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Frugal or just being smug...have you scored a real deal recently?

 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 14033
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One last comment on that fabric: made a curtain for a VERY drafty north window in my bedroom at the rental, it blocks it perfectly! Houston, we have a winner!! :D  The insulated drapes for our house will be made of this. I washed it in hot water, and it toned the pink down a hair, it's a bit tanner than it was.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1780
Location: Victoria BC
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I bought a construction staircase months ago off craigslist. Turned out the guy was just down the road. We talked a bit, I admired the very classy reno he had done to an old A-frame, and he thought my new farm sounded pretty cool.

No contact since, until a week ago he texted me to offer me some shed roof trusses. Free. Don't have to offer me free materials twice!

Got em today... 20(!!) trusses for a 16 foot wide flat roof. Totally useable, just need a few nails pulled. Pretty stoked. What an awesome guy.
 
pollinator
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I thought of this one as we just got hammered with a storm.

We got 20 inches of snow, blowing 35 mph with temps at 0 degrees (f) and no, that is NOT windchill. Fearful we would be without power, I had the tractor hooked up to a generator I was given by some friends; a 20 KW PTO generator for a tractor. I changed the gear oil and painted it, but it works fine.

As for the storm, we faired well. No need for the generator as of yet anyway. Just a lot of snow.


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20 KW PTO Generato
20 KW PTO Generato
 
Posts: 335
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Well, I wouldn't call this lately, but when I was stationed in O`ahu, I visited neighbor island Lana`i, and on the beach, I found a plastic bin, 18" x 24" x 6", worn by the sea and with what appears to be Japanese writing on it. I don't know what it would have cost to buy a comparable bin, but free is definitely a good bargain. And this was before that Fukushima disaster, so no worries there.

The beach is my thrift store. I find all sorts of useful items on beaches.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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In town, there's a spot people can drop off yard waste for free. I go there to scavenge for mulch :)

People are always throwing out plants too, so sometimes I luck out. This weekend I got 7 big yuccas, couple armfuls of hens and chicks, and a few dozen strawberry plants. I also got a few mystery plants - some kind of flowering perennial maybe. The tops had pretty much died but  the roots are fat so I'm hoping it'll recover.

My husband wanted to bring home some potted cedars that were there, but I reminded him of how much water he'd need to haul until they got established and he changed his mind.

Last fall I got two big clumps of the most beautiful hostas I've ever seen. One of the clumps came with some daylilies.

It's my favourite place to shop.
 
steward
Posts: 15305
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I was volunteering at the food pantry in town and picked up a bunch of seedlings that were donated from a local nursery for customers and volunteers.  I went home with about 60 cabbage and 80 broccoli starts.  Plus peppermint, tarragon, kohlrabi and a few other oddities.  Now all the holes in the garden are filled with new things
 
gardener
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An update on the limoncello project from eight months ago when I got a great deal on citrons:

Dan Boone wrote:Seven "Buddha Hand" citron fruits in the clearance produce bin at my local supermart for $.59 each -- these are usually  six or seven dollars each.   (They are grown in Asia and on a very few acres in California from what I understand.)

They are a very aromatic citrus that has no juice or pulp -- they are all about the pith and skin.  I chopped up two of them (filled a quart mason jar) and covered with vodka as the beginning part of the recipe for making a traditional bottle of limoncello.  



I just discovered this mason jar where I shoved it in my backup fridge, the messy one that has old fruit I need to tear apart for seeds and moldy bags of things that are being cold-stratified.  I strained off the vodka and it had taken on a wonderful flavor, perfume-y but not in a bad way, with a nice clear golden color.  I put it in a nice booze bottle with a cup of sugar and a bit of filtered water.  Once the sugar is completely dissolved (I could have used simple syrup but I'm lazy and this works) I'll top up the bottle with vodka and start drinking it.  It won't last long, it's too good!
 
