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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.

Spendy Day

July 27th, 2017 at 05:50 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odds and Ends

July 19th, 2017 at 03:25 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick a Title, Any Title

July 13th, 2017 at 06:28 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caregiving Makes the Days Seem So Long

July 12th, 2017 at 07:10 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Sick and Exhausted

June 29th, 2017 at 10:31 am

I've come down with a stomach virus of some sort and it is really dragging my energy levels on the ground. DH has been back since Friday, so I am not taking care of Mom all by myself anymore, but there are some things I do have to do, even with a fever of 100 and the inability to keep my food down. Like help her shower, which is quite an ordeal, and help her change her clothes. Fortunately she is doing a lot better three weeks post surgery.

I got my daughter's ER visit bill yesterday. It is $2333.48. Ouch. That is really going to be a hit. I'll have to take money out of the Emergency Fund for that. DH will be working 4 extra days at the end of his next hitch, so all of that money will go to replace some of what I take out of savings. I am not sure it will replace all of it.

I saw the rheumatologist on Monday with a $50 co-pay. She is putting me on a medication that is supposed to help, but might not show any improvement for a couple of months. It can do damage to the retinas, though, in 30% of people. With my medical luck, I will be in that 30%.

I saw the eye doctor on Tuesday with a $50 co-pay. He said the retina has healed nicely and I will go back in 3 months and then he will take a baseline map reading of the retinas so that we can monitor whether the new medication is affecting my retinas. If he sees even the hint of damage I will stop the medicine. I can't have my eyes getting worse. I'd rather deal with the pain in my joints than my vision getting further damaged.

I just want to get past all this stuff and get back to feeling normal (for me, anyway). I have 3 weeks before Mom gets out of the sling and then starts full on physical therapy. The stuff we are doing now is pretty light as she is not allowed to move her shoulder away from her body. It takes about 10 minutes 3 times per day and DH has taken over the morning shift.

I went to Trader Joe's today to stock up on a few things and spent $128.97. I also went to my own physical therapy which cost $90. I probably shouldn't have done either thing with being so sick, but we really needed to pick up some food and the massage part of PT was sorely needed.

Grocery Prices on the Rise?

May 29th, 2017 at 12:35 am

I am trying to decide if grocery prices are going up or not. I know that I can still walk out of Trader Joe's with a cart full of groceries, including meat, for around $120 to $150. And the grocery outlet seems pretty steady, but it has a different price point anyway. No, it's the regular stores that seem to be going up.

I have noticed it a lot on produce and on things that are in season in our state right now. Most of the greens have gone up, so I am grateful I don't need to buy them at this time of year because of the garden. Chicken prices seem to have gone up about 30 cents a pound and that's on sale.

Fish has definitely gone up a dollar a pound pretty much across the board. Even trout which is usually the cheapest fish you can buy since around here they are competing with people who go out and catch the fish themselves to eat and people who sell direct off their boats.

Beef prices, which I don't have to worry about for at least the next six months seem to have risen about a dollar a pound as well, except hamburger, which has gone up about 50 cents a pound. Hot dogs and hot dog buns have gone up and at this time of year, especially around holidays, it is usually down a lot. Bread has gone way up. Now that I am feeling better I need to go back to baking my own loaves.

Milk seems to be steady, but we don't buy enough of it for me to be sure. Eggs have gone up. Cheese's regular price has gone up, but its sale price has gone down. Frozen foods seem to be very cheap right now, or at least going on a lot of sales.

I think I will have to just do more shopping at Trader Joe's, the grocery outlet, and Winco and only do sale shopping at Safeway and Haggen. Costco seems to have had a slight bump in some prices and gone down in others. But Costco is the only place I can get a few items, so that one I'll just have to deal with whatever price is on those items.

Have you been noticing food prices going up a lot this year? Or is it just where I live that this is going on?

Picked Up Our Beef--Breakdown on Cuts

May 25th, 2017 at 03:41 am

So our half a beef was ready and hanging weight came to 335 pounds. She had estimated hanging weight would be 300 with it's full hanging weight being 600, but it was bigger. It cost $1005 for the half and $250.64 for the cut and wrap fee, a total of $1255.64. So that works out to $3.75 per pound for a grass fed beef, which is pretty spectacular, considering grass fed hamburger alone is $8 a pound here. While she is not certified organic, they do not spray their hay fields and they still use organic practices.

She uses a different butcher than the one who lost our half a hog last year and then turned our plain ground pork into sausage when we specifically asked for it to not be sausage, but plain. I was glad she used someone else. I really don't want to deal with the other company again. 2 out of 3 times they've screwed up, so I have no faith in them, but unfortunately most farmers use them. I'll probably go with this lady again, though, since she uses the other place.

Here's what it breaks down to with all steaks in packages of 2 and cut 3/4 inch thick, the roasts around 2 pounds each except for the rump roasts which are 3, and the brisket which is 4 or 5:

Ground Beef: 54 l 1/2 pound packages
Heart: 1
Liver: 5 packages
Flank Steak: 1
Short Ribs: 5
Porterhouse: 2
Eye of Round: 2
Top Round Steak: 6
Sirloin: 6
Bottom Round Roasts: 3
Sirloin Tip Roasts: 4
Chuck Roasts: 6
Pot Roasts: 3
Rump Roasts: 2
Soup Bones: 4
Tri Tip: 1
T-bone Steak: 5
Brisket: 1
Tenderloin: 2
Rib Eye Steaks: 7

So it should last us quite some time, though not a year. Maybe half a year to 3/4 of a year. I reckon everything but the hamburger will be gone at the 1/2 year and the hamburger will last longer. I won't be afraid to get a full beef next time if I decide I want one. I was worried about space, but it only filled 3 1/3 compartments in my giant chest freezer. That will help me plan for a future order based on space.

