Saturday, February 14, 2015

Go To Town Day

We live amongst people who drive into town for just a few things but we are not like that.  We do pick up a few things if we need them right away, on the way home from the fitness center.  Things like milk, and the store bread that Hubs thinks he has to have, maybe a few sale items if we aren't planning a shopping expedition soon.  But otherwise, I make a list, and we try to get it all done in one day.

This Friday, for example, we skipped the fitness center altogether, because we felt like we were going to get a workout getting in and out of the truck and walking around in the stores.  For sure Hubs would get equal time because all he does at the fitness center is walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then on the stationary bike for 20 minutes.  He might use some of the weight machines but I've only seen him do that once.  The rest of the time, he sits in the break room with all the other old dudes and they drink coffee and harass each other.  And any unsuspecting woman who wanders through there.  I do the bike for 20 minutes and then I go around and use most of the weight machines.  The abduction/ adduction machine is one I skip because I can't get INTO the dang thing.  And there are a couple that seem to duplicate what some of the others do, so I skip those.  But all in all, I probably use about 15 of the machines.  Hubs wanted to start laying the floor in the living room and I needed to do some scraping on the last half of the floor and then lay the moisture/vapor barrier so I figured a workout would just be too much for me, on top of everything else.

The first place we went was out to Tractor Supply.  We'd stopped at Atwood's last Wednesday and I wasn't impressed with what they had in stock so far.  Atwood's marks down their packets of seed in early spring and mostly I go for that.  But they didn't even have their seed out yet.  Tractor Supply is a new farm and ranch store and they are cleaner, better organized, the merchandise is better, and their prices are no higher than Atwood's.  While there I found a Ponderosa Pine, a Calycanthus (Sweet Shrub) (lots of info on Dave's Plant Files HERE) and a Brandywine raspberry for $4.99 each.  They had 5# bags of seed potatoes for $5 each, a package of three Victoria Rhubarb plants for $3.99, plus I got a little packet of pea and been inoculant and a seeder for small seed, both for around a dollar each. 
Oooops, I had the Spanish side turned to the camera.  I know you can figure it out, though.  There's actually a growing tip on the raspberry plant that I'm thinking about propagating into a new plant.  Two for the price of one, maybe.  This plant has already broken dormancy so I will have to pot it up and keep it in the garage where it's cool. 

I kinda hated that I couldn't choose from out of a bin, but the potatoes are still in better shape than those you can get at Atwood's, and they are already starting to sprout in the bag.  I will take them out of their bags and spread them out on trays.  They can go out to the garage, too, to slow down the sprouting process.  Sometimes I will just plant the potatoes that I've bought for cooking, if they have started to sprout.  But this last time, Homeland sold the Navaho Pride brand from Farmington, NM, and they just are not very good potatoes.  Too dry.  It's been a real challenge to use them up.  So I won't be wasting my garden space on those.

I have bought rhubarb roots before at Atwood's, gotten the package home, and not found much in the package except for sawdust.  This time I felt around in each package and I think I got a good one.  I planted them a few hours later in the front of the asparagus bed.  I think they'll be good companions.

Then we drove to nearby Ochelata, (Oash-sha-LAY-tuh), where they were having an estate sale.  Got there just in time to see a man loading up two big iron cauldrons that he only paid $10 each for.  "OH! Ethel!  This is the BIG one!"  I told him if I'd gotten there before him, they would've gone home with me.  And that's the truth.  I didn't find much I could use.  There were some big area rugs in really good shape but none of them would've gone well with my decor.
I'll use the big stainless steel pan in the garden for something.  It's about 6" deep.  It was a dollar.  The gold tablecloth, I will use to reflect light at my lighted plant racks.  It was fifty cents.  I already have one just like it... somewhere.  I will make an effort to locate it and then I'll have a "reflector" for both.  Some people have recommended aluminum foil but it's hard to work with and then it's not reusable unless you're verrrrrry careful with it.  And there's some florist's foam that I paid fifty cents for.  I plan to use it in propagating things.  Carole tells me she roots geranium and violet cuttings by letting the cut side dry for a day and then putting it into a little piece of florist's foam that she's soaked in water.  I have a lot of trouble rooting certain things.  They tend to rot in water.  So if it's the wrong time of year to propagate under a jar, this gives me another option.  I certainly have plenty of florist's foam to experiment with now.  
I bought this old one-drawer filing cabinet because I thought it'd make a nice planter.  It and three quart glass canning jars and a pitchfork head were $5.  Auctioneers call that "all for one money".  Heh.

This was out on the trash heap and they just gave it to me.  I have a table that has a bad top, and this table here has no legs.  A match made in heaven, sorta.  I know the top looks a little rough, but the wood will clean up nice.   

