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No Good Sales This Week and Things to Do

August 4th, 2022 at 09:58 am

I got my chuck roast canned.  I now have 28 quarts and 2 pints on my pantry shelves and 1 quart in the fridge because of a seal failure.  It's my fault for using a faulty ring.  I knew it was suspect, but didn't want to go find another one.  Anyway, it's a start.

The sales suck for the new ad cycle that started today.  I will be ordering 20 pounds of green beans and 40 pounds of gold potatoes for a Friday pickup from a local farm, if it isn't too soon and I will work on getting those canned.  I will likely not have green beans to pick until September and I don't want to have a bad season and then just not have any to can.  I will order 20 pounds of carrots after I get all that done.

I think our potatoes are doing fine, but what I can grow is never enough to make it through the year.  We added 3 more rows of potatoes this year, but there isn't room for more than that yet until we clear some more space.  That means a lot of weed eater work and then putting down black plastic, something that I am not capable of at the moment and haven't been since my last fall, so that will have to involve my husband and son.

I see the doctor on Friday for a mental health checkup and to see if he is ready to bump me up to 200 mg.  I've still had some hyper mania incidents, though they are getting fewer and further between.  I think another 50 mg is going to help me significantly.  It's like on sort of lingering on the cusp.  While I am there I am going to ask for new x-rays of my back and my other hip to be taken and my tailbone.

Those were not taken at the hosptial because I was feeling everything in my arm where I tore it open and the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and collarbone.  The other pain didn't hit me until the next morning and was still overshadowed by the arm.  Until it wasn't.  And it has gotten worse and worse and after sitting up too long it just kills me, like the bones are rubbing together.  I can stand for 30 seconds only, so I'm back to that.  I can still walk okay, it's just when I stop that the unignorable pain comes back.  After canning it is severe, but that has to get done.

Regardless, of what they x-rays say, I mostly want to know if it is safe for me to go back to physical therapy or if I did some more damage to my spine or broke something in my tailbone.  Honestly, it could just be a lack of physical therapy.

DH's boss's wife and grandmother are having a joint birthday party and they want us to come.  I don't know that I am up for it with all the pain I'm having.  I also don't like being around large gatherings.  But I do like the man and his family.  DH will go even if I don't.  My immune system isn't the greatest so if someone comes there who is sick or doesn't know they are sick, I am likely to catch it.  It is not a lot of fun to be on immune suppressing drugs sometimes.

Tomorrow I will start back on a diet.  I do this so many times, but hopefully this one will take.  It is best for my overall health to get this weight off, especially because it pulls on my discs, but that is often easier said than done.  Plus I need to lose 75 pounds to get the nerve burning surgery done, assuming my insurance will pay for it.  It won't fix the problem, but at least I won't feel the pain there anymore.

 

This and That

August 2nd, 2022 at 06:15 pm

DH's raise went into effect August 1st, which means the paycheck on August 19th will be the first one with the higher rate.  I was kind of hoping it would be the one this Friday, but didn't really think it would.  Now I just have to wait and see how much net we will get so I can update my budget template and then work up budgets for the rest of the year.  They will be subject to change, but just having a basic one built helps me plan.

Today the weather has cooled off substantially so I am canning chuck roast.  After I get off the computer I will have 14 jars going in to the big canner.  Then later today I will go to Fred Meyer and get 10 more chuck roasts and get them cut up tonight so I can do it again tomorrow.  I have to take advantage of the $3.99/lb sale.  They don't have a limit so if I get them prepared tonight and can them tomorrow, I can then go and get another round.  Then I will have 42 jars on the shelf and I'll wait until the next meat sale and do it again.  I want to have 102 jars of roast beef on the shelf.

I am hoping a decent sale comes up on chicken thighs.  I can skin and debone myself, and then can it up.  I only want 52 jars of chicken on the shelf.  And then I need to think about canning up some of the ground beef we have left from our steer.  There is a ton of it still and we need to make room for our hog, because the butcher said it will be a few weeks, but I don't really know what a few means.  I am only getting half a hog, since it took so long and they got really big, so now a half is like a whole if I'd gotten it two and a half months ago.  It cost $753.  I will still have to pay the cut and wrap fee, which is $0.75 per pound, I think.  It might be per package of meat.  Well, they'll tell me when they are done, but I have budgeted about $300 for it.  It might be more, but I can pull from savings.

Once I see how much space I have left in the freezer, I can decide what I want to do about beef, since we are pretty much down to hamburger and a few roasts, ribs, and soup bones.  No steaks are left.  I may get a half if there is room, or just stock up on a lot of chicken and buy some steaks and roasts as we need them.  They just won't be grass fed, probably.  Plus, DH's friend's boat is fixed, so they will be fishing soon for salmon.  There is some seafood we need to start eating up so there will be room for that, too.

Not much going on in the financial aspect at the moment.  Not until payday anyway.  Still waiting on the appeal for DD on the insurance front, but preparing for having her to go on COBRA, getting all the paperwork to be submitted and it go smoothly into that as soon as possible.  Then we will schedule her MRI of her liver.  It is just a follow up from the surgery where they removed the tumor.  They want to make sure it isn't growing again and that her liver has regenerated.  She's been having some pain in that region again off and on, so hopefully it hasn't started to come back.  I would appreciate prayers for that.

My husband, kids, and I all filled out our ballets last night for the primary.  We went over the voter's book with them over the last week and we all agreed on who we wanted to vote for.  DH is dropping them off at the courthouse drop box after work today.  I hope it makes a difference and other people in the state are as fed up as we are, even Seattle.  King County likes to screw over everyone else and they usually have the population to do it, but a lot of people fled Seattle over the past three years due to rioting, so we might have a chance to get some sensible people in this year.  As sensible as a politician can manage, anyway.

 

I'm Finally Going Whole Hog! Plus Medical Expenses, Etc.

July 28th, 2022 at 10:32 pm

It has taken forever, between our first upright freezer breaking down, to having it replaced after many months when no one could repair it, which also took months because they were on backorder, to me ordering the hog, to the butcher dates being pushed back several times, to today, when my hog is actually being butchered.  It will be about 3 weeks before I actually get it, since they have to hang it for a while and then have to cure and smoke hams, bacon, and hocks.  But I will have it before the end of August, so that makes  me very happy.  I wanted it before fall, so this is great.  This saves a lot of money on meat in the long run.  Now I can start saving up for a beef.

I'm still trying to locate a pasture-raised lamb that has never been fed grain, but it is harder than you would think.  I may have to look outside my county.  Hopefully the next one over has some.  Otherwise I will have to give in to those who ate grain early on, but then switched to grass only.  As long as it is organic grain, I can deal.

The garden is doing well.  The onions need to be ringed, but they are growing nicely.  It'll be nice not to buy them at $.1.29 each.  I resent that so much, because before I could get them at 25 cents each.  I planted so many I think I may not have to buy them for 8 or 9 months.  I will probably braid all the yellows and the reds, but the Walla Walla sweets I will chop and freeze.

The garlic is pretty dry, so I think I another week and it'll be done.  Now I have to decide if I want to clip them or keep the stem on and braid them.  I love the way braided looks, but we don't really have a good place to hang them unless DH puts in a hook in the hallway or we hang them on a rod in the laundry room.  Neither place is convenient.  I will cut some up small and dehydrate it.  Then I can grind it for powder as I need it.  If I make it powder and keep it in a jar, it tends to clump badly or go hard.  I think I have enough garlic for a year, but we will see.  It's going for $1 for one head right now when you used to get 4 or 3 heads for $1.  That's outrageous.

The zucchini is quite small, about a dime in circumference for the largest and about 3 inches long.  I've got itty bitty cucumbers starting, but the vines don't want to climb the trellis yet.  I've got several green tomatoes coming on.  The green beans are about 8 inches tall, having been planted so late.  I'm still getting strawerries and the blueberries are starting to blush.

It'll be a while before I get more to harvest, but when I do I won't have to buy produce for some time.  I'm thinking about getting a CSA box in the meanwhile, since that is also cheaper than buying them from the store right now and I can pick out of several boxes of what I want, whether it be just fruit, just veg, or a combo, and there are different sizes at different price points.  They also have meat boxes and milk and egg boxes.  That's pretty neat.

I do want to get a box of nectarines to cut up and freeze, and two boxes of tomatoes for canning as I never have the space to grow enough.  I'll probably get 40 pounds of yellow potatoes and 20 pounds of carrots to can as well.  I'm not sure when, though.  And I will be buying chuck roast this week to can as it is $3.99/lb at Fred Meyer this ad cycle.  I'd like to get at least 14 quarts canned during this sale.  I'll do more if I can get it and my hands can take it.  I am almost out of that.  This sale seems to repeat itself somewhere around every six weeks, so I'll have a chance to do more.  These are still pre-Covid sale prices.  I use canned beef a lot during the winter, because it, canned potatoes, and canned carrots make a great quick stew.

I'm still waiting to see if there will be a good sale on boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I may have to just buy regular thighs, which do go on sale, and skin and debone them myself.  It's more work, but I can then make stock with the skins and bones, so I do get more out of it.  I need to make a lot of stock as I am completely out of canned stock.  It's an economical way to do both.  I can't get pre-Covid sales prices on the chicken, but the new sale is $1.29 per pound if you don't want to get the stuff injected with stuff, which is about what it was not on sale pre-Covid.

When I do go to Winco I will pick up some turkey sausage and turkey chorizo.  It is still pretty cheap at $2.99 a pound.  Way cheaper than pork sausage, which I will have a lot of with the hog, because I didn't get any roasts in my order.  I'm going to buckle down and start making the largest items from the freezer instead of what I feel like.  We've got some beef ribs and soup bones that take up a lot of space, so I need to deal with those.  We have some freezer burned pork that is meant for crab bait, so we need to get that to DH's boss, so he will have it when they go out crabbing.  It can sit in his freezer instead of ours.  And we will eat up the rest of the roasts from our beef.

I'm not sure how much room we will need for the hog.  When she first told me it was about 400 pounds, but that was six weeks ago.  It could easily be 600 pounds by now the way hogs eat, since she wasn't able to butcher on time.  I guess I'll know soon enough.  Funny thing was, I wanted a hog around that size originally, so I guess I get what I wanted.

When I go buy the meat later today, I won't have to buy any produce.  I still have plenty from last week.  2 watermelons, the first good cantaloupe I've seen this summer, 1 and a half bunches of bananas, 2 golden kiwis, WA state red cherries, 4 peaches, and 4 nectarines.  The latter two are still ripening.  I also have a nearly full bag of salad mix, a full bag of spinach, a green cabbage, a purple cabbage, a napa cabbage, 1 parsnip,  2 sweet potatoes, 2 stalks of celery, half a bag of Russet potatoes, a full bag of gold potatoes, 1 cucumber, 2 shallots, 1 yellow onions, 1 walla walla sweet onion, and 4 carrots.  I foresee cabbage rolls in my future as well as a root vegetable dish.  I need to use up the parsnip and the sweet potatoes before they go bad.

I scheduled DD's cavity appointments.  I wish we had been able to do them sooner, before she loses her insurance, but such is life.  I'm pretty sure the COBRA is just medical, not dental and vision.  We have spread it out over 3 appointments about six weeks between them.  The first one will cost $367, the second one will cost $258, and the third will cost $261.  That will allow us to cash flow fixing her teeth.  Then maybe after that we can get her the $400 night guard.  So $1286 all told.  We don't want to do it first because it will effect the shape of the mouthguard by small amounts and it might not fit right.

If we don't cash flow, we should have enough in the Medical Fund to cover it.  I put $500 in it every 2 weeks.  Of course we spend it a lot through the year, but I should have enough by September to pay for the first appointment.

If MIL gives us $10,000 like she did last year, I am going to dump $5k into the Medical Fund and $3K into the Emergency Fund and $2K to start saving for my son's education.  It's not much, but it's a start.  While he finished high school through homeschooling, he doesn't have the piece of paper.  So he needs to get his GED before going to the technical college.  You can also get an actual high school diploma through the technical college, so we might do that.  He'll have to test and see if he has enough knowledge to pass as that was a while ago.  He may have to take some more math to get into the program he wants, but everything else is where it should be except possibly his essay writing.  He always hated that because of his dyslexia.  He doesn't have the problem with numbers, only letters.

Insurance now covers the coating that takes out the blue light on computers and makes it easier to read things on white paper, so he'll be getting that with his new glasses this month.  Another expense, but one that the money is there for already, as are mine, if I decide to get them.  I may just wait until January when I can get both frames and lenses, not just lenses.  Or I might get contacts if the prescription hasn't changed much.

Pop Some Cyber Champagne with Me!

July 22nd, 2022 at 04:35 am

DH had his performance review today and life suddenly got a whole lot easier.  His boss, his boss's boss, and the company president were all there for the review.  The company freaking president.  It was a massively glowing review.  DH probably could have been seen from space, it was so glowing.

Now, previously his boss had told him to expect something that would make him fall on the floor if he got what was put in for.  My response to that when DH told me was that the only thing that would make me fall on the floor would be going up to $150K, but I'd be happy with anything to help with the massive inflation.

