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Archive for January, 2017

Who is in Charge of SA Now?--Issues

January 28th, 2017 at 02:46 am

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

Job Front

January 28th, 2017 at 12:18 am

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

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

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

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

Does anyone know if President Trump has rescinded the part of Obamacare that requires you to purchase health insurance yet?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

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 4

January 23rd, 2017 at 11:08 pm

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

Monday:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Salad
Oranges

Tuesday:
Homemade Pizza
Salad
Oranges

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

Thursday:
Black Pepper Chicken
Rice
Canned Pineapple

Friday:
Tacos
Oranges

Saturday:
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Cucumbers
Oranges

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

End of Week Catch-Up

January 23rd, 2017 at 02:42 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 3

January 18th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

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

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

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

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

Friday:
Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli with pesto
Salad
Oranges

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

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

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




Struggling with Spending

January 18th, 2017 at 02:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Do

January 16th, 2017 at 08:52 am

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

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

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

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

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

Cross Your Fingers and Say Some Prayers

January 14th, 2017 at 08:20 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leftover Management and Homemade Take-Out

January 13th, 2017 at 07:24 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initial Stages of Garden Planning

January 12th, 2017 at 01:48 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Passive Income--I Hope

January 10th, 2017 at 09:16 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meal Planning--Dinners--Week 2

January 9th, 2017 at 07:07 am

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

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

Here's the plan for this week:

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, cole slaw, oranges

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

Using Stuff Up and Planning Canning

January 8th, 2017 at 08:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think it is a pretty ambitious week.

Meal Planning--Dinners

January 3rd, 2017 at 01:59 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday:
Chicken and Herb Tortellini with homemade pesto
Broccoli
Oranges

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

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

Happy New Year

January 1st, 2017 at 11:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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