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We Went U-Picking

September 16th, 2017 at 09:36 pm

Mom and I and DS went out to a U-pick farm this morning to pick green beans. We'd called and were told they had lots of green beans. We made the mistake of assuming they were pole beans, but they were actually bush beans which required either getting down on the ground to pick them or standing up and bending all the way down to pick them. I got on the ground because I figured screwed up legs were better than a screwed up back.

I was actually surprised that I didn't do too badly sitting on the ground. Maybe all that physical therapy is finally paying off. Or my body will hate me tomorrow morning when I wake up!

They didn't, as it turns out, have lots of green beans, though. They had two rows. We managed to pick ten pounds, which is not enough for a canner load, but should give me 5 quarts. It takes 14 to 15 pounds to do 7 quarts, but I will still can what we got. We were hoping for around 40 pounds. There was another family picking them, too, but it didn't look like they got more than 10 pounds either. But they were also digging potatoes and carrots and picking strawberries.

I guess we will try another farm tomorrow. What I did buy, besides the $20 worth of beans was $7 worth of strawberries that we picked as well. It was a fun experience, though.

My favorite type of apple should be ready next weekend, so we will go apple picking for Tsugarus if they are. They are not a good storage apple, they maybe last two to three months in the fridge, so we usually only pick about 20 pounds worth. If they are late, I guess it will be me and DS instead of DH, but I am hoping since their schedule says it, they will be ripe when DH is home. We had so much fun last year.

We might get some honeycrisps, too, since they opened this weekend. Not too many, maybe a small bag that has about a dozen apples. With all those apples in the fridge, they should last us until orange season in December.

I've got to get out and pick more plums. The trees are not nearly as loaded as last year, but there is still a large amount. I'll need to have DS go up the ladder for some of it. I also need to pick some tomatoes which I have finally been getting. I don't know if I will get enough tomatoes to can, but the ones I have on the table will go into a taco potato casserole tonight. A new recipe. I hope it is good. I might throw some zucchini in as well.

No Wonder it Felt Like Drowning

September 15th, 2017 at 05:20 am

I just added up how much we have paid on medical expenses this year through the end of August. And this is assuming I actually got every bill recorded. $19,637.14. Almost $20,000. And around $15,000 of that was when we had no income and had to pay out of savings. $8022 of that was insurance premiums for 6 months for a family of four.

I didn't even add up what that stupid insurance mandate cost us in 2016. I know it wasn't as bad as this year, but it wasn't pretty either.

I wish the Republicans would get off their butts and fix the darn thing the Democrats saddled us with. Not sure how it can be fixed, but they need to DO something. At least change the name from Affordable Care Act to Bankrupt the People Act, because at least that would be accurate.

A Few Extra Weeks

September 14th, 2017 at 07:12 am

They've asked DH to stay until Monday. He was going to come home on Friday, but now he will come home on Tuesday. He will only be at home for a week. In that time he has a dentist appointment on the 19th to get the permanent crown put on, he will be taking his dad down to the cancer center in Seattle on the 20th, doing a butcher session for the animals that have hit weight on Thursday or Friday, going over his parents' wills and living wills, and hopefully getting a day of rest in before hopping back on a plane and going up to work 5 weeks straight.

It might end up being a little longer. If we can get even one day into November that will cover another month of insurance. Which would be really helpful to the budget, but not as helpful as three extra weeks of work will be.

Someone got offered a new job, but had to start right away, so he quit and they are needing to cover that position. There is someone who can do it, but that leaves her position unoccupied during that time, so DH will be covering that one, which is stuff he does anyway.

It will be hard not having him home for very long, and I won't even get to see him on the one day at all, but we have gone through longer separations than this before and can do so again.

I will sock away as much money as I possibly can from the extra work. I certainly wasn't expecting this, but I am so glad it is happening. I think I will be able to stretch it into two months expenses, which means we can go further without an income if we have to, but hopefully it won't take him as long to find a new job this time.

Neurologist Visit and Homestead Changes

September 13th, 2017 at 06:18 am

Today was a long, semi-stressful day. Mostly because we spent about 2 hours with the neurologist my daughter got bumped up to see. The good news is that she doesn't think DD has MS. She is thinking just very severe migraines with something else in the brain being possible. DD has an MRI scheduled on the 18th. She does think DD needs to do physical therapy for muscle weakness, control, and balance. They can teach her how to exercise so she isn't pulling the muscle in her back all the time.

PT has a pool. We cancelled our gym membership, but we're paid up through October 12th, so if we can actually make it to the pool she could do more pool stuff than just on the days she has PT. But I don't know if that will be possible. Now that homeschool has started I don't have as much time to be running people around. Plus her headaches have been so bad, I doubt she'd want to go somewhere as loud as the gym pool.

I made it over to the school system's main office today and filled out the intent to homeschool form and got my copy of it for my files. I also found out that if DS has a job, he doesn't need permission from the school district on what he can work, so that is good, too.

I went to the pediatrician's office so DD could fill out the paperwork to get her medical file sent to her grown up doctor. It was supposed to have been sent 3 years ago and I only found out last week that her current doc had never gotten it.

I am thinking about giving up the ducks. I am so tired these days and without DD being able to pull her weight around here it is getting too difficult. We may give up the chickens, too, and just keep the rabbits. Plus if DS does get hired somewhere, he may not be available at sundown every day anyway to help put the birds in.

I'm just not sure I can handle it mentally or physically anymore. The rabbits are my joy, as is my garden. I do love my ducks, but they attract a lot of predators and they make a huge mess. The chickens I don't get attached to anymore because we have lost a lot to predation. While I enjoy them, they don't have semi-pet status.

I just don't feel capable of it with the rheumatoid arthritis and whatever else is running down all my energy these days. Even the kids are okay with it. They see the toll it is taking on me. This decision has been a long time coming. While I'm not 100% there, I feel like I am 80% there.

DH gets home by the end of the week and I hope to have made the decision by then. I am pretty sure I'll be rehoming them, though.

Payday Report for 9/8/17

September 10th, 2017 at 08:04 pm

We had/will have a lot of medical stuff this week. I think we are pretty close to hitting the deductible, though. A small amount of this was from money leftover from last payday. The Citi card is a partial payment and a larger one will be made to them next payday. We still have carried no interest by running our cards this way.

$300.00 Medical
$150.00 Best Buy (No interest same as cash)
$148.26 Medical
$500.00 September Utilities (water/power/gas)
__70.26 Garbage (2 months)
$650.78 BoA Visa (In Full)
__94.82 BoA MC (In Full)
$825.81 AMEX (In Full)
__71.41 Internet
$207.79 Chicken purchase from local farm for freezer
$300.00 to Citi Visa (Partial)
__90.00 For Upcoming physical therapy this week
__40.00 For Upcoming Neurology appt
----------
3449.13 Total Money Out

I Like Ting So Far

September 9th, 2017 at 11:39 pm

DS and I got our new phones from Ting on Thursday. His is a Samsung J3 2017 and mine is a Motorola Moto G5 Plus. I decided to go with a phone that would take better photos and decent video. With Petunia's link I got a discount that brought that phone to $214. Since I will hold onto this phone for several years, I feel okay about spending a little more for it.