Well, my dears, they didn't even hesitate to sign off on what was requested. Let's just say that we have both collapsed in a heap.  DH got a $22,624 a year raise.  That is 17.8%.  So is that $150K salary?  No, but that's quibbling.  It's $149,816 a year.  So close enough in my mind!  Plus he works several weeks of 10 to 20 hours of overtime a year, so it'll probably be closer to $160K when all is said and done.

DH said the amount of his raise was the amount of his salary the very first year he started at an engineering company fresh out of technical college, about six months before we got married.  I remember living on that and deciding to have a baby.  We lived on love, faith, and hope.  Well, we aren't living on hope anymore.  We're back to being on dry land, no more treading water and no more sinking.

DH is now where he was while working in Alaska in 2015 before the lay off that wiped out our savings and put us years behind where we could have been if all had gone well.  Only now he's not on hazard pay, he's home, the benefits are better, he's pretty much guaranteed a job for the rest of his working life assuming the company stays solid, and we don't have to pay for airfare to get to Alaska or a mortgage or a car payment or any debt at all.  And when we do inherit the house from my mother, we will be able to pay the property taxes.  It's like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.  I praise God for this so much.  DH has worked so hard for this company, they've noticed, and it has paid off in spades.

But the biggest, most important thing in this is that if the appeal to keep our daughter on DH's medical due to disability doesn't work, we can afford to pay for her insurance without wiping out our entire emergency fund and still have money leftover.  And that feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of all of our shoulders.

And now I can rebuild the Emergency Fund.  I had to take out $7000 for repairing a rotten bathroom floor and fixing a plumbing leak.  We will probably have to completely rip out the bathroom/shower and put in a new one, too.  But at least we didn't drain the fund.  There is still $13,285.51 in it.  We will get it back up again.

Then maybe we can save up so DS can go to school and become an electrician or engineer like he is interested in.  We haven't been able to afford it since this is such a high cost of living area.  Now maybe we can.  Technical college is not as expensive as other colleges and ours offers a bachelor's degree in engineering at a third of the cost as our university does.

And after that, I want to get a solar system for the house.  That has always seemed like a pipedream, but who knows now?  If we can replace at least half of our energy costs for the year, that would be great.  Maybe we can get one by 2030.  I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but yeah.  Maybe.

Anyway, I am raising a glass of cyber champagne high.  Cheers!

 

We'll See

July 10th, 2022 at 02:26 am

DH's boss has put in for a sizeable raise for DH.  I know he just got one in December, but his responsibilities have increased by a large margin...a margin that was not required for his job or the last raise.  The last raise was completely swallowed up by inflation.  I had to double, and then raise by another $50, our gas budget.  Electricity, gas, water/sewer, and even garbage have all gone up.

He said that if the raise goes through, DH will probably fall down on the floor.  About the only thing that would make me fall down on the floor would be $150K.  But anything more would be fine, especially if it will cover DD's COBRA (still waiting on the appeal, but who knows?) while we try to get her on disablility or find a cheaper insurance that will still cover her medications.  And maybe let us bump up our retirement contributions.  At least we will be able to claim a significant amount of medical this year and that was before paying for COBRA, which starts in August.

Right now we are at 16% and I would like to be at 20%, maybe even 25% one day.  Even if I can only go up to 17% or 18%, that will help.  I haven't looked at retirement since the freefall started.  I really don't want to, either.  I am hoping in November we will see a sea change and all these people willing to throw our money away on other countries and not take care of us here so we can recover in our own economy and infrastructure, get voted out.  I'll certainly vote against Patty Murray.  She stopped being the Mom in Tennis Shoes she originally campaigned as when I was young and is now just another rich career politician who has strayed so far from what she used to be, I just want her gone.  And I like her opponent.  But I digress.

I've been able to stay within my food budget only because I don't have to buy much in the way of meat, mostly just chicken and the occasional pork.  DH caught the limit on spot prawns and was given more by some of the others again.  They tried to catch Pacific sand dabs, which are in the flounder family, while they were out there but only caught little ones that they threw back.  There is not much meat on the little ones.  Still both prawning trips have been more than enough to cover the gas to go out.  These ones are super expensive to buy.  So we'll get a few meals out of those.  I am really looking forward to crabbing and salmon seasons and we may try to catch some river trout, too, since there are some fishing areas in our local parks.

So mostly I am buying produce right now and it'll be a while yet on when I can replace much of those types of groceries.  Right now I am getting scallions and the first peas are ready to be picked today.  I've got some herbs to harvest from and I am still picking strawberries.  The raspberries are starting to turn color.  So I am able to supplement a little.  Plus I'm pulling the elephant garlic today, now that I've had 7 days in a row with no rain or watering.  That helps them dry out some before being pulled and put on a ventilated drying rack for about 2 weeks and then I can cut off the greens and trim the roots and they can go into a box for dry storage in my coldest cabinet that seldom gets opened.  I think the Music garlic is ready, too, but I'll have to dig down and check.

Once all the garlic is out I can plant carrots, radishes, and 90 day parsnips.  Those are all great things to plant after garlic or onions.  The onions are starting to swell, but they have several weeks to go.  Maybe in another 2 weeks I can ring them and then their growth will take off significantly.  And I'll be able to use the sprinkler and just handwater once this garlic is out.  

I've got baby zucchinis starting and saw my first tomato (small and green) yesterday.  My cucumbers are still really small plants.    My lettuce has bolted and my spinach, too.  My herbs are big enough that I can start to harvest them.  But that's still not a lot of fruit or veggies.  We finally got the green beans planted, but they haven't come up yet.  I will be getting the sweet potatoes in today.  We'll have to do a peusdo greenhouse when the weather starts cooling off in the fall, since it took so long for DH to get the grow bags filled for me.  They are up on pallets to keep them off the ground for when the ground starts getting cold.

I am considering dumping the hog lady since she keeps having her butcher dates pushed back and I haven't heard from her in some time, and going with another beef.  Almost all that is left is hamburger.  Any new hamburger I get I can put through the grinder on a fine grind, mix with some ground chicken, some tallow, and with herbs and spices, run it all through again, and make sausage with it.  I can make mild Italian and I can make breakfast sausage.  And if I ask for the navel cut with the new steer, then I can make beef bacon as well, unless they will make the bacon and the sausage for me at the butchers.  They might not if the equipment for that is dedicated to hogs only, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  It might be, to keep kosher.  I know they will do kosher or halal when asked.

I need to do a stock up on herbs and spices at Costco this weekend, particulary salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and chili powder.  I also want to get more tomato sauce, some PH water, some TP, Ziplocs, some oil for the fryer, some olive oil, rice, stir-fry veggies, and some golden kiwis.  Maybe one or two more items, but I'll have to check.

I don't need to buy anymore fruit this week, as I still have strawberries to pick, a watermelon, 2/3 of a melon that was not labelled in the store, but tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew with a yellow rind, 2 small pineapples, some grapes, 3 nectarines, 1 peach, and 4 kiwis.  I might get Rainer cherries, though.  They are my favorite now and only have a short season.  But we don't really need it.  As for produce, we have two zucchini, 1 English cucumber, a head of lettuce, 1 green cabbage, 2 Napa cabbages (for cabbage rolls), 1/4 of a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, 2 packs of frozen broccoli, carrots, potatoes, radishes, 4 yellow onions, 1 red onion, and a head of garlic.  Also, home canned green beans, canned corn, and a can of water chestnuts.   I think we should be fine, so I'll take the opportunity to stock up on some long-term food storage and longer-lasting pantry items, while saving enough money for week two of this grocery budget.

I had raised the grocery budget to $500, but I have popped it back down to $400 every payday, due to the increase in gas prices.  It had to come from somewhere, so I am economizing more and sticking more firmly to meal planning and eliminating take out to more than once a payday and one of those meals MIL pays for.  We have all but eliminated prepared foods and are cooking mostly from scratch, now that I am feeling better.  It took a lot for me to recover from that last fall.  My scab has almost completely fallen off and now I just have to work on keeping the scar tissue from pulling the skin tight, but using cream on it 3 times a day.  I still have some pain from the fall, but I'm down to just using Ibuprofen at bedtime, so it is obviously better.

It was hard to keep a good attitude through the healing process, because it has set me back, but I can still feel the higher dose of the stuff used to control my hypomania and death spirals (as I like to call them, not really death, just dark dives into misery) is doing it's job to keep me on a more even keel.  I still don't have a formal diagnosis other than hypomania and depression.  No one's come out and said bipolar, though.  Which is okay, because let's face it, I don't want to go on lithium.  I will likely be going up another 50 mg on my current drug the next time I see the doctor.  I feel it is the final step, because my outlook on life has improved tremendously over all.

I'm need to call in to physical therapy this week and get myself rescheduled.  I think I will need a new assessment, though, because my range of motion and the flexibility I was getting has now become less and so is the amount of time I can stand or walk with an assistance device and definitely without one and the pain is pretty bad unless I sit rather quickly.  I had been cane free for 8 weeks before this accident.  It's so frustrating, but I will put my head down, muddle through, and get stronger again.  I did it once, I can do it again.  I'll call the doctor, though.  I never got an x-ray of my lower back after I fell and I want to make sure I haven't done further damage, before I do.  I was so concerned with the pain my arm when I went to the hospital, I was completely unaware of other pain.  It wasn't until the next morning that I felt it and kept hoping it would get all the way better on it's own, but maybe it can't.  So we'll see.  We'll see about a lot of things.

It's a Ground Beef Thing

July 1st, 2022 at 07:04 am

So as we have eaten our way through the steer we bought last summer, we are now mostly left with ground beef.  A lot of ground beef.  3 compartments in the chest freezer and 1/2 a bin of it in the upright.  So I spent a good amount of time on youtube the last couple of days trying to find recipes that aren't all about Mexican food.  My daughter is having issues right now with those spices so I've been trying to veer away from them, but the hugest number seems go there.

Taco Mac, chili mac, enchiladas, Taco spaghetti, Taco penne bake, Taco bowl, Taco salad, Chili, Tacos, Taco Mac and Cheese, Taco Chili, Taco Lasagna and on and on and on.  The Italian ones are good, but are basically all variations on a theme, too, pasta or bread, meat, usually sauce, and cheese.  And there is only so much spaghetti, calzones, stromboli, pizza, goulash, meatball sandwiches, baked penne or ziti, macaroni and cheese and Fettuine Alfredo that one can eat in a week without being bogged down by a wheat hangover.

I was on a mission to find some other recipes and it took a lot of weeding through it, but I found some Asian inspired ones and some German ones, and of course there is meatloaf and burgers, cabbage rolls, etc., but I'm still lacking in much else.  I still have to do some recipe searching on google to see what else I can find.

But I have enough for a start and today I went to the grocery store and stocked up on what I needed to do this.  The goal is to have ground beef three times a week, or two if we are having steak.  Which we are just about out of, so probably not much of that will happen.

We've made a recommitment to cooking almost exclusively from scratch and eating healthy and not eating out for the month of July, because we really need to buckle down and stop spending money.  There are a few things in the freezer that are convenience foods, like fish sticks, fries, hot dogs, sausages, and garlic toast, but not a lot of that.  I'll be baking bread, rolls, and buns myself.  Everyone has pledged to help me as much as they are able, so hopefully this time around things will go as planned.  We have a good chance as summer tends to be the season I don't get badly sick in.  So if I can refrain from falling down or hurting my back for the rest of it, we can get this done.

We had a deer in the garden again today. It had big abscesses on its face, poor thing and was bashing it's head against one of our trellises until one of them popped.  It was really gross, but the thing needed to be drained.  We had to spray things down to get the gunk off and the smell was atrocious.  If I see it again, I will call animal control, because that is not a healthy animal.  We will be getting some fencing up tomorrow to hopefully keep the the deer out of the garden, and building some more low tunnels and cages for the thornless blackberries.  One day we will be able to fence everything tall enough to keep them out of the whole back yard, but this year is not that time.

We finally got DD's old doctor to fill out the forms needed for the insurance company and hopefully she will qualify to stay on our insurance.  We also need to have the chiropractor fill out one, because he has been treating her for congenital hip dysplasia since she was 3 months old, and correcting for hypermobile joints since she was 3 years old.  And he has seen first hand what her degenerative disc disease has done to her.

We had an online appointment with her new primary care doctor.  This is her second appointment and it was so nice to be heard.  Really heard.  She put DD on a muscle relaxant that does not interfere with her other meds.  It is actually the one I take, too.  The doctor also brought up this new treatment for obesity.  It is a diabetes drug that had a big side effect of weight loss.  It's called semaglutide and it's a pen injection.  They are very expensive, so I don't see us being able to do this for DD unless she is able to stay on our insurance and then they approve it.  She is hyperinsulinemic, the step before diabetes, so maybe.  If she doesn't we will be paying so much for COBRA or another insurance, we will never be able to afford it.

Prayers that the insurance company accepts from her reports that she is disabled enough to stay on it would be greatly appreciated.

