Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Independence Day Challenge

Well, how is the economy treating you?  

We are doing okay.  For now. 

Hubby came home from work; last week and the week before,  with news that both schools that he teaches at are freezing their budgets.  One school thought they may have to have layoffs. 

We had lost some income earlier in the year, so we have learned to adapt.  We planted a big garden and preserved most of its bounty. We paid off a few small debts. We have stocked up on some bulk food to stretch the grocery dollar. We grow our own meat and we don't eat it but once or twice a week.   We drive one car and we are more intentional in its use.  We are getting by and do not want for much . So far, so good.

But a layoff would be a problem for us.  

This is a really a really smart woman.

This is the really good book that she wrote.

I've been reading Sharon Astyk's blog for about a year now.  I decided to join her Independence Days Challenge when oil was over 100.00 a barrel last spring. I decided to join when the price of the flour I buy, in 25lb bags, went from 13.00 to 21.00 in one month.

I still do the IDC challenge, now, to provide insurance if hubby should find himself under employed in the next year.  And I do it for this little obscure index.

I also do it because it is actually a good way to see how incorporating elements of simplicity into one's life ( cooking from scratch, eating local and organic, living with the rhythms of the seasons, finding a good deal at a thrift store) can ease the uncertainty in these uncertain times.

It has been about a month since my last IDC posting.  So there is quite a bit to report.

Plant something:  Nothing to plant. But we are getting seed catalogs.  Yeehaa!!!

Harvested: There are jerusalem artichokes  in the ground but we had an ice storm last week and can not get to them.  They will be there for us in the spring.

Preserved:  I got some late season apples at one of the last regular farmers market so I made more applesauce.  Hubby helped a friend harvest her flock of rams.  She gave us half a mutton for his efforts.

Local food systems:  We are buying eggs from local farmers until our new chicks start laying. Bought local goat cheese for Thanksgiving at the farmers market.

Managed Reserves:  I keep an eye on the winter squash every week.  If there are any soft spots I either make soup or bread  with the squash.  I may have to learn to can it soon because, if I have too many squash turning at once, I won't want to waste it. I keep an eye on the home canned food; making sure that we are not eating all of one thing at a time.  This is really hard because we have all become pickled carrot fiends.  Finished putting the garden to bed.  

Prepped:  I found 2 pairs of winter boots on freecycle.  New trays for the dehydrator and a neighbor gave us another dehydrator. The same neighbor gave us a case of baking soda that was damaged at the grocery store. It smells like it may have had laundry soap spilled on it so we will use it for cleaning.

reduced waste: finished putting the compost bins to bed for the season.  I should have a good amount to start the season with. I am enjoying the thrills of freecycle.  I haven't killed my worms yet. But they are taking up a lot of space in the bathroom so I  am going to move them down to the basement.

cooked something new: I have tried several new squash recipes.  We have too many squash. I learned how to make baking powder.  2 parts creme of tartar to one part baking soda.

learned something new: I learned how to make homemade playdough.   I am making most of my gifts for Christmas this year and I learned that I need to give myself  more time.

Pay it forward:  We have been helping out our church's food pantry.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Weather on the Way

Well, it looks like we are really expecting some winter weather. We have had a couple of small snow storms with maybe an inch or two; followed by rain. But this coming storm sounds like it could cause some trouble.  

With the threat of an ice storm or significant snow accumulation there are certain things we do around here to make sure that we are prepared.

First,  we check that all oil lamps are full and wicks are trimmed, flashlights have good batteries, radio has batteries.

Second, in the event of an ice storm, we make sure that any thing outside that we may need to use ( shovels,  firewood, hay) is under cover or easily accessible.

Third, is there plenty of bottled water  for cooking,  washing and animals? Our good neighbor has a hand pump we can use to water our animals in the event that we should lose power.  Do we have enough buckets?

Fourth, I'll make a big pot of soup so that meals will be easy to prepare and clean up after.

Fifth, a last load of laundry, just in case.

Sixth, I will move any meat in the kitchen refridgerator to the freezers in the garage just to make sure that the meat will keep.  Even if we lose power, the freezers will stay colder out in an unheated building than if they were in the house.

Well, gotta get to work....

furry goodness

I am a cat lady.  I grew up in the house of a cat lady. I have not crossed that thin line between cat lady and crazy  cat lady; but given the right circumstances, I think there is the potential. In a way, I am every bit the stereotype of a cat lady.  I have a vast collection of books and work in a bookstore. There is nothing sweeter than knitting with a cuppa tea and a cat in your lap. I wear glasses.  Oh, and you can betcha that I have been overheard having long in depth conversations with my fur people.

What is it about cats?  Well, unlike dogs, cats don't have a codependent need to please.  They are independent , soft, compact critters with their own personalities.   They lay about like scatter rugs.  In a way, the perfect home decor.

Alas, we have a rule in this house. One dog= Two cats.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frugal Quickie

So, yeah, its December and my goal this holiday season was to make all my Christmas Presents. There are 3 small persons I have on my list this year that will be receiving some wooly knitted goodness but I wanted to also put a little something more kid friendly in the package.

So Teen and I did this today.

We bought cheap, on sale flour and creme of tarter which came to about 7.00.  I went to the dollar store and found small containers; 1 package with 10 small containers was 1.oo. Two bags of cookie cutters with 6 cookie cutters in each came to 2.00....total 10.00.

We divided the playdough into three clumps and colored with food coloring.

Each child will get 3 cookie cutters and  3 containers and a special wee one who will get 4.   There was extra playdough and cookie cutters left over so I am going to give some to a good neighbor's grand kids.

Teen had a great time with it and it really was fun to make!