EDIT (5/26/2020): I forgot to add another skill I learned. I’m probably most proud of this one! 😎. While trimming a huge shrub I accidentally cut the cord!😩 I was 99% done with trimming. The cord was a nice, big, 100 ft cord … not the basic orange kind. Plus, I cut it right near the end so most of the cord was good… it was a clean cut through. Well, I tend to be ….frugal… borderline …*throat clearing*… cheap. 🤷🏽♀️ So, I learned about these little things called heat shrink butt connectors. They are amazing! After a couple of YT lessons I had a fully working cord again.
Skills I learned during The Lockdown
How to use a drill.🤷🏽♀️. Don’t laugh. My dad passed one down to me when he clearly was not going to be using it anymore. I had to figure it out because I have a towel rack or two to hang, and holes to drill in the bottom of plant pots. Thanks to YouTube I am a pro now (sort of), well, not quite but I can get what I need done.
How to dehydrate vegetables. Yes, people. Ran across a video on dehydrating and haven’t looked back. A great way to store food that I can catch a deal on but don’t need to eat right away.
How to hand pollinate squash. Now, this is something that never crossed my mind prior to starting a garden. You know what? … it works very much the same way as it does for people 🤪. The female flower parts look one way and the male part looks another way. Bees usually do this work but now I know how to help out the bees. 🐝
How to start/maintain a container garden.This was out of the blue but the thing that has kept me sane during the lockdown. You can see more about it on my blog, http://www.vesselsandvittles.com.
How to change a Condensate Pump on my HVAC system. I had NO desire to know how to do this but like most HVAC systems mine broke on a holiday. It was rather frustrating actually. Talked with a friend, watched a few videos, and did my ‘thang’. Bottom line, It’s working now … no pride here, just a necessity thing when you haven’t a choice. And, I decided to get a service contract.
Lockdown certainly hasn’t been boring.
Have you picked up any new skills during this time?
2020 has not been kind for the most part so far. In December we were singing Jingle Bells and only 3 months later we were all locked in our houses and avoiding each other. 😟
As of today, I have been sheltered in for about 9 weeks. I mean, I’ve been in my house alone and only went out for necessities. I tried to consolidate my outings; keeping a list of things needed and after a couple weeks I’d go out early in the morning and get what was needed, so I rarely ran into many people.
Recently , I’ve been starting to feel it. I’ve worked from home for a while for my day job so that wasn’t different but I could feel my spirit dropping. This morning I decided I was going out for a while, for no reason. I took a long drive on a sunny, air-chilled day. Then I went to buy art supplies. It was a perfect remedy. So, I think I will make it. ✌🏽
What I wanted to share here though is my new hobby. With all this ‘home’ time I decided to play in my yard.
If you follow my blog at all, you’ve seen my Japanese Maple posts where I started to grow a bunch of trees last year. I had no idea how they’d do over the winter. I tucked them in a corner on the outside of my house and poured a lot of mulch around them. A couple weeks ago I pulled them out, and watered them. They looked a little pitiful, I was sure most were dead.
However, after a few days, I started to see little buds on a few of them. 🙂
I did notice though, after the Japanese Maples started to grow, that there were 5 of them that looked QUITE different, and a couple of the strange ones like this eventually died.
When I emptied the pots with the dead trees I discovered that those were NOT Japanese Maples, they were actually OAK trees. Whaaaaat?? Squirrels had dug up my trees and buried acorns in the pots. Uuuugh!. So, I overwintered 25 or so Japanese Maples and in the Spring I had 20 Maples and 5 Oak trees. I decided to grow the Oaks too. Thanks Squirrel Rats!
Anyway, while sheltered in, I decided to try my hand at growing other things. Being in a place where the ground is basically clay, rocks, and boulders, I decided to grow vegetables in containers. What sparked all this is when I saw a video on YouTube where a girl grew lettuce from the soil bag. Whaaat?? I need to do that, I thought …. especially after having limits place on my ability to freely go purchase all kinds of salad fixings. After I watched that video and a million others, guess what?…..
….a GARDEN WAS BORN! 🥕🥬🌶🍅
This took way more thought than I’d imagined. I had to learn about what kind of containers, the layout, what vegetables to plant, etc. In order not to use all of my tiny patio space, I extended it all around by 3′ which gave me a perfect place to set up containers. Then, after a few changes to table set-ups I finally had something I thought would work for this first Test Veggie Garden.
