Frugal Friday Week #22

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I always feel like I post many how-to’s and not many “real lifes”. Although I do try and incorporate that into my newer posts, I’ve often thought that it might be even more helpful for my readership to get a better glimpse inside of what our simple/homestead/from scratch/frugal life really looks like.

Black Tomato
This is one of my Black Strawberry Tomatoes. The tomatoes are one of the only things that has survived the weather because they’ve been under a cover. The only problem is that it’s not warm enough for them to grow well.

Frugal Friday Week 22

So I’ve started a new series called Frugal Friday and need your help. My idea for this series is to share some of the projects/recipes/things we worked on this week and, in general, just what life looks like.

I need your help because I’ve tried something similar before, and I gave up after a while. I got bored, felt like no one was reading it or cared, and I moved on to other projects. So what I need you to do each week is to share what your week looked like in the comments section. I think it could keep us ALL accountable and may serve as an encouragement to others!

So let’s dive right into this week!

Meals We Ate

I was poor at keeping track this week! I know we ate a lot of just what was in the fridge, like salami and veggies. One night I made spaghetti. My husband has currently taken over making breakfasts, too so maybe next week I can keep track of what we both make. 🙂

It’s been a long time since I’ve been grocery shopping, we’ve just been eating what we have and getting a few fresh things from our bulk foods coop. I do plan on doing a little this weekend.

Shopping I Did

I went thrifting a little bit earlier this week and found a couple of cute new skirts. I like those for these days when it’s too warm to wear pants but not warm enough to wear shorts. It’s been a chilly summer so far! I spent about $15 on what I got.

Today we will also be making a big errand/stock-up run on some things that I don’t normally buy when I’m out but need to be done. We need some supplies for upcoming projects (aka, hail netting set up for next year!), and I have some random things that I need, like earrings (I have officially lost or broken all of my small ones). I’m good at putting those purchases off but taking care of them will also be good.

The Fruit Farm
Families picking apples at the fruit farm in the early 1900s.

Other Things We Did

This didn’t seem to fit in other sections, so I’m making it one here! For the past 3 years, I’ve been studying a horticulturist that lived near my local area back in the late 1800s, early 1900s. He practiced dry farming in our semi-arid, rocky, higher-altitude soil, but his work was pretty amazing. He was able to have acres of fruit orchards in this climate. (Fruit farms do not exist in this area at all, that’s what makes it even more amazing!)

We realized not long ago that we knew the current owner of the property, and we asked if we’d be able to see it. This week we were given a tour of what’s left. It was one of the neatest places that I’ve ever seen, and was so inspiring to be reminded that despite our circumstances, good hard work can still “bear fruit”.

What remains of the orchard from the fruit farm.
What remains of the orchard from the fruit farm. There are still a few apple trees here, overall maybe 20 left on the property (out of hundreds). Unfortunately the owner that came after the fruit farmer died was a pig farmer and he let them destroy the land.

Outside Projects We Worked On

The garden looked like it might perk up last weekend, and then what happened on Monday night? More hail. At this point, I’m not sure anything that was existing will still make it. However, I did plant a bunch of seeds after the first hail storm so it’s possible those could come up. Whether they have enough time to finish growing before frost, I’m not sure.

It’s been one seriously rough gardening year! My perennial plants took this most recent hail storm the hardest so far, and I also lost all my strawberries, grapes, apples, and anything else that was coming up.

The only outside project that we’ve worked on this week is debris clean-up. I do need to work on weeding inside my greenhouse, and I will get that done this weekend.

Old house
Of course, not my house! This is the homestead of the fruit farmer, built in 1896 and still standing.

Inside Projects We Worked On

Since we haven’t had a garden to work on, we’ve been working on cleaning up the house. I rearranged my living room and dining room, which opened up more cleaning under furniture, wiping down walls, etc.

We also finished our hallway upstairs! It’s almost the last part of the house to be finished…only taken us 3 years to get it done. 🙂 When we had the paint out, we also used it to touch up some other spots that needed it. Finishing the hallway cost nothing since we already had the paint and sheetrock mud left from the house.