I have to learn how to cook certain cuts that I've never made before as well as the heart and liver. I didn't get the tongue, because I didn't think I could handle that. If we like the heart and the liver, that's good, and if we don't, we will cut it up into little pieces and dole it out as treats to the birds, because despite what many people think, chickens, ducks, and turkeys are not vegetarians and in fact, being fed an all-vegetarian diet is not good for them.

It is easy enough to supplement them if they don't free range and get their own bugs and worms with packaged meal worms or whatever bits of meat you might have that they can eat, either raw or cooked. They don't need a lot, but they do need some. Even extra eggs if your layers are prolific, scrambled or hard boiled and diced, works, even if it feels slightly cannibalistic.

So the liver and heart will get used even if not by us. Actually, I'll see if the in-laws want some, too, if we don't like it. There's a lot and I know they eat one of them. Humans first, then animals.

Doing Much Better and Errands

May 13th, 2017 at 05:15 am

I am doing much better today than I was on the tenth. That night I was able to sleep and got 8 hours and then last night I got 10 hours. The water pills (diuretics) have been doing their job and while my legs, ankles, and feet are still swollen, it isn't nearly so bad. I'm able to wear my regular shoes again, my socks don't feel like tourniquets, and I was able to put my ring back on my finger since my hands are back to normal. It was pretty scary there for a while.

I lost 15 pounds in the last two days, but it is all water weight that I gained very quickly. I'm back to what my weight was before this happened. I must have been exposed to or eaten something that caused massive inflammation and water retention, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it was because I did nothing out of the ordinary.

After two nights of good sleep, the discoloration under my eyes is almost gone and the discoloration on my eyelids is gone. I looked like I had a couple two day old shiners there for a while when I wasn't sleeping. Lack of sleep like that is kind of crazy-making. I wonder if lack of sleep contributed to the water retention or had the increasing water retention contributed to the lack of sleep? That's probably a chicken and the egg scenario.

DH got home last night at midnight and it is good to have him back. I was capable of doing a Costco run today so we went and spent a little over $250. Half of that was on household supplies and the rest on food.

We also went and closed out our account at Credit Union #3. That will streamline our banking. This was originally DH's childhood account that had his allowance direct deposited out of his dad's paycheck each week when he was a kid. We've barely used it at all in the last few years and haven't used it at all in the past 15 months and got a note that said if it was inactive for 3 more months they'd close. It seemed silly to keep it open, especially because when a bank or CU closes your account they send the money to a government holding account and not to you and that is a major hassle I didn't want to go through. I've been wanting to close it for a while anyway.

Now we just have CU #1 where we do our primary banking with a checking account and savings account and CU #2 where I keep short-term funds that I don't need right away, since it is out of the way to go there and they only have one location. I have to actually deliberately plan to go there to easily use that money or transfer it electronically to my online bank account and then from there to CU #1. I set it up to be difficult for me to dip into that money without serious intention.

We also have the C1-360 online savings account for the Emergency Fund. Again, it is without super easy access, though in a true emergency it would not take too long to transfer money from it. And I keep a $1000 baby EF at CU #1 for an immediate emergency situation, like an unexpected car repair or a five day power failure where we have to eat out or something.

While I am pretty disciplined these days, when I set things up, I wasn't. I think I could probably have all the money in one place now, but I'd rather avoid temptation. Does anyone else do this sort of thing or am I just uniquely weird with my banking?

Shaking it Off

April 22nd, 2017 at 06:41 pm

I think I might actually be starting on the upswing now with this head cold. I woke up feeling less tired than when I went to bed, it took less time to clear the gunk out of my nose and throat because there was less of it, and I had just enough energy to get a load of dishes and a load of laundry going. Of course, then I had to sit down because I am still a bit light-headed. I'll pace myself today, but if I can manage to get one more load of laundry and one more load of dishes done after this, I should be caught up. Unless I decide to change the sheets, but I may wait and do that tomorrow. Baby steps.

I watched the first season of Back in Time for Dinner. It was really interesting how food, its availability, its method of preservation and production and preparation all impacted family life and especially the lives of women.

I would have been quite frustrated during rationing and I know my family would have felt hungry with such small amounts of meat. We would have had to grow a lot of potatoes in our garden to make up for the lack. Potatoes will fill you when meat is scarce. The lack of fat would have been difficult, too. As farmers we would have been better off than most, but still...if we had to live under their exact conditions, than potatoes it would be.

I came away from the series with a greater appreciation of the abundance of fresh food we have today and the ease with which we can prepare it. It made me grateful I live now, with refrigeration and microwaves and freezers and dehydrators.

I see there are a couple more seasons available, so since I still have to rest a lot while I finish getting over this cold, I will probably tuck into those. I am getting a lot of granny squares crocheted for my bedspread so at least I don't feel completely unproductive.

I do have to go out and buy eggs at some point today. The birds are molting so I'm not getting any duck eggs at all. Or else they are hiding them again. I'm too sick to brave Costco on a Saturday. They have the cheapest organic eggs. I'm not even sure I want to brave Safeway on a Saturday, but I'll have to since Haggens is way too expensive for eggs. Plus I like the doughnuts at Haggens and they are hard for me to resist when I am sick and I am doing so well with the diet it is not worth putting them in my path. Maybe I can sit in the parking lot and just send my son in with a $20. That might be the easiest solution all around.

