The book Possum Living by Dolly Freed has a very interesting concept. However it was written in the 1970’s by a teenage girl so it has limitations. It is a quick and easy read about “how to live well with out a job and with (almost) no money”, and was a wonderful resource for someone looking to live this lifestyle in the 1970’s. In 2012 the book is outdate and the author herself retracts portions of the book chalking it up to youthful arrogance. Chapters I found most helpful include: Gardening; Housing; and We Rassle with Our Consciences. That last chapter being most important. The author describes the necessity to let go of other people’s opinions of you in order to be free to live the life style that you choose. She goes on to describe why she lives this way; she says she is very lazy. Anyone who grows and preserves their own food, does their own home repairs and runs 3 miles a day is not lazy at all. I get a since that she should have described her self as a freedom lover extreme, she wants the freedom to do what she wants when she wants it and that means living on as little money as possible so she can choose to have a job out side the home or not to.
In the chapter on gardening she describes having the largest garden her property could support. She also plans her gardens so that she can get 2 to 3 crops out of each space per year. She goes on to describe why she chooses not to grow some crops such a squash, because it is so abundant that the neighbors are always trying to give it away so why take up the space to grow your own when you can get all you want from the neighborhood. She also describes foraging for wild food or unwanted food like fruit or nuts from the neighbor’s tree that will just rot if someone doesn’t pick it. It these cases you should always get permission first. She also utilizes wild meat whenever possible eating a lot of fish and turtles from local bodies of water and raising her own chickens and rabbits in the cellar. Meat being one of if not the biggest expense in most people grocery budgets I understand the need to cut that expense. Learning to preserve your crop is vitally important to someone who wants to live on as little money as possible, so canning, smoking, dehydrating, root cellaring are all topics touch on in this book. However the book does not go into depth on any of these subjects. The author forces you to look else where when learning the how to’s.
The last chapter worth looking at is the one on housing. She describes the need to own the building and property that you live on. Because other than property tax you have no monthly bill to pay in order to keep a roof over your head. She talks about saving up money until you can buy something outright and not take a loan. She describes sheriffs sales and forecloses, as well as buying rundown property and doing the work yourself to make it livable. (in her opinion livable does not mean nice, no frills no large open space just enough room to do what needs to be done) She describes going to the local library and checking out books on subject she is not familiar with and just jumping in. She also describes using found or recycled materials to do home repairs with. Again descriptions but not how to’s so you’re on your own to figure that out.
The other tips she gives in this book are all things if you are considering this lifestyle you would have thought of. Like buying everything you can used to save the money, find free ways to entertain yourself, utilize community resources, etc.
Some thing she talks about I just flat out disagree with such as not getting proper permits for fishing and hunting, dropping out of school in the 7th grade, using the home remedy of moonshine to cure just about anything that ails you, and hunting pigeons as a good meat source.
She talks a lot about numbers such as how much she pays for electricity per month but it is all for the 1970’s and is very hard to understand what that would be today. For this information I would suggest you turn to the internet.
My first week coupon-ing
This week I started coupon-ing. I started by talking with a friend who is a self proclaimed coupon queen. She showed me a few websites and pointed me in the right direction. So I dove in, I bought one Cincinnati Enquire Sunday paper, went on to the websites she suggested and a few others. I clipped coupons and went through all the printed ads to find price matches for Wal-Mart. I have to say I made my grocery list first then looked for coupons for things I was going to buy anyway, without being brand loyal. In my mind it is not worth buying things that you are not going to use just to use a coupon. Example is I do not eat much processed food so I did not cut out those coupons even if it was going to end up being a great deal.
Then I organized the coupons into whether I would use them at Wal-Mart or Kroger’s and made a very concise list including price matches for Wal-Mart and what coupons I would use. Any coupons for $1 or more I would use them at Wal-Mart (hopefully with a price match) and anything under $1 I would use at Kroger’s because they double all coupons up to $1. I was careful to record the price of each item so that I got the best deal; some items are cheaper at Wal-Mart even if you use double coupons at Kroger’s.
One website I found to be very helpful is www.savingslifestyle.com. When I returned home after my shopping trip I added up all the items I saved money on using coupons and price matching and ended up saving a total of $54.68 which was a little more than 20% of my total bill. I found Kroger’s receipt to be helpful because it gives you your saving total, and the total number of coupons.
