Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is Scottish Independence Near?

I already mentioned why I think Scotland should vote to free itself from Great Britain. Well, that vote is coming up on September 18th. Not long.

And now the Queen has spoken. 

Queen Elizabeth has been supposedly careful to maintain her neutrality...after all, she loves Scotland, spends a lot of time there at her Balmoral estate, etc. etc. So did her ancestor, Queen Victoria. But that doesn't necessarily mean Victoria's decisions have always been in Scotland's best interests. (Nor have Elizabeth's, frankly.)

So what did she say? 

"Think very carefully about the future."

"But the popular British monarch didn't indicate a preference on how Scots should vote, carefully maintaining the neutrality that is her constitutional obligation.

Still, some may interpret her comments as a suggestion that Scots looking to embrace independence should be cautious about severing Scotland's long ties to the United Kingdom, which date back more than 300 years."

Uh-huh. Why would you expect to hear her say anything different? Why would the British monarchy want to give up a lucrative property...especially when it sets a precedent for other valuable chunks to start agitating for independence, as well?

This may be just the beginning for a very interesting state of affairs for England.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Autumn!

No ifs, ands or butts.

(Photo from Kicks1015 via Facebook...)

Headed to teach my first Memory Quilts class for the Canyon Quilters in Sedalia this morning. It'll be at the Sedalia Firehouse Museum from 10-2... come join us!

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Fall

We're back to warmer days, after our first snowfall last Thursday morning. It was hardly a scraping down here in the flatlands, but the mountains got more. Evenings are cooler, though, and the plants are definitely slowing down. 
    Here in Colorado, we get two autumns: first, the mountains burst into golden flame in mid- to late-September. Then we get a warmer gold, orange and (if we're lucky) red-tinged landscape in early to mid-October. 
    I love this time of year.

Eleven myths about famous tv shows. (No, peanut butter wasn't used to make Mr. Ed talk. It was a piece of plastic under his tongue.)

35 photos (and stories) that give some hope in this big weird world. Like this one:

The Montana senator who (apparently) plagiarized his thesis -- and had it snap back on him years later.    Our Hero was forced to drop out of his political race -- poor baby.

Dare to be disappointed -- you may actually succeed better because of it! (From Making Sense of Cents)

Running a business out of a shoebox -- and making $10,000 from it. (From Vox.com)

Jason Mraz is planning on retiring at 40...even though he's currently making big bucks on his "Yes!" tour.  Admirable.

Six ways to make a platform bed with storage - easy. (From Apartment Therapy)

The "Simple Dollar's" plan for cheap, healthy foods..."if you take away one lesson, it’s that the best way to eat cheap and healthy while keeping your stomach full is to eat a variety of things, focusing on fruits, vegetables, beans, and rice, and using your grocery store’s weekly flyer as a guide." Even better, he's also given a terrific recipe index on his personal:

Best Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes.

Chinese Coleslaw -- with ramen noodles! (From Brown Eyed Baker)

Living in your car, to pay off debt? One of Get Rich Slowly's readers is doing it.
     If you're thinking about it:

The top ten cars best suited to living in.  (Yes, I know this is weird. But thought-provoking...)

The checkbook -- an endangered species. (From yours truly via Midlife Finance)

Have a good week. Come back later for the second half of my "Save Money on Your Food" handout -- and even better, Daughter #2's Bigfoot (we think) experience. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bits and Quips from Mark Twain

...bless his little heart.

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. Now suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.   (Seems particularly fitting, while we're in the grip of the upcoming elections...)

There is probably no distinctly American criminal class, except Congress.

His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there's scarcely a hole in it anywhere.

He is useless on top of the ground; he aught to be under it, inspiring the cabbages.

Take the lies out of him and he'll shrink to the size of your hat; take the malice out of him, and he'll disappear.

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and less trouble.

Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest.

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

It's not the parts of the Bible that I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts I do understand.

A banker lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.

If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do, you are misinformed.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.

The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after, he knows too little.

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

(Thanks, The Hypertexts.com...)

Saturday Musings

This is how I feel.

