Thursday, March 23, 2023

Rainy Wednesday

Nectarine Flowers

It was partly cloudy this morning, but, there was some sunshine, when I woke up.  M texted me the weather forecast which said 50% chance of rain and asked if I had anything I needed done inside.  I said I didn't have anything that needed doing inside, but, it was sunny at the moment, and left it up to him to decide.  Afterwards, I opened the windows to air the house and went outside to walk for 15 minutes.

I was just finishing up my walk when M arrived and with him, the rain!  LOL!  It was mostly a light drizzle, but, it would pick up, occasionally.  He decided it wasn't too bad and I joined him in the garden, picking another handful of snow peas and checking on the plants.  Today, M pruned some of the Euphorbia tirucalli plants I have growing in the side yard (I had planted them opposite the windows to provide a bit of privacy. but, I didn't want the branches going over the wall into the neighbor's side), planted one of the two loquat seedlings that neighbor S had given me last year, and did a bit of weeding.  I also had him empty the buckets of rainwater I had collected into the blue recycling bin for storage (the plan is to collect more rainwater in the emptied buckets during the next rain storm, due next week) and we found out that we can't fill the bin above a certain level because there is a metal handle like thing on the outside of the bin, about one third of the way up the bin. and the water leaks from the two ends where that handle has been inserted into the bin.  The excess water drained out but, that's OK.  I now have a few gallons of water stored in the blue recycling bin!  

Then, it began to rain in earnest and I told him to go home and I went inside.  The rain ceased, eventually, and we are supposed to have mostly sunny weather until next Tuesday when the next rain storm is expected to arrive. 

I didn't realize until later in the evening, when I was watching news, that we had a small tornado touch down, this morning, in a nearby city, close to downtown Los Angeles!  

Oh, and by the way, M's repairs to the garage roof didn't hold up under this week's rain and winds.  Some of the shingles had blown off and I found them on the driveway, this morning!

After M left, I had my brunch.  I wanted something warming after being outside, so made myself a packet of ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles were on my mind, partly because I had commented on another blog, yesterday, and mentioned ramen noodles.  Pensive Pensioner at Small Treasures had asked if one can eat on 50 (British) pence for one day (she had seen the challenge on another blog).  She had been able to buy a 200g can of baked beans for 21p, a loose baking potato (70p for a kilo) for 14p, and a small banana for 12p; those three items came to 47p.  According to the rate of exchange, yesterday, one British pound was equal to US $1.22, so 50p would be the equivalent of $0.61.

I checked the prices online at the grocery store I have been using for my groceries since the pandemic first started, and I found out that $0.61 didn't go far!  The smallest can of baked beans at my store was 8.3 oz. (235g) for $1.99!  Loose baking potatoes are $.99/lb. (and they tend to be rather large), and bananas are $.65/lb.  Ramen noodles and instant cup noodles were $.50 each and I might have been able to find a tiny carrot ($.99/lb.) for the remaining $.11 to grate into the soup.  Or, I could have bought a single bread roll for $.33 and perhaps found a small banana for the remaining $.28.  I thought I would have got most food for the money with the ramen noodles and I'd have to have half for brunch and half for dinner!  That would have been a most frugal meal!  As I mentioned to her, I guess our food prices here are higher than UK food prices (or, at least, the food prices at the store from which I order my groceries are higher; the ethnic store might have had lower prices, but, I don't shop there, anymore, because they don't offer pick up services).  

But, as you can see, I had ramen noodles on my mind!  LOL.

After brunch, I made a birthday card and mailed it.  Then, I watched a couple of videos while I continued to repair the quilt.  I also mended one of my knitted wool socks - I had previously darned the heel but, this time, it was the area just below the toes!  

In the evening, neighbor S called me to ask if I'd like to have some burek (made with phyllo dough, spinach, and cheese), some of the brown Armenian bread that I had liked earlier, and some candy!  Of course, I said I'd love to have some!  A few minutes later, she brought me some delicious food (and chocolates!):

Dinner and Dessert Compliments of Neighbor S

I ate a slice of the bread with a little butter while I warmed up the spinach and cheese burek which was very tasty.  Afterwards, I ate one or two of the chocolates!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor S sharing her delicious food with me
- M's help with the garden
- A working heater (yes, I switched it on this evening)
- I don't have to manage on $.61 for meals a day
- There were no tornados in my area

Today's joyful activity was planting one of the loquat seedlings.  It replaced the loquat tree which died a few years ago.  My little orchard continues to grow!

