Nobody Ever Said "Doing the Right Thing is Easy"

Where to begin. I am proud to say that we have reduced our individual bottles of water purchases by approximately 80%, even with our travel. We have enjoyed using our two aluminum waters bottles purchased from The Peddler’s Wagon. Made from a 304 grade aluminum, our 20 oz. green jewel toned bottle is perfect for DD, and a bargain at only $11.00.  DH and I share a larger, 1 ltr. Steel Water Bottle, which has a opening large enough to add ice.

To up the ante, we have decided to stop purchasing bottled pop, as well. The decision is based somewhat on the plastic bottle pollution issue, partly on my readings of The Omnivore’s Dilema and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and lastly, and probably most important, is our ever growing waistline. When we were in Kansas City this weekend, I am very happy to report that DH, nor I, purchased a pop, or a plastic bottle of anything the entire day. A couple of times, I thought we might falter, but I am very proud of us both.  To some of you, this may seem as such a simple task, but I assure you it took great fortitude to spend 13 plus hours on the road without a bottle of Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, or Coca-Cola.

 

Missing in Action

These past few days (or has it been weeks?) I have been missing in action here at TSB, partly because of travel, but mostly because I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in several areas of my life at the moment. In order to forge forward through this mental fog touched with a bit of laziness, I thought I would post a couple of update photos (maybe that will put me in a more positive frame of mind…haha!).

My morning glories are beginning to show some movement, which is a good thing since it seems that I am not going to be able to train my roses to grow over my arbor.

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The walkway in the backyard is beginning to take shape. Moving the rock from the old “patio” area under the tree has proved to be difficult and back-breaking. I think we have enough materials on hand to take the walkway to the alley behind the house. I am very disappointed that I do not have my concrete patio poured yet. This darn weather is making many projects drag out….and I just know that as soon as these storms stop, the temperatures will rise quicklly making the work even more difficult!

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Currently, my tomatoes are back on the side porch with the last threat of golf ball sized hail. Fortunately, we did not get any…but you know that the reason we didn’t is because I DID move those tomatoes. If I had left them in place, the hail would have surely shown its face…haha!

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My beans are beginnging to show some signs of growth, as is my basil…so maybe things will start happening around here. I really need to find some kind of mulch before the heat waves begin. I don’t want to put down grass clippings because we have so many weeds in our yard….and DH doesn’t know where the grass catcher is anyhow. We have had neighbors volunteer their clippings, but all of them use chemicals on their lawns…so that is not an option. I might have to just bite the bullet and purchase some straw.

Please Pardon Our Dust

Isn’t that what the store signs say when they are remodeling? The theme template that I have been borrowing for my blog  just hasn’t seemed to fit the mood or idea behind what I hope for my blog to become.  For some time now, I have been trying on different looks and taking them for a spin. Usually, I try to do that late at night in hopes that no one will notice. On occasion, I have totally fouled things up..imagine that!

I am not CSS savy, and just barely able to say I know some HTML, so this process is tedious and has me relying on theme templates that someone else has designed. (Just a heads up here, if you EVER see a wordpress theme that would fit the “mood” of  my site, please ,oh PLEASE,  contact me!) For now I am trying out a brand new theme that was only uploaded yesterday. Unfortunately, like so many other themes that I have loved, the theme is not widget-aware for the sidebar. The original sidebar was adorable, but it would not allow me to add anything… not even an admin login. Well, I think I have the sidebar challenge conquered as far as functionality goes, but I lost the cute little icons. Being frugal (sometimes that means B-R-O-K-E), I am not to the point of paying someone else to figure it out for me…..

so…I ask again…PLEASE Pardon Our Dust…until I figure this out…or am covered in dust…whichever comes first.

Do Not Think While in the Shower!

Whatever you do, don’t think while in the shower!

With all of the constant daily input from the television, the telephone, the children, noisy kids next door, the lawnmower across the street, the weed-eater down the street, and DH with whatever noises he is prone to make, my brain sometimes does not process thoughts as well as it should.

