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I See Blue Skies!!!!

August 12th, 2017 at 12:15 am

Oh, you guys don't know what an amazing lift it is to see the sky again. It is so beautiful and open and freeing to see it. It's like an oppressive force that was pushing down on us is gone. It's so wonderful to see. I finally had hope late last night when we could faintly see Polaris, Jupiter, and the space station (the brightest things in the night sky) peaking though the haze and the moon wasn't orange, it was white.

DH mentioned that maybe part of my problem was that I have seasonal depression in the winter and maybe it was the lack of direct sunlight that was affecting me. I think that may be part of it.

I don't use my Happy Light in the late spring, summer, or early fall because I am outside enough not to need it. But since I couldn't be outside much due to the smoke affecting my lungs, even with the inhaler, I wasn't getting that light and I certainly wasn't getting the benefit of being in the outdoors with fresh air at all.

So that really makes me feel so much better, although it was still a sad day as we said good-bye to our tom turkey George. The lady who is taking him is very nice and she promises to send photos of him with the turkey hens. It was still hard to see him go, but I know it is for the best. It seems so quiet without him, though. I will miss him. He is such a love.

On the practical side, it is one less chore on the farm. The turkey coop will be cleaned out one last time and I think we will tear it down. It'll be too much of a reminder and it blocks the view of the yard from the back windows. I think we will leave the covered courtyard up, though. The chickens go in there when it is raining or snowing so they can be out of the elements while still being outside.

I hope not having a guard animal will be noticed by the local hawks or the nesting pair of eagles that live near the hospital. George won't be there to chase them off. He won't be there to gobble any time someone pulls into the driveway. He won't react to the Medevac helicopter flying over or the firefighting helicopter and airplane when they fly over. Or the coast guard who sometimes fly over as well. Yes, it will be very quiet on the farm, save for the quiet babble of the ducks and the cackling of the chickens. Very quiet, indeed.

I Still Can't See the Sky

August 11th, 2017 at 04:35 am

Today was supposed to be clear, but it still isn't. You can at least see the foothills now, though. It is supposed to rain on Sunday and I really hope it does. It is hard to not be able to go outside much if I want to breathe well. It's too hot to leave the windows closed with it being in the 80's and no A/C.

Today was my daughter's 21st birthday. How did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a twenty-one-year-old child? We went to Outback for dinner. I had lobster and everyone else had steak. It was pretty good, but I can make a better steak at home, which is why I got lobster. Or maybe it is just the difference between grass fed beef(what I have) and corn fed beef.

I did have a couple bites of the steak, because my daughter couldn't quite finish hers, but that only confirmed my call to get the lobster. It was an expensive night, but it's the only time in a year we've gone out to something like this. Tomorrow it'll be back to home-cooking.

Tomorrow MIL and FIL and DH meet with the doctor about FIL going down to the UW hospital and whether or not he is strong enough. They've already said he'd have to do a medical transport if he goes, that he is not strong enough to go in a regular car, not even our van which is very comfortable. They still don't know what is wrong with him, but I have a feeling it is the cancer working on a systemic level. Continued prayers for him would be appreciated.

We are rehoming our tom turkey George. He hasn't been the same since Gina died, and he will be going to a nice lady with 2 Royal Palm hens. I hate to see him go, but my mother has been getting aggressive with him again and of course he reacts to that. Honestly, I'm afraid she's going to hurt him.

She's been acting kind of crazy this week freaking out on everyone for very minor things. I wish we could move. I am so done right now. After everything I did taking care of her, for her to turn on us is just demoralizing. I am never mean to her, not even when her vindictive streak comes out. I am patient and seldom react because I know that's what she wants.

Half the time I feel like I'm the parent and she's an adolescent going through puberty. She sure acts like a 7nth grade girl in full on brat mode. She can never admit when she's wrong. Ever. She doesn't apologize except to say things like I'm sorry you feel that way and even that hardly ever happens. I'm ready to move across the country at this point just to have everything fall on my sisters since that is the only way they will ever do anything.

I want to go somewhere and scream at the sky, but I'm not entirely convinced it is still there. Man, that's really getting to me. I need to see some blue before I go off the deep end myself.

I Can't See the Sky

August 8th, 2017 at 07:40 pm

It's been 12 days since I've been able to see the sky. The smoke haze from B.C. is so bad it is like a ceiling of dirty white overhead. Not like when it is overcast, then you can still see clouds in various shades of grey and white. This is like a lid has been shut over us. Washington state has the worst air quality in the nation right now. Unfortunately, I am having to use my inhaler. It is messing with my lungs.

You take it for granted, seeing the sky. Not seeing it for so long is making it seem claustrophobic, like we are closed in. I can feel it at the back of my neck, making me want to raise my shoulders up and inward against it. I know it is psychological, but the longer it continues, the worse it seems. It makes me feel like I'm in some kind of sci-fi movie where the sky disappears.

The sun and moon through it have been amazing, though. Just brilliant shades of orange shining through to let us know that even if the sky is gone, space is still up there somewhere.

There's not much been going on. I finished up the kidney infection medication and spent a lot of time in bed sleeping during that time. We didn't go out to eat at all for three weeks, but we did get something this weekend and we will go out on the tenth for my daughter's 21st birthday. Then back to not eating out for a good while.

We are up to our ears in gold rush zucchini and patty pan squash. The green zucchini is not doing as well. I lost a lot of them to blossom end rot, so now I am pulling the blossoms off them once they have got to finger size and that seems to be helping. I have green tomatoes now so maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have some red ones.

We lost 2 chickens this week. Henrietta was our oldest chicken. She was six. And then one of the leghorns died as well, but they don't live as long since they are production birds. She was 3. So now we are down to 9 chickens, 6 ducks, and one turkey. We aren't replacing anyone. We thought we might have to get a new turkey hen after Gina died, but George seems to be doing okay now. He's a little sad at bedtime when he's alone, but during the day he seems fine and hangs out with the 3 Barnevelder hens he was raised with.

I didn't do a payday report this week, but all of the money went to pay the AMEX bill in full. That takes care of the last of the medical expenses from the two ER visits and the emergency eye surgery. We still had to pull $3500 out of the Emergency Fund, but at least we didn't have to pay interest on anything.

Maybe in September we can pull ahead again. At least for a little while. Who knows with the job situation still being up in the air like it is.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Adventure's in Parentsitting

June 20th, 2017 at 06:04 pm

It's been a long two weeks since Mom came home from her shoulder surgery and the stories I could recount up to this point could fill a book. Did you know that oxycodone and elderly people often equals hallucinations? I sure didn't. After the first week we had to switch to hydrocodone because that particular side effect was getting bad.

