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Lots of Stuff

January 20th, 2023 at 07:38 am

I'm and doing okay on the eat from the pantry challenge.  In 19 days we have only spent $27.32 on fresh produce and a half gallon of milk, which are within the parameters of my challenge.  Also within the parameters of my challenge are that if I find a really good sale on something, I can buy it, but I can't use it during the challenge.  That's okay, because I don't want to.  Most of it is for canning, the rest to be eaten during the next 3 months or so.

Some really good sales have come up.   One involes 25 pounds of carrots that works out to .67/lb and the other is 20 lbs of tomatoes that works out to .88/lb.  I still need to can carrots and I'd like to make some more tomato sauce to can.  Now that I am feeling better I want to get on with it.  I may go back a couple of times if I feel like I can get through it.  The sale ends on Sunday and then a new one will go up on Monday.  This is at the restaurant supply store.  It is cash only.

Plus there is a really good sale on chicken thighs and I want to stock up.  Chicken is the major thing I am lacking in my freezer and so far it isn't being rationed.  I am down to 3 packages of bone in skin on, and one package of boneless skinless.  We like to eat chicken twice a week.  I want to stock up while it is on sale and before they start putting rations on it, too.

They've already put rations on eggs, milk, distilled water when they even have it, certain cuts of beef, some fresh fruit, like last week they had bags of oranges, but you could only get one and they didn't have any loose oranges, and some of the, canned goods most notably corn, peas, mixed corn and peas, beans, and several types of chili.  Dry beans was one but they had 2 pound bags instead of 1.  Rice was not rationed.  Some things they don't have at all.  Others they only have frozen. Makes me glad we are expanding the garden this spring.

Friday is payday and I think I will go in on Friday and get 8 packages and then send DH in on Saturday to get 8 packages and we'll break them down into vacuum sealed bags of 8 pieces and see how much room we have left.  8 packages is how much I can take before I start getting side-eyed and commented on, even though there is usually a ton of chicken left with these sales.  Since the store is close, it's not a big deal to go there a few times.

Honestly, I want to go back until there isn't room in the upright freezer, but I want to make sure there is plenty for other people, too.  I want to do a third run, but I don't know.  If I decide to, I should take a bag of spot prawns out to thaw.  We have two big plastic bags full of ziploc bags of spot prawns taking up a lot of space.  That should give us a lot of room for chicken.  I don't want to start filling up the chest freezer, because we need to be making space there for when we get our next steer.  Maybe I'll pop in on Tuesday, the last day of the sale and get some.  Then others will have had the whole week to get chicken and I won't feel like a hog.  Still, I have to shop economically to feed my family with food prices going up so high.  There is nice and then there is foolish.

I mentioned above that distilled water was one of things being rationed here, assuming you could even find it.  We are lucky to have a few gallons of it at the moment and we are keeping an eye out for more.  We use it for our c-pap humidifiers and I use it for nasal rinses, so it is kind of a necessity for us.  So I am going to work into the budget for late February or early March, a distilling machine so we can make our own distilled water.  It takes about 4 hours to do a gallon of water.  So we can easily refill our gallon jugs and not have to worry about these shortages.  It'll cost around $150, so it'll take 150 uses to pay for itself, and we go through a jug every week if I have a cold, otherwise it'll last 2 weeks.  So it could take a while to pay for itself, but we will never have to worry about it for the life of the machine.

I have decided to just get a cheap frying pan for now and save up for a more expensive set later on.  At least the one I am getting is supposed to be rated to 500 degrees and our induction burner doesn't go any higher than that, so hopefully DH can't kill it.  He usually cooks stuff at 375 or 400, but the pans he ruined were only rated for 350.  I am getting the Blue Diamond one, which is under $30.

In other news, I have now lost 15 pounds.  I haven't exactly been on my diet, either.  I don't eat as much since having Covid, though.  I think my stomach shrank during that time.  I think just eating food at home for 19 days, eating from scratch mostly, trying to cut way back on my sugar and wheat, eating more vegetables and protein, and always taking a lactase enzyme when I eat dairy, even butter, has made a difference.  The enzyme is new in the last three weeks and has made a big difference in how I feel.  I no longer wake up nauseous in the morning if I had cheese at night trying to calm down an acid stomach because it always has, but I didn't know it would make my stomach hurt the next day, too.  I haven't had an acid stomach in weeks, though.

I haven't had much dairy, in a long time anyway.  I don't drink milk, I've been using gluten free flour and chicken broth instead of milk to make gravy for a long while, and I've had very little cheese, just a sprinkle on salads once a week, but I used to snack on it like crazy.  I will have cheese if I make pizza, but that's maybe once a month and mozzarella isn't so bad as others, the process takes out most of the lactose.  So most of the time butter is the only dairy I eat these days and I feel a lot better for it.  Or I eat goat or sheep's cheese because they don't have lactose.  Goat butter is good, but too expensive to be a real option.  I may try ghee since it takes out the milk solids.  They sell that by the tub at Costco.

I am still eating fruit, but I have really cut back on how much, just one serving a day and not even every day, because I know that fructose can be just as bad as sugar to someone who is borderline diabetic.  I am trying to stick to things with a lot of fiber though, like apples, oranges, and berries.  The first two are at least seasonal.  Blueberries are on sale a lot right now.  I know they are coming from Chile, but they are one of the better choices.  The apples are coming from cold storage in my state and the oranges are from California.

I am meeting with my doctor on the 26th to talk about the diabetes stuff some more and have a weight check.  I am just glad that my scale at home and the scale there are in sync with each other, so there will be no surprises if I weigh myself at home in the same clothes I will wear to the doctor's office.  We will also talk about a couple of my meds while I am there and maybe going on metformin as well.  I hate to add another medication as I am on so many already, but if it will help it may be inevitable.  What I don't want is to have to start checking my blood sugar.  I need to call about whether I need to get a new glucose test before my visit.  If I do, I really hope it has improved with all the changes.

My back has started feeling better with all the changes, which is really nice because I haven't been to the chiropractor in several weeks, not since my chiropractor had to have a triple bypass.  It'll probably be sometime in March before he can come back to work and it'll probably be just one day a week to start.  He's doing well, though.  We worry about him.  I've known him for 32 years, my husband for 35, and my kids their whole lives.  They call him Uncle Dr. ______.  He lives so healthy, but it is the family history.  He had problems about ten years ago, too.  Scared us to death back then, too.  At least they caught it in time, though.  His wife takes good care of him.  She's five years younger and in very good health.  She looks 15 years younger than she is.

I took DD to the gastro doctor today.  It was time for her yearly check.  They are going to send her for an ultrasound because she is having pain in the same place where they removed the tumor.  I'm not sure why they are doing an ultrasound instead of an MRI like they were doing before, but whatever. The fear is the tumor has grown back on her liver and is bleeding.  The tumor isn't supposed to hurt unless it starts bleeding.  She hasn't had an MRI since her surgery and I always thought it was the plan to do one a year after her surgery, but that didn't happen because of the issues back with Covid and hospitals, and she wasn't in pain so they pushed it.  Then she kept getting sick.  After that, I guess it got forgotten in the shuffle and the order expired and then they wanted to see her again before they did anything and now they just want to do an ultrasound, so I don't know.  It was an exhausting appointment.  It lasted over an hour.

But their new building is very pretty.  Their handicapped parking leaves a lot to be desired.  I don't think it should be compact parking slots when most handicapped people using van accessible slots have, you know, vans, which are not compact.  So the person using a walker or wheelchair on the passenger side can get out, but the driver can't, or vice versa if you have to park the other way because that's the only slot there is, unless you park halfway into the hatched lines, which if you do that, you may be preventing the person on the other side from getting into their vehicle if they have a walker or a wheelchair.  Not thought through well.

Also the handicapped push button for the doors in and out of the building is quite a ways away from the door opening, which if you are hobbling on a cane or walker is not the wisest thing.  Fortunately the doors stay open for a good 30 seconds, but making people walk those extra steps when they may not be able to, is not the best set up.  There were closer places they could have been placed.  But no one ever asks handicapped people about the designs of these things.  That was not an issue today, though, as both of us were walking pretty well.  When most of your clientele is elderly, though, you'd think you would think about that a little more.  Oh, well.  The world is made for the able bodied.  We are used to being an afterthought.

Well, this rambled off being about financial topics a while ago.  Let's bring it back.  I got my cash back for my Costco Executive membership.  It doesn't pay us back for the whole membership fee, we just don't shop there enough for that, but it is still worth getting to go in there an hour before other shoppers.  The store is pretty empty and checking out is faster.  It was $59.03, so we'll use that on our next Costco purchase.  We won't get our cash back on the credit card until March, when our membership renews, since that is tied together.  You'd think it would be tied to when I first got the credit card, but no.

Payday is tomorrow.  The budget is done, I just need to figure out how much I need to withdraw from the credit union tomorrow and then go to sleep.  I will try to get up a payday report tomorrow but last time it took me a few days, so no promises.

Real time: 11:19 p.m. Real Date: 1/19/2023

Can I Squeeze this Purchase into the Next Budget?

January 16th, 2023 at 02:09 am

My husband has well and truly destroyed my 12 inch skillet.  For the third time he has left it on the burner without turning it off after taking the food out and the surface is now completely destroyed.  It won't clean and it is completely roughed up.  I don't feel safe cooking on it as it feels and looks like it has ruptured the non-stick ceramic coating.  It was such a good pan before this, too.

The 12 inch skillet is my most used pan, because I can cook enough in it for the four of us as either a meat dish or a side dish, so I went on Amazon to see what pans I liked and what was not made in China.  I settled on one made in Italy and the USA.  It has really good reviews as far as Amazon goes.  I am just going to replace the one skillet for now and if I like it I will save up for the set of 3 sizes.  We use the 12 inch a lot and there have been plenty of times I have wished to have two of that size going side by side, like when I am cooking pork chops and I'd like to be frying potatoes next to them.

The problem arises in that I have budgeted everything out for the foreseable future and obviously I'd have to make a change.  So I took a look at the upcoming budget for Friday and while there were some things I could push off, if I could get it to three weeks and make do with my ten inch skillets for the next month, because Amazon Prime is no longer Prime and it takes a week to deliver not one to two days, that would be okay, but the 3rd of February was a no go as far as changing the budget.  That one was set.  If I didn't change the 20th of January, I would have to wait until the February 17th budget to order a new 12 inch skillet and wouldn't get it until the 24th of February, putting it at almost 6 weeks from now.

So I came back to the 1/20/23 Budget and decided there are a lot of things that I am just setting the money aside early for next payday, like license plate tab renewals for both vehicles for May, fishing licenses, and property taxes (for March).

Plus I am putting $200 in the Gift Fund, but that was because it is my Birthday next month, followed by DS's birthday in early March and MIL's birthday in late March.  DS always wants his money early so he can order what he wants to arrive by his birthday, so having it ready early is helpful, because he often orders stuff from either England or Japan.  So I could have postponed myself, but I already did that at Christmas and I don't feel like doing that again.  After March there are no birthdays until August, when there are two, well, three, but mom never wants anything so I just give her a small potted mum that she plants in the yard. I only have to worry about $310 for that and then the rest of the gift fund goes for Christmas.

After I went over everything, I decided to push off the fishing licenses until the 2/17/23 Budget since the season won't open until spring anyway, and I will buy the skillet with that.  I budgeted for two licenses at $128.20 and the frying pan is $109.00.  It's more than enough to cover the sales tax and at least with prime I still get free shipping even though it still takes a week to get here.  So yes, I can do it.  I am glad I could wiggle this into the budget, because I really did not want to wait.  I would have, but it would have been irritating.

In the past year I just would have bought it and figured out how to pay it when the Citi bill came in, but this year I am trying to make a more conscious effort to not do that.  Can't guarantee that my husband won't, but I did talk to him about it and he's going to try.  We'll see how long it lasts, and if he can stop destroying my kitchen things.

Speaking of kitchen things, we used our Burger Master 8 in 1 Burger Press for making 1/4 pound hamburger patties yesterday.  We ordered it a while ago and it only recently came.  We still have so much ground beef left from our steer and figure this will be a great way to use it up, because not only can we use it for making burgers, but also for hamburger steaks with onion gravy.  I did fill it a bit too full, but it still worked.  It just took a little more force to break the burgers apart from each other.  They do lose the hexagonal shape when cooking to become more round.  We did weigh them once they were frozen and they were 4.3 to 4.6 ounces, so definitely overfilled them, because they looked too small to be quarter pound burgers, but that is because they are taller and not as pushed down as store bought patties or McDonald's patties.

Anyway, I am really going to like having this.  Our Costco hasn't been carrying the sleeves of grass fed hamburger patties and neither have our grocery stores been carrying the smaller sleeves of it.  We can make the patties in advance and I can divide them up into baggies of six patties, which is what we eat, 2 each for the guys, and 1 each for the girls.  Then 2 go into a seperate baggy each time we make them until there is enough for six.  I am going to work on going through a bunch of the packages of meat, but not all of it, just to get these so we can eat them more quickly.  I plan on buying a new steer this summer.

We also have had the 10 in 1 for making sliders for a while, because it wasn't on back order.  It is the perfect size for making sausage patties.  Since Costo hasn't had the precooked sausage patties for 3 months now, I've decided to make my own, since we have all that sausage from our hog.  I am going to add in some paprika to kick it up a notch and maybe some sage and ground fennel seeds.  It is pretty bland for breakfast sausage.  Since I will be the only one eating the sausage this way, I can do what I want to it.  Right now, it is about the same level of heat as mild Italian sausage, if that tells you anything.

It is much easier for me to cook ground meat patties from frozen.  I never know when to turn thawed patties over, I always do it too soon, and the meat falls apart.  At least with frozen, I know that if I flip it too soon, it won't fall apart.  Once I have them nice and browned and cooked through, I can freeze them again and just warm them up in the microwave as needed.  It makes my mornings so much simpler.  So those were very good purchases I made last year, that I didn't, but should have budgeted for.

 

More Retirement

January 15th, 2023 at 01:49 am

I don't usually do a retirement update a few days after doing a retirement update, but I was checking the 401K to see if they had finally put in the contribution from the 1-6-23 paycheck.  They used to be so good about it, it would be in that Friday or no later than the following Monday tops.  If there was a Friday holiday or a Thursday holiday things would be delayed, but that was understandable.  But things were back to normal.  There's no excuse for a week long delay unless someone is on vacation, but DH said no one in payroll was.  Oh, well, nothing I can do about it.

However, it had been deposited, but the balance was quite a bit more than would account for just DH's contribution and work's contribution, which is at the higher percentage now, so that's pretty awesome.  Their contribution was $288.12, when it was something like $116 or $118 something before.  Now the 18% on our part doesn't start until next Friday, so our contribution last week was still the same, $921.98, for a total contribution of $1210.10.  It had risen an additional $821.29, so that account is up a total of $2031.39 in a couple of days.  So the 401K is now at $80,612.97.

So I decided to check my IRA and that also went up substantially compared to how little it is in there.  It is back above $12K at $12,013.39.  I know it is not by much, but it has been a long time since I have seen it out of the 11's.  When all this free fall started, it was just about to touch $14K so it has a long way to go to hit where it was and I'm not sure what is going on right now.  Maybe it is the new Congress, maybe not.  Things always seem to rise on new hope, at least for a while.

$80,612.97 401K  Balance

+12,013.39 IRA Balance

---------------------

$92,626.36 New Retirement Total

I am well pleased.  The rate of return for both accounts YTD is approaching 5%.  I hope that train keeps chugging up the hill and then hits flat land at 15 to 16%.  I was getting that in 2016 to 2019 and in 2020 got 12% and even still got 10% in 2021.  It was 2022 that just killed us.  I know it is early yet, too early to be hopeful or excited, but if we can turn this disaster train that has wrecked the economy around, if there is even a little sparkle of hope, I'd like to grab onto it, even if it gets dashed out later.

