I’m glad I was able to do the city trip yesterday. It rained all night, so today, the gravel roads are all muddy again – especially that one really bad spot near our place – and the yard is completely saturated. Yesterday, I was able to back up to the house to unload. The vehicle gate was still muddy, but I could at least drive through with minimal spinning of tires. Today, that area of the driveway is all water again. So are a number of areas in the yards.
I’d left a bit earlier than usual, making my regular stop to get a bit of gas at the town my mother lives in. Too early for their fried chicken to be available, so “breakfast” was a protein bar, instead. 😀 I also paid the “idiot tax” and bought a lotto ticket, as well as a couple of on-sale energy drinks for the cooler in the van. Grand total was just over $45.
This trip is our usual series of three stores, finishing at Costco. The first was Canadian Tire, where I picked up a couple more 40 pound bags of the stove pellets we use as cat litter. We still had plenty, but I’m starting to use it as mulch in the garden again – it works really well for the finer seedlings – so I wanted to get more. I also got an extra spool of line for the weed trimmer, as it’s going to get a major workout in the old garden area, soon, and a package of short bamboo stakes that I thought might work for some hoops for the garden (more on that in another post). The PVC pipe I got to use as hoops last year is a bit too stiff and kept breaking the doweling I used last year. Metal stakes would be better, but finding any small enough to fit into the pipe is more difficult, and more expensive, so I’ll try the bamboo for now. I also picked up a roll of half inch PEX pipe. It is more flexible, and we can cut it to the lengths we need. Plus, it’ll be easier to find metal stakes to hold it in place.
I also finally picked up something I’ve been eyeballing for a while, now.
White Carolina strawberries! We have 4 transplants of red strawberries, which will be planted with the purple asparagus. There are 10 roots in this package, and I’m not really sure where we’ll plant them – several options come to mind – but we’ll figure it out. More perennial food plants is worth it. Altogether, this stop was just over $100.
After that, it was off to the international grocery store, though I did make one extra side trip, first. They share a parking lot with a Dollar Tree, and I wanted to see what gardening supplies then had. I ended up getting a selection of plant supports. I got 4 tomato cages, though they will probably be used for the eggplants or peppers. Then I got 4 supports that are a narrow metal spike with a spiral at the top to wind a stem through. I’m not sure what we’ll use those with, yet. Then I got 4 each of plastic coated metal stakes in two sizes. These came with adjustable ties for the plants. The heavier duty ones look like they would do very well for vertical growing summer squash. That worked out okay last year, except we had a hard time getting the lengths of poplar we’d cleared from part of the spruce grove to stay upright. The narrower ones might do well for that, too. After testing the 4 different types of supports, we’ll know which ones to get more of – if any at all. I also picked up a couple of fabric “raised beds” to test out. We already have a couple of grow bags that I was planning to grow the sweet potato slips in, once they arrive. We’ve got 5 sweet potato slips, 10 Jerusalem Artichokes and 2 highbush cranberry that will be shipped when it’s time for planting in our zone, which is pretty soon. With so many transplants, so many things to direst so, and so few beds to plant in, I thought it was worth trying out. I also picked up some S hooks and ground staples. The ground staples will work better than the tent pegs we are currently using for the protective netting we’re putting over the beds. Altogether, this part of the shop was just under $50.
Once those were all put away in the van, I headed into the grocery store and finally had “breakfast”. One of the bonuses for making these trips is being able to have dim sum!
This store is where we find some favourite frozen dumplings, international condiments and less common types of cheese. They also have a section of locally produced slabs of smoked bacon. Sometimes, they only have small pieces of unsliced bacon, but this time, they had some of the big ones in stock. It’s also where we get things in non-Costco sized quantities. 😉 Prices for some things have gone up quite a bit, and this stop ended up being just under $200. Plus the dim sum (which also went up in price) and drink I bought, it was about $215 in total.
Then it was Costco time.
