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Friday, April 12, 2019

AN UPDATE ON LIFE AND THOUGHTS ON PREPPING

Hello dear friends!  Anyone out there?  I want to thank everyone that has written, e-mailed or left a comment since I last wrote a  post almost two years ago.  Every day I am astonished at how many are still reading old Hope and Thrift.  It really touches my heart on many of you remember me, let alone take time out of your day to write.  I've been spending my time away from the computer studying even more ways to live frugally.  And creating!  If I don't do something creative during the day, I feel out of sorts. Of course, I use the term "creative" loosely; creative can mean sewing or knitting, but it can also mean finding a way to save a dime. I apologize that I haven't been a very good blogging friend,  my time on the computer is very limited.  Computers just confound me and I don't enjoy feeling frustrated all the time, so the best way for me to avoid that emotion is to just stay away from computers all together.  I don't even own a smart phone and have no idea how to text or use an app, or scroll.  Sound pretty old-fashioned don't I?  I tell you, we had several days without electricity this past winter and they were the most blissful days of the year to me!  Probably the only one that would enjoy that EMP attack they are always predicting.

Which is why I'm writing now.  For some reason this past week I've been contacted several times from people concerned about what is "about to happen".  I'm not sure what is concerning people so much,  not owning a TV, I'm blissfully ignorant of what is making the news these days, but I suspect it is something they are hyping up on TV and the internet.  So, first,   I've been around long enough to have heard all of it before, one of the blessings of old age.  When I was a kid they used to show us films at school telling us that we'd soon be living in an ice age, have a nuclear war with the USSR,  and if we managed to survive those two catastrophes we'd all be living underwater.  By the time my sons were in elementary school, just twenty years later, we were supposed to have such horrific global warming that all the ice caps would melt and we should be swimming for our lives about now.  Excuse me if I seem a bit jaded.  You know, it isn't only the Germans of WWII and the cold war Soviets that use propaganda.  News is in the business of making headlines.  And have you noticed that most news these days is not news but  opinions? Anywho, just my long-winded way of saying don't fret so much about all the impending doom the newscasters are foretelling. Did you ever notice how the weather channel always reports any bad weather as the storm of the century?  News is the same way.  Ha!  How many people wrote to ask if I was safe during the "polar vortex"?  Just a cold snap.  It's a rare year when we don't get temperatures well into the negatives in winter.

So that is what I think of all this doom and gloom.  But do I think people should prepare for hard times?  You bet!  Few people never go through a bit of misfortune in their lives.  As I found out, even a lemon for a car, can upset the apple cart sometimes.  It is good to know that at least you've got the next meal covered.

Well that's all good, you might be saying, but how can I stockpile any food when I'm just scraping by, you say?  Scrape a little harder.  I would be hard pressed  to find a budget that doesn't have any wiggle room.  On the weekend that you don't have to drive to work or school, stay at home and save the gas money.  Put the meat back in the freezer and open a can of beans.  Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.  Collect cans and bottles to return for the refund, even in our tiny little village, we found seven dollars worth of cans this month.  That's seven items (beans,  oatmeal, dried fruit, bag of rice, etc.) that could be bought at the dollar store for your prepping pantry. And speaking of which, the dollar stores are not always the best deals, most of these items can be bought for less at your regular grocery store, I'm just using the dollar store as an example as every place has a dollar store (even you Canadians :))  Use those candles that you get as gifts  in the evening and save on the electricity bill. Basically, just be very purposeful in every purchase you make.  Is it a need or a want?

I wrote in a comment that I have almost my entire year's of groceries bought and it cost me  a little less than $600.  As you dear readers know, I can, can and can.  I came across and amazing deal on ground round so I bought 20 pounds and canned it. Ham is on sale almost everywhere at Easter time (as are eggs).  I bought 20 pounds and canned that.  We bought all our basic supplies such as flour, sugar, yeast, cornmeal, dried fruits, oatmeal etc. at our Mennonite bulk food store.  Enough for a year cost about $150.   A local store always has a sale on beef roasts twice a year, when it's cheaper than hamburger, we always wait for that sale and buy around 20 pounds, which I can.  I'm always on the lookout for cheap dried beans ( they last forever) and I found some on the reduced for quick sale rack at our local fruit market for 50 cents/lb. So I canned about 30 jars of them up.  Ran caught a couple salmons this week, so that was also canned up, along with a pike (taste like albacore tuna).  One of the thrift stores we frequent has all sorts of produce for free that they receive from the local Walmart.  One day, the weather was really blustery and they didn't have very many customers and they practically begged us to take home a couple of the rotisserie chickens that  the freeze and hand out, so I took them home and froze the meat and canned 8 pints of broth from the carcasses.  They often have produce that no one ever takes, but when they have free baked goods they are gone in minutes.  Priorities people!  Ha! If I didn't garden, I could probably get enough produce there  to fill some of the pantry. BTW, if you don't can, you can always  dehydrate your vegetables, so keep a sharp lookout at the reduced-for-quick-sale bin at your grocery store.  I used to feel funny about taking any of the food, but then I realized, we live near the poverty level also, we are just better at managing.

