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Archive for February, 2015

And Now the EF is over $14K!!

February 27th, 2015 at 05:03 pm

Our income tax refund came. It actually came on the 25th, but since I have never had a refund come on any day but a Friday before, I didn't bother checking for it until today. So here is the new Emergency Fund Balance.

$12,075.00 Beginning EF Balance
+_2,000.00 From Income Tax Refund
$14,075.00 New EF Balance

My goal for the year is to get the EF to $15,000. So now just $925 to go. $15K is both my main goal and my next mini-goal. $15K is the most minimal of expenses to survive for 3 months with no pay. It's not a comfortable 3 months, but between that and unemployment we could survive on it.

The goal after hitting $15K will be $21,000, which would be 3 months of very comfortable living or 4 months of tight living. But I imagine that will take another year and a half to two years of savings to get to. It'd be faster, but we have some college to cash flow.

Farm Changes

February 27th, 2015 at 02:58 am

I am pretty excited about some of the upcoming things on the farm. I sent a check off today for $330 to a local sustainable farmer who raises rabbits as well. He's going to be importing organic rabbit pellets from Modesto Mills in California and has offered to let anyone in the county get in on his order, no shipping fees. Since he wasn't sure how often at first he'd be ordering, I got a 2 month supply, or 600 pounds. Well, technically, this is more than a 2 month supply at the moment, because we have no kits and are just feeding the 13 adults and 1 junior who will be an adult in another month.

But we have kits due on Saturday/Sunday, so in about 4 weeks that consumption will go up to 300 pounds a month. This does a little more than double our rabbit feed costs, but with the new small animal slaughter house starting to butcher rabbits this spring, I will be able to sell WSDA approved meat if I use them. Rabbit meat from rabbits fed organically gets upwards of $15 a pound. So selling one rabbit would cover the cost of 2 bags of feed. I have interest from people who I have not sold to yet, because of not having the WSDA approval.

I do not mind raising the feed costs, since our old feed that used to be GMO free no longer is with the heavy introduction of GMO alfalfa into the rabbit feed supply a year or so ago. Which, by the way, has coincided with increased kit mortality in many rabbitries across the states. It may not show up in humans this quickly, but with something like the rabbit population where generations are born in a very short time span, it can very quickly be seen. Not proven, but the anecdotal evidence amongst breeders is pretty high. Just another reason to thank Monsanto for their constant interference in nature and scientifically proven (by non-M researchers) lower yields (despite advertising higher ones).

We don't buy alfalfa hay anymore as there is just no real way to track that unless we buy farm direct, which we may do this summer (and eventually will grow ourselves when we buy our 5 acre farm).

So anyway, I am happy to find organic non-GMO feed again for my rabbits. We will do a slow switchover, as a rapid feed change can kill the bunnies. But we have 200 pounds of the old feed left, so we should be good with a gradual switch over. Might have to buy an additional 100 pounds, but we will play that by ear.

Here is a short rabbit video I made yesterday. It shows the different nesting styles of my three rabbits who are currently pregnant.

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Emergency Fund Update--Over $12,000

February 27th, 2015 at 12:45 am

$11,903.00 Beginning EF Balance
+__,162.00 Coin Jar, B'day Money, and AMEX Rewards
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$12,075.00 New EF Balance

And things are still on track for the new closing date of March 6th.

House Update

February 21st, 2015 at 07:13 am

So yesterday we went in to Chicago Title and signed the closing papers on the house. We did it early since DH will be in Alaska on the closing date. It feels one step closer, but who knows? I don't think I'll believe it until the money is in my bank account.

The buyers requested to push the closing date back to March 6th. They have a very good reason and I can't fault it. The wife was due to have her baby in a couple of weeks and she'd been having trouble with preterm labor and they found out something was wrong with it, and then the baby died. So, yeah. They need a little time. They still want the house, it's nothing like they want to back out. They just want some time to grieve, arrange a funeral, and get their heads together.

The realtor says they still might sign before that, it just depends on how things go with stuff. I feel so bad for them and I feel they should take the time they need (as long as they don't try to extend it again). And I feel bad that even knowing this, I'm still impatient. Not that I would ever show it, or anything. It's just been such a long process. I mean, not this part, but the whole fixing it up and putting it on the market and having the first buyers fall through and then finally getting another offer. From offer to now, really hasn't been too bad. Just a couple months.

I can't help it, though. We should have closed in 6 days and now it is 14 days. I just want to close this chapter of our lives and start the next one. I want it done so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Emergency Fund Update

February 20th, 2015 at 07:45 am

$11,893.00 Beginning EF Balance
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$11,903.00 New EF Balance

$97 to go to hit my mini-goal of $12K.

Meal Planning for the Week

February 16th, 2015 at 04:38 am

Rabbit Stew
Green Beans

Homemade Pizza (pepperoni, mozzarella, onions, bell peppers)
Cole slaw

Sloppy Hoppies
Cole slaw

Chicken stir-fry (broccoli, carrots, onions, celery)
Homemade bread

Braided Chili Loaf
Green Beans

Fried Chicken
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans

Beef Hanging Tender
Mashed potatoes and gravy

Taxes are Done

February 15th, 2015 at 08:16 am

DH finished and sent off our taxes tonight. We will be getting back $7133. And before anyone goes saying that that is too high and we shouldn't withhold so much money so we can have more money during the year, there is nothing we can do about this. The majority of it is from our medical being reimbursed and most of the rest is from the ridiculous amount of money that was taken out of DH's bonus.

Some of this money is earmarked for college (both DH's and DD's), but I will take and throw $1000 in the Emergency Fund when we get it back. And I would like to be able to pay for my daughter to take driver's training. I also believe there is a program now where a fifteen-year-old can get his permit before 15 1/2 with taking driver's training. DS will be 15 next month. So if we could take them to the same driving school and they could take it together that would be really good. I'd also like to get glasses and eye exams for everyone. But otherwise, yeah, most of it is for college.

