Category Archives: The Frugal Musician discovers alternatives….

The Graywater Experiment


This is not a new novel by David Baldacci and has nothing to do with spies or espionage. It’s not a government initiative (but maybe it should be) or a soviet plot or a secret mission.

It’s harvest time in the garden and my main method of food preservation is blanching and freezing. Basically this involves a pot of boiling hot water on the stove to boil veggies for 3-5 minutes and then a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching preserves color and flavor and readies food for freezer bags.

It occurred to me last week as I was processing vegetables that the water for washing and blanching could be reused to water my garden. We’ve only received one good drenching rain here and I can almost predict we’ll be in a drought situation before long.

During my last blanching session I bottled up my graywater and took it down to the garden and watered my plants. I also used graywater in a small flowerbed I have at the side of the house.

You can find our more about graywater at It seems such a reasonable alternative to using drinking water on lawns and gardens.

I’ve always been a resourceful gal though sometimes I think Boyfriend thinks I have a screw loose. He looked balefully at my graywater before I took it to the garden and I know he  questions the validity of my constant recycling, purchasing at thrift marts and composting efforts. Mercifully, he rarely SAYS what I know he’s thinking.

We should all try to be more resourceful. With oil spilling into the gulf at breakneck speed, water may become all too scarce in the future.  What affects one part of the planet, affects another.

Consider your graywater and make it work for you and the planet.


The Frugal Musician discovers a berry good deal


I watched William Li’s TED talk last week and would encourage you to do the same. After I took this in, I decided to up my intake of berries. But how to do that on the Frugal Musician’s tiny budget was a conundrum.

My neighbor grows blackberries so I’m waiting on an invite to pick his succulent, thornless black beauties. My strawberry plants did not grow at all. And my neighbor’s blueberry plants only yielded a small crop so I was not invited to partake in the picking.

I visited my local dollar store a few months back and discovered Miltons Bread (usually $4 a loaf) and containers of President’s brand feta cheese for a buck. The dollar depot is not close enough for everyday perusing, but yesterday I had to go to the optometrist in the vicinity of the store.

Yesterday, I discovered bags of frozen, organic strawberries AND blueberries FROM THE USA. No feta cheese and no Miltons but WOW strawberries and blueberries for a buck a bag!

Last night, I made iced chamomile, passion fruit green, and black tea. I crushed strawberries and put into a blender and zoomed the mixture around til it was pulverized. It was delicious!

So delicious, I’m determined to substitute my ever present glass of diet coke with healthy TEA with berries.

Tell me about your dollar store food treasures!

Printer Abstinence



When the weather warmed here in Richmond, I moved into the Summer Office. The Winter Office is our guest bedroom upstairs. The Summer Office is a sunroom off our deck.

When it came time to move, I did not move my printer downstairs.

 Richmond Spring/Summer is a finicky gal, cold then hot then cold then very hot. I didn’t want to lug the printer up and down the stairs while navigating between the two offices. I can move my entire office in one trip. I’m a minimalist.

At first not moving the printer was a matter of logistics and weather. Now I realize it’s one of the best frugal moves I’ve made.

Today it is insanely hot so I’m working in the upstairs Winter Office where the printer resides. Oh she is tempting. But I shall abstain from printing. 

Are you practicing frugal abstinence? I’d love to hear about it.

The Frugal Musician wants a lunch wagon


Winter in the music business is never what one might call easy.  Boyfriend is a sound technician and I’m a music publicist and we both rely on touring and entertainment to provide us with work. Typically, both of our businesses grind to a slow crawl from the week before Thanksgiving to mid January. 

Partner the big slow down with bouts of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a lack of warmth and sun and the ground’s barren and frozen status and we both start to think of alternative ways to make a living. My alternative idea this particular winter is to make a career of selling sandwiches out of a lunch wagon. It seems a reasonable and sane way to make a living. After all, people gotta eat.

 In 2009, I released four booklets about the music business. To see how Divine Intervention made this happen you can read this 2009 also marked my exit from the music booking business and the build a band business, into full-time publicity and writing. Now the freelance writing business is experiencing a shake up and publicity often demands underwriting funds as publications try to keep afloat in the digital age.

