Home > Archive: August, 2014

Archive for August, 2014

Long Morning

August 29th, 2014 at 07:25 pm

Today was a very long morning. I spent it at the high school getting my daughter's schedule changed. It took some doing as the bull dog on the front counter was all, "We don't switch classes because of teachers," and I was, "Well, you better, as this woman is not teaching my child ever again." Finally got in to talk to the counselor and explained how Mrs. Z acted and was the main reason my daughter dropped out of school last year rather than go back and deal with this piece of work and how the woman was instrumental in many aspects of her nervous breakdown.

We never even thought it would be an issue, because this teacher previously only taught home ec, child psychology, interior design, and health, none of which my daughter was taking. But this year she is for some reason teaching English. And plus, we had put in her file that that woman was to never be her teacher again.

Anyway, the counselor, who is new this year (the one who knew the history of the situation retired last year), was sympathetic to her cause and changed her schedule right around. Since she only needs one English credit to graduate, we dropped the one English class entirely and changed the other one to British Literature.

So now my daughter has two free periods first semester, which is actually a good thing, because of the skull fracture that happened August 2. She will only have Algebra 2, which she is repeating as she got a D in it and Chemistry, which she is also repeating from her junior year as she failed the 2nd semester, as her hard classes. She did well first semester, so that will be more of a review for her, but things devolved for the second semester (which was when issues with Mrs. Z began, as well as anxiety attacks and depression that she was told over and over by this teacher don't really exist). Her other two classes will be ceramics and choir.

DD has been on anti-anxiety pills and anti-depressants for several months now and things are going much, much better for her, but she still wouldn't have been able to handle having that woman as a teacher again. And I don't want her anywhere near any of my kids, anyway.

So it was a very stressful way to start the day, but hopefully the stressful part is over. I go to physical therapy in an hour and then hopefully I will have time to get my pickles canned this afternoon.

Last night I picked a dozen tomatoes, another very large zucchini, a red jalapeno, 2 cucumbers, 2 plums, and some green beans. Earlier this week I also picked 2 more zucchini, 3 cucumbers, a broccoli Romanescu, and some green beans. I've earned back the money I spent on the garden now, so anything from here on out is where I start actually saving money by having a garden. Probably tomorrow I will need to pick 2 more zucchini, some kale, and another broccoli Romanescu.

I read that you can grow garlic in gutters, so once everything dies off in the gutters at the end of the season, I will fertilize and top off the dirt in one of them and then around November I will plant garlic cloves 4 inches apart. We do better with garlic if we plant in the fall. Same with onions, but I don't have the space for that. That way I should have a decent crop of garlic next summer and also some lovely scapes.

Here's an update on some of the garden stuff around here and some of the animals. I'll do other gardens later in the week.

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Boy, I'm Sore

August 24th, 2014 at 08:11 am

I managed to mangle myself pretty good last night. Well, not mangle, just beat my knee up pretty good. The knee formerly known as the good knee. It's a big bruise, and I think it is just the muscle I hurt. I hope it feels a lot better tomorrow.

I canned 14 more pints of applesauce today. Tomorrow I hope to get some pickles and potatoes canned, and some more peppers and onions frozen, but it depends on how I feel and what else needs to be done around here before DH leaves again.

We ground up the duck meat from the drakes we butchered and we ground up 7 pounds of rabbit meat, too. So we'll get 9 meals out of that.

Cleaning out the mini-chest freezer, by using the food in it for meals, is going pretty well. I've got it down to about 1/3 of the way full. I need to make up another meal plan for this new week, though. I haven't bought any protein since I started this. Not that we buy all that much anyway, since we have so much that we have butchered, but I am finding all kinds of things I didn't know I had. There is a ton of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and way more beef and fish than I thought we had.

I've also come across some frozen fruit from last summer that needs to get used up, probably in smoothies.

