~ Texas Homesteader ~
It’s been raining for weeks here in NE Texas. Everything is a muddy mess. EVERYTHING!
Yes, it’s true that we’ll be begging for this moisture when the summer months come. But whether it’s no rain or too much rain – neither extreme is desirable. I sure wish Mother Nature would get a little better moderated. But these extremes… Ugh.
So today’s 5 Frugal Things is aaaaaall about how we’ve saved money, even with such inclement weather. Come along and see the 5 frugal things we did this week to save some cold, hard cash.
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So. Much. RAIN!
When I say it’s been wet, I mean lots of water, y’all! It was so wet that native critters better found out in the pastures were making their way up to (and INTO) the house!
RancherMan had to relocate a rat snake that was hanging out on our back porch.
Um, NO Mr. Snake. I love the job you do keeping the mouse population in check and all, but you may not hang out on my back porch!
Let me tell ya, these *Snake Grabbers have certainly paid for themselves in being able to safely capture and relocate non-venomous snakes.
And last week we also found a scorpion inside the house. Now it’s not unusual for us to find a scorpion or two in the house each year. But our free-range chickens usually keep them in check.
But this year’s hens haven’t been able to free-range yet since my plants have not been able to grow enough to defend themselves against the chicken’s scratching. (again, because of the rain).
Note: The scorpion was one of the largest ones I’ve ever seen inside our house, and no he was not relocated…
So you may wonder with all the inclement weather, how is it you still have 5 Frugal things to share with us? Well…
1. Chicken Yard Is A Muddy Mess!
As I mentioned, it’s rained almost every day for nearly 2 weeks. So the chicken yard is a muddy mess, y’all.
Just going out to release them from their enclosure in the mornings, cleaning out their nesting boxes (chickens poop a LOT!) and keeping them properly fed, collecting eggs, etc. was a full-on mud-covered waterlogged whipping!
I needed a way to allow the chickens to get themselves out of the mud and a way for me to be able to tend to them without copious amounts of mud on me too. Then it occurred to me…
Remember a few weeks back we received a large mountain of wood chips from a tree-trimming company? Well I’ve been using those wood chips primarily for thick layers on the walkways in my garden. It’s been so nice to have a weed-free and dry surface to stroll around my (waterlogged) garden.
But now I’m thinking about using those chips in our chicken yard too. Why not? We have them, they’re FREE, and they’re tremendously effective at putting a little space between me and the waterlogged ground.
So I loaded up some 5-gallon buckets (because it was way too wet to run a full wheelbarrow through the yard) and dumped the wood chips around the chicken’s enclosure. I even dumped some in the bottom of the chicken coop itself to help their droppings be less of a problem between cleanouts.
I’m happy to say it’s worked beautifully. The chickens have really enjoyed scratching through the chips too so there was little reason for me to do any spreading. I just dumped a bucket on the ground and went to fetch another bucket full. Fetch/Dump/Repeat. The chickens did the rest. For FREE!
2. Buy Western Wear On Sale
This week I had jury duty. RancherMan offered to drop me off at the courthouse, as he mentioned that he had some errands to run in town anyway.
Truth be told he probably timed the errands so that he could drive me to court. Yes, I’m spoiled. And yes, we really DO like being together that often!
Anyway, while he was waiting on my call to pick me up, he ran several errands. One such errand found him at a farm & ranch store where he was searching for new boots. He’s hard on his footwear because he’s one hard-working RancherMan.
He found two pair of name-brand boots in his size on a ROCKING sale. RancherMan just couldn’t believe his eyes at the price. So he got to wondering – maybe he should buy both pair in his size, keep one and sell the other on ebay.
They were on a good enough sale that he should be able to recover the price paid for his own boots by the sale of the other pair. And both he as well as the buyer would come out ahead since they were so inexpensive. So he did and the boots sold quickly.
This is a case where saving money this week actually started with spending money, but it worked out well for us. If those boots hadn’t have sold he would still be able to wear them since they’re a favored brand and his size – he’d just put them back until the current pair started wearing out. Oh RancherMan, you’re so clever!
