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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Goblins Will Get You . . .

This picture is my favorite of all I have ever taken. Can you see the ornate, short silver-plated candelabra? It sits on four curved, ornate feet. It was only $1. You know me...parsimonious (frugal), always. The candles came with about 9 or 10 candles in a box that said "dripless candles."--$1, cheap for the box. Hmmm, so why are they dripping?

Read this poem aloud to someone tonight.

Little Orphant Annie
by James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
             Ef you
Onc't they was a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wasn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found was thist his pants an' roundabout--
An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
             Ef you
An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever'one, an' all her blood an' kin;
An' onc't, when they was "company," an' ole folks was there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They was two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!

An' the Gobble-uns'll git you
     Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parents, an' yer teachers fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns'll git you
    Ef you

Your turn
Tell me about a scary Halloween, a funny experience on Halloween,
or something funny or scary that happened tonight.
Just entertain us with a Halloween story, even if you read this two
months later.

If you don't celebrate Halloween because of religion or ideology,
this is not the post to comment on that. I respect your opinions,
just don't want to hear them today. But, I will visit your post if you
email me and read what you say about it...kay?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Government agents can come in and destroy your food?: Farm to Fork Fiasco

I found this link about an atrocious injustice at the Root Simple blog, although I have never seen it mentioned on their blog as I can remember. I am outraged and so should you be if you even grow a tomato plant. Do you want the government telling you what you can eat or serve your guests? Actually coming into your home and demanding you destroy food? Thanks Root Simple.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

What happened to Louise's tail?

Not smoking, not drinking, not so lonely this Sunday morning. But, Louise lost her tail! I think it was there when I brought her in last night. It is not lying around in their night cage. But, the droppings are sure strange.

Louise has only two tail feathers. She had a magnificent tail until this morning. Or, today is the first I noticed it. I roamed around with a camera in 45 degree, wet, tall grass in sandals trying to get this picture. Now, my toes are like ice since I refuse to turn on the heater. Maybe socks will help and furry house shoes. Okay, that is the plan when I get up from here. Thaw toes.

Don't you love Kris Kristofferson? I was so happy and rested this morning even though I am in an incredible amount of pain. Then, I saw Louise's tail and a funk set in and reminded me of the title and tone of song. But, the tail? It is so puzzling.  I slept 12 hours, so there is no reason not to be happy, right? LOL

If this is a full molt, it is their first since they seem to just lose a few at a time, looking straggly for a few days. Okay, I am cooking a pot of pinto beans with lots of chicken broth, all for the hens. They need it.

Hopefully, none of you have lost anything this morning, especially tail feathers from a hen.

Your turn
What could have caused the tail loss?  Have you lost anything this weekend?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Go over to DON'T READ THIS; IT'S BORING, follow her blog and you can win one of her many contests. I won a Redbox movie rental, Totino's Pizza and Pizza Rolls, popcorn box, two pizza-slice shaped and decorated plates, plus a wicked looking pizza cutter. My grandchildren in NYC will love this. However, the pizza cutter stays with Memaw.

I will probably put in a bag of popcorn since I am taking the pizza cutter, and they will be getting an empty popcorn box.

It may be really sad that I am soooo excited. I love to win things. One of the best things I ever won was a drill from a local hardware store. Oh, and an expensive playpen when I needed one to keep in the trunk of the car. We gave the expensive bottle of liquor to the head elder in our church.

Your turn
What is the last thing you won? What is the best thing you have won?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday Eats, Parsimoniously

Sweet potatoes make me happy, like sunshine

When exbf arrived to give me a hand today (Thursday), I had not bathed or eaten. I had just sat here, hurting and drinking a regular Coke, my morning "coffee." Then, I became hungry after awhile.  Breakfast was two scrambled eggs and a glass of orange juice.

Snacks all day: pecans, dehydrated  apples, dehydrated tomatoes, glass of milk

Neither of us need to eat hotdogs. We love them but rarely eat them for our health's sake. So, for lunch we had two free hotdogs on free buns. Actually, I only ate one bun. I love hotdogs, so if you want to invite me over and offer hotdogs, I will eat them in order not to hurt your feelings....snicker.

On Thursday night a church here has a dinner for anyone who wants to come eat. Church members, mothers too tired to cook, and the hungry can come, anyone. I usually go. If I don't get a meal that I will finish, I can carry home lots of hen food. People bring their plates to me often, offering food for the hens.

The overwhelming majority of the people who attend these dinners are marginalized, horribly disadvantaged. Some have trouble even walking with aid. Many lack a hs diploma, some are not capable of even passing the GED test. They were in special ed. Many are elderly and do not drive. Many are hungry for company and food. (Church members deliver about 200 meals each Thursday, besides the meals served on site.)

On Tuesday I thawed two items for dinners for both of us on Thursday, but wanted to go to this dinner, also. He has never been because he rarely comes up on Thursday. I told him the plan and he agreed.

I put a three pound roast of some kind and six potatoes into an oven bag. Then, I seasoned with dehydrated green and red peppers and dehydrated onions. I could not afford carrots that I love with the roast, but, oh well.

There were four thawed chicken thighs, also free, in the freezer so that I could put nothing more in. They went into another cooking bag. Salt, pepper, and celery seeds went into this bag. I could not find the celery in the freezer and hurt too much to stand there, looking. The next excess celery will be dehydrated and wait quietly in a jar on a shelf, not hurling itself headlong from the freezer along with other disgruntled prisoners kept frozen.
Roast, chicken thighs, potatoes
Both cooking bags went into one pan. Both cooked at 350 degrees, so all was well.

I peeled seven largish sweet potatoes given to me at this dinner the week before. The outsides were sorry looking, not something I wanted to bake and then find out the sweet potato was bad. I peeled and sliced them and put them in a buttered Corning ware casserole that I have had since 1966. One cup of water went in the casserole dish. I used the glass lid. All those sweet potatoes were gnarly, not pretty, yet not one was rotten inside. You could have fooled me. All was done and refrigerated long before we left for the dinner.

Also, just before we left for the dinner, I made a Tupperware divided plate for his lunch tomorrow. He had a chicken thigh and sweet potatoes. He will add green beans he has open to fill the third part of the plate. Almost half the roast and three potatoes were put in another container for him to eat later in the week. Plus, he took home the three other thighs, frozen and another frozen thigh that hid from me another week as it sat in the freezer door.

Now, for the odd/coincidence part. We had hotdogs at the dinner tonight. PLUS, there were candied sweet potatoes and green beans! The coincidence of hot dogs for two meals today, sweet potatoes tonight and for tomorrow, plus green beans tonight and tomorrow stunned me. It's a good thing variety from meal to meal is not necessary for the two of us.

