Depression Era living or doing things like our great grandmothers.

I have pulled out my treasured books on the Depression Era, Spanish Flu, Dust Bowl and both WW’s. These books are a comfort and a warning. Our great grandmothers and grandmothers have seen hard times like we have never known. With modern medicine, sanitations, refrigeration, and government assistance and programs we will probably never suffer as people did during these times.

Right now the stocks are up and down, but up in a way that seems odd for all the people out of work and business’s going under. The housing market is up 21%, also odd with so many out of work and I felt like housing and rent was already beyond normal for any income to take on.

I’m no financial guru or Dave Ramsey, however, in my simple housewife head, I’m thinking we are headed for a disaster that keeps being held at bay with some gum and wire. Stimulas checks, increased employment amounts, moritoriums for renters for almost a year when it ends…but no moritoriums for landlords. I am all for keeping people sheltered but landlords can’t pay banks and mortgages if the rent isn’t paid.

It feels like things are halfway thought out these days. It also feels like fear drives some as with the housing market. Many are trying to flee the cities and paying whatever they must to move to the country.

Things may or may not get tough for a while but then we will turn to green energies, sustainability, and simpler lives and life will brighten up again.

But let’s get to it with the simple, greener living why don’t we? Let’s look to our elders for lessons in thrift, frugality and green living. The great grandmother was an expert at making things last and making do. She was a pro at recycling and repurposing. A dynamo at frugality and the enterprising spirit of growing food and selling her skills to make extra money for the family. These women and men worked hard, hard, hard.

And most things were done by hand. Let us all take a moment to thank our washing machine and vacuum….amen.

I made a Depression Era cake last night with frosting. Here is the link:

I did use oat milk instead of water and it made a big difference. I also made some powdered sugar out of two cups of turbinado sugar and 2 TBSP cornstarch. It turned out powdery and lovely.

I wrote out our budget in my fat notebook, copied the recipe to the cake, and started the process of refinancing both houses before everything goes South.

What does cake have to do with a budget and refinancing Kate? Well, as we talked about in our frugal journey, everything connects and if you want to live well, I mean really well, on a small paycheck and get ahead or at least get things paid effortlessly, you do everything you can to save a penny here, a dollar there and so on.

If we can get both houses refinanced while rates are low it means we can cut the mortgage to 15 years and be done by the ripe age of 65 instead of 80 years old. If I know our budget then I know what we can afford in a mortgage. If I start cooking the simple foods of the Depression Era, I will have even more cash available at the end of the month.

I have a long way to go but the journey is fun and interesting. I study gardening, go to the local nursery, and watch gardening videos. By next year the garden will be something else and every year it will get better and more abundant. Hopefully, my canning skills will improve. This year canning was a 0.

Maybe this will be me next year?

74 thoughts on “Depression Era living or doing things like our great grandmothers.

  1. We, too, own a small rental house. If our tenants do not pay, we will eventually be bankrupt ourselves and nobody wins. It’s just so frustrating. I agree – we are staring down the barrel of something depression-era like. I thank God daily for our blessings which includes employment

