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Odds and Ends

July 18th, 2017 at 08:25 pm

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 16th, 2017 at 10:09 pm

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 13th, 2017 at 11:53 pm

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 12th, 2017 at 11:28 pm

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 12:10 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 12:08 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 10th, 2017 at 11:25 pm

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 03:15 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 03:24 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.

Lots of Work Today

July 7th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

We finally got Mom's garage pad mostly cleared off today. It has been a repository of so much junk in the last couple of years its not even funny. This garage is more of a shop that sits at the back of the property and would never be used as a garage anyway as you can't get a car back there and never could. In front of it is a concrete pad that is really big, big enough to be a half basketball court.

So from it we hauled two free-standing basketball hoops. One was in good condition, the other unusable. We put one out at the end of the driveway with a free sign and the other is broken down ready to go to the dump tomorrow. There were lots of little scraps of wood not suitable for any project, lots of feed bags (starting to wonder if she ever throws away the chicken feed bags), various containers that were all broken, six plant stands, 2 empty hanging baskets made of cedar, several large yogurt containers (she uses those to measure feed for the birds), empty milk jugs, so many buckets, a ton of morning glory, two ladders, several two foot sections of PVC pipe, numerous broken tote containers, five holey tarps, and around 100 empty half gallon plant pots.

It looks a lot better now and there is room to work outside on days when it is too hot to build in the garage. The birds were really happy because there were tons of worms and bugs underneath all the stuff we picked up. The ducks went insane chasing the chickens if they got a big worm.

George complained the whole time we were out there, but Gina was cool as a cucumber in her wallow under the apple tree. I still don't know what's wrong with her. She's had a full course of antibiotics, but remains hunched, though her respiratory symptoms went away. It could be another injury. I don't know. I can't feel anything wrong on her legs and back. Maybe it is just the old owl injury acting up, but she's not been normal for months. Vets don't do turkeys.

I paid 4 medical bills and the garbage bill today. I guess that means it isn't a no spend day. I transferred $1500 out of the Emergency Fund. I hope to have it back in by mid-August, but I'm not sure. It depends on how all this medical bill/credit card roulette turns out. So long as I don't get charged interest anywhere, I'm fine with that.

Bits and Pieces--Farm, Garden, Medical, Work

July 6th, 2017 at 08:05 pm

It has been hot here the last few days. In the 80's, which is hot for here. Fortunately not humid, though. It's made the garden go nuts with some of the plants, mostly the squashes, having bigger leaves than I've ever seen in all my years of gardening. Another week and I should have zucchini, patty pan, and gold rush squash big enough to eat.

As it is, I harvested 7 kohlrabi, enough lettuce for a week, a huge bunch of kale, a dozen carrots, 4 heads of broccoli, blood-veined sorrel, calendula, yarrow, strawberries, and raspberries. And the blueberries have started. Just a few here and there, but I wasn't expecting any until the end of July, really. So I have to incorporate all of that into the meal plan this week. Well, not the calendula and yarrow, those will be dried for tea.

I've still got a lot to do out there. I need to pick peas and harvest a Chinese cabbage and two types of parsley and pick those ripe blueberries.

We'll be butchering tomorrow and then washing cages afterwards and then washing more cages on Saturday. I also need to dust out the windows in their enclosure and go through and clean fur out of all their fans. Everyone is blowing their coats right now, so the fur is flying. I've got 8 week olds that need to be weaned as soon as we have the empty cages to do so. I have not bred anyone again as their are 5 (but we are keeping the one broken red girl) grow outs and 14 younger kits right behind them, so 18 out of 19 destined for freezer camp.

Medically we spent $90 for my physical therapy and a $30 co-pay for my daughter's first session with a psychiatrist. She's been seeing a therapist for a while now to deal with her PTSD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorder. Psychiatrist is weaning her off her current meds and starting her on a new one once she is. She also has recommended she see a nutritional psychotherapist.

She had a bad side effect to one of the medications she was recently put on and no one could figure out what was going on, then I looked up the side effects of the drug and listed under uncommon side effects were all the symptoms of what had happened laid out all in a row, so she had to stop that one and we aren't putting her back on one like it. She's just going to go without for a while.

My shoulder is burning all the time right now. It is from all the physical therapy exercises I have to help Mom with. DH has taken over the morning session, but I still do them with her twice a day and he's leaving on Sunday anyway. Her recovery is going well, though she does try to push things as far as she can, and I try to get her to do only what she is supposed to do. She's hard-headed. I really see where my son gets it from. Less than 2 weeks to go now and hopefully she will get out of the sling. They say 6 to 8 weeks and of course she is fixated on 6 weeks.

I will be glad when all this is done and she doesn't need my help anymore, but that could be another 6 weeks or so. It's really run my health into the ground and it wasn't like it was that far from the ground to begin with. The new med the rheumatologist gave me for my auto-immune disease is helping in most of my joints, but not my shoulder and not my hip. At least not yet. I haven't noticed any side-effects on my eyes with it, but it is cumulative and these are early days.

We still don't know about DH's work beyond December. The other project and company is way behind schedule. I'd like things to be settled. Living with uncertainty again is really difficult. The stress is making me a little nuts on top of everything else that is going on. I really just want to go back to the days when I didn't have to worry about anything other than paying the bills and getting out of debt. At least I don't have to worry about debt on top of everything else right now, though. I hold on to that.

Planning and Plotting with the Six Week Budget Cycle

July 2nd, 2017 at 02:06 pm

I was able to pay some of the medical bills this month, but our next payday isn't until July 21st. I ended up putting some of it on my Citi card which isn't due until August 3rd. That will give me two paydays, the 21st and 28th, in which to pay that card off before it is due and I should be able to do that.

