With the cost of everything going up and also the future unsure, stretching your resources and re-purposing things becomes a lot of of a necessity. I’m always searching for new ways that to get the “max for the minimum.”
Some recent posts here reminded me of some of this stuff. My grandparents and parents were a young family once the good depression hit. What types of things did they are doing to form ends meet when things were expensive or scarce?
Unfortunately, several of them who went through this period in time are no longer with us. However, I keep in mind some things they did or heard of them doing, that now, looking back, were obviously brought about by the times they lived in. Even after times improved somewhat, some still stuck to sure ways of doing things. Old habits are hard to break.
Hunting and gardening were essentially a given back then. Most everybody outside the town limits did one or both of this beside bartering services for goods. Alittle carpentry or plumbing work for some of chickens.
I remember my granddaddy mixing his old used motor oil with alittle bit of kerosene and spraying the underside and inner fender wells of his pick up truck just before winter. He claimed it helped shield the truck from incurring rust damage over the winter months. Getting a lot of serviceable years out of the truck.
I am sure environmentalists would have a cow over this these days, however it was the simplest way of taking something that didn’t seem to possess any usefulness left ,and yet, finding one more use for it. The county used to spray old used oil to keep the dust down on dirt roads during the spring and summer months. Don’t see that happening anymore.
My grandfather saved some wood ashes from his fireplace to sprinkle around his tomato plants in the garden. He claimed it brought a lot of blooms, thus more tomatoes during the growing season.
My granny would take apples and make pie filling and apple sauce. She would then take the wasted apple skins and apple cores and boil them down in water to get enough juice to make apple jelly. Finally using the old boiled down skins and cores to slop the pigs along with different scraps.
That was really getting some serious mileage out of your apples. I’m certain such things as corn cob jelly and jello came from identical kind of frugal thinking of, “If I could just find one more use for this material.” My grandmother never threw a tea bag out after only “one” use. She also used up every last bit of an orange. Eat the orange, use the zest of the skin in baking and boil the pithy part of the skin to give the kitchen a pleasant aroma.
I had uncles who created hard cider during prohibition and would play cards all night on the weekends. That was long before my time but looks they still knew a way to have a good time even when things were tough. God bless them.
My parents had the 1970’s to deal with, huge interest rates on mortgages, gas lines, inflation and crazy tax rates. My papa worked his hind end off and created pretty descent money. But by the time he paid for the weekly and monthly expenses, it sure didn’t seem that way.
Christmas was the time of year when me and my brothers would get new blue jeans. My mommy would take the brand new jeans and wash them on a low load setting to get as much of the blue dye out of the new jeans. Before the washer would spin that water out, she would take away the new jeans and put any of our old faded jeans that also fit along with jean jackets in the dyed water to soak overnight. Gave old jeans and jackets a “little” darker blue look.
How regarding an old wire clothes hanger as an emergency exhaust hanger for your car. Works in a pinch to get the muffler from dragging on the road. Sadly most clothes hangers they’re making now are plastic.
A friend of mine has used old pine wood pallets to build cold frames. The wood was free and if you get a few or a couple of years use out of it, all the better.
Old newspaper may be used for a weed barrier in the garden, gift wrap and i would dare say create a good candidate for emergency toilet paper if cut or torn down into smaller sheets. so would old telephone book pages.
I have also seen some recipes on the net for creating logs to burn made with old newspaper. We keep some around to start out fires. Anyone keep in mind the old Readers Digest Christmas Trees? They would fold the pages of a Readers Digest a certain method and spray paint and decorate them to look like a Christmas Tree.
I have the tank to an old shopvac that I use as a waste can next to my work bench in the basement. The motor is long gone but still found a use for the tank.
I have found that an easy tarp has several uses other than covering wood piles. I have seen them used to stop a leaking roof till better weather comes along to address the matter properly. I have taken an old tarp that was starting to fray and cut a section out big enough to cover the windshield on my work car. It sits out in the weather and this piece of tarp can be removed in the morning along with the frost. Currently I don’t have to scrape ice or run the defroster for ten minutes before I leave during the cold months.
Saves me some time and a bit gas money too. Word to the wise. Don’t put it on the car after they are forecasting freezing rain. Not nearly as simple to get rid of. I’m sure tarps can be used for a temporary shelter in a survival situation.
A couple of years ago, I saw a person on TV claiming that he shaved an entire year with just one disposable razor. An entire year! He claimed that leaving the razor wet after you utilize it’s what dulls the razor. The water deteriorates the sharp edge on the blade.
This sounded crazy to me so I made a decision to try this out. I didn’t get a similar results this guy did by far, however, I’ll get through this year using a total of five replacement blades on my razor. This is based on shaving twice per week, not everyday. Get your whiskers soft with hot water, use a shot of liquid hand soap to lather up and shave as normal. I think the actual cutting of the whiskers is what dulls the blade, not the water.
So getting the whiskers as soft as possible with hot water and the lubrication of the hand soap is what helps keep the razor sharper for longer. Why are replacement razor blades so expensive? Don’t they mass produce these things by the billions?
My boss has been bringing me in empty plastic jugs that contained cat litter. They have the two HDPE marking on the bottom. So far, I have used these to store rain water that we use on our garden. The jugs he brings me hold about two. Six gallons of liquid. I have even taken old motor oil to Walmart for collection in these jugs. I’m sure there ar probably several different uses for these.
We use old baby food jars to store herbs we grew in the garden. The really little jars are really good for this. I also keep my hardware sorted and orderly at the workbench with the larger jars. kids have used them to make endless crafts, too.
We reuse storage bags when possible. I use some of the leaves that come down in the fall to pack in my basement window wells. The basement windows are a cheap, thin glass window. and they are below ground level thus the wells on the outside. I pack these wells as tight as I can with dried leaves during the winter.
It keeps heat from wicking out the thin glass, acting as an insulator and deadens the sound from outside. In the spring. I remove the leaves, bag them with the mulching mower and until them into the garden. I even heard of people using dried tree leaves as insulation during the depression to keep the lower floor of their homes warm. Surrounding the house with a brief snow-type fencing and filling the void between the house and the fence with dried tree leaves. Then removing the fence and leaves in the spring.
With every passing generation, we lose a little bit of helpful information and common sense that was gained by the times in which they lived. I’m undecided of the severity of what’s coming, but I feel some of what they did may serve us well in days ahead.
I am very curious about finding out what you, the readers, may share about what you do and what your relatives did many years ago to cope and survive in unsure times and stretch what resources are available to the max.