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Archive for May, 2014

Emergency Fund Update

May 30th, 2014 at 11:24 pm

$9254.68 Beginning EF Amount
+__10.00 Weekly Auto Deposit
------------
$9264.68 Ending EF Amount

$735.32 left to go to return the EF to $10K.

Meal Planning for the Week

May 25th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I've gotten away from cooking quite a bit this month, so trying to get back to it better this week. Here are my menus for the week.

Sunday:
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Onions and Peppers
Salad

Monday:
Barbecue Chicken Wings
Baked potatoes
Green Beans

Tuesday:
Fried Rabbit
Canned corn
Kohlrabi

Wednesday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cole slaw

Thursday:
Meatball Sandwiches
Cole slaw

Friday:
Beef Chuck Pot Roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli

Saturday:
Tacos

Payday Report

May 25th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

I didn't do my payday report last week so this will just be a combined report for the two paydays.

$1500.00 BoA VISA
_1000.00 Loan to Mom
__400.00 Mom's Utilities
__200.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
___60.91 Electric (Old House 2 months)
___48.60 Phone (Old House)
__160.80 Internet (2 months)
___68.56 Garbage
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra to principal)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__239.32 Propane
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Vacation Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Moving Fund
__100.00 Appliance Fund
__500.00 Building Supplies
___90.00 Allowances (2 weeks)
--------------
$5546.01

I did some bulk grocery shopping in the last two weeks, spenging $526.31. We've spent $100 on eating out or takeaway. I spent $204 on prescription medications and $45.21 on OTC allergy meds. I also paid a medical bill, a physical therapy session and dental bill for a total of $341.47. And that should get me up to date for the month.

Bought the New Freezer

May 25th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

We bought our chest freezer finally yesterday. It is a 24.6 cubic foot Frigidaire Gallery with lots of dividers and baskets which should make compartmentalizing foods very easy. It costs $82 a year to run and is Energy Star rated.

It is also made in America, which I will generally do if I can and it meets all my needs. With tax it came to $850.04. Free delivery and since we bought it on a sale weekend it was $100 off. It was also $200 less than the same freezer at another store. We bought from a local business, who happens to have their own outlet store as well of slightly older models.

It will be delivered tomorrow and then after 24 hours of being plugged in we can start moving our frozen foods out of my mother's freezers and our mini-chest freezer. I'll do an inventory based on what goes into each divider or bin, too. I used to have an inventory of what was in the freezers, but with this freezer going into the garage, I'll need to know for sure what is in there and where it is located before traipsing out to the garage or sending one of the kids out there to get something.

We will still use our mini-chest freezer inside the house, but it will be more as a receptacle of meal planning, bringing in the week's supply of meat or frozen vegetables from the big freezer sort of thing, plus our very few safe prepared foods like TJ's prepared meals or pizzas. And our own homemade TV dinners, premade homemade pizza crusts, bread dough, and such.

I am looking forward to purchasing a grass-raised beef, a half a pasture-raised hog, and numerous pasture-raised chickens, as well as having the space for the rabbits, ducks, and turkeys we are raising for the table. Meal planning will go so much easier and I will have plenty of good proteins ready and waiting for me. It'll be kind of nice to only have to buy seafood.

But those are long range plans. I have to save up for those meat purchases. It is expensive to buy a year's beef or a year's pork or a year's chicken all in one go. But so worthwhile.

Emergency Fund Update

May 25th, 2014 at 07:39 pm

$9054.68 Beginning EF Amount
+_200.00 Amount Added
-----------
$9254.68 Ending EF Amount

$745.32 to go to get the Emergency Fund back to $10K.


Emergency Fund Update and Animal Update

May 22nd, 2014 at 05:37 pm

$9044.68 Old EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Auto Deposit
------------
$9054.68 New Balance

Financially, things have been running very smoothly here. We will finally be buying our freezer this week. I will be glad to have it so we can clear all our stuff out of my mother's freezer. She needs to butcher her chickens this week and needs the space for them.

It has been a very busy week here on our little farmlet. I have spent $68.72 this week on 50 lb of crimped oats, 50 lb of flock raiser, a new glass water bottle, a new feeder, a new rabbit chew toy, and a mixing bucket for feed.

I have $24 worth of rewards at Pinecone. I am waiting until I get $30 before I have them send me a check. I'm getting 1 to 2 surveys a week so that should happen fairly soon.

I haven't really been doing Swagbucks lately. I haven't had much time and I had to take the search bars off my browsers as they were causing too many problems and allowing viruses onto the computer. It was very annoying.