Ever since Karma, Daughter #2's dog, has been staying with us, I now have three pairs of eyes staring hopefully, instead of just two. Three doggy butts to scratch, three heads...and you wouldn't believe the race to be the first one outside at morning and night. Exhausting.

This is Karma, by the way. And yes, our Colorado mountains really do look like this.


Karma goes home tomorrow. Angel and Keith have been bow-hunting for elk...but no shots, so far. They did, however, hear something odd one night that A. thinks might have been...wait for it... BIGFOOT! (Or at least "the freakiest thing I've ever heard out in the woods." Her words, by the way.)

I'll tell you more, once she gets back. Meanwhile, there's half a cord of wood to stack (we got it in Denver today), and appraisals to send off. We actually got snow Thursday morning, but you wouldn't know it -- everything is back to green and warm.
     Go figure.

No, this is not a Bigfoot-ess

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Punterest (Groan)

Saving On Your Food Budget, Part I

Monday night, I gave a talk about ways to save on food to my local group at Creekside Bible Church. It was  a great way to solidify techniques and ideas I've been using for decades. Wanna know? Part I is here -- and stop by for Part II. It will be out soon.

*How much can you spend…and should you spend it all? I don't think you should. Keep yourself on a budget, and you'll have extra to pay off debts even faster. Over the years, our food budget has ranged from $25-50 weekly, depending on income and availability.

     One thing I've learned over the years -- spend a little more on quality items, and you'll never regret it. At worst, you just use a little less. Examples: real cheese vs. Velveeta, b utter vs. margarine (new studies are saying it's better for you, anyways), Ghirardelli chocolate chips (Hershey's too, in a pinch) vs the generic stuff. 

      Save on the basics, and you can afford to save on luxuries!
Do it yourself...or get your food from the person who does.
    *Grow your own veggies, even if it means growing greens in a windowbox. 
    *Hunt and fish -- and take advantage of the fresh protein. (The Brick is already having fun planning his upcoming hunting trip the end of next month.)
    *Consider small animals or chickens. I've talked plenty about our chicken-raising...and for some years in our old place, we raised rabbits for meat. 
    *Buy your veggies and fruits from a farmer's market -- or even better, from the farmer him/herself.
    *Right now, when garden and orchard produce is cheap, buy a lot -- and preserve it! Peaches, for example, can be washed, put in bags and placed straight in the freezer. (Use them semi-frozen for smoothies, crisps and pie.) Canning isn't difficult...and the sight of a deep red jar of tomatoes or golden-hued jar of peaches that you canned yourself...beautiful. 

BARGAIN RECIPES   (generally serve 4…but can often be stretched to serve more)
Breakfast Burritos:  For each – 1 flour tortilla, mix of refried beans*, choice of meat (cooked sausage, ground meat, bacon), choice of veggies (chopped onion, green pepper, tomato, etc.), cooked chopped or hashbrown potatoes. Add a tablespoon of green chili, salsa or leftover chili, then top with grated cheese – fold, then wrap in foil or store in individual sandwich bags. Freezes well up to 6 months – nuke 1 min. and go!   (Good made in bulk)         
 *canned pinto, black, kidney beans – or cook your own and mash lightly, adding any meat drippings.
Vichyssoise:  Start with 6-8 cups of chicken stock,  then simmer 4 large chopped potatoes, 1-2 sliced leeks – blenderize until smooth.  Serve warm or cold, topped with a spoonful of cream or sour cream.
Porcupine Rice:   1 cup uncooked rice, 1 lb. (or less) ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork, 1 can green beans, 2 tablespoons onion soup mix (or 1 tablespoon soup/1 tablespoon steak sauce). Brown rice and meat together, then add seasonings and beans, and simmer gently for approx. 20 min., until rice is cooked.  
 Options:  substitute or add more veggies (leftovers?), use 1 can mushroom/celery soup, add sour cream.

Blogs:  Poorgirleatswell.com, Moneysavingmom.com, Frugalupstate.com
Helpful Books:  Tightwad Gazette, More-With-Less Cookbook, Cookbook for Poor Poets, Good Cheap Food, any Depression era cookbooks or memory books