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.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Vicky Challenge. More from Vicky's visit to the nursing home.

I was looking forward to my Vicky Challenge as last week had lots of things that came in and I knew would really give a boost to my savings!

These included all the lemons from Hilde. Lemons were $1.75 each in the supermarket. I had 44 huge lemons for free which equals a ridiculous $77 retail.  This makes me realise to use every lemon to the maximum! Thanks to Jes that also includes using the peels!
The crabs Andy caught were 2 kilos of Blue Swimmer Crabs value $44. Plus then also there is the saving of not needing other ingredients to make his dinner for two nights!
Others were 4 herb plants. Here a small pot of herbs is about $5 = $20
Op shop items I saved on = $60
Savings on buying meat from a wholesaler. $50.
I made four pizzas from scratch. The cost of the ingredients kind of meant I paid for one pizza and the other there were free saving $60.
I made all lunches =$100.
Packed the fishing day picnic = $50. (including drinks for the day)
I made four dozen fruit balls and froze them = $25
A huge potato salad cost very little to make and I gave everyone containers of it for the weekend. $20.
I made up a gift from items I had made saving $25.
All up it was a busy ad good week although I dint get any painting done!
I wrote $530 in my savings book.  Have to be happy with that!

Recently Vicky was telling us about her visit to a nursing home and the stories from the old ladies who
lived through the depression. Lots of you asked if Vicky could share more of these stories.

Canned Black Olives.

(The photos in this post are from Teri. She has been busy canning and making the most of every
 opportunity! I love seeing these! Thank you Teri!)

Peach and Nutmeg Jelly.

Over to Vicky:

I have been talking to old ladies and I do mean some of these ladies are very old, but they are living history! They have much to share if we choose to take the time to listen and to share with them as well. We can all enrich ourselves even just a tad bit from the past. And maybe some of it will seem familiar, but we can at least take heart that others have been there. 

I learned many different things from simple happiness, quiet hope to desperation to things done for sheer survival. It was a different time for sure, but I have such respect for all that lived it.

One of the biggest things I learned is that a woman can truly make a home anywhere and I think it is one of our greatest gifts. A dirty old chicken coop, an old boxcar, a little shanty or a crowded rooming house, apartment or house they all strived to do their best to turn it into some kind of home. 
They did it with very little and in very little space at times.

Ida: Ida was 13 when she married in 1929. She had her first baby at 14 then 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Ida is a whopping 100 years old and has seen many things come and go and lived through many times of good and bad. 
Being such a young wife and mother especially during the Depression she had to grow up fast. When she got married they were gifted 2 chickens, a tablecloth, a few bed sheets, some dishes ,cooking utensils, some canned goods and $10. At 13 she felt rich! 
Ida and her husband who was 17 although young were very resourceful, they moved from here to there while her husband looked for work and finally settled into a shanty that they built from whatever they could find. To others it was crude and ugly to Ida it was their first home and beautiful and she endeavored to make it homey. They made furniture from what they could find that was free boards and fruit crates. She found a pretty teacup that the back half was broken so she put it on a shelf and only displayed the front. 
Money was hard to come by and when they could make some they did what they had to and then did all they could to make the meager amount last as long as possible and not waste anything. They were very resourceful as most were back in the day. 
Ida was given a few tomatoes and a small bag of green beans. She saved the seeds from the tomatoes and dried a handful of the beans so they could grow them the next year. They lived more on a country side so they foraged. They picked Dandelion greens, berries and nuts. They would spend hours shelling nuts and she would trade some of them. They picked apples and dried them on a bed sheet. She said it didn't matter what they looked like it was cut up and dried. They would pick wild onions for weeks because they were so small it took hundreds to fill a bag, but pick them they would and she dried the tops for flavoring and used the little tiny onions for various things. Anything edible that they could add to the table was harvested. She said food wasn't plentiful for the poor and so many people were near to starved that they would fight over trash. And although they didn't starve they were never stuffed either. When they had any money they always bought food. She served a lot of baked beans and bread or biscuits a rabbit here and there. A man they knew helped them make a wood stove and because their shanty was so drafty it was never warm and her babies were always sick with "the cold" so they stuffed newspaper in all of the cracks. When the chickens quit laying they ate them. And wasted nothing. Ida made it through and so did her family and when I asked her how she felt about this she said, "Well you just do what you have to do crying doesn't make it go away." "You usually don't find the blessings by sitting on you butt you work to deserve them." 

A lot of us probably wish we could ask out Grandparents questions and learn skills from them now. I learned a lot and was influenced enormously by my Grandparents but I still wish I could ask them more!  If you still have your Grandparents find out everything you can now! Write down their recipes and tips. Learn everything you can! They went through times we cannot even imagine! 

