Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last year after our federal income tax deposited hubby and I visited Niblack Foods @ the Genesee Regional Market in Henrietta, New York. I wanted to stock the pantry in bulk with a food items that we use along with several that were new to us. One of those items is Textured Vegetable Protein made from Soy. I bought the unflavored granular version but it also comes in beef, chicken, & pork, as well as chunk form.

Dinner was a pasta sauce melody of Green Bell Peppers & fresh mushrooms both past there prime (food bank cast offs) along with an onion (on sale from Aldis), Italian herbs grown in the backyard this past Summer, and olive oil bought a few years ago @ Big Lots. Oh a quart of home canned tomatoes. Whole Wheat pasta was a barter.
Sometimes it takes many different techniques to put food on the table when money is tight.

The TVP was easy to cook I just added it to the sauce pot along with everything else then let simmer til done. No taste either way but it did of course make the sauce thicker which was nice. If I had known it was this easy to use TVP would have been on the menu years ago.

Diffidently going on my Amazon grocery list both as a pantry staple & as a long term prep item.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teaching a Virgin to Hunt

The old biblical addage about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish ...
Last week I accompanied Woodsrunner, out to the wilderness as I call it for a day of deer hunting. In reality we were less than an hour from our city lot in one of the many multi-use sections of New York State land the website lets you download maps to print as well as a Google earth link.
Notice the pine tree with the painted yellow markings ? Gang tagging ?

Besides just hanging out hubby was teaching me the skills of the hunt (virgin here). I'm a fairly accomplished semi-backwoods camper (I can set up a tent in five minutes while parenting three children under 4), having tent camped in several states and climates from the beaches of Oahu to California, mountain and desert. But my outdoor skills such as trail & game reading are pretty much none existent unless you count that I can recognize bear scat & coyote tracks.

An unseasonably warm Autumn day reaching almost 60° slight breeze hadn't rained in over a week.
If I positioned myself  just right in a dabble of sunlight all was right in my world. I was communing with nature, basking in the good vibes given off by my man, and reading my Kindle.
K, before you judge I wasn't actively hunting, sitting motionlessness for any length of time got old quick. Boredom sets in. Bad things happen when I'm bored.
Later after a lite lunch in the woods, husband found a nice spot where he could set up and I could lean up against a fallen tree. Yes, it was a good nap. No, hubby didn't bag a doe for the canning pot. Yes, I'll be taking my hunter's safety course so I can hunt next year. Yes, we've worked out a trade agreement for him to field dress anything I'd manage to shoot.

It's a powerful concept standing while one ...

As it turns out this is my 1st free homesteading tool bought on Amazon using my Swagbucks. I'm classifying this as a tool because it will allow me to do other homesteading "chores" more efficiently.

When I'm urban I keep a mental map of where the best powder rooms are along with the locations of public restrooms that fall under the gotta go NOW category. When your out & about via car it's no big thing to stop & go pee. On a bike it's a different story. Besides pedaling out of my way I may have to remove & bring in any items I'm carting around with me like groceries or fruit that I've gleaned. 

Product review for the GoGirl Female Urination Device, Khaki -
Worked like a charm except for a bit of operator error on my part, say it with me practice, practice, practice... Wonderful feeling of power overcame me fueled by the fact that I didn't feel a draft on my bum. As the oldest of five four brothers I have always been jealous. It was always such a big deal for me to to potty when we were kids hanging out in the woods near our house.

Husband found the audio portion of my testing unnerving but did appreciate not having to leave just to find the woman in his life a suitable public restroom. 
As the add copy says I can see using this for public restrooms instead of the old hover maneuver. 
I added a small sandwich bag filled with wipes and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer plus an empty bag to keep the GoGirl in after use. Everything fit neatly in the inside pocket of hubby's wool hunting jacket. 
If you're real picky add a couple of medical exam gloves.  

Worth the under $8 spent.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Modern Homesteading Mercantile a.k.a. 2nd Hand Store

Yesterday Woodsrunner & I headed out to rural Genesee County for a few errands. While there we stopped off in Indian Falls @ an awesome modern day homesteading mercantile. As the sign reads Your 2nd Hand Store.
For an urban homesteader, a fugal homesteader like myself it's like going to the mall with a pocket full of coupons and some change in my pocket. While this isn't a true mercantile in that I didn't see any food for sale for the average fugalista or treasure hunter it's a gold mine; cloth & sewing supplies vintage patterns, sick room equipment, dishes, pots and pans, furniture, appliances (more on that later).

