Productive busy-ness

My 2 raised garden beds are producing like crazy!  All that Midwest rain was good for the plants!  (Although I am sincerely sorry for the people flooded out in the low areas.)  My strawberry plants are knee high and have produced an abundance of berries.  Remember, I have two raised 4′ x 6′ homemade garden beds.  I have let the strawberries take over 1/2 of one bed.  Those plants have produced about 3 quarts of berries.  I ate and shared about 1 quart and froze the other two.  Those berries are just sweeter than ones bought in the store and I know they have no sprays on them.  They will taste so good next winter.

I have also frozen 2 pints of sugar pod peas and will have to pick peas again today.  The earliest peas are about through producing, but the second planting is really producing right now.  Sometime this week and will pull the spent plants and put them in the compost.  The weather is getting too hot for cool loving plants.  I am contemplating planting that area in bush beans even though both plants are putting nitrogen into the soil.  I will have to plan better next year!

I have been eating salads from my own lettuce and onions for about a month.  Too bad tomatoes don’t get ripe when the lettuce and onions are ready.  I may have to experiment with a tunnel next year. My three tomato plants are blooming and one plant has many green tomatoes growing well.  The beets are almost large enough to start adding their leaves to my salads.

I love working in my garden.  Being outside in nature, being productive, producing healthy, less expensive food, and getting exercise — its all a win for me.  Plus I can share my abundance with my neighbors.

I also volunteer at several organizations that give me social time doing things I enjoy and are helpful to society.  One day each week, I embroider quilt blocks for a church group who then set them together and hand quilt them for the Quilt Bingo in the spring.  One morning a week, I am learning to clean and repair donated sewing machines that are then sent to third world countries along with material, thread and notions.  Instructors in those countries then teach the women in villages to sew.  One afternoon each week I help my sister care for her one-year-old great grandson and I volunteer once a month at the local Food Bank.  Having fun doesn’t have to cost money.  It is possible to have fun and improve the world at the same time.

Have a good week everyone and find at least one way to make your little corner of the world a better place!

Rainy Spring Days

Today as I write we are having April showers.  The showers are supposed to continue, off and on, for the next five days.  I guess I will get a lot done in the house.  That’s not nearly as much fun as working outside, but there’s plenty that needs doing.

I ran outside between showers this morning to check on my garden,  The snow peas are really growing well.  They have grown taller than the plastic fence I had put up, so yesterday I bought a $3 ball of twine and put up “grow lines” from the top of the little fence to the top of my patio divider.  Some of the plants have latched on already and are starting to climb.  The tomato plants I grew from seed are looking healthy in their new garden location.  I only set out three and gave the rest away.  Those three will produce enough for me to eat, give some away, and can or freeze some also.  The lettuce and spinach seeds are coming up and looking good.  I set the pot of bell pepper plants (I grew from seed) out in the garden to begin getting used to the outdoors.  Checking on them occasionally from the backdoor will be easy and I can bring them back in if they start looking like the raindrops are beating them up.  Onions are growing nicely.  Strawberries are healthy and blooming away!  Still want to plant beets and some herbs.

I have been reading a fictional book about wagon trains and settlers.  I find it is good for me to read books like that on occasion to keep me on track to living minimally.  I really believe in the adage of “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” which was the pioneer spirit.

My plans for today include: clean out my email box, walk three miles on my treadmill, sew dresses for NGO, bake a cake or pie, and read.

Have a good rainy day, Everyone!!
Continue reading “Rainy Spring Days”

One Goal Accomplished!

I have been a busy woman lately — all while dealing with a broken finger.  About a month ago I stubbed my toe on the uneven sidewalk in our neighborhood, fell and broke my little finger on my right hand.  My paramedic grandson finally convinced his stubborn grandma to have her swollen hand checked out (4 days after the fall) and the x-rays revealed a broken finger.  I have a splint (which is preferable to a cast) but it sure gets in my way!  I am VERY right hand dominant!

Even with the splint, I built my second raised garden bed, filled it with soil, and have some sugar peas planted.  I bought some decorative plastic fencing at a garage sale for 50 cents to use as a trellis and Garden 2019 is on its way.

Now that warmer weather is here, my composter should “compost” a little faster.  This is certainly a learn-as-I-go project but is keeping some “stuff” out of the landfill.

Last fall I had raked leaves over my first year strawberries for protection.  About a week ago I raked the leaves off the berries.  Some of the leaves went into my composter and the berry plants look like they survived well through our cold winter.  I was unsure how they would do in a raised bed but it worked out well.  In June I should have strawberries without pesticides!

Tomorrow I will help the ladies at my church hang the quilts to be given away at our Quilt Bingo on Sunday.  On Sunday I will be working the Bingo event.

The weather is pouring rain today, so my agenda includes repotting my tomato plants inside.  I started them from seed (much less costly than plants) and their roots now need more room.  It’s too early in the season to plant them in the garden, so they will get larger pots.

This afternoon I will probably sew on dresses made for little girls in third world countries through the Rainbow Network.  I am slower at sewing with this splint, but it is still a good project for a rainy afternoon.

I hope you are enjoying your time where you live.  Smile and make a positive difference in our world!

Spend, Spend, Spend?

Did you ever think about how much we spend just because some advertising company convinced us to?  I mean, isn’t a house basically supposed to keep us warm in winter, cool in summer, and dry when it rains?  Where did the idea ever come from that the bigger the house or the more amenities (swimming pool, hot tub, fancier entryway, etc.) a house has the more desirable it is?  My opinion is the advertising got us on this track and then peer pressure took up the call.

