Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Friday, April 10, 2009

This week started out with great weather, so I've been able to work two days in the garden enlarging it by two and a half times the original size. There is plenty of room now for corn and two rows of potatoes (in trenches). Five or six raspberry plants and two blue berry bushes were relocated to a permanent home there. Rows were hoed for strawberry plants ... and tripod steaks were erected for pole beans and cucumbers. Everything and every plant is now being drawn up in my mind (and on paper ... a safer bet ;). Welded wire fencing was installed around the entire area to keep the deer and moose out. A gateway was left open for easy access ... some type of actual gate will be installed in a few weeks. It's a good start and I thank the Good Lord for the great weather. At the end of the day I'm feeling a 'good' tired from all the digging and pounding in fence posts. I'll post a few pictures soon.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Oh Darn!! :) Running a thrifty home means making do with what is at hand (or foot :) I actually went to the fabric store while in town to get some darning thread to mend hubbies white socks and was shocked they didn't sell any ... I then asked for cotton floss instead (which they had an abundance). The store worker said I was the 10th person in the last few weeks asking for darning thread. Seems that more people are making do with less and fixing rather than tossing. If you've never darned a sock, give it a try. You can 'google' how to darn I'm sure*. I find it rather therapeutic and rewarding to mend. If you don't own a darning egg, you can use a round ended light bulb to stick in the sock.

[*This only means I'm too thrifty with my time and don't find it necessary to make a darning tutorial when you can easily find one on-line such as here, and here. I'm also too time spent to go dig through our family photo albums to find the one of my daughter Elizabeth ceremoniously receiving her great grandmother's wooden darning egg that was given to her in the early 1900's and used to darn the socks of eleven children and those of her farmer husband.]

photo credit here

Friday, April 03, 2009

The dreadful job of cleaning a sink. We have eight sinks in my home (including the two laundry sink-tubs). Since I've given up buying chemical cleaners I had to come up with a way to clean all of these watering holes. Five sinks are porcelain, two are some type of white composite, and one is a double stainless steel kitchen sink. Then we have four bath tubs (three are shower combos) made from acrylic ... and one tile shower stall in the master bath. I'll spare you the toilet count for a later post ;) (what was I thinking when I designed my home?) Needless to say, that's a lot of surfaces to keep clean. BTW, I don't have to clean each one daily ... some are cleaned weekly ... some only when we have company using them :)

My tried and true cleaner is ... are you ready? baking soda Just pure unadulterated BS (baking soda). I keep a small covered plastic container in each bathroom with this magic cleaner. It doesn't scratch even the shiniest of acrylic (that being my nice big claw foot bathtub). Simply sprinkle a bit on to a wet sink/tub surface and scrub with a wet cleaning rag ... rinse well. For my stainless steel kitchen sink, I use a light sprinkling of salt along with the BS. The sink comes out stain and spot free.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Buttery Spread. I've been experimenting with making a butter based spread for toast. I'm not a big fan of margarine ... yet butter is very expensive if you're on a thrifty budget, and it's impossible to spread on bread when cold. Years ago I read about a mixture that had equal parts of light olive oil and butter ... a half/half recipe. Yesterday I tried my hand at such a mixture and tested it out on my kids. They all like the end results. Not having any light olive oil, I substituted vegetable oil. Next time, I'll try using the light olive oil.

1 stick very soft butter
1/2 cup light olive oil (or vegetable oil)
pinch of salt

In a bowl, mix the two oils together along with a pinch of salt. I used my stick blender. Put in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. The consistency is soft enough to spread right from the fridge. My next attempt will be to make a light whipped buttery spread ... stay tuned.