3. Too Many Bags of Lentils
We were offered several bags of lentils for free. I’m not sure what to do with lentils, we don’t typically eat them. But free food is always in our budget. So I happily accepted the gift and sat out figuring out what to do with them all.
We eat lots of beans/legumes in our typical diet, but RancherMan wasn’t as fond of the tiny size & almost mushy texture of the cooked lentils. OK, let’s see how we can make them crispy.
So I cooked another batch of them and drained them well. Then I sprinkled a little salt on them and roasted them until they were crunchy.
I really enjoy these crispy lentils sprinkled on our fresh crispy garden salads that we try to enjoy with our suppers each night. Kinda like a healthier version of the crunch you’d get from croutons I suppose?
Roasting Lentils For Crunchy Snacks
But again RancherMan still wasn’t wowed. So I cooked up another cup of lentils and roasted the cooked lentils seasoned with salt and dehydrated jalapeno. Maybe I could offer this to him as a healthier snack than traditional chips & such.
He was more receptive to the lentils prepared that way, but still wasn’t wowed. I still had one more thing I wanted to try to do with them.
Maybe Crunchy & Sweet Roasted Lentils?
I cooked up another cup of the dry lentils, this time with some sugar & cinnamon. My thought was that when I make pumpkin granola for him, he loves me to make it as crunchy as I can get it. Maybe if I can get these lentils sweet I can mix them with my granola next time I whip up a batch?
After the lentils were cooked I melted a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, and added ¼ cup honey & 2 teaspoons of cinnamon & tossed the cooked lentils in the mixture to coat them.
Into an oven set to about 400 degrees F to get them to crisp up. I stood there the entire time so as not to get distracted and end up with a smoky charcoal-lentil mess! LOL.
This one appeals better to RancherMan’s sweet tooth, so I’m able to at least prepare some of them this way.
Although firing up the oven 30-40 minutes a whack to roast lentils has pretty much passed its season since temps are starting to really heat up. I’ll put a couple of bags back for this purpose in the future. But what about the others?
Other Uses Instead Of Wasting Dry Lentils
I decided to check with my extension agent to see if we could use a small amount of these dry lentils as animal feed.
He reported back that it should be fine to feed our cattle as long as I started with very small quantities and only worked up to about a lb per head per day.
So if I absolutely can’t get RancherMan to eat all the lentils we have, I’ll still make sure none gets wasted!
4. Drying Clothes When The Rain Just Won’t STOP!
Well, you know, it’s been raining every stinkin’ day! So our laundry has really started to pile up. We own a dryer but we rarely use it. Although if necessary it stands ready to be used, I much prefer for environmental reasons to air dry our clean clothes.
With no opportunity to dry clothes outside for days on end, we resigned ourselves to drying them inside instead. We brought out the *Folding Clothes Racks that we have set aside for just such occasion.
I simply bring those racks out and set them up in our guest bedroom. That way if unexpected company stops by we can close that guest bedroom door to hide our temporary laundry-drying stations.
(taps on forehead) Not just a hat rack, my friends….
So we’d wash a single load each day & lay our clean, wet clothes across the racks. Then I turned on the ceiling fan to make sure everything dried quickly.
The next day the dry clothes were folded and put away as a fresh load of laundry was laid out to dry.
5 Inside Tasks: Decluttering & Selling on eBay
Whelp, we’re gonna be stuck inside, I suppose we should put our cabin-fever selves to good use! We went around the house decluttering, as we often do.
But it’s been a while since our last decluttering endeavor. You know how it is – things sneak back in slowly over time if you don’t stay on top of it. We try to Declutter and STAY Decluttered. Since we had time on our hands, we decided to do another round of decluttering.
Many things were boxed up to be taken to the thrift store when we get to town next. But several things were listed on ebay to sell for a little extra cash! We sold a couple of watches, some nicer jeans and more. Cha-CHING!
What about you? What are your frugal 5 this week?
*See The 5 Frugal Things Series HERE*
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Where in NE Texas are you? I’m between Longview, Mineola and Tyler.
We’re NE of Dallas. But I think we aaaaaaallllll got this much dang rain! ~TxH~