Thrift from my mother in Forsyth, Montana

My mother Sharon Lee passed away in August 2023. At 90 years and 3 months, she is the longest-living member of her family. Perhaps the most valuable asset she has given me is a frugal attitude.

Mom grew up on a wheat farm in Fort Benton, Montana in the 1930s. Photos from this period reflect the Depression era. Mom's mother, my grandmother, churned butter, collected eggs and then sold them to neighbors. There were years when Grandma earned more from wheat than Grandpa. I doubt there was any frivolous spending back then.

This frugality was reflected in her married life and motherhood. She made Dad's western shirts and repaired clothes. I planted a garden and canned vegetables and beef. They fished, cleaned the catch and froze it. She did everything she could to save and stretch the money she earned.

And some of these practices were a bit extreme.

Remember bar soap? Yes, they still exist.

Do you know when a bar is used over and over again until it is just a thin piece, like a flattened coin? Well, Mom saved each bar of soap and when she had enough, she wet it in her hands and mixed it into another bar of soap.

It was the ugliest bar of soap ever seen.

It was a thin layered blob of white, blue-green, green, and I think even grayish soap. But it served its purpose. It would lather in the hands and cleanse the body after work or before school. It was another way to “buy 20 and get one free!”

The bread sacks

Mom baked thousands upon thousands of rolls and countless cookies. And she used bread bags from the store to wrap them up and freeze them. And she would wash and reuse the bags again and again. She washed them and used them so often that the print came off.

Love you mom. I will do my best to follow your example.

Plant some of these in your Montana garden to keep mosquitoes away

As we have already told you, mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures on earth. If you want to keep them out of your garden, these plants can help!

Gallery photo credit: Michelle Heart

7 Great Middle of Nowhere Bars and Restaurants in Montana

Gallery credit: mwolfe

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *