I have been reading a lot of “frugal” blogs lately. All seem to agree that growing your own stuff is a big factor in paring down costs.
As I have mentioned before I was unable to put in a proper summer vegetable garden due to my accident. I do have stuff growing, that some friend planted for me when I was in hospital. One of them was broccoli. They put in 12 plants and now I have a massive glut. I could freeze it but as I have a small freezer and I can grow it all year round, it seems a wasted effort. But, it has worked out well... While I was waiting for the bus last week, a neighbour popped out and asked whether I wanted any zucchini (my friend never put any zucchini in), would I ever, for some reason they are still expensive in the shops. In the conversation, I mentioned I had a glut of broccoli, her eyes lit up. So a swap was made. She also mentioned that she only grew strawberries and zucchinis these days (she is in her 80’s), and that she was tired of eating strawberries every day. Well my strawberry patch was useless this year due to lack of attention in the spring. But my blackberries are going to be a massive crop this year. So we arranged that I will have some of her strawberries and give her some of my blackberries when they ripen.
This made me think, in my childhood, I remember the neighbors swapping stuff with my parents, someone had lots of apple trees and we had lots of plum trees and so on. So, as an experiment I knocked on a neighbour’s door who has a peach tree in her front garden with peaches rotting on the ground. I asked her if she would mind if I took some peaches and I could give her some of my apples or plums when they were ready. Well she almost gave me a huge hug! The peach tree was there when she moved in and didn’t want to chop it down as it provided some shade in the summer, but she can’t stand peaches! But she loves apples, so a swap was arranged, I have peaches and when my apples are ready I will supply (I have 3 apple trees so it will be no hardship!). Now I have 3 baskets of peaches to preserve, and more to come. She also told me that she had planted too many tomatoes, would I like some. Yes I would, would she like some free range eggs as a friend from the country always brings me a dozen every week in exchange for some editing and graphic design of a newsletter for her business. Yes she would.
The moral of all of this is even if you can’t grow something or your crop has failed for some reason the old barter system is a wonderful way to be thrifty. It has a plus side, it is a way to get to know your neighbours and create a caring community feel that is fast disappearing from modern life.
Another thing I have learnt in the last week or so, where there is a will there is a way! I have been desperate to get out into the garden and get on with preparing my Autumn and Winter vegetable plot. Being on crutches has hindered that desire, not any longer I have discovered that spades and forks make wonderful crutches and I can garden after a fashion!! It is tiring but I can do it and it is amazing that 10 minutes actually adds up quite quickly. Luckily my hips are quite good and bending is not a problem. I am also sure that it will be good for the healing process as well.
Well that is it for today, hope to see you soon.