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Archive for July, 2017

Gina Died Today

July 30th, 2017 at 05:28 am

Sometimes life just sucks. My poor turkey hen broke her leg and died of shock. Now George doesn't have a mate and he is so despondent. He knows she died. He was whimpering. I hope he will be okay on his own. They were bonded pretty closely. Sometimes I hate being a farmer. Days like today I just want to throw in the towel and give it all up.

Payday Reports for 7/21 and 7/28

July 29th, 2017 at 06:27 am

$2500.00 Citi (7/21)
__250.00 BCC
_3200.00 Citi (7/28)
__102.13 Life Insurance (DH and Me)
__801.46 Various Medical Bills
___90.00 Next Tuesday's Physical Therapy
--------------
$6943.13

So of the $5700 that went to Citi, $5000 of that was medical bills that I kicked down the road from my daughter's ER visit and my ER visit for the torn retina and the accompanying emergency laser eye surgery. I still have about $1200 to pay on Citi before the due date on the 3rd so that will come out of the EF and I'll pay it on the 1st when the money arrives in my account.

The rest of the Citi charges were groceries for the month. I still have an additional $3500 of medical bills that I put on the AMEX card that is due on the 14th, so I'll pay that off with the paycheck on the 4th. There will be just enough in the half paycheck on the 11th to pay for DH's travel expenses and the remainder of the August bills and then he won't get paid again until the next paycheck which won't be until September 1st.

Barring any more medical bills, and I honestly can't do that when things are still trickling in, we should be able to start paying back the EF. Not that that will last long if DH gets laid off again in October. His boss's boss is trying to find a place for him elsewhere in the company because they don't want to lose him now that he's worked for them. Wish they'd had that attitude last August, instead of putting us through 9 months of destroying every financial hope and dream we ever had of staying ahead, in loving partnership with the (Un)Affordable Care Act, of course. But whatever. I'm not bitter, she lied.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

July 28th, 2017 at 01:41 am

I went to the doctor today after being up all night and I have a kidney infection which explains everything in the past month with the exhaustion, the mid-back pain, the headache right where Ben Shapiro wears his yarmulke, the pain in my mid-back, the Charley horses in my calves, the more and more frequent runs to the bathroom, and as of two days ago, what I like to describe as kidney breath where it smells like something died in your throat somewhere.

He gave me an antibiotic, but made me make another appointment for tomorrow. He said if I felt better in the morning to cancel the appointment, but if not to come in and we'd determine whether or not I'd need IV antibiotics. He was pretty worried about me because I fell asleep on the table between when the nurse left and he came in. I told him it was just because I didn't sleep last night, but I don't think he believed me.

So do you think I came home and rested? No, I had a case of apricots that had to be dealt with today. So I made two double batches of jam and have 22 half-pints to show for it. Plus 2 more that went directly in the fridges of my family and my mother. I did it the easy way, though, and just liquified them in the Vitamix instead of cooking them down. It takes a half an hour off of every jam batch. It's a trick I learned a couple years ago when I got fed up with using a hand cranked food mill.

The rest of the apricots are all cut up and ready to be canned tomorrow. The hard part is over. Tomorrow all I need to do is put the apricots in the jars, make a simple syrup, ladle it into the jars, and water bath can it for 30 minutes. I should be out of the kitchen in an hour unless there is more than 7 quarts worth left. I don't think there is, but it's possible there is 8, which would mean doing a second water bath session as the canner only fits 7 quart jars.

I'm not doing anything else for the rest of the night tonight. DD will take over my rabbit duties. And we are all fending for ourselves for dinner. Which means I will likely just go to bed and not bother. I did way more than I should have, but I didn't want $40 worth of organic apricots to go bad. As it was I had to toss a few. I should have done it yesterday, but after physical therapy I was beat. The softest ones went in the jam. The firmer ones go in the jars tomorrow. They hold up better to the canning process.

All right, now I really should go get in bed and hope everything is better in the morning. Oh, and co-pay was $30 and $5.77 for the prescription.

Spendy Day

July 27th, 2017 at 05:50 am

I spent $35.41 on gas today at the Safeway gas station. The van was running on fumes and that bought 16.712 gallons. I paid $2.12 a gallon. I got 10 cents per gallon off for paying in cash and then I had 4 points, so got an additional 40 cents a gallon off.