Not Much to Report

April 19th, 2017 at 06:47 am

Today I managed to drive DD to the doctor for the follow up on her eyes. That was a $50 co-pay. Then we went to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions I was too wiped out to pick up yesterday, and also got some psuedophedrine and a nasal rinse kit, so spent $31.91 there.

Then we stopped by the store and DD ran in and got some Breathe Easy and some Throat Coat tea from Traditional Medicinals, so that was $14.97.

I went to bed after we got back home, then got up briefly to tell DS where to dump the soil in the garden and then back to bed for a couple more hours, got up, cut up the rabbits we butchered last week and got them in the freezer, went back to bed again until night time, then went out with DS to take care of the rabbits, though I wasn't much more use than to do a belly check on the kits to make sure they were being fed (they were). And now I can't sleep. It's not like I slept during the day, either, just rested.

Dinner was TV dinners. I haven't done that in a very long time. Oh, well, a Fit Kitchen is still better than fast food or pizza delivery.

Yesterday was Spendy

April 14th, 2017 at 08:35 pm

So my foot is doing a lot better after the needle incident. Boy howdy was it difficult to walk the first 24 hours. I felt it quite a bit yesterday, but today when I stood up I didn't feel it when I walked. I can still feel it if I press on it with my finger, but I don't need to do that. It looks good. We couldn't really flush the wound, but we did smear antibiotic ointment on either end and I see no signs of infection.

Yesterday was a long day for me. I had to go to Walgreens and pick up a prescription for my daughter, $5. Fortunately they have a drive-thru so I didn't have to get out of the car for that. Then we went to Lowe's which is right next door and picked up some bags of garden soil, 2 major power strips with surge protectors and large separations between some of the plug-ins so when you have the giant plugs that will normally cover two plug-ins or the weirdly shaped ones that go sideways like a phone charger cord that will do the same thing, that is not something that will be an issue unless you have more than 3 of those. It also has usb ports in them. I spent $110.66 there. The two power strips were $52 of that amount.

After that I went to Rite-Aid to buy a padded envelope and then to the UPS store to mail DH his computer cord that he left at home. That cost $77 to do 2-day air to Alaska. He needs his computer usable ASAP though, so not much choice there. I'm going to be double checking his stuff next time. I don't want to pay that again.

Then we went to Trader Joe's and spent $82.28 on groceries. After that I picked up my daughter (my son ran all the errands with me to make sure I didn't fall down) and took her to the lab for another blood draw while my son walked home from the lab because he wanted to go for a walk. It took us 40 minutes at the lab. This time it was 6 vials of blood for 29 tests, as opposed to the 8 vials of blood last time.

By the end of all that I was wiped out. All of my joints were aching,my leg muscles were very tight, and I felt like I'd been put through the wringer. I think I've got something auto-immune. Either rheumatoid arthritis or MS like Dad had. But we are too busy getting my daughter diagnosed to deal with my stuff right now. After she is sorted I'll deal with me.

I was too tired to cook dinner so we grabbed fast food which was another $30.47. I felt bad about it, but I woke up with so much brain fog I did not think ahead and make it a crock pot day. I had no resistance by then.

Today will be better. I've got the fixings for loaded baked potato soup and the potatoes are already chopped up, so aside from cooking the bacon and assembling the soup, there is not that much to do.

We do have one errand to run today, but it is somewhere that has ride on carts so that should make it easier on me. I've also got my ankle braces and knee brace on this time. That should help, too.

Doctor's Visit

March 31st, 2017 at 08:14 pm

I had an appointment with the sleep doctor this morning so that was a $50 co-pay. He says I'm doing well enough now that he doesn't have to see me again for a year. It's the Dreamwear Sleep Apnea Mask. It has made a world of difference since I am a side sleeper. It doesn't leak like most of the other masks I've used, either. I am now able to get about 6 hours of sleep before I wake up instead of 4. Also, I can usually get back to sleep for a couple more hours. But on the days I can't, I am now running on a much better amount of sleep than I was before.

While I was at the sleep doctor, I made an appointment with the weight loss doctor. I haven't seen her since November when I fell. I am about out of the prescription weight loss medicine and have no more refills, so I didn't have much choice if I want to stay on them, which I do, because I still have a long way to go.

My daughter got her blood test results emailed to her yesterday and while we don't go back to the doctor until Tuesday for official reading of the results, from what we were able to figure out based on the internet, she does seem to have an autoimmune issue. Her levels of inflammation are off the charts and those two particular tests point in the direction of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Afterwards we went to the no spray garden place and picked up some plant starts. I spent about $55 on starts and then an additional $17 on a quart of honey. Most of my stuff will be planted from seeds, but I wanted to get a jump start on some of the cold season plants. I am going to do more succession planting this year, where instead of planting 18 broccoli plants at once, I'll plant 6, then two weeks later plant 6 more, and then continue that, so that I won't have a ton ripening all at once. It's easier to deal with it whether we are eating it fresh or blanching and freezing it for future use when there aren't mass quantities.

I'll do that with a lot of vegetables, kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips. I am not giving cauliflower any space in my garden this year. It takes up so much room for a vegetable I don't even like that much. And I have a hard time growing it. Every other brassica grows like a dream in the same conditions, but cauliflower hates me. I'm also not growing cabbage, I don't think, because of the space it takes up. Organic cabbage is plentiful and cheap at the grocery store.