I have several of the thermal bags sold at stores to keep food cool or hot. He carried the frozen items home in that. He has one with his name on it. We have a

The half of the roast and white potatoes will last me another four days (two days if I eat a sandwich at lunch and heat it for dinner). The sweet potatoes (lunch)  left will probably last three. I could stretch them to four days. I don't ever cook two kinds of potatoes on one day. It just happened, and we both have non-starchy vegetables to eat with what I cooked. I never candy my sweet potatoes. The variety, Beauregard, needs no sugar or butter. The white potatoes will have no salt or butter on them.

Today, my oven stayed on for less than 2 hours and cooked vegetables for 12  meals and meat for about 12 meals. Those are my dollars I saved by cooking all in one oven. Exbf buys cooking bags once in awhile when I need them since his food is cooked in them also. Actually, if I cannot afford freezer bags, he willing pays for them. I use both sparingly and buy with coupons and sales.  He knows food will come his

Edit: Remember, he is taking about 9 meals home--five frozen thighs and however many meals he uses the roast for, dinners or lunches. Sometimes, he will cut the roast and freeze part. I, on the other hand said I had four meals of meat, more or less. If I eat roast beef, sliced thinly for lunch two days, and roast beef with potatoes for two nights, I have eaten my four meals at once. The whole shebang minus the frozen chicken could be gone in two days, maybe three days for the potatoes, maybe two days for the potatoes. So, I am not leaving meat in the refrigerator to sit for 12 days. No way.

About the cooking bags...Until I am free of pain on standing and scrubbing, I will use them to facilitate cleanup. We were rushing too much to take after-cooking pictures. Plus, nothing was actually plated.

Another huge red pepper met the dehydrator and fit into a small pimiento jar when finished. Exbf brought my heater back for me. I now have heat but don't want to use it because of the high electric bill I will have.

Your turn
Do you ever cook a dozen meals at one time? Do you ever use the dreaded plastic cooking bags? Raise your hand if you love sweet potatoes as much as I do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rose Hips for Vitamin C--learn more

Of course, there are people who use this free rose hip resource everyday or have it in their lives. I don't.  However, my friend who was into herbs told me about hips, but she died before I could learn anything. If anything ever happened citrus fruit or to our other sources of foods with Vitamin C.  If you want to supplement your diet, rose hips are a very frugal way to do so.

Two bloggers who know all about rose hips will help us out today.

My friend, LindaM, over at Hello, It's Me wrote a post upon my query  in  Emergency Nutrients: Vitamin C and Rose Hips.
When we have a frost, I will check the ones I will try to locate right now. Why did I not mark where the roses were all summer around town?  There are two varieties in my yard at the edges and difficult to reach.
Likewise, Wendy at Little House in the Big Wood posted about rose hips. She included pictures, although not from her own hips. Those hips look big as

Both these Internet friends have shared information that I will have to reread a couple of times. Thanks a bunch! Wendy and LindaM are very interesting bloggers. Both husbands lost jobs. Both moved to be able to be more self-sufficient. They seem to be very successful. Both husbands found new jobs. Yay for Wendy. Her husband must have been out of work for two days, if that. Check these blogs by clicking on their blog titles for information about hips.

Wendy butchers road kill and other large and small animals for her freezer. LindaM gets her exercise from chasing the Dalai company I keep....hmmm? I so admire both of them and their successes.

Your turn
Do you already make rose hip tea? Have you got this on your list of emergency foraging?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Clean Gourds

The gourd I chose at the gourd show--$1

Remember all the pretty gourds below, sort of tan. Well, they all looked like this one I bought, once upon a time. Actually, all were green and healthy looking. They then began to look like the gourd above, dried and scummy looking.


they were scrubbed to within an inch of their lives and sold for $5. They don't have holes of any sort in them, yet.

I did not feel I could spare $5.  As I rummaged in the wire corral with $1 gourds, I muttered that I wonder why these were so cheap. I meant were they mis-shapen. One woman customer said the ones like I bought were defective. She said she thought they were rotten and I should not buy one. She and her friend were going through the bins above.

She was shocked when I told her all gourds started like the cheap ones, that she was just paying for someone to wash them for her.

All the still-green gourds should have been left in the field to dry out. Water won't hurt them. Neither will a little dirt. By the way, a gourd is dry if it rattles. Those are seeds. Do not bring gourds inside to dry. They stink indoors in large quantities. 

In order to wash a gourd, get a five gallon bucket if you only have one gourd. If you have more than one gourd, I would use a large metal washtub like mine, about three feet across. Fill either container about two-thirds full of water. Put 1/4 cup of Clorox in the bucket and 1 cup in a large tub. Put the gourds in the water and sort of roll them around to wet them. They float. You can drape a wet towel over them. I did not, but it helps to soften the scum on the gourds.

Oh, I forgot the most important part--wear clothes that won't be ruined by Clorox-y wet gourds popping up and getting Clorox water all over. Same for shoes. Remove all jewelry. This is the messiest job I have ever done. Use a scrubby, the sponge and green nylon kind to wash all the grossness from the gourd. That will get all over you, too. Don't use steel wool to scrub.

As you wash them very clean, lay them out of brick or board to dry. On a hot day, this happens quickly so you can move to the next step.  However, you can crack the gourd if it gets too hot when wet, so under the shade of a tree will work.

Get your drill and hole saw. First, never hold onto the stem. Never. The beauty of a gourd is the stem.

*Drill four holes in the bottom of the gourd for drain holes, less than 1/4" holes.
*Be careful and drill two holes opposite each other about two inches from the pointy top of the gourd. You can put wire or leather through this to hang your gourd. For outdoors, I use a piece of a copper-colored. wire clothes hanger. Leather will break and your gourd might break as it falls.
*Use the hole saw to drill a hole in the side of the gourd. Make sure you put the hole directly on the side of the gourd, not up too high where water easily runs in or too low. For this step, it helps if you have the hanging wire in place and hang the gourd, handing it off the end of your finger will work. This way, it's easier to get the hole placement correct.

**Don't use metal to clean the outside or you will have scratches. Some sites will recommend stainless steel. Don't. Oh, said that...worth repeating.
**Use a cheap paper mask so you won't breathe in mold or dust. I never did use one.

I put the gourd between my legs as I sat on the porch steps. Then, I used the drill bit and then the hole saw between my legs. I know, pretty dangerous. Two pieces of wood nailed to a backing where the wood was V-shaped to hold the gourd still might be less dangerous.

When you drill this hole with a hole saw, no one told me what happened directly afterwards. First, you have to get the hole saw out of the hole. Then, you notice 10,000+ little mites or something crawling out. Eeeek!

You can either give each hole a shot of any kind of bug spray or throw the gourd back in the Clorox water, or just be brave.  I put it back in the Clorox water.

Save the seeds to plant next year. I suppose you might get the same kind of gourds. No promises.

