Mary Beth Writes

(I just like the bison joke...) 

It’s been a while since I wrote a Mindful Chicken. 

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about TWO things.

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

___________

ONE – I donated blood. Why is this frugal? A tech checks your blood pressure and temperature. They prick your finger to test for hemoglobin (iron) levels are normal or low.

Each donation is tested for 10-17 diseases (seems to vary by state), including testing for mosquito-spread diseases such as West Nile and Lyme disease. If they discover anomalies, they contact you to get permission to inform your doctor. Yes, people with weirdly-clotting blood have been contacted because they are in early stages of not-yet-detected-diseases such as cancer.

A blood bank can NOT promise you any of these results so they will never advertise themselves as testing YOUR health. You should always go to your medical care provider for check-ups or if you don’t feel well.

But as a FREE way to check your basic health every few months – I’ll take it. Plus you get to 1.) Help save the health and life of fellow human beings and 2.) FREE cookies and juice!

TWO – We don’t watch a lot of broadcast TV and we don’t own TiVo and yet, life goes on. $200-400 saved on something that, if you don’t own it, can’t break.

THREE – I mentioned to friends I was thinking of buying a food dehydrator. They lent me theirs. I dehydrated pineapple for 1.5 days. I think I didn’t slice it thin enough; it tastes good but is super chewy - I made pineapple gum.  The dehydrator is in our basement now (as opposed to our friends’ basement). I mean to try it on other fruit and veggies, but we keep eating everything before I get around to “putting it up”.  I’m glad I didn’t spend $40-50 buying one.

FOUR – When a friend mentioned that her rhubarb was up and would I like some I said YES. I simmered it in the crock-pot along with some rhubarb in the freezer from last year. I only added about a half cup of sugar to 8-10 cups of fruit. It was tart, runny, and delicious – I cooked it with oatmeal every day for three weeks.

“The health benefits of rhubarb include its ability to promote weightloss, improve digestion, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, stimulate bone growth, avoid neuronal damage, boost skin health, prevent cancer, optimize metabolism, improve circulation, and protect against various cardiovascular conditions.” From https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/rhubarb.html

I didn’t lose any weight.

 

The Frugal Vacationing Chickens

You already read my vacation story. Here’s part of the money angle.

ONE – Like I said: We drove from Wisconsin to the Canadian Rockies and back in our new (35mpg) car with our friends Mary and Dave.  Each couple spent less than $150 on gas - we think. Figuring this out is worse than 4th grade story problems since Canada’s dollar is valued differently than the American dollar plus also one buys by the liter not gallons.

We didn’t drive because it would be cheap; we all simply really like road trips. But that it WAS that inexpensive was kind of amazing.

TWO - We stayed four nights in chain motels, making reservations mid-afternoon once we figured out where we thought we’d like to stop that evening.  The goofiest reservation was in Shelby, Montana where Dave tried to reserve two rooms. The desk clerk twanged that she could do it if we really wanted, but since it was 4PM already and they still had 18 rooms left - she couldn’t see why anyone would bother.

Also, AARP cards reduce chain motel prices. When I MET Mary and Dave, some of us were still in our 30’s. How did this happen?

THREE –Before the trip I bought too many packs of hand wipes and sanitizing hand goop. I was trying to think of where to store or donate the extras when, duh, it occurred to me one can return them. I did. $5.

FOUR - We called our cell phone company (Consumer Cellular) before we left to ask how charges would work in Canada. Basically there would be no service except for Wi-Fi - but it was still confusing how much it would cost for our phones to look for Wi-Fi so once we got to Canada we turned off cellular service. Dave and Mary’s company DID work in Canada, which is how we made motel reservations.  Our regular phone bill was not affected by the trip. I’m afraid to ask Dave and Mary about their bill.

FIVE – We didn’t aim to eat inexpensively; the goal was to eat well. We ate breakfast when motels provided them. We always ate a wonderful evening meal in locally-owned places.  Finding lunch in dusty little towns was trickier, but twice we just went to a local grocery store and everyone bought what they wanted. My fav lunch was a bag of broccoli and carrots followed by a pint of coconut ice cream.  I will never forget leaning backwards against a picnic table in some small town’s park (I don’t remember where we were), slowly spooning in that deliciousness.  Yeah, I shared some with the others...

We also packed along some snacks and flavored waters, as well as filling up our water bottles whenever we stopped.

SIX – We’d made reservations through AirBnB months earlier to stay in a log cabin 20 miles east of Golden, British Columbia. This was two bedrooms, two baths, a great kitchen, working gas fireplace, front porch, and big grill – and was, as AirBnB’s are –inexpensive.  Len and Dave each cooked one night. For three days we were surrounded by towering and gorgeous mountains.

SEVEN – Mary and I each bought one present for our respective grandbabies; I bought a fake-fur Davy Crockett hat for mine. I also was so impressed by the name of a tea in a coffee kiosk somewhere in Montana that I bought 4 tea bags for a whopping $2. How can one resist the poetry of “Midnight in Missoula”?

Comments

I’m smiling and I laughed at the joke!

Enjoyed your trip tips. Love the hat on your granddaughter!

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What's in Vanilla?

I just read a flurry of emails on a frugal website about the rising cost of vanilla and how people are working around that while continuing to live their frugal lives.

Not one of the letters asked these logical questions.

Why has the price of vanilla risen so steeply?

What is happening to the people who grow and process it? 

"One must have sunshine..." Living Life Forward

This is another interview with a person who lives frugally and thoughtfully by design and by default. 

Thanks, Helle.

.....

How I met Helle Koustrup Berry tells you a lot about how she arranges her life.

Looking for Sincere and Heartfelt Tales

A while back I posted an article about my friend Franc; I talked about how he has created a good life for himself even though he has rarely earned more than $15,000 in a year. (Right here)

This article was satisfying to write. I enjoyed spending time with Franc and asking nosy questions. Yes, it’s a challenge to interview folks and then write about their lives, but I did this often in my 12 years as a newspaper columnist and I like the adventure of it.

Mindful Chickens - Chicago Edition

Mindful? Thinking about what we do around here to be responsible to the world and to ourselves.

Chicken? Cheep, Cheep, Cheap!

 You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot going on – including this pleasure.  Len and I went to Chicago for several days to care for our granddaughter while our daughter and son-in-law went out of town.

Mindful Chickens on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

Two Chickens and a 3-Legged Lamb

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get to share a meal or a chocolate egg or a PEEP with a friend or a child or a childish friend?

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