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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Potato harvest

tiny, volunteer potato

You can stop laughing now.

I could have had a cheap potato from compost. If there had been more, I could have been potato-self-sufficient. Actually, there were more. He just somehow kept showing the fence the potatoes instead of turning them to the camera....sigh. Right above the "large potato" is a smaller one. There were potatoes not much larger than a black eyed pea. Use your imagination.  I thought the plant was a tomato, watered it, and tended it. Then, someone told me it was a potato plant. Bummer. I wanted to plant tomatoes there, so it came out.

Your turn
Did you plant potatoes this year? How are your potatoes?  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Terre Haute, Donna, Mango Smoothies, Whacked in the Head, Ants

Terre Haute
The coupons are appreciated! They will be used.

Donna, whoever you are.
Thanks. I bought a roll of 50'x24", 1/4" holes to attach to the bottom of the chicken pen to thwart raccoon efforts to murder another of my sweet hens. It took me forever to find it locally.

Mango Smoothie
I love a smoothie. Mine always have yogurt and OJ. Not much of either. I never use ice cubes but have a thick, slushy, ice-cold drink/dessert. Banana is the constant fruit. Other fruits involved are strawberries, blueberries, mangoes (all usually frozen, so no ice cubes needed), pineapple, cherries, and peaches.  One night this week, I had a dying banana and wanted a smoothie. I have been resisting the notion of a mango-pineapple smoothie from McD, thinking mine would be better for me and lots cheaper. I think the McD one has fizz. Well, I have fizz in a strawberry soda that I bought, just because. ~sigh~ 

The top to my blender is cracked. I use it anyway. Then, the top to the little hole in the know the little hole where you can throw things in? Well, the little top started falling through the big, cracked top, so I quit using a top. I just get a clean dishcloth and hold it over the blender to catch any upward spurts. NOT the other night.

The frozen mango and a banana went in the blender for a simple, really simple, smoothie. I had counted the pieces of mango--eight. I turned on the blender without allowing the frozen fruit to soften a bit. Yes, I was impatient. That blender blew the dishcloth I was not holding down higher than my head. In my befuddlement of trying to catch the dish cloth and turn off the blender, mango pieces were shooting everywhere like solid golden bottle rockets. Then..

One Whacked me in the Head.
That mango missile really hurt, hitting me on the forehead right above my eyebrow! It rather stunned me.

The Search
This is irritating. Where is the mango? I found two smaller pieces in the blender with the really smooth banana. Then, I found another piece camouflaged by the yellow floor. Another piece was under the edge of the counter. That is four pieces accounted for. Later, I found another piece all gooey, thoroughly melted, dripping on the little net umbrella that goes over food so flies won't land on it outside. That is five pieces. So, there are three pieces, nestled behind a curtain on the window sill, behind canisters, in the silk tree? Where?

My friend Donna (another Donna) was laughing at my tale. I was bemoaning the fact that they could be anywhere, that I would never find them. She reminded me that the fruit flies would. So, now I have to watch for swarms of fruit flies like one would watch vultures flying high above carrion. At least, in the movies, cowboys see vultures flying in a circle and know where to find the body.

That smoothie was not good at all, but I consumed it for the food value. I bought orange juice and yogurt the next day. Tonight, I have no bananas. Maybe I will make a pineapple-mango smoothie....and add a bit of fizz.

I was at the sink and looked out at the leaves of the tree touching the top of the window sill outside. Light bulb moment coming--I can take everything off the kitchen window sill, get on the sink, pull the top window down, and reach out and break off that branch. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I might fall off the counter. Theoretically, I have found a solution that does not involve a man with a ladder. I won't climb that high, even if my knee was not injured, without a spotter. And, I don't have to spray poison.

Your turn
Ever been hit in the head by frozen, flying mango?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I had chicken food for dinner

Move over girls. This is mine.

I have several places that give me food for my hens. My friend picked up a box full of scraps before he left his town. Armed with a big bowl in the backyard of my home, he put it all on the table in the back yard and picked out anything that looked promising.

Food I salvaged to eat
Potatoes--1 gallon
bell pepper--1/2 cup
2 pears
14 oz squash
cucumbers--more than a pint
tomatoes--about two cups

The potatoes are in a bowl of water, ready to be cooked.
Bell pepper is in the dehydrator with other things.
Pears! I hate pears, so he took them home. They are not mushy, just not pretty.
We had squash on two salads tonight. The rest will be cooked for tomorrow.
Cucumbers! They will never pass through my lips. He had them on his salad and took the rest home.
There were enough tomatoes for two salads and the BLT I have planned for tomorrow.

Salad greens were given to me. We had chicken on our to me. So, the only thing I had purchased was the bit of salad dressing I purchased with a coupon. If I were feeding just me from the free chicken produce, I could eat for a suppers for a week if I include the free chicken and free Romaine.

He took home enough Romaine for two salads, besides the other vegetables. Two chicken thighs were frozen for him to take home.

Chickens don't like potatoes anyway. Potatoes and citrus went into a compost where I will not use it for growing anything. There were plenty more cucumbers...they attack those. I think they probably had two gallons of produce today from this box. Another half gallon is in the house for tomorrow.
The sliced, refrigerated tomatoes did not make this picture.
I put a towel over the ottoman as a work space for cutting so I could sit in comfort and work uninterrupted. There is no way I could have stood that long. I had a huge stainless steel bowl full of vegetables exbf brought in to me, things he thought had a bit of a promise. Then, I had several smaller dishes for the vegetables and a large plastic bowl for discards.

Even if I managed to stand at the counter and do all this, the ants were all over. Despite everything I have tried, including vinegar, cinnamon, pepper, and Terro, they remain. I get the counter all wet with Dawn and water. That drowns some and seems to discourage others until it dries.

Tonight, I will use the vacuum on the fruit flies, ants, and the one fly that just came in.

Doing well
I have only spent about $40 and the month is almost over. This is how. I will need milk and bananas. If I see stock-up prices, I will be buying those.

Your turn
Have you started eating your animal food?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

School Supplies the Parsimonious Way


My granddaughter, K, will be in the 6th grade in Brooklyn, NY. This is the third year I have bought and sent school supplies to her and her brother. My grandson, J, is in the 11th grade. He gets supplies, also. Their mother, my daughter, is too overwhelmed with being a single mother, working, and hauling kids about to actually get any deals there may be. Besides, I never drive more than three or four miles, but she would have to drive much further to reach sales.

