Thursday, April 18, 2019

To Preserve and Protect

I think this is why human beings are on this planet.  Our job is to preserve and protect the earth.
We only have this one planet, and thus far I truly don't think we have done a crack up job of taking care of it!!!!!
I will not refer to humans as the superior being - as there are times I don't think we are.  Animals do not go out of their way to trash the world, to ruin nature, to fill the earth with filth and rubbish. to cut down all of our trees and put up parking lots.  They hunt for food and use what they kill.  They make their homes to flow with nature.

I think we really need to educate the youngsters of today.  I am a firm believer that if WE don't - the concern and respect for the earth will be gone in a few years.  Many young people don't have a clue where their food comes from and how it evolves to get to our plates.  They don't realize that we can ruin this planet to a point of no return.
YES, there are some young folks trying to get into farming and learning the old ways - but I think they are few.  I would love to see people turn off devices and get back in touch with nature.

Earth Day is April 22nd.  This has been celebrated for about a half century now.  It is a gentle reminder to us all to do what we can to take care of what we have.  There are many ways to do that on many levels.
  • Reduce, re-use and recycle - number 1 in my book!
  • Quit using plastic whenever possible.  Many stores have obligated to stop giving plastic grocery bags completely in upcoming years.  Some states have already outlawed them.  Plastic and Styrofoam does NOT break down.  Use cloth grocery bags and produce bags.  Quit buying individual serve containers.
  • Use more glass containers.  Buy in bulk (less packaging) and store products in your own glass containers.  Use glass as leftover jars. 
  • DO NOT litter!!!!!  If you see litter - PICK IT UP!  Don't wait for someone else to do the right thing
  • Plants trees and bushes - they help keep your air clean 
  • DO NOT use chemicals on the land - keep it natural.  Yes, there are ways.
  • DO NOT use chemicals in your home.  You are contaminating the air you, your children, your pets, and everyone else is breathing.  Natural ways of cleaning is so much healthier and it works.
  • Be resourceful and mindful of all of your utilities.  Do not waste water or power.  Collect rain water if possible to use on gardens and plants or even for gray water for your home.  Turn off lights when not in use.  Keep your heating/cooling to a reasonable level - fresh air is wonderful!
Next time you hard boil eggs or boil potatoes or steam veggies - let that water cool and use it to water houseplants or garden plants.  It is full of nutrients.  
Another re-use of water is when canning.  After I am done with my water bath canner for the day - I carefully take it outside and pour that scalding water on weeds/grass at the fence row or around the porch or driveway.  They die lickety-split!
You can use tub water to flush toilets or even to water plants.
Shower water can be caught in a bucket and re-used.  Otherwise it is just flowing down the drain for no reason.

This is what I use for areas that I simply want no growth.  I use in the gravel area out back and behind the shed (where mower won't fit).  I also use to keep the fence row (under the fence) clear.  It works quite well and there are no harsh chemicals to harm animals or humans.  The stuff you buy at the store is horrible!  Yes, you may have to repeat this every so often - but to me it is worth a little extra work to keep the animals safe.
NO it doesn't really work as fast as it says in the picture - but within a day two weeds and grass are dead.
Do not spray on desirable plants!

Yes, this is what I use as a fertilizer as well.  Many of us have used or still use Miracle Gro - but read the labels!  There is nasty stuff in it.  I don't want that leeching into my food.  I will continue to make my own.
Also think about using chopped and blended (with water) banana peels, egg shells, homemade compost, manure tea, etc.  There are so many natural things that will make your garden flourish and they are all healthy for your body!

Let us help the earth and leave it a better place for the future.  I sit back and watch the state of the world now and often wonder what it will be like when the babies being born today get to be our age (if that even gets to happen).  It is sad.

We need to do our best to protect and serve the earth - it is a wonderous thing that we have been gifted.  We need to educate and teach anyone who will listen.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Let's Not Forget Nature

We often think about stocking our pantry with our garden items and store bought items, but with many times forget about nature!
There is so much growing in our yards that we can use each and every day during the spring, summer and fall.  We just need to look around and do a little research.
I think we all need to learn to play with our food!!!!

Now is the time in much of the U.S. that folks can find mushrooms flourishing in the woods, there are fiddle heads and wild onions and garlic.  There is much out there that can be eaten and much that is quite nutritious.

I like making jellies with different items.  So many flowers and 'weeds' can be used.  Dandelions, violets, clover, peonies, lilacs, honeysuckle, roses, lemon balm and mints can all be used to make jelly.  I have used several of these and they are quite tasty and just fun!

These are so good for you.  The greens are tasty in salads, soups, and homemade salves.

Don't forget to take care of the bees as well.  PLEASE don't kill the beneficial weeds (flowers) and plant lots of lovely flowers.  Without bees - we will have no crops.  They are unsung heroes in the plant kingdom.

