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DH Thinks Things Went Well

February 25th, 2017 at 11:30 am

DH's job interview went really well. It was a four person interview so it turns out going down was a much better decision than doing a phone interview. They sent him 3 follow up questions by email when he got home and would like them answered by Tuesday. DH is going to work on them this weekend and so he can have them waiting for them on Monday to show promptness and meeting a deadline early.

Turns out that the job would not be located where they are, but will be moving about a series of temporary offices as each section of the work is completed. He would probably only have to go to the main office once a month for a meeting.

They are hiring for 4 different jobs, same position, and it sounds like one of them is perfect for DH's experience, though he could do all of them. They said he would hear back from them either way in a week and a half to two weeks.

They were very happy that DH was able to come in immediately for an interview, too. He applied on Monday, they called him on Thursday, and he interviewed Friday. DH feels the interview went very well for the most part, though his mind blanked right at the very beginning. Fortunately he was able to get through it and things went smoothly after that.

This would be a very good company for him to work for. Everything I have ever heard about how they are as employers is good. They have great benefits and a stock purchase option that is not available to the general public, but is to employees. I have wanted to buy stock in this company for two decades. Once you have it you can DRIP it even if you are no longer employed so can't buy more. But this company would be an excellent one to stay with.

They haven't mentioned salary, but won't unless he gets hired. But we know the typical salary for the position and it would be enough to live on and allow us to start paying my mother again. And build our Emergency Fund back up again, and start saving our money towards a down payment again, and DH could start taking one class at a time online for his Bachelor's Degree.

I would really appreciated prayers these next two weeks for DH to get this job. It would be so perfect now that we know the details. I know I will be praying hard.

DH Has a Job Interview

February 23rd, 2017 at 11:55 pm

DH has a job interview tomorrow in Kent, which is in between Seattle and Tacoma. That is a long way to go. I guess they offered him an in person interview or a phone interview, but he felt it was better to do one in person. He didn't check with me first, though, so I had to rearrange my appointment for tomorrow, but thankfully I could.

Normally he could take his dad's truck if there is a conflict, but he wanted the GPS in the van. I don't blame him. It gets us to unfamiliar places easily and it also tells us where there is heavy traffic, accidents, or standstills coming up.

While I can drive the truck, I have a really hard time getting into it. I have to use a step stool to get in, because his dad has the tires jacked up so high and the grab bar is located in the wrong place for pulling yourself up. There is no running board. And that's on the passenger side. On the driver's side, the steering wheel does not lift up high enough, so I have to twist in a way that generally tweaks my back and leads to muscle spasms for days. It's fine if I am sitting there driving, though I prefer a higher set steering wheel, but it is hard to get in under. If it was lower, I could just step in instead of climbing in and having to twist. *sighs*

So he'll be back at least two hours before my appointment so that should build in plenty of time for traffic jams. Heaven forbid there are protests on the interstate, because it is Seattle and it is Friday and that's what they do there. A lot. They've started charging people though, so it is starting to taper off.

I'm not terribly keen on Kent, though. Housing is in the $600K range and there is pretty much nothing available. Everything listed is under contract. It would be a bear of a daily commute from here. I don't see how we could afford to live there. I don't think he'd get paid enough. I'd rather move to Arkansas than to the Seattle area.

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.


A Few Quick Errands

February 22nd, 2017 at 08:49 pm

Today we spent most of the day working on the new canning shelves that we are building, but in the late afternoon we did run to Costco for eggs (we are not getting enough from our birds and organic eggs are cheapest there) and picked up a few things for my mother. We stopped by Winco to pick up a case of the soup my daughter likes and to get Mom Kraft Singles because they were out at Costco. They were also out of salt and pepper grinders at Costco or I'd have picked those up since we are low on both. We spent $12 at Winco.

After Winco we ran to Dollartree to get 2 cases of the soup my son likes and spent $24 there. It is just a couple buildings away from Winco. It'd be a lot easier if both kids liked the same type of soup. I am not sure how much we spent at Costco as the receipt appears to have gone on walkabout, but it wasn't much.

We have to do some more work on the shelves tonight. I have done so much sanding in the last few days that I feel like I'm developing serious upper arm muscles. Thankfully it is an electric sander and I don't have to do it all by hand.

My physical therapist cancelled today's session as she is sick again. She has tentatively rescheduled me for Friday, but I'm not holding my breath. I need to be finding a new one soon anyway as she will be moving in October when her lease is up. Which is a bummer, but I'm sure I'll find someone else. We are close friends though after all these years, so we have determined we will write letters the old-fashioned way to each other when she goes. I don't need to go as much as I used to, fortunately.

Not much else to go on. DH did apply for a job where they've looked at his resume a couple of times. The people who are recruiting for that tell you how many times your resume has been viewed by each job you apply for. Hopefully an interview will come out of it.

I got a bit more writing done on my novel yesterday. It's coming along. Actually, I'm working on two, but this is on the classic romance novel, not the epic fantasy one. I'd like to finish this one in a couple of months and self-publish on Amazon. I just need to stick to the writing schedule I've set. Then hopefully we'll have one more income stream.

I Forgot to Post My Meal Plan

February 21st, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Monday:
Herb Roasted Chicken-Baked Potatoes-Salad-Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Leftovers

Wednesday:
Beef ribs-Sweet Potatoes-Broccoli-Oranges

Thursday:
Pasta Romana with Pesto-Salad-Apples

Friday:
Meatloaf-Sweet Meat Squash-Cole Slaw-Canned Nectarines

Saturday:
Nightshade Free Tacos-Salad-Canned Pineapple

Sunday:
Carbonara (w/bucatini)-Meatballs-Cole Slaw-Oranges

Two New Projects Underway

February 19th, 2017 at 10:07 pm



My new project is teaching myself to crochet. I can do the chain stitch (which is easy and I've known how to do since I was a kid) and the crochet stitch so far. It took me a good five hours to get the crochet stitch down. I kept crocheting and unraveling and starting over again. I think I've got it fairly well, so now I have to learn a new stitch.

I got bored with loom knitting and someone in my family kept posting cool crochet projects, so I thought it was time to try again. It's a great thing to do while I'm listening to my internet Bible study. Job is a little hard to get through (although it feels very relevant), so it helps to have something to occupy my hands while I listen. But I digress. I want to eventually make some blankets and then move on to cute toys.

My husband's project is that he is finally building the canning shelves out of all those high quality pallets we scored earlier this fall. He put the prototype shelf together today and tomorrow he (with some help from me) will put together the first unit. The bookcases we are using now are only 3 jars deep and 7 jars wide, so 21 quart jars per shelf.

The new cases will be 5 jars deep and 6 jars wide, so 30 pint jars per shelf. There are five shelves on the old cases, and this will have quite a few more shelves, so I ought to be able to fit a lot more jars on them.

It will also have the shelves spaced so they are the height of the jars, plus one inch. No wasted space. When our living space is so limited as it is, this will make a big difference. And they will have a lip on each shelf to keep the jars in place if there is an earthquake. I am excited to see this finally come to fruition.