Now comes the hard part. Using a bent piece of wire or a brush or something, you have to clean the mass of debris from the gourd. I hate this part. They make a ball to place on a drill just to clean gourds.

It took me about two days to do all this work to 20 gourds, but I am not a professional. AND, I paid 50 cents for each gourd. After I finished, I gave them all one coat of white paint. These were used for a children's craft camp, ages 5 to 11. Then, each child painted a gourd with paint that comes in the little bottles, forgot what kind--craft paint. That craft was a success.

Really fabulous decorative arts can be made from gourds--baskets, drums, bowls, canteens... Shoe dye is used mostly for coloring the gourds. Now, there is a dye made just for gourds.  

Edit: What part of the country gourds grow is found at the gourd reserve.
Your turn
What have you made of gourds? Do you like these sorts of items in your yard as much as I do?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making Halloween Tombstones and Decorating

My yard. I have more tombstones now. 

This year, I have  all the parsimonious decorations ready. Free tombstones I made from free Styrofoam, dirt -cheap tea candles, bricks for the base of the tombstone (scavenged), candelabra for table ($1), four tapers ($1 for about ten of them), vampire brains (Osage oranges, scavenged), ghost candy dish for a quarter, black cloth (leftover fabric) for table, spider web (90% off sale). Anything else? Candy would have been free from Office Max.

Oh, I spent about $20 on a shallow Jack O' Lantern candy dish at a craft show about 20 years ago. A friend who made ceramics had a nice one, not too garish, friendly looking and I bought it. For me to buy full price, you know I must have liked it and really wanted it. Amortized over 20 years, it is really

My body says, "NO!" to Halloween preparation. I am listening. Each week for the last three or four weeks, we have had an event here that, even with minimal participation on my part, I am in severe pain and drained, muscles hurting all over. I may not even be able to get to the box of decorations from under other boxes.

Last year, I posted a tutorial on making tombstones, a post with pictures in all the wrong places. Here is a replay of that post. These are so easy, it's not too late. I got the Styrofoam from an appliance store, paint is anything blackish. Mine was a mistint, a very greeny black or a blacky green.  Okay, just look, even if you don't want tombstones. I have displayed these for four years, on one night only. Otherwise, they would disappear!

Your turn
I don't want to turn this into a discussion of how evil Halloween is. Or, how harmless it is. I like Halloween for the fun. IF you celebrate Halloween with decorations, do you spend a king's ransom? Or, do you do it on the cheap like I do? What is your favorite frugal Halloween decoration?  Tell us all if you have something different or something that is ordinary and special to you or others. Talk to me so I want feel so desolate and alone. LOL.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Emergency nutrients: Vitamin C and Calcium

After reading Wendy's blog, Little House in the Big Woods, and her post Fall food Storage, I added a comment. She mentioned in an extreme conditions she could brew tea from pine needles for vitamin C.

Here are a few other emergency aids to nutrition:
Vitamin C- Grow roses that will have hips. The hips are full of Vitamin C. Hips are the great bulge below the flower, harvested after the flowers and vine is spent in the fall. Still, I am not clear on just when or how. Maybe someone could do a whole post on that instead of a comment, and link back here. Or. I will put up a whole new post to link it to your blog.

Calcium--After talking with a professor of Poultry Science, he told me that eggs could be consumed whole. Well, I checked with Charlie and he dropped the whole egg, shell and all, in his blender for his health smoothie. Ack!  All this time, when people said they dropped an egg into their smoothie, I thought they just cracked and dropped the contents. The raw egg grossed me out more than the shell.

Back to the professor. When he was doing research in  a small village in Russia, egg shells were reserved for the children. The people grind the shells and add to the food in order to supply calcium to growing children's diet.

If you don't have children, the addition of finely ground egg shells will benefit adults. We need calcium even in lean food times!

We will all need vitamin C found in many foods:  tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, cabbage. Imagine a time without these nutritious foods. We are talking about lean food times. You may need the hips from your roses.

Even in our land of relative plenty and pharmacies and Walmart, we can make some our own supplements instead of buying them. Granted, eating well is better than supplements. But, if you cannot get food with proper nutrients in a lean food time, then these two sources will work for .

Your turn
Did you know about hips and egg shells? Have you used them for nutritional supplements?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maybe good news?

You know I have been worrying myself sick with trying to figure out how to afford chicken defense. When I have the torn rotator cuff operation, I know my arm will be strapped down firmly to my body. Of course, the back problem and torn meniscus in my knee will make straining to do things impossible and possibly injure me more. So, taking care of the hens, even getting their safe cage into the house has been a puzzle.

Charlie found about a hundred feet of wire fencing on the road or in the trash, forgot which. He offered it to me for the hens.  He does not want to spend gas to drive 50 miles in his tiny car. I knew this, so I told him if he would come here and bring it, I would give him boxes of food and even dehydrate whatever he brought all ready for me to cut....washed!

I think all my problems have been solved except for getting him to say when he will be here. I will be stressed if he plans to come the day before surgery. He does not understand that, I imagine.

A very generous follower sent me a cage last year, very expensive and a wonderful gift. I cried because she cared. However, it had a few problems (too small for three hens) for keeping hens safe 24/7. It will be perfect for one hen who is broody next spring. If the girls slow down their egg-laying around their third birthday, they can still be mothers since I have people offer me fertile eggs.

I raised day-old chicks in the house once. It was such a novelty, but NO MORE if I can hens to do the job.  Now, I have the perfect thing for a broody hen.

Two other people helped buy two rolls of the hardware cloth, that will be used also, by the way. But, I was still so short of what I needed. This roll from Charlie will finish the job! Okay, not true. Boards or pipes to build a 10'x10' frame for the top to hold the wire are still needed. But, I have pipes from the arbor built years ago and now fallen down. Boards will be easy to come by. Or, at least they will not be so expensive.

You are saying, "See, just wait and things will come." Please, don't. This is an exception to my waiting for things I need.  Mostly, almost always, things don't happen this way, but thanks to all.

Raccoon Update
I think the raccoon is back. Last night, something munched on a pineapple that was outback. Charlie sent it to the chickens. With great effort and enormous pain, I brought the live trap to this side of the house. Since I could not see how to set the trap, left it for later tonight when I quit hurting and take a larger flashlight outside.

On Saturday, a guy with hens told me he caught 14 raccoon in 8 days or something like 8 days. They had been eating his chickens. He had no more problems! I caught three grown ones and three babies last fall.

How I got my trap
About fifteen years ago, my friend J borrowed this from another military friend and lent it to me. When James moved, he did not get the trap, so I have no idea who it belongs to. He also lent me tin snips and a magnet on a stick for nails after roofing. This is another reason I do not lend things. I never see them again.

