<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: May, 2015
 

Archive for May, 2015

Cross Your Fingers

June 1st, 2015 at 06:40 am

Well, it looks like DH will be able to get 4 extra days this hitch to make up for the 4 days he will miss by staying over for DD's graduation. There is plenty of work for him to do. It all hinges on whether or not they can find a bed for him at work for those 4 days. I really hope so, because to not have to scramble and cut back and take money from other savings categories to cover this would be very nice.

He will know sometime tomorrow. I was not looking forward to depleting the January Money Fund, which was what I would have to do if he can't get the extra time at work.

Househopeful asked what the January Money Fund is about. Every year over the Christmas holidays, DH's work shuts down for a couple of weeks. So he has to go his usual 2 weeks off from a regular 2 on/2 off shift, plus 2 more weeks off. So he ends up with 4 weeks off in a row with no pay. Now we are used to budgeting for the 2 weeks off and we stretch the money to cover the whole 4 week cycle. But when those four weeks off come up (be it in January or December, we never really know until closer to time), that gives us four weeks we have to stretch money over, which is a lot harder.

This year I started saving for that time period quite early. When we were paying off debt and the mortgage I generally didn't start saving for it until September or October, but now I can save all year for it. Usually we can count on DH's Christmas bonus to help some, but last year most of that went to fixing the leaking moon roofs in the van. So I don't want to depend on the Christmas bonus for anything, because who knows what might come up. So hence this fund.

Plus we still don't know what our tax situation is going to be for next year. Since we only lived in the house we sold 1 out of the last 5 years before it sold, we may have to pay some taxes on the sale. Maybe not, but we won't know for sure how much of the remodel and repairs and improvement we can deduct until we get all the tax paperwork.

I am thinking it will probably all be a wash, but if it is not, we won't owe more than we generally get back, which is around $7000 due to our medical costs. It'll be a bummer if we don't get a refund, because I usually use the money to bump up the Emergency Fund and in the past to pay down debt, but now to save for a down payment on our upcoming farm purchase. But we should at least walk away without having to pay out, which is better than having to pay in by a long shot.

I really do think it is criminal of them to tax our house sale this way, though. We lived in that house for many, many years, and it was our only house. The money that is in savings from the sale is intended for our next home and that should be allowed to be kept. It used to be you could keep it if you rolled it over into a new home, but not anymore. And it's not like it was a huge sale or anything. We're not talking about a $300K plus house here. Or even a $150K house.

Well, this turned into a rant. I guess things have just been on my mind a lot lately.

As a quick update on my daughter, she finally, after 10.5 weeks has stopped bleeding. She's still in a lot of pain though. They are testing her for a clotting disorder and a bleeding disorder. We should find out in the next day or three. She is having nosebleeds, unexplained bruising, and severe cramping in her calves as well. She's still anemic. Please continue to pray for her.

Garden Results and Farm Sales

May 28th, 2015 at 05:33 am

So on Sunday I harvested the equivalent of 2 heads of lettuce and 1 bunch of kale and today I harvested the equivalent of 3 heads of lettuce, 1 bunch of Asian stir-fry greens, 1 bunch of sorrel and 1 bunch of kale. The equivalent in the grocery store for organic produce would be $21. That brings my total harvest so far this year to:

$64.50

And it's not even June, yet.

I sold 7 more turkey eggs for 50 cents each, so $3.50. I have someone coming to buy 2 dozen duck eggs on the weekend.

Today I gave my FIL 3 dozen duck eggs, 1 bunch of kale, and some lettuce and sorrel. He will give SIL some of the duck eggs.

How the main garden is doing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoRqDsCJoQ0

We have rabbit kits due this weekend. I gave the three pregnant does nesting boxes last night and washed the cages the night before that. We are as ready as we can be.

EF Goal Achieved! I Hit $15K! And New Goals

May 26th, 2015 at 10:45 pm

$14,941.89 Beginning EF Total
+__,_58.11 (Egg and Rabbit Money, Coin Jar)
-------------------------
$15,000.00 New EF Total

I have finally hit my goal of $15K. That gives us bare minimum expenses for 3 months. While I would like to get the EF to double that one day, for now I am going to pause the EF savings, probably for the rest of the year, and work on some other shorter term goals. First up is funding the January Money Fund and the Tire Fund. Today I deposited the rest of the coin jar money into the January Money Fund.

$2193.65 Beginning January Money Fund Total
+__32.39 Deposit Added
----------------
$2258.43 New January Money Fund Total

So from now on the weekly $10 deposit, the monthly $100 deposit, farm sales, and coin jar savings will go to fund either the Tire Fund or the JM Fund.

June Will Be Tight

May 25th, 2015 at 08:15 pm

DH forgot to arrange time off with his alternate for DD's graduation. Normally they switch weeks or go to a temporary 3 and 3 week schedule, but with waiting to the last minute the best he could get was for his alternate to just work the 4 days for him. It would be less days if there was a plane to the slope every day, but there isn't. So we will lose 4 days of pay in June.

