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Home > Archive: May, 2019

Archive for May, 2019

Raised Bed is Done

May 30th, 2019 at 10:56 pm

We finished making the raised bed for the garden last night. It brings me great joy every time I look at it. It should last a very long time, too. I was so sore from working on it yesterday I could barely move this morning. I am doing much better this evening, but still ache a lot. I had to get into some bad positions while we were screwing the raised bed together. Let's see if the photo option will work for me.

Nearly Finished with the Raised Bed

May 27th, 2019 at 11:06 pm

We got some more work done on the raised beds. The two long sides were primed, painted and assembled today. Hopefully we can attach it all together tomorrow. We ran out of light. It is going to look very nice once it is done. DH also drilled some holes in another garbage can for me that I will fill tomorrow. I think I am just going to plant my peppers in the garbage cans. I can do 3 per can, maybe four. I can always do up another can if there isn't room for four per can. I probably should just do that to begin with.

We started taking down the turkey pen. First we took the gutter garden off the two sides of the pen, then removed the perches, and then we got the lattice off of three sides. Then the sun came out from behind the trees and it was too hot to work in that section of the yard. With the lattice off, though it will be much easier to go inside and get started weeding the area.

I also weeded the three 8 x 2 foot garden beds, which hold the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, patty pan squash, basil, and herbs. That leaves me with one 8 x 4 foot bed left to weed. And I still need to ring the long bed of onions. I may just show DS how and have him do it. Before I work on anything else tomorrow, though, we need to clean out a corner of the pad that the new raised bed is going on and dig out the weeds, so I can place the bed in a different position than it is in now.

I have to pick the strawberries tomorrow, too. I haven't picked for two days and suddenly there is a ton of red ones. I didn't notice until twilight and I didn't want to pick them without enough light to make sure they were completely red all the way through. I will harvest some basil, thyme, oregano, spearmint, peppermint, and rosemary tomorrow as well.

I hope to make it over to Joe's Garden tomorrow and pick up some calendula, marjoram (if they have it, they probably won't), another pot of cucumbers, maybe sunflowers if they aren't too big yet, and peppers. I may just plant sunflowers from seed if they are too big. I've got a couple different kinds. I like doing business with them as they are a no spray garden that provides starts, seeds, sets, and once the season gets going, produce. I really like using them as they use organic methods, they just don't want to spend the money for certification as it is ridiculously expensive.

I do need to stop by the grocery store and pick up a couple of things as well. I want to get some honey ham, and tomorrow is the last day of the steak sale. Also, I am out of carrots. So there is a lot I want to get done and hopefully I can get to all of it.

A Do Nothing Day

May 26th, 2019 at 11:27 pm

Every morning after I take my Enbrel shot I wake up nauseated. Sometimes I shake it off, other times I throw up and this was a throw up morning. I hate that side effect, but I guess it is worth it for the benefits. But it kind of messed me up for the day. So I did nothing today except make pico de gallo. I used cilantro from the garden. Oh, and I guess I did harvest some lettuce and spinach and make the salad, too. DH did the cooking for dinner which was carne asada for our tacos al carbon. I didn't eat other than dinner today because it took until 5 for the queasiness to go away.

However DH painted the boards we primed last night. Now all that is left to do is the outside frames for the long sides. I hope to get them primed before we go to bed and then painted in the morning so they can be assembled in the afternoon tomorrow.

DS weeded the last 32 square feet of the onion beds, so all I have to do is ring those onions and then I can start weeding on some of the other beds. I should feel a lot better tomorrow and can do that while I am waiting for the paint to dry.

I am still hoping that on Monday we can take down the old turkey pen, because we want to use that ground for the garden as well, probably for potatoes. They'll be late potatoes, but that is fine. I just want to get them in the ground. It will be very fertile in there due to the bird droppings over the years.

I forgot to say that yesterday I turned over the compost pile after I cleaned out the rabbit shed. Things are getting done even if I have to take a couple days off here and there. I also had DH drill holes in one of the garbage cans, filled the bottom with the hay we swept up from the garage, put in 8 shovelfuls off compost with lots of red wigglers, and then topped it off with garden soil.

I am wavering between getting another tomato plant or putting acorn squash in it. We do have four other garbage cans that we can use, too, so maybe I will just do both. I am waiting for the dirt to settle and weigh down the hay and see if I need to top it off before planting in it, though. Sometimes the soil can drop as much as 8 inches, so it is always good to wait a couple of days.

I think we are going to come a lot closer to providing our produce needs for the year than we ever have before. Well, obviously we will still need to buy some fresh produce during the non-growing season, but those numbers are really going to come down for everything else.

When the onions are ready, I am going to try this really simple recipe for roasted whole onions I saw on Townsends

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV9spqCzSkQ and Link is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV9spqCzSkQ Actually, I might try it before that. It just looks really good and we love onions.

Irlen, Rabbits, and Rain

May 24th, 2019 at 09:35 pm

I ordered some Irlen reading strips a while back and they finally arrived. My son, my daughter, and I all have some degree of difficulty with reading, particularly off a stark white page, but sometimes even off recycle paper color. I can adjust my computer with a filter, but I can't adjust books.

