Saturday 26 June 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 26th June 2021

 Due to the cold wet weather this week our gardening time has been limited.  We duck outside in between showers to get quick jobs done then head back inside to enjoy our beautifully heated home.  We are very grateful for ducted heating that keeps our home evenly heated and for blankets that give us extra comfort.

Here's what we got up to this week -

*  I poked some small holes in a plastic water bottle lid to make it easy to water seeds and seedlings.

*  Made a bottle of surface spray from kitchen detergent and cooled boiled water.  I use this to clean the kitchen stove,  benches,  sinks and cupboards.  In the bathrooms I use it to clean the toilets,  sinks and bath.

*  Dried 95% of the washing on clothes horses in the main bathroom.  We have a ducted heating vent in the floor so the washing is dried overnight.  Only work uniforms and tea towels from the cafe were dried in the dryer because they were needed the next day.

*  Juiced lots and lots of lemons I'd picked from our tree over a week ago.  The juice was frozen into ice cube trays.

*  Froze leftover tomato paste into an ice cube tray.

*  Planted lots of sprouting potatoes from our pantry.  I know it's not quite the right time of the year but the potatoes were too soft to peel or eat.

*  Baked shortbread biscuits to have with cuppas this week.  With just the two of us at home we don't go through as much baking.  I still have scones,  chocolate brownies and small whole orange cakes in the freezer that we eat every now and then.

*  We had roast lamb for a combined birthday dinner for Darren and Jessica last weekend.   This week I used the little bits of leftover sliced meat and meat off the shank to make a lamb stew in the slow cooker.  I was able to get another 7 single serves taking the total to 12 for a very small roast.  Lamb is very expensive so this was a very rare treat for us.  The stew went into the freezer for future easy dinners.

*  We picked lettuce and kale from the garden.

*  Darren found some heavy duty clear plastic we could use to cover the newly planted potatoes.  We are hoping this will help keep the soil temperature from getting too cold.  It will also protect against frosts and heavy rains.

*  Ate leftovers from the freezer a few nights.  I quite enjoy cooking once and eating 3 or 4 times type of meals.  Most weeks I only need to cook about 3 nights a week and getting dinners from the freezer for other nights.  We still eat a good variety and a menu plan helps with this.

*  Fed the outside compost bin with kitchen and garden scraps.

*  Saved water in the bathroom,  kitchen and laundry as per usual and reused it where we could.

*  I picked oranges and mandarins from the trees at Megan's place.  There is probably another 5oo + mandarins to pick.

From Megan's trees.

In the veggie garden

Covering newly planted potatoes

Shortbread biscuits

How have you saved time,  money or energy this week ?


  1. Your kale is beautiful. Our cucumbers have taken over the area where I planted kale. It's my first time with the cucumber, and I clearly didn't give them enough space to spread out!

    It's so fun to read about the cold & rainy phase on the other side of the world, while we are in a heat wave here. We're pretty lucky to avoid the major heat wave, but are clearing out the rest of our vacation house (we are closing on a sale) & the temperatures are 110+ in the pacific northwest. It's nuts.

    As for us, I made a caprese salad out of garden goodies (fresh tomatoes are the absolute best) & basil, plus fresh mozzarella. We've been using the spinach, kale, jalapenos, peppers, radishes, etc in salads. We froze the strawberries for smoothies.

    We found a neighbor boy to water our yard next week when we're out of town. It will be his first "job", and he's so excited. We will pay him, preserve our plants, & everyone wins.

  2. Wow those mandarins look amazing.

  3. Sadly any savings I have made over the last two weeks were consumed today. OH well back to frugal tomorrow afternoon.

  4. wow, the mandarins. I plant potatoes in April, here in Canada. Our last frost date is end of May.If frost is expected and the potato greens have emerged, I just draw soil over them to protect from frost. They will emerge again. Your kale looks terrific.


  5. Hi Wendy,

    you have many great ways of saving money and energy every week. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    Each week I make two loaves of wholemeal spelt sourdough bread and some rolls to use for lunches and breakfasts. I can't eat normal yeast or wholemeal flour so each loaf I make saves us $8.

    We have a wood heater which is less expensive to run than our airconditoner. When it is cold we have it burning all day as it keeps our living areas warm and I can dry the washing on clothes airers nearby. Slow cooked meals like soup, stews and pasta sauce are cooked on the top of the wood heater, saving money on gas.

    Making meals that can be frozen or eaten a few days later works out cheaper and saves me time and energy. Our son is on uni placement for six weeks and taking a meal of leftovers for his lunch and some homemade cake or a muffin and some fruit saves him about $20 each day. 

    I made two loaves of banana bread using three overripe bananas. Home-grown apples went into an apple and rhubarb crumble, an apple slice and some apple turnovers.

    We have lemons, limes, oranges and mandarins that are ripe and blood oranges that will soon be ripe.
    In our vegie garden we are growing spring onions, kale, silverbeet, celery, endive, leeks, radishes, four types of lettuce and many different herbs.

    Fruit and vegies are very expensive at the moment so having home-grown produce is a blessing and saves us money every week.

    Wendy, do you know what variety the mandarins from Megan's place are? They look amazing. They are darker orange than the oranges. Do they taste as good as they look?

    Have a good week. Stay warm and safe.
    Best wishes, Maria.

    1. Unfortunately we have no idea of the mandarin variety. The oranges look like a orange crossed with blood oranges.

  6. I am still planting out my seedlings, although it is rather late in the season now. I had an unfortunate fall end of May, which gave me a painful knee, and it's only slowly improving. I couldn't bend it to 90 degrees, so any digging an weeding was hard going.
    The green bean and courgette seedlings had to be resown. I had some nice seedlings, then didn't pay attention for 3 days, and suddenly had no seedlings and 3 very fat slugs in the seedtray! Aaaargh!
    DD1 has her 13th birthday tomorrow; her gift will be an afternoon's shopping with the money we and her grandparents would have spent on her. Her party is 3 friends coming over, watching a movie (50 cents from the library) and sleeping in our tent in the backyard. Simple, cheap, and great fun.

  7. Wendy, a lot of your meals seem to revolve around freezing already-cooked food. I tried Once-a-Month Cooking years ago. The recipes were mostly good, but I didn't always like the results when they were thawed. Can you tell us, either as a comment to this or as a future blog post, what freezes the best, what you don't freeze, what type of containers you use, how you reheat, and any tips and tricks? Thank you!

    1. At the moment I'm trying to use glass container to freeze or takeaway containers if I run out of glass. Food is defrosted in the fridge then reheated either on the stove ( casseroles ), in the microwave ( complete meals ) or in the oven if it's lasagne or pies.

      Microwave reheating might need a little water added to the meal and covered.

      I might expand more in a blog post.


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