About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Invest Ourselves in Home

January 26, 2023

We are studying the great depression at this time that I am writing this post.  As we slowly move through the study we realize we must study further back in time to understand the people that lived during the great depression.  I am mostly talking about people that were adults during that time in history.

They had already lived through difficult times before the great depression. recessions, world war 1, the flu pandemic and just when they were possibly thinking life was getting better, the stock market crashed, banks closed, many people lost their jobs. Many of those that did not lose their job had to work with decreased pay.   What money they had left they needed to hold on to. Shelter and food became the most important thing left for them. Even those that still had jobs must have felt it, the possibility that they too could lose their income.  

We should learn from the great depression.  Learn to invest ourselves in our home.  Many people today are living life as nothing bad could happen.  When they want something they just put it on their credit card and having the attitude that if something happens then I will deal with it then. I worked in two different hospitals, I can tell you that things do happen no matter the age.   This is a short life we are living even when we live to be very old, we still got there a lot more quickly than we ever realized we would. 

If we invest in home, we take care of the place that we reside. If we rent we need to take care of where we live so we do not have to pay for damages. We need savings for if we ever had to move due to any reason,  fire damage, storm, or rent increase that we can no longer afford. 

 We should live a sensible life spending below our means.  Not paying out more than we bring in and putting money away instead of chaining ourselves to a life of debt.  In this modern time that we live today most people don't use up or wear out as they did in the past. "It is too easy for us to buy on a whim", often we end up not using much of what we have purchased and discarding or donating  our things because they became clutter, I am guilty of that too. 

A slice of meatloaf that was frozen from last week and warmed up, left over butternut squash and brussels sprouts for lunch. 

This depression study is a very good thing for Charles and I, we have a completely different perspective now.  We have studied the world war 2 years and dipped into the great depression before but not like this. Just our first three weeks into this study and the month of December preparing for this study has completely changed our budget. 

We all need to know the full amount of what we owe and the amount that we bring in. We need to know the total of every automatic bill that we get monthly, such as phone, insurance, utilities etc. The cost of regular medications, the cost of pet food and pet care.  It is dangerous to not know these things and balance this every month by keeping daily and weekly records of our expenditures. 

Invest our money into having the right tools to help us save money. Tools so that we can do our own repairs and lawn care. 

We have control of what we spend unless it is a traumatic event. Charles and I keep track of our kilowatts we use every day, our water we use how can we adjust our use if we do not even know how much we use. 

In the past people did not swipe a card at the register, there was no such thing. Some would start a tab at the store and pay on payday but that was not a good way to live because that would be debt they had to pay every payday.  It was best to stick to the can money and take what was needed to purchase what was on the grocery list. 

When I first started off married life I would go the grocery store with my small notebook that contained my grocery list, I carried a pencil with me to add the price of my grocery items as I put them in my cart. Many times I could not get everything I needed and had to make decisions while I was in the store.  Sometimes I had to remove some items from my cart and put it back on the shelf.  Other women did the same thing as I was doing or I was doing what they did. But we had to stay within the amount of money we had, there was no other option. The budget was so tight we could not afford debt.

Life changed and eventually we had debt, isn't that odd that when we have more money we feel we can afford to upgrade to debt.  One day we realized where we had put ourselves and reversed course back to sensible. I do think about what if I had continued that way of shopping as I first did my entire life and being careful with everything even when our income was better. I wish it had been earlier that we went back to living the old way but it was not, it was part of learning during this life journey we are on.


I am keeping track of our food supply and understand that there has to be a balance so there is no waste.  We had an old cabinet that we turned into a fresh vegetable cabinet. Organizing our food is very important, we cannot be perfect but we can try.

This study makes me want to live this way the rest of my life because for some reason it has made me not want for anything. I feel satisfied and thankful for the things we have.  Charles said this morning as he was preparing to leave for work  "this feels right", I asked what he was talking about. I had been working on a pie crust from a very old handwritten recipe book that required few ingredients. He said, "all of this, moving his hand in a across the room and house". We both feel it, it is difficult to explain, we just know this is how we are suppose to live. We are living more simple than we ever have.  Our grocery bill is down our utility bill is going to be lower because we have already figured it out with our readings.  We have not purchased anything other than food and we had to replace a plumbing piece.  Yesterday our car had to go in the shop for a repair and it was an expensive repair.  The good part is we had the money to pay that repair because we have been living very careful. 

We look for ways to save money even when we think we cannot cut back anymore. We have chosen to make it an exciting challenge to see how we can save even more. 

I explained in yesterday's diary post that I have an old handwritten cookbook and the young lady started the book in the early 1920's.  These recipes were most likely from her mother and grandmother since she was Miss. Mary when she dated the beginning of her book in 1924.  Then she became Mrs. and wrote her new last name. 

I said in that post I would share how this particular pie crust recipe turned out.  It was extremely simple, matter of fact so simple I wondered how it could possibly be any good.

Line a tin with flour. put in lard the size of an egg. 3 tablespoons of water. mix soft. Roll. This will make one crust. 

All I knew to do is put flour in a old depression size pie pan 9" all the way across to edge of outside rim making the inside about 8". I pressed the flour around in the pie pan and then removed that flour and put it in a measuring cup to see how much that would be.  It was one cup. 

Then I shaped some cold lard about the size of an egg.  I pressed that down into a measuring cup an it was about 1/4 cup of lard. 

I crumbled up the lard and flour.

Added three tablespoons of water and I needed an extra teaspoon. 

I worked it into a dough with my hands and rolled it out.

to the size I needed.

I shaped it up and trimmed the edges.

It turned out to be a very nice pie crust.

I chose a custard filling that was in the same book.

I let the bubbles settle before putting it into the oven. 

I set the oven for 365 degrees and this is how it came out after 45 minutes.  I knew it would need to deflate and settle since it was custard. 

So it did.

It was a chilly morning so after about half an hour of cooling on the counter, I moved it to the window ledge with the window slightly open and left it until it was cooled and then put it in the refrigerator.

The pie was beautiful, the crust was perfect, light and did not fall apart. The custard filling was lacking with flavor, the texture was very nice but Charles and I both decided it needs vanilla and cinnamon added to the mixture.  

This crust is a keeper for us and it makes me wonder about all of these pies that are being made in the 1930's diaries. Many times people shy away from making a pie crust.  Since this pie crust is extremely simple and turned out so well, I wonder if people wanting to give recipes their own touch, have made pie crust over complicated?  Is this the simple pie crust that was commonly made in the early 1900's and why it was so easy for them to whip out a pie?  There is only one thing I might change and I will try one first, is I might add a pinch of salt to the flour in the pie crust.  Just a pinch.  I wonder if this was the pie crust that Sarah and Emma made?  I will make it this way from now on because it is so very simple and easy to make and can be made with very basic ingredients.  

Servings of food were smaller in the past and so was pie.  There was only three tablespoons of sugar in that custard filling so I do want to get that one adjusted soon and I will post that adjusted recipe. 

I hope something in this post helps to give you a different perspective of how we can change whatever it is that we would like to make better if we simply start that change and invest ourselves in our home.  Right now we are working on the first part of our spring vegetable and herb garden, it started with planting seeds. 

Grandma Donna

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