Copperwyre’s Blog

Stretching a Penny Until It’s Copper Wire!

Predators in the Suburbs

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on June 30, 2013

I have been struggling with remembering basic routines and everyday activities.  I think it’s due to trying to keep my blood sugar low, because I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.   At any rate, I’ve been exhausted and slow, both mentally and physically.  Last night, it caught up with me, because I forgot to put the ducks away for the night in their house.

A bit before five in the morning, the retriever mix lunged at the window and started barking.  I flew out of bed to find out what had upset her.  A fox was in the yard which is surrounded by a four foot chain link fence.  DH flew out of the bed, threw on some shorts and went outside.  The fox ran away, but the damage had already been done.  One of the ducks had been killed, only the head removed; it was one of the hens no less, so I’m down to one egg layer.  And it’s all my fault.  We also managed to scare off an owl that was in one of the bushes in the yard.  I need to work this whole mental acuity thing out before all the livestock are sacrificed.

I have to wonder at the medical community that would have me keep my blood sugar below 130 after I eat when it clearly does not work for me.  Last pregnancy, I was able to test two hours after I ate which seemed to work better.

Other news on the homestead, the kits are growing well on their all grass diet.  They grow more slowly this way, but grass is free and pellets are not.

The turkey poults are roaming the neighborhood, so we’re going to have to catch them with a fishing net and cut their feathers.  We never expected the turkey hen to hatch any of those eggs, so the four that we got were a pleasant surprise.  The fact that she won’t keep them in our yard is not pleasant.

My son’s babysitter gifted us with six tomato plants, so we have ten in total, none of which we paid for.  They seem to be growing along nicely, some of them with blossoms on them. While I was weeding around one plant,  I found two Swiss chards coming up.  Fortunately, I was paying attention and didn’t pull them up as weeds.

That’s about all for now.  I’ll try to post pictures of the potato and sweet potato plants soon.


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A bit of pretty

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on May 20, 2013

My husband cut these himself from a friend’s garden and delivered them to me at school.  Just made me the envy of the school and all the girls in my third grade class said how handsome he was.  roses  What  lucky girl am I?  Romantic and frugal! 🙂

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Sweet Potatoes

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on May 16, 2013

Yesterday, I managed to turn over a patch dirt in the backyard and plant some sweet potato slips which I had been growing in a window because they were pretty.  I made a teepee style trellis out of some leftover branches when DH cut down the pine tree in the backyard.  I lashed the three branches together at the top, burying the base into the dirt.  It looks very rustic and I’m sure it will be beautiful once the vines start growing up it.

I hadn’t planned on a garden this summer, because I had decided to try to sell the house.  Apparently, prospective buyers don’t like gardens or complicated landscaping.  As if I’d landscape. …  Anyway, situations have changed, again, so I will be here during the summer at least.

Unfortunately, I didn’t start any seedlings, but I have the sweet potato slips and some seed potatoes from the Sprog’s babysitter.  It gave me a start to the gardening season.  While I was pulling grass in the backyard to feed the rabbits, I lamented the lack of seedlings.   I looked more closely at the plants I was pulling.  Lo and behold!  Some volunteer tomato seedlings were growing in the middle of the weeds. 🙂  Funny how the Creator provides our needs, so long as we are paying attention. 🙂

Today, I hope to tranplant the tomatoes in a more logical place and start going through my seed collection to see what I can plant.


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Leftover Wizardry: Leftover Cheeseburgers

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on February 4, 2013

As frugal as I am, I don’t care for leftover hamburgers.  Typically, they end up dry and as palatable as a hockey puck.  I channeled this loathing into creating a new recipe.

Tightwad Hamburger Macaroni

2 boxes of Macaroni and cheese (yeah, not the healthiest)

2 leftover cheeseburgers

half a jar of leftover homecanned corn

cook macaroni in boiling water, adding the home canned corn, since it should boil for 10-15 minutes (accounts vary).  Drain.  Put everything back in the pot.  Over the macaroni and corn, crumble the cheese burgers.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Add the cheese packets.  (I didn’t add milk because I didn’t have any, but that’s up to you, of course.  We never notice much difference, especially if we have butter).

The exciting thing about this meal is that it fed DS and myself for three meals.  Of course, he’s only two, but still it’s a  fairly impressive feat.  The macaroni and cheese were 2/$1 (the absolute most I will pay for box macaroni and cheese), the burger (which was actually venison) was given to us, and the homecanned corn was gleaned from a gardener who was just going to feed the rest to her cows.  So the total dish cost $1.20 (say .20 for the butter), making it $.40 a meal.  Take that, $5 Dinners! I’ve got less than a $1.  Heck I’ve got less than $.50.