Which leads me to my next point.  Get over yourself!  People that say they won't take free food, shop at thrift stores and discount grocery stores better not whine around me about how hard it is to make ends meet! True story, I was telling a frien-emy  about a discount grocery store that we like to explore. She emphatically swore that she wouldn't be caught dead buying outdated groceries, all the time sipping the coffee (that she had complimented me on earlier) that we bought there (three months out of date). Oh that is another thing we stocked up on, a year's worth of coffee ( we love our coffee)  at $1.50 a pound, and it was good organic fancy-name coffee too.

Tthe next excuse I get is, sounds good, but I don't have the time or energy to do all that canning and  cooking-from-scratch business.  I spend about two hours a day cooking, baking and canning.  Our motto is to never buy anything we can make ourselves, so we bake our own bread, crackers, sweets. We make our own soups, cereals, broths, noodles, etc. On the average it only takes two hours of prep work and while the bread is baking you can be doing the laundry or helping the kids with schoolwork. You can even be on your phone texting or looking at Instagram (which I have a feeling consumes a lot of people's time.) While the canner is jiggling the weight, you can be balancing your checkbook, or even reading.  You get the picture. As for energy, I find that the harder I work the more energy I have.  It's very invigorating to see your pantry fill with jars of home canned goods. Plus the harder you work the better you sleep.  

Finally, and most importantly, just put your faith in Our Heavenly Father.  Whatever may befall this old planet, hope is always with me. I pray every day that His will be done.  When the news is alarming  I go outside and listen to the birds and feel the sun upon my face it never fails to melt all the worries away.  My favorite Bible verses that I endeavor to live by:

That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we command you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

God Bless!
Jane






57 comments:

  1. Hi Jane! Glad to hear from you here! FYI, I don't know about your computer, but to comment on blogger, I seem to have to change my settings to allow all cookies or else I can't comment. So I do that, and then change back to my usual settings of not allowing 3rd party cookies.

    I find texting a bit difficult; but it is a quick way to touch base with my kids. I know, I know...old-fashioned talking on the phone is probably better!

    Polar vortex....I love (not!) how they come up with new names for old-fashioned weather!

    Finally, rely on our Heavenly Father...so good! Cannot forget that we are all made to know, love, and serve God and to be happy with Him in heaven.

    Yet your down-to-earth frugal ideas are great until we get there! hugs, andrea

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    1. Hi Andrea! First, I want to thank you, you've always been such a loyal blogging friend.

      I don't know how long I'll be able to do anything on the computer. Seems every site is asking me to verify by entering my mobile phone number and they will text me a code. They just assume everyone has a smart phone. I was at JoAnne's Fabric and asked if they had a mailing list so I could get the coupons (everything is so expensive there without a coupon) and the younger woman kept telling me that all I had to do was download the app. I told her I didn't have a phone to do this with and she was dumbfounded. Another funny story, when we had the solar eclipse, Ran and I made one of those cardboard thingys to view it. This guy stopped and asked us what we were doing. We told him and he said he would just watch it on TV. We told him we don't have a TV ( we wanted to experience a real event rather than watch on TV anyhow). Again, the look like we had a third eye in the middle of our forehead. Then he says, he had an extra and would be glad to give it to us! He just couldn't understand that anyone would willingly not own a TV.

      Sorry that I haven't been commenting on your blog very often. For the longest time I was just overwhelmed with life. Really became a sort of hermit, figuratively and literally. But for some strange reason this week several people have contacted me and were fretting about whatever this thing is to come and I felt compelled to write. I used to be the worst worrier, then one day it dawned on me that everything that I worried about either never happened, happened and wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would it be, or was as bad as I dreaded but we managed to get through it just by putting one foot in front of the other. So why did I spend all those years worrying? Only reason I can come up with is that my faith was weak.

      So thanks for stopping by!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I receive Joann coupons in the mail. People try to live "off the grid" by foregoing electricity, etc, and many have cell phones and computers. To me, that (and a newer t.v...our t.v. last night turned on a little light on the front of it, by itself so we assumed it was spying on us...seriously)….to me that is the stuff to get rid of if you want to be off-grid. And if I wanted to be that way, I'd also make sure I had a very old car, that isn't computerized.

