Showing posts from August, 2016

The Power of Less

In this day and age of more is better and more is more, I think there is a world of power in the principle of less. 

Let's think about it.  First there's the basic principle of budgeting.  You should always spend less than you earn.  That literally means, as my husband is so fond of saying, "If you make $200 you don't spend $202."  He's quite right.  In the tightest of budgets the ideal is to spend no more than $200 if that is all you have.  If you're very wise and highly motivated you figure out a way to save a portion of that $200 and live on less. 

The ideal is not to accumulate more debt but to decrease debt so that you can live better with less.  Yes, it might well mean less car than you think you'd like to have, and less home than your contemporaries might have, but in exchange for having to earn less, you have more of a rather precious commodity: time. 

One of the wisest decisions we made many years ago was to buy less house than we needed …

In September...Goals, Projects, Plans

I thought with the start of a new month I'd let you all in on some of my plans for the month of September.  I generally have a listing of goals but I've discovered something funny about my 'This Week In My Home' posts: if I write it down on the blog I'm 90% sure to accomplish it.  The 10% that doesn't get done is usually due to schedule changes or out of the ordinary occurrences.   The goals I keep in my Home Keeping notebook are about 50% likely to get done.  So you can see why I'm anxious to share.  I'm bound to find I accomplish far more if I've got the accountability factor!

The items listed here are not ALL of my goals for the month, nor are they my ONLY goals.  I will incorporate these items into my usual routine cleaning and work schedules.  These are extra items I hope to accomplish over the daily stuff. 

I really enjoyed the deep cleaning I did this past month.  I didn't quite get finished, however.  So for my first set of goals I'…

In My Home This Week: Autumn Beckoning

This week in my home...

...The sprucing up continues.  I painted the back door last week and touched up the front door.  Then I sorted out a cabinet that was a jumble, got our bedroom closet cleaned up, laid six bags of mulch in a new landscape area about the house, shopped with John for a few necessary tools to do some home reno work...And in between times I've scrolled through loads of photos on Pinterest looking for Fall decorating inspiration, scanned vintage magazines for inspiration in kitchen and savings...I feel I should be simply writing, "And the work goes on."   We're just hitting the tip of the iceberg.  Really.  I've dining room chairs to sand and paint,  paint for a table in the living room, the back porch to clean and paint...Oh no...I'm never at a loss for things to do!

Officially, this weekend will be the last weekend in August.  Not the last weekend of summer, but certainly we can hear the beginning strains of the grand finale music.   We do…

Frugal Friday: Using What I Have

This is my first handmade apron.  The fabric is blue and white stripe and the pockets and ties are white with blue birds in flight.  It took about two hours to make.  The part that goes over the head is a little bit too big for me.  I think I will leave it as made and just knot or use a d-ring to take it up.

Saturday:  I received a very nice surprise in the mail.  It was a set of three books from Wanda Brunstetter: her newest book, an Amish cookbook and an Amish quilts book.  All three are brand new and were completely a surprise to me.  I signed up months ago for a free book from this author and apparently my name is still on the publisher's list.

John had asked that I make a pot roast for dinner from the shoulder roast I purchased the other day.  It was a two pound roast.  I'm not very familiar with shoulder roasts and I wasn't sure if it would shrink as much as chuck roasts usually do.  It didn't.  It was tender and cut nicely.  I will get at least two more entrees f…

Fall Harvest of Produce

Hard to believe that August is almost over, isn't it?  Well, it is.  And it's time to start thinking of what's seasonal for fall.                                                                                                                    
It can be confusing this day and time to walk into a grocery and plan to buy only seasonal produce.  You'll find all sorts of things out of season...How can you tell if it's currently in season?  First look at the country of origin.  If it's outside the U.S. and below the southern equator, it's in season for that part of the world but not ours.  This list should help keep you aware of what's in season for the next three months.

