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Archive for April, 2014

Muscial Ducks, Turkeys, Chicks, and the Mortgage

April 29th, 2014 at 03:53 am

http://youtu.be/Xzjq0UY2Uy4

The ducklings are very happy with their new space. I was glad to get them moved in yesterday and boy were they glad to go.

We got the turkey poults and chicks moved into the garage brooder today and they were happy with their new space, too. We modified the brooder to put a perch about 8 inches off the floor. They love it. I think the turkeys are mad though because we have a screen over the top of the brooder and they can't fly out like they were doing out of the bathtub. 2.5 weeks old and they can fly really well. They don't even have all their feather yet, but they have their wing feathers and that's enough.

DH and I worked on fencing. Right now we are just keeping the ducklings locked in their house for a couple days until they realize it is home now, and hopefully we will get the new fencing finished tomorrow and can let them out in their little yard. I say little, but it'll be at least 128 square feet.

This week it feels like we are handing our paycheck directly to the home improvement store. We're not, we're actually taking it from savings, where we put it earlier in the year, but it is still the same feeling. It is worth it though for all the animals. It is fun to raise them, but they sure are work.

Mom's meat chickens got moved into their new coop tonight. It was quite the process and they weren't sure they liked it at first, at least until they found the food and water. I'm sure they'll be happy for the space as they get used to it, though.

I am still debating paying off the mortgage. I just really want it over with. It hit today and the new balance is $4860.40. I had estimated it at $4882.62, so was off by $22.22 in my favor.

If I wiped out all of my funds except the Property Tax Fund, the Dues Fund, and the College Fund, I would have $4293.93 to put on the mortgage. That would leave me with $566.47 to pay it off. I could justify taking that much money out of the Emergency Fund to pay it off. And I could pay it back to the EF within a couple of months. I need to talk to DH about this tonight and see where he stands. I am so ready to be done with this.

I Feel Like a Construction Worker

April 28th, 2014 at 02:05 am

This is what we've been up to for the past 4 days.

http://youtu.be/qWrGcWXj98A

We spent about $250 (part of that on drill bits). Something comparable in a store bought kit would have been around $800, so I think we did pretty well. I have learned some serious skills, too.

Once we get the corrugated roofing on we will begin construction of the turkey coop. At least we will have a string of dry days to do that on. Turkey coop will probably run us about $500 in supplies, but would cost about $1500 if we weren't doing it ourselves.

Both the duck house and the turkey coop will be easy to take apart and move when it is time for us to buy our farm. We are building with that in mind.

Under $5K and Medical Insurance Whining

April 25th, 2014 at 06:14 pm

The mortgage is now officially under $5,000 left to pay it off. It should be $4882.62 plus or minus about 50 cents after this payment of $527. Last month's interest was $27, but it goes down a little each month and I paid it 3 days sooner this month than last so it'll be a little less than that. I should have exact numbers next week some time.

Regardless, it is a great feeling. A huge part of me wants to take half the Emergency Fund and pay it off. I'm not sure how much longer I can resist that. Once the car is gone the only official debt left is the van loan. I say official, because we still owe Mom money, but that is off any record anywhere. I keep thinking of how fast the van loan would go down if we were putting the mortgage money there.

Contract renewals are coming up soon. It has been a few years since DH has gotten a raise, since it has been a few years since contracts were done last. I hope he will get a raise that will at least make up for the higher medical costs and the higher plane ticket costs and if we are lucky the extra taxes they have been taking out since that tax break expired at the start of 2013. It is annoying when your take home pay goes down every year despite your gross staying the same.

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful that DH has a job and a job that pays so well, but I just want to be out of consumer debt and it feels like I am not making very much progress on that front since that tax break expired and took $500 a month away from us that was previously going to pay down debt.

We've been hit hard with medical this year, especially dental. And our medical insurance, Premera, the one that sucks eggs hard, I may have mentioned that before, has decided that they no longer want to pay the rates of any of the anesthesiologists in my county or the next county over, so if any of us need to have any kind of surgery again we have to go all the way to Everett, where none of our doctors work, or they won't pay for that portion.