 

A Walking Infinity Sign...but at Least I'm Walking

June 28th, 2022 at 03:36 am

Last Monday night, I had just finished picking strawberries and set them safely on the raised bed.  I went to sit down in my garden chair, but instead of double checking I was lined up properly and sitting on the seat, I sat down on the arm and it broke, collapsing the chair.  The sharp edges of the chair arm cut into my arm as I hit the pavement.  It was horrifically painful.  It cut two large gouges into my arm, which would be one without out the one inch break between them.  Altogether, it is 6.5 inches from the start of one to the tip of the other.

Hitting the concrete was awful.  I jarred everything in my hips and pelvis, the area where the discs are deviated, my upper back and my shoulders.  I had to sit there stunned for few minutes.  I hadn't brought my phone out with me to get help, and my husband was taking a nap, so I knew I had to get up by myself.  Fortunately the raised bed was right there, I just had to figure out how to get onto my knees from my butt with one working arm and crawl three feet, again with only one functioning arm.

Somehow I managed and then forced myself to use both arms to pull my body up.  By the time I was done, the pains in my shoulder, elbow (which hit the concrete) and wrist were excrucitating.  I managed to slowly walk into the house and as far as my daughter's room and asked her to check my arm.  She did and immediately said she needed to get my husband.  I said no, he was sleeping, and she argued with me for a minute before deciding to get him anyway.

DH came in, took one look at it and said I needed to go to the hospital.  I really didn't want to, because my whole body hurt and I was barely able to walk and the wheelchairs at the hospital are not well padded at all.  DH cleaned up my arm, got all the blood off and held a pad on it until it was just seeping and then tried washing it out again, because there was still dirt in it.  It started bleeding again and the dirt was still there.  Finally he took a photo of my arm on his phone and showed it to me and I agreed to go to the hospital.

For a Tuesday night it was packed.  By the time we got there my elbow had gone numb.  Once we got into triage my wrist was numb, and by the time we got called back to the acute care area my fingers were numb and the cut on my arm was bleeding through the bandage and got on my sundress.  I waited quite a while until they brought a little x-ray machine in to do my elbow and wrist.  I had no idea they had those.  It kind of reminded me of the x-rays on an arm my dentist uses, only this had a bottom plate for resting your arm on.

I laid back down on my side with a pillow under my arm and by the time a P.A. came in, I had bled all over the pillow.  He checked out the x-rays and thankfully, there were no aparent breaks.  He asked if anywhere else hurt and I said my shoulder so he poked around up there and rotated it around and found an incredibly painful spot so ordered a shoulder x-ray, too.  Then he inspected the cuts and said they didn't need stitches, but it did need some deeper cleaning out, so ordered some numbing gel put on, which helped a lot.

Then he asked me if I took anything for pain and I said no because if they were going to give me something I didn't want to interfere with that.  So he gave me 800mg of Ibuprofen and 1000mg of Tylenol.  It helped a little, but not much.  I was hoping for something a little stronger that would take me through the night, but at least I had hydrocodone at home.  I just knew it was going to be a long time until we got home.  He then rotated my elbow around until I heard a pop and then the numbness started to fade.  So something had been knocked out of alignment and was pinching on a nerve.

So then we waited for me to be taken to the big x-ray machine.  They took me there on the bed I was on and everytime we went through a door with a raised threshold it hurt so bad.  It just jarred everything.  By then my back was getting really sore and so were my hips.  X-ray took a while and then I was taken back to my room.  By then it was midnight and the nurse came in and washed out my wound.  It wasn't too bad because of the numbing gel.  She managed to get the dirt out.  Then she put on more numbing gel and bandaged it up.

The P.A. came back in shortly and said he didn't see any breaks in my shoulder or collar bone, although I don't know why he would, it was my  elbow and wrist that hit the ground.  But he still wanted us to wait for radiology to do a complete reading and it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.  Hah!  At that point I was so exhausted I just wanted to go home and I had had a mask on for 4 hours.  While I had used my inhaler before coming into the hospital, it can only do so much when I have a mask on.  So I went to the private bathroom that was for acute care patients only, took off my mask, used my inhaler, and breathed in cool fresh air for about five minutes.  By then the inhaler was working, so I put my mask back on and went back to my room.

When it was about 1:00, we still hadn't heard from radiology.  I wanted to go home and take a real painkiller and go to bed.  DH went out and asked how much longer it would be.  They called down to radiology who said they'd look at it right away.  At 1:30, I finally said I was ready to go, I'd take the P.A.'s word for it that nothing was broken.  I didn't care if I had to sign out against medical advice.

They must have heard that because two minutes later as I'm getting into the wheelchair to leave, the P.A. shows back up again with the news that radiology agreed.  He then asked if I knew when my last tetanus shot was.  I told him I thought it was five years ago, but I'd call my doctor and ask.  Then we got to go home.  By then the bandages they had given me had popped off a few time.  I was later to learn that the location of the injury made it impossible to keep bandages on because if I moved my arm one way they popped off that side and moved it another way it would pop off the other side.

For the first night we used some vet wrap to hold some guaze in place.  I had some unopened ones from when we had animals.  It's the same as what they have for people only cheaper and with more pretty colors.  Even that managed to wad up overnight and leave part of the wound uncovered so I had a pink stain on my blanket. We struggled with that for another day and then I just left it uncovered.  It took a total of 4 days to stop seeping.

The first day I spent in bed on my side with my arm propped up and on hydrocodone.  By the second day I could move around a little and my arm was starting to get some range of motion back, but the cut pulled hard if I moved it too much.  I was able to get through that day on Ibuprofen and Tylenol and just take hydrocodone at night.  Last night was the first night I didn't take any, just Ibuprofen and Tylenol and today I have not taken any, but probably will tonight.  All of my joints still ache, but not like before.

I've been a lot more mobile since Thursday on.  I feel like my arm is almost back to normal with range of motion.  I can't raise it above my head with the scab still pulling so hard.  I've been keeping it moisturized to try to prevent that, but it may take another week or so before I can fully raise my arm up.

Meanwhile I found out on Wednesday that my last tetanus shot was in August of 2012, so I needed one, but they didn't have any openings for a nurse appointment, so I would need to go to urgent care.  At that point I decided, screw that.  I can't sit like that again for 2 more hours to get a shot.  I still had two months left from my last shot and it was plastic and dirt, not rusty metal.  Probably a dumb choice, but I was done.

A couple minutes later the person I talked to called back and said, check some pharmacies, most of them give tetanus shots.  So I called the one in the closest grocery store where I got my Covid vaccines and they had them, so I was able to go down and get one once my husband was done with work.  I couldn't drive yet.  So we got that taken care of.  Then I let the doctor's office know that I'd done it so they could put it in their records.

So where does the walking infinity sign come in, you might ask?  That's the shape of the purple bruising around my wounds.  It's a very pretty purple.  Or looked at another way, it looks like Mr. Peanut got gutted, which is a little closer to how I felt.  At least I can drive now.  Still ache all over, but every day it hurts less and I'm able to garden, just no heavy duty.

Thursday I went out and picked another collander full of strawberries.  Can't say that there wasn't a little bit of a PTSD moment when looking at the remains of the chair, but this time I took both my phone and my husband out with me and all was well.

Friday I was okay enough for DH to go out for spot prawns.  He caught his limit.  There were a total of six other guys on the boat, who all got their limits, but 3 of them were single, so when they got back to the guy's house who owns the boat, they only wanted to take enough for their dinners last night, so gave the extras to DH.  And since the boat guy had been out every day since the season opened, he gave his entire catch to DH.  So he come home with a lot of spot prawns.  If you've never had them they are the sweetest shrimp and they require nothing, no cocktail sauce, no clarified butter, no scampi sauce.  We had some for dinner and cooked up enough to snack on for a couple of days and the rest went into the freezer.

Saturday I was able to pick another round, this time with my phone and my oldest sister who came over.  So I've picked 13 pounds of berries last week and half a pound the week before.  After this massive heat wave, there will probably be some ready tomorrow.  I need my son to go out and water, though, because I still can't lift a hose high enough and those beds haven't had drip hose put in yet.

I also need to cut off the garlic scapes on the Music garlic and process them for the freezer.  I'll freeze them in tbsp size servings and put in a ziploc and then I can use that in place of garlic until the garlic I grew is ready, pulled, and properly dried.

Other items I have harvested so far is a head of lettuce and a bunch of green onions.  The garden went in late, but it is starting to produce.  I am looking forward the first snow pea.  They are about two inches long right now, so a couple more days to go.

I was able to go grocery shopping with my husband today after he got off work.  I used the ride on cart, though.  I was really happy to get out of the store under $250 and that means I have enough money leftover to take advantage of a chuck roast sale.  I need to can some for the winter.  It's $2.99/lb and it didn't list a limit, just that it was a digitial coupon.  Without the coupon it is still $3.99/lb.  So tomorrow DS and I will go to the store that has that.  Tomorrow is supposed to be below 70 after several days in the high 80's, so that would be a good day to can meat, since it takes so long.

Anyway, that was my week.  Hopefully this week will be anticlimactic.  Even without what happened to me, last week was a doozy.

Surfacing

June 9th, 2022 at 01:15 am

I realized I haven't posted since May, so thought I'd surface for a little bit.  My autoimmune stuff has been kicking my butt lately, probably because I have been pushing too hard to get stuff done.  And the spring head cold, which was brutal.  And now I'm going through caffeine withdrawal, day 2, so you can imagine I'm not thrilled with life.  But I am trying to keep a postive attitude.

DH and I got the rest of the seed potatoes in.  I wish we could put in more, but I'll know better for next year to order more seed potatoes and save more, too.  We planted 15 pounds of ordered seed potatoes and 25 pounds of what we saved.  I think that we need a total of 50 pounds for next year.

We still have to plant the sweet potato slips, but we need to get more soil for that.  The area we want to plant them in is horribly uneven. It's still a bit chilly at night, so we will wait until the weekend to get those planted where warmer nights are forecasted.

We bought a new electric weed eater ($159) that even I can manage.  The battery is compatible with all of our other electric tools.  I can do it for 5 minutes and then I have to sit down, but after resting for 5 minutes I can do another session.  Three is my limit, but it is amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes worth of weedeating a few days in a row.  I've got most of the area cleared for green beans, now we just need to even out the ground and put down the black plastic.

We are growing in buckets, but they will be going up a trellis.  The buckets will have a soaker hose running across them held in by landscape staples.  We are using buckets because there has been an explosion of baby rabbits this year and I don't want them nibbled down like some of them were 2 years ago when we had the same issue.

We still need to put up some fencing to go around the green beans, too, and build 3 strawberry cages.  The strawberries have deer netting on them, but we want something better than that going forward.  Pole beans grow up until the first freeze here which is usually Halloween or the next week, so even though they are getting started later than I like they will still produce a long time.  Hopefully we can get that accomplished this weekend.

I just keep pushing my body as it has been able to do more and more.  I usually can go for 2 days and then have to spend a day doing nothing.  But I am getting stuff done so I feel accomplished.  I still can't use a shovel, though.  Different muscles that cause pain after 30 seconds.  I may never be able to, but at least I can do something.  The power of physical therapy is great.

Ugh--Gas! And Planned Purchases

May 31st, 2022 at 10:54 pm

I can't believe gas is at $5.89 a gallon.  I think I may have to increase our gas budget again.  I'd already doubled it from $100 per month to $200 per month, but now may need to go up to $250.  Even if we don't end up needing it for the cars, DH will start fishing soon and need to pay for his portion of the gas for the boat.  They try to take as many people out as the boat allows, so the gas costs can be split between more people.  That's more important than ever now.

I also need to add a fishing license cost into the next budget I make up, which reminds me, I need to do a budget for June.  I like to be prepared in advance, and usually I would have done this after filling in the budget for the first paycheck of May.  But it has been a busy, busy month and I didn't get around to it.

My Fitbit is acting up.  It has been for a couple of months now, usually after I go in the pool and submerge it, but also the last couple of times I've showered with it on.  It's one made for swimming, but it is also several years old so maybe the water is starting to leak in.  At first it was only freezing it on the clock for a couple of days afterwards while it dried out, but now it isn't giving me even that.  I can still check my steps on my phone, so that part is working, but I use it as a watch just as much as a step counter, because it is a pain to pull out my phone to see the time.  Plus the text messages I get show up on the Fitbit. Or did.  I've tried to reboot it several times, and at first it worked, but now it is a no go.

So now I need to price out new Fitbits and see how much it will cost to replace it with one that can go in the water.  I also need to get a new memory card for the new used camera.  I have $100 in my allowance folder, and can share the memory card out of my handheld back and forth for now, but that is a pain long-term.  I gave one of the kids my old memory card for their game machine when the old camera went belly-up.  I need the new Fitbit first, I think, but it depends on how long it will cost for me to save up for it.  I have no idea what they run now.  The last one was $100 and I doubt they have nothing in that price range these days.

At least my phone is in good working order.  Knock on wood.