Thanks, Terre Haute

Your turn
If you have or have had predators, how do you handle them and your livestock security?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Year Without a Summer

The Year Without a Summer caused snow in the summer, clouds, too much rain, frost late in the spring and early in the fall. Crops failed. It happened in the US as well as Europe. It could happen again. Bear with me, please.

Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (soon to be Shelley), and Lord Byron, Dr. Polidori and others were staying in and were held hostage, housebound, by the rainy weather. They loved the outdoors and nature. Being of a privileged class, they could indulge themselves at their whims.  They amused themselves this one night by telling ghost stories and were spurred by a challenge to each write one. A rainy evening was the genesis of Frankenstein, The Vampyre, and Dracula (taken from The Vampyre. We owe much of our rich literary history to The Year Without a Summer.

Are you confused? I hate history and most of what I know is directly linked with literature. Having over 33 classes (over 100 hours) in literature, I managed to learn some history. That is how 1066 and 1588 are so firmly ensconced in my brain.

The Year Without a Summer was directly connected to the the eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. Check it out. They tell it better than I.

Read about the coldest decade on earth in the last 500 years. A possible earthquake elsewhere, evidence of which is borne out by scientific studies, along with the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia caused the summer of 1816 to prove disastrous for the Northern Hemisphere and earned the decade the distinction of being the coldest decade for the last 500 years.

If you think that global warming is a hoax or if you think the government will take care of us, think again. The government, working with more efficiency than we have ever seen, cannot stop another summer like 1816. Only a 3 degree drop in temperature almost destroyed us. The loss of one summer's crops would leave us with the same famines, crop failure, epidemics, and malnutrition experienced in 1816. As nations, we may have more stored, but we have even more people and services to lose.

Can you control your oil usage? Yes. But, will you? Can you quit wasting food? Yes, but will you? That is all rhetorical. Neither of those two steps you might take can prevent calamity in your house. Moving on. But, can you prevent a volcanic eruption? No. Can you prevent or even mitigate low solar activity? No. You cannot prevent another event like two powerful volcanic eruptions coupled with low solar activity, the likes of which we have not since seen, much less coupled. However, food storage, preparations for other essentials, and a little self-sufficiency can mitigate the effects on you and your family.

I don't mean to be an alarmist, but a post elsewhere started me thinking about Shelley, Byron, Claire, Dr. Polidori, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Of course, stream of consciousness took me back to class and discussions, most of which I remembered well, but until just now did not connect all the dots between my English studies and preparing for a food catastrophe. See? Grad school prepared me for this discussion. LOL. Plus, the American Romantic poets and the American Transcendentalists are my favorites in literature.

Those of you are complaining about rain spoiling your eventual harvest can at least find food elsewhere. There were no grocery stores in 1816. I realize that not all of us can prepare for every event in our lives, but think harder about what you can do.

Prices, Mormons, food riots, 1991
Prices for oats rose by five times the price the year before. Joseph Smith left New York and the Book of Mormon was written. Food riots broke out in England. The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatuba in the Philipines had a similar effect in the Northwestern US.

Poverty Summer
If you are an artist or scientist or into animal husbandry, check out this  article from Wikipedia. You will be surprised how our lives were changed.

Your turn
We are taught to prepare for floods, armed invasion, peak oil, collapse of social order, others seizing our food, GMO seeds, medical crises in stressful situations, putting up food, and bugging out. All these things may be just the thing you need in a year like 1816. But, have you ever heard of or read much about The Year Without a Summer? Can you see how a year's worth of food might be the least you should have on hand?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colder than a Witch's


It was 50 degrees F outside this morning and 49 in here. That was the warmest place in the house.

I have noooo heat!

Oh, yes I do. I am dehydrating, drying clothes, and making yogurt. Funny, those things make it unbearable in here in the summer, but I cannot tell the difference. Besides, I am about 30 feet away in another room!

Your turn
Anyone else cold?

Jamming with Sasquatch

He said he would hug his jam he made.

told him to pose proudly with his jam he made. He said, "I will hug it." Of course, he did not pose, and I missed it.

Here is how it happened
Charlie had a gallon+ of muscadines. He wanted to make jelly because he eats jelly with a bagel every morning. Then, he decided he did not want to get rid the skins or anything because it was at least fiber for him.  So, he wanted jam. I offered to bring my canning equipment and teach him how to can. He was going to copy ALL my pictures with his sooper dooper scanner. THEN, he invited a woman he had never met to come by.....grrrr.

Thinking she would probably tell me all about how she canned and that mine would turn out wrong, I was livid. He told her on the phone that I was picky and not to talk to me. LOL...he had been telling me that every woman he knew said that putting sugar in strawberries ruined them forever for making strawberry preserves. ??? This woman was very nice. She laughed when I explained I wanted to teach him with no interference. Then, the next woman could teach. As it turned out, she did not know how to can, so all was well.

I told him I did not think he wanted to can jam bare-chested because he might get hair in the jam. He shrugged his shoulders and said he was eating the jam, so he did not care. This evening when exbf heard this and I told him how hairy Charlie is, he said I should name this post "Jamming with Sasquatch." Driving the back road is bad enough, but when I am laughing and crying, it is really dangerous.

Part of the gallon of muscadines

Part of the muscadines, halved and seeded

I told him to have this done when I arrived. The muscadines were not even completely thawed. He hated using the knife to get out seeds and was slow. Finally, the hurry things along, I used my clean thumbnails to removed seeds, two to most grapes.
He is not happy or very productive at this point


All I said was, "Look this way." I did not meant that way.

Seven pint jars from a little over one gallon of muscadines

Charlie filled all the jars, wiped the rims, dried the flats, and screwed on the bands. Of course, he mashed all the grapes, did all the stirring and timing. The last jar lacked an inch being full enough to put in the water bath canner. We put in  boiling water to fill that last jar. He will eat that one first. He was counting the pings as they sealed. They jars all pinged within minutes, not the hours the books state.

Once, I reached to grab a jar to show him how to tighten the seal. Charlie could not believe I could hold the hot jar that just came from the canner. He declared....over and over.... that I had Teflon hands.

He complained that the muscadines were so tiny. His hands are so large. However, he is accustomed to handling tiny computer components. Maybe we should can wires next time.

Crushing blow
So, that is how I spent my day until I went to the orthopedic surgeon and learned that, indeed, I do have a torn rotator cuff. I cried a bit on and off.

Then, I went to a food bank there  and got a ton of food that I must process or cook. There are about 50 lbs of bananas, 3 whole wheat bread, 1 foccaccia bread, 1 artisan rosemary bread, 1 whole wheat nooks and crannies, 3 whole wheat bagels, 6 bell peppers, 6 lemons, 1 honeydew, yogurt in date (little cups), muscadines, apples, leaf lettuce, mess of green beans, one onion, fresh cooked Spanish rice (was hot) with meat in it, two gallons milk, 20 lbs potatoes. NO CANS. No meat. I left the eggplant! Charlie helped me carry things. Okay, he carried everything.

