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Archive for October, 2017

Picked up Our Pork Order--Breakdown on Cuts

October 21st, 2017 at 12:28 am

We picked up the majority of our pork order today. The hanging weight on the hog (the amount after it has been gutted) was 245 pounds, so at $500 it worked out to $2.04 per pound. The bacon, ham, and sausage links will not be ready for another 7 to 10 days. Curing takes longer.

So anyone who has not purchased this way before can get an idea of what you get, this is what we have so far.

6 packages of spare ribs (at least 4 pounds each)
2 loin roasts (at least 2 pounds each)
3 shoulder roasts (at least 4 pounds each)
42 pounds ground pork
12 packages of pork chops (48 chops)
4 packages of pork steaks (16 steaks)

What is to come:

42 pounds of sausage links
I'm not sure how much bacon, but quite a bit
4 hams

Now they told me that each hog has 2 hams of about 17 to 18 pounds. I am having each ham cut in half, so they should be 8 to 9 pounds each. Every time we make up a ham, I will can the excess in cubes in pints and half-pints. Then on pizza night, a half-pint will be perfect and on ham and potato soup night a pint will be perfect.

Actually, come to think of it, I am supposed to be getting some shanks, too. They were not in what I got today. I thought I had told them not cure those, but I can't remember for sure and they might have done so, which would explain why I didn't get them today. Curing will make them ham-like, too. No big deal if they were cured, but I need to remember to make sure they are in the second half of the order.

I am going to be making jam and pie filling with a lot of the frozen berries that were in the freezer. I needed to get them out of the way for the pork. A lot of these berries are from last year. I plan to make strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jam, and maybe bumbleberry jam, too (which is a combo of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry). Or syrup. We'll see. And then if I can find the frozen plums, plum sauce and plum butter.

But strawberry is first up, because it is DH's favorite, we're out, and he keeps buying it. He won't have to do that if we make it at home and keeping him out of the grocery store is always beneficial to our budget.

I'm Getting a Pig

October 12th, 2017 at 12:17 am

Not one to raise, thank you very much, one for the freezer. A woman on my farm group is selling pork and originally she was just selling halves, but she was offering them $250 for a half. That includes slaughter, cut, and wrap as well. So I asked if it was possible I could get a whole one for $500 and she said absolutely. The hanging weight on one she just did was 130 lbs per half, so 260 pounds after all the waste is removed.

It could be as little as 200 pounds, but at just 200 pounds it still works out to $2.50 a pound. At 260 pounds it works out to $1.92 a pound. So the likelihood is somewhere in between the two, but maybe it'll be a bigger one, as she said they were getting rid of the feed burners first, which tend to be the biggest ones.

And they were fed a soy free diet, which is important with my daughter's soy allergies. You are what your food eats. What they were fed was barley, whey, corn, and vegetables. So I am pretty happy, even if it is not organic.

With this purchase I feel like we can go at least 9 months without having to buy beef or pork, possibly even a year without having to buy pork unless we run out of bacon. Well, we might run out of hamburger, too, but I can get a big box of that for $300 if it comes down to it. It makes me feel much more secure. I will be canning a lot of the pork, just because we mostly like pulled pork for various recipes. We still don't have enough chicken, but I've been working on that. We have plenty of fish and plenty of rabbit.

I'll be canning squash, too. I wish I could can it pureed, but that is not considered safe. I have to can it in chunks. But squash can sit for months before it has to be dealt with. I know we'll be fine when it comes to food now. It is just everything else that I still have to worry about.

Meal Planning for the Week

October 10th, 2017 at 03:46 am

I have been getting strongly back into meal planning mode. Since we'll be going mostly to eating from the pantry after DH gets laid off, I want to already be back in the habit of following a meal plan. However, I'm not assigning meals to the days of the week, so I can have some swap around days. This gives me a little more leeway based on how I am feeling on any given day. Some days when my RA is acting up I am too exhausted to do more extensive cooking or we just don't feel like a certain food on a certain day, I don't feel locked in. As long as it all gets made in a week, it doesn't particularly matter. I also allow myself to do a breakfast for dinner if any of the planned meals just doesn't happen. Pancakes and ham always go over well here and they are super easy to get on the table.

Day 1:
Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Bananas

Day 2:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

Day 3:
Rabbit Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Green Salad
Home-canned Pears

Day 4:
Taco Boats
Apples

Day 5:
Five Spice Crispy Duck Breasts
Peppers and Onions
Canned Pineapple

Day 6:
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Day 7:
Beef Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Grapes

Payday Report for 10-6-17

October 8th, 2017 at 05:09 am

$1867.89 American Express (in full, as per usual)
__475.00 Best Buy (Paid off 12 months same as cash)
__102.13 Life Insurance for DH and Me
__500.00 Mom's Utilities
__196.35 BoA MC (in full, as per usual)
___20.00 Food Bank donation
__477.78 Medical
-----------
$3639.15 Total

A little of this money was carry over from last payday. I did also reorder two boxes of checks, but forgot to ask them how much. It doesn't show up in my bank account until the day they are shipped, not the day they are ordered. It's usually around $15 for a box. We don't go through checks very fast since we started putting almost everything on the credit cards and just paying them off, but I wanted to get it out of the way before we have to start living on our savings again. It's not like they won't get used eventually.

