Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Message

"Follow the prophet. He has counseled us to plant a garden and fruit trees. This year don’t just think about it—do it. Grow all the food you possibly can. Also remember to buy a year’s supply of garden seeds so that, in case of a shortage, you will have them for the following spring." (Vaughn J. Featherstone)

It is time to put that garden in. - I love her site.

Our frost date is the tenth but I have had an eye on the weather and we have warm weather so I went ahead and planted. It was a hard and very painful job for me but it is tended. Hoping that is the worst of it. It took two days and lots of pain. I have fibromyalgia and so it is very painful to do it. But you hopefully won't have it so hard. I gather grass clippings to put on to keep the weeds at bay.

This year we put in two apple trees and two plum trees, some grapes, asparagus, another rhubarb because mine wasn't doing well and I think it was offended so it started to improve?? :p

We put in a strawberry bed and for Mother's Day my husband got this flexible tubing and screen material to make a cover for the strawberries. I will pull up each side to work in there. This was my request for Mother's Day.

I watch a YouTube channel where the gal is a knitter and spinner - I loved the sweater she designed and knit, it is the one she is wearing. She called for test knitters and I signed up to be one. It was a frugal thing to do as you get the pattern free to knit and find any errors before she releases the pattern for everyone else. Since we are watching our budget like all of you are, I thought even though I would be busy with the garden I would do it as I like the sweater. This is a stretch my skill thing as well.

I am using what yarn I already have on hand from that famous yarn haul years ago. After doing the swatches, I finally decided to pick the yarn on the right in the picture.  

This project bag is one I made last year...if you look closely at the picture you will see my supervisor Gus who was thoroughly bored to sleep.

Now that the garden is in I will be working hard on this knitting project.

I was amazed to see my parsley was still alive and growing after the hard winter we had.

We ordered a package of socks for my husband from Walmart  and this is the second sock I have had to fix. I expect I will have to do them all. The hole is in the exact same spot as other one was, it just separates from the heel, there's no wear. It's like they used some lesser yarn to attach the heel. Plus, if you notice in the first picture, that light gray yarn is pilling really badly, not like the rest of the sock, so I suspect it to be the culprit.  

So if you were unlucky enough to have gotten these socks, time to work on your darning skill. My tip is to mend whatever needs it right away. It is easier to take fifteen minutes now rather than spend hours mending a stack of things later and you won't be behind as well. It makes you appreciate a stitch in time saves nine, doesn't it?

It is the frugal thing to do and we are all going to have to be more frugal as time wears on.

I am reminded over and over of Noah's ark and what preps they must have had to do. We don't have it as hard because we don't have to clean up all that animal poo :p

Gus says be working on your storage. The wheat shortage will effect most things we eat so be sure you have what you need on hand. And if you don't eat wheat, store what you can have as people will probably turn to that if they can't get the other.

Missy says keep wearing masks, Covid is rising again. She also wonders how one grows cat food in the garden?? 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Monday Message

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through the home production and storage, but others as well." (President Ezra Taft Benson)

I think this is so important as people are afraid, thinking what will happen next? Some don't have the skills. We can share our skills and help as we can.

We are in for rough times ahead but people are tough. We adapt, we learn, we share, we overcome and we will with all this as well.

The more skills you have, the better for you to stretch things as times get tougher.

Here is a hat I am working on for next winter.  

Let's talk about the picture for a minute. The needles are from a yard sale. The yarn you can see the green tag came from a thrift store. The bag I keep this in I made. This is what frugal looks like, not suffering but doing the same but with less and Missy says she is always willing to help.

Over the years from yard sales and thrift stores, I gathered these needles... 

I have gotten a few needles on 40% off with a coupon but most were used. Do they look different? No. If I asked you to find the ones I got new with coupons you could not do it because I cannot do it. They perform the same, the only thing is that I saved a lot getting them used.

This week we had some family visit and we went to the yarn shop but when we got there it was out of business. Seeing a lot more of that lately.

It made me appreciate that I dyed my fleece and can spin. Will I miss that yarn shop? YES, I will.

Missy is thankful I have learned the knitting skill and she encourages you all to learn to knit or crochet.

We went to a kitchen store that the last time I was in there was way over 25 years ago. I was shocked first that it was still there. Second, I was shocked there were NO bread pans in the whole store and third, I was shocked at how expensive cast iron has gotten. A small pan was $100. I was so thankful after all these years I had kept mine.

The bread pans that are my favorite I picked up at yard sales all over. They were the same kind - old and the prices were the same - ten cents. So those were what I picked up, I left behind the ones they were asking more for. - scroll down and you can see the bread in the pans. - this post has great information on dough enhancers you can do yourself, look at the date on that. I have been doing this blog a long time.

