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 untidy....it 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 yesterday...it 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.