I have no real illusions, except in my very darkest moments of depression, that we are not far better off than many people in this economy. Day to day living requires careful economy, and we certainly don't get to have everything we might like, or even some things we might once have considered essential. But we both have families who are in a position to help us out sometimes, and that means periods of sporadic affluence, where we escape the daily grind with a week of restaurant food, evenings out, and new clothes and shoes. And at the end of the week, we find ourselves with enough groceries to last quite a long time with careful management, and some luxuries to make life far more pleasant. A lot of people don't have any of that, and I tell myself again and again not to take it for granted.
My folks and my sister just left this morning, after they came over from the hotel to share breakfast with us and help me finish the tax returns. (Spoiler alert: we get a refund! Yay!) I found a wonderful recipe for blueberry pancakes that were really light and cakey and wonderful, despite the fact that I needed to let the batter sit for an hour before I could use it. I also parboiled and grated some potatoes, then made homemade hashbrowns by heating up the last of my pork fat, then adding potatoes, cubed ham, diced onion, and garlic salt and pepper. Simple and wonderful. I figure they bought us a ton of groceries, including lots and lots of amazing fresh fruit, the least I could do was share some of it with them!
Aside from food, we also got a bunch of other important items that tend to fall beyond our means. I got my favorite kind of name brand toilet paper, six months worth (with careful management) of dish-scrubbing sponges, new Dawn dish soap, plenty of trash bags, and a case of water bottles that will mean we don't have to buy new bottles for months. I also went out on separate occasions with my mom and mom-in-law and had what can only be described as a yarngasm. I have enough yarn in my stash now to keep me knitting till Christmas. In a few spare moments yesterday, I re-taught my mom how to knit, and got her started on a simple garter-stitch scarf. It's going to be pretty when she finishes it, and I know it will be nice when we go up there for Christmas and we can knit together.
My other very exciting bit of business is that we are back on track with the container garden! We got a little bit of money along with everything else, and I found out that we only spent 30.00 on electricity this past month, so there was enough available to buy the plants to make my garden! My mom and I went out and bought soil and containers, and she even got me one of those baby-sized greenhouses that you can use to start seedlings. We went simple and cheap, plastic pots from Lowes to supplement the ones I gathered together and borrowed from my mother in law. I've got herbs sprouting by the sink now, and a big bowl to plant them into as soon as they are ready. My tomato, cucumber, onion, oregano and lavender seeds will all arrive next week. My fruits, the strawberries, blueberries, and the dwarf lemon and lime trees will arrive next month, but I have pots ready already. It's going to be amazing. The weather today is miserable, but I couldn't be more excited about gardening.
The rest of today will involve sorting through food and making a plan for what we're going to do with all of it. I don't want any of the fresh fruit and veg to go bad, so I'll probably use a lot this week, then put the remainder in the freezer or in the dehydrator. It's going to take time to get everything organized, but I'll take a picture when it's done.