I haven't had any help from my sisters. The eldest has come to visit twice, once staying for 20 minutes a few days after Mom came home and the other time staying for an hour and a half to do some work on the computer. She spent very little time interacting with Mom. She only lives five minutes or so away. When I asked her if she could stay with Mom while I ran to the store, her answer was that she had to go. *sighs*

My middle sister seldom stirs herself to come see Mom and when she does it is more of a pit stop for her than anything else. She's always been this way unless there is something in it for her, like presents. She quit coming at Christmas time when Mom stopped giving presents. She's never come for Thanksgiving or invited anyone to her home for Thanksgiving.

It's only a 40 minute drive from her house to here, but she comes up usually only once a year. When we lived in the mountains it was a 45 minute drive and we were in here at least twice a week. I just don't get the mentality. Yet I've seen it before, when Mom was taking care of Grandma and her sister did very little to help.

I've heard that is often the way, that one child does it all in caring for a parent. I've seen it play out in other people's lives, too. One of my friends is the only one who helps her mom out with her step-father, who had a stroke a year and a half ago. He has five sons, all biological, and they don't really do anything, certainly nothing without being prompted, and their wives don't either. Even though they all live nearby while my friend lives 2 hours plus a ferry ride away.

It frustrates me that family members behave this way when they all ought to be pitching in to help. Especially my sisters. But they weren't here when Mom was dealing with Grandma. They were married and out of the house. So they didn't see first hand the strain it put on her. I did what I could to help at the time, but I was still a young teenager.

My kids are helping some. My son is doing all the morning farm chores that were my mother's, like letting the birds out in the morning, cleaning out the chicken coop (he already does the duck coop and the turkey coop), mowing the lawn (she likes to do that or it would have been his chore a long time ago), weed-eating, etc. Mom never had evening farm chores, those we do.

My daughter has helped with some of the day to day care, and the first few days, the night time care since she is usually up until two or three in the morning. They have both helped with hourly checks as well. Fortunately Mom is now getting to the point where she can be left alone for two or three hours and she is sleeping through the night. The first week was hard, though.

DH will be home on Friday and I will get a bit of a break. I'll still have to do a lot, but he can take some of the burden. I am sick from the lack of sleep and close to a full body break down. I have to ice my knees and ankles frequently due to the many trips up and down the stairs. It is only two steps, but when you do them 20 times a day when you are used to only doing them once or twice, it is hard on damaged joints.

I haven't had as much time in the garden as I would like, but it is going like gangbusters. Hopefully today I can get out there and harvest, because there is a lot to do and I still want to plant green beans. It's not too late for this part of the country.

My daughter managed to dislocate her middle finger on her dominant hand 3 days ago. She got it back in, but the swelling and pain has been pretty bad. The doctor said just treat it like a sprain once he made sure it was in place. So it is in a splint and taped to the finger next door. This has taken her out of the running for a lot of things, like doing the dishes, taking out the recycling, cleaning the bathroom, and folding the laundry, all chores she either does or helps with normally.

Her brother picks up a lot of that slack. I went in halfsies on Nintendo Switch for him due to all his hard work.

In the midst of all this, I managed to spill water on my laptop and it will be 4 to 6 weeks until I get it back. I remember when turnaround was only 10 days. I'm sure I just fried the motherboard. This is not my first time spilling water on a computer, but hopefully it is my last.

I am using a new desk top computer hooked up to my TV. It will be my daughter's computer after I get my laptop back. Her laptop has lasted 8 years, but it is showing its age, so this was on the agenda anyway. It was 12 months same as cash, so I went ahead and did that. I usually do.

The medical bills from my ER visit and emergency laser eye surgery came in. It's $1800 total since it all went on the deductible. And I had $450 of labs, also all on the deductible. My x-rays bill hasn't come yet, but that will also be on the deductible. The new medical insurance can't start soon enough. We will have to meet a $1000 family deductible for it, but then we are done with that nonsense for the rest of the year. Plus not having to pay $1337 a month for insurance will be great. It'll just be $300 pre-tax a month, which frees up a lot of money.

DH got a job offer, but it wasn't one that would be sustainable. It would have been a drop in pay of 40%. Which would work if it was a local job, but not for one he has to pay airfare and travel expenses for. This is an offer from the company he was laid off from. It is also a backwards step in his career to a lower position. While it would have been steady work, we would have had to take money from savings each month to meet all the bills, so he declined it.

The other job he interviewed for is taking forever to start up and he probably won't hear anything about that until August. He will continue to look for something else, but my hope is that things will straighten out with the company he is currently working for since their benefits are unbeatable. Right now they have been given an additional project and have work through December, not just through October. Maybe things will continue to pick up.

I have set a goal for myself to try to write at least 1000 words a day on my novel. I can normally do 1500 to 2000 a day, but not while caring for my mother. Still, I'd like to do as much as I can. I just need to make it a priority again.

Well, that should catch things up. Hopefully I will be able to post again soon.

Odds and Ends

June 7th, 2017 at 06:37 am

Mom's shoulder surgery went well. They kept pushing it back so I didn't hear anything until 4:30, but the doctor said it went beautifully. I was able to pop up and see her at 8:30. We didn't get to visit much since the nurse was in there with her until 8:50 and then visiting hours ended at 9. She said I didn't need to come today, but she seemed glad to see me.

Her doctor asked if she is being forgetful lately, because he was worried about it being a side-effect of the surgery or the pain medicine, but I told him she is getting forgetful about some things. It's not bad yet, just kind of irritating, but not so much that she needs help for it. Just aging. Though I do keep a watch on her about it.

I told the nurse I thought she should stay in the hospital for another day based on how she was last time. Medicaid and Bridge will pay for it so she might as well stay another day with people who can care for her full time, unlike me, who has a full day tomorrow. I based my schedule on what I was told, which was 2 days. And since I'm the only one who will be caring for her, since my siblings don't do that sort of thing, I'd like them to stick to the original plan.

DS is applying for his first job tomorrow. He got the application today and took the food handler's permit test and got that. It is a weird feeling. I really didn't want him to work this summer as he still has school work to catch up on, but he has promised he will continue with it through the summer and if he doesn't I'll make him quit.

He's applying at McDonalds. They are hiring and they've got the college tuition help so he could build that up if he works there. It was something I found so helpful when I was working there and going to college. It wasn't a ton, but it paid for my books. I hope he doesn't have any trouble getting hired there. He's never had a job before outside the farm. He can ride his bike or walk there (35 minute walk, 10 minute bike ride) unless it is raining, then I'd take him.

