Tennesseetransitions


Frugal Friday-June 16th,2016
June 17, 2016, 6:16 PM
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

What a lucrative week it’s been for me! I haven’t felt too well so I’ve stayed pretty close to home, just working in the garden, playing music and napping mostly. Even without going out anywhere, the money came to me this week! 

Monday: I appealed a bill for my recent teeth cleaning…I had chosen the dental insurance company because their website claimed my chosen dentist was in their network but it turns out the website was incorrect…that’s not my dentist’s fault nor was it mine and by golly, they agreed and said they’d pay this claim! Savings: $129.00!

Tuesday:  The Community Garden held a  potluck this evening. I   always wash and save my plastic flatware (it seems to breed like rabbits in their designated bag even though I always try to keep a set of the environmentally  UNfriendly stuff in my purse and car so I won’t create any more inbreeding.)  I had more than enough for everyone at the table…

pot luck garden 1

I had bought a package of paper napkins on sale for 22 cents many moons ago and I had a stash of those ubiquitous red plastic cups from many many dinners, picnics, etc that get the clean and save treatment as well. So I offered to bring tableware for everyone, including paper plates. NO, I haven’t figured out a way yet to clean paper plates and reuse them so I bought a package of sturdy ones for this event for $3.00 and should have enough left to see me through the summer. There were about a dozen or so of us gardeners in attendance and you can see from the photo no one looks unhappy about the reused cups and forks, do they? I feel good that I saved a bunch of money AND avoided a bunch of stuff going to the landFULL because I brought the plastics home, washed them up again, and they’re waiting for the next event that requires them. The paper napkins went into the compost pile, but sadly, the plates had to be thrown away. Savings? priceless, because the gardeners are getting the message that it’s okay to reuse ‘disposables’. 

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By the way, Michael and I attended a great outdoor party last Saturday night and the hostess provided a basketful of cloth napkins made with pinking shears from scraps of mismatched fabrics. It was charming and I’ll start using my own scrap fabrics for a project like this. We always use cloth napkins for our home use but I’d never thought of doing that for a party or potluck. duh.

Wednesday: Today I ordered some badly needed beekeeping supplies and used my $50 gift card I’d gotten for Mother’s Day, leaving me with only $11.56 balance to pay out of pocket! Su-weet!

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Thursday: An unbelievable offer came our way today…a couple of months ago I’d applied, and was accepted, to serve as a congregational delegate to attend my church’s annual general assembly next week. The agenda is so jam packed with fun activities, workshops and sessions that Michael decided to go with me, making it affordable since we only had to pay for his registration of $350.00. The church had voted to send 3 delegates in all but one of the other two has decided NOT to attend so now the funds will go to reimburse Michael for his serving in her place. A cool fact: the assembly is being held in Columbus, Ohio this year, which is only 30 miles from where  two of my daughters and my grandkids live so we’ll attend the sessions during the day and then drive to their place to stay at night saving us a bundle in hotel fees and giving us some good ‘face time’ with our loved ones. For a week. Priceless, priceless, priceless! 

Friday: I received a check in the mail today for my portion of a class action lawsuit brought against Vibram Five Fingers shoes. They weren’t as advertised and the company was found guilty. My non-guilty pleasure was for $20.21!

check

As always, I want to remind you that frugality is NOT the same as being cheap. It’s simply a matter of watching where all of our money goes, sticking to our long term, big-picture goals, which then allows us to live life to the fullest on very little money. Cheapness doesn’t give one that feeling of satisfaction that frugality does: Cheap and frugal people both love to save money, but frugal people will not do so at the expense of others. 

One other huge component of frugality for me is knowing that buying less stuff results in a healthier environment too. I’m happy knowing that my plastic forks and red cups aren’t going to end up floating in an ocean of trash somewhere. 



Pay It Forward

About 15 years ago I was standing on the front steps of the local post office, asking Michael if he had a quarter in his pocket so that I might buy a newspaper. A lady walking up the steps must’ve heard him answer “no” so she turned around, pressed a quarter into my hand and said “Pay It Forward”. I’d never heard the term, so she told me about the movie with that name and the premise behind it of helping someone without any expectation of repayment except by asking the recipient to repay the good deed. I was so touched by that simple transaction that I’ve watched the movie 3 times over the passing years and never tire of it’s theme. But lessons we learn, even profound ones like this, sometimes need to be relearned or remembered. Last Sunday my friend Gerald walked up to me at church and gave me his last container of citric acid from the bulk stash he’d bought years ago for his business. He knows I use it when canning tomatoes and other stuff. When I offered to pay him,  he replied  “Nope, just Pay It Forward“. I fell in love all over again with that idea and have thought about it repeatedly since: thanks so much for the sweet reminder Gerald!

