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Grocery Prices on the Rise?

May 28th, 2017 at 05:35 pm

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 24th, 2017 at 08:41 pm

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 12th, 2017 at 10:15 pm

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 11:41 am

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 18th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

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 01:35 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 01:14 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 16th, 2017 at 08:34 pm

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 01:45 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 12:07 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 01:17 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 03:53 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 02:11 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 02:45 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 04:54 am

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 02:45 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 01:22 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 16th, 2015 at 06:20 pm

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 14th, 2015 at 06:09 pm

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 02:03 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 08:05 am

$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 02:43 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 22nd, 2014 at 10:48 pm

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.

Payday Update--I'm Behind

July 2nd, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Friday was payday and while I paid all the bills I didn't record anything in my spreadsheet or on here, so today is my catch up day. I tried not to let things slide while I was really sick, but some of it did. Fortunately it was just the record keeping part and that is easy enough to catch up on.

$300.00 Beef and Pork from the farm
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_100.00 Turkey, Chicken, Duck Feed plus straw/hay/grit
_144.00 Water/sewer Old House (2 months)
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__70.86 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance Old House
_186.00 Storage
__41.16 ADT Security Old House
__30.64 Electricity Old House
__80.58 Lowes
__15.00 Prescription
_225.00 AMEX
--------------
1417.59

I also spent $175.00 on a big Costco stock up of things like TP, paper towels, juice, vitamins, olive oil, and butter. Should be quite some time before we have to go back.

And I have $90 set aside for physical therapy on Thursday.


Spending Journal

June 10th, 2014 at 03:15 pm

Yesterday I spent $90 on physical therapy.

I also spent $14.49 on a half flat of local strawberries and 75 cents on a doughnut. I've been wanting a doughnut for 3 weeks now, but kept putting it off and finally yesterday I gave in. The upside is now I no longer want doughnuts.

This weekend I want to go to one of the local farms and get a bunch more strawberries that I can do up for the freezer and do one batch of strawberry jam. Strawberries are the only berries we eat a lot of that I don't have much of growing. When we move I will put in lots and lots of strawberries, but there really isn't the space to do that here.

I'm not sure how much I'll spend on strawberries, but I am thinking $100. And then do it again the next weekend, too, but after that the season will be over. I want to freeze both sugared strawberries and whole ones for making smoothies. It is sure cheaper than buying them throughout the year, and I like buying locally so I know where they come from. I also know that the two places I buy berries from don't use GMO's or spray their fields. Not as good as organic, but good enough to make me happy until I can grow all of my own.

New Arrivals and Expenses Today

April 10th, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I spent $116.91 on Royal Palm heritage turkey poults and Barnevelder chicken pullets today. Barnevelders are a very old breed and lay a nice dark brown egg, similar to a black copper maran. These guys will pay me back with eggs in about 16 weeks.

I am hoping that I got at least one male and one female turkey, but since they were straight run, I won't know until they are quite a bit older. If I got at least one of each, they will remain as our breeders. Royal Palms are still capable of breeding naturally and don't need AI like the more commercial breeds you'd find at the grocery store that have been bred so heavy breasted they can't support their own body weight at maturity so can't breed. They just fall over if they try.

The Royal Palm poults can be sold for quite a premium so it will be well worth the investment eventually.

Two of the turkeys will be for Thanksgiving and Christmas regardless of whether they turn out to be male or female. It'll be cheaper to raise them ourselves than to buy heritage birds at the holidays.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8ZBsHvnB9E

I also spent $41.26 for a 50 pound bag of game bird starter feed, a waterer, and two feed troughs, since the ducklings are eating enough now to need a second trough.

Then I spent $59.19 on a tank of gas for the minivan and $210.63 on groceries. They had a huge sale on turkey legs so I stocked up on a lot since they are so easy to make. I also bought a lot of other staples and some fresh veggies.

I canned 3 quarts of pickles today. Unfortunately the bottom of one of the jars cracked off during the canning process. I lost about $3 worth of food. Still, it is rare that something like that happens. I've never had a jar crack before in two years of canning. It is still far cheaper to home can even with the occasional loss, than to buy them already made when you are working with organic foods. And I can make it exactly the way I like it and in the quantities I want them to be in, with no yellow #5 or MSG. Well worth it.