Most of the wood in it will be free. We have to buy four 2 x 4's per unit (people don't give away good 2 x 4's) and DH bought a two pound box of screws for $20. We bought the first four 2 x 4's, so that was $10. We are hoping to only put about $15 worth into each set of cases. Since we have a steady supply of pallets, this might be something DH can put together for other people as well and sell them. It would be a nice side income stream if it panned out. We'll have to see how long it takes to put one together and also how long it takes to disassemble all the pallets before deciding on a price.

He can also build spice shelves and regular bookcases, too. You can't find solid wood bookcases for less than $150. Just plywood and press wood with veneers on them. So if we priced them right, they'd probably sell decently. We'll have to see, though. Right now, I want my cases and my spice rack that can hold my gazillion jars of spices.

I Got a Lot Done Today

February 18th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I did some cooking for the freezer today. I made up a big batch of pork fried rice and one of rabbit fried rice, so I now have 9 bags (7 from today, 2 from last time) of that in the freezer. It would be one more but my husband decided he had to eat some. It used up leftovers nicely.

I also made up some calzones. These are much easier to make than pizza snacks. The calzones are for my son's lunches. It saves me from having to cook something for lunch for him every day and he likes it much better than eating sandwiches. I can vary the filling in these from pepperoni, ham, or sausage or put in onions and peppers. These ones all get tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I also have made some in the past using leftover taco meat, leftover chili, and leftover sloppy hoppies.

Then I made a huge loaf of French bread. Usually I make two loaves with this recipe, but I was tired and so just made it into one big one. It turned out great, just had to bake it for an extra five minutes. I am so happy with this recipe. The bread is nice and soft inside, but a good crunch to the crust. It toasts beautifully for making garlic bread, but untoasted it makes good sandwich bread, albeit not the typical shape.

Then I made a huge batch of pancakes. So I had my hands in carbs for most of the day, it felt like. I barely eat this type of carb myself, but I do have to feed everyone else.

I am back on my diet for 3 days now and have lost 4.6 pounds. This is good because I really needed to get back on that wagon. I've gained back almost all of what I lost in the past year, so ugh. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going. I went off the weight loss drugs as I didn't feel any benefit from them after the first couple of months and I think they were screwing with my sleeping pattern. It's been more normalized since I quit them.

I will be getting my first paycheck from the Google AdSense/Youtube stuff soon. Just waiting to have my checking account verified for direct deposit. It is just for 20 days, but I am pretty happy with it. I can't disclose how much, it's against the terms and conditions. It's not going to be something we can live on, but as a side income, it isn't something to sneeze at, either. Once DH is working again, I could build our savings back up and then after that start on an IRA. It's nice to have the possibility.

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

February 17th, 2017 at 01:17 am

Yeah, so I've been quiet, but I'm alive. I had a very bad virus, or possibly the flu, that put me down hard for about a week. I came down with it the night of the 2nd, but it didn't hit hard until the night of the 6th and then I was down for the count. Oh, it was a rough one. I slept for about 4 days straight at that point and then finally began to feel human again on my birthday, the 12th. Human enough to make a cake anyway. I'm 47 now.

On the 13th I felt up for going to Costco. We were out of a lot of staples like flour, sugar, salt, cheese, and were almost out of toilet paper. I also bought some chicken, fish, and frozen broccoli. I had planned to pick up my birthday present, too, a food processor, but they didn't have them anymore.

On the 14th I felt like I was relapsing so I went back to bed and took it easy. On the 15th I had physical therapy and went to Walmart and bought a food processor there. Now we can give MIL back her ancient one that travels all over when you use it and shakes so bad I was always afraid it was going to fall apart in front of me.

I also went to see if I could find some tennis shoes because all I have now are loafers and flip flops. I found some Dr. Scholl's that actually fit in width, so I could buy a size 9 instead of a size 11. They have great gel insoles, too. I bought two pairs of the same shoe and will put one up in the closet until the first pair wears out. It is so hard for me to find shoes that fit. And I picked up two new nightgowns as I had to toss one that got eaten by something and all torn up and the other is wearing so thin it is practically see-through and not at all appropriate to be wearing in front of my teenage son.

As much as I don't like spending right now, I don't feel bad about these purchases. The food processor helps so much in shredding cheese, cabbage, and onions alone. It saves me so much work and makes it so much easier on me to cook at home. It also saves money to do these things at home as cheese is cheaper in blocks, cabbage is cheaper not pre-shredded, and onions are cheaper not pre-chopped. And the shoes and nightgowns were needed. Well, maybe only one pair of shoes was needed, but as hard a time as I have finding them, I felt it prudent to get the second pair now.

DH got me a single red rose for Valentine's Day. We usually don't bother with the holiday at all, feeling it's a commercial made up holiday, but he bought me one and I do like having it as it slowly opens. I also got a Fragrant Jewels bath bomb for my birthday that had an amethyst and silver ring inside that I used on Valentine's Day. Very pretty piece of costume jewelry and a very nice soak in the tub full of purple water.

I'm still running low on my reserves from the virus, so I have to be careful not to push too hard. I am back to eating nutritionally (i.e. more than ice cream, soup, and tea). My son is over the virus, my husband is a few days behind me, and my daughter is still in the middle of it, but at least on the upswing.

I'm going to try to make the rest of the month be no spend except for medicine and milk.

Menu Planning Week Six

February 6th, 2017 at 03:53 pm

So I bought some oranges and some cabbage as it is cheaper than lettuce and will last a lot longer and we will be having cole slaw instead of salads when I want those at dinner time. I did get the purple cabbage so it will be pretty as well as have more vitamin content. Everything else is food we have on hand and I am going to try to be keeping to that as closely as possible.

I made Wednesday an easy crockpot day. I will make the Kaiser rolls the day before. They are easy.

Monday:
Beef Stew--All home canned beef potatoes, carrots, and parsnips
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Tuesday:
Leftover Casserole--Frozen turkey and stuffing from Christmas, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning, cream of chicken soup, tater tots
Frozen Broccoli
Home canned nectarines

Wednesday:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches--Pork roast from our pig share with homemade Garam Masala (nightshade free)
Homemade Kaiser rolls
Canned Pineapple
Cole slaw

Thursday:
Homemade Pizza--frozen ham, frozen sausage, pepperoni, onions, home canned sauce, cheeses
Cole slaw
Oranges

Friday:
Mild Curried Rabbit with homemade curry powder (nightshade free)
Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Frozen Plums

Saturday:
Picnic Ham
Sweet Potatoes
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Sunday:
Belgian Waffles
Leftover Ham
Oranges
Frozen Broccoli

Taxes Done, Unemployment, Cutting Back, and Helicopter Antics

February 5th, 2017 at 09:22 pm

DH did our taxes today and we will be getting back $9043.02. Most of this is due to medical expenses. This will be a welcome boon to our bank account and should cover about 2 months of living expenses. DH only gets unemployment until the middle of March and then it ends. I never imagined he'd be unemployed this long.

