Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday was pretty much a do-nothing kind of day. I did invite the in-laws out for dinner today. I did my routine house-work.....made the bed tidied up, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the back porch. I has become the entrance to the house...and it is the one area that always looks is our mud (and other stuff) room. I finally just quit caring. All our company is friends or family anyway.

I finished a Sue Grafton mystery. I enjoyed it.

The warmer temperatures are holding. I didn't milk was going to interfere with DH's plans, so will this morning.

The one area that seems to be of great interest and causes more comments than anything is this frugal living and green revolution. I have a few more thoughts and will respond to some questions asked.

Tami, wanted to know about long-term storage of beans...maybe coffee?. I never ever buy coffee beans. They are just too expensive. I also don't hoard when prices are supposed to skyrocket...except maybe sugar during jelly canning times. Then the most I keep on hand is about 30 pounds or enough to get me through the season. I don't hoard coffee. If you are wondering about regular beans, I imagine you could vacuum seal or freeze, but haven't researched it. My pinto and white beans don't last that long. I try to cook beans at least once a week and enough for eating several meals. They are another very frugal food and we love them any way you prepare them.

I think this is an interesting side story about beans and other cultures. Our SIL is a Honduran native and beans are a staple for them as with other Latin American cultures. He came from a family that was quite well-to-do, but beans were still a favored food. His mother would cook a huge pot and leave them on the back of the range all week. Each day she would bring them to the boil again and use how much she needed. Then cover and leave. I thought that was very interesting. Never refrigerated them at all. I may try that just out of curiosity. I am not recommending anyone do this at all.....don't want anyone to get sick....

Now more on cable or satellite TV. We had it for years, but finally realized we were watching maybe three channels out of all those hundreds we were paying for. The movies got to be maybe two different ones per week and they were repeated on about 6 channels.... In place of the $39.95 DirecTV, we now have Netflix, the cheapest service they offered which is two movies per month which is about right for us. I think the cost is under $5. I love it and their selection is superior. I even have a problem finding two we will watch. Our SIL who is up on everything, helps me select from time to time.

Funny how we were discussing trash service....a neighbor who helps L. who we bought the farm from (remember her love story), called and wondered if our trash had been picked up this week. If the roads are bad, they don't run the rural routes. I told her no; it was still sitting out front. Then we went from that to the cost and the fuel surcharge. She mentioned that she and Lydia were paying $60 for three month's service. I knew that was higher than mine...yep, looked it up on Quicken and I paid our bill of $48 at the end of December. She is really in a snit and will call them first thing Monday. Be interesting to see what happens....probably ours will go up! I may cancel again!

Now on to rags vs. paper towels. I did that for a while too. Then I wondered if the cost wasn't about equal because of laundry, using hot water, soap, electricity to run machine.....I know that doesn't address the tree issue but I still buy the darned paper towels.

Gardening is a subject dear to my heart. I have been gardening since we bought our first house in 1971. I worry that new gardeners today are so inundated with magazine articles and TV shows and ads for various specialty products to garden that they spend way more than necessary to do it. All you really need are seeds or plants, dirt, and water and sunshine. That, of course, doesn't address the issue of places with no top soil to speak of, or highly acid or limey soils. Those things will need to be corrected in various ways. For most of us though we can just dig up or mulch and small area and begin. You don't even have to build raised beds. I am not saying they aren't a good concept but the cost of building them could be prohibitive for a lot of people.

I stress the word small. Don't start too big and then find out it is a lot of work and give up. I would just do a small flower-bed size for greens and a tomato or pepper plant or two to get the feel of it. Maybe just edge a bed with the beautiful lettuces and spinach with some green onions tucked in here and there.
Pepper plants are pretty enough for a center attraction in the bed. Now tomatoes are a whole 'nother story. Mine don't look beautiful too long. We are plagued with various leaf diseases in the Ozarks. I would still do a plant or two on stakes with lots of air circulation and maybe tucked back where they won't be quite as obvious. Bull's blood beets are a beautiful plant growing and can be used both for greens and the roots.

I think food is probably where most could really save some money. Don't buy snack foods. Don't buy boxed or ready-made anything. Make bread. Cook from scratch. If you work, use your crock pot....a lot! Learn to read labels if you do nothing else. Then decide if you want to feed your family all that stuff that you don't know what half is. I would encourage anyone,like gardening, just start small and slowly change your habits. I have always maintained I can stir up a cake as quickly as I can tear open the box, get the scissors out to open the plastic inside container, measure out the oil, get the two eggs out of the fridge and then mix.
I have a cake that I just put everything in one bowl, mix and bake. Very, very simple and good.

