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So Many Didn't Even Bother

November 11th, 2016 at 10:24 am

70,000,000 registered voters did not vote in the election this week. A further 20,000,000 eligible voters did not register to vote. That means 90,000,000 people, give or take a few thousand due to life circumstances like a heart attack or stroke or giving birth, in America did not think who became the next president was important enough to vote for or register to vote for.

Or else they thought it was a done deal because of a media that wished it so and pollsters who over sampled in predominately liberal areas like large cities and college campuses and got such skewed data that it made them think they did not need to bother. Or they did it on purpose just so their polls would have the results they wanted them to have. If you looked at the collection data and not just the charts it was obvious what they were doing. But most of America didn't look. The propaganda machine did exactly the opposite of what it wanted to achieve.

It makes me wonder how many of those now protesting voted and how many did not. Based on my reasonable knowledge of statistics and my cynical opinion of human nature, I'd estimate at least 55% did vote but of those 5% voted for Johnson or Stein, 30% did not vote, the rest may or may not have but of those 10% are paid protesters, 3% didn't have anything better to do, and 2% are there just to try to incite violence to break out so they can riot, steal, beat people they pull out of random cars, and set things on fire, all of which have happened in most of the protesting cities, even Seattle, although at least in Seattle they are just burning garbage.

I wouldn't believe any polling data coming now that breaks down how America voted by race or sex, or any other label they want to put on us to divide us out, either. We saw how they polled only in select areas, not across America, certainly not in rural areas. We saw that people obviously lied to the pollsters as well, due to fear of getting beaten up, shame, or privacy issues. I think if there is one takeaway anyone should have from this election, it is that you can never believe the polls again, if you ever did in the first place. With my knowledge of statistics, including how to manipulate them, I never did.

I've Got the Blahs

October 27th, 2016 at 02:38 pm

I'm having a major case of the blahs. I really don't have much of a desire to blog right now. It's not that I'm letting things go by the wayside. It's just that without an income coming in, I have no goals other than to just get through this until DH finds a job. And with that being unlikely until after the election life is in limbo.

If Trump is elected, there will be more oil exploration and more projects going forward and more oil jobs. If Clinton is elected their won't be, because they won't be approved, unless Congress stays overwhelmingly Republican. It's a fact of the oil business. Republicans favor it. Democrats don't. Isn't that a fun place to be politically? Especially now when I'm losing faith in Johnson and I still don't want to vote for either of the other two. Ugh.

There will still be new projects here, though. So there will still be new jobs in my state, but with fewer openings so more competition for DH. And it is doubtful there will be any new jobs up there where the pay is usually better. We did find out for sure what happened there with Company B.

Company B didn't actually want to hire anyone from Company A at all even though parent company was very strongly saying you need to hire these specific people so things will run smoothly and the transition will work right. We want these people here. So basically anyone that was strongly recommended conveniently had their resumes "lost" on purpose.

DH's former co-workers who did manage to get hired say it is absolute hell up there. A lot of the people who were originally hired from Company A have been let go because they are being blamed for all the problems Company B is having, instead of Company B's complete willingness to be total donkey bottom fedoras and follow what has worked for the last 20 years because their way worked that one time with the small job so it ought to work on this much more massive scale. It doesn't.

I hope it was worth taking the lowest bid from a company that is not delivering and is acting like a snotty college kid in their first real job who thinks they know better than senior management because they did a class project their senior year and got an A on it, but were only hired because their daddy is CEO and can't actually be fired because of an ironclad contract, but is wreaking absolute havoc meanwhile.

In hindsight, I'm glad DH dodged that bullet. As for life being in limbo, I'm not really railing against it like I was before. I'm kind of numb to it. I'm not firing on all 8 cylinders. It's the onset of SADS. I'm using my happy light and I've upped my vitamin D intake. My diet is on track. But I haven't been able to exercise since I hurt my back and that is something that really makes a difference. And I haven't been able to spend time outdoors because of the foulness of the weather and being outside usually helps, too.

I'm sure resignation to wait things out also is contributing somewhat to a less than optimistic attitude, but I won't put pressure on DH. He is working hard on trying to find a new job and puts in hours every day on his job search between running his dad to chemotherapy here and to the follow up appointments and blood draws and the big cancer center in Seattle for other things and doing all the driving for his parents to do their errands since his mom doesn't drive anymore and his dad is so tired out by it.

Hopefully it will shake off with the higher dose of vitamin D starts taking effect.

Update--A Bright Spot

September 13th, 2016 at 12:24 pm

I haven't really posted this month, just the interest update at the start. I tweaked my back while the chiropractor was on vacation and that put me down for a few days. I finally went and spent the money to get a deep tissue massage and it was the right choice because I was functional again that evening and out of pain other than a few twinges here and there the next day.

Then I came down with something, but it didn't act like anything normal. I felt run down, exhausted, a little achy, and had been running a fever over 100 for 10 days. That's it. No other symptoms. I did get a spider bite and it had a massive rash with it, so perhaps its related to that. But it made me too tired to do much in the way of writing, especially since I was canning, dehydrating, and preserving food.

On the other hand, there is a major bright note. You all know how I have struggled with walking since a year after my knee surgery. I was doing so well that first year of recovery, even hiking, and then everything went downhill and I had severe pain in my knee when walking and it would swell up with fluid randomly and for no apparent reason. No one could explain it and MRI's didn't show anything new. Long walks were out of the question and if I went grocery shopping I could only go to one place before the pain got so bad I'd have to go lie down the rest of the day.

When the chiropractor got back from vacation, I asked him to do traction on my neck with this loop thing he has. It basically fastens around the hairline tightly and has a strap with a handle on it and he gently pulls to get some of the tightness out of the neck. Well, we had a miscommunication and after a few traction pulls, he did this adjustment on me he had never done before where he basically tried to yank my spinal column out of my body (that's what it felt like).

It felt like every single vertabrae from my tailbone to the top of neck moved into alignment. After the shock wore off and I could get up, I immediately felt something different in my hips, left knee and left ankle, which had been getting very bad over the summer. It took me a few steps for it to sink in that I wasn't limping for the first time since 2010.

I wasn't sure what to think, but I knew it wouldn't last. But it has. I walked around Costco the next day without pain or exhaustion afterwards. Every day I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept thinking I should try going for a walk, but I was scared. I was without daily pain in those joints for the first time in 6 years. I didn't want to screw it up.

Well, to make a long story slightly longer, yesterday DH and I went out to Bellewood because the Tsaguru apples are ready. They are my favorite apple and have only a two week picking window. It's 30 cents a pound cheaper to pick them yourselves than to buy them already picked. I wanted 20 pounds, so we would save $6 by doing U-pick.

But all of the golf carts were out. They use golf carts to take you to the orchard if you don't want to walk. Well, frugalness won out and I decided I would try to walk it. They said if it was too much for me to walk back to call them and they'd page someone to get us. Of course the apples I wanted were at the farthest end of the orchard!

It was a fifteen minute walk to get there. We had to go past the corn maze and the massive pumpkin and sunflower field, and over a bridge that crossed a stream before we even saw the orchard. Then on to the far back corner. It did not take very long to pick, though we had to go several trees down the row because the near ones were picked clean. We filled our two ten pound bags in about 10 minutes and headed back.