I am going to try my best to not have to use the Emergency Fund to cover these lost wages. I think we can manage it, at least if no more major medical bills come in. It won't be this next cycle, but the one after that that will be missing 4 days. So if I am very careful and we don't eat out at all in the next 6 weeks and I don't put anything in the down payment fund except the $500 I'm obligated to put in there, I think it will be manageable.

If not, I guess I could take from the January Money Fund or the College Fund. DD is taking a gap year anyway, to try to get her health in order. I am hoping they will just let her get a hysterectomy. It is what she wants at this point just to have all this over with. She's never wanted to give birth to kids because of the high risks that run in our family, so that isn't an issue, though the doctors may make it out to be one. They generally do when you are young. But she's always been quite firm on wanting to adopt little girls from China. She's talked about that since she was 10.

We will be eating from the pantry and the garden as much as possible during this time period. I will buy some fruit and vegetables and probably some chocolate, but I will buy no meat (other than pepperoni and deli meat for school lunches) since we have plenty in the freezer and in the canning jars and I will make all of our bread.

What I won't have to buy at all is lettuce, kale, or chard. The kohlrabi will start being ready in a week or so. So basically the only veggies I will be buying are cabbage, zucchini, and broccoli. I will be buying some strawberries and blueberries, at least until my own strawberries are ripe. I will also be buying 2 basil plants. I have canned nectarines, applesauce, and pineapple. And I'll need to buy milk and yogurt. We have plenty of butter and oil. But I do need to pick up tomato sauce to make spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce with my own canned tomatoes. I think I can limit it to that, though.

If I can cut our grocery budget in half for the next 6 weeks, we should get by just fine without having to dip into anything. Including the money for DS's new bike.

Meal Planning for the Week

May 25th, 2015 at 07:39 pm

Monday:
Chicken Enchiladas
Cole slaw
Cantaloupe

Tuesday:
Chicken Stew
Green Beans
Pineapple

Wednesday:
Meatloaf
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Blueberries
Salad

Thursday:
Black Pepper Chicken (has veggies)
Canned nectarines

Friday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cole slaw

Saturday:
Homemade Pizza
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Meatball Sandwiches
Salad
Oranges

Emergency Fund Update

May 25th, 2015 at 07:31 pm

$14,931.89 Beginning EF
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
----------------
$14,941.89 New EF Total

I haven't made it to the credit union yet to deposit the farm sale proceeds. Hopefully I will remember to do that tomorrow.

$58.11 to go.

Farm Income Update

May 18th, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Yesterday I sold 2 rabbits and got a guarantee on a 3rd. She was only coming to pick up the male yesterday and look at the female who will be ready in 4 weeks when her kits are weaned. But she saw the reds and when I told her I had a red doe kit available as well, she impulse bought it. So that was $45.

The girl who was coming to buy the turkey eggs has to postpone until tomorrow, though. Hopefully she will follow through.

Last night I ordered 60 black Australorp cockerels. They will arrive on or around June 3. They are to be our meat chickens this year. We will have 30 and Mom will have 30. My half came to $68.87, which works out to $2.29 a chick. Usually they put in some extras in case they don't all make it. Now I just have to collect Mom's half from her.

We chose black Australorps because they are mostly thigh and leg with smaller breasts. We don't like the white meat as much as the dark meat, so we want the meatier legs and thighs. And we chose cockerels as they get bigger faster than pullets. They are also cheaper than pullets. The sad fact of the chicken industry is that males are often considered outright useless. You just don't need that many in a flock, even a large one, to get the job done. 1 rooster to about 10 hens is a good ratio. So they either are sold as meat birds or they are killed outright as chicks because they don't get sold on time for safe shipping.

Safe shipping is during the first couple days of life when they are still absorbing the nutrients from their yolk sack and food and water are not an issue. After that it can be dangerous to ship chicks, especially once it gets really hot.

I did try to source them locally, but all I could find was the Cornish cross and I am not raising those again, at least not while living here.

Menu Planning for the Week

May 18th, 2015 at 11:39 pm

I am trying to use up some stuff in the freezer and keep things easy for myself this week. I don't know if I am starting a cold or if my allergies are just trying to overwhelm me. Cottonwood seeds are blowing about like snow right now, so I suspect it is the latter, but a scratchy throat and runny/stuffy back and forth nose still feels like a cold even if it is allergies. So all that to say you'll see much simpler meals this week from me.

Monday:
Fish Sticks and Mini-Tacos from TJ's (cleaning out the freezer)
Sweet potato fries
Salad from the garden

Tuesday:
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
French fries
Salad from the garden

Wednesday:
Spaghetti and Ground Meat (no fancy meatballs)
Garlic bread
Salad from the garden

Thursday:
Barbecue chicken legs
Baked potatoes
Green beans

Friday:
Baked potato soup
Chicken Enchiladas
Cole slaw

Saturday:
Pizza with homemade rabbit sausage, prosciutto, peppers, and onions
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Roasted zucchini and yellow summer squash

I took all the cut up chicken breasts from our meat chickens last year out of the freezer to thaw and I am going to can it once it is and use it for making enchiladas. Canning makes it super tender and provides much ease of use.

