Thursday, 24 December 2020

One. More. Sleep.

 It's Christmas Eve!!!

We have finally made it to Xmas Eve... soooo excited..... Brad is like a kid at Christmas, so I do the whole excited/can't wait thing which he just loves. Robbie gets excited too... I do a countdown with him, he has a vast vocabulary - so I tell him "Santa's coming, go sleep, go sleep, go sleep, Prezzies!!!!" (with proper finger showing, of course), anyway he gets it.  He's 11 now... almost as old as Grandma LOL TeeHee.

Merry Christmas One and All

Santa Anticipation

Our week in pictures:

It Snowed!!!

Not dandruff -- SNOW!

Can you see it falling?

Can you see it now?

The orchard from the upper deck

How Christmassy is this?, Right?!

Tonight Santa comes and tomorrow morning I will awaken Brad with a cup of coffee bright and early, actually probably well before the bright part starts, to open all the prezzies - You know, because 'I can't control myself' ;)) He will moan about being woken up so early, we will open all the prezzies and ooh and aah about everything. Robbie will sniff out the Grandma gifts and his little tail will wag, he opens his own prezzies, we hold the prezzie and he pulls the wrapper off all by himself - did I mention he's 11 now?! Big Boy, but still gets excited about Santa, just like Daddy.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

What happened to December?

My Mother-in-law rang yesterday and noted that she keeps checking the blog for an update but I haven't posted anything for a week. Having had my hand slapped - here I am, posting.

In looking back at pics to see where I left off I realized I haven't posted any for all of December! My Dec picture folder is (was) empty... I have taken plenty of pics but haven't uploaded them to the laptop so I have now corrected that and here is December in short form.

I asked my Daughter-in-law what the kids favourite cereals are. I thought they would find it cool to get their morning cereal in FD form.

One Granddaughter likes Fruit Loops, the other Granddaughter and our Grandson both like Krave which I had never heard of before, but its tasty (I tried a few pieces) with chocolate in the center.

Lined up on the trays and ready to freeze

Once frozen it was off to Betty's belly

Freeze Dried Krave cereal

Packaged up and ready for Santa's bag

I did up some Xmas advertising photos

Made a Candy Gift Basket (3 -all sold)

A few times I have seen a few people flogging their wares on the corner by the grocers, so I popped by to say hi and ask if I could join them. I was invited to come that very day, so I did. A very quick grab of whatever I might need and off I went. Today (yes, its every Saturday without rain or other bad weather) I have a banner which will change the look of things quite dramatically I think. I haven't tried it yet but I guess I will have to do that before I go and make a fool of myself on the street corner ;)

My quickie setup at the pop-up market last week

There are about 6 turkeys that live wild around the market, they are treasured island birds.

My new pop-up friend Megan trying to sneak up and take a picture of them.

One night we decided to try some of our FD'd Beef Stroganoff, I enjoyed it which is weird because I do not like Beef Stroganoff usually. Brad is a good cook, let me tell ya.

Brad had given some of his Beef Stroganoff to his massage therapist to try as her husband is a hunter and is familiar with FD food (Mountain House and the like). So they made both and compared the two. Apparently, there was no contest. Brad's was far superior to the commercial version, as one might expect.

Fruits, yes Tomatoes are a fruit so I put them there with the Banana and Apple since I only have those 2 fruits ready ;) Although Strawberries are in there now.

Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Pickled Beets

Rainbow Chunks, Unicorn Poop and Reindeer Poop

I've been crazy busy just trying to keep up with orders. I am currently at the point of making mass amounts of 1 thing each time instead of a bit of this and a bit of that so I guess that is progress.

I created a FaceBook ad yesterday on a Salt Spring page - of Candy- and 1 person enquired about Strawberries, I said they were in the machine currently and now have 3 people who are waiting for Strawberries, one also wants a few candies too. So it looks like I'll be on the hunt for some more Strawberries and taking a trip down to Salt Spring again very soon.

Well that is December in pictures. Mostly just making product, selling product, eating product.... 

I may have to stop advertising as I can see it has potential to soon be too much and I'm not (right now, anyway) interested in it becoming a 'thing'... although Brad did try to order a second machine a couple of weeks ago - I stopped him, at least for now but we shall see. They hold their value anyway, so if we were to get one and not need it later on, we won't lose anything. I just think we need to build it a bit first, its actually only been 2 weeks as a 'live' business..... although it seems like forever.

Here is the banner on the table, a bit wonky but I'll work on it.

I bought a stand for the shower yesterday but the shower floor has too much slope - so I shall use it on the table so I can add more product as it's a small table and I ran out of room last time.