K's supply list that must go to school with her was just now read to me by K. She gives me all sorts of instructions with the list so that I will get it right...cute I mostly buy sales from Office Max and sometimes from other stores. Last year, I over-bought, so this year I still have many items to send without purchasing. Some things I will have to buy, some I have, and some my daughter will buy with sales and coupons.

In my stash
Before you freak out at my stash, let me explain. When I did summer craft camps, I supplied art materials. Some of this is for those activities where I made money having fun. When I tutor, I always have pens, pencils, spiral notebooks, and loose leaf paper. Each tutee gets a  10 cent spiral notebook where I write examples of math problems and mnemonics for language and spelling. There are no excuses for not coming to my tutoring session. Yes, adult GED students have been known to lose things or procrastinate. There is no delay in finding material needed for teaching/learning. My pencils are all sharpened, and I have a closed pencil sharpener for sharpening right where we searching the library for a pencil sharpener. NO EXCUSES!

I already had these things on her list
20 #2 pencils
1 closed pencil sharpener
1 yellow highlighter
8 black and white composition books
2 glue sticks
1 child-safe scissors
24 pack of crayons--I have Crayola
colored pencils, I think
6 2-pocket folders
1 packet wide-ruled, lined paper
2 bottles of hand sanitizer
pack dry-erase markers
1 roll scotch tape
small calculator

I will buy these items also on her list
1 yellow legal pad
2 soft pencil cases
1 small dictionary (unless she can use the one from last year)

Daughter will buy these items on her list
1 pack baby wipes
3 boxes of tissue
1 roll paper towels
1 box gallon storage bags
1 box quart storage bags

My stash in the picture or part of it
These are not including the notebook paper, 9 reams of copy paper (free), and spiral notebooks.

pencils 15x10 pack=150
pens 14x10 pack=140
Elmer's glue sticks 5x2 pack= 10
Office Max glue sticks and bottle of glue--3 packs, each of which hold 2 glue sticks and a bottle of glue= 6 glue stick and 3 bottles of glue
covered pencil sharpener--5
safety scissors--3 pair
watercolor--1 pack
Pink Pearl erasers--1 3-pack= 3
70 page spiral notebooks--about 100 not all in picture
paper 2 pocket folders--about 50 not all in picture
plastic 2 picket folder--10 not all in picture
themed 2 pocket folders--25 none in picture
Crayola crayons--4 24-packs
3x5 index cards--50
half-sized pencil boxes--2

The yellow highlighter, protractor, and a few other items are in the file cabinet, but they did not make it to the photo shoot. If it did not hurt my back to handle all this, bend, and try to take a picture with a steady hand and body, all the supplies would have been out tonight, partying on the sofa.

I will send coupons to my daughter for all the things she will have to buy.

He always needs pens, pencils, markers of all sorts. I make sure he has a ruler, protractor and compass if he does not have the ones from last year. I don't know what kind of backpack or three-ring binder and calculator he needs or likes, so that is hers to buy. He may reuse what he had the year before. I did buy the el cheapo pens, ten to a pack, until I found some better ones on sale. Cheap pens are hard on the hands.   I have dozens of those, bought for ten cents a ten-pack of pens.

All Sharpies were marked at 25 cents at Office Max. Prices ranged from $1.49 to $2.49. Grandson uses these at school for projects in different classes. I bought about 50 of these in all widths and colors last year for a quarter.  I use these also. Plus, my daughter needed them for her second job that she no longer has. The quantity was not as outlandish as it seems at first glance. I suspect K uses them for fun at home.

I have $6 credit at Office Max because I only managed to turn in two cartridges the last quarter. (Last year, I had about $30 credit for free items.) I hope I can buy one yellow legal pad cheaply. Soft pencil cases are Hannah Montana or something my daughter does not want her child to have.  I go for generic flowers in girl colors when I look for pencil cases instead of movie or musical characters. The plastic ones smell so nasty! I never get those. I will sell something to manage the cost of the $10.95 flat-rate box.

Razzle dazzle
Daughter does not like heavy paper two-pocket folders because they tear up easily and must be replaced. Plastic ones last forever. G-son like the Mead, heavy cardboard ones. Walmart had school supplies on sale most of the winter and in the spring. I bought quarter folders that were marked down from about $1.98--Aerosmith (his favorite band), Yellow Submarine, Beatles, kittens, Hulk, Alice in Wonderland, guitars. All winter, I just bought one or two each trip. It seemed I was spending no money. Now, I can send plastic and heavy paper folders in solid colors, Mead folders in solid colors, and the fancy folders. They both are required to have an inordinate amount of these folders.

Sometimes I see people buying school supplies and can tell they are struggling. This year, because of my abundance, I will be donating some of the supplies to people I see in the stores. I like to know where my donations go. Besides, the plastic Rubbermaid box is overflowing.

I want to have just enough after sending her supplies to fit in the plastic box/bin. I have 75 spiral notebooks (70 sheets/pages), bought on sale at WM for ten cents apiece. Plus, I suppose I have 100 packs of notebook paper, bought at OM for ten cents and sometimes for just a penny. Yes, that is 150 sheets of wide-ruled or college-ruled loose leaf notebook paper, and I have about 100 packs. Both the notebooks and notebook paper are from two years buying. This year, I will buy no more of both of those...promise!

The boxes of spiral notebooks and the loose leaf paper reside under a table with a skirt. I forgot I had them when I bought more last year.

Made in the USA
Crayola crayons are made in the USA. Others are made overseas; they stink. I choose items without a strong chemical smell. Yes, I do buy items made in other countries.

Memaw's the Best!
My granddaughter, K, exclaimed this to her mother when I sent the first box three years ago. My daughter said, "Why don't you call her and tell her so?" So, I got a call from a sweet, excited little seven-year-old girl who exclaimed, "Memaw, you're the best!" Now, would you keep sending school supplies to that child? I didn't do it for the adoration, but that sure spurs me on School supplies are exciting, aren't they?

Art supplies and school supplies for home
My daughter has always kept plenty of water colors, paper, crayons and other items too numerous to mention for her children at home. I make sure I send two boxes of crayons, two water colors, etc.  However, if my daughter says there are plenty of leftover crayons, I don't send more. I know children would rather use from a new box than from a bin of half- or barely-used crayons.

Remember when I got a box with 10 reams of copy paper for free from Office Max? I sent one of those to daughter this spring with g-daughter's birthday gift in the flat rate box. I am using the others to trade when people have something I want and the people need copy paper. (I also bought two reams for $1.25 each, marked down because the wrapper was torn a bit.)

Ours is not to question why
I don't bother asking why anything is needed because it is on the list and my daughter will take it all to school. Most items are put in a cubby/box and belong only to K. These are not in a communal stash for the whole class to use. At the end of the year, she brings back items she purchased.

Edit Check out this blog post--Free School Supplies or Getting it Free from Office Max or Staples or Home Depot.  These chronicle other freebies I have gotten this year.

Your turn
Do you manage to hit all the specials to buy school supplies for children, grandchildren, students, or for donations? Or, are you like my daughter, struggling not only with money, but with finding the time and energy to fight the crowds and get everything you must at any price? Anyone know why my picture was in focus, words were clear, and now it looks horrible?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pecans for Chicken Food

one gallon of broken pecans

These are salvaged pecans. I had them in the freezer along with four other gallons for two years, took them out last winter and took them to a food bank to be shared with others. They still tasted really fresh. Of course, I stored them whole. Somehow, these were left behind. They taste okay, not prime, not really fresh. So, they became chicken food.

I gave exbf a shallow box, a hammer, pecans and instructions. Just break these up enough for the hens to pick out the pecans. I figured that two blows to each pecan would result in the hens being able to pick out the meat. He spent a long time on these and thoroughly! crushed some pecans. A few were still whole. I can crack the last six pecans. Hens will probably eat the crushed shells as grit.

At any rate, they liked the breakfast I gave them all mixed up in a casserole--several cups of rice and grits, half can of tuna, 3/4 cup of pecans, 1/2 cup of sprouts and reconstituted powdered milk. Hopefully the sprouts get covered in tuna and also are eaten! The pecans were not mixed up, just dumped over the top. I gave them almost a cup of broken/crushed pecans each day, over their other food.

It is amazing how clean the hens can get broken pecans that still have tiny pieces of meat. I suppose a pointy beak and a keen eye, up close, coupled with a love of pecans helps. Every day I am amazed at their talents. 

By the way, I was told by pecan producers who are also farmers that pecan shells put into compost makes for very fertile soil. Of course, they don't compost completely at first. But, imagine how fertile this chicken pen is--composted leaves, pecans, and poop. LOL

Your turn
Do your hens love pecans? Do you make sure to throw the shells in your compost? Even if you don't compost, just throw out the shells to the earth, anywhere. Spread thinly enough, they are not an eyesore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Emergency Substitutions at Recipes4Living

Three eggs I collected today

Ready to cook? You don't have an ingredient? You cannot afford the time, energy, or money to shop? I hate it when I need an ingredient to cook and don't have it. Here is a site for substitutions.

Your turn
Do you ever employ any of these substitutions? I do.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Anecdote of the Jar--on a bear's head?

First, a jar-related, Tennessee image and poem. Then onto canning jar preparations.
Was this what Wallace Stevens meant?

In an undated photo provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, a bear with a jar stuck on it's head is seen in Cocke County, Tenn.  State wildlife officers looked for the bear for three weeks after reports he was caught in the unfortunate headgear, until wildlife officer Shelley Hammonds of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spotted him on July 17. She tranquilized the bear, and the bear collapsed in downtown Newport, Tenn., where dozens of people watched the jar removal.  The bear weighed just 115 pounds, when it should have weighed around 200. It was released into the Cherokee National Forest. (AP Photo/Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)

Anecdote of the Jar

by Wallace Stevens

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

That bear certainly is on a hill in Tennessee. I wonder what Wallace Stevens thinks. Sorry, but I am an English major.

Now, for canning jars and equipment
You know you have to do this, so now is the time to get things out and in place if not washed and sterilized. Do you have enough rings? Should you buy more flats?   Do you know where the jar tongs are?

Your turn
Are your jars ready? Does a photo ever remind you of a familiar poem? Or, am I just someone who has taken one too many English courses? LOL

Death is Green at the Body Farm

Funerals are expensive and not at all green sometimes. Think of the wood for the caskets, fossil fuel to dig and refill the graves, machinery, chemicals, and other worthy investments that the relatives are guilted into implementing. Funerals that are thrifty are frowned upon by the industry.

There are other options: cremation, donations to medical schools, and burial at sea. People have their own philosophical and religious reasons for funeral predilections. Rites and ceremony and fear of the state of their afterlife play into decisions. 

The ultimate burial or lack of burial is to let nature take its course. The Body Farm has an odd but useful function. Scientists can study bodies left in many conditions to help forensic scientists determine how long a person has been dead. Think of cases where the type insect or eggs on a body have helped solve murders or deaths.

While I love the idea of catching criminals who otherwise would get away with their deeds, I am not quite ready to be dumped in the woods. At the same time, why take up valuable space on the earth in a place that will be forever revered (not so for many, actually) and protected. Of course, vegetables could be planted over our graves and we could make good fertilizer for the

The Body Farm is a worthwhile venture and a noble cause for furthering science, just like body donations to medical schools.

Your turn
Does this idea appeal to you at all? For yourself? Or, are you like me, thinking it would be great for people to lie in a field or ditch to further science, but, "No, thank you. I will pass." Do you know anyone whose body you would like to donate? I do!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Around 2 pm, I called my son and left a message on his cell, "Call me when you are about 30 minutes from here. I am going to take a bath and a nap." He immediately called me and said that they ran out of time and would not be here. He also said he emailed me three times, two weeks ago and last week. I found the last one emailed on 7-18-11, late Monday night, telling me there had been a change in plans. So, "ran out of time" or "change in plans." Which? They were in KY rushing to spend a couple of weeks with her parents in North Dakota, so he could not talk.

I won't say anymore about this on my blog. I will read your comments but will not comment. In the four hours since I talked to him, I have cried many times, long, sobbing cries.  I don't want to cry anymore. I WILL respond to a personal email.

So, I am home with lots of goodies I got out just for the children. It is a beautiful day for them to play in the yard. And, I am so sad.

Now, I am going to renew efforts to organize and fill my coupon binder. Does anyone have a binder with coupons? Filing doesn't work for me. I don't want to save the whole coupon section and cut later as I find items. When I have the coupon binder up to date, I take it with me into every store. Oftentimes, I find an item reduced so much that the coupon makes it free or worth pennies.  This is not a sale, it is a permanent markdown on an item no longer being carried by the store.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hoarding and Life and Death

The way it is now: a little pause for me
My son, his wife, and their daughter and son will be visiting me from Texas. They will be here Wednesday only. Of course, I am overjoyed, but I am also too overworked, hurting, and lacking in funds to feel comfortable with the visit even though I am overjoyed. Please don't tell me none of that matters!