This blog has always focused on ways that we can live healthier, more frugal and community-based lives while we strive to find ways that will allow us to become less dependent on the idea of always buying a solution to life’s everyday needs. Pay It Forward fits very nicely into a ‘living well on less’ lifestyle. I’m recommitting to the idea and am having big fun finding ways to do that. Not only does the practice help others accomplish things they might not be able to accomplish on their own, the practice of helping one another can spread geometrically through society, creating a social movement with an impact of making the world a better place. A better place! Think about that! 

The Heifer Project and Kiva micro-loans are both based on this concept, and locally, One Acre Cafe operates within the same framework-if you can afford to pay an extra dollar or so for your meal (and you can since you don’t have to tip the volunteer staff)  your extra is ‘paid forward’ to feed someone that can’t afford a meal.

One doesn’t need to make loans of money however to make the world a better place. Some of us may not have even a bit of extra money to pay forward, but the concept can be expressed in myriad ways: donating your extra garden produce to someone in need or giving a stranger’s car battery a jump come immediately to mind. Paying it forward helps me to remember the power of giving and my connection  with all living things. It helps both the giver and the recipient by adding a touch of  kindness and compassion to their days. Simply put, the unspoken message is: “I care about you”. 



Bees and Peas and Worms- Oh My!

My days are once again revolving around the weather and the garden. I’d been waiting for the perfect night to relocate my growing bee colony to a more permanent place (from atop their temporary headquarters  on top of our camper!), and after several stings and some help from two strong women, the move seems to have been a success. Tuesday night was a full moon with no wind so it was as good as it gets.The little pollinators are now located in a private corner of my yard, surrounded by  copious amounts of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and blooming butterfly weed with a picket fence to keep curious dogs or kids at bay. I love my bees and my neighbors are  in complete agreement with me having them, so all is well. Thank you again City Commissioners for realizing the importance of honeybees and making them legal within our city limits. Next bee hive: the community garden of course!

It’s also ‘pea-pickin’ time in Tennessee’ and I’ve already picked three pounds of sweet, organic sugar snaps from my 4’x5′ bed, with a couple more pounds to come. That little space makes tremendous use of a discarded and inverted umbrella-style clothes line pole that we string with twine for the peas to twist up and around on. After the peas are finished, the plants are cut off so the nitrogen-fixing roots can continue to nourish the soil, the lightweight pole is folded up and stored underneath my tool shed until the next viney crop needs it, and the bed will be planted to Longkeeper Tomatoes for fall and winter eating. Not bad for 20 square feet of soil!

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In addition to my tower of peas, I saw another neat idea downtown today for a ‘tower of power’. What a great way to grow strawberries or greens in a small amount of space! The perforated pipe you see in the center has a removable cap, allowing the pipe to be filled with compostables, which the worms promptly draw into the surrounding soil, making nourishing castings in the process. The owner of this growing tower bought one like it and realized how easily he could make one himself…I saw the ‘store bought’ one too and it really didn’t look much different at all except the planting pockets were a little wider and he’s growing full sized kale and other greens in them. So, if you’ve got an extra plastic rain barrel laying around…

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Speaking of worms…my new-to-me worm bin has four levels, with a spigot at the bottom for drawing off ‘worm tea’ which I then feed to nearby plants. It fits in this out-of-the-way corner of my patio and I love the idea that the worms are constantly and quietly working to help me grow food, just like the bees…

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OK, so what do honeybees, worms and homemade growing towers have to do with transitioning? They’re all good examples of closed loop systems. Anytime you can create a closed loop system-that is, a system that creates no waste, you will find yourself one step closer to sustainability, a common theme that runs through many of this blog’s posts and is a central tenant of living a lifestyle that is NOT based on constant energy input. These are but three examples of closed loop systems right here on my little urban lot. Using rainbarrels, planting and growing food using open pollinated seeds, building compost bins or even tending a flock of hens that are able to thrive on food that you grow for them or where they have access to wild foods are more examples of closed loop systems. Solar panels and wood stoves that are fed with managed woodlot cuttings or blow downs are yet more examples. I even consider the food that I grow and can sort of a closed loop system since I save many seeds and then reuse the same canning jars and reusable lids year after year, as well as the canning water itself. 

