Search This Blog

Monday, March 16, 2015


Hello dear friends!   Happy St. Patrick's Day, a day early!  I was trying to get my projects done to post this on time, when I realized it was the 16th and not the 17th.  Hope you are all enjoying Spring weather! We took a trip to visit our sons and their families and it was 70 degrees in Chicago.  Of course, as usual, I was dressed completely wrong for the weather, when we left it was 30 degrees, so we carted around coats and heavy sweaters for nothing.  This is one of the many reasons I don't like to travel.  Even inland it can be 20 degrees warmer than it is at the shoreline.  Such are the trials of living in the sticks!

Anyway, here's what we ate for our "early" St. Patrick's Day meal:

Corned beef hash, made completely from home-canned foods (except the eggs).  I was hoping that the grocers would have a good sale on corned beef so that I could can some more, but unfortunately, it is not to be.  Maybe after the 17th it will go on sale.  The recipe can be found here if you are interested.  Boy have prices gone up since 2011!  Anyway, one of the strangest comments I hear often when people learn that I can, is  "I used to can , but we don't eat those kinds of foods anymore."  What?  You don't eat carrots, peas, corn, potatoes, meat, green beans, etc. or make a piece a toast and jam, or drink any fruit juice?   I guess I'm old fashioned and when I go to the store I see why people consider me so.  Almost every cart I see is filled with frozen or boxed meals, cereal, lots of snacks and lots of soda pop.  I rarely see any fresh vegetables in the carts and even rarer to see fresh fruits. 

I also am almost finished with my Irish style throw I've been knitting the last three month.
I have to finish putting the fringe on.  (that brown "thing" on the right hand corner is Georgie's hind quarters. He has to get in every picture!).  Anyway it's a very simple pattern that I found in an old circa 1940s magazine.  I used 6 skeins of  Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Buff Fleck.  Here's the pattern:

Cast on 233 stitches using 36" size 7  circular needles.

ROW 1: (right side)

  Knit 5 place marker
   Slip 1, Knit 1, slip slipped stitch over knit 1
            (Yarn over
            slip 1, knit 2, slip slipped stitch over the 2 knit stitches)Repeat twice more
           Yarn over
           slip 1, knit 1, slip slipped stitch over knit 1
           place marker,

         knit 8, place marker.

Repeat   lattice and cable section 9 more times, placing a marker between each section.
Repeat lattice section once more, place marker.
Knit 5

ROW 2: (wrong side)

Knit 5
Lattice section:
Purl 2 together, yarn over,
(purl 1 purl 2 together, yarn over) repeat twice more
purl 2 together
Slip  marker

Cable section:
Purl 8. Slip marker.
Repeat lattice and cable section 9 more times.  Repeat lattice section once more. Knit 5.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 8 rows.

Row 9: (right side)
 Is the same as row 1 except at the cable section slip 1st 4 stitches to a cable needle and hold in back.  Knit the next 4 stitches, then knit the 4 stitches on the cable needle.

Rows 10- 12:

Repeat rows 2 and 1.

Repeat these 12 rows until your work measures 49 inches.  Bind off.  Add fringe if desired.

By placing the markers between each section, it makes it easy to keep track of your knitting.   It really is an easy mindless sort of pattern.

Speaking of yarn, here's a great site for finding substitutions for yarns: yarnsub.  Sometimes companies discontinue yarns or they are just outrageously expensive.  I was once smitten with a pattern for a pair of socks, but when I looked into the yarn featured in the pattern, I found out that it would cost over $40!   For a pair of socks?!  I'd be afraid to wear them. Sometimes I wonder what these knitting designers are thinking of.  Probably  they get the yarn for free and never take into consideration the costs.  So anyway, it's a nice site to explore cheaper options.


One of the questions  I get asked the most is how do you learn to be thrifty.  I was always fascinated by thrift, even from a young age.  When all my friends were dreaming about living in castles, I was studying the pictures of Hansel and Gretel's cottage in my picture books.  My favorite book when I was in elementary school was The Moffats by Eleanore Estes, about a poor family that lived on love.  Anyway, so how do you learn to be thrifty?  By listening to the old-timers talk about the depression, by reading history books and biographies about the days gone-by. By observing thrifty people and seeing what they do.  By reading blogs about thrift.  By going on YouTube and watching preppers and homesteaders.   Then taking that information and applying it to your life.  You must want to become thrifty to be successful at it.  You have to look at it as a fun challenge and not like it is deprivation.   I'm always reminded of this quote:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

  And that pretty much sums it up doesn't it?  (Sorry for some reason after I pasted this quote the font changed) We can learn to live within our means or go around hiding from the debt collectors.  I know what I'd rather do.


One of the things I read over and over again in stories about the Depression and Appalachia, is that they ate a lot of cornbread.   They'd wrap it up and carry it with them.  Sometimes it was all they had.  Cornmeal is the easiest grain to grow and process, so perhaps that is why it was so popular.    Here's one of our favorite recipes for it:

Molasses Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. pumpkin
1/4 C. molasses
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. buttermilk 

1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Beat together eggs, butter, molasses and buttermilk.  Combine with dry ingredients until just blended
3. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

BTW, did you know that you can substitute buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp, vinegar to a 1 cup measure than adding the milk to make 1 cup.  But we use buttermilk all the time, so we always have some on hand.  You can also add plain milk to about 1/4 C. of buttermilk and make more buttermilk.  