Spending, Animal and Garden Updates

March 30th, 2014 at 05:16 pm

Yesterday we went down to the farm we buy the meat we don't raise ourselves from. I spent $297. For that I got:

6 packages of bacon
1 package bacon ends (they threw in for free)
12 pounds pork chops
12 pounds of hamburger
2 pounds of beef stir-fry
4 2.5 pound chuck roasts
2 packages of uncured hot dogs
2 pounds of ground pork

Yes, it is a little pricey, but it is all pasture-raised and organic, humanely slaughtered animals. The quality of the meat and flavor is incredible, and the nutritional value is higher than CAFO-raised meat when scientifically analyzed. You also feel full faster on this so eat less at a time. We can afford to do this and have made this type of food a priority now that we have no credit card debt. Eventually we hope to raise it all ourselves with the exception of beef.

We are going to can all of the hamburger and 3 of the chuck roasts. I love having home canned food on the shelf for those days I don't feel like cooking at all.

We will also be canning some ground rabbit meat with taco seasoning in it and trying to make some rabbit jerky as well with our new jerky kit (part of my birthday present).

----------

We've had a rough week here. We lost Piper to an illness similar to the one Sweetie Belle had. This was even more devastating since Piper was pregnant and due on the 5th. She was my first rabbit and my best mother rabbit and she was very sweet and affectionate. We loved her like a pet, even though she was a working part of the farm.

Worse than the fact that we lost her while pregnant, though, is the fact that she was the one carrying the possibility of red kits. We will breed Wildfire to Phoebe soon and hopefully we will get some reds out of that. The female reds are too young still to breed.

A couple of days before Piper died we lost one of our young bucks. No sign of illness at all in him or on him, he was fine the night before and just dropped dead overnight. This happened once before quite some time ago. So I don't know what is going on, but we've discontinued using fodder and are sticking with straight pellets, hay, and greens from the yard and garden.

There is no sign of illness in the other rabbits at all. Having new, young life around also helps not to get as depressed when there is unexpected animal death. Although I think you should always be expecting some animal death on a farm. It is the nature of the beast.

At least the little ducklings and chicks are all doing just fine. We moved them to their new brooder boxes in the garage this afternoon. They have more space than in the bathtub. The brooder boxes we built are 4 x 4 by 2, so twice as much space to move around in. We went with sand for the floor as it is much easier to keep clean, just using a cat litter scoop on a pole. Sand is what ducks like to be on in nature and it dries out quickly, especially under a heat lamp. The chicks seem to like it, too.

The older chickens, especially Curious and Georgie, had to come in to the garage and see what all the peeps and cheeps were about. Georgie got up on the hay bale so she could see into the brooder box with the chicks, and Curious perched on the back of a chair to peek in at the ducklings. Then we shooed them out and shut the door so that we didn't have to worry about the older ones trying to get in with the little ones and boss them about.

We spent about $200 on fencing and brooder box supplies. We will spend about another $125 on supplies to build the duck house and we need to buy a miter saw and possibly a reciprocating saw. These are all planned purchases.

We are putting up the fencing this evening. Hopefully we will get it all done. We have to fence off the chickens from the pasture area we are reseeding with red and white clover. They won't like it much, but they'll just have to deal. The next door neighbor is going on vacation for 3 weeks so said we could open up the gate between our fences and let the chickens into her backyard since her dogs will be with her kids. That will distract them at least while the clover has a chance to establish itself.

I am getting anxious to start the garden. It is too soon to be planting outside yet, our average last day of frost is 4/15, but we've had surprise snows and frosts as late as the last week of April, so anything we plant between the 15th and the end of the month can be at risk and will need to be protected.

We will try to rototill some compost in though before DH goes back to Alaska. We are aiming to grow all of the green beans, peppers, and all of the tomatoes we need for the year. A few other things, too, but those are the main two goals since we eat green beans, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, chili, and salsa all the time through the year. We need the tomatoes for a base.

We want to plant a good portion of our potatoes, carrots, kale, chard, and cabbage for the year. And of course there will be just the fresh eating foods like lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, broccoli, cucumbers (for fresh and pickling), zucchini, squash, melons, and peas.

We will have our blueberries, raspberries, and apples taken care of from our perennial plantings and will likely do a massive U-pick for our strawberries. I had meant to plant some but there isn't much space for it with all the other foods we want to grow and since we can get organic strawberries locally it is one less thing to try to find a space for. Unless...hmm, we might be able to do it on the patch between us and the neighbor. We'll have to ask her if she minds. She can certainly have some.