There are so many conditions that can be attributed to hoarding. Lack of a social life, lack of family support, even your health. Maybe you have someone in your life that hoards. Maybe not. But, loss of life is a great probability. I miss my friend who died in 2001. We were platonic friends. He was so funny, helpful, and infuriating. You can learn how hoarding literally killed my best friend.

When I return on Wednesday night, I will have pictures of the cutest grandchildren on the face of the

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Parsimony and the Art of Generator Maintenance

Honda generator
  Behold my expensive ($950) generator for the tornado-caused outage. Of course, I still owe for it. Yes, it is a Honda, the only one available. I would have preferred a cheaper one. But, parsimony took a backseat to practicality this time.

I purchased this on April 29, 2011. The manual that came with it details maintenance. A gas additive to preserve the gas from getting gunky is recommended if the generator is to be store with gas in it for longer than 30 days. Okay, I got the Stabil in it 75 days after storage. Good enough? I hope so.

The oil must be changed after 100 hours of use. The Honda generator was in use almost exactly 100 hours. Today, my friend Charlie changed the oil for me. He drained it properly, saving it in an old, cut-off milk jug. We took the oil to Auto Zone for them to recycle.

Here is the problem, getting the oil back into the generator. The fill hole was about 1/2 inch in diameter. And, he wanted a funnel. The only funnel near that size was a kitchen funnel. He saw me hesitate. "You have to remember you will never use this in the kitchen again. Just put it in the basement." I have three funnels in the kitchen other than my canning funnels. One is cherry pink, so pretty, and Tupperware. I am quite sure I did not pay for it. But, it is a good funnel. The other has an opening a little more less than one-quarter inch. This one would be so frustrating to Charlie, even to hold! The other, I cannot find it.

Can you see the small and oddly-angled opening below for the oil? Oh, he has it propped up so he could get to it.
I rummaged under the sink.
My usual funnel, either a coke bottle with the bottom cut out or a milk jug with the bottom cut out was not going to work! Aha! A Dawn bottle might save the day.

Dawn bottle aka oil dispenser worked. He just poured oil in the Dawn bottle and squirted it into the little fill hole. Voila! He commented that the Dawn bottle was perfect for what he had to do. As you may can see. the hole for the oil to go into is on an angle.

See the tiny hole in the Dawn top? Perfect!

See the tiny hole in the Dawn top?

Parsimony pays off. I always save Dawn  bottles for application of anything non-food that must be applied in a small stream. Today, I did not have to replace and pay for my pretty cherry pink Tupperware funnel replacement because I had saved an item that my friends throw away. Now, a Dawn bottle will be put in the trunk with all my other car emergency paraphernalia.

Now, I do not save all bottles, even Dawn, for that matter. But, I do have a good assortment of items that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. I use a small bottle of Original Dawn every 9 months or so. My present bottle will be finished tonight, so the empty, when washed and dried will go under the sink for another use later.

Your turn
Do you save things that people think you should throw out? Do they always come in handy?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Caning chairs--lost art

I am so cheap that I refuse to pay a craftsman to cane chairs. That is parsimony at its No sirree, I took a class and learned to cane to save money.  It turned out that the teacher was a manager of the grocery store I frequented. He taught at a nearby junior college. Actually, he taught classes all over the northern part of the state. I still have my tools for the class, a bent butter knife, hammer, stakes the men carved for me, and tacks.

(Okay, so it is not really cane. It is oak or ash splints that I have, about 1/2 inch wide. Okay, it is seat weaving, not caning.)

My first chair seat/bottom to weave was on a straight back chair. I had two identical, ancient, straight-back chairs. I cannibalized one to make two complete chairs.  I caned the chair bottom in one class, less that three hours. The teacher complimented me on my tight bottom. A saggy bottom will never be tight.

This site has the pattern I use. Scroll down and look at the pattern below Weaving a Square or Rectangular Seat.

Back to the first bottom. That night, I got up to go to the bathroom. I never opened my eyes back then, just staggering along in the night. When I could not manage after several tries to get my panties down and could not feel my hands, I looked to see where my hands had gone. My hands were there, just frozen. At that point in time, I decided that I would never, ever cane another chair. Of course, I did.

 An elderly friend had this rocker with a "busted-out" seat and intact back. I offered to cane it--free labor if someone paid for the cane. Her son brought it to me. Ha! He would not even help me clean the caning from the chair. His elderly mother said she would pay for the cane just to have a comfortable seat. She had been putting a board across the seat.

The rocker is over 100 years old, according to its structure. Last year,  $60 invested in ash splints.  Plus, it will take many hours of my time spread over weeks because I cannot work very long on this difficult task. When younger, this would be a one- or two-day job. This task presents me with several problems--financial and physical and moral.

Moral dilemma
I refuse to allow her family to use me like they have in the past. Last week she said, "Honey, just sell the chair because I can never afford to pay you for the materials. It's yours." That breaks my heart. She is eighty-years old and used this to sit and watch birds. However, she has the safety net that I do not have. Should I allow a whole family who supports one another (sort of) to take advantage of me, depending on my compassion for the grandmother and selflessness in offering to cane her chair for free?

I can sell the cane for $60 and give her back the chair. She still will not be able to get it caned. I can go ahead and cane the chair and give it back to and make like a doormat. Or, I can cane the chair and hound them to pay for it. Or, I can cane the chair and get $150 for it.  Oh, it needs sanding and painting! Notice the ragged caning on the seat, plus the cane stuck between the two elements of the upright portion of the chair back. Plus the cane is difficult to get off the chair.

I want her to have her chair. But, I want my costs reimbursed....huge dilemma for me. If I could afford the $60, I would not be torn.

Your turn
Has anyone taken up this almost lost art? Did anyone learn to cane because the price was so high to pay someone?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dinner and amendments to recipe

zucchini casserole, pork loin, salad

Dinner tonight was frugal. Salad greens bought on sale and with coupon, zucchini casserole with tomatoes from the hens bucket of food, free pork loin. The salad was romaine, radicchio, carrots. My parsimony went into full swing when I saw the nice condition of the tomatoes in the scrap bucket, right on top of other unfortunate vegetable. Tomato rescue=saving money. Of course, I burned the pork loin, not all of it, but enough.

