January 3, 2012 Day 3 THANKS FOR NOTHING month

64.4 F indoors             17.7 F outdoors                                              8:30 AM

TODAY’S HAPPINESS FACTOR:  8 out 10 (The sun is shining, need I say more?)

Today’s Menu


Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt

Whole grain toast

(Miss America raced off with a leftover breakfast burrito heated on the woodstove)


No Crust Quiche



Grilled Cheese

Left over herbed tomato soup


We had a grand evening together last night.  Miss America was herself – kind and generous – so we ate supper by candlelight and then watched a British Agatha Christie video together. 

Miss America has managed within the first two days to create quite a challenge to the gas-rationing plan.  She did not arrange a ride share for when her ride wasn’t available.  Back in September, and October we offered several ideas for a ride share, including posting a note at the college, checking in with her high school advisor to see who else is attending college from our area, etc.  Of course, being America she just let it all ride because all resources are at her disposal.

Jay was inclined to make her walk, which would be fine if it wasn’t 18 miles away and 17.7 F AND hitchhiking was perfectly safe.  Since we had decided from the beginning that I would not leave the farm for 31 days unless someone else drove me, Jay put on his pretend happy face and agreed to take Miss America to school.  He will pick her up at 8:45 PM tonight when he returns from teaching in Newark.

Miss America seems to be adjusting in a positive way to the guidelines of the THANKS FOR NOTHING month.  Normally she would keep her head buried in the computer and look up occasionally to speak with us or look at what we’re doing.  Since the Internet is turned off at 5:15 PM she seems resigned, and being pleasant about it, to no computer.  That means less interest in burying herself in her room.  Another new development is the old-fashioned “talking on the telephone” evening.  Last night she actually telephoned people instead of typing to them online.  I hope all of this is a new trend for the rest of the month.

Cooking food is, as Nans Thomassey pointed out to me when we came up with the guidelines, a challenge.  I am determined not to use electricity at all so I have to be better prepared for meal preparation – mainly thinking through “how” I will prepare the food.

Yesterday Miss America wanted to prepare lunch.  She was not agreeable to my “no electricity” policy so the soup and sandwiches were prepared on the electric chef’s burners.

No one but me wanted fried cabbage for supper (Miss America wasn’t hungry yet) so we all agreed to wait until it was dark to have supper.  The water was boiling continuously on the woodstove so I cooked rice noodles and we added toppings from the refrigerator.  The noodles were not as hot as Jay would have liked them after the cold toppings were added but, being who he is, he did not complain.

Twice now one of us has said, “Please only use a little because that has to last until the end of the month.”  That is not something we generally say because our shared attitude is that “there is more where that came from.”

I think I’m slowing down more – yesterday I actually rested in the afternoon for a little while.  Since I’ve had a cold I told myself it was OK to just sit for a while.  It was quite pleasant to read a book on soup while one of the cats hugged me, and Cadeau snuggled beside me. 

Another thing I realized is that shopping is everywhere – even here.  When I sat down to rest there was a big stack of things that had arrived during the holidays, and I had ignored the catalogs.  The seed catalogs and the goat supply information looked interesting but then I realized that looking at those things brought money back into my view, and I’m on vacation from all of that at the moment.  I did feel a bit of a cringe though because it would be good if I could get some vitamin B for one of the goats.  My solution is to ask if any of the women coming for lunch on Thursday has any vitamin B 6 or B 12 that they don’t need.  We’ll see what happens.

Elyse Perruchon sent this today.  After viewing Sam’s new tattoo (and swooning) I find this message renewing:

Written by Marc and Angel Hack Life

Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” 

Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.