      Well something might come soon...how long can God tolerate our sins, especially against the unborn. But live in the present and worry about that when it comes. Many have enough worries right now. Remember how we worried about Y2K? Crazy.

      FYI, if you want your blog to be more secure, go to your Setting, and under basic, click on HTTPS Redirect. then you will be encrypted. If you look on the web address you have an "i" with a circle around it instead of a lock sign. I never give out my mobile phone #, not to blogger even. Andrea

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    3. You're pretty techie savvy, Andrea! I do my banking online and my husband asked how I'd do it if we went off grid. I reminded him that we used to get a bank statement every month and it would take about an hour to go trough it and balance the checkbook. Funny how people forget how things were done before the computer.


      Yes! I too wonder how long this world can go on, especially since the abortion laws in NY and the crazy talk from VA governor. Certainly the times we are living in cannot be any better than the days of Noah?


      Hope you have a lovely weekend!


      Hugs

      Jane

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    4. I still bank the old-fashioned way and get those snail mail statements. Although I do check my accounts for that and credit cards online frequently to make sure they are not hacked. I heard once that if you don't get your account online settled, a hacker might claim it. Andrea

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  2. Love it -- you talk about those gloom and doom people, always frightening everyone so they can't relax and live, live, live!.

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    1. Hi Lydia! I think one of the most freeing things I did was get rid of my cable. I used to be a major news junkie, but what good did it do me? Very little I could do anything about. My husband used to always check the weather channel. More than half the time they got it wrong. I may sound like a kook, but I think keeping people in this constant state of agitation is a ploy of old Nick!

      hugs
      Jane

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  3. So good to read your words tonight. The TV, it does keep me up to date with the news, but so much is all doom and gloom.However, as Hugh has a huge problem sleeping ( years after spinal surgery was not a success) watching it at night long after I am in bed is a huge benefit for him. And as he is not an avid reader like me, it suffices to fill in those long hours. For alol my life, I have made my own clothes, lately only buy at a sale,or visit the Op Shop for goodies. I have bottled, frozen, and grown almost all our own veges. Now we have downsized, have to think carefully about what to plant in the 3 raised vege beds. From 3 acres, with our own firewood trees, to a small 805m sq, had to buy firewood for the first time in many years. Yesterday, I was talking to a tradesperson's wife, we had not met, and she asked " Did I have an email address?" And was surprised when I said yes. Hope to see you here again, and fond greetings from Jean. A cold night here and probably a frost tomorrow morning.

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    1. Hello Jean! It's a cold and frosty night here too. Aren't we supposed to have opposite seasons? Ha! Ran and I were discussing buying a piece a property out in the country, and then we got to thinking about all the things we wouldn't be able to do in twenty years. Guess it was just a nice pipe dream. Anytime I mention an e-mail address, people respond that they'd rather just text me, apparently, e-mailing is passé and too much work. I guess I am like my mother who wouldn't touch those "evil" computers, but I'm that way with smart phones. Hope you have a beautiful weekend!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  4. How wonderful to find your post this morning! I think of you, wonder how you're doing, and have kept you on my blogroll, just in case you decided to post again. So glad you did. Your words are so true. There are many things to consider in living frugally, and you do a great job in explaining the possibilities. Like you, we don't watch TV. Joseph does sometimes relay doom and gloom from his internet readings, but I find too that nature gives me great peace. Sometimes I just have to tell him he has to give me at least one bit of positive news, before he can tell me any more :o). I'm not as "hard core" as you, and being a vegetarian makes it a bit easier, but I can all year as well. In the winter, it's typically dried beans, broth, black olives (from industrial cans from the discount grocery), and about this time of year, all the winter squash that is lingering from last year's garden. I have only made pasta a handful of times, but have been thinking of looking for a used Kitchenaid attachment for it. We do love our pasta with garden veggies. I'm so happy to see your words here, my blogging friend, and hope you'll consider sharing more of your wisdom and simple living skills.

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    1. Hi Laurie! Thanks for the kind words! In the winter I can dry beans too. Never heard of canning olives. Please tell me how that's done. Then I'll be on a lookout for some at the discount grocery.


      It was very strange, this week I receive several e-mails, one letter and a couple of comments plus chats with the neighbors about the "impending doom". Have no idea what has gotten everyone so stirred up at this point in time. I guess the old sayin "Ignorance is bliss" is true. Hope you are having a lovely Spring!