I end up getting a lot of points from my mother. She doesn't have her own club card, so she just gives them DH's phone number and what she buys counts towards our points. It really builds up fast that way.

I also picked up two prescriptions at Walgreens for $21.08, then swung by the fruit stand and bought nectarines, corn, and watermelon, all from Eastern WA. He has someone who drives over the pass and brings back produce four times a week and he also sells local stuff, but our corn won't be ready until the end of August here, and nectarines and watermelon are not a crop in Western WA.

I also had a two hour session at P.T. today, so that was $120. She did some massage on my foot, because super klutz that I am, I dropped a glass Pyrex storage bowl on it yesterday. I still occasionally drop things randomly due to the nerve damage in my hand.

The medication the rheumatologist gave me seems to be working really well, so I hope it doesn't screw with my eyes. It's the first time I haven't has severe joint pain in ages. I still have it on the left side ankle, hip, and knee, but I don't feel it much on the right side anymore except just in my hand and wrist sometimes as opposed to all the time. I still get the random swelling, but it doesn't stick around for days, just usually 24 to 48 hours now. So a major improvement.

My FIL was in the hospital for four days and has now been moved to a nursing home. I don't think it is for good, just that he needs more care than MIL is capable of giving him. He ended up getting a blood transfusion and IV fluids, but they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. It wasn't his heart (he's had a previous myocardial infarction), it wasn't his kidneys (one only has 4% function as a result of the heart thing), and it wasn't the cancer. His blood pressure was really low, he had a high fever, and chills that wouldn't stop. Prayers for him would be appreciated.

My daughter's new psychiatrist wants her to see a nutritional counselor, but the woman has a two month wait time for new patients. She has a partner that does the same stuff, but that woman doesn't take insurance, so she's out. We can't absorb the cost of anymore out of pocket stuff. The shrink won't see her if she isn't seeing a therapist. I thought the shrink was supposed to take the place of the therapist.

I mean, if she's just there to prescribe pills and not to help fix the underlying problems, she's not that much good to us. Although the new pill is making a major difference and I am glad to have her off the certraline. I've seen huge progress with her anxiety issues and she isn't acting depressed anymore, either. I just wish the medicine didn't make her so sleepy.

DS and I are doing low carb and heading towards the keto diet. It is nice to have someone to do things with. He is carrying an extra 20 pounds he wants to get rid of. He's been going out on 2 hour walks for the last week or so, but he's too self-conscious to go use the gym by himself. If I can stop hurting myself long enough with my clumsiness, we'll start going to the pool together again.

There's not that much else going on. We don't have any pregnant livestock so the youngest babies are coming up on ten weeks old. I don't breed for July or August delivery as it is too hard on the animals with the heat in those months. The garden continues to thrive and produce. So really nothing to speak of on the farm front, either.

I'll try to do a payday report for last Friday tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just wait until Friday and bundle them in one post.

Odds and Ends

July 19th, 2017 at 03:25 am

I fell asleep at 1 a.m. and slept straight through until 10:30, got up long enough to make sure my son had taken care of the animals, drank a glass of water and went back to bed until 2:30. I slept hard. Apparently my body really needed it. I still feel tired, but hopefully I will sleep just as hard tonight and I'll get caught up on this sleep debt.

We weaned kits yesterday. Just Ella's and just the males. I was going to do Persephone's boys as well, but there is something wrong with the cage I was going to put them in, so I have to clean another cage before I can do that. I'll get it done tomorrow.

The garden is going crazy. I've never seen squash leaves this big before and the Brussels sprouts are huge. I am glad I gave them so much space. That is something that is hard for me, because they are so little when you plant them and you have to plant them based on how big they will be and not try to fill in all the space early on.

I spent $64 at Trader Joe's. I stocked up on chicken, lots of eggs (the birds are being slackers), rice, and picked up some Proscuitto.

For dinner tonight I made two new recipes. The first was a lazy version of chicken saltimbocca. I am not all for pounding the chicken out flat or browning or making a wine sauce. I just took the boneless skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them with salt and pepper, laid out a piece of prosciutto, put sage leaves down on it, put the chicken in the center and wrapped the prosciutto around it. The into the cast iron skillet for 30 minutes at 425 on the middle wrack of the oven. Came out perfect and everyone loved it.