I'm having issues with Netflix. I'm not sure why, but they aren't shipping DVDs right away. The last one I sent in arrived on the 14th and they still have not sent me a new one. On my plan they should have. I am starting to think about dropping their DVD plan altogether as this is the second time this has happened. Just stick with streaming as there is plenty to see this way. At least after I finish Rizzoli and Isles, which is not available on streaming.
We go and pick up our new little New Zealand Red doe today. She will cost $55 and is purebred pedigreed. That means when she grows up and I breed her with Wildfire, their kits can be sold for a higher price. There are not a lot of breeders who do NZ reds on this side of the state, so I am excited to be adding to my possible future income with this breeding doe.

We started the ducks free ranging yesterday as they are now bigger than the chickens and no longer afraid of them. This should cut down on feed costs as they are tremendous foragers, eating grass, weeds, slugs, bugs, and grubs.

http://youtu.be/pHvVS_3d4rs

The rabbits also started going out in the tractors this week.

http://youtu.be/4BGVgVL8lAc

And an update on all the young kit litters.

http://youtu.be/1LiWIpOPoUo

Unfortunately the first kit in the vid did not make it. Well, maybe it was fortunately. It was just not doing that well and I think it was in pain from overexposure when it was born. We tried to keep it comfortable. It was a taxing week.

The turkeys and chicks are doing really well. They've all learned how to fly up to the top perch. In a couple of days we will have their enclosure built and then we can let them outside. We can't let the turkeys free range as they will fly up into trees and try to roost overnight in them. I do not think the neighbors would be happy about that.

EF Update and Animal Update

May 15th, 2014 at 09:08 pm

Today is the auto deposit of $10 to savings. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$9034.68 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
---------
$9044.68 New EF Balance

Tomorrow is payday. It is the first payday cycle where we don't have to plan for a mortgage payment. That is such a great feeling.

Next week we will finally be purchasing our freezer. I am really looking forward to having that. Especially as the weather gets hotter and I need to store frozen water bottles to put in rabbit cages for the hot weather. They lay against them and it helps them to keep cool. Rabbits cannot handle weather over 80 very well and they only lose heat through their ears, so having ice water to lay on helps them cool their bodies. It is hard to have space for it, though with such small freezer space. We are buying the largest chest freezer on the market that isn't for industrial use. Then I can use the little chest freezer for the water bottles and other rabbit related stuff.

The rabbit who had the surprise litter has been named Fiona (partly for the F sound of her mother's name Phoebe and partly after the character from Burn Notice). Her surviving kit is alive and well and she is taking care of it. It already has fur coming in and seems to be doing just fine on its own. Probably because the weather is so warm. If I can get it to 2 weeks old it will be out of the woods.

Lola's remaining 4 orphans are doing well. The one I am feeding with a dropper hit 1 pound 2 days ago, so I have dropped it down to 2 feedings a day from 3 and will probably drop that down to 1 in a couple more days.

The birds are doing great. The turkeys are getting big, the ducks are getting huge, and the chicks are small in comparison, but the right size for their ages. They are fun to watch.

I did a small video on the birds. The link is below as I know some of you like to see these, but don't follow the farm blog.

http://youtu.be/UVqTz9ehqjM

Oh, Bad Day...Bad Week, Really

May 13th, 2014 at 05:52 am

Really, really, really rough day. I have been through the emotional wringer this week. We lost Lola, lost 3 of her 7 kits this week to whatever illness she had, and had an unexpected litter born today from a too young rabbit (not quite five months old yet) that we thought we had separated from her brother in time (clearly not) with one survivor out of six kits (that is nursing, thankfully). It just hurts to bury that many of them so close together.

Sometimes raising livestock sucks eggs. I don't even care about the lost production or the financial hit of it right now. I just want to cry instead. It may seem crazy to love animals that just end up feeding the family, but I do. I can't help myself. Sometimes farming is contradictory.

But the last dropper fed kit is thriving. And the survivor newborn kit seems like it might make it. I hope so. I'm not sure I can take another loss tomorrow. I just need one day off from death, please. Preferably many, many, many days, though.

Pinecone

May 10th, 2014 at 06:27 pm

Pinecone has sent me a sign up link. The only catch is that it has to be sent to someone through an email I forward to them. I can't just post the sign up link. If anyone is interested, leave me your email and I will send it to you. Then I will delete your comment if you say so in your request to remove the email address from my blog.

I've been getting about one paid survey a week from them.

Got Verification

May 10th, 2014 at 12:39 am

Got verification from the mortgage holder that the mortgage payoff has been verified by them and that we will be sent our title at some point in the future (read: whenever they get around to it). It had already disappeared from the list of accounts at my credit union the day after we paid it off.