People that follow the minimalist way of living reject all these notions.  The larger the house, the more time one must spend keeping it clean and orderly.  The more stuff you have in the house, the more time one must spend taking care of it.  The more clothes one has, the more time one must spend deciding what to wear and where and how to store them.  The newer and fancier the car, the more time one must spend working to pay for it.  All that time and money spent could be better spent on experiences with friends and family that make wonderful memories.

For those of us that are retired, living on less income is much more enjoyable (at least in my experience) by living minimally by choice.  My apartment is at least 50 years old but it keeps me warm, dry, cool, provides enough room, has a one car garage, is nice looking and is affordable.  My furnishings are older but nicely kept and appealing.  My pickup truck is 11 years old but paid for and reliable.

I grow part of my own food in a raised garden bed because I enjoy doing so, the physical activity is good for my health, the food tastes good and I know it has no pesticides on it.

Some people would consider me poor and monetarily I guess I am, but even if I was wealthy, I would choose to live this way.  I will not be a follower in the competitive world of spend, spend, spend.  I am quite comfortable and happy living the way I do.  My possessions do not “own” me.  I own them.  I am fortunate that my health allows me to donate my time to organizations that fit with my beliefs and I am rewarded by feeling useful and like I am contributing to society.

We were given free will. Exercise it. I choose to stop letting advertisers control my life!


Busy Retirement

I honestly think I am busier now in retirement than I ever was when I was working.  The difference is, I am busy now doing what I consider important which changes the concept of work.  What I do now is fun!!!

I am discovering that minimalism, frugality, environmental consciousness, and my religion all fit together very nicely — hand in glove you might say.  I consciously work at keeping my home minimal, so what comes into my home has to be needed.  I have already talked about being frugal.  Acquiring what I need has to be thoughtfully considered, both need and cost.  Do I need to buy it or can I borrow it?  If I need to buy it, what is the least expensive way to get good quality.  I search secondhand stores, pawn shops, auctions, etc.  If I have to buy it new, I comparison shop and look for discounts, coupons, gift cards.  If I can buy the item used, I am helping the environment by not having caused a new item to be produced and keeping the used item out of the landfill.  My religion teaches me that man was given dominion over the earth and everything that is on it.  Therefore, being a good steward encompasses all the steps I have just discussed.

I cannot afford to donate sums of money to good causes and charity, but donating my time and energy I can do.  I spend one morning a week working at our local historical society organizing items and setting up displays.  I spend one full day a week with my church quilting group making quilts to make money to fund religious causes and making items for places like nursing homes, hospitals, and charities.  I spend another morning a week working in a factory of volunteers making personal energy transportation vehicles for leg-disabled persons in third world countries.  The days and times I am not volunteering outside my home, I sew dresses out of donated fabric for girls in third world countries and also make Dignity Bags for covering catheter bags for nursing home patients.

I find that doing volunteer work for good causes gives me a sense of accomplishment and brings a sense of peace and calm, keeps me active and social, and helps others live a better life.

Until next time.  Peace.

Getting Started

Since this is 2019, I am getting started on my goals for this year.  One goal I mentioned last post is to enlarge my garden by adding another raised bed.  Toward that end, I bought a new drill which I will use for other projects as well.  But I didn’t spend any money!!  My health insurance gave me a new fitbit last year and also gave me Visa gift cards for walking so many steps each month.  Since I have a little rescue dog, Grayson, I need to walk him anyway, so I walked about 3.5 miles each day  which earned me gift cards each month.  I saved those cards and had enough to by a good drill without digging into my meager budget.  My next step is to stop in often at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in the neighboring city to find the boards and materials to build the raised bed.  The materials at the Restore are donated by people and builders to be resold at a very discounted price.  It may take a while to get enough boards to complete the garden and trellises but I can’t grow anything until spring anyway.

In November I worked as a judge in the election.  It was a loooooong day, but paid well.  I have saved that money and will use it this month to take Grayson for his yearly vet check and meds.  I took him to a Spay and Neuter Project vet day last July for a very discounted rabies shot, but it is time for other shots and meds, so I have been saving my election pay to take care of my sweet companion this month.  My life requires me to plan ahead in order to take care of wants and needs, but I enjoy doing it.

This month will be tight monetarily because my first six month’s bill for my truck insurance comes due at the end of the month, but by pinching pennies this month I will have more available money throughout the year.

So these are my plans for January, 2019.  We will see how it works out.


New Year of 2019

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (as I did) and is looking forward to a very good New Year.

My wonderful son and his family gave me a patio composter for Christmas and so now I am involved in learning to make soil from kitchen scraps, leaves, waste paper from junk mail, coffee grounds and anything else organic that I find.  My next project is to find some waste lumber and build another raised garden.  I did that last summer and grew enough tomatoes from 3 plants to supply me and my neighbors with fresh, tasty, nourishing fruit, and cucumbers, peppers and butternut squash.  I learned a lot and now I want an additional garden so that I can grow more varieties.  I am fortunate to have a small ground level patio.  Gardening is wonderful exercise and produce is much cheaper when one grows one’s own and tastes better, too!  If I can do this at seventy five, most people can grow some, too!

If you need a break from parades and football games tomorrow, I suggest you watch a YouTube movie entitled, “What Would Jesus Buy”.  It won’t win any huge awards, but in my opinion, its premise is good.  We have become a throwaway society (world) and this 1 hour and 30 minute movie points that out.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year everyone and I will see you next year!