He wants to buy an iPhone, which I said okay on, but after he has the money for that, he has to put half of every paycheck into savings for college and open an IRA and put in $50 a week and contribute at least $10 a month to charity, either the local mission or the teenage runaway mission Covenant House.

If he does okay with his school work during the summer, than I may let him work part time during the school year. I just can't let his studies suffer. He's already 1/2 a year behind due to all the stuff leading up to and recovering from his sinus surgery. I want to keep him on track. His grades are good, he's just missed time.

So many things are changing right now and it is hard for me to deal with it all. I don't like change. I like steady, dependable, reliable routine. But I know he has to grow up, so I try not to be too crazy about it.

I am still worried about the job situation, but what else is new? Either it works out or it doesn't. Hopefully it does. Oh, and they ended up deciding to let him stay through Thursday of the third week since it was a screw up on their part. His boss will be retiring soon, too, so that should be helpful. It would still be nice, though, if he could get that other job.

The rabbit kits are growing up so well. The one eight week old broken red is a female. I was hoping for a male, but I'm keeping her. She has perfect markings and coloration. I do need a boy, though. There are two broken reds in Ella's 3.5 week old litter. One has good coloration, the other has good markings. I just don't know though. I'll need to wait and see how their coloring changes as they get bigger. If it isn't right, we can try again.

There is a gorgeous solid black 3.5 week old as well, that looks like he will stay that color. He is even darker than Ella. If he is a boy, I would be very tempted to keep him, but we really don't have the room right now.

The garden is doing really well. I have more lettuce than I know what to do with, but other things are coming along. I got my first kohlrabi and there are teeny tiny peas on the snow pea plants. Maybe in a week they will be ready. I saw some color on one of the strawberries yesterday so hopefully they will all be ripening up soon. If I can keep the squirrels off them we will have a bumper crop.


It's Been Nice Here on the Farm

May 23rd, 2017 at 09:28 am

The weather the last few days has been really nice, though my latest garden transplants were not too happy with it. A little extra water, though, and they perked right up. Everything else has grown tremendously during these nicer days. I need to start hardening off my basil plants that I cloned off basil I was growing in the Aerogarden.

I've spent a couple of hours a day in the garden for the last two days and it has really helped to improve my mood. I'm still down a bit, but not feeling so hopeless. I've got almost everything in now. I just need to plant 3 pepper plants, bell, jalapeno, and cayenne, and some sunflowers and I am good until I've harvested enough to succession plant.

We haven't had to buy lettuce for 4 weeks now and we haven't had to buy spinach for 2 weeks. Kale and chard we have had all winter and spring. I pulled my first carrots from the batch that overwintered.

I wish I had a garden twice the size of what I do have. I don't like having to pick and choose what I can plant. I want to plant everything that I want to grow. As it is, I think I have to give up winter squash other than acorn and green beans this year. I can get both of those things at the no spray garden, along with good potatoes for canning, and they are cheap, so it is better to do that than to try to grow what takes up so much space in a limited area.

I put in more broccoli, some cauliflower, more kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, red shiso, 60 garlic starts, acorn squash, gold rush zucchini, patty pan summer squash, regular zucchini, English cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers. I don't need to make pickles, I just like the way those cukes taste.

I also put in red and yellow snap dragons, orange pansies, allysum (white), and heliotrope (deep purple). Flowers attract pollinators, plus they are beautiful and provide bright spots in what is mostly a sea of green right now. Most of my other flowers are herbs for tea and medicinal purposes, but not every flower has to pull double duty, just most of them.

I don't think I mentioned that we have new rabbit babies on the farm. They were born on Mother's Day. Ella had nine, 2 broken blacks, 2 blacks, 2 broken reds, and the rest are either white or a very light fawn (blond). It is hard to tell yet, as colors tend to darken with age. Persephone had five, all white. We gave Persephone two of Ella's kits to raise (one of the broken blacks and one of the blacks so we can tell whose are whose), so each mother is raising seven. This gives the kits a better shot at being evenly fed and is easier on the mother's and milk production.

Ruby and Serena missed again. I think Serena is just too old now. Ruby is still young so I don't know what is going on with her. We'll try again next month.

I am hoping that one of Ella's broken reds is a buck. We got a broken red doe kit from Bonfire that is the sweetest thing ever. She's six weeks old. If we could actually grow up a breeding pair I would be thrilled. I am also looking for a good broken black female. Zander keeps throwing male broken blacks, so far only one female, and she was poorly patterned with lots of white hairs in the black fur. And of course all of the males are beautifully patterned because that is the way it goes when you are trying for something.

Gina's laying eggs. So far we've gotten 3 eggs in two weeks. I wasn't sure she would ever lay again after last year's injury. I hope she clicks into gear a little bit faster now. Her first year she laid 3 to 4 eggs a week. Last year she didn't lay at all because it took 8 months to grow new feathers after the owl attack and turkeys can't lay eggs and grow new feathers at the same time. They use all their protein for one or the other and you can't just increase it because it can do damage to change from the proper ratio.

The ducks are all doing very well, though we lost one of the shelter chickens. She managed to wedge herself between the garage and the chicken coop and couldn't get out and gave herself a heart attack trying, poor thing. If it had to be someone, I was glad it wasn't one of the nice ones. Only two of the shelter birds are nice, the others are all bullies. I wish Mom had never got them because they've been really bad for flock dynamics.

We need to order feed in the morning, so that will be another expense. I need to find a bigger box for Gina. She's broody and the little box she's sitting in doesn't really fit her comfortably. I can probably find something for around $20. It needs to be plastic so it is easy to clean. I may just get a duplicate of what I use for the ducks. It is big enough for her, since two ducks can fit in one, and she used to sit in one the first year when she was broody.

We also need to buy a new cooler to be used as a chill tank on butcher days and a canopy to put up as a sunshade in front of the rabbit shed windows. It helps to keep it cooler inside. We've been using a tarp the last couple years, but I'd like something a bit more sturdy and that is easy to take down in wind storms.

Unfortunately I haven't sold any rabbits in a while, so I'll have to take the money out of the budget. That's okay, though. We've done it before and we can do it again.

Managing

April 22nd, 2017 at 04:48 am

I was able to get myself down to the feed mill and back, but I can tell you that I was really glad that I wasn't doing it a couple days ago when this cold first hit. I had a bit more energy today, but still have had to take really long rest breaks.