Retirement Update for the End of 2022, Plus YTD 2023, and Contribution % Changes

January 13th, 2023 at 03:49 am

Since I was barely on my feet January 1st, I had not gathered the data in for our retirement accounts' standings.  To begin with, we started out 2022 in pretty good shape.  There had been some ups and downs in 2021, but for the whole year over all, we'd done well.  So we started out 2022 with $57,978.02 in the 401K and $13,925.02 in the IRA.  So between the two our retirement was at $71,903.04.

We do not contribute to the IRA so the losses are much more obvious there.  We ended the year with $11,437.47 or a -14.05% loss for the year with it.  We did contribute to the 401K, 16% of his salary, actually, with a contribution from his employer.  I don't remember how much and it changed mid-year and is changing again this year, going back up to 5% where it was pre-Covid, which will be great.

As for the 401K, it ended the year at $75,752.20, which at first glance might seem great.  It's a lot more than $57,978.02, right? That's $17,777.18 more than we started the year with, right?  Nope, because what came out of DH's paycheck, which was $23,000 and what came out of work's contributions, which 6270.23, we didn't come close to breaking even.  In fact, it flat our ate $11,493.25 of our contributions. Or that's what it feels like.  I know we bought stock and all that, blah, blah, blah.  It's still what it feels like.  And we had no gains, we had losses, and our losses were worse than the IRA percentagewise at -14.59%.

All in all, retirement ended the year at $87,189.67 or $15,286.60 higher than I started, about 55% of what was contributed.

It's not all bad news, though.  Since I was checking all of that today, I did notice that both the IRA and the 401K are up for the year so far.  The 401K is up 3.81% and now sits at $78,627.86 a rise of $2875.66 in just 12 days, and they have not yet added the contribution from the January 6th's paycheck, so that's all just interest.  I can't help but be a little excited since I haven't seen something like this in a year.  The IRA was 4.43% so it has risen by $529.64.

Together that is $3405.30, which brings the retirement total up to $90,594.97!  We cracked the $90K mark. If this year can just give us a positive rate of return, we will hit $100K in retirement.  They say when you hit that number things really start to change for you with your retirement adding up.  Of course, "they" weren't living in a recession, almost depression.

I still have some calculations to do to figure out current net worth, but will update that when I have it.

Oh, and we have bumped our retirement contributions up to 18% from 16%.  That will have us contritubing $27,000 this year.  Well,  just under since it won't start until the paycheck on the 20th.  That catch up contribution amount is $30,000 if you are 50 or older, so we could go up to 20% of our pretax income to get that, but I'm not sure we are ready for that.  I know we can do 18%, because we were doing it.  2% of DH's income was going to the FSA card before and since it isn't doing that this year, we decided the best place for it to go is to retirement.  We'll still get the tax savings through the year, just in a different way.

One of the reasons I decided to do that was because it was $115 that was taken out every two weeks pretax for the FSA card, but without it, we were only getting $28 a paycheck extra.  The rest was going to taxes.  Well, screw that, government.  That money is going to work for us for the rest of our lives, not go to you and your irresponsible spending habits.  We didn't need an extra $28 before and we don't need it now, but $115 each paycheck will go far for retirement.

So that's that, 18% for the next year, unless for some unfathomable reason they give him a raise this year.  I can't imagine him getting another one so soon, the one he got last year was so big.  I wouldn't expect another one before the summer 2024 and even then, not like this last one.  Even if it is a small one, if we raise the retirement percentage by whatever it is and continue to live on what we lived on before until we max out and put anything that is left in an IRA, that would be good, too.

Payday Report for 1-6-23

January 10th, 2023 at 08:46 am

My computer keyboard is being wonky as...well, I don't swear, but if I did, you can fill in the blank with the word of your choosing but mine has an f in it, because I am that annoyed at it.  I need to get a can of spray air and give it a good whooshing.  So I will try to get this posted again without erasing it.  My analysis will be at the end.

$361.23 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Groceries

_400.00 Homeowner's Insurance

__75.00 Household Expenses Envelope

__70.00 Groceries

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__30.00 DD Spending Money

__75.00 DS Spending Money

_100.00 Computer Fund

_123.70 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

1110.40 Citi

---------------------

3612.33 Total Money Out

For the groceries category, I still funded it even though we are doing the eat from the pantry challenge this month.  We are still allowed to buy things like fresh produce, milk, and a couple of other items.  Obviously not $400.00 worth of items, but whatever is left of that money will go into the Meat Fund, as we have started saving up for a steer for the freezer.  It currently has $120.00 in its envelope.

Homeowner's insurance isn't due for a couple of months, but I wanted to get it saved and in the bank right away.  I don't want to have to deal with it popping up suddenly, so I planned for it right off the bat.  I'll do the same with property taxes next payday.  I pay half for this stuff and Mom pays the other half.  Whenever she is ready to pay it, then I can transfer it out of savings and writer he a check.

You will note that I made a deposit to the emergency fund this payday.  The plan is to do $500 every 4 weeks.  The majority will come out of the second paycheck of the month, but I still made a deposit.  It is nice to start moving forward again.  I'd really like to get back to 3 months of income again.

I feel a bit better now that I have a balance of $200 in the car maintenance envelope.  We really wiped it out with getting all that maintenance work done two months ago.  I feel like we can handle anything small right now, but I'll feel a lot better when this gets back up to $500 and then $1000.  So much could go wrong with older vehicles, even though we keep them in tip top shape.

We did too much spending on the Citi card in the month of December.  With Covid we ordered too much take out in weeks 3, 4, and 5.  We could order and pay online and my mother would go pick it up and leave it at the top of the stairs for us and then call us that it was there.  It was pretty easy when no one had the stamina to cook.  Next payday will be about the same payment as this one.  This month I am determined to not do that, hence the pantry challenge.  And then I hope to stay in this habit, because we really do feel a lot better eating homemade meals.  And it'll save us the $100 or so it costs to get takeout for four adults these days.

I did buy a budget binder in December and it came a few days ago.  I transferred a lot of the money from my Dave Ramsey wallet, leaving only grocery and household money in there.  I was carrying too much money around in the envelopes and if something happened and I lost my purse, I did not want to lose all that money.  So I have nice pvc envelopes now for my different categories and most of them have stickers on them to show what they are.  I have a whole bunch from my scrapbooking days, so I didn't have to spend on those.  It's cute and fun and more importantly, safe.

So that's about it, really.  Thus endeth my payday report.

Budget Adjustments

January 6th, 2023 at 07:57 am

I've already had to adjust my budgets for the year a little bit.  Number one, I forgot that my driver's license was due this year, so I need to get that renewed by February 12th.  It's $72 for a freaking driver's license now.  I feel sorry or poor people.  That's a lot of money to have to come up with just to be able to drive.

It will be inconvenient and quite possibly painful, but I feel I need to actually go in in person because my photo is 9 years old and I really don't look like that anymore.  I renewed it online once already, when we went from a four year license to a five year license and now they are going for an 8 year license, which is why it is so expensive.

By the time I get to the end of year 8 that photo will be 17 years old.  Also, a new photo will give me a chance to hide the dark patches under my eyes when they unexpectedly made me take my glasses off for the first time and I was unprepared for it because they never had before.  Seems silly to do facial recognition on a face that will always be wearing glasses and will thus mess up any software being used to try to find someone.

And the other reason I have to adjust the budget is that the deadline for signing up for the FSA debit card was during the two weeks my husband was flatened by Covid and he didn't realize until today, so we don't get that benefit this year, where they take the money out of his paycheck pretax all year, but we get to use the $3000 up front that they put on the card at the beginning of the year.  It also means we lose what was left on the card from last year, which was $20.14, so not world ending money, but we did pay it in.  That's a real bummer.

But DH's mother did give us a check the last week of December for $5000 and we put it all in the medical fund, so we will be able to pay for DS's surgery in full.  I also put $500 in it last payday for things like prescriptions and any doctor's visits we have before then, which we have had.  But the deductible for the surgery will be $2000 for DS, plus $1000 out of pocket max, I think, so $3000.  And then between the other 3 of us we have to hit an additional $1000 for the deductible and $1000 or maybe $2000 out of pocket max.

So, what that boils down to is I will be contributing $500 a month to the medical fund for a little while, until I'm sure we are over the hump for the year, and then probably $250 a month to build it up for next year.  We can't guarantee that MIL will give us money every year.  We didn't figure she would this year, because of how bad the stock market did, but she still has to withdraw $15,000 no matter how bad it did.  I just wish, as I do every year, that the majority of the money didn't go for medical.  Or in this case all of it.  We would be so much further ahead if it didn't.

Well, DH's paycheck will be slightly larger, but not by too much.  They were taking out $115.38 a paycheck for the FSA card, but now that they are not, and the government gets their cut in taxes, it is only $28 and some change more per payday.  Shocking how much the government steals from us, isn't it?  Well, maybe we'll get some back for all the medical expenses this year.  We can't claim anything from pretax dollars.  In reality, 10% of that boost in pay goes towards the tithe, too, so I'm really only working with $25 and some change there.  So that adjusts the budget a little bit there, as well.

Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment for my daughter and then I have to do the banking, or the credit unioning, I guess, but that just sounds really wrong.  I've set up the final budget for the month with the changes and bumped Feburary's around a bit, too.

We are doing really well on the January pantry challenge.  No eating out and no buying groceries.  I've lost two pounds, probably from the decreased sodium intake, plus I'm just not as hungry since I'm not eating much sugar and far less wheat and slowly lowering my carb intake on most days.  That puts me at 13 pounds lost since changing my eating habits when my glucose hit 139.  Or maybe it was 129.  I don't remember.  Anyway, it was scary high.

I'll check in tomorrow, it's still Thursday here, 1-5-23, don't know what the time and date stamp will say, with my payday report.

 

A Very Hard Month is Over and I'm Setting Goals for 2023 and Beyond

December 23rd, 2022 at 10:08 pm

Covid kicked our butts so hard.  I am finally feeling almost normal again.  I still tire very easily and if I go out in the cold my cough comes back and my lungs don't feel like they will ever be the same when I exert myself.  This is my fourth go around.  The first and the last were very bad, the two in the middle not so much.  This last one, though, was worse than the first and I thought the first was horrible.  But we are functional just in time for Christmas.  Having to sleep through Thanksgiving instead of having one was a bummer for all of us.  It will be an easy Christmas, though.  A ham in the crockpot, potatoes in the Instant Pot, green beans and corn in the microwave, maybe some fudge.  No hard work, but plenty of good food.

As for goals, I've been thinking about them a lot.  I've also been debating about bumping the 401K up to 17% from 16%, but I'm not even sure it is worth bothering at this point.  It's better used in the budget right now.  So far these are my savings goals for 2023, in random order.

1. Refund the Emergency Fund--Add $250 every 4 weeks to the EF.

2. Purchase a Propane Grill with Smoker--Save $250 for 12 weeks and I will have $1500.  I may not spend that much, I probably won't, but I don't want a garbage one.  This will put me at March 17th and I may find some good grills on clearance as they prepare for the new season of grills coming in.  I am not adverse to buying a separate smoker as they are not all that expensive.

2. Save for Beef Fund--Save $500 a month for 5 months, ending in May, for a total of $2500 to buy a whole steer.  I may not need this much but with costs going up everywhere, I tacked on an extra $500.  I'll contact my guy beforehand and see where prices are going.  I may need to extend into June for $3000.  I will also be saving excess grocery money, so it may not take the whole time.

3. Save for Snow Blower--Starting in May or June, depending on when Beef Fund is completed, save $500 a month for three months to purchase a snow blower for next winter and a chain for locking it to the back porch.  The garage is too far away if we get dumped on like we did last week.  1.5 feet in two days that has lasted for several days.  This has happened several years running now.  And several times a winter.  Never used to, but it does now.

4. Starting March 24th save $250 a month for two generators, one for the garage freezer and a more powerful one for the house.  I still have to price these.  I am not sure how much they will cost yet, but I hope to have enough saved by October to have both.

5. Get some kind of covered seating area and some more chairs so we can eat outside more in the spring and summer.  Not sure where I will fit that in.  Maybe start the generator savings later.

After I've saved up and purchased these items any money leftover and any money that was being saved towards those goals will go to the Emergency Fund.

Actually, things might be thrown off a bit.  Mom will need help with house taxes and insurance.  I'll have to look up what those were last year, but this is still more or less what I will be doing, maybe offset a bit.

Longer Term Goals--Things I Want to Save for in 2024

1. Emergency Fund--Go a Little More Hard Core and Get it Up to 6 month's expenses.

2. Start a Fund for Future Taxes and House Insurance--It'll probably be a few years yet before Mom dies, she's healthy, just old, but when she does the taxes will no longer be at a senior rate and they are around $6K and we will have to assume the home owner's insurance.  I would like to have $7K set aside for this so that our first year we don't get slammed.  Even $14K would be helpful, but might take longer than one year.  Of course when the time comes I'll just work it into the budget, but I want to pay it from the beginning not be on a payment plan.

3. Save Up to Upgrade our Electric Panel Fuse Box Thingy--No idea on the cost of this, but I can ask DH how much it cost when his mom had to do it.  We have one fuse box in the basement and one upstairs and the wires are ridiculous.  And I am pretty sure the loads are improperly done.  So we need to get an electrician out to fix everything and bring it up to code and have it so everything is upstairs and done right.  The problem will be convincing my mother.  Plus she built a bookcase around the fuse box, which isn't allowed and may have to be demolished.  This one may have to wait until after she dies, but I'd really like to do it sooner, for safety reasons.

2025 and Beyond

1. Start a Fund for an Electric Vehicle--This probably won't get much contributed to it on a monthly basis.  Both our vehicles are in great condition and they haven't made a good mini-van that is fully electric to my knowledge.  Although we may need a different kind of van that is wheelchair accessible for DD at some point, and I have no idea if those will ever be electric.  We intend to drive both vehicles until they die of old age or we can't get parts anymore, but neither is at that stage.

2. Start a Fund for a 26,000 Watt Whole House Generator--This one is $10K probably with installation costs.  It ties directly into your natural gas or propane line, so you don't have to fill it with gas.  I want the one that automatically turns on when the power goes out and turns off when it goes on.  I don't want to have to fiddle with that.  The only issue would be if the gas line breaks or you've run out of propane.  This one is less urgent than others.  Our power always gets restored quickly since we are on same lines as the hospital.  We've never been out more than an hour or two here and usually it's much, much less.  But as the infrastructure crumbles and domestic terrorists keep trying to sabotage the grid, having another source of power for my home is something I'd like to have and a lot cheaper than solar powers at this point.  Maybe save $2K a year on this one.  We can't do anything until we get the electrics upgraded.

3. Solar System--I'd like to have one that meets all or most of our electrical needs on a daily basis for most of the year.  It may not be practical and we may not get our money back out of it, but the kids will inherit the house so it will be worth it for them.  I'd like to save about $4K a year for this, too, when the time comes.  Again, we can't do anything for this until the electrics are upgraded, because it will tie into that to run the house.

4. Remodel the Kitchen--Not by a Lot.  I just want to take out the stove and put in two wall mounted ovens on top of each other, one a baker's oven.  I can't bend down to the floor to put things in the oven anymore.  My grandmother had one of these and I loved it.  Take out some of the cabinets that don't have cupboards above them and put in a 6 burner range that vents down through the floor, into the basement, and then out through the side of the house.  I want to be able to have canners on two burners, be heating lids on another, and heating water to blanch on another while there is at least one more burner free for someone to cook something if they are hungry.  One burner at least will be blocked by two canners, so covering three.

5. Remodel Every Bathroom in the House.  The ceiling of the guy's bathroom needs to be replaced now, though with some kind of water resistant drywall.  The mold remediation did not work and the situation has gotten really bad and now black mold is appearing on the ceiling.  The painters who did the mold remediation have still not come back to fix it even though under the warranty they are supposed to.  It's been a thing.  Plus their entire paint job has practically peeled off in there because they didn't scrape off the previous paint even though they were supposed to.  I think we would be better off cutting out the ceiling, renting a drywall lift and putting a new piece in place.  Then scraping it and repainting with mold resistant paint.