Then we came back into Bartlesville, stopped at Aldi's and bought fruit.  Aldi's almost always has the best prices for produce of any of the other stores.  I think it's because they don't use refrigerated cases for them, and it doesn't seem to be needed.  This time blueberries were $1.39 a pint.  Bananas and oranges, I don't remember how much, but reasonable.  I got some unflavored Greek yogurt for me and some butter because we were about out.  I think that's about all.  Strawberry prices are not yet where I want them to be and it's a little early yet for them.  They just put them out for $1.99 a pound because all those Valentine's Day revelers will be dipping them in chocolate and feeding them to each other.  It's alllllllll about the dollar, remember......  But the blueberry price was good, I'm letting them drain from a rinse-off and they'll go in my freezer.

We stopped next at Food Pyramid for a few good deals.  I hate when they put limits on their deals.  Sometimes it's a limit of how many you can buy.  Sometimes you have to have a $20 purchase.  And you have to make sure that you comply or you end up paying more than you think you are, because the clerks don't point it out when you've not qualified for the sale price.  It's all computerized now and the register just rings it up.  They had bacon and eggs for a good price, but limited to one of each, and the bacon was only 12 ounces.  We found a different brand that had two one-pound packages wrapped together and it turned out to be about the same price per ounce as the sale-priced brand.  For the eggs, I just let Hubs go through the line with all our groceries and I paid for an extra dozen eggs at a different register.  That works well when one is not enough but two will do.  They had toilet paper and paper towels, with a coupon and limit 4 total, but that was enough.  Then boneless whole pork tenderloin at $1.99 a pound.  We have it sliced and use it in lots of ways, sometimes fried instead of pork chops, sometimes cubed and in dishes such as sweet-and-sour pork, and sometimes ground and in meatloaf half and half with beef or instead of sausage.  We are eating less beef now since it's so dang high.  The price of beef will go down when people find substitutes for it.  You know, people in the southern states of the US hardly ever ate beef until just recently.  It was pork, chicken and seafood.  Of course they're feeling the burn with seafood prices now.  Sheesh.  Hubs likes those frozen pot-pie sized fruit pies and they were 79 cents, so he bought several.  Yes, I could bake pie for him and sometimes I do, but at the price of store fruit and not having much fruit in the freezer, this is another option.  An 8" pie is now $7.99.  I think two, or maybe three, of these pot-pie sized pies equal an 8" pie and so at less than a dollar each that is a good deal.  Canned pie filling costs more than that.  Hubs can have his pie and ice cream now and I can have my Greek yogurt.  I don't use paper towels much but they do come in handy for wiping out greasy skillets and such, then they go into the trash that we burn.

From there we went to Downtown Bartlesville where the furniture store is, and I ordered my furniture for the living room.  I tried to strike a better deal with the shop owner and she just wouldn't budge on the price, even though the furniture store out on the highway had a LaZBoy sectional for $500 less.  She pointed out what I already knew and that was that FlexSteel is a better product and that LaZBoy's quality has gone downhill in the last few years.  Then I tried to use my credit card so I could at least get a healthy Cashback Bonus, and she announced she didn't take credit cards.  I didn't even bother to offer to give her a plug on my blog because I didn't think she'd go for that.  She told me she never had sales because then you have to mark up things when you're not having a sale, and yeah, I understand how that is.  But she was nice enough about it.  She knows she's got a good product and said if I wanted something less well made, she would be glad to sell me that for less than the FlexSteel costs.  But no, I want durability, and I want it to look good for as long as we are living in our own home.  I told her that I didn't want the dang throw pillows that seems like are included with every sofa you purchase, but she even called the factory and they said it's all computerized and the pillows come with sofas whether the customer wants them or not.  So I opted to have them made of the same fabric as the upholstery and I'll take them apart and make arm covers, which don't come with new furniture now.  Frankly, I find those a lot more useful than throw pillows, which wind up on the floor anyway.  She said lots of her customers say they don't want the throw pillows.  On the up-side, though, she gave me the phone number of an upholstery guy who might be able to sell me a new foam cushion insert for my big easy chair that needs one.  I looked on Amazon and I can get one for $16 but the shipping is $13.
After that, we headed back for the highway, which would eventually take us home, and stopped at Walmart.  Hubs is out of pickle slices and they have 2-quart jars that are priced about the same as jars that are less than one quart, other places.  I wanted to look at their blenders as I've been looking at one on Amazon that's priced at $45.  That's HERE.  I did not find the exact model on the Walmart shelves, but I found the same manufacturer, the same motor size, the same glass pitcher, the same blending mechanism.

And it was $25.

The reason I wanted Oster is that their blending mechanism is all metal.  And also because the base will fit on a regular canning jar.

This comes in really handy when you want to pulverize herbs or blend something that you're going to end up storing in a jar, anyway.   I originally was going to get one of those "Bullet" personal blenders but Amazon's reviewers were not too happy with them.  It seems they work well as long as they work, which doesn't seem to be for very long.  Then people started saying, "Oh, just get an Oster and you can use canning jars!"  You can even buy little plastic jars made by Oster for the same purpose.  And you can buy an attachment that's a mini-food-processor if you want.