Cherry, Pear and Almond Jelly.

A lot of old time skills are extremely valuable. Life saving even in a crisis.  

Teri dries her own fruit to make my Christmas Cake!

How did you save and get ahead last week? I hope it was a good week for you! 

Fresh Salsa with home grown tomatoes, onion and garlic.

Fresh flowers from Teri's garden.

Most of the old time skills are big money savers. The more we learn the better off we are.  What did you learn from your Grandparents or maybe someone older who has taught you sometime in your life?
I had an older lady that was a big influence on me when the girls were small. Yes she taught me skills but her biggest influence was she taught common sense and wise priorities.  She also taught hard work and she was just very frugal and practical. Having people like this in our lives are such a help! 

Vicky is still visiting Ida. If you have a question you would like her to ask Ida please ask away! 

Thank you to Teri! It is beautiful to see what you have been doing! 

Have a wonderful new week! xxx


  1. I am having major trouble with blogger today! (in case you can't tell!) I have just given up and done the best I can with it not working properly! xx

  2. Replies
    1. Ahh I just gave up and used what I had there seemed to be no fixing it. At least its not just me! xxx

  3. Dear Annabel, I agree that we can learn so much from talking to the Elders in our community. They've lived through challenges that we cannot imagine, and it must amuse them enormously to hear our generation complain about minor inconveniences like a loss of electricity following a storm, when electricity was just a figment of someones imagination in their day! Teri, I'm happy to see you around too, and ever the good example to us all. Your preserves look divine. Thanks to you too Vicky for sharing Idas experiences. It's humbling to imagine that sort of life, isn't it. I always try to pick my Mother-in-Laws brain when we see her. She just turned 86, and is as sharp as a tack, even now. She was fortunate to be raised in a relatively affluent family, but like most, she too married young. Raising three boys was not what she expected (she of course wanted girls), but she did her best. I've gathered from conversations with her, that the thing she found most difficult, was finding time for herself, something we all take for granted these days. But she was always an early riser, and learned to make the mornings her own. That is certainly an example I've adopted and it's amazing what you can achieve in the hours before the rest of the family are up and about. I enjoyed a good savings week last week, and tallied up $350 worth of gifts, and another $250 on grooming for myself and my daughter, including haircuts and conditioning treatments, and manicures and pedicures. I found a new market where the produce and meat is very inexpensive, and saved about $70 on my food bill too. So a good week here as well. Have a lovely week Annabel, and well done! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I think our Grandparents (and their parents) would be horrified at peoples lack of abilities to take care of ordinary things and rely on everything ready made etc. Also mine would be unimpressed about credit cards as they were if you can't afford something you don't buy it. Its an interesting subject!
      Your gifts are beautiful plus the vintage items... I love that! On the weekend Chloe cut the back of my hair and I did the rest. She is a really good cutter so that was great. Yes big savings!
      I hope you have a good week this week as well. Many thanks Mimi, love

  4. Dear Annabel and Vicky, thank you for a lovely post today. I almost cried when I read about Ida and her resourcefulness. Thank you Vicky for visiting the ladies and for sharing a glimpse of their Grandma is 92 and has dementia so I try to ask her stories about her life as a young woman , my Grandma and grandpa had 10 children ( one boy passed away when he was one so there are 9 living children) . My gran is such a beautiful soul and I am cherishing every conversation I have with her.i visit gran as often as I am able.
    My Vicky challenge this week includes:
    5 Meals from my parents $50 savings
    Cooked vegetables ( extras as a side dish) from my parents$ 7
    Starting today I will be getting subsidised help with meal prep ( 1 hour twice a week) I will count today's in this weeks Vicky challenge and the second day ( Friday) in next weeks challenge. So 1 hour subsidised help is a saving of at least $23 ( I took what I pay off what it would cost privately, it is an estimate).
    I received my electricity bill ( I call it a statement because I am always in credit!) I pay 2 of my bills through centre links Centrepay service each fortnight out of my pension) my bill was less than I thought and I received $100 in discounts so I am counting $150 because the bill was $50 less than what I expected.
    I made another 15 cards this week , enough for at least two gifts of 6 cards in a pack with some stamps, envelopes and a pen. I estimate each card at $5 so 15 x5 = $75 saving.
    I had dinner at my parents one night in the last week, I was going to go home and buy takeaway on the way home , saving me $12 approximately.
    I received a lip gloss and a lip care pack , saving of approx $35.
    I had 2 hours subsidised cleaning thus week , $36 saving after taking off what it cost me.
    I received a code from the supermarket which will save me $10 on my next online shop simply for doing my usual fortnightly groceries. I was just lucky it was a bonus week .
    I received a free magazine using my loyalty card , the magazine came with a free baking tin. I estimate total value $25.
    I made up a gift for someone using my cards, saving of $50 for 10 cards.
    I had $16 of chemist rewards $ to use which bought two gifts for my niece for Christmas.$16 saving.
    I bought myself a little coaster/ plate to replace one I broke, it was reduced in price.$12 saving.
    I had at least 3 no spend days , for me to go out by myself taxi fares are $15 at least for the return trip to the shop and home $45 in transport saved and $80 food and drinks and spending saved.
    I made mini pizzas instead of buying pizza from a pizza place, saving me at least $25.
    I think I will stop there Annabel!, a total saving just for one week of $626 !, wow, that is my biggest single week total for a long time I think and there is possibly more savings!.
    Thank you again Annabel and Vicky , what lovely savings you have had thus week Annabel. Thanks Vicky , you write so well.
    Have a great week Annabel and everyone. I hope Jane and Bluey, Cookie and her husband, Teri and her son, Rachel and anyone else who has had a rough time are all going ok. Love Barb w.