The bathroom that DD and I share needs a new shower installed.  We both want a walk in shower with no tub.  The tub shower combo we have now has a crack in the tub that we sealed up with boat sealant, but I think there is still a leak somewhere because the floor is bowing, so I think we will need a new floor in the next couple of years, which also means new flooring.  We might do tile.  I'd also like to paint it a color I like and put in some shelves, a smaller mirror that isn't so tall, so I can actually reach the top to clean it, a different light that is not a long bar of special lights that are hard to find and are incandescent.  We also need to get a new shower head.  The sprayer on the one we have is awkward and doesn't move with you.  We need to replace the faucet, too.  We have a new one, DH just hasn't had the time.

In Mom's bathroom the shower doesn't work right and ends up leaking water down into the basement.  There is also an old jetted tub that is very short so you can't stretch your legs out.  There is nowhere to install a handicapped rail to help you get up and down, and the jets only sometimes work and the sink and vanity are very ugly.  So once the house is ours, the tub and shower will be torn out.  I'd like to move the toilet to where the shower is now, and put the sink where the toilet is.  I'd like to put in some shelves.

Then where the sink is now I'd like to put in a sink and chair like they have at the hair salon for washing hair.  My back is so messed up now that bending over the sink to wash my hair is a production.  That way both my son and daughter could wash my hair and not just my husband.  My shoulders and wrists have a hard time with it these days, because it is so long, by the time I get through two washes and a conditioner I am in agony.  Gotta love reumatoid arthritis.  Then where the tub is now, we want to put in a tile shower with a lip and showerheads on both sides.  We might have to run conduit to do that and an equalizing pressure dohickey, but it will be nice.

The other bathroom just needs a different bathtub.  Mom put in a seated bathtub, but it is horribly uncomfortable.  It seat rises up in the middle so basically it splits you where you sit and it has painful air jets instead of water jets.  So we want to put in a tub with water jets instead.  That'll cost $20K so who knows when that will happen.  We may never have all that extra money and just use it as a soaking tub as we do now, since the only good other tub does not have handicapped rails in it and has the moldy ceiling wih the peeling pain.

So lots of saving money, lots of things on the horizon.  Some more important than others, some more likely than others.

 

Payday Report for 12/23/2022 Including Bonuses

December 23rd, 2022 at 08:01 pm

$3584.10 Paycheck Amount

$1188.48 Christmas Bonus after Taxes (was $1700)

$1048.66 Extra Bonus for Being Exemplary (was $1500)

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$5821.24 Total Money for Working Budget

So DH did very well for himself this year with the bonuses.  The company did very well for itself so they had extra money to divvy up and while everyone got a Christmas bonus based on a percentage of their pay, DH got an extra one based on those who did work above and beyond, showed leadership, and handled every curveball thrown at them.  He's now fifth in line for the top role at the company.  He needs a lot more experience and a longer work history with this company, but in about ten years he will have that and people above him will be retiring, except his direct boss.  They are giving him more responsibility with that in mind and he did great with it this year.  Anyway, I am done bragging now.  On to the budget for this paycheck.

Remember I run a $0 dollar based budget.  Every dollar, every penny has a job to do.

$582.12 Tithe

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Chiropractor

_150.00 Gas Money Envelope

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__87.15 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__30.00 Spending Money DD

__70.36 Emergency Fund

__651.27 Three New Tires for the Truck

1154.21 New Computer

__50.00 Spending Money DH

__50.00 Spending Money Me

_200.00 Chrismas Money Me

_496.23 Winter Jackets for 4 of Us

_313.22 Snow Boots for 3 of Us

_773.87 Citi for Auto Pays (Phone, Internet, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius, Etc.)

---------------------

5821.24 Total Money Out

The bonuses were paid on the 15th and we used a lot of that for the coats, snow boots, and tires.  Just in time, too.  I was the last one to get their Christmas money because I did not want a present, I wanted money.  I am saving up for something.  The new computer took up the rest of the money, plus, I think, a little more, but I haven't done the math there.  I'm going to start saving for the next computer now.

Anyway, that is the budget for this paycheck.  It feels good to not have run the credit card up this month.  Even with everyone being so sick with Covid we didn't get a ton of take out because no one was well enough to go get it and I am not going to pay for delivery.  So the card didn't get charged up.

Emergency Fund Update

December 23rd, 2022 at 07:03 pm

$10,285.51 Balance Forward

+__,_82.11 Amount Added

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$10,367.62 New Balance

Here a Budget, There a Budget, Everywhere a Budget, Budget

November 29th, 2022 at 04:22 am

I finished recording and in one case writing out a check (to Mom) for the November 11 budget and then closed out that budget and then I paid all the bills and attributed out the money for the November 25th budget and then closed it out as best as I could without actually being about to go the bank to take my cash draw.  But the important stuff has been done and it won't wreck anything in my finances or my life if the cash does not get taken out any time soon.

After I finished with that I set up my December 2020 Budget.  I thought I had done that, but no, I had not.  We should have hopefully dug ourselves out of our hole now, so that we can put $500 per paycheck into the medical fund this month.  I would like to do this for December and January and then drop it down to $500 every other paycheck until I have the medical fund where I want it and then we will stop contributing to it until I deem it necessary to do so again.

In January we will be able to start contributing to the EF again every month so long as we stick to the new 2023 budget.  We will be able to start contribting $500 a month to the beef fund.  Last time it was a total of close to $2000, so this time I plan to save $2500 due to inflation.  I will check in closer to butcher time, though, to see where things stand in case I need to save more.  I hope not.  That kind of defeats the purpose of buying in bulk, even for grass fed beef.

I need to set some money aside for house taxes and insurance, too and then go full bore on the EF and get it up to $30K, which is not where it was before, but is where I'd like it to be.  I've got a long row to hoe.

Two Days Somewhat Upright--Covid Hit Me Like a Freight Train

November 29th, 2022 at 02:50 am

I'd say I was starting to get back on my feet again, but that's not really true.  It's more like I'm able to get back into a chair again.  We all ended up coming down with Covid except Mom and it was worse than 2020.  I had the worst symptoms of everyone, but my nose and my son's nose would not test positive until Thanksgiving, so we were the last ones to get put on the medication.  At least that means DH was semi able to help me, since he was feeling a bit better, because I was so weak on two of the days I needed someone to help we walk to the bathroom and back.

The paxlovid has helped a lot.  The fireball body fever is gone, the lobster face and the pot it was boiling me in is gone, the cough down to my navel is more up in the bronchials and throat, the blinding headache has turned into a mild one, my ears are unblocked, my nose is unblocked and just runny, I'm only sleeping 15 hours instead of 22, and I can have a conversation, and hold both thoughts and plots in my head, which means I can watch a show again.  But I still sound like a foghorn, feel exhausted, fall asleep almost every time I close my eyes, and am still weak and can't be trusted to carry a bowl from the microwave to the tray table in my room, not even a plastic one.

Eating properly went out the window and I lost 5 pounds while sick.  The first two days was just chicken broth.  The third day was eggs and chicken broth.  Then it was Thanksgiving and that was the day I was positive.  That day I had a pudding cup because my throat was so sore, started my dose, and I slept the clock around, woke up, took my dose, and slept the clock around again.  After that I started eating half a can of soup once a day and a pudding cup once a day.  The medicine tastes bad and it takes the taste out.  Today I had half a sandwich with some actual protein with lettuce on it for breakfast and the other half for lunch.  That's all and that will probably be all.

I figure it is the best I can do for now.  I am trying not to make DH do too much for me.  He is trying to work from home.  I can make a sandwich and put it in a plastic container with a lid.  That way if I drop it on the way to my room it isn't ruined and doesn't need to be cleaned up.  I did, by the way, drop it, but I just pushed it to my room with my foot and alls well that ended well.  Sat down in my chair and picked it up with my reacher, because if I put my head below my knees, the dizziness is off the charts with this thing, and it was none the worse for wear.

Mom has been good about getting our prescriptions and she picked up some cans of soup and sandwich makings from the store.  I'm glad I had cash leftover from the previous payday, because the Thanksgiving payday was not going to happen.  I'm not even sure if we'll make it there at all this week.  Maybe on Friday.  DH is supposed to be safe by then to go out in public again, so if he feels up to it he can drive to the bank.  But he doesn't have to.

I have $160 in the beef fund (I used quite a bit of what I had in there when I was canning meat), I have $82 left in the grocery envelope, and I have $75 in the household envelope, and if we need to touch it, I have $550 in my allowance folder.  I would not want to touch that since I am saving up that money towards either a new computer or stuff for the garden, I haven't decided yet, since my computer is not that old.  It would obviously be replaced, but I know how that can go and would rather not do that.  Anyway, wiht the first 3 things, there is $317 we can tap, so that should be sufficient.

So we should be okay, whether we can make it the credit union this week or not.  Probably even if we can't make it there until the payday on the 23rd, so it only is an issue with cash, everything else is either writing a check or making an online payment or is an automatic payment.  Life in the 2020's, you know.

 

Thermostat Wars, Covid, and Weight Loss

November 22nd, 2022 at 05:50 am

I have about had it with my mom and the thermostat.  She keeps jacking the heat up to 75°F.  Last night it was like being in a sauna.  You know when you are in that stage when you are too tired to get up and go halfway through the house to go turn it down, but you can't really sleep because you are boiling so you lie there and lie there and lie there until you finally force yourself to get up and then turn it down to 70°F because it is 38°F outside, and 68°F makes my arthritis act up in the winter (but not the summer, somehow?).

Then the minute she gets up she jack it right back up to 75°F because she's cold.  And you want to know why she's cold?  Because she sleeps with her bedroom window open, because if she doesn't she's too hot to sleep.  Maybe the reason she is too hot to sleep, and so are the rest of us, is because she turns to furnace up to the temperature of when I first want to start using the A.C. in the summer.

During the day, if the rest of us are cold we put on long pants, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, and either slippers or shoes before we think about turning the heat up.  My mom will wear her short sleeved shirts and her mid-calf pants, maybe socks, maybe not.  She won't think about putting on better clothes so we can keep the furnace down.  If we tell her to put on a sweater, she'll put on the thinnest sweater she owns.  I mean, it's a spring cardigan that is so think you can almost see through it.  She has thicker sweaters.  When she sits in her chair all day watching tv she has a stack of throws next to her to pull over her when she gets cold, but she'd rather turn the heat up.

I just know when the gas bill comes she's going to throw the world's biggest fit about how high it is.  She only pays ten percent of it, too, but you'd think she paid the whole thing by how she squawks about it.  It's going to be bad, because natural gas prices have been skyrocketing even without her sudden need to this year to live in a sauna.  She keeps this up and that bill is going to double and we can't afford that.

I just had it out with her that if everyone else is in the house is having to put on tank tops and shorts, than she is wrong about the heat and she needs to turn it down so people can wear regular winter clothes and she needs to dress appropriately for the winter.  I know it is technically fall still, but the weather is winter weather here.  She even has a little space heater that will warm up just her area and doesn't use a lot of electricity that she refuses to use because that takes up electricity.

I can't get it through her head that natural gas is a lot higher than electric right now, that it's not two years ago when it was the other way around, and that she needs to realize how bad things are going to be this winter with gas prices.  Stuff flips around every so many years, and she says she knows this, but she still keeps jacking that thermostat up.  And it'll be us making up the difference on the bill because she's on a fixed income.

Okay, end of rant.  She just got me worked up today.

DH hasn't been feeling so good for the past few days.  He called me from Lowe's Saturday night and said he really didn't feel good.  He'd been fine when he left the house, but he had to stop after getting what we needed, wood glue, and couldn't go look and see if the had a couple more lines of Christmas lights that matched some we bought last year or to take pictures of any standees and text them to me.  I said fine, get the glue and come home.

By the time he dragged into the house he looked like a different person.  He insisted on fixing the wooden railing that he broke that leads up the short set of stairs from one part of the house to the other and then I made him go to bed.  He's been in there pretty much since except to eat and he's barely been eating.  A couple cans of cream of mushroom soup, a can of chicken noodle, lots of water.  And sleeping otherwise.  We had a couple covid tests on hand so I had him take one and it came back positive.  So I took one and it came back negative, but my nose had some blood in it that got on the swab which can cause a false negative.  I've just been dragging hard since yesterday, but I don't seem to have any symptoms but extreme fatigue.  But the kids seem to be going downhill now, too.  And we have no more test kits and I am too tired to drive to go get some.

DH is going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and see what he needs to do, since it is early enough to get on the Covid meds still, and they will probably want to do their own rapid test to confirm and then if they do and it does, I will call them, too, and ask if I should still come in for my appointment on Wednesday about blood sugar testing or wait and make an appointment for the week or two weeks after Thanksgiving.  If so, that'll give me a little more time to lose weight.

And speaking of weight I have lost ten pounds.  Today was a bit difficult because I was dragging so hard I did not want to cook.  I resorted to instant mashed potatoes, microwaving a pack of gluten free brown gravy, using a frozen steamer bag of broccoli, and dumping out a jar of chuck roast into a bowl and warming it up and calling it good.  It was not the most gourment of meals, but it had protein, low carb veg, and starch.  I refuse to give up on my nutrition now that I have got my diet back under control, though.

No fruit today.  I had grapes the past two days with dinner, just 12, and it just felt like I was eating straight sugar, within 5 minutes I felt light-headed and dizzy and like I needed to go lay down before I fell down.  So maybe it is just the grapes and I need to try something else, or maybe it is fruit entirely.  I will try a half cup of blueberries tomorrow with my dinner.  If they trigger it again, I think fruit will just have to be a very rare thing.  I can get everything fruit would give me from bell peppers and tomatoes and squash anyway.

We have cancelled our Thanksgiving.  I may make it on Saturday or Sunday if I am feeling up to it, but Thursday is out of the question.  It is too much work right now to do alone and I can't even drive to the store to buy the bread for the stuffing and I don't feel up to making 4 loaves of bread, either.  3 for the stuffing, because the loaves are smaller, and 1 to eat, because we are out of bread.  I don't even feel like walking out to the garage to get potatoes, I'm so tired.

Well, that's about it.  Good night, everyone.  I'm going to bed.

And the Medical I$$ue$ Because There are Always Medical Issues

November 13th, 2022 at 06:43 am

Just skip this one if you don't want to hear about my kid's upcoming surgery or what new thing I'm facing with my health.

My son has a surgery scheduled on Valentine's Day with an ENT at Virginia Mason to try to rebuild the part of his nose where the cartilage has collapsed.  I can't remember if I talked about this before or not, but depending on whether the doctor can harvest enough of his own cartilage to transplant or if he has to use artifical cartilage he should see a 40% to 80% improvement.  Even 40% will be such an improvement.  So his surgery will probably hit the 2/3 of the deductible right there as well as the out of pocket max for regular and specialist, although we will probably have another $1000 we have to max out for one of us because the family max is $3000, but the personal deductible max is $2000.  It's a weird system.

At least $3000 of that will be covered and I'm hoping we can save the rest in the medical fund between now and then.  Right now I've only been putting enough in to cover our monthly output, because we've had so much monthly output.  DH and his crowns,  DD and her cavities.  Our dental sucks.  Vision isn't is pretty good unless you are nearsighted and farsighted and have an astigmatism.  Raise your hand if you are me.  And we were wasting so much money over the summer and early fall while I was too sick to cook or shop and the guys were pretty much unwilling to and I was too weak to reorder their thinking.

But I'm well now. Or am I?  (Cue unsettling move music here.) Dun, dun, dun.  I got my fasting glucose results back.  139.  It should be between 70 and 100 mg/dL.  Now last time it was 124 which is the high range of 100 to 125 where they try to monitor it with dietary changes and exercise, but of course between my fall and being sick I could barely get out of bed for more than half an hour and on the days that I could it was to walk outside and tell my son what to pick and what to water and then sit in a chair to get some sunlight if it wasn't a scorcher.  I couldn't do much else before crawling back into bed.  And I certainly didn't eat right with all that takeout.  At least my choelesterol is really good.

So now that I have finally kicked that miserable illness out the door, I'm really facing diabetes.  I found out yesterday when my labs came back and I'll see the doctor again on the 23rd where I will start tracking my blood with a monitor.  I may not be diabetic, but I've had some symptoms for a while, so I could be.  This is the thing that is motivating me.  I have watched people die of this.  I don't want to die of this.