Then I made a new version of Mexican rice. Almost everything in that recipe was from Thrive Life, so freeze dried. I used their chopped onions, chopped green chiles, and instant rice, then added fresh garlic, salt, and tomato paste. It was a big hit with my son and my daughter liked it well enough. I thought it was great and will make it again. I really love using the Thrive Life stuff. It is so nice not having to chop stuff up for recipes, just rehydrate however much you need and go to it.

I deposited the refund check from one of our medical bills. It was just $126.03. I haven't decided what I am going to do with it, yet. Probably put it aside for any incoming bills.

DD's appointment yesterday with the eye surgeon made him decide to send her to a neurologist. So we are waiting on a referral for that. The appointment was a $40 co-pay. He also gave her a new medication to try since Topiramate wasn't working for her migraines. I don't remember the cost on that as I bought it was a bunch of other things at the drug store that came to a total of $ 91.53.

I am trying not to be spendy, but sometimes you just have to buy things.

I Swear I am the World's Biggest Klutz

July 17th, 2017 at 05:09 am

I managed to bang my head really hard yesterday, by dropping the shampoo in the shower, picking it up, and hitting the top of my head against the shelf the shampoo sits on. It's not a very big shelf, even. My daughter says I have a quail egg, not a goose egg. My head doesn't even hurt, but my neck and shoulders do from being compressed real hard when I banged my head. I have no concussion symptoms, either, thank goodness. Hopefully the chiropractor can fix my neck tomorrow.

Then just for funsies I got a massive charley horse in my calf this morning as I was doing my wake up stretch. One of those ones that is so bad it makes you cry and then feels like a massive bruise for the rest of the day. I'm like, what the heck, body? It lasted about 10 minutes, but felt like a lifetime. I take potassium and magnesium supplements so I don't get them, but every once in a while I get a zinger. I may have to add some calcium supplementation in, too.

I did work in the garden a lot yesterday and then in the rabbit shed today. I will be glad when the day comes that we can replace some of the cages, because it is really hard to get some of the dropping trays out of the older style cage. I just don't know when that is going to be, or if it is.

DH's work uncertainty is still uncertain. They are back to talking about only having work until October, not December after all. But they are trying to get something okay'd, which would be to keep on a skeleton crew and for DH to move up a level. There would be no raise with the promotion if it were to happen. Which honestly doesn't really concern me, because he'd be getting a year of experience in that position which would make it easier for him to get a different job later.

And yeah, while a raise would be great, really great actually, the income he gets now is sufficient to pay everything and put some money aside, at least once the medical bills from the previous insurance's deductible are fully paid off. And the great insurance through the end of 2018 is worth it, too.

So, yeah, the uncertainty is either a job ending or a promotion. I know which one I am hoping for. Prayers again would be helpful.

I've managed to go an entire week without getting take out. I haven't really stuck to my meal plan at all, though. Just winging it most of the week. And wanting to get take out. It's not like it is even that good. I just have been so tired, but I've made simpler things than I'd planned to compensate. Or making things in simpler ways, like making carnitas in the crock pot so I don't have to babysit them.

I'm going to make a big batch of Mexican rice in the rice cooker tomorrow. I'm on a Mexican food kick right now and am planning on fajitas and enchiladas and possibly tacos later this week. I'll be using some of the freeze-dried foods in preparing them as I won't have to chop anything that way. It makes it go so much faster.

Well, I guess I've rambled enough for one night.

Freedom!

July 14th, 2017 at 06:53 am

Mom got her sling off today and can now do most things for herself and she can drive. I don't know which one of us was happier, her to be able to use her arm more and start doing different exercises...or me that she can now do so many things on her own and I don't have to be doing everything for her all the time.

It's nice not to be tied down to the house all the time anymore and have some of my autonomy back. It's been rough at times, but Mom started talking family histories and showing me photos and it was really interesting. She's going to dig out the family trees as I've been wanting to do an ancestry account for a while now.

There is nothing financial to report. We didn't spend any money on anything at all. We did go to the library, but we were only doing drop/hold pick up and they have certain parking slots that are free for 10 minutes for that very purpose.

