I am a news junkie. I like to keep up with the latest. All this talk about the economy and the mortgage crisis has me baffled. While I understand and sympathize with all those affected, I also wonder how it will impact us here on the Vineyard. We were joking the other day that people finally will have to live like we do. I didn’t have a stock portfolio to lose, didn’t take out huge amounts of credit, and have been frugal in many areas of my life. Granted there is always room for improvement — another “notch in the belt” so to speak.

I have never owned a clothes dryer. The energy-saving of installing a couple of clotheslines would be immediately apparent. Also, hanging whites in sunshine eliminates the need for bleach. Talk about solar power. I know there are some subdivisions that forbid the hanging of wash outdoors. In this age of global warming awareness, this may be one of the most inane restrictions on the books. I would have to heartily protest if I lived in such a locale. I am amused by people who move to the country and then want the country to turn into the gated suburban tract they left — no laundry, no chickens, no smell, not even a pile of lobster pots in the neighborhood.

Naturally I must encourage home vegetable gardening every week this late winter-early spring. Beyond health and well-being, it’s the economy, silly. There is also the changing of eating habits. I always cook down the bones after a roast chicken or pork. The resulting stock can be turned into stew, soup or frozen. Several meals can result from one chicken. Leftovers can be combined for interesting, and occasionally delicious suppers.

I have a major pet peeve, the wasting of water. It has become such a problem for me that I can not let anyone else wash my dishes. I hate the sound of it running down the drain needlessly. We use 7000 gallons of fresh, potable water per person annually to flush a mere 165 gallons of body waste. Sometimes I’m entirely too altruistic.

Thanks to Andrea Hartman for the answer to last week’s peanut seed inquiry. I guess I missed page 18 of the Gurney catalog. I also located peanuts in Shumway. I promptly ordered several pounds of both Spanish red and jumbo Virginas.

Kudos to David Finkelstein. Isn’t the heather on his front sidewalk a welcome sight when all else is so drab? I have managed to kill heath and/or heather several times. The books say it thrives on benign neglect. I may have gone too heavy on the neglect.

I have started raking my lawn with a bamboo rake. After about 45 minutes, my arms no longer work. Good thing I am getting an early start. I should be done by May at this rate.

I would like to encourage readers to join Slow Food MV. We had a grand time last Wednesday evening at the Chilmark community center. A fine array of home-grown issues were shared and inspiring speeches by youngsters from a Great Barrington high school were the highlight. They were so enthusiastic and certainly gave the audience hope for the up-and-coming generation. SBS has a new shipments of bumper stickers-”Wag More, Bark Less!” Thanks to Katherine Stewart for the wonderful recipe for hermits. They are another way to use up that 15 pounds of raisins I over purchased.

I generally make bread on Saturday night while listening to a Prairie home companion. I freeze some for summer use. I located some amaranth flour which gives it a fine nutty flavor. I had written praises of amaranth a few weeks back and wanted to keep myself honest.

Mom and Dad reported that more than 3 feet of snow remains on the ground in Rew, Pennsylvania. That tidbit should stop us from whining!