I did start to feel it a little bit when we hit the bridge, but it was more being winded. I am used to doing water exercise and keeping my breathing even. This was a little harder. I did feel a bit of a strain from using muscles in ways I hadn't in a long time and I was really afraid I was going to pay for it today, but you know what? I'm not. My muscles and joints feel fine.

I walked for a total of 30 minutes. I walked. You have no idea what this means to me. I am going out for another walk today, just to make sure it is not a fluke. If I can start walking and not be in pain...I might truly have my old life back. I'm scared to believe its even a possibility, but...I have a little hope now. The skeptic in me says to be guarded as it may not last, but oh, I hope it does.

Not Much Going on and a Military Question

May 26th, 2016 at 11:05 pm

It's been a slow couple of days. I went to Water Zumba on Wednesday, took today off from exercise, and will go to water aerobics tomorrow. I really wish they had the Zumba three times per week.

The Integrated Chemistry and Physics curriculum seems to be going well so far. The other stuff hasn't arrived yet. I think we will be able to finish off the Money Management course in 12 days if the online program doesn't malfunction again.

I haven't been spending the last few days. Tomorrow is payday so there will be a few bills paid and a trip to the grocery store. I also have physical therapy tomorrow so there will be money spent for that.

I know there are a couple of military families on here and I have a question. If the spouse in the military dies and the family is living in base housing, how long would the family have before they had to vacate the house?

More Pool Time

May 16th, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I went to the gym today and did a 45 minute water aerobics class, sat in the hot tub for 15 minutes, and then did an hour water Zumba class. It was fun and I kept up okay, though learning the steps in the water Zumba class was a little harder. I tend to have two left feet when I am first starting out. Eventually I get things though and do pretty good. I think it'll be five or six more classes until I am at that point though.

I had so much energy afterwards I felt like swimming laps, but decided that would definitely overdo it. I think I will sleep very well again, tonight. Tomorrow they only have one water aerobics class, but it is an hour. Unfortunately it ends at 10 and then lap swimming isn't until noon. So I'd either have to come back then if I wanted to exercise longer or come back at 8 p.m. Yeah, not so much.

The exercising is definitely a control thing. Since I can't really control our financial future at this point I am channeling it all into working out. Which is good up to a point, but I really do have to be careful not to go at it too hard. I don't want to hurt myself. It's a good distraction though. And it makes me too tired to dwell too much on life in limbo.

And it could be worse. I could be focusing all my attention on food. I don't want to do that because I can get a wee bit obsessive when I do. Like the way I am obsessive about budgeting and savings, which can sometimes get out of hand, too. I mean there are only so many scenarios I can run on spreadsheets for the future, but that doesn't stop me from running them.

Ah, issues. I have them.

Diet and Upcoming Medical Things

May 15th, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Gracious, but I was sore today, but in such a good way. I will be starting back up with the water aerobics tomorrow. It'll be nice. I slept like a log last night, my body was so tired from swimming for an hour. And I think my new pillow helped a lot. It was expensive, but it works much better with my c-pap machine, and my neck felt so much better this morning.

I am hoping I will sleep that hard again tonight as I could really use the sleep. I feel like I am on the edge of a cold, but it could just be the weather swinging from 75 degree days to 60 degree days. Or it could be the pollen. Or a combination of both. I am fighting hard not to get sick just when I am getting on a roll with exercising again.

My diet has been good for 3 days straight and I am hoping to keep it clean like this now. May 31st can't come soon enough. I will be glad to see the bariatric doctor and see if there isn't something more that can be done to help me (short of surgery, I don't want to do that) get the rest of this weight off.

Today was a no spend day, but I will have a prescription to fill on the 17th, and I have to pick up straw for the duck and turkey coops tomorrow. Otherwise I won't be spending anything else until payday. I've got a big dental bill to pay for my son's fillings. Not huge, but somewhere around $200 to $300. It was closer to $600 before insurance. I am going to have to stay on him about brushing his teeth better. I shouldn't have to with him being 16, but I do. Maybe if I tell him he's going to have to start paying a percentage of his dental bills out of his allowance he'll get the picture.

DH still needs to get crown work done and not sure when we'll be able to do that as it will be around $1000 out of our pocket. Guess where DS gets his bad toothbrushing habits from?

I know it is possible to correct lazy brushing and flossing habits as I've done it myself. But the males in my life haven't managed to get it together in that regard. My DD is fastidious about it, but she had braces for 3 years and had to be a fanatic about it, and those good habits have remained.

I have to call the ENT tomorrow. I keep forgetting, but DS has been having bloody drainage since his surgery and just remembered to tell me last week. It's been weeks since his surgery so this really should not still be going on. I'm sure fixing the problem won't come cheap. We'll see.

Well, I better hit the hay.

Swimmingly and Shoppingly

May 14th, 2016 at 02:58 pm

I received my $15 check from Pinecone today and sold 2 dozen duck eggs for $10. That'll go into the moving fund on Monday.

I also went to the pool today and swam laps for an hour. Well, mostly swam laps. When my arms would get too tired then I would walk the laps. Part of my physical therapy exercises are to walk forward one length of the pool, then backwards one length, then sideways with the left leg being the lead leg, then reverse with the right leg being the lead leg. I lost track of how many laps I actually did, but I was in there for the whole hour, then did some stretches and then sat in the hot tub for 15 minutes (glorious).

It's been a while since I've been to the pool and I will probably pay for all that exercise tomorrow, but for now I feel really good. My diet has been stuck in a rut (though I hit my dietbet goal for this month last month) and I think it is because I've been slacking on the exercise. I haven't been sleeping great either, and again, the exercise usually helps with that. I have a feeling I will sleep like a log tonight.

I found out from DH that it could be a couple more weeks before we know anything about the contract. No one knows why it is taking so long for them to make a decision. The current contract ends mid-June. I would hope they would come to a decision by then, but I'm not really holding my breath. It's more like I'm waiting for the chance to inhale.

The stress of not knowing has been messing with my eating as well. Which is why I forced myself to get back in the pool. I will go again tomorrow, too. It is a better way to channel stress than through food. Or shopping.

Although I did go shopping. I bought a new, smaller kiddie pool for the ducks to replace the other one that is harder to dump. And I also got new sheets and pillow cases for the bed and a new pillow, plus sunscreen and bug spray. I'm going to donate our old sheets to the animal shelter. They are always looking for sheets, blankets, and towels.

Yesterday I also bought my sun 3 tank tops, 2 shirts, and 5 pairs of shorts for the summer. He has grown so much the last year. And I got 3 tank tops for my daughter. I am sure when my husband comes home he will need to buy shorts. He has shrunk out of his old ones and I'm not sure he has any from before in his current size. We did get him a swim suit last time he was home and one in the next size down as well as he is still losing pretty fast, and swim suits don't stay on the rack very long around here. By actual summer, they are usually gone.

All of the spending was planned though and budgeted for.

One More Week of Limbo

April 21st, 2016 at 12:56 pm

So apparently the contract has been awarded, but we won't know for another week yet to exactly who. I'm like ?????????? I guess all the t's still need to be crossed and the i's still need to be dotted. But that does mean we really should know by the end of next week. One more week of limbo.

If it does get renewed by DH's company, I have found what I think is THE HOUSE. We are ready to move on it the minute we know if his job is secure. If you all pray, please, please pray that his company got the contract.

It's My Ten Year Blogoversary!