It was really easy to learn to use. I thought it would be tougher as my last phone was a flamingo red Samsung Intensity with the slide out keyboard. But it wasn't hard at all, I caught right on. I do use a stylus, though, as otherwise the touch screen keyboard drives me up the wall.

It is still such a weird concept to me to have to pay for a cell phone. Every other time in the past they gave you a free phone with a contract, but haven't in the last several years which is another reason I never upgraded. I couldn't handle spending hundreds of dollars on something like that.

It was a little hard spending the money right now with the future so uncertain, but it will help with the farm business as well as the youtube channel which also generates income, albeit not terribly much yet. I did have to have a reliable phone, though. There is too much going on with all the various medical doctors and tests scheduled for my daughter that I have to keep track of it and not have messages get lost by the wayside.

My son's phone was $139 on sale. He is very happy with it and glad I talked him out of saving up for an iPhone. He doesn't need 1000 bells and whistles when 50 or so will do. My daughter will be getting one soon, too, as she gets the money together. Then she will switch to Ting as well.

I would like to get DH to switch, too, but I don't know that Ting has service on the North Slope. As far as I know, only Verizon does and I don't think Ting uses Verizon lines. It uses Sprint and LG. Although that may not matter much longer, since his last day of work up there is 10/26. If he does switch we'd be under $45 a month for the bill.

Even if he has to stay on Verizon by himself, it will still be far less spent on the monthly phone bills. Verizon for one person is not horrible. Especially if the the rest of us will only be generating $32 to $35 a month total depending on whether or not we use a small amount of data. Right now we have data turned off on our phones so they won't try to use it. My town is so wired though, that wireless is everywhere, either through Xfinity, the city wireless that includes the library and civic buildings and post offices, and almost every store in town.

I'm thinking about looking into some of those grocery savings things you need a smart phone for now. And I can finally use digital coupons in Safeway if I forget to preload them on my loyalty card.

Honestly, I wish I had switched to Ting sooner. I'm going to include my referral link here in case anyone decides to make the switch as well.

https://z9003s69khl.ting.com/

Doing Some Research and DD's Head Problems

September 6th, 2017 at 02:21 am

So I did some googling and I think DH will qualify for unemployment this time around. For the state of Alaska you have to have worked in two of the previous quarters and earned more than $2500.

DH worked in May and June of the 2nd quarter, and will have worked July, August, and September of the 3rd quarter, and then October for the 4th quarter, so if I understand it right, when he gets laid off in October that should mean he can get it again.

For some reason I always thought you had to work for a year before you could qualify for benefits again, but someone (PS, maybe or MEC) pointed out that in some states it's based on what you earned and Alaska appears to be one of those states. I'll have DH follow up on that, but it is looking good.

What's not looking good is that the doctor has ordered a brain MRI for DD. Hopefully there is nothing serious behind the debilitating headaches she's been having, but I am worried. He is waiting for approval and then he will call us so we can get it scheduled. He wants to rule out a tumor or brain aneurysm and look for signs of MS since it runs in the family.

I also need to call the eye surgeon who has been seeing her for her eye and headache issues and have him send over his records for her and then call her old pediatrician and have her do the same. For some reason the ped never sent her records over 3 years ago when we sent a request for them so current doctor has no history of her skull fracture, concussion, and brain injury.

The doctor also did a blood draw for mono. She is just not functional right now.

Also, the smoke cap is back. The Cle Elum fires are sending mass amounts of smoke this way along with ash in parts of the city. It's not where we live, but is on some of the foothills a mile to two miles away from us. It's also 82 degress right now at 7 p.m. And it is humid. We are supposed to get rain on Saturday. Hopefully we will get light wind pushing it away before that. I am using my happy light already. I don't want to drop down in mood again like last time.

I am so tired. I don't feel like I am getting restful sleep with the new c-pap. I think my mask might be too small. I will call them tomorrow and see. I think they gave me the wrong size.

Yesterday we canned 32 jars of pears, but one broke in the canner. So I have 15 pint and a half jars for me and Mom has 16 pint jars for her. We've got another box of pears to do, but they are not ripe yet, maybe Thursday. All of those will be for me. I also need to do some deli-style pickles. The cucumbers have gone nuts.

I've still got to do the potatoes, too. No green beans this year after all, though. The ones that are growing locally are all hollow and woody, so I'm glad I didn't waste garden space on them this year. It's been too hot during the growing season and then the smoke cap has been detrimental to their growth as well. We still have several jars from last year, though, and if we have to buy green beans in cans, at least they are very cheap compared to other veggies.

An Update of Sorts

September 4th, 2017 at 02:45 am

Well, DH has work through October. There for a while we weren't even sure he'd go back after this hitch ends or not. His last day should be the 26th. I wish he could extend it a week. All we'd need was one day worked in November and his job would pay for November insurance. But he texted me this morning, so one more month to pay off some of these surprise medical expenses like a new C-pap machine, and the dental work that needs to get done.

I'm not sure what will happen then, other than DH will be looking for work. He may have made enough since May to qualify him again for unemployment, but that's not much. We have $22,784.87 left in the Emergency Fund. Which will get us to March or April if DH doesn't find a job again. We'll get our tax refund as soon as possible and with the medical we've paid out this year that could be enough for an additional 2 months of living expenses.

If there is any money left over after paying all of our bills the next two months than I will save it, too. I'm pretty sure there will be nothing of September's pay, but barring any other medical emergency we should be able to put aside some of October's pay.

I hope he can find something reliable soon. We are as prepared as we can be, but this will be the last time we can go through this without having some serious time to rebuild our savings again. We won't be able to survive it a third time if we wipe out all of our savings.

Payday Report for 9-1-17

September 2nd, 2017 at 04:28 pm

I have been running most household expenses and a lot but not all of the medical expenses through credit cards. It makes it easier when payday comes to just pay the cards off in full. Most household expenses go on the Costo Citi card, most medical expenses go on the AMEX except for those companies who do not take it, as well as Netflix, storage, rare meals out, and cell phones, and all of DH's work travel expenses like plane tickets and hotels go on a miles card. The due dates are spaced through the month with the 3rd, 14, and 22nd so that works out nicely.

This is what I paid from the first paycheck in this cycle:

$2826.72 Citi Card
___56.83 Life Insurance DH
___45.30 Life Insurance Me
___90.50 BEP (Medical DD)
__120.00 Cash for Allowances and Gas
___40.00 BEP (Co-Pay DD)
___11.07 FCN (Medical DD)
___90.00 Next Wednesday's PT
-----------------
$3280.42 Total Bills Paid

I gassed up the car. I had 4 points and paid in cash so got a total of 50cents per gallon discount, which put me at $2 a gallon.

I Need a Ting Referral Link

September 1st, 2017 at 05:31 pm

Well, my phone finally bit the dust so I am going to buy a cheaper phone from Ting and cut the Verizon cord for myself. I know there are a handful of you that use Ting, so if someone wants to give me their link in the comments, than I'll use it when I sign up. I really hate to have to buy a new phone, though. I will be saying good-bye to my slide out keyboard. I hate touch screens and wish they still made the slide out version.