    1. Dear Barb,
      What a great week! I am so glad you still have your Gran. I was very lucky I had two Nana's and one Pa growing up. Dads Dad died when I was four. All the others were big parts of my life and Chloe and Lucy's when they were little. I had them all until my mid thirties. Now they are all gone it is really sad and I miss them but they are not forgotten and all the work they put in is still paying off!
      Nana B lived to 94 but didn't make it to 100 but I have an aunt who made it to 104.
      I hope the help with meal preparation is a big help to you. That will be great.
      I hope this week is really good also. Thank you Barb for sharing your savings! With lots of love

  5. I just loved reading about Ida! How wonderful that she is still around! Sadly, both sets of my grandparents are deceased. I did inherit my love of frugality from my paternal grandmother though. She loved to shop yard sales and thrifts!

    I will have my full list of savings (I hope) on my blog tomorrow, but one thing I learned how to do (but haven't tried myself yet) is how to make throat lozenges. I'm very excited to try this as we tend to go through a lot of them this time of year!

    1. Dear Jenn, I think Grandparent have a huge influence on us. All my love of flowers and embroidery etc came from Nanna B, Dads Mum. All my crochet skills and knitting etc came from my other Nan. I am a combination of both! Even down to funny things like I love lemons and picking fruit. That was Nana B. She was a collector and forager for sure! Then she would cook up what she had gathered. Or make floral arrangements from flowers she had gathered.
      I will come over and read you blog tomorrow! With love ps have a good new week!

  6. Wow, Ida sounds like a magnificent woman. Honestly, it sounds terrible, but my generation have really high expectations. I can't imagine living through those tough circumstances. I bet Ida was a very loving mother and wife. Thank you Teri for sharing. I love hearing stories from the past, it really puts things into perspective to me. I would really love to hear more, if possible. About anything- her cooking, her Christmas, etc.
    Annabel, you have had a great week and I bet that was a short summary of your amazing savings!
    We have seriously had so many bills lately. Luckily we have had enough to cover it all...We also have nearly paid for half of our kitchen (just materials and fans to go)...But I was grateful knowing I have some presents for Henry stashed away. I also did a really small grocery shop last week. I have been tracking my grocery spending and it has come down, I'm so proud about that. We will need to get to the bulk butcher (great idea, Annabel) and also the Reject shop for toiletries, so there are more savings to be had. I also have been taking note of the bottom of my receipts for offers, in case I need to buy drinks for Christmas events/gifts. I need to revisit your different season menu plan series...and make up some salads. Love the idea of potato salad! Yum! So good to have a few salads in the fridge and then just have to grill some meats...
    I am also thinking about Bluey and Jane, Cookie and her husband, Teri and her son. Rachel, I hope your eye is better too.
    Lots and lots of love to all- Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      I am excited about your kitchen! I have noticed how Harper is so happy to play with simple things i.e. cups and bowls of water with spoons etc that you do now need expensive gifts at Christmas for it to be wonderful. Last week I found that little push along lawn mover and cleaned it up. Yesterday she "mowed" the front hallway and outside pavers back and forth for about two hours! Good value out of that considering it was free! She loves it!
      This butcher is a wholesale butcher that lets the public shop there. I hope there might be one up there somewhere. It is half or less of Woolworths etc and so far everything has been beautiful if not better.... I am amazed. Aldi meat specials are good too so I hope you get an Aldi as well.
      I have a post about salads that keep.... they are great as they go for several days and also good for lunch boxes etc as they don't wilt. Teri's salsa is a good one as it accompanies meats etc well and you can make up something like that and it is in the fridge ready to go. So I make enough for several days... really good in the heat.
      I hope this week is going well! We are getting so close to Christmas now! With lots of love