Some Good News

May 18th, 2015 at 10:43 pm

We got a big refund check from the pharmacy that DH gets his BiPap supplies from. Apparently when we bought the machine we hadn't met our deductible, so we paid for it out of pocket, but by the time it had finished processing we had met our deductible so the pharmacy did get paid by the insurance, so they cut us a refund check and it came today. $711. Which will make up for the fact that I had to take $280 out of this last paycheck to pay for the first hospital visit. And the rest of it will be saved to cover the second hospital visit once it goes through and any of the doctor's visits my daughter has had this month.

I thought it would be a super tight month or else we would have to use the Emergency Fund to cover some of these medical bills. Instead we can use the refunded money to do that. I am happy as I really didn't want to touch the EF at all.

Shopping in the Garden

May 17th, 2015 at 01:20 am

We put a lot of money into building raised beds this year, and an additional $75 into bringing in good soil to put on top of our manure and spent bedding and compost. Add to that all the little t's and elbows and splitters, and hose for the irrigation system (which would have been far more without the soaker hoses we had on hand already). And while we just might break even this year, it'll be towards the end of the season. But for the next years our only costs should be seed and a few six packs of transplants.

I have been harvesting 4 types of lettuce, spinach, violas, 3 types of sorrel, and Asian stir-fry greens for the last 3 weeks. It is all cut and come again types of vegetables, so I can't compare it based on heads of lettuce, but based on the packages of organic romaine you can buy at the store that cost $4 and last me 3 days, I have now saved myself $28 in organic lettuce costs with far more variety.

I have harvested and dried enough basil to fill a normal sized spice jar. Ditto on oregano. And I have used enough thyme to correlate to one of those $1 plastic packs they have at the store. So add $13 altogether for that.

Then I harvested enough for one bunch of organic kale, $2.50

Garden savings so far: $43.50.

And that more than pays for half the soil.

My EF is So Close

May 16th, 2015 at 06:25 pm

$14,831.89 Beginning EF Amount
+__,100.00 Monthly Deposit
------------------
$14931.89 New EF Total

$68.11 to go to hit $15K.

I think I might make this before June. I have 2 $10 weekly deposits left for this month and I currently have $23 in the coin jar, so that is $43. I am 2 dimes short of a roll, which would put me at $48. I'm sure one of the kids has 2 dimes I can trade for nickles and that would leave me with $20.11 to come up with by the end of the month. There is technically another payday the last Friday of this month, but I'd rather scrape it together before then somehow. It's more fun that way.

ETA: I forgot, I am selling a rabbit tomorrow, $20, 6 turkey eggs tomorrow,$3, and I am currently saving a week's worth of turkey hatching eggs for someone else at 50 cents each, so I do have this.

Video Dump...

May 15th, 2015 at 08:31 am

...so you can see what I've been up to when I'm not stressing out over DD's medical issues.

Bird Update:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M5DFKIb0yI

The Raised Bed Garden:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDfnEC9NMyI

The kits at the 3 week mark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vgqo71yBps

The Raised Bed Garden Again
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF5zboB5d18

The Gutter Garden and George
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itgDoO_lJBg

3 Sisters Garden and Potato Garden
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk6FNSuI8sg&spfreload=10

Gina, who thinks she is a duck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUBlY0FBOJI

Fruit Garden
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCjLJ3mzs1o

EF Weekly Update

May 15th, 2015 at 08:16 am

$14,821.89 Beginning EF
+__,_10.00 Weekly Auto deposit
---------------------
$14,831.89 New EF Balance

$168.11 to go to hit my goal of $15K.

It's Been a Rough Couple of Weeks

May 14th, 2015 at 06:13 pm

TMI medical stuff, so go away if you are squeamish or don't like female reproductive problems. My daughter has been very sick and we've taken her to the hospital twice in the past 2 weeks. We've been to the doctor twice and on the phone with him or the nurses more times than I can remember at this point. Please pray for her to heal.

We are pretty sure she has what I had all those years ago that caused the $150,000 worth of medical debt, endometriosis and carcinoid tumors, but of course we don't know that without surgery and they are still just wanting to do chemical intervention which has not worked so far.

Mostly we just want the blood loss to stop or at least taper off enough that she can go back to school without soaking a pad every hour. Her anemia is getting quite bad at this point with 8 weeks of bleeding. So she starts the shots today. Hopefully they will be more effective than 3 BCP's a day.

She had missed a lot of school because she has been bleeding through her clothing and the district is getting snippy about absences, though the school itself knows what is going on and is a bit better. So prayer that they will let her graduate would be appreciated. And that the new medical costs don't bury us alive.

EF is Almost There

May 8th, 2015 at 11:23 pm

$14,735.37 Beginning EF Total
+__,_20.00 Two Weekly Deposits
+__,_10.00 Pinecone Check
+__,_20.00 Egg Money
+__,__7.00 Coin Jar ones
+__,_29.52 C1_360 Interest
-----------------------
$14,821.89 New EF Total

$178.11 to go to hit my goal of $15K. I should hit this next month.