Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tightwaddery vs Simple Living

Ruthie summed this battle up best as she vented in the comments of my last post. To quote her:
Side one: the tightwad who stores things for later use, keeps all receipts, uses recycled materials for crafts, buys used goods and stocks up on things that are a good value


Side two: the simple-living, clutter-hating, purist who wants to live in a cleaner, emptier space with less junk and more things that mean something to me, even if they cost more.

Does that sound like any of you because it sure sounds like me. So what's the solution? I'm not sure there is an absolute solution. I think the key is to come to some kind of a compromise. For me that means only saving things that I can readily identify a purpose for and storing them in a way that makes them accessible but not underfoot.

To that end I've reorganized my yarn stash, and what a stash it is. I've stowed the whole bounty in a trunk that doubles as a coffee table. Within this trunk I've divided the yarn into four categories: cotton, acrylic, novelty and wool.

I know, how can a vegan have wool in her yarn stash? Actually the bigger question might be how can I have acrylic yarn in my stash, after all, its a petroleum product. Right now, the answer to both questions is because they were bought from a thrift store. However, if I ever run out of yarn, and it may take a few years cause I've got a mighty big stash, I lean towards buying recycled yarns from local sources or just doing the recycling myself.

BTW, any of your yarn mysteries can be solved with a match. If you light acrylic yarn with a match, blow it out and rub it between your fingers you'll be left with a hard black ball. If you light wool blow it out and rub it between your fingers you'll be left with ash. It's a super easy way to sort out your thrift store or yard sale stash.

My jean stash has been cut apart into useable fabric only. The ripped and unuseable portions have been discarded. I did cut out the seams and roll them into balls. I've got this notion that I'd like to try knitting them into a rug but for now they are neatly occupying a small basket. This fabric awaits the start of the next denim quilt. The intended recipients are my daughters this time.

Of course no discussion of tightwaddery or simple living would be complete without mentioning how food fits into the picture. We've kept up with our plan to live largely out of the pantry. Our weekly CSA pickup dictates much of the meal plan. With the abundance of tomatoes we've enjoyed red lentils with chopped tomatoes, black beans with tomatillo and tomato salsa, a mix of chickpeas, tomato and red pepper served over couscous, baked gluten sandwiches with sliced tomato and of course some lovely salads.

To keep things from getting boring, I try to rotate the protein source of each meal. Let's be honest no one wants the same beans at every meal. Tonight is chuck all the leftovers into a pot and hope for the best night. Damp rainy nights like the one we're having are perfect for this. Tomorrow will be a clean slate foodwise.

In the interest of maintaining variety, I revisiting my yogurt making trials. I discovered that the reason the almond yogurt wouldn't set is due to the process of aeseptic packaging. I'm planning to try small batches of rice milk yogurt and oat milk yogurt using homemade rice milk and oat milk.

One final note, if you cut the homemade baked seitan into thin strips, brown them on one side, flip them and pour a small amount of maple syrup over them while you brown the other side, the result is a veggie bacon that non-vegan teenagers enjoy as well.


Ruthie said...

lol thanks for quoting my rant :-)

I'm going through my stash too, and organizing it. It is very small since I donated a lot before we moved, but I think I'm going to stick to high quality recycled sweaters, cotton, and special online purchases in the future.

All your meals sounded soooo yummy. Drool.

Chile said...

Yes, that's a constant battle, along with the one between buying "green" and local versus frugal. Organic and local food, other than my CSA share is generally out of my budget but I feel a bit guilty when buying based on price. We'd have more money if I went back to work but then I wouldn't have time to volunteer at the CSA, network with friends to share fruit tree harvests, and preserve what we get.

Regarding the shopping bill that you mentioned in the last post, I'm learning which stores have clearance and discontinued foods regularly. I buy very little for full price. The downside is this means my pantry definitely isn't "simple". Too many different items compete for space and use.