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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remembering frugal days

I'm a naturally frugal person.  I drain the dish soap container then rinse the bottle by adding it to the next dish washing session so I don't waste anything. 

Now that I have a goal, I find that I'm remembering things I haven't done in years.  I'm amazed at all the money I spent because I was too busy quilting to be frugal OR because I felt it wasn't necessary anymore.  I mean really, I was earning money from quilting, why shouldn't I just pay for things instead of being so frugal?  I wish I knew then what I know now.

Don't get me wrong, I've always been frugal.  Just not as frugal as I could be because I didn't think I had to anymore.  For example:  I used to hang my wash on a clothes line in the back yard.  Then the trees got so big and the birds so plentiful that I started hanging the wash indoors.  Bird poop on clean clothes is not fun.  Then, I got a new dryer.  Wow!  I could put the clothes in the dryer and push a button in only a couple of seconds whereas hanging clothes on a line took several minutes.  I could get back to the quilting much faster using the dryer.  I was working so I could afford to pay the bill.
I should have realized I was working just to keep working.  Earning money to pay higher bills because I didn't have time to be frugal and work at the same time.  Ok, now that I know what happened I can change that.  I don't have nearly as many clothes to dry these days since it's only me now.   I'm gonna look for my old clothes drying rack.  It's here someplace.

Would you take the cash out of your wallet and put a match to it?  While watching the fireworks Sunday night that's what I kept thinking each time one of them would explode colors in the sky.  Someone had just lit a match to the money it cost to buy the fireworks.  Ok, I'm not an old foggie.  I realize fireworks are fun and I would buy a few.... but come on now.... three hours worth?  Not even the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks lasts three hours.  That was a lot of money going up in colored smoke.

I got my first harvest out of the small square foot garden.   It's not much but it's a start.  These got chopped and put into a pasta salad. 

My grandmother used to tell me stories about how it was during and after WW11 when there were shortages everywhere.  I was too little to remember the war.  People had victory gardens in all kinds of small spaces in the cities.  My grandparents lived on a farm so they didn't have a shortage of food.  Yet, she was very thrifty anyway. 

She would take me walking around the farm looking for wild foods.  In the early spring dandelions were our early salad greens.  The flowers were used to make dandelion wine to be used when we got winter colds.  Then later she looked for the polk salad greens.  She knew where the wild mushrooms grew and how to use a pitchfork to catch fish in the bottoms.  The bottoms were our fields at the bottom of the hills near the creek.  When spring rains caused the creek to flood, fish swam around happily in the fields.  As the floods started to go down, the fish would be caught in the rows of the field where we could catch them with a pitchfork.  We caught as many as we could and dried them to be used later.  We had to be careful to stay near the edge of the field or we would sink deep into the mud.

Grandma knew how to spot dew berries and blackberries growing wild so we could make cobbler or to can to use later.  She could point out wild lemon grass, onions, strawberries, and lots of other things that she dried for use in cooking.  Wild strawberry muffins in the winter were fantastic.  Grandma used cotton wood bark tea for digestive problems, Indian turnips for consumption, and dogwood branches as a toothbrush.  She gathered hickory nuts and walnuts.  She caught, dried, and smoked wild meat into jerky and ground her own cornmeal from her own corn.  Hmm... I think I remember it was popcorn she used, not the regular kind of corn, because she would go to the same corn grain box and get a handful to pop on winter days.

Kids today cringe at the thought of catching wild rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, turtles, or frogs to eat.  If it doesn't come in a plastic wrap it ain't food.  Hmm.... I seem to be rattling on and on today.  It's just nice to travel down memory lane once in awhile to remember the way we did things before the age of convenience.  Grandma would laugh at my meager first harvest but she would also be proud too.


Rosey said...

I remember eating mushrooms at my grandmas house. They called them dry land fish I think. They were SO GOOD. My Mother would also pick wild greens and talk of how her Daddy would gather herbs and make tea and tonics for them. I always like hearing about the old times and I guess they should be called the good times too.

Anita Estes said...

Dry land fish? That's a good name for them. Yes, I agree, they were soooo good. I love hearing stories of the simpler days of yesterday too.

I had many a different tonic made by my Grandmother. I just wish I could recognize the wild plants the way she did. Too many years away from something and the memory gets very fuzzy about it.