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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saving money????

To "save" money this year, I thought it was time to resurrect my clothesline. The former clothesline served our family very well, but broke in numerous places due to old age. Hmm, sounds like me somedays. The children had all left home, I was battling some health issues & it was just easier to pop the clothes in the dryer. After all, how much laundry can two medium sized people generate?
This worked well for quite some time. It would/ is still working well if I choose to use it. But, no, this year, I have convinced myself I am a healthy,strong woman with literal interpretations of the Proverbs 31 woman who "looketh well to the ways of her household".
What with the ever rising cost of fuel & groceries & taxes & co- pays & gasoline & . . . you get my drift, I feel a huge need to get back to my ultra frugal ways. Thus, the clothesline.
I've used a clothesline all my life till these last few years where I've engaged in riotous living & -gasp- have been using the dryer. Shocking, I know. And I stopped washing out plastic baggies. And even use , just sometimes, mind you, I've not gone completely extravagant, Charmin toilet tissue-but only when it was on sale.Okay. Whew. I confessed. Now you know all my dark secrets.
Ahh, but I digress. Back to my superbly economical solar powered clothesline. Dries clothes with just the power of the sun & a nice breeze is an even bigger help-you know, kinda like the cotton/heavy duty cycle on the dryer.

Well, said clothesline, is over 90 feet one way. It's a pulley system, so I'm going to need over 180 ft. of non-stretching clothesline. I forget the price of this at my local hardware store but I thought I'd shop around for the best price. Lowe's has 200 ft. of "durable, non-stretch line for just $20.00 ! Less than our hardware store. Great! Just what I'm looking for! Thankfully, the pulleys are still in place & my darlin' husband put the line in place for me. Hmm, the no- stretch line stretches. Probably should have got the more expensive one. . .
I am eager to start hanging the clothes out. . . oh, I gave away most of my clothespins & all my clothesline stretchers. Okay. I can hang up approximately 8 things. Hmm. Go to the hardware store again, they are the only ones that sell metal ( read that-"lasting") stretchers. I buy 3. At about $9.00 each. I don't care for wooden clothespins because of the marks they leave on the clothes. The hardware store only carries wooden. I decide to order them from Amazon. Make my purchase of $27.00 for clothesline stretchers. I'm now at $47.00 to save some money.
Get on Amazon. Order $10.00 worth of clothespins & add $15.00 worth of other stuff . . . to get FREE shipping. I'm now at a total of $57.oo, so I can be frugal.
Once I have everything I need, a NY monsoon season begins. I figure I've got about 10 loads of clothes hung out by now & it's nearly July. The first load cost me $ 57.00, but by the time I got up to 10 loads, the cost per load is only about $5.70! Oh, and I find I need some more clothespins & another stretcher. By 2015 I figure this is all going to pay for itself-if the line doesn't break!!
Laundry tips: Need a cheap, safe fabric softener? Try white vinegar. Just don't add too much-you don't want to smell & feel like a soft pickle!
Hope your day holds a smile!!! God bless! And may it not rain on the clothes you hung out, like it is on mine right now!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Butter Spread

Ahhh, the old glitchy thing with my pictures. Obviously, should be upright. Oh well. One of the things that makes me happy- fresh flowers from the lawn. The lilies smell especially sweet.

We are repainting the living room. It's needed it badly now for about 5 years, with the dining room painted last summer, it really made it look dismal! After much discussion, we finally decided to go with same color as the kitchen. We've had it bone white for 13 years & I really wanted COLOR!!!

Now, onto making your own butterspread. See the ingredients. Just one. Can you guess what this is??? Right, it's canola oil.
You'll need 1/2 cup.

Try guessing this one, too. It's salted butter.

You'll need 1/2 cup ( 1 stick). Let this sotfen for awhile before you're ready to make the spread.

Okay! Now for the biggie- can you guess that this one is sold as "food"?? How many of those "ingredients" do you keep on hand & actually eat?!!!

I'm going to show you how to make a healthy & economical alternative to a soft bread spread!

Here's what you need : A stick of butter, a 1/2 cup of canola oil, a storage container & a spatula.

You're also going to need something to mix the butter & oil together. I'm using the mini bowl
of my food processor. A mixer or blender would also work. I' ve tried to mix by hand, but I guess my butter would need to be quite softer than mine was. In my fp, it whizzed up like nobody's business!!

After it's all blended, put into your storage container & store in your fridge. It will stay soft & spreadable. Best of all, it still tastes like butter & doesn't contain all those other "ingredients".
Let me know if you try it & what you think.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Homesteading leanings with Zeal!

Oh, dear. I'm laid up with a lame back, which gives me plenty of time to read & think & scheme. I read & think & scheme of all the things I'd like to do the very second I'm mobile again! I still have not been able to till up ground for my potato planting. Rain, rain, rain has been our lot this Spring. When it finally dried up enough to till, I got one bed partially tilled before my tiller ran out of fuel. Now, we have more rain & I am laid up. It will yet be done, I have plans, after all!
We have regularly been enjoying a variety of fresh lettuces' from the garden. I have been serving it plain with just a dressing, that I can enjoy the taste of the lettuce coming through. I've also been using lots of fresh herbs, Chives, parsley, lemon balm have been making regular appearances on our table. Chervil has started to show up in dishes also. To my traditional potato salad I've added chives, chervil, parsley & lemon balm, along with some chopped celery, delicious! For making a small amount for just Dan & I, I microwaved a few red potatoes & diced them up with their peels. Fast! It feels so good to eat what your hands have planted & harvested!