Thursday is supposed to be a mostly dry day.  I don't have any specific plans for the day, other than more quilt repairs and maybe some housekeeping.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Could you manage a day's meals with 50 British pence or US$.61?


  1. What a shame your roof repairs didn't hold up in the bad weather I hope the raining in doesn't get worse for you. I wouldn't be able to find such cheap prices here in the UK but well done on that blogger for being able to make such a frugal meal but I'm not sure I would find that a satisfying meal anyway. I feel sorry for people who have to watch every penny and times are tough for sure. How kind of your neighbour to bring those goodies for you and chocolate too. I watched our former prime minister on television yesterday trying hard to save his political career. I can't tell you how maddening it was hearing him justifying those leaving-dos with food and alcohol in No.10 when bereaved families couldn't say goodbye to their loved ones. Enough said.

    1. We have three days in which to dry out a bit (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and then, more rain is expected next week!
      The blog I referred to in the post is a UK blog (and she refers to another blog, where she first heard about the challenge and that is a UK blog, too). I believe she shopped at Aldi. The 50p was for the whole day's meals. I think, for me, it would be easier to live on $.61 per day if I had enough money up front for the week. That would be $4.27 for me and I could buy a loaf of bread ($1.99) and a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter ($1.99). It won't give me a lot of variety, but, I would be able to manage.
      Wasn't it very kind and generous of my neighbor to share such a yummy meal?
      Ah, yes, politicians and their excuses! They seem to think that none of the rules apply to them. It's the same everywhere!

  2. It sounds like you had a good day. I'm sorry the roof repair didn't hold and I hope the rain didn't cause damage inside the garage. I've been following the blog with that 50p challenge, and food is definitely more expensive now here! I hope you have a good day.

    1. It was a good day, Celie. I haven't checked the garage, yet, but, I think it hasn't leaked inside.
      As I mentioned in my response to Eileen's comment, above, I would be able to manage a bit better if I had the week's worth of grocery money ($.61 x 7 = $4.27) up front - I could buy bread and peanut butter for that amount of money and survive the week. Or, buy a 1 lb. bag of rice ($.99), a 1 lb. bag of lentils ($1.59 - $1.79 depending on the store), and a small packet of chicken bouillon ($1.19/8 cubes) for flavor, because the challenge doesn't allow any pantry items such as salt, and still have a few cents left over! Maybe buy a small onion to add to the lentils or a couple of green chilies! A big pot of rice and lentils soup could feed me for a week. But, that requires an initial outlay of more money.
      It's a cloudy day, here, but, so far, no rain. I'm doing some laundry and planning to do some baking, later. Hope you are having a good day, too. Stay warm!

  3. I believe in other countries their grocery stores sell smaller sizes than the US. Maybe that is why the cost seems so low? I am just guessing and I am sure someone will correct me. My Mother-n-law used the smallest size of canned vegetables as she ate less as she aged. Several stores were within driving distance and one by one they stopped selling the small sizes. She didn't like to 10-12 oz sizes as she didn't care for left overs.

    1. Hi Lisa. Yes, sizes and quantities matter when pricing things. The blogger I cited bought a 200 gram can of baked beans for 27p (which equals $.32); the smallest can I could find on my store's website was 235 grams and the price was $1.99. I found a larger can for $1.99 at a different store website, but, they didn't have the smaller cans. One of my cousins spends part of her time in the UK and she has told me that the cost of food is much cheaper there than similar items/quantities over here. All I know is that if I had the week's budget to spend at one time, then, yes, I can just about manage on $.61 a day, but, there would not be any variety in my meals.
      Thank you so much for commenting, Lisa.

  4. The nectarine flowers are beautiful, such a pretty pink. And the food from S looks so good. I googled 'burek' and it looks similar to something that friend A's Nanna used to make ... it'll be delicious if it is the same.