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Not exactly permie based, but we stopped at a tile warehouse to ask if we could buy his stacks of pallets. He said we could have them as he was retired and not really trading any more. Hmmmm. What is he going to do with all those tap and shower samples. Sell them at cost. Done! Shame he isn't still in business because we LOVE those floor tiles..... he can get them for 10 euros a square metre (about 10 sq ft) .....instead of the 28 euros at the store in town. Done! A saving of nearly 2000 euros. No taxes to pay because he is retired.  Would we like to come back if we need more...Eeerrrrrrr....still got upstairs to tile!
 
pollinator
Posts: 675
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I learned of a household/garage sale kinda late on a Sunday morning, and drove about 15 minutes from my place to the address. The place was a homestead where the patriarch had passed away, and one of his sons was selling an enormous range of large & small things from the house and outbuildings before the property itself would sell — object being to comfortably relocate his mother.

As well as a cultivator of small fields, the dad had obviously been a mechanic & handyman. There was an unbelievable amount of tools, equipment & parts in his main garage, virtually all coated with an oily patina including rust & dust. I’d been looking for more than a year for some sort of anvil, and I spotted this modest-size one in great condition. Top surface including the horn is a bit shy of 12”  & the weight is around 20 lbs. I decided my shrewd offer would be $15 (which would’ve been a steal, as regional anvil pricing tends to be several dollars per pound). But the son selling stuff said “how does $5 sound?” !!  I was a lucky latecomer to that sale.

After bringing it home, I used a rust buster spray, then a wire brush on an angle grinder to clean it up. I made a mounting plate from plate steel, clamped the anvil & plate to the top of a piece of I-beam. I've set that atop a stand I made from scrap wood.

(I'm happy to revive this thread that reflects an integral institution of rural living.)
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Dan Boone
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Can anybody explain this to me? Because I am completely flummoxed. Somebody is taking their Marie Kondo minimalism a bit too far!
424415AF-13AD-48F1-AE88-0CCDB6050DB8.jpeg
Pair of Universal food grinders priced at a dollar each
Pair of Universal food grinders priced at a dollar each
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
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Dan Boone wrote:Can anybody explain this to me? Because I am completely flummoxed. Somebody is taking their Marie Kondo minimalism a bit too far!



Or someone died and they just dumping all their stuff...
Good score! I'd have snagged them too!
 
Dan Boone
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
Or someone died and they just dumping all their stuff...
Good score! I'd have snagged them too!



Yah, at an estate sale I wouldn't have been phazed (much).  But this was an end-of-the-cul-de-sac driveway sale in a fancier (by local standards) subdivision, and most of the stuff was priced high (like, a single half-gallon mason jar, not antique, for five bucks).  Of course that's the random factor at any garage sale; you're just buying stuff, but they're selling "stuff" plus all the memories, emotions, and baggage that's attached to the stuff in their minds.  And none of that is visible.  At another sale this morning I inquired about a five-dollar-maximum box of shop junk and small hardware trinkets.  The gentleman opened at thirty five bucks and wouldn't budge below twenty five.  I bid him good day with all good cheer, but I gotta think maybe he never wanted to put that stuff in the sale and he wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.

As for these food choppers, I'll just throw them in my zombie apocalypse box.  It's not like I didn't already have one.  But if the grid ever goes down and looks like it's fixin' to stay that way for the rest of our naturally-shortened lives, I'll bet I could swap one for a breeding pair of chickens or a fat piglet.
 
pollinator
Posts: 872
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Picked this up for $10 CAD. Never been used.
cmill.jpg
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Dan Boone
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Picked this up for $10 CAD. Never been used.



Oooh, very nice!  
 
pollinator
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Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:We have a flower farm, so I had been collecting vases from the swap shop at the dump... until we had... enough.
They were the typical florist stuff, and a few nicer, but still inexpensive pieces. Good for vases we won't see again...
So, "no more!" I'm told... but I still bring home a few of the nicer ones now and then.
One day there's an interesting one, looks chunky, feels heavy! no chips, just dusty... cool!
Once home I wash it up, and while drying it off I notice "Waterford" etched in the bottom!!



I think I'm being smug, what with quoting myself and all...

It happened again. Waterford crystal fruit bowl at the swap shop a couple weeks ago... shining like a beacon atop a shabby bureau.
 
