Please stop hoarding toilet paper everyone. Please.
Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s discuss one of a frugal person’s most impressive skills, making do.
Prime example, going grocery shopping has morphed into a hunter-gatherer scenario wherein we may have a grocery list but we end up buying what is available and making do with that. There was no dried pasta so we bought fresh. No fresh garlic so I found some in a squeeze bottle. Hard for a cook that generally starts most savory cooking efforts with a chopped onion and diced fresh garlic but we are, as I said, making do.
Another way we are making do is to clear out the freezers. My partner just found out that it isn’t ME, thank you very much. He is the one who has been hogging all the freezer space so he is now picking out more mature (meaning old stuff) frozen foods to prepare for meals. I roasted an entire 10 pound turkey the other day which made it feel like Thanksgiving in April. Loads of fun. We are going to make it an annual tradition, Thanksgiving in Spring sort of theme and remember the time we were stuck sheltering in place to avoid catching a deadly virus.
Making do is also about harvesting anything you might be growing in the early spring. We have a lemon tree that is going nuts so a LOT of lemon is factoring in our dishes right now. I braved the pouring rain to harvest swiss chard, red lettuce, spring onions and fistful of herbs for a springtime salad. In the mist of the downpour, m I was happy to note that radishes and other seedlings were already poking through the soil. The garden is coming along fine and we will be taking full advantage later this summer. As soon as the deluge slows down, I will be back outside, nuroishing and fertilizing my garden to ensure the best crops possible.
When it comes to entertainment, we are also making do. My partner has somehow found a channel on the cable that features all sorts of vintage crime shows from Dragnet to Mannix which he finds both amusing and entertaining while there are no new sports games being played right now. He also indulges in the occasional historic and epic hockey game that is replaying on various sports channels right now. Please baseball, come back soon. I keep myself amused by watching old episodes of UFO and paranormal shows that I never had time to watch before. A dear friend of mine teaches her son’s class art lessons on Facebook and she has already taught me how to draw Baby Yoda so while I will never admit to joining in with preschoolers, I am having a blast learning how to draw all sorts of stuff. Thanks Dottie, you are the best.
Another way I am making do is by dipping into my baking supplies and coming up with new recipes every single week to challenge my baking skills. I often refer to this as ‘Angry Baking’ because I am forever picking recipes that are frankly difficult and time consuming. That being said, my partner now has homemade Hoagie rolls and my yeast raised doughnuts, made for pennies, are the stuff of pastry lovers’ dreams. I fill them with whatever jam is in the fridge, using up, again, what we already have.
Finally, we have established a game night in place of watching our favorite hockey team games together. My partner found a vintage baseball game he adored as a child and bought it cheap and we play this game or cards. Tonight I am breaking out the game board I bought my grandkids, the one that has options to play multiple games so we can try our hand at chess, dominos, checkers, whatever strikes our fancy.
In the mist of all this, we are constantly exchanging ideas and thoughts on how to make do. Our number one mantra these days is patience and kindness. It is not easy being cooped up all day and night with family members but we know our very lives could depend on our ability to shelter in place so we are making extreme efforts to be kind to one another and to exercise patience in both dealing with each other and finding solutions. These solutions range from meal planning to the yard to any chores or repairs that need tending. Finally, we have pets that need caring for so we are constantly on top of their every need. We recognize that while we may have cabin fever and have to make additional efforts during this unprecedented time, our pets don’t. This is their home and their lives and having our attention this way, having mom and dad at home, is a dream come true, particularly for our 90 pound baby pit bull Annabelle. She is the baby in our household and has a tender, baby heart. She feels everything soulfully and deeply and every change in our household schedule can upset the apple cart so we have to keep an eye on her. After all, will there ever be another time to lavish this kind of attention on our pets?
If it is another pandemic, I certainly hope not but for now, the COVID-19 glass remains firmly half full.