      Hugs

      Jane

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    2. Jane, I follow Jackie Clay's instructions for recanning black olives:

      Drain olives and bring brine to a boil.
      Fill jars (1/2 pints) with olives and add boiling brine.
      Pressure can 60 mins at 10# pressure.

      That's it! A 10# can gives me 16 half pints. She doesn't give head space, so I wing it... 1/2 to 1".

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    3. Thanks Laurie! That Jackie Clay is a canning whiz! I have her canning book, but didn't see olives in there. Now I'm going to be on the lookout for them at the Amish store for sure. Most of the time when pressure canning it says to leave a 1" headspace, so you are probably right. You buy a fancy type of olives in a spicy brine from Mennards and when the olives are gone we refill the jar with cheap canned ones and the more expensive brine. Never would know the difference.


      Thanks again!

      Jane

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  5. So good to see you here again Jane. Great post! I don't watch TV. what little news I see is with my yahoo account, even then, I skip reading most of it. I do have a 'smart phone', for maps when driving, in case of emergency when I'm out or even just outside gardening, and it has a nice camera too, plus I can google search when needed. Texting is great too as I'm not really a phone person. Did get rid of my land line as I was MOSTLY getting spam callers leaving msgs on my machine.

    I live a pretty quiet life, trusting in God to take care of me.

    Happy Spring dear friend ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Hello Sweet Rainey! Those smart phones can be very handy. If they didn't cost so much I would like to have one just for the ability to get coupons and to navigate. Unfortunately, so many people are addicted to them. It's hard to go anyplace anymore where someone isn't yakking away on them. Makes you wonder how we all managed before they were invented. Maybe we didn't have as much to say? Ha! Hope you and your little piece of paradise are thriving!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  6. Hellooooo Jane!
    How nice to read a post here, again. I quite agree with the sentiments you've expressed, especially on the television. We kicked ours out the door decades ago and haven't missed it once. About those JoAnn coupons...I rarely ever get to use one since they mark things down 10% so you can't get more off the item you want to use the coupon for. It seems that's done on purpose. to me, anyways. I buy fabric from the markdown bins at Hobby Lobby.

    It did me a world of good to read your down-to-earth, no nonsense directions for getting over ourselves! LOVED it.
    Hope you are doing well!
    Blessings from the hills,
    Toni

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    1. Hello Toni! Never thought that is probably why they are always having sales at JoAnns. They need to offer more than 10% to make them affordable, that's for sure. Are you doing much traveling? We are going to NC this coming week. Not looking forward to it, as travel with Ran is disappointing at its best.


      Oh, the getting over yourselves comment comes from a friend/enemy of mine that is always knocking my thrifty ways, but constantly complains about money problems and has people constantly bailing her out. I have sister like that also, that wouldn't set foot in a thrift store, but will gladly take my cast-offs (all of which come from the thrift store). She's another one that is always short on cash the week before payday. I have so many of these conversations, followed by how I'm so lucky to have that garden, those canned goods, no debts, etc. I'm just about ready to blow a gasket! Ha! ANywho, I better not get started on that or I could rant all night.


      Bet it's getting to be pretty down your way. Hope you are enjoying it!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  7. Hello Jane,
    I am so excited to read this post and I agree there is a lot of fear based "news" being spread. I still haunt your blog as it remains a favorite. Hope all is well with you.
    ginger

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    1. What a sweet thing to say, Ginger! Thank you ever so much! All is well here, hope it is with you also.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. Wow, it is so good to see a post from you again. Since I last "talked" to you we have moved from our acreage to a small village just this past January and we love it. The acreage was just getting to be to much to keep up. And since the move we have no regrets. We had a winter of lots of snow and flooding here in Nebraska. The creek that ran in front of our former acreage flooded. Breezy Hollow sat on a hill so it was safe but I do not know how the outbuildings fared that were setting just off the creek. We are in the process of getting the yard in shape now. In the winter we did some house remodeling but the unfinished spots will have to wait until next winter. We are busy trying to find spaces for garden areas and getting those ready. I must have some garden at least :) Thanks for your post. And knowing that you and your family are doing well. Nannie

    P.S. We called our new home Breezy Hill.

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    1. Hello Nannie! So good to hear from you! Sounds like you are happy with your move. I think village life is kind of a happy medium between the country and city. I've read that there's been a lot flooding in your area. Glad that you are safe. Breezy Hill is a sweet name. Hope you two will be happy there!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  9. Hi Jane

    What a nice surprise to see a post from you. I always enjoyed reading your blog and have checked n regularly to see if possibly you had posted.

