Monday, June 8, 2015

The drought and saving money!

It's no secret that California is in a drought. Everyone and their neighbor seem to have an opinion on how to solve the crisis. Most are not happy about the solutions given by our city and governor. But, I believe God's Word has the final say and it's very clear that God controls the rain. So, prayer becomes a top priority for those who acknowledge His power over His creation. I love seeing signs in front yards that say, 'Pray for Rain'. 

I've been conserving water ever since we moved into our home over 3 years ago. The drought was not as serious as it is now.  Lately, I've started researching more ways to cut back since we may have to cut our usage by 25% in the coming years.

My Trumpet Vine taketh overeth! :-)

 Here are a few things I do in my home to save and reuse water:

~ I put a large, plastic measuring cup under the faucet while I'm waiting for hot water to reach the house.  I usually get 16 cups of cold water which I dump into a bucket outside my door. The water is used to water the herbs on the patio table or to replenish the animal watering dishes.
~ I save the day old water from the cat and dog water bowls to water the plants.
~ I use steamed vegetable water to throw on my plants. I just make sure to not throw it close to the back door in case it draws flies.
~ Short showers.
~ Hot tub instead of a shower if we just need a light bath. 
~ I use the water from my laundry loads to water my flowers.
~ Leaves are kept in my flower beds to hold moisture in the soil.
~ I don't have automatic sprinklers so I use a kitchen timer to lessen the chance of a sprinkler running too long.
~ I only use 2 buckets of water to wash our truck. One bucket is for the soapy water and the other bucket is clean water to wash off the soap. This morning I used the 'start up' water from the kitchen faucet to rinse my truck.
~ I used to save the shower water to flush the toilet but lifting the buckets started playing havoc with my neck. But, this is another idea for those with a strong back and neck.

Strawberries are doing great this year!


Last week I brought home a chocolate mint herb to dry for tea.  I was in a hurry to put away my groceries so I didn't check the soil to see if it was damp.  The next morning it was completely wilted. I honestly thought it didn't have a chance of survival but I watered it and hoped for the best. The next morning I was amazed to see that the water had revived it back to life.

I looked at that revived herb and instantly thought to myself, "Lord, that little wilted plant is how I feel  without Your Word. I have no strength to withstand the daily pressures of this life without your living Word daily sustaining me."

My hydrangea by the front door is blooming!

 I recently was struggling with a sin issue in my heart. I kept praying and asking the Lord to guide me through His Word. This morning a Scripture came to mind as I was working in the kitchen and SUDDENLY I had the answer I had been praying for.  He had spoken to me directly through His Word and I instantly had peace... perfect peace! 

 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3 ESV

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1 ESV

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  Psalm 23:2  ESV

My daughter by love and my grandchildren are here for a visit


A Typical Frugal Day

Here are a few things I've been doing in my home this past month.

1.  I had a large pitcher of ice tea leftover from a family gathering so instead of throwing it out I used it for hubby's morning hot tea. I normally use Earl Grey tea, which is pricey, so this practice helped stretch those tea bags. I save the tea bags in a small container in the fridge and use 3 recently used tea bags for one more cup.Waste not, want not! *smile*

2.  The winter onions were harvested this month. I froze 3 large bags of chopped onions but then decided to dehydrate the rest to save freezer space. A dear friend let me borrow her dehydrator which did a great job. I stored the onions in canning jars. The zucchini is starting to produce and we're not eating it fast enough so I started drying it, too. Last winter I used the dried veggies in my soups. You could also use them in casseroles, meatloaf, smoothies,muffins or chili.  It makes me twitch (smile) to buy zucchini in the winter at nearly $2 a pound when it's coming out my ears in the summer. This way I can purchase very little zucchini during the winter. I'm also trying my hand at drying herbs. The cilantro always bolts too fast before the tomatoes are ready. I'm hoping that dried cilantro will taste fine in homemade salsa. I'm drying basil and plan on drying some oregano soon.
Onions on left and boysenberries on right!