We are repairing the garden beds this afternoon and then I can get some things planted. I have to have the netting ready to go. I've already had a problem with the squirrels trying to dig up my onion sets, so that one is covered. They don't even like onions so it was super annoying to go out there and find them sitting on the surface because the squirrels didn't like it.

We have not received the benefits package yet that Company B was supposed to send to DH. Hopefully it will show up today or tomorrow. Usually it only takes 3 days from Anchorage to here. I am anxious to go over it and see what there is. Not super anxious, but I do want to be able to plan. I am such a planner and it helps to have actual numbers to work with.

His drug, alcohol, and fitness test was on Tuesday so the results of that should be back to us soon. I have no doubt he passed with flying colors as he doesn't drink or do drugs or smoke. He was able to do all the things asked of him in the fitness test as well. It's just more waiting, which I still dislike, but I am getting used to.

I think we will go down to the farm tomorrow. I am down to one jar of canned beef and one jar of canned hamburger and would like to buy more meat to can, because having it on hand on the shelf is such a time saver for me. So that will be an outlay of about $300.

I am also keeping an eye out for organic chicken breasts to go on sale or be in the markdown bins as I am down to 8 pints of canned chicken. I still have plenty of canned salmon and canned rabbit, though. Ideally, I'd like to have at least 8 more pints of chicken on the shelves.

I'm also going to make an order for 6 #10 cans of freeze dried onion dices. Those are making a huge difference for me and should last until my onions are ready in the garden in the summer. It's quite a discount if I order 6 instead of getting them one at a time as I need them.

Well, I better wrap this ramble up. It's time to go fix the garden beds.

Odds and Ends

March 17th, 2017 at 03:34 am

Well, after my little rant last night I got an email from AdSense today saying my payment should be deposited in 4 to 5 business days. So I guess I finally got everything filled out right with no more hidden boxes to check or secret codes to enter. So I feel better about that.

DH still hasn't heard back from Company B. He's going to give the guy a call tomorrow and try to get an update on the situation. He's still applying for other jobs. I just with there were more available. The previous administration's policies really damaged the industry in the last several years and it is taking some time to turn the old dinosaur back around now that some of those restrictions have been lifted.

We went to Costco and did a major stock up. We bought a lot of cheese, butter, toilet paper and Kleenex. I also got $52 worth of razors. We also picked up vitamins. I'd say half our dollar amount was non-food items. We got spices as well. Mostly several bottles of salt and pepper now that they are no longer out of stock. We spent just over $300, $157 or so of which was food, the rest household goods.

I was disappointed in the oranges. They were either partly green or moldy. Yuck. I know they are now out of season, so probably wouldn't be that good now anyway. I was hoping they'd have Bartlett pears, but they only had D'Anjou and I don't like those nearly as well. They did have Asian pears, but I didn't like the way they looked either. So no fruit purchases were made. I guess we'll be eating canned fruit this week and apples I already had in the fruit drawer.

I was going to look at the cookbooks, but they had an entire herd of people parked in front of the books and they don't have a large book section anymore since they moved to the new store. I do like to look over the cookbooks for something promising as I make so much food from scratch. Although I haven't seen any good ones at Costco in over a year, so I probably didn't miss out on anything.

We didn't do anything else today. Well, I crocheted a granny square. I have to do one more to meet my goal of doing two a day until I have enough to make my blanket. I was hoping to get the desk built today, but that didn't work out. Maybe tomorrow.

Stocked Up on Soup and Dermatologist Visit

March 12th, 2017 at 09:45 am

Today was not a no spend day as we went to Winco and stocked up on more soup. I will be glad when cold and flu season is over, because about all my kids are eating right now is soup. They are, at least, adding eggs into it to increase the protein content. If I were making it from scratch, there is no way I could keep up with their consumption right now.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the dermatologist. Apparently I have three different things wrong with me, two of which are treatable and one that is not. He gave me a cream for the patch under my nose (and I sometimes get it by my right eye, too) that will not heal and an ointment for the rashes on my fingers. Already there has been tremendous improvement and they don't itch all the time.

The non-treatable thing is called knuckle pads. It's a thickening of the skin over the knuckles and is generally hereditary. It is also a sign of insulin resistance, which I've had for years, and diabetes (which I don't have and have never come close to having).

On the bright side, he does not think I am actually allergic to nightshades, but getting nightshades on the rashes can aggravate them. Just like chopping onions and garlic and getting their juices on the rash can aggravate them. Mostly because the juice of these things cause pain if left on the skin. Once the rashes heal I should be okay if I get it on my skin.

So I decided to try eating them again and was very careful not to get them on my hands or the skin above my lips. No reaction. I am still going to be careful about reintroducing peppers, but it's nice to think I may get to have all the Mexican foods I love back.

I've had to switch out all my products. Even though they were all supposedly safe for my skin, they aren't. One lotion that claims to be good for eczema has alcohol in it, near the start of the ingredients. Alcohol dries the skin out and has no business being in skin cream.

So I've bought Kiss My Face olive oil soap, the only ingredients of which are saponified olive oil, water, and salt and am to use it on my face, not just my hands. I have Neutregena Norwegian hand cream and am supposed to use it every time after I wash my hands. Just a tiny amount though, not slopped on like most people do with lotion. I've got Bio-Kleen laundry soap that is unscented. I was using citrus, but no scents at all. I already used the free and clear Bounce.