    I often say to myself "small economies" as I go about my day doing the many tiny tiny things we do to save money and I think of you -- as you used that phrase in one of your posts and it stuck with me.

    It sounds like you are doing well and I'm glad.
    Hope to hear some more from you.

    Debra

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    1. Hello Debra! And here I wrote about small economies again. It's the key, I think. I once listen to a fellow that had a hard life say that he teaches his children each day to just somehow save 50 cents. Doesn't seem like much does it? But it keeps you mindful, whether it's eating a slightly smaller portion so you'll have some left over for tomorrow's lunch, or turning off the light while you watch TV in the evening, every little bit helps and it all adds up.

      Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend and the sun is shining!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  10. Dear Jane, You can’t imagine my surprise today to read your post. Just last week I went back and started reading your posts again. You are always so inspiring to me. I was wishing there was a way for you to still write and it only be sent out to your dearest followers. I’m crushed when you receive nasty remarks. I just don’t understand it. I still miss you terribly. Please write again soon. Janet Lynn

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    1. I may write some more posts Janet Lynn, but it probably won't be on any sort of a schedule. I think I'm over the nasty remarks, I see so many very nice people get them also, that I assume there are just some miserable people out there that like to find fault. Thank you for being such a loyal reader of my blog! Hope you are having a lovely day!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  11. well written, glad you're sticking with the blog too!
    i don't can or preserve (tried with disastrous results) I buy preserves from my neighbour who makes beautiful jams & chutneys as well as some sauces (most of her jars are under $5); am not much of a baker but i do want to have a go at making my own sourdough one day. i buy all tinned beans & some vegies from the supermarket when they're on special it's always good to get a few more; beans are wonderful in stews & soups.
    perhaps you could put up some recipes here for some of us? sounds like you are well practised with the frugal cooking :))
    enjoyed catching up, good tips here too
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Hello Selina! To be honest jams and jellies are the hardest things to can in my opinion. It took several years of running or rubber jellies before I had a feel for the correct jel point. All the illustrations and instructions in the world can't teach you, you just comes from experience. That being said, you are wisely stocking up and that is a good thing.


      Haven't found a way to make sourdough that gives me the results that I want yet. This past winter I discovered that we were buying a lot of store-bought bread. At $3 a loaf it made my thrifty heart flutter. Ha! So I went back to keeping a batch of my tried and true refrigerator potato rolls in the fridge at all times: http://hopeandthrift.blogspot.com/2015/09/indian-summer.html
      You can bake it into a bread or rolls. And we discovered it makes amazing cinnamon rolls. We'll see what I can do about recipes. I have my own little receipt book where I keep my recipes that use only the basic pantry items. Started it when I was first married and still to this day I turn to it often. It is so old (40 years) that some of the ink has faded away!

      Good to hear from you!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. hi jane,
    what a happy surprise,a new post from you. It's nice to hear from you again. i have you missed.hope for more post from you. i like your frugal tips. have you already sown vegetables? would be glad to receive an e-mail from you.

    hope you have a wonderful day,
    hugs,
    regina

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    1. Hello Regina! How are things across the great pond? We've started our tomatoes, peppers and eggplants indoors a few weeks ago, but it is still too cold to plant peas, lettuce etc. outside. As a matter of fact, it's snowing as I write this. Ugh! Will Spring ever arrive?

      I'm busy packing for a trip at the present, but will e-mail you when I get back, towards the end of April. Hope you are doing well!


      Hugs

      Jane

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    2. hello jane,
      today have i worked in the garden. i planted salad, kohlrabi and sowed radish,rucola.

      wish you a wonderful trip.
      hugs regina

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    3. That's wonderful, Regina! I think we bought kohlrabi seeds this year, haven't planted it in several years. Packing today. I never pack the right stuff! I am decidedly a homebody. Thanks for the best wishes!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. Good morning good Morning Jane, how lovely to be able to read a new post from you, and such a timely one for me too. Reading it has made me realise how my anxiety is affected by both news outlets and social media (Facebook). It's also made me think about how I would prefer to spend my time and I thank you for that.
    I have a sister who reminds me so much of your friend. Critical of our thrifty ways and always complaining about her debts. It is hard to know what to say to hersonetimes.
    I'm so glad that you are keeping well, and send you my best wishes for a good trip.
    Regards
    Lesley