I decided to grow purple potatoes, carrots, beets, ginger, spinach, summer squash, and of course, a soil bag of salad mix. I ended up using lots Grow Bags, which seemed perfect.
On FB Marketplace I found a wooden 3-tier shelf unit a guy built for his garage made out of pallets and he was moving and sold them to me for $5. He even delivered it to me. Thanks guy! I put water sealant on the shelves and you can see one of the shelves used as a container table on top of a few of my landscape blocks. So perfect. The pallets allow for drainage too. These Japanese Maples are just showing off now. haha! I seriously need this garden to be functional but also be kinda pretty…. I don’t live on a farm … yet. The HOA still rules in my world.
Grow Bags & a Bucket
Here are some pics of the veggies …
I just started seeing a little peek of spinach that showed itself today….
HaHa! I know they are all still babies but I’m a City Girl! I wasn’t even sure anything would grow so I’m excited!.
Now for the Show Stopper…. my SALAD MIX about six or so different varieties of lettuce!! Isn’t it beautiful? This is after only about 2 weeks after sprinkling seeds. It’ll be time to eat in about…. a month! It’s suppose to be a cut and come again process, so as the leaves mature I will just pick a few leaves from all over the bag and it keeps growing until it exhausts itself. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.
Well, I can add learning how to grow a Container Vegetable garden to my list of things learned during the Corona Pandemic.
Be sure to come back to see the progression of this project!
More than two years ago, when I lost the majority of my weight, my strategy was to simply reduce calories enough to lose weight…and it worked, for the most part. Once I got closer to my goal weight I stalled, big time. There was only one thing to do, reduce calories again, but, my strategy stopped working. 😩
I increased exercise, which in turn increased my appetite, which made me eat more and gain weight. So frustrating. All the while, I was hearing about the KETO craze, that it was similar to the Atkins Diet, which meant low carb. A friend reached out to me and tried to share info, but I had no interest because I had a plan that mostly worked.
After stalling for a while, I got tired. I started eating a bit more, exercising less, gained 10 lbs and totally quit logging. I was down to about 1000-1200 calories oer day. WAY TO LOW. I felt fine, got tired easily, but was frustrated by the stall. I did notice 2 things though; I was very soft, and I did not feel strong. Lifting things that should have not felt heavy, were. My conclusion, I’d lost a LOT of muscle mass. No bueno. I needed a new strategy.
My goals were the same; be healthy, eat clean foods, be strong, not let food control me, and I really got tired of “logging” my food. 🙄
Sooooo, I joined a KETO page on Facebook just to sorta stalk it and see what these KETOers were all about. Now, I am not much of a meat eater, however, I remembered while losing weight, the weeks when I ate more chicken or beef, I lost more pounds. Hmmmm….
Long story short, (too late, I know🙃), I tried KETO, kinda. I just wasn’t that strict about it. I up’d proteins and kept up my veggie eating, but reduced carbs to minimal per day, and I increased my fats (that is HARD TO DO after decades of hearing “watch your fat intake” 🤯). I didn’t measure a thing. End of the week down almost 2 lbs. 🤷🏽♀️ What I noticed is, I was not hungry AT ALL. Matter of fact, I felt I had surely gained because I felt so full, or I should say, satiated all the time. I had energy so I exercised more. Go figure, there must be something to it. I’m going to try it again this week in my Kinda Keto way to see if this past week was just a fluke. I’d like to lose another 15 lbs bit I’m not stressing about it. I have more muscle mass and feel good so what more can I ask.
Anyway, thought I’d share some of the protein options I made in my Ninja Air Fryer. Love this thing!
I also cook veggies in the Air Fryer sometimes. Works pretty good too!
Well, that’s all folks! I’ll let you know what happens with my Kinda Keto plan. 🤗👍🏽
The struggle is so very real, people…. but that’s OK…. I’m not alone.
A couple of years ago when I was in the midst of my major weight loss, I started hearing about KETO eating. If you haven’t heard of it yet, never fear, you will when you return to this planet. 😒 I looked into it but I haven’t jumped into it …yet. It seems everyone is trying KETO now, but it must not be user-friendly because I’m seeing more about Dirty Keto… or what I like to call it, Cheap and Easy Keto.