The interview he had earlier did not pan out. He was too over-qualified and it was an entry level position. He said he would work it no matter what it was, but that's not what they wanted. It is frustrating.

He put in for some upcoming stuff at Hanford, so maybe something there will pan out. At this point I don't care where we have to move, though I'm not thrilled about some of the possibilities.

It feels like everything is grinding so slowly. I just want to get back to some kind of normal life where we don't have this hanging over us anymore.

After today's transfer we are down to just over $35,000 in savings. Today's transfer will pay for all of February's expenses with a little left over towards March. I try to make only one transfer a month.

I am going to try to belt-tighten some more, but it is getting hard to find places to do so. I don't want to cut out all fresh fruits and vegetables for canned, but I may have to until it is warm enough to grow lettuce and spinach. I'm making bread and rolls now and that is helping a bit. We were spending a lot on that. I always forget how expensive it is in comparison to making it and with the Kitchen-Aid it is not hard at all to make it.

Oh, my goodness that freaking helicopter just flew too close to the house. I don't think that was the Med-Evac as it is still flying around and didn't land. Med-Evac is supposed to fly above a certain height and is supposed to circle around and come in over the freeway, not the neighborhoods. This was so low it shook the house, the windows were rattling, things fell on the floor. I wonder if there is a man-hunt going on? Excuse me while I go double check that the doors are locked.

Oh, it's back... Dang, that helicopter barely cleared the neighbor's ham operator antenna. It's not Medi-Evac, no cross on it. I can't tell if it is a police chopper or a news media one. If it is news media I am going to be peeved. I can't see any markings, but they are shining a spotlight. Man, I hope I don't lose any rabbits. I've had low-flying helicopters freak them out enough that one broke her back and died. I can hear the tom turkey freaking out. *sighs*

So anyway, I'm just not sure what other cuts to make right now. I hate to take away the kids' allowances as they work really hard with the animals. They both know it might be coming, though.

Well, maybe I am just going to have to try to cut the food budget even further. I can manage with only oranges for fresh fruit. We can give up the more expensive spinach and eat more cabbage. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive. At least I don't have to worry about buying meat, though.

I might have to cut back on my physical therapy, but it is being so effective right now, I would hate to do that. Might finally give up the DVD's on Netflix. I hate to, it's our only entertainment, but if we do, we do. That's the way the ball bounces.

Some Good News but Not That Good News

February 4th, 2017 at 06:15 pm

Nothing on the job front. This good news is about my body. Last week the physical therapist tried a new treatment on me. I went in on Monday and then again on Wednesday. I felt improvement after the first time and after the second I was kind of shocked. Guys, I am walking without pain. I am sitting up without pain.

Things had gotten so bad that even going to the grocery store was getting really hard. Forget going to more than one grocery store in a day. One trip would wipe me out for the rest of the day and night. The day after the first treatment we easily went to three stores. Then on Wednesday we went to two. No limping, no pain, no having to recover from it all afterwards.

The only issue is I have very little stamina. I'm weak because I haven't been in the pool since late October when I got so sick and then hurt myself so bad in November when I fell. So while I can walk okay now, I tire very quickly. I will have to work on that. I am going to attempt to start using the treadmill again. Just 5 minutes a day to start and then add on and see how I do.

I can sit in a chair now for more than 5 minutes without having to shift my position. Or throw my legs over the arm while sitting half sideways. It is really remarkable. I hope it lasts. So far it seems to be. I will get another treatment on Wednesday. If I can start walking again when the whether warms up I will be such a happy person.

It may be a few days before I start up the regimen, though. My PT had a cold that she said she was over, but she coughed in both sessions and I came down with it Thursday evening. It feels like the plague, I swear, though it is probably just a very bad head cold. I am treating with elderberry tincture, elderberry syrup, honey/lemon/ginger/garlic tea, and the lovely orange, pseudophedrine, mucus relief pills, and blue/green cold pills. That allows me to function enough to eat, shower, and dress myself, but not much else. Hopefully it will pass soon.

So my PT is on both my good and bad list this week. I think walking wins, though.

Gross, Yahoo

February 3rd, 2017 at 09:20 am

Just a warning. If you don't want to start your morning off with a full frontal of a naked obese man, stay off your Yahoo News Feed today. It links to a Huffington Post article. Of course. No way to flag the stupid thing, either. It cannot be unseen. Yuck.

Some Small Kitchen Purchases

February 2nd, 2017 at 04:40 pm

Today I made some kitchen purchases that I have been putting off for a while. I decided to go ahead and get what I needed today as in the long run it will lower my costs and/or be helpful to my cooking from scratch to keep food prices lower.

First I bought a new extra large pizza crisper pan. The old one had warped and taken on a really bad patina that seemed to causing the crusts on my pizzas to burn in that area. The pan was very old. It isn't the oven because the small pizza pan that is the same brand and type, but does not have the patina on it, did not burn.

Since we frequently make homemade pizza and calzones and pierogies, only having the smaller pan was meaning cooking in multiple batches, which means the over is on longer and nothing is done all at once.

Second, I bought a microwave popcorn popper. We eat a lot of popcorn and microwave popcorn is expensive, especially for the kind with no additives. Popcorn kernels are cheap. I can get a 1 pound bag of organic popcorn for $2 and a regular bag for $1 (at Dollartree). It was $15 means that I'd have to buy six boxes of organic microwave popcorn 3 packs to equal the cost. So that would be 18 bags worth. Halfway through the first bag of kernels I will break even. Since I already had 2 bags of popcorn kernels on hand, I didn't have to buy that.

I did make some popcorn when I got home. The instructions have it go too long, but I know what it needs to be now. The popcorn tasted so much better with fresh butter and a bit of salt and I only ate one salad bowl full and was satisfied. With microwave popcorn there is an urge to eat the whole bag. Even with the organic, there has to be something in the butter spray to encourage eating more. So that was an unexpected bonus.

Third, I bought a good bread knife. Now that I am baking our bread and rolls again, I needed a good serrated knife for that. It makes a big difference in cutting homemade bread evenly and to the correct size without tearing the loaves.

Fourth, I bought a metal mixing bowl for my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. It is light weight. The bowl that came with my mixer is made of glass and it is really heavy. With the ligament damage in my wrists it is really hard for me to deal with the heavy glass bowl. I also have a tendency to drop things sometimes. The damage seems to have cross-wired some nerves so sometimes my hands just lose their grip randomly.

It is hard for me to maneuver it in the sink to clean it, so I generally had to rely on someone else to clean it and it can sit a day or two until someone gets tired me asking and they get around to it. With this lighter weight bowl I can clean it easily myself and get it back into production without nagging. There have been times when I simply haven't made something I might have otherwise, because I couldn't clean the bowl. Now that issue will be gone. If the color stand mixer I had wanted hadn't only come with a glass bowl I would have got one that came with a metal bowl to begin with.

