“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Creating and Reliving Slow Food Memories

Have you ever dined on a meal prepared from an old family recipe? The connection to the past with the present is one that is almost 3-D. You have memories, tastes, and sights all blended together for a little trip down memory lane. Preserving our heritage through cooking is one way to allow the memories of loved ones remain close in our hearts and recall a special time when "Grandma Donna", or "Aunt Florence" were still alive. Today's youngsters often miss out on such a rich family heritage by our fast paced world. Take some time to recreate a special dish and share the experience and memories of ancestral family. Just imagine if our children's only memories of food are of a burger and fries from McDonald's eaten out of a bag in the backseat of a car? ... or a skillet dinner from the freezer?  Do you remember how much better farm fresh food tastes compared with grocery fare today? Homemade pickles were an everyday treat at Grandma's house ... some even made from watermelon rind! My dad is still the king of homemade ice cream. Grandma Donna's Jewish Apple Cake conjures up sights and scents from her tiny aqua blue kitchen. Aunt Lottie's fresh corn and roast beef dinner ... served at her farm in the grownup's dining room with a lace tablecloth ... yummy.

My Pop ~ he made this ice cream rig over 60 years ago!


Tonight's slow food: Four course supper starting with Herb 'soop' .. a late 1700's receipt (recipe), followed by ice cold green salad, baked citrusy/herb chicken, fresh corn on the cob. Dessert ~ Pumpkin bars topped with fresh whipped cream and a few berries. Music provided by: 200 Years of American Heritage in Song with the likes of 'Barbara Allen' .. 'Greensleeves' ... 'Green Grow the Lilacs' ... 'Billy Boy' ... I'm bound and determined that Hubby and Nathan connect food, music, history and manners. 

Do you purposely create slow food memories for your family?

Family Recipe



Recipe(Grandma Donna's) Jewish Apple Cake
Ingredients: 1/2 lb butter, 1/3 C sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3 C flour, 1 egg, 6 green apples, 1/4 up to 1/2 C sugar, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Directions: Cream butter, 1/3 C sugar and vanilla, add beaten egg and flour. Mix well and divide dough in half. Press half the dough in a greased 13x9 rectangular pan to form lining. Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, additional sugar (up to 1/2), 1/2 tsp. vanilla and a little lemon zest. Spread the apple mixture into prepared pan. Press remaining dough on wax paper to form a 13x9 inch top. After placing on the top, bake in a preheated 300 degree F oven for about one hour.  Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8-12

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Stepping into the Past

Genealogy has gotten me off the beaten path with blogging.  That has lead to more in depth research on ways our fore-bearers lived, ate, slept, drank, cooked, dressed, doctored themselves, and relied on each other instead of government overstep.

So, while I believe writing about thrifty living and gardening still fits into my new area of research, I hope to find other interesting topics of which to write.
Paternal great grandparents' home, children, domestic help, circa 1903
The above photo is of my great grandparents, taken at their farm prior to the birth of my grandfather ... before electricity had come to their area; prior to an automobile and any of our power hungry 'modern' appliances were invented   You will notice that grandma had the help of a stable boy and domestic servant; both listed in the 1900 Census as part of my grandparent's household.  One wonders if the advent of the modern age put many a person out on the streets, unemployed after being replaced by a machine?    This idea of humans being replaced by machines, and cheap labor has helped contribute to our generation's lack of skills, desire to work for daily bread, and reliance on poor quality everything!


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Free

Fertilizer .. from garden weeds.

Oh .. yes, this can be a smelly project .. so wait for a wind free day to apply to your garden once your tea has brewed ... but the results will amaze.

Homemade Composted 'Weed' Tea

The Thrifty Garden Home/Natural Fertilizer




Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting Back to the ....

Garden of Eden.

If you'd like to be more water wise with your garden, pour a cup of tea and watch this movie on managing your garden the way God intended.

Back to Eden

Day Three ~ The past several years we have added fine wood chips between the raised beds which have rotted down to a good rich mixture.  Today it was raked up and used as rich mulch on top of the beds.  Will try the methods used in this video to cut down on watering by 95%.