My divided Corelle plates make it seem like I am dining a hospital.

The casserole looks skimpy, but it was not. This is a deep casserole dish. Then, the casserole shrinks a bit. I made another smaller one, too. I  heart Corelle.

Realizing I had not added a few notes to the zucchini tomato casserole recipe, I amended the recipe  in red. Onions were not part of the original recipe. One day, I accidentally put onions in. It was good, so they stayed.

I used four slices of bread for two casseroles. It seemed like I was skimping on bread, but the casseroles were delicious.

bread--whole wheat from senior center
tomatoes from hen scraps
pork loin

Paid for:
2 Tbsp butter

ten servings

Hen food
peelings from zucchini
leftovers from tomatoes even after salvage

My dehydrated  onions were used. I only put about eight little pieces of onion on each layer.

Your turn
Have you made this yet? Do you ever withhold food from your hens for yourself?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini-Tomato Casserole

zucchini and tomatoes

My children loved this casserole. If you have an abundance of zucchini or want another way to serve it, try this recipe.  I posted it last year along with the story of my children's reactions to it...all positive! 

"Zucchini Casserole, please," from my children.

Are you a frugal cook? Do you have too many zucchinis? This casserole is just for you?

This thrifty recipe will help solve the problem of what to do with the abundance of zucchinis this time of year. Frozen or stale bread can be put to good use. I freeze chopped onions, so that is one chore that can be done ahead of time. Really fresh tomatoes or sad slices in the refrigerator can be put to good use. No one will know that tomato's consistency was not to your liking. The casserole is a one-dish meal or just one of the dishes you serve, depending on your preference. I have made this ahead of time and put it in the oven just before dinner. Or, if you have a timer on your oven to start meals when you are away, make this, put it in the oven, and set the timer. Dinner will be ready when you arrive.

I have no measurements for any ingredient. Use your own judgment. You cannot be wrong. If you prefer more or less bread bits, just make it to suit yourself. Use any kind of cheddar cheese or switch to a cheese you prefer. Slice the tomatoes thick or thin, depending on taste or what you have on hand. Own the recipe!

Zucchini-Tomato Casserole ***300 degrees, 1 hour

Peel and slice zucchini--thinly or thickly, if you prefer. (a little less than 1/4" is my preference)

Salt both sides; let it sit 30 min; rinse and drain (I quit doing this. I salt, let sit for 2 min and then rinse and drain.)

Layer in casserole:
*zucchini--salt and pepper lightly (I use no pepper)
*diced onions (I use yellow or Vidalia) (not in original recipe...just use a tiny bit)
*sliced tomatoes
*buttered bread chunks/bits--about 1/2" size (I break up the bread, pour melted butter over it, toss/stir)
*cheese (best with the presliced squares in pack) (original recipe, but any cheese you like is fine)
Repeat, leaving off cheese.
Bake (cover it)
Put cheese on top of casserole for the last 10 min; bake uncovered

I made this as part of a meal, having a meat and another vegetable. My three children (10, 8, and 3 when I first made this) ate the casserole, getting seconds and thirds until it was gone. They did not want to eat the rest of their dinner, sitting, and wishing aloud there were more casserole.

Finally, one day I made three huge casseroles and nothing else. On the way home from school in the car, they always asked what was for dinner. This day, I told them, "Zucchini Casserole."

They asked, "What else?" I told them we just had zucchini casserole.

There was silence and shocked faces in the back seat. (I was looking in rear view mirror and turned to see one child.) They were stunned and silent all the way home, supposing dinner was going to be slim. When they saw three casseroles, they did rejoice, smiling at my deceit. Those were three happy children that night. They ate all three casseroles! We repeated that experience often at their request.

This casserole actually is a meal--two vegetables, bread, fat, dairy (more fat), protein. Do onions count as another vegetable? Oh, they never picked onions from this casserole!

When my children were able to eat at the table and feed themselves, they drank unsweetened tea. Otherwise, they filled up on milk and asked for more because they loved milk. Then, they were too full to eat the meal. Milk was for breakfast, snacks between meals, and after dinner. So, for a snack after this casserole, they drank milk and ate banana and maybe one cookie. They were active and always hungry--slim, too.

There was no sugar or artificial sweetener in the tea or in our home. We all just loved the taste of plain tea.

Mine were the only children in town who begged for zucchini. Other mothers were astonished. Frankly, I was too. My children sang the praises of zucchini while their skeptical friends made faces.

This is so juicy. And, it is even better the next day if you have any left. We rarely did.

If you try this, let me know how it turned out and if your kids approved. (If they hate zucchini, don't mention zucchini. It is just a tomato casserole.) Do you like it?

Your turn
Do you like it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moon and stars bric-a-brac shelf

just took bric-a-brac shelf from the car

Saturday, July 2,  I went to yard sales that were on the route I was traveling, about ten miles. I did not search for any sales or follow the signs in the country that might be from last weekend or involve adding ten miles to my trip. I hit the Mother Lode. This yard sale was right on the side of the highway.

The wall shelf unit for bric-a-brac was built from the 1940s to 1960s, I was told. If you know differently, please clue me in. I have searched the Internet for something similar, but obviously I am not googling the right phrase. One antique dealer said he would take it if it were done in the Shabby Chic style--pale yellow or green. When I glue it together, sand, and paint, the price will be high. Now it is $100. It is a little rickety, too rickety to sell or handle easily without tightening it. Gluing is the most I will do. And, that is only so I won't destroy it!

One of the guys standing there at the yard sale said that boys made these in shop in high school. I believe him.

This shelf was nailed directly to the wall. Nails are still in the back. You can see them at the top. The guy swore it was the original mirror. I believe him. My Aunt Willie in Mississippi had one of these. I was so envious, wishing we had one. Well, she was my mother's aunt, the sister of my grandmother. Now that I have thought on this for a bit, I am not sure if hers was empty or had things on the little steps. I have seen them in use both ways.

Your turn
Have you ever seen one of these actually in use? Paint or sell as-is after gluing? Price too high? What would you ask for this online? Exactly what is this called? Ricky, help me think! Or, was that, "Ethel, help me think!"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Get angry and support Julie Bass

Read this article and get angry. Julie could go to jail for planting vegetables in the front yard. What would Michelle Obama say? What do you say?