All in all, I feel good with my purchases. Even with keeping costs down as much as possible, I felt these were things that help and were worth the extra cost at this time. It is weird to have to weigh each purchase so closely. It has been a long time since I've had to do that.

Who is in Charge of SA Now?--Issues

January 27th, 2017 at 06:46 pm

Does anyone know who is in charge of SA now and how to contact them? I have been trying to update my blog photo avatar for a couple of weeks now and it fails every time. I delete the old file and update changes. It's gone. I choose the new file. It appears to upload, but when I hit update changes the old photo reappears, even though I deleted it. I can upload photos to the blog without problems. I went into the forum side of things to my account to see if I could upload an avatar there and it won't upload a custom avatar there either. It says upload fails every time. I have tried with a .gif, a .png, and even with an html file. Nothing works. So who do I need to talk to?

Job Front

January 27th, 2017 at 04:18 pm

DH has a job interview scheduled for Monday. It's a phone interview. He submitted his resume on Monday and heard from them yesterday, so that's got to be a little promising right? Considering how many resumes he's submitted in the past several months and how slow to never companies are to respond, having someone jump on it that quickly inspires some hope. I guess I'm cautiously optimistic.

It's not an oil based job, but its all stuff he has the experience to do and their benefits package is phenomenal. He never heard more from the hiring company about the refinery HR he was meeting with. I don't really know if that means anything. That hiring company guy seems a little scattered and certainly isn't prompt about getting back to DH ever. Which makes me wary, despite them having a good reputation.

If he gets hired on with this company it might mean moving closer to Seattle or it could mean moving out of state or to Eastern WA. I don't know. I am certainly not stuck on living here forever, but I certainly don't want to live in Seattle with the frequent protests snarling what is already nasty traffic.

Well, I suppose I'm putting the cart before the horse. This is just a phone interview. He has to do well there to even get an in person interview. Though he does tend to interview well. Here's hoping. He'll run out of benefits pretty soon.

Does anyone know if President Trump has rescinded the part of Obamacare that requires you to purchase health insurance yet? I know part of it has been, but I've lost track of all of it. I don't know if that part will be taken out, but if it is, we are cancelling our insurance immediately. Our savings will last a lot longer without it and our medical out of pocket will be 1/3 or less of what it is now.

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 4

January 23rd, 2017 at 03:08 pm

I am trying for a relatively easy week for meals since I want to do some batch cooking for the freezer. I have two time-consuming but easy recipes and 5 dead easy ones on the agenda for dinners this week. That's definitely how I have to plan for things if I want to do some freezer cooking for lunches and snacks. Organization is key when you are cooking everything from scratch and when you are trying to save money. There's a reason they call it a meal PLAN.

Monday:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Salad
Oranges

Tuesday:
Homemade Pizza
Salad
Oranges

Wednesday:
Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Home Canned Applesauce or Home Canned Pears (depending on the person)

Thursday:
Black Pepper Chicken
Rice
Canned Pineapple

Friday:
Tacos
Oranges

Saturday:
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Cucumbers
Oranges

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Any Leftover Canned Fruit or Oranges

End of Week Catch-Up

January 22nd, 2017 at 06:42 pm

I haven't posted in a couple of days as stuff has been somewhat busy here. I made a huge batch of Rabbit Stir-Fried Rice for the freezer. I usually make this once a week with whatever leftover meat I have. Right now I'm working with just an electric skillet and the microwave for the most part as I don't have access to the oven/stove top every day. So it's a stir-fry, but only sort of, since I'm not using a wok and I vary the temperature a lot.

I ended up with 5 bags for the freezer and a bowlful for my son. If we have rice as a side, quart baggy is good for the whole family. But generally my son eats the whole bag for lunch along with more eggs. It's cheap and it fills him up without him having to eat a bunch of bread, so I'm happy to do it. And it is way cheaper than buying the bags of chicken fried rice from Trader Joe's.

If any of you want to see how I make it, there's a vid on my youtube channel you are welcome to watch, but fair warning it is 22 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXQM1fufEk I also have one for making garlic powder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukXxytlFld8 and the one for making onion powder as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyd_bLDBaaA&t=24s I know a couple of you had expressed some interest in those.

I'm dehyrdating lots of garlic and ginger, but these ones I'll keep in pieces and vacuum seal. Then later on when I run out of powder I can grind them then. It will make them taste much fresher than making it all into powder now.

I determined the sexes of Ella's kits, 3 girls and 3 boys. One of the girls that is a broken black looks very promising in both spots and coloration, so I may keep her and breed her back to Zander. We'll see. Persephone's litter is doing well. They are adorable.

I have been trying to figure out what I am going to plant in the garden this year. I listed it all out earlier in the month, but now I'm trying to get down to the knitty gritty and figure out how much room I have versus my desires and expectations. I always have to scale down as I just don't have the space to grow all of what I need. I have to inventory my current seeds as well.

I reorganized the canning shelves so now all of the fruit is together, all of the meats are together, and more of the vegetables are together. We still have a lot of home canned food, not near as many gaps as I was expecting considering how heavily we have drawn from them. I am down to two shelves plus two jars of green beans, though. So that's definitely going to have to be a big grow this year. I was planning on doing some, but I know now that I'll need to triple what I had planned on growing.

My kids have learned how to make rice balls and are big batching them for the freezer. They are learning to make their own "convenience" foods since we are buying less and less. I am trying to get down to not buying any convenience foods at all, but I've been taking it gradually. Next up is pizza snacks, which should be very easy. I might make a big batch of pizza calzones as well. My son especially likes it when we have those on hand. Making a double or triple batch is not really that much more work when the Kitchen-Aid does all the dough kneading.

We have continued to go through boxes and weed out a lot of stuff. In another month I may have a usable living area again. I am tired of the mess and having to work around everything all the time. With having to do so much from scratch I could really use the extra space for big batch assembly line stuff. That's our biggest area where we can save money, so it's important for me to be able to do it easily. If it's hard I won't want to and it'll be hard to get help as well.

There has been some more job interest poking up, but nothing concrete yet. Hopefully we'll hear more soon. Continued prayers would be appreciated.

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 3

January 18th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I forgot to post my meal plan for this week. We ate leftovers for Monday and Tuesday and will be again tonight. I will have to pick up a couple of items this week like milk, green onions, and oranges and I will swing by the reduced meat bin. Sometimes they have organic chicken thighs, legs, or wings marked down really low for quick sale and it's cheaper than regular. I freeze it immediately so it doesn't matter if the use by date is that day or the next day. I am almost out of chicken in the freezer from when we butchered last. Most of what is left is either cut up for stir-fries or backs and necks which are for making soup.

Anyway, here is the plan for the rest of the week.