No Spending Today--Garden Talk

May 31st, 2022 at 02:36 am

Last night about two hours before sunset, I got my plants in.  DH grabbed one of the wrong types of tomatoes.  I wanted two Early Girls and a Roma, but he got one Early Beefsteak.  I don't buy beefsteak tomatoes because they always take so long to produce here.  Same reason I don't buy Brandywines.  I've tried them once or twice and they basically start turning red in October, so they take up a lot of garden space with little production.  But I've never seen an early beefsteak before so hopefully it will produce earlier in the season.

I wish I had more space to grow tomatoes, but with the way everything is going so slowly, I'm not even sure we'll get green beans in on time.  I got my peppers in, then planted basil in what will be the understory of the other plants.  I put the blue Veronica and the Red Rock Yarrow in front of the cosmos.  I don't know how big the Veronica will get, but I know the Cosmos will get taller than the yarrow, and if the Veronica gets bigger than that I will have to transplant it elsewhere.  I have enough space for one more flower to fit in, it just has to be one that deer hate, like the others I've done so far.

After that I planted my green and yellow zucchinis.  I planted them at the distance of their mature size.  Too often in the past I've crowded them because the space is so big and it looks naked until the zucchini grows, but crowded plants slows down production and sometimes will block sunlight to the plants that weren't as big as some of the others.  So this year I am giving them room and making sure they are far enough from the cucumbers that they don't block the light to them.  That was a big problem last year.  Even after a lifetime of gardening, I still find myself learning things.

I had to look up when to harvest garlic, since my garlic stalks are so tall.  I found out that each leaf represents the outside paper for the bulb, so if there are ten leaves there will be ten layers of paper to protect all the cloves inside.  I've never had great luck with garlic in the past, but I planted it at the right time in the fall and it has done beautifully, growing like it was in an Alaskan summer with 20 hours of sunlight a day.

My onions are coming along nicely, too.  They are not quite ready to start bulbing, but I see a little swelling near the bottom of the stock, so maybe another week or two.  And I think the bunching onions will be ready to start harvesting pretty soon. 

Oh, and another fun fact I found out.  Elephant garlic isn't true garlic.  It's actually a leek.  Isn't that weird?  Because it bulbs like garlic and tastes like garlic, but it isn't garlic.  I think that is kind of cool.  Just one of those facts you stumble upon when searching for other aspects of garlic.

We didn't get the zucchini cages made yesterday as DH went down hard last night with the head cold.  He's not doing the greatest today, but he slept all night.  He said he will manhandle the fencing wire over to where I need it and he'll help me form the curves, but that may not be until tomorrow.  I am hoping for tonight, but I am not going to push him as I know how bad the first two days of this cold can be.  And even though I am somewhat better, I still fell asleep for 3 hours in the middle of the day, so I am leaving it up to him.

I do have to at least water.  Even though the soil was very moist when I planted, and the plants were wet from being watered at the nursery and store, I would like to get a good drenching on everything.  We've had light sprinkles, but as my grandfather always told my mother, a farmer can't count on the rain to water deep enough.

The drip hoses I ordered arrived in the mail on Saturday, so each bed will now have a 50 foot hose in it, which is enough to go down, cross the back, go back up, and then across the front and then I will attach a hose to it to go to the faucet, which has a four way hose splitter.  That way I can do the three 22 foot long beds and then set up a sprinkler for the strawberries.  We will run a hose from the other side of the house to set up a sprinkler for the potatoes.  The blackberries already have a drip hose on them and uses the hose from the back of the house as well.  So we should be set for watering with as little difficulty as possible.

Yesterday's Spending

May 30th, 2022 at 12:01 am

I spent $142 on garden stuff yesterday.  The welded wire tomato cages were the most expensive items.  I had hoped to make it back there before the turquoise cages were gone.  I would have bought a couple last time I was there, but they were all zip-tied together and they were closing in ten minutes, and it was too much of a hassle.  So I got two yellow ones and two hot pink ones in the smaller size.  I use these on peppers not tomatoes anyway.  It is just so windy here during May and June that the cages help keep the plants from being blown over.  They were pricey.

I was able to find a jalapeño plant, but they were out of bells.  They had cayenne, but I had one of those already along with 1 bell.  They had serrano and poblano, but I'm not growing any other spicy peppers this year.  There were no Anaheims.  I just wasn't able to get over there when I needed to.  But I was able to pick up 4 gold rush zucchini plants and 2 of the regular green ones, 4 cucumbers, 2 Early Girl tomatoes, and 1 Joe's best Roma.  I have 1 million pears already.  I also picked up four big sweet basil plants, decided not to get a Thai basil plant because the three they had looked very stressed.

After that I looked for some flowers.  As much as I wanted to get a couple flats of petunias, I have no place to plant those.  I ended up getting a 1/2 gallon pot of Veronica, which is a deep blue perrenial (unless it goes to 10 degrees, which might happen once every ten years or so, and a deep red yarrow.  Deer don't like either of those flowers so I will plant them with my zucchini.  The prices of starts have gone way up this year.  Next year I really have to start my own.  I have the grow lights and I have the station set up, I just haven't done it.  I have all the seeds and everything.

After that we went over to the grocery store that carries plants from the same nursery and found 3 Better Belles in 1/2 gallon pots. Better Belles are not my favorite type of bell pepper.  I feel like Northstar performs better here, but I waited too long and these are my choices if I want plants from a no-spray source and not a big box store.  I may yet check the food co-op, because they will often have things later than others and they are organic from another source.  I might find an Anaheim that way, but if not it is not a deal breaker.

That about did me in, just going to those two places, since I was still not doing that great, but again, I wore my mask, and DH handled the money and picked up the plants, so I didn't touch anything and I wasn't passing anything along to anybody.  Plus I had a negative Covid home test, so I think I'm okay.  We can't not ever go out with a head cold again, after all.  If I waited any longer there would have been nothing but flowers, herbs, and lettuces left.

I didn't plant anything yesterday, but I sat out in the fresh air and under the lightly overcast sky while DH put in another row of potatoes and then hilled up soil on the other four rows we planted before we left.  Those five rows were all the seed potatoes I purchased.  This morning DH put in two more rows before I got up.  These were the Kennebecs and Russets that I planted last year and saved for seed this year.  He's still got some more of that to do and then I have some grocery store potatoes that have sprouted as well that are golds.  I'll have to check the other potatoes I bought two weeks ago, too.  Everything that can go in the ground, will go in the ground.

After all the potatoes I have get planted, I will plant the sweet potato plants that I've been growing in water for 3 months.  One of the vines goes all the way up to the top of the window, so now that it is warm enough to plant those I want to get them in the ground.

I still have to plant the plants I bought yesterday and the put a wire cover over the zucchini and cucumbers.  I have to make the wire cover, though.  We have the welded wire fencing and the wire cutter, which is one I can operate with my arthritic hands, but the fencing is so heavy DH will have to help with it, since DS has come down with the cold.

I think I'm about at 60%, so I still need to take it easy and get enough sleep, but I definitely turned the corner yesterday and I think tomorrow, if I stay on this projectory will be about 70%.  I have physical therapy on Tuesday.  I won't make the decision on going or not until Monday around 3:00.  If I still feel sick then, I will cancel, because I have to touch too many things that others have to touch.

The cottonwood has started blooming and blowing its fluff balls all over the place, so it's hard to tell how much of the congestion is from my allergy to that and how much is left from the cold.  Either way, it is not helping.

DH is out running around trying to find a pharmacy that has Adderall that doesn't have blue dye.  DS is allergic to blue dye.  Walgreens is out in the whole county, so he was going to try one of the Rite Aids and have them call around to the others and then he'll try the Haggen pharmacies, then Costco, Fred Meyer, and Wal*Mart.  Hopefully he can find them, since DS left it to the last minute to tell us he needed it.

When he gets back I will plant my plants, since they are still in the back of the van.

 

 

Seattle was Exhausting

May 29th, 2022 at 01:18 am

Tuesday night after dinner we headed towards Seattle, but our hotel was in Lynnwood.  We stayed at a Hilton.  Let's just say it was not the best experience.  We get up to our suite and the door didn't unlock.  So my daughter and I are both left standing in the hallway while DH runs down to get the keys redone.  Standing is hard for both of us because we both have degenerative discs at the L-4 and L-5.  So does my mom so we think it is hereditary.

So DH comes back up with the keys again and it's still a no go.  And we can hear people inside who are very loud for 11:30 at night at a hotel.  So we figured it was locked from the inside and someone had gone into our suite who wasn't supposed to be in there.  DH runs down again and tells them someone is in suite.

Meanwhile, I am just about ready to cry from the pain.  So the front desk calls security and gives us an empty room across the hall.  One room, not a suite, but at least they were King size beds and had a fridge and microwave.  We reserved two rooms because I don't like sleeping in the same bed as DH.  He has restless legs and every movement or noise wakes me up.  It is horrible.  It felt like he was trying to pedal a bicycle next to me whenever we do.

So they booted the people out of the suite, but of course they had messed it up.  The bed clothes were off the beds, they'd used all the towels to clean up a spill.  There was honey on the floor and it reeked of alcohol.  There was no way to clean that up for us since there was no housekeeping until morning.

Needless to say I slept very poorly.  My fit bit says I managed 1 hour and 25 minutes.  The hotel breakfast was really good, though.  They had eggs, ham, sausage, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, blueberry and banana nut muffins, English muffins, bagels, cream cheese, toast, packets of peanut butter and jelly, 4 types of cereal, two of which were healthy, milk apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch, various teas, and 4 grind it on the spot coffees.  Oh, and 2 waffle makers.  So lots of options to choose from.  I just had eggs, ham, and a small amount of potatoes, with milk.  I seldom drink milk but it sounded good that morning.

DD's first appointment with the ENT went well.  She does not have a 95% deviated septum like the previous ENT claimed.  She has a mild deviation that isn't worth correcting as it is not what was causing her problems.  She has very, very fraglie blood vessels close to the surface that keep bursting.  He put a scope up there and I got to watch on the computer and you could see where the vessles had been bursting.  It looked nasty.  So he did electric cauterization, which is different from burning it somehow and last longer and is far more effective.  Hopefully that will put an end to the nosebleeds for a good six months.

After that appointment we went to Duke's seafood restaurant.  It was nice, but casual nice.  We got chowders and sour dough bread with real butter. It was delcious and light after having breakfast only a couple hours earlier.  Then we headed back to Virginia Mason for DD's second appointment with the endocrinologist.  By the time we were done, both of us were dragging.

Then we went back to the hotel and ordered dinner from Red Lobster, since there is one in Lynnwood.  I got the ultimate feast but they forgot the Walt's favorite shrimp and there was an extra linguine.  It worked out to the same price and I had plenty off food so we just let it go.  I had just figured I'd have some for breakfast, but no biggie.  I wouldn't get the crispy Brussels sprouts for a side there, though.  They were mushy and super spicy, not crispy at all.  And they had the dinkiest baked potato I have ever seen from a restaurant.  But again, it was enough food.  The forgot the clarified butter, though for the crab and lobster.  *sighs*

After dinner DD and I both felt like we got hit by a freight train.  I mean, it was full on cold symptoms just bowling us over.  DH ran out to a Walgreens and got us Dayquil and Nyquil.  I slept better that night, but only 5 hours.  I wish I had insisted on bringing my wedge.  I do better when I sleep propped up, but DH didn't want the hassle.  Next time he is going to have the hassle.

Neither DD or I felt good enough to have breakfast the next morning, so DH ate the extra linguine and we headed back to Virginia Mason and saw the internal medicine doctor who specializes in chronic illnesses.  It went well and we really liked her.  I know we shouldn't have gone into a doctor's office with a head cold, but we were both masked and this appointment was too important to miss.  So, yeah, I feel guilty, but it is not like it is Covid and people have been going to doctors for years with colds or other infections.

We headed home after that. We picked up some water bottles and Pringles at a convenince store because DD and I were craving salt and feeling very dehydrated.  Somewhere along the way DH stopped at a McDonalds and we got some food.  Not a lot for DD and me as we didn't have much appetite.  I got a cup of ice, though, as we had a case of Real Sugar Pepsi in the car. I don't drink it often, but I was barely staying awake.

I went straight to bed when we got home.  DH went and got me and DD ice cream.  I ate some and then went to sleep and had a wonderful nights sleep on a bed that doesn't have springs you can feel through the bed (or springs at all) and my nice wedge pillow.  I slept very well, dosed up on cold meds.  I spent most of Friday in bed, had some potatoes and gravy for lunch and a sandwich for dinner.  Today I feel a little better after another great night of sleep.  So does DD.  Still very tired, stuffed up, and throats a little sore.  And the cottonwood is blooming.  But definitely on the mend.  I think it'll be a few days before I feel back to normal again.

DH's mom covered the hotel stay and every meal, except Red Lobster, because we felt that was too expensive for her to cover.  She's very good with taking care of our travel expenses when DD has to go the hospital.

The main point I am taking away from all of this is that we won't be staying in a Hilton hotel again.  Next time we'll try for a VRBO.  Or maybe a Mariott.  At least they have good beds.

