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  • Writer's pictureadrianne

What I’ve Been Up To - Part 1

Where have I been and what have I been up to for the last month? It wasn't my intention to disappear from this blog for weeks, but life is busier than it has been in a long time. I usually update my blog last thing at night, but lately I crawl into bed exhausted and without the brainpower to put together a cohesive post. The last five or six weeks have seen me more tired than after any of my surgeries this year. I have much to update, but let's start with this weekend.

Jamie flew to Florida Friday to visit our grandbaby for the weekend. I was supposed to be with him; however, we realized earlier this week that we had goofed and not gotten a dog sitter booked for our trip. Neither of our wonderful sitters was available last minute, so I insisted Jamie go while I stay home with Roscoe and Jack. I've used my time to attend to little tasks I've been wanting to do but couldn't scratch together enough free minutes to do. I pushed everything else aside for the weekend.

First up, I harvested peppers from the plants I have growing in the greenhouse...

My plants are still crazy covered in peppers, even after picking all those. These photos show just two of the six plants I have, and they're all covered.

Jamie likes hot peppers, but he can't eat all those. I decided to make my first ever batch of hot pepper sauce. I discovered it's a simple recipe-a bottle, vinegar (apple cider or white-I used white because I had more of it than the other) heated to boiling, and hot peppers. I had enough to make two bottles.

Next up was beet powder. This is something Jamie adds to the anti-cancer smoothie he makes for me. We can and have bought beet powder in the past, but I like making my own. I can handpick organic beets. Peeled, grated, and 13 hours in the dehydrator...

Toss the bits in the nutribullet and give it a whirl...

Beet powder. Normally I would make more than this, but this is what I had on hand.

Sidenote: I make my own cranberry powder too, though I didn't this weekend. It also also goes in the smoothie. Cranberry powder

Next up was stevia extract. I grew my own stevia this year and harvested late summer. After drying, I made stevia powder with all that. The plants, meanwhile, put out new leaves, and I was able to get a second smaller harvest. The leaves have been drying in the barn for weeks, waiting for me to find time to do something with them. I decided to make a liquid extract. Sidenote: this can be made with fresh leaves too.

I should have harvested BEFORE they flowered, but hey, life! Doing the best I can here. I stripped the leaves...

I had enough for a double batch, so two cups of stevia leaves in a jar.

Remember that vodka bottle from a few photos back? That vodka wasn't for me to drink; it was to pour over the stevia leaves, completely covering them. I used the whole bottle at a cost of $19.95.

That sat on the counter out of direct sunlight for about 28 hours. I then strained the liquid through cheesecloth, squeezing out all the excess and put it in a small saucepan. Gentle heat-no boiling-for 20 minutes to cook off the alcohol, and I was left with about 18 ounces (over two cups) of liquid stevia.

I priced stevia liquid on Amazon and found 8 ounce bottles with no added ingredients for between $20 and $22. I made more than twice that amount with my $20 bottle of vodka, which I know has no added ingredients.

Next up...I love me some face creams and lotions and serums. I was recently eyeballing a special buy on QVC of a Vitamin C serum for brightening skin. I was about to purchase it but checked out the ingredient list. This is something I do a lot since my diagnosis. I don't know where my cancer came from or what caused it, I try to avoid now ingredients that I can't even pronounce. The ingredient list of this particular serum was interesting, to say the least-17 or 18 ingredients, some of them toxic if ingested, inhaled, and/or at higher concentrations. Is this what I want to put on my skin? That's a big Nope.

I know Vitamin C is good for you; Jamie puts it in my smoothie. I also know it's good for the skin, and I was interested in trying something. I did what I always do--research, research, research--and discovered I can make my own serum. So I did. This will last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks before the ascorbic acid oxidizes. The batch is small and costs very very little to make, so this isn't a problem.

I used distilled water, L-ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C), and aloe gel. I didn't have aloe gel on hand, so I cut a leaf off one of my plants and made my own.

I started by adding the ascorbic acid powder to my bottle...

I then added half the distilled water and shook. I mixed the rest of the water with my aloe gel and then added it. I made two small batches--one for me and one for my friend, Sandy. It's very important to use the amber colored bottles. Exposure to light speeds up oxidation.

I saw a tip I used of covering the bottles in aluminum foil to further protect from light.

Sidenote: ascorbic acid is acidic. Adding too much powder can make the serum too acidic and irritate the skin. I ordered some ph testing strips, which are supposed to arrive today. If the serum's ph level is too low, baking soda can be added to neutralize it a bit. Here's a video I found very helpful:

Finally, Jamie has taken to eating pickled asparagus. Loves loves loves it! It costs over $10 a jar-ouch! I was in Kroger and saw fresh asparagus for $3.49 a bunch. At least three times as many asparagus as comes in a jar of pickled asparagus. Welp! I decided I would try to pickle my own. After reading how to do it, I decided the quick was for me. I sterilized a jar, chopped asparagus, heated my brine, and picked out the seasoning I wanted in there. Garlic, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and fresh dill, in case you're wondering. When I put it all together, voila!

I told him to give it a week before trying. That will give him time to finish up the last store-bought jar.

Okay, you're caught up on my weekend. It's been a good weekend, and I'm happy to get these things done that have been waiting waiting waiting. Tomorrow it is back to all the other stuff. I'll update you on that next post. Happy Sunday y'all!

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Dec 03, 2023

Y'all could live up in the hills with no Kroger for many many miles but y'all wouldn't starve. You're stepping right into that Grandma role with all the home grown fixin's. Y'all would make great homesteaders and preppers. Just make sure Jamie builds a good sized Faraday cage to protect a small generator and your Nutribullet. for when (not if) the EMP attack comes. Keep up the good work. I'm proud of y'all. Give me a holler if you make too much pepper sauce.

Dec 03, 2023
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I’m gonna bring you some pepper sauce. I’ll be in Forsyth on the 12th.


Bonnie Loewenstein
Bonnie Loewenstein
Dec 03, 2023

I am tired from just reading everything completed! 😂 You did an amazing amount of research to live yours and Jamie’s best lives. Impressive! ❤️

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