Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Suffering Is Optional.

Blessings, Fronds!

As I reported earlier, we are having 'cash flow issues'. No fear of eviction or other dire consequences, but we are having to watch every penny.

However, we're not suffering. Not even whining a whole lot.

Many factors go into that. First, of course, is attitude.

Attitude towards money
We are not afraid of having little money. We are not appalled by having little money. We are not defined by how much money we have.

Money is a form of energy, just like coal, food, and knowledge are forms of energy. We all can use them. Some folks get used by them.

Attitude towards the future
Certainly our attitude that this 'tight' time will pass helps. But optimism that what we are doing now is building a better future only one aspect of our attitude towards the future.

More important is my attitude that shit storms happen, so be ready for them. Be ready to handle those hard times, from whatever causes, when they occur. I have a one year supply of food on hand, amassed (some bought, some grown and preserved) while money was less tight and the foods were on sale. I know we will not starve, pretty much no matter what. We have savings which we are using to pay bills (which is why we aren't facing eviction or anything).

Our attitude means that if we were facing a natural disaster or such now and stores were closed or trucks couldn't get thru' (as in ice storms, floods, hurricanes, whatever) we'd be fine on our own.

It didn't take some huge amount of money to become prepared, either. "Seconds" from the farmers market make fine canned or dried fruits and veggies. Rice, quinoa, etc are less expensive when bought in 50 pound sacks than one or two pound bags. My flour is homeground - the wheat and corn are from feed stores.

Green attitude
Being 'green' has helped us prepare, as well as helping us live less expensively in general. We have the clothes we need for home and business ... most bought used. I don't bleach things often (just whites on very rare occassions) so all our clothes last longer.

Self-reliant attitude
Somewhat related to the 'shit storms happen' attitude is our feeling that we need to be able to rely on ourselves for all things we possibly can. Oh, I admit I will never be able to do heart surgery. But I can do my own cooking, grow some of my own food even now in a rented house in a suburb that doesn't allow livestock (except bunnies), I can repair my own clothes, etc. I can keep myself healthy so I don't need to visit doctors or need antibiotics or heart surgery.

After attitude come other factors.....

We've been thru' hard financial times before. When my husband was in graduate school and I was an undergrad (we both had worked for years before returning to school) we were eating on $16 a week. Shopping sales for everything is habit. Making soup from scratch not cans is habit. Line drying clothes is habit.

Practice leads to having skills. I'm over 50 - I've learned to cook. Actually, I did that WAY back when, but I do keep improving.

Enjoying Life
There is no need or advantage to being miserable when money is tight. I'd say that the opposite is true. Making yourself miserable is miserable.

So, since my tax dollars are paying for them anyway, I take advantage of free concerts given in my area (my city sponsors some - using my tax dollars; many of the bands are Military - using my tax dollars). We hang out in public parks picnicing. We hike on public lands. When we had time, we camped in municipal/state/national parks.


My poor person's breakfast today was a one egg omlette filled with the spicy greens (from the wild lambsquarters, as you recall) left over from last night's dinner, and a home made english muffin.

Our poor person's lunch will be the WONDERFUL soup I made from the last of the frozen tomatoes and yellow squash from last year's garden, some leftover green beans, and some of that bulk quinoa (which is a complete protein), and some stock I made from bones saved from cheap beef and whole chickens.

Is that suffering? Nope. I refuse to suffer.

Frondly, Fern


  1. I really like this. Attitude is almost everything in life, and with the wrong attitude, you're just not gonna be happy. Thank you for posting it!

  2. Well said FernWise. We went without for a long time, but we've had sable incomesa for a while now. I wouldn't want to go back, but we'd survive if we had to.

  3. Such a wonderful post. I will be looking over your archives to find more treasures in the near future.

    I did have a few questions about your post. Where do you find large quantities of rice and Quinoa? What method do you use for storing such large quantities of grain? When you go to the feed stores, do you need to ask for specific types of corn or wheat? What method do you use for your homeground flour? A certain grinder or mill system?

    Sorry for all the questions but my husband and I are trying to be more prepared but I have little or no experience. I am looking for a workable system for our tiny house.

  4. I store most of my grains in used food-grade buckets I get free from the bakery department of a local large grocery store. I prefer the buckets that have gaskets in them - they come in 2, 3.5, and 5 gallon sizes. They used to hold frosting. I wash them well, let them dry well, fill them, add some dry ice (available at one local grocery and at many ice cream stores, as well as at occasional liquor stores!), let the dry ice sublimate (the carbon dioxide is heavier than air so displaces all oxygen in the bucket, killing any bugs/larva/eggs in the grains or beans). Then I hammer the lids on tightly.

    I buy quinoa at the food coop on the U of MD College Park campus, where I used to volunteer when I had time. Rice I usually get at Costco or BJ's warehouse, we have business memberships. I buy brown rice at the local grocer or at the coop, but don't store it long term as it goes rancid too quickly. I only buy what I can use in a few months of it.

    The corn and wheat I get at feed stores, and I just ask for feed quality not planting quality. It's not organic, but it's the same wheat and corn that gets sold to Pillsbury or whoever, stuffed in 50 pound bags instead of piled in train cars.

    I use Lehman's Best Grain Mill, which provides a lovely fine flour while using it helps me tone my arms. If I was low on funds and didn't have a grain mill I'd probably buy a Corona to start with. Much less expensive, but the flour isn't as fine. Great for grinding corn for tortillas, less good for bread.

  5. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Your advice will help a great deal on where to get started so we can be prepared.