Category Archives: Frugal Choices

Garbage Disposal

In the United States, many of us automatically think of an InSinkErator, which is a brand of electrically run mechanical grinder of food which then flushes it all down the drain for someone else to deal with.  It is attached to a kitchen drain and mounted underneath.

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This old one no longer works and leaks!  Thus the bucket underneath because we haven’t found someone to disconnect and remove it.  I’ll figure it out and get it done sometime.  In the meantime, we put a note in the sink so water won’t be poured in accidentally.  It’s not at our house.

I remember when i was growing up, we had one.  There was always a good respect for its power – keep fingers and spoons out of them!  However, as an adult, i’ve never had one and honestly never missed it.  Now, i wonder why one would ever need this type of garbage disposal.  Natural processes are excellent at garbage disposal – especially food scraps and other organic stuff.

But, garbage disposal is actually just a term that describes various ways to dispose of garbage.  Your location and occupation often determines your definition of garbage and how you may dispose of it.  If you have too much; it might be time to make a plan to reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, repair.

In my world, food scraps are not garbage – either they are composted, (i’m lazy and just throw them out on the garden spot to break down over time, or if i’m really energetic, i may get a spade and bury them) or i feed them to our pastured laying hens (chooks), but chicken scraps go to the dog – (i never feed chicken bones and such to chickens – it just seems wrong).  Fruit from fruit trees almost always produce far more than i’m willing to preserve in some fashion, so the extra is allowed to fall, rot, and provide fodder for soil microbes which in turn provides fertilizer for the tree.

There are some amazingly attractive kitchen sized compost bins available.  Here are some on Amazon, but i’ve never tried any of them.  Do some research before purchasing – you sure don’t want smell and/or flies in your house!

But, by and large, we have very few scraps.  Leaves from broccoli and cauliflower, for example, make awesome replacement for celery or other similar greens.  This goes for nearly all greens attached to vegetables.  The core from tomatoes go to the chooks; they love them!  Beef fat goes to the chooks for extra protein they need when bugs are in short supply outdoors.  (As an aside, if you are buying eggs that are labeled as vegetarian raised chickens, the label is either a lie or the hens are in confinement – either crowded in a floored building or in a cage.)

There is a lot of hue and cry about being ‘green’, but as is usual, the ones crying the loudest are often the ones living the least ‘green’ and the biggest wasters of natural resources.  They are the crowd who shout ‘do as i say, not as i do’ while they manipulate regulations to suck cash out of your pocket and put it in theirs.

We can all do better at managing resources – we are, by and large, a wasteful country because we are blessed with so much abundance.

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Nabbed this poster from Mountain Top Cattle Co Facebook Page.

 

Persimmons are Sweet & Ripe!

Persimmon trees here in north Missouri are not loaded with fruit by any means, but the soft native fruits are falling and we are gathering them just as quickly due to their delicate nature.  Many people have never eaten persimmon fruit and i think i know why.  It’s a lot of work – not hard, just time-consuming – to process them.

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The golf ball sized soft fruits contain 4-7 seeds, which comprises half the weight and volume of the fruit.  Add in that the seeds are slimy and difficult to remove and the effort hardly seems worth it.  But their taste is so smooth and naturally sweet that they don’t need making them into sauce or jam –  the spread is just that tasty.  No sugar added.

Missouri Department of Conservation Field Guide – Persimmon Trees

Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Nature Notes

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Fruits picked up from the ground are very soft and need to be worked up and frozen immediately.
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Never waste anything – these seeds will go to compost.
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I put the ‘meat’ of the fruit into my Ninja thing and whip into this lovely sauce, then freeze it in 2 cup containers for use throughout the fall and winter.  This can be used as a sweet spread just right away.

Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding (8-10 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 cups persimmons
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 8 ½” diameter by 2” deep cake pans with butter.  Use a food mill, sieve, cone strainer, or by hand remove the seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp; it will reduce them from 3 cups to 2 cups.  Combine the puree with the buttermilk.  Beat the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one.  By hand, in a large mixing bowl, stir the persimmons into the butter.

Sift all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the persimmon mixture.  Pour the batter into the baking pans and place the pans in a larger pan filled halfway up with warm water.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the pudding is firm at the center, has pulled away from the sides of its pan, and a paring knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.

Serve hot with fresh whipped cream.  This keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheats beautifully in the oven.

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This bark has a yellowish mold on it, but the shape and size of the bark is quite unique to a persimmon tree.

Clay Masks

As soon as my little jar of clay mask is empty, I make a new batch.  There is a bit of planning on this because, being a bit on the weird side, i like to use only rain water to mix in with the clay harvested from the earth.

The clay in this mix is from the North Central Plains (or Visitors maps calls Panhandle Plains) area of Texas, near Olney.  To be precise, in the rocky paddock in front of the home of my rancher friends who live there.  Early this spring, i made a road trip to go visit and amongst many activities, their children and i collected a couple gallons of good ‘ole Texas clay.  (Our Missouri clay works great as well – it’s just red)

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Yup, that grayish/greenish rocky looking stuff is the clay we harvested and bagged and i brought home with me.