I have Seventh Generation free and clear dishwashing liquid, but I have to use rubber gloves from now on every time I do the dishes. Dishwashing liquid is not good for hands (not even the Palmolive, you're soaking in it one) and I am not to get it on my hands.

I washed all of my bedding yesterday and I think it is already making a difference there, too. Between the co-pay and all the soap, lotion, prescriptions, and cleaning products, I spent about $125. Better than I'd hoped, but more than I wanted to spend. Still, if it heals my hands, I'm all for it.

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.

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

February 17th, 2017 at 09:17 am

Yeah, so I've been quiet, but I'm alive. I had a very bad virus, or possibly the flu, that put me down hard for about a week. I came down with it the night of the 2nd, but it didn't hit hard until the night of the 6th and then I was down for the count. Oh, it was a rough one. I slept for about 4 days straight at that point and then finally began to feel human again on my birthday, the 12th. Human enough to make a cake anyway. I'm 47 now.

On the 13th I felt up for going to Costco. We were out of a lot of staples like flour, sugar, salt, cheese, and were almost out of toilet paper. I also bought some chicken, fish, and frozen broccoli. I had planned to pick up my birthday present, too, a food processor, but they didn't have them anymore.

On the 14th I felt like I was relapsing so I went back to bed and took it easy. On the 15th I had physical therapy and went to Walmart and bought a food processor there. Now we can give MIL back her ancient one that travels all over when you use it and shakes so bad I was always afraid it was going to fall apart in front of me.

I also went to see if I could find some tennis shoes because all I have now are loafers and flip flops. I found some Dr. Scholl's that actually fit in width, so I could buy a size 9 instead of a size 11. They have great gel insoles, too. I bought two pairs of the same shoe and will put one up in the closet until the first pair wears out. It is so hard for me to find shoes that fit. And I picked up two new nightgowns as I had to toss one that got eaten by something and all torn up and the other is wearing so thin it is practically see-through and not at all appropriate to be wearing in front of my teenage son.

As much as I don't like spending right now, I don't feel bad about these purchases. The food processor helps so much in shredding cheese, cabbage, and onions alone. It saves me so much work and makes it so much easier on me to cook at home. It also saves money to do these things at home as cheese is cheaper in blocks, cabbage is cheaper not pre-shredded, and onions are cheaper not pre-chopped. And the shoes and nightgowns were needed. Well, maybe only one pair of shoes was needed, but as hard a time as I have finding them, I felt it prudent to get the second pair now.

DH got me a single red rose for Valentine's Day. We usually don't bother with the holiday at all, feeling it's a commercial made up holiday, but he bought me one and I do like having it as it slowly opens. I also got a Fragrant Jewels bath bomb for my birthday that had an amethyst and silver ring inside that I used on Valentine's Day. Very pretty piece of costume jewelry and a very nice soak in the tub full of purple water.

I'm still running low on my reserves from the virus, so I have to be careful not to push too hard. I am back to eating nutritionally (i.e. more than ice cream, soup, and tea). My son is over the virus, my husband is a few days behind me, and my daughter is still in the middle of it, but at least on the upswing.

I'm going to try to make the rest of the month be no spend except for medicine and milk.

Menu Planning Week Six

February 6th, 2017 at 11:53 pm

So I bought some oranges and some cabbage as it is cheaper than lettuce and will last a lot longer and we will be having cole slaw instead of salads when I want those at dinner time. I did get the purple cabbage so it will be pretty as well as have more vitamin content. Everything else is food we have on hand and I am going to try to be keeping to that as closely as possible.

I made Wednesday an easy crockpot day. I will make the Kaiser rolls the day before. They are easy.

Monday:
Beef Stew--All home canned beef potatoes, carrots, and parsnips
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Tuesday:
Leftover Casserole--Frozen turkey and stuffing from Christmas, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning, cream of chicken soup, tater tots
Frozen Broccoli
Home canned nectarines

Wednesday:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches--Pork roast from our pig share with homemade Garam Masala (nightshade free)
Homemade Kaiser rolls
Canned Pineapple
Cole slaw

Thursday:
Homemade Pizza--frozen ham, frozen sausage, pepperoni, onions, home canned sauce, cheeses
Cole slaw
Oranges

Friday:
Mild Curried Rabbit with homemade curry powder (nightshade free)
Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Frozen Plums

Saturday:
Picnic Ham
Sweet Potatoes
Home canned green beans
Home canned pears

Sunday:
Belgian Waffles
Leftover Ham
Oranges
Frozen Broccoli

Went to Whole Foods for the First Time

July 9th, 2016 at 09:11 pm

We had a Whole Foods store open in our town this summer. Overall, I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with much, more of a so-so experience. We went there to get a protein powder for DD recommended by the weight loss doctor that doesn't have whey (since DD is allergic to milk) and doesn't have almond meal (since DD is allergic to almonds {but not other nuts, weird}) and doesn't have gluten (issues if she has too much of it, but not an allergy per se).

It also couldn't have any artificial sweeteners in it, because she gets hives and headaches and tunnel vision and stomach cramps and also went to the hospital once because she had trouble breathing after ingesting aspartame. We found a couple of different ones to try and they had small packets you could buy before you invested in the gallon size container.

The cheese selection was good. I actually found some sheep's cheese and more than one variety. Found several types of goat cheese, too, and 2 year old cheddar, extra sharp. And 2 year old goat's gouda not smoked. I hate it when they smoke gouda. I got a couple of cheeses I had never heard of to try, since they had small slivers of them that weren't too expensive. If I like them I will write down their names and get bigger wedges when I go back.