Blog Posts I Wrote

  • Frugal Homemade Ice Cream – I started making this recipe forever ago…it’s a good alternative to the most expensive ice cream recipes!
  • Slow Cooker Steak Recipe – This is a good way to make a steak if you have some of the “budget cuts” of meat. Very tasty!
  • Uses for Overripe Fruit – Now that it’s summer, I think we all find a little more fruit on our tables, but it can go bad fast in the warm weather. Here’s how to use any of that overripe fruit.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

I believe this coming week, we are working on putting up the supports for hail netting that we will put up next year (no point anymore this year!). We also might start on the greenhouse roof if we have time, as that needs to be replaced because it looks like swiss cheese.

I’ll also continue to work on debris clean up. Between the hail and the torrential rains, our property is just a mess.

So tell me….what did life look like for you this week? What did you do, make, or plan to do?

Me and KadyMerissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.


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  1. I’m so sorry about your garden this year, Merissa! Praying for God’s provision for your family through other ways.

    This week my five year old has been in vacation Bible school, so we’ve had earlier dinners and later nights. He has had such a good time!

    We’ve also been on baby watch since my third is due on Monday 😊

    I’ve also been working on making homemade lip balm (one of the kinds is based on your recipe!!). I’m selling them (along with your diaper rash cream and eczema cream) to raise money for my husband’s mission trip to Brazil this fall. We are getting close to raising all the money! Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes in your book 😊

    1. We have had rain and temperatures in the 90’s this week with a heat index up to 104. Meals were usual with the exception of French toast made with homemade French bread. Delicious. So sorry about your weather and garden. Things will surly improve in the next few weeks.

  2. Thank you for sharing the pictures of the fruit orchard, still in a heatwave and pretty much have given up on planting anything else. We are still eating from pantry/ freezer we went to the farmers market and got great deals so I can still support our locals, also have been cleaning up outside due to wind

    1. Hello Merissa, I really enjoy reading your emails, it’s one of the things I look forward to everyweek. I’m really sorry about the weather. We do not have suchweather condition in were I live, but it’s been raining true the week except for yesterday and today.
      Food stuff is kind of expensive in my area and I buy almost every thing here. Do not let me bore you with my story do have a wonderful week.

  3. Merissa – thanks for sharing what’s going on in your part of the country. So sorry for the storms you’ve had your way. As the Lord promises, He will supply all your needs. So many times my family has seen the hand of God provide in ways we never thought possible. Keep trusting & sharing your life. I really enjoy your transparency.
    Enjoy seeing a part of history right at your back door. I love things such as this article from the past. Have a blessed weekend!

  4. I’ve been sick this week… Some weird combination of allergies, smoke in the air from Canada and having to be outside burning branches 3-4 days out of the week to get the yard cleaned up finally got to me. Now that I can mostly breathe again, I’m working on a weekly meal plan rotation and learning how to bake some favorites we can no longer afford. I finally have homemade bread figured out (my roaster oven is awesome).

    1. Merissa i am not a homestead person by any means but love reading your blog. I so sorry about your loss of crops. Would much re greenhouses work? Thank you for all you do.

  5. Hi Merissa! This weather has been so crazy this year. 😕 I pray you will be able to reap as much as possible of your harvest. 🙏 The past two months have been rough for my family, but we’re pressing on. Hope you have a blessed weekend. 😊

  6. Hi Merissa!
    Oh, no! Hail and torrential rain, ruined garden: losing most of the produce for a growing season is costly, depressing and disappointing. I’d have no idea how to deal with hail. I never knew hail netting existed until I read your post. I’m going to look it up because here on Long Island, we get nor’easters, tropical storms, and hurricanes, and I have developed a technique for saving many plants from wind using, believe it or not, bird netting as it’s key component. Maybe hail netting will be helpful as well.
    Inside was routine chores. I usually make a big batch of some side dish on Monday, something that can be used with other meals. This week I made lentils cooked in homemade chicken stock. I threw in lamb’s quarters, mushrooms, the last of my garlic scapes, and a little onion. It was so good I even had it for breakfast one day. I’ve been swimming twice a day.
    Next week I am planning on making a small batch of marmalade with my surplus of tiny mandarins I bought from an ugly produce company. I also really want to finish cutting up a basket full of old ripped clothing into strips. Then I make “yarn” with it and crochet simple throw rugs out of them.
    Being on the computer makes me sleepy, so time to get back to work!
    Peace and love to all!

  7. Love the picture of the little cabin! I would like to live in a house like that for retirement (a long ways away for me)! We had frost here June 12th, so I got to start a lot of things all over. Your gardening weather sounds awful, I think I will take mine!