I started making dinner at two. It was a stir-fry and I knew in order to get everything prepped I'd have to take it in stages with breaks in between. It wasn't too bad doing it like that and by the time 5:30 rolled around I had rested enough to do the actual cooking. It was good to have a whole meal that was healthy tonight instead of adding a salad to pizza or pasta.

DH figured out how to deposit his first paycheck over the internet. Since we don't have smartphones we've never been able to do the take a photo to deposit a check thing, but now our credit union has an app that allows a tablet to use it so he was able to deposit it that way. It won't show up until Tuesday, but that is better than waiting for it to show up in the mail.

His per diem will be on it as well as his training pay, but not his airfare reimbursement, so we will still have some money coming for that. It will be so nice not to have money being lost from savings anymore. These first couple months will still be tight because of medical, but once the new insurance kicks in July 1, I feel like we will be on the home stretch. I am not sure if we will be able to save any money until then, but at least we shouldn't have to take any more out.

DH seems to be enjoying his new job and liking the people he is working with, though there is a lot to straighten out to get things running smoothly. People seem to be real happy to have him there, which is always a good thing.

No Spend Day

April 20th, 2017 at 06:38 am

Today was finally a no spend day, by dint of the fact that I didn't go anywhere or do anything. I spent the majority of the day resting. This head cold has really knocked me for a loop. I did manage to make lunch and dinner and do the evening rabbit check with my son. I also put one load of laundry that I washed last night into the dryer, where it remains. Considering how I am feeling, I call that a victory.

Tomorrow afternoon DD has a follow-up with the allergist, so that will be $50. And DH has to call in a feed order for turkey food for us to pick up on Friday, which will likely be around $100. Now that the mill has moved counties I have to buy in larger amounts so we are not making the trip all the time. It was a lot more convenient when it was just a couple miles from my house. I just hope I have the energy to drive down there Friday. I guess I'll have to. If I wait until Monday, the turkeys will be completely out of food.

I also have to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for the rabbits as we are almost out. They get a tbsp of that each daily. It makes their coats glossy. It takes a long time to get through a bag, but we are almost there.

Speaking of the rabbits, the premature kit had his eyes open tonight, so now they all have their eyes open. He is also catching up in size to the smallest of the rest of the litter. They are moving into the too stinking cute stage now. Between two weeks and five weeks is when they are the most adorable.

The kids had to clean Gina's nose out tonight. I would have gone out if they had needed me, but fortunately they did not. Gina was so grateful. She'd managed to get mud lodged in her nostrils and was only breathing through her mouth. If you've never seen a turkey panting before, it is quite a sight. At first she was less than thrilled about being restrained, but once she realized what they were doing, she went completely limp and let them do it. She did her happy whistling trill afterwards.

George wasn't happy, but they'd had the foresight to lock him in the pen before they went after Gina. The last thing anyone needed was a protective tom going nuts on them. He's usually a mild-mannered fellow, but not if he perceives there is a threat to his mate.

I am well ahead of target for reading 50 books for the year. I am currently reading the latest Icicle Falls novel. My hold finally came in at the library. Of course once you go pick up one, that same night you get a notification that there are 4 more waiting for you that were not ready when you were actually there. Oh, well, free books are worth the trip and it is not that far.

Spring Cold

April 18th, 2017 at 05:04 am



Last night I started getting a scratchy throat and this morning I woke up with a full-fledged cold. Sometimes I think spring and summer colds are worse than winter ones, because in the winter all you want to do is hole up and rest and in the spring and summer you want to be out there doing things.

I went to the doctor this morning, so $30 co-pay. I really liked the new doctor. I was her first patient on her first day. She really listened to me. She decided to order blood work and they'll be testing for rheumatoid arthritis, nightshade allergies, thyroid, and a regular blood workup that checks cholesterol and all that. Maybe some other stuff. They drew five vials. I have a follow up with my own doctor on the 4th.

I was a little light-headed afterwards, but I don't know if that is from the head cold or the blood draw. I ate and laid down for 3 hours. I'm not sure if napped or not. If I did it was a surface sleep. I hope I sleep better tonight because I still feel exhausted.

Bonfire's litter is doing really well. Her four bio-kits all have their eyes open, and her foster kit is catching up in size, but may not open its eyes for another week, if I adjust its age for being premature. It could be 4 day to 7 days from now due to that. It's a lovely litter and the broken red is just gorgeous.

We need to replace 12 cages. That will be quite an expense, but I've put it off long enough and it needs to be done. I will probably replace 3 at a time, just so I don't have the cartons taking up a bunch of room while we build them out. It'll go slower with just me and DS putting them together, but I don't want to wait until DH gets back to get started. Hopefully, by the time the cages arrive I will be over my cold and able to put them together.

Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment for my daughter and I will have to pick up some prescriptions that I was too tired to pick up tonight. So more medical expenses. Yippee.

Good health and wellness forever eludes us. It's not so much to ask for is it? I'm tired of being tired and I'm sick of being sick. I am blessed in many aspects of my life. I sure wish this was one of them.

Somewhat Productive Day

April 17th, 2017 at 01:38 am

I spent about 2 hours in the garden today and I will probably be paying for it for the next two days. I got all the strawberry plants that I had dug up and separated while DH was still home transplanted back into the garden. What had been in one 8 x 2 foot bed is now in three 8 x 2 foot beds and I have two 18 count flats worth of strawberry crowns still in 4 inch pots. I will probably sell them. The stores sell them for $1.50 a pot now so I can probably easily get 50 cents a plant.

After that I got about half of my copra keeping onions in. I need my son to add a bag of soil to the one end of the garden bed because it is much lower than the other before I plant the rest. I planted some blue lobelia, a blue harmony anemone, a purple and white cinnararia, and a blue and white cinnararia. I pulled some weeds, though there weren't very many in the raised beds, just a few.

I have some celery, curly-leafed parsley, and flat leafed parsley that I need to plant still, but I ran out of steam. I am really glad that dinner is in the crockpot. I made rack of lamb. All I did was cover it heavily with herbs de provence. I've made it several times before and it is always so falling off the bone tender and wonderful. I don't usually splurge for lamb, especially rack of lamb, but it was worth it for today. Sides are strawberries, broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.

I am thinking of going...well, not exactly kosher, but eliminating all of the meats that were considered unclean in Leviticus. Which means bottom feeder fish, shellfish, and pork will be eliminated from my diet. Not sure about rabbit. Hare is excluded, but rabbit is a different species and not specifically mentioned. I think it probably is, though. We've been selling most of our rabbit anyway.