So I got off the phone with the receptionist, finished making dinner, and I had my spaghetti dinner, only instead of having 3 cups of noodles, I took 1, and had 4 meatballs instead of 3.  There was a diced zucchini in the sauce, maybe 2 cups worth, and I also made broccoli and there were salad fixings, so I had both of those.  I felt hungry around midnight, but I drank a bunch of water and it passed, so was probably just thirsty, then went to bed at one.  I'm trying to get to bed earlier, but I was going to bed at 3 before the time change, so I've progressed by an hour. I am getting up earlier.  Maybe no caffiene, very little sugar, and eating right will help.

Today I carefully planned out my food.  There are two methods of eating for diabetes.  One is almost completely vegetarian, which I know makes me binge because of fruit, and also I am allergic to lectins so beans, lentils, and almost all legumes are out of the question, which really limits you on protein, and one is controlling your carbs, but making sure you get just enough of them.  The second is the only one that I have ever lost a substantial amount of weight on.

I used some of the sausage from our pig (no sugar) to make two small patties for breakfast, each 3 oz on the food scale.  I had one soft-boiled egg, and half an English cucumber.

For lunch I had 5 oz of ling cod fish brushed lightly with melted ghee (because I can't stand oil on fish), seasoned with salt, pepper, and sazon and put in a foil packet with zucchini and sprigs of thyme, some sage leaves, some flatleaf parsley, some oregano and some finely minced garlic (home grown) and a couple tbsp of water, and placed in the oven to steam.  It was so good.

Then dinner was where I got the majority of my carbs for the day from.  I had two 4 oz beef kielbasas from this really clean brand Kiolbasa, 1 yellow potato diced, seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, and tossed with 2 tbsp of filtered bacon grese since I was cooking at 400°F (205°C).  I was planning to have some of the leftover broccoli but I ended up knocking it on the floor.  My hands just let go sometimes.  I have twitches.  I decided screw it, and made a big, big salad instead.  I had 3 tbsp of ketchup on the potatoes and 3 tbsp of 1000 Island dressing on the salad.  So I had 63 grams of carbs not counting the salad and the other green vegetables.  I was told to aim for 60, so if I had only done 2 tbsp of salad dressing I would have it.  But close enough.

I am steaming some hard boiled eggs tonight in my little cooker so I will have them if I need to snack or even if I don't feel like making breakfast.  Just having an egg or two to eat will wake up my brain.  I can't afford not to have regular meals anymore just because I don't want to eat breakfast in the morning.

I have gotten into some really bad habits.  Pepsi first thing in the morning, when I'd been off it for so long.  That alone probably has driven my glucose up, even with fasting that morning.  Eating way too many empty carbs, junk food, doughnuts, chocolate.  The only thing I wasn't eating was potato chips, because ever since Lays started using oil other than sunflower oil (Ukraine/Russia war) their chips don't taste the same and I don't like them, so I was off chips completely except if I made pico de gallo, then I'd eat Tostitos.

Anyhow today is day one with no Pepsi, very little sugar, only what's in the ketchup and dressing and those are 5g and 3g per tbsp respectively.  I'm sure I'll be going through withdrawals, but since I am already having painful symptoms from my pneumonia vaccine, and where the lady who did my labs left a massive bruise where she blew the vein in my arm trying to get into my vein and then blew the one in my hand with an even worse bruise and then had to call someone else to find a vein in my other arm which took her five minutes, what's one more?  I can handle it.  Just call me a pincushion.

I am not worried about fat.  The doctor said not to worry about fat, just carbs.  He said that animal sources of fat were actually better for me than plant derived fats, but olive and avocado oils have other health benefits and should always be included in one's diet according to the most recent studies.  I mean, I'm not to go eating a cup of butter or anything like that, but lard, or tallow, or bacon grease in one or two tbsp increments is fine.  And no deep frying anything.  I've always felt that way about animal fats, though.  I've been reading anecdotal stuff on it for years.  Plus all Eskimos survived on was whale blubber and whale meat and they were healthy.

I feel better, though, after one day of eating right.  My brain felt less foggy today.  I wasn't wanting to eat constantly, only when I'm hungry, which is at meal times.  I didn't feel like my blood sugar is crashing.  I didn't feel dizzy or light-headed at all today.  I feel a lot more tired at the end of the day, like I'm ready to go to sleep at a decen time and not late.

I don't know if my insurance will cover a glucose monitor or even how much they cost.  If they cover it, it won't cost anything.  And if I can drop it my number down to where it belongs and get a good start on getting my weight down, maybe we won't have to do anything more.  I hate having to get shots every 4 weeks.  I don't want to do it daily.  I have no idea how much insulin costs, but I know it is expensive even though it shouldn't be. I know there is some sort of pill now, too.  But maybe I won't need anything if I do this right.  It's just going to monitoring for now.  Hopefully, I can fix this.

I'm not telling my mother.  I don't need her to be twitting me about my weight, just like she and dad used to do when I put on the freshman fifteen in college, or didn't lose my baby weight after giving birth to my second kid, or her alone in later years after dad died.  I don't need any negatives from her.  She's the reason I stress eat so much.  That and all the medical issues that arise in my family.

 

 

 

 

Retirement, EF, and Net Worth Major Milestone Goal Hit

November 13th, 2022 at 01:00 am

I am sorry for any typos in this.  My space bar is sticking and I don't have any compressed air to clean it out.  I think I've got them all, but I'm not sure.  Our retirement accounts are starting to turn around.  Don't get me wrong.  The IRA is still -18.04% for the year, because it plunged even lower than my last report, but it's come back up by a little over a thousand dollars. That's a loss of $2707.65 in an account we don't contribute to at all right now. It will have to climb a lot higher to erase that percentage and I don't think it can do it by year's end.

The 401K went from over -25% for the year to -13.59.  The loss for the year, only because we have been contributing, is -$9488.88.  We won't make up for that this year, either.  There are only four contributions of $1152.48 to be made, mostly from us, but some from the employer match.  Even if DH gets any over time, it won't be enough without a tremendous rise in the stock market.  I haven't been watching since August, though, because the whole year has been so awful, so I don't know what it was doing.  But judging by our contributions versus where we were at the end of August, it still ate half of them, so I'd say it wasn't the greatest.

Still it is up since the last time I changed my sidebar by $4920.33.  That brings the amount in retirement to $83,848.84.  I also transferred $1000 out of the emergency fund to fix a leak in the van's sunroof.  Never again will we have these on a vehicle we buy. This is the second time we have had to do this repair. I mean the van is 12 years old, but they should build it so this never happens.

When it rains hard the water leaks down into the seat belt wells and soaks them, so when you pull your seatbelt out it is drenched.  So it etiher goes against your jacket or sweater, so you have a wet piece of clothing or you keep towels in your car to put between you and seat belt which is not comfortable and kind of a distraction. And if it freezes really bad, like 17°F or less (-8.3°C), the seat belt will get frozen in the ice after it fills up with water during the day before the temp drops, whether it is rain or melting snow.  If we hadn't just shelled out over $1200 on vehicle maintenance and replacement filters and whatnot, we'd have had the money in our car maintenance envelope. But we did, so we didn't have it.

Anyway, that reduces the EF to $10,285.51.  Which means the total of net worth changes by $3920.33, going from $146,216.13 to $150,136.46.  So we have hit a major milestone goal for us, crossing the $150K barrier on net worth. This was such a long, long time coming.  I feel like we are lucky we even got here considering the last year, where everything that could go wrong with the economy, did go wrong.  So while it is amazing to see it, I'm still kind of scared it will disappear on me before the end of the year, and hoping like crazy it doesn't. But I will know we hit it once and that we will be able to hit it again somehow, some way, if we have to.  And know, as they say, is half the battle.

Color Me Exhausted in a Good Way

November 8th, 2022 at 01:19 am

Saturday, November 5, 2022

I really had forgotten what being well felt like and what it meant to be exhausted from working hard instead of simply existing.  It's a better feeling, a feeling of accomplishment, of pride in what you have done, even if, in the end, every joint in your body aches the same.  Still, this girl got stuff done.

In the morning I divided the last of the chicken bones into the two Instant Pots and got the broth going, cleaned jars, and set up my area, and had DH put the heavy double decker All American canner up on the stove because that thing weighs a lot, but you get what you pay for.

Then we went outside and did some garden work.  You will not believe me, but I did not want to run back in the house and get my camera, because my legs are barely working as it is and photos uploading are always a crapshoot around here anyway, but my darn yellow zucchini had a big old flower on it today.  And those tiny flowers that were on my pepper plants?  Those are now tiny peppers.  What on Earth, people?  Maybe I really should go get some green house plastic.  The pepper plants at least would survive all winter, I think.

Anyway, we got the tarp put down on the potato plot and we added four feet in one direction and two feet in the other to increase the size.  DH worked on taking out a tree stump that had been left in the way of where we want to build a raised bed next year.  He dug down to get as much of the roots as he could, but there was a tap root so he could only go so far, but he got out all the tap roots.

Meanwhile, DS dug out some wild blackberry canes while I cut them out of the climbing rose bushes.  I don't even know where they sprang up from.  We haven't had this variety of wild blackberries in our yard before, but our neighbor does.  This was nowhere near theirs though.  It was literally in the middle of the back yard.  We can't get all of it out, but without taking the roses out, which we will in spring to move them, but we should be able to dig them out then.  There wasn't too much of them and I will poison those if I have to.

I am not playing the wild blackberries are taking over my yard game.  I am already playing the keep the morning glory that the other neighbors let run rampant and won't keep in their own yard so it runs all the fences in my yard and constantly crawls into my garden all summer out of my yard game.  I think next year I will poison those, too, neighbors nice hedges be darned if they get any on it.  I hate to poison, but there is no winning with either of these plants.  Morning glory should never be planted outside of a planter that is on concrete with no ability to get to dirt.  It is so invasive and impossible to control if you don't hack it back all summer.

My son has started drinking coffee again so he is saving the coffee grounds for me to bury in the raised beds.  I will do so as long as the ground isn't frozen.  We haven't had a hard freeze yet, but I am sure it is coming.  Well, that's about it for this update.  Still planning to post that payday report.  Just have so much other stuff on my mind.

Me from the future:  I forgot to post this on Saturday and just left it open with about 50 other tabs.  Glad windows didn't randomly decide to restart.

It's All About Food Again, Canning, Saving, Planning Freezer Meals, Prepping

November 5th, 2022 at 01:01 am

Yesterday, that is.  I put my nose to the grindstone, but I got it done.  10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.  So I have 13 quarts and 6 pints of canned chicken.  One of my quart jars broke in the canner.  It was one of my grandmother's jars from 1949, so it lasted a long time.  Two bad it took 2 pounds of chicken with it.  I think I'm going to go through and weed those jars out and use them for dry food storage.  There aren't many left, but I don't want to take that risk.

While I was canning those I had two Instant Pots filled with bones, water, and seasonings, making chicken bone broth.  Pressure cooking for two hours is the equivalent of simmering on the stove for 24 hours or more, only you don't have to worry about evaporation and adding more water, just a bit of steam that comes out at the end.  I didn't get as much as I should have because my son wasn't paying attention when I asked him to fill them up to the max line and instead he just covered the bones, which is what we do when we make a whole chicken, but not what I do when making broth, which he's never done.  I should have checked, but I was so busy with other stuff, I didn't.  Not really his fault.  I know he has ADHD and was having a no focus day.

I still got a good amount of broth at 8 pint and a half jars and 8 pint jars, but I could have had almost double that.  I have enough bones to fill both Instant Pots again, so will be doing that and canning it tomorrow.  I was too wiped to do anything today.  I went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 11:07 this moring, waking up once at 6:30.  I was exhausted.

I did manage to get some of the dishes done.  I had to soak 8 cups, though.  I am not happy about that.  They all had milk residue in the bottoms so I know it was one of the menfolk.  Time for the rinse out your glass lecture.  It can never be the womenfolk since we don't drink milk outright and only consume it in stew, gravy, or loaded baked potato soup, and I've switched to using broth as much as possible instead of milk in the first two.

And I'm up for making a real dinner tonight, even though I am pretty sore from canning.  We've been going through my freezer dinners at breakneck speed.  I'm pretty sick of baked pastas and baked casseroles and rice under enchiladas, etc.  Today is just chicken, mashed potatoes (and gravy for those who want it, i.e. not me) and green beans.  Simple, but really good.

Broth canning isn't near as time consuming as chicken canning, so tonight I will thaw out a bunch of ground meat and tomorrow while it is in the canner I will throw together some meatloaves and some meatballs for the freezer.  I've been craving spaghetti, though, so I'll save out some meatballs for dinner either tomorrow or the next night.  Depends on how early I get the canner going, because if the stove is full I won't be able to cook spaghetti.

I found out that a restuarant supply store currently has chicken breast on sale for a box at $76, works out to $1.90 a pound.  I don't usually buy chicken breast, but I am out nearly out of the last batch of ground chicken I made, so I can grind it.  I am not up for deboning anything again anytime soon.  I just mix it in with my meatloaf and meatballs along with sausage and hamburger which have enough fat in them to counter the dryness of chicken breasts.

I can also make up my version of hamburger tater tot casserole, only I use homemade hashbrowns instead.  I have a lot of hamburger left from our steer and I want to buy another one in June or July, so we really need to be using it up, not just because we have it, but because we need the space in the chest freezer.  I can work tacos back into the rotation.  I can also can hamburger.  We haven't eaten very much pork from our half a hog either, so I need to work that into the rotation.

It's been forever since I made up a meal plan, just because we were eating takeout for so long and then freezer meals and crockpot meals that were basically pour and dumps, so I didn't have to think about real cooking.  But since I am finally well and truly well after the broad spectrum "if you stay on it too long it can kill you and also burst your achilles tendons," antibiotic, I should get back to real meal planning, especially before I make my Winco run and go to the restaurant supply store.

I also need to go through my canning jars tonight and see what I have left.  I keep taking my jars up to the kitchen and telling Mom they are for me to use the next day and then she keeps using them, so I will keep them down here until right before I can tomorrow.  I don't want to run out of jars and have to buy more, especially with my wide mouth pints.  She only has regular mouth pints, but when she runs out she takes mine. Oh, well, you can't argue with a stubborn 83-year-old.  Or it's not worth it anyway.

I'm off to gather my jars, have dinner, meal plan and freezer meal plan and then tomorrow shop accordingly.

 

Groceries in Bulk and Piecemeal

November 2nd, 2022 at 11:42 pm

I know I haven't posted my payday report for last payday yet.  I have it on the agenday.  This is more of a brain dump, rant, food prepping/canning to save money in the long run, sort of thing.

I went through the grocery ads online this morning.  I can't really do them with the paper in my hands anymore, becaues the mail delivery has gotten so bad that for an ad cycle that starts today, I have gotten them as late as next Monday, but it is usually Friday or Saturday.  They should be coming in the mail on Tuesdays.  I guess if they didn't have 20 pounds of straight to the recycle bin politician flyers to deliver for the past few months, not to mention Christmas catalogs no one ordered, maybe we'd get the rest of our stuff on time.

They didn't even deliver the mail on Thursday.  I know because Mom put out a letter to be deliverd on Wednesday night with the little flag up and the flag was still up at 9:00 p.m. and our letter was still in there to be picked up.  Then on Thursday we put the letter back out in the box and when it still hadn't been picked up by 6:30 p.m. took it back out and the mail showed up at 7:00 p.m.  That was annoying.  We didn't get any mail on Friday or Saturday and none picked up, so they are obviously not coming to even look if the flag is up for outgoing mail.

We ended up taking our letter to the post office on Monday, since we can't rely on our carrier.  Our mail is supposed to be delivered by 2:00 p.m. according to the delivery schedule and has been up until September when it started fluctuating wildly.  I put in a polite, but formal complaint, too.  It should not take me that many days to try to mail a letter, it shouldn't take that may days to get the grocery ads, and I'm not sure we're getting all of our regular mail, either.  I haven't got my statements from my one credit union that only does snail mail twice this year and Mom has had the water bill go missing once and the garbage bill twice.  So I mentioned that, too.  You hear about carriers just tossing mail when they don't want to deliver it.  I wish they'd toss the political flyers, not the real mail.