The bill for my daughter's hospital visit has not been paid yet. It is due on July 6th and is $2,333.48. So on July 6th I will go online and pay it using the American Express card, which is not due until the 14th of August. That gives me the full payday on August 4th and the four day payday on the 11th to pay that card off before it is due.

I will still have to borrow about $1500 from the Emergency Fund, but hopefully I will get that put back by the end of the coming pay cycle or at least most of it. I should be getting a paycheck from Google/Youtube this month, too. A small one. It'll go into savings.

After the August 11th paycheck DH won't get paid again until September 1st. I am not a big fan of the 3 weeks on/3 weeks off work hitch. It makes it really hard to budget for six weeks. The 2 weeks on/2 weeks off fell much more nicely into a monthly budget.

One of the things we did to make it easier is we changed our storage payment from an auto withdrawal from checking to an auto charge to our credit card. That way I don't have to worry that the money is in the account on the right day, just that it is there for the due date on the credit card. I am considering finding out if we can have the life insurance put on the card as well so we'd no longer have any auto payments coming directly out of checking. Might do that with internet as well. We still get a paper bill on that, but I think we can set it up to go to a card.

If everything is on cards, then I don't have to worry about it so much. And the only bills I will expect to see in the mail are medical bills and the garbage bill. The garbage company does not allow for credit card billing. It comes once every 2 months, so not a big deal with a six week pay cycle instead of a 4 week pay cycle.

I know I'll adjust to this way of budgeting eventually, but until I do, I'll have to keep doing mental gymnastics to make sure everything gets paid on time and that I don't have to pay interest on anything.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 2nd, 2017 at 01:19 pm

I've gotten away from meal planning since Mom had her surgery and I think that my grocery budget and my eating out budget are running away from me, so I am going to make a plan this week and try to stick to it so I can get back into the groove again. I've got garden harvests to put into meals as well, so veggies on meals may actually be subject to change, but the protein and the carb should remain the same.

Sunday:
Cornish Game Hens
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli from the garden
Corn on the Cob
Strawberries from the garden

Monday:
Rabbit Stir-fry with carrots, celery, snow peas from the garden, onions (from the garden), bell peppers
Rice
Watermelon

Tuesday:
Grilled Burgers with Homemade Crostini Rolls
and Grilled Sweet Onions
Homemade Pickles
Cole Slaw
Pineapple

Wednesday:
T-bone Steaks (from our half a beef)
Sweet Meat squash
Kohlrabi from the garden
Raspberries from the garden

Thursday:
BBQ Chicken Legs
Fried Potatoes
Leftover Cole Slaw
Pears (home canned)

Friday:
Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza with onions and bell peppers
Kohlrabi
Strawberries from the garden

Saturday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Watermelon

Interest Income to the Emergency Fund

July 1st, 2017 at 02:00 pm

$26,511.87 Starting EF Balance
___,_16.12 C1-360 Interest
___,___.82 CU #1 Interest
+__,___.04 CU #2 Interest
-------------------
$26,528.85 New EF Balance

Feeling So Much Better

July 1st, 2017 at 01:40 pm

I still get a little nauseous when I bend over, like to take stuff out of the dryer, and a little light-headed when I stand up, but I've kept my food down since Friday at 4 a.m. and I feel far closer to my old self again. Getting a lot of sleep the last two days has helped tremendously as well.

I got caught up on recording all of the medical receipts into my spreadsheet for keeping track of our HSA stuff and we hit the amount for the HSA this month. I was hoping we'd hit the full amount before the new insurance started so we could deduct it all. I knew we were getting close.

Today starts the new insurance and it only has a $1000 family deductible, so once we get past that hurdle we should see our medical expenses drop drastically. The kids and DH are all scheduled for dentist appointments (mine won't be until September). DH will be getting an eye exam and glasses. Everyone else will need an eye exam in August. I think my prescription may have changed due to the retinal damage. I don't know about the kids as neither is complaining.

Speaking of glasses, I went through my sock drawer, where I stash things sometimes, and there were four pairs of glasses in there. I put back the one that had the most current prescription and the other 3 I have ready to go to the Lion's Club glasses recycling box the next time we go to get glasses adjusted. I like to have one back up pair of glasses in case something goes wrong and I break my current ones.

I know I can wear my contacts in a pinch for driving, but not for reading, since they are good for distance only, nothing up close. Reading glasses over contacts would work if my eyes weren't two different magnifications. One eye is 1.75 and the other is 1.50. If I could find two identical glasses, one in each magnification I could cobble something together, but so far I haven't. So far I'm even lucky if I can find ones with 1.75 at all.

I am glad we are on a new insurance. If we had stayed on the old one, we still would have had to find a new one at the start of 2018. Regence is getting out of the individual insurance program and only doing medical insurance through jobs next year. That kind of sucks for those depending on it. I really don't know what is going to happen in my state if anymore companies drop out. I am assuming the mandate will be gone by then, but who knows?

Well, I best quit procrastinating and get out to the garden. I had to let it go except for picking strawberries for five days, so I've got a lot to harvest. It'll be nice to spend some time outside.

Sick and Exhausted

June 29th, 2017 at 03:31 am

I've come down with a stomach virus of some sort and it is really dragging my energy levels on the ground. DH has been back since Friday, so I am not taking care of Mom all by myself anymore, but there are some things I do have to do, even with a fever of 100 and the inability to keep my food down. Like help her shower, which is quite an ordeal, and help her change her clothes. Fortunately she is doing a lot better three weeks post surgery.