  7. Terri's photos are so lovely as is Vicky's conversation with Ida. I often wonder how people like Ida managed with so little. My paternal Grandmother was the youngest of nine and only had one sister. She told me how lucky we girls were. During the Great Depression Grandma and Aunty Claire were the bread winners in the family. Grandma was a milliner and Aunty Claire made gloves. No one left the house without their hat or gloves. Grandma spoke of how she and Aunty Claire still had to do all the cooking and cleaning, whilst her out of work brothers did nothing. This was the social norm of the time. Yes we girls are much luckier.
    I didn't keep a good track of my Vicky Challenge last week. What I can remember came in at $225. Knowing I cant remember is making me feel quite annoyed with myself. Perhaps this will be incentive enough to keep a proper record this week.
    Bluey is doing well, but not well enough for his own sensibilities. I am seriously thinking of knocking him over the head with a hammer in order to get him to slow down. Failing the use of a hammer then I threaten him with telling his GP. This has worked so far but I'm not sure for how much longer and the hammer might just have to be an option.
    Life is good( even if a tad challenging)

    1. Jane,
      You'd better use an inflatable hammer!

    2. No Rachel not inflatable. More the lump hammer variety as he is being so thick headed right now. To look at the positives in this, it means he is starting to feel better.

    3. Dear Jane,
      it sounds like Bluey is getting better! I know a little about what you are saying as my Dad was never very happy with any incapacities or any instructions to slow down etc.... my poor Mum!
      Your Grandma and Aunty being so creative is wonderful! I think you inherited this with all your sewing and crafts. I am sure this is how I ended up with needlework and a level of all things flowers... it is passed on!
      My Nan was the youngest of 13. She was tiny when she came home from hospital but she made it! Her stories were amazing!
      I hope Bluey is being good and you have a good new week! With lots of love

  8. Hi Annabel!

    Well, the wind is being a bit gusty here, so I am inside, away from flying sticks out of trees, and getting ahead here!!

    I love hearing stories like Ida's, and I'm sure I'd have a million questions once I got started!! I am interested to know what Ida's source of water was when they first lived in their little shanty. I smiled when I read, " .... dandelion greens, berries and nuts ..". I might have been born in the wrong era! The foraging and such was really informative. Thank you, Vicky. I am still interested in more stories!! There is so much to learn about helpful ways.

    Sadly, one set of my grandparents died twenty years ago. This Grandpa had Depression Era ways. He hoarded cheap tools, and had been known to include the chassis of a truck in the structural work of some building he did! I have never really had the opportunity of knowing my other grandparents. This other Grandpa died last year, at the ripe old age of 97. He had been a market gardener and chook farmer. He had owned the first Howard tractor to have been registered in New South Wales. Any old ways I discover are cherished. In my case, I learn much myself!

    I have really enjoyed studying Teri's photos of food - a favourite topic of mine!! After all, how do we get to see these things unless we see them?! During last week, I finally moved some home grown and treated olives of my parents into other jars. I simply used large op shop jars, sterilised and dried. On top of the olives and their solution, I had to put a centimetre (about 2/5 inch) of olive oil. I would like to check if Teri simply heat processed her olives to make them keep. Not being in peach country, I am reading Teri's 'jelly' combinations over several times. Mmmm, I think they could taste good! Peach and nutmeg!! It helps to have an imagination!! What an achievement to have dried all that fruit! Fresh picked salads! Home grown flowers! Home grown and home made should be wonderful medicine for your son, Teri. Lovely!

    Keep up your wonderful work, Annabel! You've got a good mob here!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      I believe Teri did process the olives. And that she did this to keep them longer. I love seeing things canned and produce from the garden. I am hoping to get peaches this year but it is going to take some luck as well.
      Vicky has currently been asking Ida about what was Christmas like so we might get to hear about that next.
      Your Grandfather did well to live into his 90s. I think you might have been born in the wrong era but I am glad you are here and now none the less! With lots of love

    2. Rachel, Thank you for the lovely comments about my olives, jelly, fresh salsa, and dried fruit. The fruit was mostly from my bottled fruit, which we dried several weeks ago until I had enough variety for that big bowl! (I made my cakes yesterday and they turned out wonderful)!! The jelly was a result of the juice I drained. Some of the dried fruit was already dried in quarts (apricots, pineapple, etc.) that I dehydrated and stored in jars a couple years ago.