I will be doing posts on beneficial weeds.  There are so many yard plants that add to our diets and health and well being.  There truly is no reason to be hungry.

Please do not use weed killers.
NEVER eat plants that have been sprayed with chemicals and beware of animal "locations"!  If you know what I mean.
My kitties always go to certain areas to potty - so I know much of the yard is SAFE!

Take care of nature and it will take care of you.
We all need to educate ourselves of the benefits of 'wild' plants and lovely flowers.  The may someday be the secret stash of food that we all will need!

I advise everyone to get a book or two to have on hand about all the benefits.  OR read and copy from posts and other internet sites.  Make yourself a binder with all the oddball information that you can - you never know when it might be needed!


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Frugal Happenings 4/14

Good morning to all.  Happy Palm Sunday to those who celebrate the Easter season.
It is a very windy, wet, gloomy and chilly day here.
This week we got to over 80* one day and had much lovely weather.  Tonight they are calling for flurries!!!  Old Mother Nature just can't decide!
It seems my allergies are going absolutely crazy!

The grass is green, the trees are leafing!  Tulips blooming, and the peonies have grown in leaps and bounds this week.  In one day - they popped up at least 8".  I swear we could have watched them grow.

This week we had that nightmare (that we all fear) happen.  I was out in the garage getting the mower ready and thought I would get something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.  No problem - IT WAS ALL THAWED!!!  AS IN ALL BAD!  A GFI on the outlet had popped, thus turning off power to that outlet.  It could have been much worse.   I don't have to replace the freezer and that freezer didn't have the bulk of food in it.
It was just starting to get stinky!!!!  I got everything out and in the trash just 20 minutes before the trash truck came to pick up.  (I used my bin and the neighbors).  I was so thankful I didn't find it later - as all that meat would have set outside for a week smelling!
I lost a couple small turkeys, a ham, lots of shrimp and fish and some chicken.
I calculated what I paid - approximately $220 for all - regular price would have been about $400.
Our insurance will NOT cover any of it.  That sucks!
Lesson learned - check the freezer every couple days. (We are getting a new GFI outlet as well).

My frugal week:
  • Did a bunch of yard work.  Got the front flower beds all clean.  Raked all those gazillion sticks out of the yard.  Mowed the yard (the saga begins) - the front got done twice!
  • Got one rain barrel set up
  • Picked a lovely bouquet of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths
  • Got to air the house bunches this week.
  • Rarely had the heat on
  • Got the freezer all cleaned and ready for new purchases (what a smelly job)
  • Cooked a really small pork roast in crockpot
  • Cleaned all the window jambs this week (that part between inside and outside windows).  They sure got dusty and dirty over the winter
  • This was a good grocery deal week.  I got lots of goodies for continuing to stock up.
  • ALDI - had butt ham portions on for .65/lb.  I got 2 - each was $5 and some change.  (we prefer butt over shank).     8 oz. cheese blocks were 1.49 each.  Got a few to add to our cheese supply (we love cheese).  Cream cheese was .69/8 oz.  I added several of them as well.  Butter 1.99/lb.  (6) YAY!
  • KROGER - 18 count eggs/.99 (I got 2).  Fresh potatoes 10lb./1.99.  Maxwell House coffee - 3.99. (3)  Pasta - .49/lb. (6).  Green beans - .49/can (6).  Found a 1 pound bag of chopped walnuts for 2.49 (in the freezer now).  I also found a marked down rump roast (4 lbs.) for $9 - regular price $18 (Easter dinner). Fresh  asparagus - .99/lb. (3 lb.)
  • Did all the normal stuff and used all leftovers
Meals this past week:
Homemade pizza bites/rounds -  (made with older slider buns)
Taco salad
Cold sandwiches and chips (the day of freezer clean-out TIRED)
Goulash (added leftover taco meat as well)
BBQ non-breaded chicken tenders and salad
Pork roast, smashed potatoes and steamed asparagus
Pork/rice/cheese enchiladas (sort of)
Added filling and just folded over soft taco shells - covered w/sauce & cheese (EASY)

So there you have it.  Getting ready for spring/summer, cleaning (whether I wanted to or not), and bargain shopping.  That pretty much sums up my week.

What did you do this week?  Any deals?  Getting any yard work done?

May you all have a blessed and wonderful week.  Stay healthy and safe and frugal my friends.
Have a wonderful Holy week.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Here's My Plan For The Summer

I have a plan for my pantry and our future.
I guess it may not be much different than what I do now - but I plan on working it harder.

My plan is to buy just the basics I need each week - remember - I have lots of food here.  Basically, all we would need would be milk, eggs, and occasional fresh veggies or fruit.  Summer is coming soon (as in gardening), and Farm Markets will be starting in a few weeks, so I will be able to have lots of fresh on hand.  We don't eat much that isn't fresh during the summer, so that is a help.