    Sorry to hear you lost the shingles from the roof. Is M going to try again or will you arrange for a permanent repair now?

    50p per day for meals is a struggle and I can't see how you can afford enough to keep hunger at bay. I looked at Pensive Pensioner's blog and think she'd done well with her choices. We have a 'fill your own container' shop in town so I would probably opt for a few lentils to add to a soup made from onions and carrots, and maybe noodles or rice to add to the rest of the onion and carrot to make a sort of stir fry. I don't know the prices in that shop so there's quite a lot of assuming going on here! Ramen noodles can be bought really cheaply in places like B&M and the veg from one of the market stalls. Don't know that I could afford breakfast though and there wouldn't be any protein in the stir fry, so not that good a meal. It's difficult isn't it?

    1. The nectarine flowers are pretty, aren't they? This year's flowers seem to be bigger than last year's, due to the rain, no doubt. M said he'll try again on a sunny day. But, part of the problem is we don't have the proper kind of shingles and we are making do with some leftover pieces from when the family room addition was done.
      I think S's pastry is very similar to spanakopita; it was delicious!
      Yes, the 50p a day is very much a challenge. If I had to do it, I'd have to shop at one of the ethnic food stores - they had bulk food bins where you can get just a little bit of something - 1/4 lb. rice instead of a 1 lb. package, for example. On the other hand, if I had the entire week's budget to spend at once, I could manage something like a pot of rice and lentils soup for the week and manage to come in under the daily budget. But, it would take an initial outlay of more money. I am very thankful that I don't have to do it, but, it was a good exercise to try!

  5. It might be possible to find enough food for a day but it would take a lot of time, past its prime veggies, and the perfect store.

    1. Yes. But, according to the original challenge, "must be full priced items and no freebies"; one is not allowed to take advantage of sales/offers, reduced price bargains, etc.! I don't know why, though, because even in my regular shopping, I rarely buy items that are full priced (only things like rice and other essentials which rarely go on sale these days, anyway). Oh, and no pantry items, not even the basics such as salt or flavorings. Ramen/cup noodles or a bread roll and perhaps a banana were the only things I could think of! If I had the whole week's budget ($.61 x 7 = $4.27) to spend in one go, then, I could do peanut butter ($1.99/16 oz.) and bread ($1.99/20 oz.) sandwiches for the week, or make a pot of rice ($.99/1 lb.) and lentils ($1.59-$1.79/lb.) soup with chicken bouillon ($1.19/8 cubes) for flavor and come under the $.61/day budget. Thankfully, I don't need to do that, these days, but, there was a time when I was at university, when I had to make do with a pot of chicken soup for a week's meals due to a lack of funds.

  6. Sounds like "rain stopped play" was the order of the day. Too bad about the shingles but thank goodness the tornado didn't come near you. Love the nectarine flowers, by the way. It must be quite a challenge to eat nutritionally on a small budget. There wouldn't be any goodies affordable, that's for sure.
    How lovely to have one of S's treat meals! A nice change from your own cooking again.
    We had freezing rain warnings yesterday but woke up to the tiniest sprinkle of snow and the temperature went up this afternoon around 53°F. DH had been busy at his computer and then decided to check trees. Yikes, one pail was 3/4 full. He quickly phoned his friends to help empty others!

    1. Lots of "rain stopped play" going on right now, over here! Or, at the very least, "rain delays"! I'm very thankful that the tornado didn't come this way!

      Yes, it is hard to eat nutritional meals on a super tight budget - one usually reaches for the cheapest items which tend to be higher in carbs, something that will fill you up. I figured out, though, that if I could get the whole week's budget ($.61 x 7 - $4.27) to spend in one go, then, I can get something like a loaf of bread ($1.99) and a jar of peanut butter ($1.99) or a 1 lb. bag of rice ($.99). a 1 lb. bag of lentils ($1.59-$1.79), and a packet of chicken bouillon ($1.19/8 cubes) for flavor (you are not allowed any pantry items such as salt), I could survive on peanut butter sandwiches or rice and lentil soup and eat for under $.61 a day. But, I will need the full week's budget up front in order to do so. Or, I'd have to go to a store with a bulk food section where I could buy 1/4 lb. of rice, etc.