Most likely will post again Boxing Day, unless something good happens in the meantime.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Still trying to find the right dosage

Since it has been 3 months since my last bloodletting, I dropped by the vampires on Thursday on my way to the ferry as I had a Dentist appt that day as well.

It only took literally 2 minutes (small island, small lab) and I was able to head to the ferry line to await the next ferry, except somehow I was in the line within the 'current load' parameters, I wasn't quite sure if I'd make it on -- but I did, 2nd last. Now I had an extra hour on top of my already extra hour before my Dentist appt. What to do?.... Spend money, of course.

I decided that since we're so close to Xmas, this would be a good opportunity to get my shopping done for His Lordship and Robbie. So I headed off to make the pennies scream... 

I also picked up a few things for gift baskets as I've sold a couple already (someone in Ontario even ordered one as well as a banana bag and spent twice as much shipping it - no it isn't anyone I know).

Friday morning just as Brad was walking out the door to get the ferry to his massage, our Doctor called. Well, that wasn't right since my follow up with him was booked for Monday... 

I knew right away something was off. Sure enough my TSH which should be between 2-5 is reading .001 still. This is the same reason that I was reduced 3 months ago from 125g to 112g, and now he has reduced me again to 100g. I'm thinking I won't wait the full 3 months next time... 2 should suffice to have my body regulate to the new medication level before I get it checked again.

Just a side note here: I write about this stuff more for me than for you guys. I have a terrible memory since my stroke in 2002 and so this is a great way to keep those memories and details easily accessible and it could help someone else who is completely unaware that the thyroid problem is so serious, as it regulates every organ and without it -- well, you die, like I almost did in April.

Enough of that....

So about business... Well, its going great guns. In my first week (Thursday to this past Thursday), I sold about $250 which is pretty good since items are $7-$9 each. And, of all the things I sell I would have thought the candy would be the hot ticket item at Xmas but what has been selling like crazy ---- BRUSSEL SPROUTS! Can you believe that?! I'm out of them already. I have to go to town today and get some more, it was just an item that was in the discount bin as it was expiring so I picked it up thinking it would be something unusual just to have on the list for the odd person... turns out Brussel Sprouts ( and Asparagus) are a popular thing. Who knew.?!

Today, I am trading 4 Unicorn Poop with a local woman who makes Chocolate Bombs and I get 5 of those in the trade... I'd never heard of them but damn do they look good. 

I'm actually thinking about cutting back because my Corporate brain has done it again. I have the Etsy shop, I'm on the local online market and the Salt Spring online market and I also opened a FaceBook site and paid to promote it. So now I'm monitoring to see which one I can close because I refuse to get overwhelmed by this. It is supposed to be something fun I can do as a hobby, not a full blown business. And I ordered a banner so I can set up a table and sell on the road by the shopping area where I have seen others selling their wares - I expect this to arrive early next week.

I am not going to open to the U.S. market, simply because it will just become too much. Should anyone I know wish to purchase, I can make those arrangements. Just contact me through the Etsy Shop

I was contacted by the woman who created the Salt Spring Online Market and asked to participate, I had decided not to participate as it wasn't functional to be going down there on 4 ferries (return trip) to sell 1 $7 item. But then she offered that I could bring a bunch of stuff down to her and she would dole them out as they sell. How could I refuse that? I couldn't. So I drove a bunch of stuff down to her several days ago. Also, another woman there had ordered 2 Unicorn Poop and 2 Reindeer Poop so I delivered that and she took a 3rd Unicorn Poop when she saw them because they looked soooo good. And a friend bought a Brussel Sprout while I was there, so it was a productive trip.

The local market here opens every Thursday and already I have 5 items sold in this weeks rotation, so things are definitely going well on the business front. When it closes late Monday night, I should have several purchases lined up. 

The system is that items are purchased Thursday morning - Monday night. On Tuesday sellers package up the orders and on Wednesday they are delivered to a central location where the market then takes them out for delivery to the buyers. Good system, I must say. Some people have contacted me directly to buy, either because they want the item before the delivery day or they don't want to pay the delivery fee.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Etsy shop up and running

I'm still waiting to hear from the local market... sent an email to inquire for status update.... meanwhile... Nevermind, just heard and we're all set up on the local online market too. Yay.

Without a commercial kitchen we are limited to basic foods although I will be inquiring about this because I'd really like to do EggNog bites but it's technically a dairy and homebased are not allowed to do dairy -- except that people sell eggs all the time and that's dairy, so..... it's not like I'm making the EggNog, it will be Dairyland brand or whatever.... but... also we are considering buying a 2nd machine but we'll wait and see how things go first.