These muffins are good for breakfast too.  When we were kids, people use to add cornbread to some warm milk to make a sort of cornmeal mush.  Very tasty with a bit of maple syrup or honey on it.  An old-fashioned French Canadian dish that people in our area used to eat was called Por-Doo, which was cornbread crumbled up and added to sauteed onions, celery, or whatever you had on hand.  Sometimes a bit of leftover sausage or meat. Add some broth or milk to thin it down,  heated up, sort of like a very thick pea  soup.


One of the things we've been doing this winter, while we are eating a lot of citrus fruits is to make our own orange cleaner.  You simply stuff as many orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime peels (any citrus peels will do) into a mason jar and pour enough vinegar over them to cover the peels.  Let it set for a few weeks and add more peels as they become available.  After  about a month strain it and there you have it, your own orange cleaner for sinks and tubs.  Works great at getting the soap scum off.

So I leave you with an Irish toast this St. Patrick's Day Eve

May your mornings bring joy
and your evenings bring peace...
May your troubles grow less
as your blessings increase!



  1. Got my corned beef already! Your afghan is lovely; I am crocheting a ripple afghan. I may have to finish in the fall if because I will have to quit soon as it is already getting warm here in GA. I always had a thrifty leaning but really honed my skills reading the newsletter version of the Tightwad Gazette in the 80s. Really learned so much from Amy Dacyczyn. Have a lovely evening. Angela

    1. Happy St. Pat's Day Angela! I put my knitting away for the summer too. But I might need to work on the fringe for the afghan. Slow going! I think a lot of us learned a lot from Amy Dacyczn. I wonder what she's up to these days?


  2. Your meal looks lovely and your Irish style throw is really pretty.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thanks Rainey! Happy Spring to you too!


  3. I hope the warm weather is headed our way soon. It's been a long winter here in southern Ontario! Thanks for sharing the afghan pattern. It does sound easy and I'll add it to my list of "things-I-want-to-knit". :)

    I've always preferred cottages too even as a little girl, just like you. I guess I like smaller, cozier spaces rather than big rooms with cathedral ceilings. I'm also interested in The Depression era and how people lived. I think it's becoming more important to learn how to grow, mend, fix, make things for ourselves.

    Good idea for using citrus peel. Thanks for sharing and have a good week!

    1. We're kindred spirits Sandra! The afghan is super easy and the pattern is easy to memorize so it's a good one for mindless knitting (unlike lace). Well, the snow banks are slowly melting. Can't wait until the big one by our drive way melts, it's been hard to see around it. You have a nice week too!


  4. What a cheerful blog post! Happy St Pat's day to you too! The Irish throw is beautiful! I remember "The Moffats"! I'll have to look that up.

    The hash with eggs looks so good. I could eat a meal like that each day. I wouldn't care for more variety in life than that! I'll have to copy the muffin recipe...with pumpkin and molasses..yum.

    I think thrifting is even more important these days since we have so much "junk" out there to buy!

    1. influenced my supper tonight. I just had to make hash! (Used chipped steak though instead of corned beef, because that is what I had out/planned on having.) I think eggs look so pretty on top. That is the "in" thing lately; eggs on top! (At least according to my Williams-sonoma catalogs!).

    2. The Moffats were a nice wholesome family without much drama, probably don't appeal to today's youngsters. That's my favorite cornbread recipe. I usually bake it in a pan but didn't know the baking time, so I left the recipe as muffins. When my son visits, I always bake him a pan, and he eats almost the whole thing! Hope you enjoyed your hash!


  5. Oh, I love your Irish afghan! It looks warm and cozy. I agree - how could people not eat the same foods anymore? They are, they just don't hardly cook. The thought of all the chemicals in processed foods should be enough to put a stop to that but, alas, it doesn't.
    Thank you for stopping by my site. :)
    Have a great day!

  6. lol!
    I had to laugh when I read about your trip to Chicago...I do the same thing whenever we go to Indiana to visit our daughter!
    I loved watching the Waltons and Little house on the Prairie growing up...I never dreamed of living in a large suburban home or in the city...My three girls all slept in the same room, and sometimes even in the same bed. In fact, once there were only the two of them, and they had their own rooms,( we built on) they still chose to sleep in the same bedroom! As a result, we now have more rooms than we need here...even though by normal american standards, our cottage is considered small at 1050 'sq. We now talk about how we wish it was back to its original size of only around 400'sq.
    We had venison for St Paddys day....We only eat venison and chicken here, but much of the time we don't eat meat at all anymore.
    It is just so expensive, and we are spoiled to have the fresh game...but corned beef is good!

    1. Hi Lisa! In our first home the boys all slept in the same room. Two sets of bunk beds in one room. We had another bedroom , but no one ever wanted to sleep there because it was on the first floor and not by the other bedrooms.

      We are happier here in or little cottage than we were when we lived in much larger homes. We really use all of the rooms in this house and they all do double duty. Right now our teeny tiny dining room also has the seed starting contraption in it and the living room looks like a florist shop with all the houseplants moved to the front window.

      If it were up to me, I wouldn't eat meat, but Ran and Jamie kept finding excuses to eat out so they could have meat. So I decided I better make them some, that at least I can have some control over the wholesomeness of it. Still, it's a pretty rare day that I make any. Like you said, it's so expensive. I'm really shocked by the prices of beef, even though I predicted it here on this blog several years ago. We'd eat venison, but Ran isn't a very good hunter! I always tease him that if we depended upon his hunting skills for food, we'd starve. Ever year he hunts with our oldest son, and the day he gives up and comes home is the day my son gets his deer.