Tag Archives: simplicity

Appreciation – A Frugal Habit

This week I have been noticing a positive side-effect of the Coronavirus restrictions on our lives – a greater appreciation and delight in the small things in life.

This week we found new things to do for very little money, things we probably wouldn’t have considered “fun enough” in our fast-paced life before COVID came around.

Mock orange from my shrubs

My daughter and I went to a bakery this week in a rural town outside of our city which is owned by a woman who left the Amish life in her 20s. We had plenty of time to talk in car, and brought home some treats including lemon meringue pie! It was so simple, but it felt good to have a new experience (side note: not too many mask wearers in small towns…)

Tonight I am appreciating being home to be able to pick the kale from my garden and serve it sautéed with sausages for dinner. Far too often we have been guilty of planting seeds, watering, and then going on vacation only to come home to our veg gone to seed. I am delighted to have the time to tend to and enjoy our yard.

Yay, we used our kale!!

We had a great new experience for Father’s Day (early). We did struggle a bit with finding a balance between “fun enough” and “safe.” A number of plans were scrapped because they seemed too complicated with Coronavirus. We ended up having a perfect, simple day, picking up poke bowls and taking them to a magnificent park with views of Lake Michigan. I think we will enjoy variations of this throughout the summer.

Poke in
the park

Another simple joy this week was walking with my mom to her local ice cream shop. We haven’t gotten together inside yet, but this was a fun way to spend some time together.

I know we aren’t the only ones carving out joy in a simpler life. I have seen so many teens and even college students at the local playground, sitting on blankets, shooting hoops, or practicing hitting baseballs. I never even knew these kids lived in our neighborhood and I’m glad to see them outside under conditions that are deemed safe in our state.

Have you discovered or rediscovered simple pleasures as a result of lockdown?

Involuntary Simplicity?

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Mr. Saver Pays a Visit to the Food Truck

How would you feel about avocados being a rare seasonal treat?  Would your trip to Chipotle be complete without that glob of guac on top?  On my mind this week are thoughts about how changes in national (US) policy might affect my family.

Deportation of migrant workers, many of whom have falsified work papers (I didn’t know they were fake!), would immediately affect the prices of fresh food, most of which comes from California’s Central Valley.  Farmers hope their existing work force could be legalized, or that temporary work visas might be available to agricultural workers.  These low paying jobs are back-breaking and difficult to fill with US citizens, who can go work easier jobs for 10.00 an hour.  (For more background on this, read this article.). Crops need to be picked when they need to be picked and if labor is deported, millions of dollars of crops would be lost.

Rising fresh food prices could necessitate home gardens, canning, and buying local/seasonal.  Kind of a throwback to the ’40s  — before strawberries were available fresh year round.

The other piece of the food price puzzle is whether the government places trade restrictions and taxes on imported goods (say to pay for building a big wall), and importing fresh food like avocados and strawberries from places like Mexico quickly becomes cost-prohibitive.

Honestly, if the US sufficiently aggravates other countries, they may not buy goods from our farmers, who are barely hanging on as it is.  This could drive up subsidies which we pay for as taxpayers.

Changes in the cost of items can happen rapidly, as we have experienced occasionally with lettuce, citrus, and recently avocados due to things like weather and labor strikes.   What would your diet and budget look like if food prices increased?  Do you have a means to take advantage of food in season through canning or freezing?

Personally, I’m not ready to start stockpiling 5 pound cans of green beans, but it does get my mind turning about gardening and what we might grow that we will use and won’t be eaten by rabbits.  I have canned jam but never anything for food preservation; I do think this is a useful skill to have.

Do you think the scenarios above are possible?  Probable?   Canadian friends… where do you get your fresh produce from?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got $10 and Time?

Mr. Saver is Head Gardener in our home.  He was researching shrubs and trees and came across a wonderful, economical resource at the Arbor Day Foundation.  The Arbor Day Foundation sells an enormous variety of evergreens, fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and flowering trees, many of them priced from $ 4.00 to $ 19.00.  Who needs Monrovia at the garden center?!

Of course, there is a catch.  The plants are small, many from 6″ to 3 feet.  So, you need to be both frugal and patient to make this work.  There is also a “tree wizard” which will help you select the best trees for your growing conditions.

I was drawn to the “American Beech”  – its “beech nuts” serve as an important food for wild turkeys, foxes, and porcupines!  It grows 70 feet tall, has fall color, and you get all that for the low low price of $ 9.00!

Note – they only ship in spring and fall.  This is not a sponsored post – just sharing!

 

 

Extracting Joy

Use your beautiful precious things.

This is a life lesson that keeps presenting itself to me.

Our neighbor had a Corvette that spent 98% of the time in the garage. Occasionally it came out to be washed and waxed and back into the garage for another week. It wasn’t vintage… Nothing stopping it from a trip to the grocery store, except it was too precious.

A few weeks ago our neighbor died. When the people came to take the car to sell as part of his estate, do you know that car barely could make it down the driveway? A Corvette! It was all sputters and clouds of smoke.

Teeny problem with using our treasures… All that love can wreck them. I am a fan of Emma Bridgewater dishes from England. Some are hand-painted and limited production. My daughter flung herself on the couch and my “Winter in the Country” mug broke! She was possibly sadder than I was because she knew it was really special and not easily replaced. Then I felt bad that she felt bad! We both needed to hear me say the truth that if we put away our treasures so nothing happens to them, we deny ourselves the opportunity to love and enjoy them.

Are you saving precious things for future generations? The most valuable things to loved ones are the things that bear the marks of our own love for them. Mom’s cookbook with the handwritten notes and stains trumps a pristine cookbook on the shelf every time.

BeatrixPotterMy beautiful mug-with-no-handle is currently a chair for my Beatrix Potter friend Jeremy Fisher. It still brings me joy when I see it and my daughter laughed when she noticed him on the bookshelf.

Letting Go of Summer

IMG_4001-privateIt seems it wasn’t that many posts ago that I was trying to get into the slower pace of summer, and here I am wishing for just another week or two to spend with my daughter lounging around watching American Girl movies or reading on the couch.  It’s not that we don’t do these things the rest of the year, but when school starts back up, it feels like you have added another person to the family — one who has an insatiable appetite for reading minutes to be logged and spelling words to be practiced.

We relished an easy summer day today… no coupons, no grocery stores, no dry-cleaning stops.  We went to the beach at 9:00 am, had lunch at Subway, and watched episodes of the cartoon ‘Arthur’ in the afternoon until my legs started to go numb from sitting so long.  As grateful as I am for our New Mexico vacation and other summer excursions that required money, it’s the simple, easy days that I crave.  Days with no purpose other than hanging out together.

This weekend I need to get in gear with a meal plan and groceries for brown-bag lunches (groan), but I hope I can pack these chores into an hour or two, and then get back to banking a few more hours of lazy family time before September comes calling.