Fall- September, October, November
Brussel Sprouts
Chinese Cabbage
Celery Root
Head or Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf Lettuce
Mandarin Oranges
Chile Peppers
Sweet Peppers

Iced Tea Chat: The Golden Days

Come on in!  I have a lovely peach iced tea.  There's plenty of ice and we'll need it.  It's no less hot, despite the rather optimistic forecast on the city website.   The Farmer's Almanac is nearer being right with their prediction which was for hot weather through this week.  And how hard is it to believe that we are rapidly winding our way into the last week of August?  Gracious!
I've not been working hard of late.  Truth told, it's too hot to work hard.  It's too hot to do much at all, except sit quietly and sip something cool.  It takes almost no time at all to work up a hard lather.  It just wrings me out to do any hard tasks.  This week I laid six bags of mulch in the last flower bed area on the back side of the house.  I moved the landscape brick in place and finished the job a tiny bit frustrated because I almost had enough brick to finish the one section and almost had enough mulch to finish another section and no more of any of those items.  It …

Make it Yourself: Dried Sweetened Cocoanut

I don't know how this would price out in comparison to buying your own, but I do know some folks just like fresh cocoanut.  Granny made a fresh cocoanut cake every year  at Christmas when cocoanuts were in the market and she did all the hard work herself.  I didn't even realize you might dry your own cocoanut from the fresh though! 

The Power of a Penny

You all asked me to share some of my old Penny Ann Poundwise writings.  I've edited the post below slightly.  I used to call my family by fictitious names to protect their privacy, so that may read strange to you.  Chance (John), Kay (Katie), Amie (Susan), Jd (Doug), and Sam (Alan) were their former names.  We no longer save our change for vacations but donate it to charitable ministry programs that we feel are worthwhile.  It still adds up to a decent sum of money and I'm always surprised each month when we cash in the coins so we can write our checks.What I find more puzzling today is that it's often coins of all denominations that people feel is not worth picking up.  I mentioned a few months ago about a woman dropping a handful of quarters and walking away as they rolled across the pavement.  John related this past week that he stopped in a parking lot and picked up $.78...which a man who'd been sitting in the corner of the store then said "Give that to me...…

Did You Ask?

Did You Ask?  *2006 post...

Several years ago, Joyce Meyer ministry sent out a small banner with a scripture verse that read: ...You have not because you ask not... James 4:2

We had a prime example of that in our home just this afternoon.  We picked up my daughter's contact lenses and brought them home this afternoon.   When she saw them she said  "You didn't get solution."
 "I didn't know you needed any."
"Well they usually just give it to you when you pick up my contacts."

This is true.   George is always good about giving us free solution as they have tons of sample bottles from sales reps.  However, this particular day her dad went in to pick up the contacts and contacts is all he picked up.   George apparently wasn't the one to wait on him.  Some of the other assistants simply don't offer free solution to patients.

"I  haven't had any solution for over a month!" she said.

"I can't read minds dear," wa…

In My Home This Week: Golden Days Begin

In my home this week:

...Now isn't that pretty?  I note that colors in the depression and war years tended to be very saturated which is not typical of today, and bedrooms were often unashamedly feminine.  I think this is just lovely though I'd choose a lighter color for walls and carpet I think.  I've sighed over a dressing table all my years, from earliest girl hood onwards and only recently have determined that I shall have to sigh over them for a long while yet.  There's simply no practical place to put one. 
No crying over what I can't fit.  How blessed I am to have a house full of furnishings!  There was a day and time when we had plenty of empty spaces in our home and I despaired of ever being able to have enough to fully furnish my home.  It took a change of mindset and a willingness to acquire good quality used in place of the new I once longed for but the compromise has worked out well for me.  I am able to look about my home and feel a small amount of p…

Frugal Friday: More for the Money

Saturday:  Cashed in Pinecone Research points.  I opt for a PayPal payment which works out very well for me.  That credit allows me to transfer to savings, or use as spending on something that gives big bang for the buck.

This weekend it's Big Bang money.  I opted to purchase four new to me issues of vintage women magazines.  This translates to many hours of reading pleasure for me, especially as I limit myself to reading only that month when it's timely.  In other words, I read September issues in the latter part of August or early September, just as I would modern day magazines.  The difference is that these old issues never fail to inspire me or just allow me time to while away a few hours reading some good fiction stories.  I find the recipes are far more economical and less step/ingredient heavy although they aren't always 'Dinner on the Table in 10 minutes!' sorts of things, and too the menus offered up are generally more balanced nutritionally.  Yep, Big Ban…

Balance in a Teeter Totter World

During my Boot Camp time, I came across some good advice.  I came across some expected advice.  I also came across some advice that out and out felt wrong. 

It was on a blog post, one of those bulleted  types of posts: "Ten Things To Do Every Day In Your Frugal Life", sorts of things.  And yes, that is a made up title so if you  do a search and find a blog post so titled  then please understand that is NOT the blog post I am citing. 

On this particular post, there was plenty of the expected stuff: stop buying coffee shop coffees, stop eating out, cook meals at home...  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  But tucked in among those was the statement that you should go online and check your bank account balance every single day first thing in the morning, perhaps even more than once a day.  Everything in me rose up and screamed 'NO!' 