Anyway, back to the grocery ads, there weren't a lot of good sales.  I guess after two good weeks of sales I wasn't expecting much.  There were a couple of buy one get ones where they don't tell you the  price.  I don't pay attention to those, since they are usually full price, they just jack up the price of the first one so it covers the price of the second.  And I'm not going to make an extra trip to the store on the off chance I am wrong for a meat that I am iffy about to begin with.

So while that store did have a good salmon sale, it was for Atlantic salmon, which no, not when I live on the Pacific and that is so much better.  And a decent t-bone steak sale, but not when I have very good sirloin sale steak in my freezer.  There are decent produce items on sale, but I'm not sure it was enough to being me in.  They had good pork items, but since I have half a hog in the freezer we have barely made a dent in, there is no point in that.  So the main 3 stores are just meh this week.  I'll have to buy produce somehwhere, but that's all I need to buy.

Which means I'll be going to Winco.  I've been wanting to make it over there anyway, since I want to stock up on canned green beans and get 40 pounds of Roma tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce to can.  If they don't have 40 pounds available I will take 20.  I can get 20 more from another store if I have to.  I also want to get some fresh peppers to make some chili this week and they have the biggest choice in peppers, and some cilantro.  And they have bulk herbs and spices and wild rice blends.  And everything is just so much cheaper there with that kind of stuff.

I plan to go to TJ's as well, to see if they have turkeys yet.  No one is advertising turkeys and the one place I did see mention of it was with one store saying to order your turkeys now.  This would be a store that normally would be doing one of those things where if you spend $150 you'd get a free turkey by now.  So I'll look this weekend if they don't have turkeys.  I'll probably switch to one of the back up plans, either the Cornish game hen plan or the duck plan.

Yesterday was the last day of the .99/lb sale for chicken thighs.  It'd been selling out every day like crazy so every day we've gone it has already been wiped out by 9:00 a.m.  Mom got there at 7:30 a.m. when they opened yesterday and was finally able to get what I needed, which was 40 pounds or 8 value packs.  I figured I'd lose at least 5 pounds to skinning and deboning.  It filled 3 gallon sized Ziploc baggies, so maybe more than that.  At least I can use that to make bone broth.

It wasn't as bad with the chuck roast last week, which they at least had until 5:30, before they sold out, but .99/lb chicken is way easier to stock up on for some budgets than $3.99/lb chuck roast.  The butcher says people are really worried about the gas shortages and whether or not truckers will even be able to haul food next week the way things are going, so they are stocking up like crazy.  They are worried about even having fuel for their own gas stations over on the east coast by the end of next week for their store brand.  We are more protected here because of the refineries, but even so it'll come here eventually if things don't change soon.  Crazy times.

I spent from 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. skinning and deboning and cutting up the chicken for canning.  I ended up sleeping in, because I am on day 2 of caffiene withdrawal, but tomorrow I will get started on canning the chicken and getting a bag of bones in each Instant Pot.  I'll have one more bag of bones to do after that, but I will have some beautiful broth when I finish.  It should be 21 quarts or so, but I am not sure how I will actually divvy it up yet.  I know I want some in pints and some in 24 oz and some in quarts, so we'll see how it goes.  I might actually divide the bones up into four batches.  I think there is enough and then I could have 28 quarts' worth, however I do it up.

Pints are great if you just want to pop one, warm it up and drink it.  Doing that was great for me when I was so sick I couldn't eat.  All I could do was drink and barely that.  It got at least a little nutrition and hydration into me.  The 24 oz size is what I use in a batch of homemade enchilada sauce.  1 quart is what I use to make soup or to make skillet lasagna or sometimes 2 if I make a double batch.  Sometimes I will make my pasta in it if I am doing it in the Instant pot. It makes a fantastic macaroni.

I picked that cucumber finally and one green and one yellow zucchini.  The plants aren't dead yet, we haven't had a frost.  There are still a couple veggies growing really slowly.  The green beans did die when it hit 37, but they aren't planted two feet off the ground.  We are still having days in the 50's with a few sunny hours between rain showers, so I guess I won't give up on them until they give up on themselves.

Busy and Productive

October 24th, 2022 at 05:08 am

I took advantage of being on my second round of prednisone in a month and it has coincided with one heck of a meat sale at Fred Meyer this sale's flyer cycle.  They had chuck roast on for $3.97/lb, a price I thought was long behind us, but was secretly hoping we'd see again.  DH went and got some on Saturday and I spent a few hours cutting up seven large roasts and this moring I canned them.  We used the double decker canner and got 13 quarts.  I would have needed another roast to get a full canner at 14 jars.

When using the double decker canner, it takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes to can and up to 3 hours if you are starting with meat that you pulled out of the fridge and not stuff that has been sitting out while you cut it all up the same day.  No more than 90 minutes set out, but that does take a lot of the chill off.

Once I had the canner full, I sent DH to the other Fred Meyer and he was able to get 12 roasts there.  8 for canning and 1 for dinner tomorrow and 3 for the freezer.  He also got us 2 value packs of sirloin steaks for the same price per pound and some nice grapes.  I don't know if I will go back for anymore on Tuesday, but I'd like a total of 8 in the freezer, because that is how long it took this sale to come around again and we like to have chuck roast once a week.

I'll have to check how much money is left in the grocery envelope, but I think I have enough for 5 more roasts and I don't have to buy anything else between now and Friday, which is payday and refills the grocery envelope.  My mother got 12 for her freezer, but she got smaller ones that she could cut in half and then repackage and freeze.

After that was done, it's the first day it's been comfortable to go outside in a couple of weeks, first because of the Chilliwack fires giving us the worst smoke I can remember, it was like walking through fog, and then it rained for a few days and washed it out of the air.  Everything started drying out around four p.m. yesterday and was nice today.  So at 4:00 p.m. today we went out and worked for 2 hours.

My son and I were able to get the green beans picked, about 3 meals' worth and there won't be much more than that.  Then we harvested the the basil.  I still can't believe the basil was still going.  We had one night at 37, but most are in low 40's and with the beds two feet off the ground it makes a difference.  I got one of those fancy biodegradable grocery bags full of basil and then pulled the plants.  I'll be dehydrating overnight and tomorrow and maybe even some more.  It's a lot of basil, but should be enough for the year.

After that we picked all of the tomatoes off the plants, colored ones and green ones, cut up the plants to take to the green dump and then pulled out the base and roots.  They were still flowering, and there were still green branches and leaves, but there was a lot of dead branches and mildew all over many of the branches and there was no time for anything to grow.  No blossom end rot.

I picked the last of the cayennes, which was the last of the peppers.  Several of the plants are still alive and some even have flowers, but they have seen better days.  Between what I harvested and dried a week ago and this week, I will have enough to make my own cayenne powder for the year.  Maybe two years, so I might not have to grow it next year and can save that space for a different type of pepper plant.  My pepper production has sucked two years running.  I blame it on no bunny poop.  I still need to contact that rabbit rescue about getting some.

I've still got cucumbers and zucchini growing.  I don't know what the heck is going on there.  By all rights they should be dead.  They've slowed their growth down, but they are still going.  I've got several zucchini and two cucumbers that should be big enough to eat by the end of the week.

Once I finish with the basil, I am going to harvest and dry sage and then do some oregano.  No thyme, this year.  The thyme hasn't recovered very well yet from not getting watered like it should have this summer.  It is coming back though.  I can pick a sprig here or there as needed, but no big harvest.  I will also dehydrate all of the tarragon, parsley, and oregano, then pull the plants.

They are still pretty small and I will just plant new ones in the spring.  Normally I would either transplant them or leave them, but the are in the way of where I want to plant garlic and I am not sure a transplant would take before the first frost or the first hard frost hits.  It usually hits on Halloween or the first week of November.

While I was doing that DH was going over the second half of the potato plot for a second time.  Between the two sides we found several more potatoes.  Around 40 pounds more.  Total potato harvest this year was 143 pounds and 9 ounces, not counting the 2 potatoes tossed for some kind of bug damage.  We saw no slug damage and no mouse damage this year, but we didn't use mulch, either.  Just kept mounding up soil.

I brought in all of the sweet onions from the garage.  I will spend time tomorrow peeling and chopping onions for the freezer in a couple of days and either tomorrow evening or the next day cutting up more roasts to can.

My focus after that will be waiting on a good chicken thigh sale.  Right now .99/lb is still doable.  It is easy enough to skin and debone chicken thighs.  Then I throw the bones and the skins and herbs in the Instant Pot with some salt and pepper to make bone broth with lots of gelatin.  Once the broth has set overnight, I'll scrape off the fat and use it to cook with.  Eggs taste really good cooked in it and herbs don't matter if they get trapped in the fat.  I like using it in stir-fried rice, too.

Anyway, I am completely out of canned chicken, so need to get a lot of that done.  I'd like to get 14 quarts and 21 pints on the shelf for starters.  The pints are good for making chicken salad and the quarts are good for making chicken pasta alfredo for tv dinner freezer meals.  The double decker canner will take 21 pints if I steal the rack for the single level canner.  Then I will wait for the next sale and try to get 28 quarts done.

Somewhere along the way I need to can carrots, parsnips, celery, and potatoes.  I'll need to save out the potatoes I want to keep as next year's seed potatoes and properly store them, and those will be ones with several eyes and about the size of an egg.  Then I will pick out all the large easy to peel ones for canning.  The rest will be eaten over the next several months.  I have burlap sacks coming to store them in and we will keep them in the coolest part of the house not in the basement in the cold season, the back entry way.

DS will be helping with all the peeling and cutting up.  We will soak the potatoes overnight to remove some of the starch and then process the next day.  So, so much to do, but we've got time and my pantry shelves will be full again.  I'll be on prednisone through the 2nd, but we have to go down to Seattle on the 31st for medical things for both kids and won't come back until the evening of the 2nd, so basically just until the 30th, really, because we'll want to come home to empty counters so I'll need to be washing, labelling and putting away full jars on the morning or afternoon of the 31st, not canning on the 31st.  So I have six days, which I have to work around a couple of appointments.  I think I can do that.

I'll prioritize the meat and the carrots.  I'm not sure what I'll do with all the green tomatoes.  I know I will lay out the big and medium sized ones to ripen, but there were a lot of smaller ones, too.  Maybe I will see if my chiropractor wants them.  I have no idea if the little ones will ripen at all, but he might like fried green ones, which we don't.

Anyway that what I've been up to and what I'll be up to, assuming my hands actually work tomorrow.

Payday Report as Promised 10/14/2022

October 15th, 2022 at 02:26 am

Sometimes putting the budget spending up is a proud moment and other times it makes me feel naked and this is the second, but I need to get the accountability back and show just how much we have been spending on the credit card.  I haven't actually made the payment on that yet, because Citi is being wonky.  I can sign in.  I can even make it to the next page, but when I click on make a payment it just turns in to an endless circle.

I waited ten minutes.  I logged out and tried again.  I logged out and waited an hour and tried again.  I logged  out and waited two hours and tried again.  Still nothing.  I'll try again tonight or tomorrow, but the amount of the payment will be listed below.  Hopefully they will have their act together.  We don't have a Citi branch closer than a 90 mile drive away, so it's not like I can just pop in and pay it, either.  It's not due until the 3rd, but I just like to do things when I have the money to do things.

Remember that I run a zero based budget.  Every dollar, every cent has a name.  So every paycheck is spent in full.  I have a cushion in checking of $900 in case something goes horribly wrong and since I bank with a credit union they will automatically transfer money from my savings account (I keep $2000 of the EF in there) if for some reason that were not enough for a fee of $1.    You have to love credit unions.

I've never had either thing happen since 2010 and that was because I transferred the wrong amount of money to my online savings account when I meant to pay a credit card with the same name as that bank, and couldn't get it back in time to cover an automatic payment, and didn't realize it until I got the notice that they'd transferred money from the savings that was with my checking.  Back then they didn't even charge the $1 fee, though.  Now if you don't have the money to cover it at all, they give you 10 days to get the money in the acount and charge a $13 fee.  Still better than what a bank will do.  I've never had that happen at all.

Anyway, here's the spending for this pay cycle.

$358.40 Tithe

$500.00 October Utilities

$500.00 Groceries

$200.00 Medical Fund

$310.00 Chiropactor Monthly Family Plan

$_70.00 Garbage

$167.00 Car Insurance Fund

$_50.00 DH Spending Money

$_50.00  My Spending Money

$_30.00 DD's Allowance

$_90.00 DS's Allowance

1258.62 Citi

-----------------

3584.02 Total Money Out

DD has a smaller allowance because she is disabled and seldom does chores.  It is more of a pity allowance so she had more money to spend.  DS earns his with a lot of caregiving for DD and doing chores and helping me with my limitations due to RA, fibromyalgia, and degenerative disc disease.

Potato Harvest, Garden Talk, Aerogarden, Computers, Canning--Long Post

October 14th, 2022 at 01:30 am

We've got the potatos all dug up.  We did it over two weekends.  I haven't weighed them yet, but visually it looks like we got more than last year.  We are letting them sit for two weeks for the skins to harden before we start weighing them by variety.  I can tell at a glance that the red La Soda did very well this year, both the seed potatoes that we bought and the ones that we saved our own seed from.  So did the Canela Russets, which are a variety of Russets that have a much lighter skin than most Russets, but taste just like Russets, only they were a lot smaller than they should have been, but they really made a lot.  They should have been 4 or 5 inches long, but we got them about 3 inches long.  We also got a lot of Kennebecs from our seed potatoes and a ton of our own Gold Rush potatos.

By and large the seed potatoes we saved did better than then one we bought from the nursery, except the red La Soda.  The ones we planted from the nursery were bigger than ours to begin with, though.  We saved smaller ones, so even chitted, the ones from the nursery were bigger pieces than the small whole ones we planted.  That makes a difference.  But ours still did well, a lot better than last year.

Anyway, the grocery store potatos that we planted that sprouted on us, also did very well, which I find very interesting, because the Russets weren't even organic, so had probably been sprayed with sprout inhibitor, but they sure had sprouted a lot when Mom gave me the half bag to throw away and DH and I decided to make another row and plant them.  We also did 3 rows of organic yellow potatoes that we had let sprout to plant as well, because shipping the potatoes was so expensive and most yellow potatoes cost more than any other kind from the nurseries.

I'll have to note it all down in my garden notebook and compare it all to last year when I have the final numbers, but with a cursory glance that seems to be how it has come out.  We had good luck last year with the grocery store potatoes, too, whether organic or not, and planted a lot more of those than nursery seed potatoes.

I will again save out seed potatoes, but will only purchase two varieties this year instead of 5 or 6.  I want to get more of the Magic Molly French Fingerlings and the German Butterballs.  I was successful enough with the other varieties to save some of those out, but only enough of the Butterballs to have 4 or 5 meals with them.  I only got 3 pounds of them to plant last year to try, so next year I'd like to get 25 pounds of them.  The Magic Mollys we could have about 10 meals from or have one meal from and save the rest to plant, but I would really rather eat them and get 25 pounds of them to plant.  I only got 5 pounds of those and so got more of them and they were bigger than the Butterballs because we didn't dig them early like you can.

If I can find both of them in 25 pound increments and not just 50.  I really have to watch for when they become available to order.  Last year I didn't start checking until January and a lot of the 25 pound selections had already sold out.  They don't ship them until planting time, but people were ordering really early so I am starting now to check weekly.  I don't need 50 pounds of each.  The shipping on that is way too much.  We will only eat one meal of each to make sure we like those varieties and I will hold back on making more until we know about whether we can order more in case we do have to save all of those for seed potatoes.

The rest of the yellow potatos I planted were the Gold Rush seed potatoes I saved from last year.  Those did pretty well, too.  There was a lot of production for the amount I planted, which was not as much as I wanted to, but still another row than last year.  I'll double what I save out for next year.  Eventually I will have enough of each variety I want to plant to never have to buy seed potatoes at all from the nursery.

