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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Finished the first month of the Great Depression Study.

February 2, 2023

My first time making crumpets. As we are doing the great depression study we still continue to research our genealogy and part of our study of our ancestors is that we are learning the traditional food from where our ancestors came from.  We are finding that it is helping our grocery budget.

We live in the United States, our DNA highest numbers link us to England and Northwestern Europe. From my fathers side leans to France and my mothers side leans to England and Northwestern Europe. We also have ancestors from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Norway. I have posted the first time making traditional Cornish Pasties which turned out very good.  I am trying to stick to as traditional as I can.  The older I get the more I want to embrace traditional and basic.

We are now one month and three days into our great depression study as I am posting this post. It has been much different than the world war two studies. We have to fully understand the time. This meant digging deep into research to find the average pay, the cost of food, what type of items would be and what would not be found in their homes.  We had to find what the percentages of home had electricity and telephones which was actually still quite low at the beginning of the great depression. 

We know they did not have clothes dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, televisions, computers and their phones were quite different the way you had to place a call through a switchboard operator instead of just dialing someone. 

Charles and I were in a pretty good position as far as this concerned because of our previous studies we had already removed most of these items from our home except the computer and clothes dryer. We kept the clothes dryer for emergency use. 

We learned what type of transportation they had in the early 1930s. We found automobiles, train, bus, bicycle, and there was early commercial airlines but only a small percentage of people flew in commercial airplanes during this time. However that was soon to change as they moved towards the 1940s and 50's.  Saying all of that, there still were many people living the old way, some with and some without electricity and continued to travel by horse and wagon or buggy.

Photo taken during world war 1 and the flu pandemic.  My fathers younger brother sitting in the carriage. They did not know that when they were teens they would be living yet another historic time in history called the great depression. 

We have seen many photographs from the great depression and read books about this very depressing time in history. To make it even worse a separate event was going on in the United States.

Much land that had been settled on in the great plains had become farmland and land to graze cattle, many were growing wheat and as the demand for wheat grew more and more land was being used to grow wheat. Just after the stock market crash and beginning a serious depression, droughts in the plains were becoming a serious situation, one drought behind another, high winds were causing dust storms and insect invasions. Many states in the great plains were suffering and some say that over farming and over grazing, the loss of the prairie grass led to erosion. 

While the great depression and loss of jobs was causing people to lose their homes and people were moving to try to find work, people in the great plains were having to abandon their homes and farms because the dust and drought was so bad they could no longer make a living. They named this the dust bowl.  Many of the awful photos of people that were dirty and tattered clothes came from people that had to abandon their farms to look for migrant work or any work they could fine. Other photos of people in soup and bread lines were from people that had lost their jobs due to the great depression, one merged into the other. 

Despite all of this, this great depression and the dust bowl did not affect everyone as we may be thinking. As far as I can find 13 -15 million people were unemployed in the United States at the peak of the depression. Approximately twenty five percent in the United States was unemployed.  Some would say that three quarters were still working but there is a lot to consider and that would be rippled effects. 

We can understand a little better since we have been going through our own pandemic for almost three years from the time I am writing this post. We can understand the economical upset that has happened around the world since we  have the Covid pandemic that still continues.  

My Grandmother after becoming a widow from my Grandfather dying from flu and pneumonia. 

The Flu pandemic during the years of 1918 - 1920 and millions died world wide. In the United States a  bad recession hit in 1920 - 1921.  Some called it a depression. A mild recession in 1923-24 and again a recession in 1926 - 1927.  Then in 1929 a Great Depression after the stock market crashed,  banking collapse and a collapse of money supply this depression was worldwide and some countries experiencing worst conditions. 

What I take away from all of this history information is first I hope that people study and learn what could have caused or prevented these things.  I have learned to live a better prepared life.  We cannot prepare for everything because some things are sudden and unavoidable.  But living prepared with food and money saved keeps us from having as much worry.  We have the ability to help ourselves to stay out of the way of those that need help. There are groups set in the united states to help others when something happens. The Red cross moves in, churches have groups and equipment move into to areas that need help and then the government has agencies.  If we can help ourselves we can stay out of the lines.  The more people that live prepared and can help themselves the less people that need help. 