Posts: 22
Location: UK
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Not much chance of getting anything here in rural Bulgaria,  nothing and I mean nothing gets thrown.  Empty plastic bottles are cut down to be used as pots to grow seedlings in and the only chance of getting anything is if something is left out in the lane for others to make use of even then if it cannot be used as firewood.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
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Kath Thomas wrote:Not much chance of getting anything here in rural Bulgaria,  nothing and I mean nothing gets thrown.  Empty plastic bottles are cut down to be used as pots to grow seedlings in and the only chance of getting anything is if something is left out in the lane for others to make use of even then if it cannot be used as firewood.


I both sorrow for you not being able to get free stuff, and envy you living in a culture where people have a CLUE and don't waste everything. I am horrified by the waste here, and harvest as much of it as I can possibly use. And it sickens me that I can't even make a dent in the flood of just flat wasting all of these resources.
 
Kath Thomas
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Not only that Pearl but here in Bulgaria  people still forage and glean to ensure that theres more on the table. In the UK I'd pick nettles to make soup  seen as odd behaviour there, here that's a common practice,  fruit  and nut trees seem to line the roads in and out of the village which people take full advantage of. Here " make do and mend" isnt a hobby but a way of life. Which suits me.
 
gardener
Posts: 1460
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Kath Thomas wrote:Not much chance of getting anything here in rural Bulgaria,  nothing and I mean nothing gets thrown.  Empty plastic bottles are cut down to be used as pots to grow seedlings in and the only chance of getting anything is if something is left out in the lane for others to make use of even then if it cannot be used as firewood.


I both sorrow for you not being able to get free stuff, and envy you living in a culture where people have a CLUE and don't waste everything. I am horrified by the waste here, and harvest as much of it as I can possibly use. And it sickens me that I can't even make a dent in the flood of just flat wasting all of these resources.


I agree. I logged in to Amazon to purchase canning lids (can't find them locally right now) and I'm just amazed at the garbage that's on display that they are trying to convince me to purchase. Who buys that junk? How do enough people see the benefit for those things that companies to stay in business? Tacky, cheap, wasteful... The latest upgrade for a product that still works just fine!
 
Kath Thomas
Posts: 22
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Another thing about Bulgaria, unlike the UK ,jars and lids for canning are available in both the village shops and in all the supermarkets in local towns at this time of the year, ready for the harvest.
 
Joel Bercardin
pollinator
Posts: 675
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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We got this bed frame for free, from people in the nearby small city who were downsizing. The wood surfaces needed a little cleaning & polish, but not a real refinishing.  We have friends in the re-upholstering business and they are cutting us a thick piece of foam and making a cloth cover, for us to use as the mattress.

Very happy to get it. This goes, as a small second bed, in a room we have for relatives or friends who sometimes stay with us.
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steward
Posts: 15150
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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That is a Jenny Lind bed frame.

That is like the bed I had as a child except the foot had been cut off to make it look more modern and it was panted white.

It had been my mother's childhood bed.

You have a nice piece of history.
 
Joel Bercardin
pollinator
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Thanks for the identification & story, Anne.
 
master steward
Posts: 6569
Location: southern Illinois, USA
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I am in the process of picking up my usual 50 pallets from my big farmer neighbor.
 
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A friend dropped off a bunch of aluminum pipes from his new deck railing, and conduit for a project I was working. Meanwhile, the owners of the lot next door started building and allowed me to take advantage of the scrap pile.  The combination gave me  the solution of what I was going to do with the pipes. More specifically, I needed gates to corral our dogs to their dog run and the deck.
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Kelly Craig
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Most my gloat worthy finds are related to my shop. Things like the AirHandler floor model buffer, complements of craigslist for $100.00. Or the four wheel grinder, which became even more impressive after I found a 3/4 horse DC motor and controller to replace the 240 volt, single speed motor it had (now it can be turned down to a few hundred RPM's).
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master pollinator
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Wow, Kelly, awesome job scrounging good stuff and connecting the dots. That's the opposite of mindless buying -- that's the application of skills and a sharp eye!