To be honest, sometimes having the rabbits really gets to me, like when we lose litters. Or during butchering time. Sometimes I think it would be nice to narrow down the numbers, keep a few for pets, a few for sales, and not have so much. But they pay for themselves and the family really enjoys the meat. So do I, but I do want to try this kinda kosher thing and see if it makes any difference to my health. I'd still make it for the others.

I can get on very well with the right kind of fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, duck, goose, quail, etc. I eat mostly chicken and turkey anyway. I'd miss lobster, crab, and shrimp, but I don't eat much of that anyway because of the expense.

I see the doctor tomorrow morning. She's new in the practice. I am hoping she is not a ditz like one of the other female doctors and one of the other male doctors. I wanted to see my own doctor, but the receptionist thought I should get in for pain meds on Monday and we could figure out everything else from there. My doctor didn't have an opening this week, as usual. Who knows? If I like this woman, I may switch to her. I have no attachment to my own doctor. I'm lucky if I see him once a year and have no loyalty to him at all, though I like him.

I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I wish this exhaustion would stop. Two hours of fairly slow, but steady working, should not wipe me out this way.

DH is Off 4/11/2017

April 12th, 2017 at 07:26 am

I dropped DH off at the airport tonight and things will return to some semblance of our old normal now. It is going to be really weird to have him gone for so long after having him home for nearly nine months. He will be gone more than 3 weeks this time, because he starts training this week. Not that he needs it. He could teach the training, but each new company requires it. Last time he did the training he basically told the trainer what was what, because the trainer didn't know anything really and wanted to know the types of things he needed to know. Hopefully it is not quite like that again this time.

DH's first real paycheck will be on the 28th, but he will get something for training on the 21st. He won't get hazard pay for the training, he'll get 70% of harzard pay plus a per diem for food and the hotel. I believe DH said the per diem was $189 per day, but it might have been $169. His hotel that he's staying at is $77 and then he will have taxi fare and food costs. He will likely come in under that so there might be extra unless they are the type of company that will reimburse you up to that amount, instead of that full amount. Some only give you what you actually have receipts for. Also he will get reimbursed for his first ticket up there so that will be nice.

Company B waited so long to get back to him on what training days he needed to be there for that the only tickets left were first class. The difference between the coach tickets and first class was only $112 so DH figured he could pay the difference if necessary. I say if they couldn't bother to return his messages, they deserve to have to pay first class prices. They will also pay the change fee since his original ticket that he bought to go up on Thursday, the day he was first told, had to be changed.

His ticket went from $250 bought a few weeks in advance to $650. So if the Company B had been on the ball they could have saved themselves a lot of money. Oh, well. I really hope they are more on the ball about other things, though it doesn't sound much like it.

Oh, well, the 401K is a dream and so is the medical insurance. I will do different posts on those.

I've been pretty quiet the last several days as we have been doing everything that needed to be done that I need to have DH do. We bought duck feed, rabbit feed, and oats. The mill we get our oats and turkey feed from moved to the next county instead of ours. It used to be in my city. But at least it is at the near end of the next county and it is also on the way to the mill that does the rabbit feed. And there is a feed store in between the two that sells the organic duck feed we use.

We butchered and we mucked out the rabbit shed. We moved the chickens into the big coop as it was getting too hard to use the smaller one since 2 chickens won't get off the roost (one is injured and the other is old) and it is too small a coop to get inside. The big one you can walk inside.

We had 3 litters of kits born and lost 2. It was bad. We lost a total of 14 kits and one mother who we pulled 9 premature kits from that were a couple days short of term. 2 days is a lot in a 31 day pregnancy. I do not want to go through that again any time soon. There are five healthy kits now, though one is a couple days premature he is eating and his fur is coming in. He has become pretty vigorous, but he shakes a little so I don't know if he'll be normal or not.

We took stuff to storage, went through boxes and cleaned the house except for the kitchen and hallway. We donated more clothes. We got manure spread in garden beds and compost put on top. I did some planting. We got a lot accomplished but blogging wasn't one of those things.

Then tonight I stepped on a needle. It went in sideways somehow into the ball of my foot. It was a two inch needle and only 1/2 inch was sticking out. It hurts a lot. It was worse pulling it out than it was stepping on it. My son cleaned up the blood off the carpet and my daughter doctored the wound then washed the blood out of my sock and then out of her sock since she's stepped in one of the blood spots. It all came out.

It hurts to walk on it, but I can avoid that spot if I don't put any weight on the half of the ball that got pierced. I was going to start going to the pool again tomorrow morning, but I don't think I can do water Zumba on this. Maybe Monday.

I hope everyone else had a less busy week than I did.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel and It's Not a Train

March 22nd, 2017 at 08:10 am

Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.

He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.

That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?

DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.

$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.

My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.

Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.

We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.

I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.

Frustrated

March 16th, 2017 at 06:56 am

Google AdSense is frustrating the crap out of me right now. Every time I think I've dotted every i and crossed every t so that I will actually get my payment from them, turns out there is yet one more box to check hidden somewhere in the remotest recesses of their website. While creating ad blocks is easy, everything else is soooooooo user unfriendly. They are straight-forward about nothing, important info is hidden, and I have to watch numerous videos to try to figure everything out.

And are those videos on the AdSense page? Oh, no, nothing so easy as that. They are on youtube and they are done by other users that have figured stuff out. Of course you have to make sure the video is from not too far in the past because they change stuff all the time. Ugh.

Youtube itself is a little easier to figure out, but not by much. They don't hide the info, but it is not particularly easy to interpret. I am trying not to bang my head against the wall, but it would feel better than dealing with all this rigamarole.

We haven't heard anything further from Company B. They only called on Saturday. They said they'd call back in a couple days. I am assuming business days. It is possible the guy meant a few days when he said a couple of days. I wish people would be more precise with their speech. A couple is two. Which means all day Monday, all day Tuesday, they should have called today.

I have very little faith that this isn't some cosmic joke they are playing just to screw DH over again, but I am particularly pessimistic at the moment. He probably meant a few. I am rational enough to realize that.

It would be nice to be able to buy a plane ticket if necessary before the prices go way up for last minute purchases. But no one operates on my time table or my budget, so whatever.

We lost Leo on the night of the 13th. He died of old age. He was the last of the original rabbits we brought home. We bred him with Ella on the 6th so maybe there will be one last litter from him. His kits always had the sweetest personalities. This puts us down to 2 bucks, our New Zealand white Starbuck and our broken black New Zealand Zander. Starbuck is three and Zander will be one April 9th. I am hoping either Zander's breeding with Ruby or with Bonfire will produce a NZ broken red buck. We won't know until around the end of the first week of April.