The reading strips are transparent and come in ten different colors and you put them over your page and move it down as you read. The difference in color makes it easier to read, especially with small print. This is something I have had more problems with since I broke my nose and had the concussion with it (I think in 2015), but I had no idea my kids had the same issue until I told them I had bought the strips and both piped up about it.

Anyway, it was fortunate that we all needed a different color. I was hoping that would be the case. I need a purple tint, my daughter needs a dark blue tint, and my son needs a lighter blue tint. This should help with headaches as well as words dancing and reading fatigue. Just judging from the little I've used it the difference is huge.

Today I cleaned out the rabbit shed with lots of petting bunny breaks and DH rearranged the rabbits so they are all on one wall. Then we brought in the haykeeper from the garage, which is also big enough to have the garbage can full of feed in it. It used to hold two bales of hay side by side, but since we only have 7 rabbits now, we only buy one bale at a time. And without the excess cages in the shed it can all fit in there nicely without taking up so much space in the garage.

It rained so there was no painting done today and no weeding. On the plus side it rained enough that I won't have to water the garden for 3 to 4 days. It was due to be watered today if it hadn't rained well. Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, but DH says he will fix a space to paint in the garage so we can get it done and hopefully be ready to assemble it on Sunday.

I Did Nothing Outside Today

May 23rd, 2019 at 11:51 pm

Well, yesterday I got 4 2 x 6 boards primed and painted, but I did not do anything today. I kept thinking about it, but it was so hot and then by the time it had cooled off, I just didn't want to. Which is a shame, because it is supposed to rain tomorrow and Saturday. Maybe I'll see if DH can rearrange some stuff in the garage so that I can get it done tomorrow. He only has to work for five hours tomorrow so will be home early. Then we have the long weekend to finish up.

I am sure there will be some breaks in the rain so we can get the bed put together on Saturday and then on Sunday, when it is sunny again I can start sifting the dirt out of the other bed and filling it.

I think I am going to take two of the garbage cans that we had for duck, chicken, and turkey feed, drill holes in the bottom and use them as giant planters. I might do some more tomatoes in them. We will have extra soil and will need to put it somewhere.

The bed that is so badly overrun with morning glory is only half full, but the dirt will still have to be moved, because the infestation is so bad there, that we will have to poison it and let the ground lay fallow for 4 months. I hate to have to do it, I've used nothing but organic methods for the past twenty-five years, but we have tried every other way so far and nothing has worked. Sometimes you have to compromise when the pernicious plants get too awful, and it seems there is no plant more awful than this, except maybe Himalayan blackberries.

In the fall, we can build the new bed and put down a thick layer of cardboard (probably 3 layers) as a barrier against the poison ground. Then a garbage can's worth of pine shavings (we don't need them anymore because no nesting boxes), which should cover the cardboard with an inch or two, then a foot of the used hay bedding from the rabbit shed, before putting in compost and garden soil. It will take a few years for the cardboard, pine shavings, and hay to break down and by then the soil beneath the bed should have recovered. Meanwhile, it won't get into any food planted there.

If we have any tree branches or chunks of wood off the trees laying around I will throw those in the bottom of the bed, too, as hugelkultur. We did that in most of the beds when we started them years ago. It was interesting to note when we emptied the one bed that the only thing left of that wood was bark from the biggest chunks. All the actual wood had rotted away and become part of the soil. It's a great way to dispose of wood when you trim your trees if you don't have a wood stove in the house as opposed to paying for green recycling at the dump or advertising free firewood. It is $12 per load to green recycle. This way I can compost it without tying up my compost pile for a few years.

Well, that is enough from me tonight.

More Gardening and Thinking About a Perm

May 21st, 2019 at 09:42 pm

I got the ends of the new garden bed painted turquoise this afternoon. I needed to wait and see how it dried as to see whether or not it would need another coat of paint. It doesn't, so I'm happy with that. It was very hot so it didn't take too long to dry at all. Now I just need DH to move them (they are heavy!) and put out the side boards for me so that I can prime them tomorrow and then paint them. It's not supposed to rain for the next two days, so getting this done before it does is big on my agenda.

I got another 24 square feet of onions weeded and ringed all the plants in that section. I have 48 square feet left to do. I will probably do half tomorrow while waiting for the paint to dry and then half the next day. One bed is about what my back wants to do in a day and I am not going to push it.

We planted 100 seeds of corn today and the butternut squash. I need to make one more hill so I can plant the sweetmeat squash. Both are very long keepers. I want to do some acorn squash also, which keep quite a while, but not as long as the other two. Sweetmeat is my favorite, but it is so large it is hard to get through one without processing a lot of it and freezing. It is bigger than a sugar pumpkin, but not quite as big as a medium sized pumpkin. Unfortunately you cannot can squash due to it having an inconsistent density or I'd can the heck out of it.

My back is doing so much better. I am still having issues with my left hip, but not as bad as before we rotated the mattress.