All that's left to do there is to put down lime and rototill it into the soil.  I'm thinking about putting down some peat and rototilling that in as well.  There is still a lot of clay in the soil despite how much we have amended it back there.  I'm not even sure we'd use a whole bag this year, maybe half and see how that goes. We'd also rototill that in and some more compost.  Then we'll go out to the bay and harvest enough seaweed to put down on top of it and cover it with black plastic and the seaweed will compost down over the rest of the fall, all winter, and into the early spring and feed the soil.

When you can't buy manure anymore and still want to keep your garden organic, you go with what you have, and seaweed is a great fertilizer.  Just make sure you have a license for gathering sea plants.  It's usually the same one as for gathering shell fish and generally is separate and less expensive than a full on fishing license.

My tomatoes are still going so I am letting them.  I am going to thin out the vines, though, and trim off any flowers left.  The nights are still 48 to 50 and the leaves have not died at all and the days are in the mid to low 70's, so no reason to pull them out.  I do want to plant garlic where the tomatoes and peppers are, but I generally wait until the first nice day after the first frost to plant them.

In a typical year the first frost is Halloween, but it's not feeling like a typical year.  It's feeling like an Indian summer year, which we get about once every 5 years or so.  Then the first frost goes into mid to late November.  It's been as late as December 2nd before on a year that had no snow and barely even froze.  I plant in November anyway when that happens.  The garlic still grows fine.

I do need to get my sage and thyme out of the containers they are in and into one of the garden beds.  They have both burst their plastic containers because they are so big.  I didn't have room for them in the beds this year, but now I will get them in place so I do.

I still have one very determined cucumber plant alive, but if it gets much colder at night it's going to die.  It's got a few small plants on it.  I am thinking of tenting its trellis in some clear plastic, at least until they get big enough to eat.

The zucchini plants have some small zucchini on them, but again, I am not sure if they will get big enough to eat.  Maybe I will tent their hoops, too.  I need to harvest the peppers, too.  Only the cayenne has peppers left.  I am thinking about bringing the jalapeño plant inside for the winter and leaving it under a grow light.  It did not have ideal conditions this year and got overshadowed by it's neighbor plants.  I like doing pico de gallo year round, but the jalapeños in winter are always so dinky.  I know japapños are still a cheap pepper, but I like them big.  I want to do one last harvest of basil before pulling the plants.  They will die the minute it hits 45 at night.  We have maybe another week before that happens.

I'm going to grow some cilantro (for the pico), parsley and basil in my Aerogarden this fall and through the winter.  Then I don't have to buy bunches, I can just snip what I need, and if it grows too big I can dehydrate the rest.  I always feel like I am wasting some with the bunches, because they go from fresh to suddenly slimy when I go to use up.

I am thinking of getting the biggest Aerogarden, so I can grow some cherry tomatoes and some lettuce, too.  I have enough room.  Or if I get the biggest one, I can grow a jalapeño plant, a cherry tomato plant, and bell pepper plant in that, too, along with some lettuces in the front.  That would be nice, because it has the built in lights on a timer, so I only have to put in the water and the fertilizer when it tells me too.  And they have a big reservoir outside the Aerogarden itself that you can buy and hook into it , so you don't have to fill the smaller one in the machine itself, so you aren't watering as often if you want to buy that.

I haven't spent my allowance in a long time, so right now I have $500 in the envelop, and it will be $550 with tomorrow's payday.  The one I want, along with the grow pods I want, plus tax, will cost $869.01.  There's no shipping over $500.  If I want to get the extra reservoir, it would cost an additional $38.84, so a grand total of $907.85.  Which means I need to come up with $357.85 to buy it.  That means if I save my next 5 allowances I'll have $250, which brings it to 107.85, so I can use part of my Christmas money from DH of $200.

We usually order our Christmas presents in November, though, so technically I wouldn't have to use any of December's allowances at all, doing that.  I could just use the Christmas money as usual and add it to the allowance I would have saved by November 25th, which is when I'd be able to order.  I have $10.53 left in the gardening envelope, so that will make up the shortfall of $7.85, so that will work out.  If MIL gives us our Christmas money early so we can order stuff so it will be here by Christmas, I could use that as well.

That's usually somewhere around $200 each for me and DH and $100 or $150 for the kids.  Not sure about this year, though.  Her stocks probably got hit as hard as ours were, but she still has to take out $15,000 a year and she doesn't need that to live on between social security (she was able to claim FIL's) and she got FIL's pension since he was still employed when he died.  That's a little over $3000 a month and she has no debt.  She doesn't even spend all of that.

Or I could just use the money in the beef envelope for next year's steer and buy it now.  That's $407 and I wouldn't need all of it.  Then I can start saving for it again.  We still have several months before we are ready to get a beef.  I'm planning for late July or August, so I have enough time to replace the money.  Or I could just replace the beef money with my Christmas money and still count the new Aerogarden as my Christmas present from DH and MIL.  Maybe that would be the better choice.  Then I could order now and I'd get it going much sooner.

I had been saving up my allowance for a new computer.  Not that there is anything wrong with this computer, but I just feel like there should be a replacement fund for when it goes belly up.  I'd like a nicer one than I could afford last time.  I am used to nicer ones.  But I can start saving up for that again.  I'd rather be able to grow some vegetables and herbs indoors and not have to go to the store just for greens or the fresh herbs I use the most or pay for bell peppers, which are ridiculous these days, especially in winter.

DD needs a new computer soon.  Hers is ancient.  I'm really surprised it is still going.  It's a desktop and it is about ten years old and she's so close to maxing out the memory, despite doing all the things to compress and get rid of unneeded junk files.  I've got money for that set aside and we are waiting for the Black Friday sales online or Cyber Monday or whatever.

She just wants a new desktop and she knows which one she wants.  And we will take the hard drive out of the old one and put it into the new one so she doesn't have to transfer everything the hard way after running all the utility fixits in case that helps.  I'm giving in and trying that.  It has a free 60 day trial as part of my family Norton licenses and will work across all of our computers.  If we like it, we'll probably keep it.  I want to see if it makes any difference first.  60 days is a good trial period.

Tomorrow is payday.  I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting my payday reports for accountability.  I haven't wanted to and I still don't want to.  They won't be pretty for a while with so much going to the credit card, but we'll get there, one payday at a time.

I have a beautiful pot roast in Instant Pot 1 and am about to put Yellow potatoes in Instant Pot 2.  Not mine, these are still from the store, since ours have to have the skin harden for two weeks for proper long-term storage.  They will also be easier to peel.  But what I am making are new potatoes from this season and not the old ones from the potato sheds that were grown last year.  So they taste great.  When I get through what I have left, ours will be ready.

Well, I'm off to peruse the grocery ads.  Hopefully there will be some good sales.  I'd love some boneless skinless chicken or some pot roast so I can can some up.  I am out of canned chicken and I don't have enough beef to make me happy.  I'd also like to can some carrots.  There are not enough on my shelves to get through until next year's harvest.  I saw they were putting out ten pound bags of organic ones when I shopped two weeks ago, but I was running out of grocery money and wanted to have enough if I needed it for the second week.

They also had 25 bags of regular juicing carrots, but it is hard for me to can 25 pounds of carrots in one go and I prefer organic since carrots pull up everything that is in the soil.  Farmers plant carrots to clear contaminants from the soil.  They don't sell those ones, but even the ones planted regular can still pull up stuff they don't know is in the fields.  Parsnips are good at that, too.

We will can about half of the potatoes we harvested, except the reds and store russets.  They don't can as well.  Yellows can the best.  I will try canning a batch of the canela russets and see.  Our green bean harvest wasn't great this year because we planted so late.  I do have a full shelf, but I wanted two.  So I will probably stock up on canned ones for the store so I can have a full shelve of those.  I have about 24 cans of those and it fills 1/4 of the shelf, so I'd need 72.  If I buy two cases every time I visit Winco, that should do it.  We didn't plant corn this year, but we don't eat as much of that.  We have 12 cans of that and I think another 12 cans would be sufficient for a years supply for us.

Okay, now I'm really off.

Cutting Our Internet Expense Down

October 7th, 2022 at 01:36 pm

My son checked on the internet provider for me a few days ago and they had a good deal come up if we put it on paperless autopay.  It used to be they wanted it to come directly out of the bank account for that and I didn't want the cable company to have that, because it's like pulling teeth to get utilities and the like out of your bank account once they are in.  But now they will let you do it on a credit card.  They probably have for a while, but it doesn't say that until you get to the set up payment page.  So we did that.  We'll just add it in to the autopays line item on the budget.

Anyway, that dropped our montly internet bill from $122.23 to $86.43.  That's a savings of $35.80 a month, or $429.60 a year.  Not bad.  Not a short time rate, either, a regular one.  And our speed went up from 250 mbs to 350 mbs.  I already notice a difference during peak times and am no longer getting those middle of the night drop offs when I am up with insomnia.

We also got mom to agree to drop her other internet service and just use ours instead since we got the new pod extenders so we have full internet range of the house now.  It's silly for her to be paying for it separately.  So that will lower her bills, too.

Back Into Money Saving Mode With Groceries--Tracker at the End

October 4th, 2022 at 11:44 am

We are starting hardcore meal planning and meal prepping to get back into saving money on food, eating better, including a lot more vegetables and a lot less carbs, almost everything from scratch, and slaying the takeout demon and waster of money and tempter of credit card spending.  I spent $301 on groceries yesterday and today from a $500 two week grocery budget.  My goal is to have $100 left at the end of the 2 week pay period to put in the beef fund.  I have 11 days to go.  I think we can do it, but we will see.  And if we don't eat out, we'll probably save another $500 or more.

I started cooking with what we had on hand and eased into it so that I could be at the spot we are today.  Last week I took all of my ripe tomatoes and started cooking them down so I would have a decent amount of sauce to start with and then cooked up a bunch of hamburger and a bunch of garden zucchini and mixed it all up together and doled it all out into meal prop containers with a side of wild rice (no rice for me).  It provided 3 lunches for 4 people for 3 days.  I froze the rest of the very delicious tomato sauce for future use.

The day after that I did a massive grocery shop and then today I picked up a dozen things that the other store didn't have.  Most of today I spent chopping up things and preparing other things.  I cut up 8 bell peppers into slices and dices and 5 onions (mine that I grew, 1 purple, 4 Walla Walla sweets) into slices and dices, 6 things of broccoli, 3 pounds of potatoes, most of a batch of green onions, cut up 1 pound of cheese into cubes for snacking, and shred the other half of the brick, and cooked up 2 pounds of breakfast sausage and some of the diced onion and bell peppers, while the potatoes were roasting in the pan.

I assembled and cooked one breakfast casserole with potatoes, eggs, a little milk, cheese, green and yellow bell peppers, sweet onions, and ground breakfast sausage.  And I have the other one most of the way ready.  It so far has potatoes, sausage, green onions, and cheese in the dish, and in the morning I will saute spinach, add the eggs and milk and cook that one.  The second one will be for my daughter as she can't handle the peppers and regular onions.  We will freeze half of it as she can't get through it fast enough.  I won't be eating either of these because of the potatoes, but saved out some sausage and will just make myself an omelet for breakfast with that, bell pepper, green onions, and cheese.

After breakfast, I will be cooking up a whole lot of polish sausage and kielbasa some for this week and some to go in the freezer for next week or the week after that, not sure yet.  Not really sure if we want to do sausage and peppers for lunches 2 weeks in a row.  But I'd rather cook it all up in one long session now.  Then I'll do enough peppers for this week's lunches.  I'll have to buy more peppers tomorrow, but I'll probably just slice and freeze.  There is a good sale that ends tomorrow, but I didn't have room in my fridge to buy more than the eight I bought until I started making meals and putting things in the freezer or reducing the size of the veggies by slicing and dicing.  If the guys want something to go with the sausage and peppers that is more carby they can have whatever leftovers we will have like mashed potatoes from tonight's dinner or root veggies, or mixed veggies from the freezer, or rice.  Whatever.

While doing that I will have some hamburger thawing to mix with the mild Italian sausage that is already thawed in the fridge so I can get some meatballs made up.  If we have any ground chicken, turkey, or lamb left, I'll throw that in, too.  I want to make enough to have three meals worth of meatballs.  We'll have gluten free penne and meatballs with zucchini for dinner tomorrow night.  I'll want something easy I can just dump in the Instant Pot.

I'll thaw out some other sausage I have that is not from the hog we just got that needs to be used up, along with some hamburger and make up a couple of meatloaves for the freezer and while I am at it I will use the two mild Italian sausages that are from the hog we bought and are thawed out to make meatballs for the freezer.

For dinner tomorrow we will have baked chicken with roasted root vegetables of a large parsnip, a very large sweet potato, two turnips and two yellow potatoes, and purple green beans from my garden.

For Wednesday we will have pork chops, fried potatoes, and more purple green beans.

Thursday will be beef stir-fry with broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bok choy, water chestnuts, purple green beans, and bamboo shoots if I still have a can. It will be served with white rice.

Friday we will have Butter and Basil Chicken with sheet pan vegetables (they had these at Costco, I don't remember exactly what was in them, but they looked yummy and were mostly low carb), and baked potatoes.

Saturday will be Coho salmon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  I might get some corn on the cob, too, when I pick up more bell peppers.  We haven't had any this summer.  Too long recovering from the reoccuring stomach virus.

Sunday will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and purple green beans.

I've also got to do some more peeling and cutting up tomorrow.  I need to get cucumbers and carrots peeled, cucumbers, carrots and radishes sliced, and carrots and celery cut into sticks.  I need to make up some French onion dip with plain yogurt for my daughter and make up some green godess dressing with plain yogurt for my son.  I have to finish chopping up the bottom portion of the green onions.

So we have salad fixings, coleslaw fixings, veggie sticks, and pico de gallo fixings on hand to eat at will, as well as fruit for snack cravings for those who want more carbs than me.  My son has plain tortilla chips left.  Sometimes I will throw pico in my eggs.  My coleslaw is not made with sugar, just 1 tbsp of honey in the entire simple dressing, and no vinegar, to keep the carb count low.

Once I get through what I've got planned so far, then I need to inventory the house freezer and see where to go from there, while I am still feeling like I can.  I'd like to get some more meals put together to kill the "I don't wanna cook" attitidude or even the "I can't keep food down and can't get near food" issue that happened so much this summer.  Even if it is just having all the ingredients ready in the freezer to be thrown together it will help so much.  And if I can't throw it together at least the guys will be able to.  I still think it was the medicine I quit taking, but I can't be sure, as I still don't feel right.  It still might be related to my heart.  I will be so glad when I get the results back from the 2 week heart monitor test.

I am planning out some freezer meals to do depending on when certain sales hit, but I missed the boneless skinless chicken sale because I was sick when it hit, so cilantro lime chicken and parsley chicken are off the table until the next one unless I want to thaw, skin, and debone the chicken I already have and refreeze it, which I don't.  So no premaking them, but I can make them for dinner with no premaking if I feel like it.  It'll just have to be a good day where I am on top of things.  It'll probably be 5 to 6 weeks before that sale hits again.  The chuck roast sale went up .47/lb, from the normal cycle.  I think it is going to stay there.  It was the same week I was too sick to leave the house, just at a different store. I was going to buy 8 so I could can, but such is life.

Here's a list of the groceries I bought:

1 large Zoi Greek yogurt

1 large bag mixed vegetable blend

2 steamer bags riced cauliflower

1 lb brick extra sharp white cheddar

2 lb brick medium cheddar

32 ounce Daisy sour cream

1 gallon organic milk

1 half gallon lactose free organic milk

4 dozen organic pasture-raised eggs

2 beef chuck roasts

2 bags cole slaw mix

1 bag spinach

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch Italian parsley

2 limes

2 large cucumbers

2 large green zucchini

1 bunch green onions

1 bunch radishes

5.65 lb of yellow potatoes

4 very large sweet potatoes (3 types)

2 apple juice

3 lb strawberries

2 bok choy

1 savoy cabbage

1 thumb ginger root

4 parsnips

7 turnips

Fresh marjoram

2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow, 2 orange bell peppers

Bananas

Blackberries

Broccoli

1 Elephant garlic

2 lb bag organic carrots

Fresh thyme

1 box yellow kiwis

3 lb bag baby potatoes

6 avocados

Blueberries

Bartlett pears

Cosmic crisp apples

Celery

1 leek

Beechers flagship cheese

18 month cave aged gouda

Feta crumbles

4 oz can sliced black olives

4 cans pumpkin puree

1 Redmond pink Himalayan salt shaker

At Costco:

2 12 packs polish sausage

3 8 packs kielbasa

Italian seasoning

Shaky Pepper

Pink fine ground Himalayan salt to refill salt shaker

1 bag sheet pan vegetables

1 package beef snack sticks

So hopefully only a few little filler items from here.

