Hello dear friends! We are shoveling out from our snow "storm" today. Why is any measurable amount of snow considered a storm these days? Afterall, we live in Michigan, it's winter, we should expect snow in February. Our son and family that lives downstate are without electricity, but they are prepared with a backup generator and a wood pellet stove, so no harm there. Most of the people that live in this neck of the woods, know enough to be prepared for such things, it's just common sense. Which leads me to a dilemma; what to write about for Thrifty Thursday. I assume that you all have common sense too, and much of being thrifty is just common sense. So many of the YouTube "thrift and prepping" channels have such nonsense, such as how to wash your hair without running water or how to hang your laundry on the line. Well, I assume you know how to do those things or if you don't, you'd figure it out pretty quickly on your own, after all it doesn't take a Philadelphia lawyer. To me, it is kind of insulting to think people are so dull that they need instructions on such things.
The other thing that bothers me about many of these channels is their clickbait like "I saved $1000 a week, and you can too!" Then proceed to show you something they purchased on sale or used for fifty dollars, then show you the retail price from some fancy-schmancy catalog. No, they didn't save a thousand dollars, they spent fifty. Unless it is something you are truly in need of, say a refrigerator because yours went kaput and the food is spoiling, you are just spending money. Don't get me wrong, I love a good thrift store buy as much as the next person, but I am not under any illusion that no matter how cheap the thing is, it is still spending money. The biggest thrift tip I can give anyone is to learn the difference between a "want' and a "need".
Practicing what we preach is hard though. Ran and I have been trying to practice that we will eat only what the good Lord provides for us. He does a pretty good job of it, too. Our small bit of land provides us with all the fruit and vegetables we need and Ran, an avid fisherman, catches enough fish to supply us with all the meat our little family needs. Technically, about all we really need to purchase is flour and oil and a bit of sugar. And this year we are tapping our maples, which if we needed to, could be done on a larger scale to provide us with a sugar source. It would be meager, but enough to bake a loaf of bread every few days. Our friend Shane supplies us with honey also, and neighbor Anna's son, Tyler, gives us eggs in return for plowing her out and helping her till her garden in the spring and fall, so we are provided for. But yet, on payday, we still go to the store and buy groceries. This month the only thing on our shopping list that we need is salt, but of course, if there's a good buy on something else, you know I'm going to pick it up. Lately our little Amish cheese factory has been selling it's ends and pieces for $1.68 a pound, so we've been restocking our cheese "cave". Is cheese a need or a want? I suppose with our German, Swiss and Dutch ancestery, it's a need. Ha! Well, we'll just justify it by saying cheese is our source of calcium. Coffee is a luxury I need to remind myself.
Speaking of which, we love history, so are always experimenting with what the early settlers did to get by, so we collected, dried and roasted dandelion root for a substitute for coffee. It looked like coffee and had a pleasant smell while roasting, but at the end of the day, I would rather go without rather than drink that. But then I don't like tea so don't let me dissuade you from trying it. It tasted like a very earthy green tea to me, so if that is something you think you would like, there's plenty of dandelions out there, so enjoy!
Well, in spite of getting snow yesterday, we have begun our gardening. Last year we had very good success with our onions, as a matter of fact we still have a bushel in the root cellar. The one thing we figured out is that you have to start them very early, much earlier than the seed packets instruct and instead of going under the grow lights, they grow stronger just by being in our south-facing windows. We are also starting some gourds this week. Each year I attempt to grow a different kind of gourd. Last year it was luffas. I only managed to harvest one! So much for the idea of growing free scrubbies! I'll have to stick to my old standby of using the netting from store-bought turkeys and hams for pot scrubbers.
I've been cleaning out my bookshelves and came across a few books that are wonderful resources for prepping and living the thrifty lifestyle. The First one is The Home Workplace, a compilation of how-tos put out by the Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine. It has all sorts of information on how to build structures for self-sufficiency. The other book is, How To Do Things, published by the Farm Journal. What a gem! Everything from how to garden and build things, to how to raise livestock and process them. Even has ideas for how to have fun without modern conveniences. Love that book!
A YouTube channel I really enjoy is Three Rivers Homestead. Her thought process is very similar to how I come up with meal planning and watching that sweet mama working with her children in the kitchen reminds me very much of my life when my children were youngsters.
RECIPE FROM THE PANTRY
1 C. pureed pumpkin
1/2 C. applesauce
1 C. sugar (I used a bit less because my home-canned applesauce was already sweetened)
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 C. raisins or nuts (or both) optional
Combine wet ingredients. Then stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the nuts or raisins if using them. Pour into a greased 8-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done. This cake is particularly good with a bit of cream cheese frosting.
This cake is a dense, what I call, country cake. Kind of akin to a quick bread. Growing up, my mother always baked cakes from mixes and used that canned frosting. Blechhh! So, I never really liked cake until I started baking these country cakes. But if you enjoy those chiffon-type or angel food style cakes, this recipe may not be for you.
So that is it for another Thrifty Thursday. This is the time of year when there isn't much excitement going on. Oh! Did you hear about the "UFO" that they shot down over Lake Huron? That was probably less than fifty miles from us as the crow flies. We had a good laugh over it until we found out that the first time they took a shot at it, they missed! That missile could have landed in our front yard. And it's not very reassuring that our missile defense system can't even shoot down something hovering over a lake on the first attempt. I tease Ran that he better not go trolling for salmon this spring, his luck he'll snag that missile lying at the bottom of the lake. I guess that's where it is, they never did say if the recovered it, or the strange octagonal object they were shooting down. So I guess we did have some "excitement" around here. Anyway, whatever will be, will be. Here's hoping your days are filled only with the fun sort of excitement.!