Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Quick Tip - Organizing Essential Oils

In the last post, I mentioned that I keep a list of things I am on the lookout for.
One of the things that had been on the list for a long time was a spice rack. 
I wanted one of those old ones like I remember from way back in my youth. 
A while back, my mom and I were in a neighboring town. 
I asked if she would mind stopping in at their thrift store 
to look for pants for Mr LB. 
She does not like thrift shops but if it's for Mr LB, it's okay. 
We found men's jeans but none in his size. 
I asked if she would mind if I walked through the housewares really quickly. 
She said "Why?  What do you need?"
I told her I keep a list and one thing was a wooden spice rack. 
I went down one isle and her another. 
In less than a minute, she came around the end and said "is this the kind?"
I laughed and threatened to take her thrifting with me more often. 
I told her I'd been looking for one for a long time for my essential oils. 
Until then, my EOs were kinda homeless and in no particular order. 
They now have both and are convenient as well. 
I treated Mom to lunch so she said it was worth it for her. 

I hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Buy It Once ~ Buy It For Life

Recently, I was propositioned to be a part of a sustainable info graphic as part of a sale promotion.
Though flattered that they would ask little ol' me, 
I decided not to do it for a couple of reasons.
It did however get me to thinking.
They asked what my number one sustainable tip would be.
I wasn't really sure since there are so many aspects to this lifestyle we are trying to live.
And with that, we aren't always successful.
After a couple days of pondering, I came up with the title of this post.
Buy It Once and Buy It For Life
I think this would be it.
From utensils, shoes, tools, housewares, to automobiles and clothes.
Yes, some things do wear out.
But shoes for example- I purchased these shoes over three years.
They were $200ish dollars.
They are the most expensive shoes I've ever purchased.
I wear them nearly every day, 5 out of 7 days each week or more.
(Yea, I know they are due for a polishing.)
Since purchasing them, I have had the heel tip replaced and recently a portion on each restitched.
I've spent about $35 on these repairs.
They are still comfortable and are a basic black shoe that should reasonably last another year or two.
Maybe more, but if at 5 years they begin to fall apart, I will understand.
I keep a list of things I would eventually like to find.
About a month ago, I got to scratch one of those things off the list.
I found a concrete double sink like this one.
I would show you mine, but it's not set up yet, and the light is burnt out in that corner of the shop
so a picture of it would be less than flattering.
We process any game we are fortunate to get as well as large batches of fruits and vegetables.
Our grandmothers knew what they were doing when they used these sinks.
They are deep and sturdy = extremely functional.
This is an item that was on my list for 2-3 years.
The thing is, I wasn't willing to settle.
I ran across many of the plastic "shop sinks."
I had also found several of the sinks like this, but the owners were asking way too much
and advertised them as yard ornaments with pictures of them filled with flowers.
Again, I didn't settle.
Aside from the crazy prices being asked, I was planning to use it as a sink
for food and have it properly plumbed.
If it was outside with flowers planted in it, the quality would be questionable.
The sink we now have may very well out live me.
I should never have to buy another one.
We buy our vehicles new then use them until they totally conk out.
The commuter car Mr.LB is driving has about 327,000 miles on it.
The old wood pick-up has nearly 400,000 miles on it.
There is an old saying~
"If you take care of your things, you'll always have something to take care of."
We live in such a disposable world and have been really well trained
into the "I want what I want, and I want it now," mentality.
If we are only patient and are willing to hold out for delayed gratification,
we might find we are able to save significantly.
If you're at all like me,
the fact that I don't ever have to think about it again is golden.
(Or at least for a very long time.)
And in addition, it results in a much more sustainable way of living.
What's on your list?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Mystery Squash Results

A couple posts back I showed you a mystery squash that we purchased for $3.
You can see that post here.
Here's the picture of it.
It's huge!
After some input from you kind folks,
we figured it was a cushaw - or close.
Upon research (because that's just what I do) I learned that the cushaw is referred to as the sweet potato pumpkin.
That concerned me just a little 
as I'm not fond of either sweet potatoes or pumpkin.
This evening, I finally decided to break into that big boy.
The shell / rind is tough as nails.
Just getting the neck portion cut off was a workout.
The meat however is tender.
The fragrance smelled like watermelon to me which actually worried me a little.
I was preparing myself for something ultra sweet.
The first small batch, I had sliced about 3/8" thick and dipped in milk 
then shredded Parmesan.
I fried those in some of our home rendered bear lard.
Man oh man!  It was delicious!
The second batch, I didn't even bother with the milk or cheese.
Just a sprinkling of salt and we gobbled them up.
It does have a slight sweet potato flavor but not the overwhelming flavor 
of regular sweet potatoes.
It is/was almost like a cross between a potato and sweet potato.
We will probably be eating on this cushaw for about two weeks!
The next thing I did was clean out the "belly."
The seeds are even huge - and a ton of them.
I am saving some to try to grow, but I will roast the rest of them.
As much food as we are getting from this one squash,
I can't believe I've never heard of them.
Also, I can't believe they are not more widely promoted as 
a cost effective way to eat or feed a family.
They store easily though from what I've read 
not as long as some other winter squashes.
These store up to 4 months.
So far, the only thing that is a bit of a deterrent 
is how difficult it is to break into.
I am making arrangements to get a couple more.
So all of this from someone who's not a squash fan.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am with the discovery of this mystery squash.
And healthy to boot!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Setting Up For Winter

We live different in winter than we do in summer as do many folks.
This means there are changes around that help accommodate winter life.
We can no longer hang clothes outside on the line.
Before I hear that I can hang clothes in snow,
let me share that pine trees rain sap and needles,
and the wind blows branches, leaves, and debris 
rendering clothes less than clean.
It's not a huge deal ~ I just do this.
If clothes drip, it's in the tub.  No biggy.
Also, I've pulled the last of the annual veggies, saving the green tomatoes 
to ripen inside.
This is the "in process" picture.
We are raking leaves and using them for compost of course,
but also as insulation around the base of tender vining plants that in milder climes have no problems.
We have plenty more yet to fall.
We've finally gathered enough wood for winter.
It's not entirely split, but it's here and that's the tough part.
The rest is making sure chimneys are clean, heater filters clean, lawn mower serviced, tools in good repair, etc.
It's the tidying of the corners and little things that will make hauling firewood,
shoveling snow, and getting around easier come winter.
We try to think ahead, but there's always something we forget or don't think of.
I guess that's how we come up with our to-do list for next year.
Some time back, I posted an autumn checklist.
You can find it here.
Now I better go coil the hoses.