with all your suggestions! Appreciate your blog so much!
Take care! Hugs!
Laura C. (WA)

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

This post was very helpful! It sounds like we are learning how to care for our homes in a new way! :-) I shoot for 15 minutes in my yard but it ends up being closer to 30 minutes. I've been doing core exercises to strengthen my back. So far so good. This post encouraged me. Take care of yourself!

Vee said...

The aroma of the herbs is as much a draw for me as the actual use of them. Glad that you will have your herbs and perhaps a few flowers. I know that I am not going to go crazy with flowers...I no longer have the funds, the energy, the joy in caring for them, though I do love to see them. Awww...too bad about the crab going by the way. I make a "wiggle" on toast with shrimp or crab. It's one of my father's favorite things, which makes a welcome lunch for him.

mdoe37 said...

I'm trying to coach my mother into picking up your slow, but steady "30 minute" approach to chores. She's a TypeAAA personality and thinks she has to do everything at once, yesterday. She's now nearly 81 and not in as good of health. Dad broke his leg just below the hip on Thursday.....and the crisis? Mowing the grass. lol I'm nearly done with that project as she doesn't drive the tractors. :) I'm mentioning that she might need to lower expectations as I'm now working part-time as well.

One thing that has helped her is a small Shappell Jet Sled Jr. She just slides it to the offending stuff, puts it in and is easily able to drag it out to the burn pile.

I cleaned my pantry out a bit and only found a can of soup and a can of fruit that was waaaay past prime. Freezer is almost to defrosting levels!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

What we call tulip tree in northeast Ohio is not fragrant, but I notice that in the south they sometimes call Magnolia x soulangeana tulip trees....

I can imagine some of the mint you throw in the woods will take root and grow there.

I love to grow herbs, and only "garden" on my deck now, though I have lots of things growing in my yard which flower and give me joy.