Gus says to find a frugal cozy spot to be and be thankful for it.

Missy says keep working on your storage.

Gus says keep building those skills.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Monday Message

"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

I am going to say things happen in our life all the time.

We just had a terrible thunderstorm this morning that half way through the weather radio went off saying flash flood warning, it happened so very fast.

We had water running like a waterfall in a window in the living room that drenched three big bath towels before my husband could seal it up. The window is higher than the couch to give you a sense of this window height. It was just the rain was so hard and fast. Meanwhile, the two sump pumps in the basement were being over taken. We have an alarm to alert us if water goes on the floor and it was going off. We ended up with four inches of water in the basement and had to get yet another sump pump. So it took three hours to get the water out.  

It will be a bit of work. Most of everything is up off the floor but we just got a new furnace and I had to move cases of storage so they could work on the furnace and while I set them on the wood off the floor, water was higher so I will have to unload those cases. The biggest worry was the furnace. We just had to replace the water heater but it was up on cinder blocks which was a good call there. So now we just have a wet floor. My husband took out the furnace filter, it was wet but when he took off the panel to put a fan on the inside the great news was everything inside was eight inches up, thank goodness.

This all to say we never know what is around the corner. Though we did all we could, no one wins with water. We had two sump pumps in the basement. We have a water alarm. We have things up off the floor. Sometimes no matter how prepared you are things still happen.

Though we cannot be prepared for everything, what we do prepare for helps us through things that can happen.

Weather seems more extreme so putting in preps is something to be seriously considering.

If you have a place to plant a garden, try to do that and if you can, plant things that will give you food for years to come.

How can you do this when times are hard? Plan good but very frugal meals from the grocery budget leftovers, you can do a little at a time.

While you wait for your fruit to mature, learn to make jam.

Learn how to dehydrate.

How to make fruit leather.

How to can it.

How to make fruit butter.

Learn to cook from scratch. This cookbook is great. See if you can get it interlibrary loan, it is a fantastic book. You make one mix and the whole book is recipes using that one mix.

Learn to make good biscuits for the jam you will make. Learn to make bread to spread that jam on. While you eat, you can sing the song Francis sang from a children's book we read our kids - "Jam on biscuits, jam on toast, jam is the thing I like most."

Learn to make things you need or can give as gifts.

Here in this picture I wove some dishcloths.

In this picture are dishcloths that I knit. Did you know you can crochet them too?

Gus and Missy say to be kind to everyone, share your toys, be safe, stay away from water in your basement if you don't like wet feet, and build up your storage aka gibble. Plant a garden - they will help you dig :p

Monday, April 25, 2022

Monday Message

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through the home production and storage, but others as well." (President Ezra Taft Benson)

I was watching a podcast last night where this gal went to get a few groceries and she showed prices of a few, she noticed convenience foods had doubled in price. A good reason I say, to cook from scratch. Think about what is your favorite and then try to do your own version of it. She also said vegetables  were up in price as well...a good time to put in a garden.

Even if you are like me and HATE gardening with a passion (it causes me sooo much pain!), it is still so important that I do it anyway.

When you are thinking about gardening, think about things that will bring you food on your property like grapes, raspberries, rhubarb, asparagus, walking onions, garlic, fruit trees, herbs, things that will come back each year.

One year a friend gave me a start of garlic chives and now they are taking over the world! I truly believe a nuclear bomb could go off and they will survive. And not one vampire would be near us :p yep they are hardy and oh so good in soup and salad.

Just a thought - if you could put in something like these, now would be the time and you will have food through the years ahead.

Canning and drying food - if you do not know how then now is the time to start learning and collecting equipment and jars. Put out the word that you are looking for jars and canning stuff and hopefully someone near you that is done canning might have some.

Drying - you don't need the most expensive dehydrator out there. Mine is Nesco American Harvest. I bought extra trays and fruit leather sheets.

A Foodsaver is a valuable thing to find, be looking at thrift stores if you can't get one new. Look at the big hunting and fishing stores as well and try to get a canister to go with it that could hold a quart size jar. - In this post, I show you how to use a canister to vacuum seal in jars. I save my canning lids when I open my canned jars of food. I label on the lids so it is easy to see they are used. I save them for vacuum sealing, they do a better job than new ones, plus, it is frugal and you can use them over and over for vacuum sealing.  

If you have the canister, you can use the store-bought jars of salsa or jelly or spaghetti sauce that you have leftover and reuse them. The canister can be from any vacuum sealer as I have a Seal-A-Meal canister and it works just as good on either sealer. Jars have that rubber stuff on the inside of the lid. You can store, lets say, unpopped corn - just fill the dry jar, affix the lid, back the lid up a smidge, put it in the cannister and seal. So you can see this is a huge savings if you can find one. All those partial containers of food could be fresh if you had put them in the jar and sealed them.

