Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Can't Believe I Didn't Think Of This Before!

I use freezer bags a lot.  Sometimes I use gallon-size, but mostly I use quart-size bags.  I often use them to freeze smaller portions of food I buy in bulk, such was walnuts or those family-packs of meat. Or I'll buy a big bag of frozen berries and break it up into smaller bags for freezing (so I have to open each bag less often and it gets fewer ice crystals). 

But filling the freezer bags can be awkward:  they don't stand up by themselves, and they don't stay open.  This is particularly troublesome when I'm puting chicken or other meat into the bags.  I don't want to touch the outside of the bags and possibly contaminate them with any salmonella I may have on my fingers (from the meat--I don't walk around with salmonella on my fingers--not often any way).

But a couple days ago I thought of a simple solution to both problems, and tonight I got a chance to test my idea.

First, I washed out an empty #2 can, and used a can opener to remove the bottom.

Then I simply stood the bottomless can up in the freezer bag I wanted to fill, and put the contents into the can.

The can is shorter than the bag, so as I filled up the can I shook the contents down into the bottom of the bag, and slid the can up to finish filling up the bag.

It worked great.  I filled the bag with no problems.  Now I'm ready for the next time I buy a big package of chicken!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Couponing Webinar

A couple weeks ago I took a couponing Webinar (don't you just LOVE these made-up words?) from Kellene Bishop at Preparedness Pro.  Wow!  Did I learn a lot!

I had no idea you could save so much money with coupons.  Of course, I was ignorant of the strategies involved.  You can stack manufacturer's coupons on top of store coupons on top of a store sale.  Who knew?   Well, Ms. Bishop did.  And, as you might imagine, organization is the key to successful couponing.

I'm getting all my stuff together (store cards, coupon binder, etc.) and I'll start saving money very soon.  I have $350 in my monthly budget for groceries.  If I can use Ms. Bishop's strategy well, I should be able to save $200 a month on groceries.  Or maybe more.

I'll report back in how I'm doing.

Kellene Bishop has several blogs, including Women of Caliber -- one of my favorites.

Oh, I almost forgot.  There's another blog that uses the same strategy as Ms. Bishop:  The Krazy Coupon Lady. It's run by two women who've been couponing for ages, and they update daily with sales and hot coupons.  Their blog, by the way, is included in the list of links provided by Ms. Bishop in her webinar.

You are probably wondering what sweet peas have to do with couponing.  Well...absolutely nothing.  But I couldn't have a post with no pictures, now could I?

I Got My Can Organizers

I received my Can Organizers, and boy are they nice.  My shelves are spaced so I could stack my vegetable cans 2 high, and that turned out to be just the right height for the Can Organizers.  You can see them at

I should admit that with the Can Organizers ("C.O." from now on), I can't squeeze as many cans on the shelf as when I was stacking them.  However, the C.O.s solved two problems I was having:  the cans didn't stack very well because they don't have rounded bottoms, so they were always falling down;  it was really hard to put my newest purchases behind my previous purchases, because I had them crammed so tightly on the shelf.

So, with the C.O.s, I need more shelf space, but it's incredibly easy to put the new cans behind the old cans:  simply put the new ones in the top of the box, and they'll roll down to the bottom.

I got the shorter "cupboard" version, which is 10"-11" long.  They fit perfectly on my 12" shelves.  Each C.O. holds 7 cans of vegetables.  So far vegetables, chili, and refried beans are all I have in mine.  I will be getting some more for the rest of my stuff.

Cheap and Cheezy Deer Cage Update

I've had my deer cages around my fruit trees for some time now and I'm happy to report that, with one minor exception early on, they have kept the deer out of my trees.  Whew!

Here's one of the cages around my gravenstein apple tree:

The gravenstein is on a full-size root stock, so it will be a few years before it comes into production.  But when it does, it should produce a lot of apples. 

OK.  I have to make a confession.  This was the last of the deer cages I made, and it's by far the best looking.  On most of them, the piece of fencing I cut off the roll was way too small and doesn't reach around the tree very well.  It takes a lot more fencing that you might think it would.  Hmmm....  Maybe I should have measured first...Naw!

And here's one of the wiley beasts--still eating from Bonnie's Buffet--but just eating clover in the grass this time.