David Smith david_s_14850@yahoo.com Dedicated to the people who most need to read this book.

King in a cardboard castle

On coming home from being homeless
Copyright © 2010 by David Smith

Even to the best of people, in the best of times, tragedy can happen. It happened to me. It was the most change filled day of my life, and I hope nothing like it ever comes back. So I worked through it. Just a bit tight in spots. When it was suggested I should write a book on the solution to my problem, I agreed but decided to skip ahead, bypassing the details of the now passed ‘crash and burn’ part of things – that part would not prove as instructive as the details of rebuilding. So here’s what I did coming out of the problems. This book is directly based on real world experience - mine, if you want to be reassured, or feel it has to be ‘real’ to work. It’s real, and it worked, well, at least it worked for me. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have hit most of the common problems and questions in rebuilding my life, the steps I took and then wrote down. From this account you’ll have to decide how well I coped with the problems. You may be able to use some of those answers for yourself - you may even come up with some special items I missed, if so, send them to me if you want to. I suppose I should give some ‘pre-change’ details before I really launch into an accounting of the rebuilding. In sleep apnea breathing is either impaired or stops. It’s a disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep, and it may be happening to you without your knowing it – that is just what happened to me, and I didn’t know. Snoring is a possible indication. Being sleepy all the time is another. As many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Four percent of middle-aged men and 2 percent of middle-aged women have sleep apnea along with excessive daytime sleepiness. I had it, and didn’t know about it. So, how about some ways out of the situation? Well, first access your position. My heart condition will be an ongoing problem for the rest of my years. It makes everything cloudy. Before it arrived I felt healthy, now any twinge in my chest will demand attention. The sleep condition will remain, well, sort of fixed with the Capp machine, now that I know what I have, and can recognize when there might be a problem. On the move . . .

The move was not as complete as I would have liked. I had asked everyone I knew to show up and help me load the truck, but this time the help ‘overbooking’ didn’t happen. The people I had asked or arranged to help me load the truck never showed. I was on a tight schedule and as a result I had to load the truck myself. I just ran out of time, truck, and energy. A lot of my tools and other stuff had to be left behind because I just couldn’t load them. That hurt. As a rule, plan on loosing something in every move. I heard a man who should know say a person should be prepared to move at least twice in his life. That could be true, and if so, really runs a chance to chop up your life. What few items I had left were stored at a friend’s house, but they would need the space soon, so I knew those item would have to be shipped to me, or be totally lost. That hurt.

The journey and the destination I was living in New York State and well, things happened. For brevity that part will be mostly skipped. If you really need details, see www.lulu.com and look for David Smith and the book “Falling below the line”. No real need for those events to be stressed, it’s in the past, any changes are not possible, beyond acknowling the events happened. So I traveled, arriving at a small town in Tennessee on New Year’s day, 2005, a time zone and two days driving away from my prior location. No job, no transportation for getting another job, and it was the middle of winter. I had no money at that point, no car, no local friends, and didn’t know what places to go to. It snowed in a place that seldom sees snow in winter. Unloading was, well, fun if you don’t count all the lifting, carrying, unpacking, finding of misplaced items, and the like. Plus a shortage of surfaces to put things on, and… The prior tenant had not treated the building well. As a matter of fact, he had removed the kitchen stove, clothes washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Also gone were any furniture items such as tables and chairs, and most of the small items normally found in a kitchen. On top of all this, the house had some problems –for example, there was no central heating in the building, and no non-central heating, either - and middle of the winter, can we say cold? Fortunately I had received word of the shortages and had made some preparations, but I had no money to buy a washing machine or dryer. And the weather? It was cold and snowing. What else do you expect, this may be further south, but after all, it was the middle of winter. I had brought with me a refrigerator, and shortly after that a local appliance store provided a stove. No central heat in the house? Well, there was a heating source not directly usable, not right away, that’s for sure. There was a good quality wood-burning heater (a Fisher, a good company making a good stove) in fair shape on the premises, but that wouldn’t provide much useful heat, as it wasn’t really in the house, or hooked up to a chimney. For some reason it had been moved out to the garage years ago, and there was no waiting pile of wood to burn. It could have been moved back into the house and wood could be gotten, but the inside brick chimney it had been connected to had not been

swept, (yea, you have to do that at the end of the heating season) and the existing metal stovepipes in the garage were rusted out. It helps to have money to buy these items. I didn’t. Something had happened to the heat protection for the floor – it was nowhere to be found. Bottom line, with all these problems for now the wood heater was effectively offline. Far offline. Not the best of news, but I did have extra blankets for my bed. There was a kerosene heater and some three days of fuel on hand. But winter was half over, and in Tennessee it’s milder anyway. I cut off the kitchen with drapes and the heat from the stove helped a bit I’ll work on getting it back inside (what a job! It’s not light), when I have swept the chimney it had been connected to, and I’ve gotten new metal stove pipes to replace the pipes that rusted out. Of course, I have a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector already in place before it gets fired up. Carbon monoxide is very uncool, unkind stuff, trust me. Any heating system with a flame can produce carbon monoxide, so that’s why you need a detector. Improving the living area The house was not in the best of condition when I got there. Nothing I couldn’t live with, but nothing I really wanted around for the long run, that’s for sure. The prior tenant had let things slip a bit, and I had no money to aid in the cleanup. Or to buy materials for repairs, so things went slowly. You might say I’m on a budget. You would be right. I know a cleanup effort is much easier when you’re not on a budget. But even on a budget, cleaning up is possible. And the cleanup job is good for your head. Fortunately there was a lot of usable items left around. Unfortunately they were scattered around and mixed in with a lot of junk. Unfortunately there was no community trash pickup service, and I had no car to go to the dump. After the move My brother gave what help he could, but right in the middle of my would be ‘start up’, business would take him out of the country for about two months. Effectively, I would be on my own. Doing cleanup is a good use of your time. I’m not sure exactly what’s the reason behind it, but clean windows, well, just look better. Ammonia also does walls and other surfaces, and is cheap. Also, that was what was on hand. There is an unsealed wood kitchen table on hand. Unsealed wood has no finish on it, and it stains. A container of ammonia is 64 ounces. It’s smaller than the familiar gallon jug, but there’s a lot of cleaning, and value(!), in that container. Hint: A bad smell in a room is zapped by uncorking some ammonia. The smell is attacked by the ammonia fumes, which soon also fade. I also found a container of bleach – great for cleanup and sanitizing things.

On wired skills Taking a break from typing, I took a time out and began to replace the line cord on a table lamp. Then I realized I should say something about what I was doing. Replacing a frayed lamp cord is not the same thing as changing a light bulb. After all, I understand not everyone may have the soldering skills I have, but skills can be learned (hint) and the tools don’t cost much. And not all electrical joints have to be soldered. No? There are wire nuts to join wires and wire lugs for the ends.

Steps to update a 2 to 3 prong socket Proof the wall socket is really dead! Needle nose pliers Small screwdriver Regular screwdriver Wire lugs Wire nuts

But in this world of limited available parts, (low budget, remember?) where do I go for a new line cord and plug? How about the local Dollar Store™? They don’t have a new plug, or power cord for a replacement cord, you say. Well, yes, they do, sort of. Go there, get the longest extension cord of a good gauge, and cut it up to get a cord with a plug, of course. What to do with the left over female plug end? Well, that depends on how long you want the cord. There’s nothing preventing you taking an extension cord into a lamp cord, and if you think about using the plug as well. That way you can make this a safe, repaired table lamp, and get a free outlet on the table as well. Not every lamp is repairable, of course. Or is so easy on the eyes so it should be repaired. Some are well, hummm… ‘hard ‘on the eye. This move feeds the used parts archive. While there is not 100% interchangeably, many lamp parts are standardized. While a table lamp is a source of light without a shade, I suggest you get a shade for it – even a mismatched shade works. While any table lamp without a shade will provide light, lamps with shades just look better – more complete, perhaps? This seems to be true for any type of lamp. One of the things I did was to update the two prong sockets in the house to the more modern 3 prong sockets (more versatile and safer). I could be reading something into this that just isn’t there, but I felt the rooms looked better when the power wall sockets had plates. It seems the socket covers were removed to paint the walls, and

were never replaced – another example of the prior tenants running out of gas in the middle of a project. Keep looking for the connections behind the sockets. The socket may be dead, or turned off at the fuse box. A ‘dead’ inside wall socket in my living room turned out to be wired to a nearby ‘unused’ wall switch. Ahwww… I would have caught on to this sooner but – Opps! - it turned out the lamp I was using as a tester needed to be tested itself (it wasn’t working!). When doing socket testing, watch for this. Plug in something you know works, or better yet, makes noise when on, like a vacuum cleaner or radio. Doing wiring About the 2 to 3 prong socket replacement – it’s not that hard a project once you’re set up for it. Be sure you have a source of light in place before you start the job. Not being able to see what you doing does slow things down. It might be the ‘completeness’ of a room that looks good. More cleanup on a budget Still on a budget? Boric acid is a cheap and safe roach, ant, silverfish and flea poison. Murphy’s Oil Soap will take off old paint splatters, and so does bleach. It also wells clean up. Getting set up I had brought some canned food with me, and had applied for food stamps right away – they said my card would come in about 10 business days, but the card arrived in just two days – not that I’m objecting, you understand. Far from it. It wasn’t totally smooth sailing after that, but that early arrival was a nice surprise. I went and applied for other benefits, but Tennessee is not supercharged with all kinds of extra aid programs, sorry to say. Food stamps and the local food pantry help me keep the ladder full. Of course, getting any food I can now purchase on food stamps back to the house is still a problem – no car, remember? Ouch. Fortunately there is a local transportation company that will take a person where they need to go if you give them 24 hours prior notice and $8 per trip. I had asked my brother about getting around, but he had not lived in the area for years and didn’t know. It turns out there was a local company that provided low cost transportation for reduced income people. My brother didn’t know about them because they had started out as a limited service and had only recently added this function. Fortunately, because I had asked more than one person I got the address. “So how close are you going to stick to the ‘rise and recovery’ account?”

Pretty close. Hopefully I’ll have a stunning success story to recount. At least, I’m trying to work in that direction.

On moving to the country This is a small town. Small. That wasn’t a real problem for me, but it might be a problem for some. Small towns mean reduced services, which means have a car or face problems. I had grown up in a small town so no real problem there, at least, not for me. Sure, I would like a place with a few more local accessible stores. This rural setting would reduce the amount of items and materials available to me until I got a car. Oh, well.

The locals went out of their way to help me. Local support functions in the town are a bit limited. Not their fault, it’s a small town. The local ‘library’ is not really a library- it’s a limited collection of loaner books on some shelves in a multipurpose room in City Hall, not even a detacated separate room. Basically the building, well the downtown area if you’re keeping track, hasn’t changed from when I was here some 10 years ago, and it was small then. I was lucky enough to have no longstanding issues, personality clashes or problems with my new neighbors, nor did I inherit any issues when I moved in. One of the first things I did was to introduce myself and ask if there were any problems. I was told no. Ok, there may be problems coming up in the future, but I had laid the groundwork for working out any future problems. This was important, as one of the things I’m interested in is getting a dog later on. I should say I would like to let him run free on occasion, but I will ask first - I don’t want to tick off my new neighbors – particularly over something as unimportant as this.

About my destination So what was the house? A single level, modest two-bedroom house on the side of a reasonably large hill, shaded by large trees – and not in good repair. Really, in need of work and cleanup. There isn’t much lawn around the house, not much level ground to garden, and what there is, well, it’s rather overgrown, pure clay and shaded. It was not gardened, cared for – or even mowed, except for a small area right around the house. Somewhat overgrown? Well, yes. Some trees are well on the way to becoming big enough to be cut for use as firewood. Because of the hill it looks like a terraced garden is in the cards – fortunately for anyone wanting to do such a garden there was a railroad track near by. That would provide a local source of the used rail road ties that could be used to terrace any gardens. So find out who owns the track and when it’s scheduled to have the ties replaced. I suggest it is best to line up the vehicles needed before having to remove the

ties. You want to select only old, used ties (those will be the free ones anyway) because the creosol has stopped leaching out of the wood. Otherwise the ties would kill off the very plants they were suppose to support. A look at the local tracks suggested they were overdue for tie replacement, so at some point in the future there should be lots of the used rail road ties around soon that could terrace any gardens. I’ve been taking advantage of the frost dropped leaves and have been doing a bit of pickup on the bottles and trash now revealed by winter. It won’t be so easy to dispose of the prominent piles of junk spotted here and there – I didn’t have a vehicle to transport the junk to the dump at the time, but I have been doing some pickup around the house. When spring arrived one of the first things I did was to borrow a lawn mower and cut what little lawn where was. Can’t have the house be overgrown by the yard – plus that’s a good starting point for making a garden.

Uphill of the house, space for a garden is going to compete with parking space. There were two places at my place that a car could be parked off the drive – and the one place right in front of the garage is a bit tight. Most of the space for a garden will be downhill of the house, and not level.

The owl - the Lyme disease killer Ok, working outside in New Jersey (and other places too) involves you with ticks, which involves the possibility of Lyme disease. Why is it that only the costly and ineffective solutions to problems step forward? The cost to treat one acre for the Lyme disease is about $150 per acre for just one year. ! It's an expensive treatment, and frankly, it doesn't look that effective to me. You see, the "treatment" consists of cardboard tubes of insecticide treated cotton which are scattered around. The local mice are suppose to find the cotton, take it back to their nests, and the insecticide kills the ticks over the winter. At first this may sound reasonable, but I can see a number of problems. One thing, it's slow - it takes a long time to be effective, IF it works at all, and in the end you still have mice in the house, or still in the area. Not every mouse is going to take advantage of the offered cotton. And at $150 a ‘treatment’, I would like something that lasts a bit longer than one year. Primarily, other than the price, the biggest problem I have with the marketed Lyme disease 'treatment' is that it covers such a limited area for such a short time. It doesn't prevent deer from bringing in a new supply of infected ticks at any time. And what happens when the ticks build up immunity to the insecticide? There is one secret to effective, direct local bug control if you are not in town - a few Guinea hens. Guinea hens are not good layers, nor do they take good care of their offspring. They’re small birds and do not grow fast. But they do taste good, and are very good about hunting down bugs (including ticks!). However, the most noticeable feature of a Guinea hen is - sound! Well, noise. The first time you hear one of these

birds cut loose with a blast, you’ll wonder how a half-pint bird makes a gallon of sound. So do foxes, dogs and other animals who would attack your flock. Only problem is they keep sounding off - close neighbors are not going to like this. You don’t have any close neighbors? Great! You do? Not so good. May I point out no bug has ever developed a 'immunity' to being eaten? OK, there is a problem of noise with Guinea hens. So how about a (mostly) silent bird that zaps the tick carriers and comes free? Enter the owl But how can an owl combat the spread of Lyme disease? Easy! The owl's primary diet is mice, the same place the ticks carrying Lyme disease like to spend the winter. Reduce the number of mice in the area, you reduce the chances of getting Lyme's disease. That’s easy to see. And it’s cheap and Green. Different areas have different types of owls. The barn owl is common and likes open areas to hunt in. Like the other owls, the barn owl is a flying mouse vacuum cleaner, which in total darkness can target a mouse by sound alone (!) from 300 feet away. And a nesting owl does not hunt for dinner just locally, mice all over the neighborhood are in trouble. True, putting up some nesting boxes does not guarantee an owl will move in right away, but it's certainly a step in the right direction, and you can put up nesting boxes for different types of owls. It may be there are no barn owls in the area for several reasons, but one reason may well be a lack of nesting sites. This you can fix. What happens when an owl nests nearby? Right off, he'll start clearing the local area of mice. Sounds like a good beginning, in the first night, keeping mice out of your house. Right. Chow down, dude. Next, he looks for a mate (who also likes mice) and starts a family, which requires the parents catch – you got it! - more mice! For a typical family of six, the parents will catch a dozen mice each night, plus a few for themselves. That is, an adult bird will eat about 3 or more mice a night - each night! You go, dude! That very quickly adds up to a lot of mice - particularly when you have provided a few extra local nesting boxes for the young to move into. No need for the children to move off, is there? Nope. Owl Nests While owls are no threat to pets or humans, the adults will (understandably) protest the invasion of a nest. Can we say, nipped fingers? I suggest you place the nest boxes out of easy reach for this reason. If you really want to see the progress of the hatching, install a TV camera in the nest box. Nest boxes should be placed 18 feet or up, next to an open land area to give the owl a clear flyway to approach the nest. A sheet metal collar on a tree would help keep cats from the nest. The owl has a large wingspan, and needs a wide open approach to flying up to the nest. The nest box should be positioned where the droppings would not cause a problem.

A sheet of 3/8 exterior grade (waterproof) plywood is about $19, a 1/2 sheet runs around $ 25. Let's say it would cost $50 to build and install a single barn owl house. Or you could use a suitable modern container like a nail keg. It would not be unreasonable to expect a plywood owl house to last five years or more, particularly if you have used waterproof plywood and shingled the outside. So, your one time investment of $50 will return at least $ 700 of much better mice and Lyme disease protection, plus you've helped the owls. Not a bad investment. An easy to build owl house 24 inch square cube with a roof that slightly overhangs a 6 to 7 inch hole halfway up one side. A perch is not required, but can be made from half of the circle cut from the front. Make sure there are no nail points sticking from the walls, and that there is an inch or so of dried leaves on the floor of the nest for insulation. Do not use sawdust for this – too fine. Dried leaves will be the best flooring for the owls. For more information: Dr. Len Soucy The Raptor Trust 1390 White Bridge Road Millington, N.J. 07946 1 (908) 647 – 2353 Or, the Internet!

About getting plants The bulk of the plant info has been moved to the food book. Here are some reviews of the better plant suppliers I’ve found. Please feel free to write in with your favorite supplier, or to tell me of any changes, such as new places, or address changes. Thank You! Not into indoor office plants? If you want a free wheel barrow load of bulbs, like say, tulips, try contacting the landscaping firm that does the work for a major company in the area. They are responsible for rotating the plantings at these buildings, and there is a surprising amount of plants involved. The other day I had to pass taking home at least a wheel barrow load of tulips from the local Exxon plant. Of course the bulbs were only available past this year’s flowering, but the price (free!) is right, the quantity is huge, and waiting a year for plants to blossom is part of gardening. Of course, there are other possible sources of free plants and bulbs. I’ve gotten smaller amounts of free bulbs from the local 7-11 ™ after Easter had passed. The store clerk couldn't be bothered to even water the plants (!), and was ready to just throw them out. I took them instead. If this is offered to you, add some water to the plants ASAP, even before you get home, if possible. Could it be that something like this is being done at your local Wal-Mart™ or supermarket? Could be. Just as about seasonal plants on display toward the end of the

season. Waste not, want not! The related subjects of seeds, plants, food, cooking and the like has been moved to another book

True, landscaping plantings are not truly growing food, but they went with the gardening information. So did the cooking information.

Safeguard your gains Check your Social Security Account to make sure your payments are being recorded in your name. You can get a free form for this by calling 1 (800) 772 - 1213. It’s much easier to correct any errors now than later. Check your house and car insurance, particularly your house insurance. Chances are, as it stands now it wouldn’t replace your house, let alone the things in it. Will it pay for the costs of your renting a place elsewhere while your house is being rebuilt? It might be your current policy would replace the contents of your house - IF - you had some kind of record of what those things are. Do you have a record of everything? And I do mean everything. Chances are you're going to forget things if you try to depend on just memory alone. This record could be as simple as walking through the house with a video camera running. Talk with your insurance agent about the steps to take. Then do those steps. Other notes on my place My garage started as an open air, ’roof only’ structure. It’s now a 20 by 17 feet room, with a flat roof, lots of headroom, and an open area unbroken by support columns. It would be a perfect shop if you could coral the leaks at the high end. I’m making a point of talking about this room because I hope to do some kind of work at home, from this ‘would be’ shop. This place has possibilities as a shop. It’s a ground level add-on to the house, now with a bit of a leak where the garage roof joins the house roof, I’m sorry to say. There’s a tin roof on the garage, a shingle roof on the house. The two roofs are joined with a bridge of tarpaper at the joint, once sealed on the high side with some tar, now that sealing tar is cracked and dried out, or the tar paper has aged. It has two swinging doors to let a car drive in, although I probably won’t be doing that. It has a cement floor and insulated walls, although the person that did the original conversion kind of ran out of gas when they got to doing the doors. Ok, I grant you this area has somewhat mild winters, and long summers, but what is the rational behind doing the conversion, insulating the roof and walls, putting in a heater, but not doing anything to the doors? Why put a heater out there, and then let the heat exit (or enter!) by the doors? Not only were they uninsulated, the sheets of plywood used were too small to close off the opening. With the doors closed there was a 2 by four-foot hole left over. Let’s

just say the local wildlife often had meetings in my garage. The visiting cats probably were looking for mice - I’m sure they found some. And there is a person size door so I can go directly from the house to the garage. Great! I like walking to work. The area has some electrical power sockets – some not working and I’m not sure how they’re wired, but I’ll find out. One thing I want to be sure of is that popping a circuit breaker doesn’t put out the shop lights too. Coping with a power tool problem is bad enough when you can see, stumbling around in the dark is not my style, and just plain dangerous. I also want to have a power cutoff switch to shut down the shop in one move, leaving the lights on if needed. After all, the garage is also a path to the house, and may be needed for access to the house. There are two nesting birds on my side porch. Not that I object to birds, but they should plan on nesting outside, leaving all ‘calling cards’ out there too.

Local support Some parts just have to be done by you locally. For example, ‘Back to Nu’ is a local used appliance store, just not advertised other than by word of mouth – in other words, it’s not known outside the local network, and it’s not in the Yellow Pages. Ask around to find out about such stores in your area.

Steps to keep the resale value of a new car or pickup An unloaded reduced size pickup truck tends to be a bit light in the rear. This isn’t surprising, as a pickup truck is intended to be used with a load in back. Normally this doesn’t matter, but during the winter an unloaded, reduced size pickup truck tends to be light in the rear, with poor traction. The rear wheels don’t have much bite, even with aggressive tread snow tires. I started out with 2 sixty pound bags of sand, which did give me better traction, but the paper bags the sand came in wore out. I picked up two 5 gallon plastic pails with covers which I believe were used for holding plaster. This keeps the sand dry and in one place, and lets you tie the mass in place. Having 100 pounds + charging around in the bed is not attractive. If the car is a pickup truck, buy a bed liner and a matching cap at purchase. Note: not all bed liners and caps co-exist; that is, keep in mind a cap may not fit on top of a bed liner. If you plan to do any sleeping in the back of the truck the side windows in the cap should provide ventilation and have screens. Also, how well does the cap and tailgate work together to lock? If you’re going for a cap think about getting one with a roof rack for long items like ladders, poles, skis, pipes and lumber - and a cargo light inside is a nice touch. Is there a loading light inside the cap for night work? If you don’t have a roof rack you might want to think about a rack on the inside wall of the cap for holding long items like poles, etc.

Any cap should have clear windows on the sides. Tinted windows on a cap are impossible to see through when backing up, and cost more than solid sides. You can’t see through solid sides, true, but at least they’re functional, cheap, and secure. Because of the opaque windows in my cap I had trouble entering any right hand lanes . Then I added a small curved mirror to my right side mirror. If anything other than road shows in it, I don’t turn into that lane. Sometimes the problem with a cap is that it’s on the truck - that is, you want to load something bulky like cut brush, and the cap is now in the way. How easily does the cap remove, and do you have the tools needed in the truck? I suggest you do carry the wrenches or whatever to remove the cap because sometimes you’ll need to remove the cap when you’re not at home. You then have a problem of what to do with the cap when it’s off the vehicle.

General advice on vehicles Buy matching floor mats and seat covers at the purchase of the car. This will support the resale value of the vehicle. Buy two rims for snow tires at the purchase of the car. That way you can get snow tires mounted on the rims and put them on yourself in a few minutes. Buy a service manual even if you don't plan to work on the car yourself. If nothing else, service manuals help you understand what’s being done to your car. Get the car undercoated, but not at the dealer. If the car is a pickup truck, ask that the bottom (the inside) of the tailgate be treated as well. A spray in place bed liner is a good move. I suggest a trailer hitch, with a running lights connection as well. You probably don’t need a trailer brake controller. Don't buy a factory radio. Almost any after market radio will be cheaper and better than any factory item. Get a cross wrench. I know, a tire lug wrench comes with the car, but a cross wrench is so much better it just rules. Get a good set of jumper cables. You should only buy heavy duty copper cables. Get a good jack. Yes, I know a jack comes with the vehicle, but it’s, well, the jack is just as ‘effective’ as the tire lug wrench is. Have several sets of keys made right away. Do a very good job of hiding a spare key somewhere on the car, but don't use a magnetic key holder, they fall off sooner or later. Get copies of your insurance card, registration and driver's license as they are renewed and keep them in a safe place. If you plan on keeping them in the car (bad idea), don't have them in the glove compartment.

Also think about blankets, rugs, foam, rope, and a tool box (with some basic tools, of course) I have a small pickup truck, which needs extra weight in the back for winter traction. I picked up two 60 pound paper bags of sand which is cheap, non polluting, and a good way to spread around and get unstuck. Of course, paper bags of sand are not too durable, so a good way to hold sand is to use a covered 5-gallon plastic pail; one pail will hold a 60 pound bag of sand, and the container is tough and waterproof. Having the sand in a tough container so you can tie it down is a good move. The cover prevents spills and stops the sand from getting wet and freezing solid so it can be spread on ice if you’re stuck. At the end of the season it’s easy to store the sand away, and the new container will stand off-season hazards.

What are you trying to do here? To produce a book to be a possible road map to getting a home again, just what the book title suggests - living well on a budget. In my other books I warned about the homeless problem, and provided information for the homeless to help themselves as much as possible. Now here’s the next step in the process, coming back into the main stream. I feel one of the reasons behind these extensive problems is the quiet but across the board loss of basic life skills- so don’t be too surprised at my frequent attempts to champion the teaching or learning of the basic skills. Many Americans have lost the basic skills that would be so useful in recovering from a bout of homelessness, and courses in such useful topics are sadly no longer covered in many of our schools. Why not? Has the arrival of computers somehow wiped out our need to eat, and with it the need to cook, shop, and live in general? Does a big screen color TV somehow provide the basic carpentry skills needed to repair and maintain a home? Does Ebay do our food shopping for us now? Nope, nope, and nope… Simple cooking, basic sewing, good shopping skills, basic carpentry, and general fixit abilities should be something everyone knows, but all too often these skills are totally lacking, or what there is of them in the parents is not passed on to the children. In this world a minimum amount of technical skills are a necessary. a requirement now. Knowledge is

For example, most people can’t tell you why the thin extension cords used for lights in a room should never be used on high power drain appliances like an air conditioner. Never! Yet I found one woman doing just that, and just in time, for the light duty cord was so overheated the plastic had melted away from the wires and plug. She was seconds away from a major fire, from losing her house. The hint here is to match the thickness of the appliance cord to the thickness of the extension cord - they should match, or the extension cord can be thicker. In any case, extension cords should

never get hot; if they do you have a major problem. This not top secret information –but according to the survey I’ve done it’s not well known.

MINIMUM GAUGE EXTENSION CORD RECOMMENDED SIZES Ampere Rating 0-6 0-6 0-6 0-6 6-10 6-10 6-10 6-10 10-12 10-12 10-12 10-12 12-16 12-16 12-16 Total Length Gauge of Volts of Cord in Feet Extension Cord thickness 115 up to 25 18 AWG 115 25-50 16 AWG 115 50-100 16 AWG 115 100-150 14 AWG 115 up to 25 18 AWG 115 25-50 16 AWG 115 50-100 14 AWG 115 100-150 12 AWG 115 up to 25 16 AWG 115 25-50 16 AWG 115 50-100 14 AWG 115 100-150 12 AWG 115 up to 25 14 AWG 115 25-50 12 AWG 115 Cords greater than 50 feet not recommended.

Not knowing how to fix or improvise will cost you money, and not knowing about the places to shop for bargains can have you spending far more money than you need to. That is real bad news when you’re in a tight money spot. It’s very hard to find a situation to pass on these basic skills. Best to learn them now, before the hard times start. If you’re a family it’s important for everyone to share or improve basic skills. This is a positive accounting of how a person can rebuild things after a crash.

Recovery is possible The first step back up the ladder to true independence, self sufficiency and a semblance of a normal, secure life - in other words, to get the home back in your life.

Home support items Make sure your smoke detectors have good batteries, then test them regularly. With smoke! Not just a button push! Maybe you can’t afford to upgrade your fire insurance, but you certainly can get fresh batteries for smoke detectors. You do have fire extinguishers in your house, right? Think garage sales. I read the recent files on carbon monoxide, and the new information doesn’t reduce the hazards any – it’s always been nasty stuff, I just never realized how bad it really is. Carbon monoxide detectors are really a requirement for any heating system that has a flame in any way.

And while we’re on the subject, there are devices that look and work like smoke detectors, but detect leaking gas. If your house has gas in any form and you have a problem finding a detector, you can contact your gas company - they will be more than happy to tell you about these detectors, and help if you have problems finding them.

Live well, but well within your means - particularly, live within your means. This means spending much less than you make. Keep your eyes open for other jobs, or other legal ways to make money. Find ways to save money. Build your bank account. Then save, and once savings are safely tucked away in a conservative and liquid account, invest! No, not in any stocks, nothing as complicated like that, not just yet. One investment anyone can make is to reduce your credit card debits.

