Tag Archives: simplicity

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 http://graywater.net. 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’s Financial Software or The Stubby Pencil Method



Recently Jason over at www.frugaldad.com conducted a survey about the merits of new financial software. I couldn’t help but respond with my own take on ‘financial software’ or something I like to call The Stubby Pencil Method.

For fifteen years, this is how I have kept track of finances. Please understand I am a simple girl. My IRA is MIA, I have no 401(k) or any sort of thing like that. What I do have is enough financial savvy to save and pay my bills when they’re due. That is not to say I don’t have a good amount of debt, but I am working diligently to knock that down, having already established an emergency fund.

My financial software? A green (incoming money) spiral bound notebook to post invoices, payments and expenses. My check register requires a red pen for deposits and a black pen for expenses and bill pay. I also use an old recipe box and 12 small folders for each month’s receipts.  The picture on the front is of a butterfly my younger son drew when he was 8. He’s 22 now. The calculator is from the dollar store. The tall glass vase is my collection of change which really comes in handy. The red folder (outgoing money) contains bills that need to be paid (arranged by pay by date) or financial stuff that needs to be dealt with. 

And that is it. Like I said, I’m a simple girl. If you’re confused by computerized financial stuff, try the Stubby Pencil Method. I highly advocate it.

*The Stubby Pencil Method was introduced and implemented by my great boss who later turned out to be my great friend, Betty Schroeder.

The Twenty Seven Things



“Three rules of work: out  of clutter find simplicity, from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

Each month I divest myself of at least 27 things. I don’t know where this number came from but it resonates with me. I imagine I probably read it as I was exploring the concept of feng shui- the art of placement of items in ones environment to create peace, abundance and inner harmony.

I challenge you, as the weekend is upon us and malls and stores advertise sales,  to gather 27 things from your environment with the intent to sell, redistribute or donate the items.  As we work to better ourselves and create peace and tranquility, we often find the thinking of things to buy, the acquisition of items and the subsequent storing, maintenance and daily upkeep of said item becomes a burden.  Clean a closet and discard, sell or redistribute items you no longer wear.  Clean a shelf and donate items to a thrift mart or church sale.

We can think of “things” as sticks and leaves in the streams of life. If we continue to allow them to build and collect, eventually they block the flow of important and meaningful paths to progress. 

Twenty seven things.  I challenge you.