Sunday, July 19, 2015
Sweet Briar Cottage Journal: Simplicity
IN THE GARDEN
The Rugosa roses have winded their way up to the side of the house.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
One of the keys to living frugally is to simplify all the areas of your life. Get down to the very basics of what defines you.
In lifestyles: Learn to say "no".. Limit your children's extracurricular activities. Don't sacrifice home life for social life.
In the home: Get rid of the clutter. William Morris said," Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Get rid of all the rest. When someone admires something in your home, give it to them. Let the kids inherit your treasures while you're still alive. Donate to charities. I used to have so many books, that needed dusting often, but one day it dawned on me that I'll never re-read them, so why have them? It was quite liberating to be rid of them. Plus, I think the floorboards are thankful for the weight off their beams. Do you really need dozens of vases or shelves of knickknacks? How many sheet sets do you need? Or towels? Bring out the things that you love that are "too good" to use. We use our good china, linen and real silverware everyday. Although our paycheck would tell you otherwise, we live like royalty.
In cooking: Seek out recipes that use basic pantry ingredients. Don't make recipes that call of obscure spices and vegetables that you have to hunt down. Instead keep the emphasis on the freshest ingredients. Did you know that all those fancy sauces originated when chefs needed to cover the flavor of rancid meat and rotting vegetables back in the days before refrigeration? One simple meal I make often is potpie.
, the Indians have samosas. It's a universal thrifty idea!
In dress: I always say just have five outfits for everyday, one for doing dirty work, one for exercising and one for dress up. Of course I don't follow my own rules! But I do limit my clothes to what I can fit in a small cupboard. Periodically I go through my closet and give away whatever I don't like, doesn't fit or am just plain tired of, and replace it with something that I like better. Establish your own style that fits your lifestyle. If you garden and can all day, you don't need blazers and high heels. But a variety of pretty aprons is nice. If a big date night for you is to attend the fish fry at the fire hall, you probably don't need evening wear.
This week I canned cabbage and the baby carrots from thinning the rows. Canning means so much more to me than just keeping the wolves from the door. First there's the quality; everything is picked fresh from our garden the day it is processed, it's all organic, and I never have to think about how many rat droppings per million is in it. But perhaps more importantly, it's an act of gratitude to my Creator, for blessing me with the abundance of the earth, in doing so, I do not squander those blessings. I guess it is a kind of token between me and Thee. Each spring before I plant the first seed, I always ask that the Lord bless our garden that it may be fruitful and that we may be able to feed those that need it. We always have a bountiful garden!
I'm knitting wrist warmers from the yarn I reclaimed from a sweater that I wrote about last week. I love how they look like ferns; I'm very into earthy looking clothes. The pattern is a free one and can be found here.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Canned cabbage and carrots.
Harvested carrots, cauliflower, and beets (which we gave away, we grow them for the greens).
Knitted a pair of wrist warmers from a free pattern.
Got free compost for our garden from the village.
Visited the Sanilac petroglyphs for free.
Our neighbor allowed us to pick her raspberries for free. Picked three quarts and froze them.
Bought 25 lbs of King Arthur bread flour at the bulk food store for a lot less than it is at the King Arthur catalog.
Baked bread several times this week from scratch (we had guests).
Packed our own sandwiches when we were on a road trip, rather than buy lunch.
Well, that's it for this week. Next week I hope to get back on track with a more informative post. This week was busy with guests and just plain being wiped out by the heat. My hat's off to all of you that live in the southern states. I don't know how you do it! Well, until next time!