      Your olives sound delicious! I've never cured and bottled my own olives. I used a pressure canner to process the olives from a #10 can. This will be an ongoing way for me to fill my pantry. Next, I am planning to try ketchup.

      The fresh salsa was made from tomatoes we gathered before the first hard freeze (which was a month or so ago), and ripened them in the basement. We took a big bowl to Jacob last weekend!

      My son is still in lots of pain. The seizure medicine is helping but he's still undergoing more tests. (another MRI last week).

      Rachel, thank you for all your lovely comments! I enjoy all, and learn from everyone! Teri :)

  9. Dear Annabel,I enjoyed your post and Vicky's visit with Ada, how well she coped through those difficult years making the best of everything around her.Wonderful!Alos Terri's photos , thankyou all.
    Jane-good you are on Bluey's tail ;-)
    I must confess Ive not been taking tally of costs here or elsewhere , life is keeping me busy in other ways.
    Looks like a few of us are pizza making hehe .I made two last night and as my grandchildren were tired my daughter took one home for their dinner.It cost me nothing really as I used up yoghurt I had and flour for the bases, and tomatoes in the freezer with 2 types of relish mixed all together covered the base.3 cheeses I had on hand, 2 slices of bacon leftover from Saturday, and shredded chicken leftovers from freezer,a piece of chopped red capsicum, and Paprika sprinkled over the top.Hubby said it was delicious and he had leftovers for today's lunch .Made two slices and shared with DD and a gf not so well. Other bits and pieces in the week I can't remember now as I did not sleep well last week. And would you believe I went to bed early last night only to be woken by that big quake !Thankfully all is okay here and with my local family.There's been odd shakes today but as Ive been busy not so noticeable but tonights ones are :-( tad unnerving. Hoping for a still nights sleep. keep safe everyone, with love Maria xx

    1. Maria when I saw the news last night I wondered if the quakes were affecting you. Good to know you and yours are safe.

    2. Thanks you Jane, yes , we live in the bottom of the North Island so feeling a few more shakes than further north.WE managed a reasonable night's sleep, just rain all night and this morning has left main road in the Wellington areas closed and the Main highway North . Im not far from a very flooded roundabout intersection where traffic North transits.At this point My husband can't get home , nor my daughter at this point but it's clearing at the moment so fingers crossed.I pick up my little grandchildren on Tuesdays (today), as their mum works late .
      Love Maria xx

    3. Dear Maria, Feeling the earthquakes must be very unnerving. I don't think you would ever get used to it. But I am so glad you re all ok. Some of the pictures on the news have been awful.
      I love your use it up and make your own base pizzas! I think these are really fantastic and the more bits and pieces the better! They are expensive in the shops and ours are better! I have net made the yoghurt base for a while as I had yeast but now I am out of yeast I will go back to those again.
      I saw some towns are cut off also re your comment to Jane... I hope everyone gets home and the roundabout is cleared. Not easy! With love

  10. A productive week as usual Annabel. Ive been looking through Jes' E book that I bought and printed out and am quite amazed at all the things that can be made. The most exciting thing for me is that I have narrowed down two cabinet makers for my kitchen. The first came out Saturday morning and in two weeks we get to go and see a 3D design of their proposed kitchen. He also wanted to quote on the butlers pantry but I said no, just the kitchen. The pantry will need to be done afterwards because I want to see how the kitchen works.

    Oh dear, Bluey please listen to your good wife. No point in wearing yourself out and getting too ahead of yourself.

    The story of the old ladies is just lovely isn't it? I bet they shudder when they hear of credit card debt and consumer spending.

    Have a lovely week everyone. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I love having that book printed! It is going to give me lots of things for very little right through summer.
      It will be wonderful to get your new kitchen! A butlers pantry will be amazing! I know you have waited a while for this! I can't wait to see then end result! It will be beautiful.
      I hope you have a good week Fiona, with lots of love

  11. Dear Anabel,
    It is indeed a blessing that Vicky is sharing Ida's stories with us. I'm looking forward to reading many more installments. I really enjoyed seeing the photo's of Terri's canned goods. I was particularly interested in the canned olives and was wondering if they're something that is recanned from a bulk supply are have they been canned fresh.

    I learned so many valuable things from my grandparents. Love of gardening came from my paternal grandmother, as well as food preservation, cooking and sewing. She had an incredible green thumb and if she saw a rose bush in someone's yard that she'd like to propagate, she thought nothing of knocking on that person's door and asking if she could cut a slip from their bush. It would be brought back to her garden, stuck in the ground and a mason jar put over it to create a green house. Soon she had the beginnings of a new rose bush. Both grandmothers were very waste not want not and cooked everything from snout to tail.