Selling Garlic and Salmon Fishing

September 22nd, 2022 at 11:16 pm

Yesterday was officially six weeks on the garlic drying so today I get to go out to the garage and sort through them.  I will pick the best looking bulbs of the bunch to save for planting towards the end of October or the start of November.  It will be great not to have to pay for bulbs this year.  I have already picked out 4 bulbs of the Elephant garlic, it is just the Music I have to sort through.  I figured it out, though, based on current costs in seed catalogues or their websites.

1 bulb of elephant garlic goes for $13 for conventionally grown and $18 for organically grown.  Yes, just one bulb.  I about fell over.  The bulb I bought last year was from the grocery store and was $3.99.  I am assuming it was conventionally grown.  I bulb of elephant garlic only has 7 cloves, no more, no less, so you can never grow more than that.  So this year I will be growing 28 elephant garlic plants for free and next year I will double that to have 48 and the next year I can consider them organically grown, since I will have grown them using organic methods.

I won't go above 48 the following year for my family, though.  There is only so much elephant garlic one can use  I will grow and sell some for seed to other people for far less than what is in the catalogue.  Maybe $6 or $7 per bulb which is more than reasonable for organic.  I'll check the catalog price the year I would sell them.  I would have space to grow 96 plants so could sell half of them.

Worst case scenario, I dehydrate them and grind them when I need garlic power or rehydrate them night before if I need them in a recipe the next night.  After taking out my 48 and the additional 14 I'd hold back for seed for the next planting, that would give me 34 bulbs to sell to others.  The following year I would know if I saved to many for myself and could adjust accordingly.  And I'd know the demand.

I do, eventually, have plans to sell organic Music bulbs of garlic as well.  That's something that sells out so quickly that it is almost impossible to get.  I barely got the conventionally grown ones last year.  They are going for $9 for one bulb this year.  Last year I paid $50 for 21 bulbs.  When I went back the next day to see if they had shallots, the Music was marked as sold out.  So were the shallots, but I will get some this year.

So once I build up past how much I want to have only for us to eat, which would be about 30 bulbs for cooking and dehydrating (we use a lot of garlic so between that and the music we should be fine), any extra could be sold as seed bulbs.  People on my farming list are asking all the time if anyone knows where they can buy Music.  I could eventually do a small bag of Music bulbs, maybe 5, for $15. 

Garlic involves some labor at the begining in the planting.  During the growing season, you pull the occasional weed, and you turn on the soaker hose consistently.  It's pretty care free as it has no predators.  I keep a cage on it anyway so the deer don't bed down in it.  Then at the end you dig it out and put it in drying racks for 3 weeks, trim the stems down, dry for 3 more weeks, and then box up and put in a cool, dark place to store.  I spend maybe 2 hours total, so selling 6 bags of garlic would be more than enough to pay me back for my time, plus I get a lot of garlic out of it, too, for my family.

It's time to turn the onions over, too.  They need to be trimmed down the rest of the way and dried out for 3 more weeks.  And it is time to start digging up the potatoes.  Most of the plants are completely dead.  The rest can go another week.

DH is going salmon fishing.  Apparently they can only get 2 each, which sucks.  In Alaska they get to bring home 6 fish each on each type of salmon and some they can bring home 25 to 30 per household.  Then B.C. gets a ton.  No wonder there's no fish by the time it reaches Washington.  I'm okay with the tribes getting their share, they deserve that above anyone else, it's all the other folks getting tons and tons with crazy high limits that bugs me, while we have dinky ones.

It used to be worth the gas money to go out when gas was cheap, but it isn't really anymore, especially with only 3 of them going out to split the cost.  And that's assuming they catch any fish.  Otherwise, I'd just as soon go to the grocery store and buy 2 whole wild caught coho salmon.  It'd cost less, unless they come home with monsters.  I'd be tempted to get a fishing license and go out so we could get two more fish, but again, we could just buy a fish with the cost of the license.  This is probably the last trip of the season, too.

Mom wants to do a dump run on Sunday.  Well, she wanted to do it on Saturday, but fishing.  She's probably going to pout about it for the rest of the week that it isn't on the day she wanted, and then forget what day of the week it actually is, think it is Sunday on Saturday (happens a lot on the weekend), stomp around and have a martyr complex that slips into an "Oh, woe is me," thing, until someone reminds her it isn't Sunday and she'll snap out of it like she wasn't behaving that way at all and not apologize to anyone for acting that way.  Gotta love dementia.  Monday through Thursday are generally pretty good, though.

I picked another 2 pounds of tomatoes yesterday.  It was mostly the little yellow pear ones.  I need to wash, destem, quarter, and roast tomatoes, so I can make roasted tomato ketchup.  I saw a lady make it on youtube and it looks so good.  I might have enough yellow tomatoes to make one jar of just yellow ketchup.  That would be interesting.  I love making roasted tomato spaghetti sauce, so I can't imagine this wouldn't be good, too.

I got my first purple green beans yesterday.  They grow purple, but turn green when cooked.  It's about 2 quarts.  It's not enough to run the canner, but considering the way this summer went, I am grateful to have gotten any.  The canner instructions say to run it with 4 jars, and I don't want to do pints of green beans, because we eat a cup each at dinner.  But if I hold off for 2 days, there might be enough ready to do 4 quarts.  There were some that were almost ready and there were some that could be ready since I gave them a good soaking and we are back to weather in the mid-seventies again.  Or I could just run them with pints of carrots, since carrot pints and green bean quarts run for the same amount of time and I am almost out of carrot pints.  Then I could do a full canner load and I can do that again when I have more green beans.  Two birds, one stone and food on the shelf.  Perfect.

I would have canned it with the ketchup, but that is waterbath canning and the other is pressure canning and they take different times.  Food safety first and foremost.  I really hope the ketchup turns out well.  I'd hate to waste all those tomatoes.

 

I Forgot This Was a Three Paycheck Month

September 16th, 2022 at 10:05 pm

Anyone else having issues with the post tags and avatars not loading and captchas not working? I'd figure it was just the blogs being buggy as usual, but I had issues on my banking website today and youtube last night, all after the Windows update, so it is entirely possible it is just me.

After my little freak out earlier in the week, I realized it was a 3 paycheck month for us and that I am only $32.88 short to pay off our last credit card statement balance based on a typical paycheck. But when we get a month with a third paycheck, that month does not have medical taken out of it, it doesn't have life insurance or long term care insurance taken out of it, it doesn't have dental or vision insurance taken out of it, it only has 401K and the company's version of a debit card with $3K you get for medical expenses pretax at the beginning of the year and then they deduct the amount from your paycheck all year, but you can use it at anytime for any medical expense, including devices like canes, walkers, and nebulizers.

Anyway, that means this paycheck will be larger than normal. I don't know by how much. The last one was usually by $300, but I don't know what it will be with the new raise amount. However much it is, it will cover the shortfall so we won't pay interest. There will still be $812.92 charged onto the next billing cycle, but we can absorb that next month.

Usually we would have paid that off, too, this month.  We will probably have a couple hundred to pay towards that, just not all of it, but still, no interest will be charged.  Just no more erratic purchasing, only planned and deliberate ones, and we need to cool even those for a while. I will come back to tag this entry once they are working for me again. Just wanted to let you all know I did not screw up as badly as I thought I had.

All Over the Place

September 14th, 2022 at 12:12 am

We are spending too much money again.  I am not sure if we are going to get out of this month without carrying a balance forward into next month on our credit card.  Some of it was paying for glasses and contacts for me and my son, but a lot of it was eating out way too much and being a little too fast on the draw with that amazon mouse click thing.  You know when you suddenly get a big raise and you think, "Yee Haw! I can spend again, I don't have to be tight anymore!"  And you overdo it?  Yeah, that's us.  So now I need to reign it back in and get us back on track.  I don't want to use the emergency fund to cover us.  Maybe interest is what we need to teach us a lesson here.  Moving on.

I read an article the other day that said that those who get debt forgiveness for their college loans are going to have to claim that amount as income on their income taxes.  I wonder if they know that?  I bet it is going to hit a lot of people hard in the gut at tax time.  It'll make a lot of people used to getting a tax return have to pay taxes, maybe for the first time in their lives and they probably won't have that money to pay because they won't know about it.  No one is preparing them.  No one is showing them the dark side.  Just the la la la skipping through the daisies side.  It's not really forgiveness if it comes with that kind of string attached.  If they are going to do it, they should do it free and clear, not with a price tag.

It is so nice to see clear, blue skies again.  The forest fires were blowing their smoke this way again, giving us the apocalypse sky of light brownish gray with a brilliant orange sun behind it.  The sun always looks amazingly pretty when this happens, but I prefer to be able to go outside and breathe.  I did have to go outside one day with one of those medical masks they wouldn't let anyone buy at the start of Covid and quickly pick tomatoes, but otherwise stayed inside.  Even with that, I had to use a nebulizer treatment afterwards.  I got 12.2 pounds of tomatoes, making the running total of tomatoes 23.6 so far from the garden.  I'm going to pick more today, so will update that in the next post. 

On the medical front, I continue to lose weight, this time in a more healthy manner than when I had that horrible stomach flu.  Once I started eating again after that, the weight loss that stuck was 12 pounds.  I've now lost 20 pounds.  I'm eating mostly chicken and fish, regular vegetables, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and squash.  I'll have rice or corn on occasion, but no other grains.

I can't remember the last time I had beef, maybe 3 weeks ago when we had spaghetti, though we did have a ham from our half a hog a week ago.  I didn't have much, though it was very good, just a little too salty for my taste.  I cut off all the fat.  We'll save the other one for a holiday when there will be more people to eat it.  I did save the ham bone and will make broth with it later on.  It will flavor broth nicely with it's smokey saltiness. 

Plus I have all the scraps I have been saving, onion skins, garlic skins, shallot skins, carrot peels, celery tops, parsley stems, and a few herbs from the garden, to add in to making the broth for extra flavor.  I used to always do that when times were tight, but over the last couple years got out of the habit.  When food costs started skyrocketing, I got back in the habit of doing a scrap bag in the freezer again for broth. We have to be economical with food in these times of massive food cost rises.  I always try to be, but it is necessary now more than ever to go back to my previous cost cutting ways.  Which, in the end, is better for my diet.

As for other medical stuff, yesterday I got my mammogram.  It's been 7 years since I've had one done and the technology has changed.  It is very futuristic robot looking as opposed to a garage workshop vice clamp.  Don't get me wrong, in the end it is still a vice clamp, but looks like it belongs on a space ship.  They really ought to have some kind of chair that moves with the machine for disabled and old people though.  Getting into position hurt my back and legs, which was the part that caused pain.  Now my doctor will stop nagging me, though.

I know I should have done it sooner.  My mom had breast cancer at 40 and I did one at 30, one at 35, one at 40 and one at 45 and I was supposed to do one at 50 so I am 2 years overdue.  But I've has so much other medical crap to deal with between me and my daughter these last few years, I really didn't want to deal.  My eldest sister (64) had uterine cancer recently, so it has hit my family of origin twice.  That's what got me to go in.  That's the only one I don't have to worry about since I had a hysterectomy at 33, but still.

I'm thinking about having DD tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and probably me, too, depending on cost.  If insurance covers it, great.  If it doesn't, than just DD.  I'd like to do genetic testing for Ehlers-Danlos on her, too.  If we can afford it.

Then today I went to the cardiologist and got my patch.  It's a portable EKG.  They used to have to do a harness thing, but now they can just attach a patch to your chest and it monitors stuff.  It has a button you can push if you feel anxious, arm or neck pain/tingling, chest pain or pressure, dizziness, fainted, light headed, pounded, fluttering or racing, short of breath, skipped or irregular beats, or other.  Then you mark it down in a book with the date, the time, the duration, and what you were doing.  It only gives 13 pages.  Hopefully that is enough or I might have to add some.  Some weeks I have a lot of incidents and others I have none.

It is a two week test.  It was ordered by my neurologist to try to get to the bottom of my fainting spells to see if I was having syncopy.  My regular doctor has been wanting to do one for a while, too, but we have been trying to control my asthma first, which got bad with Original Covid, then Covid II: The Return, then what they call long Covid.  Then the summers with smoke from forest fires have not helped.

The treatment plan I'm on has helped some, but not completely, so he has wanted to look at my heart next, because I have racing heart, and I was born with a heart murmur that may have gotten worse, and sometimes I feel pressure, and shortness of breath when I am sitting still that may or may not be caused by asthma or long Covid.  So this test will satisfy him as well, or at least give him information.  And if there is nothing wrong there, than I think the next step will be an MRI of my lungs.

Honestly, the possibility of heart issues, is what has kicked me into gear with the diet this time.  If that is something I have to fight, I need to get into a healthier body to do that.  I need to anyway.  It is exhausting to be this way.  Losing weight will help with my fibromyalgia and my joint pain, so it will help lesson some of my RA symptoms, too. What I have to do is just stay motivated, even if there is nothing wrong with my heart.  I am sick and tired of always being sick and tired.

I am going to be stopping the shot I've been on for RA.  The side effects have been bad.  They are frequent colds and respiratory infections.  I have had nothing but that since I started this drug.  I wash my hands all the time.  I use sanitizer when I'm out.  I sanitize the steering wheel and door handles if my husband drove last because he brings stuff home from work.

I santize the door knobs.  I wear my mask and vinyl gloves in stores on the rare times I go in one even though we are not required to and I still get sick.  Sure the RA pain has been completely gone, but I can't live like this.  Every time I've stopped it with antibiotic use and gotten better, then taken the shot again, two days later I've caught something else.  So, no more of that.  I can't deal with it.  It has been a miserable summer.  I've barely had a chance to enjoy it.  I want to enjoy what is left of it.

Okay, well, after all that word vomit, it's time to go make dinner and not order it.  Baked chiken thighs, roasted potatoes, and green breans.  The chicken I pulled out of the freezer said 99 cents a pound and was from May 7, 2022.  It was the last time I saw that sale price.  I'll proabably never see that in a store again.  But I've got 8 more pack of it in the freezer, so there's that.

 

 

Payday, Plans for Beef, Plans for Garden, Seeking Fertilizer for Next Year

September 7th, 2022 at 03:40 am

Payday has come and gone and I have re-funded all of my envelopes, funds, and sinking accounts.  I had money left in my grocery envelope, quite a lot actually, so I started my savings for the next beef, hencetofore to be known as "Beef Envelope" because I am fancy like that, with $208.  We just didn't buy that much.  Part of that was bad sales at the grocery stores both weeks, part of that was picking up our hog, part of that was having a lot of produce to go through from the previous pay cycle, some of it long lasting, like cabage, and melons.  There just wasn't too much need.  Based on how much it cost in July of 2021 to buy a whole steer, which was $2,955.64, I need to save up at least $3000.  And since that was 2 years ago, I probably need to build in an additional raise of .50/lb on the farmers side of things and .10/lb for the cut and wrap and $10 added to the kill fee, just to be on the safe side.  That was what it was for the hog.  So I need to set aside $3500 total for the steer.

On top of that I have raised the grocery budget by $100 to $500 a payday with the new raise DH got and with most of our meat taken care of now we had a lot more freedom at the grocery store.  Maybe I didn't need to do that, but it gives me plenty of money to put in the Beef Fund.

The only meat I have to buy now is chicken, turkey, deli meats, and fish, unless he ever gets to go fishing again this summer.  Work has been crazy and the last fishing trip was unsuccessfull for the guys who coud make it because the fish were still too small.  DH couldn't, because we were all down with something so bad he was afraid to leave us alone in case someone needed to go to the hospital (nobody did).