Develop some quick, simple recipes you can always fall back on especially if you are still working.

There are still some things that I am trying to decide in my own mind about doing from scratch. There is the Nutrimill grain grinder. I know Ilene has one. I am still ambivalent about buying it. I did grow all that dent corn that will have to be ground....will I buy wheat berries for flour? Can you tell the difference in the taste of the bread? I know the nutrients are supposed to be more....they aren't that expensive....yet I am still sitting here pondering that cost. Same with the dehydrator and the new heavy duty mixer (Bosch). I think I wonder if these items don't fall in the category of all the fancy fertilizers and gadgets they push for gardening.....are they really necessary or just more consumerism. I wonder...........

OK, enough deep thoughts for today.

Company is coming; I need to clean house, milk (maybe), make chocolate pie (did the crust last night....I do love just getting it out of the freezer!), get the meat out of the freezer, make a cranberry orange salad and dust. I hate dusting and leave it until the last possible moment.

Random picture, taken at the kitchen sink, maybe three feet from the birds.


  1. A very good post, Glenda.

    I'm totally sold on the concept "less is more", but I really don't like the term "frugal" living. It's got a connotation somehow of doing without. I prefer the term "sensible" instead. By doing so I find my life is actually richer and more satisfying than when I believed that I had to have lots of $$ to buy things. Now I use my head, solve problems, invent ways to do get things done. I have more self-esteem than when I was working because I'm in charge of my life more than ever before. Now I actually feel myself connected to the planet along with everything else.

    My philosophy is to "tread lightly". Be respectful of nature and don't use resources (any kind) frivolously. Be patient. Be generous when you can (like with tips and insights for example). And, most of all, be kind. After all, we're all in this together, right? :-D *hugs*

  2. I just had a thought about the costs of the trash pick-up ... and I might bring it up to my neighbors when the opportunity presents itself..... why couldn't several neighbors chip in together? Designate one person to be the "drop-off site" and everybody pay a share of what the pick up costs?

    One other suggestion about the grocery bill: Eat to live, not the other way around. Heh!

  3. I really wish I could stay home and do all the things you talk about! But on the other hand I really do love my job. It is really difficult to be frugal- even sensible, when you have 3 hours a day to do it, and you're exhausted.

    My mom has a saying that really rings true to me. "You have to have either money or time...and we don't have either!"

  4. I want to make it perfectly clear (does that sound like Richard Nixon!?). I do not live my life to be frugal or even sensible. It just sort of seems that is what I do. I didn't start cooking from scratch to save.........I bought some books on nutrition and that opened my eyes to there being a better way to eat. Then, of course, there is the glaring fact that I like to eat! I also love to cook. I realize that not everyone does. For instance my daughter is not what I would call really domesticated and she doesn't want to spend her time in the kitchen on the weekends or evening slow cooking anything. Then, our son, has taken up baking bread, cooking seriously and loves doing it. Now,he does work at home some days but most days not. I am actually cooking one of his recipes for the in-laws today....more about that later.

    Dawn, I used to work full-time before the children and have worked some part-time once they were born. We were never rolling in cash so I cooked what we could afford. I didn't have any health issues so that wasn't a factor.
    We all do what we can do and I never want anyone to feel less if they can't do everything being touted today on TV and magazines and books today.

    I guess you could say my frugal or being more sensible (good term, Kris) came from being fully retired and those milk checks quit coming to the mailbox every two weeks. It made me start looking at certain things that weren't really necessary for us to live well and enjoy life. It helps that both of us are very content living on the farm and doing what we are doing.

    Ilene, I think it is too late for me, I don't just eat to maintain myself! I have thought about the trash thing too but our neighbors keep to themselves and are a long way off and a lot don't even have trash service. It is not a close-knit community! If there were two or three close by, I would certainly check into it.

    This whole subject is just food for thought. Maybe one of us can come up with an idea that another will begin using....I have had several things brought to my attention. Was it you Kris who used the bubble wrap on an exterior door! I have done that for two winters now and no more condensation on that thing. My curtains no longer have wet, browns stains on them perpetually. Then, there are the recipes....Ilene's Hot Milk Sponge Cake has now become my Hot Milk Sponge Cake! I have tried and added to my files so many good recipes that I have lost count.

    Gardening tips are always appreciated too. I may have been gardening since the beginning of mankind, but I learn something new every year.

    OK, back to the kitchen.............

  5. Glenda, exactly where are you located in the Ozarks? I am going to do a small bed of veggies for myself this year. I have my spot all picked out...plenty of sunshine and because springs run through our property, watering is pretty much taken care of. I love the way you do things!...:)JP