And they did have a great selection of rices, lentils, and beans, both organic and non for reasonable prices. In fact they have a red and white lima bean with Christmas in the title, where I might just get some and plant them next year (since all dried beans will grow if they are whole and not split). Why grow ordinary green limas when you can grow prettier ones? Since limas and Anasazi are the only types of beans I'll eat, I'm happy to see that had both.

Their organic meat and fish prices were more expensive than Trader Joe's, the Food Co-op, Fred Meyer, Safeway, or Haggen, except with chicken, which was comparable. What they did have, which the other stores do not, was no sugar bacon in pork, turkey, and buffalo. Actually they had a lot of cuts of buffalo. Most times when I see it elsewhere it is just ground buffalo, not steaks or roasts.

They did have a larger variety of seafood though than at other stores, some fish I have never even seen around here in a store before outside of direct off the boats down at the docks.

I spent $105, but it was mostly on cheese that should last a month, chicken thighs (we are out of our home grown and butchered chicken except for stir-fry meat, wings, backs, and necks), and the protein powder, plus a shaker drink container to mix it all up in. But a lot of cheeses.

With being on a higher protein/fat lower carb diet where they expect several meals and snacks a day, cheese and some cucumber slices fits the bill for me for those snacks. It's a little over the $100 a week I am trying to cut back to, but since I'm cutting back from around $200 a week, I think I did okay. Won't be going in this store often.

And speaking of the diet, the scale is moving again, after 3 weeks of dinking around. Not enough yet for me to feel comfortable starting another dietbet, though.

Paycut and Meat Inventory

March 9th, 2016 at 10:45 pm

DH is going to have to take a 9% paycut at work. I am not thrilled about it, but one of the results of having no debt is that it won't send us topsy turvy. That'll be about $715 with my preliminary estimate, which is a big chunk. It means that we won't be able to save as much towards the down payment each month, but we still will be able to save towards it. And we won't have to reduce our 401K percentage either, though of course it will go down in dollars since he won't be making as much.

We still don't know what is going on with the contract and now it looks like we won't know until the end of June. I knew these low oil prices were going to do something to us, and while I don't like it, we can weather it. These cuts sound like they are across the board.

It is harder emotionally since he hasn't had a raise in several years, but health insurance went up every year. Our storage, car insurance, and life insurance have all gone up or are going up in the next month or two.

I don't think we will be able to save anything on the down payment this month. Paying the rest of the medical bills is going to be around $750 (with some of that actually being dental). And we are buying half a hog. I haven't heard from the seller yet this week, but he said the week of the 11th and it is that week, so I figure it will probably be right on Friday. They were estimating it will be around 200 pounds for our half.

I will also be getting all of the leaf fat from the whole hog, as the other person doesn't want any. They don't charge for the fat as they would just have to throw it away. I will render it into lard and then we won't need any cooking oil for the rest of the year, either. We still have beef fat I haven't made into tallow yet, either, so all of that together may take us well into 2017.

We won't have to buy any meat for the rest of the year, though I might still buy a lamb this fall. Right now we still have beef from our quarter cow share, plenty of rabbit meat, maybe 80 or 90 pounds, 2 or 3 whole ducks, and at least 30 pounds of chicken. I will still buy pepperoni and Canadian bacon for pizzas and breakfast sandwiches and if I don't raise a turkey or two this year we'll buy one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. I'm not sure if we will do meat chickens or not. But otherwise, we will be set.

And the garden will start producing in May and we'll start getting strawberries at the end of May and then go through blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, and apples so that will help, too. I see our grocery bills going way, way down.

I have found an English Muffin recipe that is easy and tastes great, so now I can completely do homemade breakfast sandwiches for a fraction of the cost. I love doing these because they are filling, but are a controlled amount of calories. I don't have to think about it, I know it is just under 300 calories for ones with Canadian bacon and just under 400 for ones with sausage. I don't get sick of them at all and it is a great way to use up all the duck eggs.

Insomnia Has Me Tonight so I May as Well Write

February 14th, 2016 at 12:54 pm

It's been a busy past couple of days. I turned 46 on Friday and made a fantastic from scratch two layer yellow cake (in my new Kitchenaid mixer) with milk chocolate ganache frosting. I received a beautiful locket from my daughter and an amethyst pendant on a super flimsy silver chain from my in-laws. I will have to replace the chain if I ever hope to wear it. I don't do delicate chains well at all. My son cleaned out the van with some help from his sister (a lot of help).

Today we spent a couple of hours at a thrift store and I was able to find a couple of greenish/teal/seaglass glass canisters with bail and gasket closures. They actually had 4, but 2 of them were pretty scratched up, but I didn't get those ones. They match the mixer and the new toaster.

DH picked up another pair of jeans (he's losing weight so fast we are buying jeans once a month at this point, hence the thrift stores. He also bought some shirts that were dressier, but short-sleeved.

I got a barely used wallet. I did find two plates in our pattern, but they were marked up and it didn't look like it would come off with scrubbing so I didn't get them. I purchased a nice waterproof winter coat for $20. It was a Lane Bryant so I know it was at least $100 new. The old coat I have is not waterproof. I also picked up a $10 waterproof jacket for my son and it fit him so I gambled well.

DD came with us and bought some stuff with her own money as well. She has an affinity for grandpa style sweaters and teenage boy style hats.