John and I are a bit smitten when it comes to certain movies, like "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory".  There's one scene that absolutel…

Retirement Remedies: A CEU for the Kitchen: Saving Sugar

I love reading my old vintage women's magazines.  I almost always find a story I failed to read in the past or haven't read in a couple of years and get fresh inspiration on how to use what I have to stretch things a bit further. 

We might well think we have some sort of corner market for things like cutting down on meat or repurposing furniture, but honey!  These old magazines point up that most of what we thought we came up with grandmothers and great grandmothers were doing years ago.

For instance in this current magazine I'm reading, Woman's Day September 1945, the opening pages were ideas for pastas.  And what is the very first recipe?  Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower...ha!  We are just recycling doggone good ideas from the past!

Well rationing was current then and one of the things that got rationed was sugar.  This particular magazine suggested ways to save sugar.  One suggestion throughout those years was to use corn syrup.  I don't know that it woul…

Too Good Not To Share

I've had great comments on the recent 'Graduation' posts.  I thought they were too good to wait until September to share!  It looks like you all have graduated to a higher level of frugality yourselves.  Congratulations!

Karla: You mentioned baby shower gifts and one of the things that is my standard gift to new mommies is a package of diapers in the next size up from newborn. This makes it easy to use coupons and get them on sale ahead of time. Just thought I'd share.

Another tip for winter months that my mom used to do. After using the oven for baking, she'd open the oven door a bit to let the heat escape into the room after it was turned off.

Gramma D: I keep a don't need to buy list, a buy next month list and buy when you go shopping list. The don't need to buy list is so I don't have a stockpile of things that I may not use for a while. For instance, if I find a really good sale on shampoo and buy several I put it on the don't buy list. If I not…

How To Receive a Blessing

This Chatting on the Front Porch post from August 18, 2009 ties in with last week's Iced Tea post where I spoke of learning how to receive a blessing.  You'll note it mentions the same incident I recalled in that post of the man who refused a blessing we wanted to give him...

Do You Know How to Receive?

This past week my husband and I experienced an overflow of God's blessings in our lives. I believe those blessings flowed because of how we received each one: with thankfulness, praise, and happy hearts.  Let me share with you about what I've learned just this week about receiving blessings.
My husband and I were walking on the streets of a lovely little mountain town when we happened upon a shop devoted to a specialty that someone we knew happened to enjoy.  We thought immediately of this person and husband said he wanted to get something for him.  We went into the shop, spoke with the owner and asked for his expertise in choosing a gift.  We bought what the owner said …

Weekend Reading

I have a list of links saved up for weekend reading.  I'd meant to post last weekend and I just didn't have time to get to it. 

Georgene shared this post on her blog, "5 Things Tidy People Do" .  It spoke to me because I am a tidying sort of person...and it's not at all what I used to be!  I LEARNED to be tidy and anyone else can, too.  I have only one exception.  I will leave dishes in the sink overnight on Shabat evenings, but I start Shabat with a clean, empty sink and all dishes put away...I just choose to honor the 'rest' by rinsing and stacking neatly so I can load dishwasher first thing on Sunday morning.

Gramma D had some questions about CVS shopping this past week...And I think Rhonda's post on shopping at CVS is a good one to share.  I personally count the ECBs when I earn them as a sort of rebate on the items bought.  But their value is in USING them to purchase needed items.  Rhonda has a great system and if you read through her blog she…

This Week In My Home: Cusp of Changing Season

In my home this week:

I am torn.  Part of me wants to rush right ahead and start planning fall things.  Not decorating for the season, no gracious no!, but planning ahead.  There are things I tell myself each year that I'm going to do once the season is already well upon me and then I don't.  Because I hadn't planned ahead I couldn't execute my own ideas or arrange time to do those things I'd wanted to do, or purchase necessary items to complete an idea.  And part of me wants to just loaf my way through the rest of this month and do nothing much at all, but I really want to enjoy the rest of summer.  Y'all feel that way, too?
Well I'm going to balance myself by working a bit and yes, I am going to start planning for fall. Otherwise I shall never get that leaf shaped cookie cutter I've promised myself for the last five years  so that I might make leaf shaped sugar cookies and sprinkle them with orange and brown and yellow sugars. (ordered cutters this m…

Stick Tights and Beggar Lice

Monday, 17 September 2007 Stick tights and Beggar Lice Growing up in the country as I did, I had occasion to wander about the fields playing as a child, and just walking as an adult.  I've enjoyed the countryside and all it had to offer, but it pays to be cautious in all seasons.  In spring and summer there are snakes, and the poison ivy and thorns and other dangers.  In autumn and winter there are other pesky things to watch for, like stick tights and beggar lice.  Both these plants are pretty enough when in bloom, but both produce a fruit, a nut if you will, that is spiny and when fully ripe, will stick tight to your clothing, embedding themselves so fully that often you will find the pesky things days after your trek over the fields.  These plants literally do 'stick tight' to you, despite your best efforts to rid yourself of them.  And often you don't know you've acquired them until they get their spines through your clothing and prickle your skin.

Frugal Friday: Boot Camp Graduation Week

I used a single curtain panel to cover both my newer ottoman and a pillow on the chair seat.  It was a good quality fabric and cost less than $2.  Remember I said I paid $36 a few years ago for an ottoman slipcover?  This one comes in at about $1.  And  a pillow cover for an 18 x 18 pillow would be at least $15.  Less than $1 for that. As you can see, I'm in the process of getting the newer chair slipcovered.  This is to protect the chair from wear as well as to add a lighter feel to my living area.

Saturday:  We didn't have bagels for our morning least one of us didn't. I did have one bagel in the freezer and frozen croissants (my choice) so the meal was simple enough.

I had fun this morning.  I didn't feel well so I treated myself to a pretty coffee tray, something I'd gotten out of the habit of doing while family was staying with us.  I have a pretty coffee cup and saucer from the booth that I kept for myself.  This makes one more in my little collectio…

Window Shopping: An Exercise for Future Spending

We had the most fun today.  We went to a DIY store and walked nearly the whole of the store, every aisle, every department.  I just want to share here that the store we visited was a Home Depot.  I never used to be a fan...Note that 'used to be'.  The Lowes in our area are very difficult to get any sort of help in at all.  Even if you find the right person in the right department, invariably they will say, "Oh, I'm busy right now but I'll be back in a minute or so."  No minute is ever as long as those at Lowes, let me just say that.  I like the brightness of the store and I have no quarrel with quality of product nor prices...but geez!  The service is abysmal.  
So recently John decided he would become a Home Depot convert.  True, it is darker inside than Lowes, but products/quality/price are fine and the service!  Gracious you can barely make it down a single aisle without being asked twice or three times if you need any help.  It's lovely!
That all sa…

Boot Camp Graduation: KP Duty

Of all the areas where I strive to save money, the grocery category is always the one I focus on hardest.  I focus here because for us, it is the highest spending category for us.  Yes, it is, despite years of cutting costs!  It's not that we eat loads of high priced foods but my grocery budget includes: foods, personal care, pet foods, paper products and cleaning products.  I can say day and night that it oughtn't to include any of those things but it does, and it will until the  end of my days...Which leads to my first cost cutting method:
Determine once and for all, how much I shall allot to each grocery category of food, cleaning, personal care, paper and pet foods.  And keep those other things strictly separate from my food budget!  I find it reasonable to suggest at present that I allot $10/ a month to pet foods.   This will purchase a large bag of food for Maddie (16 pounds) or for the cat (10 pounds).  I will set aside $10 for paper products (paper plates, napkins, pa…

Boot Camp Graduation Part 2

Continuing with my ideas for savings after finishing my frugal boot camp.  Groceries is one of our biggest expense areas and I'm saving that for a whole separate post. The items listed here are in no particular order.
Insurances: Car, Home, Medical
I have researched car and home insurances so often that I'm an old pro at it.  I think we're about as low as we're going to get on car insurance and our home insurance is such a good policy that reputable insurance agents have encouraged us to keep it and not switch policies.  I'll bow to the experts on that score.  We've been taking advantage of the monthly payment option with both car and home insurance.  If we can pay the house insurance annually and the car insurance in six month increments we'd save a substantial bit of money, almost enough to cover six months of car insurance.  This is something I am going to try and focus upon in the coming year, saving enough ahead to pay those amounts in full when they c…