    As for my Vicky Challenge this week, I did save a little. A lot of baking got done. I baked a ,crumb cake that sells for about $5 a square at the deli, cut it into 12 squares. $60 saved. 3 dozen chocolate chip scones, $45 saved. Made tomato sauce from garden tomatoes - $10. I did very well on some additional pantry stocking. The biggest deal was canned clam chowder (hubby's favorite) which when not on sale is $2.49 a can. If you bought 10 cans it was 75 cents a can with a best if used by date of 2019. I bought 10 cans and saved $17.40 cents. I'm planning to go back for more. I also got 10 cans of vegetables for $3.90. All meals were eaten at home and if eaten out or had carry out we would have spent at least $250
    I made sets of drink coasters, hot pads and placemats for some Christmas gifts using only my stash, saving at least $75. I put $365.90 in my book this week.

    My husband is doing well and we'll see the surgeon for the first post-op visit this week. Blessings. Cookie


    1. Cookie, it would be nice to see your crafts! I hope your husband has some good jokes for the surgeon!

    2. Dear Cookie, Teri's olives she canned from a gifted big can of olives...that much I know.
      Your Grandmothers sound fabulous! I just realised in my list of inherited things I should include love of chickens! One of my Nans had chickens all her life. She loved them!
      Your cooking is beautiful! That was a lot too. And your bargains to build up your pantry were great especially when its things that are favourites. I would get more too at that price!
      I hope the coasters, hot pads and placemats are in the next show and tell as they sound really interesting to me.
      It is very good that your husband is doing well. I hope the surgeon is very happy with him.
      Have a great week Cookie, with love

    3. Cookie, the olives came from a #10 can that was gifted to us. We shared some but had too many to use at once. I had read on Patsy's blog (A working pantry) how to do this, so gave it a try! I will be re-canning from a #10 can much more often. (You do need to use a pressure canner). Ketchup will be the next thing to try!

      So grateful to hear the good news about your husband!! Teri :)

  12. I so enjoyed Ida's story. They were so young, but such troopers! I can't imagine such poverty.
    Like everyone else, I learned much of my lifestyle from my grands. I lived with them for several years. My grandma worked non-stop from 4am until 1pm, sitting only for meals. Then, she sat to watch her 'stories'...soap operas! But, she wasn't idle. She crocheted, mended, whatever. Then a 20 minute siesta and back to the kitchen to prepare dinner. The dear woman never stopped!!

    1. Dear Debby, What gets me is how different things were only 100years ago or less.... even how things were 50 years ago is so different to today.
      Your Grandmother is the same as mine plus my Mum. Sitting down does not mean stopping you just keep going on your knitting etc and this is why they produce so much. It sounds like you learned a lot which is wonderful. With much love

  13. Thank you for these wonderful stories. I love them all. I so miss my paternal grandmother. She taught me so SO many wonderful things. She was a great gardener. Her front yard was all flowers and her back yard was all beans and tomatoes. And she lived in downtown Atlanta, GA. USA. I tell people that she was an urban farmer before such things were cool. lol

    My paternal grandfather thought women could do anything men could and taught me to fix electrical wiring, and plumbing. I can still do all that stuff and taught my husband, who had a dad that believed that you had to hire someone to do that stuff.

    For people who still have your grandparents, I have a Christmas present idea. One year, while my paternal grandmother was still alive, I did a This is Your Life book for her. The family members contacted all of the people she'd known for years and asked for a story. We collected all her best recipes and combined a bunch of the pictures from over the years. I made copies for every adult in the family and had them bound. Everyone loved them, and my grandma said it was the best present she ever received. And now, I can go back through it any time and feel as if I am touching my grandmother all over again. It also had the result of collecting a lot of her stories, skills and best ideas for every one of the family members.

    1. Dear Cristy,
      Your Grandmother was great! They would laugh now at people thinking to grow food in their yards, not waste stuff, recall and not use plastic bags etc as they did all that anyway!
      Your gift idea is really good! Collecting memories like that and getting them written down is a wonderful idea. Memories are lost if not written down! I bet she loved it!
      I think recipes and tips written up are brilliant. Even a hand written recipe could be framed. I love that!
      Many thanks Cristy! With love

  14. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    Thank for the very interesting and encouraging post! I enjoyed hearing the stories from the older ladies. My mom would have been 100 in March. She had a lot of stories she shared. She taught me to sew and crochet and lots of ways to repair, reuse and stretch or make do. Our home was also filled with love and laughter.

    I thought my savings for the challenge wouldn't be much, but I was surprised to see $369 in savings!