Resist the urge to double your mortgage payments to get ahead of the game mortgages are “cheap debt” if your interest rate is under 8 percent and the interest is tax deductible. Instead, put those payments into a retirement fund. It may be time to refinance an adjustable rate mortgage to a low fixed rate mortgage. In any kind of a down turn, credit card debt will bury you. Credit card debt will bury you in the good times also, just slower. Get rid of as much of it as you can, as soon as you can. After homes and credit card debts are auto loans. If your car is running and paid off, why get rid of it? Take the money that would have gone to car payments and put it into a retirement fund. And get an AAA card while you’re at it - this is a great investment when you have an older car. If you do need a car, buy a four year old leased model and sell it after year eight. The people that lease a car have to return it in pristine condition, and after the 4 years of the lease it has depreciated to a much more reasonable purchase price. Have your paycheck direct deposited - it helps avoid temptation of mail box robbers, plus it makes it harder for someone to steal it from you. And use a bank credit card because it’s limited to the amount in your account. Check your credit - Know your credit Probably the one most important factor in the homeless condition is credit. I do suggest you check your credit history for errors. Consumer Reports® found almost 50% of the people they surveyed had one or more errors in their credit history report, and some 20% had major errors. It’s strongly suggested you check and correct any problems, no matter how small, as soon as you find them. Avoid the “clean up your credit” scams. There is no way to magically clean up your credit history, other than by not paying off your bills.

No easy bankruptcy There are ads on TV about bankruptcy which suggest it’s an easy, pleasant thing if you just go to the “right” law firm. The firm might reduce the amount of paperwork you have to fill out, but will not be able to change the other problems of bankruptcy. Easy? Nothing could be further from the truth - there are people that have been driven to suicide by the problems of going bankrupt. Bankruptcy is not the easy way out these adds try to make it look like. It’s a way out, yes, but not an easy way out.

Helping hands and… “O.K., who are they?” Well, the name may vary by area, but here you want to call on the Department of Social Services (often known as DSS). Also look for the listing for Helping Hands. If you’re in a Red Cross Shelter they will be able to tell you the names of the places you should be going to. Follow their instructions, for they really do have your best interests at heart. For example, the first thing they will want you to do is to find a place other than the shelter to live in. Your instinct (at least mine was) may be to first find a job, then with money from the job find a place to stay. That would sound right normally, but space in the shelter is limited, and they don’t know how many people they will have to serve next month - but they do know the budget will not be getting larger. They need to quickly pass you on to the care of the Department of Social Services, who will see you get the aid you need and have all kinds of job hunting tools for you. Job hunting is easier when you have a place with a separate address and a phone of your own. Credit cards Notice how many warning signs are directly related to credit cards. I’m not against credit cards, but their misuse is often found as a major part of a person’s crash into homelessness. They are often a useful item, but the present design can work against you. Think about a debit card instead. Credit cards by themselves are not evil! But there are often problems with the current type of credit card in wide use today. Perhaps what is needed is a “savings” card, supported by a local bank. Something that could work like a credit card if needed, but it starts out as a debit card, with rewards based on how much you’re saving. True, this is not a full working blueprint of a ‘good’ card, but if someone wants to hire me to create one, I’m sure the details can be worked out. What company would support such a card? Correctly designed, this would be a very low risk card, with very loyal customers. There are some companies that want to put a credit card in your hands no matter what. I know that, as I was surprised at the number of unsolicited offers for new credit cards I received when I was not working, had no way to pay off my debts, but yet I kept getting offers for new credit cards in the mail. If there are companies willing to take the risk and issue me a new credit card when I was

not working and was not able to pay off the old ones, well, there should be some company that would be willing to benefit from the much lower risk of a new type of card.

Saving empty containers Glass jars and tin cans may not seem like much, but empty, clean, containers help in many ways. And special containers like shaker top containers for Parmesan cheese or baking soda. Along these lines, saving broom handles may not seen revolutionary or effective, but in my new location I started up my old wood handle collection. The ‘no care’ garden My mother was very much into gardening, and she passed a lot of that on to me. Given the local landscape, doing a full-scale garden will require a bit of time to start up. Clearing a hillside and setting up a system of terraces. Doing full power gardening is not going to be a life time goal, but I feel there are advantages to doing a bit of gardening. What’s ‘automatic farming’? It’s really an oxymoron, of course. Doesn’t really happen. Gardening will always require some work. But there’s no law that says you can’t try to reduce that work, or get more effective tools to use, or practice gardening techniques that reduce the required work (mulching). And those tools and techniques do exist. ‘Automatic farming’ is a term I coined as the result of my work and several long discussions with some friends about what should be planted at a place they had recently purchased. They wanted to start a garden there, but both had full time jobs that prevented anything but occasional weekend trips to their new home. They still wanted to have a garden, though, and we covered a lot of ground in selecting things to match their requirements. When everything was finished, I sat down and wrote the start of this chapter. The result of our talks was a special selection of plants carefully selected to match the local soil and their needs. When you can’t be there to run a full time garden, and don’t know what time of the year you might arrive, but you still would like to have at least some food items ready for you when you do - try this. Of course, one ‘survivalist approach’ solution to a problem like this is to stockpile canned food, but this can be expensive. This also means a stockpile, and stockpiles, no matter how large, are going to run out sooner or later. With large stockpiles of semi- perishable goods, like food, often the items may become aged before use and have to be rotated out for fresh stock, or be wasted. Stockpiles tie up a lot of your money and require special storage areas, such as a lockable area that doesn’t freeze. Stockpiles often also require bad times before they start to return some of the money you put into them. In addition, stockpiles can be stolen or confiscated. Confiscated? Yes. There is now a law on the books that allows the government to confiscate any stockpiled items they want to.

What, you don’t believe the government can’t be trusted? Of course, they can’t confiscate any items they don’t know about, and it seems to me they can’t suspect someone has a stockpile if they have a garden to explain having food items. The complete solution to all of this is a mixture of stockpiled food, tools, skills, and gardening. If this place is something like a vacation home at a distance, you can’t be there, but ‘automatic farming’ can provide a way to fill in the gaps, stretch out what food you do have, and not advertise the fact you have a ‘non-garden’ source of food. “Automatic” farming No farming or gardening can be truly automatic, of course. But this does not mean you have to work 24 hours a day on a garden. You can set things up to run without constant attention from you, and as a bonus, it will be easier to start full time gardening if you do move in. Basically, the conditions you’re aiming for are to have the gardening tools needed at the location, and the low maintenance plants already started and growing. All of this can be done in a situation that doesn’t drain your bank account and doesn’t go out of it’s way to announce to the world what you’ve done. For this approach to work best you’ll need to expand your ideas of just what is a food plant. For example, few people would recognize an informal flower garden of day lilies as a source of food, but the first stalks in spring, the buds and flowers all summer long, and the little tubers are all edible, and very good. And the thinning will help the plants grow better. No, I’m not saying day lilies are the complete answer to all your problems! That was just an example. I would suggest a patch of comfrey as a good animal food, and another patch of Jerusalem artichokes for humans. Plantings of onions and garlic are another type of plant that does well by itself. “That’s fine, but how do you set up automatic farming for animals?” Well, with a few exceptions, you really don’t. Most farm animals require daily attention, so they don’t fit into these plans. A garden can grow without your constant intervention, and, say a flock of chickens don’t have to have you deciding on every item they should peck at. If you have a place in the country, but don’t normally live there you could get things ready for keeping small animals by setting up a ‘barn’. It doesn’t have to be a full sized barn, although that sure would be useful. You need the extra storage area anyway, don’t you? You may not be able to have the animals waiting for you, but you can do things to get ready for them, such as stockpiling rolls of chicken wire, getting tools for making fences, or getting the materials and a charger for an electric fence. However, if you have the right conditions, there is one protein source for you, an ‘animal’ you can raise for protein without having to be there - fish! True, this requires a pond of some type, but there are a number of reasons for having a pond besides fish. By the way, a visiting otter can clean out all fish from a pond. They can find an isolated pond by following the stream that drains it, and otters are very good fishers. Even if you don’t stock your pond with fish, you’ll have a number of advantages from a pond on your property. Correctly designed and built, a pond increases the value of your property. For the kids there’s summer swimming and winter skating, for general

protection there is the advantage of an open source of water for fire fighting. This might lower your fire insurance costs. A pond is also a good source of water for a garden in a dry summer, and a place to help raise ducks and geese. Local game will also use the pond for drinking. Depending on local conditions, there are other edibles from a pond. Plant watercress in a spring or stream, for example. It will also grow in a shallow, somewhat shaded part of a pond. If that shallow water gets full sunlight you can expect the cattails to crowd out the watercress, however. Once started, cattails and arrowhead plants need no encouragement to grow at the edge of a pond, and both can be eaten. Now, if you have a pond, you can think about getting some geese. Actually, you don't have to have a pond to raise geese or ducks, but it does help. By the way, it’s against the law to plan corn or other grain near ponds, because this is what hunters used to attract wild geese. However, as far as I know, wild rice, which is native to the Northwest and grows well in shallow water, is prized by both man and bird. Domestic and wild geese make good “watchdogs”, as they have very good eyesight and stay in a group. The whole group sounds off at the approach of almost anything hostile to man or bird, or just different. There are few small animals that care to try and tackle a goose (most geese will be glad to provide you with an example bite), and geese are usually able to avoid the larger animals by taking to the water, honking loudly all the while. You dog will quickly pick up on the geese sounding the alarm. Geese eat mostly grass, and don’t require much in the line of shelter. In some cases all that may be needed is a few small but dense pine trees. Shelter can also be provided by a low, three walled shed with the open side facing downwind. This shed is about the size of a dog house. If you have any control at all over the shape of the pond, that is, you’re going to have it dug, I suggest you make an island or two to provide additional protection for waterfowl. Once they are established at a spot, geese (including wild geese) will stay the winter, provided there is shelter and ample food. Ducks can be raised much the same way as geese, but ducks are afraid of geese, and avoid sharing a pond with them. I don’t suggest you try to share a pond (i.e., swim in it, or drink from it) with geese and ducks. Both geese and ducks can pollute a small body of water with their droppings, and this can be a real health problem. Remember, a goose is a large bird, with a correspondingly large, well, you get the idea. Plastic swans on the water will keep both geese and ducks out of a pond. If you have a pond you might be able to encourage some ducks and geese to settle there. Otherwise, if you plan on keeping fowl, they’ll have to be added after you move in on a permanent basis. By the way, turkeys and chickens can’t be raised together because the turkeys will pick up diseases from the droppings of the other bird. Turkeys are very dumb birds, and I can’t recommend them. There is another benefit from a shallow pond - wild rice. Wild rice is not a “rice” at all, but rather the grain-like seed of an aquatic grass. Nutritional analysis shows that wild rice is low in fat, yet high in fiber and good quality protein. It also has a wide variety of minerals and is an excellent source of B vitamins. Uncooked wild rice can be stored indefinitely in a sealed or tightly covered container in a cool dry place.

Cooked wild rice can be refrigerated for several weeks or frozen for longer storage. When reheating refrigerated wild rice, use a double boiler or simple place in a saucepan, add a small amount of water and heat. If frozen, allow to thaw in refrigerator before heating. Like regular rice, wild rice swells up in cooking - 1 cup raw wild rice yields 3 to 4 cups when cooked. By the way, if there is only one book you plan to get on gardening then I suggest you get Ruth Stout’s great book, “How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back”. Raising chickens You’ll have to wait until you’re in country residence full time to start raising chickens. It’s not hard. Traditionally, chickens free ranged around farm homes, and many flocks in the country still do. They do eat a bit of grass and other plants to get their greens. They don’t require much grain to keep them interested in staying around your place. It would seem you could just establish a flock and then go away, but the whole world is full of things that like to eat chickens, so as a result you’ll have to provide protection, and secure shelter for them at night. Chickens are a good source of meat and eggs, but also are a good example of the rule "What you like to eat, so does wild life”. There is at least one secret to raising chickens - mix in a few Guinea hens with the chickens. Guinea hens are not good layers, nor do they take good care of their offspring. They are small birds and do not grow fast. But they do lay edible eggs, taste good, and are very good about hunting down bugs (including ticks that carry Lime disease!). However, the most important function of a Guinea hen is - sound! The first time you hear one of these birds cut loose with a blast, you’ll wonder how a half pint bird makes a gallon of sound. So do foxes, dogs and other animals who would attack your flock of chickens. Only problem is that they keep sounding off - close neighbors are probably not going to like this. You don’t have any close neighbors? Great! A somewhat similar thing can be done with geese. However it’s not quite the same for geese. For those people who have not worked with geese, well, guess where the expression ‘to get goosed’ comes from? A bite will not remove pounds of flesh, true, but I do think you’ll notice it when it’s delivered. Once again, there is the problem of sound, but there is a quackless breed of geese. If you’re planing to get geese or Guinea hens, don’t underrate the sound problem! Even plain old everyday chickens make their share of noise, although not as much. Beekeeping Beekeeping is another low time “crop”, except this “crop” tends to be better than average in the ability to look after itself. It’s an unusual crop that stores well, and almost everyone has a sweet tooth. It doesn’t take too much to keep bees (about 10 hours a year a hive), but you should be prepared to be stung on occasion, even with the protection of a veil and bee suit. As you (and other people!) are unlikely to lose a sweet tooth, honey is a very tradable commodity, and in addition there are a number of uses and markets for bee’s wax, proplus (a coating bees make) and other bee products. Not too many animals mess with a bee hive. A bear might rob a hive for honey, and there are badgers and skunks who might sit in front of a hive and eat the bees as

they come out, but that’s about it. Not too many people mess with a hive, either. When the Forestry Service found the small, remote weather stations were being vandalized, they put a beehive by each one. The damage stopped, and there was a side benefit of a crop of honey as well. Man has been studying the needs of bees for a long time, and a modern beehive really helps out the bees. Even though you’re removing some of the honey the design of a modern beehive helps ease the workload of the bees so much they’re better off in it. You may be wondering about “killer bees” if you’re thinking about keeping bees. Not to worry. The so-called “killer bee” has had far more bad press than it deserves. Yes, people have died from bothering an Africanized bee hive, but then, people have died from messing with “tame” bees as well. This is rare, true, but it has happened. The whole business of “killer bees” is blown way out of proportion, as more people have died from being hit by lighting than by killer bees! If you keep bees you’re making it a bit harder for wild bees to settle into the area - and you’re fully equipped to deal with any kind of bees. If you keep bees you’ll find out bees (any kind of bees) are hypersensitive to any insecticide. If there is any kind of insecticide around, the bee that runs into it just drops dead right away. This includes Africanized bees as well, of course. Africanized bees are not bulletproof (no bee is), they‘re just more aggressive than standard bees. In all other respects they are the same, dropping dead at the first touch of insecticide. Now you know why beekeepers are so mad about all the spraying done - years of work can be wiped out in a minute if some idiot crop dusts something upwind of the hives. So, if a hive of “killer bees” (which probably are not “killer bees”anyway) sets down near you, take a can or two of regular spray insecticide, put on your bee vail, and just wipe the hive out. Don’t expect to find much honey in the hive, though. By the way, the ban on any insecticide around bees means you as well. If you plan on keeping bees, also realize you’re not going to be doing much spraying. Oh yes, one other thing about bees. If you live in a populated area, people may object to a bee hive. There is a rather sneaky way to have a hive in plain sight and not have people complain - just don’t paint it white! Because everyone knows beehives “just have to be white”, a wooden box that’s a natural wood color will never be spotted as a hive. But the bees don’t care what color the hive is. Hives are normally painted white to keep them cooler in summer, but the bare wood will soon weather to a silver gray that’s almost as effective a heat reflector. The hive doesn’t have to be at ground level either. You can have a hive on the back porch roof and the bees will have no problem getting to it. After all, they can fly. Other animals It’s a bit hard to “farm” wild animals, but doing things like putting in a pond will encourage them to stay in the area. You may want to do things like clean out some scrub trees, or plant an area with native plants that will encourage wild animals to stay in the area. “Hey, that’s wildlife conservation!” Yes, and you should be able to get help and good advice on this part of the project from a number of conservation groups.

Picking the right location Of course things like good soil and good drainage is important for a garden, but even the best possible soil will not produce much if trees shade the growing area. Carefully note what trees are shading the garden, and get an ax. Picking the right plants One approach to an “automatic” garden is select special plants that win hands down when they go one on one with weeds. This is often tall plants like mint and raspberries. Or you can start with mulching the growing plants to reduce weeds. Herbs have been called a weed with an education. There’s a bit of truth to this. Herbs generally don’t provide food, but they do have the growing vigor of weeds, are self tending, and have a number of benefits. I suggest you plant herbs as well as food crops. Not only do they counter bland food, they have uses as dyes, as cosmetics, in medicine, as natural animal and insect repellents. Even if you don’t plan to use them yourself, they can always be traded for what you don’t have. The staples Collards are one of the few vegetables that can survive the brutal heat of summer and the frequent cold snaps of winter. They’ll produce long after broccoli and cabbage have succumbed to the cold. Potatoes reseed and “store” themselves, but your soil type may not support them. They’re such a useful crop I suggest you try to improve your soil so you can grow them. Till a 4’ by 8’ plot and spread at least a cup of bone meal. Place 18 to 25 seed potatoes there. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals, tasty and very popular, making them a must for a garden. Cherry tomatoes frequently re-seed themselves. Also, at my house we seem to get more use from the smaller fruits. While it’s easier to use the larger tomatoes, the cherry tomato seems to produce a larger amount of fruit. There are tomatoes that turn yellow when ripe, which will tend to discourage raids on your crops. Kale, like collards, is at its best after a freeze. It’s one of the few plants that can provide food from a snowbank. Swiss chard is another vegetable that lasts well into the winter. And while you’re planning the garden don’t overlook the “non-traditional” plants like Chinese cabbage. Don’t stop there - try some plants that ‘can’t’ grow in your area. We tried planting celery, and while it didn’t form a bunch just like the store bought variety, it tasted just fine. It also kept green well into the winter, much to my surprise. The root plants

The root plants are a great help to a person interested in an automatic garden. Most of the root plants like horseradish, carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and others can be planted and more or less forgotten until you need them. Of course, they’ll do better if looked after. A heavy mulch will not only keep down the weeds but in some cases can provide enough cover to let some of the crops be harvested in the early winter. Having root crops should encourage you to have a root cellar. This doesn’t have to be an actual place you can walk into, it can just be a place that will get cold but not freeze in the winter, and stay cool in the summer, all while keeping out animals that would sample your hard earned work. Most root plants should be dug up and divided once in a while to give them room to expand. Be sure to come up with your own list of plants for your garden. For example, beets are not one of my favorites, so I almost left them off the list. But if you can grow chard you probably can also grow beets. If you don’t want to eat them yourself there is always trading. The Jerusalem Artichoke (sometimes called Sun Chokes) is a good plant for automatic farming. They should be planted off by themselves, as they grow tall and really like to spread out. Once planted they live indefinitely, re-growing from any bulbs you’ve left in the ground after the last harvesting. This is a natural ‘garden in the open’ plant, as they don’t have to be protected from deer, and are beautiful to look at. Like potatoes, you use the roots of the plant, not the stalks. They tend to “reseed” themselves without any real effort on your part - you always miss a few in the fall harvest and the remaining roots restart things. Onions, leeks, and garlic are root plants with a number of uses. Shallots have a mild onion like flavor, and can be left in the ground all winter for early spring use. Garlic is another good bulb plant to start growing. As a matter of fact, you can use the bulbs sold in the supermarket to start a crop. The bed should be planted over a period of several years because it takes a while for a good crop to develop. Also ginger Strictly speaking, parsley is a biennial, but it’s grown as an annual. It’s one of the most popular and familiar of the herbs, and with good reason, for once it gets going it can be harvested throughout the summer. The roots can be repotted to produce greens inside during the winter. It’s often used more as a seasoning than as a food plant, but Parsley is nutritious. The plant is almost completely pest and disease free. Parsley produces a vitamin rich crop that can be harvested all season and even into the early winter if protected. Dill is another popular herb.

Swiss Chard is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It will grow in almost any type of soil, particularly clay types, under almost any conditions. Both the leaf and stalk can be eaten, and the plant is almost completely pest and disease free. It’s a consistent performer, and if that isn’t enough, Swiss Chard produces a vitamin rich crop that can be harvested all season and even into the early winter if protected. It does best if well watered.

Which reminds me, water is a low cost “fertilizer” that many people overlook, and end up with ‘make do’ hoses and the like. Look into a watering system. If you’re going to garden you’re going to be doing a lot of watering, so plan ahead and put in some kind of a permanent sprinkling system that will reduce the workload. You do have better things to do than stand around holding a hose, when a little bit of planning will free you from this task. Oh, by the way… Someone came up with a great (but harmless!) anti deer system. It’s the same heat pickup as a security system, but hooked to control a water valve. No, deer don’t like getting a surprise hosing… (grin) Spinach can take any amount of cold weather. If left outdoors over the winter it will just stop and wait for spring to start growing again. It will go to seed at the first touch of hot weather, however. Spinach seeds do not store well. Asparagus is another perennial root plant, which comes up fairly early in the spring. If you’re starting an Asparagus patch it’s best planted in a heavily mulched bed. While these plants can be started from seed it takes a while, I suggest you buy and plant the mature plants. At the end of the growing season the bushy asparagus tops, now long dead, should be removed because borers and other pests like to winter over in them. By the way, Asparagus and Dill plants go well together. Asparagus is a perennial, but dill is not, however the dill will generally reseed itself so it acts like a perennial. Rhubarb is a perennial root plant that requires freezing weather. It’s a low plant with very large leaves, and it likes full sunlight. It generally doesn’t need any special care, and it doesn’t have to be protected from deer or other garden pests. Leaves are bad tasting. Rhubarb is one of the few really early producers, it comes up very early in the spring. You don’t eat the leaves (they have a mild poison in them), instead you eat the stalks of the plant like a fruit. But these stalks are a bit on the bitter side and require a bit of sugar or honey when being cooked. Some people may not want to plant rhubarb because of the extra amount of sugar this plant may introduce into a diet. At the start of winter you can dig up a few roots and force stalks over the winter by just keeping the root in a warm place. Like the other root plants the older roots should be dug up and divided from time to time. It’s fortunate rhubarb doesn’t have to be inside a fence, as it’s a real space eater. Salsify (Oyster Plant) is another plant that can be left in the ground all winter for early spring use. Cover crops If you’re lucky enough to have some large open areas you might be thinking of having them plowed to prevent bushes and small trees from taking over. That’s a good idea. Once it’s plowed you might as well take the next step and plant a cover crop. Cover corps can be selected to enrich the soil, or in some cases can even provide a delayed food supply. A cover crop may also be used to feed wildlife. Buy only certified rye seed and make it plain the seeds will be used as a food crop. Rye is very hardy, comes up under almost any conditions, and if you have to leave it

standing it will possibly reseed itself. If you’ve planted a field of wheat or rye and it's not harvested the local animals will thank you. Red clover is a legume, a soil improver that will grow where alfalfa will not. Vetch is another legume. Wheat is always in demand, if not by you then by the wildlife in the area. If you have planted any of these seed crops you will need to have the simple tools to harvest the crop. Be sure to have some kind of mill on hand to be able to grind the finished product. The bush plants Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Elderberries, and Boysenberries are welcome on any table. Blueberries do take a long time to start bearing fruit - years and years – so buy the plants old enough to be fruit bearing plants, and the netting to protect them. Wineberries are good as a hedge, and grow in shade. People father north than New Jersey should avoid the “everbearing” type of raspberries, as the growing season is seldom long enough to get a second crop from them. Using odd places Strawberries are a perennial plant, and fit in just about anywhere. They do like direct sun, however. Selection of landscaping trees Fruit trees take a while to start bearing, unless you buy the dwarf plants. I suggest you plant apple trees, because they are very winter hardy, the fruit keeps well, and has a wide range of uses. Any young fruit or nut tree needs very good protection, as they are sensitive to damage from deer and mice eating the bark. These trees must be well protected against such attacks until the bark has thickened. Of course, you may find some fruit trees already in the area. This calls for ladders and sharp pruning shears to cut off the thin, vertical growing suckers. You’ll be surprised how a bit of careful pruning can increase the yield of a tree. And don’t forget that nut trees can be a cash crop for both the nuts and the wood later on. In general the dwarf varieties of fruit trees do very well. Some dwarf peach trees have a bit of an unusual problem, the tree produces so much fruit the branches become overloaded and the tree splits at the forks. Bartlett pears are good keepers, that is, they store well. Selection of landscaping plants Since birds prefer to eat mulberries above all other fruits, a few mulberry trees planted near your cherry trees and berry bushes can help to reduce the losses to birds. Also, there are nets for berry bushes. Cheap fencing

Whether or not you do any farming, if you have anything to do with the outdoors there’s a good chance sooner or later you’ll have to deal with the need to fence animals like deer out of an area, or perhaps provide a support for climbing plants. Then you take a look at the price of fencing, and start thinking about a much smaller garden. But before you scale back your plans, try this. There is a possible source of low cost fencing near you right now - the bright orange plastic fencing normally used around road or construction sites. At the completion of a local project we asked for and obtained free for the hauling several hundred feet of four foot high plastic fencing, and a number of 5 foot high metal posts. As a bonus, when we were picking up the fencing we saw a small mountain of wood chips, the result of the trees taken down in the project. The fencing seems to come in two types, a square “grid” of what seems to be plastic ''ropes, and what might be best described as a thick sheet with oblong holes. I prefer the plastic grid type, but I don't see why both types wouldn't work equally well. If you live in a deer free area count that as one of your blessings. We don't, and deer can jump a 6-foot high fence with ease. Of course, the plastic construction fence is only about four or five feet high and no barrier to a deer. We got around this problem by end welded the metal posts together to provide a 12 foot post, and we used two passes of fencing. So far no deer has tried to jump this fence, or if they tried they did not succeed. Not being metal a woodchuck can just chew a hole through this fence, but so far this has been countered by a strip of chicken wire, placed with about half the width on the ground so the woodchuck can't just walk up to the fence and start digging. The only intruders so far have dug their way in. Woodchucks are not rocket scientists, so just setting a box trap up on the other side of the hole to be works just fine. The plastic mesh doesn’t burn the plants in hot weather, and if properly supported makes an excellent trellis. Splicing the fencing breaks After having been backed into by a bulldozer in places, the fence was cut or broken in spots, but I found the plastic could be rather easily spliced without any special equipment. All that was needed was a needle nose pliers and a standard propane torch to heat splice the fencing together. To make the splices I just cut the torn sections off, keeping the cut just a bit to the side of the interception points of the mesh. With two sections done the same way I start at one side and work my way across, doing every other joint. I just set the propane torch to a low flame, about as low as the torch will go, and with the jaws of the needle nose pliers in place, I give the two inner surfaces a quick warming and then quickly and gently press them together, holding the pressure for a second as the plastic cools. The first couple of tries may start the plastic burning; a sign of too much heat. If this happens just clamp the sections together anyway and blow out the flame. If the heat is right you will see the imprint of the jaws, but only about 1/3 of the way in. The splices are strong, long lasting and quick to make.

About fence life I’m not sure how long the fence was up originally before we got it, but the original construction project had run for about 4 years, so I can assume the fence had been up that long to start with. We don’t take the fence down in the winter, and after six years of full exposure protecting our garden it has shown no signs of weathering. Based on this I would say you should get a good ten years use from just about any plastic fencing you might pick up. The price is right and the fencing is tough and long lasting. My splices are also holding up well. Some tips Some times what you really need is a bit of plastic netting to help support the melons so the vine doesn’t have to. You would be surprised how effective this is. A bit of cheesecloth draped and tied over the head of a sunflower plant will let the seeds mature without the birds eating them. Gardening tools Like any human activity, the job of caring for plants goes better if you match the tools to the job at hand. One little known but effective tool is a strawberry hoe, a gardening tool designed to remove weeds right next to small plants. This simple tool is frequently made from a standard size hoe cut down to reshape it. If you’re planting a garden in a serious manner, that is, you will tending the garden on a daily basis, and expect a large part of your food supply to come from it. You’ll be facing a large task, and like all jobs, it will go easier if you take the time to get or make the special tools needed. One reason people find gardening difficult is the often-unnoticed problems caused by not having the right tools, or having the right type of tool, but in the wrong size. There was a time when people knew more about gardening tools and the benefits of using the correct tool, but today this is not common knowledge, so the sellers of gardening tools can offer just about anything to the average person. The best part of this deal is that you don't have to stay average, or put up with substandard tools once you realize there are better solutions out there. “But you really don’t need different length handles on rakes.” you might say. Perhaps. It's true the length of the handle is not quite as critical as other parts of the tool. But the standard rake head width of 12 inches does restrict what the tool can be used for. How can that tool be easily used when the rows you’re working on are 7 inches apart? I realized the benefits of different sized reduced width rakes when I picked up a free, but broken standard size rake on the curbside exchange. I was about to reweld the broken rake head when I decided to turn it into two rakes of different width, just to see what they might be good for. Well, when you have an arc welder and a well stocked scrap box doing this kind of job is just a matter of minutes. Almost right away I started finding uses for both reduced size rakes, particularly the smallest one.

