Monthly Archives: January 2019

New?

My email provider has been bugging me to increase the size of my email file. I don’t want to, as the bulk of what I’ve kept are unread promo emails. So, I started culling email last night. I used to have I think it was 80,000 unread emails. These days that’s down to 28,000.

This morning I was standing in front of the wood stove, something I do in the winter a fair amount. I’ve discovered that the most productive thing I can do while standing there is sort papers. This morning it was going through the last of the yesterday’s ads and coupons. That’s done. Sometime later this morning, I’ll grab a slug of papers out of a box and start on those.  Or, I’ll go through the coupon folder and make sure I know what expires this week.

Sorting paper while standing in front of the wood stove is remarkably productive and gets a job done which isn’t my fave (how I got all the papers to start with).

We didn’t make it to the dump yesterday and when we went Saturday, we just took 2 bags of books. I’ve generated another small bag and DH has it and will donate those today.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

This is exactly like the frugal food idea, that is, have a method in place (a recipe) to deal with the excess and use it, regularly. It’s new for me.

I have cookbooks for using left-overs, but I hadn’t, until recently, made up a list of what to do with specific items.

sunrise

(Image not mine, don’t know where I got it, sorry!)

I didn’t have a plan, for email or for food stuffs, until recently. The paperwork I’ve been doing for a while, especially going through the Sunday papers before we acquire a new set, but not necessarily the going through the file/toss papers — receipts, bills, etc.

So, less stuff: unwanted electronic data, paperwork, books, and less food waste. It’s all good!

More Food Musings

Because of the frugal food analysis, I also got down the seed box.

I got discouraged with our veggie garden a couple of years ago, I planted 4 tomato plants (at a cost of $8 each for mid-size, organic, yellow tomato plants) and something ate two of the plants down to the ground. We got 4  fully ripe tomatoes from the other 2 plants and about 4 smaller green ones before the season ended. Tomatoes for $4 each just didn’t seem worth the effort, right?

So last year I just let the garden go. We had a wonderful crop of weeds.

I remembered what I wanted from my garden tonight, even with the farm food, and that is grow things I can’t really get enough variety or quantity from the farm: greens, beans and not red tomatoes.

So I started looking at seeds at my favorite supplier and got down the seed box. Which, because I haven’t planted a garden in two years of any size was chock-a-block full of seeds, some as far back as 2010! I put 52 seed packets in the trash can with seeds in them and 2 empty packets, which I’d kept for some reason.

garden bed

(Image isn’t mine but from images.google.com .)

No seeds in the box are from last year, most are from 2016. This means I’ll spend weeks testing seeds and more will get trashed. But that’s good because it will make me do another cull BEFORE I order seed! (I thought I’d culled the box last year when I moved it. Apparently not, I just put the lid on the box and put it away untouched.)

So, today I took 2 bags of books to the dump’s swap shop and tossed 52 seed packets.

We have been working hard on figuring out what’s next for the house: what we want and how to do it. One thing we decided we wanted is prohibitively expensive, unless DH builds it and even then it’s not cheap. That got tabled and we decided he should work more on the other projects. The big DIY project uses jigging and the company which sells that has a sale or two each year. We decided to try and buy the jigs on sale and maybe that’s it this year and tackle the project itself, materials and hardware, next year.

Things are selling at the antique store, which is really nice, since I only have 3 more weeks in that booth! On the other hand, I don’t think anything has sold in the new book booth, but I need to redo things a bit before that will happen I guess?

 

Frugal Food, New Ideas

Two or three things.

  • Because of the government craziness, I decided I would buy $10 (on non paycheck weeks) or $20 (on paycheck weeks) of shelf-stable food and donate it to our food pantry. Even with food stamps still being given out, there’s about 50,000+ new people and their families who might need those resources. There’s no way the system can just absorb that much without extraordinary help. This is what I came up with that I can do.
  • Because of that, I’ve been working hard at trying to figure how I can use what we already have, in new ways:

I went through the entire list of veggies, etc. available from the farm in 2018 and figured out what I’d do with all of them. This has been an on-going issue. I end up with green slime in my fridge every year and tossed  veggies and I hate that!

The answer? Use/designate what you want to use fresh for a week. Have a plan in place to deal with the overage of any extra and deal with it, so you start fresh each week. I have done some of that previously, but hadn’t done it EVERY WEEK, which is my new idea. I did it with greens at the beginning of last season, so I started winter with a jar of dried “savory” greens.

I also tried to make piecrust, with the typical result, that is, that it didn’t work as planned. What do you do with this ball of dough with a stick of butter in it? DH came up with an answer for that one, he made a loaf of brioche. Worked fine! (I will try pie crust again, sometime.)

Last week I bought some fresh flat-leaf parsley and thyme. I used most of the thyme in a chicken dish last night, yummy and no left overs. But there was extra thyme. It got dried this morning and will be added to the spice bottle.

Because I have no recipes which actually use my dried greens — I have a pot of soup:  dried greens, potato, celery, leek, and stock simmering for lunch. (I’ve been just sprinkling a little in soups or stews and always had to toss about 1/2 a jar or more in the spring.)

veggies

(Not sure where this image came from, but it is NOT mine. It’s an image I’ve used before here, but I am not laying claim to it.)

I generated a list, by week of products from the farm, and how to put  any extras aside. This is ingredients rather than finished meals, like OAMC.

  1. Greens
  2. Herbs & Spices
  3. Stew/Soup Veggies and Greens
  4. Stewed Tomatoes
  5. A few dried Veggies
  6. At least one herbal tea mix

I’ve done this before, but not consistently. I don’t think I’ll put aside enough to get us through winter, but that’s the idea. And, of course, in the spring, there will be hardly anything left.