Wednesday:
Leftover casserole (shredded rabbit meat, sour cream, Pacific condensed cream of chicken soup, Mexi-blend cheese, and tater tots)
Broccoli
Pears (home-canned)

Thursday:
Whole Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken
Fried Potatoes
Coleslaw
Pears (home-canned)

Friday:
Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli with pesto
Salad
Oranges

Saturday:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Garlic Bread
Green Beans
Nectarines (home-canned)

Sunday:
Apricot Honey Pork Ribs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Sub Night if too tired to really cook:
Pancakes and Ham




Struggling with Spending

January 17th, 2017 at 06:40 pm

Yesterday we bought a new mattress. It was a hard decision to make to go ahead and buy it. I'd been wanting to wait until DH was employed again, because the less savings we use the less we'll have to make up for later. The pain in my back and hips was bad enough though, that I finally decided we had to do it. We were able to take it home last night and it has made a world of difference already.

I can't believe how expensive mattresses are now. We got a good deal for ours in the MLK day sale and they are getting rid of the 2016 model, so it was less because of that, too. For our King-size Beautyrest mattress, we paid $1032.60, including tax. For the same mattress for the 2017 model it would have cost $500 more. This isn't even with boxsprings.

Boxsprings would have increased the price another $500. I won't buy boxsprings anymore, though, because they are worthless. They are built with 1" x 1" or 2" x 2" wood and they fall apart within 6 months. We have a platform we built for the mattress several years ago and it is strong and sturdy and supportive.

Most of the mattresses in there were over $2000. I saw Tempurpedic mattresses that were $4500. But the price on iComforts and the Beautyrests tended to be $2000 to $2500. That is ridiculous to me, even for King-size ones. I am glad we found something in our price range was $1000 to $1500. And that it is comfortable.

In talking to the sales person, the mattress companies seem to have discontinued the flippable mattresses. He said most people were too lazy to flip and rotate properly so they did away with it. I think it has more to do with planned obsolesence though. The old-style mattresses could last for 15 to 20 years with proper care. These ones last 5 to 7 years, 10 if you are lucky.

We brought the new mattress home ourselves and we took our old one to the dump. They charge a mattress removal fee if you have them do it and it is higher than what the dump charges. It wasn't even good enough to be set at the end of the driveway with a free sign. That's what we usually do with old mattresses and they are gone the same day. But not this time. It wasn't until we had it up on its side and were taking it out that we realized how caved in it was. There was no support on either side. The only part still good was the middle section.

This one is really thick compared to our old one. We went back to coils. The iComfort we had did not have coils and I think that turned out to be a problem after a couple of years, but we had it much longer than that. This one is pretty firm and I may have to put a small mattress paid on top still, I haven't decided, but it is definitely working for my back.

I just wish I had been able to put it off longer, because I don't like making such a huge purchase out of savings. It was such an emotional struggle. Even for something that was clearly badly needed. It is just hard to keep seeing savings go down every month. I am trying to keep the faith that it will soon be over, though. I am just worried about what might happen to the oil industry this weekend if everything goes catawumpus and for some reason power is not relinquished properly to the other side. I want it all to be over-blown nonsense, but I'm at the point where its 50/50 in my head. Too darn much is going on.

Making Do

January 16th, 2017 at 12:52 am

We are out of garlic powder. Even though we have a ton of garlic in the garlic braid I made this summer from what I grew in the garden, sometimes I just like to use garlic powder. I put it in the dough for my homemade pizza and I use it to make the parsley butter sauce for my garlic pull apart bread. I like to add it to my bone broth, which I don't season when I make it, but a pinch of it in a mug of broth is perfect.

We are at the stage where we just can't run to the store for any little thing we are out of. The more we go to the store, the more we spend, so the goal is to simply stay out of the store as much as possible.

To that end I am making homemade garlic powder. It's really not that hard. It's just kind of tedious to peel all the cloves and then chop them up. It's also time consuming. But eventually I got through several heads of garlic, cut up the cloves into 1/4 inch slices, and now they are in the dehydrator. By morning it should be dry and then I can run it through the spice grinder to make my powder.

Fortunately garlic is not nearly as wet as onions. Onions take a long time to dry, about 3 days. So worth it though. It makes the best onion powder I've ever tasted, just like doing the garlic makes the best garlic powder. I want garlic powder to add to my homemade pesto which we will have on ravioli for dinner since I try to avoid tomato sauce as much as possible now. It kicks it up a notch even though it already has minced garlic in it.

It is good to know how to make things like this so that when I run out of something that is a staple to my cooking, I can make what I need instead of just running to the store and spending more money than I intended.

Cross Your Fingers and Say Some Prayers

January 14th, 2017 at 12:20 am

It looks like the companies are getting ready to hire finally. DH heard from the company that does the hiring for them today that they are meeting with them later next week and DH's resume packet will be one being put forward.

I know he would still have to go through the interview process with the actual company and then get the job, but this is the first hopeful snippet we've heard in months. Short of a government coup things should start gearing up all over.

So please cross your fingers for us and keep us in your prayers. It has been a long haul and I really don't want to go through it any more. We've used our Emergency Fund and we're into our down payment fund now. It's depressing.

We'd still have some of our EF left if we didn't have to pay medical insurance premiums. I hope they take that mandatory insurance thing out when they fix the mess that is the Unaffordable Care Act. We'd be spending $500 a month on healthcare out of pocket. Not $1400 a month with little benefit until we hit the $6000 deductible.

I don't get how this is not bankrupting the people who don't qualify for subsidies and don't have medical insurance through their jobs. Maybe it is. I doubt it would be headline news in the propaganda machines that account for newspapers or news programs these days.

I seriously need to find my positive attitude. It was around here somewhere... We are fed, we are clothed, we are sheltered. So far the cancer isn't killing FIL. I might think my mother is going crazy, but she really isn't. My marriage is strong. We have no debt. I still have internet. The animals are all healthy. I have a good relationship with the sister I never thought I'd have a good relationship with. And I have a library card which gives me access to as many free books as I can read. There are good things in life despite the bad ones.

Leftover Management and Homemade Take-Out

January 12th, 2017 at 11:24 pm

One of the things I've been doing lately is taking any leftover meat and immediately chopping it up into a small dice. It's nice to think that it'll get eaten over the next couple of days, but too many times it doesn't. So I've taken to dicing and then freezing immediately. Or in the case of leftover hamburger patties or lamb patties, crumbling it up. We can't afford food waste and I'm opposed to it even in the best of times. Everything needs to get eaten.

I have had some good pizza toppings this way, with some lovely homemade sausage, picnic ham, taco meat, and lamb de provence. The ham and sausage is also great for putting in an egg scramble or omelette. We have had a few things that I don't really want to put on pizza, though.

The pork ribs with the apricot/honey/soy sauce glaze and the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey leftovers, to name two. Sometimes leftover rabbit or chicken as well, depending on the seasonings. That meat has been going into making stir-fried rice, which is also helping to use up the over abundance of eggs we've been getting now that the ducks are switching into high gear.

I used the leftover pork with the apricot/honey/soy glaze tonight and it was so good. It was better than Yangtze pork fried rice that you can get in just about any Chinese place out there. I did add some garlic and ginger to the meat as well as to the rice itself. I ended up with 5 quart baggies full for the freezer, enough sides for a family of four for five meals, and then 2 more cups that my son and husband were bargaining over for a late evening snack.