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Veggies, produce. Much less per pound than meat and dairy, sorry. The vegan foods Kate mentions are great for people who are transitioning to a whole food plant based oil free lifestyle. Some find it comforting and if used sparingly are very cost effective. Meat and dairy are saturated fats which lead to health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease. No one gets cancer or diabetes eating carrots and green beans and potatoes. Eat what you like but to put down Kate for trying to help her family convert from the SAD, standard American diet, it is just incorrect information and unfair. I went whole food plant based oil free and have never felt better, not to mention the variety of food is amazing. I can’t imagine eating animals or animal products ever again. Please watch What The Health on Netflix. Forks Over Knives too, Amazon I believe. It could change your mind and save your life.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We are all predisposed so much to our modern thinking. There wouldnt even be an argument about choices back then. The poor folks had basically no choice. No choice in milk – oat, cow, goat, almond- whatever. They basically just had water. No arguing over bottled or a birky or if the water was a good source or not. It was whatever you had. The depression era cake is a nice frugal recipe for us…but rarely made back then, especially during rationing. No one would just make it to have while budgeting. They might have srimped and saved for a little sugar for a christmas goodie- if you were lucky. Most couldn’t even sustain 3 meals a day. Many a mothetvwas skinny as a rail because shed give her already meager portion to her growing children. We live nothing like this today. We’re spoiled!!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I am sorry to tell you I had. A neighbor who was a strict vegetarian her whole life. The woman had breast cancer died at 63. I had cancer 8 years ago. I am still here. What you eat is important happiness and your faith in God helps to.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Vegetarians consume dairy. All the hormones and antibiotics given to animals are in their milk and eggs. Monsanto feed of corn and soy grown strictly to feed animals is injested wgen you drink animal milk, eat cheese or eggs. Eating vegan is by far healthier.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Anne, you can do so much vegetables. I found plant based and nothing processed out of a box ended my migraine cycles. One of my kids had gut issues that cleared up. I still use olive oil. We are now at 90 percent of growing all of our produce. My family still eats chicken and eggs. There are so recipes that delicious plant based and easy to make.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That chocolate cake looks amazing! I think getting your mortgages paid off by the time you are 65 is an excellent idea. You will have your home paid off, receive money every month from your rental, plus whatever you get in social security. Looks like you’re doing a fantastic job of ensuring a truly “golden” retirement.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I just watched a show about how so many people are moving out of the big cities in CA to live in the suburbs. Many are driving 2 hours one way to work. This also raises the cost of housing out of the city greatly because there is only so much housing in the suburbs also. So you are wise to watch the market and perhaps consider selling the rental to pay off what you have now. The security of not having a mortgage reduces stress greatly. Many people had such a hard time during the depression because they had to pay a mortgage or rent and there was no work to earn income. It is easier to live during hard times when you know how to live off the land AND own your own home to be able to do that. But each family has to determine the best way to do it for them. As you always say, “just because I do it a certain way does not mean you have to do it that way too.” But no matter how we do it, life is always easier when we don’t have high debt hanging over our heads and deciding our lifestyle for us.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Seems everyone has an opinion. Here’s mine, I enjoy your writing. I look forward to it. Keep living your way and sharing. Not everyone will agree with how you go about it. Doesn’t matter. You’re still helping people.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. And I wouldn’t want agreement, I love new ideas and some are very frugal and thrifty in ways I no longer am, they reinspire to a point. Yes, I’ll just keep ticking on and people can glean what they like. Hopefully, they will “share” their ways to encourage us all.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Ellen, it’s true that people actually died from starvation during the Great Depression. No one, including Kate, is saying otherwise. I think it would take quite a jump to interpret her words as saying otherwise. She is saying that by following lessons from that period of time, when/if times get significantly more difficult financially, those who are learning lessons gleaned through the experiences, and incorporating them, will likely do better than those who don’t.

    She is also saying that by following those lessons in less trying times, it becomes easier to save money, pay off the mortgae easier, etc.

    Kate eats a largely plant based diet. Three of my children, and three of my grandchildren are vegan as well. All but one of them spent their first several [or ten] years relying heavily on Morningstar,Amys, Boca, etc. Now, most of them use these products very rarely, as it is a process, one often taking years, to transition from eating meat, to eating meat replacements, to no longer feeling an emotional need to be able to eat “almost” a hamburger. Or “almost” a chicken nugget.

    Kate is not anal about eating largely plant based, and I find that refreshing and honest.

    It almost seems as though you are deliberately searching for negatives about Kate. If so, might I reccomend that you do your best to avoid the company of negatively minded people and immerse yourself in some of Kates’ [and others] material on positive thinking.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Amen!! Thank you, Vicki, I read this to my husband and he said to give you a few hearts for taking the time to come to my defence. People love turning on me when I don’t say exactly what they need or want at the time. I am real and I’m not going to fake it. Also, the Depression was hideous…let’s learn from history, that is what I was saying. Love you for this Vicki. 💖💖💖💖💖

      Liked by 7 people

  6. Enjoyed the post. I gave up dairy mostly because of your videos a while ago and I am more plant focused but definitely not vegan. If I disagree with something you write or vlog, i don’t feel a need to be argumentative. We can all learn from different points of view if we are open.
    Valerie in SC

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My sister and her husband went vegan upon retirement for health reasons. Both dropped blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, AND rediscovered their love for each other as they tried new recipes! A two-for-the-price-of-one bargain, don’t you think?!?