Finding money in Coinstar and elsewhere

found money

I had looked at the Coinstar machines before, looking for the rejected coins. I think I had found a penny. Okay, it is a penny and was not rejected. After reading Donna Freedman's post about her Coinstar find, I decided to try again. In case you don't know about this, Coinstar machines count coins and charged 9% for their trouble.

Earlier in the week--nothing; tonight--tada. I think there was 87 97 cents of the stickiest coins I ever felt! But, like a good soldier, I ignored the urge to gag and let them be, pried them from the little cup, and held them in my hand until I got a produce bag and dropped them in. Actually, they were so sticky, they would not drop from my hand. Yes, I used a plastic bag! Then, I swung back to the cart wipes to clean up and remove any germs.

This week I found a dime on the ground.

In change, I found a 1947 nickel in fine condition, but cannot find it now. It is still worth a nickel, but there is always the future.

If I found 97 cents $1.07 (counted wrong) every week for a year, that would be $50.44 $52.04 cents more in pocket. I don't find that much each week.

Your turn
Have you ever found money in the Coinstar machine? Do you find change and pick it up? Is it put in a special place for a special purpose?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Daughter!

Lisa on her 41st birthday

On July 1, 1970, I boarded a bus in Savannah, TN going to Memphis. I had a son, two-years-two-months, a diaper bag, a purse, and his teddy bear. I still had a month to go on my pregnancy according to my doctor, even though we argued about this a bit at first. Finally, deciding the baby would come at the right time, I just gave in to his time table.

When I arrived in Memphis, I could not move, literally felt exhausted. My sister who was picking me up, had to wait until every passenger left the bus to come and help me. She took my still-sleeping child, my purse, the diaper bag and the teddy bear. That left me to struggle to get off the bus the best way I could, and it was not a graceful walk or exit. People were holding their breaths as I clung to the door to exit the steps of the bus.

At Mama's I lay around like a blimp and waddled like a drunk, leaden bicycle. Saturday was the 4th of July. My parents always celebrate by cleaning the yard! I sat beached on a lounge outdoors watching my son run headlong down the slanted driveway, up on his tiptoes to keep up with the descent on the grade and his terrible speed. (in fenced-in backyard, running from fence to garage at back of yard) Mama begged me to make him quit. HOW? There was no way I could walk with him. Besides, he was so reckless and never hurt himself. Well, there was the broken arm....but I was not even at the skating rink!

They raked, mowed when I went inside, lopped branches, trimmed shrubs, unstacked firewood and re-stacked firewood, picked up bones from the dog that were under shrubs, picked up toys from the children, took the window ac unit out, washed ac unit, washed window sill, put the ac back in the window, took down all the storm windows, washed storm windows, reinstalled storm windows. I still did not move a muscle.

All this time Mama had been cooking things in the house. Daddy grilled something at the end of the day. that was the 4th.

I went to church on Sunday. Sunday evening Daddy must have run over a toothpick in the road because the car lurched and bounced as I complained. Everyone else said they felt nothing.

Sunday night just before midnight I went to the bathroom, called Mama in and told her either I had lost control of my really full bladder or my water broke. She moaned. We went to the hospital. I was told my water broke, I was not dilated, and I was not full term. Come back in twelve hours and we will see what is going on. No, they did the wrong thing.

My husband showed up over from Savannah about 8:00 A.M. At 10:00 we left for the hospital.

I was back by 11:00 A.M. the next day. By noon, I was ready to have a baby. I forced my mother to stay home and promise me to take care of my son and not leave him no matter what happened to me. Daddy has been known to forget he was watching a baby or child and just get in the car and leave. She felt bad not being with me, but it was fine with me.

When a nurse was in the room, I remarked that I would be so glad to get this over with...pregnancy, I meant, that I would be glad to be able to walk. She told me in a cold tone that this baby would die because I was not far along and the baby was going to be premature. We had already called my pediatrician in Memphis and she was going to be there at the birth.

After 2:00 P.M. Mama called to see if I had a baby. They told her I refused to cooperate and it would be evening before I gave birth. At 2:30 P.M. on July 6, 1970, I gave birth. I don't know what they said to me to get me to push. Oh, by the way, this was back when they knocked you out. You can still hear and cooperate. My husband had gone to the car during the birth, and Mama did not call back for about three hours.

Lisa  weighed 6 lbs and was 19 inches long. She was three pounds less than my first and nine ounces less than the third. The pediatrician told me the baby was not premature, just tiny. She said she has long fingernails and eyelashes and eyebrows. She is full term.

I think I was not cooperating because I did not want the baby out because she would die. No one told me that, but I know it in my heart. The nurse should have been severely reprimanded!

Lisa was scrawny looking, pretty, dark eyes, and dark hair. The neck of her dress hung off her shoulder in a size 0 baby dress. In two weeks, I could not button that dress around her neck. She looks just like me, only gorgeous. Today, people recognize me because they say I look just like Lisa. When she was two weeks old, I resumed sewing. I made everything she wore for years! I was frugal back then.

Oh, I called her tonight and told her to take a picture of herself with her cell and mail it to me. She is at a neighbor's house at a BBQ.  I'm pretty sure she has clothes

Today, she is 41! How and when did I get so OLD!

I scrimped and saved so she could have ballet, tap, modeling, tennis lessons, swimming lessons for swim team. She picked up disco roller skating on her She cannot walk on stage, so we gave up the modeling lessons! She is a coloratura soprano. No, not opera! This was my shy child, the one I carried for three years, who barely spoke a word in public. My parsimony on some fronts paid off for her to have opportunities. I was just hoping to get her out of her

Your turn
Do moments like this make you feel old? As you get older do you relive the day each child was born. Okay, now I am crying! Do you think of all the financial sacrifices you made and you are happy with choices you made?

Saving on Salad; Coupons for Nutritious Food

two Dole 10 oz salad blends

I can make two nutritious meals for $1. That is fifty cents apiece. Two people can dine for a total of $1. Got it? If you grow your own, never mind.

I had a coupon for $1.50 off two bags salad mixtures from Dole. This is cheap eating! Plus, I had a $3 check from doing a survey online. That $3 is above and beyond normal income. So, I treat it like a coupon or free money to play with.  I want the salad greens for Wednesday when exbf comes to help me with a few things around the house. He loves salads, as do I. Sooo, I was passing the store and went in.