I am really happy with the amount of Chinese/Polynesian dishes I have learned to make. Besides the rice I can make chicken and broccoli, broccoli beef, black pepper chicken, subgum chicken chow mein, beef chow yuk, pineapple chicken, char sui pork, and then just a general stir-fry with whatever I have with Chinese flavors. I have mastered using oyster sauce, fish sauce, and hoison sauce without getting too much of any of them.

It is nice to be able to make our favorite Chinese dishes when we can't afford to get take out. I have learned a couple Korean dishes over the last couple years as well, mandu (pork and cabbage dumplings) and kimbap (rice, seaweed, vegetable, and shrimp roll up thingy cut into circles).

I have been running down recipes for Mexican foods that don't require tomato sauce or peppers. It's not quite authentic, but there are substitutes and I am going to try them so we can get it figured out. There are a few dishes that don't use those things anyway, like quesadillas, which are simple enough, but I want to make tacos, and chili, and enchiladas again.

With Sichuan peppercorns, long grain peppercorns, and grains of paradise and judicious use of some other herbs and spices that aren't nightshades, it is supposedly possible to do all three of those things. I'm just not terribly fond of the texture of the nomato sauce, though, which is the base for two of them. It tastes good enough, though. Maybe I need to puree it more or something.

All I can say is that I am glad I am a good cook to begin with, because it has been a challenge to replace half my spice palette with other things and half my recipes as well. But I am doing it and we are finding some new favorites in the process. I don't think I'll ever get over losing peppers, though. At least peppercorns are not the same botanical species. I'm not sure it would be possible for me to give up black pepper, too. It's underrated, but salt and pepper are the best seasonings there are, really. They enhance everything. It's just the amounts you have to watch.

I am trying to post more frequently than I have been. It's just hard sometimes to figure it out when there is no income coming in. There are no savings updates. There are no payday reports. We still have no debt. So pretty much it comes down to household management, stretching the food budget, and making sure nothing goes to waste. Well, enough rambling. It's getting late and I need to get some sleep.

Initial Stages of Garden Planning

January 11th, 2017 at 05:48 pm

I am trying to plan my garden for the spring. Right now I am just in the initial stages of deciding what I want to grow. For the last couple of years I have based my garden around how many peppers and tomatoes I needed to grow. Now that I know I am allergic to peppers and can react badly to tomatoes as well, I won't be growing either of those things. I'm having to shift my whole gardening paradigm.

I think this year I am going to focus on squash. I know that I want to grow sweet meat and acorn. I think butternut might be a good third. Because squash stores for a long time, I won't have to worry about processing it during the height of canning season. Some squash will store until summer starts, like sweet meat. Others will store until about now, and some only 8 weeks or so, at which point we either eat it or can it.

Of course we will grow other things as well. Zucchini and summer squash, lettuce, chard, kale, radishes, kohlrabi, broccoli, purple cauliflower, snow peas for fresh eating and maybe some freezing.

We will grow green beans, turnips, parsnips, and carrots for canning. Maybe rutabagas, too. I think I will do potatoes in grow bags. One of the determinate types that doesn't need hilling. Indeterminate potatoes do not do well in grow bags the same way determinate potatoes do not do well in towers. You have to have the right type of potato for the growing method. I want to try sweet potatoes again this year. I had limited success last year, but I started them way too late. If I start much earlier then I think they will do better.

I will likely be starting everything from seed myself except I will buy a few herbs that don't do well from seed. Those ones I can easily clone, though, so one or two plants will become many more. I often buy starts, but we won't be able to afford the outlay for that this year if DH doesn't find a job. I'll make slips for the sweet potato and of course I'll have to buy seed potatoes for the potatoes, but they tend to be inexpensive.

I am somewhat concerned about chicken and duck feed costs. I really don't want to have to take them off their current feed and buy a cheaper feed. But what I can do to reduce feed costs is to grow fodder. That's a simple enough method of sprouting seeds for 4 to 7 days depending on which animal will be eating it. A 50 pound bag of barley can be turned into 250 pounds of feed that way. It's just a little tedious if you don't have it set up to be automated, which is expensive so I never did it that way. Watering by hand 3 times a day and dumping the catch tray is time-consuming.

There is also the produce barrel, a 55 gallon drum of produce past the sell by date, but still in decent enough shape for animal feed. It's $15. We've done that twice now and it last about 2 weeks, usually because half of it is squash or brassicas. That has actually allowed us to cut back on grain costs as well.

I have been considering selling our chickens and ducks. I'd still want to keep the turkey pair. I can purchase organic duck eggs from another farmer for less than the amount it takes to feed the ducks each month. We all prefer duck eggs over chicken eggs now anyway. I don't really care much about the chickens, but I love having ducks so I don't know. I guess if it comes down to it, they'll have to go, though. The turkeys are not feed hogs and don't eat all that much despite their larger size, though I think they'd miss the other birds if we sold them. Well, they wouldn't miss the chickens much, but they would miss the ducks.

I guess we'll see. Things should start to improve in the oil industry after the inauguration and maybe I won't have to worry about any of it anymore. But maybe not.

Passive Income--I Hope

January 10th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

I finally got my google adsense stuff straightened out. It took a while. For some reason they deleted my old account which unmonetized everything on my youtube channel. So for the last two days I spent a good chunk of time getting a new account set up and then re-monitizing 23 pages worth of videos. I have 665 videos, so it took a lot of time. I had youtube videos playing in the background the entire time so it wasn't wasted time because I was learning stuff. I just wish they had a monetize all with a basic ad feature.

Oh, well, from now on I can monetize as I upload and that should be that. As long as they don't make massive, sweeping changes again. I don't earn much from youtube, so far just pennies, and they don't send you a check until you earn $100, but now that my account is straightened out, I finally got around to monetizing this blog. I figured with as many hits as I get here, I could actually earn something.

I figured right. In the first 24 hours reported it has earned almost a dollar and that was on a low view day of around 1000 hits, so that is promising. Today so far I've had 3000 hits, so I imagine tomorrow will show more earnings than that. But at least once a month, sometimes even weekly, I'll get 20,000 to 70,000 hits on my blog on a weekend. Friday it was 23,888, and Saturday it was 30,901. I don't know why this happens, but it usually does coming into a weekend so I think it's picked up by something and listed. So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens on a high hit day like that.

I try not to wonder what I might have earned if I'd gotten this blog monetized when they first let you do it. Since I am rapidly approaching 77.5 million views, I imagine it might have been a nice chunk of change. I guess having 10 years of posts pays off. It won't appear any different, since SA already has these ads on the blogs. The only difference is now I'll get a percentage of the ad revenue.

Hopefully I'll get a small income stream out of this. Even enough to pay for duck feed would be great. The rabbits pay for their own food and the turkey food through sales. The ducks can contribute during high egg laying season, but have never paid for themselves yet. I won't count my ducklings before they hatch, though.