I got my daughter's ER visit bill yesterday. It is $2333.48. Ouch. That is really going to be a hit. I'll have to take money out of the Emergency Fund for that. DH will be working 4 extra days at the end of his next hitch, so all of that money will go to replace some of what I take out of savings. I am not sure it will replace all of it.

I saw the rheumatologist on Monday with a $50 co-pay. She is putting me on a medication that is supposed to help, but might not show any improvement for a couple of months. It can do damage to the retinas, though, in 30% of people. With my medical luck, I will be in that 30%.

I saw the eye doctor on Tuesday with a $50 co-pay. He said the retina has healed nicely and I will go back in 3 months and then he will take a baseline map reading of the retinas so that we can monitor whether the new medication is affecting my retinas. If he sees even the hint of damage I will stop the medicine. I can't have my eyes getting worse. I'd rather deal with the pain in my joints than my vision getting further damaged.

I just want to get past all this stuff and get back to feeling normal (for me, anyway). I have 3 weeks before Mom gets out of the sling and then starts full on physical therapy. The stuff we are doing now is pretty light as she is not allowed to move her shoulder away from her body. It takes about 10 minutes 3 times per day and DH has taken over the morning shift.

I went to Trader Joe's today to stock up on a few things and spent $128.97. I also went to my own physical therapy which cost $90. I probably shouldn't have done either thing with being so sick, but we really needed to pick up some food and the massage part of PT was sorely needed.

Any Updates on Ima Saver?

June 24th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Has anyone heard from or seen Julie lately?

Adventure's in Parentsitting

June 20th, 2017 at 11:04 am

It's been a long two weeks since Mom came home from her shoulder surgery and the stories I could recount up to this point could fill a book. Did you know that oxycodone and elderly people often equals hallucinations? I sure didn't. After the first week we had to switch to hydrocodone because that particular side effect was getting bad.

I haven't had any help from my sisters. The eldest has come to visit twice, once staying for 20 minutes a few days after Mom came home and the other time staying for an hour and a half to do some work on the computer. She spent very little time interacting with Mom. She only lives five minutes or so away. When I asked her if she could stay with Mom while I ran to the store, her answer was that she had to go. *sighs*

My middle sister seldom stirs herself to come see Mom and when she does it is more of a pit stop for her than anything else. She's always been this way unless there is something in it for her, like presents. She quit coming at Christmas time when Mom stopped giving presents. She's never come for Thanksgiving or invited anyone to her home for Thanksgiving.

It's only a 40 minute drive from her house to here, but she comes up usually only once a year. When we lived in the mountains it was a 45 minute drive and we were in here at least twice a week. I just don't get the mentality. Yet I've seen it before, when Mom was taking care of Grandma and her sister did very little to help.

I've heard that is often the way, that one child does it all in caring for a parent. I've seen it play out in other people's lives, too. One of my friends is the only one who helps her mom out with her step-father, who had a stroke a year and a half ago. He has five sons, all biological, and they don't really do anything, certainly nothing without being prompted, and their wives don't either. Even though they all live nearby while my friend lives 2 hours plus a ferry ride away.

It frustrates me that family members behave this way when they all ought to be pitching in to help. Especially my sisters. But they weren't here when Mom was dealing with Grandma. They were married and out of the house. So they didn't see first hand the strain it put on her. I did what I could to help at the time, but I was still a young teenager.

My kids are helping some. My son is doing all the morning farm chores that were my mother's, like letting the birds out in the morning, cleaning out the chicken coop (he already does the duck coop and the turkey coop), mowing the lawn (she likes to do that or it would have been his chore a long time ago), weed-eating, etc. Mom never had evening farm chores, those we do.

My daughter has helped with some of the day to day care, and the first few days, the night time care since she is usually up until two or three in the morning. They have both helped with hourly checks as well. Fortunately Mom is now getting to the point where she can be left alone for two or three hours and she is sleeping through the night. The first week was hard, though.

DH will be home on Friday and I will get a bit of a break. I'll still have to do a lot, but he can take some of the burden. I am sick from the lack of sleep and close to a full body break down. I have to ice my knees and ankles frequently due to the many trips up and down the stairs. It is only two steps, but when you do them 20 times a day when you are used to only doing them once or twice, it is hard on damaged joints.

I haven't had as much time in the garden as I would like, but it is going like gangbusters. Hopefully today I can get out there and harvest, because there is a lot to do and I still want to plant green beans. It's not too late for this part of the country.

My daughter managed to dislocate her middle finger on her dominant hand 3 days ago. She got it back in, but the swelling and pain has been pretty bad. The doctor said just treat it like a sprain once he made sure it was in place. So it is in a splint and taped to the finger next door. This has taken her out of the running for a lot of things, like doing the dishes, taking out the recycling, cleaning the bathroom, and folding the laundry, all chores she either does or helps with normally.

Her brother picks up a lot of that slack. I went in halfsies on Nintendo Switch for him due to all his hard work.

In the midst of all this, I managed to spill water on my laptop and it will be 4 to 6 weeks until I get it back. I remember when turnaround was only 10 days. I'm sure I just fried the motherboard. This is not my first time spilling water on a computer, but hopefully it is my last.

I am using a new desk top computer hooked up to my TV. It will be my daughter's computer after I get my laptop back. Her laptop has lasted 8 years, but it is showing its age, so this was on the agenda anyway. It was 12 months same as cash, so I went ahead and did that. I usually do.

The medical bills from my ER visit and emergency laser eye surgery came in. It's $1800 total since it all went on the deductible. And I had $450 of labs, also all on the deductible. My x-rays bill hasn't come yet, but that will also be on the deductible. The new medical insurance can't start soon enough. We will have to meet a $1000 family deductible for it, but then we are done with that nonsense for the rest of the year. Plus not having to pay $1337 a month for insurance will be great. It'll just be $300 pre-tax a month, which frees up a lot of money.

