The family on Cedar Lane Farm

The family on Cedar Lane Farm
These are the people I love! That's my sweet mama in the middle. I wonder what she's thinking.

Monday, July 16, 2012

$aving Money!

It has always been a quest for me, to save money.  I was raised by a single mom.  Dad left all four of us with Mom when I was pretty young, and we scraped and scrounged for everything we had.  Still, we were clean, lived in a nice home and were never hungry.  We wore hand-me-downs that came from our cousins.  Even though they weren't new, they were new to us, and were cared for by the previous owners.  We ate a lot of ham, drank a lot of milk and the oatmeal.............eww. 

But, we always had enough.  I don't really remember being sad about not having something in particular.  I do remember being sad because we were "broken", so to speak.  But, my sweet Mother kept us on our toes, kept us in church every Sunday, made us do our lessons, allowed us to play one sport and we loved each other completely. 

When I married and began having children, it was hard.  We both worked like dogs, opposite shifts in food service and factories.  We were babies having babies.  We were happy, and we had enough.  We had enough and were happy because I was used to having second-hand things, still do.  My three children were clothed with hand-me-downs, yard sale clothes and Walmart shoes.  My mom always bought my kids their winter coats.  As our jobs got better and our incomes began to improve, our spending habits didn't increase.  I'm really glad.  We never went without, we just went without the best. 

Now, we're older.  We have much better incomes.  Two of our three children are out of college (with very little debt, I might add) with good and satisfying careers.  Our youngest will soon begin her senior year in high school. 

I thought I would share a few of my money-saving habits:

 - Visit those resale shops for those household items.  Just last week, I bought a used Foreman grill in perfect shape for $4.99.  Visiting those resale shops are the best way to recycle!  You can pick up nice, clean bread pans, tupperware items and even sets of dishes. 

 - When you buy dryer sheets, buy the largest box you can.  When you get home, open it, grab a handful and cut them in half...cut them all in half and put them back in the box.  The half sheet does as good of a job as a whole sheet! 

 - Stock up a good pantry.  Keep plenty of food on hand.  When you  go to the grocery store to buy a can of corn, pick up an extra can...or more.  I buy "flats" of some items when I shop and store them in my downstairs pantry.  I do can my own food from the garden, but I buy bulk items like those "cream of"soups,  pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, tuna, pork n beans, etc.  These items will come in handy when you have a week or two when the paycheck doesn't make it to the end of the month.  Before you know it, you'll have a well-supplied pantry!

 - Hang out your laundry!  A clothesline will save you an incredible amount of money for 3/4 of the year!  I have used my dryer once or twice all summer, and nothing beats the smell of those line-dried sheets!  Yes, your bath towels will be a little stiff, but that's a small price to pay if you are saving money! 

 - Make your own!  Buying things at the store that you can make yourself is foolish and very expensive.  I make my own dog treats, my own chocolate syrup (better than Hersheys!), my own soap, bread, hot chocolate mix, vanilla extract and other things.  It's satisfying to know you can do this and it's more delicious! 

Some of the other obvious money-saving strategies are eating at home rather than eating out.  Do not buy on credit.  If you can't pay for it after saving for it, you don't need it.  Credit cards and other unnecessary credit will not only suck the life out of you, but it will land your credit rating in the gutter.  Aggresively pay off your debts and don't take on any more.  Find fun things to do for entertainment that cost nothing, such as picnics at the park, swimming in the creek and growing a garden. 

Life is short, folks.  God didn't intend for us to be so worried about money that we forgot to enjoy the bounty that He gave us.  Plus, the more you can save...the more you can give to others who aren't quite as lucky as you are.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sometimes I just.....

....want to be alone.
....want to retire and stay home every day.
....want to sleep all day.
....want to meet new people.
....want to attend a different church.
....want to live in the middle of nowhere...absolute nowhere.
....want to hire a maid.
....want to throw away all of the socks and buy new ones so I don't have to mate them.
....want to eat cake for supper.
....want to find another person to help.
....walk through the woods and talk to Him.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Harvest

What an odd year it has been here in Central Missouri.  This past Winter was very dry, hardly any snow and very little cold temperatures.  Then this Spring/Summer is the hottest ever recorded.  Trees budded out and flowers bloomed much earlier than what we call normal.  The garden was planted early, as is our harvest.  Now, in early July, I have majestic oak trees in my front yard that are all brown, like a late Fall day.  I hope they are only going dormant, and not dying from the drought. 

But, whatever God gives us, we accept it with gratitude.  We manage.  We make it enough. 

So, with what we were given this year, I began my preserving.  First, the cherries.  Oh my, the cherries.  Once again, my daughter and I visited Thierbach Orchard and picked gallons and gallons of red tart cherries.  We pitted them all, and canned them in pint jars.  Now, I have cherries on the shelf for the next year.

Then came the garden harvests, one at a time.  The cucumbers came first, but very slowly.  Only one or two every few days, so not enough for pickles.  That's ok.  We ate them for dinner, and I dehydrated some.  I dehydrated them into small chips and then ground them into a powder to add to dips, soups and just about anything else I might make.  The kids will never know, and I'm adding healthy ingredients! 

The peaches are usually ripe in mid-August here, but they came ripe in July!  I purchased a half bushel and canned up peach pie filling for the year!

 They were smaller fruit, but just as tasty as ever!  I'm hopeful that I can get another 1/2 bushel for jam, but if not...I still have some from last year.  It'll be enough. 

Now, our sweet corn was the best ever.  We planted enough corn this year for two families.  We harvested it last week.  Savor the photos....I'll wait for you.

Feel better?  I thought you would!  I've been grating and freezing zucchini in quart bags.  I have also got about 8 quarts of green beans canned, as the plants aren't producing a lot at a time. John dug the potatoes, and thankfully we ended up with a five gallon bucket of beautiful yellow potatoes. 
Hopefully now that the weather has cooled some and we've gotten some rain relief, the beans, okra, green peppers and tomatoes will start being friendly. 

John is plowing the garden again where he picked the corn and pulled the stalks, (the heifers loved the stalks!), and just today planted some of the Fall garden crops;  turnips, beets and ........something, I forgot.  Oh yes, more beans!  As my tomatoes start ripening, we'll get to the tomato sauce, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce and salsa. 

So, by the end of the Summer, around Labor Day, we'll have fresh milk if good the Lord blesses us with a healthy Jersey cow andcalf.  With that, I'll have butter and a little more money in my purse.

There's a bit of satisfaction in your soul when you successfully plant, grow, preserve, freeze and eat all of that fresh food, milk, butter, eggs, beef and chicken from your own farm. 

Let me leave you with this:

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God"   2 Corinthians 3:5