My son wants to get a job so he can help out with medical bills if needed. I was kind of floored he offered to as he is only 17, but we are very open about money and he knows the situation. I told him I'd consider it, but only if he can show me he's serious about it by keeping his school work going. We've got about 1.5 years of home school left before he can graduate. As much as possible, though, I'd want him to save his money for the vocational college where he wants to take welding.

My nephew is thinking of moving in. There are 3 more rooms in this house at my mom's end. His girlfriend lives here and so he wants to move here and find a job and save up so he can get an apartment here. He'd have to help pay for some things, too. Nominal rent and utilities and help Mom with things like yard work. It would be nice having him around.

The next few months are going to be interesting.

Today is Better

August 31st, 2017 at 02:43 am

My mental state is better now. I do appreciate all the words of support you gave me when I was totally overwhelmed. I am doing okay now. It looks like DH's company did not get the approval for what they wanted to do, so DH's job will run out in October. There is still no word on the other job yet. Or any other job. I don't know what we'll do at this point.

The rabbits are still paying for themselves. I sell just enough each month to cover the costs of their food and the ducks' food. So the meat and eggs we get from them are basically no cost.

I happened upon a great deal today at the grocery store. They had a bunch of chuck steaks and top and bottom round steaks that were marked down for quick sale. I know we have beef in the freezer, but this worked out to 19.6 pounds of beef for $1.40 a pound. I came home and cut every steak in half and we ended up with 14 steaks in the freezer. I know the stuff we butchered will keep for a year the way it is wrapped, so this can be used more quickly.

What I really need to find is chicken, though. Sometimes they have good markdowns on those, too, but not nearly as often as they have beef and pork in there. I want to get as much inexpensive chicken in the freezer as possible before we go into a possible time of no income. It really helped last time to have so much food available and we had to buy very little, just fresh fruit and greens and dairy through the winter.

I bought 20 pounds of potatoes to can from the local garden I get produce I don't grow myself from. That'll likely give me two canner loads. I will probably end up canning a total of 60 pounds of potatoes this month. Maybe 80 if I don't run out of steam and my arthritis doesn't act up too badly. The new medication has been working wonders though so hopefully it will continue to do so and I'll be able to peel and chop a boatload of them.

I am going to can carrots, too, but I am going to use those 5 pound bags of organic baby carrots from Costco that are already peeled and nicely sized for canning. They are very cheap and I can save myself a couple steps, so why not? I only need to do 10 pounds or so.

I don't think I am going to do green beans. I didn't grow them this year and I still have about 50 quarts so I don't think it is necessary. I will do pears, though if I can get a good deal on them. I'd like to get some more meat canned, too, but that'll come with our next butchering.

Having enough food to get through the bad times makes me feel I can be a lot more in control of at least one part of the situation.

Misery

August 26th, 2017 at 09:00 pm

I haven't posted much this month because truthfully everything sucks and I am so tired of things being so negative every time I do post. I am weepy all the time lately and I am not a weepy person. I feel like we're never going to get out of this situation where bad things happen one after the other after the other and we are given no time whatsoever to get our heads above water and breathe. I feel like I'm drowning and what's worse, I have no desire to keep fighting the current.

This month alone has just shattered me. First Gina dies, then we have to rehome George. Then we find out the news about FIL having six months to live because of the cancer spreading so aggressively. Then we get a visit by the humane society because someone called in an anonymous report about the living conditions of our rabbits. Nobody knows about our rabbits outside of family and two girls that used to be friends with my daughter but have been cyberbullying her for about two years now.

It came to nothing, because the woman who came back to see them said she'd never seen rabbits in such good condition. Everyone had food, water, bedding, and one fan per cage (rabbits don't do well in heat above 75 degrees) in an indoor shed.

Then she asked about our turkeys and I said we didn't have any turkeys, they were long gone. She said the person who called in specifically mentioned the turkeys, so they had no clue that we no longer had turkeys. Everyone who lives around us knew the turkeys were gone.

I asked who had called it in and she said the woman requested to be anonymous. I asked if it was a neighbor and she said no. Then I told her about the girls that have been harassing my daughter (one's a vegan but the militant kind) and she said she'd be sure to note that in her report. Apparently this happens all the time with petty people calling stuff in to try to get people they don't like in trouble. I did later find some FB evidence of gloating so my suspicions are likely correct on who did it.

Then we had to put Kalia down. She broke something in her back when the Med-Evac buzzed too low over the houses again. This is the third or fourth rabbit we've lost because of that stupid helicopter not following the flight height rules when it takes off. It almost hit the neighbor's ham operator antennae a few days ago. The loud noise and the shaking of the building just panics them sometimes. Sometimes we can save them, but she had lost control over her bladder and bowels and it was clear it wasn't just a leg injury, but a back injury, too.

Kalia was a special rabbit to us. She was the first one we had to dropper feed and so we spent a lot of time with her and she was a particular favorite. That one devastated my husband, but that was coming on top of the news about his dad so it all played together.

My daughter had yet another ER visit this month just when we'd finally gotten the last ones paid for and thought we'd be able to relax again. At least $700 will go on her deductible then who knows?

DH had to get a crown and had to pay $650 up front. Then if that wasn't all enough, my c-pap machine quit working. It was 2 months before the five year mark when I could qualify for a new machine, but they were able to get the insurance to agree to get me a new machine now. But it is a $600 machine and I still have $480 left on the deductible so I'll have to pay that up front as well. I can't go without one though. Right now I am using a loaner, but will get the new machine on Monday.

We still don't know whether or not DH will have a job after October and if he doesn't I don't think he will qualify for unemployment only having worked six months since he used up all his benefits. I don't know if my sanity can take another lay-off. I really don't.

I feel like everything is out to get us. I don't know how we are going to get through all this crap. If we had debt right now I think I'd have totally lost it. As it is, I'm ready to just give up, crawl into a hole, and never come out again. How do I fight that when nothing is going right? How do I force myself to stay on top of it all when I just don't care anymore to try?

I've lost my motivation. I guess I just need some encouragement right now.

And So it Goes

August 19th, 2017 at 09:34 am

My father in law was given the news that the cancer has spread and there is nothing further they can do to treat it. They said he has six months to live. It breaks my heart. I love him so much. Having FIL around made me not feel so lost when my own father died. I have to figure out how to be strong for my family, but all I want to do is cry my eyes out.

Payday Report for 8/11

August 12th, 2017 at 12:24 am

$1255.14 BoA Visa
__113.57 BoA Master Card
__125.00 Best Buy (12 months same as cash)
__500.00 August Utilities
__250.00 Chiropractor (won't be paid until 8/28)
__258.00 Medical (Another bill for my ER visit)
___54.54 Medical (DD)
___30.00 Medical (DD)
___11.69 Medical (DD)
------------
$2597.94 Total Bills Paid

I See Blue Skies!!!!

