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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 ....

Early December

December 6, 2018

Here we are almost at the end of 2018 which for us the end of 1944.  Even though I did not do a lot of post about our 1944 year, other than the first few months we continue to live our old fashioned 1944 life with a few exceptions that modern life controls. This is the link to the January 2018 post at the beginning of our 1944 year...

This year we made many changes to our home.  It got so crazy that I could not even post about it because I just wanted it finished. We started off energized with learning new things about 1944 and living a more simple life. Then we decided it was time to organize and paint the kitchen, then we painted three bedrooms. We continue to search thrift shops for pieces that we hoped to find and the only way to find something very old for very little cost is to keep looking for that vintage item to come in and happen to be there at the same time.  But some items came from unexpected sources such as the side of the  road where they had been placed to be taken to the dump and one piece our son found that was going to be discarded because it was in pieces. 

Like I have said before if it was broken we still wanted to give it a chance for a new purpose such as this beautiful buffet that was doomed to go to the burn pile.

This year we literally separated our home to make a guest apartment to give some privacy if needed for a family member that may move in one day.  This may or may not happen but we wanted to offer to let this person know that there is another option should a health situation occur.   Part of making the apartment more sound proof is possibly selfish as we no longer keep a television running or have loud noises in the house and just because we live like this does not mean someone needing care here has to live this way.  

Actually in the past many families lived together depending what era it was.  I know during the great depression and world war 2 it was very common.  But things have changed drastically, I feel it was easier back then for families to live together when needed because life was more simple and there were no electronics making noise and taking up space and pulling extra electricity.  Also today people are just more cranky, they really are.

We live a frugal life and that means we do most of our repairs to our home ourselves and setting our home more like the past is the best decision we could have ever made for many reasons.  I will get back to this later....

I have been asked about our greenhouse and we are going by trial and error.  When we first set up our greenhouse we were in a hurry to get the plants in due to a fast coming freeze.  We normally get most of our coldest weather here in February, not November but nothing seems normal anymore.

We put the greenhouse up and gave it extra support and all was good except we did not plan well for heating which seems to be a common problem.

One warmer day we emptied out the greenhouse, dug up the turmeric and ginger and added 16 bags of cypress mulch to help give some thermal insulation.  We removed the string lights....

We moved some baled hay we had under our carport to the north wall of the greenhouse, also for some insulation, we put more post down and moved the string lights down lower.

"So far" it has helped.  We have thought about adding a compost pile to the outside of one side but we are going to wait and see how this works.

 I can only show you how we are doing as we go with this as each year we do not know how cold it will get.  The most important thing right now is to monitor it when the sun is out because it can get to hot inside even if it is cold outside due to the sun hitting the plastic.  So I check on it several times a day and adjust the vents. 

By the way they did have greenhouses in the past, they were often made of wood, logs and glass. 

I just got up from my computer and checked and it is 49 degrees outside and 92 degrees in the greenhouse due to the sun but the sun is about to move on and why I am letting it get so warm inside because tonight it will go below freezing.  Hopefully the warming from the sun will have the thick floor mulch and hay bales nice and warm and the string lights will keep things warm during the night.  When it gets cloudy and cold for days in a row I don't know what it will do.  

Some plants thrive in the cooler temperature such as parsley and cilantro so I have not moved them into the greenhouse at this time.

Back inside....

All the work that we have done to our home was not nearly as expensive as most people would spend today.  Paint has gotten very expensive now so that did cost, with us doing everything ourselves there was no labor.  

I am starting to nest more now that the house is getting more in place and I am getting ready for next years challenge of studying further back in time.

We will be following a very tight budget.  We will use money to buy food, gasoline, utilities and bills but we hope to spend only within our budget.  We will do our best to not spend on things we "want", there will be no going out to eat even though we do not do much of that but we have had exceptional times we have had to do so. I did ponder this year on what to do to completely avoid eating out and one thing is to prepare a simple snack to take along when we do go out so we can eat something to tie us over.  Or just pack a sandwich or something if we know we will be gone for a while.  

