Where do you spend your money?

Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a friend about books. Not just reading books but also where to buy them. She was lamenting the plight of our local independent bookseller and how she does not see how they can compete with Amazon and B&N and that she, who is a big ‘buy local’ kinda person, has given in and ordered from Amazon quite a bit. Because money is tight. Because there is free shipping. Because it is 40% off.

Well, money is tight for all of us, that is for certain. But here is a different way to put things in perspective. When money is tight for everyone, and with the exception of the super-rich, it is tight for all of us, we tend to think we have less buying power. Well, we do have less money to buy stuff with, that’s a mathematical reality. But that also means every cent is more powerful in its affect upon the world around us.

This is far easier to see in non-profit areas, such as the church. During the fat times, people can give to multiple charities and it is not as much of a strain. The choice of who you wish to support is not as difficult to make. But, during the lean times, tougher choices have to be made. Do you give to your local congregation? Disaster relief? The arts? World Wildlife? Etc etc. Every dollar has to be thought through and its destination carefully chosen. In turn, each dollar is prized more by the recipient because there simply isn’t as much to go around and you know that if your organization received the donation it was far more likely that the support was genuine, deep and abiding. Organizations in the non-profit field stand or fall in lean times based not on services provided to the money sources but on the quality of life they represent or purpose and meaning they espouse.

Same thing is true of for-profit businesses. Each dollar we spend during the lean times has an impact upon which companies stand or fall.

As of late, there have been many pleas for Americans to revive their interest in choosing to buy American made products over those made in other countries. This is important for the very reason I just stated: each dollar has greater weight, goes farther and has more lasting impact in the lean times. I contend that we need to examine something else which is, most likely, even greater in significance: who are you buying from?

Extra discounts, free shipping and the like are all so very tempting. But what are we supporting? Better said, what are we choosing not to support? I’ll confess that I have an Amazon wish list and there are things I still order from them. But not books. I am slowly whittling away at my book list by ordering them one at a time from City Lights Books here in town. And the same is true for any gift or item I need. If it is at all possible, I will buy it from a locally owned business in the town where I live. If I can, I’ll buy it from someone who made it themselves.

Recently, I purchased an oil lamp for the frequent times the power goes out in this area. I could have gone to Wal-mart and gotten one for fairly cheap, but I went to the local hardware store instead. I chose to buy the same lantern, which was moderately more, and a smaller bottle of oil than I would have purchased at the big store. In the end, I spent the same amount I would have at Wal-mart and ended up with the same lantern and less oil. I’ve used the lantern several times and still haven’t run out of oil, so I didn’t even need the larger bottle I would have purchased at the store where I would have gotten a “better deal”. Wal-mart doesn’t really care that I did not buy from them. The hardware store does.

I may buy fewer books, bottles of oil, odds and ends and smaller portions of the necessities, but I want the money I do spend on these items to help the survival of a local business owner. Is it better for me to be able to buy as much as I want in a gluttony of false purchasing power, or is it better to moderately purchase and do so in such a way that it supports people who live in my own town? Amazon, Wal-mart, B&N and all the other big box companies will not feel the loss of my dollars but the local businesses here will feel their addition. They are investments in the future of their companies and, in no small way, investments in the local communities.

Here’s some other interesting information from the 3/50 Project:

If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, etc. (and that’s true whether the item you purchase was made in the USA or China or anywhere else, for that matter.) If you spend the same $100 at a national chain store, only $43 stays in the community. If you spend it online, NOTHING returns to the community. Get That? NOTHING. Not A Penny.

So buy a book from your independent bookseller, tools and supplies from your local hardware, cards and gifts from the little shop on the corner, eat at the small owner-operated restaurant, and get produce from the farmer’s market. Use the power of our fewer dollars to invest in local businesses and in our own community.


Sylva Farmer’s Market

tentsvegiesIt’s Saturday and I was finally able to get to the farmer’s market this morning. I’ll confess that I went last week but only long enough to dash in, buy a skein of yarn and dash back out. Today I had a little more time to browse about.

I love this little farmer’s market. It is pretty little, I guess, in comparison to some that I’ve been to in the past, but it seems to have more people and things in it s the summer has progressed.

Today I got some eggs which I ended up putting in the fridge at the office and have no pictures of the lovely brown things. I also got some home made cinnamon buns and another skein of yarn.