  8. Hello everyone! Merissa, I am so sorry about another hail storm. We are in drought, and 100 plus temps here. My week was quiet busy as I had yet another problem with deep freezers. I lost an older chest time freezer about a month ago. Now I have TWO upright freezers giving me problems not freezing. So yes, I had to relocate food that has been in those 2 freezers. I did lose some things, but for the most part I was able to save the valuable meat products. Why I have so many freezers you ask, well, my husband loves fish and hunt! So I have fish, shrimp, deer. We do have a smokehouse, so I smoke sausage and tasso about twice a year. I had just purchased the pork roasts to start making the sausage (while it was on sale). It is quiet a job to make and smoke, but so very much cheaper than purchasing in the stores locally. We have a lake house that we love to go to with friends, and we always cook together. I also send smoked meats to my daughter and her family in the Dallas area. So today will be watching one of the freezers to make sure it is freezing well, so I can restock it before leaving for the lake house for the long weekend. Meals were easy and “cool” this week because of our heat. My hubby works in the heat, so days and nights are small meals. Salads and simple sandwiches was all he could tolerate. Too heavy meals do not set well with him! My frugal spending was little to nothing this week. I stayed out of the box stores. I did a little thrift store shopping and picked up outfits for grandchildren to start school this fall. Loved your roast recipe! Will definitely try it!

  9. Oh what a wonderful little homestead house! AND THAT SCREEN DOOR! Wow! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I have an old screen door (not as pretty as the homestead door) that I am reworking for my lake house pantry door. Still in the working, never enough time.

  10. Hi Merissa:
    I’m so sorry to learn that you got clobbered a second time with hail. It certainly is discouraging because of all the damage to our gardens and property. Calgary got hit with a violent storm last night but my side of the city escaped. There was some hail, flooding and power outages on the east side. On my side we had some decent rain, a bit of wind and some seriously loud thunder with one clap sounding like a bomb went off overhead. In Calgary, late June to mid July is usually the time for severe weather. We have to keep our eyes to the sky again today. Last year hubby treated me to two mini greenhouses, the kind that have thick plastic sheeting for a cover. I eagerly set them up thinking I’d expand my harvest for that year. Within two weeks we had a violent wind and rain storm and the bigger greenhouse blew down. My seedlings went in every direction. Someone got some free watermelon seedlings that were actually growing quite well. The frame was bent and the plastic shredded. That greenhouse was toast. I also lost my seed stash which I had forgotten to bring back into the house. The seeds blew everywhere and I had a few sprout in various areas on my property. I decided to give up on a greenhouse for now and use the body frame of the smaller one as a stand for my seedlings inside. This year, so far As for what I did this week, it was mostly a tidy up the garden and clean inside week. We are getting our furnace ductwork cleaned out on Monday as it is full of dust and debris. After that I will be doing a big house cleanup including the basement. Hang in Merissa. Positive thoughts and prayers coming your way.

  11. As always…I enjoyed reading about your week! I am so sorry about the hail damage, I read about it last week and thought about you all as I was working in my garden this week. I pray that the seeds will produce and that the Lord will richly bless you!

    We pulled up our early peas this week and planted more string beans in their place. I froze about 10 pints of peas…and we shared some with our parents and had plenty to eat. Our carrots will need to be harvested this coming week in between Fourth of July Festivities. How will you all celebrate the Fourth? We have a local Fireman’s Parade and then a cookout at our house and then fireworks at night.

    Happy Fourth! Love and Prayers!