Now the portion of the anesthetist we have always had to pay for was around $1000. I can't imagine how high it would be without the insurance kicking in for it. Hopefully no one will need surgery any time soon. I miss Aetna, which is bad enough, but it was world's better than Premera.

I've got a $1000 dental bill I'll have to pay off over 3 months and a $307 doctor bill that just came in, none of which is covered under our sky high deductibles. I sometimes really wonder what is the point of medical insurance at all anymore. I remember when it actually paid for stuff. Or we only had to pay a reasonable 20%. This is ridiculous. I miss the insurance DH had with his old company. Now they were excellent.

Okay, time to derail this pity party. I've hit the intersection of Suck it Up and Get Over It, so I shall do that now. For a while anyway.

Just Not that Into It

April 23rd, 2014 at 06:45 am

I don't know what it is, but I sure don't seem to be into my finances this month. I mean, I'm not ignoring them or anything, I'm staying on track for my goals, I'm not overspending (though I am doing a lot of planned spending), but it all seems sort of boring at the moment.

I go through this from time to time and I guess it is normal not to want to always have a pinpoint focus or to track every cent. I pretty much just feel like I'm a well-oiled machine that just keeps on keeping on. I think about making blog posts, but they just feel like they lack a certain spark right now. I guess after eight years blogging (I totally missed my blogoversary on the 9th) there just isn't always that much left to talk about anymore.

I did do one frugal thing this week. I made and canned dandelion jelly. It turned out awesome and tastes like honey.



But you can read about that on the farm blog if you want:

http://whendidthisbecomeafarm.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/first...

I'm sure I'll get my mojo or whatever back in a while. These things come and go.

Meanwhile, I have cute animal stuff.

Rabbit kits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ZhLreFgkg

Sienna and Cinnabun:



Pekin duckling:



Welsh Harlequin and Pekin ducklings:



Royal Palm turkey poults (yellow ones) and Barnevelder chicks:




Coin Jar Deposit to Moving Fund

April 19th, 2014 at 02:04 am

I was able to roll quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies today out of my coin jar and deposited that plus all the ones I had, a 50 cent piece, and a nickel I found in the parking lot when I got out of the van.

$726.93 Beginning Balance
+_48.05 Amount Added
----------
$774.98 Ending Balance

That leaves me $225.02 left to finishing funding this portion of savings.

Moving Fund Update

April 18th, 2014 at 05:49 pm

Yesterday was the weekly auto deposit of $10 to savings. I put it in the Moving Fund.

$716.23 Beginning Balance
+_10.00 Amount Added
---------
$726.23 Ending Balance

$273.77 to go.

Coin Jar Update

April 16th, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I added $4.89 to the coin jar. It was change from the pizza I bought yesterday. It was my first takeaway in a while. I was just so wiped out yesterday I didn't even want to think about cooking.

Expenses and Update

April 12th, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Gee, it feels like it has been a while since I've had a no spend day. First I went to physical therapy, so that was $90. I hope one day I can get through a week without it, but that day has not yet come. Still, I do what I must to continue to walk, so it is totally worth it, even if it comes out of my pocket.

I also spent $108.36 on medications and medical supplies. We were out of almost everything so I did a major stock up. I like to have everything on hand because when you feel sick the last thing you want to do is head to the store. And of course when you start bleeding you want to be able to stop it right away.

Hopefully tomorrow will actually be a no spend day. I don't foresee any expenses at this point, but who knows.

My daughter is finally going to get her driver's permit this week. If she passes the written. She doesn't have to take a class now that she is 17 and 1/2. I hate the fact that you can't go to the DMV anymore to take the tests though. They've outsourced to the local driving schools. So irritating. Because you have to take the test at one place and then if you pass, you have to go to the DMV to get the actual permit, and the places are on opposite sides of the town so you have to go all over the place.