Essentially I’ve spent 15 years intimately involved in building the careers of other people, while my own, sadly, sat neglected and ill-fed in a dank, dark and cold corner. “SSSHHHHH!” I warned Dream Girl when she cried no one was paying any attention to her. “Too much whining in the monitors! ” I’d hiss ala Jeff Mosier.” You are not as valid as band a, b, and c and are not as talented as singer a, so just knock off the complaining and let me get back to WORKING on the dreams of others! GEEZ!”

A week ago, a lot changed. It was sudden and unexpected.  For a week, I’ve mulled it over, not obsessed or whined or complained about it, just quietly reflected on the change as a major part of my work life becomes not so major anymore.  And it is good because I truly believe change is good all the way around.  Without change, we’d never grow or develop or learn to count our blessings more fully and fervently on a minute by minute basis.

This morning, I picked Dream Girl up out of her dark corner, sat her on my knee, wiped her tears, gave her some warm tea and honey and brushed her hair. Strangely, she looked dazzling in the sunlight streaming through the window and I realized what a pretty little thing Dream Girl always was. How she loved to write and sing and how she adored the art of creation. As she become nourished and clean, she giggled. “We can do this.” she reminded me, then gave me a hug around the neck, as if I had never neglected her or let her down or ignored her at all.

So it’s time to pay attention to me and Dream Girl and pursue the things we’ve always loved, our own hopes and ambitions, all the things that have taken a back seat to the dreams of others for so many years.  Although our pockets might be threadbare for a bit, we’ll be like a Dickens character. Maybe a little ragged and worn, but full of the goodness of life and content to find our new place in it.

Simple Abundance as a guide


“…in a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.” Louise Bogan

I’ve written before about the lovely, timely, deep and mysterious Simple Abundance book by Sarah Ban Breathnatch. Five years ago, stumbling around for some meaning in life, I discovered Sarah’s lively discourse on love, living and self-discovery. Each time I find a copy of Simple Abundance, I purchase it. Over the course of a year, when a friend is discouraged or longing for inspiration, I’ll send a copy her way.

As many times as I’ve read Simple Abundance, I somehow missed this first quote in the book. I pray this year to ‘give back to the world, through my work, a portion of its lost heart’.

The sentiment resonates with me as I weave various miniscule streams of income, combining work as a freelance publicist, writer, seller of plants and creator of crafts  into a tapestry of sustainability and daily life.

I pray my daily work, whether it’s writing, creating, or growing,  results in a daily gift of restoring the heart to pieces of the world that may be broken, longing or in disrepair. I pray my work is a small miracle and a gift to those who are seeking hope, refuge, inspiration, knowledge or laughter.

May you have a year of Simple Abundance and glad tidings.

The Frugal Musician’s Penicillin


 Garden Bounty

The FM woke up feeling poorly this morning. A weekend of heavy cleaning was taking its toll on my nose and lungs. It was however a dark moon weekend, the perfect time to clean and de-clutter.

Did I reach into the medicine cabinet?  I did not.

I walked into my garden and plucked baby kale. I boiled a cup of water and dropped in a chicken bouillon along with a handful of baby kale. I added a good dose of black pepper and a half tsp of ground ginger.

I already feel better.

When you feel poorly, do you go straight to the medicine cabinet or opt for alternative therapy?

The Frugal Musician adopts the indian way

My Grandfather survived on this earth without using anything that did not go back into the earth. The whole world could learn from that.”
–Floyd Westerman, SIOUX

As the season of excess approaches, we would do well to remember this wonderful adage from the Sioux indians. As the plethora of plastic (things and cards) invade our everyday space, truly think about your Christmas purchases.  This requires careful consideration and a cognisant ability to see beyond the gift.

This year, I’ve created handmade bags and paper beads to give as gifts. I’ve sent gifts of books in cardboard boxes wrapped in paper craft sheets. I have to admit despite my best efforts, I’ve fallen short of having a totally green holiday. I purchased Avon lotions, bubble bath, and chapsticks for gift giving from my neighbor who uses Avon income to suppliment her retirement. A good deed- but an ungreen result. I can only hope the recipients of these items will recycle.


“Our grandfathers knew how to live in harmony. They did not create poisons or technologies that destroyed things. They did not make their decisions based on greed or for selfish reasons. They did not take more then they used. Their thoughts and actions were about respect. The Elders conducted themselves in a respectful way. We need to consider our actions around respect for Mother Earth.”

My Creator, have the grandfathers teach us today about the old ways. 

This meditation is available at