Retirement and Net Worth Updates--So Close

May 27th, 2022 at 07:45 pm

I was willing to look at the retirement accounts today and to do the math, now that the 401K is in recovery. The poor IRA, not so much, but at least it quit freefalling. The contribution from today's paycheck to the 401K has not yet been made yet.  So, the reckoning.  As of today the retirement accounts have lost $2,017.92 this year and pretty much ate up all of our contributions.  I know we have more stock, but until that stock is worth something, it means very little.  Our new retirement total is $73,086.69.

However, the contribution of company stock hit today, so our total net worth has gone up.  Our new net worth is $149,542.88.  It's weird to see it sitting that close to $150K.  If nothing goes down by the time our 401K contribution is made from this paycheck it will hit that next week.  It's so close I can taste it.  It would be a major milestone in a year that has otherwise been pretty horrible financially.

 

Camera Purchase

May 22nd, 2022 at 03:03 am

Today I ordered a used Canon Powershot Elph digital camera off Amazon. It's a gorgeous shade of purple and after my last one broke (blue), I told myself if I ever found a purple one, I'd get it.  I do have a handheld video camera that can take photos, but it isn't the best at it.  It takes good video, though.  My phone is a better camera than it.

So I've been waiting and waiting and finally one came up refurbished from the Canon Store on Amazon.  I wasn't going to pay $400 or more for a new one.  It comes with a battery and charger, although I have two batteries and two chargers already so that would have never been a deal breaker.  Now I can take fairly nice photos again on a proper tripod.  I paid $167.98.

Pardon My Rant

May 20th, 2022 at 03:52 am

Gas hit $5.29 a gallon cash price and ten cents more for credit cards.  Diesel hit $5.49 per gallon.  So the cost of food will go up even higher now.  I hope you all have been paying attention to me for the last couple of years, but especially this year, when I told you to stock up on food, meds, and personal care items.  I have not been wrong about this yet and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Did you know that in Washington state they are uncovering an extra digit on the big digital gas signs with the amounts on them, because they are anticipating $10/gallon gas coming up?  Some gas stations have run out of gas entirely.  I hope they suspend the gas taxes here like they have in other states.  We are not a living wage city for the most part and we are sprawled so it is not easy to get across the city on a bicycle or on foot and the climate is not conducive to it most of the year.  The bus system is already packed and they don't have enough buses to run anymore of them, so they can't just add more runs.

Some of the McDonalds in my state are starting to offer $20/hour to help offset gas prices so employees can get to work.  And you know what that means, right?  The food there is going to go up to compensate.  And it will go up to compensate higher delivery costs because of the gas prices.  It's a vicious circle spiraling ever higher and out of control.

The same thing is going on at grocery stores and stuff clearly isn't getting delivered on time so sits in the warehouses too long and gets put out on the shelves when it shoud be chucked out.  And we get to go through rotten, moldy produce to hopefully find something edible, when two years ago we would have turned our noses up at the very thought.

Meanwhile our infrastructure crumbles, our manufacturing isn't done at home so shortages abound, the Fed prints money out of air that we can't back up, and raises interest rates causing inflation to get worse, the stock market tanks, and our administration does whatever it can to sucker punch our energy independence over and over again and then blames the last year and a half on Putin and not their own policies.

Dustbowl states believe a new Dustbowl type of situation is coming and the lack of fertilizer won't help.  There's too much rain except where their is too much drought.  Basic supplies and animal feed are in short supply, meaning meat prices will go up a lot more and many will not be able to afford it anymore.  Welcome to being a second world country, America, where you can't even find baby formula.  If things don't change soon, this is the beginning of the New Great Depression, make no mistake.

 

 

 

I Didn't Think I'd Be Able to Ever Move Again

May 19th, 2022 at 01:06 am

Last night was rough.  I did a lot of new exercises at physical therapy and even though it was in the pool it totally kicked my butt.  45 minutes of non-stop exercise was only possible with the decreased gravity.  By the time I got home everything hurt so bad.  I made it halfway to the house before I had to sit down in the chair at the bottom of the ramp and put the bag down.  It was so heavy with a wet towel and suit in there.  And I forgot my phone so I couldn't call DH to come out and get me.  So I sat there about ten minutes until I could go into the house and send DH out for my bag.  That's how weak I was.

I wasn't able to move my arms enough to make dinner.  They just felt like lead.  It felt like a full on fibro flare with the RA kicking in just for fun.  So we got Mexican.  I had a single tostada de ceviche.  They make it with tiger shrimp and it is really good with lots of tomatoes and onions.  And then I had a rectangle from a chicken quesadilla.  I also got 1 beef enchilada with rice, but I was too exhausted to eat it, so it went in the fridge for today.  I figured I would be able to eat it all since I hadn't eaten all day (yes, bad, I know).  And the rest of the family only ate 1 triangle each of the quesadilla, so there are still two left which I will probably have for lunch tomorrow.  We spent $80 for the four of us.

I took a hot shower after dinner and that helped, but DH had to come wash my hair since I wasn't able to lift my arms above my head.  I still had a good bit of pain going on so I took half a hydrocodone and it knocked me out and when I woke up I felt a lot better.  I can still feel some soreness, but it is just muscle soreness and not fibro.  It hurts to raise my hands above my head, but I can.

The hands still hurt, but they always do after a lot of work.  And not near as much as yesterday as I am typing fairly easily.  I will probably have to avoid that exercise in the future due to how hard it was on my hands.  It was using a mini-kickboard, holding it upright underwater, and pulling it towards me and pushing it away.  It builds the core, but so do a lot of other things, so we'll figure something out.  I have PT again on Friday so we can talk about it then.

I am able to make dinner tonight so we have steaks thawing.  I am going to cook the steaks rare and have green beans, and French fries.  It's a fairly simple dinner.  If my hands were better I'd be making fried potatoes, but French fries will have to do.  I have been making a lot more meals, but yesterday just threw me for a loop.  I will be making a crockpot meal on Friday so that I won't have to worry about making dinner when I get back from PT, it will just be there and ready.  We have beef ribs which work really well with low and slow cooking, so I will just throw them in there with some potatoes and sweet potatoes and then all that will need to be done when I get home is micro-steam a bag of broccoli.

DS and I went out to "shop" the freezer and brought in some steaks and roasts, Canadian bacon, and a pack of hotdogs.  I only had 16 pounds of butter, so I need to do a major stock up.  Last year I bought 60 pounds of butter and 8 of those in there were bought recently, so we went through a pound of butter a week, so I guess I planned pretty well.  I like spring and summer butter when the cows are on green grass and not hay.  I get grass fed butter and there is a world of difference between that and conventional, but also between summer and winter butter.

DS and I need to do an inventory of what is out there and of what is in the mini-chest freezer.  It is easy to see what is in the upright.  I need to see what we need to eat through and how much space we will have in the house and how much we will have in the garage.  I know some of what is in there is crab bait chicken and turkey breast and that will be out of there as soon as the dungeness season starts.  They have freezer burn, so this is a great way of not wasting the meat.  It'll get us through the season and it sure beats buying crab bait, especially at today's prices.

I had regular therapy today and we talked about how I don't like change and how I want to cut my hair and I've wanted to cut it since before the pandemic and things have been open and without masks for quite some time, but I don't do it.  Part of it was my salon went out of business, but something else was affecting me and I knew it.  So she asked if anything from my childhood might be affecting me and I realized that Mom made me get pixie cuts when I was a kid, because she didn't want to deal with the work of longer hair.  I wasn't allowed to choose my own hair cut until I was in the third grade and then I grew it long.

And even though I have had it short at various times in my life it was because I wanted to.  Now it is below my waist and full of damage and i need to get it cut.  And you know what?  My mom keeps saying that I need to get it cut.   Constantly.  And I haven't, because I still resent her very much for forcing me to have a style of hair that I hated for so many years.  Or that one time she made me get a perm.

So, now that I realize the only reason I am not doing it is to spite her, I think I can finally get past this and cut my hair to a couple inches below my shoulders and be done with it.  I've found a salon after much looking, so all I need to do is call tomorrow and schedule an appointment.

It's good for me to be able to realize what this is and get through it.  This is not the only aspect of my life that Mom affects this way, unfortunately.  And all of it relates back to having no bodily auntonomy when I was younger.  So steps were taken today to help me realize this and I feel a lot lighter.

Alright, well I better get to making dinner now that the steaks have sat out for an hour and are at room temp.  Then after dinner I will work in the garden a little.  Instead of getting a whole load of dirt, I've realized that we have a bunch of totes that we were growing in for the last two years that have dirt in them.  I weeded several of them yesterday and I managed to screen all the dirt in one to pull out roots and other things, like the peanuts our crazy squirrel couple bury all over the place.  Two of the peanuts have roots on them, so I put them in a large pot and we will see what becomes of them.

Last year there was one that grew and actually formed some peanuts.  Of course, I didn't know what it was until I'd pulled it out and it didn't take to being replanted and died.  I didn't even know peanuts could grow here, but apparently they can.  And these one's hadn't formed any other nuts on them so they have a better chance.  I'll have to look up their needs to see if they need special care and make sure I planted them at the right depth.

Okay, really going now.

 

 

 

I Wrote the Check

May 17th, 2022 at 06:28 am

Honestly, I thought it was going to hurt writing such a large check.  Nearly $6000 is a lot of money.  But I felt really okay with it.  Having my son's teeth fixed will be worth it. He had his appointment today where they did x-rays, took photos, and did some kind of scan of his teeth with a tool.  On June 20th he will get his full set of Invisaligns.  I didn't know he would get all of them at once, but he will.  You move onto the next set every ten days.  It's different, but seems so much more convenient than traditional braces.

I would, one day, like to get this for myself as my teeth have moved since I had an appliance to fix my bite.  My teeth were always straight and I never had a gap, but over the last ten years or so I've had a gap between my top front teeth that is getting bigger and bigger.  And I have a couple of teeth on the bottom that seem to be pushing forward a bit.  They aren't visible so they don't bother me so much, but I don't like being in photos because of the gap in my front teeth.  So I avoid it.  But I want my kids to have photos of me when I'm gone, so I've thought about fixing them for a while.  But that was back burnered when DS needed to get them.

I feel like I'm always give stuff up for my kids (but mostly my daughter).  Probably because I am.  I guess that is motherhood in a nutshell, though, always sacrificing your own needs or wants for theirs.  And for my mother as well.  I think I am getting caregiver burnout.  I really just want to run away for a while.  I think I need to go down by the water and soak up the negative ions and just let myself read a book for a couple of hours.  It would do me a world of good.

Getting Stuff Done in the Garden

May 15th, 2022 at 11:00 pm

We have almost got the third 22 feet long by 3 feet wide by 2 feet high raised bed completed.  We worked on it last night and then this morning in the rain.  It was supposed to be nasty all day, but of course the sun came out a 1/2 an hour ago.  We got the steer manure in and then used up the rest of the garden soil mix from GroSource.  Unfortunately the are not open on Sundays so we will have to wait until tomorrow to pick up another pickup truck load.

DH priced it all out and while a 1/2 a load (about what we'd need) is $30, a whole load is $40.  If we did bagged soil from the garden center, it would cost $60.  So we decided to go with the $40 option.  It will all get used eventually.  So DH will get some on his lunch hour and then we will have it for Tuesday, which is supposed to be the next nice day.

We discoverd a way for me to help with moving soil in the garden.  If I sit next to the wheel barrow, I can use an old feed scoop to move the dirt into the raised bed.  I feel useful again.

On the last nice day, DH and I cut the climbing rose bush down to waist high.  That probably took off half the height of it.  So he did the lopping off of branches and I cut them up into smaller pieces and put them in the wheelbarrow.  Then we used them in the raised bed.  We put about a two inch layer of garden soil down and then spread a bale of old, rotting hay down, and then the rose clippings, and then layered garden soil on top until we were six inches from the top of the bed, and put down a two inch layer of composted steer manure, and then topped it off with more garden soil.  I like doing a lot of biological inputs.

So we got it all the way up to the top for the first 2/3rds of the bed.  I was able to plant the one tomato plant I picked up, which is Million Pears, a yellow grape type tomato.  I've had it in the past and it was prolific plant.  Then I planted my eggplant.  I forget the type but it is one of the long, skinny Asian varieties.  I figured I'd give it a go.  Then I planted the orange blaze bell pepper and the cayenne pepper.  That's all I've bought so far.  I am going to do three more tomato plants, probably Early Girl or Big Boy, maybe a Yellow Boy if they still have them.  I don't know.  I'm only doing four this year, but I will focus on fertilizing on a schedule, so should get better production.  Then I want to get a jalapeño, an Anaheim, and a couple of bell peppers.  Possibly a poblano, but no serranos this year.

The rest of the bed will be zucchini, but I will put some calendula between the tomatoes and zucchini to encourage pollinators to come into the garden.  I will probably tuck basil into the understory of the tomatoes and between the peppers.  We'll see.  It is too cold to plant basil or zucchini yet.  I need the nights to be at least 50 and they've been running in the 40's.  Either that or I'd have to put cloches over the plants or some kind of green house plastic hoop thing.  It is too cold for May.  The rain is pretty normal, it's one of the main reasons we use raised beds, for drainage, but usually we'd be having temps in the low 60's during the day and 50 at night, not low 50's during the day and 40's at night.