The little turkey poults are doing great. They are learning from the chicks and getting less stupid each day. One of the little chicks is already flying. They have their wing feathers, but she seems to be the only one who has figured out what to do. No tail or other feathers yet. She is not getting any height yet, but she zooms from one end of the bathtub to the other.

The ducklings are doing great. The one that was having seizures stopped having them once I started the vitamin regimen with them. It's been five or six days now and not a sign of a seizure. Since it was having one at least three times a day before, and probably more but I only checked on them 3 times a day, and I haven't seen any at all, I think it is out of the woods. It is still a little brain damaged but it seems like it is learning to compensate for it.

Their tail and back feathers are just starting to emerge. Ducks are slower to feather than chickens. All of the meat chickens my mom got when I got the ducks are fully feathered and they are five days younger than the ducklings.

The rabbit kits are growing and starting to get the lightest dusting of white as their fur comes in. Both mothers are doing well and holding condition pretty well, despite losing a good chunk of pregnancy weight. They are getting oats with their pellets for an extra nutrition boost.

I am happy with how well things are going on our little homestead. I thought I might be overwhelmed with so much to care for, but it is going well. I still would like to add quail, but I don't know if that will happen this year. I would just raise them for meat if I did get them this year. That's an 8 week commitment. Not too much. But until the duck house and the turkey coop are built, I'm not even going to think of it or try to pile more animal housing building onto DH's plate. Especially since we still have to get the garden up and running.

Found a Nickel

April 11th, 2014 at 09:30 pm

I am finding all kinds of money this month, which is kind of nice. Today I found a shiny nickel.

I put it in the coin jar along with the rest of the change and ones from all my shopping yesterday. It totaled $8.74.

The turkey poults and chicks all made it through the night, though one of the particularly stupid poults got herself trapped between the cardboard put down under the newspaper and pine shavings and the bathtub wall a few times. We ended up duct taping the cardboard to the bathtub so that she can't do it anymore. She still hangs out in that corner though, silly thing.

They are all eating and drinking and I swear they have grown since yesterday.

We almost lost a kit last night, but thankfully we saw that it had fallen out of the nesting box and I was able to get it warmed back up and then back in with the rest of the litter. It survived the night. Hopefully it will survive the day as well. Then I will stop worrying about it.

I need to go and buy the first of the straw bales for my straw bale gardening project. They have to be soaked daily for 2 weeks and fertilized with organic kelp every other day, before adding compost to pockets I put in the straw and planting, so I need to get started. I don't want to build raised beds here, but I need the garden to be up off the ground because of my knees. I can sit in a chair next to a straw bale and garden easily. By the time I am done preparing the bales we should be past the last hard frost of the year.

New Arrivals and Expenses Today

April 11th, 2014 at 05:38 am

I spent $116.91 on Royal Palm heritage turkey poults and Barnevelder chicken pullets today. Barnevelders are a very old breed and lay a nice dark brown egg, similar to a black copper maran. These guys will pay me back with eggs in about 16 weeks.

I am hoping that I got at least one male and one female turkey, but since they were straight run, I won't know until they are quite a bit older. If I got at least one of each, they will remain as our breeders. Royal Palms are still capable of breeding naturally and don't need AI like the more commercial breeds you'd find at the grocery store that have been bred so heavy breasted they can't support their own body weight at maturity so can't breed. They just fall over if they try.

The Royal Palm poults can be sold for quite a premium so it will be well worth the investment eventually.

Two of the turkeys will be for Thanksgiving and Christmas regardless of whether they turn out to be male or female. It'll be cheaper to raise them ourselves than to buy heritage birds at the holidays.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8ZBsHvnB9E

I also spent $41.26 for a 50 pound bag of game bird starter feed, a waterer, and two feed troughs, since the ducklings are eating enough now to need a second trough.