DH got a job offer, but it wasn't one that would be sustainable. It would have been a drop in pay of 40%. Which would work if it was a local job, but not for one he has to pay airfare and travel expenses for. This is an offer from the company he was laid off from. It is also a backwards step in his career to a lower position. While it would have been steady work, we would have had to take money from savings each month to meet all the bills, so he declined it.

The other job he interviewed for is taking forever to start up and he probably won't hear anything about that until August. He will continue to look for something else, but my hope is that things will straighten out with the company he is currently working for since their benefits are unbeatable. Right now they have been given an additional project and have work through December, not just through October. Maybe things will continue to pick up.

I have set a goal for myself to try to write at least 1000 words a day on my novel. I can normally do 1500 to 2000 a day, but not while caring for my mother. Still, I'd like to do as much as I can. I just need to make it a priority again.

Well, that should catch things up. Hopefully I will be able to post again soon.

Choices for a New Phone--Help Me Decide

June 9th, 2017 at 11:20 am

I really need to get a new cell phone. My current phone is a Samsung Intensity from 2009 so it is 8 years old. I wish it could muddle along forever, but sadly it is giving up the ghost. I've gone through three batteries and am on my third charger, all off E-bay since Samsung hasn't carried the proper items to replace these in several years. And while I know I could buy one off e-bay for between $10 and $25, I think it is time to drag myself kicking and screaming towards a more current phone.

I don't need bells and whistles, I just want a pull out keyboard, but they don't seem to make those anymore. I hate touch screen technology for phones. While it might be nice to access the internet at a grocery store for coupons, I don't need to be on the internet on my phone. I need it for texting mostly and a little bit of making phone calls.

I've been putting off buying a new one for about a year. I am debating what I should buy. I may take a photo or two, but I doubt I will ever use it for videos as my camera is so much better than any phone for that. I don't need to store music on it as I have a perfectly good I-pod for that. So I don't need a ton of memory, either.

I am thinking about the Samsung J7 ($163), the Motorola Moto G4 ($199), the Samsung J3 Emerge ($149), or the Samsung J3 ($129). Has anyone used any of these phones? If so, what are your opinions on them?



Odds and Ends

June 6th, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Mom's shoulder surgery went well. They kept pushing it back so I didn't hear anything until 4:30, but the doctor said it went beautifully. I was able to pop up and see her at 8:30. We didn't get to visit much since the nurse was in there with her until 8:50 and then visiting hours ended at 9. She said I didn't need to come today, but she seemed glad to see me.

Her doctor asked if she is being forgetful lately, because he was worried about it being a side-effect of the surgery or the pain medicine, but I told him she is getting forgetful about some things. It's not bad yet, just kind of irritating, but not so much that she needs help for it. Just aging. Though I do keep a watch on her about it.

I told the nurse I thought she should stay in the hospital for another day based on how she was last time. Medicaid and Bridge will pay for it so she might as well stay another day with people who can care for her full time, unlike me, who has a full day tomorrow. I based my schedule on what I was told, which was 2 days. And since I'm the only one who will be caring for her, since my siblings don't do that sort of thing, I'd like them to stick to the original plan.

DS is applying for his first job tomorrow. He got the application today and took the food handler's permit test and got that. It is a weird feeling. I really didn't want him to work this summer as he still has school work to catch up on, but he has promised he will continue with it through the summer and if he doesn't I'll make him quit.

He's applying at McDonalds. They are hiring and they've got the college tuition help so he could build that up if he works there. It was something I found so helpful when I was working there and going to college. It wasn't a ton, but it paid for my books. I hope he doesn't have any trouble getting hired there. He's never had a job before outside the farm. He can ride his bike or walk there (35 minute walk, 10 minute bike ride) unless it is raining, then I'd take him.

He wants to buy an iPhone, which I said okay on, but after he has the money for that, he has to put half of every paycheck into savings for college and open an IRA and put in $50 a week and contribute at least $10 a month to charity, either the local mission or the teenage runaway mission Covenant House.

If he does okay with his school work during the summer, than I may let him work part time during the school year. I just can't let his studies suffer. He's already 1/2 a year behind due to all the stuff leading up to and recovering from his sinus surgery. I want to keep him on track. His grades are good, he's just missed time.

So many things are changing right now and it is hard for me to deal with it all. I don't like change. I like steady, dependable, reliable routine. But I know he has to grow up, so I try not to be too crazy about it.

I am still worried about the job situation, but what else is new? Either it works out or it doesn't. Hopefully it does. Oh, and they ended up deciding to let him stay through Thursday of the third week since it was a screw up on their part. His boss will be retiring soon, too, so that should be helpful. It would still be nice, though, if he could get that other job.

The rabbit kits are growing up so well. The one eight week old broken red is a female. I was hoping for a male, but I'm keeping her. She has perfect markings and coloration. I do need a boy, though. There are two broken reds in Ella's 3.5 week old litter. One has good coloration, the other has good markings. I just don't know though. I'll need to wait and see how their coloring changes as they get bigger. If it isn't right, we can try again.

There is a gorgeous solid black 3.5 week old as well, that looks like he will stay that color. He is even darker than Ella. If he is a boy, I would be very tempted to keep him, but we really don't have the room right now.

The garden is doing really well. I have more lettuce than I know what to do with, but other things are coming along. I got my first kohlrabi and there are teeny tiny peas on the snow pea plants. Maybe in a week they will be ready. I saw some color on one of the strawberries yesterday so hopefully they will all be ripening up soon. If I can keep the squirrels off them we will have a bumper crop.