This coming week my daughter has a physical therapy appointment and I have one. My son has his physical. My PT is $90, but I don't know how it will work for DD. I pay my own out of pocket because it is no longer deemed medically necessary, but it is what keeps me walking so it kind of is. What they really meant was the insurance didn't want to pay for it anymore and they didn't think there was anything further they could do, despite the facts that the sessions keep me from being crippled. Every time I have to skip a week things get bad. I've tried to not go and I end up using my cane and curled up in pain must days, so I deem it necessary. Don't know what will happen once we can't afford it anymore, though.

We have a $30 co-pay for regular doctor visits and $40 for specialists. I have no idea where her PT will fall, because sometimes specialists are not considered specialists. So it could be $70 out for them or $80.

Also, I know in the past that this company likes to wait until the full set of therapy is done before charging it, but I don't like that as it means a big bill at the end instead of paying as you go. But that was back in 2011 so things may very well have changed since then. I will have to wait and see, but I will ask about it when I take her to the first appointment.

I have no other spending that needs to be done this week, so other than going to the grocery store to get milk, we should be good.

Planning for November and December

October 6th, 2017 at 07:58 pm

I did the math and I think I've got a fairly good grasp on where things are right now. If DH works through the 20th, which is what they are thinking right now we will come out of things with about $7000 once all bills are met for October. If he goes through the original end date of the 26th it'll be around $10,000. If it goes longer, and with DH's experience with these things winding down, it often goes a lot longer than the PIC's think it will with all the last minute stuff that has to be done, then we will have more. Who knows?

Right now, though, I can guarantee $7000 for November and December. One silver lining is that they are paying his return home ticket, because they really aren't firm on his last day and there is no way he can buy a ticket without a firm date. So they will buy him his last minute final ticket.

That $7000 should cover all of November's expenses, plus some of December's. We do have to pay for my daughter's tooth implant, which will be $650 and my son has to get wisdom teeth x-rays to see if they need to be removed or not. If they do, that'll probably be $1000. It was $800 when my daughter had hers out 5 or 6 years ago, so I am assuming inflation.

So I'm not sure how far into December that $7000 will go, due to those upcoming expenses, but at least a little ways, before we will have to touch the Emergency Fund. If he can work until the 26th I think we can do 2 full months without having to touch savings.

We are going on lock down for expenses after October. No eating out, no computer games or downloadable music or all the things DH and the kids like to nickel and dime. No allowances for the kids. Just basic expenses and a jacket for my husband. The kids and I all have coats now and good shoes. No snow boots, but my work boots are insulated and we usually only have snow for a few weeks.

DD and I got our coats through a coupon that if you spend $100, you get $50 off. Our two coats together came to $137 so we got the $50 off, bringing the cost to $87 or $43.50 each. Both jackets are waterproof and warm and we got them big enough that we can wear sweaters underneath if they need to be warmer. They cost a little more since they are both plus size and waterproof.

DS got his on a clearance sale from JC Penney. Original cost was $120, but it was on a 50% off sale, which brought the price down to $60, but I had a gift card I'd earned from something a while back, so that was $20 off, and then when they rang it up after that it came out as just under $30 not $40, so I think there was an additional discount somewhere or else they made a mistake. Or it is possible they were doing the no sales tax weekend.

DH will probably have to order his from a magazine unless Freddy's has his size. He has a hard time finding coats that fit as he has a very long back and broad shoulders and needs a plus size as well. So probably the big and tall magazine.

I am determined that we all focus on weight loss during this job loss. I think that we all ate our emotions during the last one. Well, my son isn't in the same shape as the rest of us and he's already been working on losing weight and building muscle so I think he will just be happy to have the rest of us along. I have been trying, but it is just so much easier for me to have the whole family on board.

DH and I have been talking about school. If he doesn't find another job soon, we may just have to suck it up, take out loans and have him get his BA in electrical engineering. I hate the idea of student loans with a passion. We didn't use them the first time around and I hate to use them now, but his 20 years of experience and an AS and several glowing letters of recommendation seem to hold no weight to hiring people who think the expensive piece of paper that says BS on it is the end all and be all of life.

I don't know, we'll figure it out.