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    1. Thanks Lesley. Oh, I've given up on people such as my friend and your sister. I was just reading the Bible commentary on the verse I quoted in the post. Basically, it said that people that expect others to bail them out whenever they need it are practicing a form of self-love. The very opposite of Christian love. There are people that truly need a helping hand, the elderly that live alone, the handicapped, but I have no qulams to saying no to anyone that has gotten themselves into a situation because of their own avarice. It actually pains me to see Ran and Jamie work so hard only to have someone that has sat on their backsides all day long or squandered their money on cigarettes and gadgets, come begging. But I better not get started on that subject or I'd be here all day. Ha! Hope you have a lovely week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  14. They say every person's sourdough bread has a different taste. Each of our houses has different yeasts in the air and that reacts to make all the different. So the exact same recipe for someone else's sour dough you love will only taste like that in their home...different in any other. I may not be describing this quite right but the principle is right. ;-)

    Forget an I phone etc. And also fancy things to do on the computer. !! LOl

    I do hear tv but have not a clue what those people hear that is so worrisome. Other than the usual problems everywhere in the world anymore. But nothing big, new., or drastic. As always the new is over blown just like the news is about food shortages. Oh they say expect sugar prices to rise dramatically..and I had even heard several times through the years... to buy more T.P. and tissues cause of a soon shortage. Then two weeks pass and all is the same...the shelves are still full of stuff. Yes when there are storms and farmers loose crops or cattle expect prices to rise but that is natural and has always been. Yes we stockpile..who wouldn't when bargains present themselves and their Could be a problem but do not do it out of any panic. !! Having things here to use keeps us home and away from all those shoppers :) and saves us time and gas too.

    You do have a pretty nice size lot don't you? I always thought you did at least. You do use it to its best advantage growing things. Our place is I imagine, is smaller than yours but it is amazing what you can grow when you plan. I cannot imagine living and not be able to go out and dig in the dirt if I want and enjoy all the nature too.

    We eat little jellies and preserves so pretty much I gave up making them. We do can berries into syrup and such and use that. How are your grape vines doing...oh probably not yet since you had snow. Ours are growing out and have the grape buds. I was thinking of all the grape juice you can.

    Well good to hear from you for sure. I hope those commenters settle down and relax. Perhaps sitting down and reading some scripture and prayer to calm them. If they are worried about a problem to come do something about it... soon to be out of a job or whatever? Save, save save now while you can. Stock up. Pay down any expenses. Better yet do it BEFORE a problem comes!! Pray and get your ducks in a row in your mind so you will relax when and IF something actually happens.

    Hope your trip is relaxing. Some days I think even a small trip like just sitting outside any where for 5 minute and looking up at the sky is wonderful. God always makes the sky and clouds different every day. No two alike. And spectacular!! Who could ever paint anything as beautiful???? Judy/Jody


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    1. Hi JUdy! I suppose you are correct about the sourdough. Mine never seems to have the flavor that I'm looking for, and I've tried everything; citric acid, vinegar, lemon-lime soda, etc.
      We don't eat very much bread anyway, so I guess I'll just buy some when I crave it. But I certainly love the thought of having a yeast that keeps giving.

      We have just a little under 1/2 acre. It's plenty of room for al the gardening we do. Not enough for livestock, but then zoning laws don't allow it anyway. Not enough to grow grains, but by the time you factor in how much all the equipment would cost to make it into flour, it would be some expensive grains, anyway.


      I'm with you, if you are worried about your situation, do something about it. Even if it's just taking inventory of what you have so you can relax a little.


      Sitting outside is my kind of trip. So much packing and always things I forget. I always go into these trips with the thought "let's get this over" in other words a really bad attitude. Thanks for the well wishes!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  15. Oh, Jane! So wonderful to read a new post from you! You have such a lovely, gentle, yet no-nonsense way of writing. I hope you told your frien-emy just how old the coffee was that she was drinking! Giggle!
    I have been coming back here to comb for recipes and to read and re-read posts (thank you SO MUCH for leaving it accessible as a resource!), so your update made my heart sing. I wish you and your family a Happy Easter and a beautiful spring!

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    1. Thanks Sue! Nope did =n't tell her, some things are best kept under your hat. Hope you have a lovely Easter also. We are in NC now and I fear we brought the cold wet weather with us. BUt it's still nice to spend the day with family!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  16. Dear Jane,
    So nice to see your post! And sorry for being one of those folks claiming the sky was falling. Being better prepared for an emergency has been on my mind. I guess other folks sense that the world feels unsteady these days, as well. Funny how we all come to you, our guiding light for living richly but frugally! I hope you will consider posting from time to time. We love to hear from you!
    Warmly,
    Dana