Even if I have to build 3 foot to 7 foot (for the tomatoes) tall hoop tunnels for everything in the raised beds, I will.  We need a great harvest this year, not just a good one, what with the state of produce in the stores and food shortages.

The garlic is doing fantastic, the best I've ever had garlic do, and the onions are starting to get bigger.  They were itty bitty when I planted them, thinner than a blade of grass.  But each one has gotten bigger than that and I see a third blade starting to form on some of them.  I have planted enough onions, that I shouldn't have to buy much for the next year.  They are good keeper varieties, except the Walla Walla's which I will freeze.  And if the others get close to sprouting, then I will cut them up at that point and freeze them.

There are lots of flowers on the strawberries, so I think we will have a good year there.  I hope so.  I want to freeze a lot.  I'll go to the berry farm if I have to, though.  They freeze in one or two gallon buckets.  The blackberries are coming up very nicely from the bottom, but we need to get all the weeds away from them.  I can see the start of itty bitty green berries on the blueberry plants.  The raspberries are getting tall.  The apple tree is in full blossom and it is gorgeous.  And the plum trees did flower this year and there wasn't a storm during the days they flowered, so hopefully that means lots of fruit, because there were tons of blossoms.  It would sure makeup for the nothing of last summer.

We are still prepping the potato plot.  We'll be harvesting in October again, but it doesn't usually freeze until Halloween here.  Then we'll move on to the area for green beans.  As long as we get them in before mid-July we will have plenty to can.  I am growing blue coco pole beans.  They are a purple colored green bean that turns green when cooked or canned.  I have found that the beans are a lot easier to find than green on green and I misplaced my Kentucky Wonder pole bean seeds, anyway.

I wish it would just warm up so I can get on with it.  I also want to plant the sweet potato slips I've been growing, but it needs to be much warmer.  One of them is so long that we have it propped on some cup hooks to keep it out of the way.  They are in the window above the kitchen sink and have a tendency to want to go into the sink.  It'll be my first year growing sweet potatoes. I wanted to do it last year then herniated those discs instead.  I did grow my own slips this year for the first time from a sprouted sweet potato so that was interesting.

Not much else going on here.  I did the banking and the bills on Friday and then bought produce and shrimp and that was it.  I'm still not looking at the retirement accounts.  I don't want to know.

 

Buying Things on Sale

May 10th, 2022 at 06:58 am

I haven't bought much in the way of clothes since before the pandemic and most of what I've bought since it started was underclothes.  My daughter and I both were sorely in need of some new clothes, me so more than her.  I've been sewing up a lot of seams.  Woman Within has been having a 50% off on most items this week and today was the last day of the sale, so I bit the bullet and bought.

For myself I got 4 tank tops, 1 t-shirt, 1 blouse, 3 shorts with pockets, 1 sundress and 1 short-sleeved dress, and a swimsuit.  I color coordinated the tops with the shorts, plus I have a black pair and a navy pair already that haven't worn out, so those will go with everything, too.  DD got 5 t-shirts (she got tank tops last year and won't wear shorts), 1 dress, and 1 swim top, since her swim bottoms are still okay.  Only her dress and my swimsuit were not on the 50% off sale.  Shipping and handling and taxes brought the total to $644.48.  Without those it was $543.31.  I think we did fairly well for plus size clothing.

The swimsuit I have is fine for going in the hot tub or the ocean when I'm not around people except DH, but I always have to wear a shirt if I'm up close with people in a pool or lake because it's a bit low cut, as most suits with good bra support are, and that cuts down my mobility.  But when you are having physical therapy in a swimming pool, and the male therapist is standing above you on the deck, it makes me uncomfortable.

I finally found a higher scoop neck suit that does not have crisscross straps in the back and still has a built in bra.  I can't put on or take off crisscross straps or suits that fasten behind the neck due to the rheumatoid arthritis in my shoulders.  I've looked for years for a suit like this.  And as I get older I find my modesty has increased, so this will be my public suit and the other will be for private.

It will be nice to have some new dresses.  My favorite dress has faded after so many years of washing, plus it is heavy weight for a sundress.  It also has ties and again, because of my shoulders, I cannot tie behind my back anymore or untie it, either.  So that puts me down to one wearable summer dress in my current size.  I have no winter dresses, although I used to wear the faded one with a turtle neck or sweater and some leggings in the cold season.  And the one is very loosy goosy so it will be easy to wear over my swimsuit and then to put on again after physical therapy.

It was a big spend and I still would like to get two more t-shirts, but I really couldn't find any styles or patterns I liked and I didn't want to get the same pattern on a t-shirt that I have on a tank top.  It would bother my OCD.  A lot.  I am really glad to be getting some new things.  I'm tired of the same four shirts and four tank tops I've had for years.  Now I can interchange them with some fresh new colors and patterns.

I also took DD to the eye doctor to get new glasses and she found some with octagon-shaped frames.  She was okay with the color, but she really liked another color that they come in that they didn't have at the store.  It was too late to get a hold of the manufacturer to see if they had any green ones in stock, but he will call in the moring after he gets a hold of them.  If the don't have the green ones, she will just get the champagne ones.  I really hope they have the green ones.  They are so pretty in comparison.  They put the champagne ones on hold just in case.

The copay for the exam was $10 and the glasses will run $259 after insurance.  I thought they would cost a lot more, so I was happily surprised.

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2022 at 06:22 am

I ordered my hog so that's taken care of.  She's going to give me the original price of $3.50 per pound even though she raised her prices last month to $4.00 per pound to account for higher feed costs.  She just felt so sorry for me with the whole freezer saga.  I've kept her updated as we went along.  She said the hog's butchered weight should be around 170 pounds.  A bit smaller than I've gotten before, usually around 200 pounds, but I don't care.  Cut and wrap is .89/lb, plus extra if we want sausage which we do.  They don't charge extra for bacon.  We don't eat as much pork as we do chicken, beef, or even seafood usually, so a smaller amount is not as big a deal and it means I should have room in the freezer for a fall lamb.

DH's boss if cleaning out his freezer because he is going halibut fishing on Tuesday.  We are getting lots of wild Pacific salmon and possibly some cod as well.  DH didn't say how much, just that his boss said a cooler full.  Depends on the size of the cooler, I guess.  So we should get that on Monday.  I will never turn down free wild Pacific salmon.  I'd turn down farmed Atlantic salmon in a heartbeat, though.  I am a salmon snob, but how can you not be living in the coastal Pacific Northwest?

I spent $49.40 on chicken thighs today at Safeway.  They were .99/lb.  I bought 8 packages with 10 thighs each.  That is 80 pieces of chicken.  That portions up to 10 meals for my family or $4.94 per meal or $1.23 and a 1/2 cents per person per meal.  Can't beat that anymore. It was just nice to see a pre-late 2020 price on chicken again.

Speaking of prices from before then, I haven't made it to Fred Meyer to get the $3.97/lb chuck roast for canning yet.  I will probably go on Monday.  We've eaten almost all of the roasts from our beef that we bought last summer.  There's still plenty of beef left, though.  I have a lot of hamburger, quite a few steaks, and some ribs.  I think there is some brisket, too.  Oh, and soup bones.  I still have soup bones.

I called Virginia Mason today and got an appointment for my daughter with ENT doctor who specializes in Rhinology.  Her nosebleeds have gotten so bad that she is waking up every morning with blood running down her throat and causing so much stomach distress.  Because of the high iron content of blood, if you swallow a lot of it, it can cause nausea, vomitting, and troubles with the other end of things as well.  And the clots she's been passing lately have been frightening.  The ENT here just seems to have no clue about anything, so seeing a specialist seems the right course of action.

We were able to make it on the same day she sees the endocrinologist and the day before she sees the internist who specializes in chronic diseases for the first time.  We are staying in Lynnwood, which is pretty close to Seattle instead of at the Inn at Virginia Mason, because no one wants to sleep on those beds again.  Especially me with my deviated discs.

Mom fell yesterday and then again today.  I honestly don't know how this woman has not broken a hip, given herself a concussion, or died.  I keep telling her to slow down and she just won't.  If you looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary, my mother's face would be right next to it.  One of these days it's going to happen when no one is here.  DS is staying home while we go to Seattle because we don't feel she can be left alone for nearly two days.  He doesn't mind.  He's not much of one for car travel.

I am really hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow so we can get more work done on the garden.  It's just been one thing after the other and I feel like we are never going to get it finished.  I so wish I could just get down on the ground and weed.  It is really hard depending on other people for things.  I guess in that way I am like my mother.

It's Here!

April 28th, 2022 at 09:07 pm

And it's beautiful!

Sorry, I tried to add a photo, but of course yet again something in the blogs is not working right.  I'm talking about my new freezer.

Grocery Store Tracking--Winco Foods

April 28th, 2022 at 01:27 am

So I went to Winco on Sunday and I had a few surprises, but I guess I shouldn't have been since it has been in all the other stores, it just took a long time for the shortages to catch up to Winco.  The wall of deals at the front of the store was missing it's stacks of canned green beans, corn, potatoes, and all beans but black beans, and fruit.  In it's place they had Chef Boyardee and Nally chili and tomato products.  It was shockingly noticeable.  The regular canned good aisle was obviously lacking stock.

On the bright side their was plenty of chicken.  Thighs, legs, wings, breasts, and whole.  It's been a while since I've seen that, especially wings, which have been missing for 18 months.  I still can't find pork sausage though.  And the cost of cheese has gone up 70 cents a bag or brick.  Oh, and I did find 5 pound bags of French fries, for the first time in 18 months, so grabbed two.  I will go back once the freezer is set up and has been running for 24 hours.

Anywho, here's what I bought along with their prices and some analysis.

2 Franz buttermilk breads at $3.98 total

2 5 lb bags Winco fries at $7.96 (She made an error here and only charged me for 1 of the fries)

2 boxes honey nut Chex at $5.16 total

1 box of cinnamon Chex at $2.58

1 sleeve Orowheat crispy Englis Muffins at $2.18

4 packs of Winco CoJack Cheese Sticks

Bananas $2.46

4 Roma tomatoes at $1.01

1 jalapeno at 13 cents

1 2 lb bag shredded CoJack cheese at $6.48

1 bag of party size Tostitos tortilla chips at $3.68

1 bunch cilantro at 48 cents

1 large sweet potato $1.85

4 onions $3.14 (She made an error here and charged me for sweet onions and not yellow onions).

5 lb bag of red potatoes at $2.98 (They didn't have a single bag of yellow potatoes although there was a sign for it).

Red grapes $3.75 for 2.23 pounds

4 containers of chicken thighs at $35.23

Total money out $96.21

There were 10 chicken thighs per container, so I divided that up into 5 bags of 8 pieces, which is what our family eats at a meal.  It works out to $7.05 per meal of chicken.  I used to be able to get chicken thighs for .99/lb, but the new normal at Winco is $1.59/lb for the same meat.  Legs were cheaper at $1.29/lb, breasts were $1.99/lb, whole chickens were $1.19/lb  and wings were $3.48 per pound.

I came out ahead on the cashier's errors, but I didn't even see them until today when I was going over the receipt.  Winco's policy is that if the cashier makes a mistake in your favor you get to keep it and if they make a mistake in their favor they'll correct it.  It might even be you get the item free, but I can't remember.  But since I came out ahead, I won't bother going back about it.

The Cost of Orthodontia

April 26th, 2022 at 04:52 am

Today I took DS to his consultation with the orthodontist.  As the people here on the blogs told me, it will be around $6000, the amount I saved.  If we didn't pay up front the cost would be $6180, but since we are we get a 5% discount.  That is $309 off.  So our total is $5871.  Which means I have $129 to figure out what to do with.  He will be doing Invisalign, but the cost of regular braces was only $200 cheaper and I don't think he would tolerate them well, due to having a tender mouth.

Randomly, dinner tonight was delicous.  We had baked chicken that I rubbed with olive oil, salt pepper, and sazon seasoning.  Then we had herbed mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Simple but full of flavor and one of my favorite meals.

Freezer Saga--An Update--And Food Security

April 25th, 2022 at 05:17 am

Well, the freezer that was supposed to arrive in May has now been pushed off until the end of June.  But they do have some of another brand with the same size coming in this week.  It has a similar layout with the 21 cubic foot capacity.  We went in to look at the smaller version and decided to go ahead and switch to it.  So on Thursday we will be getting our new freezer. 

We have been without an upright since July and I wasn't sure we would ever get one, especially in time for harvest season.  We will finally be able to stock up on chicken and get a whole hog.  Mostly what I want from a hog is a lot of sausage, bacon, shanks, ribs, chops, and steaks.  I don't need any roasts or hams.  Then if I have room I will see if I can get a fall lamb.

We are really going for food security this year, where we don't have to rely on the grocery stores as much as possible.  I'm growing extra zucchini so I can freeze it and a ton of green beans, carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, and parsnips for canning so we can have veggies through the year.  We'll be buying peaches and pears for canning as well off a farm.   I'll also be installing some low tunnels in the fall to keep the harvest going as long as possible.  I've grown peppers and lettuce and spinach into November before this way.