  12. So sorry to hear about all the continued storm damage. The weather is definitely CRAZY this year.
    This week the air quality was BAD because of Canadian wildfires, meaning that I (along with many others) did not spend very much time outside. Got new webpage ( that added to my homescreen that shows/can look up air quality. Been helpful.
    Ate a lot of cereal, frozen juice fruit popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, pulled bbq chicken sandwiches (with leftover chicken), grilled steak, eggs & breakfast sandwiches.
    Ordered 2 cases (12/box) of ice cream sandwiches (on sale & hard to find dairy free soy or almond milk), which now I now need to find room in freezer. Temps in 90s+ will be needed.
    I’m still tired this werk but was able to finish the large raised garden bed & planted full of potatoes. First round of plantings already growing. All the citronella & mint plants in pots doing well.
    Love that smell & helping with mosquitoes (even though dry/no rain) & flies. So glad I was able to 0urchase from local FFA plant sale at Mother’s day.
    Been sorting through clothes to get ready for yard sale, getting a pile & getting too small tshirys to teen since I didn’t purchase that in between size.
    Getting items purchased for my dad & his partner that got for gifts so ready when/if they are able to come in August. With smokey air quality becoming regular occurrence not sure if will be able to, he has health issues. Hope they will be able to, but lots happening for him & will wait to see. At least I have items gathered together ready to go.
    Getting dishes caught up & laundry.
    Did a grocery run & got everything on sale (& with coupon/discount) and still can not grasp the high amount of grocery bill ($100/store). Luckily laundry soap & toilet paper have been on sale & have coupons so stocking up (also).
    Menards having great sales & allowing me to get outdoor items for landscaping & project materials, plus mail in rebates that I am now compiling to get bigger/higher cost item(s) for discount/free.
    Stopped at few yard sales & picked up few good deals. Found metal/mesh food cover ($10 @ Target) $1. Hard shotgun case $5.
    Looking forward to flea market this weekend & long weekend yard sales. Still looking for items on my list.
    Frugal fail—order Solo messa (mini tabletop fire pit) on limited edition red, white, blue speckle on sale that I really did not need but wanted. I had already gitten bigger messa free (when got new fire pit) & used for first time. Honestly a little disappointed (I love campfires) because had to continuously feed sticks to keep going. So obviously I wasted money purchasing the speckled messa, but it does look nice especially with my larger white one.

  13. More pictures of what you’re talking about would be nice. Even just the simple everyday things. 😊

  14. Sorry to hear about your storms. We are having some gorgeous weather here in the east since the dry spell ended. Garden is doing well- peas are coming to an end, raspberries are delicious, cucumbers and zucchini starting. New potatoes for a couple weeks now. So our meals have been a lot of fresh stuff recently. Just got some supplies this week and want to try my hand at goat’s milk soap when I have time. Between gardening, cooking for a family, sewing and getting ready for a wedding which includes helping our son get his house ready, I’m staying busy.
    Finished a little chicken tractor this week too for our banty chicks, too.
    God’s blessings are abundant!

  15. Hi Merissa, I’m sorry to hear about your garden losses! We finally broke out of the drought cycle in Northern Minnesota with two good long rains. It’s been so dry I even watered my hostas, which I never do as they are well established. We have enjoyed not having to water everything else. It’s heating up now though, and it will probably be a daily thing for awhile. We haul all our plant water from a local artesian well to avoid using city water with chlorine, fluoride and who knows what else. We have a filter for our drinking/cooking water, although for a long time we drank the water from the artesian well also. We got the filter though so hubby did not have to haul and carry all that water in the winter. Anyway, I picked my very first strawberries today. I’ve tried growing strawberries in multiple ways and places and always it has been a fail so it’s exciting to get some berries finally, even though it was only 6. Our apple tree was loaded with blossoms this year (also a first) so I’m expecting a bumper crop of apples if something doesn’t go wrong. Also my blueberries and raspberries look to be coming along great. I sold my rhubarb plant a week or so ago…..I plan to make an asparagus bed in that location. I have a small yard so I have to make every sunny space count. We have been working on a landscaping project in front of the house but have more to do yet. With hot temps upon us, we’ll need to work in the mornings I think. I’m not much for being out in the heat.
    Have a good week and keep on keeping on.

  16. Hi Merissa! I’ll be in the Black Hills next week. I had emailed you to inquire about where I could buy some of your items. I really loved the part about the orchard in this weeks post. I love seeing the ingenuity of times gone by, and of course the tenacity they had. We’ve had many storms and hail in eastern CO as well. I think next time I see the cheaper steak cuts on sale I will get some. I never really knew what to do with top round before but crock pot steak sounds delicious.

  17. Hi Merissa! I’ll be in the black hills next week. Where can I find your book maybe or other products for sale? I did email you about it. Thanks!

  18. Garden looks good despite only four tenths rain and humid.
    So sorry to hear about the second batch of hail.
    Made a beef barley soup with freezer veggies. Defrosted another freezer…..last of three.
    Reading and listening to books on Libby app. Went to a book to art club at library. It was fun seeing what everyone created. Where the Forest Meets the Stars was a good read.
    Watermelon was on sale this week so my son was happy. He bought two. The animals love the leftovers.
    Our 6 barn cats love being petted and getting treats. They adopted us.