April 9th, 2016 at 05:38 pm

I almost missed it! 7.5 million hits and ten years ago today I started this blog. I was desperate about our debt and had no idea at all how to start saving money for an Emergency Fund. In the past ten years my husband and I have really changed our lives around. We paid off our mortgage in 12 years instead of 15 (then sold the house), paid off our van, paid off all of our credit cards, and now have just the 0% loan to my mother that we are working on.

Blogging about it all has been a sanity saver and you guys have all been so amazing, giving me advice, tough love when I needed it, and hand-holding when I would panic. The support has been amazing. Thank you all for taking this journey with me!

Man, I'm Sore

April 2nd, 2016 at 11:49 pm

I think I broke myself today. I moved 2 cubic yards of garden soil by myself. It took me 4 hours to do it, and I took a little break between every load because I did not want to stress my body out too much. And now my shoulder and my neck hate me. But all in all, I am actually doing better than I thought I would be. And I know I will sleep hard tonight.

I am mad at the chickens. They keep escaping and they dug up and broke my newly planted kale. I only planted it two days ago. It wouldn't be so bad if they had just dug it up, but they broke off all the leaves in the process. I'm going to have to figure something out to protect the beds if the little monsters are going to keep being such escape artists.

I transplanted about 24 strawberry plants into my gutter garden and then dug up and separated the rest of them, replanting a little over half and potting the rest up to hopefully sell for $10 bucks for a flat of 24. I have one flat of Junebearing and one flat of Everbearing.

My eat from the pantry challenge is going well, but it has only been two days. Dinner last night was spice-rubbed rabbit, fried red potatoes with onions and bell peppers, salad, strawberries, and mixed veggies. Tonight it was spaghetti with Italian sausage, green beans, strawberries, and pull apart garlic herb bread since I had leftover pizza dough from earlier in the week.

I did have to spend some money today. I spent $40.47 buying Claritin D for my son and generic Prilosec for my daughter. Man, Claritin D is expensive. I miss having allergy medicine being paid for by insurance. It used to be $15 for a 30 day supply. Now it is $22 plus tax for a 15 day supply. Prescriptions aren't taxable. OTC meds are. We tried DS on generic, but it didn't work for him. The generic is a lot cheaper, but that doesn't matter if he can't breathe.

I need to start making ice. I am usually lazy and just buy bags of ice, but with the challenge that is not an option. I have lots of ice cube trays so it isn't like I can't do it, just that it is kind of a pain. But the whole goal of the challenge is to stop spending money on convenience items, which honestly eat up a lot of the grocery budget. I just need to remember to actually do it.

We lost another rabbit. Our red buck. After having to put two down a couple of weeks ago, this just was devastating. I didn't know he was that sick or we would have put him down with the other two. He only had one symptom and he seemed to be responding to treatment.

We only have 3 other rabbits that got sick. Coccidia is super contagious, but they are away from the pregnant rabbits, thankfully. One is completely free of symptoms and the other two are getting another round of Corid. Both are eating well and one is gaining back the weight she lost, but has diarrhea. I will have to pick dandelion leaves for her tomorrow and give her blackberry canes as well. Those help with it.

I won't put those rabbits back into the breeding program until they have been free of symptoms for 8 weeks. Even with Persephone, who is better, trying to get her back in too soon may put stress on her that is enough to cause it to reoccur.

So now we don't have any red bucks and no way of breeding more. I'm not ready to bring any new rabbits in, not with the outbreak. Leo is still not well enough to breed does, so Starbuck is the only one on duty right now. We have 4 red does (2 of which are Wildfire's daughters so I still have the line, thankfully) and 2 white ones that are healthy. 2 of the red does are due to kindle this week. We do have a lovely little white buck growing up, but I really don't want another white buck. I want a red one or a broken one or a black one.

Tomorrow I am going to do nothing but the basics. Feed and water the animals. Feed and water the children. Be lazy. I think I got enough done today for the whole weekend. I was going to plant radishes, carrots, and peas, but not until I can keep those rotten chicken escape artists from getting out again.

Life in Limbo

April 1st, 2016 at 09:29 pm

So we were supposed to know yesterday about whether or not DH's company got the contract. Well, we still don't know. Apparently they are taking 2 MORE weeks to decide. Something that should have been decided in January. I am not holding my breath about 2 weeks from now, either. Do they not understand that they are fooling around with people's lives here and their livelihoods?

I am just hoping that DH can get some overtime in. There appears to be the work for it. If he can get in enough OT to get the EF up to $20K, I might (probably not), just might relax a little bit.

I have decided to do an eat from the pantry challenge for the month of April. I want to cut our grocery spending all the way down to $400. If I can, it will go a long way towards easing the pain of the pay cut. I don't need to buy meat at all during this month. I don't need to buy potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pasta, tomato sauce, rice, or flour, or sugar.

I am allowing myself to buy fresh fruit, milk, and some greens and onions if I run out, but that is all. I will be baking all my bread, rolls, and buns. I've got plenty of food in the freezer and on the canning shelves. My Aerogarden is producing a couple of salads a week. I've got lettuce planted that will hopefully take off by the end of the month. This should be easy. It goes without saying that there will be no eating out.

If I can figure this out and stick to a much stricter grocery budget, and we can get used to not getting everything we want food-wise all the time, then if his pay does go back up, we can save the difference then, too. That would be nice. And if it doesn't, we'll know we can get by on much less.

Emergency Fund Update and Musings

March 12th, 2016 at 01:06 pm

$16,322.85 Starting Balance
+__,221.67 Deposit Added
--------------------
$16,544.52 New Balance

I have passed the half-way point on my second mini-goal of 2016, which is to get the EF from $16K to $17K. $455.48 to go. I was hoping to have met that by the end of April, but with DH's paycut going into effect at the end of the month, I'm not sure I will. It might be the end of May.

One of the things I am debating is whether or not I should keep saving for the down payment or if I should just start shoveling everything into the Emergency Fund and if the contract is won at the end of June, then just transferring the money to the Down Payment Fund then.

It all goes into the same bank account. I know it is just a question of where to put it on the spread sheet, but I have told myself I will not touch the money in the DPF until we are ready to buy a house, unless it comes down to needing it to live on. I guess it is a mental thing.

Well, and then there is the mental thing of only touching the EF if there is an Emergency and not really even wanting to do it then. So if all goes well I still may have a psychological problem transferring the money to the DPF from the EF. I don't even know what that is. Maybe a little of my OCD coming through?

Maybe I need to set up a short term holding tank, from which I can easily move stuff later. I shouldn't have to play these kinds of mind games with myself to funnel money to the proper location. Anyone else go through these things or am I just sort of on my own there? I know it is rooted in the financial insecurity we had in the past, but I really thought I would have gotten over it by now having been out of consumer debt for almost a year.

Rough Week but Trying to Keep My Chin Up

January 22nd, 2016 at 02:19 am

This week my FIL (who I love like a father) was diagnosed with cancer, we lost 7 less than week old rabbit kits, and one of our hens jumped the fence and got eaten by a dog. I have an ingrown toenail that is driving me crazy and I think it is infected and I can't get in sooner than the 28th. I still have bronchitis. My knee is acting up. My son has to get a CT scan next week. And I am just ready for the week to be over.