    In our garden, the little, yellow pear tomatoes made it through the summer and are producing some now that the weather has cooled down. The mint and basil are doing well. The sweet potatoes won't be ready for a bit, but the vines are thriving. Some of my roses didn't survive the heat, but those that did are beginning to perk up and bloom again. I've split some geraniums to have more plants, transplanted some vincas that came up on their own and purchased a few plants from the nursery to have some color again.

    One of our biggest savings of $163 was getting free samples of my husband's most expensive medicine from the doctor.

    We have been watching our utility usage and we're pleased that the monthly cost has gone down $37 for the next quarter.

    Most of our meals have been at home. We were able to combine coupons and gift cards for a couple of meals out. I made a large pan of chicken enchiladas which made two meals and a few servings for the freezer. I estimated $48.

    I hope you all have a good week and I will continue praying for the needs expressed.

    Love from Arizona

    1. Dear Elaine, Your Mom sounds like she was beautiful! She created a wonderful home.
      It was fantastic to get free samples for some of your medication! That is actually a very good tip. It wouldn't hurt any of us to ask if there are samples available.
      Your savings were really good! I often think that I haven't done much and then when I write it down I realise it is heaps more than I thought!
      Have another great week Elaine, with love

  15. I love stories like this, Ida's life would have been hard but she wouldn't have had it any other way. I learned a lot from my grandparents and aunts. My Aunts never married and still lived in the house their father built. They lived without electricity for most of their lives then they only had a generator to keep the fridge and freezers cold. The generator went on over lunch for an hour or 2 and then of a night once dark for lighting and eventually tv. They milked cows and so did we, they then separated the milk from the cream so they could make butter and that was done every day rain hail or shine.
    They used everything and never wasted a thing. They made everything from scratch including whitewash paint for walls and things to kill ants and bugs. Their recipe book had all sorts of things in it and I would have loved a copy. I went missing when they passed away and the person who took it wont let us copy it. I wanted to have it printed up so all of us could have a copy and what a great keepsake it would have been.
    They worked hard from Daylight to dark and never complained. They lived that way till they were in their 80s and my dad still does a lot on the farm and he is over 80. They were definitely hard workers and most people these days wouldn't keep up with them.
    You are doing great with your savings and the total for the year will be amazing.
    Have a great week Annabel. Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie, My best friend in my old town was an older lady. She had two sisters who never married and lived together always. They were very similar. The three sisters were so close. Very sadly they have all passed away now. When one did the other two followed shortly after. it was so sad. I miss my friend terribly her name was Rhonda.
      What a shame you couldn't get your hands on that book!
      Good on your Dad! You are right, most people would not keep up with them! My Dad is almost 80 and he works full time on the farm and no one can keep up with him. The young ones don't have a hope. Keeping going is their secret too I think!
      Thanks so much Debbie, I am looking forward to find out what you are crocheting now! With lots of love

  16. I really enjoyed Vicky's post. It reminded me of my mom. When we were growing up, we were very poor. We didn't have an indoor bathroom until I was in high school. We moved a lot because my dad would move us where the work was. I remember my mom getting wooden apple crates and making us closets and stackable shelves to put our clothes on and people bringing us fruit. My mom always had a big garden and she canned and canned to feed all 7 of us. My mom is gone but she grew up in the depression and I remember stories she told of living in a old chicken coop with her parents and 11 siblings and how they foraged for anything and everything. I too wish I had listened more to my grandparents and parents. Thank you Vicky for the posts. Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula,
      Your Mum and Dad sound like they worked incredibly hard! I love your Mums gardening and canning to feed all of you.
      You must write this down about her growing up with 11 siblings and how they lived. I would love to hear more about that too. Foraging was big as Ida also mentions. Very interesting. You have a very rich history. Thank you for sharing this Paula, with love

  17. Hi Annabel and Vicky,
    This has been such an interesting post. Ida's story is amazing - it's hard to comprehend the hardship these incredible women underwent. When I read their stories, I can't but feel how privileged we are and how often we take this for granted.
    Both my grandmothers were very resourceful - my paternal GM build her own home from second timbers she'd sourced (my GF had health issues as a result of being gassed in WWI), while my maternal GM could make a meal from practically nothing, both we masters of preserving.
    Thank you both for reminding me to stop whinging about a few loads of washing that need doing in the automatic washing machine!!

    1. Dear Janine,
      I feel the same... how could things have changed this much in less than 100 years? Its hard to imagine.
      It sounds like you had wonderful Grandmothers!
      I can't even imagine what all our appliances would have meant to people a couple of generations ago. They truly are handmaidens really! With love

  18. Annabel you are finding the joy Harper gets from simple toys - children are just as happy with the box and wrapping paper rather than the gift it contained when they are little.