We have our Etsy shop set up, it still needs tweaking with the usual foofoo stuff but until then the basic site is operating with items I have ready for sale. There will be plenty more options added in the coming days and weeks so check back often to see what's in store...

Of course, I have a special promo code for my favourite blog readers.... just click here --->>TRLT20 for 20% off.   **Canada Only at the moment, I'm afraid.

Click image to see more

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Christmas comes early 2020

In her last blog my friend and distant neighbour Deb from Kastle's Journey posted about filling their home with Christmas cheer early because-- well, it's 2020 and we all need a little extra cheer this year. This post inspired me to do ours as well.. traditionally, I put up Xmas on Dec 1st every year but I think Deb is absolutely right - we all need a little extra cheer this year.

Having moved to this house from living in our RV for 2.5 years, because I made the decorations last year, we needed some stuff so off to Canadian Tire we went and I bought a bunch of decorations and because we had tied the shopping to Brad's massage, I was doing it on Black Friday.... yup, that Friday. I managed -- but someone almost lost a kneecap... ;)

This is the tree we picked up for $10 off of the exchange on Salt Spring Island 1.5 years ago, we used it outdoors last Christmas as you may recall... so it needed a good wash first off. Then a good shake and finally left to drip dry in the corner with the fire on to dry it out. Once dry, I set to work putting it together... turns out, we didn't need more stuff after all and now I have to take some back. I did use the tinsel and garland and I am keeping the nutcrackers and acorns for product pictures but the massive box of ornaments I spent $80 on is going back next massage day (Monday)...

Having purchased a 200 light string to run along the pathway outside I noticed as I was setting them out that they were indoor... yup, it was black friday alright... so crazy I bought the wrong lights, so I strung them up around the windows instead. I think it looks pretty good but this picture doesn't really do it justice.

Back to normal life now:

Pickled beet challenge

I am in the process of making a deal with a local woman famous for her pickled beets to use her product for selling freeze dried, I put her quart of beets on 1 tray and mine on another ( I only processed the one but made 2 several weeks ago). I must say I much prefer the flavour of mine but we shall see what they taste like once they are processed in betty as that can make a big difference.

I am making pictures to use for my online store.

I have submitted the paperwork for the local online shopping store but have yet to hear anything back. I will finish setting up my etsy store in the meantime because as we all know bureaucracy rushes for no one.

I have a decent amount of the candied items prepared now and have begun the vegetables and fruits. I now have 3 different size bags: Small for the Unicorn Poop, Large for Asparagus and Astronaut Ice Cream Bars and Medium for everything else. Naturally, I will have a large option for fruits and veg as well.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Prepping for sales

I haven't had a chance to post anything as I've been super busy getting everything sorted for my foray into the local market scene.

The rules say you have to list the items you wish to sell and provide all ingredients. Well, I didn't know what items I wanted to sell so I have spent the last couple of weeks feeding bits of this and that to Betty to see what I would submit... they tell you to include anything you may do eventually so you do not need to apply later.

And here's me creating samples of tomatoes with seasoning on them to determine which seasoning I will be using so I can provide the ingredient list of same....

After getting a bit cheesed off with it all, I rang the woman in charge today and discovered that NO, in fact, I do not need to do all that. Just to say that I will be doing fruits and vegetables, candy and powders, dog treats and providing the FD as a service- should anyone have a favourite Grandma recipe they want to preserve... or, whatever...

So now having sent that paperwork off to the 'authorities', I now await their verdict of whether or not I shall be accepted in to the local market club. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I have been making batches. I have a good stock now of Unicorn Poop and Rainbow Chunks and now that my list has been finalized (so to speak) I can begin doing the fruits/veg/powders and dog treats.

I had ordered bags which arrived rather small and I then ordered larger bags which arrived rather large so Goldilocks has finally ordered what she hopes will be just right bags and they are expected in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, the small bags are great for 'unicorn poop' and the large ones will be good for 'asparagus' and 'astronaut ice cream', everything else will go into the medium bags. 

Next, I need more labels... hopefully I can get ones that are big enough I can put all the required information on one instead of how the unicorn poop ones turned out and I had to put a second label on the back with the ingredients.

Most of what I will be doing will be just product ie apples with no additional items, but ingredients of pickled beets, seasonings and candies will need to be noted on the packaging.

So this is what I've been doing lately... going rogue but with food.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Candy and a power outage

As I'm going to be doing the market, Brad picked up some candy samples to see what works and what doesn't.

