We each can change the things in our lives that need improvement. We should never just settle with something that is making our life stressful. If each day, we do just one thing to improve whatever it is, then in thirty days we will be thirty times more improved.
Charles and I have been crunching numbers so to speak. We have been budgeting and figuring out how to save money more than we already are.
I added a tab to one of my journals that says Study.
Some of you may feel I have abandoned our living like the past and our 1930s studies but we have not. We have to live in this real time of 2021 but we are still learning about the past and practicing the things our ancestors did in the past.
We do not have many of the important items that our ancestors had to help us live more frugal and simple and so we are trying to find other ways to do some of the same things they did but in a different way using different methods. We have to step away time to time to figure things out. I will explain.
With all of our history projects and studying the past, Charles and I would love to have a few acres of land and a wood house, a well with a pump or bucket or a stream. But we do not, so we are trying to make where we live the best to resemble those days.
Charles and I do not have a wood burning stove as our ancestors did. Nor a coal or any other kind of stove other than electric. I remember the wood burning stoves in the kitchen and especially the smell of biscuits in the oven and bacon and eggs on the cook top.
It did not cost anything to cook a meal other than the food that they had to purchase and much of that food was not purchased but grown on their land.
An electric or gas stove costs us every time we cook a meal. Charles and I have been trying to find ways to drop the electric bill to the minimum amount.
There are many people today that cannot afford to pay their utility bills and if you really study your utility bills you might be surprised by a few things.
When we get the bill it is this amount, (whatever it is). It is usually more than we wish it was. We are all electric here at our house so I can only speak for where we live. Here in the city we must pay for having the services and these services are required by the city.
Before using anything, the electric service to the house (the meter) is $12.00 (monthly), the water meter to the house is $5.80, the Garbage and trash pick up is $14.75. Then the amount that we do use is taxed. I am not complaining about this because I understand why there is a charge. I am explaining that some fees are set and do increase.
We started experimenting different ways of cooking without cost to cook. We have done the fire pit and now we are using this one small wood stove.
We realized that not only could we cook our food without cost, we realized we can heat our water without cost. All while living in the city.
We are waiting for another one we ordered to give us a large burner so we can cook with a larger skillet. Charles is still working on setting this up in a better location.
We will have no problems finding wood with all the trees in our area and people pull limbs to the side of their curb all the time.
The good part of cooking on this wood stove? It does not cost to use, It feels right to us. The down side and not so bad, is there are no controls to turn it down and up. However learning how to cook on this we learn when to add wood and when to let it die down. So practice is all it takes. Also we don't want to use just any kind of wood, no pine and such as that but we have oak and pecan wood all over the place here.
Thanks to some friends of ours, Nathan and Daisy, they gave us one of their sun ovens. This is not something from the past but it would be foolish to not use the sun to cook.
I hang the laundry to dry in the sun to keep from using a clothes dryer and it costs nothing.
So now on a sunny day we can bake using the sun. Thank you Nathan and Daisy.
In this sun oven I am baking a peach cobbler.
I prepared the cobbler just like always only I used a dark pan and a lid. The lid to the pot must be on because if not it will steam and the sun oven glass will collect the steam and the sun will not be able to heat the oven properly.
I don't know why, but I did not expect it to brown. But the temperature in the sun oven bakes just like an oven.
The thing to remember is to turn the oven to keep up with the moving sun. Also it needs to be on a sunny day and no clouds.
I logged in my study journal, when the sun came over the trees. Then I lined up the oven with the sun and started recording the temperature and time to see how long it took to heat the oven to 325 degrees and 350 degrees. It is still spring so the sun track will keep changing all the time as we go through the year. I will eventually learn when is the best times.
So then I cooked a stew.
And some cornbread. It is quite different cooking without cost.
The good part is it is free, the not bad but something to understand is for the sun oven it will not cook on rainy or cloudy days. However on those days the wood stove can be used in our case under the carport if needed.
Our girl Elizabeth resting in my rocking chair.
So our lives have been quite busy lately. Not only have we been learning to cook without the use of the grid, we have also been working on enriching our soil to grow a better garden.
Oh by the way the cobbler was very good.
Our permaculture, such as the fruit and nut trees are doing good. The pear tree is a bit leggy to hold these pears as they grow so we might have to prop this limb.
And our mulberry tree is loaded with mulberries this year!
This is the tree that came up as a gift from a bird I am guessing. This tree has grown so fast and so big, that we had to move our clothesline twice due to it creating shade as well as messy berries. I never imagined it could get as big as it is today. We finally moved the clothesline completely to another location last year.
Our yard has truly turned into a food forest with Mulberry, lemon, satsumas, pecan, apple, blueberry, peach and pear trees. The problem is that it is shrinking our vegetable growing space.
I started thinking about how to make our garden beds cost less to enrich the soil. Each year we normally buy some extra compost and off an on use some organic food.
Several years ago when we had our bunnies, Carly, Sugar and Cookie we had a large bunny house for them to play and we kept a worm bin in there to raise red wigglers to make worm castings. We did this and it worked well but the bunnies got older and each one passed away from old age except Carley and the vet never was sure what was wrong with Carley. Then the bunny house got old and we ended up tearing it down and let all the worms go to live their life wherever they wanted to go. We were mostly container gardening at that time.
I ordered some new worms for Uncle Jim's worm farm and they arrived this week. I have done a lot of researching about if we should raise the worms the same way we did before or try something new, because gardening is always changing. We have decided to try a new way by adding wood boxes in the garden beds or buckets, so the worms will stay cooler since our summers are long and hot. So their new home will be in the ground and the bucket.
The worms are under this cardboard resting and eating in this container right now awaiting this weekend for their new homes.
I am going to include a link to a video if you are interested in what we will be doing. I found this nice lady on youtube and since we have already raised worms before I feel this should work very well.
What should happen, is we feed the worms our food scraps in the bucket or wood box (whichever we decide to use) and the worms go in and out through holes that have been drilled in it for them to travel in and out. The scraps will compost with the help of the worms and nature,and they will go in and out making worm castings in the garden building the soil. The bottom of the buckets will have rich worm casting/compost that can be spread around the yard and garden. When the food gets low or the season is very cold etc. They should find their way back to the food in the bucket. We have red wigglers and these live in the top soil unlike other worms that go deeper.
I will close for now, this is what we have been up to. I hope you all are doing well and making each day interesting and full. Grandma Donna
Vermicomposting the easy way