There is the usual "antiques" which to a homesteader really translates into lifestyle tools. This hand cranked wringer would require both elbow grease to use & restore. The wood is solid on this model, surface rust only but the rollers would need to be replaced. I've often wondered if something like a rubber inner tube could be slid over each roller, a sleeve. Just something I've been playing with in my head. The hack would have to be of clean laundry quality of course.  

A lamp to read by - there were no Aladdin Lamps but plenty of good usable complete oil lamps, as well as parts to be had. Sconces & candle holders, wick snuffers too.

See anything you need?
 For a mercantile like this you should dress accordingly. Clothes that you can crawl around in. I also like to have a fanny pack or a nail apron (think waitress apron two big pockets), that I keep camera, note pad & pen, tape measure, baby wipes for hand washing.  If I'm shopping for a specific item like a lid for a fry pan I have those measurements.

Medical prepps

Good things come to those who search - hemo stats, cuticle scissors, tweezers. To the right was bar supplies like ice strainers & shot tumblers.

Sausage making - Breakfast, Italian, Polish, and yes even Blood. 
Manual meat grinders and a few that did more. The large one might be a cherry pitter. To the left is a container full of poultry trivets, cooling racks & toaster oven shelves. * Note to self bring camp oven to fit for extra shelves !

Valuable tool come Apple harvesting time.
Some homesteading tools are in mint condition minus the box. Notice the aluminum colored press? I didn't when I snapped this pic. Might be something I haven't realized I can't live without.

Stop, look, touch, consider with an open mind. 
Sometimes a homesteader's tools are hiding in plain sight. On this shelf was a Squeezeo style food strainer (center tool with wooden handle), four red bottle cappers, more manual grinders, and some shop tools.

I saw a few non-wire bail canning jars, huge selection of funnels & tongs along with water bath canners or pots that would work. No pressure canners but quite a few pressure cookers.

Next Saturday is shop small local biz day an add marketing campaign sponsored by American Express - FYI bring cash. We have always found everything here reasonably price so I've never attempted negotiating.
If your in the area stop by 48 A to Z. Please give Ginger the owner a shout out from me.

Do you have a favorite junk store full of hidden treasures ?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free Dinner almost

Last night while I was searching for barley (shout out to Diane) in my food preps I realized that I never did a product review of the SPAM With Bacon, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6) that I bought on amazon last month. So since it turned out that the cupboards are bare when it comes to barely but not SPAM here is last nights dinner & review. Mind you it's no foodies delight just a good hearty meal.

Feeling kinda wealthy with the house smelling like bacon frying.

Tins now open easier than the old days when you were SOL if the key went missing. I didn't notice any huge chunks of bacon but then again it's SPAM so it's better not to investigate to closely. No, I won't debate SPAM or hot dogs so please no comments about what is exactly in there. All I know is that I enjoy eating it now & then.Besides the upside of affordability, there's the shelf life & easy of preparation. The "I'm eating meat " factor that we enjoy. While we do eat like were vegan/vegetarian 3 or 4 days a week it's nice to experience not just be nostalgic about bacon.  

Everything on the plate except Woods homemade hot sauce was free.
After frying up the SPAM with Bacon, I peeled & diced what was left of potatoes that were gleaned locally then added a cup of minced onion, the last one from the garden. Hubby nixed the idea of adding a vinegar sauce (German Potato Salad) so I just seasoned with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper, fresh rosemary. The green beans were also gleaned & pressure canned by me. Daughter had a serving of warm home caned applesauce on her plate. Both of us shared a pot of green tea I bought on Amazon for free a few months back.

Woodrunner  is all Chard out, so he forbade me to add any but we could have also had a fresh tossed Swiss Chard salad from the garden with dressing. The fancy salad greens that I planted last month never took so it's all about the Swiss for now. In the 3 weeks since I planted the cold frame with mature chard it's filled out well.

The hot sauce was canned by me but made by Woods. Recipe is similar to a few of Rochester's famous - Sal's Birdland & Country Sweet only made with Splenda because of diabetic issues. All I know is that standing over the canning pot filling jars I have no sinus issues. It's that hot. I'd have to say that almost half of the ingredients in his sauce were grown by us. 