DD has decided she wants to go to the technical college. She wants to learn how to do medical billing and coding and maybe some other administration things. Considering that more and more people are going to the doctor because of having forced insurance, it'll be a field with good growth and more importantly it will be a field where she can earn enough money to support herself on. It's also one that doesn't involve many other people and is often work from home even. With her extreme anxiety that would be very good for her.

She may still just take a year off and work before going to college. I am just glad we have a plan now.

It looks like we will get the refund in three to four weeks.

Farm Income and Other Stuff

February 15th, 2015 at 02:09 am

I made $80 in rabbit meat sales today. That brings the total sales for the month to $95 and $122.50 for 2015. That more than covers a month of feed for all of the animals, especially since we don't have any babies right now, but since I have a large amount of feed bought in previous months, I don't need to use it for that and it will go to the EF on Tuesday.

This week I also received my AMEX reward that is attached to my Costco card. It is $58.82. I have to go to Costco to cash it. I wish they would just let you cash it at a bank, but they won't. We will go there sometime soon, maybe Tuesday so we can avoid the holiday weekend shoppers. I don't really need much from Costco, maybe Ziplocs, but nothing else, so I hate to go all the way over there just for that, but oh, well. That money will end up in the EF as well.

We went to the farm today and got several pounds of pastured organic meat. For $280 I got 32.3 pounds of meat divided thusly:

8 2.5 pound pot roasts (20 lb)
4 pork chops (2.30 lb)
5 packages of bacon (5 lb)
1 rack of lamb (3 lb)
1 beef hanging tender (will have to look up how to cook this)(2 lb)

We will can the pot roasts later this week after they have thawed out.

Since we were down that way DH and I went out to an early dinner at Outback for a combination of Valentine's Day and my birthday. It was nice to have a nice dinner out without the kids. We rarely do. We brought home wings and bread for the kids and they also stole our leftovers. I didn't end up getting steaks after all on my actual birthday so I don't feel guilty at all about going out, especially since I set aside the money I would have used to buy steaks.

Spring is in the Air

February 12th, 2015 at 07:12 pm

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

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

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

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

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

EF Update

February 12th, 2015 at 06:52 pm

$11,883.00 Beginning EF Total
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$11,893.00 Ending EF Total

$107 to go to hit my mini-goal of $12K! It's getting so close.

Emergency Fund Update

February 10th, 2015 at 11:24 pm

$11,852.00 Beginning EF Total
+__,_15.00 Pinecone Check
+__,__5.00 Pinceone Check
+__,__1.00 Coin Jar Money
+__,_10.00 Duck Egg Sales Money
$11,883.00 New EF Total

I have $117 to go to hit my mini-goal of $12K and $3,117 to go to hit my main goal of $15K for the year.

Farm Sales and Other Income/Gift Cards

February 10th, 2015 at 03:17 am

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today for $10, bringing my egg sales for the month to $15. I received my two Pinecone checks in the mail today, for a total of $20. I have received all five of my $5 Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and have cashed out for a $25 gift card. I think I'll be able to get another one before the month is up if I keep qualifying for surveys.

This Saturday we'll be going down to the farm store to buy beef for canning and we will be selling the lady who runs the counter some of our rabbit meat. She pays $15 a pound. I'm not sure how much the package weighs. We use their scale when we get there. But the last sale was $67.50 for 4.5 pounds, so should be around that much.

I need to order some more rabbit cages. I want to stop using the 24 x 24 inch cages and just use the 36 x 36 inch cages. The smaller ones are standard for bucks of this size, but when I moved the two bucks that were in them to the larger cages a couple weeks ago, they acted like they were in heaven. I'd rather they have a bit more space if it means that much to them. I like to keep them all happy.

Menu Planning for the Week

February 9th, 2015 at 06:30 am

Meatball Sandwiches (on homemade bread, using leftover homemade spaghetti sauce)
Cole slaw
Strawberries (from my freezer stash)

Chicken stir-fry (carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower)
Home canned corn

Fried Rabbit
Fried Potatoes
Home canned green beans

Sweet potato and regular potato fries
Cole slaw
Frozen Italian plums (from our tree)

Meatloaf made ground beef and ground rabbit, minced garlic, diced onions and peppers, shredded carrots
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Home canned green beans
Canned pineapple

Homemade pizza with leftover homemade spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, homemade rabbit sausage, pepperoni, onions, and bell peppers
Cole slaw

Barbecue Chicken Legs
Home canned corn
Drop biscuits with choice of jam

Monthly Deposit to Emergency Fund

February 6th, 2015 at 07:32 pm

$11,738.26 Beginning EF Balance
+__,100.00 Monthly Deposit
+__,_21.02 Remainder of Propane Fund
+__,__2.72 Remainder in checking from last payday
$11,852.00 New EF Balance

$148 to go to hit my mini-goal of $12K. $3,148 to go to his my big goal for the year of $15K.

I got what will be our final bill for the propane tank and there was still plenty of propane in there so nothing was charged. We still have a $49.50 credit that we will end up getting back. So I disbursed the propane fund, putting $300 into the College Fund and $21.02 into the EF. I had $2.72 left in checking from last payday, so I transferred that along with the regular monthly deposit of $2.72.

Even if stuff with the house falls through, I will be able to hit $12K by early in March, between the $10 weekly deposits and next month's monthly deposit. I am feeling pretty good about that.

Weekly Deposit to EF

February 5th, 2015 at 07:57 pm

$11,728.26 Beginning EF
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$11,738.26 New EF Total