On the bright side, and I do have one, I have lost 4 pounds this week. I found a toaster and can opener in teal to match my sea glass Kitchenaid mixer, and I found a gorgeous tablecloth with matching linen napkins, dish cloths, and hand towels that all match the teal, turquoise, and blue theme I am aiming towards. My kitchen is clean, really, really clean, all the way down to its bones and so is my bedroom.

My marriage is good. My daughter started her college classes online this week. My son is doing well with his online high school home school classes. I sold 2 dozen duck eggs, 1 dozen turkey eggs, and a buck breeding rabbit, and feel like I made a friend in the lady I sold him to.

I am trying to keep my chin up while we learn more about what will have to happen with FIL. They do think treatment will work, but I don't really have any details yet.

I'm totally ready for February now, though.

Doing Dietbet Again

January 4th, 2016 at 11:08 pm

I signed up for both a six month Transformer and a 4 week Kickstarter again this year. They started on January 1st. So far I have lost 6.2 pounds. I just wish I hadn't gained back all but 17 of the 50 pounds I lost last year. But I am determined to do this again. Last year I about doubled my money, which sure beats any interest rate I can find.

My husband also signed up for a Kickstarter. He has lost 70 pounds in the last 6 months, so I told him he might as well earn some money doing it.

I am sticking to my meal planning pretty closely and that will help a lot with this, too. It snowed this morning so I didn't make it to the pool. Hopefully it won't snow again tomorrow. The club parking lot is nasty to get in and out of when there is snow. I miss being in the water, though and want to get back to it.

I got about 1/3 of my kitchen reorganized and deep cleaned today and cleaned out the rabbit grow out cages and dropping pans, so I did get exercise in and plenty of movement.

I also knit 32 rows on the baby blanket I am making for my niece, who is due in May with a little girl. I did 5 loads of laundry, too, and am now caught up, including putting it all away.

All in all it was a very productive day.

My Dr. Scholl's Socks are Bad

December 16th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I am really, really unimpressed with the new Dr. Scholl's socks that I bought. I bought two 3-packs at $14 each and each pair I have worn has been down my heel and halfway down my foot in the amount of time it takes to walk from the house to the car. They simply will not stay up.

It ticks me off. I expected the Dr. Scholl's name to live up to its reputation. After all, they make excellent shoes and inserts. But apparently they haven't a clue how to make good socks. Unfortunately you can't tell until you actually wear them. There doesn't seem to be enough elastic in the cuff.

It isn't just them either. The last set I got from Reebok and the last sets I got from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom like to slip down, too. I never used to have this problem. Are they just making crappy socks these days no matter the brand name?

I really don't like throwing money away like that. The only socks I haven't had major problems with this year or last are the big fuzzy slipper socks from Costco, but they are hard to get into a shoe. This is why I'm trying to learn to knit socks properly.

Anyone know if Kmart's Joe Boxer brand of socks stays up where it belongs? Or of any decent brand that does? I don't mind paying a little more if they actually work. They just can't be wool as I'm allergic.

Stuff and Other Stuff

November 10th, 2015 at 10:43 pm

As exhausted as I am, and as sick as I still am, I am doing better on the antibiotics. Better enough to have cooked for the past 7 days. A week without takeout feels like a major milestone at this point. Now granted, some of the meals were pretty simple, just heating up food I'd previously frozen, like lasagna, or homemade TV dinners, but even so, no money wasted on takeout.

I have so much to do still, though. I need to clean up the garden beds I haven't gotten to yet. I've got rabbits due to kindle this coming weekend, but I've prepared their nesting boxes and given them to them, so now it's just a wait for it thing. I need to get their trays changed though. I did half of them on Sunday and need to get the other half done tomorrow. DS doesn't have school so we should be able to do it pretty quickly.

I finally made it through 3 hampers of laundry today, 4 loads of which were towels, and 2 loads of which were clothes. I think we have too many towels, but I guess it was good when I was too sick to do the laundry. I have one load of clothes and sheets left to do for me and then there is another hamper full of DH's stuff, but he won't be home until the 18th, so that can slide if needed.

I will have to drag myself to the store tomorrow as we are out of milk and I have a small list of other things to pick up. Then I have to pick up a prescription. I haven't gone out since Friday, so it'll be nice to get out of the house. Cabin fever, I think. I may go to water aerobics if I can drag myself out of bed in the morning. No school so I don't have to. Haven't done water aerobics since Tuesday of last week. I miss it, but it's hard when you have brain fog from an illness to move in the mornings.

We may be pulling DS from school and homeschooling again. I've found a good program that is heavily video based which he needs. He still hasn't recovered all of what he lost with the concussion several years ago, so lots of reading is just hard on him. But this combines words on the screen being read aloud and he just does so much better that way. He learns very well from hearing or hands on work and he can still memorize easily, but his reading is so slow. It's been over 3 years so I'm not sure he'll ever get that back.

He's just been so sick this school year he has missed more days than he's gone. By a lot. School is making him sick with all its sick kids and germs and then he comes home and gets me and his sister sick and I think for all our sakes it may be the right thing to do. He also complains that his math teacher can't keep control of the class so it is hard for him to concentrate. Math is usually his best subject and he enjoys it, but he just can't focus.

We'll make the decision one way or the other by the end of the week. The program is $100 a month, but I think that is worth it for our health and his ability to go at his own pace. I know he'll race through some things and go slow on others, but he'll be allowed to, unlike in public school. He'll also be able to take AP classes if he wants to, which are only offered before school currently at his high school.

Once he turns 16 in March he can join me and his sister at water aerobics, too, so he can get his PE credits that way. Or do the home school PE program at the gym. There is one.

It's a lot to take on homeschooling again, but I think this program will be far less hands on for me than the one we did before. I'll likely only have to baby-sit him through English. And we'll get a transcript from it so if he ends up going back his senior year to get a diploma things will transfer. Although I think he might be able to get a diploma through this program, too. I don't remember for sure as I have looked at a lot of curricula this week.

It would be nice not to have to be a slave to the school schedule anymore. Better all around for all of us.

Gas for $1.86 a Gallon and Rethinking Costco

October 22nd, 2015 at 03:45 pm

I just filled up my gas tank for $1.86 a gallon. I had 30 points on my Safeway card since I've spent $300 there this month. So that was 30 cents off per gallon, and then I used cash which made it an additional 10 cents off per gallon. So while Safeway's regular gas price won't beat Costco's regular gas price, with points and cash discount, it is 20 cents cheaper to get it at Safeway. Plus Safeway is only a mile from my house and not on the other side of town.

I am thinking hard about letting my Costco card go when it expires in March. I keep it mostly for buying organic olive oil, butter, toilet paper, organic brown rice, organic sugar, organic tomato sauce and paste, organic frozen broccoli, and organic chicken.

But...we have a freezer full of chicken we grew this year. I now have enough spaghetti sauce canned for a year from my garden. I could stock up on a year's supply of olive oil, butter, tomato paste, brown rice, sugar and frozen broccoli right before it expires. I don't have to renew it and I can revisit the idea in a year of using the membership. Or my FIL and MIL have a membership so we could have them pick up what we need when we need it.

I used to buy cheese there, but Safeway's sales and often their regular prices are better than Costco's regular price. I am finding a lot of things that is true on. I know if I watch sales I can probably find Charmin for cheaper and find coupons for it. And when we run out of chicken, Trader Joe's does have less expensive organic chicken nowadays.

