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Sunday, May 10, 2015


Hello dear friends!  Hope everyone had a jolly Mother's Day!  We are having our April showers a month late here, but we can't complain when we compare it to all the storms other parts of the country are experiencing.  The weather has been all over the map this week; one day the quintessential spring day, the next as hot as an August afternoon, another day so foggy you couldn't see across the street, and today it is so cold we need our lightweight winter coats.  Didn't stop the tulips from blooming, though!
Bright aren't they?  Don't know what possessed me to plant them, as I am not a red flower person. I thought they were pretty  pink Angelique  tulips, so you can only imagine my disappointment when they bloomed.  But at least, as you can see, they are very hearty.  I just might take a liking to them after all!

Indigenous Eating

John B. Wells has a saying, "If you don't like what they're selling, quit buying it .".  And the really applies to food as well as propaganda.  By buying from local outlets, such as farmer's markets, roadside stands, and independently owned grocers, you not only saving money and being healthier, you are taking a stand against those gigantic corporations whose only objective is  the bottom line.  You never see Walmart  sponsoring a little league team! We buy from a local butcher  that has a sign stating that no meat comes from China or is mass produced.  Our honey comes from a local aparian.  There are numerous signs along the road for eggs, with the chickens happily rooting in the farmyard.  We eat from our garden.  At this time, the only thing it is producing is rhubarb and asparagus, so that is what we eat.  We've had asparagus roasted twice, sauteed with garlic  and once on a pizza with mushrooms.  Plus we've given away several pounds to the neighbors.  We never can or freeze it, because once spring is over, we are quite content not to see it for another year.  Trying to come up with creative ways to use rhubarb is a challenge.  This week we made strawberry-rhubarb iced tea, and although I'm not much of an iced tea drinker, I found it quite agreeable.  Here's the recipe:

Strawberry-Rhubarb Iced Tea

2 C. rhubarb, diced
1 C. fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
6 C. brewed black tea

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, water  and sugar in a saucepan.  Cook until the rhubarb is soft.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Add to the tea. Refrigerate.  Add ice if desired.

Because we are tired of sweets, I found this savory way to use rhubarb (sorry about the poor picture):

Curried Lentil Rhubarb Stew

2 C. lentils
6 C. water
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves

2 C. carrots, diced
2 C. sweet potatoes, pumpkins or winter squash, cubed
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 C. rhubarb. diced
pepper to taste

Combine all in a large saucepan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.

Was this the most wonderful thing we ever ate?  Probably not.  But it wasn't bad and it used  up some of the rhubarb.  It's good served  with flat bread  and coconut chutney that we buy from the Indian food store, which is  also a wonderful source for buying lentils.  You can also find lentils cheaper in the foreign food aisle than in the aisle with dried beans usually.

Bare Bones Pantry

Someone asked me what I would buy if I only had $100 and needed to feed a family of four for three months.  Lentils would be on my list, they are very filling.  I'd also buy a 25 pound bag of flour, several bags of dried beans; such as navy, Great Northern, and pinto.  A big container of oatmeal and cornmeal.  A bag of sugar  and a jar of yeast.  A dozen cans of evaporated milk and tomatoes.  A big bag of potatoes and carrots.  A box of bacon ends and pieces.  Oh! And a  can of shortening . And assuming you were starting with nothing, I'd go to the dollar store and get some baking powder and spices such as chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, a seasoned salt and pepper.  With that you could make lots of soups, baked beans, homemade bread and biscuits, pancakes, bean burritos, tortillas, hashes, pot pies, bean burgers,  etc.   It wouldn't be the most inspiring meals, but it would keep a family fed.  If I had any money left over, I'd buy some sprouting mixtures so we could have something green once in a while.  I would look under the cushions and dig up some change and go to the dollar store and buy a packet of lettuce seeds, also.  Even if I had to dig some dirt from the side of the road and plant it in an old pan, I'd have a garden! What would you buy?

Food Storage

Regina of My Simple Life asked how I store all my our home-canned goods.  Believe you me, storage in a tiny cottage that was built before the advent of closets can be challenging!  We store bulk purchases of sugar, flour and oatmeal in food storage buckets that we hide under a large drop leaf table.
No one even notices them.  We put shelves up in a small space under our stairs.
Ran also built  a nice jelly cupboard that holds a couple hundred jars.  And If we run out of room, we store the jars in plastic bins that we slide under the sofa and under the beds.  There's always space to store things, in closets, under furniture, in chests, etc.  as long as it's cool and dark. Be inventive, no one has to know that the antique blanket chest holds your year's supply of pickles!

My clever  blogging friend at Mornings Minion left a comment that she was making pillowcases from worn out sheets.  You know how I love to repurpose things, so it got my wheels turning on ways to use worn sheets.

10 Ways To Use Worn Sheets

1. As Sharon suggested, you can make pillowcases from the good parts.
2.  Since sheets usually wear in the center, you can cut them in up the middle and sew the good parts   together.  Hem all around the sides.
3.  I made a nice  petticoat from an old flannel sheet.
4.  Make an apron.
5.  Use the good parts for a binding on blankets.
6. Make valances.
7.  Scraps can be used for patchwork.
8.  Some of the patterns are very sweet.  Here's some cute pillowcases that I picked up from estate    sales for 10- 25 cents.
Baby and toddler sized clothes can be sewn from them.
9.  You can make little totes and pouches.
10.  If they are badly worn, you can always use them for rags.

I also tear them into strips and set my hair in rag curls.  They're easy to sleep on and gives you soft waves.


