The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Low-cost presents for homesteaders


CookoutIf you're looking for a very cheap-to-make present for the homesteader on your list, you could do much worse than to follow my mother's lead.  She found a pretty tin (probably about fifty cents at Goodwill), filled it with a box of matches (maybe $4), then taped the striking papers to the inside of the lid. 

Despite the low cost, this has been my favorite present in a long time.  I used my tin of matches to light all of our fires last winter, and this summer pulled it out for a barbecue.  I can't say for sure which is more sustainable --- matches or a lighter --- but matches produce no non-burnable waste, and keep my fingers further from the flames, which keeps me happy.  The metal container keeps the matches dry even if I accidentally leave them on the porch after a cookout, looks pretty, and also makes it safe to store the matches right by the kindling wood.

Thanks for the great present, Mom!  For everyone else --- what's your favorite, low-cost, homemade present that you've received recently?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Jam, jelly and pickles, scrap rugs, scrap blankets, scrap dog/cat balls, lama wool dryer balls, pin cushions all make excellent presents. I will have to add your wooden match tins into that list.
Comment by Mona Sat Jul 20 12:36:50 2013

Starting with a wooden sewing box my father and brother made for me for Christmas when I was 8, and a little wooden pointer dog that my brother whittled and then painted for me about 7 yrs later, to a cloth handkerchief box my Granma Tirrell made, and to numerous knitted socks and mittens she also made, I still mostly like the whimsical little creatures you made, Anna (like the little paper mache critter without a tail, and even some scraps of felt cut-outs, like a brown cat; and your robin made of scraps of leaves, glued onto a cardboard...And, remember the cornhusk dolls and the stuffed horses??!)--what a gift your whole childhood and girlhood were to us all! (Remember the puppet dolls? Remember the drawings made from mud, and from poke berries?)

Even tho not completely homemade, your planner was wonderful!

Another beloved and dependable gift from Grandma Tirrell was her chookie boxes made from Christmas cards sewn together, filled with nut cookies made from pignuts, cracked out by her:)

All your wonderful meals are gifts:)

Comment by adrianne Sat Jul 20 18:39:13 2013
I've been working on crocheting a blanket out of cotton worsted for a while. I don't like having knots in the middle of the squares, so when I get too far down on a ball of yarn to complete a square, I use the yarn for making mousies for our cats and those of friends. It's great fun to give the little mousies away and watch the kitties pounce and toss them.
Comment by WendP Sat Jul 20 19:14:55 2013
A girlfriend recently gave me a loaf of the YUMMIEST zucchini bread and a pill bottle full of the seeds from the zucchini plant from which the main ingredient was harvested. It was both immediate and future enjoyment!
Comment by Karen Sat Jul 20 19:46:03 2013
My family and friends love to get food - jelly, fruit, bread, butter, pickles, etc. - all homemade/homecanned of course. Last Christmas I made aprons from old/used men's shirts (thanks pintrest). I like practical things like canning jars and lids, seeds, and garden gloves.
Comment by Becky Sat Jul 20 21:48:47 2013
A friend upgraded her rain catchments and gave me her old rain barrel. It was something she had already recycled, so I am its third owner now. It makes me happy to use it. I think of the water saved, the friend gained.
Comment by Katharina Sat Jul 20 21:52:50 2013

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