Recently, I realized that I had not taken time to think things through and that I was being coerced by outside elements to do something that I knew I might regret afterwards. Just a side note here…feeling regret afterwards is a common event for me. This past week, I have been impatiently waiting for the movie Sex and the City to come out. I was fearful that it would not make it to our small market theater located about 35 miles from us, but was ecstatic that it was indeed coming to our “local” movie theater. The very first showing was at 12:55 PM and I planned to be there….with a friend, with my husband….with myself…it didn’t matter…I was going to be there!

My DDH (dear, dear husband or darling, dear husband..whichever you prefer) took off from work, so that he could have me present at the very first showing and wanted us to get there early, so that I could buy the very first ticket. Is that not amazing? Friday morning, we sat on the sofa together sipping coffee…him watching television and me on the internet. For a few days now, I have wanted DH to watch the new Path to Freedom Sustainable Food UCLA Lecture videos on YouTube, so I plugged the stereo speakers in to share all three segments with him. (I suggest these videos for anyone who might be on the fence about the importance of growing your own food and saving your own seeds.) Anyhow, the two of us, together, and YouTube generally ends up being an all afternoon thing, but in this case it was an all morning deal with the hours passing quickly. While watching those videos, we shifted gears and began watching solar cooker videos. I am supposing the shift might have had something to do with Anais at PTF posting a photo of her solar cooker. For quite some time, I have been excited at the possibilities of building my own solar cooker or maybe even purchasing one from PTF, but DH is now on board with at least the option of building our own at first. What a great idea!

Well, before we knew it, we were at the point where I needed to jump in the shower to get ready for my movie date with DDH. Do you know that feeling in the shower, where you only hear the water and the thoughts in your own head? Well, there I was thinking…..and thinking…and thinking while I was in the shower. My thoughts wandered in and out of….MAN! I want a solar cooker! Geez..they’re a couple of hundred dollars…..well I could build one. How much would the lumber be? Paint? Could I use a Fresnel lens? …and then back to …geeeez…that’s a lot of money…and we’re about to go into town and drop a hundred bucks…you just watch. It never fails…
Movies~$14
Popcorn/Drinks~$8 (we share our drink)
Gasoline~$12
Bookstore, Wal-Mart, Meade Lumber, Dollar Store~$50
Thai Restaurant~$30

In my head it was all adding up and then I turned to, a whiny “Now, why do I want to go see this movie?” I mean..come on…it’s  about 4 indulgent women who spend money as if it grew on trees and are so far removed from the lifestyle that I have chosen…for the life of me I could not give a good reason why I even wanted to go to the movie in the first place. While still standing in the shower, I shouted out at DH, asking if he really, no I mean REALLY, wanted to go to this movie or was he just doing it because he thought I wanted to go?
Me~Honey-I was thinking…if we go to Dodge…we will end up spending quite a bit of money.
DH~So? You want to go.
Me~but you know, $20 or $30 would go a lo-o-ong way towards the supplies to build a solar cooker
DH~Yep, but you want to go to the movie…yes, I want to go, so hurry up, get dressed…let’s go
Me~but I REEEALLLY want  a solar cooker.

Well, the weekend has come and gone, and nope I didn’t go to the movies. DH and I hung around the house and enjoyed each others’ company the remainder of Friday. We wrote up some specs on our own home built solar cooker, worked in the yard a bit, and DH even constructed a make-shift, prototype solar cooker from a cardboard box, some weed barrier, meat thermometer, and a glass window. We found out that we could get the temperature up to 180 degrees, which meant we were on to something. With a little ingenuity, we could be solar cooking in the backyard in no time. Over the afternoon, on more than one occasion, I confessed to DH that I felt guilty going to the movie when I have been trying so hard to be more frugal, a bit greener, and less oil dependent. Going to watch that particular movie seemed to present too huge of an inner “responsible vs. frivolous” conflict. Now, if it had been a documentary from Path to Freedom, there would have been NO CONTEST!
The PTF Groupie in me would have insisted we camp out in the mall parking lot the night before to ensure tickets.

The remainder of the Friday afternoon, I researched garden totems, and frugal decoration ideas, which resulted in me running to the hardware store at five minutes to closing to spend $5. When I returned, DH remarked, “Well, we almost made it through the day without spending any money.”