What's up in your garden?


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Garden Journey ~ Day Two

Another sunny spring-like day to work in the yard.

Perfect temp for yard work!

Remainder of winter mulch removed from raised beds.

In ground garden area raked.

Many wheel barrels later ..... 

Just a smidgen of green grass.

Fruit trees still dormant.

We usually have snow covered mountains until early May.

A little yard art in anticipation of summer!

Next up will be to amend soil and give it a light tilling.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Garden Journey ~ Day 1

Raspberry canes thinned, topped and tied.

Fenced off raised beds tidied.

Back patio pressure washed and furniture uncovered.

Burning raspberry canes & yard stubble.
Although not out of the woods for frost, we are having a mild winter with little snow so got a jump start on spring yard cleanup.  Is your garden/landscape awakening or going to bed?

Monday, March 09, 2015

A Full Life




"Just help me make it to my rocking chair" ~ the words I spoke to my husband over thirty-four years ago when we said "I do."  Walk with me in the valleys and on the mountain tops.  With God beside us, who could be against us? Well, we've been to Holland when we wanted to go to Italy, and that was OK ~ we still were blessed.  When one door closed .... three more opened.  And so it went for his career span, while I tended the home fires.

We were slaves for a period of time with a mortgage, two car payments, private school tuition, etc.  Those were the years hubby missed many family milestones.  My plate was full juggling four kids and one summer from hell.  

Fast forward to present ~ at the moment we are on the mountain top.  Now we may not stay up here, but having traveled through so many valleys the Lord has given us the strength to weather life's storms.  All I can say is:  It's been a good ride!  

Today we went RV shopping.  Not to buy one, but to just peek at them as we've never been 'RV people' .... being debt free, we plan on staying that way.  Yes, we could have purchased one, even without a loan ... but the thought of maintenance, winterizing, GAS prices, storage fees, insurance, etc., we walked out of the dealership thinking for the price of a not so fancy rig, we could go on two or three luxury vacations and have money left over.  The other drawback for us is traveling with Nathan!  He's portable, but not totally pot-able (100% night time toilet trained) due to colon surgeries.  That alone put a STOP to any thoughts of driving off into the sunset!  

Well, before we sit for any long spell in our rocking chairs, we've got a bit of life and living to do while we still have some get up and go.    

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

... You Know ....

... there comes a time when life relaxes a bit.  Not often, but once in a while.  Of late, all things on the home front seem to be in a rhythm.  The Mr. is set with his retirement routine (much to my delight), he helps out around the home taking care of some of my former duties.

Our garden is snow free.  We've been in the gulf stream generated by the pineapple express bringing much warmer temps than normal.  While I don't boast much about this deviation from our normal winter weather since much of the country is below and beyond freezing, it has been a nice break for our area.  This is the time of year I usually drag out my mini greenhouse and start planting garden seeds.

Nathan is doing so well on the GAPS diet .. having been on it for about three months now.  Moodiness 95% vanished as well as a host of inflammation problems with his skin.  He no longer craves carbs, shoulders have gotten more muscular and broad, less and less night time accidents, and NO MORE EXCESS OBNOXIOUS GAS!

God is good!


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Mid-phase Verdict on ...

... gut healing.

Update on Nathan:

Except for a few times he's binge fed himself (behind closed doors .. to my horror), Nathan has made great strides with his tailor made diet.  Since mid summer we've fine tuned his intake and eliminated milk, reduced starch intake by 90%, upping his protein and vegetable consumption, adding daily cups of rich bone stock.  His eczema is gone and the seborrhea dermatitis on his scalp is 80% reduced.

On occasion he is allowed to eat starchy food (toast, pretzels, etc) and the eczema does not flare up. Even the occasional binge eating episodes have not triggered the rashes.

It is our hope to keep him on this modified diet for another six months or longer and to 'test the waters' every now and again to check for gut lining healing.