August 12th, 2017 at 12:15 am

Oh, you guys don't know what an amazing lift it is to see the sky again. It is so beautiful and open and freeing to see it. It's like an oppressive force that was pushing down on us is gone. It's so wonderful to see. I finally had hope late last night when we could faintly see Polaris, Jupiter, and the space station (the brightest things in the night sky) peaking though the haze and the moon wasn't orange, it was white.

DH mentioned that maybe part of my problem was that I have seasonal depression in the winter and maybe it was the lack of direct sunlight that was affecting me. I think that may be part of it.

I don't use my Happy Light in the late spring, summer, or early fall because I am outside enough not to need it. But since I couldn't be outside much due to the smoke affecting my lungs, even with the inhaler, I wasn't getting that light and I certainly wasn't getting the benefit of being in the outdoors with fresh air at all.

So that really makes me feel so much better, although it was still a sad day as we said good-bye to our tom turkey George. The lady who is taking him is very nice and she promises to send photos of him with the turkey hens. It was still hard to see him go, but I know it is for the best. It seems so quiet without him, though. I will miss him. He is such a love.

On the practical side, it is one less chore on the farm. The turkey coop will be cleaned out one last time and I think we will tear it down. It'll be too much of a reminder and it blocks the view of the yard from the back windows. I think we will leave the covered courtyard up, though. The chickens go in there when it is raining or snowing so they can be out of the elements while still being outside.

I hope not having a guard animal will be noticed by the local hawks or the nesting pair of eagles that live near the hospital. George won't be there to chase them off. He won't be there to gobble any time someone pulls into the driveway. He won't react to the Medevac helicopter flying over or the firefighting helicopter and airplane when they fly over. Or the coast guard who sometimes fly over as well. Yes, it will be very quiet on the farm, save for the quiet babble of the ducks and the cackling of the chickens. Very quiet, indeed.

I Still Can't See the Sky

August 11th, 2017 at 04:35 am

Today was supposed to be clear, but it still isn't. You can at least see the foothills now, though. It is supposed to rain on Sunday and I really hope it does. It is hard to not be able to go outside much if I want to breathe well. It's too hot to leave the windows closed with it being in the 80's and no A/C.

Today was my daughter's 21st birthday. How did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a twenty-one-year-old child? We went to Outback for dinner. I had lobster and everyone else had steak. It was pretty good, but I can make a better steak at home, which is why I got lobster. Or maybe it is just the difference between grass fed beef(what I have) and corn fed beef.

I did have a couple bites of the steak, because my daughter couldn't quite finish hers, but that only confirmed my call to get the lobster. It was an expensive night, but it's the only time in a year we've gone out to something like this. Tomorrow it'll be back to home-cooking.

Tomorrow MIL and FIL and DH meet with the doctor about FIL going down to the UW hospital and whether or not he is strong enough. They've already said he'd have to do a medical transport if he goes, that he is not strong enough to go in a regular car, not even our van which is very comfortable. They still don't know what is wrong with him, but I have a feeling it is the cancer working on a systemic level. Continued prayers for him would be appreciated.

We are rehoming our tom turkey George. He hasn't been the same since Gina died, and he will be going to a nice lady with 2 Royal Palm hens. I hate to see him go, but my mother has been getting aggressive with him again and of course he reacts to that. Honestly, I'm afraid she's going to hurt him.

She's been acting kind of crazy this week freaking out on everyone for very minor things. I wish we could move. I am so done right now. After everything I did taking care of her, for her to turn on us is just demoralizing. I am never mean to her, not even when her vindictive streak comes out. I am patient and seldom react because I know that's what she wants.

Half the time I feel like I'm the parent and she's an adolescent going through puberty. She sure acts like a 7nth grade girl in full on brat mode. She can never admit when she's wrong. Ever. She doesn't apologize except to say things like I'm sorry you feel that way and even that hardly ever happens. I'm ready to move across the country at this point just to have everything fall on my sisters since that is the only way they will ever do anything.

I want to go somewhere and scream at the sky, but I'm not entirely convinced it is still there. Man, that's really getting to me. I need to see some blue before I go off the deep end myself.

I Can't See the Sky

August 8th, 2017 at 07:40 pm

It's been 12 days since I've been able to see the sky. The smoke haze from B.C. is so bad it is like a ceiling of dirty white overhead. Not like when it is overcast, then you can still see clouds in various shades of grey and white. This is like a lid has been shut over us. Washington state has the worst air quality in the nation right now. Unfortunately, I am having to use my inhaler. It is messing with my lungs.

You take it for granted, seeing the sky. Not seeing it for so long is making it seem claustrophobic, like we are closed in. I can feel it at the back of my neck, making me want to raise my shoulders up and inward against it. I know it is psychological, but the longer it continues, the worse it seems. It makes me feel like I'm in some kind of sci-fi movie where the sky disappears.

The sun and moon through it have been amazing, though. Just brilliant shades of orange shining through to let us know that even if the sky is gone, space is still up there somewhere.

There's not much been going on. I finished up the kidney infection medication and spent a lot of time in bed sleeping during that time. We didn't go out to eat at all for three weeks, but we did get something this weekend and we will go out on the tenth for my daughter's 21st birthday. Then back to not eating out for a good while.

We are up to our ears in gold rush zucchini and patty pan squash. The green zucchini is not doing as well. I lost a lot of them to blossom end rot, so now I am pulling the blossoms off them once they have got to finger size and that seems to be helping. I have green tomatoes now so maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have some red ones.

We lost 2 chickens this week. Henrietta was our oldest chicken. She was six. And then one of the leghorns died as well, but they don't live as long since they are production birds. She was 3. So now we are down to 9 chickens, 6 ducks, and one turkey. We aren't replacing anyone. We thought we might have to get a new turkey hen after Gina died, but George seems to be doing okay now. He's a little sad at bedtime when he's alone, but during the day he seems fine and hangs out with the 3 Barnevelder hens he was raised with.

I didn't do a payday report this week, but all of the money went to pay the AMEX bill in full. That takes care of the last of the medical expenses from the two ER visits and the emergency eye surgery. We still had to pull $3500 out of the Emergency Fund, but at least we didn't have to pay interest on anything.

Maybe in September we can pull ahead again. At least for a little while. Who knows with the job situation still being up in the air like it is.

Gina Died Today

July 30th, 2017 at 05:28 am

Sometimes life just sucks. My poor turkey hen broke her leg and died of shock. Now George doesn't have a mate and he is so despondent. He knows she died. He was whimpering. I hope he will be okay on his own. They were bonded pretty closely. Sometimes I hate being a farmer. Days like today I just want to throw in the towel and give it all up.

Payday Reports for 7/21 and 7/28

July 29th, 2017 at 06:27 am

$2500.00 Citi (7/21)
__250.00 BCC
_3200.00 Citi (7/28)
__102.13 Life Insurance (DH and Me)
__801.46 Various Medical Bills
___90.00 Next Tuesday's Physical Therapy
--------------
$6943.13

So of the $5700 that went to Citi, $5000 of that was medical bills that I kicked down the road from my daughter's ER visit and my ER visit for the torn retina and the accompanying emergency laser eye surgery. I still have about $1200 to pay on Citi before the due date on the 3rd so that will come out of the EF and I'll pay it on the 1st when the money arrives in my account.