This week has been a little topsy turvy. I have gotten stuff done, though. We built an open cabinet and are working on sanding more wood for the second canning cabinet. We got a bunch of boxes taken to storage. I dehydrated more garlic. I cleaned up the garden a bit. The kitchen needs a major spring cleaning, we need to butcher, and I need to transplant and divide my aloe plants.

Today was a no spend day. At least there is that.

We're Due for ANOTHER Snow Storm

March 4th, 2017 at 04:36 am

It is supposed to start snowing around 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I am less than pleased and I know the chickens will be ready to mutiny. Quite frankly, I'm ready to mutiny if I see anymore of the white, flaky stuff. At this rate my son may have snow on his birthday this year. That has only ever happened twice in almost 17 years. I am so ready for spring. I want to be planting in the garden, not seeing another foot of snow filling the garden boxes.

I am sending DH to get a few things before we have to snuggle in for a few days. My prescriptions for one. That'll be $20 for the 4. I don't want to run out of my sleeping medicine, especially. As an insomniac, it is never fun to run out of the drug that at least ensures you get 4 hour of sleep every night.

I can make bread as long as we have power and I have an entire loaf of French bread in the fridge and 6 rolls on the table, so I'm not worried about that. We have had very little milk in the last few months, but I do happen to have a half gallon of whole and a pint of cream for some upcoming meals. There is really nothing else we need. One of the nice things about having all of my home canned items, my stash of bottled water, and my freezer full of meat, is that if we can't go anywhere for days at a time, we will be okay.

We have plenty of animal feed on hand. We also have plenty of hay and straw. The heat lamps are set up and so are the heated water founts. The heater is in the rabbit shed. We run it just low enough to keep the water bottles from freezing unless we have kits and then we keep it at at least 50 degrees in there.

On tomorrow's agenda is making cinnamon twists. I think they'll be easier than making cinnamon rolls, which is a pain in the neck. These twist just like Kaiser rolls, which I make all the time, so they should be easy enough, just have a different dough recipe. Being trapped in the house for the better part of the week I can handle. Being trapped without sweets, on the other hand, is a totally different story.

It's in the House

March 2nd, 2017 at 09:17 am



Well, it took some doing, but we got the first bookcase emptied and out of the pantry and then brought the new cabinet we built into the house. I thought it was only going to hold jars 5 deep, but it actually holds them 6 deep, so even more than I thought.

You can see from the picture how much space was wasted in the bookcases because of how far apart the shelves are in comparison to the canning shelves. I will be happy to get the second cabinet built. I think we can put everything that is on the two bookcases into one more cabinet.

We plan to build 3, or possibly even 4 total, if the pallet supply holds out. I think on the next one I will have one shelf that is big enough for 1/2 gallon and gallon size jars as well as #10 cans. Then we can put our dehydrated stuff on that shelf.

We are almost out of onions. I think I have 6 left on my onion braid. These are the Cobra Keeping Onions. I did not lose a single yellow onion to rot or sprouting. I will be planting these again this spring. I saved seed so I just need to get them started and under the grow light. The purple onions, on the other hand, did not make it more than a couple of months, but I don't think they were a storage onion. I did find a purple storage onion and I am hoping to get sets for it and see how that does this year.

I will pay more attention to watering this year. These were great onions, but they were small and strong, because I didn't water them as much as I should have and it didn't rain more than 2 or 3 times all summer. I want some bigger ones that will last longer. Meanwhile, I ordered some freeze dried onions from Thrive to get me through once these ones run out. I'll still have to buy purple ones for my salads, but the yellow ones will be covered.

One day I'd like to own a freeze dryer. They do make them for homes now, but they cost a lot, so right now with no income it is a pipe dream. Plus there is no place to put one while we live here. The cheapest model is $2595, so that is way down the road. There are a lot of women I know who would be interested in renting it, if I had one. I wouldn't let it leave my home, though. They'd have to bring their stuff over all prepped and I could dry it for them and they could pick it up afterwards. For now, I'll just have to be happy with my dehydrator.

Didn't Do Much Today

March 1st, 2017 at 08:07 am

Honestly, it was a pretty boring day. I spent most of it reading my library book Nourishing Traditions. Which is kind of a cookbook and kind of an old take on good nutrition and where government mandated nutrition went really, really wrong and basically caused the obesity problem in this country with its guidelines. I think it is related to the Weston A. Price Foundation. Anyway, it is a good read so far. She's really done her research.



I don't think I mentioned it, but we sold Jasper on Sunday. I got $25 for him. This puts our rabbit herd down to 12 adults and 11 grow outs. I hated to see Jasper go, he is such a love, but we didn't need 4 bucks, especially when 3 of them are whites. I have been debating on whether or not I want to keep a broken doe, but if I do it won't be from the current two litters.

I'd like a broken red. So we'll see if a Zander/Bonfire cross or a Zander/Ruby cross will produce one. As much as I'd love an offsrping from Cinnabun, she has cataracts and I can't risk her passing that on. I don't want to be treating the eyes of more than one rabbit daily. She's still good for producing meaties, though.

Zoe died. I can't remember if I mentioned that or not. Also on Sunday. She was one of our ducks and she had a staph infection in her foot. We tried pretty hard to save her, but I knew in her last couple of days that she probably wasn't going to make it. You get a sense of it with livestock after a few years. It's sad, but we were prepared. That brings our duck population down to 6. At least all the other ducks are healthy.

I think one of Mom's chickens is sick. It's one of the ones she got from the pound and she's never been the healthiest bird, but she's limping real bad. I checked her feet and she's got bumblefoot. That is not fun to treat, but it needs to be done, and then she'll have to go in a hospital cage to keep her from running around on it for at least a week. Not looking forward to that.

DH did run up to Winco and picked up some more soup. The kids have been eating it like crazy. They add eggs to give it more protein. He bought $26 worth. At least it is cheap soup.

Oh, and there was a $50 co-pay for my daughter at the dermatologist. I had DH make an appointment for me while he was there. I have an extreme rash on my hand that won't go away. I was thinking it was eczema, but now I'm starting to wonder if it isn't something else. I'll find out next week.

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.

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.

Christmas Bonus, Ankle Update, Stress, Health, Rabbit Kit Photos

December 21st, 2016 at 10:14 am

So DH received a Christmas Bonus in the mail from his former employer. We knew we were going to get something because they sent us some paperwork back around Thanksgiving, but I figured it was going to be some token amount or a percentage based on how many months out of the year he'd worked for them (75%). But it was actually $200 more than last year's bonus. Maybe the additional was due to him staying until the bitter end.