One example of a great deal was on Ziploc baggies, they were originally$ 4.38 I got them price matched to 2.50 then used a coupon for $1 off 2 which I was planning to buy anyway which made them $2 a box for a savings of $2.38 cents each. A great deal I got a Kroger’s was on Blistex chap stick it was on sale for $1 then I used a coupon for 55 cents off 1 which Kroger’s doubles to $1 which means I got it for free. I know this kind of deal is few and far between but I think I did great for my first week. I have faith that if you choose to give this a try you will be saving this much a more which means more money for your family to do other things with. I love to hear about great deals that you get so please leave comments and share you savings stories
Beets with savory sauce
12 small beets
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook the beets until tender and slip off the skins. To make the sauce, fry the onion in 2 tablespoons butter, when lightly browned add the flour and blend well. Then add the milk and gradually stir until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper. Work in lemon juice and remaining butter. Pour over sliced beets just before serving.
Pumpkin Pecan Bread
5 tablespoons of salted butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup plan pumpkin puree
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 and grease loaf pan. Mix butter and sugars add egg and egg whites along with vanilla, Mix well, add pumpkin and mix for at least 30 seconds on high. Combine flours, soda, powder and salt in a separate bowl. Mix a little of the flour mixture into the butter mixture then some of the whipping cream then flour then cream ending with flour. Mix in pecans. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan bake for 1 hr. and 15 min or until tooth pick inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack in pan for at least 10 min then remove from pan to rack to cool completely.
I have tried this recipe using ½ the amount of sugar, be sure to sub in flour for the amount of sugar you leave out. Tastes less desert-y but still very good.
Cookies – Soft Fruit LHC
“This was given me by the wife of my first beau, when they visited us years ago! She used persimmon pulp, I’ve tried banana and applesauce.” (LHC)
½ cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking soda
1 cup Fruit pulp (banana, applesauce, etc.)
2 cups flour
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cloves
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Raisins
1 cup or less Nutmeats
Cream butter and sugar
Add eggs and mix well
Dissolve soda in fruit pulp and add to creamed mix
Sift dry ingredient mix into creamed mix along with raisins and stir
Drop by tsp on greased cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 10 – 12 min.
Sweet Potato Crunch 2
3 Cups boiled mashed sweet potatoes
¼ cup butter
½ cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix well and pour into a greased baking dish 9×9 should work well.
¼ cup butter
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)
Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes then uncover and bake additional 15 minutes
Pie – Cherry – Lattice top TWC
8” 9” (Inside at top)
1 can 2 cans 14 ½ oz ea. Tart red cherries (water pack)
2/3 c 1 ¼ c Sugar
3 Tbsp 6 Tbsp Corn Starch
½ Tbsp 1 Tbsp Butter
2 drops 4 drops Almond extract
1 2 Pie pastry circles
Drain cherries – reserving ½ / 1 cup juice
In saucepan, combine ½ of sugar, corn starch, & dash of salt
Stir in reserved juice
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly
Cook and stir one minute more
Remove from heat and stir in remaining sugar, cherries, butter, & almond extract
Let stand while preparing pastry
Line pan with pastry
Fill with cherry mix
Add lattice top
Cover edges with foil
Bake at 360 for 25 min. on cookie sheet (to catch any drips) then remove foil
Bake another 15-20 / 20-25 min. until golden brown
Cool well before serving (otherwise filling will be runny)
Cookies – Thumb Print TWC
2 cups All-purpose Flour
½ tsp Salt
1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
½ cup Brown sugar packed
1 ½ tsp Vanilla extract
½ tsp Almond extract
Marmalade, Jam or Chocolate
½ cup Confectioner’s Sugar (powdered)
Mix flour and salt – set aside
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add vanilla and almond
Add ½ cup flour at a time until just blended
Chill dough 1-2 hours
Form 1 inch balls on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart
Make deep print and fill with choice of jam or chocolate
Bake at 325 for 15 min.
Cool – then sprinkle with powdered sugar
Cookies – Sugar Spritz NCC
1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 ½ tsp Vanilla
3 ½ cup Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
Cream butter and sugar
Mix in eggs and vanilla
Sift dry ingredients together, adding slowly
Using pastry press, form cookies on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake at 375 for 8 – 10 min.
Makes 7 – 8 doz.
Harvest just before the snow.
Turnips, beets, carrots, tomatoes, mustard greens and snap peas.