        For preparedness reasons, vegetarianism at minimum, and veganism at best, allows me to store foods that will provide life-giving nutrients to my family and any others that God may send my way…I love that!

        So thankful you’re back,Kate😍

        Like

  7. IHere’s my opinion too. I would not want to be a landlord if my primary residence was not paid off. There are too many variables and situations that can happen and you could become homeless. This would make me so stressed out especially with kids. These properties are owned by the banks, so you are basically renting for the rest of your life, Most people don’t work up until they are 80. With a low paying job and a spouse who does not work, social security will not cover much. Sell one house, double down on getting your home paid off. I just wouldn’t want to have to scrimp on groceries, household or other things the rest of my life just to pay on something I may never own. Too risky for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree and this is something we go back and forth about all the time. We actually couldn’t sell our home because of parts of our street…or we could be at not much of a deal. We will see what happens after this first year. So far so good.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It is lovely to have such a community, but I think people get triggered when they aren’t feeling right about something. I know I get defensive if I am questioning myself. I’ve had to do some intense self reflection while under attack lately. The more I get right with my personal life, the more I could care less what others say.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Oh Kate I am with you on the canning. I am so afraid of the pressure canner. I’m going to start with food saver jar sealer and water bath canning. Please take us on your journey of canning. I sure hope my fall garden does better than my summer one.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Canning will be better next year. I was really impressed with your garden this year. Next year your soil will be built up better. You all worked really hard to get the garden going and the fruit trees planted at your new home. I am sure next year will be better.

        I know people who are not paying their electric bill or their rent, but they have money. It amazes me. They got their stimulus checks and extra unemployment but wasted it. What are they going to do when their electric is shut off. I just shake my head in disbelief.

