Hello dear friends! Hope you are having a glorious week! The leaves are finally changing and the weather is cool and crisp. As much as I enjoy visiting other parts of the world via all of your blogs, during this time of the year there is no place on earth I'd rather be than home, sweet home.
This week we gathered wild rose hips from our favorite foraging spot. Whew! It was like Grand Central Station there! Well, actually there were about ten people, but when you're used to having the place to yourself, it seemed like a horde, so we got our rosehips and got out as quickly as we could. Most will go into making rosehip syrup, but I couldn't resist using some to fill a basket.
red rooibos tea is a wonderful way to get your vitamin C, and if you take some at the very onset , will wipe out a cold.. Or at least that is what we have discovered. Maybe it works because it just tastes healthy! I'm a firm believer in being responsible for our own health, instead of running to the the doctor's office every time you catch a sniffle. After a while all those antibiotics catch up with you, although, I'll be the first to point out, they do have their place and am profoundly grateful to whomever discovered them!
I finally finished my penny rug that I made using woolens that I picked up during our thrift store's winter clearance sale last year (17 cents a garment). I didn't follow my own advice and start small when learning a new skill, figuring how hard can it be? Turned out a little wonky!
This is the pattern I used and an easier pattern probably never existed. It's great for beginners. I've also knitted this pattern in blue with wooden toggle buttons for the grandsons when they were babies. Very Paddington Bear-ish. I'm thinking about knitting a red one with a hood and toggle buttons and a pompom on top, Little Red Riding Hood style.
Christmas has been on our minds. When you make your own presents, you have to start early. We don't really celebrate very much, focusing mainly on the spiritual aspects of the holiday, but we do like to give a small token of affection to friends and family this time of year. One thing we do enjoy is giving Christmas hampers, filled with cheeses, sausage, homemade cookies, breads and jams. We needed something to put the goodies in, so Ran has been making these carriers from the free pallet wood.
Our new neighbor asked us to till up her garden area, she said that we could have the raspberry canes at the end of the plot. We thought that there were only a few canes, but were pleasantly surprised to discover that there were about twenty!
We are also experimenting with planting our potatoes in the fall. Every year we discover a few plants from potatoes we missed when digging them. So we read up on it, and yes, you can plant potatoes in the fall. We'll have to see how it goes. We are saving some of our seed potatoes for the spring, just in case it doesn't work. Never put all your eggs in one basket! We're always experimenting here. No one will ever know it all!
A couple of people wanted to know about our phones. We use a Magic Jack for our home phone. They used to plug into your computer and would take forever to load onto the computer but now they plug into the modem, so they've eliminated that problem. It works great for us and you can't beat the cost at less than $3 a month ($33/year when you buy service for 3 years). You can call anywhere in the world with them at no extra charge. I don't know how well this works, the farthest I've called was Bermuda. It worked fine there. We had a problem with ours after we had it for several years, so we called the company and they ran some diagnostics over the phone, discovered the problem and sent us a free replacement part. We're happy with the company. We used to have a cell phone, that we carried just for emergencies while traveling. We got rid of it and bought a pay-as-you-go Tracfone for $15 at the dollar store. You have to reload the minutes every three month at the cost of $15. So between the Magic Jack and the TracFone, our phones costs are less than $10 a month. Of course it's all very low-tech, we don't text or tweet or do any of the other things so many people do now days. We just use it to make a rare phone call. We also use Skype for talking with the grandchildren.
THOUGHTS ON RETIREMENT
Some of the things we do to save money, may seem a bit over-the-top for some of you, such as using a wringer washer and reusing the gray water, or using a Magic Jack, but all these measures enable us to retire young and live on very little money. Plus we find them to be fun. As they say, your money or your life. You can choose to work for someone else or you can work for yourself, it's up to you. So many comment, upon hearing that we retired young, that they wish they could do the same, but we have to wonder if they really mean it. You have to give up a lot of ideas that society has led us to believe is what constitutes happiness and success to live frugally. An important question to ask yourself before you retire is:
Do you know who you are?
Quick! Name who won last year's Pulitzer prize? Or who won the Nobel prize in physics? Or last year's Oscar? Can you? I can't. And I bet most people can't either. And this may sound harsh, but most people don't care. So you see, all the accolades and awards, the letters behind your name, the balance in your bank account, mean very little to anyone else but you. Don't even think about retiring if it's important to you. Because once you retire, you will no longer be defined by a job title. You have to be secure in who you are as a person. It takes a bit of courage to not have anything define you but your own character. I often tell the tale of my grandfather, who was a plain dirt farmer. He never amounted to much, if you consider success in things such as wealth or education. But when he died the church couldn't contain all the mourners. For decades after his death, people, once learning that I was his granddaughter, would tell me stories of his generosity, kindness, compassion and courage. So many books on retirement preparedness focus on budgets and where to live, and quite frankly, quite a bit of foolishness, but very few point out the mental and spiritual aspects. Can you be content and fulfilled just being you?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
~Henry David Thoreau~
RECIPE FROM THE PANTRY
Here's a quick meatless (the cost of meat now days is outrageous!) soup that is also hearty enough for a brisk fall day.
Vegetable Cheese Chowder
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large stalks of celery, diced
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 C. water
4 tbsp. melted butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 3/4 C. milk
1 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can cream-style corn
Cook vegetables in salted water for 15 minutes. Do not drain.
Blend the melted butter and flour until smooth. Add milk, stirring over low heat until smooth and thick. Add cheese and stir until melted
Add corn to undrained vegetables then add to cheese mixture. Heat but do not boil.
I've made this in my vegan days with soy milk and cheese. To be honest, I don't care for the taste of vegan cheeses, but if you are accustomed to the taste, you might like it. Also, after reading that almost all soy products in the US are GMO, I prefer to use the real thing, and not worry so much about cholesterol.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Planted a raspberry patch from free canes.
Cleaned out a neighbor's gutters for a bit of cash.
I can't believe it, but it's almost November and we still haven't turned on our furnace!
Heated the house with wood.
Ate from the pantry.
Knitted a sweater for Christmas from wool purchased for $1 at an estate sale.
Mulched the leaves and used them for protection around the bushes.
Made trays for Christmas presents from free pallet wood.
Hung the laundry outside. In October!
Decorated the house with our own pumpkins.
Got a great deal on cheese from the bulk food store,so we bought a bunch and froze it.
Painted a bench with leftover paint.
Foraged for rosehips. Made a wreath for Christmas from them.
Well that's about it for this week. Can you believe the next time I post something it will be November? How time flies when you are having fun! I hope you all have a blissful week!