I will freeze the bread items and milk. Potatoes and muscadines will be canned. Onion, apples, peppers and bananas will go into the dehydrator. Lemons will be juiced and the juice frozen in 1/2 cup Ball jars. The honeydew will be chunked and frozen for smoothies and who knows what. The rest will be cooked and eaten.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gourd Festival 2011

Can you tell which one is me?

This is such a clever idea. People were free to make pictures without paying someone to do it. I was too tall for the hole, so I could not hold still and bend because of my back. I have my chin resting on the edge....ouch, plus I have a funny-looking chin in the picture.
such a pretty gourd will dry to be green

A gourd transformed

I did not mean to get her behind
snake gourds
corralled gourds

Picked too early
Some gourds are displayed free-range

I have to go to the doctor today to see the results of the shoulder MRI. Before that, I am teaching Charlie to can. This should be fun. NOT. I am taking all my canning equipment less jars, flats, and rings to his house.

This year's crop of gourds are still lying in the fields. The dried gourds here are from last year. The green apple gourds that are on the table may never dry. They may rot. Drying on the vine gives gourds the best chance of drying instead of rotting.

Displayed were snake gourds, birdhouse gourds, long neck gourds, apple gourds, strawberry gourds, and egg gourds and more that I cannot remember. Plus, tiny gourds only about 1.5 or 2 inches were for sale. Vendors make earrings from those.  

Saturday, I did not go inside the civic center where all the pretty things were. It costs $3, money I was not willing to part with. Besides, I was exhausted because I went to a yard sale at Sportsman's Lake Park. I may have spent $3 there, but walked too much. Even Tuesday night, I can feel the effects. But, it was worth the pain.

Next post, I will show you the gourd I bought in lieu of going inside.

I have been to the inside part of the festival many times, and I know what I missed--lots.

Your turn
Have you ever raised gourds? Have you ever attended a gourd festival? Do you buy gourds? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My neighbors have chickens! Hurray!

Last Sunday, I wondered why one of my hens was crowing. I ran out and they were peaceably clucking, eating grass and dirt bathing, each to her own pleasure.  Oh well. Then, throughout the day, I heard what I thought was coming from a neighbor's yard. Each time, it was my own three.

Yesterday, exbf came in excitedly and told me what he heard, chickens in another yard. I ran out and we both rounded the corner of the house and my hens were causing a ruckus like they laid an egg. He was o puzzled, pointing to where he had heard the chicken noise, opposite where we could see my hens.

Today, I went out to feed and water the hens and lock them up so I could take a nap. As I approached the pen and ten feet from my hens, I heard a loud chicken from where exbf and I heard something. I do have more poultry nearby!!!! It's exciting. Hopefully, they will work to keep down the flies and odor like I do with diatomaceous earth.

If they have a rooster and fertile eggs, maybe they will give me some or trade for nonfertile eggs for their own eating pleasure. Then, next spring, when I have a broody hen or three, I can let the girls hatch and raise their own replacements. No, not getting rid of the original three, ever. But, they will not lay eggs so much from now own.

I was going to climb on a chair and look over the fence, but I might fall. Plus, the shoulder that had the MRI is not strong. Pulling up would be a problem. I would have to put a chair by the fence and climb.
Ha, maybe I could just go get the ladder and not be subtle.

Your turn
Has a neighbor's new chickens ever been a problem?  This neighbor (if it is the one I think it is) is abusive to his children and animals, so I wonder if I even want to know what goes on.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stupendous sale price AND coupon

My eyes are always on the lookout for the peelies, coupon stickers on the package. I passed Revlon Color Silk. It had a peelie for $1, plus the price for the hair color was $3.14. I think it is usually about $4.50 at Walmart. I have never used this brand since I prefer Garnier.  My price today: $2.14.

I was going to put color on today. If this works, I will be back soon for all I can afford. If I don't like this first box, I can always tough it out for the price of the two I did buy. Or, I can return it. Or, I can use it every other time I color my hair. Last night, I bought two Garnier hair colors on sale for about $5 each at CVS, just before the went off sale.

If you don't have a WM or refuse to enter WM, this coupon or sale may be  at other stores.

Your turn
Will you change brands if the deal is good enough? I will on some things. On others I won't.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Arabella's last post

Arabella, mid joyous roll

Friday morning, Arabella decided to bask in the sun and did not run from me as she usually does. And, she does not know she is leaving around noon. This is the first time she has ever been lying on the door mat, close to the door, of course. It is the first time she has not run from me and peeked around from where she hid and then come back near me.  She finally adjusts and has to leave!
I did not mention his getting any help (I forgot) for her shots and being fixed. So, he must be okay with his absorbing the cost and all responsibilities.  

Tony and Arabella

 Tony, my neighbor, said over and over that he had never had a kitten so small.  He seemed thrilled and a bit enamored with her tinyness. Arabella is looking at the chickens. She rubbed all over Tony, mewed sweetly, looked him in the face lots, crawled around his shoulders from one side to another, and seemed like a happy kitty. Tony took the bag of  Meow Mix (not Friskies like I thought I had), saying that is what he fed his cats. Arabella, Tony, and I are all happy.  

The End 

No Groceries for a Year?

Organic bread and last of my cheese

See the walnuts in the free, organic bread? The cheese was eaten in organic (my backyard) scrambled eggs just now.  Ha! I found that cheese in the refrigerator, hiding! Yes, this has something to do with groceries.

A family of three on a tiny lot managed not to shop for a year. The news article links to their blog. Their year is inspiring since they saved money and she lost weight. The second consequence really interests me.

I am going to try this, especially since the family did not just stop shopping cold turkey. It will take time to find the resources. I must have chicken! So, I will buy it where I can until I find a better way to obtain it  I already have many cans of food, many cans of tuna. However, that is not going to be the point. For instance, I found the pork belly, grown and processed locally, plus there were no additives. I easily stopped eating much bacon long ago, not that I buy over three pounds each year, anyway. I now use the pork fat from frying the pork belly (no nitrite or taste bacon) to scramble my eggs instead of butter or margarine. Since I use less than a teaspoon of either, I don't feel there is any harm.

There will be no goat or garden. But, I can see what I can do. I will not be drinking raw milk. I will not do as well as they did with the not buying processed food. However, I buy little processed food right now. But, if I can do a tenth of what they did and more than I am doing now to reduce my reliance on the grocery store, I will be pleased.