We need to be saving on everything we do. Today I made an angel food cake for Easter and I scraped every last bit of batter into the pan. I thought I had done very well with the whisk before getting the scraper but in the end there was a third of a cup of batter I scraped out after I thought I did a good job - a third of a cup! How many times do you throw it in the dishwasher or sink without scraping?

When I was a young married woman, I worked in food service. I remember we were mixing up cookies to bake, I got to the end of the bowl and an older and wiser worker said get all of it out of the bowl, there is at least four more cookies there. Yep, I think of her every time, people can be so wise.

So we need to be the wise ones now and teach our kids how to do things.

In one of the last few blog posts I think you see a cascade container by my sewing machine, it is my thread catcher. I toss things into it like a table-top waste basket. I also showed you the embossing folders in a basket that I had already in the house. Well, I put cardboard as dividers inside that basket, reusing what we have. I also have cardboard strips as spacers in my weaving I reuse.

We need to be frugal now more than ever before.

When you use up that liquid dish soap, fill the container with water and use it outside to wash your hands or use it for dish washing or save for a time you might run out of dish soap, it would get you by till your grocery run.

Before you toss something think how it can be reused. - I know I keep putting in these sites, it is because they are so good. - make your own convenience  foods. - this is the best substitute for canned soup you can find.

Every little thing we can do to cut costs, even if by only a few cents, adds up. We had a car die once and needed replacing, not fixing - let that panic set in, where would we get the money without a bank loan?? Well, I had been rounding up our checks (this was before bank cards) I had been doing this for a year and having rounded just those few cents on every check we wrote, we were able to buy a used vehicle and that saved the day. So if you think a few cents here or there does not add up, it really does.

I have still been spring cleaning here. In doing so, I moved the babe spinning wheel upstairs. Now there's one wheel on each level.  I started on the purple wool I dyed in the crockpot. I started spinning, it took me a little bit to get used to the electric wheel again but I got back into it.

The other thing I did was wind floss around these wooden characters. I originally picked these up on clearance to use for knitting back before the pandemic. But I decided I would do the floss instead as that is what they were really for anyway.

I worked in the stamping side of the sewing room to try and make more room on my desk area which is really an old table I got at a yardsale many many years ago. I think I got it pretty well organized and more open to boot.

Gus is giving his armchair wisdom...he says you need to still be safe out there, we really still have Covid out there, three new variants so be safe!

Missy says we all need to be more frugal, now more than ever.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Monday Message

"Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?" (President Ezra Taft Benson)

This week I had to do some grocery shopping, a smaller amount than normal due to having to replace the water heater. I was cutting across the store and just happened to be in the frozen pizza aisle, I am usually in a hurry and looking at my list, when the lighting seemed to change. I looked up and realized it wasn't the lighting at all, it was shelf after shelf totally empty. Wondering what might have been on them, I went close and could see frozen pizza closer to the end. I noticed the spot where the kind of pizza we like had empty cardboard cases except for one pizza in each box pushed to the front to hide how empty it was but with the way I was walking I could see there was nothing, just bare shelves. I went on since I needed cat litter which was the reason for cutting over by frozen pizzas. When I got to cat litter, I noticed no canned cat food (we don't use canned). There wasn't a lot of the dry either but just empty shelves where canned cat food had been. Because I was in a hurry and hurting bad from fibromyalgia, I couldn't go down all thee aisles. But I did notice the shelves with pasta cleared off too.

My hope is by this time you have enough stored to carry you over a rough patch.

One thing I saw was a lady picked up a package of Charmin supposed to equal 96 rolls for $31.15. That Charmin guy is rolling over in his grave.

Missy's reaction to higher prices.

Remember to store what you eat, not what you don't like to eat. - rice is very versatile and very basic. - recipes for beans. - great ideas here.

What we need to start doing (if we haven't already started) is to live below one's income.

We need to be filling up our binders with recipes we love using our storage. Throw in tips as well. For example, I have several versions of how to substitute for an egg. Which is good, as the bird flu is hitting at a very bad time driving up egg prices. My sister lives in Minnesota and sent me a picture of the price of eggs near her - $2.99 a dozen. So when you find a good tip, put it in your binder. When you go through your recipes, look at the ingredients. I bet you will be surprised that a lot of your recipes are storage friendly. You can use the recipes to see what you can put in your storage. For example, one of our favorites is green bean casserole.

Green Bean Casserole

Brown one lb. of hamburger and drain, put in a greased 9x13 pan

Add:  1 can of drained green beans (I sometimes double these) and1 can of tomato soup.