Another recipe I made that was fabulous was an iced tea I made with my own fresh chopped lemon balm, some mint & black tea along with some lemon & orange juice sweetened with a little sugar. I had originally made for company that later had to bow out. I've drunk it all!! Very refreshing, crisp & light.

Furure plans include- corn & potato plantings. If I get another raised bed built by my darling, I'd like to plant a tomato or 2 ( or 3, 4 . . .10!) & a pepper for a little salsa garden.

I dream of having chickens for fresh eggs, blueberry bushes, a rhubarb patch & perhaps, a strawberry bed for the future.

I am reading homesteading/ gardening/ self-suffiency books & magazines lately & planting dreams while I wait to be up & about again. Life is very good on my little corner of the earth! I hope you can take the time to enjoy something fresh & good, something newly grown from God's green earth & enjoy the simple pleasures of June.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On my little Homestead

Strawberry-Rhubarb jam, the quintessential Spring time flavor. My Mom used to make this jam for us when we were kids. We had a large row of rhubarb plants on our side lawn. There was enough to supply My Grandma's household, as well as our family of six. All the rhubarb you could want. Rhubarb sauce, sweet- tart bubbling on the stove, served in my Grandma's black square bowls. Mom's strawberry- rhubarb pie with a flaky crust melting in your mouth. Plenty of jam & plenty of rhubarb for the freezer.
I've never grown my own rhubarb though I've gardened plenty & grown unusuals like currant bushes & gooseberry, but no rhubarb. I tried it once, down here, but I bought the root too early & they were mostly dead by the time I could get them in the ground. (I think I might have put them in upside down also!) Maybe next year it's time to try again!
In the meantime, I get rhubarb from Bainbridge's very own Frog Pond. We had pie for dessert tonight. My jam is all made & there is even some rhubarb in my freezer. Some things are timeless!
Fresh chives & parsley & the tiniest new onion from the garden.

The first lettuce of the Spring.

Got to do some gardening today.

What's growing in my garden? Lemon balm, Peppermint, bee balm, dianthus,Parsley, Chives, Lavender, alyssum, Sedum, Oregano, Butterfly Bush, Stella D'oro daylily, Coral Bells, Chamomile, snapdragons,sunflowers & a persistent Comfrey,Lamb's Ear & Liatris are in this small garden.

Memorial Day/ F-i-L Birthday

My sweet sister-in -law Gwen. Who worked hard to provide Grandpa Ray a lovely birthday party & Memorial day Celebration for all of us. Thanks Gwen for yummy food! And a great visit-I miss you!

Brother-in-law Jeff. I'd have to say a very calm,cool, collected fellow in all the years I've known him. He Enjoys Gwen's cooking. Works hard for a living. Oh, & plays golf.

Dan's Dad Ray, my Father-in-law. With my M-i-L ,they did a pretty fine job of raising 3 sons. Ray has worked hard all his life to provide for his family. He & Bette have provided some wonderful memories for their children, grand children & now, great grandchildren. He enjoys Bette's cooking. And Gwen's.

My M-i-L Bette, who has been a friend as well, through the years. She has a zest for life that has not been diminished. Her interests are wide & varied. Right now, her time is devoted to caring for Ray, which she has faithfully done for some time now, as he has suffered with the world of Alzheimer's. I'm so proud to have you as my mother-in-law, Bette. I really lucked out when I got you along with Dan-you are one of my treasured blessings. Bette cooks. And has cooked for Quite a few (heehee) years. She enjoys Gwen's cooking also. And possibly anyone's cooking who wants to do that for her!

My other brother-in-law is Ron. The "baby" of the boys! He is the fun one,up for adventure, a steady worker & a car nut like my Dan. He enjoys Allison's, his wife's cooking. And Bette's. . . . and Gwen's cooking too!

Ahh, here's the guy I fell in love with over 31 years ago! I still think he's got the cutest smile of any guy I've ever seen. Adorable. Cute. Smart. Funny. Giving. Mechanical. Cute. Can fix anything. Sweet Daddy & Grandpa. And, oh, did I mention cute?! And he's all mine!!!!! He's made me laugh & yes, at times, he's made me cry,but our commitment to dust ourselves off & get busy loving one another has seen us through this far. He LOVES my cooking. He LOVES my baking. He LOVES me. And now, if he would only love the chicks I would like to get & take care of them while I'm gone. . . He also enjoys Bette's cooking. And he enjoys Summer's, Travis's & Ashley's cooking. He also enjoys Gwen's cooking.

Hope you enjoyed meeting the family. - By the way, they are ALL great cooks & I enjoy everyone's cooking, but especially Gwen's cooking on Memorial Day Weekend!!! God bless you all, so nice to see everyone!