Slowest DMV in the West

June 2nd, 2017 at 05:01 pm

I took my son to get his learner's permit. We spent 2 and a 1/2 hours there. He had already taken his written test two days ago, so that was just wait time to actually get the actual permit. And it wasn't even a temporary permit, it was just a piece of paper saying he had permission to drive until his permit comes in the mail. Well, actually for 45 days, but regardless, they didn't have to use the special printer for it like they do with temp ID's and licenses, so it was kind of ridiculous to have to sit for 30 minutes after having his photo taken for a simple print out.

He also registered for the draft while we were there. That took like 2 seconds. I thought he didn't have to register until he turned 18, but I guess they want you to register before you turn 18 and on that day you can be called up if necessary. Happy Birthday, kid, you're going to war. As a mother, I really hope it never comes to that. He is the last of his entire line to carry on the family name on his dad's side, too, so if something happened to him during a drafted war, it ends with him.

So anyway, we spent $25 at the DMV and my hip is all messed up from sitting on those hard plastic chairs. I have an ice pack on it and took a muscle relaxant and hopefully it'll be gone by morning. After that I had physical therapy, which really hurt because of the chairs. So that was $60 as it wasn't a longer session, just a shorter one.

My mother's shoulder surgery is on the 6th, but her time got moved. Same day, but she needs to be there at 9 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m. So that is a blessing, because I don't function well before 8. It's only a few blocks' drive, but she's not to walk it because they don't want the high amount of pollen getting on her and contaminating things.

So I can let the birds out then drive her up, drop her off, and get back in time to go turn on the rabbit fans if it is hot and refill water bottles and feeders. She doesn't want anyone to stay with her, which is usual. It makes her more anxious, not less. I'll see her the next day. She said not to come in that night as she'll be too drugged up and doesn't want her sleep interrupted.

It looks like she might get two nights in the hospital which would be the best thing for both of us. She'd have more time to recover with full care and I'd not have to run myself ragged until she was more easy to care for. I really wish she had scheduled this for when DH is home. Then he could help out with some of the care.

C1-360 Interest to Emergency Fund

June 2nd, 2017 at 04:19 pm

$26,495.82 Starting Balance
+__,_16.53 Interest Income
---------------
$26511.87 New Balance

$3488.13 to go to hit my next big goal.

Well, Maybe Not

May 30th, 2017 at 04:59 pm

I woke up in so much pain this morning, that I think maybe I just shouldn't exercise. It might be the weather swing, there was a huge change in barometric pressure overnight, but I think it is probably a combination. I've gotten better through the day as the muscles warmed up. I hate to think even swimming might be something I can't do. I will give it another few tries before I decide, but youch, it was bad.

If I can't swim, then there is no point in retaining our family gym membership. My son is the only one who would want to use it, but he can use our kettle bells, treadmill, his bike, and the free weights we have if it comes to that. If we get it welded, we have a weight bench set up in the garage he could use as well. Or we can get him an individual membership, since the branch of our gym that does not have the pool is within walking/safe biking distance.

The one exercise I seem to be okay with is gardening. Yes, I have to go slow and take frequent breaks, but I am able to maintain the garden mostly on my own. I do need help weed-eating the paths, but because the raised beds are two feet high, I can easily do weeding and planting and harvesting.

There has been a lot to harvest, lately, too. Two days ago, for example, I filled 4 2 gallon containers with six types of lettuce and spinach. I also pulled about 20 carrots. A couple days before that I had a 5 gallon bucket full of chard and kale and 2 full of sorrel. We can't eat all of it. I gave a big bag to the neighbor and at least half of it goes to help feed the animals. They appreciate the fresh greens.

I will soon have strawberries, green onions, and kohlrabi to harvest, and the broccoli may not be far behind. The snow peas are blossoming, so I hope to see peas in the next week or two as well. It can't come at a better time, when I have to cut the grocery bill so drastically.

Made it to the Pool and Started a New Dietbet

May 29th, 2017 at 08:14 pm

In an effort to start exercising again, we made it to the pool today. It was during open swim and while there was a free lap lane, I didn't swim laps. What I did was grab a pool noodle, stick it under my arms, and then do the bicycling legs while floating thing for 20 minutes. Then I pretty much just floated for a while. Gravity is not my friend right now, so anything that helps me defy it is wonderful.

I figured I should take it easy in the beginning as I don't want to hurt myself when I am just getting started. I have no stamina right now. A lot of times working in the garden I end up huffing and puffing. I am just so out of shape. It's a good thing I took it easy, too, because my legs felt like jelly when I got out.

I sat in the hot tub for about 15 minutes and then took a nice long shower, since no one else was in the locker room. I am almost out of my swim shampoo and conditioner. It takes the chlorine out of my hair so I will need to buy some more soon if I keep this up.

I picked up the new pool schedule for the summer and there is only one water Zumba class a week. I am not ready to go to that or water aerobics, though. Not until my feet and ankles are doing better. Hopefully I'll get some kind of medication from the rheumatologist and it will help with all the swelling and tightness that reoccurs.

I also signed up for two dietbets, one a six month transformer and one a month long kickstarter. I finally feel motivated enough to get this weight loss thing moving again. I didn't have to put any money out since I still have a bunch in my account. The kickstarter starts on June 1st and the transformer starts tomorrow.

My son is wanting to eat more healthy and so we will be supporting each other. I am probably going to make my daughter get on the band wagon as well. I hope DH does, too. He's gained back a lot of weight and it is messing with his back. I'm going to stop buying the junk food for the most part. If it isn't in the house no one can eat it in front of me and tempt me.

I'm sure my weight is contributing to my ankle pain and that it isn't all arthritis. It's just so bad and I can't do this to myself anymore. So for now I am motivated and hopefully I can stay motivated.