Dole Italian Blend
2@ $2.92=
- 1.50   coupon
-3.00   Check for survey online
$1.34 Total for two bags of salad greens

$6.59 from July 3, 2011 post
$1.34 today
$3.49--pint  ice cream, $1 McDouble, Reeses cup It was the Fourth and I chose to stay home!
$11.42 Total through July 5, 2011

I can get six large salads from this and other vegetables I got free or really cheap a few days ago. Plus, I salvaged some items from the hen's produce. Without the cooked chicken in the salad, I see this costing me $.50/salad. I could boil the free eggs from my hens in the backyard, put in the salad,  and leave off the chicken expense. Yes, with eggs, this will definitely feed two for $1. By the way, I sliced the zucchini and squash really thin and used little of it on each salad. I have free squashes for tomorrow.

Yes, I see salads in my life for the next few days. These have to be eaten immediately. Plus, I still have one bag in the refrigerator, I think. No, it's two partial bags I will use tonight.

About coupons for nutritious items
I went into the store three days in a row and these coupons were almost intact. However, the coupons for chips and crackers and candy were all gone. These coupons were put out on the same day. I realize the store employees might have put out new coupon pads. The manager said the crackers and chip coupons go quickly.

So, for all the people who say there are not coupons for nutritious foods, have you looked. During the same time period, there were coupons in the little coupon booklets in the paper for: $1 Off Dole Blends. I sent one to my daughter and forgot to use mine. I was using these $1.50/2 that are of less value.

Your turn
Do you find coupons like I have used, ones for produce (I chose zucchini and squash), and then, specifically, Dole salad greens? Okay, if you grow your own salads, raise your hands proudly!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Silly tends a garden


Who else tends to weeds? Waters them? Protects them from chickens? Sprays them for pests? Yes, I even staked one of the plants. Okay, I put a tomato cage over it. No blossoms? I thought it would take off any day. This morning I had a three-foot weed. And, several more. Okay, you can quit laughing now!

not a tomato in the lot
I had a 4'x4' box for "square foot gardening" constructed, planning all sorts of goodies.  Nothing was ever planted. So, I just used it for compost, knowing I would have rich soil, if nothing else. This year, I thought I had a volunteer tomato. Then, another familiar plant grew.
potato plant
anyone have a clue what this is
poke salat

This morning, I was laughing at myself while I was talking with the man who mowed my lawn. He exclaimed that one was a potato plant and the other was poke salat. I have a free meal! Poke salat scrambled with eggs and vegetable, protein, and carbs.

I can even recognize poke salat, not this time! But, it was not growing in a ditch, by a fence, or just as volunteers elsewhere. Out of its element, it was vaguely familiar but unrecognizable to me.

Four tomato plants sit, waiting to go in that spot and another spot by the back porch. Now, I want so badly to see what I can grow that I will not pull it up. I think I remember that potatoes and tomatoes should not be planted together.

For now, I can uncage the potato plant! It has been so hot that I have severely procrastinated planting anything. Too late? Oh, no, not in my opinion. I just won't have a large yield.

For your information, potato plants look suspiciously like tomato plants. I really really really want to pull up the potato plant and see what has grown!

The whole setup looked neater when exbf could weed eat around it. Plus, the guy who mows did not go between the box and the fence this week. Can you see the wisteria starting to climb onto the chicken wire? Messy!

I feel silly

Your turn
Have you ever lovingly tended weeds, thinking that you had another desirable plant only to find it was a weed? Have weeds ever turned out to be desirable plants?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Free Food with Coupons: corrected figures

free spaghetti, zucchini and squash

I use coupons mostly for things I already buy. Yes, cheese, pasta, and vegetables are good things to buy. Salad dressing? Well, I do buy it. Saturday, I found two Kraft coupons on pads and got two of each. Sunday, I used them. I took the opportunity to shop when I went to purchase a Sunday paper for the coupons.

First coupon: Buy two Kraft salad dressings and get $1 worth of produce free. My $1 free produce was a zucchini and a yellow squash. They were $1.25, so I paid a quarter for them after the coupon. Both will go in a salad. I will use 1/3 of each, making this enough for three salads. Along with romaine, radicchio, endive, carrots, tomatoes, chicken, cheese, and dressing, there will be enough to stuff me.

Second coupon: Buy Kraft Grated Parmesan cheese and get $1.50 off pasta. I do use both. I could have gotten whole wheat pasta. I wanted spaghetti and cannot stand whole wheat spaghetti even though I like other whole wheat pasta.

Both coupons are on pads in the store.

The Ronco pasta $1.22 (free with $1.50 coupon)
zucchini $.75 (paid $.25 with $1 coupon)
squash $.50 (free same coupon as for zucchini)
Kraft Parmesan Cheese $2.98
Kraft dressings 2 x $1.68=$3.36
 Total value= $8.81
Savings=$2.22 = 20%

That's $2.22 in my pocket and food I would not have on hand. The pasta was $1.22, so the cash register is programmed so that no overage occurs, overage that usually just covers other food! RATS!

Two salad dressing go in the cupboard for another day. I use the zesty Italian on chicken when I cook. Zucchini and squash go in the crisper. Pasta package goes into a bug-proof Tupperware container. I just bought Parmesan cheese two days ago, so this one goes in cupboard.

Other free food
3 banana peppers

July so far
Cokes $5.98
1 tomato $1.00 (to see if I want to can that variety)

Above--$8.81 $6.59
pint of chocolate milk $1.59  Yikes, should not have done that.
Total for first three days of July $17.38 $15.16

When I made my salad tonight and got out the dressing, it was almost gone, so empty that I could not get any out. I was in no mood to shake the bottle or let it drain  upside down. The bottle of dressing is back in the refrigerator door, upside down. I opened the bottle of Ranch dressing I purchased today.

I am trying to only spend $100 on food in July. I now have $82.62  $84.84 left to spend. I will not be grocery shopping today. Tomorrow, I will go back to one store that has Dole Salad Blends 2/$5 and will use a coupon on that. Can anyone see salads in my future? LOL

Financial setbacks have led me to this goal. I had a $200 car repair (boot and stuff on front right axle) last Friday and will have a $400 one that I am delaying until the first of August--rack and pinion something.

For several reasons I am not going to a 4th of July block party in Birmingham where I would have a front row seat to fireworks on Red Mountain, good food and visits with friends. Stormy weather, cost of gas, car problems, extreme heat/humidity, long drive (50 miles) and my complete exhaustion caused me to decide I will stay home today and clean house and write Okay, my exhaustion right now and the drive home are the real constraints.