Saturday came and I awoke to find my usual morning cup with cream, sugar, and spoon waiting for the coffee to be poured. DH had to be at work before sunrise, so I would be pouring my own coffee. No one makes a better pot of coffee or mixes the cream and sugar in a cup better than DH.

We planned to attend the local farmer’s market in Greensburg around 9:00 AM and so off to the shower I went. There I was again..thinking…hm…I sure liked some of those garden totems; I wonder if the thrift shop would have some inexpensive items that I could use for my own totems and birdfeeders? Hmmmm…after Greensburg, I wonder if DH will want to head over to Pratt? We could go to the farmer’s market there also. Well, DH arrived home and away we went…yesterday’s frugal homebodies-today’s consumers. We did attend the Greensburg farmer’s market, and were very pleasantly surprised to see Anita from Prairie Dreams and her family arrive shortly after we did. (I recognized her and Rick from her online photos.) We visited for a short bit before each of headed off in our own directions.

Greensburg turned into Pratt, which turned into hitting the garage sales, almost every thrift shop in Pratt, a flea market junk shop in Cullison, and an antique shop in Belvidere. My car was filled to capacity with plants and junk. On the way home, we stopped in Greensburg to buy fuel ($35 for 9 gallons thank you very much), milk and bread. While waiting in line to pay, who do you suppose walked in? Rick and Isaiah! What are the chances that on two occasions in the same day we would show up at the same location at the same time? Wow! Anita wasn’t with them, but we did get to visit for a bit while the cashiers were dealing with computer issues and the registers not working.

For our only plans being to visit the farmer’s market, we sure covered a lot of ground that day. I told DH that I felt like it was my birthday or something because of how he accommodated my every whim…well, almost..there was a brief moment of disappointment over a wonderfully vintage garden gate that I wanted to buy. It was a joyous day spent talking, dining, *shopping* in a greener fashion, seeing some countryside that I had not seen in a long while with the one I love!

So now that I am at the end of my blog post, I am wondering about the original premise for my writing. Sunday, for a brief moment, I took a look at the SATC reviews hoping to find out whether Carrie and Mr. Big actually tie the knot. , I thought….”what the heck have I done?” I wanted to see SATC! I wanted to know the end!! Was I crazy? Then my thoughts turned to …what would DH say if I told him that I really did want to go? All day as I dug in the garden, washed clothes, dishes and cleaned, all I could think about was..why in the world would I have said no, I don’t want to go? At the end of the day, I had just about decided that I would sneak away on planned “in town”, during the day, by myself (no witnesses). Being grungy from my chores, I decided to take an early shower before settling down to my writings.

The faucet was turned on full blast (no this was not a “green” shower….I was covered in dirt) and my thoughts began to wonder, yet again. Why am I going back and forth about a silly movie? Geez…it isn’t like I have watched every episode or anything…and besides it will eventually be out on DVD or better yet…free on television. So my thoughts kept wonderin’ in and out, back and forth, and then my brain jumped track and reviewed my day’s successes and failures..like my first solar cooking attempt (to be reported upon later) and then it came to me….my desire to see the movie again came from outside input (internet/television) and had nothing to do with anything but that… and ….because of my thoughts wanderin’ over to the review of my solar lunch challenge I knew that I wanted a better built solar cooker more than I wanted to watch those four perfectly coiffed women extravagantly sip Cosmopolitans for two and a half hours.

So now, I say to you…while in the shower….turn off the outside yammer….be one with the water (okay I know a little hokey, but you know what I mean!) and …Whatever you do…THINK while in the shower!
 

Over $40K a Year for Selling Kansas Tumbleweeds

Guys and Gals, we are in the wrong business. This southwest Kansas women makes over $40,000 a year selling tumbleweeds.

I cannot embed the video, but here is the story and the video at People of the Web, Rolling in the Cash. She proudly touts herself as the Tumbleweed Millionare.

A few years ago I heard of someone selling tumbleweeds on eBay.  I told DH that we should plant those weeds at the farm so we could sell them. He just laughed and shook his head. Guess who is shaking her head now?

Ain't No Sunshine….