Tonight, before I even read this article, I went to the grocery store for milk. I needed cheese. Well, I am out of cheese. maybe I don't need it.  However, I decided to fore go cheese to lose weight and not spend money. No cheese buying means I did not spend that money. I really wanted cheese for my scrambled eggs. sob....
This venture may include food that is free and not necessarily local or organic. We will see. Today, I actually had an adventure in free food. That will be another post.

The family bought from food buying clubs and local persons. They did not produce all they ate. Read the article and the one post from the blog, at least.

My goal is to spend $56 each month on food, exactly what I get in food stamps. Surprised? I got that letter today. This is what can happen to a person with a graduate degree who cannot stand or sit to do any job and has no financial means or a social safety net. Maybe I should have married one of those jerks who proposed? Nah....

Right now, I am lying in a chair with feet on an ottoman and laptop on stomach and thighs. Find me a job I can do in this position then I can afford organic. No, not that job.

Oh, I will not give up bananas, apples, or oranges/OJ, or garlic for this venture. My exceptions! I will use store-bought canned food that I already have, home-canned, and free food, no matter how I obtain the free food.

Too often, I buy ice cream. Now, a little blended fruit and milk, frozen, or homemade yogurt, frozen, will be my ice cream treat. Update: twice since I started this post, I have come home without ice cream. Another update: Again, I came home without cheese even though my intent was to buy cheese, a staple of mine.

Another Year Without Groceries posted yesterday, clearing up several points in the article that are not exactly true. Her explanations make it soooo much easier to try and do a bit of what she does.

Your turn
Do you ever have the desire not to spend money at the grocery store ever again? Do you want to eat more food you produce or organically produced food? Do you produce enough to keep you from the grocery store? Would not buying at the grocery help you to lose weight?  Do you think you can gradually stop grocery shopping? What are you thoughts?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Arabella is gone, sort of

I called a friend around the block who always has cats, took in a dog that wandered by as a puppy, let a stray hen live with his dog, and has cats. Not only that, but he has church people over all the time, a youngish crowd, it appears. I called just now and explained my weakness when I fell for the cat and my dilemma with  my back, needing to care for chickens, and how he might help me by taking the cat or helping me find it a home amongst his friends.

Tony readily agreed. Yay! One of his three cats disappeared last week, so he said he could handle another cat. Plus, he said that someone had dropped off the last cat he got, right on his porch with a bowl of food.

This is such a relief. I could see the future with the cat: raccoons eat it, I spend energy I don't have to care for it, I trip over it and further hurt myself, someone would have to care for it while I have back surgery, plus the worry I expend over my hen animals.  I am not an animal person, but I really do want to do right by them and not cause them any problems by neglecting them or not doing the right thing. LOL...I do rescue them for someone else to care for!

It was already my desire to feed to my cat food I cooked. That would be another burden I don't need right now. There was a bag of Friskies here that I bought at the suggestion of someone when I was going to catch the raccoons. Everyone said that raccoons eat cat food,so put cat food out for cats. Well, all I ever caught were cats, pets I had to release in the morning.

Animal Control officers said to open sardines and toss the can to the back of the trap, beyond the trigger. That was way too expensive. So, I just dumped the sardines and tuna and left the oily, fish-smelling can. Raccoons are not going to look and assess the situation, "Hmmm, she did not leave food, just a food smelling can. So, I will skip this attempt at a meal." Yes, cats like emptied tuna and sardine cans, too. sigh....sigh

I used a single strawberry or strawberry scraps or a chunk of mango to catch every raccoon I ever caught. Not one cat fell for a strawberry. So, I still have the almost full bag of Friskies that I told Tony I would give to him.

Another thing--my last cat (1983) died because I could not afford to take her to the vet. She survived my running over her with the car while she was nursing kittens. No, I did not hit her in the act of nursing! But, two years later when she was with kits again, she was doing poorly and disappeared when  she was due to give birth. I feel she died giving birth.  I vowed never to have a cat until I could care for it properly. I loved that sweet cat.

I digress........................

My back seems to feel a bit better after that good news. My mind and heart is relieved of a heaviness and sadness about what I had done when I got the kitten. Now, I resume canning.

Thanks for your concern and the offer of help. I know she will be cared for and not abused. Plus, I am sure I will see her about the neighborhood.

Your turn
How about this development? You can all stop worrying about Arabella.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Made in America: A Blueprint for Creating Jobs

This is a very insightful article about what we all can do--Made in America. The builder found every item needed for building a home from items made in America.  Plus, the list is available online.

I vow to try harder to find items I need that are Made in America. If the industries were returned to my area that were shipped overseas, we would have jobs created instantly in the garment industry and manufacture of fabric.

I try so hard and don't have the resources to find items when I need something. For instance, I needed a small strainer. The last three tore up. All I could find was strainers from China. I went to an upscale store and bought a strainer made in France. It was a shocking $7.50 and tiny--less than 3" across, but just what I needed. That is somewhat better, but it is still not made on American soil. It shows no sign of wearing out like the last three. I use a tiny strainer every day without fail, sometimes twice each day.

I did search online and could not find a strainer made in America. That is what I meant about not having the resources to find the items make in America.  Try harder? Yes, that would work.

There are no strainers in any thrift store. Items like that sometimes are just garbage if they are available.

Your turn
Do you go out of your way to only buy American made products? Do you just buy the cheapest product, no matter the country of origin? Do you even care? Has your area had industry moved overseas? Are you afraid of items made elsewhere?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My new kitten

Molly Arabella

Okay, friends think I have lost my mind. So do I. From a parsimonious or frugal or thrifty point of view, I was off that day. Tiny kittens seduced me from a pickup truck in Walmart parking lot on Sunday.  I cannot afford shots or the fix she will need, even though as a senior citizen, I can get a break on the costs. Physically, I can barely care for the hens with help from exbf. Someone save me from myself.

In my defense, let me say that I was still exhausted and in a fog from the Oktoberfest on Saturday. It was the last day. I had missed all but the first day of eight days of activities. So, on Sunday I believed all the people said or implied. The cat was picked up around its middle by the guy. As the cat became all claws, the guy said, "It's just afraid." and laughed nervously. He never put his hands under the feet to calm the kitten. I did when he handed it in the window. 

I asked if it were eating. They both assured me it was. Maybe it was. But, I feel I got a cat that had never been handled by humans. This is not the first time I have had a kitten.

When I left Walmart, I was going to give it back, but the truck was gone. The kitten had not been gentled. It hissed at me for the last 48 hours when I went out. It cries when I am inside.

When I put the kitten on the porch to open the door or do something, it fled behind porch things I cannot move. So, for over 48 hours, it has cried incessantly. I forgot that a raccoon would eat kittens.

No, it cannot be a house cat. I am allergic to cats. I don't clean enough as it is. I refuse to deal with a litter box odor. Yes, they all stink to me. No, I do not want to have to let it out when it needs to go. I cannot stand cats in the house.