 

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Nice – a bit over an inch of rainfall in the gauge!
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Pour that liquid gold into a super clean glass spice jar.  Chooks in the background not paying a bit of attention to me.
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I only make about 1/2 cup at a time because without preservatives, it can get kind of rank smelling if it sits for more than a couple weeks.  I use a plastic screw type lid rather than metal because the metal one, i’ve found will rust and be hard to open.  Check out those two huge bags of dry clay harvested!  Probably last the rest of my life.
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Drop in some clumps of dried clay.
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Add the water.  Can’t give you an exact recipe – clay is going to be different and you’ll need to add more or less water for your batch.
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After i add the water, i screw on the lid and give it a swirl, then let nature take its course and use the erosive capabilities of water break down the clay clumps into softened lumps.  Much easier then to stir and smash any bits that didn’t completely break down.
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Add more or less water as necessary for desired consistence.  
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Smooth the clay mixture over your face and allow to dry – doesn’t take more than a few minutes.  Please excuse my blood shot eyes – haven’t been imbibing this early, just been out shifting my cows and ragweed season is in full assault mode. 😦
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All dry and ready to remove with a warm wet washcloth.  Keep the spa feeling going by relaxing in your favourite chair with a warm wet towel draped over your face.  Will make removing the clay easier, but more importantly, provide at least a moment to relax.  Or jump in the shower to rinse!

New Version Eggmobile

Oh my goodness, i’ve lost track of the number of eggmobiles i’ve built these past two decades.  The first one was large and on an ancient wagon running gear.  It was part of daughter Jessica’s Missouri Department of Agriculture sustainable ag grant she wrote for and received being the youngest ever at age 9!

Anyway, done bragging now and on to the newest plan.  My favourite ‘look’ is that of a Conestoga Wagon and this one is no exception although much smaller than the traditional real Conestoga.

The one i replaced was just worn out and had some issues which of course i corrected with the new version.

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This one was several years old and just dilapidated.  Wood was deteriorated and wasn’t a well balanced design making it awkward to pull around.  Also, as you can see the old wagon pull broke, the pop door was too short and manual, not enough nesting boxes or roosts, and overall it was simply too heavy.
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Moved it home and the old hens gave it a complete check out, then had no hesitation going back in.   Note this new version has an automatic pop door.  Should have done that on the very first one.  A very good investment even for my small flock.
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Had to come up with a new way of holding the ‘hoops.’  My previous eggmobile, i used 1 inch schedule 40 pipe and it has too much spring to it and i had it attached very securely.  This time, i raided the water pipe supply and chose 3/4 inch black HDPE pipe and it is much easier to handle.  Here i’m cutting short pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe.
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After drilling a hole to receive a longer 1/4 lag screw, i installed the screw with the plastic tube topped with a 1/4 inch flat washer.  Powered it in and it makes a sort home made sort of shoulder bolt.
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This view shows the nearly finished eggmobile.  I built it in separate pieces so that it can be disassembled if needed.  There is the floor which i reused (newer lumber).  Don’t use anything less than 1 x 2 inch welded wire.  It’s a little big for small chicks, but is perfect for grown hens because their poop will go right on through.  The second section is framed then sided with old corrugated plastic.  Except for new hardware, everything is reused on this.
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i installed a door on one side just in case i need access.

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See how the black pipe forms a nice hoop to hold the standard sized white tarp using the makeshift shoulder bolts.  Roosts are cut from old electric posts.
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The translucent panel is cut from an old solar panel cover.  Not sure if you could find those used.  My father-in-law had a couple left over from a business he tried starting about 40 years ago.
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Lift the lid and inside is the top level of the nesting boxes.  I may or may not end up dividing these.  If i do, it’ll probably just be little curtains.
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Lift the floor of the first level to collect eggs on the lower level.
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Ador1 battery powered automatic pop door.   Note the ladder like roosts – i have to change the supports to wider stance because if a hen edges to the outside, it will tip.  I also had to take off the green corrugated bit above the door and attach boards to secure the canopy.  i used more of the solar panel stuff to make it match the front.  At the front here, you can see that i built double decker nesting boxes – there are 6 now vs the 3 before.

This is the coolest ever.  It comes preset to automatically open at dawn and close at night.

Craft Supplies

For whatever reason, public school teachers seem to need to buy supplies for their classes each year, using money from their own pockets.  I won’t comment on that being right or wrong or even why because i simply don’t know.  However, we as home educators, really can’t afford to purchase extraneous supplies, so we are careful to collect and use free stuff for educational supplies.  When possible, we purchase secondhand textbooks and use them for all the children in the family.  Or we share with other families whose children may be similar in age, but offset just a bit.  (Currently, Missouri public education is funded by taxpayers at the rate of $10,457 per student per year).  Since i have three children – had that been sent to me, i could have managed nicely on $31,371 per year!