I have concluded that for years on end his gut has leaked toxins into his blood due to a permeable digestive tract.  This explains why with healing his white blood count has remained in the bottom end of normal the past year instead of to the point of needing to be tested for leukemia.  Health is gaining a foothold where once he had little fortitude and a poor immune system.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Popped Corn at Home

I try to limit boxed snack items.  The exception is hubby's saltine crackers.  



Keeping fresh popping corn on hand makes for a quick, effortless snack.

I don't trust the corn supply in the USA to be non-GMO (although I've read that popping corn is not), I buy organic popping corn .. or popping corn on the cob at our local u-pick farm.  

Pop the corn in a good quality oil.  Of late, I've been using avocado oil as it has a high heat index, and other health benefits.

Place popped corn into a very large bowl.  To the empty hot pan, place a few tablespoons of good quality butter.  The residual heat should be enough to melt the butter.  Add a pressed clove of garlic, if desired .. swirl and pour over the popped corn.  Sprinkle with sea salt .. toss in some dried herbs, and grated aged Parmesan cheese.  Toss well. 

Did you know that October is 'National Popcorn Month'?  Read more about the history of pop corn here.

Chosen Foods Avocado Oil   (best price I've found is at Costco .. about $10 for 33.8 fl oz)
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

For now ...

newly remodeled pantry
... we have a three season pantry.

But oh how nice it would be to have a four season garden production and stored goodness.  This link has much to offer for overwintering plants and food storage.  Time .. that's all it takes!  And .. preparation.  Our forefather's had no option .. and it's a good thing to put into practice ... add to your skills .. each year another food storage method.  THE FOUR SEASON PANTRY

Tiny steps taken one after the other, year after year can lend to building your food storage skills.  Beginning with herbs and a few easy to grow crops such as lettuce and spinach can give you the impetus to add more variety the following season.  Then .. starting seeds in pots late winter .. and eventually ending up with some type of cold frame or hoop house for winter greens.

Don't feel bad, I'm stuck at the THREE SEASON PANTRY and have been for quite some time.

I'm happy to have added fruit to our seasonal and canned goods pantry.

Do you have a seasonal pantry?  Extra garden goods stored away?  Overwintered cold hardy greens?






Lumbering Along

... slow and methodically.

Fall is creeping into the North Woods.  Our garden has only had one light frost .. just enough to wipe out the cucumber plants and damage the basil.  We've still got young lettuce plants, green onions, tomatillos, herbs, strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes clinging to the vine.

Our first crop of grapes gave us juicy sweet globes of goodness.  Black currents and a mix of berries were turned into juice concentrate to enjoy this winter with a splash of sparkling water.  Two half gallons of sour cherries are soaking in brandy, sugar and vanilla beans making a wonderful 'Cherry Bounce' liquor for winter ailments, and for sipping around the wood stove on cold, snowy nights.  I've been checking on it quite regularly .. ahem!

Apples were halfway harvested in late September and have been eaten, turned into apple pie, sauced ... with the remaining half of the crop still clinging to the trees turning sweeter and juicier with each passing autumn day.  Soon they will all be picked and some stored away for winter.  Our local wild turkeys enjoyed the bottom limbs of the trees eating leaves and fruit.  We did not spray or treat the trees this year .. and not one apple maggot or scab has been found!

Question to any of you that grow horseradish:  "Our's is hot for only one or two minutes after grating fresh.  Any tips for keeping the heat would be appreciated."

The compost bin is squirming with earth worms .. 

Wasps were not a nuisance this year.

Summer is a wrap ... onward into Autumn splendor!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Date Day .. On the Cheap!

Bikes, helmets, water, flashlights, jackets, food .. CHECK.

Today's date began when we left home at 9:30 AM .. and headed across the state line into Montana to pick up the Route of the Hiawatha 'rails to trail' bike ride.  We probably used a few gallons of gas in the truck.  Trail tickets $10/each.  Food ~ scavenged from the pantry and garden (cheese, grapes, teardrop tomatoes, dill pickles, crackers & peppermints).