I did find a penny today so added that to the coin jar. Other than that I didn't do anything concerning money at all.

Tomorrow I am going to sleep in late if I can manage it and then go over to JoAnn's fabrics. I think I may finally give in and buy a sewing machine. They have some for under $100 that would be a good starter machine and one I could eventually pass on to DD. I need to go and look at them again.

Pick a Title, Any Title

July 13th, 2017 at 06:28 am

This morning I took my daughter to the sleep doctor so that was a $40 co-pay right out of the gate. It's better than the $50 co-pay for specialists on our old insurance. He's got some things he wants her to try, but he won't up her dosage on the sleeping pill to the same level as what I take, which is what she really needs, in my opinion.

After that I had an hour before I had to go to my physical therapy appointment. I found out my therapist's father probably had another stroke. He had been doing pretty well, but in the last few days it's all been downhill again, so they will probably lose him this week. It's sad. We are really good friends after all these years and I hate to see her hurting, especially since she lost one of her best friends a month ago.

He's not her bio-dad, but he is the one who raised her and she loves him more than she loves her bio-dad. She's going back home tomorrow as they think he'll die soon. He's not eating or drinking and not excreting, and it is clear he's shutting down. I hope she can stay strong for her mother and that her brother (it is his bio-dad) can stay strong for her.

It's hard and it is bringing back memories of when my dad died. Three years out I no longer feel the big hole he left. We've managed to fill it in as new babies come into the family. Now it's more of a small hole.

I went to the store to pick up some medicine and grabbed some marked down chicken. It's gmo free and free range chicken wings, that worked out to less than a dollar a pound with the mark down. I also got a flank steak as I've been in the mood for carnitas (made with beef, not pork). I may sub out something in meal plan to make this this week. I bought a couple of magazines as well and ended up spending a total of $61.93.

I finished my Debbie Maccomber novel Starting Now so now have to decide between Rapture by Lauren Kate, which is third in a supernatural YA series I've been reading and Million Dollar Cowboy by Lori Wilde. I'll probably read Rapture first as it has bigger type. They are about the same length, but I'm sure Rapture has less words even though there is a 28 page difference.

Did some work on the novel but it was more timeline stuff and character development.

Well, I best toddle off to bed. Mom has physical therapy in the morning and I have to be up in time to drive her.

Caregiving Makes the Days Seem So Long

July 12th, 2017 at 07:10 am

I didn't sleep so well last night again. Sometimes these things only last a couple days and sometimes they last a week. I hope it isn't going to last a week. I was up early again to take care of the animals and then got a load of dishes going and did a couple loads of laundry. Then I went up and did the first session of physical therapy exercises with Mom, made sure she had breakfast, and got her set up for the morning.

Then I went out to the garden and harvested calendula, echinacea, hyssop, bee balm (bergamot, monarda) and basil. My echinacea is only in its second year so it is not going to be big enough to dig roots for medicinal use this year. Next year it will be, though. But if I use the seed heads it will have a similar effect to how roots work, just not as potent.

I filled the dehydrator with the herbs and got it going and it should be done by morning. With herbs and medicinal flowers you have to set it at the lowest setting to keep the medicinal properties as strong as possible.

I worked in the garden some more after that and then went up to take Mom to her physical therapist. We were there about an hour. Afterwards she wanted to go to Safeway for bread, but ended up walking out of there with a cantaloupe, a watermelon, cherries, nectarines, and apples. Then we finally crossed the store to get the bread and then she decided we needed to go back across the store to get juice. So a lot of walking back and forth and now my ankles and knees are badly swollen, because I was wearing flip flops and not shoes with support.

I managed not to spend anything and thought it would be a NSD for sure, but then kids came around selling chocolate door to door and they had World's Finest without nuts, which I am a goner for. I haven't seem them in years. They are half as big as the ones I had to sell for orchestra and choir were, but still the same old recipe. So I spent $5 for that.

The kid really cleaned up because Mom bought some and the sister formerly known as the Ice Queen happened to be here visiting Mom so she bought some, too. I've really got to come up with a new moniker for her. She has thawed considerably in the last two years.

Then my sister cut up the watermelon and cantaloupe for our mother. I was glad I didn't have to do it as it is hard on my hands due to the rheumatoid arthritis. Mom and I did her second batch of home exercises. We only did two today, because actually going to the physical therapist counts as one.