Ok, for something like a leaf rake used to clean up a lawn you do want a very wide tool. But if you want a tool that can reach in to remove the dead leaves between two plants, well, then I suggest you get a leaf rake and rework it a bit, dropping the number of tines to four for a start. I should tell you have lots of fun on clean up day and also at garage sales, and there is a dumpster behind a Sears™ store that I drop in on from time to time. I have been rewarded by a number of finds put to good use. Not all gardening tools are found in gardening stores, for example for some jobs you need a larger, tougher rake. You may well be able to get by on what is normally sold in the average store, but for the tough jobs there does exist better a better rake. It's a larger and stronger model because it's used for mixing cement. A hay fork may seem like a tool that’s only needed by someone working with hay, but there are other uses for this tool. While I don't grow or harvest hay I do use my hay fork to bunch together and pick up all the blackberry cuttings. The thin, multiple tines have no trouble gathering and holding the stalks, and my skin ends up a safe distance from the thorns. Also, when was the last time you sharpened your hoes and shovels? What, you think that only an ax has to be sharp to be used? True, you don’t need a razor edge on them, but at the same time you can’t work very well with a tool that has a totally blunt edge. A correctly sharpened tool is an easy to use tool. And don't let using conventional tools trap you into using them in conventional ways all the time. I have nothing against conventional tools used in conventional ways, unless that means I have to do more work than is required. We have a lot of trees, and come Fall I’m faced with a rather large cleanup task. I use two leaf rakes together, one under each arm and used just like huge salad forks, to first collect the leaves together, and then to transfer the piles of leaves to a tarp on the ground. Leaves aren't heavy, but they are bulky, but once collected this way you can drag off the tarp to the compost heap. Cold frames or hot beds are useful in getting a jump on the growing season, but if made with the traditional glass sheets are a bit expensive, and the glass is fragile. But with the new materials you can greatly improve on tradition. As a possibility I suggest you try an arch of fiberglass panel 26 inches by 4 feet long, bowed into the general shape of a Quonset hut and placed over the plants to be started, with the ends blocked off by more fiberglass panels. Technically it’s a cold frame, but it's ‘built’ in place over the plants, and removed when the plants are ready to stand on their own. This easy to make item is particularly useful for the plants you want to start early but are of the type that don’t transplant well. If you’re into potting plants then having a sifting screen on hand is a real time saver. I have two home made sifting screens, both made from old wood desk draws with the bottoms removed. One has a bottom screen of 1/4 inch rat wire and the other one also has a bottom screen of 1/4 inch rat wire but this is just to provide support for the finer mesh screen over it. Drill four holes in the sides of the boxes so you can hang them from an overhead support and sift away. Proper watering

A rain gauge in the garden is a frequently overlooked ‘tool’ for correctly watering a garden. It should be used along with a permanent sprinkler system. Again, try to innovate when faced with a problem. For example, the carts you can buy for a garden tractor are little more than toys, but still carry a large price tag. Make your own instead cut an oil tank in half, and use it to make a waterproof, side dumpable four wheel cart for a garden tractor. Don’t you weld?

51 ways to saving $1,000 or more (suggested or approved by a number of people) Yes, I realize not everyone is in a position to do all of these items, but there should be enough items listed here to provide savings in any situation. 1. Purchase ten articles of clothing at thrift shops and yard sales this year, instead of paying department-store prices. Hey, at the prices of today’s clothes, this alone may save you $100 or more. My current prewashed jeans were $2.50 from the Salvation Army store. Garage sales are a good source of savings as well. 2. Hang loads of laundry on an outdoor clothesline instead of using your dryer. Not using the dryer will also be kinder on your clothes. Save more money by only using the dryer on rainy days - or find a way to put up an inside line. An outdoor clothesline will work in the winter - the clothes will freeze at first, but they will then dry out. 3. Once a month make a pizza from scratch instead of having one delivered. A large, home - made cheese pizza can be prepared for less than $1.25 - if you start from scratch. Make it yourself and you know it be hot and will have only the best possible toppings - after all, you picked them out, right? 4. Write a good letter, or better yet, use E-mail instead of making a long distance phone call. E-mail is free and the Internet really does want to be your friend. There are still some problems with some of the programs to put your voice on the Internet, but they are getting fewer. You can even make long distance phone calls for free. Computers also send and receive faxes as well. And if you feel you still need more value for your money, many play CDs and DVDs as well. The power consummation for a detacated DVD player and a computer is about the same. 5. Reduce your whole-milk consumption by three gallons per week and substitute dry milk in cooking, in homemade cocoa mix or for half - and - half for drinking coffee. Or use dry milk in making home made pizzas! 6. Instead of buying bread or rolls at supermarket prices each week, purchase bread at a bakery thrift shop, or bake your own. Use dried milk in the baking. 7. Save $50.00 each on two children's birthday parties by making homemade decorations, cake, wrapping paper, and one present. The personal touch is noticed, believe me.

8. Reduce your smoking by three cigarettes per day. (Give up smoking altogether and save much, much more. Really.) 9. Reduce your soda consumption by four cans from the vending machine per week, or by two sale-priced 1-liter bottles per week. Even if you can’t cook you can make your own lemon-aid by the gallon from lemon juice, water and a touch of sugar. If you mix it yourself it’s made to your exact taste. Keep a full container in the refrigerator. I like to add a touch of peppermint extract to make it different. 10. Pack homemade and inexpensive school (or work!) lunches. 11. Change your own oil and oil filter. Learn more about your car, and save even more. 12. Get a modest sewing kit together and fix those shirts and socks that need mending. You don’t have to use a sewing machine, but it wouldn’t hurt if you did. 13. Learn to cook, if you don’t already know how, or do more cooking. Anyone can make soup from scratch. You might just surprise yourself at the fun of doing it yourself, and just how good something homemade can be. Even soup can taste very good if it’s made to your exact tastes - which of course is what will happen after a few trials. And you will be surprised how much fun cooking is. 14. If you get a tax refund, use it to pay off some of your debts. 15. Shop around for the best gas prices. They vary greatly from one place to another. But any savings all end up in your bank account. 16. Maintaining your tires at the proper pressure can cut your gas bill by 5% and your tires will last longer as well. Tune-ups also cut your gas bill. Take any heavy items out of your trunk to boost your gas mileage. 17. Learn basic car repairs - check out books on the subject from your local library. Cared for cars last longer. 18. If you must have cable TV, get just the basic services. But a simple (and free - pick one up on cleanup day) TV antenna will provide some coverage in most parts of the United States, for free. TV is nice, but not really a requirement. It’s also a massive energy drain, and a time waster - I suggest you look very carefully at doing without it. 19. Don’t rent any more videos. Your local library has a free, wide selection on hand, plus books and other useful items. Your local library has a lot more than most people realize, or take advantage of. 20. Shop with coupons, you’ll save on everything. Coupons are all over, and you can trade them. 21. Bring leftovers for lunch. They taste great, and you will eat better. 22. Steer clear of all convenience stores - the mark up there is often 100% more than the supermarket.

23. Cut your supermarket bill by buying health and cosmetic items at discount stores. 24. Buying generic brands can save up to 30% over brand names. 25. Pay regular visits to thrift stores, as the stock varies week to week. Sometimes they will have just what you need. 26. Avoid get rich quick schemes - the only people that get rich on them are the people that mail them out - never the people they’re mailed to. 27. Buy with cash - many retailers will offer discounts on cash purchases if you ask about it – but you have to ask for it. The credit cards offered by many retailers (like a Sears ™ card) will have much higher rates. 28. ATM units are fine - if they are with your bank. Avoid the ATM’s of other banks and their cash draining service charges. The average ATM charge is $1.50. Pay that three times a week and the cost to you is $234 a year. After 30 years at 8.5% interest that’s $26,000 - just to get to your money. 29. Never lease an appliance - you will pay the price of a new machine PLUS a hefty interest fee, and should you miss just one payment they can and will come and repossess it - the appliance and all your money will be gone. Used appliances are cheaper, check your newspaper. Or save the money up and look for bargains that only cash will get. 30. Save on electricity by washing and drying only full loads. Save even more by using a clothesline, not the drier. 31. Launder clothes in cold water - most detergents now work at all temperatures. 32. Talk to your power / gas company about savings plans. 33. Replace standard light bulbs with the new low power, 10-year life bulbs. Start with the bulbs in the really hard to reach places. 34. Replace an old, non programmable thermostat with one of the new, programmable units and save up to $ 300 a year. Look for other energy saving changes to your heater. Close off cracks, insulate windows. The fuel suppler will often have programs that will help, so check them out. After 30 years at 8.5% interest that’s another $26,000 or so in your pocket. 35. Get your reading material from the library, and what few books you do buy get at a used book store. Libraries also provide DVD’s, and sometimes even loan out artwork ask what your local library does and you may surprised at the answers. 36. Buy a used suitcase from a store that does luggage repair. Luggage repair may not be a standard activity for the store, but the suitcases are often there. Often stores that do repairs have items that were brought in for repair and never picked up. The store owners then put these items up for sale. Almost anything can be purchased this way, even cars.

37. Buy the bulk of your groceries from a food buying club. 38. Pets are great, but the cost of pet food can be a large part of your household budget. For example, a sale on tuna fish may be lower than regular cat food, and the cats may like it more (!). Buying in bulk is good, but dried cat or dog food could attract rats, so use a new, clean metal garbage can to store the bulk food in. 39. Do a little gardening to grow your own food. The work of gardening can be greatly reduced with the right setup and tools. Get a rain gauge and watering system. Refer to the rain gage to cut your water bill. 40. Start a compost heap if you can. It’s not hard, and you don’t even have to garden to do this. In some cases this will reduce your garbage bill, but a compost heap will always provide the best potting soil, no mater what. If you don’t want to use it yourself there are lots of people who will buy as much of the stuff that you have. 41. Buy your laundry soap by the 5 gallon bucket at Sears® or some similar place. Expect to get enough soap to wash 160 loads at about $9 to $10.00 for the bucket about 16 cents a load, plus you get to keep the bucket at the end. If you buy soap at the laundromat it will cost about $80.00 to do the same job. 42. Buy your rolls of paper towels and bathroom paper in bulk. Warning: Buying in bulk does not always get the lowest price, and you need a dry space to save the stuff in. A leak or flood can wide out your savings. 43. If you have a car, particularly an older car with a thirst for oil, purchase several cans of oil to keep in the car for on the spot, as needed use. I was glad to find the local dollar store had quarts of oil at a dollar each. Your home work shop should have everything from containers of antifreeze to cans of brake fluid on hand. If you have a real oil leaker you can get used oil for free and use that to keep the level up. 44. If you have a cool, dry spot in your house like a basement, chances are you can set up a root cellar. Again, use clean, new 55 gallon metal garbage cans to make it hard for rats and the like to dine at your expense. Apples, pears, onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots can be stored this way. Need more info? Get a book on the subject. 45. Go “shopping” on cleanup day. The prices at the “roadside exchange” are nice and low. If I told you the things I found that way, you would call me a liar. Let’s just say people throw out the strangest things - *and I get them*. (grin) 46. Buy only whole chickens and learn the correct way to cut up a chicken. Boil the leftovers for soup stock, and stick the stock in the freezer. 47. Get a freezer. The really cool part of a normal refrigerator may hold some ice cubes and some frozen food items, but just isn’t large enough to really help save you money. 48. Learn to haggle! Yes, it’s not a common thing, but it’s not unheard of either. Not all prices are fixed, and in some cases the price may be fixed but the salesman might throw in some extras. I suggest you get some books on the subject and read up.

49. Recycle vacuum cleaner bags by unwrapping the closed end and dumping out the dust, then stapling up that end. 50. Clean out and save a large assortment of containers - tin cans, plastic jugs, and so on. They come in handy for all kind of projects. Make a plastic shopping bag holder and use it. 51. Buy your consumables in larger containers. For example, buy vinegar in gallon jugs. With this you should never run out True, each one of these items doesn’t save a huge amount, but even small amounts add up. If nothing else, the bulk purchase will cut down on frivolous purchases. Come up with your own ways to save and send them in. Our grandparents had a saying that needs to be hauled out and dusted off - Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Make it do? This book was written on an obsolete, but still very functional Macintosh 6400 Preforma. The software was free, it came with the machine. The computer may be 20 years or more out of date, but it still works just fine. For printing I use a $7,000 Apple Laser printer I got for $30 – a nominal price for a printer of that age. More savings - Grocery shopping list I advocate list making, particularly a grocery shopping list. First, because lists organize priorities. It’s a group thing, several people can add items to the list, even if only one person does the shopping. By list making, you can commit yourself to acknowledge what’s important. Keeping ideas in your head sometimes just doesn't cut it. It's easy to forget or recall ideas in an inappropriate order. Use the power of paper, it’s cheap, write it down. Secondly, by writing down an idea you’re freed to concentrate on other important things, like solving a problem, a project at hand, or simply relaxing. Did you know that just a grocery list will save 10% on food bills by reducing impulse buying? O.K., 10% may not seem like much, but when you combine the minor savings of 10% here, 10% there, well, it begins to add up to a very nice sum - in your favor. We all need nice sums in our favor. Projected food stamp shopping list (not necessarily on one shopping trip) (For one person, for one month) Eggs 3 dozen Milk 2 gallons Cheese 1.5 pounds Parmesan cheese Cream cheese American cheese Meat 2 bags chicken (20? Legs)

Bread 2 standard loaves Fruit 2 bags apples oranges (canned pineapple or whatever) Sugar one sack Raisins 1 box Rice Celery Vegetables Onions (1 bag) Potatoes (1 bag) squash Other root vegetables Carrots Canned corn ‘Occasional ‘items Garlic Vinegar Noodles Flour Oil Butter Vanilla Frozen items Jam Pancake batter Honey Lemon juice Olive oil Corn meal Spray oil Spices ginger Corn starch

On the basics of cooking Bisquick ™ is basically flour, soy oil, leavening (baking soda), sugar, and a touch of salt. You can save a bit of money if you bake with it, but I suggest you go all the way back to basics – get a cookbook and mix your own from scratch.

About HEAP

HEAP stands for Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides assistance with fuel and utility expenses for income eligible homeowners and renters. If you qualify, there is help for energy bills which might be pushing your household budget below the line. Please note that renters and people with full time jobs may also get help from HEAP. For more information contact your utility company right away.

Stop Smoking No drugs No hypnosis No strange behavior No pills No devices or gimmicks No timetables No stress

Now that you’re short on cash and there is plenty of time on your hands, think about stopping smoking. For years I was a two pack a day smoker. I had tried several different times to stop smoking, with no luck - nothing seemed to stick. But it’s been seven years from when I last lit a cigarette, and I will never smoke again. And, if you follow this you will be smoke free also. I know what it’s like to stop to try and stop smoking - and fail. I tried a number of different things, but no such luck. I bought a few stop smoking gadgets, and even went to a hypnotist. None of that worked. Let’s face it, there are going to be a few people who will say they tried this just as a way to get the nonsmokers to stop bugging them. The first step Change to the lowest tar cigarette that you can smoke “normally”, if you have not already done so. I say normally because the very lowest tar cigarette on the market has so many air holes in them they’re hard to actually light. When I tried them I couldn’t get the things to light, and I covered up the air holes so I smoke the stupid things. This was self defeating, as it used up Scotch tape and just raised the tar level of the cigarettes. The first pack or so it will feel like you are getting nothing but hot air. You will want to go back to your old brand - DON’T DO IT! Do not buy another pack of your old brand ever again. If you don’t switch brands the cure will probably not work. I will say there is one nice side effect to smoking low tar cigarettes - only other low tar smokers seem to want to bum them from you. The second step Anyway, when you are switched over to the low tar cigarettes, do this. If a soft pack just open it enough for one cigarette to come out. This is to remind you of the special way you will be smoking from now on. The next step is very simple, and must be done every time you light up. Take only two slow but deep puffs every time you light up. When I say deep puffs I don’t mean filling your mouth with smoke. Do slow, deep puffs to get the smoke deep into your lungs. These are the deep puffs used when someone is smoking marijuana. They should be slow and deep puffs, one deep slow puff following the other, but only take two puffs.

As soon as you have finished the second puff, knock the head off the cigarette and slide it back into the pack. Cigarettes are just too expensive to discard with two uses left. Return the remainder of the used cigarette to the pack - if you leave it in the ashtray you might wander off and and start a new one. It may seem hard to believe, but done right these two puffs will make you feel like you have had a normal cigarette. How this works I don’t have x-ray vision so I can’t really say for sure, but I do have an idea. Think back to the very first cigarette you ever lit up. At that point in time you were not addicted to cigarettes because your body never had nicotine in it. When you had your second or third cigarette, your body was still not addicted to nicotine - but the general nicotine level in your body had started to rise. After you had smoked the first pack there was a general low level of nicotine in your body and your body was starting to need it. But now as you started to smoke more your body metabolism slowly changed. It changed because there was a more or less constant level of nicotine in your blood, and at some point your body changed enough to become addicted to nicotine. Well, to stop smoking you need to stop being addicted to nicotine. And to stop being addicted to nicotine you need to lower the level of nicotine in your body, and keep it down for a period of time, so your body has a chance to adjust to the new conditions. Ok so far? At some point your body will switch off needing nicotine, and your need to smoke will end there. Whatever you do, don’t try to force the changeover. Easy does it. I was a smoker too, remember? I know when the stress goes up you want to smoke more. So don’t bring more grief on yourself by thinking you have to quit smoking by whatever time. The stress of trying to meet a deadline is only going to make it harder to stop - besides who needs another worry? It takes time, but it will happen. I believe a person’s body can “switch off” needing nicotine if the general level of nicotine is kept low enough for a period of time. Once the body naturally stops craving nicotine the pressure to smoke will go. I was a two pack a day smoker for years. I tried several different ways to quit and finally hit on this approach. I have not had a single smoke for over eight years, no, ten years now, and I’m not ever going back. Anyway, when you’re switched over to the low tar cigarette, do this. Every time you want to light up, take one *DEEP* (to the bottom of your lungs) puff - hold it - exhale. Wait a second or two, and repeat the process. As soon as you have taken the second puff, knock the head off the cigarette and put it back in the pack. Return this cigarette to the pack - if you leave it in the ashtray you might wander off and start a new one. I think you will find as I did that these two deep puffs will feel like you have had a full cigarette. Don’t panic if you feel you need to light up again in say 10 minutes or so. EVERY time you light up, do just the two puffs - doesn’t matter if it’s 2 minutes after the last one, just so you only do two puffs.

If nothing else this will cut your smoking to 20% of what you were doing. But here is the real pay off! If you can get the general level of nicotine in your body low enough for long enough time, then it happens! Your body switches over to NOT NEEDING NICOTINE!! It takes a different length of time for different people - but it does work! And it happens without side effects!! Trust me on this. I stopped without climbing the walls, or over eating, or anything! And best of all, I have no desire to ever start again! Nor do I want to at today’s prices. Good luck to all!

Notes on the details A Sewing Kit Very few men in our society today have a chance to learn sewing, but the simple skills needed to remount a button or patch a sock really don’t require years of study to do. The bigger problem to on the spot repairs will probably be not having needle and thread when you need it. So you will have to put together a collection of sewing items I suggest the kit have in it: A good pair of scissors A few spoons of thread, like white, black, tan At least one spool of heavy button thread An assortment of hand sewing needles An assortment of safety pins, different sizes A few straight pins and a pin cushion An assortment of buttons, to replace those found missing An assortment of iron on patches, particularly blue jean iron on patches (yes, you will need an iron to make them work) A sock egg, if you plan on doing socks much A thimble, to save wear and tear on your finger tip A kit of needles called “Assorted Repair Needles” or some such thing, about $2.00 A few minutes spent reading a book on sewing in the library. Little things like not having a pair of matching socks when you need to go on a job interview will start to show up. You can counter this to a certain degree with learning to sew enough to mend your clothes. This requires just a simple investment in a low cost sewing kit. You might have to spend as much as 10$ ! wow, big bill! for the kit and a plastic box to hold it in, but this item will last a lifetime. Think of it as a tool box for clothes. The ‘E’ word If you have an emergency, a true emergency - an urgent need or a situation that has to be taken care of right away - you must get to know a part of the system called Social Services - at least that’s what it is called in our area. If you do have a world

stopping problem be sure to say you have an emergency when talking to Social Services. Don’t hint, if you’re at the end of your rope, come right out and call a spade a spade use the word “Emergency” when you talk to them. Of course, you deserve whatever you get if your idea of a joke is to cry wolf. Are you really down? It may be that the most effective way to get immediate help is to walk into the social services center - whatever its formal name is locally. If nothing else there will be chairs there, a john, it will get you out of the weather and let you get dry, warm, or cool, as needed. And, since you are there, tell them you have no where else to go, and need food. They will get you immediate help. They will probably be able to issue you emergency food stamps, certainly will direct you to any hot food kitchens they know about and get started on dealing with each aspect of your problems. In our town the Social Services Center and the Salvation Army Center, with its soup kitchen and other services, is only 400 feet apart. The social services center people will direct you to shelters, perhaps make the calls necessary to find you a place to stay on a temporary basis. If you need prescription drugs or ‘right now’ medical care they can help with that. They will begin the process of your economic salvation and help in the ways they can to ease some of your fears. In some cases you may be surprised just how far the aid goes. Applying for any government program It’s best not to wait until you’re desperate and have an emergency. Apply for any government program, anything at all, such as food stamps, right away, as soon as the need begins, for example, as soon as your job stops, or whatever. Even if the program may not seem to fit you, apply for it anyway - later on if you are accepted and you don’t want to be part of the program (i.e., things got better) you can always turn it down. Government moves slowly, when it moves, if it moves at all - and always wants lots of paperwork at every step. Save all paperwork in a special place. You have to start things off, you have to keep pushing, you have to save the paperwork, and you should realize that some parts of the aid may not happen after all, so have a backup plan in the works. Also, one section of the government seldom talks to another, or knows what is going on elsewhere. You may go for food stamps, and get them, but not learn about support for housing aid at that time, or aid with heating bills. Government workers may know nothing of any private aid programs you might qualify for, and private aid program workers are not the final word on government aid programs. Again, remember the people behind the desks are all too human, and can’t read your mind. Talk to case workers. Explore different help programs. Ask each person you talk with if they know about any other help you can apply for. Keep your ears open. Voluntary Simplicity group One group I found on the web that might help out the pre-homeless is Voluntary Simplicity. This group advocates being more conscious of your values, in directions away from those set by a consumer society. Voluntary Simplicity would work best if done before the crash happens, as a way to help prevent it, or as a way to reduce the effects of a crash. A net address would be www.seedsofsimplicity.

Saving places vary The number and complexity of emergency services vary pretty much in accordance with the population in an area who are in need of such services. The area in which you find yourself destitute and in need of help will be different from many other areas. No matter where you are, you will have to be diligent in asking for both help and for information about where you can go NOW for that help. But the help is there.

A friend comments It’s a pain, but make the commitment to listing everything you spend money for everything. This tell you where you money is going to, and it calls your attention to what may be an un noticed habit that is costly - for example, the real costs behind coffee. “Coffee? Coffee is cheap.” Well, sometimes it can be. Sometimes it isn’t, without your noticing the total cost. Some time back a new fancy service station / convenience store was built at a perfect spot for me to gas up, buy a paper, and get a cup of really delicious, sweet Cappuccino in the morning. Not only did this increase my costs $43.75 per month ($1.75 times 5 or 6 days per week), I gained 5 pounds. The paper I could have read later at work cost me $2.50 per week, or $10 to $12 per month. Keeping my pocket money list for just one week showed me this problem.

The special long life, low power bulbs are now showing up The special long life, low power bulbs still have a problem fitting in the space once reserved only for the original type bulbs.

Getting food
Sweet and Sour pork 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder 1/4 cup flour 4 pork chops, cut into 1 inch cubes 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks (optional) 3 tablespoons vinegar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 green pepper, chopped Mix ginger with half the flour and coat pork cubes. Heat oil in large frying pan, brown the coated pork and remove from pan. Drain pineapple and save the syrup. Add water to pineapple syrup to make 2/3 cup. If no syrup, use 2/3 cup water. Stir liquid into remaining flour. Add liquid mixture, vinegar, and soy sauce to fat in frying pan. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Add sugar, pepper, and pork. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour at low heat. Add pineapple and green pepper and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes Yield:4 servings

Southern Corn Bread 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups regular milk plus1 teaspoon ( per cup) lemon juice or vinegar stirred in.) 1 teaspoon Baking soda 2 cups corn meal Bake 2

In which I discover Miss If the taste of anchovies is a bit too much for you, there is an alternative. It’s called Miso, (pronounced Me -- sue) and it’s one of several interesting soybean products. Miso an aged and fermented mix of soybeans and rice, or soybeans and barley or other variations. The taste runs a very wide range, in general the older it is, the stronger it gets. Miso is going to be a bit hard to find in a standard local supermarket, so you‘ll probably end up purchasing it from the local health food store, or the local co-op. It’s a bit too expensive to be used directly, that is, without mixing it with something else, but I feel this stuff has a bit of promise, and I've been trying different things with it. It’s not as salty as anchovie paste and has no meat in it, if that’s important to you, and can be used as a base for soup, sauces and dressings. I have been mixing it with cream cheese with a touch of liquid hickory smoke flavoring. Mixed this way, even people with very ultra conventional tastes love it. So, here’s one way to try it. 4 oz cream cheese - or - 4 oz Neufchâtel cheese, ( which is just cream cheese with less fat.) a short 1/4 teaspoon (15-20 drops) liquid hickory smoke flavoring

1 teaspoon Kome Miso (3 year ) - or - the miso of your choice. The cream cheese should be room temperature, or blending will take a while. Blend everything until the color is even - a kind of tan / brown shade. Sample the end result and add more whatever. If too thick. add a touch of milk. Use as a dip, or to stick sandwiches together. Remember, I like strong flavored items - I like to eat 3 year old miso straight (almost like a ‘hit’ of anchovy paste) - so you may want to have less flavorings in the mix, or add more cream cheese. I have added a touch (1 teaspoon) of prepared brown mustard from time to time. I did try some dry mustard but that seems to give a kind of delayed hotness which doesn't do much for the flavor. Unless someone can come up with a better name I’m going to be strongly tempted to call this mixture “Me sue you too”. I don't normally pun, but some things do tend to force the issue. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve at room temperature - it will not last long when people have access to it. ‘Ran out of Miso’ recipe 4 oz cream cheese - or - 4 oz Neufchâtel cheese, which is just cream cheese with less fat. a short 1/4 teaspoon (15-20 drops) liquid hickory smoke flavoring ginger and Worchester sauce So, I decided to learn a bit more about miso. I ran across The Book of Miso, by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi ISBN 0-914398-08-3. Look out! 400 miso based recipes! Major reason to chow down, plus it’s interesting reading as well. Mail Service Department, Autumn Press, P.O. Box 469, 3941 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, Ca. 95073 This was great. First thing I tried was Tangy Miso, Ketchup and Lemon Sauce. I loved it. This is a must have book. 1/2 cup ketchup 2 Tablespoons red, barley or Hatcho miso 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice 1 Tablespoon minced onion 1 Tablespoon minced parsely Dash of pepper Combine all ingredients, mixing well. You can also try 1/4 teaspoon hot mustard, 1 teaspoon horseradish, 1/2 teaspoon crushed anise or ground roasted sesame seeds. I love it. Oh, no, I’m getting hungry again!

Food pantries and hot food kitchens

If you’re hungry, or very likely to be so in the next few days, there are places in all cities, most towns and some general areas that can help. This information can be provided by any Human Resources, Department of Social Services, Special Services and such. These titles are usually hung on governmental agencies, and if you can get to someone in one of these groups - town or city, county, state or federal, you can probably begin to get basic emergency information and directions about where to go to get various kinds of help. Remember, no one list will have everything on it. But do try www.secondharvest.org for more information. Other organizations that exist in almost if not all communities that will give you information, and perhaps direct help are: Salvation Army Most churches Red Cross Police, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol Offices Telephone information service may be able to help and in some telephone directories a short list of emergency numbers is included in the first few pages. No matter where you are, the phone can connect you to someone that can help. Yes, you might make some wrong calls to start with, you may hit a few jokers first, but there are people out there that can help. You just need to reach them. End of work day food supplies Some of the fast food organizations (KFC is a possibility) will give away any remaining food at the end of the working day (typically 11 pm to 1 am, but that varies, so ask). There is no guarantee there will be any food left over (perhaps just mashed potatoes), or that you will get what there is (i.e., you might be told to come back at 10:50 pm and you do, only to find the food given to someone who was there at 10:45. Keep in mind the food could end up being given to someone else. Complaining that it was for you will not get you any bonus points.

Locating Food pantries Hey, in the very worse possible case you might have to start the food pantry yourself. There is no law that says you can’t, you know. No, a food pantry is not the same thing as a food buying club. All you really need to start a food pantry is the cooperation of one or more local supermarkets or food sellers, someone with a car to pick up the food, and a once a week place (an organization like a church) to distribute the food to people. Oh yes, there will usually be food left over, often bread, so it’s not a bad idea to line up places to take the left over food to, like the local low cost housing project. That’s what we do, and our people who take the leftover food there love the reception they get. You can get sponsorship for a government type food pantry if there is none in your area.