Once we get into habits of doing these things it comes easier.  Also we always carry water in a thermos or jar of water so we don't purchase anything to drink.  We are setting a strict budget and if something comes up we have decided to discuss it, wait, try to give it a month and then decide if it is "Necessary" because any money not spent is going in savings. 

We will be extra frugal with keeping the electric and water use down and if we need something to try and make it ourselves.

Last year I got an email about electric use, I don't even remember what post it was on but it was something in a way that our electric use was still very high.  The only thing Charles and I could figure was this person must also have gas at their home.  We are all electric and any home that is all electric, the hot water heater, heating and cooling is going to use more than those that have electric and gas. 

We will be much more frugal.  We already live frugal but we can do more.

There are many people hurting right now.  Financially and emotionally.   The last time I did some research on this I read that 78 percent of full time workers live pay check to pay check here in the U.S.

So let us take a look from a older persons thoughts, not from a study or statistics.  When I first married and we drove off in our 1955 Ford heading from Alabama to Oklahoma I was filled with excitement and did not understand a lot about money. Everything we owned was packed inside this car.  I soon learned that military pay was very low and everything would have to be simple.  Grocery shopping had to be thought through because we were paid once a month. 

Back then there was no such thing as a cell phone.  Having no cell phone is one bill we did not have and our car was paid for so that is two bills we did not have as compared to today.  There was no such thing as cable tv or internet, those were other bills we did not have.  The first place we rented was $35.00 a month and was furnished with the bare basics and did not have a washer.  Most people did not use dryers at that time and dried laundry on a clothesline.  We did not have a television or radio and we did not go anywhere for entertainment.

We also did not have appliance bills since we did not buy appliances and used the old stove and refrigerator that came with the house.  I did not have a hair dryer because we mostly rolled or pin curled our hair back then.   So basically lights, a clothes iron and refrigerator were the only thing that ran electricity. There was no phone bill because we did not have a phone.  We did pay for postal stamps and stationary.  The hot water heater and the heater and the cook stove used gas so there was a gas bill.

I learned to love our hand me down dishes my mother sent me off with and they reminded me of home. We had just enough silverware to use and wash each meal. 

We got a puppy fairly quickly, his name was Shaky. We enjoyed life, we read the newspaper occasionally, we read the same books over and over as well as letters from home, we played cards and just enjoyed life.  We did not have the worries of today and nothing was instant.  Sometimes I feel all this instant is harming us. 

Our home was always clean because most of my time was spent cleaning the floors, windows, hand washing laundry and hanging it out to dry, cooking.  Neighbors visited neighbors back then and we helped one another if someone was feeling poorly.

 When I could save enough money for household use I purchased fabric to sew curtains. At this time my sewing was done by hand.  It is amazing what we can do with a needle and thread.  Later on we met an elderly couple that took us under their wing so to speak to teach us about the clouds and helped me to improve my sewing.

Now lets look at young people today how they start off.  Cell phones, tablets, many times more than not a car payment or two car payments, insurance, Cable tv, internet, high rent or mortgage and clothing and shopping are way off track.  This is not everyone but those that are struggling could fall into this way of life.  Then there is the really non smart things if money is tight such as Manicures, pedicures, hair coloring, trips to the gym, sports, eating out and shopping. 

What did we eat when we were married young adults?  Not a lot because we did not make much money.  Potatoes, macaroni, simple vegetables, bread, eggs.  Meat and cheese when we could afford it which was maybe three times a week.  We ate french toast with jelly often for breakfast and sometimes for supper. There was no snack foods or sodas.  Had it not been for my Grandmother I might have not known the importance of baking biscuits and keeping extra in the cupboard for snacks as that is what we ate for snacks when we would visit our Grandmother, cold biscuits and butter.

What do young people just starting off eat?  I cannot even go there....  I remember when getting a corn dog was a special occasion.

I now can see why people are living pay check to pay check.  We have several generations now that do not even know or have ever seen a clothes line.  They grew up in a modern world where a one car family hardly exists anymore.  Now most adults carry a phone with them at all times and most everything has a fee but it does not have to be this way because we can live without it just fine. 