I did the necessary filming and editing for my next two vids and have uploaded them into the scheduler so they will post automatically at the times I want them to. I have the material for one more. And ideas on what I want to do next.

I am considering doing a 5 or 6 part vid series on What I Learned from Living without an Income for 9 months. I've written it all up in outline format, so I know I can do it, I just don't know if I will. If I do, I'll link to it.

I got a little reading done today and rolled yarn into balls from the skein. No work on the novel, though. It's been too much to add to my stress level.

Well, my eyes are closing in front of me so I better end this and go to bed now. I'll fix any spelling mistakes in the morning.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 11th, 2017 at 07:08 pm

I forgot to post my meal planning for the week. I'll go ahead and start with what I had yesterday, even though we've obviously eaten it. I still like to keep them in 7 day increments for when I look back on them seeking inspiration. This is definitely helping me get a handle on the grocery budget again.

Monday:
Fish and Chips (Sweet potato fries)
Kohlrabi
Plum

Tuesday:
Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken with Sweet Onions
Corn on the Cob
Cole Slaw
Cherries

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Corn on the Cob
Cherries

Thursday:
Chicken Stir-fry with snow peas, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
Egg Fried Rice
Nectarines

Friday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Kohlrabi
Cantaloupe

Saturday:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Mexican Rice
Cole Slaw
Watermelon

Sunday:
Chicken Fajitas (onions, peppers, cheese, flour tortillas)
Mexican Rice
Watermelon

Another Long Day and New Dietbet

July 11th, 2017 at 06:25 am

Today was another very long day. I woke up at 6 a.m. after only getting 4 hours of sleep. I tossed and turned for a bit, hoping to get back to sleep, but I couldn't, so at 7 I got up and let the chickens, ducks, and turkeys out, got them fed and watered and then went and took care of the rabbits.

After that I tried to go back to bed and despite taking a pill, I still couldn't fall back asleep. I listened to a few CreepyPastas on youtube as they usually put me to sleep. The one guy has such a soothing voice, even if they are supposed to be scary stories, that usually knocks me right out. They are more suspense/edge of horror than super freaky.

I did some work for my channel and spent a lot of time downloading all of my photos off photobucket. One of the albums would not download so I had to do all 255 photos in that one individually. Ugh. I spent some time looking for a new hosting service as well.

I wrote 1000 words on my novel, but minor characters keep trying to sneak in and take over the plot. I may have to give them their own novel if they keep this up.

I got some work done in the garden. I've been harvesting a lot of herbs and flower petals for teas, tinctures, syrups, and other medicinal items (I'll be making salve when I get enough calendula). And maybe one with a more creamy consistency as well. I'll have to tweak the ratio of oil to beeswax so it doesn't harden so much. I may try my hand at making lip balm as well.

I went grocery shopping and spent $181. I got some seafood (salmon, cod, shrimp) and stocked up on quite a few items that got really low. I got several cans of peanut butter as they were well below my price point of $2.50 a pound at $2 a pound. I got 4 bottles of ketchup, 20 cans of tuna, some mustard, and some cocktail sauce. I haven't quite gotten the hang of making homemade cocktail sauce yet. I've not used horseradish enough as an ingredient to know where the sweet spot is between not enough and way too much. Usually that comes rather intuitively, but not this time.

They had another 15 pound organic turkey and I was very tempted to get it. We don't currently have space for one in the freezer, though. I have too much ice in it for the chill tank. We butchered on Saturday, so it will be a few more days before they will come out of the chill tank and I cut them up and either package them or chunk them and can them. I'll have to check my canning shelves and see what is needed.

I am debating whether or not to plant string beans. It's late, but we generally have a long, lingering warm fall. Since the peas are done and I've pulled them, and most of the broccoli is done and I've pulled it, I have space to do it. I've got Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake, and Blue Coco Pole Beans as well as Provider Bush Beans, so I've got the seed. Pole beans are generally 65 days from sprouting and bush beans are a little faster, as soon as 55 days sometimes.

So if I get them in now I could have them from early to mid-September through October. And if we get anymore heatwaves it could take less time. The only thing that makes me hesitant is the weird summer we've had so far. I see indicators on several perennial plants that we are going to have an early winter. We generally don't get a hard frost until Halloween.