Prepared Food There will probably be a church or other organization that provides meals for people caught in a vulnerable (another word for broke) condition. Walk in with your head up, you are not alone. All the other people there are in the same boat you are, so don’t worry about seeing someone you know. You can offer each other support. By the way, I have yet to see any aid setup that turns down volunteer help from any source. Pitch in and help, and good things will happen to you. You will hear me say this time after time. That’s because I have pitched in, and good things have happened to me. Soup kitchens The food is usually quite good, sometimes excellent. Depends on the cooks, but, hey, that’s true anywhere you go. Still feeling empty? I have never been turned down when I went for seconds. Of course, this was only done after everyone had been served at least once. And if it doesn’t suit your needs for quality, we suggest you volunteer some of your time. Help out the people helping you, and you get more stuff. And you feel good because you are helping out. By the way, the local soup kitchen also gives classes in cooking for large numbers of people, not as easy a job as you might think, but a skill that will be forever useful. And a possible step to a job. (hint) Generally the kitchens are not allowed to give prepared food out to their clients for take out. Sometimes, however, especially if you are there to help, you can carry out something you know to be quite good, say a canister of soup or coffee. I don’t suggest you steal it. The kitchens aren’t allowed to give away any food left uneaten for fear that someone would take the food, keep it until it spoiled, then eat it and accuse the kitchen of providing spoiled food. So, foolish as it is, at the end of the day they aren’t allowed to give away perfectly good food that anyone with any amount of common sense would care for, eat, enjoy and for which they could be better off. Go figure! Well, sometimes it works that way. The kitchens aren’t allowed to give away any left over food, but somehow the volunteers, well, we kind of work together, and well, humm. I really had no idea how that package of leftovers ended up on the seat of my car. Really. You see, at that time I had a car and one of the volunteers needed a ride home, and of course I offered a ride, but when we went out to my car, there it was. Plus I visited awhile at his house and had a great time. What goes around, comes around. What to expect at food pantries There are locally supported fresh food pantries, sometimes called gleamings pantries, and government supported pantries that carry mostly canned or packaged food. All tend to have lots of bread, reasonably fresh bread that stays fresh longer because we normally store it in the freezer. In the gleamings food pantries the main source of food is the local supermarket and the freshness date. There are freshness dates on things that really don’t need a freshness date, like peppercorns. One can of those and you’ll have fresh ground pepper for several years at least.

Which means there is probably going to be a number of pre mixed salad packages that need to be used that day, or the next. There may be cans of soups of a type you wouldn’t normally buy, or there may be only cans of say, chicken soup. End of the month and some food stamp dollars left over? The food stamp system here recently switched to a credit card system. Which makes me wonder what happens if there are a few dollars in the account at the end of the month. Can those dollars be transferred to the next month? I checked, and they are transferred from month to month, at least at this time and place. But that can change at any time, so I suggest you get together a list of emergency list of long life items in case you have to use up those food stamp items quickly. Some suggestions are: Frozen foods - only if you have space in the freezer, of course. Canned foods Dried (or canned) milk * Dried or canned meat _ Dried tomatoes _ hard cheese _ pasta * Honey * Sugar * dried rice _ vinegar _ Salt * cooking oil * Grain cereals (like rolled oats) _ * last almost forever _ last a long time One person said “Potatoes and onions should be on there.” Yes. Along with other vegetables like squash, etc. I was sort of assuming you already a supply of them. If not, and you have a place to store them, then yes, you should get them, but potatoes have a limited storage life compared to, say, dried milk. Low cost food sources O.K., the food pantries are one way to get food, and food stamps are another. And there are food buying clubs which are open to all people, but these are not the only possible places to get low cost food. Look for and record the locations of all “2nd day” food stores, army surplus stores, discount food stores, Odd Lot® stores, whatever. From time to time they may have food or food related items you could use. For example, there are Dollar® stores, which carries some low cost food items, and other low cost items, like batteries which come in handy in running a house. So does Odd Lot, and to a lesser extent, Eckerd® Drug has low cost food items. These items are

loss-leaders, true, but the price is right. Remember, after everything is said and done, saving money is the name of the game. You will have to ask if any of these stores take food stamps, sometimes some connivance stores don’t. If your wallet is low on cash ask before you start to shop. Not all low cost food sources are easy to identify. For example, Eckerd or Fred’s is a low cost drug store, but it also carries a number of low cost, loss-leader food items, along with a selection of other items. You will seldom see Eckerd or Fred’s listed on low cost food store lists, but it and other such stores do this from time to time so theyshould be there. You have to actively seek out these places - and naturally you have to know the current prices of items on the shelves to find the bargains. Knowing current prices of most everything is very important to spotting bargains. One way to find these other places are to compare notes with other people in your position. And when you find any new places, pass this info on to me. Don’t overlook places like Pepperidge Farm “day old” bread stores, which offer a wide range of low cost, high quality food items. Places like this will probably not be on any official list, so you will have to find them yourself, one way or another. Don’t forget the Internet as a way to locate “dollar stores” or related places. On a visit to a food pantry If you’re in a food pantry program, remember all the people you meet are volunteers, I’m sure you’re facing plenty of problems, but don’t dump them on the people helping you. But those same people may have useful suggestions for you. Call the food pantry first, to confirm the time, and if you’ve never been there, double check the time, location and directions before you start out. Also find out what visit limits or ID requirements they may have. Try to get there early, the good stuff goes fast. In general, the limit is one food pantry of a type per household per week. This may be changed if you volunteer to help run a food pantry. There are a few perks that you will find out about Bring plastic shopping bags, as sometimes the food pantries are low on them. By the way, volunteering to help out in a local food pantry program is a great way to meet people, and has all kinds of nice side benefits. Government based food pantries tend to have canned or dried foods, while the gleanings food pantries tend to have a wide selection of fresh foods. It’s nice to have both, of course. Government based food pantries don’t care if you have just gone to a gleamings food pantry, and vice versa. In no case have I found the quality of the food at gleamings food pantries to be less than the normal level of a local supermarket. Not too surprising, as most of the food came from the local supermarket. True, some of it was near the freshness date, but that’s to be expected. I have found the quality of the food at our local soup kitchen to be of a matching level. Oh, sure, there is not too many steaks being severed, but the food does fill an empty void. Limits to food pantry visits

Remember there is a general rule of one visit per pantry per house per week - but there are exceptions, so ask. For example, government based food pantries, which often happen only once a month, don’t care if you go to the once a week gleamings food pantries. The local gleamings pantries do try to keep track of the visits to the other gleamings pantries, but don’t care about visits to government based pantries. In any case, if you make more visits than you should to either group, you run the risk of being barred from all of the local food pantries. Hey, be fair! Remember, there is not an unlimited amount of food to be shared, and there are other people truly needing the pantry services. This is one reason I like doing the cleanup at our local pantry. The work is not hard at all, and the people working there are great. If there are, say, a dozen grapefruit left over at the end of the day, I can take them with a totally clear conscious, as I’m 100% sure no one else wanted or needed them - because they were left over. I may have told you I take the remaining food from our gleamings pantry to the local subsidized low cost housing unit? That started because I had a car and I announced I could provide rides to anyone that needed it. Wow, the thanks from the people that needed rides! Talk about feeling good, I felt 10 feet tall right then. The next time I went to the pantry the pantry director asked if I could drop off some of the leftover food at the local, low cost housing unit. No problem, this was a whole 10 minutes out of my way, and my riders helped me unload. Once we got the food inside the response from those people at the low cost housing unit - well, I went home feeling sure I could walk on water. Talk about a contact high, if there was only a way I could bottle those feelings! There was one person who really sticks in my mind. A grandmother type with a respirator tank who showed up each week looking for just one loaf of pumpernickel bread, because that was what she really liked. She would leave holding that loaf of bread like it was a baby. Helping out has its own rewards. Don’t miss out on them. The pantry requirements Other than not attending too many, the requirements are small to none. They may ask you to bring your own plastic bags, or do something else to help support the pantry. No big deals required. The people at a pantry The food pantry is a natural meeting place for homeless people. Of course there are many reasons behind people being there. It’s a natural thing to turn to people you know when you have the same set of problems. And many of the homeless people are really good people. But there are some people who have had more than their share of bad luck. These people will need professional help in untying the knots in their life. But most of us are not equipped to deal with a person pushed to the edge, no matter how well meaning we are. The average person would not normally ever need to deal with problems this extreme. You should realize when the task of helping a person is best done by a professional. This is a job best handled by mental health professionals,

and another good reason to have the local contact phone list, so you can refer people to where they can be helped. As an example, here’s what happened to us. My landlord got a distress call from a person we both knew from the gleamings pantry. The person stated she was in danger of hurting herself. When we tried to call her back, there was no answer. We ended up calling the police to go to her house and check on her. We then got a call back from the police. It turns out she had gone to the hospital early that afternoon and had checked herself in, feeling problems in her head. It turned out she called us from the hospital, not from her home as we had first thought. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make friends, or that you shouldn’t try to help the people you know! But you do have to keep in mind that homeless or near homeless people might run into some problems that can have a powerful effect on how they think and react.

I could have included my list of ‘needed’ phone numbers in this book, but so many of the numbers are local it would not really help anyone not living locally. Sorry, this one you’ll have to do for yourself. But it should not be a massive task if you collect and cross reference some of the local lists the Red Cross or other groups must have. So, what might you expect to find on this list? Just about everything a person down on their luck will need. It has a phone listing to call if you have no food, no shelter or are threatened with eviction. Another number would be used if your utilities will be shut off. My list also included places like the SPCA or hotlines to call. On the other side of the coin, if you want to do any volunteer work, this list is the best way to start looking for a place to help. My list starts off with the local food pantries. These are places you can go to get free or very low cost food - of the type you would find at a local supermarket. Food pantries are not soup kitchens, they assume you have some ability to cook or store the food they offer. Food pantries do not provide ready to eat meals, which many homeless do need. If there are none in your area perhaps you should start one. Then it lists community services in general, and this is a long list. It covers soup kitchens and places you can get shelter, low cost services, rental assistance, even emergency services. There are listings of food pantries, places to cope with abuse and neglect, adoption or foster care. There are listings for the local Pregnancy Center, Aging Services, Alcohol/Substance Abuse, Business, Clothing, Community Safety and Justice, Consumer Information and Protection, Counseling and Mental Health, and Developmental Disabilities. The list is not magic, and some programs may not have all the funds needed to help you. The local list even had several day care services sources (this may or may not be true for your area). I personally don’t need such an item, but any family with small children would need this. In general, just about everything a person might need is there.

Buying in bulk is good, but stored food could attract rats, so you may want to use a new (never used), clean metal garbage can to store bulk food in. Bulk food such as dried cat or dog food, potatoes, onions, turnips and apples can be stored this way. The usefulness of large tin containers in stopping rats or raccoons can’t be ignored. Fun things want to get into your stored food: A large number of ants, cockroaches, rats and mice are waiting for a chance to visit your food. My parent’s solution would have been to store the vulnerable food in tin containers – that included a root ‘cellar’ made of a brand new, never used garbage can for potatoes and onions. It seems that nothing is made of tin anymore, but I strongly suggest against you using plastic for this, as only metal can stand up to rats and mice. My primary ‘in kitchen’ tin container is about the size of a foot stool, and once contained a variety of fancy popcorns. I also use empty 3 pound coffee cans, although the plastic lid is not totally proof against the teeth of rats and mice – they will chew the plastic. All metal can offer the best protection. Stand one can on top of another, or turn a light can upside down. Also, don’t forget rats, squirrels, and chipmunks can enter by an open but unscreened window at any floor – yes, rats can climb. Squirrels and chipmunks can visit when you don’t expect them. Squirrels were getting into our house attic through a quarter sized hole in the joint between two boards under the eaves. The hole was discovered only when the area was repainted, and the wear on the paint around the hole gave it away. We had been looking for that entrance for years. A root cellar is an old fashion but low tech, cost effective way to store food. Dried cat or dog food doesn’t have to be kept cool to be stored, just kept dry, but you do have to provide a vermin lock out.

The Internet on the side of the homeless? It may come as a bit of a surprise, but yes, one very nice side effect of the Internet really can help a reduced circumstances or homeless person. I’m referring to the companies like www.yahoo.com, www.juno.com, or www.AltaVista.com (there are others, of course) who provide free mail service and free message storage space to anyone that connects to them and asks for it. True, you have to get to a terminal to pick up (or send) your mail, but that isn’t a killer requirement, every public library now has free access Inter net terminals and printers as standard equipment, in addition even some shopping malls now have Inter net public access terminals. These terminals may be intended to run adds for the public, but they do provide web access. Access to the Web means a totally poor person now has access to a wide range of high power job searches and other useful information. Also, no one on the Web knows your fiscal status, unless you tell them. Free Web access terminals are many places - I suggest you try the local library first. Other places also have Inter net terminals. When you get to a terminal, type in www.yahoo.com or try MSN Hotmail.

Once you get a e-mail account established you can receive messages, so you’re ready to do things like look for a job. Try America’s Job Bank www.ajb.dni.us for example, or www.careerpath.com. Also look at www.monster.com, or try www.careermosaic.com. Check out Net-Temps at www.net-temps.com, or for Telecommuting (!) jobs try www.tjobs.com or telecommuting.about.com. I should say that telecommuting jobs are real but tend to be rare and hard to get. The real telecommuting jobs tend to develop from regular jobs. There area number of scam artists who will try to sell you a “telecommuting job”, some of them are fronts for crime, others are just wish lists. There are more, this is just to get you started. Freelance Online is for writers, artists, designers, agents, and editors. Just contact haven.ios.com/~freelans/ for more info. For the Usenet newsgroups look at misc.jobs.offered, us.jobs.offered, or search Yahoo! with “usenet job bank” for more locations. Still more jobs are at: www.espan.com www.hotjobs.com. www.4work.com www.chronicle.merit.edu www.jobsfed.com www.ceweekly.wa.com www.careercity.com www.career.com/pub/heart.html www.careers.org www.cweb.com www.veteran.net www.careerexpo.com www.biz.jobs.offered.com www.fedjobs.com www.flipdog.com www.getajob.com www.iccweb.com www.joblocator.com www.mactemps.com www.careermosaic.com www.job-search-engine.com www.etechnicians.net Technicians job Free access, free email The free web access companies even provide a reasonable amount of storage space just for the chance to show some you some adds. This may not have been what the original net builders had in mind, but who cares, it works and works well. I strongly suggest you provide yourself with one of these free accounts, even if you now have email with a standard supplier, as the account you are now paying for will be closed out when the cash flow drops too low. A standby account will mean that not all will be lost should you really slide below the line. Of course, you need to know how to use the net to really take advantage of this loophole. All these names start with http://. but will probably work if you use them just as they are.

Free E-mail suppliers There is mail.yahoo.com, www.chickmail.com, www.eudoramail.com, www. hotmail.com, www.netforward.com, www.rocketmail.com, and inane.com. There might be others but this list is a starting point. I happen to use Yahoo because it has the most free features. Access limits of the Internet There are some drawbacks, of course. While every public library has free access to the Internet, the systems doing the accessing may have different limits placed on them, partly to aid the public, and partly to turn away hackers displaying the two or three 4 letter words it took them so long to learn to spell. That has to be the reason they use those few words so often, isn’t it? One move the library probably had to make was to limit your access to the hard disk. This also may mean it will be hard to use some features of the Net, normally these features would be handled by automatically downloading new applications to the machine, but the system is likely blocked against that. You will be able to download some files to the A drive if you stay under its one meg + capacity – if they have left it in, of course. It’s very much to your advantage to have several blank floppies - or whatever other removable writeable media is in use – have them ready whenever you pay a visit to the Inter net. You might or might not be able to save file to the space provided on your Inter net mail supplier. If you can’t do this directly you should be able to download the file to the A drive, then turn around and upload that file to the storage space provided by your Inter net eMail supplier. This may be a bit roundabout, but it works. For systems without printers it may be the only way to get a copy of the file. So what does Yahoo do for me? you may ask. O.k., let’s remember there are other free email access companies as well, but we will pick on www.yahoo.com. and go over its free services for now. Well, the ability to send and receive email is a good start. This is doable even from public access systems (like the public library) that have no email capabilities as part of the local system, but if you can get to the Yahoo screen you can do your own email, both send and receive. A Yahoo account will also let you store old email messages, hold, compose and spell check new ones. There’s more, but first let’s provide a working image for beginners. Your ‘personal address and information’ book You will need to make up and keep a personal “book”, a listing of information and addresses important to you. You will want to have your credit card numbers, the addresses of the companies themselves, the phone number to call if the card gets stolen, things like that. This is all information that should be with you, but a good place to have a backup copy is on the Net. Notice I said backup copy. I can’t suggest the Internet be only place you have this information as under some circumstances it may take you too long to get to it.

You can hold on to this information both as a paper copy store in your room, and as a file saved on the Inter net. Most free services provide a range of features, but even on a very limited ‘e-mail only’ service you can preserve information by sending it to yourself as a mail message, then keeping the message. Some free services may wipe the older files after a certain time, but you can update this information by sending a copy of it to yourself every 5 months or so. With Yahoo you don’t even have to do that, they now provide as part of their free service a space for holding text files and net bookmarks. You can even store photos, which might be at least one copy of a photo of yourself, and perhaps photocopies of important photo id cards. You don’t know how long you’re going to be in this “reduced income state”, so do a good and complete job of collecting information to the transport file. Be sure you include whatever medical records or notes might be needed. But remember, this service could disappear, so have full copies elsewhere. Where? Well, I would start with a full backup on some floppy disks, or you might open another account on another service Did you include a copy of your resume and both work and landlord references. Why not? The company is willing to store and retrieve this information for you, so use the space. Don’t forget work history and all phone numbers of importance to you. Also, what is your driver’s license number and class? Information like that should be added as well. Applying for help If you have not yet applied for services such as Medicaid - or Medicare if you quality (and many people do), so check it out, this is the time to do so. This is also the time to develop a full listing of services with complete information about what they can do, and what help they can give.

To keep your place reasonably rat and mouse free Have the traps in place before you see signs of mouse invasion. Up against the wall is a good place, as mice don’t like to cross open areas and will tend to stay against a wall or object. Bait the traps with peanut butter, this stuff is cheap and works far better than cheese, for both rats and mice. Apples and /or peanut butter is also very effective for outdoor traps (the no-kill kind). By the way, mousetraps are not made less effective by being ‘scented’ by having killed a mouse. A mouse will return to such a trap. By the way, if you kill one mouse that just lets the mice below it in the pecking order move up the ladder and start exploring your space.

Other needs Okay. Now that you’ve begun to grasp the patterns of food suppliers, sources of hot food, pantries and discount groceries, you may have some time to develop a base of information for meeting your other needs.

Garage sales are a good place to pick up things like cast iron frying pans or Crook pots. Church run rummage sales are another nice, low cost place to pick up cooking related items and just about anything else. And of course, there are discount stores such as the ones run by the Salvation Army. Grease can for the kitchen Now we can start to get into details. You may not think of such a can as an aid to cooking. Most of the, well, ‘lessor apartments’ have poorly performing plumbing to start with, and don’t need anything else clogging the drains. You can help by keeping an empty can on the stove and pouring all excess cooking fat into it, and not the drain, where it’s sure to clog things. When the can gets full, add it to the garbage (or think about making soap) and start another. The winter ‘outside window’ refrigerator One refrigerator available to anyone with a window to the outside winter world is the ‘box in the window’ model. You really do want some kind of screen to keep out the pests that can climb or fly to the outside entrance to your refrigerator. And do expect that the milk will freeze up from time to time, which is harmless for plastic bottles but a problem for full glass bottles. And Spring does arrive sooner or later. The worthlessness of the smallest refrigerators There are several different models of small refrigerators on the market. These very small refrigerators are only useful under very limited space conditions (there is absolutely, positively no space for a larger unit), or if they are a second unit to support a full size refrigerator. Trying to use them as a full size refrigerator, that is, to hold any amount of real food is a joke. They will often show up in minimum value rented rooms, to justify the landlord’s claim of “cooking facilities provided”. You have to keep the ice tray section defrosted otherwise the small cooling unit will not be able to keep the interior at a reasonable temperature otherwise. These refrigerators may have a place for a single ice tray but the tray is probably missing, or the unit will have aged enough that it can’t make ice. About the only way to get a cold drink out of these things is to store a small container of water inside it - if you have the space. Homemade lemonade Buying bottles of soft drink can really dent the budget. So wash out the first one you get (you are following my advice and saving those containers, aren’t you?) add some sugar, lemon juice and water to taste. It may not fizz when opened, but on a hot day it tastes just as good as a cold soda. And the near zero cost is right. If you have small children they might take over the job of lemonade making for the family. By the

The benefits of a microwave A microwave may first look like nothing but a fat budget item, but they have been around long enough for low cost versions to show up, and they even show up at garage sales. I have even had one given to me for free, so I can’t say the price of a used one is too high. Microwaves help low budget cooking by letting you reheat leftovers for reuse. Just because you now have a microwave does not mean you should start buying microwave ready foods - that will kill your budget. Microwave units have been simplified greatly, to the point that many failures are the single internal fuse having blown for no reason, which makes the unit act if it’s not plugged in at all. Most machines have a circuit diagram of the unit on the inside cover. For those community apartment people I don’t suggest you keep a microwave in the common cooking area, the chances of it being abused, or growing legs are too great. The uses for a cast iron frying pan Get one that is slightly larger than what you think you might need, as that pan is going to be a well used cooking tool. Much cooking can be done in a good size frying pan, even more if the pan has a fitting cover. The more expensive non-stick pans have to be babied and are often ripped off - for that matter, any non-stick pans are often ripped off. Kitchen thieves just don’t know how to season a cast iron pot, for that matter they seldom seem to know how to wash any pan they use. Kitchen thieves If you have a shared kitchen you run the risk of kitchen thieves taking your silverware, pans or food. Kitchen thieves are less likely to steal a cast iron frying pan, they like to go for the expensive, non-stick pans first. You will notice them the most when they move out, taking the sharp knives and the good pots with them. Keep your better food items and cooking gear in your room as much as possible if you hear of anyone getting ready to move out. It was suggested one way to reduce the borrowing of plates and silverware left in the common area is to not rinse off the soap, as such traces of soap induce a case of trots in those who use them but shouldn’t. A variation on kitchen thieves are the people who take someone else’s laundry supplies (typically laundry soap) from other peoples containers left in a common washing area. One way to reduce the borrowing is to mix in a touch of Ritz dye and see who’s wash load turns blue. Just be sure you don’t use the stuff yourself - I suggest adding the dye to an almost out container so you can discard the ‘bait’ and there’s nothing to end up in anyone else’s wash. Muffins outlast bread You will quickly learn for some reason the local food pantry muffins keep for much longer than bread or English muffins does before they mold.

Food buying clubs Work to cut down your bills in any legal way, and food bills are a good place to start. The Department of Social Services does not run any food buying clubs, but they might know if there is one locally. These clubs are worth hunting up, for anyone, under any circumstances. Try the contacts at the end of this book. Can’t find one in your area? Then start a food buying club. It takes an investment of $100 to start and $500 total (or better) of orders to run per month. Doesn’t sound too hard? Then contact Northeast Cooperatives 1 (800) 321 - 2668 or at www.northeastcoop.com for more details. A food buying club is not the same as a food salvage club or a food pantry. Look in the library under the title “The Salvage of Food”. You might have to send off for it, but it’s worth it. Setting up a food pantry in your area To start a food pantry (different from a food club) in your area you will need a food donator typically one or more grocery stores) and a food distribution point (typically a local church). The church typically will have a kitchen/refrigerator and 8 fold up tables, which you will need. You will need one person in charge to communicate with the food pantry volunteers, the owners of the food distribution points, and run things in general. This is an important and required job, and needs a person who can be counted on to show up every week to do the job. You will need several volunteers (10 is a nice number) to help with the set up and cleaning up afterwards (cleanup is important) and at least one person with a car. Sometimes you will get enough of a storable item to carry that item over to next week, but your need for storage space for food items will be minimum. You will need several (2 at least) large picnic coolers to hold the dairy items donated and keep them cold. You will need a small amount of money coming in each week to purchase the small plastic bags the smaller food items are put in. This could be collected each week from the people visiting the pantry. You will need a supply (often recycled) of plastic shopping bags for the clients to carry food home in, plastic gloves and an apron for each person separating good food from the bad. A notebook will record the people who show up each week. At our 3 o’clock pantry a large panel truck shows up at one o’clock to deliver the food items to be sorted. The use of this truck is donated by the local charity. The truck was loaded at the supermarket by our food pantry volunteers who work from 10 to 12 at the back of the store. You really do need a large panel truck, as there is enough food coming into fill several regular station wagons otherwise. They use banana boxes to hold the food, so these boxes are recycled. What’s in a load of food? It varies a lot. A number of banana boxes of mixed vegetables, some with cans and boxes in them as well. A number of banana boxes of bread. A few boxes of mixed items, dented cans of soda, bags of cereal without any box. Some boxes will be so

mixed and mashed that the contents will have to go directly to the trash. For example, there might be 50 pounds of day old donuts in a large plastic bag - but only 30 pounds will be usable. Some containers of milk will be too far gone to be used and must be dumped. We sort these donuts into smaller bags (12 by 12), about 7 donuts per bag. Naturally these smaller bags are one of the necessary expenses of the pantry - but sometimes even those items are donated. If one car is used to do all the end of day deliveries the driver is normally given about $2.00 gas money. Running the pantry Anyone in the chain of volunteers can look at a food item and decide it’s too far gone (mold on it, etc.) to be in the pantry offerings. If they would not eat it themselves for any reason, it’s trashed. Sometimes there will be people who will take more than their share. We try not to encourage this, but not by becoming cops. Usually a quiet word, directed to the person, is enough. If things get too far gone the person can be banned, but we haven’t had to go that far. The last volunteer may finish up around five that day, delivering the remaining surplus food items to the local low cost housing unit, the last task of the day. But the incoming food is divided among 70 or more people, with a reasonable amount of speed and fairness. Banana boxes are very useful, so save the ones in better condition. They are recycled time after time, sent back to the people doing the next food pickup. You will often end up a surplus of perishable items after each event so you might do what we do. After the people attending the pantry for food have had their pick, the extras are gathered together and taken to the local, low cost housing unit where they are gladly received. Warning: the amount and type of leftovers varies greatly, so I suggest you line up several places to take leftovers, just in case there is too much food for one place to take. Of course there will be a certain amount of spoiled, can’t be used, food leftovers and unusable cardboard boxes when the pantry finished. At one pantry one person fed pigs with the leftovers. Another person had an outstanding compost pile to take the unedibles. Try looking to see if your town has a compost program. But sometimes it just has to go into the dumpster. It’s a pest to see that food wasted. You’ll need at least one person with a car to remove the excess cardboard and garbage after each event, unless there is an on site dumpster. There will also be a certain amount of spoiled food that needs to be removed at the end of the day. Another person with a car may be needed to pass on the surplus of perishable items left after each event. Do try to avoid handing all the surplus food delivery, cleanup, and garbage disposable jobs to one person - but that may not be possible if only one person in the group has a car. The bottom line: Depending on the number of people that show up and the varying amount of food the stores provide, you may be helping over 70 people a week, not

counting the members of the families. Add in the family members and it could be as much as 200 people - not bad for a few hours work. Buying low cost food Look for and record the location of all “2nd day” food stores, army surplus stores, discount food stores, Odd Lot® stores, whatever, that may have low cost food. Make a list for other people, or make corrections in the list you do have. For example, Dollar stores carry some low cost food items, and other low cost items you may need, like batteries, as a loss leader. Remember, after everything is said and done, saving money is the name of the game. You have to actively seek out these places. One way to find them is to compare notes with other people in your position. Don’t overlook places like Pepperidge Farm® stores, which offer a wide range of low cost food items. Places like this will not be on any official list, so you will have to find them yourself, one way or another. Don’t forget the Inter net as a way to locate such stores. And Ithaca does have a very nice Farmer’s Market. Your first visit to a food pantry Remember, it’s not wrong or illegal to be low on money. You might even be on disability and not be able to work. Not to worry, please. Yes, I can understand that an older person, or people with a strong work ethic, are often reluctant to use any kind of aid program. It’s not a free ride if you try to help out. Remember, you as a taxpayer of the past have already paid for this service. Doing work as a part of a volunteer program will more than square things up Studies have shown these aid programs pay off over the long run. If you feel bad about “getting something for nothing” there is no shortage of volunteer programs and hotlines in your local area that really need your help. Putting in time with any of them will more than square up the bill. Just remember, that bill has been prepaid, anyway. Food pantry notes If you’re going to a food program, remember all the people you meet are volunteers, I’m sure you’re facing plenty of problems but don’t dump them on the people helping you. Call the food pantry first, to confirm the start time, and if you have never been there, double check the location before you start out. Try to get there early, the good stuff goes fast. By the way, some places don’t like you to trade food items with other attendees - why this could hurt anyone I’m not sure, but it’s their ball game, so play by their rules. I would like to get there early, find the person in charge, and volunteer my help. Most all places need help, and if you volunteer it makes you feel good. Some of the people working there are really great to get to know. Some may be in varying degrees of homelessness and may have problems of their own, but can still be good people to know.