Some of this is no fault of their own, actually much of this is not their fault but how they have been raised in this society. To make a choice one needs to understand their choice and if they have not seen another way to live how can they choose?  

Something has gone terribly wrong with the choices we make.  What is a budget?  How many people actually know what they owe? Is there a budget?  We have to change if there is growing debt.  We have to fix this wrong and the sooner the better because people are living under a lot of stress today, they have money worries that can be fixed if they have direction.  It is not just young people, it is all ages including seniors because they never got off the road to debt.  We need to slow down and think and plan and not just spend without thinking about it and especially without a budget.

 If you are having money issues and are all stressed out and feel like you are being pulled apart. Take a breath and remember that you are just one person and can only do one thing at a time but you have the power to change your situation.  Mistakes happen, sometimes we make bad choices, sometimes it is many times we made bad choices but this can get better.

Go back to basics, stop the flow, if you have children and they are old enough to understand they can help but if they are too young to understand and will worry then make it a game.  A savings game, tell them only what they need to know so they don't worry.  I have noticed that parents talk about things in front of children and also curse in front of children today.  

Children cannot process these things as we do and they need to feel safe.  They also need normal responsibility and chores and should be taught to turn off their lights and put away their toys.  To have respect for the things they have and take care of what they have.  I mentioned in a post how we cared for our shoes and even our hair brushes and most anything we had when we were young.  

They need to see their parents making wise choices and working in and around the home.  Don't stop at that fast food place and make french toast or pancakes instead to give yourself time to think about a menu plan.  Live within your means, stop eating out, hang your laundry to dry to bring down the electric bill and turn off the switches, turn off the televisions and electronics. I spent this entire summer figuring out how to save water.

We have to sit down and look at our bills and what comes in and what goes out, we journal all of our expenses. We cannot ignore our mail, our bills and the truth.  It will never go away if we do not change.  

We do not have to have a cell phone, really we do not it is something we become addicted to. Only if we have health issues or some serious situation do we "Need" a cell phone.  I am not saying to not have a cell phone, I am saying if you are sinking in debt, a cell phone is one bill you can give up to help pay off that debt.

We can do without many things to get our finances under control.  We have to live within our means and if that means making drastic changes then that is what we have to do.  When we lived without telephone, washing machine and no laundromat close by, no television, no air conditioner, it made me stronger and I never felt deprive and I was actually very happy.  

When we became older and saw the direction we were going and our bad decisions we realized we had to change. No more following the debt trap.  We knew it would not happen fast but actually it did change pretty quickly.  As I have said before, Charles reads the electric meter and water meter every single morning because we need to know where our money is going.

At least Charles and I can show our Grandchildren what living a more simple life looks, feels and smells like.  It is best if parents could do this, you might be surprised at how receptive children can be once they get over their addictions.

We are looking forward to this new year looking further back in time.  Each year for the last 5 years or so we have learned so much studying generations before us and how they lived.  Studying the early 1940s we have learned how they became some of them most sensible and strongest generations and sadly these people that were adults during the 1940s are quickly passing away. 

These studies have taught us that we need the right tools to do the jobs that will help us to save money.  We know that less is more and those antiques that have been abandoned to antique stores and thrift stores have lasted all these years because they were made to last when modern goods are mostly poorly made which makes us have to replace them often.  Charles and I made it our goal to replace the poorly made goods with the older items that are made with real wood and steel, wool, linen and cotton. 

Living a disposable life is wasteful, expensive and is filling up our landfills.  If we could see the real harm from our wasteful lives at least some of us would stop.  

Now here in our home we are doing what we can to become less disposable and we are studying the things that were not around in the past so we can learn to live without these unnecessary things of the present.

More about the new year is coming as we set our budget for the next year and how we will go about studying the times before world war 2.  We have checked our stash of cotton underwear, things we normally keep put back and a few extra dish towels. 

Laying to rest one of our Presidents, George H W Bush, has been a sad time for the U.S this week. I hope that somehow this time has given people a different perspective of family and love and I hope it has helped in some way to hopefully mend fences so to speak. 

Grandma Donna

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