In poker, a five star scrounge beats a five star general every time.
 
gardener
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I bought a folding bike for $35 yesterday. It is a Citizen and the current version of the same model is around $300 and Ebay has one very similar listed at about $230.
 
Mike Haasl
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I needed a gearbox for a machine I'm building.  Got a free lawn tractor yesterday and the gearbox from it is perfect.  Scrapping out the rest of the mower should net me 20 bucks.  So I'm getting a gearbox for free when I pay for my time.
 
pollinator
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I go 'shopping to the dump on Wednesdays and Saturdays. People keep throwing away stainless steel cookware, windows, doors... The stainless steel just needed a good cleaning!
I've used 3 doors, 2 thick thermal windows. I don't ride bikes anymore but if I were to, I know where to get bikes. Once in a while, I get a lemon that I have to take back.
And I am just done with picking up leaves: Every year in the fall, my city tells the residents they have to pick up their leaves and leave them on the curb[apparently, the storm sewers clog when leaves go in. this year, i scored 96 big bags. They are now all spread out on my garden and I anticipate a great garden next year.
Our local University has a surplus store open every Wednesday. Anything you might need to furnish an office plus computers, large bins and barrels to make rain barrels with, cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaners are sold at rock bottom prices. They are used, but the quality was above what you can get from stores, and it was well maintained. at $5 to $10 a piece, I can cut them in half and create planters. If I had more talent, [and time] I could decorate them really pretty.
When the Shopko store closed in my town, I made like a bandit picking up short tables for shelves.
I don't really go to rummage sales as they are often event where old stuff is way overpriced or not working.
The very best deals, though are all the extra plants I make for free from cuttings, layering, planting seeds from my plants.
Life is good. Can't complain about the high price of stuff when you can get so much for free or nearly free.
 
pollinator
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It's that time of year when all my suburban neighbors' stupid front lawn autumnal displays, which they bought at the store, get put on the curb for the trash trucks. (Doesn't that just make your heart sing?) Yesterday I picked up a free bale of straw for my wife's garden, and took a walk where I spotted two more likely to be tossed out next week.
 
Mike Haasl
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Yesterday I picked up a newish broad axe head for $15 :)
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
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Ned Harr wrote:It's that time of year when all my suburban neighbors' stupid front lawn autumnal displays, which they bought at the store, get put on the curb for the trash trucks. (Doesn't that just make your heart sing?) Yesterday I picked up a free bale of straw for my wife's garden, and took a walk where I spotted two more likely to be tossed out next week.



I have a few neighbors trained, they call me "Come get these pumpkins, I'm tired of them. And the straw bales" Yay! I take a wagon and load it several times. Bunch of those pumpkins from their yard are excellent eating!

I didn't have energy for getting neighbor's leaves this year, in the past I have stunned them by cleaning up their yards (not detailed, but the bulk) of their leaves and happily taking them away. Makes them appreciate my weird habits enough that they will call me to offer things they consider trash.
 
John F Dean
master steward
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Consider hunting down your state’s surplus warehouse. Most states have such things, but they can go by various names and various rules for access.  This is where the castoffs and unclaimed items go. The one I went to was mind boggling: Boats, trucks, cars, tractors, road maintenance equipment, medical equipment, tools, office equipment, etc.  some items were worn out …others were new and still in boxes. Most prices were incredibly low.

In Illinois it is referred to as State Surplus Property. Access is officially limited to governmental bodies and 501c corps.  There is some flex. For example, there are regular public auctions; also there is an application process that can provide a degree of flex…such as for food banks.  Access rules seem to be always shifting. As was once politely explained to me, “ the laws were not changed, we just interpret them differently.”
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Kath Thomas wrote:Not only that Pearl but here in Bulgaria  people still forage and glean to ensure that theres more on the table. In the UK I'd pick nettles to make soup  seen as odd behaviour there, here that's a common practice,  fruit  and nut trees seem to line the roads in and out of the village which people take full advantage of. Here " make do and mend" isnt a hobby but a way of life. Which suits me.