Other sources of low cost food Don’t overlook places like Pepperidge Farm stores, which will not be on most official lists of low cost food places. But this is a good place to get reduced cost food or items to help prepare food. Note: they may or may not take food stamps, or may not be set up to do so electronically. Ask before you start shopping at a new place, if that’s all you have. Wholesale discount warehouses It’s really worth your time to track down the locations of the wholesale discount warehouses like BJ, Costco, Price Club, Office Club, or Bizmart. After all, if you don’t know where they are you can’t join them, or do some test shopping. But not everyone is in a position to take advantage of the savings these places offer, nor does everything they offer automatically give huge savings. For example, being able to buy $200 of frozen meat for $20 will not help if you don’t have a large freezer to store the stuff. Also, the building may be big but they try to have something for everyone and the range of offerings in each class is going to limited. That is, they are sure to have skids of 8 1/2 by 11, 20 pound white bond paper, the most common type used, but no other sizes or colors. You will get cheap paper there, but only if you need the most common item. Almost all of the items they sell will have some savings, true, but the effective amount of the savings will vary. That is, if all you need is a standard ream of paper, and you can’t safely store a case of paper until it’s used up, well, then the savings for the purchase of a case are taken up by the loss of the remaining paper which could happen if, say, the box gets wet, or in the case of items with a limited shelf life, too old to use. You did get plastic bags to put each ream of paper into, didn’t you? Why not, that had to be the cheapest place to buy plastic bags? Savings are not a single act, it’s a series of related actions, and you must complete the series to truly realize the savings. There is seldom any good result to a half finished series. Savings will also depend on the nature of the item. If you purchase a jar of olives the brand will not really be too relevant as you will be able to eat them no matter what, but if you purchase something for an IBM compatible computer and what you have is a Macintosh, then it really doesn’t matter how much you saved, as the item is going to be a total write off, unless you can return it, or find another buyer. Most stores will let you return it if you keep the recite. Other low cost shopping Doing some low cost shopping? Delis sometimes have low cost meat ends, that is, the ends of cold cut meats, meat rolls, and cheeses that are too short to be held in the slicing machines. They may not be displayed, but are often there if you ask. Ask and you may be surprised. The tag ends, which are still top quality meats, are sold at reduced price, and it’s worth your while to ask when these items go on sale. Depending on the store, they may or may not be sold at a given time. Or they may just be waiting for someone to ask about them. Uncooked chicken wings are probably the cheapest source of meat proteins you'll find, and small enough in cross section to cook quickly. Yes, you will end up with a lot of bones, which can be boiled and made into soup stock. Lots of uses for chicken stock.

Warning: Whole birds, particularly large whole birds, take forever to cook. Learn how to slice up a whole chicken, the cost savings between a whole bird and just parts is worth your learning how to cut up a chicken. Don’t worry if you didn’t get it right the first time, the mis-cut chicken will still be cookable and eatable. Do watch out for bone bits. Ok, I saw that. You were about to throw out that stack of chicken bones, which could be boiled and made into soup stock. I know it doesn’t sound clean, but it is, for nothing can live through that much boiling. Turkey is also a low cost meat, and one low cost source of protein is the frozen rolls of ground up turkey meat. They may be hard to find but most stores have them tucked away in some little visited frozen food case - ask the store workers if you don’t find them. A whole turkey, or a roll of turkey meat has a nice small cost per pound, gets you away from serving chicken all the time, and a turkey will feed a number of people. But whole turkeys do best in standard stoves, not too well in outdoor cooking outfits. Cooking a whole turkey over a fire takes forever, even if you have rigged up a reflector fire. Even without stuffing a whole turkey could take 8 to 10 hours plus constant basting to cook over an open fire. Smaller parts of the bird, spread out on a grill, take less time to cook, of course. Wing sections and other small parts would dry up too much, but they do well in soup. That is the best way to go. Buying from the food co-op There is yet another low cost way to get food which is not related to your level of income in any way, or the amount of food you need, yet can cut your food costs up to 50% - I’m not kidding, a very real, take it to the bank 50%. Anyone can join in this type program, under any conditions, and it will not effect or stop any other food or aid program. The program is called a food co-op (the name may change in your area) but basically you sign up for the program a month in advance. You make a payment of, say, $15 for each share, and you get $30 of food for each share purchased. You are not limited to just one share per month, you can pay in advance for as many shares as you want. The food is always good quality, but the program may expose you to new food items, that is, things you never cooked or eat before. But it will be all good food, not ‘close to the expire date’ stuff. Controlling bills I know you can’t eat your way out of homelessness, but after rent, food is the largest item on the list, and the first one we have some real control over. You will never be able to completely cut out your food bill, (if you find a way, let me know) but there are reasonable ways to trim it back a bit. And if you can’t trim it, you might well be able to Remember the living wage list? True, rent is the first, but it may not always be as trimable as we would like, so let’s work with food. I really am not going to try to turn this into a cook book, but some comments on good food buying habits and careful cooking are going to be in order. In all cases you want to work on cutting down your bills. Food bills are a good place to start.

About food buying clubs One way to reduce food bills is to join a food buying club. A food buying club has nothing to do with a food pantry, or food stamps. True, not every area may have a food buying club, but if there isn’t one near you, you are not completely out of luck, you might be able to start a food buying club. That would take $100 to start and $500 total or better of orders per month to run. Sound doable? Then contact Northeast Cooperatives 1 (800) 321 - 2668 or at www.northeastcoop.com. for more information. Another food buying club is Share - North. Share - North P.O. Box 5427 Newark, N.J. 07105 - 3909 (201) 344 - 2400 Share is not a government program, nor does it have any requirements. Share is for everyone, rich or poor. Share buys food in bulk to get a price discount. You come up with $13 dollars and Share provides you with $30 of quality food - and it is real, quality food, not near the freshness date. There is no limit to the number of bags you buy. You’re probably wondering how these people can turn 13 dollars into 30 dollars of good food. Part of it is buying food at bulk prices, part is smart shopping done by professionals, and part is the location and time of shopping that they do. For example, the shopping bag has potatoes, but no processed foods like potato chips or potatoes flakes, and sometimes “strange” vegetables like chard. True, chard should not be called strange, I grew up on chard, but not everyone has. As an example, take big Vs small oranges. The quality of juice from a big orange and a small orange is going to be the same. But people like the larger size oranges and pay more for them. So the places that make orange juice buy the lower cost, smaller oranges - no real mystery there. Share buys the smaller oranges because of the much better price break. Even if you are a super shopper you may not see these smaller oranges at the local supermarket - the local store doesn’t carry them because of low demand. But Share goes to the major food distribution places that do have everything on hand - these are the places that supply restaurants and the like. There you see all kinds of items at bulk prices - if you don’t mind doing your shopping at 5 in the morning. No, I’m not kidding, that’s when the person doing the food purchasing has to make his run. Cooking with food pantries and food stamps You will find out that food pantries are very helpful but a bit erratic as to type and amount of food supplied, and the products are often close to the freshness date, requiring some items to be prepared right away - yes, the day they are brought home. Not a major problem, but sometimes even experienced cooks have problems coping with the strange and unknown food items that show up. Not to worry, there is a solution.

I’m glad to announce there is a Food Stamp Nutritional Education Program. They put on Food Wi$e classes at no cost that anyone can join. These classes can make your food dollars last the whole month, and help you to provide healthy, tasty meals. In the real world How about some real world examples from what has happened to us. Potatoes and onions, beets, leeks and other root vegetables often show up, types and amounts mixed. One time each family was given a 100 pound bag of large white onions. No, that large an amount of a single type of food is not typical, but it has happened, and can happen again. We had to really scramble to provide good storage for it all, but we made it. Some of the smaller onions were even saved by being planted. Saving food in general Empty the bags and look the food over, putting aside anything somewhat bruised for use right away. You need to separate the bruised and unbruised, as a single rotting item in a pile will shorten the storage life of all the items in the pile. Remove the bad items and you slow the spoiling of the rest. Store the remainder in a cool, dry place, as you may not have room in your refrigerator. Having a freezer helps, but it may quickly fill up with bread. The shelf life of bread is helped even if you just store it in the refrigerator section. After checking, things like grain, rice, apples, potatoes and onions can be stored in a homemade root cellar. Root cellar? Basically it’s nothing more than a cool dry place without problems like free roaming rats. One way to keep the rats out of the food is to put the items inside a new garbage can, one that has never been used for garbage, of course. Warning: Raccoons are smart enough to get into a root cellar and strong enough to remove lids or knock over cans to get food. There are big, all metal cookie and fancy popcorn tins that make great ant and mouse/rat proof containers for food storage. Another way to keep food and mice separate is to hang everything in bags from the ceiling. By the way, a garbage can seams are not soldered, that is, the can is not intended to hold water. If you need a tighter can for whatever reason, the seams will probably have to be soldered. This is really only doable on a new can. You may have to “unwrap” the food from a food pantry, sometimes wash and inspect it as a first step on getting home. A bag of green beans will be near the end of its storage life, you should either be ready to cook them right away, or do nothing and throw them on the compost pile. “Throw them out” is going to be a fact of life with some pantry food, no matter how careful the food handlers are. Plant what isn’t stored? Of course, not everything has to be stored. For example, in the beginning of the summer we got several large horseradish roots from the local food pantry - we were not totally sure it was horseradish at first because any identifying label that might have been on it had gotten lost (this happens a lot at food pantries). Well, a taste test nibble

showed that it was indeed horseradish ( Do have water on hand when doing a taste test, the world’s hottest peppers look, well, . . . ordinary. ) We could have ground them up with vinegar to make horseradish for the table, but there was too much to be done at one time, a typical “just home from the pantry” day. Instead we soaked them in water over night and planted them whole the next day - after a year now they’re still doing fine, making more horseradish. We are watching to see if the deer are going to avoid the area around our new horseradish plants - it seems that they do. Deer don’t seem to like dill either; perhaps they will avoid the horseradish as well. A small batch of dill with roots still on did not do so well, they may have been out of water too long. Another batch of dill started from seed is going like gangbusters, even though it’s been a dry summer. There are other things you could try planting, of course. Leeks are fun - you can eat the top, of course, but if you cut off and plant the bottom 3 inches it will start growing again – how bout that. You will soon notice the plant center starting to grow out after being cut. Kind of a “have your plant and eat it too” type of thing. All of this planting makes me wonder about a green house I saw. It was well made but not a professional unit, as it was clearly made from discarded storm windows and a storm door. It seemed to work just fine, even though the major parts came from curbside junk pickups. Remove green tops Vegetables with greens attached (like carrots) should have the green tops cut off, as the green stems and leaves will pull water out of the vegetables, making them wilt and spoil sooner. Let the vegetables soak in water an hour or so when they first arrive. Plant garlic? Garlic clove clusters often show up with little green sprouts starting to emerge. Once any bulb has started to sprout, it will continue – it will not store. Use it up right away, or plant it. You can use the garlic “as is”, or break them up into single cloves, and plant them about two inches down, with the paper” coverings still on the bulb, in a well marked bed. Each garlic clove will send up a stalk which will later die down, but that doesn’t mean the garlic clove itself has died - it hasn’t. This is why you need a well marked bed, the long growing period and periodic die down makes keeping track of the plants hard. You can plant sprouting onions much the same way. Both of these plants don’t need protection from deer and other animals. After all, in a way taking these items and planting them is a way of storing them. Chard grows well in clay soil, but you will have to start it from seed. Of course, not everyone has a place to plant a garden, but if you can, do so. Spread the pulp and tomato seeds on a paper towel. When the seeds dry they are ready to become a starting point for next year’s crop. Drying plants

Drying plants can be a lot of work, and can run up your power bill if the drier is not sunlight powered. I’m including this section on drying plants to give you an idea of the problems behind drying plants. For drying plants the room temperature should be from 70 degrees to 100 degrees. For small amounts of plants being dried indoors, a warm sunny attic, or loft may be used, the window being left open by day, so that there is a current of air and the moist, hot air may escape. The leaves can be placed on coarse cheese cloth, spread in a single layer, preferably without touching, and may be turned during drying. For drying plants indoors, a warm sunny attic, or loft may be used, the window being left open by day, so that there is a current of air and the moist, hot air may escape. The plants can be placed on coarse cheese-cloth, on hooks placed beneath the window and on the opposite wall so the cloth can be attached by lines sewn on each side of it and hooked on so it’s stretched taut. The room temperature should be from 70 degrees to 100 degrees, with a current of air. Without sufficient sun, any ordinary shed, fitted with racks and shelves, can be used provided it’s ventilated near the roof and has a warm current of air, perhaps caused by an ordinary stove. Empty glass green houses can readily be adapted into dryingsheds (especially if heated by steam pipes) if the glass is shaded. Ventilation is essential, and there must be no open water in the room to generate moisture. All dried plants should be packed away at once, in airtight tin boxes in a dry place, otherwise they reabsorb moisture from the air. On drying food I’m including this just for information on drying food in general. It’s a bit of work, takes a lot of time, and of course, depends on the sun being out if you are sun drying. Doing it in the stove increases the costs and ties the stove up for hours, which can mess with meal making. Tomatoes are probably the most water filled item to dry, so if you can do them you can do anything. Other products, such as mushrooms and apples, dry much faster It takes about 7 pounds of fresh tomatoes to make a single pint of dried tomatoes (I'm not sure how much a pint of dried tomatoes weighs. A pint of water weighs 1 pound.). This is part of the reason they are so expensive (costing in the neighborhood of $20/pound). The best tomato to use in this process is the Roma (also known as a plum, pear, or Italian) tomato, because it contains less water and seeds. However, you can use any tomato. They will just take a little longer to dry. Dried Tomatoes (8 pounds yields about 1 pint ) Wash carefully and wipe dry 7 or 8 pounds of firm, ripe (preferably Roma) tomatoes. Cut out the stem and scar and the hard portion of core lying under it. Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise. If the tomato is more than about 2 inches long, cut it in quarters. Scrape out all of the seeds that you can without removing the pulp. Arrange the tomatoes, with the cut surface up, on non-stick cookie sheets (glass or porcelain dishes are OK. They will have to withstand temperatures of a few hundred

degrees F if you’re going to oven-dry the tomatoes). Do *not* use aluminum foil, or bare aluminum cookie sheets. The acid in the tomatoes will react with the metal. Mix together thoroughly: 1 1 1 2 tsp tsp tsp tsp dried basil dried oregano dried thyme salt

Sprinkle a small amount of this mixture on each tomato. (Feel free to customize this mixture to suit your own taste.) Dry the tomatoes in the oven, dehydrator, or in the sun. However, no matter what method you choose, be aware that not all of the tomatoes will dry at the same rate. They do not all have the same amount of moisture, nor do they experience the same temperature and air circulation while they are drying. They are done when they are very dry, but still pliable - about the texture of a dried apricot. If dried too long, they become tough and leathery. If not dried long enough, they will mold and mildew, unless packed in oil. So watch them carefully while they dry. Try to remove them on an individual basis, before they become tough. Here are the drying methods. There is a time listed with each method. This time is approximate, and can vary significantly depending on the moisture of the tomato. Do *not* rely on this time as more than a rough guide. Oven-drying (approximately 12 hours): Bake, cut side up, in 170 F oven for about 3 hours. Leave the oven door propped open about 3 inches to allow moisture to escape. After 3 hours, turn the tomatoes over and press flat with your hand or a spatula. Continue to dry, turning the tomatoes every few hours, and gently pressing flatter and flatter, until tomatoes are dry. But, are you ready to do without your oven for 12 hours? Stand alone Dehydrator method (approximately 8 hours): Place the tomatoes, cut side up, directly onto the dehydrator trays. Set dehydrator temperature to about 140 F. After 4 or 5 hours, turn the tomatoes over and press flat with your hand or a spatula. After a few hours, turn the tomatoes again and flatten gently. Continue drying until done. Sun-drying (approximately 3 days): Needs hot weather, with relatively low humidity. Place tomatoes, cut side down, in shallow wood-framed trays with nylon netting for the bottom of the trays. Cover trays with protective netting (or cheesecloth). Place in direct sun, raised from the ground on blocks or anything else that allows air to circulate under the trays. Turn the tomatoes over after about 1 1/2 days, to expose the cut side to the sun. Place the trays in a sheltered spot after sundown, or if the weather turns bad.

People who live where it gets over 90 everyday with 10-15% humidity just place the cut tomatoes on cookie sheets and leave them in the sun for 3-5 days, with anti fly screening, of course. After the tomatoes are dry, store in air-tight containers, or pack in oil. To pack in oil: Fully dip each tomato into a small dish of white wine vinegar. This is a “must do” operation. Shake off the excess vinegar and pack them in olive oil. Make sure they are completely immersed in the oil. When the jar is full, cap it tightly and store at cool room temperature for at least a month before using. They may be stored in the refrigerator, but the oil will solidify at refrigerator temperatures (not to worry, it quickly reliquefies at room temperature). As tomatoes are removed from the jar, add more olive oil as necessary to keep the remaining tomatoes covered. The vinegar treatment is the difference between a good dried tomato and a great one. It is also important from a food safety standpoint, as it acidifies the oil and discourages growth of bacteria and mold. ****** WARNING ******** Do NOT add fresh garlic cloves to oil-packed dried tomatoes, UNLESS you store the mixture in the refrigerator. Garlic is a low-acid food which, when placed in oil, creates a low-acid anaerobic environment - the perfect growth medium for botulism bacteria if the mixture is not refrigerated. Botulism poisoning is characterized by a very high mortality rate. (Translation: Botulism kills.) Be safe and add your garlic to the dried tomatoes as part of the recipe for them after they come out of the oil. Of course, I realize not every one has a place to dry foods, but I did want to bring up these points. Cooking This kind of cooking might be called waste not - want not. In other words, your recipe collection is going to have to change a bit from your earlier use. Why? Now what's in the grocery bag when you get home will set the menu for the next few days you may go to the food pantry needing just vinegar and not get it, but come home with cold cuts, milk, and orange juice. Don’t forget to buy the vinegar! I wasn’t intending to write a cookbook, but one of my proofreaders at this point asked “What about the people that have no cookbooks to fall back on?” Oops, that’s true. Well, they don’t need to have a fancy cookbook, but they’re going to have to start one. You will not be able to afford much prepared food on food stamps, so you’ll have to writ in your own new recipes, and do the cooking as well. You might be depending on, say, the recipe on the boxes of corn meal, but there will be times when you will get corn meal without the handy “how to use” guides on the box. You can use the recipe once on the box, but you must have the recipe independently of the box. You must have your own collection of recipes to make the best use of the food you get. In some cases the

Inter net can help, but I would not want to overlook the vast collected skills of all the ladies out there who say “I can’t cook.” but then turn out a six course dinner with scraps. For example, you may get a lot of apples that need attention, that is, most are ok except for some with some small rotten spots. Well, you can cut out the rotten spots and make apple pie filling or apple sauce, depending on the requirements and the amount on hand. You will be putting away a lot of food, some of which will need to be sorted over or prepared a bit before it’s stored. What shows up the most at food pantries? Typically you’ll end up with more bread than you can eat at one time, lots of excess bagels, and more crumbs of donuts than even the pigs can cope with. Oh, you don’t have pigs. Neither do I. So the good people at Assembly of God food pantry in Ithaca, N.Y provided a way ., to use some of these excesses. Enjoy!

Making pancakes out of bagels (!) Crumb 6 to 8 bagels (4 cups), soak until they are soft. 2 eggs 1 cup of milk 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon Pinch of salt Other (see below) For sweet pancakes 1 cup fine chopped apples 1/4 cup raisins For vegetable pancakes Add 1 1/2 cups of any chopped vegetables like zucchini, potatoes, carrots, or whatever. The mixture should be moist. Mix all the ingredients, let stand for 20 minutes. Form into any size patties, bake in a preheated 400°F oven or fry in 2 tablespoons of oil. A real “crumb” cake: Recycling donut and other crumbs 4 cups of crumbs 1 cup of warm water, or any kind of milk 1 egg Optional: 1/4 cup raisins added to batter

Blend gently with a fork, put into 2” by 13” baking pan, preheat oven to 375 °F, bake for 35 minutes. Potatoes and onions are a cheap source of food. Here are some ways to use them.

Hash Brown potatoes 3 tablespoons margarine 4 potatoes, peeled and diced very fine 1/2 onion, chopped dash of salt and pepper Cook over a medium heat for 25 minutes, adding more margarine or butter, until crispy, Fried onion rings 2/3 milk 1/2 cup flour 3/4 teaspoon baking power 1/2 cup vegetable oil or shortening 1 large onion, sliced in rings Mix milk, flour, and baking power until well blended batter is formed. Heat oil to medium temperature and fry until golden brown.

Potato soup 3 or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced enough water to cover 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped salt and pepper to taste Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Brown onion to a crisp, add everything to potatoes, boil 1/2 t0 3/4 hour until tender. until in a 3 quart

Sweet and Sour pork 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger 1/4 cup flour 4 pork chops, cut into 1 inch cubes 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks (optional) 3 tablespoons vinegar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 green pepper, chopped Mix ginger with half the flour and coat pork cubes. Heat oil in large frying pan, brown the coated pork and remove from pan. Drain pineapple and save the syrup. Add water to pineapple syrup to make 2/3 cup. If no syrup, use 2/3 cup water. Stir liquid into remaining flour. Add liquid mixture, vinegar, and soy sauce to fat in frying pan. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Add sugar, pepper, and pork. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour at low heat. Add pineapple and green pepper and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes Yield:4 servings

Bread Pudding 3 cups broken pieces of bread 1/2 cup raisins 3 cups milk 1/4 cup butter 3 eggs 1/3 cup honey (maple syrup or sugar can be used) 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg 1 Teaspoon vanilla Mix all ingredients gently. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for 40 minutes or until the pudding is firm and lightly browned. Alternate ‘done test’: Stick a fork into the center; if it comes out clean the pudding is done. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then serve. Bread pudding #2 6 ounces of Italian bread cut into 1 inch cubes (3.5 cups) Vegetable cooking spray 3 cups 1% milk 1/3 cup maple syrup, or honey or sugar can be used 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg 1 Teaspoon vanilla 1/8 Teaspoon salt 1/3 cup raisins

1 egg 2 egg whites Use vegetable cooking spray on inside of baking pan. Mix all ingredients and gently pour over bread. Let stand for 40 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the pudding is firm and lightly browned. Serve warm. Rice pudding Rice and raisins are frequently given out at the food pantries, so here’s a popular way to use them. 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups milk 2 eggs, well beaten 1 cup rice, cooked 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/3 cup raisins Dash of nutmeg Heat oven to 350° F. Combine sugar, milk and eggs in a large bowl. Grease a 1 quart baking dish, pour in rice mixture, and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour

Corn fritters Also apple fritters 2/3 cup flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon baking power 1 egg, well beaten 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar 1/3 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil 2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced or one 8-ounce can corn, drained 1tablespoon confectioner’s sugar (optional) 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for cooking Mix flour, baking, sugar, and1/4 teaspoon salt in a 1 1/2 quart bowl. In another bowl blend milk and egg, add to flour mix then stir in corn. 4 servings ( 8 fritters)

Fruit muffins 1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking power 1 egg 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup apple, chopped or 1 cup blackberries 1 tablespoon sugar (optional) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 teaspoon salt Heat oven to400° F. Mix flour, baking, sugar, and salt in a 1 1/2 quart bowl. In another bowl blend milk and egg, add to flour mix, stir in corn. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. 12 muffins

Southern Corn Bread 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk (or2 cups regular milk plus1 teaspoon( per cup) lemon juice or vinegar stirred in.) 1 teaspoon Baking soda 2 cups corn meal (the buttermilk ‘activates’ the baking soda) Bake 20 –25 minutes at 450° F

On the many aliases of sour cream Sour cream is a frequent item in the food pantry offerings, but some people don’t know how to use it. Well, when you have a’macaroni and cheese’ dish for dinner, you may notice the included cheese sauce is a bit thin? Particularly if you didn’t have the suggested milk or butter to add? Well, not to worry! Just add a whole smaller container of Sour cream and the sauce tastes cheesier somehow. By the way, plain unflavored yogurt is a healthful substitute for sour cream. The Indians make a sauce of plain unflavored yogurt and cucumbers peeled and chopped up. By the way, the plastic bags the food pantries pack food in are really only good for transporting food home, not for storing fruits or vegetables. If you leave fruits or vegetables in them they will mold or rot faster then if they were taken out, sorted, washed and dried and left in the refrigerator. Yes, I know that may mean a lot of work just as soon as you get home. But that’s what has to be done.

These recipes may look a bit strange, perhaps incomplete somehow - they are incomplete, at least in number, because I don’t think that good cooking is the only way out of your problem. I’m including these recipes with the understanding you should think of them as “approximate”, that is, they’re intended to suggest an approach to cooking a dish, not a final way. I could have included much more, but I really don’t think a bigger cookbook is the only thing you’ll need.

General cooking notes You want to have plenty of cider vinegar on hand, for one thing it will help you to “pickle” the “on the spur of the moment” items the food pantries provide. After all, what is as cheap as and has the long shelf life of vinegar? There are many other uses for vinegar, don’t be in a position to run out of this cheap and useful item. P.S. – good for ‘no salt’ cooking, too. Let me make a small side note here, good tasting vinegar is not that much more expensive than cheap, plastic tasting vinegar, but no matter what you do to plastic tasting vinegar, it will always taste, well, plastic, and that means it will pass on the plastic taste to whatever you use it with. Because vinegar is a food you can buy it with food stamps, but it has other uses, like stove cleaning. Vinegar has cleaning uses, both for cookware and for laundry. Food stamps do not buy cleaners, but will buy vinegar. Pickling things you can’t use right away to make them last longer is another use. Vinegar also lets you cook with reduced salt. So does Sour salt, try it! Great on eggs Start out on your career of pickling with a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar (why risk running out?) and a number of large, clean, wide mouth containers with lids. Pick up some fresh dill to start things off with. A visit to a food pantry will have most of stuff needed to make pesto. If not, both parsley and basil are too hard to buy or even grow, if you have a garden and a liking for Pesto Sauce. Like all herbs from the food pantry, both the basil and parsley will be a bit tired, so cut a quarter inch off the bottom of all the steams and put them in water as soon as you start to unpack from the pantry visit, then set them aside to put the rest of the food away. This soaking will start to refresh them, so work on other items while they’re soaking. After the food is put away, Pesto just needs a blender and a few materials to make your own pesto sauce. You can freeze the end result by putting the sauce into a plastic ice cube tray. Once it’s frozen you can store the cubes in a plastic bag, defrosting what you need. Pesto is best when fresh, once made it does not keep well, unless frozen right away. A minor drawback for such a great item. Pesto 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 2 cloves garlic 1/4 cup parsley leaves 1/4 cup olive oil 5 Tablespoons walnuts Grated rind of 1/2 lemon

Optional 1/4 cup grated locatelli cheese (locatelli cheese is a hard, strong tasting, grated cheese) (Try adding Thyme for a taste change) In blender, puree oil, garlic and nuts. Add basil and parsley a little at a time. Add cheese and lemon. Puree until smooth. Serve over pasta, vegetables, or fish. Goes well with just about anything, but doesn’t keep well. Yields: Approximately 1 1/2 cups, takes about 15 minutes to make, coats one pound pasta. Or serves as a dip, or a side dish, or, well, whatever. Basil Vinaigrette Use over any salad: potato, vegetable, garden or as a marinade for fish, shrimp or lamb. 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup cider vinegar 2 cloves chopped garlic 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 3 Tablespoons, chopped fresh Basil or other herbs. Once again the taste of basil and garlic team up. Herbs contain fiber, carotene, vitamin C, iron and calcium. - plus great taste! Herbs are very low in calories and contain no cholesterol. Herbs are the best “no salt” substitute - 0% sodium!. 1 teaspoon dried herbs = 3 teaspoons fresh herbs. Complementary herbs to Basil are Oregano, Parsley, Marjoram, Thyme and Arugala. Tear Basil leaves and toss them into a salad for a new taste sensation. Use fresh herbs near end of the cooking time to preserve their flavor. Rinse only the portion to be used. Pat dry. Refrigerate the remainder. Herbs remain freshest when stored in a closed container, refrigerated at 35° - 50°F, except basil, which is best stored at 55° - 60°F. Salad Dressings Don’t let the lack of a salad dressing prevent you from getting your greens. By the way, here’s a hint for making great salads in general. The salt and vinegar in a dressing will make the vegetables quickly go limp, so don’t add the dressing until the very last second - in our house it’s added right at the table. To further preserve the salad freshness, toss the salad with a tablespoon of plain olive oil before serving - this puts a thin coat of oil on the leaves and keeps them fresh against the attack of the salt and vinegar. I like to recycle things, so I keep refilling and reusing a Good Seasons© salad dressing bottle with my own mix, not buying the store one. It’s much cheaper and I can change the mix to just the way I like things. Oh yes, balsamic vinegar is a fairly effective dressing just by itself.

Have you tried elephant garlic yet? No? You’re in for a pleasant surprise. Yes, you can take a sprouting bulb home, split it up and plant it. Caesar salad dressing 1/4 cup wine vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh grated Romono cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 inches Anchovy paste - which about covers the bowl of a regular ice tea spoon 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (fine, fresh ground black pepper is best) Fill a Good Seasons bottle to the water line with wine vinegar, stir in the Anchovy paste (try an ice tea spoon), add the dry ingredients, stir well, then add oil to the oil line. Shake well just before use. By the way, my doctor suggested more bran in my diet, so I’ve tried mixing in a tablespoon or two of bran. Because of the grated cheese in this recipe you don’t notice the addition and it doesn’t seem to change the taste. Italian salad dressing 1/4 cup wine vinegar (Some people add 2 table spoons lemon juice and drop the sour salt.) 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (also known as Sour Salt) 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 teaspoon Celery salt (Celery salt is a 50/50 mixture of ground Celery seed and regular salt) 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 teaspoons garlic powder (about four large crushed cloves of garlic) 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (fine, fresh ground black pepper is best) 1/2 teaspoon Dill weed (Dill weed is the ground up dill plant, while dill seed is the dill plant seed.) 2 teaspoons onion powder Fill a Good Seasons bottle to the vinegar line with wine vinegar, add lemon juice to the water line, or fill a Good Seasons bottle to the water line with wine vinegar, add the dry ingredients, then add oil to the oil line. Shake well just before use. The dressing made with garlic and onion powder instead of the real things will stay mixed longer without separating. I think I like Italian best, with blue cheese a close second. Baked apples Apples frequently show up in the food pantry offerings, but many may have flaws and need to be cooked right away. Apple sauce is easy to make, but here is another way to serve apples.