There are two huge bunches of bananas in the refrigerator just waiting to go into the dehydrator. Maybe I will attend to those.

Your turn
Do you have goals with set amounts to spend? Are you successful at staying within self-imposed limits? Or, do you have limits on spending set from an outside source?

Sunday, July 3, 2011, for the rest of the story: Trades Gone Bad

This morning I saw the friend who did not follow through on the toothpaste trade that I wrote about here. You might want to read it first if you just came here. She was actually in a hallway and we walked together and sat at a table. While in the hall she stopped and said she needed to talk to me. 

What she said shocked me: I am very sensitive, and you may not know that. But, I just wanted to let you know for the future. The other day, you really hurt my feelings over the toothpaste.

I smiled; she continued. I thought, "Damn, it is just a tube of toothpaste! I'll go buy her a case if it means so much to her. Then, I could not figure out what you meant by "second trade."

Remember the time I gave you 8 lbs of Kraft shredded, fat-free cheese for the tea you had but gave to someone else?

Well, Linda, that was not my fault. C brought that little old lady up to me and C said, "Here is all the tea" and showed her the tea in my car.

So, that is when you were still catering to C? And, you had told her that you were giving it to me?

Wellll, yes. I did.

Stop right here and let me tell you the back story. D, my almost-trader friend, had a tragedy. Her husband committed suicide well before the first almost-trade of tea/cheese. When D was not at the dinner on a Thursday night, I said to C,"Where is D?" C answered, "She's busy." Yes, she was busy sitting at the bedside of her husband who was near death after a deliberate drug overdose. The next Thursday, I asked C, "Where is D?" C would not look at me, "Oh, she had something else to do." Yes, my friend D was at the viewing of her husband's corpse, the visitation. The next day she buried her husband.

Two weeks later I was sitting at a different table since D was not there and C was. D came over and put her hand on my arm and said that T was dead. I almost passed out. Then, we put our heads together and discovered that C, who called D her best friend, was at fault. D had asked C to tell me what happened and where she was. D told me she was crushed that I did not come or call when she needed me.

The problem: C did not like the friendship of D with me. I was an intruder, an interloper. So, these two met two months before? Hmmmm....D said that C was jealous of me.

Another time several women whom I barely recognized were rude to me. Another was talking about me so I could hear her, and she wanted me to hear her. I mentioned all this to D, wondering what they were all so angry about. D told me that C, mentally challenged, cannot read or write, had told some whoppers about she was afraid of me and I had tried to chase her down on foot to beat her Anyone who has seen me struggle to walk would laugh.

Sooooo, back to today....You mean you allowed C to give away what she knew was promised to me? You had told her?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know I need to grow a new her voice trailed off, I continued.

By the way, I am sensitive, too. I can feel a stab in the back. But, the incident with the tea/cheese trade was gone from my thoughts until I did not get toothpaste we agreed to trade. NO, I was not holding a grudge. But, it appeared that you had no honor or either I was just someone you did not respect. Either way, you were and are in the wrong. I have never mentioned this to a soul until the toothpaste trade went sour. I had let it go entirely and never mentioned it to you, right?

D apologized. Whew! BUT, she insisted it was the fault of C. I refused to agree with that opinion.

C is still trying to wrangle her way back into the life of D.

So, now I know she did not just decide to give away the tea on her own. It is still a breach of honor on the part of D. I still am out the cheese, but I do have the toothpaste I took back! However, this C is a real problem since I know she continues to talk about me and lie. Gee, at least tell the truth about me.

The way I handles apologies--my opinion will not change (still wary) until I see future actions that show someone is sincere. Okay, I am just wary. I trust until betrayed. An apology says to me that actions will change.

I would not have ever blogged about this today, but since I complained the other day, I just knew you were all salivating for the second and final episode.

My children were trusting me to see their magic words, I' m sorry, as the reason for no punishment plus I can deliberately act that way in the future and apologize and get off the hook. I do not have to take responsibility for my actions if I apologize. Yes, I punished my children sometimes, even when they said, "I'm sorry" because they thought they could do anything as long as they apologized afterwards.

Okay, I will stop since I do have successful trades: car repair for hemming jeans and mending pants for friend, yard work for tutoring, ride when car was down for jelly....

Your turn
Does anyone see my point in the story of tea/cheese/toothpaste story and lack of trust right now? She still insists she is trustworthy.  I am not much moved to compassion or trust by continued aggressions or continued lapses of manners after an acknowledgement of the offense and an apology.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Remember when canning jars came in boxes?

1981 box and jars ready to go on a shelf

Those days are long gone. I still have a box from about forty years ago when I bought my first Ball quart canning jars. At a thrift store a few years ago, I found another sturdy cardboard box full of mostly Ball quarts. Today, as I was moving a box of half-pint jelly jars, I was longing for the days of the cardboard box for canning jars.

The boxes are sturdy, just fit the jars, have partitions, and make good storage. Nowadays, the jars come in a flimsy cardboard "tray" that has no flap/lid and is covered with plastic shrink wrap. Boo for plastic; yay for boxes with flaps. I don't have to worry about the jars full of jelly or empty jars clinking together or having to find a cushion to between each jar. When I fill 12 jars of anything, the box can be used to store canned goods.

After all, the canned food should not be exposed to light. THEN, when the jars are empty, the box makes excellent storage for those empty jars--no chipping, no dings, no breakage. No jars ever get jostled on a shelf or knocked off a shelf. I put the flat (you call them lids?) back on the jar held on with a ring so that I don't have to scrub spiders and dirt when I can next time. Ick for spiders, dead or alive in a jar.

The box pictured is from 1981. Despite 30 years of use, it is still intact. I take good care of I can store the original--toy, jars, small appliances.

It struck me as I took the picture that the box was quite artistic. Maybe the box is not artistic. Maybe I am just sentimental.

By the way, these dozen half-pint jelly jars cost $4.56 in 1981. The price label is still intact. The price of Ball canning jars has doubled.

(Don't you love the design element in my photos? LOL at me. Hey, it was sitting on the washing machine, ready to go on a shelf when I decided to write this post tonight. I quit what I was doing to write.)

Edited: I saw a box of Better Homes and Gardens canning jars in a box like I wanted. But, I want Ball jars. I only use those and Kerr.

Your turn 
Do you remember when canning jars came in cardboard boxes with flaps? Do you miss the convenience of real boxes instead of flimsy cardboard trays when you buy canning jars? Do you use the boxes to store the jars, full or empty?