        Like

    1. I too was afraid of pressure canning but I got a pressure canner earlier this year and OMG! I love it! I was terrified the first time, but now I can a few things each week. It’s super easy!!!!!! My husband loves that he has tons of his Favorite soups at his fingertips . So far the two things I have liked the best is taco meat ( can a bunch and when you want tacos, just heat and eat) and pulled pork. Sooooo good!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a Brita but looking at the science it is almost useless, I’m in the uk so not sure if they are the same. I recently watched Dr Vernon Coleman talk about the medications people take end up in our water, they aren’t filtered out in the cleaning process. As soon as I can I am getting a Berkey as it can filter out hormones. If you make your own oat milk it costs a fraction of cows milk. I think what Kate means is that we can learn from being in tough situations. Not that we want to be in them. I’m one of the families in the uk who have slipped through any help that the government provided during the pandemic. It’s been hard but I’ve learned a lot about how I can help my family never be in this situation again.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I had a Brita for years but all it filters out is Chlorine. Berkey will save you thousands in the end and cleaner than bottled water. We would not get government assistance, so like you, we have to constantly learn. And yes, oat milk and plant based can be cheaper by far.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. Obviously, this post has triggered some things or pushed some buttons for you. I always say, take what works, leave the rest. Best thing to do is take some time to reflect on why you are triggered by something someone writes or how others live their lives. Perhaps you don’t feel so good about your choices and it makes you defensive…I have no idea. I’m certainly am not judging you and how you eat or spend your money. We have worked very hard and long and sacrificed many modern, mainstream things to have what we have. We choose to be vegetarian at this time and I enjoy fake meats far and beyond real animal meat. Berkeys filter out metals and chemicals, Britas filter out chlorine…I had one for years and saved for a Berkey. We also ate meat for years, now we don’t or seldom do. To each his own. If my writings don’t give you comfort or inspiration and only irritate you, it is ok for you to decide that you no longer enjoy being here. There are many blogs that might resonate better with were you are at this time. The Legacy of Home, gDonna.com, old blogs from Dear Kitchen Saints. Also, the Depression Era was grueling and I point that out often. However, I think it would be wise for us all to start living below our means now before it’s too late so we don’t suffer when times get tough. I feel like you aren’t really hearing what I’m writing.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. My great grandmother thrived during the depression with 7 children because they had a farm in a fertile area and my grandfather was a wood cutter. I feel so blessed that I lived with her as a young child and spent every summer. The lessons, freedoms she gave me have carried me through motherhood.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. We’ve def decided to eat more veggies and less meat ever since I started getting my harvest out of our garden this summer. It has made a big difference in our lives. I’ve tried and mastered so many new recipes utilizing tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and squash!
    I always advised people to buy their forever home no later than age 35. With a 30 year mortgage, you’d be debt free by 65. Never ever borrow against your equity! I was lucky enough to sell my marital home of 16 years when I turned 50 with enough equity to build another home for cash. So, I was mortgage free at 50, a full 15 years ahead of my own plan. Life is terrific when you don’t have a mortgage to pay!!!
    Also, instead of reading books, I’ve been watching old movies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s on Amazon. You really get a great glimpse of what life was like back then. The story lines are so intense. Sometime risque! I just finished ‘Dodsworth’ filmed in 1936, starring Walter Huston.It’s all about retirement. Can you imagine? The husband is an ex-car manufacturer and the couple take a much planned for vacation throughout Europe. So typical but a fantastic story line. I’ve also seen Gary Cooper in ‘The Wedding Night’ filmed in 1935 (?) about moving out of the city because the couple is broke and living rent free on a family farm. The wife is furious and as soon as she comes into money, leaves, goes back to the city but the husband stays and falls in love with his neighbors daughter. Great stuff! The movie really shows what rural living back then was like! So much better than city living. Also saw Gary Cooper in ‘Pride Of The Yankees (1939)……what feel-good Americanism used to be like.
    I love your writings Kate. It is rare that I have found a soul mate in anyone. We think so much alike and value many of the same things. My life has been enriched since I first started reading your words and watching your videos. Don’t ever change nor stop!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I love old movies, it feels nostalgice despite me not being born in that age. It feels like a wholesome place nestle into. I’ll look these films up. I used to have a channel that showed all the old films but my antenna doesn’t work up here. I do have a free Roku. Ah, the mortgage. I wish we had started earlier but thus is our life. Now we just have to figure out how to get it done earlier. I love writing. Who knows how long I will YouTube, but writing is something I love.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I get them for free with my Amazon Prime Membership ($12.99 + tax per month). You can do a search for them by name and then watch them. Tonight I’m watching ‘Stella Dallas’, a 1937 movie starring Barbara Stanwyck. Bette Midler did a remake of it BUT the original is always the best.

        Happy viewing.
        They just don’t write story lines like this anymore. The scripts were written by real people, from real experiences. Not the computer driven slop we get today. ENJOY!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. What a good idea to watch all those old movies. I had totally forgotten that option. I dislike tv and today’s movies. But the oldies….. yes please! Thanks for the reminder!