I am getting my positive attitude back. I think my brain is either adjusting to the spot in my vision or the Occu Power is actually helping to diminish it. Either way it is less irritating than it was even a couple days ago.

I am trying to keep that attitude going, but DH's work is really testing my frustration levels. They waited until the last minute to decide whether he was going to be coming up on Mondays or Thursdays, and finally told him the day he left as he was heading out to catch a plane that it was Thursdays.

Today he gets a call from his boss's boss wondering where he is, because his boss, who said he would take care of putting all the paperwork together, didn't. His boss is the same guy who months ago, conveniently "lost" all three copies of the resume DH gave him and claimed he never received one from him even though DH personally handed him copies of it twice. It feels an awful lot like sabotage part 2.

So while it is now all worked out and in the future he will be starting on Mondays, he has lost 3 days of work out of this coming hitch. That is a big chunk of money that we were depending on.

I won't be able to put anything in the EF and I'm not sure where else I will be able to make cuts. I may actually have to pull from the EF to cover this. I was hoping to buy some new rabbit cages and replace my daughter's bed and put some money aside in case I have to pay for the full amount of the laser eye surgery. Maybe I can get by with buying almost no food in the next six weeks. It'll mean eating a lot of greens from the garden, which we have, and eating from our freezer and canning pantry. Maybe I'll do a challenge.

DH has not heard from the other company who said they'd let him know by the 14th. He will follow up with them tomorrow. I told him he needs to continue job hunting. I just don't trust these guys and all their last minute stuff. The fact that quite a few of them seem to have permanent cases of cranial rectal inversion doesn't help either.

But think positive. I can do that. I need to do that.

Grocery Prices on the Rise?

May 28th, 2017 at 05:35 pm

I am trying to decide if grocery prices are going up or not. I know that I can still walk out of Trader Joe's with a cart full of groceries, including meat, for around $120 to $150. And the grocery outlet seems pretty steady, but it has a different price point anyway. No, it's the regular stores that seem to be going up.

I have noticed it a lot on produce and on things that are in season in our state right now. Most of the greens have gone up, so I am grateful I don't need to buy them at this time of year because of the garden. Chicken prices seem to have gone up about 30 cents a pound and that's on sale.

Fish has definitely gone up a dollar a pound pretty much across the board. Even trout which is usually the cheapest fish you can buy since around here they are competing with people who go out and catch the fish themselves to eat and people who sell direct off their boats.

Beef prices, which I don't have to worry about for at least the next six months seem to have risen about a dollar a pound as well, except hamburger, which has gone up about 50 cents a pound. Hot dogs and hot dog buns have gone up and at this time of year, especially around holidays, it is usually down a lot. Bread has gone way up. Now that I am feeling better I need to go back to baking my own loaves.

Milk seems to be steady, but we don't buy enough of it for me to be sure. Eggs have gone up. Cheese's regular price has gone up, but its sale price has gone down. Frozen foods seem to be very cheap right now, or at least going on a lot of sales.

I think I will have to just do more shopping at Trader Joe's, the grocery outlet, and Winco and only do sale shopping at Safeway and Haggen. Costco seems to have had a slight bump in some prices and gone down in others. But Costco is the only place I can get a few items, so that one I'll just have to deal with whatever price is on those items.

Have you been noticing food prices going up a lot this year? Or is it just where I live that this is going on?

Adjusting

May 28th, 2017 at 06:49 am

Well, I think I am finally starting to adjust to having this blob in the vision in my right eye. I've had to make some changes. I have to have the print on the computer screen set to 150% on most websites, and 175 on the ones that use teeny tiny font sizes to not have a blind spot when I'm reading.

If I want to read books, large print editions are the only ones that don't cause headaches. Normal print I can do for about twenty minutes, but I have to keep refocusing, and I end up with a headache. Forget 10 point font at all. It's almost an instant headache and a blind spot. Fortunately the library has a huge number of large print books and most Debbie Macomber novels have a large print copy and those that don't have an audio book available. Since I am working my way through her books right now, that works for me.

As for typing, if I increase the font and tilt my head and look through the lower part of my eye, I can almost make it disappear.

With distance vision, it is almost like it isn't there, so the only part of driving that is an issue is if I look at the GPS screen or at the speedometer. The head tilt works for that and I am using cruise control a lot more when I can.

I think it is still breaking up, but it is doing it slowly. I am taking a supplement that is supposed to help with the floaters. We'll see. I've only been on it 3 days. I am hoping by the time I see the doctor again at the end of the month that it will have gotten smaller, or even better, gone away, but I know it may not.

My daughter had her baby tooth pulled this week and they didn't give her anything for the pain. When she had her wisdom teeth out, they gave her hydrocodone. This is just as bad, but told her to just take Ibuprofen. Doctors and dentists have gotten downright stingy with painkillers in the last couple of years. They are so worried about people getting addicted that they don't want to give it out for actual bad pain.

Fortunately, she had some medication left from when she cracked her skull a couple years ago and was on it for 8 weeks so I gave her some of it and it helped her a lot.

It ended up costing $253. They had estimated $246, so not far off the mark. She needed an extra shot of novacaine, so I'm sure that was why the difference.

DH also had to go to a different chiropractor because ours is on vacation, so that was a $30 co-pay. He pinched a nerve or something in his back, so also got a massage the day before that for $60. That is not covered at all with our insurance. Fortunately he is doing much better. He will see that chiropractor again before he goes back to work on Wednesday.

Ours won't be back until the 6th and DH leaves on the 31st. My neck is out pretty bad, but I don't want to spend the money to see a different chiropractor. I may have to, though. I'm not sure I can go another ten days, especially since my physical therapist has flaked out on me again. I'm pretty sure I'll be barely walking by the time he gets back.