I also looked in their Garden Center because last year I missed their scented geraniums and I thought I saw a Rober's Lemon Rose.  That is my favorite rose-scented variety.  It smells like real roses.  They didn't have those in yet, but they had onion sets.  So I got enough of those for the garden.  I think the sets have a better chance of surviving till it's time to be planted out than the little plants do that come in bundles.
I also found a simple watering wand, which I needed.  They have "fancied up" this garden tool so that it's hard to find one that has a sprinkler head that will screw off the wand.  We water out of the cistern and lots of times there are little pieces of debris -- leaf pieces and such -- that will clog things up in pretty short order.  I like the extra length so that I can get right down around the base of the plants when I water without having to bend over, and lots of times I use the wand without the sprinkler head on at all.  This one has a brass lever on the end that screws onto the hose, that shuts the water off.  You can buy those separately but don't buy the plastic ones.  They break right away.  They are handy for when you are a long distance away from your water source and need to go from one garden bed to another.  I used to carry a bucket and put the hose in it when I was moving around.  You'd be amazed at how much water will be in that bucket, shows you how much you waste. 

Then we headed for home after being out for four hours.  It was lunchtime.  But we had one of Wal-Mart's rotisserie chickens and there was potato salad in the refrigerator at home.  

I know that some of my readers may think I'm buying things for the garden 'way too soon, but if I waited for a month to buy, they could even be the exact same packages I brought home today.  The only difference is that this way I am in control of what happens to them from this day forward.  I can get some into the ground before they break dormancy.  Other things I can put into pots and keep them in the unheated garage till it's time for them to go into the ground.  If the rest of the public didn't get in such a gol-dang hurry to plant things, I wouldn't have to do this.  As it is, the local stores all want that first flush of money that flows out of the hands of over-anxious gardeners.  It's all about the dollar.  These gardeners buy twice what they need because they know half of it will die from being exposed to winter too soon.  And for many things, they'll have to come back and buy more because they'll get that late freeze that they ought to know is going to come, nine years out of ten.  Then people like me come along, at the right time to plant things, and all that's left is shriveled up stuff that's been laying on the shelf in a too-warm, too-dry environment for a couple of months.  Sheeeeeesh.

When I went out to the asparagus bed to plant the rhubarb, I ran into my resident jack-rabbit.  I've been unable to get this critter OUT of my garden.  It's very similar to the little one I had trapped in there early last summer, which had come in through the chicken wire when small and then grew too big to get back out.  The one this time probably got in the night I forgot and left the garden gate open.  We had quite a little chase after I opened both gates today, and FINALLY it found the west gate.  Hesitated there, looking in all directions, I was maybe 20 feet away, waving my arms like an idiot, and trying to move side to side so it might go straight out the gate instead of veering right or left, as it has so many times before.  This time it went out and I am so relieved to have that rabbit OUT of the garden.  The hawks have been hunting out in the nearby fields.  We can see that they are finding something, we just can't see what it is exactly.  Whatever it is, it will be one less critter trying to get into my garden.  We still have three deer roaming around.  When we saw a deer carcass along the road near our turn-off, I hoped it would've been one of them.  No such luck.  I'm starting to worry a little about my fruit trees in the yard and future harvests from them.  I wonder if maybe I ought to talk to someone about getting a taller fence.   Our yard fence is only 4' tall.  The garden fence is 6'. 

Today looks like it's going to be warm enough for Hubs to be able to bring the saw to the patio and so we will go ahead with his plans to lay some of the floor.  This means I'd better get crackin' as I didn't have time (or energy) to get it prepared on Friday.  Y'all have a good weekend, and till next time,   ......... Rock On.  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. Thanks for the tip about the Oster blender. I had no idea about the regular jars fitting; I have one and checked and it does fit. I would never have known that!

    Great looking rhubarb plants. That is the variety I have; now I want a redder one which probably won't survive our summers here.

    I can't wait to see the new floor. I know it will be amazing. You guys do very good work.

  2. Yeah, Glenda, I was surprised to learn that, too! But it comes in very handy. I haven't had a chance to try my blender out yet, but I did read a review that someone posted that said sometimes the jar will try to spin while the blender is running and if it does you need to just hold it down with one hand.

    We are struggling with that floor. It isn't snapping down right. Trying all sorts of things, went to Lowe's today and bought a "tapping block" for it. The guy who tried to help us said they'd never had any complaints, but I advised him it's all over the Internet, people complaining about how hard they are to lock together, and even on Lowe's website, there are bad reviews. We had trouble with it when we put it in the kitchen and dining room but we finally got some "mo-jo" working and got through it. Hopefully this Sunday we can have better luck, after blowing Saturday totally away with not much to show for it.

  3. Hope you can get it figured out today!


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