The rest of the Citi charges were groceries for the month. I still have an additional $3500 of medical bills that I put on the AMEX card that is due on the 14th, so I'll pay that off with the paycheck on the 4th. There will be just enough in the half paycheck on the 11th to pay for DH's travel expenses and the remainder of the August bills and then he won't get paid again until the next paycheck which won't be until September 1st.

Barring any more medical bills, and I honestly can't do that when things are still trickling in, we should be able to start paying back the EF. Not that that will last long if DH gets laid off again in October. His boss's boss is trying to find a place for him elsewhere in the company because they don't want to lose him now that he's worked for them. Wish they'd had that attitude last August, instead of putting us through 9 months of destroying every financial hope and dream we ever had of staying ahead, in loving partnership with the (Un)Affordable Care Act, of course. But whatever. I'm not bitter, she lied.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

July 28th, 2017 at 01:41 am

I went to the doctor today after being up all night and I have a kidney infection which explains everything in the past month with the exhaustion, the mid-back pain, the headache right where Ben Shapiro wears his yarmulke, the pain in my mid-back, the Charley horses in my calves, the more and more frequent runs to the bathroom, and as of two days ago, what I like to describe as kidney breath where it smells like something died in your throat somewhere.

He gave me an antibiotic, but made me make another appointment for tomorrow. He said if I felt better in the morning to cancel the appointment, but if not to come in and we'd determine whether or not I'd need IV antibiotics. He was pretty worried about me because I fell asleep on the table between when the nurse left and he came in. I told him it was just because I didn't sleep last night, but I don't think he believed me.

So do you think I came home and rested? No, I had a case of apricots that had to be dealt with today. So I made two double batches of jam and have 22 half-pints to show for it. Plus 2 more that went directly in the fridges of my family and my mother. I did it the easy way, though, and just liquified them in the Vitamix instead of cooking them down. It takes a half an hour off of every jam batch. It's a trick I learned a couple years ago when I got fed up with using a hand cranked food mill.

The rest of the apricots are all cut up and ready to be canned tomorrow. The hard part is over. Tomorrow all I need to do is put the apricots in the jars, make a simple syrup, ladle it into the jars, and water bath can it for 30 minutes. I should be out of the kitchen in an hour unless there is more than 7 quarts worth left. I don't think there is, but it's possible there is 8, which would mean doing a second water bath session as the canner only fits 7 quart jars.

I'm not doing anything else for the rest of the night tonight. DD will take over my rabbit duties. And we are all fending for ourselves for dinner. Which means I will likely just go to bed and not bother. I did way more than I should have, but I didn't want $40 worth of organic apricots to go bad. As it was I had to toss a few. I should have done it yesterday, but after physical therapy I was beat. The softest ones went in the jam. The firmer ones go in the jars tomorrow. They hold up better to the canning process.

All right, now I really should go get in bed and hope everything is better in the morning. Oh, and co-pay was $30 and $5.77 for the prescription.

Spendy Day

July 27th, 2017 at 05:50 am

I spent $35.41 on gas today at the Safeway gas station. The van was running on fumes and that bought 16.712 gallons. I paid $2.12 a gallon. I got 10 cents per gallon off for paying in cash and then I had 4 points, so got an additional 40 cents a gallon off.

I end up getting a lot of points from my mother. She doesn't have her own club card, so she just gives them DH's phone number and what she buys counts towards our points. It really builds up fast that way.

I also picked up two prescriptions at Walgreens for $21.08, then swung by the fruit stand and bought nectarines, corn, and watermelon, all from Eastern WA. He has someone who drives over the pass and brings back produce four times a week and he also sells local stuff, but our corn won't be ready until the end of August here, and nectarines and watermelon are not a crop in Western WA.

I also had a two hour session at P.T. today, so that was $120. She did some massage on my foot, because super klutz that I am, I dropped a glass Pyrex storage bowl on it yesterday. I still occasionally drop things randomly due to the nerve damage in my hand.

The medication the rheumatologist gave me seems to be working really well, so I hope it doesn't screw with my eyes. It's the first time I haven't has severe joint pain in ages. I still have it on the left side ankle, hip, and knee, but I don't feel it much on the right side anymore except just in my hand and wrist sometimes as opposed to all the time. I still get the random swelling, but it doesn't stick around for days, just usually 24 to 48 hours now. So a major improvement.

My FIL was in the hospital for four days and has now been moved to a nursing home. I don't think it is for good, just that he needs more care than MIL is capable of giving him. He ended up getting a blood transfusion and IV fluids, but they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. It wasn't his heart (he's had a previous myocardial infarction), it wasn't his kidneys (one only has 4% function as a result of the heart thing), and it wasn't the cancer. His blood pressure was really low, he had a high fever, and chills that wouldn't stop. Prayers for him would be appreciated.

My daughter's new psychiatrist wants her to see a nutritional counselor, but the woman has a two month wait time for new patients. She has a partner that does the same stuff, but that woman doesn't take insurance, so she's out. We can't absorb the cost of anymore out of pocket stuff. The shrink won't see her if she isn't seeing a therapist. I thought the shrink was supposed to take the place of the therapist.

I mean, if she's just there to prescribe pills and not to help fix the underlying problems, she's not that much good to us. Although the new pill is making a major difference and I am glad to have her off the certraline. I've seen huge progress with her anxiety issues and she isn't acting depressed anymore, either. I just wish the medicine didn't make her so sleepy.

DS and I are doing low carb and heading towards the keto diet. It is nice to have someone to do things with. He is carrying an extra 20 pounds he wants to get rid of. He's been going out on 2 hour walks for the last week or so, but he's too self-conscious to go use the gym by himself. If I can stop hurting myself long enough with my clumsiness, we'll start going to the pool together again.

There's not that much else going on. We don't have any pregnant livestock so the youngest babies are coming up on ten weeks old. I don't breed for July or August delivery as it is too hard on the animals with the heat in those months. The garden continues to thrive and produce. So really nothing to speak of on the farm front, either.

I'll try to do a payday report for last Friday tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just wait until Friday and bundle them in one post.

Odds and Ends

July 19th, 2017 at 03:25 am

I fell asleep at 1 a.m. and slept straight through until 10:30, got up long enough to make sure my son had taken care of the animals, drank a glass of water and went back to bed until 2:30. I slept hard. Apparently my body really needed it. I still feel tired, but hopefully I will sleep just as hard tonight and I'll get caught up on this sleep debt.

We weaned kits yesterday. Just Ella's and just the males. I was going to do Persephone's boys as well, but there is something wrong with the cage I was going to put them in, so I have to clean another cage before I can do that. I'll get it done tomorrow.

The garden is going crazy. I've never seen squash leaves this big before and the Brussels sprouts are huge. I am glad I gave them so much space. That is something that is hard for me, because they are so little when you plant them and you have to plant them based on how big they will be and not try to fill in all the space early on.