Another reason I am thinking of dropping Costco is that they will no longer be partnering with AMEX, which means I'd have to get another credit card and I don't want to.

It's just that the many things that used to be selling points for a Costco membership are now being chipped away at and as prices rise it just no longer seems the bargain it once was. The parking is atrocious and it's just getting to the point where it is not really worth it anymore.

Pain Makes it More Difficult to Stick to Home Cooking...But We Are

August 15th, 2015 at 02:47 pm

I am struggling a little bit with wanting to eat out right now. I don't want to do it because it is expensive and I'm trying to save money. I know it is simply a reaction to being in pain. Well, it's more a reaction to having an almost constant headache.

Between the broken nose and the mild concussion, it just almost never goes away except when I am sleeping and that has more to do with the narcotics the doctor gave me knocking me out for the night. Headache pain has always been much harder for me to deal with than any other type of pain because it always makes me feel like I'm not myself.

It is really hard to want to make meals from scratch when you feel sick, but pain is even harder, at least for me. But I don't feel up to driving either. I had to drive Thursday to go to my doctor's appointment and my son's doctor's appointment. I don't want to drive again for a while. It takes too much focus. So that is keeping my spending in check.

Since I am fundamentally against paying extra to have food delivered to my home, and not much delivers here anyway, I am trying to focus on simpler meals, or meals my daughter can make while I am nearby for help or reassurance. I have been teaching her to cook more things this year, but she lacks confidence to do it without a lot of hand holding yet.

The doctor says the break still looks straight, but the swelling isn't fully gone and we can't determine everything until it is. So far it is looking good enough he doesn't think I will need to go to an ENT doctor. Now that there is a lot less swelling I can actually feel the break when I touch the bridge of my nose. There is a little ripple there that was not there before. It's nothing you can see, though. The abrasion has almost completely healed. I really wish I didn't wear glasses right now, though. I know they are adding to some of the discomfort.

More concerning are the concussion symptoms, at least to me. The doctor doesn't seem to be worried, though. I am a little forgetful and find myself searching for words a lot more than usual. And I feel like a space cadet. Just a lot of brain fog. I am not used to having headaches. I haven't had them since I took all of the additives and preservatives and MSG and stuff out of my diet several years ago, except on very rare occasions or with a sinus or kidney infection or lack of sleep or my neck was out of alignment. And those were quickly remedied.

I know I will get better with time, but it is hard to push through right now. I am getting as much rest as I can. That is what the doctor said to do. But I still have animals to take care of and a garden to keep under control. The kids are helping, but I can't just check out like I could if DH was home. He will be home the day after school starts so I won't have to do too much driving in the early a.m. when I am not alert and am very foggy. In fact, if DS rides his bike the first 2 days of school I won't have to drive at all. Hopefully it won't rain.

So far I am managing to stick to my meal plans. I know I haven't been posting them, but I have still been making them. They are generally easier foods, though. No one is up for super complicated.

I do find that I'm not eating much outside of dinner. It's too much work. I'll grab a string cheese so I can take my medicine without it making me queasy, but that's about it. Not very healthy. I ought to make up some hard-boiled eggs so I'd at least have something a little more substantial during the day. I do have my electric egg cooker and it turns off when done, so I don't have to pay attention to it. Maybe I should do that.

Okay, this is getting long and rambling and may or may not make sense. I am not the best judge of that right now. So I'll stop babbling for now.

Blew Right Past It-- 9th Blogoversary

April 30th, 2015 at 08:29 am

April 9th of 2006 I started this blog in pretty dire straits. I had no savings, massive debt due to medical expenses, a mortgage, and credit card debt, also mostly due to the medical issues.

In the last nine years my husband and I have paid off the mortgage, paid off our van loan, and paid off all of the credit cards. The only money we owe now is the 0% loan we took out from my mother to pay off the hospital. I call that my medical mortgage, because that is what it feels like. We owe her $49,500 and once that is paid off we will have no more debt until we buy a new house. I am hoping to save enough up for that so as to not have a massive mortgage.

We have saved almost $15,000 in an Emergency Fund. When we started we were only banking $10 a week and whatever money I managed to save in the coin jar. After a few years I was able to add monthly $100 payments. When we started, a lot of people thought it was silly to save such small amounts, but they have added up big time. If $10 is all you have to save, then save it. If $1 is all you have to save, still save it. It may seem like nothing now, but take my word for it. In 9 years you could be sitting on several thousand dollars if you keep at it.

We have come a long, long way, and it has been a tough, tough road at times. So many people told us to just declare bankruptcy, but I didn't want to. That isn't how I was raised. Bankruptcy is a last resort, for people in desperate situations. We were always able to meet our bills even if things were quite tight for a long, long time. We probably could have easily qualified, but I didn't want to take that way out. It didn't feel right for us.

So instead we just put our heads down, dug in, and worked hard to get the debt paid off and bring down the evil empire that had held us under its sway for so long. We had a few setbacks along the way with me having to have 2 more surgeries and having to pay for those instead of putting a lot on old debt, but we made it through that. Things are going pretty well. Not enough to really loosen the purse strings as we still have to save for that down payment and pay back Mom. But enough that I feel like we are breathing deep again.

Yeah, I Guess I'm Just Complaining Here

March 20th, 2015 at 07:32 pm

I have got to start opening my mail earlier in the day. Yesterday I received 3 checks for the dentist from the insurance company. The insurance company pretends that it can't send the check directly to the dentist because he is not in network, which apparently means that the postal service won't take a check there or some such nonsense. And they write the checks so they have to be signed by both the dentist and whichever one of us is on it as well, which is fun when it is DH and he is in Alaska, and now that DD is 18 hers have to be signed by her.

They try to make it difficult so we will use one of their dentists. They have 3 dentists in our area all who work at a stupid strip mall dentistry. Um, no thanks. I will stick with my dentist and not play multiple dentists every time they change the list. So anyway, three checks came, one for me, one for DH, and one for DD. But I didn't open the mail until after the dentist's office had closed and by some universal law no dentist is ever open on Fridays, so that can't be taken care of until Monday.

And then I didn't open today's mail until 7 which is when the drive-thru at our credit union closes, but if I had, I would have been able to deposit the safe driver's rebate check I just got from the car insurance company into the Emergency Fund. Oh, I know it can wait until Monday, I just like to get those things in and earning interest as soon as possible. And I like seeing my EF amount go up. It's sort of like seeing credit card debt go down or a mortgage go down, but since I don't have that anymore, I just have the EF to watch go up. Not that I'm complaining about that, mind you, just, oh, I don't even know. There really isn't a point to this entry other than I need to open the mail earlier in the day when I can still do something about it.

I swear I am an organized person most of the time. I think. Right now I'm so out of it I could be deluding myself. It has been a very tiring day. And I'm cranky. And I'm tired of sick children. And I could really use a maid and a cook and a farm hand this week. I think I'm coming down with something. I guess six weeks is all I get to be free of illness this year. *sighs* Sorry to be such a grump.

An Important Day

March 18th, 2015 at 11:28 am

Twenty years ago today I married the love of my life and my best friend. Today we celebrate two decades. I have always believed we would make it. So has DH. We are as much in love today as we ever were and our marriage is strong. Now onwards towards 50 years!