Charles and I prepared for this study for a month before we started.  We continue to read and learn but we are also doing.  So far what we have concentrated on the most is the budget and this affects most everything.  We are still working it out because this takes time and we have plenty of time with this study to work these things out. We are having to make decisions of what to change, get rid of, or possibly tools to get to do things ourselves.  

Our gardening journal.  We list our seeds and information about the seeds. 

Something very important at this time facing us is gardening.  How to garden as cost efficient as possible and growing as much food as we can in the limited space we have.  We are even going to remove some bushes to make more garden space. We have to.

We have been working towards having all heirloom plants in our yard.  This has taken us time to do.  We want to be able to keep the heirlooms going and also have the ability to save the seeds from our heirloom plants. This makes gardening more affordable.

Why do we need to garden?  Because as we are doing this study our prices today are increasing. Our internet connection and phone has increased,  food prices have and continue to increase.  Gasoline is on the rise again, several of our insurance policies have increased and actually hardly anything has remained the same.  Every increase is less money for groceries so we cannot keep up at this rate.  

We have pets and food for pets has increased and veterinary care costs are just awful.  It used to be we could find cheaper items but when you have already moved to the cheaper items and they have gone up, where do you go from there other than move to a farm and we would if we were not already too old to do this but it is tempting.  

For our first month of our study, we have been in winter so we put up portier's which are doorway curtains to keep the winter heating directed to where we needed the heat.  Charles and I feel that this has been a big help with keeping our heating bill down. 

We have kept things cut off that run electricity unless we need it, and we are conserving water because that also reduces the sewer bill.

We have cut our meat portions and have been making more soup this winter. We have been using up and buying less as far as food goes.  We do not purchase any type of soda or drinks of any kind other than tea, coffee, milk. We do not purchase snack food, that is all homemade. 

We stopped all purchases and only purchased groceries.  We did not eat out or pick up anything ready made.  This felt good and actually a relief. 

We are not allowing ourselves to spend on conveniences or entertainment. 

All money saved from not spending on these things above goes to gardening expenses and we went into the new year with saved money for spring gardening.  Our budget is set up where we put money into funds each payday for expenses we know will be coming up.  Spring planting is one fund. In late winter we put out chicken manure compost around our fruit trees with straw on top and since we do not have composted chicken manure we have to purchase that. So we "guesstimate" what we need the year before and break that down and put that money into our gardening fund.  

I will use an example.  If something we purchase once a year costs $100.00 we divide that by 12 months and it comes to about $8.33 cents.  So we round it up and say we need to save $9.00 a month and put it aside for next years chicken manure, straw and items to get our fruit trees ready.  When we multiply that $9.00 x's 12 it equals $108.00.  So we have and overage of $8.00 already saved towards the next year. If we break this down again, say weekly,  we save $2.25 each week and put it aside we will have our $108.00 ready for spring gardening and feeding our fruit trees. 

This is called the envelope system.  Put the money in an envelope and mark it garden money and do not touch this because this is for the garden. 

If we do this with everything that is "important". We will have the money. If you have a child that wears glasses, you know that your child will need new glasses possibly in one year due to prescription changes and the growth of your child.  You can estimate the probable cost and then divide that by 12.  You can break that down to however often you get paid. Weekly or every two weeks or monthly.  Put that money aside so you will have that money for those glasses when it comes time. 

If it is something every six months then divide by six. 

The crumpets were delicious.  I cannot explain what they taste like.  They do not taste like an English muffin nor a pancake.  It has its own flavor and texture.  It was very good with butter and strawberry jam.  It was easy to make and does not cost much to make because it is very basic ingredients.

I hope something in this post you will fine informative and helpful.

Let us know in the forum how you did the first month of the study. 

Grandma Donna

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