I put out a box and a bowl of milk and cat food. It did not want anything. Tonight is the first time it would approach me. It rubbed against me. Finally, I caught it, but it would have none of my loving. sigh

Who wants a kitten?

Exbf was horrified and puzzled that I got another animal, and a cat. Another friend told me to toss it where it would be someone else's problem. He received a tongue thrashing. Shame on him.

No matter what, I could not get a good picture. So, this is what you get. The kitten had actually come from behind things on the porch and was sitting on the box I put out for shelter. I took some of the chicken casserole and gave it to her. She ate eagerly.

She is terrified of the hens. Hens are terrified of her. Okay, just this minute I decided her name and will post it under the picture.

Your turn
Please tell me you have made a horrible mistake like this, bringing an animal home that you did not need, could not care for, and have no desire to cuddle.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Hens

nom nom nom
They voice a soft murmur of contentment as they attack watermelon.

left--Fancy, center--Louise, right--Thelma 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No More Free Tupperware Replacements?

all replaced and free
This is patently a lie, one told to me by my Tupperware Lady. I had two or three little glasses/tumblers about 2" across that were perfect for baby hands. I had  four to begin with I think. Along the way three cracked.  I told a Tupperware lady from whom I was buying Tupperware that I would like the little glasses replaced. She told me they were 20+ years old and I had gotten my money's worth. I told her that the point was that I had gotten a guarantee, a promise. She said that Tupperware no longer stands behind that agreement, but that she would give me 20 cents credit on each new tumbler I bought. Steaming and swearing to never, ever buy Tupperware again, I did as she said I could.

Thennnn, along the way, I was told that she lied, about 10 years after, and I could not find her. Oh, I know her name. It is on a magnet on the refrigerator so I will never forget the lying liar.

The five tumblers with the nifty water tight lid and spout lid, plus all the other lids and container  replacements were FREE. I had been cheated by this woman who lied and took my money and toward Tupperware by default. I have all but two of the cracked pieces that were replaced.  Now, to get them to Tupperware!

I was willing to just take two or three of the tumbler replacements for the ones that had cracked and had been stolen, but the Tupperware consultant insisted on giving me FIVE.

Then, I discovered that I had left off a canister lid. So, at Oktoberfest, a Tupperware Lady had a booth. Hurray for me! Unfortunately, I have to pay something to get the one last lid, but that's okay. The consultant who sent all this to me waived the charge because of the lie told to me. I feel fortunate and vindicated.

If only Tupperware headquarters would call me...they are not to be reached, obviously. Tupperware, I do believing this lying liar is an anomaly, probably still besmirching the good name of Tupperware.

This feels really good to have my canisters and other containers whole again. The lids don't match the cannisters and bowls. Why should I care when these are kept in cabinets? I don't.

I last bought Tupperware in about 1994, put off all these intervening years by the false information from the Tupperware Lady. Now, I cannot afford Tupperware. At yard sales I buy all canister lids and lone canisters, bereft of lids. VOILA! Soon, I have a match. (I match size not color.) In the meantime, lids are not hard to store and canisters can hold other items not needing a lid.

Now, if I only had about a dozen more spaghetti holders, the tall, narrow canisters sold for spaghetti by Tupperware.  I am not into serving pieces, just storage pieces. That includes tumblers with lids.

About the tumblers I received, the ones pictured: I have used two of them. Saturday, I took one with water as I went to Oktoberfest. I laid it on the dashboard while I entered the car. Thirty-minutes later, I remembered to right it. Not one drop of water had spilled. That makes me smile.

Beware unscrupulous Tupperware Ladies.

Tupperware dangers
Independent testing has cleared Tupperware of BPA contaminants. I read it on the A well-informed, green, gardening, bee-keeping, composting, recycling  professional from CA uses Tupperware as the means to protect foodstuffs from bugs, time, and earthquakes.

Your turn
Do you like Tupperware? Buy it? Have you ever gotten replacements? Have you been told that Tupperware no longer guarantees their products? Do you sell Tupperware? Are you afraid to use it because of BPA?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eat Your Neighbor's Yard Art

mostly edible; all usable
When I saw my neighbors two doors down hauling all their Fall decorations to the curb for garbage pickup, my mind saw food going to the landfill and my opportunity. Parsimony and lots of nerve are a good combination. I asked her if I could have her decorations. Much amused, she said I could have anything out there that I wanted. She laughed and not in a good way. I saw free food for me and free hay/straw for compost.

With my little red wagon, I brought home all but the pumpkin that was two feet across. A guy friend lifted it to the wagon and brought it to me.  I made pumpkin butter from one pumpkin, baked the squashes, and let the big pumpkin rot. Shame on me. I forget what I did with the bale of hay/straw.

Instead of baking the pumpkin like I read in recipes, I cut in half and removed seeds, cut in wedges, peeled wedges, cut the meat into chunks and plopped them in a pot to cook. Hmmm, maybe I baked the chunks. Don't ask me the recipe because I forgot. It came from the internet, somewhere.

Two friends "conned" me out of all I made by saying it was the best pumpkin butter they ever had. I got one taste. It was good.

Use the cooked pumpkin in any recipe that calls for sweet potatoes if you prefer. Sweet potato casserole comes to mind.

Today, I was scoping out locations in hope of scoring decorations to eat or feed the hens. Pumpkins cut into Jack-O'-Lanterns won't work. I doubt even the hens will eat those if they start to decay. This year, if you decorate, you will have food left when Thanksgiving is over. Most people put out these displays until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That way, two months of decorating is gotten from the expensive items they use.

Put the flowers in the compost. Okay, at least put the dirt somewhere and use it instead of having it go into a landfill.

Don't throw yours away. If the edibles survived, eat them. Otherwise, put in compost, feed to animals, or just stick in a place where the birds can eat the seeds after you cut it open for them. Offer it to someone with animals.

I did not start this eating of decorations because I was hungry. I ate the decorations because they were edible and going into a landfill.

Your turn
Have you ever trash-picked for pumpkins, squashes, and gourds to eat? Do you think you might try getting decorations to eat this year? Or, do you just think I am nutso?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Temporary, no-cost fix

temporary fix

after breaking and before temporary fix

In order to ease my stressed frugal, cheap, parsimonious, financially stressed mind and not wealthy mind, I took my car for an estimate. We, car and I, went to a body shop that has done all my body work in the past. Plus, I trust them and have known the family for 35 years.

Sometimes, knowing the news, whether good or bad is better than not knowing at all.

He offered to put some transparent, red tape over the light. I didn't know such a thing existed. He took a razor blade and carefully cut around the tape so that it does not look like a patch. Also, the tape does not touch what is left of the paint on the car.