I'm really starting to resent the frequent vacations my chiropractor goes on. It seems like he's taking off every six weeks or so. Usually it is only for one week, but this time it is for two. He only works 4 half days a week as it is, so available hours are limited even when he is here. If he didn't have such a good family plan we would have left a long time ago.

I need to find a new physical therapist as mine is moving away in October. That's going to be a major pain. I know there are lots of them in this city, but I hate trying out new people. You may have noticed I'm not a real big fan of change. But I'll have to do it, because the sessions are one of the things that keep me walking and when I miss a week, I really feel it.

I am thinking of buying an ultrasound machine like they use in physical therapy, not like they use to see inside your body. My old doctor used to do those treatments on my knees when they would swell really bad and they worked wonders. A decent machine is around $200. Now that I am having both my ankles and knees swelling so frequently, it might be worthwhile to make the investment. They've got some with good reviews on Amazon. It'd be worth it if it improves my walking ability or even just decreases swelling and pain.

Picked Up Our Beef--Breakdown on Cuts

May 24th, 2017 at 08:41 pm

So our half a beef was ready and hanging weight came to 335 pounds. She had estimated hanging weight would be 300 with it's full hanging weight being 600, but it was bigger. It cost $1005 for the half and $250.64 for the cut and wrap fee, a total of $1255.64. So that works out to $3.75 per pound for a grass fed beef, which is pretty spectacular, considering grass fed hamburger alone is $8 a pound here. While she is not certified organic, they do not spray their hay fields and they still use organic practices.

She uses a different butcher than the one who lost our half a hog last year and then turned our plain ground pork into sausage when we specifically asked for it to not be sausage, but plain. I was glad she used someone else. I really don't want to deal with the other company again. 2 out of 3 times they've screwed up, so I have no faith in them, but unfortunately most farmers use them. I'll probably go with this lady again, though, since she uses the other place.

Here's what it breaks down to with all steaks in packages of 2 and cut 3/4 inch thick, the roasts around 2 pounds each except for the rump roasts which are 3, and the brisket which is 4 or 5:

Ground Beef: 54 l 1/2 pound packages
Heart: 1
Liver: 5 packages
Flank Steak: 1
Short Ribs: 5
Porterhouse: 2
Eye of Round: 2
Top Round Steak: 6
Sirloin: 6
Bottom Round Roasts: 3
Sirloin Tip Roasts: 4
Chuck Roasts: 6
Pot Roasts: 3
Rump Roasts: 2
Soup Bones: 4
Tri Tip: 1
T-bone Steak: 5
Brisket: 1
Tenderloin: 2
Rib Eye Steaks: 7

So it should last us quite some time, though not a year. Maybe half a year to 3/4 of a year. I reckon everything but the hamburger will be gone at the 1/2 year and the hamburger will last longer. I won't be afraid to get a full beef next time if I decide I want one. I was worried about space, but it only filled 3 1/3 compartments in my giant chest freezer. That will help me plan for a future order based on space.

I have to learn how to cook certain cuts that I've never made before as well as the heart and liver. I didn't get the tongue, because I didn't think I could handle that. If we like the heart and the liver, that's good, and if we don't, we will cut it up into little pieces and dole it out as treats to the birds, because despite what many people think, chickens, ducks, and turkeys are not vegetarians and in fact, being fed an all-vegetarian diet is not good for them.

It is easy enough to supplement them if they don't free range and get their own bugs and worms with packaged meal worms or whatever bits of meat you might have that they can eat, either raw or cooked. They don't need a lot, but they do need some. Even extra eggs if your layers are prolific, scrambled or hard boiled and diced, works, even if it feels slightly cannibalistic.

So the liver and heart will get used even if not by us. Actually, I'll see if the in-laws want some, too, if we don't like it. There's a lot and I know they eat one of them. Humans first, then animals.

It's Been Nice Here on the Farm

May 23rd, 2017 at 02:28 am

The weather the last few days has been really nice, though my latest garden transplants were not too happy with it. A little extra water, though, and they perked right up. Everything else has grown tremendously during these nicer days. I need to start hardening off my basil plants that I cloned off basil I was growing in the Aerogarden.

I've spent a couple of hours a day in the garden for the last two days and it has really helped to improve my mood. I'm still down a bit, but not feeling so hopeless. I've got almost everything in now. I just need to plant 3 pepper plants, bell, jalapeno, and cayenne, and some sunflowers and I am good until I've harvested enough to succession plant.

We haven't had to buy lettuce for 4 weeks now and we haven't had to buy spinach for 2 weeks. Kale and chard we have had all winter and spring. I pulled my first carrots from the batch that overwintered.

I wish I had a garden twice the size of what I do have. I don't like having to pick and choose what I can plant. I want to plant everything that I want to grow. As it is, I think I have to give up winter squash other than acorn and green beans this year. I can get both of those things at the no spray garden, along with good potatoes for canning, and they are cheap, so it is better to do that than to try to grow what takes up so much space in a limited area.

I put in more broccoli, some cauliflower, more kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, red shiso, 60 garlic starts, acorn squash, gold rush zucchini, patty pan summer squash, regular zucchini, English cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers. I don't need to make pickles, I just like the way those cukes taste.

I also put in red and yellow snap dragons, orange pansies, allysum (white), and heliotrope (deep purple). Flowers attract pollinators, plus they are beautiful and provide bright spots in what is mostly a sea of green right now. Most of my other flowers are herbs for tea and medicinal purposes, but not every flower has to pull double duty, just most of them.