It’s all part of  a simpler way of life that I find more satisfying and creative than one based on consumerism. I love the sense of freedom I have when being in charge of my life-even if just a small part of it- and find the challenges this ‘good life’ presents are far more pleasant than those that require paying for solutions. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s the journey, as much or more than the destination, that feeds my soul. I hope this blog provides you with food for thought as you seek ways to pilot your own ship. 

 



Frugal Friday-May 20, 2016

 

This week has been one of odd May weather and neither of us feeling well so more time than usual was spent right here at home. We tried to get in our daily walks while completing errands and we did manage to mulch the ‘taters and pick some fresh peas. Freshly laundered clothes were hung out to dry one day and lots of healthy meals were cooked from scratch. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary…

Monday: Although I’m quite tired of the cool, gray weather we’ve put up with lately, it has given us an opportunity to work our plot in the community garden in the comfort of those cooler temperatures this week. We weeded our paths and then covered them with a thick layer of wood chips that were delivered to us by a local tree trimming company- for FREE. I bet since landfull fees are so high, that these types of companies would have free chips no matter where you live. Check it out in your area! Our chip pile has already gone down quite a lot…

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Tuesday: My strawberries continue to sweeten and ripen in spite of the cool weather. When life gives  you strawberries (and ripe bananas) make fruit roll ups! I’ve never made them before and for a first time effort, they came out really well. Wish I could share their goodness with each of you. But we’re planning a camping trip soon, so these will be a really nice addition to the supplies. Here’s the directions: wash and core 2 qts of berries, puree in blender,  add 1 1/2 very ripe bananas if desired (and it helps thicken the leather). As an aside, I also added 1/2 tsp powdered Vitamin C to make them even healthier and to prevent oxidation and unwanted browning. 

I suspect two things with this delicious snack:

1.) You can use any kind of fruits you like best or have the most of, but you’d have to remove seeds of course 

2.) You won’t really save any money because I just looked online and saw that a box of 10 FAKE fruit roll ups costs only $2.10. Those made with 100% organic fruit are simple unaffordable!  My recipe made a couple dozen but I had to pay for the bananas, the electric energy used to dry them in my Excalibur dehydrator and the Vitamin powder (which I had on hand, but still…) So these aren’t particularly ‘frugal’ but it is a great way to enjoy fresh fruit next winter when you couldn’t buy a ripe LOCAL strawberry if your life depended on it! There’s no box to recycle, however I wasn’t pleased with my choice of plastic wrap for packaging them. I suspect I might’ve been able to dust the outside of the dried fruit with a bit of confectionary sugar before rolling to prevent sticking and then put them in a single ziplock bag that I could rewash for storage. Live and learn. Let me know if you make roll ups with some other fruits, will you?

Wednesday: This didn’t really happen on Wednesday of this week but I just had to gloat a little over this windfall. A friend ordered a certain kind of tea online but was shipped a POUND of the wrong type. When she called the company to let them know, they told her to keep it and they would reship the correct tea. Guess what? She doesn’t like ORGANIC Red Rooibos tea and we do very much. And guess what?  She gave us the tea. And guess what? The tea was $42 a pound. 

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Thursday: My seasonal allergies have really bothered me this spring so I started using my Netie Pot again as my choice of drugs. (I’m very careful in how I use it because it’s been said you know that ‘netie pot is a gateway drug’.)

Here’s my easy recipe… I read somewhere that using it at bedtime seems to be most effective then.,in that it washes away the days’ accumulation of pollens that are  in your nose: Mix 3 tsps of iodine-free salt with 1 tsp of baking soda and mix well. Add 1 tsp of that to 8 ozs of lukewarm distilled or boiled water, then use the Netie pot to irrigate nostrils. If you have trouble picturing this absolutely harmless but effective natural practice, watch this 15 second You Tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9i6x6uGm2k. Savings: Prepackaged saline solutions average 15 cents each. Box of 100 is $14.69 PLUS one hundred little non recyclable foil envelopes. Just sayin’…

Friday:  Since our environmentally disastrous trip to California last month I’ve tried to make peace with Mother by being super vigilant about my resource and energy uses. Today I knew that I’d partake of the free pre-made lunch salad they always give me as part of my noon-time chemo treatment so I made sure I carried a plastic fork with me to eat it with and I refused the straw in paper for the canned juice drink, brought the can home for recycling,  as well as the nice plastic container with lid for a future “leftovers” trip in the car. Hardly cause for vindication but I felt better about it. Please remember to keep some plastic forks and spoons in  your car, purse or laptop case. It won’t save you any cents but it sure makes sense!