Anyway, the amount was $3900.91. So no unemployment this week, but this is way better than that and it means the unemployment will last longer. I am hoping that this bonus will get us through January.

There are starting to be a few more oil jobs being posted. He's put in for two slope listings, but we don't expect to hear anything until after the holidays at this point. Slope usually goes to skeleton crew at this time of year. We expect that oil jobs will pick up now that the electoral college has officially declared Trump president. But we don't expect hiring or interviews to begin until January. No one does stuff over the holidays.

DH did have an in-person interview with the aeronautics company that he did two phone interviews with previously. They are just at the start of the live interview process (he was one of the first, if not the first in person interview they were doing) and they wouldn't hire until the end of January if they hire. It's not a permanent job anyway. It's one that would be series of small contracts as work was available. Not ideal, but better than nothing and the experience in that field would widen his knowledge base.

In two more days, it'll have been 4 months and I am getting antsy. The stress is hard. Seeing savings being depleted is hard. It's a nagging worry that's always in the back of my mind except when it's in the front of my mind. I live with this constant rock in my stomach. I think I might be getting an ulcer from the stress, because I've been eating Tums like they are candy and this with eliminating peppers from my diet.

My ankles finally feel like they are heeling, though. I know I mentioned the bad fall I took and the major sprain of the one ankle, but I don't think I mentioned that I lost my balance and rolled the other ankle about 10 days later and sprained it, too. It had minor swelling and minor pain, and was just enough to make it difficult for me to stand for more than a minute at a time. I still have swelling in the first ankle 5 weeks after the injury, but the pain is mostly just if I press the area where the ligaments were stretched too far or if I do too much standing.

I did get in to see the ENT a week ago and he put me back on steroids and gave me 2 Z-packs and sent a letter to my doctor to be placed in my file about how to treat this condition. He also told me he had sent them one back in March. The on-call doctor had claimed there was no record of this type of treatment. I did find out later that it was in there. Anyway, the ENT is sending a copy of the new letter to me so I can have one, so if they conveniently can't find it in the future I can pull it out of my purse and go, "It looks just like this."

The ENT was really annoyed with my doctor's office. He said I should not be having to go through this crap for 8 weeks before getting the right treatment, when he'd told them before and I told them what it needed to be. I will be looking for a new doctor after the holidays. I want to see a holistic type doctor instead. I'm so tired of doctors who look at me but don't see me. I miss my old doctor so much. Why did he have to get old, retire, and die? I mean, he was only 83. They don't make doctors like him anymore.

But I did get the medicine and it is helping now that it's the right dosage and the meds are being taken together.

We had a litter born on the 18th. There are five healthy kits, 3 broken blacks and 2 that are either solid blacks or steels. I'm leaning toward steels.



The older litter is 5 weeks now. They are doing well. It looks like I have two broken blues, one broken black, one broken steel, a lightly broken fawn, and a steel (black with white hairs mixed in) there. Colors don't fully set until they are older though, so that's just a best estimate for the time being.



Life going on on the farm makes me happy. I am waiting for 3 more does to give birth. They are a day overdue. If the two whites don't have kits this time, I think I will have to declare Jasper a dud. I will give him one more try, but this will make 3 breedings with nothing from him. Zander on the other hand is doing his job, as you can tell from all the broken and colored kits being born.

The Storm so Far

October 16th, 2016 at 06:04 am

On Thursday night we got hit hard enough that it ripped the corrugated roofing off the butcher station, but the turkey coop, chicken coop, duck coop, and rabbit shed survived with no damages.

On Friday we had to staple down the greenhouse plastic on the raised beds, because the clamps weren't strong enough to keep the wind from tearing it free. There was a pretty good lull in the afternoon so we were able to do this.

We ran out to get more bottled water. The first store we went to the power was out and it took a while to get away from there as the stop lights were out, too. We went across town to the other Fred Meyer and halfway through our shopping trip the power went out there. Backup generators came on and then about 5 minutes later the power was on. We finished up and hurried back home. A few more stoplights were out. We beat the rain home, but only just.

The wind died down around ten this morning. Several neighbors had lost shingles, but we didn't. The house, the garage and the rabbit shed roof were all intact. We let the birds out for a few hours, but cooped them early when the winds started to pick up again. We gave them extra food and water in case they can't be let out tomorrow.

The wind has been pretty ferocious for the last four hours. It sounds like a freight train at times. The rain is lashing pretty hard. So far we've not had any power flickers at all, though. It's supposed to go on like this all night and then drop down to winds of about 16 to 18 miles per hour at around 8 a.m. and through the day with lots of rain.

I think flooding is going to be more of an issue than anything unless some trees come down on the power lines. We won't get flooded out, we're on top of a hill and far enough from the major creek or the river or the bay or the lake, but the basement will flood as it does in every major storm so we'll have to have the sump pump going.

I am thinking we might not get hit as hard as they have been predicting, but you never know. I saw that a couple of tornadoes touched down in Oregon briefly yesterday, F2's. That is incredibly rare for this part of the country. It devastated Manzanita. I always wanted to visit this incredible bed and breakfast they have there. I don't think I'd even know the name of the town otherwise.

I really hope all the storm hype has been (pardon the pun) overblown. So far, at least for our area, it doesn't seem any worse than the bad fall blows we usually get. Just have to wait and see if it floods any worse. Right now there is just water over roadways, nothing unnavigable in some of the county. But more rain is on the way so it could get worse.

Tired and Grumpy

July 23rd, 2016 at 01:03 am

I am very out of sorts right now. I haven't been sleeping well. Most nights this last week I've gotten about 4 to 5 hours and it is really spilling over into my attitude. I walk around all day like I'm in a fog and I'm snappish and cynical and I keep repeating myself or forgetting things. I know sleep deprivation is bad, but I don't think I've ever gone so long without some decent night's sleep. I can see how I am, but it's a bit like I'm outside myself, too. I keep telling everyone I'm sorry preemptively.

Otherwise things are going well. My weight is going down again, though how, with such bad sleep, I do not know. Water Zumba continues to be so much fun. I finally dragged my daughter there Wednesday and she loved it. My husband already comes when he is home.

I think part of my problem is that my neck and my legs are so tight right now it affects how I sleep and how I walk and the woman who usually works on me when it gets like that has been cancelling appointments on me left and right, but waiting until the last minute to do it and then I can't get in to see anyone else. Like today, I had a 2:00 appointment and she cancelled at noon. She's really good, but she's turned into a real flake, and I think I'm going to have to start seeing someone else because this has become a habit and it is wrecking my body.