3. I used the last bit of toilet paper on the roll to wipe down my bathroom sink/toilet instead of throwing it away. I use a vinegar and water mixture in a spray bottle to clean my sink and toilet and then wipe down with the extra toilet paper. I used to throw the last bit of toilet paper away. Not any more. :-)

4. My small little backyard garden has produced enough berries to fill 15 pies so far or jam. Don't ever underestimate the size of a small city lot to stretch your grocery budget. There is a wonderful feeling of independence and joy when I can walk out my back door and pick my own food.  I plan on tearing out a few more flowers and replacing them with vegetable plants next year.  I'll move the flowers to the other side of the house that I only water once a week. It's very shady on that side of the house. It's their last chance for survival depending on how hardy they are. I call it my 'Last Chance Garden'.
"Last Chance Flower Garden ' on the side of the house

5. This year I decided to pick up 1 or 2 veggie plants each time I went to Walmart. We normally grow our veggies by seeds but we've had a hard time keeping up this year. This really helped to fill in some extra places in my garden with butternut squash, eggplant and a few cooking herbs.

6. I painted my spare bedroom. I was tempted to buy a new curtain rod since the older one didn't match. Instead, I checked the garage to see if I had any cans of spray paint and chose a color that blended with the curtains. It turned out so nice and looks brand new.

7. I've been spending too much on snack foods... healthy snack foods.. but it still increases my budget. I decided to buy more veggies and have them ready for snacks. It's less expensive per pound and is healthier.

8. I bought a Comfrey plant off  Ebay a few years ago. It's really grown big. I cut enough leaves to fill a large bucket, weighted them down with a brick and filled it with water and covered. It takes 4- 6 weeks to make a 'Comfrey tea' which I'll use on my tomatoes. Comfrey is high in nitrogen and it's cheaper than buying store fertilizers.

One view of my backyard vegetable garden.

9. This month I harvested leeks, onions, garlic, Swiss chard, radishes, lettuce, strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, peppers, artichokes, cilantro and basil from my little  backyard garden. Grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, okra, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and eggplant are in the ground and thriving. Asparagus is sprouting spears but it won't be big enough to eat until next year. I love my garden.

10. I'm always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen...especially during the summer months when I'm so busy in the yard. I like to make extra coffee, sunflower seed flour muffins, frittata, large amounts of hamburger cooked/frozen, and  meatloaf recipes. Doubling my recipes helps me always have a quick meal on hand.

My daughter and I and mama at a Soroptomist Tea.

11. I've been digging up small little pebbles in my garden. I throw them in a coffee can.  Why? I thought you'd want to know! :-) I'll use them to put in the bottom of my pots for good drainage. They are free for the taking as long as I put out the time to gather them.This will save money in the long run.

12. My sister shared a useful idea she read in a magazine. I purchased a plastic colander and hung it by the outdoor faucet to clean off the veggies before I bring them into the home. I sit on my gardener's bench (like the one below) while I'm washing and cleaning the veggies. I love this bench! It sure saves my back when I'm pulling weeds because I'm not bending at the waste.Great idea, Sis!

~ Radish, asparagus and broccoli rubber bands saved, washed and reused.
~ Egg shells crushed and thrown in compost along with veggie and fruit peels. 
~ Plastic mushroom container washed and re used for a drawer organizer. 
~ Bills I receive in the mail often have an extra envelope which I don't use since I pay my bills online. I use the envelope to store seeds from my flowers and vegetables. We buy Heirloom seeds for that purpose. 
~ Small paper bag from pharmacy ( I save paper bags to ripen fruit or to store seeds).
~ Paper egg cartons, shredded toilet paper rolls are put in compost pile. 
~ Coffee grinds: I buried them around the azaleas and hydrangea. 

How is everyone summer going? Are you gardening? Canning?  Do you have some projects you hope to finish this summer? I always love learning from you gals!

Blessed to be home,