December is certainly a busy month for Charles and I. This year had so many challenges that my good intentions of making homemade gifts came down to starting very late making them. It feels that there has been not a minute to spare.
I cannot show the things I have been making since they are gifts but I am all done now and what is not being given personally have been shipped.
And so now I am just enjoying "Now". I am not rushing the things I do and I have hopefully learned my lesson that February is a great time to start making gifts and late December and early January is a good time to buy supplies to make those gifts.
This seasons lemons are now preserved and I have a couple left to make some special sweets for Christmas. I have an older post under cooking from scratch how to preserve lemons.
We are not completely old fashioned because our small Christmas tree is not a real tree and it has simple lights. In the past we did not have lights on our Christmas trees because they did not have string lights until later on. Our first lights for the tree was the color wheel where the light shown towards the tree with a color wheel that went around. I think they still make these.
We would decorate with homemade decorations and garland. Then came the icicles that were draped over the tree which they still have today. Christmas was celebrated in a very similar way as today but without the electrical, the electronics and all the plastic. Try removing all of that and you will have a more old fashioned Christmas.
It has been very cold here but despite the dips to freezing the turnips are still growing.
The wrapped arbor, temporary greenhouse, is doing well. There are snow peas now getting past bloom stage and making peas.
This is their pretty blooms looking through the plastic cover.
We have been enjoying our fall radishes and we normally saute the leaves and ends in butter, salt and pepper for a wonderful garnish.
The radish greens cook down to a small amount just like many other greens but as I mentioned above it makes a wonderful garnish even if it is just the greens and stems from two or three radishes.
We have had much rain recently and we had been working in the backyard and left the wheel barrel upright because we were not finished using it. Then rain came and lasted for two days and this is what we had afterwards which was saved for watering the plants later.
This coming year we are going to do our best to stick with our journey into the past, we also will continue working towards living without plastic and using what they did before plastic. It is very difficult and in my opinion nearly impossible to not have any plastic as I am typing on this plastic computer doing this blog. Outside of that and the plastic telephone I will do my best. The plastic on the greenhouses to keep out the cold I have no other option because we cannot afford a glass greenhouse as they had in the past and growing some of our own food is important.
We are also concentrating on our garbage and trash waste since our city may be cutting out recycling other than cardboard. Charles has been working on learning to fold newspaper to make bags for garbage that does need to be picked up but we can control much of this by what we cook. We will be changing where we purchase our groceries and driving a bit further to go to a meat market and produce market and limiting extras. If it was not around a long time ago we will not buy it.
Our basic goods we will purchase at the grocery such as flour, rice, tea, coffee. We need very little if any paper products other than printer paper which would have been typing paper or stationary in the past. We will not accept plastic bags at the grocery store because stores did not have plastic bags in the past. People took their own shopping baskets and bags to the store with them then came paper bags. We hope to use homemade items to carry our food items in because they can be washed and kept clean for the next use. One thing here, is we drink very little coffee and tea. Charles drinks coffee on the weekends and I only occasionally make tea and mostly just when when we have company. I normally will make mint tea or ginger, lemongrass or lemon balm tea from the garden. Sometimes I make warm fruit tea such as strawberry or blueberry when in season, we mostly drink water.
We have a source for fresh dairy that does not come in plastic and we hope to find a source for fresh eggs so we do not need the cartons and if we do buy store bought eggs we will buy them that come in cartons that will compost. This is really what we should have been doing all along. It does take some searching but most towns or cities do have options for farm fresh if we just try and find them.
We will be writing down what we buy so we will be upfront and show you what we purchase. Our first month we will be learning as we go so I expect it will take until February until we get the hang of what we will be doing.
I will be starting over with my menu planning and cleaning system as this is going to be a real challenge. When we first started the year of living like the world war 2 era it was actually a bit scary, exciting and hectic until we figured it out.
This time we are going out of our comfort zone because we are going into our Grandparents time. Since we are senior citizens ourselves and we are talking about our Grandparents then we will begin just before 1900 even though they born in the late 1800s. We will not be completely living as they did because we do not have a horse and buggy, we do not have a farmhouse or live in a city that was only just beginning to get electicity and rail cars.
We will study the time. We will also try and learn from what we study and apply the things we can. I mentioned before we have a personal interest in the time during about 1914 to 1920 and I hope to get a feeling of what it was like for our families during this time. This will take us through world war 1 and the flu pandemic.
This is where the items we added for our old fashioned life will be used daily. I am actually excited about this because the water study I did this summer is coming in handy for this.
We are expecting that the things we will be doing this coming year will help save money more than we have been doing. We will take frugal to another level but saying this, I hope to show that we can live more like the past, being more frugal without looking or feeling deprived. I don't think frugal has to look poorly.
This is not just a study for us because we truly need to learn how to live with just the basics to make it through retirement. We also need to put on a new roof because if we should have a storm and the roof is damaged then the insurance company will depreciate the roof per the year it was put on.
There is also the fact that an accident or illness could change everything and become very costly. At one time we lived without concern about these things but then reality hit when our parents needed care.
I have found some interesting facts already that I will be sharing. As always we will be as open as we possibly can be with what we share. We will have a strict budget, I do not post our income and personal information but I can share other things related.
Studying this far back brings us to when some of our families came to the United States. Immigration seems to be a bad word these days but it should not be as most of our families immigrated here to the United States. If they were not Native American or Native to the land before the country was established then we all come from immigrants.
I have done much Genealogy research over the last 20 years and enjoy learning about my family and this helps me to know about when they came, what their occupation was and where they lived. I even found the naturalization papers for my family on my Fathers side.
I found a connection to them deeper than when they were here with us as I could put places of where they lived and understanding in why they did certain things such as my mothers obsession with pecans. I found that when you go through really tough times such as the great depression and ww2, every fruit, nut, stale loaf of bread becomes very important for survival.
At the time I am writing this post we are only 4 days from Christmas Eve. There will be many gatherings, gifts and food through the holidays. People will be on the roads, in the air, some on ships and some will be alone in their homes. Remember the real reason for this holiday and slow down, be present and enjoy the now.