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    1. Dana, since you weren't the only one that was feeling unsettled recently, I was curious to what was making people feel this way at this time. I feel that when a lot of people feel something at the same time, that perhaps there is something to it. On the other hand there is a lot of fear-mongering going on these days. True story, when I was just rediscovering my faith about fifteen years ago, I used to listen to a preacher on YouTube. Every message had such a tone of urgency that he really began to frighten me, so I went into the whole prepping thing big time, complete with bug-out bags and 20 year food storage. I was on a constant state of alert. Somewhere along the way, I lost that sense of urgency, but the other day I turned on one of his videos and he was still preaching in the that frantic, " Oh my G-d, we all are going to die" way. Must be exhausting to live in such fear all the time. Plus it is not what our Father wants for us. Now I live be prepared for all of life's unexpected things (and there are plenty of them) but if the world really did take a tumble like many are reporting, even if I canned 24 hours a day, I wouldn't have enough to feed my family and neighbors for long, so I'm trusting in the Lord. As I tell my doctor when I'm refusing tests that he is insisting upon, "The good Lord will keep me on this earth just as long as he wants me to be here". LOL! Make him mad!

      Hope you are having a lovely Springtime. In spite of the cold, I spied some asparagus popping up. And we must not forget good old reliable rhubarb. Today I'm making rhubarb marmalade.


      Hugs

      Jane

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  17. It was so nice to see another post from you. I found you just a few months before you stopped blogging and was so disappointed when you did. I LOVE this blog -- its very down to earth. I have bookmarked a ton of your recipes and meal ideas. I hope you will continue to blog again. Take care.

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    1. Goodness Mary, thank you! Such a kind thing to say. I will see what I can do about blogging, I have realized that it takes up a lot of time. But on the other hand, I certainly do enjoy the companionship of you all. Perhaps I'll pop in here from time to time, but it won't be on any regular schedule like it used to be. Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  18. Jane!!!!
    God is so good! He directed my steps to "check" your older posts, and now I find a NEW one. That was an answer and just the encouragement I neede today. To renew my mind as the Bible says.
    You always help me renew my mind with frugal posts.

    I miss ya, friend. You have such rare wisdom to share.

    So glad you got through thevwinter. It''s been a hard one.

    Thanks for the great tips. I am going to do my 150.00 dry pantry storage trip tonight. Hopefully we can snag some great deals.

    Thanks for taking the time to share!
    Because of Grace,
    Kim

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    1. Hello Kim! So good to hear from you! Hope you find some great deals on your pantry run. Our local Family Dollar is going out of business so I bought a lot of dry beans at 55 cents/ pound. Bean canning some and storing others. Discovered that canning pinto beans in ham broth is wonderful. A jar of them with some cornbread and corn relish makes a delightful and filling meal. Those little jars of "Better than Boullion" soup flavorings are on the pricey side but a million times better than the cubes and granules that always harden in storage. The ham one in particular really helps the blandness of navy bean and pea soups. And a little goes a long way.

      Yes, winter has been hard and long and not over yet. We had snow yesterday. Jamie reminded me in 4 1/2 months we will have arrived at autumn and we haven't had spring yet. Oh well, as Mark Twin said, "Everyone complains about the weather but no ones does anything about it."

      Hope you have a fun and thrifty shopping trip!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  19. Jane, so glad to see you posting again! Last night, I was just eyeing that wool you sent me. I decided I "deserved" a treat to work on it. ;)

    Well, you need to hear a firm AMEN from your audience. I am so in agreement w/ you. I was stunned to read the verse you live by. God impressed that verse on me 2 months before I met my husband 23 years ago!

    Last night, my husband brought home: potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuces and bread FREE from the Restore. My daughter & I went for a walk. We collected wild violets for Violet Jelly. As I type this, I have kids at home slicing bruised apples for drying. I can't keep my cupboard stocked w/ home-dried apples & bananas. My children claim, "they are much better than the store-bought, Mom." Yesterday, I finished canning dandelion syrup. I'm sure I will be greeted with more dandelions when I get home from my youngest.

    Had fun Monday night w/ girlfriends. They all chose ribs for their meals. I quietly requested their bones for broth. They were happy to pack them in to-go boxes and even threw in rolls and butter. Those rolls made several sandwiches the next day. I've already made 5 quarts of broth. ;)

    Bless you, my friend
    Leslie

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    1. Hi Leslie! Glad you are enjoying the wool.

      Yes! That verse is a wonderful mission statement for any family.