It’s the little victories. 🙂

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A ticket, a quickie meal and a clue

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on January 23, 2013

I had a hard day teaching yesterday, driving probably not as attentively as I should have been.  I apparently did not come to a complete stop at a three way stop, or so the helpful police officer told me before he handed me the $89 ticket.  Not that I blame him; it was entirely my fault, but it started a deluge of tears and angst.  I got home and didn’t feel like doing anything.

I avoided sitting down though, for once.  I started a fire in the woodstove; swinging the handmaul to make kindling is actually pretty good for stress relief.  Then, I drug myself into the kitchen where I made a quick meal of two boxes of macaroni and cheese, some chopped ham (which my FIL had given us for Christmas), and a half a jar of homecanned peas.  The boy ate it with gusto and it made me happy to calculate that the whole meal cost less than $2.00, even though there would be enough left over for dinner tomorrow night.  Win!

Somehow, that managed to fortify me a bit.  Instead of succumbing to feelings of anxiety and malaise, I then washed the dinner dishes.  Heartened by that, I started cleaning the livingroom which sorely needed it.

I guess this is the part of the Serenity Prayer I’ve been ignoring.  “Courage to change the things I can.”  I can clean a different room each night until I get the house clean.  Then, I can move onto packing and sorting for putting the house on the market.

While yesterday was not on my list of best days evah!, I can say I did learn something valuable from it.  Don’t wallow, just swallow and move on.

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Why I’ve come back

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on January 20, 2013

I have found that the world in general doesn’t seem to care about true frugality or being good stewards.  Or at least the population around here doesn’t seem to.  It’s difficult not to have anyone to share my triumphs and tribulations with.  The generally accepted practices are to shop for new clothes at sale prices and use coupons.  My lifestyle is completely different.

I raise ducks (8), a chicken,  and two turkeys in my yard.  I have two rabbits that I intend to breed together for meat.  I can my own fruits, vegetables, meats, convenience meals, and other assorted foods.  (Basically, as my DH says, I’ll can anything that I can get to fit in the jar.)  I bake my own breads and treats. I ferment veggies and cure meats. Food I do buy from the store comes from either an Amish store or a salvaged grocery store. I don’t have cable tv and can’t talk about the latest trash.  All my clothes come from secondhand shops and my son wears cloth diapers.

When I share my lifestyle choices with people, they tend to either feign polite interest or say borderline rude comments like “that’s disgusting.”  I used to try to educate people about frugality when they would complain about finances in the teacher’s lounge.  But I’m finding that they don’t really want to change or do anything that could be percieved as “work.”  They just want to bemoan their circumstances and go on as they have. Mind you, I try not to let it get to me, but it is disheartening not to have anyone to talk to.

Unfortunately, I let it get to me to the point that I had given up many of my favorite activies.  I started eating out more, even though we didn’t have the money to spend on such nonsense.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but our finances have gotten into a shambles, though some of it was out of my control.

I’m here to reach out to the community of frugal people who revel in saving money and resources.  Those who think that fermenting and canning are awesome.  Those who raise as much of their food as they can.  I need a place to crow and cry about homesteading in my woefully inadequate suburban plot.

And so, with a new resolve, here I am, back to share what I know and learn in return.

Posted in frugality, point of view | 2 Comments »

Sloppy Cheeseburgers

Posted by Penny Copperwyre on January 19, 2013

As frequently happens in my kitchen, I invented a recipe today. Or at least, I think I did.  I pulled some browned hamburger from the freezer; it was little less than a pint.  I had thought to make Sloppy Joes, but DH doesn’t like barbeque sauce.  In a stroke of genius, I decided to create “Sloppy Cheeseburgers.”  I made a cheese sauce then added the hamburger.  I found I had too high a cheese sauce to burger ratio, so I took a leftover piece of meatloaf from the freezer, defrosted it and added it to the mix.  Served on whole wheat hamburger buns that I baked this afternoon, it was delicious.  I’m thinking the leftovers will be great on some nacho chips.  The recipe that follows is particularly frugal in that I made the sauce with water, as opposed to milk.  Here you go:

Sloppy Cheeseburgers

2 TBL fat (I used bacon grease, but you could use olive oil, coconut oil, butter)

2TBL flour

1 cup water

2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)

Browned hamburger

Melt fat in bottom of a sauce pan or dutch oven.  Mix in flour, allowing the flour to cook for a bit to get rid of the floury taste.  Add one cup of water while stirring.  Continue to stir until all lumps are disolved.  Continue to stir periodically until the mixture thickens.  Stir in shredded cheese, allowing it to melt.  Stir in the browned hamburger and continue to stir until the consistency is about the same as sloppy joes.  Serve on hamburger buns or other bread.


Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did!

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