I spent $64 at Trader Joe's. I stocked up on chicken, lots of eggs (the birds are being slackers), rice, and picked up some Proscuitto.

For dinner tonight I made two new recipes. The first was a lazy version of chicken saltimbocca. I am not all for pounding the chicken out flat or browning or making a wine sauce. I just took the boneless skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them with salt and pepper, laid out a piece of prosciutto, put sage leaves down on it, put the chicken in the center and wrapped the prosciutto around it. The into the cast iron skillet for 30 minutes at 425 on the middle wrack of the oven. Came out perfect and everyone loved it.

Then I made a new version of Mexican rice. Almost everything in that recipe was from Thrive Life, so freeze dried. I used their chopped onions, chopped green chiles, and instant rice, then added fresh garlic, salt, and tomato paste. It was a big hit with my son and my daughter liked it well enough. I thought it was great and will make it again. I really love using the Thrive Life stuff. It is so nice not having to chop stuff up for recipes, just rehydrate however much you need and go to it.

I deposited the refund check from one of our medical bills. It was just $126.03. I haven't decided what I am going to do with it, yet. Probably put it aside for any incoming bills.

DD's appointment yesterday with the eye surgeon made him decide to send her to a neurologist. So we are waiting on a referral for that. The appointment was a $40 co-pay. He also gave her a new medication to try since Topiramate wasn't working for her migraines. I don't remember the cost on that as I bought it was a bunch of other things at the drug store that came to a total of $ 91.53.

I am trying not to be spendy, but sometimes you just have to buy things.

I Swear I am the World's Biggest Klutz

July 17th, 2017 at 05:09 am

I managed to bang my head really hard yesterday, by dropping the shampoo in the shower, picking it up, and hitting the top of my head against the shelf the shampoo sits on. It's not a very big shelf, even. My daughter says I have a quail egg, not a goose egg. My head doesn't even hurt, but my neck and shoulders do from being compressed real hard when I banged my head. I have no concussion symptoms, either, thank goodness. Hopefully the chiropractor can fix my neck tomorrow.

Then just for funsies I got a massive charley horse in my calf this morning as I was doing my wake up stretch. One of those ones that is so bad it makes you cry and then feels like a massive bruise for the rest of the day. I'm like, what the heck, body? It lasted about 10 minutes, but felt like a lifetime. I take potassium and magnesium supplements so I don't get them, but every once in a while I get a zinger. I may have to add some calcium supplementation in, too.

I did work in the garden a lot yesterday and then in the rabbit shed today. I will be glad when the day comes that we can replace some of the cages, because it is really hard to get some of the dropping trays out of the older style cage. I just don't know when that is going to be, or if it is.

DH's work uncertainty is still uncertain. They are back to talking about only having work until October, not December after all. But they are trying to get something okay'd, which would be to keep on a skeleton crew and for DH to move up a level. There would be no raise with the promotion if it were to happen. Which honestly doesn't really concern me, because he'd be getting a year of experience in that position which would make it easier for him to get a different job later.

And yeah, while a raise would be great, really great actually, the income he gets now is sufficient to pay everything and put some money aside, at least once the medical bills from the previous insurance's deductible are fully paid off. And the great insurance through the end of 2018 is worth it, too.

So, yeah, the uncertainty is either a job ending or a promotion. I know which one I am hoping for. Prayers again would be helpful.

I've managed to go an entire week without getting take out. I haven't really stuck to my meal plan at all, though. Just winging it most of the week. And wanting to get take out. It's not like it is even that good. I just have been so tired, but I've made simpler things than I'd planned to compensate. Or making things in simpler ways, like making carnitas in the crock pot so I don't have to babysit them.

I'm going to make a big batch of Mexican rice in the rice cooker tomorrow. I'm on a Mexican food kick right now and am planning on fajitas and enchiladas and possibly tacos later this week. I'll be using some of the freeze-dried foods in preparing them as I won't have to chop anything that way. It makes it go so much faster.

Well, I guess I've rambled enough for one night.

Freedom!

July 14th, 2017 at 06:53 am

Mom got her sling off today and can now do most things for herself and she can drive. I don't know which one of us was happier, her to be able to use her arm more and start doing different exercises...or me that she can now do so many things on her own and I don't have to be doing everything for her all the time.

It's nice not to be tied down to the house all the time anymore and have some of my autonomy back. It's been rough at times, but Mom started talking family histories and showing me photos and it was really interesting. She's going to dig out the family trees as I've been wanting to do an ancestry account for a while now.

There is nothing financial to report. We didn't spend any money on anything at all. We did go to the library, but we were only doing drop/hold pick up and they have certain parking slots that are free for 10 minutes for that very purpose.

I did find a penny today so added that to the coin jar. Other than that I didn't do anything concerning money at all.

Tomorrow I am going to sleep in late if I can manage it and then go over to JoAnn's fabrics. I think I may finally give in and buy a sewing machine. They have some for under $100 that would be a good starter machine and one I could eventually pass on to DD. I need to go and look at them again.

Pick a Title, Any Title

July 13th, 2017 at 06:28 am

This morning I took my daughter to the sleep doctor so that was a $40 co-pay right out of the gate. It's better than the $50 co-pay for specialists on our old insurance. He's got some things he wants her to try, but he won't up her dosage on the sleeping pill to the same level as what I take, which is what she really needs, in my opinion.

After that I had an hour before I had to go to my physical therapy appointment. I found out my therapist's father probably had another stroke. He had been doing pretty well, but in the last few days it's all been downhill again, so they will probably lose him this week. It's sad. We are really good friends after all these years and I hate to see her hurting, especially since she lost one of her best friends a month ago.

He's not her bio-dad, but he is the one who raised her and she loves him more than she loves her bio-dad. She's going back home tomorrow as they think he'll die soon. He's not eating or drinking and not excreting, and it is clear he's shutting down. I hope she can stay strong for her mother and that her brother (it is his bio-dad) can stay strong for her.

It's hard and it is bringing back memories of when my dad died. Three years out I no longer feel the big hole he left. We've managed to fill it in as new babies come into the family. Now it's more of a small hole.

I went to the store to pick up some medicine and grabbed some marked down chicken. It's gmo free and free range chicken wings, that worked out to less than a dollar a pound with the mark down. I also got a flank steak as I've been in the mood for carnitas (made with beef, not pork). I may sub out something in meal plan to make this this week. I bought a couple of magazines as well and ended up spending a total of $61.93.

I finished my Debbie Maccomber novel Starting Now so now have to decide between Rapture by Lauren Kate, which is third in a supernatural YA series I've been reading and Million Dollar Cowboy by Lori Wilde. I'll probably read Rapture first as it has bigger type. They are about the same length, but I'm sure Rapture has less words even though there is a 28 page difference.

Did some work on the novel but it was more timeline stuff and character development.

Well, I best toddle off to bed. Mom has physical therapy in the morning and I have to be up in time to drive her.