Missouri Statistics by district

Linn County R-I School District

Name: Linn County R-I School District
City: Purdin
Average Daily Attendance: 220.8
Expenditure per Pupil: $11,343.44
Local, Percent of Expenditure: 43.89%
Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,978.31
State, Percent of Expenditure: 46.54%
State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $5,279.22
Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 9.57%
Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,085.91

Brookfield R-III School District

Name: Brookfield R-III School District
City: Brookfield
Average Daily Attendance: 968.3
Expenditure per Pupil: $9,569.70
Local, Percent of Expenditure: 44.99%
Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,305.84
State, Percent of Expenditure: 43.91%
State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $4,202.25
Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 11.09%
Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,061.61

To that end, i have on hand various supplies that have been given to me or sent in the mail (we get a bunch of return addresses from outfits asking for donations and typically there are fun stickers and parts of the address that can be cut for stickers.)  Gifts that have been given to us (or i unapologetically collect tissue and paper from bridal showers or birthday parties that would have just been thrown away).  Coloured tissue paper is so fun for tearing into shapes (think Eric Carle) and making books.  Also, fun to fold and tie to make flowers, etc.

Coloured paper from flyers in the mail can be cut into strips to make decorative chains.

Making books involves math skills (ie: fold paper in half, one fourth), large and small motor skills (folding, tearing, punching holes, gluing, drawing, etc), sharing and helping (work in groups), creativity (develop story telling skills, logical and chronological thinking, and how to express ideas in picture and words), understanding relations (large and small, tall and short, etc), shapes, colours.  Goodness, so many skills in just one fun activity.  At the end, have each child read and show their creation to encourage public speaking and reading skills.

There are a multitude of craft and art activities that can be expanded to teach nearly all aspects of education.

Time is the most important investment in the education and training of your children.

Ask for, gather, then develop a plan using those free supplies.  Wow, you can even then teach the importance of repurposing, recycling, reducing.

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Some of this is brand new that was given to me but i have no use for so it needs to be in the hands of someone who can educate and encourage children.  Not shown is an envelope of stickers that i cut out of the Arbor Day return address labels that were sent in the mail.  

 

 

Barn to Bookshelves

At long last my feeble attempt at building a much–needed bookshelf out of the boards from our old horse barn that was located at the Lamme Farm is complete.  Most of the delay was due to the super cold and long winter.

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Final portrait before starting tear down of the horse barn at the Lamme Farm. – 2014
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The old barn was past its prime.
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Salvaging side lumber.
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Boards in storage.  I did have a bed made from these boards a few years ago, but hadn’t made anything until this bookshelf i recently completed.
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Lots and lots of sanding to remove layers of old paint.  My husband won’t let me buy a planer – says they are too dangerous.  Hmmm, but he has no problem with me running a table saw, chainsaw, reciprocating saw, circular saw, jig saw, band saw, and working cattle all day long.
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Putting on the final sanding.  Still without a planer, there are gouges which don’t show up until i add stain or other finish.
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I loaded this 6 foot tall unit into and out of my pickup, then into the house and up a set of curved stairs.  Good thing it’s not heavy!  A bit awkward.  The shelves are removable.

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A point of interest is that the Monocoat Pure wood conditioner/stain i used shows the difference between the ‘front’ of the boards (the side that was painted and exposed to outside weather) and the ‘back’ of the boards (shown here and the side without paint and inside the barn).  The back or inside stained darker.  I don’t know why.
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Here is the ‘front’ or outside painted side of the boards – showing a warmer finish than the darker reverse side.
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Not much organization, but it’s gonna hold a lot of books.  i’m encouraged to put another build on my ‘to do’ list once i get all my other ‘to build’ items completed.

Have a great week!

tauna

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The barn, and later our house, was razed, shingles removed, and the rubble burnt.  Not much left after we salvaged so much from it. (the house was removed in a truck since it is illegal to burn a house – even out here in the boonies)

Hoarder or Frugal?

Finally giving up on my old jeans and stretched out Empire State Building hoodie as work clothes.  Actually going straight into the rubbish.  The hoodie was pricey since it was a souvenir, but the jeans, like most of my clothes, were purchased for a $1 a year ago from a local second hand shop.

They needed throwing out long ago, but i always justify keeping them a bit longer because they are great for fence repair.  That is to say, fence repair will destroy them even more, so why start with something new, right?

Oftentimes, i’m frugal to a fault, but a hoarder i am not – if i have no use for an item and it has possible value to someone else, i’m selling it or giving it away at earliest chance.

Nevertheless, the hole in the butt portion of the pants that i keep covered by pulling down my stretched out hoodie is just getting too large for comfort.  With a windchill of 4F and a foot of snow outside,  it will be a long time before any fence repair will take place.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna