Life Wins: The Gifts of Spring

Right now if you look very closely you’ll see signs of spring. A cursory glance still shows bare trees, dead leaves and patches of snow. We spent some time walking in our woods, hanging out with Cider and relishing in home comforts. I have a new camera/phone so I practiced getting close-up shots that capture the lively details of renewal. There’s also a sweet video at the end of this post. On to the pics:

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Making Do: Frugal Substitutions for Toilet Paper

Have you seen that crazy talk on the ‘net about using corn cobs in place of TP? Other than farmers, who has corn cobs laying around?! Leaves sounds more reasonable, albeit not dried ones. I can’t say I know that for a fact because Wayne is a party pooper. (I apologize in advance for the unfortunate and unintended puns in this post).

Here’s how it went. We were sitting in our three season sunroom yesterday afternoon which was glorious. The sunlight brought the sunroom temp up to seventy even though it was still in the 40s outside. The local indie oldies a.m. station was playing on the vintage radio. We sat on our rocking chairs and I asked his thoughts about leaves in lieu of TP if it came down to that. Then I had a great idea on how to find out!  I can’t believe he didn’t want to play along with my novel quarantine game.

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Moving Forward, Leaving My Book Behind, Good Things To Come

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last two posts. Your participation is important for me to be motivated to keep writing here.

I have some sad news about my book, The Thrifty Yankee’s Guide to Frugal Living. It’s only 1/3 finished (managing the pain after my fall on the ice and endocrine disorder issues/testing further delayed my writing) and I won’t resume until after coronavirus is history.  I know you’re thinking, wait, what do you mean? We need to learn how to live with less now more than ever! We need Yankee thrift!

Yes, that’s true and not to worry, I will continue to share my frugal living tips here in this new landscape. However what I’ve written so far in my book applies to a different world. Examples? Talking about eating out less where now we can’t at all; a whole section on how to yard sale like a pro where I share my hard-earned secrets when in reality for the foreseeable future (a year or more?) buying second-hand in crowded spaces won’t be happening. Those are just a couple of examples, but really the issue is that the overall approach would come across as tone-deaf now. This represents a loss of income I had planned on for this summer but this sort of thing is happening for so many of us. (By the way  L.L.Bean which is normally open 24/7, even during the big ice storm of ’98 had to install locks because they, too are closed.)

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Self Isolation? No. Hanging With My Prepper Friends!

Look at Sunny’s tail! It filled out even more during her overwinter in her burrow! My buddies Cider, Ricky and Sunny are out for another season of stockpiling seeds. Still hoping to see Buster any day now. The world including Maine was a drastically different place when I last posted but it’s business as usual in my backyard, thank God. Turning to nature has always been my balm. First off I hope you are safe, healthy, staying sanitized and that you have enough provisions to get you through a couple of weeks or longer should you need to self-quarantine or isolate. I’ve been an introverted work-from-home bookworm homebody for much of my adult life and often prefer the company of animals to people so social distancing isn’t must of an adjustment for me. I do, however, have some maladjustments due to coronavirus.

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Vintage Linens Add Charm, Can Save Money

In 2018 I shared that we only use cloth napkins. Many of you know that I have a huge collection of vintage kitchen linens from estate sales, most of which have never been used (then or now). Some I thought were too special to ever use, others I really like but decided that I would sell them. Well, I changed my mind and won’t be selling any of them! I’d much rather use and enjoy them, but there’s a MAJOR hindrance…

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Yankee Thrift Is Freedom Of Choice

Traditional Yankee thrift isn’t obsessed with money. It’s not frugal for the sake of frugal or only buying things on sale. It values mindfulness of priorities, adeptness at record-keeping and investing, yes, but doesn’t make spending or not spending the only focus of one’s existence. It’s not frugal in all things which is why one can be affluent yet still enjoy this fine art of living that involves creativity, intelligence and self-confidence. Only those who worry about status will spend money in an effort to “keep up” and impress in ways that go beyond taking a healthy pride in one’s appearance. It’s why online “influencers” are so good at encouraging people to spend money on image management and status brands come out ahead when they can put a price on transitory self-esteem. New Englanders value independence, so what better way to live than to spend money that doesn’t involve checking in with any prescribed aesthetic or current trend?

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Vintage Kitchens

Many of you know how much I love vintage kitchens which is why I didn’t update the one in our house. I really like the one above from Realtor.com with the mod Emilio Pucci-esque ceiling in this 1908 Prouts Neck estate! A hobby of mine is looking at homes online. I’ve been enjoying the MLS regularly since around 2005 when I was looking to buy a house, but then I never stopped because it’s a lot of fun to check out the interiors of old homes. I’ve noticed that charming old kitchens are getting harder to find now because the newer buyers of the older homes are updating them. But are they always nicer?

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Making Peace With February

Is that Godzilla punching my roof as I type this post? Kind of, only its name is February. It’s the occasional sound of things expanding and contracting when it’s in the single digits or below. It also means my house is nice and toasty inside. We had an ice storm on Friday, and while they can be extremely destructive, like cutting power for days or weeks, and most recently lifting me in the air before smacking me on my behind (I’m getting PT now, recovery is up and down but happening), it can also be beautiful. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon. I love how the sunshine makes the icy branches gleam brightly as if I’m living in an enchanted fairyland.

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The Frugal Housewife By Mrs. Child: “Time Is Money”

Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:

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Vintage Recipe: Frugal Portland, Maine Duchess Potatoes

While the world is abuzz about the Duchess of Sussex “stepping back” from her royal duties (seriously, though, I didn’t see that coming and apparently neither did the Queen!) I’ve stepped back in time and from the fancification of Duchess potatoes with this simple, frugal 1915 recipe found inside a Portland, Maine elementary school book. All that is required to make these tasty little puffs are three ingredients plus salt and pepper for seasoning.

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