I still have a lot of work to do.  We'll be renting a sod cutter soon so that we can clear up some more garden space without having to do as much work getting the mat of weeds and grass out of the way.  It'll make it a lot easier on everyone.

We started work on the third 22 foot long garden bed.  A lot of weeding and leveling had to be done, but the bottom layer of cinder blocks has been laid to the halfway point.  DH is going to try to work on it a little at a time after work.  The bottom layer is always the most difficult.  Once the bottom layer is in place, we put down the weed barrier, and then the next two layers go on very easily since it is just a question of putting the adhesive layer down and then putting the blocks in place.  After the second layer goes down it has to dry for 24 hours and then the third layer can be put on and dry for 24 hours.

Once that is done we can work on pruning the giant rose bush down to about a foot high and put all those trimmings in the bottom of the raised bed.  Then the rose bush can be transplanted to the front yard and we can dig out the weed tree that has been impossible to kill.  We'll also be cutting down another tree and the wood will go in the bottom of future raised beds.  It's kind a cross between hugelkutur beds and lasagna style beds, since compost and manure and hay and cardboard will go in as well, before the four way garden soil fills the top foot.

I have a woman coming next week to dig out almost all of the raspberries and in exchange she will give me a couple bags of rabbit manure, some tomato and pepper plants, and some calendula starts.  I do like bartering when I can.  It saves me a lot of money.

I got the rest of the onions planted.  These ones are Walla Walla sweet onions.  They will have to be chopped and frozen as they don't keep long like the non-sweet yellows and reds I planted a week or so ago.  I up potted the tarragon, parsley and oregano in one pot, but will have to divide them up into their own pots in about a week or so if the new bed doesn't get finished.  I just needed them out of the four inch pots as they were just starting to get root bound.  I did locate some larger pots in the garage.  The oregano will need a big one, but the parsley and tarragon should be just fine in 8 inch pots.

I've been able to do quite a bit more than I thought I would.  I am getting stronger every day and a lot of the physical therapy has been designed to strengthen the muscles I need for gardening.  I may never be able to do weight bearing exercise again, but I have been walking without my cane and my son and I are going to try to take an actual walk tomorrow and see how I do.  One of the local parks has a flat loop to walk, I can't do hills without pain, so we would never be too far from the van if I had to go back.

Next on my agenda for the garden will be to weed out the strawberries.  This will be the last year for this set of strawberries.  I know what I want to get next year and will probably pre-order them in December or January.  They ship at time to plant so I need to get the jump on other people to get the variety I want, which alway sells out so early.  It is a much sweeter berry than the ones we currently have.  I'll likely pot up what we have now next year and sell them or exchange them for plants I want.

My goal is to eventually have the entire backyard and the little side yard devoted to growing as much of our own food as possible.  It's a lofty goal, and it might take five years to do it, but I know we will get there.

 

 

Done with the Deductible

April 18th, 2022 at 07:11 am

Well, I've maxed out the deductible for the family this year with my therapy, both physcial and mental.  We still have the out of pocket max to hit, but we no longer have to pay for the full amount of doctor's appointments or prescriptions, just the co-insurance part.  That takes some strain off the budget.  We also have used all of our FSA debit card for the year.

I had my first pool therapy session early last week.  All of the other appointments were on land to stengthen my core, legs, and back enough to be able to climb down the stairs and into the pool.  It went okay, but I had strained a muscle in my thigh gardening the day before it so I was a little sore.  I walked on the underwater treadmill for 12 minutes, which is really weird because you bounce between steps.  Then he had me walk across the pool sideways, which bugged that muscle in the one direction, but not the other.  Then I had to walk backwards and then do toe raises and then step up on a step and back down.  Then we did some arm exercises with floaty weights, while keeping the core engaged.

It went really well.  The hardest part was getting out fo the water and getting gravity back.  Being in the pool took a lot of pressure off the herniated discs.  Getting back out put it all back on.  It also made me realize that my legs are still weak and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I see the neurology surgeon on the 24th, I think and we will decide from there what to do about more PT.  I think I need it as I finally started progressing forward.  I have one more session scheduled for now.

Then I had a hypomanic event.  I hate hypomanic events.  This time it went so high I nearly touched the sky.  And more to the point, I spent $300, because my judgment went out the window.  I mean, I had the money in my allowance envelope, but I was saving up for a Smart TV and then a new laptop, because I hate not having a touch screen.  It lasted 2 days and then I went crashing down into a depression well.  That was not a lot of fun.  I seem to have pulled out of it this morning, and being outside working in the garden helped a lot, but I had a miserable night of it, crying for 2 hours straight after everyone else went to bed.

I hate mental illness.  I thought I was finally starting to feel the effects of the new dosage of this medication, but maybe not.  This was the first time this happened since I started it, but at least it wasn't full blown mania.  The last time that happened it lasted 2.5 months and I wrote 400,000 words.

I graduate from the six month mental health program at my doctor's clinic on Tuesday.  I don't want to.  It will be my last day with that therapist.  I have started with another, and she's okay, I guess.  I like her, but her nose ring is distracting.  It's weird seeing a 60 year old lady with a nose ring.  I wish these visits could be in person.  Then I'd have somewhere else to look instead of just at her face on my laptop.  Anyway, now I have to build up trust in a new therapist.  She deals with people with chronic illnesses, so that is good.

I've also been referred to a psychiatrist to see if we can manage this a little bit better with medication.  It would be nice.  Plus, only he can diagnose whether or not I have ADHD, but I know I do.  I haven't heard anything from his office yet, though.  He is my son's psychiatrist and I've sat in on a session with my son and liked him well enough, I guess.

Well, I best be off to bed.  It's already midnight.  I have an appointment at 11:30 online, which means I have to wake up two hours before that to give my muscles enough time to warm up so I can even get out of bed, do my physical therapy exercises, and eat breakfast.  RA is a b-word and I am a night owl, so this won't be fun, but it must be done.  At least I'm not in a fibro flare.  And my mood continues to stablize so I might even get something out of this session.

Blogoversary...And This is How the Money Goes

April 11th, 2022 at 01:15 am

It's my 16 year blogoversary here.  I can't believe I have been here this long.

I splurged a couple of days ago and bought the complete 15 season set of Supernatural.  I had watched it all along up until halfway through season 12 and just finished up watching the rest of it a couple of weeks ago.  I was waiting for a price drop to purchase it and when Honey informed me it had dropped, I snatched it up.  I do like that app, even if it gets in the way sometimes.  I paid $170 for it.  I can't even get X-Files for that price, but it's on my droplist, too.  I used the money I've been saving in my allowance folder.

Anyway, I've started watching Supernatural over again from the beginning.  It started airing a long time ago, and even though I have watched every episode, I don't remember a lot of it.  I'm not letting myself binge watch it, though.  Just one episode a night.  I've got too much to do right now with the garden.

I also bought some protein sticks off of Amazon.  I don't remember what they cost, but some of them are paleo and some of them are keto and all of them are no sugar.  It gives me something to grab in the morning when I first get up so I can take my pills without getting nauseated.  Then after a bit, I can make a proper meal.  I got some beef and some turkey.  I think it was around $40, but I got a lot of them.

I paid around $800 in medical bills today.  All but $658 was on the FSA debit card, which leaves about $5 left on it.  So we've gone through the $3000 we pay throughout the year pretax already.  Lots of medical bills and counseling bills, imaging bills, x-rays, plus physical therapy.  We've met the family deductible, but not the out of pocket max.  But now our medical visits will drop down to around $40 instead of $253 and the counseling will be lower.

As for the $658, that came out of my medical fund that I've been socking money to left and right.  There is enough left in there to pay for DH's upcoming crown and DD's eye exam and a new pair of glasses and of course I will continue to contribute to it.  DH is going to find out how much the COBRA for DD is going to cost so I know how much I need to be saving for it each month.  Plus we need to start saving up for next year's out of pocket max and of course prescriptions until we hit this year's out of pocket max.

I still have hope that the endocrinologist will file a report with the insurance company that she is completely dependent on her meds and that she is fully disabled.  Also the neurologist because of the passing out that leads to dibilitating migraines.  She is so bad off that her doctor recommended she go on disability, but if we can keep her on our insurance that would be so much better.  If she can get both, that would be ideal because then she could contribute to her own medical expenses.

She will be seeing an internal medicine doctor who deals with multiple diseases in May.  There's a possibility there, too.  I'd really like to get her tested for Elhers-Danlos syndrome, which requires genetic testing as soon as possible.  Also, I'm hoping she can recommend a better ENT because her daily nose bleeds are getting so bad and are coming from way up in her sinus cavity, but no tumors have shown up in there on scans.  There has got to be something that can be done.

Yesterday was so bad she had to go to the sink and lean over it because she couldn't keep up with the tissues.  I saw the amount of blood and it looked like a half a cup.  Plus she'd had one earlier that morning.  Maybe if they could cauterize something it would help.  Anyway, I made her drink an electrolyte heavy solution because she got really woozy by the time we got it stopped.  The ENT we saw before was useless.

It's going to be a bumpy ride the next few months.

Grocery Spending Tracking with Commentary

April 7th, 2022 at 10:23 pm

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I think I did pretty well.  The sales at Fred Meyer were pretty fantastic, though.  I walked out of the store with six bags of groceries for $212.  It was a little less than that but they have program where you can donate the change to the local food bank, so I always choose that option there.  They say it really, really adds up, because most people don't want to deal with coins.

6 bottles of Miracle Whip at $3.99 each if you bought six.  This will give DH enough for 6 months.  Since it has gone up to almost $7 a jar, this was something I was not going to pass up.

4 containers of onions and chives whipped cream cheese for $3.99 each.  It's less than the new normal price, but more than it used to be by 50 cents.  However, there is a shortage on cream cheese, and my kids like it on their bagels, so I stocked up a bit.

I got a 15 pack of large tortillas for making breakfast burritos.  I wanted to get the large double pack that has 20 each, but they didn't have it.  I was four short for the number of burritos I want to make.  Not the best price either, but I'll have to go to Costco for that when I get more.  They were $6.49. It might be time to start making my own tortillas sice I do have a press now, which will be much easier than rolling them out.

2 bags of Dave's Killer Bagels at $5.99 each. Not on sale, but not bad.  These are softer than typical bagels and the kids like them a lot.  DD has problems with harder bagels.  This might also be something I need to start making myself. It can't be any harder than making soft pretzels.

2 bags of Simply Cheetos, the crunchy ones. Talk about shrinkflation.  The bags are half the size and they don't weigh as much.  They were on sale, though, at $3.49 per bag.

2 packs beef sausage (Paleo) at $4.49 each.  These were on sale and are for meal prepping.

2 packs polish sausage (Paleo) at $5.49 each.  Also on sale, and also for meal prepping.

2 packages of mild Italian sausage at $7.19 each.  These have gotten so expensive, it might be time for me to go back to making my own sausage from ground chicken, turkey, or pork.  These are used in making the breakfast burriots for meal planning.

1 Cook's picnic ham at .79/lb.  It came to $5.68.  I would have bought more but there was a limit of one.

Chuck roasts were on sale for $3.99 a pound so I bought two.  $13.66 and $14.29.  We have run out of pot roasts from our beef.  Again, I would have picked up more, but I like the flat ones and I like them to be at least 3 pounds.  They mostly had the tall ones, which tend to be a little chewy, even when pressure cooked.

Red grapes were on sale for $1.48/lb.  I spent $2.31.  They are very good, too.  Sometimes that is a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 bag of spinach at $1.99.

1 chub of turkey breast $9.09

1 chub of turkey ham $7.30

Fresh green beans.  I got 1.5 pounds for $2.69.  This is for meal planning lunches.

2 packs of blueberries on sale for $3.99 each.  These also were very good.  This is also a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 box of kiwis on sale for $4.  This was a tremendously good sale and it was a good sized box.

1 small red onion $1.03.  Ouch, these are getting so expensive.  Probably should have bought the non-sale produce at Winco.

2 red bell peppers for $3, for lunch meal prepping.

1 head of iceberg lettuce $1.99  It's been $2.99 for a while now, and the leaf lettuces were tiny, so it was the best bang for my buck.

1 green bell pepper for 99 cents for lunch meal prepping.

3 large yellow onions for $1.91.  Double ouch.

2 green zucchinis for $1.39/lb totalling $1.81.

1 bunch organic bananas at .69/lb.  At least some things haven't changed.  I paid $2.18 for the bunch.  The regular ones were .59/lb, but were pretty green.

I bought 2 large crowns of broccol for $1.39/lb totalling $2.21.

1 small bok choy at $1.99/lb totally $1.71.

1 head of green cabbage at .89/lb (up about 20 cents from a year ago, but still cheaper than what it is now not on sale).  I spent $2.51.

2 yellow summer squash at $1.39/lb and spent $1.31.

1 head cauliflower at $1.39/lb and spent $3.39.