        Liked by 2 people

  12. You like to eat meat and dairy and that is fine. I like it too. Kate likes veganism (the rest of her family occasionally eats meat and eggs) and that is fine too. She allows for it in her budget by eliminating the things they do not deem to be essential, like TV. It is frugal to her family because it was given a priority above other things that they have given up. Everyone’s priorities are different. It is okay to voice your disagreement but please do so respectfully.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Kate, I am always delighted to see what you cook. It all looks delicious. I am Vegan and my doctor is astounded at how perfect my blood panels are. Your chocolate cake looks luscious. My parents and grandparents lived through the depression and it was brutal. They survived because they lived in a rural area. Thank you for always being so positive! We saved enough money to buy a generator and now we are saving for a Berkey filter.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I really enjoyed your Depression Era post!! What more so I got out of it was, as difficult of a time we are going though presently, it is in no comparison to what the people of that time had to deal with. It humbles me to work harder, and appreciate what I have in the present. Much gratitude for your writing!!☺️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  15. You can practice canning any time of the year as things go on a good sale! We dont can much anymore and prefer freezing/drying produce better. We only enjoy some canned items, tomato products are fine but for us, most other items are too mushy. It’s just a preference thing. I would recommend to you Kate to try canning some pintos! They are easy and you already have them, love them and use them! I would also suggest you try growing them next year too, since they are a true staple in your home. They are set and forget type plants. I also think you can just plant with the beans you buy, but check online first. Good luck with you refinance! It would be awesome to be done at 65!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Wacky cake is so delicious! I made a sourdough version with peanut butter frosting. Oh my yum! I got the book We had everything, but money and the Tightwad Gazette. You have great ideas and I’m glad the blog is back. Thank you and keep the frugalness coming! Lol! 😁 I’m in a place where I want to declutter and also need to stock up.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is an eye opener to read or hear about the experiences faced by those back in the Depression era – thanks for sharing this with us. It makes me feel absolutely blessed by how we live now! It is also a reminder that we must use what we have wisely, and not take things for granted, including our natural resources.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am canning tomatoes right now. I am using the pressure canner for the first time. We have been so blessed to have such a bounty in our garden. We have been able to share with others. The goal is have 52 quart of jars of crushed tomatoes. Tomorrow , I will process 200 pounds of beets.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Kate, there is A YouTube channel called preppier potpourri. She has some great videos on canning for beginners. That’s what gave me the courage to start canning and now I love it. Homestead tessie has a video or two about canning Dry beans . That’s SUPER easy to do. Start there! You guys eat a lot of beans and it’s nice to have cooked food you don’t have to freeze. Doing the beans will give you confidence. It’s fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes Kate, I was a wreck. I have a gas stove . It wasn’t bad after I got going. Then, I just went to it . I did 40 quarts today. I love taking care of my little family. Tomorrow, I need to do the beets, spagetti squash,and stewed zuccuhni. I am reading a cabin full of food right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Kate, I would take several days to can in small batches. I have 100 quarts of of tomatoes done, I roasted 10 squashes to freeze, I made 12 quarts of a stewed zucchini. 2 gallons of veggie stock. I am taking a break and I will do the zucchini bread. My kitchen is wrecked.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello Kate, I do not know anything about canning. It is somewhat intimidating to me. But I do freeze some of the veggies that we grow. I have taken your suggestions and started to stock up on staples like rice, beans and flour. We have a Costco nearby and when they offer coupons we stock up on those products too, soap, detergent, toothpaste, etc. I only need to learn to organize it all. LOL!!!Thank you for inspiring me. Please do not allow the negative commnets to bog you down. That may very well be the motive for the nastiness. I wish one would take what they like and leave the rest or just follow a channel or blogger that is to their liking. Why all this gossiping and hating on a youtuber? I don’t understand that at all. Such a waste of time and energy. Anyway, keep being you, and that is all that really matters. Take care. Stay safe. BTW, I love all those ladies here who stay positive and give wonderful tips and suggestions. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anita ,your state may have food and health cooperative education that offers lots of gardening, canning information. Ours will test your pressure canner to make sure it is safe. I used to water bath can. Pressure canning is faster. I will do veggies and fruit. Meat makes me nervous.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We have an amazing community and the blog and channel belongs to all of you. Let’s just ignore the other stuff. It will go off to find fresh blood elsewhere or devour itself. I’m having a great time this round with the new channel and blog and I just keep focusing on the strong, empowered, and wise women and men that come here.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Kate. I’m a finance nerd and I have a suggestion for you. If you are going to refinance, maybe consider going into a 30-year fixed. You can always pay more each month and finish faster. But if times go south, you can go to the smaller payment without any stress.

    Can’t wait to try out the chocolate cake recipe,

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My goodness people……we are a Weston Price family and I love watching/reading about Kate’s vegan and vegetarian cooking, take what you like and leave the rest 😉

    Like

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