After the thrill of gleaning yesterday, I was in for a treat for dessert. My husband has a wicked way with fruit crumbles. And since he refuses to write down his recipe, he's basically on the hook whenever there's a suitable fruit in the house. In June it was cherries. Last night it was our gleaned blackberries. And he also used some gleaned hickory nuts in the topping. It was divine! Those two in the back are going to be breakfast this morning.
I was particularly proud of this little feat of cheap eating, since it helped us with July's $50 Grocery Challenge. We'd been tempted by fresh berries at the farmer's market, but I remembered my aunt's offer to pick her berries while she was away. True, we spent some gas getting to my aunt's place. But it was on the way to the hardware store, which we needed to visit anyway. Also, you may note that the individual crumbles were cooked in the toaster oven, so we used less electricity to cook them, and we didn't heat up the house so much. I froze the raspberries we gathered yesterday so as to prevent spoilage in this delicate fruit. They'll get used later for some other special treat.
Frugality, for me, has nothing whatsoever to do with deprivation, want, or lack of pleasure. It's much more about creativity, and to a lesser extent, trading cheap convenience for a sense of adventure, self-sufficiency, and accomplishment. We ate very well last night. (Our dinner was a dish of pasta with our garden vegetables, eggs from our hens, and a tiny bit of leftover cooked bacon.) It didn't cost us very much, but it was delicious. We went to bed with the satisfaction of having fed ourselves from our own labor.
I live on a 2/3 acre homestead in a residential neighborhood. A major goal is to demonstrate how much food a non-expert can produce in my particular climate and hardiness zone, with the soils native to my immediate area. We have gardens of annual and perennial plants, keep laying hens and honey bees, and regularly bite off more than we can chew. Another major goal is to pay off our mortgage as fast as possible. Here I blog about frugality, self-reliance, gardening, cooking and baking, food preservation, practical skills, half-baked experiments, and preparing to thrive in a lower-energy future.