I can't monetize my blog at wordpress since it is at wordpress.com and not wordpress.org. The first site is free, the other you pay for. I have a blog set up at blogger and I am trying to figure out if there is any way to import my blog from wordpress to blogger. I know some sites let you. Dreamwidth will let you import your entire journal from LiveJournal, for example. I have to look into it more. I'd still keep the farm blog on wordpress, but if I can mirror it on blogger, I can monetize that one. I am still learning my way around the blogger system, though.

Well, I imagine that was very boring for anyone who doesn't know what the heck I am talking about. But the gist is maybe this blog will start generating some money for me now. It would be nice, especially with DH currently unemployed and us living on savings, to bring something in that's more than the few dollars I get each month from Pinecone Surveys.

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 2

January 8th, 2017 at 11:07 pm

I did fairly well on week one of sticking to the menus I had planned. We did deviate twice. One night because we had a lot of leftovers and tonight because I didn't feel like cooking so DH made soup and sandwiches. I think I have a stomach bug. I am trying to will it away, but it's really not working. Hopefully it will pass quickly.

We did buy a couple of things to fill in the gaps for this coming week, some lettuce and cabbage and some oranges, but mostly meals will be from what we have on hand and repurposing leftovers into new meals.

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday--Meatloaf (didn't get made week one), fried potatoes, pears, salad

Tuesday--Herb Roasted Rabbit, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, oranges

Wednesday--Rabbit stir-fry--broccoli, carrots, onions, cauliflower, celery--Pineapple, Stir-fried Rice

Thursday--Beef stew (didn't get made week one)--carrots, potatoes, parsnips--celery sticks with blue cheese dressing, oranges

Friday--Bacon cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries/fries, cole slaw, pears

Saturday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, cole slaw, oranges

Sunday--Beef pot roast, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli, oranges

Using Stuff Up and Planning Canning

January 8th, 2017 at 12:40 am

I got through the last of the turkey from Christmas that I had in the freezer. I chopped it all up and added it to some stir-fried rice I was making to use up the excess of eggs the ducks have been laying since the solstice. It's like mother nature flipped a switch and they know the days are getting longer and spring will be here before you know it.

For 10 cups of rice I used 3 cups of chopped turkey, 6 eggs, and an 8 oz package of mixed peas, corn, and carrots. I am going to make up some more stir-fried rice tomorrow to use up some of the leftover pork from the honey apricot pork I made the other night and some more duck eggs. I like to make it up and have a bunch of quart bags of it in the freezer so we always have it on hand. It makes it easier when I do a Chinese night, especially now that I can make black pepper chicken.

Costco now has a 20 pound bag of organic white rice, so we always have rice on hand and with the rice cooker, it is easy to make up a pot then put it in the fridge and then make the stir-fried rice in a day or two. It always works better with cold rice that has set a day or two.

We are still working our way through the holiday ham. I diced it up and froze it and have been using it as one of our pizza toppings or throwing it in omelettes. It's nice not having to consume large amounts of ham in a week, but to be able to use it up over time.

I still have to make bone broth from the turkey bones, but I think I will tackle that tomorrow. They have been in the freezer, too, and I want to get them out as they are taking up a good chunk of space. So I'll make it on Sunday (technically today since it is after midnight) and can it on Monday.

I want to can some hamburger this week, too, and some more rabbit meat. I need to clear out some of the older stuff before it gets freezer burned and I tend to use the canned meat more often than the frozen in the winter. It's just faster and easier and lends itself to heartier fare like stews and chilis. Not that I can eat chili anymore, but the rest of the family can. Dang, but I miss eating peppers. I do not, however, miss my skin rashing up and splitting open on my hands whenever I do, so... *shrugs*

I dehydrated some ginger and need to do more. Costco had organic ginger for $5.79 for a container with 1.75 pounds in it. Organic ginger is usually $18 a pound so I was not going to pass that up. Mostly I am just dehydrating quarter-sized slivers, but I will grind some to powder as well. I also need to make more garlic powder. I grew a ton of garlic this summer and braided it, so I have plenty I can dehydrate and powder. I just need to get to it. It's not hard. I've already done onion powder and ended up with a full pint of it from onions I grew this summer.

I think it is a pretty ambitious week.

Meal Planning--Dinners

January 2nd, 2017 at 05:59 pm

I've gotten out of the habit of meal planning and it is making it very hard to stay organized right now with things, so it has gone back on the agenda as a must do. I am trying to make use of everything I have on hand as much as possible this week. We pulled some meat from the freezer and then I went through all the frozen veg/fruit and the home canned fruit and veg, and then what was in the fridge and made a list. From that list I pulled together my meal plan for the week.

The grocery bill has been getting a bit too high and I need to get it down. While I was down with the severely sprained ankle we were buying more convenience foods and that needs to stop now. It may not be completely healed, but I am cooking even if I have to pull up a chair to do it because it still hurts to stand on it too long. Walking is fine, just more than five minutes of standing without moving makes it ache. So cooking it is.

We have some fresh greens in the low tunnels hoops over the garden, mostly lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard, but a lot of that gets eaten at lunch time. I am trying to cook enough at dinner so that there are leftovers for the next day's lunch for DH and DS. I think I will do up a big breakfast bake casserole to cover a few breakfasts as well, since we have a lot of duck eggs now that the ducks have ramped back up to laying 4 eggs a day.

This is what I've figured out for this week, though I may swap some days around if the whim takes me.

Monday:
Pork chops
Green beans (home canned)
Applesauce (home canned)

Tuesday:
Beef pot roast
Sweet potatoes
Broccoli (frozen)
Oranges

Wednesday:
Pork ribs with a glaze made from apricot jelly (home canned), honey (melting down some that crystalized), garlic, and soy sauce
Ginger rice
Salad--lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, dressing of choice
Apples

Thursday:
Meatloaf--hamburger, ground rabbit, onions, carrots, cheddar cheese, duck eggs, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, oat meal
Fried potatoes
Pears (home canned)

Friday:
Chicken and Herb Tortellini with homemade pesto
Broccoli
Oranges

Saturday:
Beef stew--beef (home canned), carrots (home canned), potatoes (home canned), parsnips (home canned)
Green beans (home canned)
Oranges

Sunday:
Homemade pizza--ham (frozen, diced, leftovers from the holiday), sausage (homemade), onions, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses, garlic butter parsley sauce for mine and homemade pizza sauce (canned) for everyone else
Salad--lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, red onions, dressing of choice
Pears (home canned)

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2017 at 03:16 am

It is now legal to catch catfish with a pitchfork in Illinois. Anyone from Illinois care to explain your state to me? I hope everyone has a good year. I sure could use one. I would like wealth, health, and happiness from 2017. Or you know, just a good job for DH with medical benefits.