They didn't go out over the holiday weekend because the guy who own's the boat, his mother had hip replaement surgery earlier in the week and was coming hom the friday before.  Those first few days after are a 2 person job/challegne/nightmare.  Then it calms done enough that one person can handle it. And if not than he can work from home for the bad times.  They are very flexible with hours as long as you meat goals on time, show up for meetings even if on Zoom, and do your walk downs at the right time.  So hopefully, next weeked we can still get coho salmon.  It is my favorite.

Anyway, the garden is doing very well.  Last night I harvested 10.4 pounds of tomatoes from the garden bringing the tomato total up to 14.4 pounds for the year.  There were 3 more zuccchini, briging the weight totoal up to 3.8 pounds.  They were nowhere the size of the frst one, more like normal sized.  I weeded the zucchini finally and I'm sure it will appreciate not having to fight for light.  There are lots of healthy litle zuchchini on most of the plants.  I did have to take a couple of dead ones off one plant that had been completely shaded out by weeds, so now maybe it will flower again.  I also transplanted the nasturtiam away from the cucumers, and one day later they are liking it already.  I did pick my first two cucumbers.  They are small, pickling cucumbers, so their weight was .7 pounds.  I was starting to think I'd get nothing off those vines at all.

I think I am going to transplant my pepper plants away from the tomato plants and give them a batch of rabbit manure and see how they do with full sun and not fighting the tomatoes for resources.  I just have to hear back from the rabbit rescue place about rabbit manure.  The other two bunny farmers I've called ghosted me after a couple of days, so trying to find something more reliable now.  If not, I guess I'll just have to go with stinky fish emulsion or try to find a stables that is open this weekend for manure removal.  It was so much easier when cow manure was available in the stores instead of having to hunt sources down on my own.

If worst comes to worst we are off to the beach to harvest as much dead seaweed as will fit in the back of the truck to dry out, break up with our hands, and bury in the garden beds.  The nutrients in that will feed the beds for a couple of years.  That is included in his gathering license for shellfish, and they really don't care if you are just collecting the dead stuff if you have one or not, but safe side so he'll have it on him.  I'll just go to keep him company and to have some time away from the kids.

I really hope the fertilizer industry gets back on its feet soon so they stop taking up all the organic stuff because that is all that is left.  It makes it really hard for us gardners.  And then they have huge crop failures and we can't make up for it the way we might, because we don't have the inputs that were available to us before because big ag took it all.

I'm sorry if this comes off all fragmented.  I think the hamster on my brain fell off his wheel today.  Anyway, I am going to put as much aside as I can within limits to save for the beef to meet that goal, put as much aside as I can to refill the EF, and extend my garden season as long as possible while preparing the beds for next  year.

Harvest Totals Coming In--We are Definitely Saving Money

September 1st, 2022 at 07:35 am

I have my harvest totals for onions and garlic.  I did not lose any garlic to rot and it is now dried.  I have 10.1 pounds of it.  I am setting aside 4 heads of elephant garlic to replant.  I only planted one last year, so I want to have a good amount to plant this year.  That leaves me with 3 to use, one of which I had already used (but recorded the weight of).  The ones I am using soon or did use had split their skins and would not store until planting time.

As for the Music garlic, I will replant half of that, which will be double what I planted last year.  And I won't have to pay for any garlic to plant at all.  I did have a couple head of garlic where the cloves split the skins as well, so those will get used up first.  So anyway, next year I will spend $0 on the garlic I will plant.  I don't remember what I paid this year, but it was far, far too much.  But I figured it was a one time investment.  Music is a hard variety to come by, but it is supposed to be the best, both in flavor and long-term storage.

I will dehydrate some of the garlic for making garlic powder as needed, but most of what I keep will be stored in a bag in a cool, dark cupboard.  It will last quite a while.  I don't fancy paying $1 for a head of garlic.  If anything starts to sprout I will dice what's left up and dehydrate it.

As for the onions I got 50.3 pounds of a yellow keeping onions, 30.6 pounds of a red keeping onions, and 20.1 pounds of Walla Walls sweet onions.  So a grand total of 101 pounds of onions.  I lost one yellow keeping onion to rot, so didn't count it in the total weight.  It was a small one and weighed .4 lb and was trying to grow a baby onion off its root system.

This year I spent $10.89 on 4 4 inch pots of itty bitty onion plants.  Next year I'm going to order seed and grow my own onion plants.  It won't be that much of a savings this year, but the packets will have enough for the following year as well, so that year will be free.  And that way I can get the Candy sweet onions instead of the Walla Wallas.  The Candys are better, even if the Walla Wallas are pretty darn good.

Our onions will take six weeks to dry, with a trim down to about one inch of stem at the 3 week mark and then I can bag up and store the two types of keeping onions and they should store for 6 to 8 months.  As for the Walla Walla, they won't store for very long, maybe 2 or 3 months, so I will mostly cut those up into strips and dices and freeze them.

I will dehydrate some of the yellow keeping onions so that I can grind them up for powder as I need them.  If any of the keeping onions start to sprout it will be time to cut them up and freeze or dehydrate them as well.  I am just not going to pay $1.39/lb for yellow onions, $1.59/lb for red onions, and $1.79/lb for sweet onions, so I will not waste one scrap.  Any sprout can go into broth.

I picked my first two tomatoes yesterday.  Between them they weigh one pound.  I am going to keep a running count.  I will be using them with one of my sweet onions to make some pico de gallo tomorrow.  I think I will have some of those little yellow ones that look like pears ripe tomorrow and maybe a couple of paste ones.  They were pretty close today.  And the green beans are sprouting.  So we will get a crop.  The garden isn't a complete fail this year, even though everything got in so late.

We will still save a lot of money on food.  Especially when the potatoes are ready.  Potato prices are getting outrageous.  I think I may try to sneak in a carrot crop.  It would be cutting it close, but I have coldframes.  With the raised beds they would survive the November freezes.  I'm definitely sowing some radishes.  They'll be grown before the first frost.

This fall, after we harvest the potatoes and pull the dead plants and weeds out, we will rototill lime in and then cover it in black plastic so we don't have weeds growing in there for the rest of the fall and as soon as it warms up in the spring.  I don't know for sure if we will plant potatoes there in the spring again or not, but I want the ground prepared if we do.  If you do grow potatoes in the same place every year and you don't use lime you can get black scab on your potatoes.

I figure we will get at least 120 pounds of potatoes this year since we expanded our potato plot.  That's still not enough potatoes to get us through the year, but I'll buy some extra to can and we'll get there.  Buying direct from a local farmer who charges less than the stores is our saving grace there.

Next spring we will be able to pick up all the black plastic we laid down in late July or early August and everything will be dead under there.  We will be able to rototill everything flat and get started on making a proper fence to keep the deer out of the garden and also build two more raised beds, possibly three, spring weather permitting.

Before summer's over we need to take the deck off the front of the house and clean off the back porch.  Maybe even organize the garage, but that can't be done until the onions are done drying, because the drying racks are in the way of pretty much everything.

Price Breakdown on Half a Hog

August 28th, 2022 at 03:08 am

We just came home from the butcher and got everything squared away in the freezer and I've now done the math, so I can give you the breakdown on what we got and what we paid for our organic, pasture-raised meat.  Keep in mind this is not going to be the cheapest stuff you can get from the store, if you even still can.  These animals are not feed lot raised or even raised in a nice barn, but confined to a pen.

They are out there in the sunshine, with little shelters if it gets too hot, too windy, or too rainy.  These pigs walk free and root around in the soil eating anything they find that is good for them.  This is the prime stuff, not the stuff injected with salt water or who knows what else.  These pigs get exercise and their meat is nowhere near the color of what you see in the stores.  They are rotationally grazed, which means they get fresh pasture every 10 days, before any parasite pressure can develop from being in the same space too long.  They are given organic feed, free choice minerals, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmers gardens.  And that healthy environment and food, that difference, is reflected in the price, the quality, and the taste.

That being said, here is the meat I got.  I could have gotten roasts, but I wanted more sausage, so didn't get any.

38 1 inch pork chops

8 1 inch pork steaks

3 family sized packages of spare ribs

16 country spare ribs (basically boneless smaller steaks)

16.5 pounds of bacon

24 lbs of country (breakfast) sausage

24 lbs of mild Italian sausage

2 hams (they should just fit in an oval 6 quart crockpot for size)

2 packages smoked ham hocks

1 8 lb bag of leaf lard (for making biscuits and pie crusts)

I skipped getting the rest of the lard as it has a porky taste to it and while we don't mind it, especially for deep frying, my mother hates the smell of it.  Leaf lard has no smell or taste to it and doesn't stink when rendering it down.  It would have been about 30 lbs if I had gotten the regular lard.

Hanging weight for the hog was 210 pounds.  Hanging weight is the amount my half of the carcass weighed after all the guts came out.  I was charged $3.50/lb on that, coming to a total of $735.  But that is not the grand total, so don't be pulling out your calculater yet.

Next up comes the butcher fees, which are quite a lot different than when getting beef, because a lot more is being done.  The butcher fee covers the killing, gutting, and the hanging in the refrigerted warehouse, the cut and wrap fee which is based on cutting it up into pieces and how much plastic and paper is used to package the meat, the cure and smoke fee for things like the bacon, ham, and hocks, the bacon slicing fee, and finally the sausage processing fee.  The last involves the grinding down of the meat, twice, a large grind followed by a small grind, then of course mixing the seasonings in.  I got charged twice for that since I had two different kinds and they have to clean the machine in between.  If I'd only gotten one type of sausage, that fee would have been half what is listed below.

$85.00 Butchering Fee

165.90 Cut and Wrap Fee

$36.23 Curing and Smoking Fee

$12.00 Sausage Processing Fee

+_6.00 Bacon Slicing Fee

-----------------

329.24 Total Meat Processing Fee

Add that together with the hanging weight fee:

$735.00

+329.24

-------------

1064.24 Total for Hog

This brings the total per pound to $5.07/lb. for organic pastured pig.  Which is incredible for that type of meat.  And let's face it, I can't even get regular bacon, pork sausage, or ham for that price anymore where I live, and you probably can't either, except maybe a picnic ham around the holidays.  Sometimes not even pork loin chops, let alone the real ones with the bones.  Pork shoulder you can get for $1.99/lb, sometimes ribs for $3.99/lb.  But there is stuff injected into that pork shoulder and often any chops before they are cut.  It's $8 a pound for organic bacon and $7 a pound for regular.  Today's prices, with all that inflation, are horrible.

One 1 lb organic, pasture-raised pork chop of the same size as the ones I got runs for $9.28/lb.  It cost $22.49 for a package of 2 country ribs.  Mine had 4 and cost $7 less based on weight comparison.  This was from the same farm I got it from, only in the store, so the best comparison.  The sausage from the same place is $10 a pound on the rare occasion it isn't sold out by 10 a.m. and was out of my price range to buy it that way  So I think I did pretty good there buying it this way.  If inflation continues as it has been, I wouldn't be surprised if in a year we aren't paying $5/lb for all cuts of pork.

This should last us a year.  We don't eat a ton of pork, mostly breakfast types or to use the sausage in meatloaves or meatballs, but it'll be nice to change up the chicken, beef, and seafood.  It works out to 380 servings, give or take how much broth we get from the hocks and ham bones.  That works out to 95 meals for 4, so we could have pork 1.82 times per week.  I haven't had bacon in so long.  I've been eating a lot of turkey bacon because it is so much cheaper, but really, it just tastes like ham to me.

Honestly, the size on some of those chops and steaks, I could probably cut them in half and have even more meals from them.  A hog from the butcher stays good up to two years in a deep freeze, so I could cut part of the chops or steaks off, cook them, and then use the cut off part in stir-fry in another meal.  I'll have to think on that, but no one needs to eat a one pound pork chop or steak, that's for sure.

Now to start saving up for next year's beef.  And maybe another chest freezer, so I can stockpile chicken, too.  Bulk buying off the farm, organic and pasture-raised, saves me so much money against buying it from the store, when and if I can even find it.  I don't have the energy to raise them myself anymore, not even the 8 weeks for Cornish cross, but I know a farmer who will raise them for me next summer.  52 chickens in the freezer would be very, very nice.

Pork!

August 26th, 2022 at 09:50 am

Our hog half is finally ready to be picked up, so DH and I will be going down on Saturday to pick it up.  DH was invited to go salmon fishing on Saturday, but he had to decline.  It's a little bit of a bummer, but the only other option was to take time off from work to go and he is too slammed to do that.

I am thinking about making it a date for DH and myself and going to Outback for a meal.  I miss Kookaburra wings so I would eat that, the veggies it comes with, some rye bread, and a sweet potato on the side.  DH would probably get a steak.  Or I could just buy some of that on sale steelhead trout, some sweet potatoes, some rye bread, and pick some zucchini from the garden and still not have spent as much as at Outback and feed four people instead of two.  We will at least be in the car along for the 40 minute drive there and the 40 minute drive back. 

DS and I will need to go through the freezers tomorrow and make things more compact and throw out anything with freezer burn and of course take out anything that needs to thaw out for dinners for the next few days, preferrably large things that take up a lot of space.  It shouldn't require a ton of space, but I want to make sure enough is cleared.  I don't think there will be much that is freezer burned, since we went through two of the three freezers a month ago.

I'll do a break down of the cuts I got, the final price, and the hanging weight once I know it all.  I've paid for the meat, just waiting on the cut and wrap fee until I get there.

 

New Net Pay and Retirement Update

August 23rd, 2022 at 06:22 am

Friday's paycheck was the first one with the new raise on it and the net pay is now $3584.10, give or take a couple dollars here or there.  That was always the case with his old rate.  So that is a difference of $567.73 per paycheck or $1135.46 in a 4 week pay cycle.  And that comes to $14,760.98 a year in net pay.  That's a lot to work with.

So I am debating what to do.  I have some things I have to take care of, like $1000 of work on the van, which I only have $604 saved for, and replacing the console in the truck with one that has satellite GPS and MP3 player compatibility.  I have to buy DD a recliner chair to deal with her back issues and it has to be one she can get out of.

We need to replace the shower/tub with a walk in shower and part of the floor in one of the bathrooms, but I might be able to push that off for another year.  We've sealed the crack in the tub, so it shouldn't get any worse, at least.  And most importantly, I have to get the emergency fund back where it was.  We also need to pay for an appointment with an elder law lawyer for my mother to get her will updated.  She can't afford it and it needs to be done.  Being as we will be inheriting the house, I want to make sure all the t's are cross and all the i's are dotted.  I'd prefer to do legal zoom, that's what we did for DH's parents, but my Mom is weird about the internet sometimes.

But when all that is done, I'd like to bump our retirement up to whatever it takes to max out our 401K.  Right now, where we are at, we will be contributing $23,642.12 this year.  The max for over 50 is $27,000, so we will be $3357.88 shy of that this year.  We are at 16% currently.  For a full year at the current rate of pay at 16%, it would be $25,245.22 or $1754.78 short of the max, if the max is the same next year.  That is, of course, assuming there is no overtime.  Overtime could push it closer since contributions are based on a percentage.

We will definitely be over the regular amount of $20,500, which we've never hit before, but I'd like to be at the higher max next year.  We need to be.  I'm 52, and DH will be 53 at month's end.  We need to get moving.  We are just so far beind in life because of all that medical debt we paid off over 20 years.  Ideally, we would also be able to do a spousal Roth IRA for me and possibly a Roth IRA for DH as well.  He has a traditional one, but I'd like to have Roths. Just not at Fidelity.  They just don't recover from plunges and don't offer better plans at the amount of money he has in there.  We need to get the ball rolling on getting that transferred elsewhere.

After Friday's contribution ($970.97 from us, $181.51 company match) of $1152.48, our 401K and IRA now sit at $79,444.45, which is a change of $1324.51, so $172.03 of growth since last payday.  It's not much, but at least it is going in the right direction and not eating the whole deposit like it has for most of the year.  So that's a positive.

I don't know, I'm just trying not to wait for the other shoe to drop.  Things are going too well.

 


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