Farmers Markets are on our mind because we're really wanting some fresh produce. Our own Summer plants are still just seeds waiting to sprout, or 3 inch tomato seedlings. The carrots, radishes, bunching onions and greens will go in the raised bed this week, but couldn't do it before now with all of the weird weather and last week's blizzard.
- Make a list of what you need and want, but keep an open mind!
- Determine the best way to find yard sales / garage sales / tag sales in your area (craigslist.com, newspaper ads, bulletin boards, etc.)
- Plan an entire day around garage-sale-ing
- Plan your route according to the list of garage sales. This is where mapquest or yahoomaps comes in handy.
- Gas up the car, gather your cash (people don't have a way to accept credit cards and most don't like taking a chance on checks), grab some bags or boxes (in case there aren't any there), and go!
- Be ready to barter; keep in mind that these people want to get of this stuff, and don't really want to haul it all back inside.
- Examine every bit of the sale. There might be some great tools tucked in back!
Take a look for these things:
- canning supplies
- little red wagons/wheel barrows
- scrap wood
- cast iron cookware
- supplies for sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, spinning, etc. (yarn, fabric, needles, etc.)
- reference and school books
- camping supplies like sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.
- lanterns and oil/kerosene lamps
- glass or other jars that can't be used for canning but can be used to store dried beans or dehydrated foods
- electronics that can be used for parts
- hand-crank coffee grinder
- mortar and pestle
I never get yard sale stuffed toys (too hard to properly clean - could have lice) and shoes (wear patterns could mess up your feet).
What was the last great find you got at a yard sale or garage sale, and how much did you pay for it?
- walk or bike to work
- take the stairs instead of the elevator
- use a reusable bag instead of getting plastic or paper shopping bags
- mow the lawn with a body-powered push mower instead or an electric or gas mower
- eat a fresh no-cook meal today (instead of taking out from a fast food place or cooking on your gas stove)
- gather all of the recycleables (gas bottles, aluminum cans, etc.) in your neighborhood and take them to a recycling place
- start a petition to have your trash pickup include recycling cans and recycling pickup (ours is every other week)
- don't watch TV tonight - play a board game or take a walk after dinner
- A 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization blamed meat production for 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, so make a vow and start today with never eating meat again!
- Inflate your tires to the proper measurement; that will help you save on gas
- Inquire about getting a "smart meter" for your house - helps you better track where you power usage is.
- Use energy-saving appliances
- Plug your electronics into power strips, then turn those off. Remember, even if a item is turned off, it is still pulling electricity in from the wall socket, whereas the strip will stop that pull.
Make today and every day count - for you and the future of your children's health.
Hubby did it the first couple of times, showing the Tween how to do it. We really didn't have much grass, and what we did was pretty dead. Lots of thatch, mixed in with a sparse bit of green ... house was in foreclosure for 18 months so no one took care of it. One day when Hubby was out mowing the front strip, our across-the-street neighbor sauntered on over.
"Hiya. Don't have much grass, do ya?"
"No, not really."
"You don't have much money, do ya?"
Taken aback, Hubby answered, "What?"
"Well, you got this cheapo mower thing. You need to borrow my lawn mower? It works great. I just ask that you replace any gas you use."
"No. thanks. We prefer this."
"Really? It's a lot of work."
And on and on it went. This from a man (the neighbor) who is maybe 5'3" at the most, drives a huge diesel truck although he never hauls anything, makes his wife shovel snow from the sidewalks although he's home all day and she's not, and mows his lawn at 6:00 AM in the summer. Methinks there's a compensation issue going on there.
Oh, and it's the same neighbor that turned us in to the local authorities for that dead grass AND for not moving our car often enough, AND stole our alley-ers who almost took our tires which we wanted gone. AND he has apple and plum trees that he doesn't harvest, so they drop to the ground, inside and outside of his fence, where the ones that collide with the sidewalk, smash and stain and stay there until a neighborhood child experiments and gets a sick tummy.
Ooops, I got sidetracked.
I guess the moral of this story is: don't be intimidated by people who think you're just being cheap because you have a push mower. We didn't. Actually, looking at the front lawn from my desk, it's about time for Tween to do the first mowing of the season.
Hmmm... I bet he can't wait until we get grazing animals! Well, at the new place.
Updated April 5 2009: We're in a blog carnival! Check it out at: http://www.bloggingguy.com/2009/05/carnival-of-homesteading.html
So much of homesteading is food. Basically, you don't grow your food, you either buy processed, chemically-enhanced foods, or you starve.
But once you meet that on-going need, you concern yourself with the other comforts of life, while earning enough money to pay property taxes, and purchase things you can't make at home.
I'd love to hear other stories while I work on catching on the posts of this blog. How do YOU homestead?