Mary Beth Writes

Mindful Chickens   5/14/2019

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

These are things we have thought, attempted, and done in the past month to live more lightly and frugally on our City Plot of Planet Earth.

1. Our “lawn” is filling in with plantain weed, crab grass and bare patches (can bare patches fill in?). Asked the internet about ground covers and read that Creeping Thyme (doesn’t that sound, well, creepy?) is not invasive.  We bought nine little plants of it and are now in the middle of a yard project that will end with the scraggly grass dug out and thyme planted in.

Read just this morning that there is three times MORE land in the US devoted to lawns than to farms.  MORE fertilizer run-off, which wreaks havoc with our waterways, comes from fertilizing lawns than from farming.  This is insane.

To live lighter on the planet while saving money on products -we can reduce the size of our lawns. 

Also: did you know any day you rake your grass for 20 minutes you can skip your aerobic workout?  Plus that side-to-side motion is slimming. 

2. I was out of apples, so I walked to the grocery store with a backpack and bought some. Four-mile round trip that used no non-renewable fuels. Once I ate an apple, I was renewed. Also, when one is walking, one is less tempted by extra stuff, since you must carry it home.

3. I realized two pairs of my jeans had become too short. (I got taller?) I also only have one pair of capris. I was going to donate the jeans back to Goodwill and then shop there for capris until realized I can just make the jeans shorter. All I need now is to find my sewing stuff; I know I put it somewhere around here. (We moved into our first house in 1985. Two years later I asked our neighbor if I could borrow her iron and I can still hear how hard Hildy laughed. “You have gone TWO YEARS without ironing anything?”

4. I am trying to not let the water run when I brush my teeth or rinse things in the kitchen sink. To that end, I now close the stopper so that the water rises in the sink. Seeing the water rise is my own little teaching moment.  

5. Yesterday I found a quarter on the ground and Len found a dollar. 

6. Our digital subscription to the Washington Post doubled. Len called to negotiate or cancel. The lady on the phone okayed us for another year at the same rate. 

7. Both Len and I got very good (slow) haircuts at WCTC. His was free. Mine was $8. (Plus tip) We don’t mind donating our heads to the young for a while.

8. Have been reading library books, including Becoming by Michelle Obama.  Was on that waiting list for months, but it was an excellent read.   I discovered Mary Doria Russell for the first time.  A Thread of Grace is fiction written about northern Italians and Jews who worked together in the resistance in WWII. Amazing book. The characters kept waiting for the Allies to get past Rome and up to them; my dad was in that army they were waiting for. 

9. Pat gave me 3 rhubarb plants which are already twice the size they were when she gave them to me.  I just found a site online where I can purchase 12 rhubarb plant crowns for $52, not including the shipping.  Wowzers!  

10. All three of my adult children have moved or are moving this month or next. All three have different ways of managing their money and resources when they do this. I don’t comment when they do things differently than I do.  I DO comment how much I appreciate that they hire movers. 


What do you do to reduce consumption and waste?










Leonard's picture

I am worried about water softeners. They waste a lot of water, and, worse, they add a lot of salt into the wastewater every time they recharge. The city needs to keep the salt concentration in the sewage low, so they add additional water to the treated sewer water, which wastes even more water. Does anyone know about this? Can I adjust my water softener to use less salt? Are there newer water softeners that adjust the recharge to match actual water usage?

Because I've been working out on a daily basis I haven't had to buy any New to me clothes because I have a bunch of stuff I never donated that I now fit in again. It's a win win because I'm healthier and I'm not spending money on new stuff... I never run water when I brush my teeth and I never buy toothpaste because I brush my teeth with baking soda... A cardboard box is biodegradable and those empty empty toothpaste end up in our waterways and landfills and who needs that??

Please know Franc, my blood pressure DOUBLED using baking soda to brush my teeth; it has very soluble salts.

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Frugal? Road Trip to New Mexico

If our finances were stretched we wouldn’t have gone to New Mexico. We are doing fine despite the advice that says one ought to retire with a million dollars in the bank. Imagine that.

1. We and, at this point, about half the nation, have had our Covid vaccines so we felt safe and ready to see something new. However, we traveled to a place where they had worked WITH the effort to fight this pandemic. This limited our choices and is the #1 reason we didn’t go to the Badlands. How we spend $ is our power.

The Mindful Chickens are Wordy Today

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

  • Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).
  • Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.
  • Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

This is my collection of wise choices and dastardly schemes from the last two months.

ONE: Our electric toothbrush/water pick would no longer hold a charge but a new one costs more than $100. Len took it to the battery store where they replaced it for $15.

Mindful Chickens - Plastic & Hunger 12/20/2020

I went for a walk on Wednesday and saw this mitten on a sidewalk. When I was at the same spot on Friday, it was still there, so I brought it home because it is a hand-knitted kid mitten, ya know? Any knitters out there interested in making it a mate, so that we could give it to a kid in my community or your? It's 7" from top to ribbed bottom. 


The point of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money while being mindful of the environment and our human values. We can try, right?

Holy Mackerel! Mindful Chickens 12/12/2020

Yamiche and Weijia licking out the mackerel bowl this morning.


I said I would write “mindful things” we did this week. The agenda of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money plus be mindful of the environment and our other values at the same time. Sometimes, one of those purposes wins over the other, but we can think before we spend, right?

1. I cut my hair. This is not a particular skill of mine, but I can do it well enough to not look like the Pittsburgh Paint Dutch boy.

Who Let the Chickens Out?

Mindful Chickens i.e., being frugal and living by our values instead of by blithering consumerism is how this blog started. Yet I seldom post lists anymore about choices Len and I make that hit that marker because I can tell from who follows me that this is not why most of you are here.

But today I have a lot of things I want to accomplish. Preparing the Light Posts takes me a long time so I am not going to do one – I do plan to be back at it Monday.

7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

(Thanks, KJR, for the funny fluffy chicken photo!) 

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

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