I will be spending my money on stocking up.  I should never need to spend more than a few dollars on have to haves and the rest will be stocking up.

As usual, I will be watching markdowns and clearance and making purchases at Aldi (case lots) and odds and ends at the Dollar Tree.
I know this isn't buying all local - I wish I could find all I want locally.  It really is hard to do here in the city.  I will try my best with farm stands and local farm markets.

There are some items that have to purchased at stores.  Toilet paper is one, and pet food, dish soap, health and beauty, peroxide and medical are others.  I try to keep plenty of items on hand - but I want to be able to feel totally comfortable, should the worst happen.

I don't really have a grocery budget - never have.  I buy what I want and need.  As I said, we have plenty here - and when I plan my meals - I go to the pantry and the freezer and get my supplies.  I will continue to use our supplies, but I will concentrate on adding to the lauder.
I plan on growing as much as possible and canning/freezing what I can.  I plan on watching the farm stands for things I have no luck growing.  Stores will fill in the rest.

I am making a concerted effort this summer to fully prepared for anything.  I am in no way trying to panic, I just want to be prepared for whatever.  I want to feel secure.  SECURITY IS EVERYTHING!
I know prices are going to continue to rise for many, many reasons.
Our pantry is kind of like another bank account for us.  Sale prices are literally money in the bank.

SO, that's my plan and I am sticking to it!!!!!!
What is your plan this summer?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Just a Bite or Two

Here is a couple of recipes that appealed to some of you.  You know I am all about easy.  So I guarantee you, these are simple and yummy.

1 - 8 oz.  pkg. cream cheese - softened
1 C dill pickle relish or chopped dill pickles
1 - 2 oz. pkg. of chipped beef or ham*
A little garlic powder

After the cream cheese has softened, add chopped pickle (I used a 1/2 pint of homemade dill relish) and diced up meat.  Give it a couple good shakes of garlic powder.  Mix it all thoroughly and refrigerate.  Let it set at room temperature for 1/2 hour or so before serving.  Serve with crackers.
This is so good.
* you could leave out the meat if you don't have it - but it is a tasty add.

Large soft tortilla
Tostada shell
Desired filling
I mixed together 1/2 lb. ground beef fried with taco seasoning added, 1/2 can (or equivalent homemade) refried beans and 1/2 C cooked rice for my filling this time.
It is probably different each time.  Use whatever type of filling you want!

Lay your large tortilla down and place tostada shell in the center. **(I didn't have tostada shells this time and I used a taco shell broken in half in each one.  Laid it to form a circular shell)
Add filling and/or cheese - then fold over the excess tortilla to cover everything.  I used the George Foreman to toast lightly on both sides - do not squish (just let the lid lay on the top of wrap - you may need to turn so it all gets toasty).
You could use a waffle iron, quesadilla make, or a griddle.  If using a griddle, place something slightly heavy on top to hold in place (closed up) - then turn it over and grill other side for a couple minutes.
Geesh - I hope that makes since!!!!!!
Better than Taco Bell - as you can put what you want in it.  CUSTOM MADE!

This is a recipe my Mom used to make and it is still a favorite of ours today.
Make and fry large hamburger patties - then top with a can of condensed Vegetable Beef soup and 1/2 can of water.  Let the meat simmer in the soup.  Serve with mashed potatoes and use that soup and veggies as gravy.
If cooking for more than 2 people you would probably use 2 cans of soup.

This is so simple and a good hearty meal.  We love it.
Sorry no picture!

Hope this gives you a new bite or two to try at your house.
Simple, frugal and yummy!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Frugal Happenings 4/7

Well here we are at the end of the first week of April.  How did this happen already?
We are finally getting a little better weather.  It has warmed up a little and should be decent most of the week.  We do have a prediction of that nasty four letter "S" word later in the week.  Just flurries - but still!
Things are really greening, and I see the first mowing being this week.  My forsythia are trying to bud out, and many flowers are poking their little noggins through the ground.

It has been a very quiet week.  I went out Wednesday, to make a grocery run and noticed a ways from home that the temperature gauge in the Blazer was starting to peg out at the high point.  Crap!  I knew enough to not drive it any further.  Gladly I was in a really safe and nice area.  I called AAA and they came (no extra charge) and took me and my Blazer to our shop.  The shop brought me home.  After 3 days - I got it back Saturday afternoon.  My radiator cracked down the side.  It was original (2002).  It could have been worse.
I really anticipated a huge bill - it ended up being around $360, which I didn't think was that bad - considering.  THAT is why we save!

So needless to say, I did noooooooo shopping this week.

