Wow it’s really hard to tell if it’s still winter or spring. The weather has been really crazy here. Yesterday it snowed and today by 9 am it’s in the 50’s. It sure makes it hard to grow anything in weather like this. A few of our plants have frost damage from a couple days ago but hopefully they’ll recover. It’s a guessing game at this point as to when the last frost day will be until then we are happy to have a greenhouse to protect the plants we have in there.
Part of our transition from the online thrift store to our micro farm is adding to our name-it’s now Truly Thrifty/ Leverone Family Farm. We have been raising chickens and ducks for 6 years and recently added more growing area for produce. Eventually we would like to open a farm stand but for now we will be selling at AZ RT 66 Farmers Market in Ash Fork and Seligman AZ this summer. This is a family effort and I’m so blessed to have my families support.
Have a great day everyone!
Yesterday was a productive and fun family day out in the garden we were able to get quite a bit done. The extra hands to get the plastic up for a green house was great.
The area has definitely improved from what it was and our goals are to regenerate not only that area but eventually to whole yard. The ground is clay with lots of volcanic rocks but with the rain/snow we had over the winter has help to bring up some green already (evern if they are weeds). Weeds are beneficial because they help with erosion, some are edible and the flowers help feed the bees/insects.
We have a way to go regenerating our property so setting small goals has helped along the way. Don’t worry about doing everything at once that is so overwhelming. One plant in a pot is a start anyone can do that. Thankfully I have my family to help.
In previous posts we shared our challenges growing produce here in Northern Arizona but we love fresh vegetables, herbs & flowers so we keep trying and at this point it’s more like a science experiment. We compost everything we can to use in our gardens, the chickens & ducks provide manure (composted or aged first) and any natural materials we can use from our yard. Keeping the input costs down is important so we try not to purchase amendments unless needed. We hope you enjoy the slideshow pictures of the past year.
Gardening in Arizona has been a challenge for us. Each year we try something different to see if it helps grow more bounty. We have been blessed with great neighbors with animals that give us all the horse manure we can use. That in itself has improved our soil in our garden. Our soil is clay that is on the alkaline side with lots of rocks & weeds and needs lot of amendments so when have opted for above ground and/or raised beds. We also grow in containers too.
In the Ash Fork area where we live we have to haul water or have it delivered which is a challenge in itself but when it comes to gardening are water usage doubles in the growing season or until monsoons arrive.
Starting plants from seeds seem to do well for us but keeping the plant alive through the hottest days of summer is another challenge.
Final challenge is the wild life and free ranging cows-cows are much easier to deal with we just have to keep our gate shut but the wild life so frustrating! Last year a gray squirrel kept digging in my raised beds and eating some of my vegetables.
The photos below are from previous years.
At the beginning of the year I decided that I wouldn’t spend as much money on groceries and household items and use up what I already had in my house. With the exception of dairy products and meats. Plus over the summer I bought local produce from our farmers markets.
While I don’t consider myself an extreme couponer I am pretty good at saving money using coupons, buying what’s on sale and stocking up on those sales items. For example- I have not bought paper towels since March 2018. Granted my supply of paper towels are getting low so at some time I will have to buy more. For now I’m using what I have and will start looking for sales.
Another thing my my hubby and I have been doing is eating foods from our freezer, pantry and cabinets. This is a good thing because I had lost track of what all we had where. Having a simple inventory sheet for each area helped for quite a while and I highly recommend using one, but I admit I got lazy and quit using them. So instead of looking on the inventory sheet we had to dig through the freezer to see what was in there. Not fun! Pantry and cabinets are more organized because when something goes in there it gets put in the right area right away.
So how did I think we did at using what we had on hand- Fantastic! Not only did we save money but we used up things that were the oldest. No more finding something that expired 4 months ago. At the end of the year I ‘ll add up my receipts and compare to last year and see if I was truly successful. Even before that happens I feel that we were successful and saved our household money.
Buy only what you need not what you want. We hear that over and over but it is something that I live by. This time of year especially, my jobs slow down- from now until March of next year. So I take stock of what I already have in my pantry, freezer, refrigerator, cabinet and closets.
I f something goes on sale and it is something I need then I’ll buy at least 2 or whatever my budget always for that week. Our first priorities are to pay our bills so some weeks I may not buy anything.
We don’t have a huge stockpile of food and paper products like I wish we did but we have plenty for just the 2 of us. Cooking from scratch and eating whole foods really does help to save money and tastes better too.
This was a good shopping trip for stocking up on pantry items. I purchased 25 items for under $20. First stop was the Dollar General website which I clipped the digital coupons (even tho I didn't use any) , second I did a survey from my last receipt and I was emailed a coupon $2.00 off $20.00 all before leaving home. Other than coupons I had a list of items that I want to stock my pantry with, mostly canned items for longer storage. The other items like flour, sugar, brownie mix and instant potatoes will be fairly quickly. The Gold Metal AP Flour was $2.00 for 5 lbs, that's a pretty price. DG brand of sugar was $2.00 for 4 lbs as well. Since I bake a lot I try to keep those staples on hand. Canned vegetables are 2/$1.00, canned diced tomatoes are $0.70 each, Carnation Evaporated milk $1.00 and DG brand cream soups $.50 each. I'm slowly building up our pantry but that's okay because I don't always have the extra money to buy stock up items. So some weeks or months it may only be 1 or 2 items I buy or on occasion 25 items. Anyone can build up a pantry by adding a couple cans of vegetables, fruits or soups each week/month. Start with a list of items you and your family will eat, watch for sales or check different stores prices and decide how much of your food budget can go towards filling your pantry. Happy Shopping!
We cancelled our satellite tv service almost a year ago and wow I'm so glad that we did. Our bill could range from $80 to $120 per month without any special channels. That's a savings of $960 to $1440 for this past year. At first we bought an (rabbit ears) antenna which wasn't always reliable especially during storms but yesterday I purchased a digital antenna and what a difference! We went from having 4 channels to 12 channels. That may not seem like a lot but when you only have 4 channels and nothing to watch on those channels that sucks. Luckily Fox was one of the 4 so we watched that often. I don't know why I waited so long to get a digital antenna but I/we sure are happy we did!!
I saved money too on this shopping trip, I used a $5.00 off $25.00 coupon. It was like I paid for the antenna and got the other items for free. Score!!
Wow, it has been cold! It snowed on Monday & Friday of this past week. Yesterday when I got up the thermometer said it was 18 outside and 55 in the house. Hubby & I both fell asleep watching a movie and neither one of us stoked the fire during the night. BRRRR! Needless to say I started a fire before I started coffee which almost never happens, I have to have my morning coffee before I can function. Ha Ha.
I'm lucky enough to have a flexible schedule from my 3 (part time) merchandising jobs so I stayed home both Monday & Friday. Since I was staying home and inside I made breakfast for hubby and I all on the wood stove. I started with frying some diced potatoes. Hubby asked for pancakes so I pulled out my trusty old Betty Crocker Cook Book and mixed up some homemade pancake mix. Doubling the recipe made extra that he ate the next morning while I was at work. Then came diced onions and ham that I added to the fried potatoes. To finish off the breakfast we had over easy eggs from our chickens. Surprisingly it only took about an hour to cook it all. Yes that may seem like a long time but I was in no hurry because I wasn't going anywhere, only outside to feed & water the chickens & ducks.
This breakfast was inexpensive because the potatoes I buy in 10 to 15 pound bags, the eggs are from our chickens and the pancake mix I made. The wood stove was already heating our house so no need to use propane to cook with. Nothing like a hearty breakfast on a cold winter day.
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Thrifty for more than 30 years.