Talk about earthquakes in diverse places!  Last weekend I was sitting up in  my bed, knitting, when it began to vibrate.  I kept thinking to myself, " This is how people describe earthquakes, but Michigan doesn't have earthquakes."  Well low and behold!  Michigan had a 4.2 earthquake!  A very minor one to be sure, but pretty major for our state.  The poor people in Nepal,  weren't so lucky.  Please keep them in your prayers and if you can, make a contribution to  one of the relief organizations.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me
~ Matthew 25:40~

Thrifty Things We Did This Week

Ran bargained for a very good deal on a used truck. (our old truck is 16 years old and has over 250,000 miles)
Bought canning lids in bulk.
Harvested and ate asparagus and rhubarb.
Planted potatoes that we saved from last year's harvest.
Painted an ugly wooden knifebox  with some craft paint I already had to make it look country-ish.
Cut out an apron from some yardage I bought at an estate sale for $1.50. (maybe this week I'll get around to sewing it)
Bought some children's books that look brand new from a yard sale for Christmas presents.
Washed all our quilts and hung them on the line to dry.
Bought some pretty  pale yellow columbines for half price at Meijer's garden center.
Made rhubarb-strawberry wine for our Christmas hampers.
Walked, rather than drove to pick up the mail this week.

I leave you with a bouquet of daffodils.
And the hope that you had a wonderful Mother's Day filled with love and family!  'Til next time!



  1. Happy belated Mother's Day! Love the daffodils, but those tulips are really gorgeous. Orange is such a popular color right now. Those are great ideas for using up old sheets. I have some that I'm tearing in strips for rug making. I just need to find a few more with the right colors at yard sales. Have a great week!

    1. Happy belated Mother's Day to you also! My husband will be glad to know that orange is popular, it's his favorite color. Guess I'll just have to learn to love bright colors. Well, there's another way to use worn sheets! Bet we could come up with many more if we really tried. I love braided rugs and have quite a few. Once I tried to make one but it got a big hump in the middle. How do you get them to lay flat? Bet yours will be a beauty. What colors are you making it? Good fortune at the yard sales! It's amazing how things you are looking for always manage to show up.


  2. Hi Jane. You have busy weeks! The tulips are beautiful. I'm sure your cooler weather will keep them lasting longer. I love rhubarb. I am the only one! I just make rhubarb sauce with it and mix it with cream of wheat or oatmeal for breakfast. I like your different ways of serving it. Your pantry is wonderful. Reminds me of a neighbor's growing up. Your shelves are well braced! My parents just ate and/or gave away our garden produce too. We had an earthquake here a year or two ago. It was just 1. something. Yours would give quite a jolt! My garage doors rattled and I happened to be standing right next to them. One thing about worn sheets...they are so cozy! Andrea

    1. That's a good idea, Andrea! I haven't been eating breakfast lately because I have to wait so long after taking my thyroid medication before eating, I just skip it and eat lunch early. But I really need to start eating my oatmeal again. Makes you feel full!

      Isn't these earthquakes the strangest things? I live a couple hundred miles away from the epicenter, but still felt it. My luck, the fault line probably runs right through my yard! Ha!

      I love the sheets when they get worn too. I think the older ones were made of better cotton, they wear and wear. I even like when they get faded out, more shabby chic!


  3. hello dear jane,
    another busy week in your cottage.the tulips have a wonderful colour. i love rhubarb and today we have had rhubarb compote.the flanel petticoat from a old sheets is a wonderful idea!!!
    love your pantry.......great idea!
    have a nice week,
    love and hugs regina

    1. Necessity is the mother of invention, Regina! When I saw how expensive it would be to sew a petticoat from fabric, it didn't take much to convince me to use the old sheets. You have a nice week, too. Hope it warms up for you!


  4. As always, I leave filled to the brim with encouragement to continue on this frugal way of life :0) I have used sheets as lining for my skirts, jackets and coats that I have made. I continue to use them and they are so soft against your skin.

    Have a blessed week dear Jane :0)


    1. Thank you, Mari! Another wonderful idea for using old sheets. Some are so pretty. I like to choose unusual fabric for linings and facings. Might as well make it unique if you are going to create something!

  5. I like you thriftiness! You're very inventive...I call my husband the saver in my blog because he has so much stuff.....but, it's mostly all free.....he's a wheeler dealer. We almost never buy anything except food and clothes.....There's nothing like fresh rhubarb! It's so good for you. Although, I'm not sure about a savory dish of it and I'm afraid I wouldn't be giving the asparagus away! I love it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ha! You'd be giving it away if your garden produced about ten pounds a day! My husband can never do anything on a small scale, so we he plants enough for a small commercial plot. You really can't taste the rhubarb in the curry. Just gives it a bit of a tang. Wheeling and dealing is a very good skill to have. Have a nice day!


  6. I am envious of your asparagus patch! We started one at our former house; unfortunately Jim ran over it a few times with tractors and such, but it was beginning to produce the year before we left. I forgot to mention that I made a pair of bedroom curtains from worn cream colored sheets--used a coordinating print for a bottom border--one I've used in cases for the king sized pillows that I prop along the headboard. I'm also in the process of creating more curtains [this Amish house we're renovating has a lot of windows! and using the rest of the cream sheets for curtain lining.
    I haven't used sheet strips to bind frayed blanket edges, but have made 'scrappy' binding for quilts both new and older ones that need the edges rebound.

    1. I know that feeling. Have left behind several apple orchards just when they were starting to produce. Good thing you are so talented, curtains are outrageously expensive these days. Those linen type dropcloths have a lot of fabric and are an inexpensive source for fabric, too. I think they make really nice looking tab curtains. Happy sewing!

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you! I love that little pair of scissors in your blog name!