Desperation does not have pride and, when you are desperately trying to achieve something financially, dignity is usually dispensed with as you try to stay on the side of the fence where the "haves" people live.
I was definitely on the side of the fence where the "have nots" lived but I had clear goals to change this and saving money was one of these goals. Unfortunately I needed a car to travel some distance each day for work.
It is strange how an association of ideas can completely colour your perception. I had just finished milking the house cow when a friend turned up with a friend of hers that I hadn't met before. We chatted in the kitchen as I processed the milk and washed the buckets and here was where my concepts took a change. My friend's friend spoke in a shocked tone ... "Are they old nappy buckets?"
Well, yes, my milking buckets are white nappy buckets. I bought them from the Plastic Box, they were cheap, they have well-fitting lids, they are pure white so I cannot get them mixed up with any other bucket, they are easily washed in the kitchen sink and they withstand boiling water being poured over them.
Not all that many years ago I was working at a nearby village school and every Tuesday a Fresh Fish Van stopped outside and we would all go and get our selection. Being a lifestyleblocker I eat the most delectable meat possible ... prime tender beef, tasty milk fed pork, manuka smoked bacon and ham, flavoursome lamb and hogget ... but I don't grow fish.
Resourcefulness. A transferable skill that poverty stricken people hone to a high level. I recently spent a lovely weekend learning how to make Homesteaders Cheese and I came home ready to race into it. A round of the cupboards fished out most of what I needed but a cheese press floored me. The lady I had learnt from had beautifully handmade, highly glazed pottery moulds with matching 'followers' and she had several polished stainless steel weights for the pressing process. $$$ signs everywhere! Once her cheeses had been pressed, they were placed to cure in a very large hanging Camping Safe which I'm sure would have set me back at least three weeks worth of groceries. So ... thinks...
Talking about Xmas. Yikes! It's upon us!
For me ... not a problem. I have been a 'Commercially Free Xmas Zone' for years. All of my friends and family know this and respect me for it. It was a little tough to begin with but a few years ago it was something that simply had to happen – I couldn't afford Xmas as it was. Now a lot of my friends and family embrace the idea and the creative ways they think of to get around the no commercialism bit astounds me.
Don't get me wrong. I celebrate Xmas. I over eat, I drink too much, I indulge in lazy days visiting and lazy days having visitors. Middelmost is decked out with festive cheer, goodies over flow, the animals are spoilt etc. etc. It just doesn't cost me much.
I called in to see a friend and found her on her hands and knees planting sunflower seeds - she had an ice-cream container of them.
I said, "Moses, that's a lot of sunflower seeds!"
She replied, "It's my Xmas money."
Well, that made me perk my ears up … Xmas money … friend explained over a coffee.
Don't you hate it when you think you'd made enough jam/pickle/chutney/relish to last to the next season … and you hadn't. My fault. I learnt to make Mozzarella Cheese this year and, therefore, had made lots of pizza and mousetraps and other yummy stuff that required tomato relish.
Lo and behold, a bunch of family were going to be turning up on their way to the ski-field … no tomato relish for the lunchtime pizza and no tomatoes in the garden at this time of the year!
Thank goodness for a friend who had called in to grab a bag of tamarillo from the citrus garden. Her advice saved the day - "Use tamarillo instead of tomatoes. The result will be just as nice". So I did. I saved myself a trip to town and everyone was really impressed with my out-of-season fresh chutney.
Here's my recipe, it makes up well using the red tamarillo or the golden ones … enjoy.