I also see it in the fact that the rabbits are blowing their coats right now. They usually blow them in early spring and in September, not July. The turkeys are also having an early molt.

I hope to get down to trade or sell some meat with my pastured pork lady this month. The ducks have not been producing enough eggs for egg sales, they are just managing to keep up with the family's needs. The rabbits still manage to pay for their own feed. I've got a gorgeous buck I'm going to put up for sale as a breeder buck soon. He is the sweetest love I have ever raised.

Since he is a broken black New Zealand, I can get $25 for him unproven, and $30 once he's been proven. More if he had a pedigree. Which he does, but I lost it and I've been trying for six months to get the rabbitry I bought the father from to send me the info in an email. He keeps sending it as a text picture to my phone which is incapable of downloading images because it is a dumb phone from 2008 or 2009. The guy is frustrating me.

I may just keep breeding the line long enough that I don't have to worry about it anymore. I just need 3 generations and I have two. This bunny will make 3, so his children can be pedigreed if he's bred with a pedigreed doe, which almost all of my does are. So if I keep a male or a female from those breedings they will have pedigrees.

I do have some rabbits coming up that might be good for 4-H kids for the fair. I've got identical whites for meat pens, of which you have three and they must match as closely as possible. I also have at least one show quality broken red buck, but I am keeping the best of the two to breed with Sadie when she grows up. I also have a show quality solid red buck that would be great for them as well.

Speaking of Sadie, she is doing really well. She's a well-proportioned junior doe, with super soft broken red fur. Any kits I get from her will be stunning, I'm sure. But first she has to grow up. She's only 14 weeks old and needs to be 6 months old for breeding. And the boy I want to breed her with is only 7 weeks old right now. So it'll be closer to her being 8 months old before he is ready to breed, so I may start her with one of the broken black bucks that are old enough. They both carry the possibility of broken reds, not just broken blacks.

Anyway, there has not been more than a month when the rabbits have not paid for themselves in the last 2 years, but then they made up for the missing month later on. Even if I sell to 4-HR's or FFA's at a discount, I'll still make money. Maybe enough that I will break even on the birds, too.

I got a refund check from one of the many medical places my DD has been lately. This was for $126.03. I know a lot of stuff crosses until whatever finishes off the deductible is finally cleared through. I hope we get some more and bigger ones, too. It'll all get shoved back into medical either way.

All right well, I'm about to ramble off to bed now, but wanted to mention I start a new 4 week dietbet tomorrow. If anyone wants to join me on that the link for it is here: http://dbet.me/oEpxBZ I have no idea if that is a referral link or not or if I get anything other than kudos if I get others to join. I just think it might be fun for some of us to do it together.

Photobucket, Thy Name is Mud--Rant

July 10th, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I am so irritated with photobucket right now. It got super greedy and decided to break the internet. Well, the graphics part of the internet, anyway. What they used to do for free they are now charging $399 a year for. So now there are broken graphics links left and right and there is no way to fix them without paying the ransom.

They did this without sending out notifications or warnings, other than, apparently, a tiny paragraph at the end of blog post. Seriously, this is the stuff where you send out announcements ahead of time.

I understand them wanting to make more money, but if you don't store a million pictures on there and only have a few hundred that you've third party posted in various places, you should at least get a small amount of them for free or for a nominal yearly fee like $30. You can get more storage for $10 bucks a month, but you can't get third party hosting unless you pay the huge amount.

So now I have to go across numerous platforms and find all the broken links and figure out how to fix them. Livejournal is going to be a nightmare. Dreamwidth should be easy enough. Others will be complicated and I may not be able to replace the images with a different host as they don't have on domain hosting. There are quite a few I did on this blog that will have to be fixed. Now that photo uploads work here that's fine, but it is going to be tedious to look through 11 years of posts to find the ones I added photos to before they fixed it here. Fortunately my farm blog has on domain hosting for photos, so I won't have to touch that.

I am frustrated, but I am going to go through it all page by page and fix it. I am not giving in to what feels like extortion. I mean, $400, come on! From a previously free ad supported service, with no inexpensive option for the little people, and you only paid if you bought photos or wanted huge chunks of storage before and sat through their ads. I even clicked on a few ads from time to time, because I know that supports them.