Spring is in the Air

February 12th, 2015 at 11:12 am

I have two glorious signs of spring today. This is one of the flowering cherry trees blooming in the high school parking lot:



and this is in my gutter garden with garlic coming up:



Today is my 45th birthday. It is also the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. I have always loved that I share a birthday with one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had.

It will be a low key day here. I haven't even decided if I am going to make a cake or not. I am doing so well on my diet I am concerned what suddenly adding sweets back in might do to it. I like having lost those 15 pounds.

I think I will go and pick up some steaks at Trader Joe's, though, instead of sticking to the meal plan. I wasn't thinking about my birthday when I made it out. I think a nice rare ribeye would more than make up for no cake.

Goals Met This Year

December 6th, 2014 at 02:28 pm

I've been thinking a lot about what I've accomplished this year and what I want to accomplish next year. The last couple of years have been pretty big for us in paying down debt and this year was, too.

Milestones hit in 2014:

--Paying off the Mortgage

--Hitting the halfway mark on paying off the loan to Mom

--Paying down the van loan far enough that we owe less on it than it is worth

--Hitting $10K on the Emergency Fund. It wasn't there for long, but it was there, and it will be again by the end of this year so I count that as a win.

We have also made great strides towards becoming self-sufficient, though we still have a long way to go. What happened this year:

--Expanding the farm to four types of livestock as well as building the housing for those animals

--Butchering chickens, turkeys, and ducks for our own consumption (joining the rabbits we have been doing previously), so we almost never have to purchase meat (just the occasional beef and pork)

Joining a Bartering and Sales group within the local farm community, within which I have been able to sell rabbit breeding stock, rabbit livers for dog food, duck eggs, and barter for raw goat's milk cheddar and chevre, natural homemade salves, and beef

Found a processing facility that is WSDA approved AND nearby so if we want to move into meat sales next year, we can

Grew a marginally successful organic garden that netted 80 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of tomatoes, 8 quarts of green beans, 2 quarts of yellow beans, excessive amounts of lettuce, kale, and leeks, 15 bunches of green onions, enough parsley (still drying) for a year, 12 heads of broccoli, 5 heads of cauliflower, 1 pound of chard 1 dozen kohlrabi, 10 pounds of cucumbers, 30 pounds of zucchini, 35 pounds of sweet meat squash, 5 gallons of blueberries, 10 quarts of raspberries, 3 gallons of blackberries, enough apples for 80 pints of applesauce and 22 quarts of pie apples, and 10 pounds of Italian plums. This provided nicely for us and our animals.

All in all, the year has been a lot more successful than it has felt at times. I think we can be very happy with what we have accomplished.

Feeling Overwhelmed

August 19th, 2014 at 03:16 pm

I am trying to keep a positive attitude right now, but I do feel like I am being overwhelmed somewhat. With them taking so much more out of DH's paycheck for medical now, I kind of feel like we are back to living paycheck to paycheck. I know we aren't really, but the only things I feel like I am able to plan ahead for anymore are property taxes, upcoming propane costs, and dues. Besides those and the EF, I haven't been able to fund any of my funds.

I like having an Appliance Fund, a Christmas Fund, a Computer Fund, and such that I send money to each month. Now I can't do that. And I can't do a college fund, either. My daughter has decided she is going to work for 2 years after high school and save everything for college. At this point, we can't contribute. I'm not even sure college is right for her anyway. She's not really cut out for it.

Every year for the past 3, things seem to have gotten tighter and tighter, despite paying more and more things off. Taxes went up and took $500 of take home pay away from us, just as we paid off the credit cards. When we paid off the mortgage this year, it finally felt like we were going to have breathing room, but we don't. The increased medical, the increased plane fare, and the increased storage fees basically replaced the mortgage.

I know this won't last forever. We have less than 3 years left on the van loan. It's gotten down enough that we are only paying about $70 in interest each month and the majority of the payment is going to principal. I love our van and I still think it was a good decision to buy it, but I don't think we will ever buy a new vehicle again. And we'll not finance one again, either.

We have 4 years and 9 months left on what we owe to Mom. That's the big thing. If we didn't have to pay that $1000 each month things would not be tight. Or they'd be tight by choice because we'd be saving part of it and funneling the rest to retirement.

If our house sells it will make some differences. We won't have to be paying electricity, phone, water/sewer, security, HoA dues, property tax, and house insurance. We can save that money until we are ready to buy a house. Which at this rate won't be until we pay off the van.

DH hasn't gotten a raise in over 3 years. Which, no one has, but this year is a new contract and they are supposed to be doing raises. The new contract was signed a while back. The new medical is being deducted, but so far no one has received raises and it has been months. I am starting to think the company is going back on its word. Each year, with more money being taken out or going to taxes or going to increased plane fare, it is like taking a pay cut.

I know we have enough. DH's income is excellent. We are in a lot better shape than so many people. But I want to get ahead, not just tread water. It feels like we sacrifice and sacrifice to pay off all this stupid medical debt and our house and still have nothing to show for it. Which is stupid, because we do. We've taken trips and we've got decent things. We have a paid for home. But it still doesn't feel like it. I just want to be free of it all. Free of all debt. Every single scrap of it. And with enough money in the bank that I don't ever have to worry about it again. I don't know. Maybe that's a fantasy. But it's how I feel.

Well, thanks for listening now. I feel better getting it all out and I think I can stop feeling sorry for myself for a while now.

My Baby is 14

March 13th, 2014 at 09:47 pm

I can't believe that my youngest son turned 14 years old today.



He is 5 foot 10, starting to get a mustache, and his voice has more or less settled. He has shown some real maturity in the last six months. It amazes me when I think where he was just last summer, short, chubby, cracking voice, no body hair. Now he is tall, slender, steady, needing to learn how to shave pretty soon, and a nice baritone.

For his present he got a WiiU. We made him pay the first $210 out of his savings, though, and covered the remaining $100 plus the rest of the tax. He has been saving most of his allowance for half a year, most of his can money (he collects aluminum cans around the neighborhood from people who save them for him and takes them to the recycling center for cash), and even part of his rabbit money (he generally gets 33% of rabbit sales unless I need it for feed money).

He spent almost nothing on anything else during those six months. I am proud of how hard he worked to save the money. He is getting a really good work ethic. He still wants to start an egg business when we move, too.

We have been throwing around getting ducklings this year, but I'm not sure if we are going to. We got mom to okay it, but then at the last minute she said, "But I don't want any of those upright ducks." Well, that is what I wanted to get, Indian runner ducks. I'm not going to buy the ducks, pay for the feed, build a house for them, and then not get the good laying ducks that I wanted just because she thinks they look stupid. I'd rather not get them at all and wait until we move so I can get what I want. If I'm paying for them, I should get to choose.

Sometimes I really do not understand how my mother's brain works. But whatever. It's her property. Basically she wants ducks and wants the ones she wants, but doesn't want to take care of them or pay for them. I wish our house would sell. I am so tired of her random edicts. We pay enough to live here, but whatever. I love my mother, but man, she is the one person on this planet who can drive me right up a wall.

I'm participating in a pantry challenge right now on my other blog. Everything I make for the rest of this month (except milk) is to either come from our pantry/freezer stores or from what we grow or raise on the homestead. I'm not buying anything but milk and that is from a local farm. It's been interesting to figure out what my meals will be.