I really wish our house would sell so we could buy our farm and get moving on doing this stuff on five acres instead of squeezing it all on to just under a 1/2 acre. We keep having interested people but they don't have their finances in order. *sighs* Why do people go house hunting without getting their finances in order first? I will never understand that.

A Little Splurge

February 22nd, 2014 at 01:16 pm

Yesterday when I was doing my grocery shopping at the food co-op for produce, I still checked out the meat just in case there is something on sale. Yesterday I lucked out and they had a rack of lamb on sale because the sell or freeze by date was about to expire. It was $5 off so I ended up paying $19.03 for it. It was 1.44 pounds of local organic lamb. That still worked out to $12.50 a pound, but most conventionally raised rack of lamb imported from Australia is $15 a pound, so I felt I did pretty good.

We only get lamb a few times a year (maybe a total of 15 pounds a year) and rack of lamb maybe once a year. Since we ate dinner early and I knew we'd be having a late night, I had my daughter go ahead and cover it thickly in Herbs de Provence and put it in the crockpot with half a cup of water, cooking it on high for 4 hours. Oh, it came out so tender and delicious, as good as I've ever had it in a fancy restaurant. Actually, better.

The kids and I split it (DH is in Alaska) and had it as a late night (11 p.m.) dinner. It was perfect, just enough to keep going until midnight. I am glad I bought it. It was a little expensive, but it was within the grocery budget to splurge a bit and I don't splurge on much of anything.

Still Frustrated

November 8th, 2013 at 11:27 pm

So I've got an appointment set up for Wednesday with the principal, guidance counselor, and the horrible teacher. That woman is a piece of work, I tell you. She knew she was supposed to have the work for DD to get today. My daughter waited before school until one minute before the bell rang and the teacher was not in her classroom. She had to run to not be late to her first class.

Then after school, no sign of the teacher. She waited 15 minutes. The classroom was open and the lights on, just no teacher. I think she did it on purpose. And I think she'll try to play it like DD didn't show up for it. I am beyond livid. B***h is going down. Sorry for the language, I seldom get worked up enough to think it, let alone sort of type it out.

Oh, well, nothing to be done now. I have a weekend that does not need to be taken up with anger and resentment.

I got 10 quarts of rabbit meat canned today and plan to make soup and soup stock for canning tomorrow with all the ribcage pieces. Hoping to get at least 10 quarts of that canned as well. I also want to do 25 pounds of organic potatoes and the store has wild caught fresh Keta salmon on sale for $2.49 a pound so want to get about 3 of those to can. I also want to do a batch of pickles.

I picked up some pears at $1 a pound. I am not probably going to can pears this year, but I did want to enjoy them while they are in season and less expensive. Maybe after I get everything done this weekend I will have a different opinion on canning some. We'll see. I am definitely planting pear trees when we move. Then we can at least be assured of good organic pears eventually.

I've gotten my files from the big box store. Now I just need to update them and I can do a payday report for last week. I'm behind, but nothing is urgent at the moment. If the computer was going to go belly up, now was a good time of the pay cycle to do it.

Saturday Stuff

October 27th, 2013 at 12:31 am

We went down to the ranch today to buy our meat for the next six weeks, plus 5 beef chuck roasts and 6 pounds of hamburger extra to can this week. We paid $380. The usual amount for six weeks or so worth of meat is $300. We took $400 down to allow for the extra. $400 is half our grocery budget for the month. I will use the leftover $20 to buy some chicken legs from Trader Joe's.

We also spent $35 on Arby's because we had some coupons and we were pooped after cleaning out the rabbit shed and scrubbing cages today. No one wanted to cook. Wow, that is getting up there in price. I remember when a family of four could eat there for $20. It's not been that long ago, either.

Our house had its first showing today. I doubt anything will come of it, but you never know. It would be lovely if it did, but I know how long it can sometimes take for homes to sell and I'm not counting my chickens before they are hatched. I refuse to get my hopes up.

Tomorrow is slaughter day for six of the rabbits. I never look forward to that day, but I do look forward to having another 17 pounds or so of meat in the canning jars or the freezer this week.

Nephew-in-law also dropped off some fish that he caught today. He likes to fish, but doesn't like to eat the fish. That's a win-win situation for this household.

I am still fighting this flu bug. I have more energy than I did, but will be glad when I am all the way back to normal. If I get to be before the next cold hits.


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