  19. I bought safe bird netting for next year’s berry plants. It was a good price. I am watering a citronella plant, on porch to naturally and cheaply repel mosquitos. I can also tear off leaf and spread on my skin. I cut up fresh onion, in freezer, to small pieces. Tossed these around edge of property to repel ground hog. Ground hogs destroy septic systems and garden vegetables. I made a home-made solution of wood-pecker repel from 1 qt water to 2 Tbsp. white vinegar to spray on top corners of our shed.

  20. This past week I made my homemade honey wheat bread. I grind my own flour. I used hard wheat berries. Today I seeped clean my bathroom and kitchen and laundry. I enjoy baking twice a week. And soon my days will be filled with canning..

  21. Oooh, I would love to know more about the horticulturist!

    In my former life, I was a domestic historian (focusing on everyday life in the Victorian era). In my current life I’m a Master Gardener who is super interested in resilient gardens.

    If you ever have time, please post more info about him and his methods… or write a book. I’d buy it!

  22. Still lots of outside projects going on — window framing, exterior painting, repairing and replacing porches (whoever build them used very VERY little pressure-treated wood so everything was rotting out). So glad you have your greenhouse(s). And that you got your upstairs hallway done. Congratulations! ❤️

    1. Local greenhouses should have it if hail is common in your area. You can also use sturdy shade cloth or I’ve seen it listed a few places online as well like Greenhouse Megastore.

  23. Watching your produce get destroyed after so much hard work and money can be quite discouraging. I dealt with a ton of pests last year that made me want to give up. Fortunately, I’m strong-willed and don’t give up easily. I decided to fight back this year and take extra precautions. Covered my beans with bird netting that we had from years ago (saved us about $60) put them in the fenced garden this year to protect from the deer eating all the beans.
    Squash bugs are notorious here, so I’ve been checking my plants daily for eggs and bugs, then remove them with tape and throw them away. So far the plants are thriving and producing abundantly. I’ve started dehydrating my squash and zucchini via your advice. Although I haven’t tried them in a recipe yet, I am loving the process so much more than blanching and freezing. Not to mention, that it takes up less space and if the power goes out, it won’t spoil.
    My cucumbers are producing well, so I’ve canned 9 half pints of relish so far and plan to do more today.
    Well, sometimes we have to be the predator when nature takes its course. And sometimes like you, we have to find alternate solutions to saving our bounty and seek new ideas that will enhance our knowledge. May all not be wasted or lost, blessings to you and yours. And thank you for sharing.

  24. I’m so sorry about all the hail! It hasn’t gotten our little acre, but it hit others not far from us. This week I made bread from a rice flour sourdough starter, pulled 1,000 weeds. We butchered all our rabbits, and are going on a break from it for a while. Still have chickens for meat though. I made not red velvet cake for my oldest sons 15th birthday, dehydrated chamomile and lavender, and have been trying to get to the blackberries before the kids do, but have been unsuccessful! Thanks for sharing your week!

  25. I am sorry about the hail damage to your plants! I did not know there was such a thing as hail netting–thanks for sharing that information. Thank you for posting the picture of the still standing homestead home of the fruit farmer from the 1800s, & it survived Dakota winters! I live in rural NE Ohio & we didn’t have rain for 21 days–the farmers’ fields were so dry & cracked, and then, we have had some nice, gentle rains; some areas around me did get hail; thankfully we did not! Thank you for your frugal tips!

  26. I was gifted 6 40# boxes of sweet potatoes. I gave 3 boxes to 3 friends whom pressure can. I was also gifted 40 pound bag of sour cream. This next week I will finish my last box sweet potatoes. Then give gallon bags of sour cream away to be frozen mine I will freeze and dehydrate . I feel overwhelmed this past 2 weeks heat has been horrible.

  27. A blessed Sunday to your family from mine! Been awhile since i commented ,been busy with haying and this week (July 10-15 ) is our county fair and my 9 yr old grandaughter will be showing a steer at the fair for a 4-H project(this week i call my mini vacation)after the fair its back to a month of haying or more. Loved the picture of the old fashioned cabinyou had in your post,would love to see the inside!! Ilove those old buildings to bad they cant talk ,would love to hear the stories they could tell about life back then!!! So guess ill close for now .