Sunday, July 8, 2012

Frugality, Phish and Peppers

Team Frugal. I like the sound of that. In the time that I have been at Poet’s Cottage, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one who has taken an interest in becoming more frugal in our day-to-day spending. The other day my daughter, Alana, opened the refrigerator door, looked inside, then said, “You’ve got to stop wasting money, Daddy.”

Surprised, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Apparently, you didn’t pay attention at the grocery store. You bought two containers of buttermilk instead of a container of regular milk and a container of buttermilk.”

“Noooooo, I’m fairly sure I bought regular milk and buttermilk,” I said, defending myself, to which Alana, delighted at having an opportunity to point out my error, reached into the fridge and produced two half gallons of buttermilk.

I made a lot of cornbread that weekend, gifting two pones to a couple of my neighbors. I dislike wasting anything, especially buttermilk.

Frugality extends beyond the kitchen into other areas of our home and, at times, can save significant amounts of money. Alana and I have been diligent in turning-off unnecessary lights. During the cold winter months, we’ve been great about keeping the doors to our home closed, reducing our gas and electric bill.

A few months ago, I received a notice from Duke Energy stating that my electric bill would be reduced by $40 (I’m on the year-round average payment plan). The reduction was directly related to our attempts at saving energy in our home. Susan’s daughter, Deedee, suggested that we put our $40 savings aside each month for a travel fund. If you put things in perspective and consider Deedee’s suggestion, saving energy in our home could pay for a beach trip.

Frugality definitely has its benefits.

My daughter will be 13 years old tomorrow, but I’m the one who feels like he’s been gifted a birthday present: A highly intelligent, caring, witty, beautiful, frugal daughter. :)

A few notes from this week:

Susan has been canning veggies from her father’s garden nonstop for the last three or four weeks. I offered to write for Frugal Poet today, giving her a break from wordsmithing. (I ain’t crazy. There’s a chance I could be gifted a jar or two of veggie goodness!)

I received a phone call the other day that could have been an attempt at infecting my computer. I’m very cautious when I receive phone calls from people asking me to connect to a web site. Here’s the gist of my conversation with the “computer security expert”:

Curtis [answering the phone]: Bartle Doo?
Phone Guy: Excuse me?
Curtis: I said, "Bartle Doo?"
Phone Guy: Yes, well, my name is Raj and I work for Microsoft Security...
Curtis: Microsoft Security? Isn't that an oxymoron?
Phone Guy: I'm sorry?
Curtis: Don't be sorry. It's not your fault that Microsoft makes the most insecure operating systems on the face of the planet.
Phone Guy: Well, I'm calling to...
Curtis: ...In fact, I'm installing Linux on an old laptop as we speak...
Phone Guy: Linux?
Curtis: Yes, it's a free operating system and it's more secure than Windows. You should try it! [Phone Guy starts laughing...]. Seriously, go home, download Linux -- there are many varieties -- and install it over Windows! You'll be a helluva lot less prone to computer viruses.
Phone Guy [laughing]: Yes, well...thank you...[and he hangs-up the phone]

Bottom line, be wary of phone calls that could be attempts at phishing your private information or infecting your computer.

I had surgery a year ago today. I penned this poem a few days after my surgery:


i am told
my thyroid was shaped
like a butterfly,
a butterfly whose wings
had grown disfigured
with lesions

a surgeon’s
skilled hand
untethered my butterfly
a smiley face scar
on my throat

--Curtis Dunlap (July 27, 2010)

Susan gifted me with enough jalapeno peppers for 4 ½ pints. I canned what you see in the picture. Here’s the recipe I used.

3 parts white vinegar to 1 part apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar (per jar)
1 teaspoon canning salt (per jar)
1 clove garlic (per jar)

If you don’t know how to prepare your jars and lids, leave me a note in the comments section below. It’s easier than that cobbler recipe I attempted last week. :)


  1. You've been shared! Glad for your healing Curtis.... Hope this heat hasn't been too much down there... I think we broke the heat wave this morning...

    1. Thank you, Merrill. :)

      It's been unbearably hot here. I look forward to the break in the heat next week.

      Stay cool. Fall will be here soon. :)

  2. That telephone conversation was clever and funny. The poem-- not so funny but very well-written.

    1. Thank you, Linda. :)

      And thank you for visiting The Frugal Poet.

      I hope it's cool in your neighborhood. This sweltering heat wave in NC is nearly unbearable.

  3. Thank you, Curtis, for picking up my slack this week. I'm canning marinara sauce today and tomorrow - trying to get the fire roasting done before rain moves in!

    1. Anytime. Happy to help sensei, Susan.

      May I please have a jar of marinara sauce? ;-)

    2. How wonderful that you have a 13-year-old who will call you on "being frugal"...lovin' her!

      Dog gone right $40/month toward travel!!!!!

      Plus a super cool woman who will barter her awesome, whole foods with you.

      And...all you have to do is write...I'd say you're winning...BIG!

      Love the the peppers.

    3. Thank you, Angie. :)

      I'm in a good place. I'm a fortunate dude.