We did a little grocery shopping, but kept it limited. If I hadn't needed toilet paper and quart size freezer bags I wouldn't have gone at all.

We also picked up prescriptions at Walgreens and some OTC meds as well. I have to build my stash of Sudafed back up again. Now that my son is taking Claritin D all the time we have to have one licensed driver get the one, and another get the other. Then DD will get one for the medicine stash. This way we'll have a couple on hand for when we all get sick again and no one feels like driving. I miss the days when you could buy a 90 day supply of Sudafed over the counter. Stupid meth heads ruined that for all of us breathing challenged types.

I hope after DS's surgery he won't have to use the Claritin D anymore. That would be wonderful.

We may be going to look at a couple fixer upper houses tomorrow. They are low priced sold AS IS. The barns are in good condition and are both almost 5 acres each. We'll have to see about the houses. I know it is jumping the gun and all, but we are just looking. We are not buying yet.

Grocery Shop and Gas

November 11th, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I made it to the grocery store this morning without children, which is always so much cheaper to do. I bought everything on my list except one thing they didn't have and ended up getting some organic apples instead. I also bought a magazine. I had 2 good coupons for stuff on my list and saved $10.96 off my total. Since I mostly buy whole foods it is hard for me to use coupons at all, but I needed to stock up on some soup for DH and a condiment they had on the coupons. I ended up spending $135.02 total.

I have been shopping a lot at the new Safeway these last few months and I find I am saving a lot of money (about $300 per month). They are cheaper on most items. I almost never go into Haggen anymore. Their shelves are never fully stocked and it is frustrating to waste a trip there and only be able to get half the things on my list and still have to go elsewhere.

Between Safeway and Trader Joe's I can pretty much get everything but the filler free lunch meat. I will stop at Haggen and check if I am going by anyway and if they have the lunch meat (sometimes they are out of roast beef) pick some up. But I no longer go there specifically. It's a shame. They used to be such a good store a few years ago before the original owners sold it off.

After I shopped, I stopped at the Safeway gas station and bought gas. I had 5 points on my Safeway card so got 50 cents off per gallon. I also used cash so got an additional 10 cents off per gallon over the credit card price. I got 15.695 gallons at $1.81 a gallon, spending a total of $28.55. I timed it perfectly so that the majority of my October shopping points still counted and I had almost a completely empty tank of gas. Go me.

Grocery Shopping and Food Preserving

August 10th, 2015 at 08:22 pm

Yesterday DH and I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. I am hoping not to have to shop again except for milk and bananas for about 3 weeks. It is pretty hard to do with the pain and fogginess from my broken nose and what actually probably is a mild concussion. Or else just a reaction to the pain medication. Hard to say, but I feel very out of it.

I spent $162.71. We got a few packaged meals and some other things that will make it easy to fill in around the produce coming in from the garden and the meat in the freezer.

We have canned a lot this week. My husband has done a lot of it under my supervision simply because I get dizzy a lot right now. But between the two of us we have canned:

7 quarts and 1 pint of beef
6 quarts and 1 pint of rabbit
6 quarts of zucchini and summer squash
3 pint and a half jars of green beans
13 pints of rabbit bone broth
6 pints of bread and butter pickles
6 quarts of garlic dill pickles

We also made a batch of rabbit jerky with the abdominal flaps that can be very chewy and basically are only good for being ground or making jerky. Some people make bacon with it, but I feel it is too chewy for bacon.

We plan to can hamburger and more beef chunks today and more rabbit tomorrow. I need to do another batch of garlic dill pickles as the cucumbers are getting ridiculous.

I have an order in with a local place for 20 pounds of no spray green beans. We are having issues with the pole bean crop so I wanted to make sure I had enough green beans canned for the year. I think between that and what we do get from our garden it will cover it. I will be buying some carrots soon, too. We are down to 4 quarts of canned carrots. The ones I am growing are more for fresh eating and a little dehydrating as they don't get very big.

We also have an order in for dill since the stores keep running out. They don't seem to be stocking very well for pickling season this year. They do have those super expensive little plastic packets, but one of those costs about as much as a huge bunch of fresh dill.

I bought a garlic braid since my garlic crop failed. It has about 40 heads of garlic on it, which will meet my needs for the year. I have 5 or 6 left on last year's braid so am going to slice up the cloves, dehydrate them, and grind into powder.

Fortunately a lot of this stuff I can do sitting down. I do have to be careful not to push too hard, but it is difficult when there is so much to do to get ready for winter.

I heard the other day that our beef share should be ready on August 28th or thereabouts. I am getting 1/4 of a grass fed, organic beef. It will work out to $4 per pound. We will can most of the roasts and some of the hamburger. I will also be getting 10 pounds of tallow to render for soap making and lotion making. Beef fat is very good for those things and very healthy for the body, as opposed to a lot of the chemically laden soaps and lotions.

Next month the meat chickens will be ready to butcher as well, so I'll be putting 30 chickens in the freezer. We'll also have 3 rabbits ready to butcher then, too. So lots of work coming up, but it will be so worth it to not buy much meat for a year at the store. And in the long run we save a lot of money buy buying in bulk and preserving or raising our own and preserving.

We will still have to buy sea food since DH's big fishing trip fell through. I was pretty disappointed as they were going to be fishing for King salmon and one of those would have been around 35 pounds, plenty for a year. But life happens and there is nothing we can do about it now.

Shopping in the Garden

May 17th, 2015 at 01:20 am

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

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

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

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

Garden savings so far: $43.50.

