Little Heathens

Okay.  This is a first for me…a book recommendation.

Little Heathens

Somebody in one of my Organic Gardening groups recommended this book, and I immediately reserved it at the library.  It took two weeks, but I finally got the call that it was there.

The book is about the life of a young girl and her siblings being raised by their grandparents on a working farm.  The author, Mildred Armstrong, calls the book a “how-to manual — how to scrub a pig’s head in preparation for making head- cheese, how to tame a raccoon, how to plant potatoes, and how to wean a calf.

The author shares with us the way they dealt with life in a time when they had no running water, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no heat, no air conditioning.  She shares with us what were at that time common sense solutions to the everyday problems of life.

  • Using the membrane of an egg to remove a splinter
  • Using a spider web as the equivalent of a Band-Aid
  • Stroking a chicken’s head to calm him down…before you turn him into dinner
  • How to collect a wild hive of bees to take them to your farm so they can pollinate your trees and plants

If you’re into living a life of self-sufficiency and sustainability and frugality you might enjoy hearing about how it was done from somebody who did it. 

Happy Gardening Reading!!!!


Creative Choices for Christmas

Christmas is almost here bringing with it colorful displays of Old St. Nick with Rudolph & Company. For people with large families with many kids and grand kids and son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws (or should that be sons-in-law and daughters-in-law?) and sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends and acquaintances and mail carriers and newspaper deliverers and people you want to remember for Christmas, the holidays can become very expensive very quickly.

Here’s where economical savviness comes in. A gift created from a re-purposed item doesn’t have to be a bad gift. You can go to a thrift store and find perfectly useful items that cost next to nothing and pass them on as useful and appreciated gifts. Think of it as creative recycling.

Recently I found a brand new bread maker at a thrift store. I kissed a lot of proverbial frogs to find it because I looked at at least six other bread makers in the store before I found this one, but with a little time and effort I have a brand new bread maker complete with instruction manual for the amazingly low price of $10. I could have taken a chance on getting it for $5 because the next morning everything in the store would have been half off, but I figured I can’t be the only economically savvy person in the world who gets a lay of the land the day before a sale so I can come back and grab the best goodies. (By the way, this doesn’t go under the Christmas tree, it goes on my kitchen counter. I need all the help I can get to make a good loaf of bread).

There was a time (a long, long time ago) when I’d be embarrassed if somebody saw me in a thrift store. Then it occurred to me: Silly girl, you’re both in the thrift store. Two embarrassed thrift store shoppers equals one I-won’t-tell-if-you-won’t-tell.

I recently found a wrought iron wine rack at a thrift store for $2.00. I can buy bottles of sparkling apple cider, wrap the whole shebang in shrink wrap from the Dollar Store, and put a pretty bow on it with a personalized tag and have a beautiful Christmas gift for well under $20.

If you can sew, it’s super easy to make hats and scarves from fleece. You don’t even have to sew the edges. For a scarf, you cut out an oblong piece of fabric, cut three-inch strips on each end for the fringe, and you’re done. The average price of fleece is $3.00 a yard, and it often goes on sale for less than that. In the Sunday paper the fabric stores have 40 percent off one item coupons and often run $1.99 sales for patterns. With one yard of fabric you could get at least two hat and scarf sets for the little ones, maybe more. You could even buy the little pre-made letters to personalize your creations. (When buying fabric, look for 60″ wide bolts. They’re the widest giving you more fabric per yard).

Don’t have a sewing machine? I found a serger for $15 at a thrift store. To buy one new today would cost anywhere from $200 to $400. (Can you tell I love my bargains?). I’ve even seen Free Cyclers who’ve requested and received sewing machines.

Bakers can give gifts from their hearts too. Make your favorite baked product, include your recipe along with the little tweaks you use to get a good end product. You could even do a gift basket and include all the ingredients for the product. (You’ll find really sturdy baskets all day long at thrift stores priced very reasonably).

Christmas should be about giving a gift from your heart, not about how much money you spend. And remember…RECYCLE ~ REUSE ~ REPURPOSE



Or go to the Dollar Store.  I stopped in today, and guess what they had?  Fleece scarves and hats for a buck.  Sooooo, you could grab a few from the Dollar Store, jazz them up and personalize them, and then give them as gifts.

If you need nice little gifts that say “I was thinking about you,” the Dollar Store is really good.  It’s amazing they make a profit.

Did your Baked Bread Bomb? Turn it into Toast.

You may be familiar with that loaf that looks okay, but doesn’t taste so okay.

bad bread

A little butter and syrup hides a multitude of sins.

Baked bread mishap turned into toast

Happy Gardening Cooking