Frugality, Foraging and Farming

container gardenI've been on my own now for four years, a single parent turned "empty nester", and living on a disability pension. Here are my tips.


When I shop for meats, I buy large roasts on sale: pork, whole chickens, sausages, ground meats, etc. These are cut to meal sized portions and plunked into freezer baggies with spices; Thai, Mexican, Italian, you name it! I label the baggies and toss them in the freezer.

I've done the same buying cartons of egg-whites when they are marked down. Mix-up spices, chives, etc, pour into butter sprayed muffin containers, bake, cool and put into baggies. Of course, the freezer is next!

My farming is in containers and small garden patches. I have celery and cabbage from rooted previous purchases (eaten first of course), carrots, cucumbers, eggplant and yellow zucchini. Yum! This year I got a bag of lovely large tomatoes from friends.

Foraging is something to take advantage of, and I do! Wild apples and pears from a couple of old trees in a field where I walk my dogs. The apples are tart and together they make a wicked sauce, into my freezer in small containers of course.

Life is all about challenges, but I make the best and have a good time with what I've got!


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August 27, 20155 found this helpful

A hint about dad has a farm (he's since retired since he's 91 now) that he leases to a farming group. They plant green beans for the local canning factory. When the beans are harvested people will come (most will ask permission to come on the farm) and pick up beans left in the field, or even better, where they unload into the tractor trailers and beans spill over on the ground. A friend of ours recently got 3 bushels of green beans without having to do a thing but bag them up. I'm sure you can find other fields being harvested of vegetables that this can be done also. Just be sure to check with the landowners first.

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August 31, 20152 found this helpful

Its always nice to ask before you take "wild" apples, nuts, berries, etc. I live in a rural area and my parents owned 100 acres here. People from town would come and take our walnuts and hickory nuts before my elderly and disabled father had the chance to pick them up. We also had "wild" grapes. Dad picket bucket after bucket of blackberries, too.


But now I've found out that my neighbor's children had been picking our berries as well. who knew? lol Taking without asking is akin to theft. I appreciate your circumstances because mine aren't that different, but its always best to ask first. I'm sending hugs.

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September 1, 20152 found this helpful

I appreciate the comments of theft vs foraging, however; I forage on land that is open, not family owned, not a farmstead etc. I guess wild apples and pears needed further clarification vs cultivated.
I'm sorry your families have impacted by theft.
Thank-you for pointing this out.

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September 14, 20152 found this helpful

The truth is to ask even call local forestry to see if you can pick or take. Last night someone picked( let's use the right word STOLE) all my son's tomatoes. He was upset since it was a small garden and he shares his bounty with elderly neighbors.


How they got to them with a wire fence surrounding them I'll never know, but hurt is hurt.

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September 14, 20150 found this helpful

Hi Realestatemama,

I'm very sorry to read that your sons hard work and generosity have been victimized in this way. It's a hard thing to work on something like this and have someone else sneak off with it in such a cowardly fashion.

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September 15, 20152 found this helpful

O.k. Folks...this post WAS NOT for the purpose of indicating: GUIDELINES to FORAGING. This is MY personal joy in utilizing what is available to ANYONE, ANYWHERE, should they take the time to look, learn about what can be eaten which is wild etc., get out and enjoy nature and so on.


You have certainly taken the joy out of my sharing a tiny bit of my life.

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July 7, 20161 found this helpful

Don't feel bad. I think the comments were for other people, not for you. I enjoyed your post, and I learned from it. Thank you.

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September 13, 20161 found this helpful

I loved your post! We have an apple tree just over a deep ditch where we pick, on an old road. We make pies, and call them "Deep Ditch Apple Pies", lol, and don't forget mushrooms. I am not a picker but I call folks who are. We have morels which sell for 40.00 per pound, and plenty of people know where to find them. I have a friend who has lots of apple trees.


I found a peeler at a yard sale. Needless to say, one afternoon soon, we will be freezing pie apples and making apple butter together. Friends in Maine go where potatoes are dug with a digger, the small ones and huge ones are discarded, which they are welcome to glean. Thanks for YOUR story and a reminder happy gathering.

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September 15, 20151 found this helpful

Dear Brenda,

I'm very sorry that I have offended you---I was not intending that in any way!! I don't have any problem with anyone who is legitimately foraging public land, as long as they don't take any forbidden or protected species. And I surely don't have any problem at all with anyone foraging on someones land with the owners permission!

I too have been victimized with someone "foraging" on our property, having lost fruit, vegetables, and even fish out of our perhaps for a lot of people the line between foraging and theft has been blurred in our country?

In any case, I admire you for getting out there and trying to supplement your grocery situation with legitimately foraged food---and I hope you understand that what I wrote to Realestatemama was not in any way an indictment of what you are doing for yourself...I'm sorry for the misunderstanding!

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September 16, 20151 found this helpful

Thank-you very much for your apology. I realize fences and posted signs mean nothing to many people. I personally cant tolerate such lack of respect for another's lands, home etc.
But my post was simply to encourage those who feel with little or no garden spaces, disability to do heavy gardening, but still love getting outside to dig a little or have a beneficial hike...there are viable options. Even if it's simply harvesting fresh from a clean space dandelion greens; better yet, getting those hated yellow flowers and making wine!

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May 15, 20160 found this helpful

you are right I will try your freezer muffin idea. thanks

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September 8, 20191 found this helpful

Thank you for writing about stretching our "senior" funds. I make sauce the way you do and mini bags to the freezer for 1 serving. I was so delighted to read others do things like me , nice to have company in the empty nester senior community.

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September 11, 20190 found this helpful

A note about dandelions. I have discovered what a delicious taste they have before they they bloom. After they bloom, they're as beautiful as any cultivated flower on my rural lawn. Who decided what's a weed and what's a prized flower? Goldenrod is another wild beauty.

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