And that more than pays for half the soil.

Farm Income and Other Stuff

February 15th, 2015 at 02:09 am

I made $80 in rabbit meat sales today. That brings the total sales for the month to $95 and $122.50 for 2015. That more than covers a month of feed for all of the animals, especially since we don't have any babies right now, but since I have a large amount of feed bought in previous months, I don't need to use it for that and it will go to the EF on Tuesday.

This week I also received my AMEX reward that is attached to my Costco card. It is $58.82. I have to go to Costco to cash it. I wish they would just let you cash it at a bank, but they won't. We will go there sometime soon, maybe Tuesday so we can avoid the holiday weekend shoppers. I don't really need much from Costco, maybe Ziplocs, but nothing else, so I hate to go all the way over there just for that, but oh, well. That money will end up in the EF as well.

We went to the farm today and got several pounds of pastured organic meat. For $280 I got 32.3 pounds of meat divided thusly:

8 2.5 pound pot roasts (20 lb)
4 pork chops (2.30 lb)
5 packages of bacon (5 lb)
1 rack of lamb (3 lb)
1 beef hanging tender (will have to look up how to cook this)(2 lb)

We will can the pot roasts later this week after they have thawed out.

Since we were down that way DH and I went out to an early dinner at Outback for a combination of Valentine's Day and my birthday. It was nice to have a nice dinner out without the kids. We rarely do. We brought home wings and bread for the kids and they also stole our leftovers. I didn't end up getting steaks after all on my actual birthday so I don't feel guilty at all about going out, especially since I set aside the money I would have used to buy steaks.

The Van, The Farm, The Holiday Prep

December 20th, 2014 at 10:03 pm

We got the van back on Thursday night. The cost to fix was a total of $2439.89. That is a big chunk of money that I definitely could have used somewhere else, but at least we had it and didn't have to touch the emergency fund. And we got to drive the loaner for a week for free. The dealership actually loaned us the minivan they use as one of their shuttles to drive customers to and from the dealership when their vehicles are being worked on.

Today is the first day it has rained hard since we got it back so it will be the first test of whether or not the roof still leaks. It hasn't in the sprinkling that has been up to now.

The starter and battery seem to be working fine, though. We're going to give the van a long run today and go down to the farm we buy our beef from. Since DH ended up getting the extra weeks we don't have to pinch like I was afraid of, so we are going to buy some beef for canning. Having canned beef is such a time saver for me and very convenient when I am sick. Beef stew is so easy to make with that on hand.

We have been going through our canned potatoes pretty fast so I am also going to go out to Safeway this weekend and use some of the gift cards to buy several pounds of organic potatoes to can. I much prefer having canned potatoes on hand since they don't sprout. Less waste that way. And they can be used for everything, mashed potatoes, fried, hash browns, casseroles, stews.

We have gotten presents bought for DH's mom and dad, DD, me, DH, and some of DS's. We still need to buy for SIL and youngest niece since DH never did get around to talking about not exchanging with them this year. We also need to get our wrapping paper out of storage and bring it home.

I am still pretty tired and sinus-y, but a lot of the virus seems to be passing. Just wish the exhaustion would go. It makes it hard to do things or be enthusiastic about the holidays.

Payday Report

December 1st, 2014 at 04:05 pm

$1000.00 Loan to Mom (Nov. payment)
__417.00 AMEX
___29.13 Electric (Old House)
___47.92 Phone (Old House)
___45.30 Life Insurance DH
___44.66 Life Insurance Me
___71.41 Car Insurance
___48.75 House Insurance (Old House)
___41.16 Security System (Old House)
__186.00 Storage
__400.00 Groceries (Major stock up)
--------------------
$2331.33

I am still figuring out what to do with the rest of it. I have to pay for PT tomorrow and I'll probably send some to the Emergency Fund and the rest will go to next week's bills and some Christmas shopping.

Gift Card in the Mail

November 17th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Well, DH's company did actually send a gift card for Thanksgiving this year. It's a $50 value good at Safeway. The closest Safeway is 20 miles away. If they send us one for Christmas, too, than we will have a total of $200 in gift cards for Safeway. We will make one trip there to use them in December during the 5 weeks off with no pay.

School Clothes Shopping

August 23rd, 2014 at 05:48 am

We went school clothes shopping today. I am exhausted. And I only went to two places. My husband took the kids shoe shopping by himself and they each got a pair of tennis shoes. I had physical therapy. Afterwards we went to Joe's Garden and got a bunch of produce that I'll be putting up.

Then we went to Good Will. My daughter found 2 blouses, a pair of pants, and a belt, and my son found 2 t-shirts, 1 pair of jeans (Calvin Kleins shockingly) and 2 button down shirts (he is so preppy) that looked like they had never been worn. I found 4 blue bowls just like the set we've broken most of and my husband found a metal pirate ship that was gorgeous. It was such an impulse buy, but at $8 I really didn't feel like saying no. He does so much and asks for very little.

After that we went to Kmart and did the bulk of their clothes shopping. We'll still need to find more jeans for my son, they only had one pair in his size that fit right, and they'll both need sweats when they show up in the stores, but otherwise we got everything we needed except winter jackets. We spent around $500 on clothes and $62 on shoes. Ugh. My son had basically grown too tall for all of his clothes, though. He would have needed them even if we were still homeschooling, though I would have spread the purchases out more.

By the time we finish buying school supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks, ASB cards and year books, we'll probably have spent $1000. Double ugh.


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