Saturday, May 12, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Accepting help and a recipe

When one is taking a short book review break, it can become kind of quiet around here on weekdays.  However, the break is needed to do outdoor work and read two or three of my own books that have been waiting.  I will accept publisher's books again soon.

I did something this past week that I haven't done in years, perhaps decades.  I paid for help in cleaning.  If you have read this blog enough, you probably know I can't see paying anyone to do what I can accomplish for free.  That is what one does on a budget (who also has plenty of time) and eventually we gain quite a few skills we would not have otherwise.

However, the two ladies who have been helping my neighbor clear his backyard (he has an injury that makes it impossible to do the work himself right now) said they would be happy to clean my front porch for only $20.00!

It has now been years since the "white" siding on the front porch has had a thorough cleaning, it is one of my outdoor chores that I now find physically difficult.  Honestly, I kept thinking I could do it someday and in the meantime, our front porch resembled something between Ma & Pa Kettle and the Adams Family.

The ladies did far better than I expected, even cleaning the roof of the porch and since they used a diluted bleach water, the spider nests are no longer there.  I'm all for living and let live but we have these huge spiders... 

I think that is one of the best $20.00 I have ever spent.  It so inspired me that I once again made the front porch a priority for the flowers (ummm... sorry, deck) and it looks lovely.  Not perfect for cement on the porch needs a touch up but it is quite good.

I bought one really pretty hanging basket and moved it from the deck to the rock garden area in front of the porch.  The photo above shows that hanging basket and a little double begonia plant that is sitting on a hanging dish thingy that I've had for a long time.  I'm certain there is a real name for it.  Both make quite a pretty entrance.

Most years I buy one splurge item, usually a hanging basket.  A couple years ago my splurge was a large planter filled with red geraniums and I enjoyed it every day throughout summer.   Otherwise, I buy inexpensive starts of flowers and herbs and a couple bags of potting soil.  I have a lot of various sizes of flower pots collected through the years.

Speaking of the deck, the rest of the herbs should be transferred to pots today.  I was waiting for Hubby to get the flower pots out of the garden shed. They are kept in an area behind the riding lawn mower and I prefer not to break my neck getting to them.  When I was in my 30s, perhaps even 40s, I would have tried climbing over the mower.  ;)

The only flowers on the deck right now are my favorite red spiky flowers that attract hummingbirds each year.  I put three of the starts in a small rectangular flower pot and the fourth start went into the middle of a larger rectangular wooden container that is for herbs.  I couldn't see letting that extra flower start go to waste.

I will go back to the nursery in June to see what flowers they have left that I may add to the deck for color but it is good to keep everything simple.  I can handle the upkeep on the porch and deck and still enjoy watching things grow.

Our weather forecast for the next week is for way above normal temperatures.  So yes, we went from winter to summer almost overnight it seems.  I will keep chipping away at outdoor chores but in the early mornings before the heat sets in.

I can say that each spring I get a Biblical lesson all over again about the Fall of Eden and everything that came with it.  Weeds.  Trees growing where I don't want them.  Dead perennial stuff that I haven't cleared.  Sometimes condo living in a city sounds good but then we chip away at it and get it looking decent and enjoy summer nights with fireflies in the forest and all is forgiven.

I made Holiday Spaghetti for dinner last night (leftovers today) so while the oven was on, I roasted some beets for later meals.  It is to get even hotter and more humid in the next few days so preparing ahead is a good thing.

I tried a new recipe a few weeks ago and we liked it so much, it has been added to the regular hot weather menu (although it is great for cold weather, too).  I saw it on a Facebook video and since we are always trying to get more veggies in our diet, I had to try it.

You just fry a few pieces of bacon in a skillet (more if you absolutely love bacon) and remove it when it is cooked to your liking.  A little crisp is good since you need to crumble it.  Keep the bacon fat and add one chopped onion and cook until soft.  The recipe called for garlic, too.  I haven't tried that, yet.

Then add one small (or half of a large) cabbage that has been shredded and cook until the cabbage is to your liking.  We like our cabbage well cooked in this case.  Remove the mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon.  If you want a colcannon flavor combination, serve with mashed potatoes on the side.

The recipe is easy to double by using more bacon and a larger cabbage shredded.  However, I would pour off some of the bacon fat in that case... into a jar to be kept in the frig, of course.  Although my mom kept the bacon fat in a container on the stove and she lived to be eighty-five.  Just saying...

Mentioned in this Post
Holiday Spaghetti recipe... here.


rebecca said...

I'm so happy for your!
(I probably should follow your example and pay for some much needed assistance. Funny how that also jumpstarts a person on a few tasks that ARE within one's capabilities...)
The cabbage recipe sounds delightful. I may try THAT, also.
I'm being creative with leftover for our noon meal. I've warned husband and my father who lives with us that they'll never taste anything exactly like this the rest of their lives!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I’m glad you were able to have those ladies do that chore for you! I’m certain the porch is going to be a pretty space this summer!

That recipe sounds easy and tasty!

mdoe37 said...

Eh...I started paying a bit for spring yard clean up a couple years back. A young neighbor boy was out looking for his cat one evening and I jokingly told him to give his parents an apology as my side of the fence had bushes that had gotten out of hand. He stopped short and asked if I was looking for some help. I replied, sure if he was looking for some work. He had to earn cash for some trip coming up. You don't find many industrious 11 year olds out there. Excellent young man, does a nice job. Now I just see him, twirl my finger around and, the yard. Yup, yup I do it!!!

Vee said...

I would pay someone $20 to clean my deck in a heartbeat! So glad that you did that because, as you say, it sparked your creativity and ability to do what you can. I wish a dear one in my sphere were open to this. I fear that she’ll be placed in a nursing home for want of a little help. Everything looks very fresh and pretty.

Melissa said...

AWW, so glad you were able to spend the money to enjoy that chore done by someone else for a very long time. Sitting on the front porch with those pretty flowers, how wonderful for you!

Anonymous said...

I love that cabbage dish , it seems when I was very young it was called "Shreds and Tatters" but I cannot find it listed anywhere , maybe our family "hillbilly" name for it .. it sure is yummy. We paid a boy to fill our raised bed gardens this year , and it was so good to have the help!First time we have done that.

Anonymous said...

I remember the silver canister with the strainer in it that sat on Grandma’s stove. One of our cheap meals was macaroni with bacon grease. But, really, how is your cholesterol? I wouldn’t dare!,