      It was very kind of S to bring me a meal (and chocolates!) I enjoyed my meal, last night.

      Your afternoon high was just 3F lower than our afternoon high! It is currently 56F here! I am, needless to say, "freezing"! :D Sounds like you'll have a very good sap harvest! I hope it continues! :)

  7. If you had to go to the store with $.61 here, you wouldn't get much, if anything. However, if you had been shopping the sales and were buying things in bulk, maybe you could have a decent meal of rice and beans for $.61, However, I don't know if you could eat all day on that.
    I thought I noticed that the nectarine blossoms were bigger than normal. The rain is making a lot of the plants happy.

    1. Yes, exactly! I could, maybe, manage on $.61 a day, if I could have the whole week's budget to spend in one shopping trip, buying rice and beans or lentils, or a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. According to the rules of the challenge, you have to pay full price for the food and you can't have access to any pantry items, not even salt. I think, for us, with our grocery prices, one would need at least $1 a day.

      Yes, the nectarine flowers seem bigger, this year! I do hope I'll actually get some nectarines! I had two nectarines the first year when I bought the tree in 2021 and nothing last year (2022). Wait and see, I suppose. :)

  8. The tree is looking lovely; even if I didn't get any fruit, I would appreciate it for its blossom! Shame about your roof fix but I'm glad the flying shingles didn't damage anyone or anything. As to the frugal eating thing, I sponsored a friend of mine a few years ago to eat for 50p a day. I think he was raising money for a homeless charity or something. He managed it by buying budget branded tins, pasta etc. An eye-opening week ... he documented it all. It makes one thankful - and at least the 50p didn't have to include utilities.

    1. Yes, the nectarine flowers are pretty, aren't they? The roof shingles are a type of composite material, about as thick as a piece of cardboard, not wood or anything like that. We can't have wood shingles due to the increased fire risks and clay tiles, etc. due to earthquakes.
      As for the frugal eating, I figured out that I could manage on the US equivalent of 50p a day only if I could have the week's grocery money to spend up front. If so, I could buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, perhaps, and make it last the week. Or, buy a pound of rice and a pound of lentils. Unless, I find a store where I could buy smaller quantities. When I was a child, we could go to the neighborhood store and ask for half a loaf of bread and they would cut a loaf of bread in half and sell it to you. :)

  9. Interesting challenge! I find myself thinking about it this morning.
    I don't know what I'd do - definitely a potato - but then they are more expensive purchased singularly. I've never had ramen but that might be the day I'd try it lol
    As you said, I'd do better with the week's money up front. It would be much easier. I'd probably visit the dollar store for a few things in that case. Your daughter has had much success buying food at the dollar store when they used to be across the street from her.
    What a hardship many people have. Oh gosh - hurts my stomach thinking about that sort of struggle.

    I'm sorry M's fix didn't hang on longer for your garage. Hopefully you will be able to come up with something.
    The flowers on the nectarine tree are so pretty.

    The food from neighbor S looks delicious. It sounds like you enjoyed it. That bag of Snickers is pretty tempting :)

    1. It is an interesting challenge, isn't it? The original challenge had stated one has to buy full priced items, no reduced price items, etc. I am not quite sure why. But, I think I'd need a $1/day to do this challenge if I could only buy regular priced items for one day. I like ramen noodles. :) I usually keep them on hand in my pantry cupboard. Sometimes, I'll add cooked meat and vegetables to it, but, often, if I have it for brunch, I'll just have it plain, made into a soup. It is similar to a type of noodle soup we could get when we were in Taiwan, where it was sold as street food - a man in a cart would dish up bowls of the soup and noodles and top it off with some bok choy or bean sprouts and it would be an inexpensive meal. This was back in the early 1970s - not sure if they still do that or not. My daughter prefers the ramen bowls she can get at the Japanese ramen restaurants, but, she'll have the instant ramen noodles too. It might not be the most nutritious, well balanced meal one could have, but, we like it! :)


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