People who know me smile when they read this part. “I knew you would have a desert for children in here.” said one person. And it’s true, in many ways this is a child’s desert - not just for children to eat, but something they can make as well, or at least have a part in making. If too young to help core the apples they can help in selecting and installing the all important core filling. (Well, really, it’s important to them!) This desert may be simple but it brings back many fond memories of my “helping” my mother in the cooking - may it bring you as many blessings as well. 6 cored apples, any size or type 1 cup water 1/2 cup sugar, white, brown, honey, or whatever For small children, a touch of red food coloring in the sugar water. Arrange cored apples in an open pie pan large enough for all the apples to sit on the bottom of the pan, more or less touching. Mix the water and sugar together and pour into the pan. Dust the apples with cinnamon or nutmeg before baking. For an extra touch, stuff the cores with raisins, nuts, or dates. Fruit cocktail also works, as does a banana. The juice from the fruit cocktail can will also work as a part of the sugar water. Bake at 325 - 350° F for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Also makes a nice, hot breakfast treat. As you may have guessed, the sugar water serves two functions - it provides a touch of sweetness some of the more sour apples may be missing, and it prevents the cooked fruit from welding itself to the bottom of the pan during baking. Anything that provides some kind of sugar and water mix will do the job - like say, the liquid left over from next item! Candied orange peel Why include a way to make candied fruit peel? As a way to free up your mind, because this shows a way to use something that would have normally been discarded, then the same item later on would be purchased for the holiday, but at a huge markup. Don’t do that, make it yourself. Every item you decide to make yourself makes you that much freer. Anyway, the store puts a high price on candied fruit peel - perhaps to cover up just how easy it is to make. This recipe will work just as well if an equal amount of grapefruit, lemon, or lime peel (not as good as orange, grapefruit or lemons) are substituted. It will also candy ginger root. All of these items show up in the food pantry bag, so here is how to use all parts of them. And what to do with the leftover syrup? Take a look at the sauce below, or at the requirement for sugar water, above. Candied citrus fruit Peels from 3 large oranges washed (about 2 1/4 pounds) {You can use the peels of any citrus fruit, or ginger} 3/4 cup water 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 3/4 cups sugar

Slice peel into 1/4 inch wide strips, to make about 4 cups. Place the peels in a medium size, non-aluminum saucepan with enough water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Drain the peels in a colander. Boil water, corn syrup, and 2 cups sugar; add peels and simmer 35 to 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook peels until translucent and tender. Remove peels and let drain 5 minutes, separate and dry until tacky, about 1 hour. Save the now flavored sugar water for other items. Don’t try to reuse the sugar water for more candling, instead use it to sweeten tea, or some do something like make the candy detailed below. Place the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Add the peels and toss until they’re evenly covered with sugar. Move the sugar-coated peels to some kind of rack to air dry for a few hours, and store in an airtight container or freeze them. Please try this handy addition to your recipe box. Another way to use the sugar water left over from candying, is to use it to make the candy detailed below. I had a bit of left over sugar water and I make it into candy. Boil it to make it a bit thicker and mix in Instant oatmeal Walnuts if you have them Thickened Sugar water (? from candying fruit peels ?) Peanut butter Heat the sugar water until it gets thick. Stir in the walnuts and I then added some oatmeal and some peanut butter. Cut the soft mix into strips and cool it in the freezer. Ok. this shows orange peels aren’t garbage. But some things are, like used coffee grinds. Right? A ‘sure to be ready to throw out’ item there. Well, maybe. So, how do you feel about eating mushrooms? Interested? Well, take a look at recycling sawdust, old newspapers, coffee and espress grounds to raise your own very edible mushrooms. If you have the space, think of growing your own. I suggest you contact Fungi Perfecti for their catalog. Fungi Perfecti P.O. Box 7634 (800) 780 – 9126 Fax: 360 426 - 9377 Email: mycomedia@aol.com www.fungi.com It will cost you about $20 (other types up to $30 or so) to inoculate some coffee grounds - then wait two to three weeks for results.

Lemon sauce (or vanilla sauce, or lime sauce, or orange sauce, etc., all made without eggs! This is a very useful, anything, anytime sauce) 1/2 cup powdered sugar (OR some leftover syrup from above!)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup hot water 2 Tablespoons butter (optional) 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice (real juice is best) {or the juice of your selection} dash of nutmeg, if needed Dry mix the sugar and cornstarch, and gradually add the hot water, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, or until thick, remove from heat, and add remaining ingredients. For vanilla sauce replace nutmeg and lemon juice with 1 teaspoon vanilla. For orange sauce replace water with one cup of hot orange juice. You can could also make a lime or grapefruit sauce, and it would probably do something with any fruit juice, say, perhaps grapes? Traditionally in our house this is made as a Lemon sauce, the source is reconstituted lemon juice, and is to be poured over a “from the box” gingerbread cake it’s very quick and easy to make, and adds a nice touch, particularly if the cake came out a little dry. By the way, the government food pantry does provide tomato soup, they just do in cans labeled “Tomato Sauce”. Tomato Sauce makes a good soup and good anything else that needs tomatoes. Split Pea soup - also 7 bean soup and the like Wash and go over the peas first, looking for pea sized rocks. If possible, put peas to soak in water overnight, before cooking the next day. Most packages of peas are going to be about a pound. To start, put just the peas in a large deep pot with water and boil, skimming off and discarding the foam as need. In the pot combine peas, water, ham shank, onion and seasonings. Simmer uncovered 1 1/2 hours, then stir in chopped carrots and celery. Simmer an additional 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until soup reaches desired thickness. Remove the bones and trim off the meat, returning the meat bits to pot. Serves 6 1 package of split peas (typically 1 pound - 16 oz.) 3 quarts water 1 ham shank bone or two small smoked ham hocks 1 large onion, chopped fine 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots 1 cup chopped celery Another split pea soup Is there any use for split peas other than split pea soup? No matter, I like split pea soup so much, soup is all I need. The only problem with split pea soup is the length of time it takes to cook it - 1 1/2 hours to trim the shank and at least another two hours to cook to thickness. Oh yes, only use low heat and stir frequently or the soup will weld itself to the bottom of the pot. This will work with any dried beans or peas.

The night before start the peas soaking in enough water to cover the peas, plus an extra inch. This presoaking seems to make a smoother soup, and really makes the peas swell up. You can use a blender to powder the peas first, if you want. Homemade soup 1 pound (16 ounces, typically one package ) of pre soaked green split peas Three quarts water a small ham shank or smoked ham hock 1 large onion, finely chopped (I prefer a sweet onion) 1/2 TOP garlic powder 1/2 TOP black fresh ground pepper 1/2 TOP Oregano 1 TOP sugar or honey 1 Bay leaf, whole (to be removed before serving) 1 cup chopped celery 1 1/2 cup fine chopped carrots 1/2 lemon Serves about 6 In a large deep pot combine soaked peas, water, ham shank, onion and seasonings. Simmer uncovered until foam is high, then add the juice of a 1/2 lemon. Now simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then remove the ham shank and trim off the meat. Return the meat to the pot and discard the bones, skin and fat. Now add everything else and simmer uncovered another 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Notice there is no salt in the soup except what came from the ham. I like to add a little lemon juice to my bowl before I start, but not everyone does this. In case you didn’t know, any Bay leaf used for cooking should be removed before serving - if you can find it. This is because the leaf has a central stem section just like a thorn, so the leaf should be removed before serving, or people can watch for it if you didn’t find it. Here's a sort of home made Cracker-Jack snack that’s quick, cheap, easy and irresistible: Fax jacks 8 cups popped popcorn 1 cup peanuts (optional) 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup butter or margarine 3 tablespoons corn syrup 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. vanilla

You do realize you start out with unpopped popcorn first, right? Ok, just checking. Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt over low heat until butter is all melted. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Add baking soda and vanilla. Pour onto the (popped) popcorn, and mix until everything is evenly coated. Bake 15 minutes at 300° F. Break into pieces. Enjoy on cooling. A touch of lemon juice added to soup is nice. Creamed Dried Beef Serves 6 2 pounds Dried Beef 4 Tablespoons Flour (optional) 1 cup Milk The flour and milk make a kind of ‘gravy’ for the meat. Milk by itself does work. 1. In a frying pan saute chipped dried beef (perhaps in butter) until it starts to brown and get a little crisp. 2. Add enough flour to lightly coat the pieces of dried beef. Cook several minutes. 3. Pour enough milk over meat to just cover it. Bring to boil and lower heat. 4. Cook gently until milk has thickened and formed a gravy. 5. Pour over toast to serve. You can also use Lebanon bologna or a similar item in place of the beef. Serve on toast. Cooking tips: Milk is often spelled “dry milk and cold water mixed” General notes on making your own gravy You can make gravy in several different ways. 1. Add minute tapioca to the recipe while cooking. 2. Remove foods from pot; take 1-2 tablespoons of the juice, blend it with flour, arrowroot, or cornstarch, and return it to the pot, cooking about 15 minutes on high. 3. Remove the juices to a saucepan and make the gravy there by adding flour. Get fancy! Add some water from the vegetables or any leftover marinade you might have. The 3 ounce containers are the standard spice size. Try to find bigger containers. The 1 ounce containers are a joke, Vanilla is a widely used spice that almost requires being purchased in large quantities.

This is the basic design of a smoker A heat source, often a fire, sometimes a hotplate, makes the smoke source (typically wood) smolder. In either case, the smoke created by the smoke wood rises and slowly cooks the meat. So the plan is simple, use some kind of a container to encourage the heat and smoke to ‘tarry awhile’ by your food. The simplest (but not the cheapest) smoker is probably an electric hot plate to heat the wood chips, all inside a metal container – like a brand new metal trash can. Of course, you will want something to hold the food on, like an old cooker grill. I had one, so I picked up a trash can at the hardware store and got a single burner hot plate. Do you have to have metal trash can as a container? No. It’s just a good starting point.

The first problem is getting the power cord out of the can. More electrically inclined people will not have a problem with this. You could use a drill and metal nibbler to open a hole in the trash can. Be sure to file down the edges, or take other steps so the power cord can't get cut. I had a small wood chip box that I had previously used with my gas grill. Here's the general setup for the ‘hot plate powered’ smoker. The wood chips are easy to find at any BBQ supply place. They’re over priced there – but they’re over priced just about anywhere, except at a sawmill.

After a few minutes the wood is starting to smoke. Congratulations, that’s the first sign of success. With the lid on top, the heat and smoke build up rapidly.

The wood chips in a ‘standard pan’ seems to last 60 to 90 minutes before they need to be dumped (Warning: possible fire hazard)into a metal container (hint) and replaced with fresh chips. Cooking the beef took about 4 hours to hit the target temp of 145°. The minimum smoker worked. The next day there were a few additions. I went to the Barbecue store and picked a temperature gauge. I also drilled another air hole in the lid. You can see the smoke collecting on the sides of the trashcan – I mean, vertical metal cylindrical smoker, top access model.

So there you have it, a stores easily, working smoker made from easily available parts. And here's what you might spend on such a unit: New Trash Can with lid: $12.00 Electric Hot Plate: $13.00 (but an old beat up one will also work just fine) Grating: $10.00 (possibly free? O$ out on cleanup day) Wood Chip Box: $10.00 (actually, I had this, but they’re cheap if you need to buy one.) Wood chips to go into Box: $10.00 (or hardwood sawdust) Temperature Gauge: $9.00 (Useful, yes, not totally required) So for just over $50, you can build a smoker. Now that I'm a very experienced smoker (yea, two times! Wow) with two whole days of smoking behind me, here are my suggestions: 1) Soak the wood chips in hot water for 20-30 minutes before using them. Makes the chips last longer, and adds water to the smoker, which keeps the meat from drying out. 2) Keep a metal ash can (5 gallon metal can) ready to dump the ashes into when you put the new chips in. Starting fires elsewhere is a no-no. Visits from the bear with a shovel are not fun. Trying to run a smoker for more than about 12 hours can be a challenge for many people – but you don’t have to. When it comes to jerky you’re going to get the smoke flavor into the meat in about 3 hours. After this you can take the jerky out of the smoker and finish it off in a food dehydrator, or the oven, or even out in the sun. If you’re sun drying jerky you need to live in a relatively dry climate and have someplace where insects and animals can’t get to it. ---Vinegar - herb mixes “Flavored vinegar - yuppie soul food” I once said. Then I tried some raspberryflavored vinegar and I stopped knocking it. The prices charged at the supermarket still make me laugh, for nothing is easier to make. Now I have an extra amount of vinegar on hand to help cope with some of the food pantry overflows - and I suggest you do too. You can tell people “You aren’t doing this for the next meal, so this isn’t cooking.” At least, that’s something you can tell the non-cookers you draft to help with this project. Hey, they might buy it, you can never tell. Flavored vinegar is one way to cut down on salt in your diet. It can add new zing to dishes that need flavor rescuing. Making flavored vinegar is one way to use up the tired bunches of fresh herbs the food pantries provide. And flavored vinegar is very slow in going bad - it may never go bad, but I wouldn’t know, I end up using the stuff before it has a real chance to age much.

Oh yes, flavored vinegar makes an almost zero calories salad dressing, if you are on a diet. And it pickles food, so you can say, save garlic for the times when you have none. At one apartment I was in I had a ‘student’ refrigerator not much larger than a lunch box. You had to be very creative to store food, and the ‘feast or famine’ surges of food from the food pantry really needs a larger refrigerator and freezer to help in evening things out. But I was stuck with the small refrigerator, and one item that helped in the saving of food was ‘on the spot’ pickling of items with vinegar. For example, the food pantry had some celery hearts. I took one home, washed the bunch and cut the dried ends off, then cut the stalks to a 4 inch length. I then quartered the stalks and put them in a quart jar where I covered them with cider vinegar, nothing else. In two days it was plain the pickling was working just fine, and the test batch of celery kept for several weeks outside the refrigerator before going cloudy. It still may have been usable at that point but I saw no reason to push my luck, so I dumped it. After all, I had provide the process worked. The pickled celery retained enough flavor and texture that the untouchable shelf life test batch was a temptation. Now, celery is not a high fat food, and celery soaked in vinegar is rather nice, combining the two tastes in a nice, snackable way. This makes vinegar pickled celery a cheap and useful quick snack item that can provide a celery taste to, say, home made soups without taking up space inside the refrigerator. Next, I’m going to pick an herb to add to it to spice things up a bit - probably a touch of dill to start with. Dill: Fill the bottle to about 2/3 full with fresh dill, and use white wine vinegar to start with. I like to use cider vinegar, but you should form your own choices. While dill works with many things, it’s best in fish dishes or green salads. Dill flavored vinegar is probably my second favorite, after garlic flavored vinegar. Straight Garlic: A basic approach to flavored vinegar is to start with a simple move, like straight garlic. Try 7 or 8 cloves of peeled and crushed garlic, in perhaps a white wine vinegar. Just remember to bruise the garlic cloves slightly and expose them to air before doing the bottling, otherwise the full garlic flavor will not develop. While I’m not a big garlic lover (certainly not like some people I know!) this vinegar is a very popular item on our table. I don’t go crazy over measuring the amount of garlic used, generally I just add enough so you can smell the garlic when you open the bottle from 6 feet away. Yes, I do like strongly flavored seasonings, why do you ask? (Grin) In general, when you are looking for flavor, use about one cup of herbs to every quart of vinegar. If this is too strong when you get finished, just add more vinegar. By the way, when the pickled eggs or whatever is used up you can eat the garlic cloves left behind - I rather like them that way. Fresh basil is another herb that shows up frequently at the food panties. Of course, you can “pickle” the basil by itself. Now if you wish to sample the two tastes combined, just pour off a bit of each and mix them. Basil flavored vinegar is rather tasty, and pickled basil is a fun item to cook with. Basil and Garlic: Fill the bottle loosely with fresh basil sprigs, 4 or 5 cloves of peeled garlic, and white wine vinegar. For a pleasing look, say for a gift item to a friend, thread

the garlic cloves onto a wooden skewer and insert that into the bottle. Great for tomatoes and salads which include bitter greens. Hint of the Southwest: 1 or 2 sprigs each fresh oregano and coriander, 3 or 4 large peeled garlic cloves, 1/2 thinly sliced lemon slice, 3 or 4 small dried red chili peppers, some peppercorns and white wine vinegar. Gives extra presence to corn relishes or guacamole. Also try it as a marinade for pork or beef. Once again, use about one cup of herbs to every quart of vinegar. Peppercorn vinegar: Three tablespoons of peppercorns per quart of 6% vinegar. You may want to start out with a smaller batch than a quart. Oriental vinaigrette: Rice vinegar and a large piece of crushed ginger is a nice vinaigrette. The fresh root can be kept in a closed glass jar in the refrigerator if you cover it with sherry. I had tried boiling the fresh root in a strong sugar and water solution, but may not have done it long enough, as my test item later molded. I still think this boiling should have worked, so I’ll try it again. Taste of summer: Try Rosemary and Marjoram in red wine vinegar, or chives with white wine vinegar. Sage and oregano also go well with white wine vinegar. I’m told Tarragon and thyme work well with champagne vinegar, which in a way is a white wine vinegar. Hot peppers frequently show up at the food panties. Drop a couple into a jar of vinegar. Warn people about this vinegar, as it will have all the pow! of the hot peppers used in its making. Flavored vinegars are a starting point of many fancy marinades. By the way, don't try to save a marinade after it’s been used, the meat juices now in it will make it spoil. If just throwing it out bugs you, pour it over the meat while it's cooking on the grill or stove - I do. You can also use it as a base for making the gravy, just don’t try to save it. That doesn’t look like an egg! “I’m not interested in fancy salad dressings.” you might say. Neither am I, well, not that much. And you may not be into complex cooking. No problem. Here comes something that’s dead easy, good tasting, and a great time and money saver, as well as taking up no refrigerator space. Pickled eggs! They’re a great way to fill out a skimpy lunch, particularly if you’re short on time in making said lunch, or need an ‘instant lunch’ on occasion. They also take up no room in a small refrigerator, as once made they have no need of refrigeration and will keep for weeks on a shelf. Simple egg pickling When I was given a bunch of somewhat fresh but fading dill ($2 an ounce if you don’t grow it yourself) I washed it, dropped half an ounce into an empty Ragu sauce jar (30 oz) and covered it with about 20 ounces of cider vinegar (any vinegar will work) so it

would keep - well, not really, I did it to make dill flavored vinegar, a favorite item of mine. That is not complex cooking, just a way of saving a bit of money on a short income. Next, I was hard boiling some eggs for my work lunch when my eye fell on the dill in the jar, making dill vinegar. Humm, I had read the label on pickled hard-boiled eggs, so why not try to make my own hard boiled, pickled eggs? O.k., I peeled the eggs as I would normally, dropped them in the jar, and added a bit more vinegar to cover them. Didn’t add any salt or anything else. I used 6 medium size eggs, as that seems to be a good batch size, fitting most pots and recycled pickle jars. There they sat for a week on the shelf over the sink, although they do get a bit of pickling in just three days. The eggs certainly had a strong dill smell, and came out not the green of the dill as I expected, but a kind of strange tan color, which may be why you don’t find dill pickled hard boiled eggs on the grocery shelf. Don’t let the color worry you, they don’t taste strange, they taste great. And I really do mean taste great. As a matter of fact, between the dill flavor and the pickling no salt is needed, which may interest people on sodium reduced diets. The color of the pickled eggs may encourage your co-workers into not trying to borrow your lunch. Hummm . . . You could also use garlic as a favoring, but only if you don’t contact the public after eating the egg. Or should I say, the public may not want to contact you after you eat the egg. Again, be warned, I like strong flavored things - how strong? It’s not strongly flavored if your ears don’t fall off when you eat one. With undiluted vinegar you can do two batches of eggs with the same batch of liquid before you need to start over with new dill and new vinegar, although the second batch of eggs will not be as strong as the first. The vinegar gets noticeably weaker as the eggs pickle, so continuing to reuse the vinegar will at some point fail to preserve the eggs. I now limit things to just one cycle - the pickle is cheap. By the way there is a cheap mix of flavorings called ‘pickling spice’ – mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, dill, red pepper, cloves and a touch of allspice. Good stuff. I have also used a mixture of fresh Tannagon, Chervil and Dill for pickled eggs. While this mixture was originally intended for fish it seems to work just as well for eggs. These pickled eggs are just the thing to have on hand to make a fancy snack. Late news update: independent taste tests rated my eggs as (grumble) too strongly flavored. I think I’ll go sulk somewhere. With the remainder of the eggs. Garlic Pickled Eggs 24 eggs, hard boiled and peeled 1 T dried tarragon (or 4 sprigs fresh) 24 cloves garlic, slivered 1 1/2 quarts cider vinegar (or whatever) 1 teaspoon mustard seed 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon cardamon seed 2 teaspoons black peppercorns 2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar Pack the eggs in jars and divide tarragon and garlic evenly among them. Combine remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 15 min. Strain hot

vinegar over the eggs. Seal and process 10 minutes. Makes 24 eggs (ca. 3 qts.) My suggestion is to do half of this batch, because I feel24 eggs is too big a batch for me. This recipe uses 3 times as much garlic as the original called for, but I've used more. It's hard to overdo the garlic in this one. It also works well with quail eggs, if you can stand peeling all those little things. There is an ‘instant peel’ egg peeler on TV, which should come in handy here. With cider vinegar the eggs end up a soft beige on the outside, white and yellow inside. Using Distilled vinegar would keep them all white, if that’s important to you. A side note on this: I found someone was raiding my lunch at work, which stopped when I had included some tan hardboiled eggs. Pickled radishes? Again the varying output of the food pantry presented me with a number of golf ball size radishes. I cut off the tap root and remaining (tired) greens of each one, and scrubbed and washed each root before it went into the vinegar. Within two days the vinegar turned bright red and the radishes went from red to pink on the outside. I made sure nothing stuck out of the vinegar, as that is the first part to mold, if the item is going to mold. They got a bit tougher and became a uniform pink instead of white inside. Taste stayed much the same for the first few days, but I’m sorry to say they did not keep as well as I might have wanted – they were edible, but not outstanding. You may have to freeze radishes to save them. You will end up with some bright red vinegar to play with, by the way. The flavor level of herbed vinegar You can just put the dill in the vinegar, which tends to preserve the dill and give you medium level dill flavored vinegar, or you can warm the vinegar a bit (with a microwave) and get a strong flavored dill vinegar. This is somewhat like making tea. The dill used for strong flavored vinegar will have almost no taste left over, and will not be very good for use in cooking. The vinegar will be just great, of course. As a matter of fact, it seems to almost impossible to have too much dill flavored vinegar on hand. Once I thought I did, then a visit to the local food pantry presented me with a real bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. Well, I had no room in the refrigerator, of course, so I washed the lot and just dropped them into the dill vinegar jar, removing any stems but not cutting them in any way. That was a move I will never regret. Try it yourself! The items do not spoil right away, and the taste is great. They do get a bit soggy, so you need to eat them within a few days or so, but the taste is there. After I took in a few of the items I had been working on to the people at the food pantry, well, they’re beginning to call me the pickle man. I can’t (munch) understand (munch) why they (munch) say that. I tell you, all this research is hard on a person. Too bad steaks aren’t part of the normal food pantry offerings. I will be available for special research if that does happen, of course.

Now for some more examples of how to use some of the items that show up at a food pantry. Because supplies can be far too much, followed by far too little, you need a way to even out the levels. For example, here is several ways to cope with an excess of garlic. Think soup stock if nothing else. As a food panty cook you should have several ways to save a useful item like garlic, but here is just one. Pickled garlic - Chinese style 1 cup fresh young garlic cloves, peeled and not bruised 1/2 cup vinegar (rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or distilled white vinegar) 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt Note: the garlic cloves are not bruised here, which lets the garlic flavors develop. Never mind the title, this is just another way to use up an excess of garlic, to save them for the coming ‘garlic lean times’. Remember, you can plant garlic cloves that have started to spout. Have local rabbits and deer munching on the green things you planted? Not much will bother planted garlic, and a new crop will start. Stir together the vinegar, sugar and salt in a half pint jar. Peel and add the cloves. Age the mix for a month before using. Will keep for a year or more in the refrigerator - if you can stop people from snacking on it. Good luck on that move. Snacking? Yes, the garlic can be eaten directly – if you’re not going forth to meet the public! This easy treatment can preserve the cloves for later use, or the cloves can be used directly as a condiment. The vinegar carries the garlic flavor, and would do nice things to soups. The garlic cloves stay nice and firm, but in the same solution the insides of cherry tomatoes turn into mush after a week. I got another batch of cherry tomatoes in, and decided to drop them in with the garlic, instead of doing more dill pickled tomatoes. Other than the mush problem this has worked just fine, but I like the taste of dill pickled tomatoes better than garlic pickled tomatoes. Japanese Pickled Ginger This stuff rules! You may not normally have been cooking with ginger before, but ginger roots show up at the food pantries fairly often. So, how to use it? Well, you could try candying the raw root, (see above) or you could pickle it, or keep the fresh root in a closed jar of sherry (yes, sherry) in the refrigerator. By the way, a bit of candied ginger held in the mouth acts just like a cough drop, except it tastes better. This is the great sliced ginger provided with sushi. It costs about 6$ a pound if you buy it at the store! I look for the largest roots to get the best return on the labor of peeling them, but even small roots can be used. If you have a slicer use it on the root. And you thought there was no way to get some ginger into your sandwiches! Warning: This stuff is addictive.

Ginger flavored pickled eggs taste great. The pickling mix for ginger is rather nice, so now I’m looking at what else it will do. The ever expanding cookbook - Instead of ginger the food pantry supplies you with a nice large horseradish root. Well, both ginger and horseradish are root vegetables, so what works on ginger also works on the horseradish root. I like the results, but I want to keep playing with the taste of this one. It’s not bad, I just feel it can be better if I tweek the process a bit. By the way, horseradish and ginger roots can be planted very easily. Hint: premix 2 cups of the pickling mixture and have it on hand for quick treatments of surplus whatevers. Honey is slow to dissolve unless the mix is hot. To make fresh ground horseradish take one pound peeled horseradish root, one cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt (optional),1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1 small turnip (optional). Blend all until smooth. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator. Shipwreck Why it’s called shipwreck I don’t know. It’s an easy, ‘one pot cooks everything’ dinner. Needs a casserole pot and oven, or a Crock pot™. Crock pots are a great item for a single person coming home to a hot meal. They are small, cheap, found at garage sales, and don’t pop circuit breakers when used. 1 pound lean hamburger, seasoned with salt, garlic powder, and oregano layers of sliced potatoes and onions to mostly fill the pot. 1 can of drained kidney beans, or the like 1 small can of whole tomatoes poured over everything put meat on top everything in a layer Bake 2 hours at 300° F, or all day in a Crock pot® on high. You do want lean meat for this, as all the fat ends up in the bottom of the pot. Pink Bunny On occasion you may end up with more cheese than you know what to do with, or with lots of bread and no meat in the house. Pink Bunny to the rescue! (sounds like a rock group!) Why is it called Pink Bunny? Well, it’s pink, and all that cheese . . . This is the lesser version of “Welsh rabbit”. If you get cheese that was frozen you will find it crumbles. Not to worry, it’s still good, just use it any place melted cheese is called for. Now here is something to use up any excess cheese you may have. 1 pound cheese, any type 1 tablespoon butter 1 small onion, chopped fine 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1 can tomato soup (where the ‘pink’ comes from)

Using a double boiler, melt the butter and chop the onion into it. While it’s cooking, add the dry mustard and the cut up cheese. When this becomes stringy add the beaten egg, stir, and add the tomato soup when things get creamy. Serve hot over toast. Stockpile tomato soup I suggest you stockpile cans of tomato soup, as they are cheap and nutritious, having many uses. You may also want to stockpile other tomato products like cans of tomato paste, tomato sauce, etc. You might be pressed for time and have nothing but a can of tomato soup and some cooked rice for lunch. Almost anything can be added to tomato soup and still taste good. Warning: adding thickeners (like potato flakes) to soup works just fine up to a point, but the thicker soup should be reheated slowly and carefully as it’s not as fluid as it was, and parts will stick and burn if you try to speed things up with more heat. Suggestion: add the potato flakes to the soup as a last step. Add a touch of lemon juice for a different taste. Korean pancakes If the children are not very happy about eating zucchini squash, and that’s what is on hand, here’s one way to get it into their diet (Don’t tell them what Korean pancakes are made of!). Personally, I find a touch of Worcestershire sauce a welcome addition to these pancakes. 3 small zucchini squash, washed, scraped and coarsely grated 2 eggs 2 scallions, complete with green tops, chopped (or 1/2 large onion, chopped) 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional) 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional) 1/2 cup cheese, grated (cheese is somewhat optional 1/2 to 1 cup flour salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste 1 - 1 1/2 cup salad oil Put the zucchini in a large bowl. Add the eggs, scallions, mint, parsley, and mix. Gradually add the flour, and when mixed, then the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fry in the oil. Potato pancakes 1 1/2 lbs raw potatoes - pared and grated fine (which makes 3 cups grated potatoes) 1 onion grated 1 unbeaten egg 5 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt

The batter needs to be made a short time before it’s cooked - both it and the pancakes are best fresh, although you can freeze the cooked pancakes. Heat 1/4 inch oil and drop in heaping tablespoons of the batter. Don’t count on having any left over, these are very popular. Oatmeal, raisin and peanut butter are staples, so here are some ways to use them.