I am still wavering back and forth on whether I want to get s pork half or half a steer, but I think I'm starting to lean towards beef. True, we don't need much hamburger anymore, because of the ground rabbit meat, but I'd really like to get some steaks and roasts and stir-fry and stew meat, not to mention bones and tallow. If we can swing it, I'd like to do both, but I'm just not sure we can. It might be worth borrowing from the EF to do so, though.

School Clothes Shopping

August 23rd, 2014 at 06:48 am

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

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

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

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

Emergency Fund Update # 2

August 23rd, 2014 at 05:55 am

$9807.66 Beginning EF Amount
+__34.00 Today's Deposit from Coin Jar
$9841.66 New EF Amount

$158.34 left to reach my $10K goal. I will have this met by the end of September. Then I will go to work on funding my other funds, that I have not been able to do anything about the last several months.

Emergency Fund Update # 1

August 22nd, 2014 at 09:26 pm

$9797.66 Beginning EF Amount
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9807.66 New EF Amount

$192.34 to go to hit my goal of $10K.

I will be making another deposit today, but I am not sure how much yet. I've got my rolled coins and ones ready to go, but I also have a dividend check from the food co-op. I can only cash it at the food co-op, though, so whether or not it makes it into the deposit depends on whether or not we get there before banking hours end. This year's dividend check paid me back for the $5 yearly fee with .21 to spare.

That House is Just Never Going to Sell

August 21st, 2014 at 07:04 am

The guy who was interested in our house and had it down to our house and another house, of course went with the other house. Everyone who has seen the house loves the house, they just aren't thrilled with how far away it is from town. Or their credit sucks and they can't get a mortgage.

Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so we could go back and not buy in the mountains. We could have waited one more year and bought in a better location, but we were so eager to get out of where we were and so tired of waiting. If I knew then what I know now...but hindsight is 20/20.

I am trying to stay positive, but I've been in a lot of pain this week and it just makes me get cynical. I am still waiting to hear back from the doctor's office about the MRI. I called on Friday, had contact yesterday and was told I'd be contacted today, but it didn't happen, so I will call tomorrow and see where things stand.

We took a pickup load of compost out to the lady who we sold our first rabbits to and got to see several litters (2 at almost butcher age, and two one weeks old litters). Coriander doesn't remember me anymore. She did the last time I saw her, but now she doesn't. Her kits were beautiful. She'd been bred with a chocolate silver fox and there was a beautiful range of colors in the nesting box. She's a very good mother, though I expect no less from one of Serenity's daughters.

Feeling Overwhelmed

August 19th, 2014 at 11:16 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Menu Planning

August 19th, 2014 at 04:54 am

I haven't been posting a lot of meal plans lately, but I am being very careful about food. I've lost 12 pounds in 4 weeks, and the diet is going very well, though I did have one very bingey meal a couple of days ago. I didn't let it side-track me, though.

We are working our way through the small chest freezer right now. I am basing our meal planning on what is in there. I want to get it completely emptied out, chip out the ice build up (which isn't too bad) and then have it ready for us to use when we buy either half a hog or half a beef. Any money we save on the grocery bill by doing this will go towards our big meat purchase.

I had been leaning towards a hog, but with the pig people being so flakey and it being so much easier to find pasture-raised organic beef and less for pork, we may just go beef and keep getting selected cuts of pork from the one farm in the next county.

Anyway, my menu planning the rest of this week, based out of the stuff in the freezer and the garden.

Sloppy Hoppies--ground rabbit meat, onion, peppers, tomato sauce, few other ingredients, on whole grain buns
Leftover mashed potatoes

Beef stir-fry with onions and peppers

Barbecue Chicken
Sweet Potato fries

BBQ Korean Short Ribs
Japanese Fried Rice

Baked Potatoes
Green beans

I am also going to be roasting a whole chicken and doing a roast in the crockpot for lunches. The kids will make quesadillas with the meat and DH will have sandwiches. I will just eat the meat straight on salad as I am still on my controlled carb diet.