Salt Water Taffy, Caramels, Skittles original, Blue Whales, Skittles berry.
Regular caramels do not work, btw but everything else was great. Apparently I need to get Werther's Chewy Caramels for this purpose but I have decided to go with Milk Duds instead -- I'll pick some up today to try them in Betty first.

We decided to rehydrate some Thai Green Curry Chicken for dinner to have with some naan bread I had made that morning.

Oranges were finished, time to bag them up.

Salt Water Taffy

Because the Salt Water Taffy expands so much, they must be cut into quarters

Filling the trays with Salt Water Taffy

The after result of Salt Water Taffy, each quarter expands to the size of the original piece. Cup for reference as this massive jar is one of two I picked up a few months ago for just this purpose.

Just as I was pushing the button to start the Salt Water Taffy run, the power went out. Literally, just. I thought I'd blown up the machine for a minute until I realized the whole house was out. Whew...  as Brad was not out of bed yet, the power outage soon woke him up... but with no power --- no morning coffee --and neither of us wants that, believe you me.

This is where 2.5 years of RV Living comes in handy.... I put some water on the woodstove to boil and pulled out the handy MyJo from our boondocking days.

Water on the stove to boil

means a Tim Horton's coffee pod injection to his bloodstream is imminent LOL
Note the coffee pod in the middle

3 pieces that go together like this

Fill with water, then you place it on the cup and push the top plunger down.
Priceless in an outage.

The power returned about 5 hours later but we had already decided to make Tandoori Chicken for dinner and it was waiting in the fridge.

As it was packaged on Oct 30/20

Out of the package and in to a dish

Add water and allow it to sit, I put it in the fridge to absorb the water while we await suppertime.

Meanwhile, it was time for lunch

On top of the woodstove with a lid, okay so its 2 bread pans - but it worked.

When it was time for supper, I made some rice -- haven't freeze dried any rice yet. We've only had Betty for about 6 weeks remember....

Warmed up the Tandoori Chicken on the stove.

So I have finalized my list of things I want to sell at the market. I completed the MarketSafe course and I also took the FoodSafe 1 course again to allow flexibility as my previous one expired long ago. Now I am able to do 'high-risk' foods in a commercial kitchen should I want to later.

As I have a corporate mind, it is very difficult for me to 'keep it simple'... when I first decided to sell FD items, I set up a whole website and massive online presence before I remembered that I'm retired and I like it that way... so I cancelled it all. Just a local market presence and an etsy shop.... plenty enough for me right now. Just a little something to do. 

I have chosen 5 fruits, 5 vegetables, 3 candies and 8 powders (for people to make their own smoothies)... Stacey and I spent a whole day trying to find a perfect recipe for smoothies to sell, without any luck --before it dawned on me to just make the individual powders and let people create their own combinations with the fluid base of their choice at home.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Pickled beets and easy dinner

A friend suggested pickled beets as she is sure they would be delicious FD'd, I laughed. The next day, I saw a local ad on FB that someone was selling beets, $2/lb... so why not - I'll surprise her. I'm pretty sure she doesn't read the blog just because of what she does all day, so I'll tell you guys... 

I made 2 jars of pickled beets... never tried them before but I think it went well. 

Don't think I've eaten more than 2 slices in my life, and that was when I was 8, but... what are friends for?! I have them awaiting their turn for a tray, once a tray is available then they will go into the freezer before being fed to Betty.

This morning I fed her more grapes, mangos, green onion, celery and mandarin oranges

Last night we did more Skittles

I added a couple of StarBurst to test, they didn't expand or anything but the new texture was very intriguing. I'm planning to sell the Skittles as 'Unicorn Poop' at the local markets so I wanted to run a batch and check weights, etc. (I'm sure I've posted an FD'd pic of Skittles so I won't bother here)

5:45pm...Time to put the kettle on....

We haven't reconstituted any meals yet. We've done Individual items but last night I didn't remember to take anything out for supper - actually, we've FD'd it all so there wasn't anything to take out.. and we had pizza just the other night, so....

I had to boil up some corn since it is still waiting its turn in Betty

Here it is straight out of the package. Ham and Mashed Potatoes. Just add hot water and wait a couple of minutes.... my kind of cooking!!! :D :D

Kettle and corn both boiled at the same time - bonus.

Dinner is served. 
It was delicious, just like fresh.

Almost forgot to take a picture. We ate in the upstairs living room last night as our TV is being wonky and The Curse of Oak Island Season 8 started at 6pm. We've watched it since the beginning and were not about to miss the Covid-19 version.