The laundry is piling up, so I think I am going to be forced to used the electric dryer. I had thought about at least doing loads of handwash articles and hanging them up inside, but the humidity is too high. I would just be having to wash them again because of the odor that usually follows from trying to dry clothes in a damp basement, during a very humid, rainy period. Guess I will have to find some offsets elsewhere.

Vacationing in Your Own Backyard

For a very long time now, I have been trying to get our backyard hard-scaped with a privacy fence, a concrete patio, and a walkway to the alley. It seems as though so many other things get in the way. Last week I think I wrote about having a date set to finally get my patio poured. Well, guess what? It’s not done. With the threats of a week worth of severe storms and rain, we thought it best to put it off…yet again.

I am not certain, but I think we may have a break from anything severe for today. Today’s weather is my favorite for camping…cool, cloudy and overcast. The dampness makes me crave a campfire. Last night after the last storm passed through, DH and I simultaneously looked up at the sky and said, “Man, this would be a great night for camping.” Knowing that wasn’t the prudent thing to do, we thought about just laying out on the trampoline to watch the stars and the satellites pass over. I mentioned that we could go “camping” in our backyard like we used to when the kids were younger.

My dream for my backyard is for a place in which we would want to spend time…..a place for reflection…for entertaining or a breath of fresh air.  Money is always tight, but we generally get away to somewhere every year…even if it just over to Meade State Park for a weekend of camping and fishing. This year, I am afraid that the only “vacation” away from home will be associated with DD’s travels and it will be frugal, no frills travel to say the least. The gasoline budget will be eating up any of the entertainment dollars we might have had. To me, this makes my dream for my backyard retreat even more important.

On Path to Freedom’s Journal today, there is a post about Staycations and Staying Closer to Home. Staycations are vacations spent at home enjoy what it has to offer. That is what we are planning for this year’s “getaway”. We will getaway to our backyard. Tonight I will set the date with DH. All hard-scape will be finished, so as to not make it a working vacation. I am looking for a relaxing, maybe romantic few days of togetherness. I found the Top 10 Staycation Strategies at about.com and plan to put some in place.

What would your strategies be for planning a Backyard Staycation?

ramblings about yesterday's day on the road part I

We made a few stops on our return home from Oklahoma City yesterday. It was an interesting day. I had my list of places to go and DH was kind enough to accomodate my whims. First stop was at Garden Ridge Pottery where I had hoped to find some inexpensive items to add to my backyard art, but nothing was inexpensive and I left sorely disappointed with only a $1.50 clearance purchase of a small wooden house. Next up was Hobby Lobby, where I found a bargain on two decorative birdhouses. One was damaged, so the manager knocked a bit more off of the price for me. Since these will be outside, cheap is better.

The air was so hot and humid, that everything was a huge effort, so we decided to go eat before heading back home. We settled on Zio’s, one of my favorite restaurants. The last time we were there, our waiter had us in stitches and the food was exceptional, however this visit was not anywhere near as enjoyable.  I tried something new on the menu and the lemon was not mixed evenly throughout the sauce, which caused my jaws to “lock”. You know that feeling….if not…imagine biting into the most sour lemon could imagine and how the sides of your face contract uncontrollably. Yep…that will take you  where I was yesterday….lol. The waiter offered another entre, which resulted in a huge plate of lasagna, but unfortunately my taste buds were too badly assaulted by the other that it seemed bland. After spending $27, I was ashamed of my decision of splurging.

I had hoped to visit Home Depot on our trek down the road, but again the heat was overwhelming for sissy ol’ me and I didn’t want to get out of the car. It suited DH well, as he isn’t into spending money at the moment, so we just drove by the sheds and cabin that we always drool over with every visit to OKC. I keep telling myself…someday…yes…someday I will have this at the farm as a weekend and holiday retreat. Still longing as we pulled out of the parking lot, I asked DH to visit McClanes to look at RVs. I have a dream of one day traveling the country, working as I go, to see all 50 states. I don’t know if going to the RV dealership was such a good idea. We saw some beautiful new and used trailers and RVs, but the sticker shock made me realize that I may never fullfill this dream. I suppose it was a realistic awakening.

Down the freeway we traveled, making our usual turn at Geary, OK to head towards Woodward.

Birdhouses

The birdhouses that I found….