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 Hope your weekend is healthy, fun and frugal too!



A Celebration of Spring
May 16, 2016, 7:51 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Let me begin by telling you that I’m no veggie Purist, but I don’t buy meat to cook at home, even though I do order an occasional piece of fish or chicken if I’m in a restaurant. (If Johnson City could get a really good vegetarian restaurant I might even forgo that occasional piece of meat.) I get tired of ordering salads and burritos on the rare occasion that I go out to eat…those are things that I can easily prepare at home. Eating out is meant to be a treat, and a change of pace from the everydayness of my own cooking.

Michael and I attended ‘VEG FEST’ today in nearby Asheville, NC. This day-long celebration of all things vegan and vegetarian was held in a beautiful downtown park, was free to get in, and filled with vendors, all hawking anything you can think of that might possibly appeal to a vegetarian lifestyle. From Organic Clothing, to granola bars and smoothies, from bumper stickers to animal rights activists, it was a smorgasbord of stuff for folks both young and old: we all had one thing in common…we were there for the food.

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Ah, the food! We ate our first-ever Vietnamese sandwiches, called Banh Mi, with a side order of fresh spring rolls, each hand-wrapped by a cute Vietnamese girl. With peanut or Sriachi sauces for dipping, this made for a delicious and different ‘veg head’meal.

<b>Vegetarian</b> bánh mì <b>sandwich</b>

Later we watched cooking demonstrations…

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…made by some famous chef I’d never heard of. But he did cook Broccoli-Raab. Have  you had it before? 

All that celebrating of vegetarian foods made me grateful that I live in a place where I have access to all that and more. It also made me aware of how much I really love eating FRESH foods. After we returned home from the festival, while Michael walked down the street to water our plot at the community garden, I decided to take some pictures of some of the freshest food available- in my own backyard. I’ve learned first-hand that it’s positively cheaper and far more environmentally-friendly to eat a veg diet than a meat-based one. We won’t even go into the health pros and cons because that’s not what the point of this post is all about. It’s more about the celebration of fresh vegetables and fruits at this time of year, after a long winter of butternut squash, canned goods and root crops. Because our spring has been fairly cool, the things I’m growing in my tiny greenhouse are still continuing to keep us supplied with all the lettuces, spinach, cilantro and spring onions we can eat this spring, with enough to share too. This picture was taken today, May 15th…

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We’re also enjoying the gift of eggs from my friend’s hens…eggs that have been few and far between during the winter months, are now filling cartons faster than she can use them up. I’m taking the advice of another friend to chop fresh lettuce and spinach or arugula finely, cook an egg over-easy style in olive or coconut oil, and serve it on top of the chopped greens. The yolk is soft enough to make a ‘sauce’ for the whole thing. Just look at how these bright yellow yokes stand up in the pan…her happy hens are fed a healthy, organic diet that reveals itself in those ‘circles of sunshine’. 

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As I walked around taking pictures of my own backyard bounty and counting my blessings in the process, I realized how big the chard has gotten. Just as spinach and lettuce begin the end of their short cool-season lives, the chard jumps at the chance to continue giving us fresh greens for supper… PS that little plant on the bottom right is a volunteer calendula from last year. You can use the blossoms to make a soothing salve. I wonder if I can eat the leaves???

Chard[1]

Of course, we all enjoy dessert and spring has brought with it…strawberries! This has been our best year ever for these sweeties and I believe it’s probably because I took the time last summer to pot up runners and then in the fall replaced older plants with the new younger ones. Or maybe it’s because I have my own hive of bees this spring and they’ve been busy doing what they do best. Maybe both. Regardless, this is but a small bit of the berry bounty…

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And isn’t that convenient that Mother Nature provided us with the perfect combination of spinach and strawberries at the exact same time so that I can make the best salad on the planet? Here’s the recipe: you’re welcome.

Strawberry Spinach Salad I

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


Frugal Friday and An Environmental Disaster
April 22, 2016, 10:55 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Michael and I, along with my best friend, have just returned on from a 12-day trip to California. We don’t travel much, but this trip made me realize that travel is expensive, not only in terms of money but also in terms of energy use (both human and fossil fueled) and making concessions about my own values. I thought I’d share some extraordinary frugal things we did to make this ‘cross country trip more affordable, as well as some things that were incredibly expensive in terms of harm to the earth.

The friend that went with us has a close elderly friend that is no longer able to travel, after many years of doing so extensively. When she heard that we were wanting to make this trip she insisted we use her ‘frequent flyer miles’ to pay for the tickets. There were just enough miles to pay for our three round-trip tickets (by flying mid-week) so the most expensive part of the trip didn’t cost us a dime! We did however have to pay that very unfrugal $25 per checked bag (or $35 for each traveler’s second bag) but we worked it to our advantage by checking Michael’s best friend (his banjo) and packing around the instrument in the case with all his underwear and tee shirts! I also checked one suitcase, sharing it with him for the rest of his personal things. My friend and I then shared a second case, for a total cost of only $50 for all 3 of us. We were also allowed one free carry on bag as well as a laptop, purse or backpack  I layered my laptop amongst the safety of the clothing in the checked bag, which left plenty of room in my carry-on for all that I wanted to take. But here’s what we learned: if the flights are full (and they all were, both ways) the airlines ask you to voluntarily check your carry-on bags, compliments of the airlines.  We simply transferred meds, snacks and immediate needs items to our backpacks and never had to worry about hauling those carry on bags from gate to gate during layovers. Then, when we arrived at our final destination our luggage was among the first off and corralled together, both checked and unchecked. Sweet!

About those snacks: we stayed in a hotel the first night we arrived and the night before we left, saving a full $20 each night by booking ahead on line. I saw the online price of $99, but called to reserve the room and was told it was $119. So I politely declined and booked thru the website. The wonderful accommodations there included a full breakfast, with fresh fruits and bagels, along with waffles, etc. We ate our fill in the hotel breakfast room quite early both mornings, and then took the liberty of taking a piece of fruit and a bagel with us, which we enjoyed mid-flight much later in the morning. That held us over until an early dinner time both days. Upshot being we only had to purchase one meal on those travel days. Was that dishonest to take the fruit? I didn’t see any signage against it, and the breakfast room attendant didn’t say a word, so I think not. Michael and I also learned that to share a cup of airport coffee was much cheaper than buying two individual cups- only 50 cents more for the very large cup. Savings on airport coffee alone: $4.20.

It turns out those hotel stays were a bonus too: about 6 weeks ago we had paid a $600 medical bill that the hospital had insisted our insurance had refused to cover. Two weeks before the trip, we received a $600 limit debit card in the mail from them, saying a mistake had been made and they were reimbursing us because we had ‘overpaid’. What a travel bonus that was! We paid for the two nights in the hotel, many many of our meals and more with that card and came home with $150 still on it! To make this trip even more unbelievably affordable, we cashed in our accumulated credit card ‘points’ to completely cover the cost for 12 days rental on a brand new Toyota Corolla and we cashed in our the coins from our ‘savings pot’ and got $234.40 before we left (making sure to take the coins to our bank for free counting, rather than to a counting machine that is handier but charges 10% of the total, saving us $23.44 in the deal! 

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OK, now the negatives of our travel: Trash. Aluminum cans. Paper. Styrofoam. Plastic. Compostables. Times 100! I’ve recycled and composted and avoided these items for so long that it’s become second nature to do so; it was with great distress that I threw away more of this crap than I want to admit. Michael and I had also forgotten to bring our personal water bottles, but I finally broke down and bought a cheap one that at least stopped the constant flow of disposable water receptacles. But the trash we participated in generating was nothing compared to the environmental degradation that was caused by our flights! I’m going to have to give a great deal of thought now to ever flying again. I want very much to travel to Cuba in the future though and I’ve learned that now you can take a ferry from Miami to Havana, so if I go, I’ll likely rent a Prius and drive to Miami, then take the ferry. That sure won’t work for any other country so that’s why I’ll have to do some major soul searching about it. No matter where or how I travel in the future though,  I’ll always remember to take my own water bottle, as well as a personal tea/coffee mug too so I wouldn’t be forced to use disposable ones again. Add to this short list my own spork  and a cloth shopping bag. After a short while there, I did begin refusing all plastic bags, and just carried my items open handed to the car. We bought post cards each day, filled them out and mailed them on the spot to loved ones with stamps I’d purchased beforehand. This offered the impact of a little hand written souvenir, as we had no room in  our suitcases for much more than we came with anyway.  We did share towels and shampoo, soaps and everything else we could think of but I’m not kidding myself thinking that this trip wasn’t a personal environmental disaster.