I’m also noticing an increase in talk about ‘fasting’, specifically, Intermittent Fasting. I might try this at some point, just because it seems more natural and beneficial to the body.
Seems everyone is trying to figure out how to lose weight and keep it off. Like I said, the struggle is REAL! I’m a witness. I lost 57 lbs a couple of years ago, but gained about 14 lbs and have been holding steady since. I’m not to concerned because I realized at 57 lbs that I was lighter but I didn’t feel strong. I think I lost a lot of muscle tone, and was earing too few calories. I read recently that when you eat low-calorie for a while your body gets used to living on that low amount. When I increased my calories to around 1500 to 1700 per day I gained about 5 lbs. Then, because I felt weak, I started walking a lot and doing High Impact Interval Training exercises and sure enough gained more….but the curious thing is my clothes felt the same and loser in some cases🤷🏽♀️.
I guess it is true that muscle weighs more but takes up less space. That’s a hard concept to accept when you are addicted to the scales like I am. I’m trying to change my ‘scales’ ways. 😣 However, I do feel so much stronger in my core and overall. So, now I’m just trying to stay on a good eating path.
It’s a rainy, rainy day on this Sunday afternoon. I was invited to a Southern Buffet restaurant after church…. so tempted to do it but I had already planned to do some meal prep. I went shopping yesterday and bought some goodies…
Cucumbers, Yellow, Red, and Orange peppers are my go-to foods. I’ve blogged about them in previous posts. I just cut them and put them in jars. They are a great snack for me. I either eat them plain, or sprinkle them with a little rice vinegar.
2. Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts, I tried it! Wow! This is a keeper. I love my Air Fryer but never have I tried veggies in it. So, easy…tossed the Brussel sprouts (Premee cabbages as a young friend calls them, 😒🤣) in a tad bit of oil, Himalayan Salt, and garlic powder and put in my Air Fryer on 375 for about 12 minutes. YUM! They were so delicious. I know they look burnt but they are just roasted. I bet adding a little brown sugar and some bacon bits would make this instantly ‘gourmet’…I almost did it but remembered my new healthy eating ways.
3. Asparagus… you either like it or not. I love it, stinky pee and all. I actually saw a post somewhere recently that asparagus is a major cancer fighter. I meed to research this though. I usually eat it most when it is on sale and it’s been on sale so 3rd week in a row I’ve made it but this time I pur it in the Air Fryer to try. Boy! Good results again…just 6 minutes in and it’s done 👍🏽
4. Chicken Thighs. Nope, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan or anything, I just eat little meat naturally. I need protein to lose weight I learned, plus it helps keep my hunger in control. Since I was Air Frying, I put these in last; same seasonings. Also, I found 2 small Filet Mignon steaks in the back of my freezer from an Omaha steak gift pack I received…last of the beef goodies. Put those in the Air Fryer too.
This chicken was so juicy and delicious! I just sampled what I cooked because it’s for the upcoming week, of course. So, now I have no excuse for not eating healthy this week. I’ve got all these goodies plus a bin of apples.
Fortunately, everything I cook has to be eaten only by “me”…not sure anyone else would enjoy my kitchen science experiments…I’m not much of a foodie though; I just don’t want to feel hungry, so… let’s see if I can have a good week of eating healthy food. Hope you do too! ✌🏽😎
Peace and Love!😘
“…May the peace of God guard your hearts and mind (thoughts) through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:7❤️
I’m sitting here wondering if there is a real reason for broccoli cuts.?🤔
I mean, Broccoli florets make sense; they are pretty, flavorful, and healthy, but ‘cuts’ are basically the stems – cut up, right?
The picture looked all luscious and delicious but the bag of frozen cuts I bought did have one or two small florets…whatever, I really did expect what I got, not what was on the bag.
I added a bit more chicken broth and let the cuts get softer than how I usually eat my veggies but I had a plan. Then I got out my Ninja blender. I added the thoroughly cooked cuts, added a bit of half and half (all I had), added more broth, salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric and hit the ON button.
It whirred around until, it was light green, smooth, a bit creamy and ohhhhh so tasty.
VOILA! Turned those worthless cuts into a delicious gourmet soup.
I had some for dinner tonight. It’s a cold, dark, long winter night and this concoction hit the spot. I think I might try this with fresh broccoli stalks next summer.
So, not only can you turn lemons to lemonade but you can also turn blah broccoli cuts into deliciousness.