Oatmeal cookies 1/2 cup margarine 3/4 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/2 cup flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 cups quick cooking oats, uncooked 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/3 cup raisins (optional) Preheat oven to 400. Cream margin, add sugar and continue blending, add eggs and beat well. Beat in flour, salt, oats, and vanilla, add raisins. Drop batter by teaspoon on greased pan (they don’t spread). Bake 8 to 10 minutes, let the cookies cool in place for about 5 minutes These cookies fit on a single12 by 16 inches cookie sheet/pan.

Some Things You Should Know about Slow Cooking All the slow cooking (Crock Pot®) recipes here are to be cooked with the lid on the pot, or at least a sheet of aluminum foil crimped over the pot, to replace the missing lid. If it’s glass, you can check on your food without opening the pot. In any case, you lose steam and the water seal around the lid, which prolongs the cooking period every time you peek inside. Be patient. Stirring is not usually required. However, if the dial is set on high and you’re home, an occasional stir won’t hurt. Your slow cooker should be at least half filled for best results. If you’re cooking less, cover the food with aluminum foil. If your slow cooker has no lid you can cover it with aluminum foil. When cooking vegetables and meats together on the low setting, put the vegetables in the pot first. This will start the vegetables cooking, and the vegetables produce enough water to cook the rest. It will also raise up the meat to permit proper liquid circulation; and the vegetables will stay moister that way. When adding liquids, like water or milk, do that last.

You may occasionally end up with too much liquid, since the moisture content of foods varies. The excess can be reduced if you remove the cover of your cooker and set the dial on high until the excess liquid evaporates. Or you can add a touch of rice to take up the liquid. Warning: Don’t use too much rice – or at least keep in mind how dried rice expands! That little bit you put in becomes R * I * C * E. You may want to try using a trivet or meat rack in the bottom of your cooker. It’s useful for keeping fatty meats, such as pork or duck, out of their cooking juices (which are fatty, too). Trivets may be purchased in the housewares department of your local store. You can make gravy in several different ways. (1) Add minute tapioca to the recipe while cooking. (2) Remove foods from pot; take 1-2 tablespoons of the juice, blend it with flour or cornstarch, and return it to the pot, cooking about 15 minutes on high. (3) Remove the juices to a saucepan and make the gravy there. You don’t have to thaw frozen foods before putting them into your cooker if (a) the cooker isn’t hot to begin with; or (b) you add the food to something that’s cooking, mixing it in so that the frozen food isn’t in direct contact with the hot cooker. However, many recipes do suggest adding thawed frozen vegetables in the last hour or so of cooking. This avoids any danger of cracking glass or crockery liners. It saves time, too. Adapting Recipes The recipes here are planned for a 4-quart slow cooker (the small size cooker). If you wish to make a larger quantity of any of the recipes in a 6-quart slow cooker (the large size), increase the amounts by one-half (for example, 1 cup becomes 1 1/2 cups), unless otherwise designated. The cooking time remains the same. An electric slow cooker can be used for a wide variety of soups, sauces, casseroles, stews, braised meats and vegetables, as well as for baked fruits and breads. If you have a favorite recipe, or want to try something new in your electric cooker, the following suggestions should be helpful: Cooking time - Most meat and vegetable combinations require seven hours or more on low. You can start a pot in the morning, go to work, do some unexpected overtime, and still come home to a not overcooked meal. When using a slow cooker meats do not always need to be browned, though you may want to do so in order to remove excess fat from bacon, ground beef or duck, for example. Vegetables do not need to be sautéed in advance, except in a few cases (for example, onions for onion soup). One exception is eggplant, which has a strong flavor and should be parboiled or sautéed before being combined with other foods. Herbs and spices may behave differently in an electric slow cooker. Whole herbs and spices may give more flavor than usual, while ground spices perform poorly - avoid them. Season carefully, taste before serving, and correct seasonings then if necessary.

Milk, cream and sour cream may curdle if left in a cooker for many hours. It’s best to add them in the last hour of cooking. If a recipe specifies one of these ingredients as the only liquid in the cooking process, you may substitute evaporated milk, water or condensed soup, such as cream of mushroom or chicken. Pasta and rice disintegrate after long hours in a slow cooker. Add them in the last hour of cooking. Liquid is well conserved in an electric slow cooker. Vegetables such as onions and tomatoes give off additional liquid. Therefore, in adapting most recipes, try using less liquid than specified. Don’t use more than enough to cover the food. More liquid will evaporate on the high setting than on the low. Economy Slow cooking is economical cooking. You can use cheaper cuts of meat. Long simmering makes them tender. And you get more for your money because with low temperatures, there is less shrinkage. A under rated power outlet that can’t run a toaster oven or microwave will have no problem supporting a slow cooker. You can also utilize such protein-rich foods as lentils and soybeans, which require long cooking. There’s much to be said for good, solid, stick-to-the ribs vegetables like cabbage, potatoes and beans. Energy Saving Electric slow cooking saves energy. In these days when Americans are more and more conscious of conserving energy, buying and using yet another electrical appliance may at first sound wasteful. Actually, a slow cooker uses a lot less energy than a major appliance like a range. The low wattage of electric slow cookers makes them modest consumers of electricity. Based on a rate of four cents per kilowatt hour, your cooker will operate all day for a few cents. And they frequently show up at the local Salvation Army store for a few dollars. Flavor and Nutrition You will find that food prepared in your electric slow cooker is exceptionally tasty. One reason for this is even heat distribution. Another is the liquids are conserved. Meats don’t dry out, and other foods, too, keep the tasty juices that make for good eating. Because foods prepared in an electric slow cooker retain their juices, they also keep more of the nutritive values. Research shows most nutrients lost in the cooking process pass into the liquid. The more this evaporates - as in high-temperature cooking the less nutritious the food. Other studies indicate that high cooking may actually rob meat protein of some of its amino acids, and can destroy B vitamins. Another health factor: If you use inexpensive meats with little marbling, you will also be cutting down on cholesterol.

Slow Cooker Convenience A slow cooker has many advantages. One big one is that the cook need not be on hand for good results. One pot cooking eliminates the need for a multitude of mixing bowls, saucepans and skillets. When foods are cooked at low temperatures, they rarely stick, especially if you have a cooker with the heating unit wrapped around the sides. A slow cooker is useful as a supplementary appliance. You may want to roast a chicken at one temperature and bake some pears at a different setting. No problem. Either item can go into the slow cooker while you put the other one in your oven. An electric slow cooker is a handy way to keep food hot. If your meal is done but people aren’t ready to eat, don’t worry. Keep the temperature set at low, and another hour or so won’t matter. This feature is especially helpful when you’re entertaining, or don’t know when you will be coming home for dinner. An electric slow cooker is small, portable and inexpensive, so it makes a useful addition for minimally equipped summer cottage or other vacation home. Or as a low cost accessory to a just getting started kitchen. Turkey stew for the week (slow cooker style) (the “I’ve never cooked before” variation) One thawed roll of ground turkey meat (About a pound) 1 large onion, quartered some potatoes, scrubbed, but with skins on (3 to 4) some carrots some ‘vinegar pickled’ celery - if you have it, just regular if you don’t some vinegar pickled dill, chopped fine - if you have it ,just regular if you don’t some vinegar pickled garlic cloves, also chopped fine - if you have it pepper and salt as wanted Put the unfrozen ground turkey into the pot, mix in a little water to make a slurry, add vegetables and spices. Frozen ground turkey meat is a very low cost protein, and makes a welcome change from chicken. You have probably seen the nice low price on smoked turkey legs? Almost every supermarket carries it, but you may need help in finding it. It can be treated like hamburger and often shows up in the food pantry bag.

Beef Dinner for the week, slow cooker style (the “I’ve never cooked before” variation) A beef roast, what ever is cheapest per pound, size that fits into the slow cooker with room to spare, because you want to put in some vegetables, too. 1 or more large onions, quartered some potatoes, scrubbed Carrots are nice some celery if you have it 1 can stewed tomatoes (or tomatoes in any form)

Get up early to set things up. Open the can of stewed tomatoes, pour contents into slow cooker. Unwrap roast, trim off excess fat (give to birds), and stick it into the slow cooker, fitting in sliced onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots until you run out of space in the cooker. Add powered garlic and pepper to pot. Pickled celery works fine. Set the slow cooker on low, make sure the slow cooker is plugged in and on low with the lid on. Just before you go to work, touch the outside of the cooker - it should be warm, if not, find out what’s wrong. Even if you get overtime that day, there will be a hot, not overcooked dinner when you get home. Refrigerate what’s left over - use a microwave to reheat. Corned Beef and Cabbage A specialty long associated with Irish Americans, at times it shows up at nice low prices. Serve with horseradish or Dijon mustard. Sometimes corned beef brisket goes on sale, so grab it when you can, and freeze it for later use. Use a big pot as the cabbage is tasty, and save the water as stock to make pea soup. 3 pounds corned beef brisket 1 large onion, quartered 1 head of cabbage, cut into small wedges 1 cup water 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons vinegar potatoes, more onions work well also By the way, the spice mix that comes with beef brisket is basically pickling spice, so if you more of that taste, add some. 1. Combine ingredients in cooker, with cabbage on top. Cut meat in pieces if needed to fit into cooker. 2. Cook on low 10-12 hours, or on high 6-7 hours. After you’ve eaten the cabbage and beef take the remaining water and use it as a stock for 7 bean soup. You should have the beans soaking as the beef is cooking. If the soup is too thin add some dried rice. POT AU FEU Generations of French housewives have fed their families with this staple - the “pot on the fire” the anything soup that rests constantly on the stove and into which all manner of odds and ends may be added. Great if you have a wood burning heater in the house. 1 8 8 6 6 6 pound beef bones or veal knuckles carrots, cut in half medium onions, quartered small turnips, quartered parsnips, halved medium potatoes, halved

1/2 cabbage, cut into chunks 1 tablespoon salt 1 pound link sausages 1-2 pounds boneless chuck, round, or fresh brisket bouillon (optional)+* ‘bouquet garni’ consisting of 2 sprigs parsley, 2 stalks sliced celery, 2 bay leaves, and 12 peppercorns, perhaps in cheesecloth bag. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Place bones and next seven ingredients in cooker. Add ‘bouquet garni’. In skillet, brown sausage links, discarding fat. Add sausage and beef to cooker. Add enough bouillon (optional; often far too salty for today’s tastes) to cover food. Cook on low 10 hours. Remove ‘bouquet garni’.

Yield: 6-8 servings Poor Man's Cake Now, as an example of the true art of creative cooking this is both a low-fat dessert and a good desert for people allergic to eggs or milk (!), as the cake calls for no eggs, no milk, no butter, and needs no frosting. Kind of reminds me of the move “Like water for chocolate”. 1 Cup brown sugar 1 1/4 Cups water 1/3 Cup vegetable shortening (Canola oil works well here, since the shortening is melted) 1 teaspoon salt 2 Cups flour 2/3 Cups raisins 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon soda 2 teaspoons water 1 teaspoon baking powder Boil brown sugar, 1 1/4 cups water, oil or shortening, raisins and spices together for three minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Add salt and baking soda, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water. Sift together flour and baking powder, add gradually, beating after each addition. Spray 8" square pan with non-fat spray (or brush with vegetable oil). Bake at 325° F for about an hour, or until it tests done. Needs no frosting.

Strawberry shortcake Another low-fat dessert.

2 cups flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/3 cup oil 1 cup milk Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix the flour, baking powder, oil and milk. Spoon onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside. Add strawberries or other fruit. Top with yogurt ice cream.

Long term storage foods The “Mormon 4” was created by the Mormon Church to provide one year of food at low expense that would have a very long shelf life. Part of the Mormon faith stipulates that all families should have at least one year of food in storage, not a bad idea for anyone. The “Mormon 4” is usually the basis of most long term food storage plans, but as you might expect, low cost means it’s a bit plain. The quantity and quality of the food storage plan of most survivalists depends on what problems the person expects to encounter in the future. A person expecting a several month period of turmoil might have just a 1 or two month supply of canned goods that is rotated continuously. A person expecting a problem might have a mix of grains, freeze dried, air dried, canned goods, and seeds to supplement available food supplies during times of trouble. A nuclear war survivalist might have a five year supply of the Mormon 4, plus nitrogen packed seeds, freeze dried, sophisticated water purifiers, and other supplies. That might be a bit too much right now, but having and not needing is always going to be better than needing and not having. Food Wheat Powdered Milk Sugar or honey Salt Pounds per person (Average, Range) 300, 200-365 85, 60-100 60, 35-100 6, 1-12 Shelf life Comments Hard Red packed in nitrogen 1-5 to indefinite years Keep sugar dry and pest free More is needed for preserving

Indefinite Packaging varies Indefinite Indefinite

With so many sweet teeth around more honey or sugar would be a very popular plan extension. After that, more salt is probably the first thing I would add to this basic assortment. Whole wheat stores well, but not as a flour. It’s most often used as flour, so a way to grind the wheat into flour is a good move. Translation: get a blender, or a hand powered flour grinder. If you’re going to be away from the power grid, a cream separator would stand in for the high speed motor of a blender. Other ‘long range foods’ Some suggestions are: Frozen foods - if you have a freezer and space in the freezer, of course. Canned foods

Dried or canned milk * Dried or canned meat † Dried tomatoes † Hard cheese † Pasta * Honey * Sugar * Dried rice † Vinegar † Salt * Cooking oil *

By following books like Kearney's Nuclear War Survival Skills and Dickey's Passport to Survival, techniques for sprouting, gluten making, and wheat grass will supply vitamin C and a wide variety of dishes from these four items. These four items alone will NOT make a good diet, but one that will keep you alive. Minimum supplementation would be some vitamin and mineral pills, and a source of fats and oils. That is a very tight minimum! I would suggest at least some dried rice, some soy flour, and some oatmeal. Dried beans would be another nice addition, along with black pepper corns and vegetable seeds for planting. Also note there are no spices on the list - most people will start to want flavorings very soon. At least add some black pepper - it’s cheap and will store well. Dickey recommends 40 additional foods that can be rotated ,or have a shelf life of 1, to 5 years. The 40 + 4 yields a healthy diet of over 100 dishes that can be used for varied meals. The Kearney diet is basically the Mormon 4 plus cooking oil (about 50 pounds) and beans (around 100 pounds). This provides essential oils and a much better amino acid balance. The ideal diet in terms of amino acid balance is meat. You can get the correct amino acid balance from grains by making “Cornell” bread. In any bread recipe just substitute this mixture for each cup of wheat flour. 1 tablespoon of soy flour, 1 tablespoon of nonfat dry milk, and 1 teaspoon of wheat germ with the balance of the cup filled with wheat flour. For more information on Cornell bread read THE CORNELL BREAD BOOK-McCAY from Dover, or it can be ordered from Jeanette B. McCay, 30 Lakeview Lane, Englewood, FL. 33533. REMEMBER: In the event of an emergency (the power goes off, the refrigerator died, whatever), FIRST - use all the edible foods in your refrigerator (the frozen stuff is warming up, but still frozen at this point), NEXT - use as many of the freezer foods as possible, before spoilage sets in, THEN - start on your supply of non-perishable (canned) foods. A full freezer will keep food cold longer than a half full freezer. If nothing else, right now you could store bags of ice in the freezer to stretch out the cooling time.

Get Picture ID Get another Picture ID

You want to at least one form of current ID with your picture on it, and it’s not a bad idea to have two copies of that, or another current picture ID to back up the first. If nothing else you should get a county ID card. Important note: in some states such as New York to get two picture ids from the state you have to get the county ID card first, before you get a New York driver’s license. Having current picture ID to produce for the police is one good way to avoid an overnight stay in the county lockup. Another piece of useful paper is a “voter ID card” which is a snap to obtain, as no proof of identity is required. The only “security” for this card is your sworn statement. You should get one now. This is not just for the police, there may be some renters who will want to see this stuff. This may not be in accordance with the law, but having the id handy is a lot easier and nicer than trying to fight a court battle just to get a place to rent. A second car insurance id card is just as important as having a second driver’s license or registration. It’s very hard and expensive to quickly get these cards replaced should you have your license lost or stolen, but in some states like New Jersey it only costs about three dollars to have a second copy sent to you when you renew your license. You should be able to get a second copy of your car insurance id card by just calling your insurance company. Some places like New York state will not issue a second license. You need to have a record of the agencies you deal with, their addresses, and your account number with each of them. One reason you would need this is to be able to send them a change of address card in case you lose your home. You also need to have a copy of the 800 number to call when your credit cards are stolen. Remember, homeless people are a good target for thieves, so you should expect to be robbed. That means don’t have all your money in one spot. You may need to carry a few bucks in a “throwaway” wallet, but have whatever other money you might have in other spots on your person, or in your car. Yes, I mean a money belt, or something like it. What to do if your wallet or purse is stolen Warning: The thieves probably have your house keys, your home phone number and your home address. They may attempt to rob your place. One woman who had her purse stolen got a phone call from a person who said she didn’t know why she took the purse, and that she would meet with her to return it. The other woman suggested that she bring a friend to the meeting. Of course, there was no one there, and when they got back to her apartment it had been robbed, the door opened with her own keys. If you get a call like this, say that you will meet them. Next, call the police and explain what’s happening. They would love to meet these people and discuss some fine points of the law with them. Before the theft: Go though your purse or wallet now looking for any way to remove or hide important information like your home phone number, your home address, and so on. Yes, you may have to have your home address on your checks, but must you also have your home phone number, your car license plate number, your Social Security

number in your purse as well? No! Under no condition should you have any pass words for ATM cards written down anywhere. Must you identify what keys are what on your key ring? All of this just makes it easier for the thief. Are there backup keys somewhere other than in your purse? In any case, do these steps RIGHT AWAY! 1 Immediately cancel your credit, department store and ATM cards. If you don’t use a credit-card registry service, you should have a list or photocopies of all your cards with account numbers, expiration dates and the telephone numbers to call for each card. When my father lost his wallet Sears for some reason did not want to cancel the card! No, they would not clear my father of any charges to that account after the call. Dumb move, Sears. Real dumb. Unable to cancel the card, and told he would be paying for whatever was charged to it, my father just closed the whole account - and will never reopen it, not with the way Sears acted. Why Sears wanted to keep the account open is beyond me, but in the credit world major mistakes made on Sears accounts by Sears itself are so common place that no one thinks much of them. The rates are out of this world as well. 2 Don’t just issue “stop payments” on stolen checks, you must go on and cancel the account - yes, cancel, as in close out the whole account. With the computer programs and materials available today, thieves can make any number of new checks with your numbers. It will really burn them that you did cancel the account, and this may even aid in catching them. 3 File a police report right away. Banks, credit card companies and insurance companies want this crime reported right away. The thieves are hoping you’ll never report it. Shaft them and report the loss right away 4 Call the three main credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records. Equifax (800) 525 - 6285; Trays Union (800) 680 - 7289; TRW (800) 301 - 7195 5 Watch every item on your credit charges long after such a theft. Sometimes the thieves go dormant, then hit your account again with new charges when they think you’ve stopped looking. 6 Not content to just max out all your present accounts, the thieves may try to open up new charge accounts in your name to max them out as well. Store owners will call your home phone number to confirm setting up the new account, so change the greeting on your answering machine to say something like “My wallet was stolen and someone claiming to be me is trying to establish new accounts using this number.” 7 If you have a pass card to get into work or some other place, make sure your card is closed out right away. The reason why your purse was taken may have been to get into the building you have access to. Yes, you do need a tie, shinned shoes, and a jacket for a job interview, for a man. A woman needs a nice dress. The Salvation Army can help you here.

Reserve money A fat bank account is nice, of course, but a reasonable amount of money on hand can be better at times - you don’t have to find an ATM to get it. I know, if you’re reading this having a bit of money to tuck into spare places is not that likely. Well, if nothing else you can work on getting the hiding place ready. Of course, you should not have all your reserve money in one spot. Nor should you boast about, mention, suggest or even hint about these money catches. The more people that know you have extra money, or even suspect it, the more likely they will be to hit you up for a loan - or worst. Those who don’t try to borrow your money will be forever turning your stuff over to try to steal it. They will break into your car or whatever to get said money. If they find money there just once, they will keep breaking in, time and time again, hoping to find more. As if anyone would be dumb enough to refill a hiding place that didn’t work in the first place. But thieves are that dumb. On collecting borrowed money Do not depend on people owning you money as a source of money when you have problems. Their ability to repay will never match the times you need to get your money back. As a matter of fact, some people delight in hearing that you are out of work, and will use that as an excuse to pay you nothing. This is the sad result of some real life experiences. By the way, if you have never called in a loan, don’t be surprised if people now act as if they have the upper hand because they owe you money. That doesn’t make sense to you? Well, it happens, and is another reason not to loan money. I might be a bit cynical, but if these people have the stuff to secure a loan, why do they have to come to you to get the loan? You aren’t a bank, let alone rich. Borrowing money between true friends does work, but true friends are hard to find, and borrowed money has ended many a casual friendship. Other vehicles A bicycle provides easier, longer distance mobility to hot food kitchens, food pantries, clothing centers like Salvation Army or community warehouses of used or new items. And these are cost free, or at least cost reduced, once you have one or more of them. A motor bike, a motorcycle or scooter, are items that allow you to range further in order to select and haul back the necessities we all must have to live. If you are fortunate enough to have a truck, a station wagon, even a hatch back car, you have a much larger range of options because you can also sleep in these vehicles and you can haul your basic necessities with you if you need. You may not need to, or want to, but you can. Or you can use the vehicle to help others, (a very positive thing, with all kinds

of good feedback and great results) create enough income to at least pay for the gas you must buy. Vehicles make it possible for you to leave the high rent and/or high crime areas where you may need to spend some time each day or week. This, of course, presumes you have a place to which you will be hauling stuff back to. So let’s talk briefly about some “home base” suggestions. Of course if you can manage a small apartment, you’re on your way back up the ladder, and that is a goal you should work on. For now let’s think about where to stay, how to stay alive and well and out of danger. Cold is your most difficult to handle reality. (it can sneak up on you when you least expect it - as in the desert.) If you’re in Florida or southern California you may feel heat is a problem. Certainly mosquitoes and other minute pests can make life miserable for you. However, none of these will freeze off your toes, ears or fingers. Cold, the kind one can experience when living on the streets, kills. At the very least it causes lack of sleep, colds, pneumonia, respiratory illnesses and general poor health. The key here is layering - or wearing everything you own. What options do exist for us at the moment of total poverty? Basically you can keep moving on, looking for a great, or even a fair place to settle down and fix your money problems, or you can stay in one place and try to get the problems in your life fixed there. Different places will have different opportunities at different times. When you are back on your feet again, you could relocate if you wanted to, of course, but at least you would be moving from one home to another.

Keep in touch It will cost you about $70 a year to rent a box from a company like Mail Box, Etc. A Post office box would be cheaper, of course, but you may need the “frills” the Mail Box people provide, such as answering the phone. Just because you don’t have a home or phone doesn’t mean you should lose touch with friends. And there are several Inter net providers to provide free email which is very effective in helping you stay in touch. A homeless person found a good way to stay in touch with his friends was to get a pager, or even a cell phone. See Radio Shack about their prepaid Track phones. This might be another good way to stop people thinking of you as a homeless person. It’s not impossible to get an 800 number for yourself - it’s a bit of over kill, true, but not impossible. I’m mentioning it only as an item to stir your thinking. If the lack of paid bills has shut down your long distance phone calls pick up some phone cards. A 10$ card is a better buy than two $5 cards. Even better are the ‘rechargeable’ (refill with money) phone cards. Warning: consider where you are going to be plugging in that cell phone to recharge it. Will it be stolen? This is a real problem in some places. In some cases this recharging of the cell phone batteries might be best done at the library. Know the local services Know the phone number of the Red Cross, at least. They are there to help you, but they aren’t going to be magically informed of your problem, nor are you going to be magically guided to the right department in the government. When dealing with the

Government sometimes you will wish there was some magic around. You will have to know what to ask for when you call them. There is no ESP floating around to connect you with the right aid program, you need to do that yourself. Talk to people, I have found out about several aid programs by just talking to people about them. For example, after DSS helped me pay for an apartment, I later found out another program with the phone company would have helped me get a low cost phone installed. Know what it will take to get yourself restarted. That is, if you suddenly lose your apartment you’ll need a cash deposit on a new place to stay. How much would that be? And don’t count on getting back the deposit on the old apartment. It would be nice if that happens, but don’t count on it. Counting on one single item to keep you from being homeless gives you no safety margin at all.

Keeping in touch Don’t let yourself loose contact with the important support services (bank, mail, etch) job hunting services, or your friends. Radio Shack® has a prepaid cell phone that’s almost a perfect deal for homeless person, the Track phone. I hope they will continue to offer it for a long time. “Everybody” has a bank account, and therefore you are expected to be able to cash a check if one arrives. This can be a real problem if you don’t in fact have a bank account, and get a check of some kind. But it will be even more of a problem for the person trying to mail you a check if you don’t have an address. Even if it only has a dollar or so in it, a bank account can be handy. It gives a reachable location to anyone that wants to send you money, it gives you a way to cash checks, and a way to hang onto money when carrying it on your person is dangerous. By the way, you can send money to a person who has a bank account by sending the money directly to the person’s account - you don’t have to worry or wonder if the person got the check or money order, and was able to get it deposited, so forth and so on. If the bank has a branch near you (many do, in this era of mergers) you can make the deposit locally to that branch office and the money will be transferred to the target bank, even if the bank in question is many states away. Get an automatic teller card at a bank with a lot of branches if you don’t already have one. An ATM card is not a credit card, so if your credit is bad you can still get one. Even if there’s only a few dollars in the account, the fact you have a valid bank card may be enough to help the cops stop thinking of you as a vagrant, should you be picked up. The card can also provide a warm place inside if you have to wait for a bus. Of course, even if there are only a few dollars in the account the card would let you in to the “indoor” ATM machines, possibly providing a warm place for the night. By the way, it seems at least some - perhaps all - of the door locks on the places that have cash machines will open for any credit card or similar item with a magnetic strip shoved into the lock. It’s warm and dry inside, even if you can’t get cash. As you may have guessed, if you spend the night there I suggest you be gone before daylight arrives. If you do stay inside with the ATM, under no conditions bother the people using the machine! That means don’t watch them while they use the machine, and don’t, don’t, ask for a handout while you are there. Remember, there is a live tv camera in every

ATM. Probably the best thing to do when someone enters the at area is to be as distant as possible and to be “asleep”, that is, lie down and keep your back to them, and snore a bit if they are close enough to see you - after all, a “sleeping” person is not going to attack someone. Get a mail box, and change your address so at least your bank account statements and other important mail goes to a place you can touch base with. I do not suggest you try to “piggyback” onto someone else’s box because the post office will often not forward your mail if you move - why should they, when the person who first rented the box is still there? Keeping in shape With all the walking you will be doing, keeping in shape should not be a problem. Ask about free clinics Patient’s Advocate If you’re not working, right away apply for Medicaid. You might need to be admitted to a hospital and that is not the best time to be doing paperwork, Get a bottle of multi vitamins. Your meals may not be as balanced as before but vitamins are cheap so there’s no reason to miss them. This may stop your health from going down hill because of a poor diet. When hit by a credit crunch If you’re still working: Don’t deny reality - show your banker and creditors you know what the problems are, and do it quickly. Quickly design a cash flow plan that lays out how you will generate the cash to cover your debt. Plan to give the bank something it doesn’t already have - assuming you’ve already provided personal guarantees to repay, try agreeing to pay a higher interest or to shorten the loan maturity with a balloon payment. What you need to buy is time, because if you run out of time you will have to start all over again, probably from a lower level. Emotions and the debt collector Anytime you make a decision based on emotion you increase the chance for that decision to be a major mistake. Debt collectors know this and prey on your emotions. They are extremely talented at pushing the right fear buttons in order to get you to forward money allocated for food and wire it to them, or send them postdated checks from now until the turn of the century. They will suggest moves that are not legal. And they will do not legal moves to get money from you. THIS IS IMPORTANT - You owe the debt to the original creditor(s), true, and you should repay that debt (and whatever late charges have been added), but you should

only repay the original creditor - never pay the debt collector - after all, just how much is the debt collector going to take for himself? He will not work for free, that’s for sure. Certainly they are going to take something. No matter what the debt collector tells you, you have the right under federal law to NOT deal with a third-party collector, that is, you must repay the original creditors (and you should - in full) but NOT the debt collector. You have the right to notify the debt collector that you are going to deal only with the original creditor(s). If he keeps calling you can demand they only contact you by mail. Most of them will not push it. It may be that there is just too much in the local area and for one reason or another you are going to be better off moving to another area. Take your time in making such a move, the grass may look greener over there only from where you are now. Up close the green may fade to a darker brown than where you are now. If you can, jump before you’re pushed If you can see the storm clouds coming then get ready. You should be watching the charges that appear on your bills, particularly your credit cards. Close out your cable TV account right away - that is one less bill over your head. Yes, TV is nice but it eats up your time, and saps your energy. Is the black cloud still getting closer? Close out your long distance phone first you can still keep the line for local calls in some cases and use a phone card to make long distance calls from home or a local phone. A phone card is a good thing to have. Some cards cut you off with 5 minutes still to go on the card. This happens less with the higher price cards, and there are “rechargeable” phone cards, which are best. In really bad situations cut the basic phone service before the bill goes sky high and make sure you have the old number as part of the restart records you’re keeping you’ll need a “clean” phone number as a reference to help restart things when you get back on your feet. Include the most recent phone bills in your important papers stack. Power, gas, and water bills work much the same way as phone bills - try to keep the last two months of each for your records. Also, some of the shelters and food pantries may want to see proof of the last place you were staying.