I’m out of farm greens, onions and celery. I have 2 more leeks. The carrots I’d put in the fridge are gone. That’s week 3 of 12.

Anyway, that’s my new idea. Have a plan in place to deal with any unused food, and get that done.

What do you do to avoid feeding your trashcan?

 

Stuff Out

Been going through that 2nd box of paperbacks. Most of them were taken to the dump’s swap shop. Some of them are designated to go into flea market book boxes and a few, very few, are slated to go into the new booth, with the other high-end books.

The first booth actually made money the last period, partly because my landlady bought 6 book case boxes and 2 display cases from me. So that’s good, it will generate a check for the end of the year, always helpful. Otherwise, they’ve agreed to take the marble table as a consignment, so we don’t have to move it HURRAH!

So, I am keeping on. It has been bitterly cold and I’ve been wanting to do my best imitation of hibernation for the past few weeks, my usual response to winter. Hibernation is such a sensible response to winter; I wonder why humans didn’t adopt it?

My reading consists largely of nonfiction these days. Aside from books to assess, my desk has on it books on frugality, eco living, root cellaring, a history of the 60s, etc. Non-fiction nearly all of it, where I used to almost exclusively read fiction. Big change!

So that’s what’s new!

When I went to the storage last weekend

I brought home 4 boxes of books. I unpacked 3 of them today. Researched 1, so it’s sorted.

The last one is the 3rd egg box, so it will be full of 50-70 paperbacks, again. But I have to go through the books I’ve already unpacked first.

I haven’t quit, but got discouraged, as usual. I get these huge surges of energy and ambition, but there’s just TOO MUCH to make a big dent, in even a week. I can see progress, but I need MONTHS of intense work before this is going to actually be done. April may be (shudder) about 6 months less than I need. I hope not, but…

Anyway, I loafed, relatively speaking this week.

And, because I know when I’m inclined to loaf, if I beat myself up about it or force myself to go on, at least with the house work, the PTSD starts screaming. So, I let myself loaf.

What I’ve Been Doing

Aside from the ironing the driveway thing I talked about in the last post….

Two days ago I removed all the magazines which filled the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. Got rid of the immediately obvious culls: dupes and things I’ll never use. I organized them in the bedroom where I can go through them as I can to pull wanted info out or pitch them, whatever. (They’re also neatly stacked.)

fullstorageunit

(This photo IS mine. It’s the storage unit, or one of them anyway in 2013, so 6 years ago now. I have a LOT fewer boxes these days!)

Yesterday I worked on the storage move and brought home 6 boxes of “go through these” books. I did. The first box was romances. A slug of them are waiting to go to the dump’s swap shop, some are in a spring flea market box. A box of them will be given to a friend who’s a romance writer to take to a meeting. A few (6?) were valuable.

Earlier this week I called one of my previous antique co-ops about renting a glass case. I don’t have a place to sell really good books when I leave the current shop 2/15.

Today? Today I finished the file box of romances and went through all of an egg box (50-70 books) of mysteries/thrillers/spy novels. They also got sorted: swap shop, too good to give away, and flea market books.

Two of the boxes in the car are labeled that they’re DH’s books from an earlier office clean out. Guess? Many of them will be old computer books and will go to the dump, probably into the paper recycling. There’s one more box that I remember in the car. It has sf magazines in it, at least on top. If it has complete year lots? Cool, it’s booth or flea market. I have no reason to keep an odd issue here or there, but have 2 years of this magazine missing 1 issue each. . . maybe I can fill those holes?

There are 3 wire crates, 2 typing tables and other items slated to be put into the antique store for the last month I’ll be there. (I’m having a “container” sale.) Anything which doesn’t sell is either going to auction, will be donated, or taken to the flea market in the spring.

Oh yeah. I also have a few things in the car to consign.

So, see? I’ve been busy, but not talking about it much!

The 2 boxes marked for DH were gone through Friday eve. The outs will be researched, but many of them will find their way to the dumps swap shop no doubt. That’s 2 more boxes outta here!

Ironing the Driveway & Other Skills You Never Knew You’d Need…

The result of the traumas related to knitting etc. caused me to lose much of my enthusiasm about making things. I’m not all that good at knitting or crocheting anyway, but I have a few pieces I’m proud of. I had crotched a hat of Malabrigo wool, and have two scarves, one for DH one for me, of Eco Yarn which I knitted.

malabrigo wool

(Malabrigo wool, image via images.google.com, NOT mine!)

The hat disappeared about a week ago. Last weekend I gave up and bought a hat, which is far too big for me, but it was better than having a cold head.

I got home yesterday from the storage where I’d worked on the transfer from one unit to a smaller one. I went back outside, opened the tailgate to get the first box of books I intended to deal with and there was my hat, on the ground  — frozen solid on the dirt driveway. So, we tried various ideas to get it unstuck: heated bottles of water and put on top of the hat, a hair dryer, chipping around the edges with a screwdriver, and finally? A travel iron, which created much steam, but I got the hat thawed enough to pull it from the driveway.

I put a shovel or two of snow where I’d been heating the drive, just in case. I wasn’t very worried, it was 23 degrees outside!

Kneeling in the driveway, running an iron on something which couldn’t be seen from the road? I was just waiting for someone to ask WTF I was doing?

But that didn’t happen. It’s not a skill I’d list in a resume, but it certainly is something new to me, and one I never knew I’d need!

I’ll probably take it apart and make a new hat, after I wash the wool.

frozen driveway.jpeg

(Image via images.google.com, it is NOT mine!)