My frugal week:
  • I did go up to the library on Monday - hadn't been in a while
  • Made an apple walnut cake with items I had on hand
  • Got to air the house many times this week
  • Only heat was first thing each morning
  • I found a sturdy wooden captain's chair (think dining room) out back in the neighbors heavy trash area.  I brought it home and will use it as a plant stand somewhere out in the yard.
  • The daffodils finally perked back up after the 20's and I picked a lovely bouquet for the kitchen
                                                         They sure make me smile!!!!!
  • I got a lot of mending done this week
  • Made up a batch of dill pickle cheese spread
  • I did manage to get some yard work done - as things started to dry out.  Rain coming again today!
  • When I got to p/u the Blazer - I did stop to get G's scripts at WM (he was out).  3 scripts of 90 days each was $45 total.  Not bad at all.
  • All the usual stuff - making tea, meals from home, cold water laundry, etc.
Meals this past week:
Baked fish, oven fries and home canned slaw
Southern stroganoff (spicy & made with ground beef) green beans
Pork chops, fried hominy w/onions & peppers
Cold sandwiches, cheese spread & crackers and chips
Mexican crunch wraps
Poor man's Swiss steak and mashed pots
Fried chicken and potato salad

                                                               Mexican crunch wraps

It sure is amazing how lost one feels when there is no handy dandy vehicle to jump into sitting in the drive!  It is a bit humbling, but it also proves that we don't have to be on the go all the time.

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?
How is spring (or fall depending on where you live) starting out?

I pray that you each have health and healing for you and your families.  Stay safe and stay frugal.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Living & Eating Local

I have been re-reading a book that I read at least once a year.  It is a true story about trying to live ON ONLY foods that are local.  I find it fascinating - and wonder just how many people could do this.

The book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life - by Barbara Kingsolver.
It is really an interesting read.  Not only does it tell of her families journey to eat foods that are produced locally for at least a full year, but it also gives a great deal of information and history (good, bad, & ugly) of our food production.

Could you survive with ONLY foods produced in say a 100 mile radius of your home?
Now there can be a few exceptions like - some flours (although there are many small mills), coffee, yeast, baking soda & powder, salt, and oils (could probably render lard).

If we started today - you have what you have in your pantries and freezers to use, but can buy no more food supplies that aren't local.  You can grow your own - or buy from local vendors.
Local vendors - is not WalMart, Kroger, ethnic stores, Aldi, etc.  Local means farmers and orchards.

For us in our area:

FRUIT - we could get or grow - apples, peaches, cherries, berries of all sorts, rhubarb, grapes, persimmons, pawpaw's
Cider would go in this area as well as home made grape juice.
Basically there would be no citrus, pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc.  No tropical fruit at all.

VEGGIES - pretty much anything.  There are tons of veggies that can be grown in our state.  I don't think we would ever be wanting of much

MEAT - There are many vendors at our farm markets that sell meats - all cuts and types.  They are all in state vendors.  YES, the meat is more expensive by a long shot - but it is also better quality.

OTHER - we can buy eggs local, milk (at farm market), and various cheeses.
 If need be, there are also artisanal breads that are made locally, as well herbal teas and things like soap.
We have some grain milling operations within 50 miles - where we could get various grains and flours.
We could use local honey in lieu of sugar.
We could gather black walnuts or hickory nuts - they produce well and are here for the taking in our area.  There would be no pecans or cashews!
We could hunt mushrooms.
There are many herbs and plants to be gathered (many would call weeds) - such as clover, dandelion, plantain, thistle, wild garlic & onions, fiddle heads, etc.
It would mean making our own pasta - and there would be no rice us.

I love this idea as it is helping the local economy, the small farmer and businessman, and it would be much healthier.
Yes it is a lot more work and takes effort.  It would cost more - BUT I think this may be how things will go in the future.
I love the idea of not helping major corporations and big farma - I love the idea of not filling our bodies full of preservatives and chemicals - I love the idea of getting back to God's food (natural) - I just love the idea of local.

Yes, it would mean giving up some things we eat now - but I think it would also encourage us to try new things and widen our foodie horizons.
What do you think?

This is how our ancestors lived!!!!!!!!  Farm to table!
They grew and/or bartered, they hunted, they fished, they gleaned from the woods, fields, and surrounding lands - they preserved anything they could.  They survived.  We are testament to that - we are here!
In the book - they even followed this rule on the rare occasion they ate out - they found farm to table restaurants.

Here is another book I found at the library.  I am anxious to read it as well.  Should give a lot of ideas for finding the things that would fill our pantries and tables.

I am sure that I couldn't do this exclusively - but it sure would be neat.  I love the idea.
I try to get as many local veggies and fruit as possible in the summer and fall months - perhaps I need to try harder.

If you have never read Barbara Kingsolver's book - you should.  It is truly fascinating.  You can skip the technical stuff if you must - but her families story is so interesting.  I love the interaction with the locals and neighbors.

So what say you?  Could you do this?  Would you even try?
I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.