My normal ability to look on the bright side and find the silver lining has waned an awful lot this past year. Let me think of what I could come up with to be optimistic about. Hmm...well, the ducks are laying eggs again. There are 11 healthy kits in the rabbit shed. I have gotten amazingly good at knitting socks on the loom. We are still out of consumer debt. The garden is still going under the low tunnels despite several snow falls. And I have a freezer full of meat and shelves full of home canned food so we are still good on that count. We have a house over our heads. We still have over $40K in our savings account.

Hopefully we will have some bigger things to be optimistic about soon. They've started putting up more oil job listings. Some of them are slope jobs which would be ideal as that is what we are used to and my grocery budget could go back to normal. The moment DH has an income again we are going to get him enrolled in a University that will let him do everything online, so he can get his B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Right now he has an A.S. in that and a certificate in Architecture for a two year program he did in the tech school right before they turned into a college and started issuing A.S.'s instead of certificates.

We may start him doing it anyway even if he hasn't found a job by the time the unemployment runs out. So much stuff says B.S. or equal on the job experience, but they'll often choose the guy with the B.S. first even if he has no experience. DH has learned so much on his job he could have a masters degree in it, but without that piece of paper, unless they have worked with him before, he is at a disadvantage.

DH is also thinking that if he purchased the online subscription to Auto Cad that he could pick up some freelance work.

The book is coming along. I have set a goal and that is to write at least 1000 words a day on it. Since I've written 15,000 words a week when I have my groove on, I think a mere 7000 is a good goal that won't have me feeling overwhelmed in case my muse leaves the building.

We'll be dipping into the farm down payment fund. We have officially spent all but $1000 of the Emergency Fund.

Glad the Holidays are Over (More or Less)

December 26th, 2016 at 10:58 pm

I don't really count New Year's as a holiday. It's not something we really celebrate as everyone is always in bed well before midnight. So once Christmas has passed I feel like I'm free and clear.

We did not end up going out to the in-laws on Christmas Day. We stayed home. FIL's white cell count was too low to be around anyone who was sick and everyone is sick. Except I am finally coming out the end of it. But MIL and FIL cancelled it. SIL threw a tantrum, because her holiday being ruined was apparently more important than FIL's life and fight against cancer. She got stood up to, though. I wasn't sure they'd do it, but this is the second time this year they have.

Apparently SIL bought a turkey and was going to make it herself. I really want to hear how that turned out since SIL does not know how to cook and has never roasted a chicken, let alone a turkey, in her life. I don't want to hear bad enough to call her, though. I was just relieved to have a quiet, peaceful day at home, not ruined by her scream-fighting with one of her daughters.

We had a very laid back Christmas. Very minimalist. We had our little 18 inch tree set up, still decorated from last year, that we store on the top shelf of our closet. We took it out a few days before Christmas. We just don't have the room to put up a bigger tree and even if we did, the hassle of putting one up is more than anyone wanted to deal with anyway. Most of the presents were handmade, though I did get the 30 year anniversary collector's edition of Labyrinth, my favorite childhood movie.

My son made me a beautiful turkey platter in his pottery class that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It was completely hand-built, no potter's wheel. I really love it.



I am glad we got the chance to really enjoy Christmas this year. I hope everyone else did as well.

Christmas Bonus, Ankle Update, Stress, Health, Rabbit Kit Photos

December 21st, 2016 at 02:14 am

So DH received a Christmas Bonus in the mail from his former employer. We knew we were going to get something because they sent us some paperwork back around Thanksgiving, but I figured it was going to be some token amount or a percentage based on how many months out of the year he'd worked for them (75%). But it was actually $200 more than last year's bonus. Maybe the additional was due to him staying until the bitter end.

Anyway, the amount was $3900.91. So no unemployment this week, but this is way better than that and it means the unemployment will last longer. I am hoping that this bonus will get us through January.

There are starting to be a few more oil jobs being posted. He's put in for two slope listings, but we don't expect to hear anything until after the holidays at this point. Slope usually goes to skeleton crew at this time of year. We expect that oil jobs will pick up now that the electoral college has officially declared Trump president. But we don't expect hiring or interviews to begin until January. No one does stuff over the holidays.

DH did have an in-person interview with the aeronautics company that he did two phone interviews with previously. They are just at the start of the live interview process (he was one of the first, if not the first in person interview they were doing) and they wouldn't hire until the end of January if they hire. It's not a permanent job anyway. It's one that would be series of small contracts as work was available. Not ideal, but better than nothing and the experience in that field would widen his knowledge base.

In two more days, it'll have been 4 months and I am getting antsy. The stress is hard. Seeing savings being depleted is hard. It's a nagging worry that's always in the back of my mind except when it's in the front of my mind. I live with this constant rock in my stomach. I think I might be getting an ulcer from the stress, because I've been eating Tums like they are candy and this with eliminating peppers from my diet.

My ankles finally feel like they are heeling, though. I know I mentioned the bad fall I took and the major sprain of the one ankle, but I don't think I mentioned that I lost my balance and rolled the other ankle about 10 days later and sprained it, too. It had minor swelling and minor pain, and was just enough to make it difficult for me to stand for more than a minute at a time. I still have swelling in the first ankle 5 weeks after the injury, but the pain is mostly just if I press the area where the ligaments were stretched too far or if I do too much standing.

I did get in to see the ENT a week ago and he put me back on steroids and gave me 2 Z-packs and sent a letter to my doctor to be placed in my file about how to treat this condition. He also told me he had sent them one back in March. The on-call doctor had claimed there was no record of this type of treatment. I did find out later that it was in there. Anyway, the ENT is sending a copy of the new letter to me so I can have one, so if they conveniently can't find it in the future I can pull it out of my purse and go, "It looks just like this."

The ENT was really annoyed with my doctor's office. He said I should not be having to go through this crap for 8 weeks before getting the right treatment, when he'd told them before and I told them what it needed to be. I will be looking for a new doctor after the holidays. I want to see a holistic type doctor instead. I'm so tired of doctors who look at me but don't see me. I miss my old doctor so much. Why did he have to get old, retire, and die? I mean, he was only 83. They don't make doctors like him anymore.

But I did get the medicine and it is helping now that it's the right dosage and the meds are being taken together.

We had a litter born on the 18th. There are five healthy kits, 3 broken blacks and 2 that are either solid blacks or steels. I'm leaning toward steels.



The older litter is 5 weeks now. They are doing well. It looks like I have two broken blues, one broken black, one broken steel, a lightly broken fawn, and a steel (black with white hairs mixed in) there. Colors don't fully set until they are older though, so that's just a best estimate for the time being.



Life going on on the farm makes me happy. I am waiting for 3 more does to give birth. They are a day overdue. If the two whites don't have kits this time, I think I will have to declare Jasper a dud. I will give him one more try, but this will make 3 breedings with nothing from him. Zander on the other hand is doing his job, as you can tell from all the broken and colored kits being born.

Oh, yay

December 7th, 2016 at 11:53 am

Looks like the Christmas spam is starting early. Barely readable, spent too much time using a theasauras, completely off topic, trying too hard to be high brow spam, too.


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