I forgot to look at my interest at Capitol One 360 until today. It was $8.03 so I added that to my Emergency Fund total. I also added yesterday's weekly $10 deposit. I am working on building that back up to $10K now.

$9016.65 Old EF Balance
+__18.03 Amount Added
-----------
$9034.68 New EF Balance

I have a dividend check from the co-op we buy our propane from for $13.35 and that will be added to the EF as well when I get a chance to deposit it.

I think I will be able to get the EF back to $10K by the end of August. Then I will refocus on refilling the funds I wiped out to pay off the mortgage.

We are going to do the 18 months same as cash on the freezer purchase. Yes, I have the money, but I see little point in taking it out of savings if I can have an interest free loan for 18 months that I'll just pay off in less than a year while I collect a little interest myself instead.

One of Lola's kits did not survive the loss of its mother. 4 of them are very healthy and eating tons of solid food. 2 of them were losing weight, so we started them on raw goat's milk this afternoon. One drank a tsp at the first feeding and the slightly larger one drank a tsp and a half.

We will feed them some more milk tonight and again in the morning. I am not sure if we will do 3 feedings a day or 4. Maybe 4 the first day and see how they take it. They are eating a little bit of pellets and hay, but it was just a little too soon for the littlest ones to have to quit nursing like that. I am trying not to get my hopes up, because I know how this can go.

The newborns are all doing pretty good, though we did have to force nurse one of Andromeda's kits last night. It was very undersized. It drank a ton though while we held down its mother and this morning it looks way better. I think it probably just missed a feeding. We shouldn't have to do it again. Which is good because Andromeda would hate us forever.

Phoebe's kits that started out as all black are turning sort of chocolate colored with some red hints thrown in, so I guess they will not be pure black after all. Oh, well. They are adorable and beautiful and healthy.

Just a Little Animal Update for You All

May 7th, 2014 at 06:00 pm

Warning, extreme adorableness below.

http://youtu.be/4LRpmpc5_xw

Right now we are about breaking even on raising our own food animals. It is all worth it, though.

New Rabbits Born

May 7th, 2014 at 06:57 am

Andromeda had four healthy kits yesterday and Phoebe had six today. I am very excited that Phoebe had all black kits. Since Phoebe is white and Wildfire is red, I was expecting those two colors. I was not expecting black. But clearly Phoebe's albino gene only makes her present as white. She has black genetics. So I get black New Zealand rabbits a whole year ahead of schedule! And without having to pay through the nose for one.

And with Lola's death, I have room in the rabbitry to grow up a doe as a breeder, so hopefully there are some girls in the litter to choose from. Then in a year I can bring in a black buck from elsewhere. It is nice to have some good rabbit news for a change.

I have someone who wants to buy some rabbit meat, so hopefully I will have a little more profit from my rabbitry this month. At least enough to pay for 150 pounds of feed.

We Paid Off Our Mortgage!

May 6th, 2014 at 01:11 am

Today was the day. We officially have a $0.00 balance on our mortgage. And I still have over $9000 in the Emergency Fund. I am really excited about finally having the house paid off. We bought it 16 years ago, so I think we did a pretty good job in getting it paid off early. Now if it will sell, I will be ecstatic.

We have been crazy busy these last two weeks. The last five days were spent building the turkey coop. We got enough done to move them in tomorrow, which is when DH leaves for Alaska. We will do the run when he comes back in two weeks. The turkeys aren't allowed to go outside for 3 more weeks so that will work out.

Here is a vid of the turkey coop being built if you are interested:

http://youtu.be/vbXeeVb3yP4

The ducks are getting very big and are now 7 weeks old. The turkeys will be 4 weeks old on the 7nth and the chicks will be 6 weeks old on the 8th. They are all growing very fast, too. I'll try to get some photos or vids rendered to put on here in the next couple of days.

Lola died today. Her kits are just 4 weeks old. It's a little early to wean for my comfort, but kits can be weaned at this age, and we have no choice. I am not going to breed from the genetic line anymore. There is a flaw somewhere and it is clearly not recessive in this generation. I don't care what they say about line-breeding being perfectly safe. I'm not doing it period, and I won't buy anymore stock that has been line-bred either.

Andromeda kindled today, but no idea how many are in her litter yet. I wasn't entirely sure she was done giving birth and didn't want to bother her.

Phoebe is due today or tomorrow, but no sign of kits yet.

It has been a day of mixed emotions. So far the good has outweighed the bad. The house is paid for and that frees up a ton of room in the budget and I can't stay sad on a day like that, but I can't be entirely happy either.