Extreme thrift and a nice blanket

quilt with tan and white stripes

Sorry about the silence over the last week, but it’s Hippie Christmas here in Madison and I’ve been a tad busy with the festivities. For the uninitiated, Hippie Christmas happens every mid-August around the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. That’s when most of the student rental contracts turn over, and kids who didn’t have the time or foresight to empty their apartments ahead of time dump their unwanted belongings on the curb for the garbage collectors—or whoever gets there first. Read more …

Pear scrap vinegar in progress

I’ve been meaning to blog about my fall cleaning and canning activities, I’ve been so busy that I get overwhelmed thinking about where to start. Hence, I haven’t blogged in ages. So I’m starting simply, with a picture I took yesterday when the sun came out for the first time in ages. I’ve had five of these half gallon jars … Read more

Fermentation Friday: How to make cherry wine

I went cherry picking today with my friend Dekalb — not at an orchard, but at a parking lot that’s been home to these trees for the past few decades. The trees actually predate the parking lot, or so we have been told by the parking lot owners, who are happy to have us pick the cherries without remuneration since it … Read more

The best cat toy ever — and it’s free

After years of searching for the perfect cat toy, I’ve finally found it. It never fails to entice Lilo into a play session, and unlike with most toys, she doesn’t get distracted after two minutes, but keeps playing until she’s tired out. She loves it so much that she’ll play with it by herself if I leave it lying around. … Read more

Free MOOCs? Forget about it.

Since much of this blog is about thrift, and I’ve talked about free and cheap educational opportunities here in the past, I’m sharing an entry from one of my other blogs about policy changes that make some “massive, online open courses” no longer free.

Thrifty fun at the Stuff Swap

I found some lovely bird prints at a stuff swap hosted today by the local timebank. At a stuff swap, you bring things you no longer want or that you have too many of, and take stuff that you like. There’s no money involved, and in the case of this swap, no one keeps track of how much you’ve brought … Read more

Better photos with free photo apps

If I were a truly awesome blogger, I would take all my photos with an actual camera in natural filtered sunlight. But given that it’s the middle of winter, sunlight isn’t always easy to find when it’s time to take a photo. And it’s easier to upload photos to the web using my phone than with my actual camera, so I use my … Read more

Take college courses online – for free!

For the past few years, I’ve been regretting not taking more science courses in college. I’m fascinated by plants, animals, and earth science, but somehow managed to take two physics courses and leave my scientific higher education at that. After I graduated, I ended up teaching myself bits of biology by reading books and attending public lectures here and there. But I’ve been … Read more