Well, you’ll probably want to shoot me for bringing in a homily at this time, but believe me, this one fits. “To a man who has no port, no wind is favorable.” Or to rephrase it a bit, to a man who has no plans, no random change in the local situation can help. So your next move is to get a plan of action together. (Assuming you have not done so already.) It would have been better if you had prepared for this, sure, but if you haven’t, well, don’t waste time regretting what you could have done - get on with your life.

You want to make both long term plans and short term plans, and while you’re getting your life back together you want to be taking note of how to prevent this from happening again. If it looks like it might happen again, then you want to plan on how to make going homeless harder, and living homeless easier. But we need to deal with the here and now. There are places to go that can provide help, all you have to do is find them, then pick one. True, you may be low on money - you may even be totally out of money - again, don’t let panic push you around. And don’t start to think that just because you’re homeless that the only thing open to you is some kind of lawless action. Never go up against the cops - don’t run, do nothing to impede their work. It just doesn’t pay, not ever. Don’t ever feel your morals have left you because you have no money. Let me reword that - just because you have no money does not mean the police are going to overlook you committing a crime. So don’t. Certainly there are things to do. Do you still have a job? Yes? Then you want to do everything possible to show up for work on time, or if it looks like you’ll be late, to at least call in and let them know you won’t be in on time. At least for the work day you have a place to stay, and with a job you have a way to get another place to sleep at night, a way to get clothes and food. Another useful side effect to a job, any job, is that it provides a useful way to spend the day. Of course, the money helps as well. But let’s say it’s even worst than that - this is your own personal doomsday, and it’s all sitting on you. You have no job, no money, no car, no phone, no place to stay. You will cope with this. It will not be easy, but it can be done. And there are places you can go for help. Cell phones are one way to stay in touch with the world. Phone cards are another. Being smart enough to have a list of all the addresses and phone numbers. Even smarter is to have a backup copy of that list.

Ask about free clinics Patient’s Advocate if you’re not working and have to be admitted, right away apply for Medicaid. The Committee on Aging can be approached for “free” drugs for people on limited income.

Chances are you’ll miss seeing your favorite TV show. Don’t worry, TV will still be around when you get back into the world. You’ll catch it all in the reruns. Lack of a TV set will not kill you. But it will cause a bit of distress, it will show up in your thoughts as a point of difference between you and the world. Of course, you may just find you don’t need it at all. You really don’t, for other than a handful of shows it is nothing but a time waster. The time spend on watching TV is forever wasted, other than something like Nova or a PBS special. Time on your hands can be better filled by reading books from the local library, or getting on the Inter net while you are at the local library. As a matter of fact, the local library can do a lot of things for you. For example, there are companies that

will give you free e-mail - all you have to do is log on to the Net to use it. The local library can help provide that terminal for your free email, or free job searches. You’re going to get bored, particularly if TV filled a large part of your life. If you’re truly out of work there will be lots of time on your hands, and all too often no productive way to use that time. Oh, sure there may be any number of non -productive ways, but it’s up to you to avoid them. Even the laziest person liked not have to do something because they could just sit. If you’re homeless when you find a place to sit down outside it’s probably going to be wet. The local library can help here, too. You will have lots of spare time, just no productive way to use that time - at least not right away. Hint: A good place to put your energies is to help other people. Some suggestions are: Frozen foods - if you have space in the freezer, of course. Canned foods Dried or canned milk * Dried or canned meat † Dried tomatoes † Hard cheese † Pasta * Honey * Sugar * Dried rice † Vinegar † Salt * Cooking oil *

“Hang fire” hirings Some people can play a real set of games on your head. For example, a local company setting up in town, who said they would hire me “within a week” just as soon as they ‘get permission from the home office’ to hire me. After three weeks of calling back only at the times they suggested, and being put off, I called and stated the local Department of Social Services (this really happened) asked if I could get a statement on company letterhead about being hired by them. Now all of a sudden management changed their tune and said “We never promised to hire you.” As it turned out, they were looking for a backup person in case the person they wanted to hire backed out. When facing with a “We’ll hire you next week” promise, asking for a written statement like this really cuts the BS.

Note pad or notebook and pen or pencil

There is the old saying the strongest memory is weaker than the palest ink. Write important information down. This can benefit you in several ways. #1 is of course, you have the info you need, when you need it. A kind of side benefit of writing materials - It’s a low cost, portable, doable activity. Also, you can possibly pick up some money writing jokes and stories for Reader’s Digest or some such thing. Or say that you do. If nothing else you can say “I’m a writer.” and people will believe you - writers are known for doing strange things. Writing is a cheap and portable way of passing time, and unless you’re rather lucky you’re going to have a lot of free time. You run into some interesting things at the library (such as a job listings or places to rent) and the notebook will help hold important points. Your notes can be backed up on the Internet.

Sewing kit A sewing kit is a low cost way to help replace buttons and do needed repairs on cloth items. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Or, to put it another way, a sock you can darn yourself means you can save the money you would have had to put into buying a new pair. Don’t think that being able to do your own sewing repairs is not manly. Besides, who is going to know why your clothes last so well? Change of clothes Particularly a change of underwear and a plastic bag to keep the used stuff in. You do want to keep the new and the used separate. Clothes can be washed at any Laundromat, of course. There are places like gyms and health clubs that you can take a shower, then you change into your fresh clothes. Some truck stops have “for rent” showers, and so do some camping grounds in the summer. Or try the Y or the gym at the local college. An alarm clock? Oh yes, an alarm clock is very useful - also a wrist watch with alarm function, if it really is loud enough to wake you. For staying at a place in a car overnight an alarm clock is very useful. If you park in a non-secure place overnight you can be sure the cops noticed you there at the start of the night. To avoid a trip downtown be up and gone long before the sun rises. If that leaves you short of sleep then go somewhere else and catch some more sleep. Just don’t do it all in one place. Bottled water - a must for any situation. Remember, the containers will freeze solid in winter, and water will condense and drip off it year round, so don’t store the water with other items. Spam

Sardines Vienna sausage Corn beef corn beef hash - all of these meats will start to spoil soon after opening, so just eat the contents up in a day. Dried foods like candied pineapple - will not melt in the glove compartment of a car. Dried apples All kinds of nuts Trail mix Peanut brittle candy bars - one of the few candy bars that doesn’t melt! Cup of Noodles - good, keeps forever, but remember, it needs hot water for some minor cooking. Hard boiled eggs - They require a little bit of preparation, but they will keep for weeks if pickled. The pickling is nothing more than storing them in vinegar and perhaps some herbs like dill for a touch of flavor. Of course, the problem of cleaning up after a meal on the road are often overlooked. That’s one of the reasons I like the instant oatmeal or Cup of Noodles items - they are cheap, light, varied in taste, all you have to do is boil water, mix up your lunch, and afterwards there’s no need to wash dishes. If you’re careful you can use the boiling water to first make some hard-boiled eggs, then if the eggs didn’t break, you can have hot coffee or tea water. Boiling water makes a lot of things happen. There are many kinds of dried soups and noodle packages that keep well, and are activated with boiling water.

About bankruptcy Whatever you do, don’t make things worst for yourself. Don’t declare bankruptcy, the ads on TV may make it look like a magic wand fixing all your problems but it’s not not by a long shot. It’s not going to be cheap, nor is it something done in a few minutes and then it’s over with. Being broke sucks, but bankruptcy, well, stubbing your toe may hurt but bankruptcy can be like cutting off your leg to stop the pain of a stubbed toe. People declare bankruptcy because they see no other way to get out from under the mountain of bills they face. This isn’t true! There is a way out, and you can do it without skipping town or adding the burden of a lawyer’s bill to your other problems. Handling bills and debts Do not under any conditions say to your debtors you’re not going to pay your bills. Refusing to pay your bills is a major bad news move! - the absolute worst thing you can do. The best time to do this is BEFORE the grace period runs out. You should know what you have, and what you owe.

When speaking to your debtors use phases like “I want to pay you everything I own you but my bills are far more than my income right now.” Be honest. Make some kind of payment to everyone - everyone! you owe money to every month. The bank really doesn’t want the hassle of dunning you for the money you own them. They have a right to get paid, but if they turn your account over to a collection agency they will get less. So you want to give the people a reason to keep waiting for their money, and regular replies to their letters is a good start. Of course, payments, yes, even small payments, are also effective. The fact you’re reducing your debit by yourself feels good, and looks good on the record. There’s another good side effect to this - what paying bills does to your self esteem. When you handle your bills you’re not running away from your problems you’re facing them and you’re coping. Let me repeat that for the record - you’re facing them and you’re coping. If you can pay even a part of your bills each month you’re winning. When things improve and you’re in a position to get a new job and place to stay you’re not going to have to worry about all your old bills suddenly jumping on you - they will be there but because you have paying off part of them they will be much smaller. And a record of coping with your bills when you didn't have a job is going to help you get started again. Once you have money coming in bill paying will be much easier. The fact you paid your bills even while jobless is going to look good on your credit record, while trying to duck even one bill will put a permanent black mark on your record, even if you get a place and a job the next day.

Car and engine care Make sure your car has oil in it. Have extra oil on hand because nothing but nothing kills an engine faster than a low oil level. If your car is not bleeding oil you might think about stretching the life of your engine by using the higher cost synthetic oil. While you're at it, check your battery water level. Low battery water is a fast killer of batteries, and not being able to start your car can really slow you down. And if it’s getting cold check your anti-freeze before ice splits your engine block. Is there the correct amount of coolant in the radiator? Low coolant can make a car engine overheat when there is no real problem other than the lack of coolant. By the way, flushing the coolant system is a job anyone can do. Get rid of the lead foot when you drive. Your car may only have lower speed miles in it. And knock off any tailgating! Instead of sitting on someone’s tail, be way back (5 car lengths) where it’s much safer. Yes, sitting that far back will let someone cut in front of you - so what? Let them cut in - just give the new car the same amount of room as you gave the old one. If something fails in your car, a crash at low speed, away from other cars, is better than a high speed crash right on someone’s tail.

Not only does fast driving eat up more gas and leave you open to getting a speeding ticket, it cuts down on the chances to scan the area for useful items like job situations, or may make you miss a turn and you’ll end up miles out of your way on a low gas tank. Hey, what’s your rush? Time is the one thing on your side in a no job, low money situation, so let it work for you. Use your seat belt. Drive slowly. Pull over to let the car on your tail pass you by. Let him find the radar trap up ahead, not you. A fast pace can get you a visit from Smoky, something you do not need. If you must forget my warnings and you need to push the speed limit, be the third fastest moving car on the road. That way the cop will pull over the fastest car, or miss him and get the second fastest car, but not get you.

Getting around Get some way to transport your belongings. A back pack, a large suitcase, a shopping cart, a wheel barrow if necessary - you don’t want to be in a position to have to abandon any of your remaining property just because you couldn’t move it, or store it somewhere. Be sure to have a recite for a supermarket type shopping cart, or prepare to be hassled by the cops. Warning: cars and motor bikes need expensive gas and insurance, and are targets for ripoffs. Driving without license or insurance is a real dumb move. A ten speed bike with a generator light system and carriers would be nice, but isn’t a requirement. Hey, even a just plain bicycle will help get you around. You can put a surprising amount of material on a bike with even halfway decent carriers, and there are even bike trailers (homemade or otherwise) if you need to carry more. True, you have to power a bike yourself, but it’s not going to need expensive fuel or insurance, and not as likely to be stolen as a car. Use lots of reflector tape on the bike, you don’t want to be hit. Also, a bike is a bit easier to get off the beaten path should you want to camp somewhere. A motorcycle? Well, that guy does like expensive gas and insurance, and might tend to mark you as a member of a “motorcycle gang”. Hold it guys, don’t jump on me for saying that.

Government rent payment There is a Government program that if you pay more than 25% of your monthly income for rent, the Government will cover some of the amount over that 25%. So basically if you make $1000 per month, and got an apartment that was $350 a month, they would pay $100 of that. Now, there are reasonable limits to this, you can't get a place that's 4000% of your monthly income and try to get the government to pay it all. But most places should be fine. The address to write to is: Administrator, Farmers Home Administration, Department of Agriculture, Washington DC 20250, 1 (202) 447 - 7967

Requirements are as follows, (1) you earn less than $25,000 per year and reside outside a city, and if (2) you live in a rural area and forfeit more than 25% of your income toward rent. Write them and ask them about a rent assistance program. You don't have to be a farmer to collect. And if you are eligible (even if you don't need the money) do it, it's your tax dollars that pay for this service.

Working while homeless If you have or can get a valid driver’s license then you can shuttle cars to another state. Check the Yellow Pages under “Auto Transport” and call whoever is listed there. Please understand you will be expected to stick to a tight driving schedule. No sightseeing, just driving. Or perhaps drive a chase car for truckers. To do that you need a reliable car and a CB radio. You might try listing your services at local truck stops. Jobs for the homeless are not going to be easy to find, so create them. Get creative. Fine tune your resume and update the look. The settlement How would you like to get 100$ for, say, 75$? In effect that’s what is happening when one of the people you owe money to contacts you and offers to make a settlement. Better yet, the settlement does not leave a black mark on your credit record. If you owe $100 and the creditor offers to accept a payment of $75 on that debt, the records will show you paid off the debt in full. For the settlement to work you must really pay the person by a given date which means you must know - really know - what’s in your checking account. A balanced checking account is a sign you are making your way back, by the way. Usually the settlement offer is made by the creditor, but you can ask for a settlement offer, and the creditor may or may not agree. Warning: If your anti-scam radar is on it should have gone BLEEP! when the ‘;limited time window’ matter in the settlement comes up. Why? Are you sure you're sending the money to the right place? Claiming you must act now is one way a scam artist gets you to send money without thinking. You should know the people you owe money to are, and the amount for each one. On the road to recovery Sooner or later you’ll get another job, and that fresh new paycheck will promise so much. But there is no way one paycheck will fill all the holes. Sorry, but you will have to continue the budget for a number of paychecks, until everything is paid off. Then you should continue the budget until you have some spare cash tucked away - remember how you got here in the first place?

So when that paycheck arrives resist the temptation to splurge, instead put it in the bank, and write the “repay the bills checks” carefully. Spread what you can - even 5$ sent to each of your creditors is a sign you are on your way back. And it will make you feel good again. Recovery And it is easier - the government's programs have made the public dole so attractive you have to be a person of exceptional character to not succumb to this easy path. And most people aren't - they never were, but before they didn't have the option. The problem is compounded by the other possibilities slowly becoming not available.

Some facts about food stamps 1. You can own your own home and get Food Stamps. 2. You can own a car and get Food Stamps. 3. No lien is placed on your home or car by the Food Stamp office. 4. Working people can get Food Stamps. 5. Households are allowed to have up to $2,000 in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. and get Food Stamps. ($3,000 if a household member is 60 or older.) 6. You don’t need a permanent address or cooking facilities to get Food Stamps. 7. You don’t have to pay for Food Stamps. 8. There are no age limits and you don’t have to be disabled to get Food Stamps. 9. It isn’t necessary to be receiving government assistance in order to get Food Stamps. 10. The maximum Food Stamp benefit level for a 3 person house is $341 a month ($4,092 a year.) There are several items you can’t buy with food stamps. The biggest problem is not being able to get cleaning products, like soap. Hunger Action Network of NYS 94 Central Ave., Suite #2 Albany, N.Y 12206 . (518) 434 - 7371 Food Stamps info Coping with cats

Cats. AKA Mister Underfoot. AKA ‘I’m on the wrong side of the door - AGAIN!’ I swear, there must be a ‘here’s a soft touch’ mark on the house. Or on me – but I’m a dog person. Go figure. Let them eat chicken bones. Milk is popular, but at full strength gives them the runs. Some will eat raw eggs – but an omelet is better than raw. Some cats may like mac and cheese. They may like bacon grease over dry cat food. (Hey, budget, remember?) Of course, you also need cat litter and anti flea stuff. A good mousing cat is worth it’s weight in gold, but not all cats are good mousing cats. Hint: mousing mothers bring the kittens mice – at first dead, then later, still alive. That’s how the mother passes on mousing skills.

Getting free toilet paper One problem that faces almost everyone on short dollars is getting toilet paper reusing is not an option. There is a possible solution in the way that some institutions supply bathroom tissue to the people using their building. If the institution is still using ordinary size rolls of bathroom tissue then you just may have a source of partly used rolls of bathroom tissue there. The problem with these rolls often get 3/4 used up and the janitors replace the part rolls with full ones, and save the reduced rolls. There should be no problem in asking for these reduced rolls. Alcohol and the homeless There is one reason why you may have been homeless - alcohol. No matter what else may have happened to you, if you don’t solve that problem first, all your other problems are sure to return. And they will keep returning, no matter what the situation, or how good or bad your luck is. Soon you’ll be back out in the real world again. It’s the same old world with the same old problems. You will be much the same person you were before. If that person is an alcoholic then you are going to hit the same old problems you had before. Look for A.A., or Alcoholics Anonymous. If you can’t find it in the local telephone directory write to: A. A. General Service Office Box 459 Grand Central Station New York, N.Y 10163 . Addresses of interest to the homeless, or those helping them American Affordable Housing Institute P.O. Box 118 New Brunswick, NJ 08903 California Coalition for the Homeless 1010 S. Flower Street

Los Angles, CA (213) 746 - 7677 Church & Temple Housing 502 1/2 S. Main Street Los Angles, C.A. 90013 (213) 627 - 3832 Coalition for the Homeless 500 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018 (212) 695 - 8700 Common Cents New York, Inc. 500 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018 (212) 736 - 6437 Community for Creative Non-Violence 425 Second Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 393 - 4409 Community Workshop on Economic Development 100 S. Morgan Street Chicago, IL 60607 Dayspring Center 1537 N. Central Indianapolis, IN 46202 (317) 635 - 6785 Enterprise Foundation 505 American City Building Columbia, MD 21044 (301) 964 - 1230 The Ford Foundation 320 East 43 Street New York, NY 10017 Friends Committee on National Legislation 245 Second Street., NE Washington, D.C.. 20002-5795 Goddard-Riverside Community Center 593 Columbus Avenue New York, NY 10024 (212) 873 - 6600 Habitat for Humanity

121 Habitat Street Americans, GA 31709-3498 (912) 924 - 6935 Homeless Information Exchange 1830 Connecticut Avenue Washington, DC 20009 (202) 462 - 7551 House Pins, Inc. 80 Second Street South Portland, ME 04106 (207) 799 - 6116 IMPACT 110 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 544 - 8636 Interfaith Coalition for Housing United Methodist Church 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 488 - 5653 Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County 724 Park Avenue Plainfield, NJ 07060 (908) 753 - 4001 The Interfaith Nutrition Network 148 Front Street Hempstead, NY 11550 (516) 486 - 8506 Legal Action Center for the Homeless 220 E. 44th Street New York, NY 10009 (212) 529 - 4240 Local Initiatives Support Corporation 733 Third Avenue, Eighth Floor New York, NY 10017 (212) 529 - 4240 MAZON, A Jewish Response to Hunger 2940 Westwood Blvd., Suite 7 Los Angles, CA 90064 McAuley Institute 1320 Fenwick Lane

Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 588 - 8110 Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council On Jewish Poverty 9 Murray Street New York, NY 10007-2296 (212) 267 - 9500 The National Alliance to End Homeless 1518 K Street, NW, Suite 206 Washington, D.C. 20005 (202) 638 – 1526 The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence P.O. Box 34103 Washington, D.C. 20043-4103 (202) 638 - 6388 National Coalition for the Homeless 1621 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20009 (202) 460 - 8112 National Congress for Economic Community Development 1612 K Street, NW, Suite 510 Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 659 - 8411 National Interfaith Hospitality Networks 121 Morris Avenue Summit, NJ 07901 (908) 273 - 1100 National Low Income Housing Coalition and Low Income Housing Information Service 1012 14 St., NW, #1500 Washington, D.C. 20005 (202) 662 - 1530 Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby 806 Rhode Island Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. 20018 (202) 526 - 4070 The Partnership for the Homeless 305 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10001 (212) 645 - 3444 Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism 2027 Massachusetts Avenue Washington, D.C. 20036

(202) 387 - 2800 Rotacare c/o Dr. Mark Campbell 69 E. Hamilton Avenue Campbell, CA 95008 (408) 866 - 8200 Salvation Army 799 Bloomfield Avenue Verona, NJ 07044 (201) 239 - 0606 Second Harvest 116 South Michigan, Suite 4 Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 263 - 2303 Also try www.secondharvest.org for other areas. Travelers Aid International 1001 Connecticut Avenue Washington, D.C. 20003 (202) 659 - 9468 United States Catholic Conference 1312 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20005-4105 (202) 541 - 3185 United States Conference of Mayors 1620 Eye Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) 293 - 7330 Hunger Action Network of NYS 94 Central Ave., Suite #2 Albany, N.Y 12206 . (518) 434 - 7371 Food Stamps info Support Habitat for Humanity, a "hand up", not a "hand out" program. For more information contact: Pat Horne, Network Manager, Shop Supervisor, Hardware Guru CS Dept, University of Texas Austin, Tx. 78712 USA voice (512) 471 - 9517, fax (512) 471 - 8885 UUCP:cs.utexas.edu!horne

Can’t find ‘real’ cast iron pots? Try: G. Gedney Godwin, Box 100, Valley Forge, Pa. 19481 Dutch ovens, roasting grills, kettles, spits, trammels, pans. Catalog costs $3.85 The “non electric” catalog Lehman Hardware and Appliances, P.O. Box 41, 4779 Kidron Road, Kidron, Ohio 44636, 1 (216) 857 - 5441 Now here’s a catalog you don’t see every day! Non electric things of all descriptions, from wooden bowls and drawknives to a gas engine powered washing machine. Wood burning stoves and cast iron pots, butter churns and broad axes, lamps and refrigerators, all without any need for a wall socket. Chicago Cutlery Housewares, 1536 Beech Street, Terre Haute, In. 47804, 1 (800) 545 4411 Cast iron cookware, mostly intended for the modern kitchen, but they do have a Dutch Oven. Spice Addresses Cooking is better and easier if you have good spices. Old Southwest Trading Company, DS Division, Box 7545, Albuquerque, NM 87194 Write for a free catalog. GNS Spices Inc., P.O. Box 90, Walnut, CA 91788-0090, (714) 594-9505 Write or call for more info; habaneros available fresh or dried Los Chileros de nuevo mexico, P.O. Box 6215, Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 471-6967 The Spice House, Ltd., P.O. Box 1633, Milwaukee, WI 53201 (414) 768-8799 The Herb Society of America, 9019 Kirtland Chardon Road, Mentor, Ohio 44060 (216) 256 - 0514 Not dry information about herbs, but all the things that can be done with them. Herbs as dyes, herbs in vinegar, herbs as cosmetics, herbs in cooking, herbs in medicine, plants used for weaving baskets, sources for seeds, the problems of growing herbs (and plants in general) - good reading even if you’re not planning an herb garden. And a number of interesting things being sold in the back of the newsletter, such as real straw bee hives (!), rose beads, cook books and more. The Herb Companion, Interweave Press, 201 East Fourth Street, Loveland, Colorado 80537, (303) 669-7672 21.00/year, 38.00/2 year Well-Sweep Herb Farm, 317 Mount Bethel Rd., Port Murray, NJ 07865 Catalog $1.00 You'll be impressed by the fair prices and good selection of herb plants, scented geraniums, and supplies.

Sandy Mush Herb Nursey, Rt. 2 ME, Surrett Cove Rd., Leicester, NC 28748 Catalog $3.95 The number of varieties is overwhelming. This is the only place in the country that handles some herbs, and their quality and service is exceptional!

Start a food buying club $100 to start and $500 total or better of orders to run per month, contact Northeast Cooperatives 1 (800) 321 - 2668 or at www.northeastcoop.com. Syngenta Rural Foodshare 1 (800) 771 - 2303 Food sharing for rural people see also www.secondharvest.org for food pantry info

Voluntary Simplicity The Voluntary Simplicity movement advocates being more conscious of your values and spending. These are not really religious groups, and should not clash with a current lifestyle, although this simpler way of living could become a lifestyle. Seeds of Simplicity Works to mainstream simplicity as an authentic social and environmental issue. www.seedsofsimplicity.org The Simple Living Network Provides resources and free community services to help you live a more simple lifestyle. www.simpleliving net The Center for a New American Dream Helps Americans change to improve the quality of life. www.newdream.org The New Road Map Foundation Provides tools and approaches to improve the quality of life. www.newroadmap.org Periodicals

Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures Supports simple living. www.futurenet.org Simple Living Journal Supports simple living. www.simpleliving.com The Utne Reader: The best articles from over 2,000 alternative media sources. www.utne.com Many of the supporting books are at www.simpleliving.net

Syngenta Rural Foodshare 1 (800) 771 - 2303 Food sharing for rural people American Association of Retired Persons ......... 1 (800) 424 - 3410 HEAP ..(Home Energy Assis. Prog.) ...........................1 (800) 342 - 3009 Social Security Administration ...... 1 (800) 772 - 1213 Alcohol/Substance Abuse Drug Abuse Information Line ............................. 1 (800) 522 - 5353 Drug Help 1 800 262-2463 (800 COCAINE) 1 800 943-7646 (800 9-HEROIN) 1 800 735-2773 (800 RELAPSE) 1 800 274-7479 (800 CRISIS-9)

Attorney General, New York State .............. 1 (800) 771 - 7755 Consumer Information and Protection Attorney General, New York State ................. 1 (800) 771 - 7755 Consumer Credit Counseling Service ........... 1 (800) 479 - 6026 Insurance Department, N.Y ............................ 1 (800) 342 - 3736 .S. Mobile Homes Hotline .......................................... 1 (800) 432 - 4210 Public Service Commission .............................. 1 (800) 341 - 3330

Counseling and Mental Health FarmNet ............................................... 1 (800) 547 - FARM (3276) Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities 1 (800) 522 - 4369

You may qualify . . . at age 50 for: Membership in AARP 1 (800) 424 - 3410 NYSEG Senior Identification Program 1 (800) 572 - 1111 Widows Benefit from Social Security 1 (800) 772 - 1213 at age 62 for: Early Retirement Social Security Payments Greyhound Bus Lines Senior Discount Minimum age for most Senior Housing ** at age 65 for: EPIC Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Medicate coverage *

1 (800) 772 - 1213 1 (800) 229 - 9424

1 (800) 332 - 3742 1 (800) 633 - 4227

Consumer Credit Counseling Service www.credit.org (800) 777 - PLAN Evaluates loans and offers counseling on foreclosure, default and debt management. Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov (800) 480 - 2520 Offers publications about federal disaster relief programs. National Association of Consumer Advocates www.naca.net Tips on finding a consumer attorney and attorney by area of expertise. National Fraud Information Center (800) 876 - 7060 Information and publications on fraud. Consumer Action 717 Market St., Suite 310 San Francisco, Ca. 94103

Rumor has it that the Super 8 motel chain has a very interesting admissions policy, it seems the firm might be inclined to provide low cost stays to people in need. In a town with several places to stay it seems one place is ‘set’ to be the place for low costs.

Atlantic Spice Co. P.O. Box 2105 North Truro, Ma 02652 (508) 487 - 61001 800 316 – 7965 Fax: (508) 487 - 2550 www.atlanticspice.com Herbs, bulk teas, extracts, oils, some nuts, potpourri Butcher & Packer Supply Company P.O. Box 07468 1468 Gratiot Ave. Detroit, Mi. 48207 1 (800) 521 – 3188 www.butcher-packer.com 1 (313) 567 - 8938 Fax (313) 567 - 8938 Meat processing / sausage making supplies Government food pantries are called Commoties in Tennessee Old school buildings, or old buildings in general, are likely to have an asbestos problem. This was the material of choice for insulating heating systems for that period. Not much else was available for heating systems. When I asked about a refurbished tool from Delta I was given a number by the Delta people and interestingly enough, it turned out to be Harbor Freight. Being reworked (108 (132 (140 (146 (150 (153 pages, 48,800 words 1/25/05) pages, 53,100 words 1/27/05) pages, 56,500 words 1/30/05) pages, 57,900 words 2/01/05) pages, 60,100 words 2/05/05) pages, 61,000 words 2/08/05) * * (deleted shop info, made other files from that) (148 pages, 58,300 words 2/10/05) (146 pages, 46,200 words 2/13/05) (161 pages, 61,600 words 2/14/05)

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2/18/05) 2/23/05) (cleaned up some chapters) 2/24/05) 3/02/05) 3/05/05) 3/10/05) 3/21/05) 3/10/05) 3/10/05) 3/10/05) 3/10/05)

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David Smith david_s_14850@yahoo.com

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