Another Busy Day of Canning

August 18th, 2014 at 07:17 am

I did actually take a couple of days off from canning, but today I got in 24 quarts of potatoes. It was a no spend day. Tomorrow will be an applesauce day, but also a run to Costco day and a pick up turkey feed day.

My shelves are slowly filling up and it sure looks nice. We have to empty all the school supplies from the shelves I was using for homeschooling and turn them into pantry shelves, because we will run out of room if we don't.

We butchered 2 drakes today. We are going to just grind the meat. Since we had to skin them, because pulling feathers at this age is an even bigger nightmare than pulling them when they are younger, it won't be quite as tender as it would be if we could roast it with the skin and all the fat. Ground duck is supposed to be quite good for burgers, we are just going to go that route. I'm not sure how much meat we will get after the bones are out, but they were both in the 5 to 6 pound range before butcher, so I'm hoping 2.5 to 3 pounds of meat per.

I need to get a 25 pound bag of sugar for making applesauce and some rice. I've got to get some more peppers and onions cut into strips and frozen. I also need to dice them for a recipe for either tomorrow's or the next night's dinner. I'm making sloppy hoppies (like Sloppy Joe's, but with ground rabbit meat) and I made up my own recipe for it after looking at a ton of Sloppy Joe and Sloppy Chicks and Sloppy Jane recipes.

I'd like to make up some big batches of rice and then make it into fried rice and then freeze it for future use. Although the TJ's fried rice that we usually get is pretty reasonable, it is still a lot cheaper if I do it up in bulk myself.

We went out on Saturday to look at a pig as we were thinking of buying half a one for the fall, but the farmers blew us off. They weren't there for the appointment even though I had triple checked time and date. They didn't apologize either. Just claimed there had been a miscommunication. Sorry, no. When I have your stuff in black and white from your email, just no. You blew us off. At least apologize. So they lost our business.

I may have to go to the next county to get certified organic and pasture-raised. I try to buy as local as I can, but I can't help it if the nearest local people are total flakes. If our house ever sells and we get enough land, I am totally raising my own pigs. At least our beef people are reliable.

Our Old House

August 16th, 2014 at 08:55 pm

There is a man who is close to making an offer on our old house. It is between our house and a house in a slightly different area of our state. Please pray that the guy will make the decision to buy our house. We really, really need to sell this thing and I want to be able to move forward with our lives again with big steps and not just baby ones. Or for God to send us someone who can make quick decisions and get on with it.

Payday Report for 8-15-14

August 16th, 2014 at 08:50 pm

$1000.00 to Mom for Loan
$1500.00 to BoA Visa
___55.46 to Paypal
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__130.00 Animal Feed
___80.00 Canning supplies and an electronic timer
___90.00 for buying potatoes/peppers/onions for preserving
___15.38 medical
___48.60 Phone (Old House)
___75.65 Internet
__144.00 Water/sewer (Old House)
___96.56 Prescriptions and OTC medications

We also ordered 3 new rabbit cages this week and 12 urine guards. It came to $221.35 and they are supposed to arrive on Monday. Hopefully, they will.

Payday Report for 8-8-14

August 16th, 2014 at 08:39 pm

$120.00 Physical therapy
$300.00 Groceries/animal feed/canning suppies
$757.82 Van loan (plus extra)
__27.88 Power (old house)
_100.89 EF
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
__20.00 Dues Fund
_400.00 to Mom for utilities
__89.95 Medical
_164.24 Vision (Glasses payment, 3 months same as cash)
__54.35 Baker Lawn Care (Old House)

We have decided since it is so hard to get up to the old house right now and because the weather has been constantly in the mid to high 80's, to hire a guy to mow the lawn at the old house when it gets out of hand. So about every 3 to 4 weeks. He did a good job and he lives in the area.

Emergency Fund Update

August 16th, 2014 at 07:14 am

$9787.66 Beginning EF
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9797.66 New EF Amount