I don't think I mentioned that we have new rabbit babies on the farm. They were born on Mother's Day. Ella had nine, 2 broken blacks, 2 blacks, 2 broken reds, and the rest are either white or a very light fawn (blond). It is hard to tell yet, as colors tend to darken with age. Persephone had five, all white. We gave Persephone two of Ella's kits to raise (one of the broken blacks and one of the blacks so we can tell whose are whose), so each mother is raising seven. This gives the kits a better shot at being evenly fed and is easier on the mother's and milk production.

Ruby and Serena missed again. I think Serena is just too old now. Ruby is still young so I don't know what is going on with her. We'll try again next month.

I am hoping that one of Ella's broken reds is a buck. We got a broken red doe kit from Bonfire that is the sweetest thing ever. She's six weeks old. If we could actually grow up a breeding pair I would be thrilled. I am also looking for a good broken black female. Zander keeps throwing male broken blacks, so far only one female, and she was poorly patterned with lots of white hairs in the black fur. And of course all of the males are beautifully patterned because that is the way it goes when you are trying for something.

Gina's laying eggs. So far we've gotten 3 eggs in two weeks. I wasn't sure she would ever lay again after last year's injury. I hope she clicks into gear a little bit faster now. Her first year she laid 3 to 4 eggs a week. Last year she didn't lay at all because it took 8 months to grow new feathers after the owl attack and turkeys can't lay eggs and grow new feathers at the same time. They use all their protein for one or the other and you can't just increase it because it can do damage to change from the proper ratio.

The ducks are all doing very well, though we lost one of the shelter chickens. She managed to wedge herself between the garage and the chicken coop and couldn't get out and gave herself a heart attack trying, poor thing. If it had to be someone, I was glad it wasn't one of the nice ones. Only two of the shelter birds are nice, the others are all bullies. I wish Mom had never got them because they've been really bad for flock dynamics.

We need to order feed in the morning, so that will be another expense. I need to find a bigger box for Gina. She's broody and the little box she's sitting in doesn't really fit her comfortably. I can probably find something for around $20. It needs to be plastic so it is easy to clean. I may just get a duplicate of what I use for the ducks. It is big enough for her, since two ducks can fit in one, and she used to sit in one the first year when she was broody.

We also need to buy a new cooler to be used as a chill tank on butcher days and a canopy to put up as a sunshade in front of the rabbit shed windows. It helps to keep it cooler inside. We've been using a tarp the last couple years, but I'd like something a bit more sturdy and that is easy to take down in wind storms.

Unfortunately I haven't sold any rabbits in a while, so I'll have to take the money out of the budget. That's okay, though. We've done it before and we can do it again.

A Long but Good Day

May 21st, 2017 at 12:27 am

I got to see sister #2 today for the first time since last summer. Sister #1 was there as well, but I see her a couple times a week, usually. It was a graduation party for S2's youngest child and all four of her children were there including her eldest who lives in Arizona and his new wife. S1's daughter was hosting it.

S1 and I always tend to gravitate to each other at these things and of course, when S2 saw that, she had to come over and talk to us, too. She's always been that way, can't be left out of a conversation her sisters are having. It was good catching up. I think S2 has changed a lot in the last couple of years. It is good to see that she isn't as lost as she used to be.

S2 is finally on the internet and has an email address, so it'll be a lot easier for me to stay in touch with her now. I was able to get a picture of the 3 of us together and the 3 of us with Mom. We haven't had a picture of us girls together since I was 19. I am going to print a copy of the one of us with Mom for Mom to have.

After that we went to my great niece's first birthday party. We missed the first part of it, but made it for an hour of it. It was a pretty exhausting day for me, but worth it to spend so much time with family. It helped lift my spirits a bit.

I'm still depressed about my eye, but at least I didn't have to think about it for a while today. I didn't eat anything at either party, it was all cake and chips and soda. On the way home we picked up Taco Time, though and spent about $40. I had a taco salad with no dressing and added some berries on the side when I got home. Taco salads are my favorite thing from there other than tacos, but I'm trying to limit corn and wheat right now.

Tomorrow I will get back into the swing of cooking again. I need to make up a meal plan and probably buy some more veggies.

Surfacing, Drowning

May 19th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

It's been a week since the emergency laser eye surgery and while it didn't seem like a big deal, it seems to have really sapped my strength. I was exhausted the first few days afterwards. I am having a hard time adjusting to the impaired vision. The spots are always there. Even when I close my eyes, if there is a light on, I can still see the big one against my eyelid, which makes it hard to get a rest from it during the day unless I cover my eye.

At least it goes away in darkness. At least I don't see it in my dreams. My vision has been bad for several years, but my glasses were always enough to correct it. The idea that these spots may be permanent unless I get another surgery to remove the vitreous and replace it with a solution of saline is very disheartening. Especially since there is no guarantee that new floaters won't develop.

I've dealt with so many health issues my entire adult life, but I always had the ability to escape into a book or into my writing. Now even that is tarnished. I can't read for long periods, because the right eye has to work too hard. It is better with large print books and zooming on the computer screen, but my eyes get so tired so fast trying to work around the floaters despite it. It kind of takes some of the joy from my life and makes me feel defeated.

I think I always took my eyesight for granted, even if it wasn't that good, it was good enough. Now...I don't know. It's like having a little bug flying in front of me constantly and nothing can make it go away. I just can't imagine having this for the rest of my life.

Usually I can look on the bright side and be optimistic, but with this, the fight has gone right out of me. I've never felt so overwhelmed before. I just want it all to go away, but I am afraid it never, ever will. It's the first time in my life where I've ever felt like giving up and it is a horrible feeling. And I'm helpless to do anything about it. Just wait and see. Or not see.


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