He made a few calls.
cost for one 2000 Malibu, outer tail light:
after market--$169
another option--get someone to go remove the right tail light from the junkyard if it will be cheaper. I think that might be cheaper. Now, I have to figure who is willing that will also know how to remove the tail light and how to get the right one!

1-2-3 Group primal scream now!

I don't consider this repair cosmetic. Guess what I will get when I can afford it. I wonder if this part could be found more cheaply.

This repair is going to cost the earth in resources. That is just not right. The little red plastic lens replacement would be so much kinder to the earth.

The first picture was taken at night. The second picture was taken in full blazing sun.
Okay, no more car tail light repair posts.

Your turn
Do car repairs of any sort throw your budget so far out of whack that you are stressed?  Are you as annoyed as I am when you have to replace whole chunks of your car when a little red lens-like piece could have been made replaceable for less money and less waste in earth's resources? Do you go for the cheap repair when it is not a vital, moving, functioning part of your car?

My car got the short end of the stick!

broken glass (plastic) on rear passenger "corner"

I was exhausted, my normal state, and headed off to Huntsville. One stop was all I had--grocery. As I backed out of the parking space in the grocery store, I heard the crunch and felt the jolt, a slight jolt, mind you. I was sick. I hit a vehicle. Now, my insurance would go up. I felt demoralized.

After pulling back into the space I was trying to get out of, I went over to look at the truck. Not so bad, I thought to myself. At any rate, I walked back to the store to find out who owned the truck. No one did. Then, a woman said it was hers. She was checking out, so I went back out to grab my camera to record the glass as lay on the ground.
I hit driver rear "corner." Red cover is broken from my car.

This is what I wanted to make sure that everyone knew--I hit the "corner" of her car, not the center. No, there are no scratches to speak of. The rest of the glass is in small pieces.

Right above the tag, right in the center of the truck (below) , there was a dimple where the truck had been hit before. I don't want to show her tag, so I am severely cropping the pictures.

She laughed it off, said the truck did not matter, that she just hoped it did not hurt my car. She saw my taillight, waved me off, saying not to worry, the car belonged to her son and it was going in the body shop tomorrow.

That was a nice outcome, but my last nerve was frazzled, frayed, and pieces were falling off. So, now I have to try to cover it with plastic, tape it on with my guerrilla tape, and wait until I can afford to repair it.

No lights were damaged in the fiasco, only the plastic cover. My friend in Huntsville checked that out as I sat working the brakes and blinkers. I could have checked it at night, but it was broad daylight and I had to leave town in evening rush hour traffic.

My insurance would have paid for the truck, then gone up until they had recouped the amount from me! I think it has been over 15 years since I had even a fender bender. A half inch scratch cost $900 that time!

Your turn
Has your last nerve been worn by an accident when you could not afford the stress or money?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Winter Salad Garden

It's a start

I have determined that I will grow salad fixings indoors this winter. This will involve removing the TV from the long table in front of the window that gets some fine sun in the winter. I must do this on a tight budget, like getting everything for free or next to free.

Since bagged salad greens or even heads of salad greens are between $3 and $4, I will spend during the year 6 winter months between $78 and $104 just for the salad greens alone, if I can afford it at all. Surely, I can grow something for less than that. My goal is to grow the greens and tomatoes, grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes which are truly delicious gems in the winter, cost another $5/pt. Add another $120 + $104=$324!  

At the yard sale Saturday, this animal thing was $5, marked down to $1 at a certain point. For $1 I got the animal cage, not sure what kind and a legal-sized clipboard that I need for a little research stint. I will explain pricing in another post.

The cage is plastic and has a screened top. I can put plants in trays inside. The inside is not watertight, so I cannot just throw in soil.

My house has absolutely no heat at night because I turn off the space heater. Even when the space heater is on during a small portion of the day, it is far from the window where this will sit. So, it needs to be warmed all the times. I am trying in my head to figure out passive solar heating that will work for this. Black jugs of water seems more than my table will hold. We will see.

I have the potting soil. I have the plastic bags for germinating and seed starter pots. Now, I need to determine what to grow and buy the seeds. Tonight, I go on safari and will scrounge some Styrofoam that has foil on one side. That will reflect the sunlight back into the "cage" or whatever it is called--turtle house?

There is some glass in the basement for the top instead of the screen.

Only $1 has been invested so far. I want three salads a week, at least.

Your turn
Do you have plans to grow salads indoors this winter? Do you have suggestions as to what salad greens will be best? Large yield? Easy? What variety of grape tomatoes?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why would I buy____if____?

Why would I buy a shredder if I can take a bag of items to my bank once a month or once a day, if I wish, and they will shred for free? Likewise, I can take items to the Senior Center and shred them myself for free.  Besides, I can get a free loaf of bread or buns if I go to the Senior Center and shred on Wednesday!

For the longest time I wanted a shredder of my own like most of my friends have. Silly me. Thankfully, I realized that I would probably just overheat any shredder I owned or, like most items, it would break. I pay nothing for going to the Senior Center, about 2.5 miles from me and about 1 mile past the station where I buy gas. My bank is about 3 blocks off the beaten path to anywhere. I pay no fees for any banking services or checks. The bank shredding service can handle staples, so no need to work hard at removing staples.

I keep and reuse a previously bought and used 2 gallon Ziploc bag to place paper waiting for the trip. I don't take the whole sheet of copy paper mailed to me or the whole envelope. Often, I only take a 2"x1" place from the front of an envelope to be shredded. It takes me a long time to fill the two gallon bag most of the time. Then, there was the time I took out stacks of canceled checks and phone bills from about 20 years ago.  My file cabinet was amazingly empty when I finished. I keep file folders pared down and skinny, but these rubber-banded items were things I meant to go through. SOME. DAY. That day arrived; it all looked like too much work. GONE. GONE. GONE.

I don't impose on friends or family by going over to "borrow" a shredder. I don't cause their shredder to die sooner. Okay, I know your brother loves to have you over and help you, but we are going to ignore that little point today. I take advantage of a free advertised service.

If the free service is suspended, I have a plan. It is illegal to have a fire in the yard. But, I can use a  can and stuff all the little pieced of paper inside, pour in a bit of rubbing alcohol, place it on my grill, and light the can of alcohol-soaked paper. Granted, I would have to do this more often than visiting my bank or Senior Center. My personal information would be safe.

Instead of buying an item, I take advantage of a free service. I don't rent. I don't pay a fee for a service like shredding.

I have other examples, but I want to hear your ideas in the strict term I used.

Can you fill in the blanks of the blog post title?

When your shredder breaks, do you know where using one free is an advertised service?

Your turn
Do you use advertised free public services instead of buying an item? This could be using the computers at the library. I am not talking about going to someone's house to use an item or borrowing the item. I am talking about FREE services, provided as a courtesy.