The yarn is the best!  Well, not “best” in the sense that it is the best yarn ever but in the sense that it is really cool to have yarn that comes from this area. This lady sells several things at her little table but I am most drawn to that yarn! yarn booth


It’s her own sheep and alpacas that she sheers and has the yarn spun. She dyes some of it and sells some of it plain. The plain is quite lovely–a nice oatmeal color. I’ve finished a shawl–a nice heavy warm one out of the old fashioned pattern: Old Shale–and have more to make mittens. It’s not so much soft as it is rugged yarn. I was also impressed with the dye. I don’t know what kind she uses but there was virtually no color loss in the ones I’ve used and no color bleed into the neutral at all.

tomatoesgreen and yellow peppers

Summertime and Spiders

This morning I realized that the colony of daddy long leg spiders who make their home outside my front door was in full force. They scampered out of my way as I opened the screen door and a couple of them took lanky long strides down the steps with me, like strange sentries or bodyguards guiding me to my car. I could almost imagine them giving me the report from the activities of the previous night.  ‘All clear, ma’am! Just the neighbor’s black and white cat trying to catch that rabbit again! We’ll keep it all secure while you’re away! Good day!’ In my mind I can see them attacking anyone who would try to break into the house. Who else has guard-spiders? Security of the future! Or of the past, perhaps. I am so lucky! I’ll try to take some pictures, if they’ll let me.

They are beautiful and bizarre creatures and, in reality, they seem to be some kind of odd herald of summer. It is hot and unseasonably so for this area and summer has charged in, eager to start the party!

Last Saturday, much to my joy, I was finally able to go to the Farmer’s market. The veggies are ok, not fantastic yet, but lots of other really neat things to see. Bought this lovely pottery bowl there for an unbelievable price of $3.blue bowl

 Also met a woman who has llamas and sheep and sells yarn made from them. This is delightful! I want very much to buy some and make something with local yarn, so I shall take enough funds to purchase some this Saturday. The woman and I also chatted about knitting lace and she was looking for a pattern, so I am going to share one of my shawl patterns with her. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll give me a discount! But, even so, I’ll buy a couple of skeins anyway 🙂

Countdown to vacation!

A lovely spring day and it is countdown to vacation time! It’s Mother’s Day as well. Or, is that suppose to be Mothers’ Day? I’m never sure. Since it is a day for more than one mother, I’m assuming it’s the latter.

I’ll soon be heading  to visit my Mom for a couple of days and then it’s off to see a friend from seminary in Richmond. We are, if all goes as planned, intending to worship at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC next Sunday.  It is such a beautiful place and, though I’ve been there before, I’ve never worshiped there.

Now, along with the countdown to vacation comes cleanup time. Need to get the house in some semblance of order both so that whoever comes in to feed the cats will not be overwhelmed with the disarray of things and so that when I come home it will be nice to come back to.

Unfortunately, I will, once again, miss the local Farmers’ Market this weekend (there we are again–is it Farmer’s or Farmers’ ? More than one farmer so….)  It is really not a large market, of course, but it is pretty neat to attend and since it is still early yet, there will be time to go when I get back.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole–yummy!

slice squash

slice squash


  • 2 Yellow Squash
  • 2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 C Crushed Corn Chips
  • 1 C Milk
  • 1/2 C Sour Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 T Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the squash into coins. Toss with cheese and crushed corn chips. In another bowl mix together milk, sour cream and eggs. Place squash mix into greased casserole. Pour milk mixture over the squash. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. Dot with small amount of butter.

ready to bake!

ready to bake!


Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Quite yummy! Serves 4 (or less with leftovers)




Seen here with fresh concord grape juice. Good dinner.

dinner time!

dinner time!

Lovely Saturday

market finds

market finds

Wonderful goodies at the farmer’s market today. Squash, okra, a giant round eggplant. Also a jar of concord grape juice and two butternut squash.

After a difficult week with all the goings on at the synod assembly, it is a healing thing to walk around these little tents and see, smell and taste these great gifts of God. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Never eaten butternut squash, so that should be interesting.

Pimento Cheese and Other Stuff

I was delighted to discover that the peppers I received from the veggie fairy were pimento peppers! So, I have made pimento cheese and it is yummy!! I am hoping to get more pimentos and can them.

How remarkable. I have never canned anything in my life and last night I prepared eggplant to be frozen and purchased little jars to can some sort of something in. Tomorrow is Saturday and I will go back to the farmer’s market again and, this time, I won’t think in terms of getting just the smallest thing. I’ll think about what I want to preserve for the fall and winter.

It is already approaching the end of August. Soon the weather will get cooler, the leaves will turn and it will be fall!! First fall living in the mountains! I am looking forward to it!