Caregiving Makes the Days Seem So Long

July 12th, 2017 at 07:10 am

I didn't sleep so well last night again. Sometimes these things only last a couple days and sometimes they last a week. I hope it isn't going to last a week. I was up early again to take care of the animals and then got a load of dishes going and did a couple loads of laundry. Then I went up and did the first session of physical therapy exercises with Mom, made sure she had breakfast, and got her set up for the morning.

Then I went out to the garden and harvested calendula, echinacea, hyssop, bee balm (bergamot, monarda) and basil. My echinacea is only in its second year so it is not going to be big enough to dig roots for medicinal use this year. Next year it will be, though. But if I use the seed heads it will have a similar effect to how roots work, just not as potent.

I filled the dehydrator with the herbs and got it going and it should be done by morning. With herbs and medicinal flowers you have to set it at the lowest setting to keep the medicinal properties as strong as possible.

I worked in the garden some more after that and then went up to take Mom to her physical therapist. We were there about an hour. Afterwards she wanted to go to Safeway for bread, but ended up walking out of there with a cantaloupe, a watermelon, cherries, nectarines, and apples. Then we finally crossed the store to get the bread and then she decided we needed to go back across the store to get juice. So a lot of walking back and forth and now my ankles and knees are badly swollen, because I was wearing flip flops and not shoes with support.

I managed not to spend anything and thought it would be a NSD for sure, but then kids came around selling chocolate door to door and they had World's Finest without nuts, which I am a goner for. I haven't seem them in years. They are half as big as the ones I had to sell for orchestra and choir were, but still the same old recipe. So I spent $5 for that.

The kid really cleaned up because Mom bought some and the sister formerly known as the Ice Queen happened to be here visiting Mom so she bought some, too. I've really got to come up with a new moniker for her. She has thawed considerably in the last two years.

Then my sister cut up the watermelon and cantaloupe for our mother. I was glad I didn't have to do it as it is hard on my hands due to the rheumatoid arthritis. Mom and I did her second batch of home exercises. We only did two today, because actually going to the physical therapist counts as one.

I did the necessary filming and editing for my next two vids and have uploaded them into the scheduler so they will post automatically at the times I want them to. I have the material for one more. And ideas on what I want to do next.

I am considering doing a 5 or 6 part vid series on What I Learned from Living without an Income for 9 months. I've written it all up in outline format, so I know I can do it, I just don't know if I will. If I do, I'll link to it.

I got a little reading done today and rolled yarn into balls from the skein. No work on the novel, though. It's been too much to add to my stress level.

Well, my eyes are closing in front of me so I better end this and go to bed now. I'll fix any spelling mistakes in the morning.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 11th, 2017 at 07:08 pm

I forgot to post my meal planning for the week. I'll go ahead and start with what I had yesterday, even though we've obviously eaten it. I still like to keep them in 7 day increments for when I look back on them seeking inspiration. This is definitely helping me get a handle on the grocery budget again.

Monday:
Fish and Chips (Sweet potato fries)
Kohlrabi
Plum

Tuesday:
Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken with Sweet Onions
Corn on the Cob
Cole Slaw
Cherries

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Corn on the Cob
Cherries

Thursday:
Chicken Stir-fry with snow peas, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
Egg Fried Rice
Nectarines

Friday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Kohlrabi
Cantaloupe

Saturday:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Mexican Rice
Cole Slaw
Watermelon

Sunday:
Chicken Fajitas (onions, peppers, cheese, flour tortillas)
Mexican Rice
Watermelon

Another Long Day and New Dietbet

July 11th, 2017 at 06:25 am

Today was another very long day. I woke up at 6 a.m. after only getting 4 hours of sleep. I tossed and turned for a bit, hoping to get back to sleep, but I couldn't, so at 7 I got up and let the chickens, ducks, and turkeys out, got them fed and watered and then went and took care of the rabbits.

After that I tried to go back to bed and despite taking a pill, I still couldn't fall back asleep. I listened to a few CreepyPastas on youtube as they usually put me to sleep. The one guy has such a soothing voice, even if they are supposed to be scary stories, that usually knocks me right out. They are more suspense/edge of horror than super freaky.

I did some work for my channel and spent a lot of time downloading all of my photos off photobucket. One of the albums would not download so I had to do all 255 photos in that one individually. Ugh. I spent some time looking for a new hosting service as well.

I wrote 1000 words on my novel, but minor characters keep trying to sneak in and take over the plot. I may have to give them their own novel if they keep this up.

I got some work done in the garden. I've been harvesting a lot of herbs and flower petals for teas, tinctures, syrups, and other medicinal items (I'll be making salve when I get enough calendula). And maybe one with a more creamy consistency as well. I'll have to tweak the ratio of oil to beeswax so it doesn't harden so much. I may try my hand at making lip balm as well.

I went grocery shopping and spent $181. I got some seafood (salmon, cod, shrimp) and stocked up on quite a few items that got really low. I got several cans of peanut butter as they were well below my price point of $2.50 a pound at $2 a pound. I got 4 bottles of ketchup, 20 cans of tuna, some mustard, and some cocktail sauce. I haven't quite gotten the hang of making homemade cocktail sauce yet. I've not used horseradish enough as an ingredient to know where the sweet spot is between not enough and way too much. Usually that comes rather intuitively, but not this time.

They had another 15 pound organic turkey and I was very tempted to get it. We don't currently have space for one in the freezer, though. I have too much ice in it for the chill tank. We butchered on Saturday, so it will be a few more days before they will come out of the chill tank and I cut them up and either package them or chunk them and can them. I'll have to check my canning shelves and see what is needed.

I am debating whether or not to plant string beans. It's late, but we generally have a long, lingering warm fall. Since the peas are done and I've pulled them, and most of the broccoli is done and I've pulled it, I have space to do it. I've got Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake, and Blue Coco Pole Beans as well as Provider Bush Beans, so I've got the seed. Pole beans are generally 65 days from sprouting and bush beans are a little faster, as soon as 55 days sometimes.

So if I get them in now I could have them from early to mid-September through October. And if we get anymore heatwaves it could take less time. The only thing that makes me hesitant is the weird summer we've had so far. I see indicators on several perennial plants that we are going to have an early winter. We generally don't get a hard frost until Halloween.

I also see it in the fact that the rabbits are blowing their coats right now. They usually blow them in early spring and in September, not July. The turkeys are also having an early molt.

I hope to get down to trade or sell some meat with my pastured pork lady this month. The ducks have not been producing enough eggs for egg sales, they are just managing to keep up with the family's needs. The rabbits still manage to pay for their own feed. I've got a gorgeous buck I'm going to put up for sale as a breeder buck soon. He is the sweetest love I have ever raised.

Since he is a broken black New Zealand, I can get $25 for him unproven, and $30 once he's been proven. More if he had a pedigree. Which he does, but I lost it and I've been trying for six months to get the rabbitry I bought the father from to send me the info in an email. He keeps sending it as a text picture to my phone which is incapable of downloading images because it is a dumb phone from 2008 or 2009. The guy is frustrating me.

