August 8th, 2009
Those of us attempting to live on what was a shoestring budget even before the Great Unending Recession/Depression have probably been watching the large insanity of vacationing Congresscritters attempting to hold Town Hall meetings with their constituents back home with some bemusement. It’s no secret that the WingNut Network [a.k.a. Fox] and Hate Radio pundits have been inciting their faithful dummies to riot, since this has been ongoing ever since they lost the election last November in a big way. Between the clueless idiots who can’t believe a black man is a real American citizen (or that exotic Hawaii is actually a state) and the Bermuda shorts and gray hair crowd shouting “Keep the government OUT of my Medicare!” one really does have to wonder if maybe there’s something in the water making people lose what few IQ points they might have had back in kindergarten.
Some of us also know that going to a doctor regularly if you aren’t actually sick is not wise, thus are probably better off if we don’t suffer some chronic condition with our very limited access to the health care system than we might be if we had annual check-ups and the ability to demand whatever drug is advertised on television nightly. While it’s a sad truth that ~50 million Americans have no access to the health care system – and that’s an insurance issue – I haven’t seen anybody talking much lately about the health care system itself, which just happens to be the third leading cause of death in the United States.Conscious Living, Economic Recession, Elitism, Health Care, Inflation, Nutrition, Politics, Prescription Drugs, Surviving | Comment (0)
March 5th, 2009
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports its latest unemployment figures as of January 2009 as 7.6% of the workforce, compared to 7.2% in December of 2008. We all know that jobs are being lost by the hundreds of thousands across the nation. We also know that these statistics account only for those workers who file and are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Which makes the real unemployment figures at least twice as high, now more than 15%. That’s definitely edging into ‘Depression’ territory, and there will be no let-up any time soon.
Whether or not you qualify for unemployment benefits – which aren’t enough to pay the mortgage for most people – if you are out of work you and your family probably qualify for food stamps, or what is now termed by USDA as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]. The Social Security Online website also has good information about eligibility for food stamps, and we most certainly hope that readers of this weblog aren’t too proud to make good use of this program if they find themselves in need. You may hope that another good job will soon be offered, but don’t let your family go hungry in the meantime. DO something!Conscious Living, Health Maintenance, Joblessness, Nutrition, Shopping, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comment (0)
November 10th, 2008
The election is now over, the Neocons and their operatives at Treasury and the Fed are doing their best to loot the nation completely before power changes hands, and the citizens are collectively holding their breath, wondering just how bad it will get, thousands of jobs disappearing every week. The Grinch may well have succeeded in stealing Christmas this year – looks like we won’t have Circuit City to kick around anymore.
As the economy falls (for everyone but the oil companies, who are enjoying record profits as usual), the prices of just about everything keep going up. The most primal of our needs is food, and how we will survive the depression without sacrificing our health, our weight or our taste buds is a question many families are beginning to struggle with.Alternatives, Conscious Living, Economic Depression, Garden, Grow Your Own, Nutrition, Recipes, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comments (6)
July 24th, 2008
Awhile back this blog featured a three-part series on Necessary Household Basics for keeping a clean house by concocting your own soaps, scouring powders, metal polishes, starches, fabric fresheners, bug repellants, etc. The list of ingredients were all common, inexpensive substances like salt, vinegar, borax, baking soda and corn starch. Saving serious money on soaps begins with saving the last of the bar soaps (and motel bar-lets) and turning them liquid by dissolving them in water.
Part 2 of that series offered some easy recipes for making the useful products. Like making an excellent metal polish by mixing vinegar and salt into a paste, or a fine scouring powder by mixing borax and soda. And of course, if you haven’t enough liquid soap to produce the laundry detergent or diswashing soap, you can always go ahead and purchase a jug of good ol’ Dr. Bronner’s organic liquid soap for making your mixtures. It’s not the cheapest of ingredients, but it’ll certainly go a long way! The money savings are significant all around.Alternatives, Clothing, Conscious Living, Environmentalism, Health Maintenance, Surviving | Comment (0)
May 28th, 2008
Clean, Green Living in 3 Cheap, Easy Steps
Part 2: Keeping Things Clean
In Part 1 of this 3-part series I listed some basic ingredients to purchase that can do double or triple duty in your home cleaning, disinfecting and treating small first aid issues while saving you big money and at the same time NOT polluting your home or our collective environment.
In this part of the series I’ll list some easy recipes for mixing your basic ingredients into useful household products. This doesn’t take a lot of time or heavy effort, and can be done on a weekend afternoon easily once every month or two (as they get used up), or mixed on the spot for particular jobs.
In The Laundry Room: Everybody must do laundry. Whether or not you’ve got an infant in diapers (cloth is best!) or small children who love to make mud pies, or older kids who sweat a lot, or just working adults who must wear good clothes or uniforms daily in their jobs, you’re going to have to wash clothes. And while the price of food and gasoline keeps rising out of sight, most people already know that good laundry products are a significant chunk of change out of the budget.
I mentioned in Part 1 how to make liquid soap out of the dregs of bars that melt all over your tub and sink by just putting them in a container with water and letting them dissolve. That’s good hand soap that can be put into a dispenser, but can also provide the basis of laundry soap if you’ve enough of it. I have a friend who must travel for her job, and who collects those little motel soaps through the year, gifting them to me at Christmas so I’ve got sizeable baskets of rock-hard teeny-soaps still in their wrappers. I use these to make liquid soap, and liquid soap to make laundry soap. Alternatively, you can use Fels Naptha laundry soap bars, which are inexpensive and go quite far. The three bar package can make about 6 gallons of laundry soap, which should get most households through at least that many months even if there’s a lot of laundry to do! Ivory soap bars or flakes work very well for baby laundry, and is still among the least expensive of basic soaps you can buy.