To be honest it is not all that different from my usual way of living, just without any eating out. But I can't just go to the store if I want something. I need to make do with what I have on hand. If I run out of onions or potatoes I can't just go pick up more, I have to break into my dehydrated ones. If I run out of bread I can't just pick up a loaf, I have to bake it. If I run out of garlic I have to use powdered.

If I am craving fresh greens, I need to make do with the herbs growing on my kitchen windowsill and try to jolly my lettuce starts into growing a little faster. I do have 3 cabbages and 10 pounds of carrots stored, so it's not like I won't have anything fresh veggie like. I do have some frozen veggies, too. But it does limit my choices a bit and make me stick to my inventory. But we've been needing to eat down the freezer for a while now, so it works.

It's Been Quite a Week

March 11th, 2014 at 10:37 am

The new rabbits are adapting well. Wildfire has gotten very friendly and Cinnabun and Sienna are becoming less skittish. We bred 3 pairs of bunnies on the 8th, Piper and Wildfire, Serenity and Leo, and Lola and Starbuck, so around the 6th to 8th of April we will have litters again. I am hoping for some reds out of Piper's litter.

We slaughtered seven kits for the freezer yesterday. Again, most of these will end up ground. We are really making a good dent in our meat bill, even subtracting out the costs of feed, though it is still not the easiest part of farming.

I have selected the last of Serenity's does to grow up to breeding age. She has great confirmation and does not have the bend at the tip of her ears that I am trying to breed out of my rabbits. Since she will be here long term, we have named her Serena. She has a great personality and has never bitten or scratched.

I may keep one of Andromeda's boys, too. There is one without the bending ear tips as well, and he would be good to breed with Serena when he gets old enough. He has a great, friendly personality and a generally happy demeanor.

I sold another doe this week, Serena's sister, actually, for $20, so that will help offset feed. I've now made a total of $95 selling rabbit breeding stock, though my son did get a cut of that.

While I probably won't keep Serena long term or the buck I will breed her with, I will eventually sell them as proven breeders, I would like to keep a doe or a buck out of one of her litters.

5 of the kits get to grow out a little longer, including the buck I might keep. That leaves us down to 17 in our rabbitry at the moment. We haven't had so few in such a long time. Feed costs this month will be much lower.

I am still researching aquaponics, but may end up putting it off for another year. We will put up a greenhouse, though, this year. I am also researching goats, further. I am debating breeds at this point. I'm still leaning toward kinder, but I'm also looking into dairy sheep as an alternative.

We need to make a decision on ducklings soon. They either need to be ordered from a hatchery or we can go to the feed store this week and get potluck choices. I'd like to get some for future egg-laying. The chickens are getting old for layers and are so very noisy. I swear hens are louder than roosters sometimes. Some of the duck breeds are very quiet. They just murmur or hiss. Some are noisy, so you have to be careful you know which are which before buying them.

I still need to do my payday report for the last two weeks. I've been putting it off, because I've had a pretty bad headache and doing math stuff and analytical stuff just makes it worse.

The Little Business that Could

February 20th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

So I had another person come by tonight to buy a 9 week old rabbit buck kit for $15 as he had a litter of straight does and needs a buck for them when they get old enough. I put a blurb up on a local Facebook group yesterday and 2 hours later had been contacted by this person, and then last night another person made an appointment to come by on Saturday to look at them. The second person is interested in one or two, but was planning to look at some other rabbits, too. I don't know if she will buy or not, but if she does it is another $15 to $30 depending on one or two.

I am also going to look for a group who does raw meat diets for their pets and advertise there.

Between my sale last week of $60, and this coming one of $15, I'll have made $75 in less than a week. If I get 2 more youngsters sold, that will be $105. My New Zealand Reds that I am buying on the 1st will total $95. I like the idea that I could possibly pay for my new rabbits by sales of kits. Ignoring the fact that I am paying my son 1/3 of the rabbit profits because he does a huge amount of work when it comes to them and that I already have the money for the purchase budgeted. Most future money will go to pay for feed.

I also put up an advertisement for a breeding trio for $60 of some really sweet, friendly kits. If they sell, that'll be a nice boost. I ought to put up a thing on the bulletin board at the feed store, too, on Friday when I go to pick up more black oil sunflower seeds.

If I ever end up making enough money to pay for feed completely by selling rabbits, any profits will go into the Aquaponics Fund, followed by the Farm Fund. I'd have to sell at least $260 worth of rabbits every 2 months to pay for feed. That would be $180 for feed minus my son's percentage.

My son wants to start his own egg business when we move so he'll be saving some of his rabbit money for start up costs. I'll buy the brooder and incubator and egg fridge since I will want them for ducks and quail and meat chickens anyway, but he will pay for the laying chicks, feed, bedding, and egg cartons for his own business and I will collect a percentage of his profits because I know I will be helping him and also to cover the cost of constructing their housing if it isn't pre-existing. Probably 1/2 to start and when he's paid his portion drop it down to 20%. And if we don't get much in way of egg sales we can feed excess eggs to the pigs.

Back to the rabbits, I am thinking of selling Lola as well. I would like to have one more litter with her and pick out her biggest doe kit to keep. I haven't made my final decision. She is a good mother, but she is very standoffish, doesn't like to be taken out of her cage, which makes cleaning it difficult, and doesn't want it cleaned when she's in it even to the point of just removing soiled hay is upsetting to her.

Lola also isn't at weight for breed standard, so unless she gains just over half a pound (9 oz) she can't be put on a pedigree. She may do so. I know that Piper and Phoebe put on a little weight in their second year. She only turned one last week, four days after my birthday.

I don't know if she will ever reach breed standard though. She was a runt who we grew out an extra month and then we figured we'd see how she'd do if we grew her up a while longer, and the others were biggest of their litters. 3 months ago she only weighed 9 pounds, so I am hoping this break from having kits and the higher protein feed while I am improving her condition will put that extra bit of weight on her she needs.

We start breeding again the first week of March, but Lola will not be bred until mid-April. That gives her almost two months to gain those nine ounces.

DD is wanting to have a hand in the Aquaponics, in caring for the vegetables and maintaining a vegetable stand. I'm not so sure she wants to make it be her own business, but work more on a percentage basis. Even if she did want it to be her own business, I wouldn't, because it's my baby at this point and when we first start we will be providing the needs for our family first, our animals second, and only selling any surplus. I don't think there will likely be much the first year we do it. We will keep any fish we raise for our own use, too.

I think DH is going to have to build our aquaponics set up though. And the hoop house for it. The one full set up I really wanted to get, but the shipping adds almost $2500 to the cost, which was already pushing $5000. So, no, that is not going to happen. But I have found some pretty simple systems and I think that with a 150 gallon stock tank, a few water tubs, a water pump, an air stone, some plumbing bits, and some crushed rock, we could set up some media beds easy for way less money. Like $600 to $700 for a system that would grow half as much as the $5000 system. Even if I sprang for the special clay pebbles it'd still come in around $1200 or so.

I am looking at blue gill perch or trout for the fish because they tolerate our weather better and it is easier to get fingerlings in this area of those types. I'd like to do a relatively small system to start with maybe four grow beds and then expand from there. No point in building a really big system while we are still living here. Ultimately I'd like a 300 gallon stock tank for the fish and 128 square feet of growing space in the media beds. And then I'd like to build a second system after a year or two of growing. But 64 square feet is a good enough place to start. We might even just start with 32 square feet. We can always add on.

