Tag Archives: frugal

Thanks Yanks

Here in New England, when the gardens start to overflow, is one of my favorite times of the year. Relatives share their food before it spoils, neighbors leave treats at the door and country roads have home grown garden centers. Beautiful green zucchini for bread, yellow squash for stir fry and beautiful red tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. It doesn’t matter how much they weigh, frugal yanks all across the county are charging ‘two for a dollah’. Our money goes far during the ‘Honor System’ self check-out season. I can’t wait to taste the wonderful meals these beautiful, affordable, local, fresh vegetables will make…

I just need a little help from a friend. “Hon! Richie!? Look what I found doing errands today…!” This time of year my love grows by leaps and bounds.

Lick it up

Even though it’s a comfort food from when I was a child, I sometimes forget how much I like pot roast. It is a Yankee culinary delight. Richie basted this one in our crockpot last Monday. The meat cooked so slowly, it quickly melted in my mouth. The carrots, Irish potatoes and onions swam alongside in the delicious gravy on my plate. Yankee me couldn’t get enough, even after several pot roast dinners last week. I am comforted as the cold weather approaches; warmed by the wood stove, a crock pot and my man.

Gone but not forgotten

“He had two pairs of sneakers and steel-toed boots.” my neighbor’s frail widow explained.  

My sympathy casserole and I stood while the spider-webbed sneakers sat on the stoop. 

“Had them as long as I can remember. He never wanted for nothin new’.” Smiling slightly she added, “Said all he needed was already here.”

My quiet plow guy’s vintage tractor and duct-taped sneakers now made sense. I quietly judged him the way he disapproved my unshoveled property. He wore the boots when he fixed cars behind their renovated chapel.

She sighed, “They’re his Sunday best. I cannot bear to throw them away.”

Friday Fictioneers 100 word challenge and photo prompt.

Yard sale humor

It was pouring early this Saturday morning in New England. Nobody likes bad weather when you finally get to the weekend. For a yard saler, it’s a huge let down.

Part of it is denial but I was hopeful it would stop.  At 6 a.m. it had time to burn off so people could still set up. The raining finally ceased after breakfast, so I headed to my Mom’s to pick her up.

We drove to the next town for the two advertised yard sales. It was a bit of a drive on the chance they’d put out their wares. After I considered it, I told my Mom that it wouldn’t matter if they were set up our not.


“If they didn’t, we can just knock on the door and ask where it all is.”

I found the humor in it but she did not.

My Dad teased me and said, “I think you’ve been to too many yard sales in your lifetime.”

Me? I just get my exercise by taking walks in other people’s yards.”

You’d think lightning would’ve struck.

Photo: $5 Polo bag

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

After four years, I still consider myself a green rookie dealer. I try to learn from what’s on the block and I meet and talk to the other dealers. I’m not an angel though because I bid against any one of them whenever I can. Tonight just wasn’t one of those nights:

I didn’t limp away with the old canes but I did pack up my vintage luggage on the way out.

I missed out on the Lladro for my mantel but I won a hot bid on the scuttle for my hearth.

I won’t be spinning around on a 1912 bar stool but I am flipping out over my camper.

The Anri angel also floated out-of-sight but the little green elf is right by my side.

Parent Porters

I know my parents like to go to the casino but I don’t know how much money they may spend in an afternoon.  I do know they also like to yard sale with me on Saturday mornings and can sometimes spend only a handful of change.  The casino is nothing more than time  spent in the hallows of a smokey ballroom.  The yard sales are more than time spent outside in the fresh wooded air.  I’d like to believe that the hidden treasures in someone else’s yard is a better gamble than praying to get into someone else’s vault.  While I’m not a one-armed bandit, I am an outlaw when it comes to the steals I find.

I remember a particular Saturday where we cashed in with a variety of items and ran into some wonderful people along the way.  Walker Road cost us $1.50 but scored us a frame, a new coaster set and a decorative bottle.  That was where we ran into Stella.  She was looking for bottles and vases for her flower shop in the next town.  I bet she got them for less than retail.

One street over, Peabody Road is known for better real estate.  Certainly, I’d confirmed it by spending $7 in that neighborhood but I also walked away with a mirror for my entry way and an antique wooden box.  I found it to be a good reflection of the items I treasure in my own house.

Heading into the next town, I spent 50 cents on a book that had been recently recommended. The woman at this house said that she was cleaning out her father-in-laws house. That’s when I saw the commode I had to purchase, especially after hearing her story behind (no pun intended) it. The toilet wasn’t to sit on and read my book.  Rather, it was meant to be a 25 cent stocking stuffer (we New Englanders shop Christmas in July) for my brother-in-law.  I found it to be the perfect whimsical item.  It was an ashtray commode that allowed you to put your cigarettes into the water tank.

Page Street in that same town, allowed us to add another chapter to our bargains.  The older man we met at this house, used to own a landscaping company and store and was discarding some former inventory.  Evidently, he used to sell wooden Polar crates and other decorative items there as well.  While I considered the crate (with hardware closures) a local steal, I did not run-off too quickly.  Adding to my bundle purchase, I included a vintage cane for my collection.  The gentleman was having a yard sale at his old, new house because he was also trying to discard items that were included in the purchase price.  His loss was my gain  for the mere cost of $10, as I hobbled away on my antique walking stick.

The local outdoor flea market is also worth including in our yard sale route for the day.  It’s only open a few months out of the year but can usually score something, whether it is of sentimental or resale value.  This is where I stocked up on shaving cream for my girls, bought Pac-Man iced tea glasses for my niece and a Homer reproduction print.  Where else could old and young find such a variety of old and new items –  in only a few minutes – for a few bucks?

My Dad considers our outings exercise.  My mother is like myself.  She loves the thrill of the hunt, puts away for Christmas, purchases whimsical items for others and upgrades her own home belongings.  Like the casino, the time passes quickly but we fill our trunk every single time with treasures.  All we have to do is spin our own wheels just down the street.