Filed under: ENOUGH!, Frugality | Tags: Bread, frugal, lightening bugs, staying cool, the good life, Waste reduction
Whew! It’s been a busy week. We had a gig with our band, the plot that’s being grown in the community garden for donation to the One Acre Cafe had to be planted, and overriding everything else, was Michael’s final week of chemotherapy. Let me repeat that: it was Michael’s final week of chemotherapy! We’re tired but happy today and are looking forward to a healing holiday weekend of music, food and friends. Some weeks offer more opportunities for frugality than others, but this wasn’t one of them, so I had to really stretch to reconstruct the week to see if there were ways we managed to save a dime or two. We did okay, in spite of our busy schedules.
Monday– In the process of making the ‘calling card of the South’ (sweet tea 🙂 ) for a meeting I was hosting, I poured the boiling hot water for the tea into my glass carafe and it busted immediately. Of course. My initial reaction was one of panic, thinking I’d need to run to the store to buy another. Not! Instead I went to the cellar and found one of those half-gallon canning jars that won’t fit in my canner, and filled it with the hot water and tea bags. I mean, canning jars are MADE for hot water, right? And I liked the look of the tea in the jar, so served right from it, even garnering a compliment on how ‘cute’ the jar was. ‘Cute’ canning jar, who knew? The point is, I didn’t have to buy anything, and was able to make use of something I already had on hand. You know my mantra: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”…
Tuesday: A cool, rainy day led to making soup and baking bread, two of our favorite things. We probably won’t be making either one now until fall, so this batch was especially good, but bittersweet. We figure the bread costs about 25 cents per loaf and this soup was from a bag that I’d picked up at the discount grocery for $2.00; two pounds of Bob’s Red Mill Veggie Soup Mix, to which I added some garden carrots and onions, limp celery, a jar of home canned tomatoes and the last of the Christmas turkey I had in the freezer. Turns out the mix will be enough to make four pots of soup, so it was quite a value! And awful good too, even if it is May!
Wednesday: Michael and I are members of a little band that plays what we call “HippyBilly” music. We have BIG fun playing with our friends and sometimes we even make a bit of money doing so. This week we each made $25 for one hour of playing and that will sure come in handy when I travel to Ohio next week to watch my granddaughter graduate from high school!
Thursday: With the weather warming, we’ve started running fans in our upstairs and master bedroom window all night. The fans bring cool outside air in and help keep the whole house cooler throughout the day. We haven’t had to turn on our AC yet, and I hope we don’t all summer! We have one of those indoor/outdoor thermometers so when we see the outside temps drop below the house temp, we know it’s time to turn the fans on. We’ve also begun turning on the bathroom ventilator fans when we shower, closing blinds and drapes to keep the sun out, and have replaced our heavy winter bedding with light-weight summer stuff. We’ve also switched to bedtime showers, because after grubbing around in the garden all day, not only are we dirty, the showers cool us down just before bed, and makes sleeping much more comfortable. My kitchen windows face west, so I’ve also started cooking our dinners in the morning while it’s cool in there. Once it’s cooked, we usually go outside or for a walk while the kitchen cools. All these little changes in routines and being proactive at keeping the heat out, rather than reactive once it’s heated up, help keep the house cooler and our electric bills lower. It’s lots more expensive to air condition a house than it is to heat it, and I’d rather spend that extra money on camping trips or music festivals in the summer. I know this is easy for me to say in May. We’ll talk again in August to see how that’s working out for us 😉
Friday: We drove to the oldest town in Tennessee this evening, a mere 9 miles away, to attend the unveiling of the soon-to-be-opened Farm Store and accompanying wall murals, as well as to enjoy the weekly ‘Music on the Square’ that’s offered free (donations gladly accepted) to the public during the summer. Sitting in our lawn chairs, listening to good live music, enjoying the cool breeze as I spotted the first lightning bug of the summer, in a beautiful little town square, I felt rich beyond compare. Lots of folks were eating ice cream cones, but we’d just eaten our supper, so we simply waited until we got home, where we ate our fudge bars right out of our freezer. They were cold and sweet and cost $3.00 for a box of twelve, making them 25 cents each. The single cones that were selling like hot cakes downtown were $4 each. You do the math.
P.S. The 9 mile trip was the farthest we’ve been in our car in ages, but well worth the trip to hear the music and to spend time with our friends and neighbors. Frugality is really all about the dozens of little choices we make each and every day, whether we’re making choices about what to eat, what to buy or how to spend our time and energy. I’ve come to realize one really important thing though about this way of living: my life is rich, so I don’t need to be!
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