On the bright side the garden is producing like gangbusters. My dehydrator is going daily now as I dry my culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and herbal teas for the next year. Plus I've also got bundles of herbs hanging on the walls to dry as well. I have bought very little produce this summer. This week for example I bought celery and nectarines because I am not growing them, but no other produce. Well, I am growing celery, but it is on year 2 which is to collect seed and it is in the flowering stage so not edible.

My peppers are starting to produce now. I am getting zucchini or crookneck squash daily and cucumbers daily. I haven't bought lettuce since April. I made a huge batch of coleslaw today from my purple cabbage and some carrot thinnings. I'm picking berries almost daily, usually blueberries, but sometimes strawberries and raspberries. I've harvested 6 gallons of blueberries in the past two weeks.

I've got 9 packages of snow peas in the freezer and I might plant another sowing of them in August. I haven't decided yet. My tomatoes finally have little green tomatoes on them. The onions are getting big. I've planted a third sowing of kohlrabi and a 2nd sowing of broccoli, a 2nd sowing of lettuce and more radishes.

On the livestock front, the turkeys are doing well. Gina's feathers are almost grown completely back in after the hawk attack in February although she still hasn't started laying eggs again. Her limp has been gone for about 6 weeks now.

All of the ducks are doing pretty well, although there is one that keeps laying her egg either without a shell so it just comes out contained in the membrane or with a very thin, easy to break shell. I don't know why. Duck egg shells are usually hard to break, you really have to whack them normally. She has the same access to oyster shell as the other ducks. It's the blue Swedish duck and I don't know how old she is since she was given to me by someone who had lost most of her flock to predators. It might just be her age.

Two of the really old chickens have died in the last month, one silver-laced wing wyandotte and one auracauna. I was sad to see them go as they were real sweethearts, but they were no longer laying so were basically freeloaders, too. That only leaves one auracauna, one black australorp, and one white leghorn from the old guard and they will probably all die of old age in the next year. Of those 3 the black australorp still lays once a week and the leghorn lays 2 to 3 times a week. We will still have the 3 barnevelders, the 3 younger leghorns, and the 7 even younger red stars after that. The barnies are mine. All the rest of the chickens are my mom's.

The rabbits are doing well. The ones that had mites are finally mite free after getting the injected form of Ivomec. I will never use the paste or the pour on again. Direct under the skin injection into the scruff is the way to go. It works, the don't fuss, and it ends it quickly. They get 3 shots, each 10 days apart and that's the end of it.

I had to learn how to draw a shot into the syringe, how to tap out air bubbles, and shoot out a little medicine to be sure. Not a difficult thing, actually, at all. Neither is giving the injection. It is a good skill to know.

We are using a Simply Lemonade container for our sharps (used capped syringes) as it is extra thick plastic. Once we're done with the course of medication I'll have to find out where to take it for disposal as you can't put it in the trash. Possibly the hospital has a medical waste depository.

Still no new news on DH's job front or job search. I am trying not to think about it as in my sleep deprived state I will just go into anxiety mode and no one needs that.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update and Preparations

June 24th, 2016 at 08:17 pm

$44,000.00 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Addded
----------------
$44,500.00 New Balance

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to add anything to this fund this month, but I was able to squeak out $500.00 as we spent most of the overtime money putting ourselves into a position to survive the next several months without having to purchase much and get ahead on some things.

We stocked up on staples like flour, sugar, brown sugar, oil, spices, toilet paper, soap (body, dish, laundry), shampoo, rice, reusable canning lids, pickling salt, freezer bags (so we can freeze garden veggies that don't can well), peanut butter, tuna fish, condiments, facial tissue, and OTC medications.

It'll be a close next two weeks, but not tight. All payments have gone out or been scheduled and nothing else is due until after next payday on the 8th. The garden is in full swing now with both fruits and vegetables, so I really should not need to set foot in a store for anything but dairy and vitamins.

I have PT today and next Friday, but the money is put aside for that, too. So really, it all should be good. I am hoping on the 8th to purchase a 30 pound box of ground beef from the farm. That is the only thing we are low on in the freezer. If not we will just have to make due with ground rabbit and ground pork, which actually make some pretty tasty burgers, tacos, meat loaves, and meatballs. They just don't provide much iron.

We also stocked up on animal feed so we will have that on hand for a good long while.

Nothing Financial Today

May 22nd, 2016 at 01:02 am

I didn't go to the gym today. We scraped and scrubbed rabbit cages and dropping trays and then scrubbed 18 water bottles and feeders, so I got a lot of exercise in doing those. The hose is not very close to the rabbit shed so there is a lot of walking back and forth, too.

I also pulled weeds, hilled up dirt on the potatoes, and planted the tomatoes (that I started inside from seed) and basil (that I cloned) I had hardening off, so got some more exercise there. I'm counting that as exercise, since it took 2 hours to do the cleaning and an hour to do the planting.

I will go to the gym tomorrow, though. I want to swim laps. Then I'll take Monday off since that is FIL's surgery and DH will have the van in Seattle. I will go to Water Aerobics on Tuesday. I think an every other day pool workout is probably what my body wants to do.

I have dropped 5 pounds this week. The exercise is really making a difference. I wish I could go for walks though. But I'm not sure if my knee will ever allow that again.

Moving Fund Update

May 21st, 2016 at 04:51 am

$45.15 Starting Balance
+15.00 Pinecone
+20.00 Rabbit sale
+10.00 Egg Money
+_9.00 Coin Jar Money
--------------
$99.15 New Balance

$2400.85 to go.

Farm Sales to the EF

April 23rd, 2016 at 04:21 am

We had some sales so I was able to add even more to the Emergency Fund today.

$19,591.92 Starting Balance
+__,_88.00 Farm sales and Coin Jar
------------------
$19,679.92 New Balance

$320.08 to go to hit $20K. So, so close.

Emergency Fund Update

April 21st, 2016 at 07:40 pm

$17,392.32 Starting Balance
+__,199.60 Medical Check Refund
----------------
$17,591.92 New Balance

The first of the medical checks for things that got caught up in the time period where the deductible was met, but it hadn't fully processed, came. I put it in the EF.

$408.08 to go to hit my next mini-goal of $18K. I may have more to add today still. I have someone coming to buy 2 rabbit hutches for $45. And I possibly have someone coming to buy 3 hens for $25. But I don't know if it will all get sorted before it is too late to put the money in the credit union.


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