Erin's self-sufficiency blog

Dedicated to sharing my efforts in radical homemaking, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and general craftiness on a very, very small budget.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A few items

We got up to a few exciting things this week. First, my husband and I made ginger beer. We fermented some ginger and sugar in water. Then we made a syrup with more ginger, sugar, and water. Next we added the two together and put it in pint-sized jars. We were going to do bottles, but to get the right kind of bottles would be $40, and we didn't have that to spare right now. They are currently undergoing their secondary fermentation. We put them in a rubbermaid tub with heavy stuff on top. This is because I heard many stories of ginger beer exploding and sending glass shattering everywhere. I hope that if they do explode, they at least won't damage the apartment (or us). We will be sad to lose that ginger beer though. We are really looking forward to it! We're not big drinkers but like a beer or a glass of wine sometimes. This way we get 10 pints from $3 worth of ingredients.

Today I made my own "maple" syrup. Not real maple syrup, which is what I grew up on, but sort of like Aunt Jemima's but better and cheaper. I've done this one before. I take some white and brown sugar and boil it in a little water, and then I add artificial maple extract. I'm not sure exactly but I think the whole thing comes to about $0.30 a batch. It's even cheaper if I make my own brown sugar, which I usually do, by mixing white sugar with a bit of molasses. That's all it is.

I have been very careful about trying to eat real food at every meal. Usually I make some kind of simple breakfast, with leftovers for lunch, and something for dinner. Today I made pork curry with coleslaw and rice. The curry mix was some of my spices and some spices mixed by the aunt of one of my friends. It was pretty good, and my husband ate it up, even though he does not like tomatoes. The coleslaw used some mayo that I had made earlier in the week, with some curry powder added, and then an all-natural dip mix added. So I "recycled" that mayo twice. I really enjoy making my own mayo, which again is about $30 a batch. Storebought mayo (and maple syrup, for that matter) aren't so expensive, but why not do it even cheaper and fresher?

I have put myself on a challenge of spending no more than $30 a week on groceries. In Canada this wouldn't have been possible but food is pretty cheap in the States, so you can save your money to spend on health care. It takes a lot of analyzing coupons, calculating, and sacrificing what you want now so you can have it later, or switching items so that you can have something that you couldn't normally have. I have figured out exactly what we're buying this week, and I am excited thinking about what we will make.

In clothing news, I have finished knitting a sweater and am seaming it now. The collar and the shoulder seams are finished, as well as attaching the arms to the body. Now I am trying to sew the sleeves together and close the body part. I have to unsew a bit because I did it unevenly and the armpit was going to be all lopsided. It's annoying to have to redo it but not as annoying as wearing something that I have worked on for almost a year to have it all weird. I was hoping I could wear it to church tomorrow but it doesn't look like that will be possible, unless I stay up until 5 AM finishing it. Oh well, there's always next week. Hopefully I'll be able to wear it when I volunteer at the museum next week. My supervisor saw me working on it and she was excited to see how it is going to turn out. She thought it was so cool that I could actually knit my own clothes. I think it's pretty cool too!

Finally, I made my own toothpaste today. I mixed baking soda and salt and a little peppermint essential oil. I mixed in a little water to make a paste. You can add glycerin too, but I didn't feel like going to the store. So that was my dental adventure for the day!

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