Then I spent $59.19 on a tank of gas for the minivan and $210.63 on groceries. They had a huge sale on turkey legs so I stocked up on a lot since they are so easy to make. I also bought a lot of other staples and some fresh veggies.

I canned 3 quarts of pickles today. Unfortunately the bottom of one of the jars cracked off during the canning process. I lost about $3 worth of food. Still, it is rare that something like that happens. I've never had a jar crack before in two years of canning. It is still far cheaper to home can even with the occasional loss, than to buy them already made when you are working with organic foods. And I can make it exactly the way I like it and in the quantities I want them to be in, with no yellow #5 or MSG. Well worth it.

Coin Jar Update--Found Money

April 10th, 2014 at 05:39 pm

I found $3 in ones and a 50 cent piece this morning in an old sweatshirt pocket. I added it to the coin jar. I almost never put money in a pocket so this is a rare find for me. I love it when I find money.

Moving Fund Update

April 10th, 2014 at 05:33 pm

Since the EF hit $10K, I am now putting the weekly $10 auto deposit into savings into the Moving Fund.

$706.93 Old MF Balance
+_10.00 Amount Added
-----------
$716.93 New MF Balance

$283.07 to go to hit my goal of $1000 for the Moving Fund.

This and That

April 9th, 2014 at 06:51 pm

I added $9.68 to the coin jar. DH cleaned out his wallet last night before heading back to Alaska and that was all the ones and change that he had, plus 3 quarters from my purse that were knocking around.

After all the building we have done so far this spring, we have decided to put the green house on hold. With the duck house yet to be built and a turkey house next on the agenda, then fixing all the rabbit tractors with new roofs and building a large outdoor hutch with two big grow out cages for the rabbits that we can put in deep shade during the heart of the summer's heat, I just can't see it getting done.

That is okay though. We are planning on a straw bale garden, so it will be an easy set-up. We can put low tunnels over them to keep the birds out of the ones they would love to eat.

There have still been no serious buyers on the house. There are people that want it but don't have any money ready to buy it. I am hoping that now that it is spring and we are heading into summer that there will be someone who actually has money who wants it. It is such a nice house. If it weren't for the location I'm sure it would be long sold.

If it doesn't sell by summer, I think we are going to try to rent it. I know of one person who has said they would rent it for $1000 a month and pay all the utilities. That was the guy who painted the house in exchange for our old car. That way I could at least start paying the handyman back. He did the work based on being paid when it sold and being allowed to use it for his portfolio book, though all materials were paid for at the time. We just owe him on the labor.

If the house ever sells, we are planning on paying off the van with part of the proceeds. That will give us a smaller down payment, but it will free up a lot of money each month.

The mortgage hit and the remaining balance is 5362.82, so after May's payment it will be under $5K. I am so tempted to just pay it off using half the Emergency Fund. I could then use the money I've been putting on the mortgage to get the Emergency Fund back up to $10K. It would be a risk. Everything is these days, but to own the house free and clear means that at least in an Emergency situation no one could take that away from us, evening if it means moving back to the boonies.

I have been thinking about getting a used fridge and washing machine to put in the house, too. I am wondering if that might not be a small issue with some of the people looking to buy. They might want to have it ready to just walk in and live, not have to buy a few big appliances themselves. If they are only looking at the listing and seeing it doesn't have that, it might be enough to keep them from coming out and falling in love with the house. At the very least I think it needs a fridge. I see fridges on Craigslist for $100 quite often and washers from $50 to $150. It would be a small investment to possibly make a big difference.

Exhausted

April 9th, 2014 at 06:48 am

I am so flipping tired right now. The last week has been so much work and we had kits born yesterday. Lola's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKSf0uDl9T0

and finally, Serenity had hers after spending most of the last two days looking at us like, "Pregant? Who is pregnant? Not me!" every time we go in to check. Like the nest she's dug out doesn't give it away. She hid them so well in the nesting box, though, that we almost thought she hadn't had them yet.

