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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Mindful Chickens – The “It’s been a while...” edition 1/18/2019

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.

The Choosing Season

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.”  (

The Arrows of Yore

I have a weird dark closet in the back of my soul. In it are critical things people have said to me in my life. I rarely consciously think about those old cuts and criticisms, but they are tucked in back there and sometimes I remember them uneasily.

Here are some of my particular arrows of yore:

“Can’t you do anything with her hair, Dorothy?” Dorothy was my mom. My dad liked his daughters’ hair to be curly and orderly, mine was straight and flyaway. I think I was in my 40’s before I realized OMG I do not have “problem hair”… whatever the hell that is.

Make Persimmon Cookies; Don’t make a Persimmon Life.

We are new subscribers to “Imperfect Produce” which is a service that delivers imperfect (duh) but safe and flavorful veggies and fruit to your house. This helps to keep “imperfect” produce from being wasted. (  I don’t get kickbacks from them.)

We are open-minded about trying new things to eat so when they included a pomegranate – cool. I enjoyed pomegranate, raisin, and walnut oatmeal I invented for myself.

Buy Angry

Frugality is a tool and a weapon. You can use it to be powerful.


Frugality and Privacy

 “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”

When one of our kids was 8-years old, Len thought it would be fun to let that kid drive his car. I swear - though I doubt you will believe me - no drinking was involved. Len just really believes in our kids and sometimes this turns into bigger adventures than one would expect.

Did I mention the car was in the garage so it needed to be backed out? Also, the child in question was too short to adequately reach the pedals.

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