Mary Beth Writes

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about:

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3.  A chicken whose name was Chanticleer
Clucked in iambic pentameter
It sat on a shelf, reading Song of Myself
And laid eggs with a perfect diameter.

Richard Maxson  (


1. Our daughter “made us” download the free app Marco Polo. It allows you to make and post a short video to a site that you mutually open to a few designated others.  So we now have a site for Len and I, and our daughter and our GRAND-DAUGHTER!  This is so much fun. We make a short video of our cat meowing, we post it. Later in the day or week, at their convenience, they can show her whatever we have posted. Our daughter videoed the baby chatting and waving around her spoon while eating breakfast; they live hours away, we don’t often get to see her reigning over her small world from her highchair. She gets to see us waving like goofballs also. I’m sure there are many other ways to use this app; I am loving this way of making, seeing and keeping short family-centered videos.

2. Ahh … September. We had an unexpected influx of two dozen peaches. We talked about whether we should freeze them, can them, or dehydrate them – and then Len made a cobbler. There were two peach smoothies.  I ate peach oatmeal every day this week.  I guess September is Be Here Now for peaches.  

3. We needed ice cream for the peach cobbler. I drove out to the store and I ONLY bought ice cream. Seldom do I go into a grocery store for one thing and come out with one thing.

4. Another September (and harsh weather is around the corner) moment: Some of the windows in this house are crank-operated windows. The wood framing between the exterior and interior of these windows (what you can see from the inside when opening the windows) was either never finished or the finish wore away. In any case, we had windows in early stages of disintegration.

Len varnished that middling area with leftover varnish (from some other project) that he mixed 50-50 with paint thinner (mineral spirits). This does not make anything look different but the protection will help the windows last past us. Untreated bare wood frequently exposed to weather needs to be coated or painted unless you have an intentional plan for it to split, loosen, and dry out.

5. We are just back from Chicago. We watched our grandchild while our daughter and SIL went to a concert.  One of the things we did with Little Her was go for a walk around the tennis courts that are across from where they live. I spied a new tennis ball on the ground in the parking lot so I put it in my pocket (there were no tennis players around). I guess I was thinking I could bring it, later this month, to our grand-dogs in Madison.

Got home from the walk, put the ball down on a table, spent an hour putting the baby to bed and then we crashed, too.

This morning, getting ready to go on an adventure with Daughter, SIL, and The Baby – my daughter suddenly asked, “Why is there a tennis ball in my purse?”

Little Her gave it to her mommy.

Have a good, thoughtful, frugal week!







Laughed at G.. putting the tennis ball in L..’s purse. Peach cobbler - yum. I absolutely adore peach oatmeal. I never heard of Marco Polo. Awesome use of it! Love the picture

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1. For several months we have composted veg and fruit scraps - our weekly garbage reduced by half! We collect detritus through the day in a bowl on the counter, carry it out to a steel garbage can we brought from our last house. I’ve dug some of this collapsed organic stuff into the garden.

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Last week I posted an essay railing against our North American/western maniacal consumerism. We are so deep into climate crisis and into destabilizing world poverty caused by the oligarchy of the few.  Something has to give. Plus this: If we are living on $50,000 a year or more, we are already earth’s top 1%. Isn’t this nuts? It really is up to us to turn back this crazy lemmings’ march to the sea.

Mindful Chickens/ The "Before its Too Late" Edition 5-14-2019

Mindful Chickens   5/14/2019

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

These are things we have thought, attempted, and done in the past month to live more lightly and frugally on our City Plot of Planet Earth.

We have to change how we live ...

We can’t go on like this.  Our everyday Western/American lifestyle -- is utterly unsustainable. 

Bread, Tortillas, and Chocolate

 As many of you know, I follow a website called The Non-Consumer Advocate, written by Katy Wolk-Stanley who defines herself as “… library patron, leftovers technician, Goodwill enthusiast, utility bill scholar, labor and delivery nurse, laundry hanger-upper, mother and citizen.” She has purchased very little newly-manufactured consumer goods since she joined The Compact; a movement of people who choose to rethink mindless consumption.

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