      How clever of you to think of saving your friends ribs bones. This weekend we got free mangos from the local thrift shop. They had a lot of produce. Too bad others don't avail themselves to it. Our local produce store gives the brown bananas away for free. They make great breads and muffins or can be frozen for smoothies. We gathered dandelion roots for making coffee on SundAY. It was a beautiful sunny day. One of the few nice days we've had this spring.
      But it has been warm enough to gather the first batch of asparagus and rhubarb. I made rhubarb orange marmalade from an old recipe I found and some oranges that needed using up. Turned out great. I was very pleased as I have tried making regular orange marmalade and it was too bitter for my taste, but this had just the right amount of sweetness (I grew up on Schmucker's sweet orange marmalade so regular ones seem to bitter to me). Can't wait for more rhubarb to come up so I can make some rhubarb-strawberry jam. I've promised several jars to people already.


      Hope you have a fun and thrifty week!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  20. welcome back :))
    thoroughly enjoyed the read, some people are silly aren't they? "never would i ... not over my dead body..." etc; use by dates haven't been out that long & shops used to keep a lot of things on the shelves, derrr they're all packaged!
    wish i could preserve/can, am a lousy cook most days, at least it's only me here now, kids have flown off; i purchase local preserves which are very yummy & my stock pile is slowly growing except freezer items as only have the top of the fridge freezer;
    it always pays to stock pile & it's not hard to do either
    wonderful reminder
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Good to hear from you Selina! I always say that the difference between a good and bad cook is the recipes. It's just a matter of finding some simple recipes that you enjoy. Truth be told, I hate to cook also, but I love to can and preserve, they are two very different concepts, so don't let your lack of enthusiasm for cooking deter you if you really want to learn how.

      Thanks for dropping by!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  21. Oh my gosh! I returned to see if I could find a good butter cookie recipe of yours I misplaced and there's a post! I missed your writing but understood your reasons for ending.

    I thought of you when I learned to knit (your pictures always showed you are a fabulously accomplished knitter)and at times when someone has turned their nose up at some form of frugality.

    As for what you have said here it reminds me of something I heard from a speaker at a work seminar on work/life balance. He said we can worry all we want to but those worries usually don't come to be. It's what hits us out of the blue at 4:00 on a Wednesday that was never on our radar that can be life changing. When I think of any real crisis that has happened in my life, I can say that's true. Probably the best I can do is what I know best in saving, health, relationships with family/friends, my work, and to try my best not to worry, even when it's hard not to.

    I hope you post something again if you feel like it. Your words were a pleasure to see.

    Sharon in the NW

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    1. Hello Sharon! Hope all is well with you. On the spur of the moment I decided to post something, but I forgot how much work was involved. Ha! Cold, cold spring here and on this first day of summer it's a balmy 55 degrees. I know one thing for sure, groceries are going to be higher this year. Aren't you glad that you can? Glad you learned to knit. It's a nice relaxing hobby. I'm working on a pair of socks at the present. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  22. Hi there, Jane!
    Boy, I need to check my blog feed more often. :) You're such a dear inspiration; I'm so glad you're back! We discovered an Amish produce auction near us where we can get very good bargains on bulk items (plus we get to see adorable Amish children running around barefoot), plus we have a Mennonite bulk store, as well. We love dehydrating food for storage, and are trying to figure out how we could squeeze money for a freeze-dryer out of our budget!
    Love,
    Marqueta

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    1. Hello Marqueta! I forgot about the Amish produce auction. If our garden doesn't do well this year (it's been terribly cold so far this spring/summer) We'll have to avail ourselves to the local one. I don't think we are going to get very many tomatoes as they just aren't setting any fruit. Who knows? Maybe the weather will perk up soon? Those freeze-dryers look amazing, but as you said pricey. Guess I'll have to continue with canning and dehydrating. BTW, you have inspired me to really study herbs. You should see me herb cupboard!


      Hugs,

      Jane

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  23. I was so happy to see a post on your blog. I have been scouring the old blogs I used to read and enjoy. Glad to see you are doing well and still doing all of the good things you do. Take care and enjoy your summer.
    Barb in PA

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    1. Thanks Barb! Can't tell you how many times I was tempted to write a post, but boy! it's hard to rein in what I really want to say. If I ever really let loose, Katie bar the door! Ha! Right now I'm thinking about a post on personal responsibility, but I'm afraid if I wrote what I was really thinking, some people might have a stroke. Ha! Well, we are finally having our long-overdo summer here, hope you are having a lovely one in PA also!


      Hugs

      Jane

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  24. Hello Jane! So exciting to see a new post! I have missed you. Love your no nonsense take on life. Hope you and your family are doing well.

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    1. Good to hear from you Kathy! Goodness! I thought no one was reading this blog anymore. Family and all are doing fine. We are working hard to put the garden to bed and get the very last of the garden canned. Hope you had an enjoyable summer.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  25. Nice article as well as whole site.Thanks.

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