The trail is well groomed and every so often, a trail guide would be available in case of an emergency or to answer questions.  I found some wild elderberries!  Date days don't have to be expensive.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A 'New' Read

Today a friend sent me this lovely organic blog site to peruse.  They work with their community in such ways as to offer help to all searching for better ways to grow, eat and deliver organic produce to the local folks.  Recipes and photos abound.  Enjoy

The Homestead Organic Farm - Peachland, British Columbia,  Canada

Friday, September 05, 2014

Trying Not To Be .....

NORMAL!
Today's standard of NORMAL usually includes massive DEBT!

How we saved  $$$ on a beautiful, very personal meaningful wedding.

After all, this blog is about thrifty living.

First and foremost, we are a very (old school) traditional family  (think ...Ma and Pa Walton).  Family is high on our agenda.  Right below our relationship with Christ.  Going into debt is foolish .. even more so when parents of bride are retired.  We saved beforehand.

The average cost of a wedding in the U.S.A. is about $30,000.  The average cost of a wedding in Idaho is just over $16,000.

How we pulled off a wedding for $2,500.
  1. Prayerfully
  2. Set a budgeted goal
  3. No credit card involved .. unless used on-line and the $ spent was deducted immediately from said budget
  4. Local resources.  Family and friends helped.  Such as having a friend as a retired florist, having a friend that is a wedding planner in training, family friend photographer
  5. Being organized
  6. Being reasonable
  7. Inviting only those that were important to the bride and groom.  (That meant my list of invitees was minimal) .... total in attendance 65.  We rented 60 chairs and had a few picnic table benches placed in the back row.
  8. Borrow items (such as tables from the church, table cloths, decorations)
  9. Rent items (such as a portable enclosed toilet, chairs, large capacity coffee maker, china plates)
  10. Keep it simple
Cost breakdown:
  • Mother of bride took engagement photos (free)

  • Wedding dress (off Etsy) $280 (custom fit .. ordered online .... staying out of a tempting big $$$ bridal shop saved TONS of $$) ... and paid for by the bride.
  • Veil (family heirloom.... and free)
  • Venue ~ our property (free)
Wedding alter ~ made from wood pallets, burlap, thrift store finds

  • Rentals (chairs, plates, 20x10 tent, etc.) $480


  • Flowers $150 (at cost .. labor was a wedding gift to bride and groom).  Table and isle flowers were grown in the garden .. (free).
  • Food $225 (juice punch, coffee, croissant sandwiches from Costco, salsa/bean dip/chips 'bar', fruit platter, veggie platter, nuts, mints, sparkling cider for toasting) NO ALCOHOL
  • paper goods/plastic toasting glasses/cute paper cake plates/forks/cocktail napkins from the dollar store $25
  • 3 homemade wedding cakes (bride and groom tiered cake, 1/4 sheet cake, Texas sheet cake) $25
  • Hay bales $63 (a country wedding must)
  • sound/music guys $300 (from church)
  • professional photographer $800 ... family friend
  • Wedding invites and postage $55 (designed by a graphic artist friend, printed and assembled at home)  If you were local, it got hand delivered.
  • Thank you favors $60 (small decorative boxes filled with pistachio nuts and a printed note of appreciation/thanks from bride and groom)
  • Misc.  $5  (incidentals ... from thrift stores, candles, lace, etc.)
The groom took care of the minister fee, wedding license fee and his purchased clothing.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen paid for their clothing .. discounted on-line and at J.C. Penney's on sale.

The bride paid for her dress.

Rehearsal dinner was at a lakeside pizzeria ~ no host 

Without the pressure of cost and deadline to reserve a venue, the bride and groom were able to plan, strategize and orchestrate in a short four months.

Bride's engagement ring was set using a heirloom/family diamond for the center stone .. both meaningful (as it came from her grandmother) and cost effective as groom had to only purchase the 'empty' ring setting.  Groom's ring is made from tungsten .. which is durable and less expensive than traditional gold.

Not to say this was an 'easy to pull off' wedding .. it was a lot of work .. but work that was heartfelt and shared by those that love the bride and groom.

A thrifty wedding in the woods ... at a price 1/12th the average cost in the U.S.A.  A couple on the road to having a successful marriage not straddled with debt from the get-go.  Their wedding .. their way.  A good thing.