    I have an 85 year old neighbour who has shared parts of her life with me - she lives a few hours from us and comes down to the family holiday home (on the corner next to us) when she can. I love spending time with her and hearing about how things were when she grew up - initially in a tent with a dirt floor. Her family don't seem to want to hear these things which I think is a real shame.

    The house my husband's great grandfather had was where my mother in law and her family lived when she was growing up. They obviously were better off than many others from the stories I have heard - great grandfather was sent money from overseas on a regular basis which allowed him to sail around the world a few times, family in tow. Just this weekend my husband told me about great grandfather's room that no one was allowed to enter - his sister remembers passing the open door one day. She spotted beautiful cedar furniture and expensive dinner ware. No one used it and of course when he died it all disappeared.

    My mother in law brought up 5 children on very little money - my father in law was a returned service man and was lucky that his health care was looked after by the government. They ate good basic meals, with dessert (pudding) every night and the baking tin full. I was given a copy of her cookbook last Christmas - she had it copied and made into a cookbook.

    I loved Vicky's post - I love hearing about the old ways and days - so much less stress around and even though the doctors frown on butter and sugar when you look at the food we eat today with all of the chemicals in it I feel that the old ways are far superior.

    Looking forward to more posts from Vicky and her talks with Ida.



    1. Dear Lynette, Your neighbour sounds like a lovely lady. Her living in a tent with a dirt floor reminds me that I know an old man and he grew up in a hut and instead of mattresses they slept on a kangaroo skin stretched out between for stakes in the ground. That was it! This would be 85 years ago or so in south australia. There were a lot of kids too.
      How did things change so much so fast?
      Your husbands Grandfather sounds mysterious! I wonder what happened to all that dinnerware and his things?
      It is really lovely to get all those recipes! They sound like they had a pretty good life too. I think that was a great Christmas gift!
      I think that the old diet had nothing artificial or chemicals or science experiments and was much healthier! Nan stacked on lard and meat and so on and never had a sick day and made it to 94 and suddenly died then but they mainly ate vegetables, eggs etc and never wasted anything... and worked hard!
      Vicky is writing up about Christmas for Ida when they had no money etc so that is coming next!
      Have a good week Lynette! With love

  19. Great job on all the savings this week everyone! Thank you for sharing Ida's story Vickie.Such fun to talk to women with so much life experience. I really enjoyed the visit you had Vicky. This is a link to Great Depression cooking with Clara. She is a doll,Her grandson filmed her when she was in her 90's. She also has a cookbook and DVDs. You can also just Google "Great Depression cooking
    with Clara. She has many stories of how they did things then
    on You Tube.
    That is great that Harper enjoys mowing. I bought my daughter
    real small vacume for Christmas when she was two. She loved to use the dust buster and it really picked up dirt.
    Lots of love

    1. Dear Patti, I just love Clara! She has a book out now too... also sadly she has passed away now. I love her videos! We can learn a lot form her! Thank you for posting that link!
      Harper would love a vacuum. Anything that she can push a long seems a big hit! With love

  20. Teri,
    Thank you for sharing pictures of your beautiful canning.
    It is so beautiful. What a good idea to add spices to preserves.
    Love Patti

  21. Dear Annabel, thank you so much for sharing my pictures. Canning is so much fun for me! Also, thank you to all you lovey ladies who commented. I enjoy trying new ways to fill my pantry. The jelly and Christmas cakes will be part of the baskets we are putting together for Christmas. (all my baskets are found at thrift shops)!!

    Also, Annabel, you had a great week and wonderful savings! I love all those lemons, and seeing the picture of the blue crabs! You are so creative! My cakes are baked and taste just delicious!! I will be packaging them with bows (like you)!

    Thank you Vicky for sharing Ida's story! I have watched cooking with Clara videos in the past. All such great information. My old cookbooks also are a great resource! I love hearing how others lived through the depression, and lived so long to share with all of us!!

    Have a wonderful week, everyone! Love, Teri :)

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you so much for all these lovely photos! I loved seeing them and so did everyone! They are a glimpse into your life too. I am so glad you have had al this lovely produce plus flowers!
      I noticed I have quite a few Quinces coming on my tree and quite a few apples... plus what I think are crab apples. So that is something!
      I really love old cookbooks. Making wholesome food from basics we have on hand... no expensive ingredients and no complicated stuff! They are really good.
      Thanks so much Teri! With love

    2. Teri,
      Thanks so much for directing me to the info about recanning #10 cans. It makes so much sense to put them into smaller containers. Blessings. Cookie


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