We both curtailed our carbs all day yesterday because of the white potatoes for dinner. A better choice would have been sweet potatoes but I cook with what we can afford or have on hand. Unfortunately sweet potatoes don't grow in New York otherwise I'd been gleaning them.  

I give SPAM with Bacon a thumbs up & am planning on buying another 12 tins before the price goes up anymore jumped 4 cents since the last order.

I have $ burning a hole in my digital pocket so to speak just got $60 in amazon gift cards from swagbucks.
As in years past we are planning on making holiday gifts so for now I'll continue to use my free money mostly for groceries.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, November 14, 2011

Resilience for the Gardening Soul

The 4 Amigos (Peppers) riding out a Western New York Winter.

I received this book from Cornelia over @ Homegrown.org  around this time last year in a giveaway. After having enjoyed and learned from the author's practical (we all know how much I adore practical) gardening wisdom I am passing this on to another gardener who will enjoy this book as much as I did. I'm not very good on writing book reports lets just say that this book touched my soul.

So yes, it is used (in mint condition) and if this offends you what can I say, this isn't the blog for you because the majority of my giveaways are regifts or items that I bought @ tag sales. So if your of the mind set of "well I never" I'd lay my last nickel that you have been the recipient of a regift.
Now more than ever but I digress.

If you'd like to learn more click on the title The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (how appropriate ) and use Amazon's search inside this book feature. There are also much better reviews than I am able to give.

Here's the rules for one entry each (please leave a separate comment for each method you use to enter) -

  • Become a follower of my blog, leave a shout out (comment) with your 411 google id & email addy, along with what type of gardener you are; cheaper than dirt green thumb, or embracing the concept of growing your own dinner.
  • Like me on facebook (pelenaka lopez) & post a link to Thirtyfivebyninety on your wall, then leave a shout out here on the blog with your 411 that you did.
  • Stumble my blog (35x90), give me a shout out that you did here on the blog. 
Giveaway dates are today Monday November 14, 2011 to December 11, 2011 2300 (11 p.m.). That will leave me enough time to wander down to the post office the next day and slip the package in the mail. 
In the meantime I'll see what I can come up with to sweeten the deal maybe some seed packets either commercial or from hubby's stash

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swagbucks Update

One of the big deals going on over @ Swagbucks is that they have doubled the amount you can earn clicking on swagtv from 75 swagbucks to 150 until the end of the year. Per swagbuck's blog a swagernault (peeps who swag) have the potential of earning 10,000 swagbucks.
To put it into "real life terms" that = $5 amazon gift cards x 5 for Nov. ($25) + $5 amazon gift cards x 5 for Dec. ($25) + if you add in 400 swagbucks a $50 gift card = $100 in amazon gift cards. Being a savy shopper coupled with holiday deals would mean a good haul.

Or the 10,000 swagbucks = $50 paypal + $25 paypal + $5 amazon gift card (with 5 sb left over). Spend a bit more effort transfer the paypal $ into your checking account then go grocery shopping or write a check to pay a bill.

Besides Amazon & paypal, there are gift cards for CVS (think bonus bucks/coupon stacking), Home Depot, Lowes, K-mart all of which can be printed out and used in person.

For now I'm sticking with amazon gift cards so I can load up my account balance. Murphy's law and all now I only have $10.96 in my amazon account I keep stumbling over some great grocery deals like Chicken of the Sea Tuna Chunk Light Water, 5 Ounce Tins (Pack of 48) which works out to 69¢ per tin free shipping & handling.

Amazon is also having a count down to Black Friday great food deals which means if you save on the grocery budget you can splurge on a few gifts or pay the mortgage as is in our case.

I'm 259 swagbucks away from my next $50 amazon gift card. That's a whole lotta tuna ...

If you decide to sign up please consider use this link as I get referral points for the first 1000 swagbucks you earn searching.

ETA: tomorrow is a code extravaganza which means that through out the day codes will be given out with a total value of 60 swagbucks or a bit worth 1/9 of a $5 gift card. With the news higher earning limits on swagtv it takes me about 3 days to earn a $5 gift card. Not including  my own search wins, referral's search wins, polls, tasks, or fb tie ins.

~~ pelenaka ~~