I kind of hope people abandon them in droves after this. As soon as I finish getting all of my photos downloaded from their domain I will be out of there. No more purchasing photos from there, nothing. When companies forget about who keeps them in business, it riles me up. Something is going to spring up in it's place. Maybe not free, but far less money than $400 a year.

Now I just have to remember how to edit headers on LJ and DW. It was hard enough the first time. I hate working in html. I'll have to do a refresher course. And learn how to use to on domain hosting there, because I never did get the hang of it before.

I can get behind wanting to increase a company's profits, but I can't get behind exorbitant greed like this. /rant

Things I've Enjoyed Lately--Inexpensive or Free

July 8th, 2017 at 10:24 pm

I felt somewhat inspired today to share some of the things I have been enjoying lately.

1. Portland Bee Balm. This comes in unscented (hallelujah!) and mint. This is probably the best lip balm I have ever used. It lasts for a long time and when it wears off, I don't feel the incessant need to reapply it like I do with other balms. Chapstick and Blistex, I'm looking at you. This one leaves my lips soft and unchapped. With others it always seems my lips are in the exact same condition when it wears off as they were when I put them on.

I ordered a case of 20 today since the store that was carrying them quit carrying them. Total cost with shipping was $49.99, which works out to $2.49 a stick. When I was buying it in the store it was $3.99 a stick. Everyone in my family uses these. It may take us a while to get through 20, but in the end it saves us money because I am constantly buying lip balm for everyone.

2. The show Travelers on Netflix Streaming. This is a wonderful show with a fantastic ensemble cast. It's science fiction, time travel with a unique premise. It's made by the Candian company Showcase and if you've had any experience watching their stuff, you'll know it is of great quality. The acting and the writing is wonderful and it is currently filming season 2.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99LZwZmSoNo

I have to say that Netflix is really stepping up its game. A lot of the original programming they first came out with was head scratching and eyebrow raising, but they've started to hit it out of the park a lot more in the last year or so. It is a nice, inexpensive option to cable and such a good value, too.

3. The Rule of Thre3 series by Eric Walters. I was finally able to read the third book in the series (when the library finally purchased it), Will to Survive, which was the best so it goes out on a high note. The entire series is an enjoyable read, though, if you like TEOTWAWKI fiction, especially young adult TEOTWAWKI fiction, which I love. The scenario in this one is a computer virus which makes the entire electric grid go down around the world.

It was well written and less predictable than most. I even had one or two moments when I was actually surprised. The main characters were well developed and the side characters were too unless they were peripheral. I finished the trilogy wishing there was going to be another book.

4. Crocheting. I'm still working on my Starburst granny squares. It may take me a year to get this blanket made, but it is such a mind relaxer. And since the yarn is pretty darn cheap, especially when you get it on sale, I end up spending maybe $10 every two months on yarn. I had hoped to get it done for the fair, but I don't think that will happen. Maybe next year's fair. Hopefully it will be done by winter, but I'm not holding my breath. I can only do so much with the arthritis.

5. Kohlrabi. I have been harvesting a ton of kohlrabi from the garden the last two weeks. Kohlrabi is a very versatile vegetable. You can cook the greens as well as using the "bulb" that is the most common reason for growing it. I use the term bulb loosely, because it technically isn't, though that is what it looks like. It is an above ground swelling of the stem. It's a member of the brassica or cruciferous family and eaten raw tastes like a cross between a mildly sweet apple and a very mild radish, with a hint of kale. Eaten cooked, it tastes somewhat sweeter. I never get tired of it and it is a welcome change to all the lettuce I've been having since mid-spring. If you've never tried it, you should. It's a great low-carb vegetable with a great crunch and as good for you as kale.

Well, I know that list was random and only one of them involved spending money, but it is what was on my mind today, so there you go.

Lots of Work Today

July 8th, 2017 at 05:57 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 7th, 2017 at 03:05 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning and Plotting with the Six Week Budget Cycle

July 2nd, 2017 at 09:06 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meal Planning for the Week

July 2nd, 2017 at 08:19 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Watermelon

Interest Income to the Emergency Fund

July 1st, 2017 at 09:00 pm

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

Feeling So Much Better

July 1st, 2017 at 08:40 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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