 2 English cucumbers at 2/$4.  The regular ones were cheaper but really small and kind of beat up so I went for these.

6 paper bags at 48 cents.  We are still not used to bringing our own bags again.  This was a small expense that did not need to happen.  I need to get back in the habit, now that our own bags are allowed again.

So I saved $67.24 according to the receipt, which is pretty darn good for six full bags of food.  The total was $211.27 with 73 cents of change going to the food bank.

I could not find French fries, but their is potato shortage nationwide, so these have been pretty hit and miss.  That's why we are planting more potatoes this year than last.

I also bought 25 pounds of hard white wheat this week on Amazon.  There was a $3 off coupon, so I got it for $56.

So all in all this week, I did pretty well.  I still have to go to Winco for cheese and to see if the have French fries, but will do that on the way back from the chiropractor to save gas.

I'm debating a Costco run, too, for more tortillas for next week, some frozen broccoli, a rotisserie chicken, some seasoned potatoes, some chicken spinach ravioli, and some tomato sauce.  Maybe on Friday.  Or I can have DH pick it up on his way home from work.  Costco can be a lot as it is huge and I can only walk so long without it starting to really hurt my herniated discs and there aren't always ride on carts available.  I might put it off until next payday, except the rotisserie chicken.

We'll be meal prepping a lot, so we can have consistent portion sizes for breakfast and lunch, and for weight loss, so that DS and I only have to cook all that up for a week and then only have to worry about dinners for the rest of the week, which DS helps me with most nights.

Hopefully, I can put together a full meal plan as I know some of you like to see that as well as the grocery tracking.

Grocery Shopping Tracker with Commetary

April 7th, 2022 at 10:02 pm

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I think I did pretty well.  The sales at Fred Meyer were pretty fantastic, though.  I walked out of the store with six bags of groceries for $212.  It was a little less than that but they have program where you can donate the change to the local food bank, so I always choose that option there.  They say it really, really adds up, because most people don't want to deal with coins.

6 bottles of Miracle Whip at $3.99 each if you bought six.  This will give DH enough for 6 months.  Since it has gone up to almost $7 a jar, this was something I was not going to pass up.

4 containers of onions and chives whipped cream cheese for $3.99 each.  It's less than the new normal price, but more than it used to be by 50 cents.  However, there is a shortage on cream cheese, and my kids like it on their bagels, so I stocked up a bit.

I got a 15 pack of large tortillas for making breakfast burritos.  I wanted to get the large double pack that has 20 each, but they didn't have it.  I was four short for the number of burritos I want to make.  Not the best price either, but I'll have to go to Costco for that when I get more.  They were $6.49. It might be time to start making my own tortillas sice I do have a press now, which will be much easier than rolling them out.

2 bags of Dave's Killer Bagels at $5.99 each. Not on sale, but not bad.  These are softer than typical bagels and the kids like them a lot.  DD has problems with harder bagels.  This might also be something I need to start making myself. It can't be any harder than making soft pretzels.

2 bags of Simply Cheetos, the crunchy ones. Talk about shrinkflation.  The bags are half the size and they don't weigh as much.  They were on sale, though, at $3.49 per bag.

2 packs beef sausage (Paleo) at $4.49 each.  These were on sale and are for meal prepping.

2 packs polish sausage (Paleo) at $5.49 each.  Also on sale, and also for meal prepping.

2 packages of mild Italian sausage at $7.19 each.  These have gotten so expensive, it might be time for me to go back to making my own sausage from ground chicken, turkey, or pork.  These are used in making the breakfast burriots for meal planning.

1 Cook's picnic ham at .79/lb.  It came to $5.68.  I would have bought more but there was a limit of one.

Chuck roasts were on sale for $3.99 a pound so I bought two.  $13.66 and $14.29.  We have run out of pot roasts from our beef.  Again, I would have picked up more, but I like the flat ones and I like them to be at least 3 pounds.  They mostly had the tall ones, which tend to be a little chewy, even when pressure cooked.

Red grapes were on sale for $1.48/lb.  I spent $2.31.  They are very good, too.  Sometimes that is a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 bag of spinach at $1.99.

1 chub of turkey breast $9.09

1 chub of turkey ham $7.30

Fresh green beans.  I got 1.5 pounds for $2.69.  This is for meal planning lunches.

2 packs of blueberries on sale for $3.99 each.  These also were very good.  This is also a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 box of kiwis on sale for $4.  This was a tremendously good sale and it was a good sized box.

1 small red onion $1.03.  Ouch, these are getting so expensive.  Probably should have bought the non-sale produce at Winco.

2 red bell peppers for $3, for lunch meal prepping.

1 head of iceberg lettuce $1.99  It's been $2.99 for a while now, and the leaf lettuces were tiny, so it was the best bang for my buck.

1 green bell pepper for 99 cents for lunch meal prepping.

3 large yellow onions for $1.91.  Double ouch.

2 green zucchinis for $1.39/lb totalling $1.81.

1 bunch organic bananas at .69/lb.  At least some things haven't changed.  I paid $2.18 for the bunch.  The regular ones were .59/lb, but were pretty green.

I bought 2 large crowns of broccol for $1.39/lb totalling $2.21.

1 small bok choy at $1.99/lb totally $1.71.

1 head of green cabbage at .89/lb (up about 20 cents from a year ago, but still cheaper than what it is now not on sale).  I spent $2.51.

2 yellow summer squash at $1.39/lb and spent $1.31.

1 head cauliflower at $1.39/lb and spent $3.39.

 2 English cucumbers at 2/$4.  The regular ones were cheaper but really small and kind of beat up so I went for these.

6 paper bags at 48 cents.  We are still not used to bringing our own bags again.  This was a small expense that did not need to happen.  I need to get back in the habit, now that our own bags are allowed again.

So I saved $67.24 according to the receipt, which is pretty darn good for six full bags of food.  The total was $211.27 with 73 cents of change going to the food bank.

I could not find French fries, but their is potato shortage nationwide, so these have been pretty hit and miss.  That's why we are planting more potatoes this year than last.

I also bought 25 pounds of hard white wheat this week on Amazon.  There was a $3 off coupon, so I got it for $56.

So all in all this week, I did pretty well.  I still have to go to Winco for cheese and to see if the have French fries, but will do that on the way back from the chiropractor to save gas.

I'm debating a Costco run, too, for more tortillas for next week, some frozen broccoli, a rotisserie chicken, some seasoned potatoes, some chicken spinach ravioli, and some tomato sauce.  Maybe on Friday.  Or I can have DH pick it up on his way home from work.  Costco can be a lot as it is huge and I can only walk so long without it starting to really hurt my herniated discs and there aren't always ride on carts available.  I might put it off until next payday, except the rotisserie chicken.

We'll be meal prepping a lot, so we can have consistent portion sizes for breakfast and lunch, and for weight loss, so that DS and I only have to cook all that up for a week and then only have to worry about dinners for the rest of the week, which DS helps me with most nights.

Hopefully, I can put together a full meal plan as I know some of you like to see that as well as the grocery tracking.

 

 

Another Step Towards Food Security in a Time of Shortages

April 4th, 2022 at 03:34 am

It was dry and overcast yesterday, so worked on the garden, filling a 22 foot by 3 foot raised garden bed with rotted manure and soil.  I can't do any weight bearing exercise, so I was in charge of raking the dirt out after DH and DS dumped it in, plus breaking up clumps in the manure.  This stuff has been composted for 3 years, so it wasn't gross or anything and anyway, I wore gloves.

So we now have two beds the same size ready to go, although one of them has 8 feet of garlic in it that I planted in November.  It's come up very well and I can't believe how huge around the stem is on the elephant garlic.  I will be planting onions in the rest of that bed.  The per pound cost of onions has gotten ridiculous and the selection is kind of gross sometimes.  I am planting mostly keeping onions, but I will plant some sweet onions to cut up and freeze.  I want to do some shallots this year and of course some bunching onions.

With the bed we just finished I will be planting carrots, parsnips, turnips, and radishes.  I can can all of these things, but I will just have the radishes for eating, not for canning.  I don't know if I like pickled radishes or not, so I am going to try making one pint and if I do, then I will make more, but I don't think I will.

We have 1 1/4 pallets of cinderblocks left, enough to make one more raised bed of the same length, so on the next sunny or at least dry day we will be weed eating the area down to dirt and then covering it with a tarp until the next time DH can get to it to start making the next bed.  I plan on growing zucchini, kohlrabi, chard, cabbage, cucucmbers, and herbs, in that bed.

I looked at the deck today and all the plastic boards are the same length and they seem to be tongue and groove.  This will be great material for raised beds, plus we can reuse the support beams and posts as well.  I can't see how they were attached to the supports though, there are no nails or screws, so I am wondering if they were attached on the underside.  DS will have to look underneath to determine it when it is time to take the deck apart.  I don't think DH is capable of crawling under there anymore.

So those beds will be built where we had the potatoes last year, which is a 16 by 20 foot area. I am planning to transfer the strawberries into one of those beds, because where they were last year led to a lot of scorching of the plants in mid-July through August when we were having temps in the 90's and when it wasn't it was in the high 80's.  But it didn't kill them.  Which reminds me, I have to get a couple more room air conditioners before summer.

I'd like to also plant asparagus in that bed so it can pull double duty, but I think it will have to wait for next year.  The two grow well together since one has a deep root system and the other has a very shallow root system.  That area gets afternoon shade so will get a break from the sun for about 4 hours before it comes back around the giant cedar tree in the neighbor's yard and gets sun for a couple more hours.

As for the other bed, I am thinking tomatoes and peppers since it will be far less shaded than the first bed.  

We are putting potatoes in next to the yet to be built third cinderblock bed.  It is a 22 foot by 16 foot area, so a bit more space than the other and it will get more sun.  Eventually that area will get three more cinderblcok 22 x 3 foot beds, and we will just plant potatoes in raised beds in the future.  We have plenty of potatoes that we planted last year that have sprouted that we will be planting, but I also got 4 new types of seed potatoes that will ship when it is time to plant, so soon.

I wanted to try some fingerlings, get more Kennebecs, a different red, and German butterballs.  The last ones are supposed to do really well here and are very yellow inside, more so than Yukon golds.  I couldn't get them to try last year as they were sold out.  This year I was smart and ordered in December.  Everything I got is supposed to be long keepers.

I am hoping with better sun placement, we will get a higher yield this year.  And if I like the new varieties, that I will have enough of them to replant with next year, especially the German butterballs, because buying seed potatoes to have them shipped is expensive.  And the ones available locally are not the ones I want to grow and don't even necessarily do well here.

We plan on digging out and giving away some mature raspberry plants.  We have one person that eats them so we will leave a three foot area and get rid of the rest.  We can put up posts and trellis green beans there.  It'll only be the one row but since it is pole beans it will produce and produce.  Some will be green and some will be purple.

Once the deck is torn down, we will be moving the huge climbing rose bush, that used to climb the apple tree before it was cut down, into the front yard where the deck was and dig out a weed tree, then we can build another raised bed row that is 20 x 16 feet.  And if we get a stump grinder to take out the old apple tree stump at least enough so we can level the dirt, and tear down the old chicken coop,  I want to get a 10 x 12 foot plexiglass green house and we can put in two beds inside it for growing sweet potatoes and tomatoes in the future.

That probably won't happen this year, but it is on the agenda, as is tearing down the rabbit shed and planting fruit trees.  I want two more Italian prune plum trees, a Bing cherry tree and a Ranier cherry tree.  I don't know if those ones cross fertilize or not, but there are plenty of flowering cherry trees in the neighborhood.  I also want a good apple tree.  Maybe Opal apples or Tsuguras.  And maybe even a cold hearty nectarine and a pair of male and female cold hardy kiwis.  We won't let anything get huge, we need to be able to pick them easily, so will keep them pruned to a reasonable height.  And I need to get a huckleberry bush from a new supplier.

The dead, rootless sticks Tennessee Wholesale Nursery sent me last year never did anything and they refused to honor their warranty when I told them well before the year mark, and they said to just wait and see, then refused to give me my money back when I did just that.  Never do business with these losers.  I am getting a one gallon plant in a pot shipped to me from a reputable nursery.  I would like two but since one plant is $37, I may have to wait until next year to buy a second one.

So that's the plan.  It may be a three year plan or maybe a five year plan even, but we will do what we can this year, so we can grow and preserve as much food as possible and be far less dependent on the supply chain.  

Payday Report

April 2nd, 2022 at 09:51 pm

This paycheck had a lot of OT on it and my AdSense payment.  This is also a three paycheck month and things are a bit different than usual.  This will be the second paycheck with the higher grocery budget, which went nicely last time with $37 left over to go into the meat fund.  I doubled the medical fund contribution for this check since DH is getting a crown done this month.  We are also helping my mom with property tax, so that came out of this payday as well.  As a reminder, I run a zero dollar based budget, where every single dollar is assigned a job.

$413.51 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

1000.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

__17.15 Box of Checks (a rare purchase these days)

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage Temp Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Temp Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_310.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan

_420.24 Citi

_250.00 Mom's Property Tax

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4135.13 Total Money Out


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