Iced Tea Chat: Fleeting Summer

Hello, hello, hello!  I thought I'd take a little time to have an iced tea chat.   The front lawn is strewn with yellow stars under the Sweet Gum tree.  I love the sight of the yellow stars strewn haphazardly over the green lawn.  Reading back through old posts, this is a familiar sign this time of year.  It is a reminder of fleeting summer days, as is the slightly later dawn, the later hour of the sun slanting in the western windows and the earlier dusky evenings.  As we went down the driveway to church on Sunday, John said, "Ooh!...but then we're getting close to September..." as we came near the Sweet Gum tree.  "Yes," I said sighing, "we are...unfortunately."
"Unfortunately?"   "Yes, because it means summer is very nearly over.  Peaches will be gone by end of the week..."  Also over are all the plans made for these glorious days.  Too late to bring them all about this year.  The season is nearly done.  Time to think of aut…

Boot Camp Graduation

You know what?  Boot Camp is tough!  Seriously....I spent so much time reading and researching and thinking, that my head ached several days in a row, lol.  Did I learn anything?  Yes, I did.  I was reminded of much and I came to appreciate afresh the work that goes into living frugally.  Yes, work.  It's not just a matter of saving, it's creating the savings in the first place sometimes.
So I did just loads of studying and reading and note taking.  As my last test of Frugal Fitness, I sat down with a pen and paper and covered over eight pages front and back with things to incorporate into my frugal life. Eight pages...and lest you think I'm being repetitive and merely writing down what I did two years ago, no...There are a few that are repeated because I need to continue to practice hard at that particular mindset/skill or because I never incorporated them and I should at least try, but some of these are new to ME, though not necessarily new. 

It is sobering, after all …

Shhh! Be Quiet!

It was so annoying....The two behind us in church today talked loudly through the music service, talked through the prayer, talked through the baptism, talked well into the sermon.  And in the rare moments when they actually listened to the sermon, one of those behind us would laugh loudly at the pastor's jokes, so loudly that we'd miss the next sentence or two. I warred with myself inside: should I turn and stare meaningfully at them?  Speak up?  Shush them?
I'd seriously considered moving.  There were empty seats ahead of us and empty seats to the side of us.  But even as I thought of these possible moves, those places filled.  I felt I was just stuck and I began to seethe inside.
I have a hearing problem.  It doesn't require hearing aids but one ear has a 50% hearing loss.  If there are two competing sounds going on (like two conversations) I generally miss the one that is deepest toned or farther from me, while being far too aware of the nearest conversation or hi…

In My Home This Week:

In my home this week...

...We have worked hard this past week.  I don't know what is upon us, but a definite determination to let go of things has hit us.  Mind you, I've about got such notions out of my system now and the house feels tons lighter due to it, but this week the bug bit John.  He hauled boxes and bags of things from the music room and music room closet, both of which are solely his province.  If the house felt lighter with my work, I promise you I heard the house give a great huge sigh as John's work progressed.  No need to ask if we're done yet, because we're not!

I finished up all I meant to do to in the laundry, back entry and kitchen this past week.  What I've left behind me are prettier, neater, less cluttered spaces.  It makes me feel good to walk into those areas. This next week I shall begin the same deep cleaning of another space.  I think it will be ever so slightly easier this go round as I'll no longer be deep in boot camp.  I'…

Frugal Friday: You're In the Army Now...

The most definitely not photo shopped but oh so good Tamar Adler inspired soup of leftovers.  It was delicious and  made enough for two meals for me.

Saturday:  Katie brought us a handful of vegetables from her little garden.  Two Roma tomatoes, two cucumbers, a squash and a beautiful jalapeno pepper.  I sliced the tomatoes and a cucumber, cooked the squash and served those items with our dinner today. 

Katie also brought me a small baggie of Coke caps so I can enter the codes into MCR site.

I took the leftover tomato slices and put them in with the leftover green beans and potatoes to make soup tomorrow.

I prepared and pre-packed the non-perishable parts of John's work lunch for tomorrow.

I saved coffee grounds, peelings and paper towels we used through out the day and added to the compost heap.

I watered plants using water I'd stored.  I tossed this particular bottle as it was another of the round ones.  I can fit six flat bottles in the same space that five rounds one fit.

Frugal Boot Camp: Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride

I first purchased this book when it was published in 1997.  I cannot imagine not having space on my bookshelf for this lovely book.

And there's good reason why I chose to end my boot camp with this book.