Continue reading »
May 20th, 2008
Clean, Green Living in 3 Cheap, Easy Steps
Part 1: The List of Ingredients
Now that it’s late May, it’s time to stock up for the summer – and our many summer visitors – on things like bug repellant (we really do live in the Deep Woods), anti-itch solution, insect sting remedies, poison ivy treatments, cut and scrape treatments, etc. The basic summertime First Aid Kit, all ingredients of which will be used as regularly as the usual household cleaners, deodorizers, detergents, polishes and disinfectants get used all year round.
Might as well get items that do double or triple duty as household cleansers and disinfectants as well as personal skin and hair care products too. I’ll use this post to make the basic list of things to buy, and later posts will give specific recipes and hints on how to use them to best advantage. And the best thing about these products? They’re Green and Eco-Friendly to boot!
Baking Soda: It all starts with good old baking soda. You can purchase generic or the primary name brand we recognize (Arm and Hammer). It’s cheap either way, and the same product though generic will tend to clump and solidify quicker and easier. Compared against the multitude of specialty chemicalized products you could be buying to do many of the same tasks, you could save hundreds of dollars a year with a cleaner, fresher house and a healthier family to show for it!Alternatives, Conscious Living, Do It Yourself, First Aid, Green Living, Recipes, Shopping | Comments (6)
April 1st, 2008
Perhaps many readers have become aware of the looming worldwide food shortage, there was a story on NPR’s The World just Monday night (March 31) about rising tensions in the bread lines of Egypt. London’s Guardian reported this past November that the crisis can be attributed to climate change (crop failures and ag diversion of rice and wheat crops) and fuel shortages – both the increasing price of petroleum fuels for transportation and agriculture as well as the diversion of staple food crops like soybeans and corn toward biofuels production.
Soaring grain prices are now exploding into full-fledged food riots in many corners of the planet, while Americans are stunned by rising prices every time they go to the grocery store. As of December, 2007 the UN Food and Agricultural Organization reported that 37 countries face immediate food crises, and 20 nations had imposed some form of food-price controls. Reuters lays additional blame on panicked speculators trading on global futures markets in the wake of recession fears fueled by the increasing defaults among Wall Street’s investment banks and stock market gamblers.
But there is hope on the horizon, particularly for those of us who were smart enough to purchase diesel powered vehicles, despite the ruinous and increasing costs of gasoline. That hope is a new source for producing biodiesel (which can run the entirety of our transportation system, including passenger cars if GM can be persuaded to come off their new diesel they’ve been sitting on in joint patent with the EPA).Alternatives, Biodiesel, Conscious Living, Economic Recession, Energy, Fuel, Green Living, Staple Foods, Transportation | Comment (1)
March 25th, 2008
Ford Prodigy, cutaway view of a ‘concept’ car we could someday be able to buy… maybe. Or not.
The 100 miles per gallon car. One that carries four adults, has all the safety features that protect in accidents but weigh a lot. Peter Diamandis’ X Prize Foundation has turned their focus from space travel to automobiles. The automotive X Prize went live in April of 2007 at the New York Auto Show with a $10 million award to the winning designers of a production-ready vehicle capable of exceeding 100 mpg.
It’s not that hard to get 100 miles per gallon if you don’t mind a seriously “minimalist” vehicle. Heck, if you make it lighter than a motorbike and gin it up with solar cells, it’s not that hard to get 1,000 miles per gallon (downhill, with a tailwind, driver lying flat). But the solar cell idea isn’t that bad, now that we hear there are new plastic coatings that will generate even in low-light situations. And what about a hood scoop to use the wind of forward motion to help charge those batteries too?Alternatives, Biodiesel, Conscious Living, Conservation, Economic Recession, Energy, Fuel, Mechanics, Transportation | Comment (1)
February 27th, 2008
Part 2: Items 6-10
This is the second installment of the 20 ways to live on little-to-nothing. Obviously, not all of these alternatives will appeal to everyone. But perhaps some will appeal to some.
6. Personal Housing for the Gypsy Tread-Lightly
If your lifestyle doesn’t require thousands of square footage consider the advantages of an RV or travel trailer. No, not one of those $200,000 new fancy jobs, but one just “big enough” and in desperate need of some handy TLC.
Getting “free” will take more ingenuity that most people have to spend, but getting “cheap” is entirely possible. Unless you’re a serious mechanic, travel trailers are a much better option than RVs or old city buses that probably need totally rebuilt engines. A trailer can be moved as regularly as necessary (many state and national forest sites have 2-week limits) so long as you’ve something to haul them with.Alternative economics, Alternatives, Conscious Living, Economic Recession, Energy, Housing, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comments (2)
February 12th, 2008
Easy ways to save money and conserve energy at home
In addition to the good ideas in this video, there are other things you can do through the year to save energy. For instance, I use the gas grill for canning in the summer. Canning is an energy-intensive project even if you grow your own as I do, which can make your home grown cost more than just buying canned goods at the store. The gas costs less than electricity, heats more efficiently (it’s nearly impossible to get my canner boiling on my electric stovetop!), and it’s outside – doesn’t heat the house.
For all-day type soups, stews and beans from dry in the winter, I put the pot on top of the wood stove instead of in the crock pot or on the stove. Cooks just fine, doesn’t boil dry if it’s covered adequately and set properly, costs nothing!Filed under Conscious Living, Conservation, Energy | Comment (0)