I've put 3 doe kits up for sale. Hopefully I will get a nibble. Sales do help pay for feed and bring overall costs of raising our own meat down.

The ducklings turned 3 weeks old on Sunday and I was able to start them on flock raiser crumbles. I am still mixing in some of the chick starter because abrupt dietary changes are not good for animals, but should be all the way over to crumbles by tomorrow night. Which is when I will run out of chick starter so that works out well.

I ordered some special duck vitamins which should be here soon. I got 2 packs because the shipping was the same as one pack and 2 packs is almost a year supply. One of the Pekins has been having seizures, but I haven't seen her have one in the last two days since I started adding 1 crushed super B complex vitamin to their daily one gallon of water they drink.

Hopefully that means she has stopped having them, but I may just not be there when she is having them. I think she is brain addled though from all the ones she did have. She's just off a bit, stares at the wall a lot, but seems to do okay still. She is one of the meat birds though, so it's okay if she is brain addled so long as she can eat and drink and walk and grow.

My turkey poults come in on Thursday so hopefully I can get there before anyone else and get the pick of the clutch. I want four. All I care about is that I get one hen and one tom. The rest can be whatever because the whatevers will be for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The hen and tom will be breeding stock so we can eventually sell poults of our own or fertile eggs.

This farming thing is getting more and more involved as we go. I love it though. Even if it does lead to exhausting weeks like this one.

This is Silly, but...

April 2nd, 2014 at 04:07 am

...I don't care.

I got interest on one of my small CU's today. It is 12 cents. I am adding it anyway, to the Moving Fund.

$706.81 Old Balance
+___.12 Interest Added
----------
$706.93 New Balance

And here's a video of some of the animals here on our homestead just for fun:

http://youtu.be/fLi5SLzlMbg

And the day we moved the chicks and ducks into the new brooder boxes we built in the garage:

http://youtu.be/tRvvDWlAYvA

$10K, Now What?

April 1st, 2014 at 09:03 pm

So now that my Emergency Fund is sitting pretty at just over $10K, I have decided that my next focus is going to be on the Moving Fund. I will still add $100 each month to the EF, because my ultimate goal is to get it to $30K, but the extra monies that were going in there will now be diverted to the Moving Fund.

Ideally, I'd like to get the Moving Fund to $1000. That will cover the $300 we have to pay the HoA just to transfer ownership of a property in that development (though I am still going to try to fight that based on a spotless dues record since they only came up with it less than a year ago), and provide $700 for renting the U-Haul.

Currently it is sitting at $700. Interest of $6.81 hit my C1-360 account today so I am adding that to the Moving Fund.

$700.00 Beginning Balance
+__6.81 Amount Added
---------
$706.81 Ending Balance

I have $293.19. My goal for the end of the month is to get the Moving Fund to $800. I will have the four $10 auto deposits to add to that, so need to come up with $53.19 on top of that from coin jar scrapings and survey money for April.

After I have completed the Moving Fund my next goal will to be complete the January 2015 Money Fund. Every year from around Christmas to some time in January, DH has 4 weeks of unpaid time off. Usually we use part or all of the Christmas Bonus to get us through that time. This year I want to be a little more prepared than that. I want to have $4000 ready in savings to get through that time period so we can use the Christmas bonus for something else.

Right now I have $2267 in the JMF. Between now and the end of the year I need to come up with $1733 to meet that goal. $900 of it will come from monthly deposits of $100 between now and December. That will leave $833 to come up with. I will hit my Moving Fund goal hopefully by the end of June, so will have six months worth of $10 weekly deposits to add to the Moving Fund. That will be an additional $260. So that leaves me with $573 to come up with by the end of the year, or approximately $95.50 a month.

I can usually scrape up about $50 a month between coins and $1's so I am going to have to figure out where that other $45.50 will come from. Maybe I will need to take the cash option on Swagbucks instead of Amazon gift cards. Well, I'll figure it out. Anyway, those will be my two priorities for this year.