Side Effects and Ting Issues and Mom

October 6th, 2017 at 06:32 am

I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I am having bad side effects from the methotrexate or I've just caught some stomach bug. I really wish these things were easier to discern. In case it is the drug, I talked with the doctor's MA and she has altered my dosage and has me taking 5 mg of vitamin B-9 instead of 1 now. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but I didn't throw up today, so...either the uptick in B-9 is controlling the nausea or the possible illness has run its course.

I take my second dose tomorrow, so I guess if my symptoms get bad again within 24 hours, then the medicine is probably suspect. I started feeling yucky the morning after taking the drug for the first time.

DH screwed up his Ting phone, so now all he can do is message me via google hangouts when he is in a place that has an internet signal. It looks like we won't be able to talk on the phone at all while he's gone. He can't get the signal to change it back until he goes south. What a pain. If he'd left it with GSM instead of changing it to CDMA he'd have something. What a hassle. Still our bill this month is only $37, so once it is all sorted out things should be fine.

If I can figure out how to turn the microphone on on google hangouts then we can video chat. The problem with him not having his own phone for a couple weeks is that if anyone tries to respond to a resume he's submitted, he won't get the message, because when he switched between the two it deactivated his voice mail. So frustrating when he needs to find new work to realize there is a possibility he won't get the calls now.

My mother is driving me crazy. She has a 5000 square foot house and my family of four is relegated to 1000 square feet and she seems to resent every inch of it that we take up these days. I so wish we could get out of here. This wasn't supposed to be a permanent situation. She isn't happy unless she is complaining and she is complaining constantly. If it's not about us, it is about politics.

The problem for her is going to be when we do move. She isn't going to be able to afford her bills, because we pay everything right now and that will not continue when we do leave. She doesn't get it. We pay the electric, the gas, the water/sewer, and the garbage. I don't think she realizes just how hard that will be on her fixed income. She owns the house and it is worth $500K, maybe more, especially in this neighborhood, but that is not accessible money.

I think she's also mad at me because I said I would not take care of her by myself again if she has another replacement surgery (either knee, hip, or shoulder) during the first two weeks. That she would have to go into a nursing home during the first two weeks of recovery because I can't handle going through it again and I won't. It wrecked my back, it wrecked my health, and it wrecked my knees. I went into a flare that was super painful for me and everything was so swollen it hurt just to be alive. Not to mention that she was really mean during that time because she resented having to be taken care of. I absolutely will not put myself through it again. And Medicare will pay for it so she won't be out any money.

I think she thinks if she goes to a nursing home she won't be coming back home again, which is utter nonsense. I would not do that until she is at the point where it is necessary, and that certainly is not now. If she had stayed in the hospital the 3 days she was allowed to it would have been a lot better for me. But the doctor told her she could go home after 24 hours if she wanted to. Well, of course, she wanted to, but it was bad having her home before I was prepared to have her home.

I will have a word with her doctor the next go around, that is for sure. I supposed I could force the issue since I have her medical power of attorney, if it comes down to that, but I'd rather she just come to her senses of her own accord.

If we didn't live here, she'd have to make other arrangements because it is not like my sisters will step up. She doesn't seem to believe in my auto immune disease or that with rheumatoid arthritis it is extremely painful to do the things I had to do to take care of her. Or that only getting 4 hours of sleep a night was something I could function on for 3 weeks. So no, not doing it again. I value my sanity too much.

Garden Season is Winding Down

October 4th, 2017 at 04:23 am

The days keep flipping between really warm and nice and very cold with rain and wind. Every time the barometric pressure rises or falls dramatically and it does a number on me. For some reason I have always been sensitive to pressure changes. I know a few other people that are, but it seems a relatively rare thing. Today was particularly bad and had me skirting the edges of a migraine for several hours.

Every time I think it is time for me to just pull the garden out and be done with it, it warms up again. I am still getting zucchini, though it has slowed way down. The acorn squash is slowly ripening. There are a few cucumbers, but I'm not sure how much longer those will last. There are tomatoes. And the herbs, even the basil, are still going strong. The Brussels sprouts are ready.

I'm pretty tired of the garden by this time of year, but I don't want to give up on free food. I did replant some lettuce and blood veined sorrel, but it isn't big enough yet to harvest. I'm not sure it will become so, either, but it might.

My mother is pushing for us to get rid of the ducks, but I don't want to. At least not at this time. Saying good-bye to the turkey and chickens was enough for right now. I may be ready in another month or two. It'll be harder than the others, though. The ducks have such personalities and are just so much fun to watch.

Still, I am not looking forward to another cold winter of trying to keep their water thawed. I do have a heated waterer for drinking, but that doesn't give them anything to swim in and so they tend to get pretty dirty when their little pools keep freezing over.

I think I'm holding on out of emotional reasons. It feels like I'm giving up on a dream. Which in many ways, I am. But I've been slowly coming to the realization that the full on urban farm has just been too much since my fall last year and the double sprained ankles.

It's not a lot of fun recognizing your limitations. But recognizing them, I am, slowly but surely.