I may just keep breeding the line long enough that I don't have to worry about it anymore. I just need 3 generations and I have two. This bunny will make 3, so his children can be pedigreed if he's bred with a pedigreed doe, which almost all of my does are. So if I keep a male or a female from those breedings they will have pedigrees.

I do have some rabbits coming up that might be good for 4-H kids for the fair. I've got identical whites for meat pens, of which you have three and they must match as closely as possible. I also have at least one show quality broken red buck, but I am keeping the best of the two to breed with Sadie when she grows up. I also have a show quality solid red buck that would be great for them as well.

Speaking of Sadie, she is doing really well. She's a well-proportioned junior doe, with super soft broken red fur. Any kits I get from her will be stunning, I'm sure. But first she has to grow up. She's only 14 weeks old and needs to be 6 months old for breeding. And the boy I want to breed her with is only 7 weeks old right now. So it'll be closer to her being 8 months old before he is ready to breed, so I may start her with one of the broken black bucks that are old enough. They both carry the possibility of broken reds, not just broken blacks.

Anyway, there has not been more than a month when the rabbits have not paid for themselves in the last 2 years, but then they made up for the missing month later on. Even if I sell to 4-HR's or FFA's at a discount, I'll still make money. Maybe enough that I will break even on the birds, too.

I got a refund check from one of the many medical places my DD has been lately. This was for $126.03. I know a lot of stuff crosses until whatever finishes off the deductible is finally cleared through. I hope we get some more and bigger ones, too. It'll all get shoved back into medical either way.

All right well, I'm about to ramble off to bed now, but wanted to mention I start a new 4 week dietbet tomorrow. If anyone wants to join me on that the link for it is here: http://dbet.me/oEpxBZ I have no idea if that is a referral link or not or if I get anything other than kudos if I get others to join. I just think it might be fun for some of us to do it together.

Photobucket, Thy Name is Mud--Rant

July 10th, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I am so irritated with photobucket right now. It got super greedy and decided to break the internet. Well, the graphics part of the internet, anyway. What they used to do for free they are now charging $399 a year for. So now there are broken graphics links left and right and there is no way to fix them without paying the ransom.

They did this without sending out notifications or warnings, other than, apparently, a tiny paragraph at the end of blog post. Seriously, this is the stuff where you send out announcements ahead of time.

I understand them wanting to make more money, but if you don't store a million pictures on there and only have a few hundred that you've third party posted in various places, you should at least get a small amount of them for free or for a nominal yearly fee like $30. You can get more storage for $10 bucks a month, but you can't get third party hosting unless you pay the huge amount.

So now I have to go across numerous platforms and find all the broken links and figure out how to fix them. Livejournal is going to be a nightmare. Dreamwidth should be easy enough. Others will be complicated and I may not be able to replace the images with a different host as they don't have on domain hosting. There are quite a few I did on this blog that will have to be fixed. Now that photo uploads work here that's fine, but it is going to be tedious to look through 11 years of posts to find the ones I added photos to before they fixed it here. Fortunately my farm blog has on domain hosting for photos, so I won't have to touch that.

I am frustrated, but I am going to go through it all page by page and fix it. I am not giving in to what feels like extortion. I mean, $400, come on! From a previously free ad supported service, with no inexpensive option for the little people, and you only paid if you bought photos or wanted huge chunks of storage before and sat through their ads. I even clicked on a few ads from time to time, because I know that supports them.

I kind of hope people abandon them in droves after this. As soon as I finish getting all of my photos downloaded from their domain I will be out of there. No more purchasing photos from there, nothing. When companies forget about who keeps them in business, it riles me up. Something is going to spring up in it's place. Maybe not free, but far less money than $400 a year.

Now I just have to remember how to edit headers on LJ and DW. It was hard enough the first time. I hate working in html. I'll have to do a refresher course. And learn how to use to on domain hosting there, because I never did get the hang of it before.

I can get behind wanting to increase a company's profits, but I can't get behind exorbitant greed like this. /rant

Things I've Enjoyed Lately--Inexpensive or Free

July 8th, 2017 at 10:24 pm

I felt somewhat inspired today to share some of the things I have been enjoying lately.

1. Portland Bee Balm. This comes in unscented (hallelujah!) and mint. This is probably the best lip balm I have ever used. It lasts for a long time and when it wears off, I don't feel the incessant need to reapply it like I do with other balms. Chapstick and Blistex, I'm looking at you. This one leaves my lips soft and unchapped. With others it always seems my lips are in the exact same condition when it wears off as they were when I put them on.

I ordered a case of 20 today since the store that was carrying them quit carrying them. Total cost with shipping was $49.99, which works out to $2.49 a stick. When I was buying it in the store it was $3.99 a stick. Everyone in my family uses these. It may take us a while to get through 20, but in the end it saves us money because I am constantly buying lip balm for everyone.

2. The show Travelers on Netflix Streaming. This is a wonderful show with a fantastic ensemble cast. It's science fiction, time travel with a unique premise. It's made by the Candian company Showcase and if you've had any experience watching their stuff, you'll know it is of great quality. The acting and the writing is wonderful and it is currently filming season 2.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99LZwZmSoNo

I have to say that Netflix is really stepping up its game. A lot of the original programming they first came out with was head scratching and eyebrow raising, but they've started to hit it out of the park a lot more in the last year or so. It is a nice, inexpensive option to cable and such a good value, too.

3. The Rule of Thre3 series by Eric Walters. I was finally able to read the third book in the series (when the library finally purchased it), Will to Survive, which was the best so it goes out on a high note. The entire series is an enjoyable read, though, if you like TEOTWAWKI fiction, especially young adult TEOTWAWKI fiction, which I love. The scenario in this one is a computer virus which makes the entire electric grid go down around the world.

It was well written and less predictable than most. I even had one or two moments when I was actually surprised. The main characters were well developed and the side characters were too unless they were peripheral. I finished the trilogy wishing there was going to be another book.

4. Crocheting. I'm still working on my Starburst granny squares. It may take me a year to get this blanket made, but it is such a mind relaxer. And since the yarn is pretty darn cheap, especially when you get it on sale, I end up spending maybe $10 every two months on yarn. I had hoped to get it done for the fair, but I don't think that will happen. Maybe next year's fair. Hopefully it will be done by winter, but I'm not holding my breath. I can only do so much with the arthritis.

5. Kohlrabi. I have been harvesting a ton of kohlrabi from the garden the last two weeks. Kohlrabi is a very versatile vegetable. You can cook the greens as well as using the "bulb" that is the most common reason for growing it. I use the term bulb loosely, because it technically isn't, though that is what it looks like. It is an above ground swelling of the stem. It's a member of the brassica or cruciferous family and eaten raw tastes like a cross between a mildly sweet apple and a very mild radish, with a hint of kale. Eaten cooked, it tastes somewhat sweeter. I never get tired of it and it is a welcome change to all the lettuce I've been having since mid-spring. If you've never tried it, you should. It's a great low-carb vegetable with a great crunch and as good for you as kale.

Well, I know that list was random and only one of them involved spending money, but it is what was on my mind today, so there you go.


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