Gas was 6 cents per litre cheaper, so I filled the tank first. That still came out to a little over $50. Then there was inside the store.
Ugh. There was a fair bit of sticker shock for some of the food items. I got more canned chicken for our stock, and that had gone up in price again. Six cans now cost about $20. Last month, they’d gone up to about $15. Basics like butter, eggs, rice, even toilet paper, have all gone up in price. The only other meat I got was the all-beef wieners and buns for a planned cookout. It’s a good thing we stocked up on meats previously, and we still have plenty. All the meats and fish have gone up in price substantially. Oddly, dry cat food hasn’t gone up in price as much as people food. I would have liked to get more than the 4 bags I got, but our van doesn’t like heaving loads, and I already had 80 pounds of stove pellets in there. The canned cat food has gone up in price more than the dry has. The popcorn we get (in the excellent, heavy duty, food-safe plastic containers that we are keeping for dry-storing other foods) hasn’t gone up, nor has mayo, but mixed nuts (to keep in the van) has gone up more, as has the Basmati rice. Even their flats of water (for the cooler in the van) has gone up.
The frustrating thing is that I was looking to pick up non-food things for our stash, like more of those heavy duty tarps, and some non-scented, “flushable” wet wipes for washing up should we lose our water for some reason, as well as some work gloves that are stronger than the gardening gloves we have right now. I had to put them all back. The grand total for this trip was just under $550, which isn’t unusual for how much we spend at Costco, except that we got way less actual food this trip.
More incentive to keep increasing what we grow in the garden, and to get a coop and brooder set up, so we can finally have chickens.
Altogether, I spent over a thousand dollars, but our fridge is only half full. Granted, the pantry and freezer are still good for now, but the stash is not growing as well as I’d like.
Next week, we have the rest of our monthly stocking up to do. I’m planning on going to the Wholesale Warehouse again, now that I’ve got a better idea of what we can get there.
It was a very hot day, and I’m glad I remembered to grab the ice packs from the big freezer this trip. We do have insulated bags, but even with saving those purchases for last, the van doesn’t have air conditioning, and those bags can only protect so much.
While I was gone, the girls were taking care of things on the home front, including frequently checking on the transplants to make sure they weren’t being baked, misting them as needed. They were still better off outside than in the sun room; it hit 30C/86F in there.
One of the things a daughter had tried to do while I was gone, was vacuum the living room. She’d done about half when the new vacuum cleaner basically lost all suction. We still don’t know all the quirks of this machine, so we left it until I got back.
We then spend probably 2 hours in total, fighting with that thing. What we eventually found was that the main hose was clogged, but it took figuring out how to dismantle the vacuum cleaner part way. The hose itself runs through a part of the vacuum cleaner that holds it in place, but doesn’t come off, so all the fighting we did with the hose included pulling it back and forth through the back of the machine. It ended up taking one of the metal plant supports I got at Dollar Tree to finally punch a hole through the clog, but we still couldn’t get it out. My daughter remembered a computer tool kit we have, which has a screw grabbing tool that was long enough and narrow enough to reach the clog, and the grabber could pull it out, little bits at a time.
The clog turned out to be mostly fibres of sisal rope from the cats’ scratch post. That stuff is nasty on the vacuum cleaner!
Plus cat hair, of course. Everything has cat hair.
One of the downsides of doing this is, we were in the living room, which has no air circulation. I was dripping with sweat, and by the time we were done, we were covered in dust, cat hair and little bits of sisal fibres.
Well, at least she was able to finish vacuuming the carpet. It was my turn to do the bathroom, which was done by LED flashlight, because the breaker was being kept off until the burnt outlet could be repaired. Not much air circulation in there, either, even with the window to the sun room open.
We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day. I hate housework even more than I hate shopping. That’s why I’m usually the one doing the outside stuff, while the girls take care of the inside stuff. 😀
Still, I’m glad I got the Costco shopping done, at least, and I won’t have to do that again for another month!