So there you have it…our travel was lean on money but high on environmental costs. We had a fabulous time, took lots of pictures, and made life time memories. But I personally took note of our country full of trash, waste, homelessness, poverty and massive traffic jams as well. My hope is that this post will serve to remind you to plan ahead for the every day things we use at home that you can take along when you travel to make it less wasteful. Consider driving or a slow boat to China too, okay? From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters, Happy Earth Day.

big trees



Frugal Friday-April 1st

There’s been a lot of self-talk today with me trying to decide whether to write a real post or use this space as an opportunity to play a great April Fool’s joke on my readers. I decided on the former, even though I had great fun imagining all the creative and funny things I could write. With that, let’s get down to the subject of frugality. I consider thrift as liberation rather than deprivation. It also connects me more meaningfully to the earth because I know that non-consumption is one of the keys to helping turn the temperatures down on our heated planet.

Every day is Earth Day in my mind, but I will use this opportunity to remind you that April 22nd is THE date this year for celebrating. I enjoy knowing that the choices I make in my life are interconnected choices. When I choose to eat healthy vegetarian meals it benefits the environment in countless ways. When I choose to recycle, repurpose and reuse everything I possibly can, or to walk rather than drive somewhere, I know those choices are also protecting the earth’s resources as well as my bank account. Buying as little as possible every single day leads to a simple lifestyle that feels right for me and my Earth. To that end, nothing is too small to make a difference…

Monday:  I used an uncancelled stamp that had come on a piece of mail to send a sick friend a card…

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I not only saved 49c cents on the stamp, I will reuse the manila envelope too the next time I need to mail something large. PLUS I’ve still got that extra stamp for my next card!

Tuesday: I mixed up a fresh batch of laundry detergent, using borax, washing soda and grated laundry soap. The whole process takes maybe 10 minutes, I store the gel in a freely-given repurposed bakery bucket, I save LOTS of money over store bought detergents, and there’s no container to recycle when it’s gone. This choice is a lot healthier for the Earth, in my opinion.  I’ve only bought ONE container of store bought stuff in over 15 years, and that was this past winter when I was too sick to make my own.

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Wednesday: My daughter was here visiting from Ohio for a few days so we enjoyed our time together going to the nearby thrift store where she snagged three tags-still-on Calvin Klein dresses for $22 (I thought he only made underwear!) and we managed to snag five packages of free bread…

free bread

Evidently a  local bread store had just donated a whole pallet of bread to the thrift store just a few minutes earlier, but the recipients don’t have to pay for the bread since it’s a corporate tax write off for the bread company. I don’t get it, the bread wasn’t even out of date. Some days the magic just happens.

Later downtown we were drawn in by this sign…

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…where we enjoyed lunch at a local eatery and then drove over to a newly-opened Carousel. This beauty has hand-carved, hand-painted animals and is only $1 per rider! The ride was my treat. Never let it be said I’m a cheapo 😉

sam on carousel

Thursday: I planted some Iris bulbs given to me by a friend who had thinned her bed. I tucked them among some fading daffodils that were given to me by another friend…

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Yeah, I had to weed all that out, but will now mulch it thickly with the free shredded leaves the city provides me each fall…

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Friday: The best for last…my neighbor called at almost dusk last night telling me her hive of honeybees had swarmed, but were under a nearby landscape timber. She wanted to know if I had an extra ‘hive body’ to put them in. I had a swarm trap that I had readied with drawn comb and bee pheremone just the day before, so I took that over to her. As soon as the sun got up good this morning, the  swarm walked right into the trap and as soon as she gets them transferred to their new permanent ‘hive body’ I’ll set the trap again for perhaps a swarm to go in the community garden. Saving the bees? Priceless!

Bee Swarm

Now it’s Friday evening and we plan to walk downtown to attend the annual free Corazon Latino Festival where there will be ‘the running of the bulls’ (aka Little City Roller Girls), along with food trucks selling authentic tamales, tacos and beers. There will be free salsa lessons, live music on the outdoor stage, vendors, and my favorite…Pasaporte A Las Americas- where visitors can travel across Latin America without leaving home; cultural ambassadors answer questions and share traditions from their countries of origin. Cultural understanding? Priceless!

Have a frugal weekend friends!

 




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