Tracey McBride elevates frugality.  It's not about being cheap or miserly.  It is about living well, savoring the good things, learning to make the very best out of the lesser things and moving gently through life to a rhythm that is different from that of the world at large.  It is because of Tracey that I began to keep a gratitude journal after I left my last job and money was so very, very tight.  Every night I wrote out five things I was grateful for and I found that often enough, the things that had meant the most during the day had little to do with cash flow and a great deal more to do with appreciation.  It amuses me no end that at times I wrote out the menu for the day.  Amazingly the ones most appreciated and which tasted the best were also the most economical ones,…

Frugal Boot Camp: Blogs Worth Reading

During my weeks of Frugal Boot Camp, not only have I been reading the books upon my book shelves and scanning Pinterest for interesting money savings tips, I've been reading the archives of some of the blogs from my favorites list.   Some of these bloggers are fairly new to me.  Some, like Rhonda and Annabel I've been following for a good long while.   I spend a good bit of time online (don't ask how much, please.  You'd be shocked I ever get a thing done!)   Some may be new to you.  This is a shortened list because I follow other's blogs on a less regular basis but I follow them.  I just prefer to keep my favorites list short and then I'll do a marathon reading day and catch up with others.  But I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.
Can I just share how I go about reading blogs?   I follow a few weekly.  I visit some on a routine basis throughout the month.  Now and then I take time to go to a blog I've enjoyed and read all the archived posts.…

Frugal Boot Camp: More Than Enough

As part of my frugal boot camp I read back through archives of the old Penny Ann Poundwise newsletter and this article stood out as a good reminder of things I might do yet to trim and cut our costs.  We no longer make instant coffee, so the tip on the coffeemaker isn't good but we have cut our coffee consumption this past week.  I still run the dishwasher and washing machine on short cycles unless things are heavily soiled, which is very seldom.

Penny Ann Poundwise
August 5, 2005
More for the Money
How Much Is Enough?

Several years ago, when I first started writing this newsletter, I
wrote a column titled same as this one. I've had occasion to ask
myself the same question again this week.

Frugal Boot Camp: The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

From $4.03 to $16.97 in paperback on Amazon this book includes all three of Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette books. 

Amy Dacyczyn published "The Tightwad Gazette" newsletter for several years.  The books she later published were compilations of the articles and recipes and tips she shared in those newsletters.  Her very practical, down to earth manner of writing clearly explains cost breakdowns (I found my own scribbled calculations in the margins of one page), the mindset that is required, and many practical recipes, examples, and more related to living a frugal life.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Since the bulk of the past month has been all about Frugal Boot Camp,  I am going to address comments chronologically starting with the first post of the month and working my way through to the last post.  I won't be highlighting individual post this month.

I mentioned saving dishwater to water plants rather than running extra water.  Sarah reminded me that Granny and Grandmama both had two dishpans, one for washing, one for rinsing.  I do remember them both taking those dishpans outdoors and dumping that water on the flowers outdoors.  Sarah wisely suggests pouring the water into a bucket to take outdoors.

Saving water was a hot topic during this first post. Gramma D asked me if I'd been told "If it's yellow let it mellow..." No, we weren't.  Granny had an outhouse (and for a short time during my growing years so did we.), but that was one area of 'savings' we didn't use. 

Both Sarah and Gramma D mentioned Joanna York.  I vaguely recall reading…

Off the Beaten Path

We were sitting in the kitchen talking the other day when a strange car pulled into the yard.  The man in the car drove around and looked hard at our new shed and then pulled up to the porch and stopped.  It seems when the delivery truck brought the shed last Monday they stopped first at his place.  He sent them on, but was intrigued.  He'd come to see the shed up close.  Now honestly, I was a little put out.  This is not at all the usual around our home!

John went straight to the door and spoke with the man.  They walked about and looked at the sheds and came back to stand in front of the back porch.  He and John talked a good little while and John took him out to the new shed so the man could examine it more closely.  This man was interested in purchasing a shed for his property.  John smiled when he came indoors, a little of it relief.  To come up to our house takes a bit of boldness.  People don't generally show up here except on purpose. We don't live on a main road …

Frugal Boot Camp: All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew is a revision of his popular book Square Foot Gardening.  Available on Amazon for $10 and up,  I found mine at Dollar General for $5.
Why a revised book?  Because the author simplified his method in several ways.  He now urges that a gardener not dig six inches down in the earth below the garden boxes but simply use a good soil mixture atop a barrier in the bottom of the box (weed mat, cardboard).  He's added upright supports for some plants in the boxes.  He's made the boxes more portable by suggesting some of the boxes have bottoms so they can be placed on patios or near a home's doorway.  In short, he's made gardening even easier as well as frugal.  Because fewer seeds produce a maximum crop and labor is decreased his methods insure a novice gardener a good measure of success and because the size of the boxes can easily be accommodated to the smallest yards, every one who's interested may have a garden.