I have had a really good summer season and we had so much free fruit. My photos are some of the free produce we had this year, so far, which has been a huge blessing. Much of it is thanks to my Aunt. Also the Bay Leaves are from Mum's tree at the farm. The peaches were from a neighbours tree. They were going away, we knew that, so we asked if we could pick the peaches and they said yes!
I always keep a basket in the back of the car. You never know... I am always on the look out!
Several times recently I have mentioned and thought of the verse "she is like merchant ships, she brings home food from far away places" (Prov 31. 14) You know how you can read a verse a hundred times then one day something hits you about it? Well, I've been thinking on this verse and I keep seeing it in action.
Most recently I saw this in action in Pasty! She diligently checks prices and shops around and so it is not a big surprise she finds some amazing specials! Plus she does something else. Like Laine she prays before she shops! Well, she had a haul of specials that you wouldn't believe. I'll let you read about it here.
So what does the verse mean and how can we apply it? Firstly I notice "she brings home food like merchant ships" so it's "ships" not "ship". She is bringing home a lot of stuff from different places! Merchant ships still exist but back when this was written ships really brought back amazing and exotic things from different parts of the world you never would have even seen before. Very exciting possibilities! They provided a far greater variety than otherwise existed. Now the world seems smaller. Routinely we have so much choice! But the verse still applies and there are other ways of bringing home food from far away places.
We have online shopping. We can compare prices, products and details easily online and we can order things from just about anywhere!
We can compare around using the junk mail we get. Sitting and going through the catalogues updates us what is in our own area.
If we are travelling we can look for specials and specialities in the area. The simplest way is to ask the locals. Locals know! We do this with op shops too. Chatting to locals you find where the best markets, op shops, fruit and veg shops etc are. This is so helpful. We have come home with some amazing things, some bargains, some free. Last trip a huge basket of free lemons!
We can shop in different supermarkets, farmers markets, private fruit and veg shops and a whole range of places. Here in Adelaide we have a good wholesale huge warehouse called Giganis Bros. It is everything from cookware to beans, herbs, pasta, dehydrated products all at wholesale prices. (Bacon Street, Hindmarsh) This is a great place to stock up and save money.
Last week I mentioned how in Wendy's family all watch out for specials. Her husband does, her daughters do, together they all are on alert. This team effort really is a help. You can do this with family and friends, neighbours... you can do it online via Lasoo here in Australia (it is all the current specials catalogues), your junk mail, My Abundant Life as Wendy lists the best specials and where they are located, I follow a wholesale butcher on face book so I always know the specials (mine is Specialty Foods Thebarton, South Australia) Doing this you don't just widen your net you are increasing the number of fishermen!
When I lived in the country I knew a lovely Christian lady with five sons. This woman really was like the merchant ships. She knew all the best places to shop. When they went to Melbourne she knew a factory that sold pies direct to the public at amazing prices. She would take a huge esky (cold pack) and fill it and bring them home. She knew places in Adelaide, she phoned around the butchers and would get 50 kilos of mince meat at the best possible price and then package it into portions, she knew how to use Rain Checks at various supermarkets and shop in bulk. She also cooked non stop and timed the bread maker to be just finished as the boys walked in from school! She made giant biscuits on trays, instead of making 12 to a tray she would make 4 or 6 giant ones. Faster and sensible for big boys. She was one industrious woman. She decorated cakes to bring in extra income. I think of her so often. She shopped far and wide to feed her family. Once the boys were teenagers she had the expense of feeding six men.To do it she really used the merchant ships method.
All of this takes some doing. It is a priority. It might mean shopping in more locations. It might mean travelling further but doing it less often. I think there is something else. I think the idea of bringing food from far away places and merchant ships means this woman cared what she fed her family. It is not rubbish it is good food, good value. I can't imagine that after all these she wasted anything either. Cooking and storage and stocking the pantry for winter were all the next steps in this process as was helping the poor. We all know this all takes loads of work. Lots of diligence. Lots of reward.
When I lived in a country town the prices were high. I used to do a once a fortnight shop in a town an hour away. The first couple of purchases covered the petrol then as the savings were so significant. Then a couple of times a year I would go to a further away town. That one was an hour and a half away. But it was worth it. Of course you have to consider petrol prices when it's travel related and postage or delivery prices when it's online shopping. My favourite "free" way to do it is if you are in a different area for any reason then while you are there check out the shops, specials and prices if you can. Different areas just have different specials. Some places have factory direct sales, whole sale butchers, shops that sell seconds, road side stalls, pick your own produce... all sorts of possibilities! If you have a long trip you need to take then you can plan to do both things. This is mainly how I shop in far away places so I save petrol which has to be considered in your costs.
For many of us food prices are just going up and up. And for many of us incomes have become less reliable. Or both of these at once. And many of us feel the need to be prepared and be prudent.
In our pantry challenge we are doing our best to create a buffer between ourselves and hard times. We are storing up, preserving, preparing and stretching things the best we can. To do it I am sure we will do better if we consider this advise from Proverbs. Maybe there are possibilities that we haven't thought of that might help us in our food budget.
How do you maximise the amount of food you get for your money? How are you like merchant ships? I would love to learn more ways we can be like this. If it helps our food budget it will help our pantry also. Somehow I just know that this verse being on my mind so much is going to lead to some good discoveries!
Have a great week! xxx
The little birds...
If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.
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