Yep. Gleaning is a practice that unfortunately is disappearing, although if you ask a farmer nicely, they will usually tell you which field to go to and let you glean. When I have enough aronias, and elderberries I invite my friend to come pick up the rest.
2 years ago after the late picking for the potato season, I asked the farmer close to me if I could pick. He said yes. I had so many potatoes [4 big sacks - I could barely carry them out of the field!] that I gave 3 to the local pantry and gave them the tip: If you have a friend with a car/truck, that's free food.
(Now, I wasn't so happy because this farmer does tend to put some chemicals on his crops... I discovered later)
Maybe that's why gleaning is disappearing. This said, it is amazing the amount of potatoes that stay in the field. He said that "just for these few potatoes, it isn't worth the tractor and truck time to do a second picking over the same field. [They also squish quite a few with the truck that follows the tractor]
When we lived in the Alps, in France, mom would send us in the woods and along the roads right after a rain: there were big escargots. Mom would put them in flour for 24 hours: It took care of the slime. Also, when we took them out of the flour box, they had pooped all the green disgusting stuff and were full of flour. So they were already stuffed. [With a lot of butter and parsley, they were delicious... and free].
We also foraged for parasol mushrooms [Macrolepiota procera]. Over there, they grew really big and I have wonderful memories of my sister laughing and I using them as umbrellas. [Yep, they were THAT big]. My sister took to drying them in the sun. Those were really good. In Central Wisconsin, they are so few and so tiny they are barely worth the trouble.
I think that my mother's generation, which suffered hunger taught us to make the most of what comes our way, and I really appreciate her  teachings.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Ned,

Great point. This is the time of year when displays come and go.  It is easy to pick up spare bales of straw and hay. In my best year, I got 3 pickup truck loads.
 
pollinator
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Our big score last week was some auction lots. Best part was 4, 500ml bottles of high end, aged balsamic vinegar. Fully sealed and came with 3 bottles the same size of first pressing organic olive oil. All for $1. Now, the oil had date seals on it and it's from 2011, so long past due, but I figure I can use it for soap making or lamp burning.
It looks like it was a bulk buy the people did from an importer and they just never used it all so I expect the balsamic to be the same age but it will be fine.
I make a tomato/pear chutney and subbing about 1/4 of the regular vinegar for balsamic just makes it amazing. We use the chutney to replace most of our ketchup use as well as adding it to kale salads and other dishes so it will get used up! ( and considering the regular price of the good stuff, I'm very happy to push buying more back a couple of years)

Other deals in the group were a nice wicker loveseat for $3 and my mother did a big spend of $40 for a good cedar chest. That was a bit high, but they almost never go for less than $100 here. It's probably from the 80's, and the seat cushion fabric is ugly and dated, but well cared for. I'm hoping to get around to redoing it this winter.
 
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I scored another greenhouse. A commercial greenhouse that had been used at a local WalMart 20x60 with all the side and center shelving. It needs a new skin but that's ok. 26k new picked it up for 2k.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Robert Ray wrote:I scored another greenhouse. A commercial greenhouse that had ben used at a local WalMart 20x60 with all the side and center shelving. It needs a new skin but that's ok. 26k new picked it up for 2k.




Wow! a 20'X60'. Those aren't cheap! I need to get a new skin for a tiny tent under which I store... all kinds of not-used-for-winter stuff. I have to measure the outside skin, which is what got ripped in the last windstorm.
I remember buying a large tarp made of big advertising panels like they use on the billboards but I can't remember where I got it. What was nice is that you can ask for grommets along the edges and if you want it hemmed, they can do that too. [Essentially, they are repurposing tarp billboards.] These things are really thick, but not transparent, so I'm not sure how it would work. It's kinda nice to see where you are going in the dark...
 
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Don't know if this is exactly in the same vein... but now that I'm growing all of my food, it kind pains me to eat out or get anything from restaurants because it just can't compare. But, I did want to indulge for my birthday and get my annual sugar hit. Caught a ride into town with a friend and just made a day out of getting all the junk food that restaurants give away for birthdays. Waffles, ice cream, burgers, coffee, etc. Got to indulge, but didn't give a dime to any of these companies, which feels like a happy compromise. And now back to my regularly scheduled, 100% homegrown diet. 😂
 
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