I would like to get a couple of solar panels and marine batteries to run the pump and power any additional lighting needed. I think I can use LED's so it would not take as much power. So that would be an additional expense. I know I can get a marine battery for $130 or so and a solar panel with mounting brackets and all the right bits for around $700.

Another thing I was thinking about was maybe not just growing fish for us, but growing minnows or guppies or something for the ducks we are going to get to eat. I'm not sure though. From what I remember guppies are filthy fish and they might overpower an aquaponics system with their waste. I am still very much in research mode here. But I do want to do something this spring, even if it is just a system with ornamental goldfish in it.

Someone is Interested in the House

February 2nd, 2014 at 12:33 am

Please cross your fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes, etc. for us that this person is serious about buying our house. They are looking for financing, so I certainly hope so. Couldn't hurt to throw a few prayers out there for us, too. This has been such a long process and I am so ready to be done with it. I know it could be even longer, but I can't help but have a wild hope that this will be it and we can finally get on with our lives and start seriously looking for our farm.

I can't wait to get out of here, yet at the same time I worry about Mom when we're gone. She fell yesterday but didn't bother to tell me until today. She hurt the knee she had replaced and its shaken her up a lot. Eldest Sister will still live nearby Mom and maybe even move in with her, so someone will be around, but Eldest Sister is kind of...self-involved about 70% of the time, so it may not be the best fit. I know Middle Sister will not do a thing to help. She never has. Self-absorbed would be an understatement for her.

We lost our oldest chicken today. Well, she died. She's not actually lost. That implies finding is possible. This was the last one from the first flock we raised. She was half pet/half livestock, so it was a little sad. But she'd been going downhill so I know it was for the best, poor girl.

Not much else going on. I screwed up my own knee again. Well, it is swollen and making me limp, but I don't know what I actually did, because there isn't one thing I can point to.

I also started a diet today. Well, I guess it was yesterday since it is after midnight now. DH bought a new scale and I didn't like the number on it at all. So back to eating better. Also I am off caffeine and have been for a week so that will help with all the water I had been retaining. I am basically confining high carbs to one meal a day and those carbs will be either fruit or veggies. Bread will be limited to twice a week. Other meals will be low carb veggies and protein. This is what works for me.

We cancelled our gym membership so I can't go swimming for exercise. I'm not sure what I'll do, but with my knee I can't do much, so the focus will have to be more on the food end of things. I am thinking about maybe going back to Curves when I get my strength back. It worked well for me. Our health insurance allows for us to get a discount at Curves. Hey, one good benefit from the world's worst medical insurance. Who'd a thunk it?

Lots of Rambling and Payday Report

January 25th, 2014 at 11:16 am

It was good to see a payday again after 4 weeks without one. It is interesting to see how we live off of savings during that time period though. It makes me wonder how many of the people that DH works with make it through. Do they save up ahead of time or do they let some bills slide until the income comes in again? Not everyone gets a Christmas bonus to help things along, and some are quite small in comparison to what DH gets.

I got a cold during this last week from the weather swings and having to be outside when it was freezing. Our night time and morning temps were below freezing, but our daytime temps were at 50 and it was gorgeous. But having to go out in it when it was freezing twice a day has done a number on me. I know they claim that you can't catch a cold from being in the cold, but I think it certainly does help any virus that might be around invade your system.

This is the best cold I've had in ages, though. My immune system actually seems to be fighting it. I guess now that I'm no longer being beaten down by food poisoning my body has a chance. Though I still feel the effects of all those months, each week away is a little better than the one before.

On the other hand, I used the cold as an excuse to get pizza and deli food from the store and blew through most of the money I'd hoped to save to throw extra at the mortgage. Oh, well. I am still going to try to send extra to it.

So, on to the payday stuff.

$1000.00 to Mom
__100.00 to Emergency Fund
__125.oo Half Year HOA Dues (Old House)
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Aquaponics Fund
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__434.61 Propane (Old House)
___74.40 Dental
____8.58 Sleep Doctor
___40.00 Allowances
__100.00 Cash for Week
___95.00 January Money Fund
-------------
$2267.59 Total Out

I had $200 in my propane fund, but I decided to leave it there since I could cash flow the propane bill. We will have one more really large one before we turn the heat off in the old house from the end of April through October. The danger of freezing the pipes won't pass until then. This tank should last until the end of March or so.

Next week I'll have a larger than normal AMEX bill of $350.09. This is because we used the card to buy a Food Saver from Costco and not just gas. It is making a big difference in our frozen meat already.

I found out that we do have orthodontia covered. They will pay 50% up to $1500. DH is looking into which doctors in our area are in network. I don't mind doing that for an unestablished doctor/patient relationship. I just don't like being told that my doctor for years isn't covered. I'd go to the one my daughter went to but he is retired. I'm hoping his partner is in network, because it is really close by.

We are going to use part of our income tax refund to pay for fixing my teeth. Part of it will go into the Aquaponics Fund, part of it will go into the Emergency Fund, part of it will go into the College Fund, part to the Moving Fund, part to the Medical/Dental Fund (which is not funded at the moment) and I want to go out with DH to a really nice steakhouse sans kids with a little bit of it. I know DH needs a new stylus for his Boogie Board. And I want a Victorio Food Mill for processing tomatoes this summer.

We should be able to get our income tax done the first week of February and get it sent off right away. I have all of the interest info, we are now just waiting for the property tax slip (though we know the amount) and the slips from DH's work (again, we know the amount).

I feel like we are finally getting on solid ground. We started so far under water and then when we got our heads above, it was like slogging through mud flats when the tide is going out. Then it seemed like an endless progression of rocky beach. Now it feels like we've finally reached the sun-warmed sand. We're not quite ready to plop down and sun ourselves, but we can at least see the beach towels, you know? Wink

It's Easy to Save Money...

December 5th, 2013 at 02:56 pm

...when you are too sick to go anywhere. Oh, man, has this been a bad fall for me. I don't think I've been well for more than a week at a time. This is just me whining so feel free to ignore. Right now I'm about ready to claw out my throat. I have been drinking a lot of orange pekoe Ceylon tea with raw honey and also something called Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals, but they only help temporarily. I've even stooped as low as taking Fisherman's Friend, which tastes foul, but helps some.

I am also sick to death of soup, but don't have much choice between my throat and my stomach. When what goes down must come back up again, soup is the easiest road to follow. Ugh. I just want to be well. It would help if I could stay warm. You'd think with such a high fever that wouldn't be a problem, but we are going through a major cold spell. And I have to be out in it twice a day to care for the animals.

At least I have my canned food. It makes it easy to put food on the table for the kids. Last night I made tacos with some of my canned hamburger. I added a half cup of my taco seasoning to a pint of hamburger, added a bit of water and nuked it for 3 minutes. No fuss, very little mess, and everyone was happy.

Tonight is canned salmon and canned green beans with microwave baked potatoes. It doesn't get much easier than that. I might even be able to manage some of the salmon as it is soft. Not too much though. It's too expensive a fish to waste on my stomach right now. I will probably mostly just eat my home canned broth. That seems to stay down. It's when I add noodles and veg that I run into problems.

DH left for Alaska Tuesday night so I can't even have him take over rabbit duty.

Oh, well, at least, like I said, I'm not spending any money.


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