Mix and spread in the bottom.

Mix up instant mashed potatoes. You can drop spoonfuls over the top but I like to spread over the top.

Bake 350 degrees for twenty to thirty minutes.

Note - if I have leftover taco meat, I will use it in place of the hamburger. If you have cheese you can put it on the mashed potatoes. You can also toss dehydrated onion in when you are mixing together if wanted.

Can I do this recipe from my storage? Yes, I can totally make it from storage because I can hamburger and store potato pearls which I only need to add water to. I also have green beans and tomato soup.

So go through your recipes. - now more than ever you need to plan your meals and your grocery lists and utilize every leftover.

We need to do these things more than ever to help offset the rising costs of everything.

Gardening will help save as well. Now is the time in my area to be getting ready to plant a garden after May 10th but if you still see cold weather wait till warmer.

Missy says that more than ever we need to work on being frugal.

Gus says, if you aren't frugal, you might find your basket is empty.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Monday Message

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others." (All is Safely Gathered In pamphlet)

"I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family. None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us. We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary." (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

I was recently reading the story about Joseph and the great famine, the dream the Pharaoh had about the cows, and following the warning to store in the good times for the lean times. This story sets an example for us. Yes, it might not be so widespread or long as it was then, but it shows hard times come to each of us and preparing when we are in good times is a good thing to do. If we make it a way of life, we will just be in the habit of doing it and it won't be a chore to try and get stocked up when we think things could go bad.

I think we saw that happen with toilet paper...

So let's keep working on our storage as well as skill building. - this gal has a series on stocking your pantry, it may give you ideas for your pantry. - here is a good spot on how to start storage.

I made these long ago before we had kids. I ran across them while organizing and thought I would show them to you. You have sheer fabric on the top, muslin on the bottom, and fabric in between that you hand sew around. It is called shadow applique or shadow work, it is very pretty. I would like to do this again.

I have continued to organize my way through a spring cleaning. One of the projects was to organize in a better way my embossing folders. I was able to come up with this after trying out many different ways, this way won as it takes up half as much room. I used to get these with those coupons for half off long ago then companies came out with even cheaper ones. Using coupons made them so much cheaper, they were pretty cheap to begin with and again some I got from yard sales. I make a lot of cards and this was a very inexpensive way to have pretty paper.  

Some of the oversized ones I would cut very carefully and I would have the folder and a second folder that was thin to just use as an edge. Some you can see are in the middle. Only a few I did that way then they caught on and made them too, so all those are in the center folders on each side and the plastic container on the right have little square ones. They all are folders you put the paper inside and you run through the embossing machine... Mine is old school, a manual type. I assigned a number to each that matches a little example that is in a binder, I can easily see the number and go to this basket and find the right one...this will be way easier to use now.

My sister told me about a dying method. I bought a crockpot cheap at a yard sale just for dying in.  Anything I use for dying is strictly dedicated just for dying. So she said to take a ball of wool and soak it in medium warm water. While it soaks, you fill the crockpot with hot tap water three-fourths full, add one cup of white vinegar and one tsp. dye powder - a note here, you MUST always wear a mask when working with dye in its powdered form...always! Then stir well. Take and gently squeeze the water from the ball of wool and put it in the crockpot, push it down, put the crockpot on high for forty minutes then turn it off and unplug. Leaving the lid on, let it sit till the next day....

Then drain. I filled the pan with lukewarm water and put the ball in to rinse. Never just hold it under running water or you will get a felted mess that you cannot spin. Then I gently squeezed water out and put it in a salad spinner till most of the water was out - I only use this spinner for dying. Then I hung it on the rack.

I can't wait to spin it! If you look closely you can see blue and pink, that is because the dye broke which I love. When that happens, it means the colors used to make the dye color, in this case purple, separate.

These are the things I have been working on this week.

Being frugal, I used the containers I had in house already to do the organizing. They always say to do that before running off to purchase a container. I tried a few things before settling on this version.

Dying the wool - I had it all in house as well and the hardest part of doing that was getting the crockpot off the top shelf in the storeroom. Now it will live with my dying things which will make it easier to get too next time.

I have done some weaving and spinning as well as some knitting.

Building skills - learning to be frugal is a skill as well.

Don't just store flour, learn all the ways you can use it to stretch your budget.

Ask Gus what he thinks of photo shoots...

Actually he does better than Missy.

Missy isn't quite the blur she usually is, she's a typical girl and doesn't like her picture taken.

Missy says keep praying for Ukraine and keep being safe.

Gus says keep working on your storage and get a few seeds planted...he says you'll thank him later.

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