I am thinking about getting a perm in my hair. My hair is 3/4 loosely curly as it is, but the area from my ears forward and my bangs are straight. It is weird. I would like all of it to curl. I haven't had a perm since college and my hair was super long then and I got one of those spiral perms. I am not sure I would want to do that, especially with my hair being so much shorter now, but I want something smaller than a barrel curl.

I want something easier so I don't have to mess with it too much during the summer and can just take a spray bottle to it to tame it or put some curl cream in it, scrunch it, and go. What I don't want is to end up looking like a poodle like in 6th grade. Also, I don't want to have little old lady hair, either. So I need something in between those two things. I don't sleep well in curling things of any sort or I'd just do that. They get in the way of the C-pap, so not a good option for night time.

It's a tough decision. I dithered for months over getting my hair cut this short and then was so happy I did so afterwards. So maybe I should just bite the bullet and get it done. I have enough money in my allowance envelope to cover it, since there is next to nothing in personal care at the moment and won't be anymore going in until the 14th of June. I don't spend my money on much of anything so it would be a good thing to use it on.

Emergency Fund Update

May 21st, 2019 at 12:25 pm

I got my Google/AdSense payment today. After taking out 10% for tithing I transferred the rest to the EF.

$3569.33 Balance Forward
+__99.95 Deposit Added
$3699.28 New Balance

This leaves me with $300.72 to go to hit my next mini-goal and $36,300.72 to go to hit my ultimate goal.

Meal Planning for the Week

May 21st, 2019 at 12:18 am

Salmon, asparagus, mashed potatoes, berries

Chicken and broccoli, rice, berries

Tacos al carbon, tortilla chips, pico de gallo, berries

Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, grapes

French onion chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, grapes

Cheeseburgers, homemade French fries, grilled onions, salad, cole slaw, canned nectarines

Homemade pizza with pepperoni, sausage, red onions, bell peppers, fresh basil, cole slaw, pineapple

Odds and Ends

May 20th, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Well, I got some of the stuff done that I wanted to get done over the weekend, but nowhere near what I had hoped for. Mostly because MIL went into the ER for several hours and DH had to go be with her. But it turned out just to be an inner ear infection. She had never had one before, so didn't have a clue on the symptoms, and it was pretty severe and she had lost all sense of balance. This after they did an EKG and an MRI and ran a ton of tests. It can be pretty disconcerting the first time you have one of those infections. And then the next day DH wanted to go out and spend time with her.

I didn't have a ton of energy on Saturday anyway. On Sunday I did work in the garden for a couple of hours. I weeded 40 square feet of the onion beds and ringed those ones. I have 72 more square feet to do. I also planted basil (purple and sweet green) and broccoli and made up a hanging basket with nasturtiums.

I avoid planting nasturtiums in the ground or the beds at all costs and it will spread like crazy and take over. It is about as bad as morning glory for taking over, but it is not pernicious, in that when you pull it out it does not come back. Still, it crowds out other plants so confining it to a hanging basket where it can trail as much as it wants to without touching the ground and rooting is the way to go.

Mom roto-tilled the area for the corn and green beans and then this morning she planted the corn and made the hills for me to put the squash in. I haven't planted it yet, but I have the plants. Tomorrow she wants to plant the beans and I will work on painting the garden bed ends so we can get it moved off the table so I can start working on the sides. I want this bed built this coming weekend and I have 3 days of no rain to prime and paint in.

We rotated the mattress 90° last night as it was developing quite a dip on the side I sleep on and I thought it might be contributing to the pain in my hip. So now the head is the side, which is okay because it is a king size bed and it only takes a couple of inches off the end. It did make a big difference in how I felt when I woke up. I figure we'll have to rotate it again before this side breaks down, which is why I didn't just do 180° this time.

I need to sit down and make up my meal plan for the week. Usually I do that on Monday morning, but I slept in really late this morning and haven't got to it yet. I usually sleep in hard after working in the garden. It will only take me a few minutes, so I best hop to it.

Payday Report for 5/17/19

May 17th, 2019 at 12:42 pm

We had an additional $220 from MIL that we added into the budget for this two week pay cycle. It was reimbursement stuff so wasn't added into the tithe. But it does throw the numbers off a little bit, so I had to make a note of it on my budget spreadsheet. I always try to do that when this sort of thing comes up.

$327.36 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
1000.00 Citi (Autopays and a lot of crap we shouldn't have bought last month)
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
__50.00 Blow Money Adults
1000.00 Monster Mom Loan Payment
_120.00 Allowaces Kids
_125.75 License plate tabs for the van
3520.31 Total Money Out

Monster Mom Loan Payment

May 17th, 2019 at 12:34 pm

$19,700.00 Balance Forward
-_1,000.00 Payment Made
$18,700.00 New Balance

I should be able to make another payment of $200 on the 31st. It is good to see the balance dropping so substantially again. Next month should be somewhere around $1500. I want this last debt gone so badly.

Emergency Fund Update

May 17th, 2019 at 12:27 pm

$3541.33 Balance Forward
+__28.00 Amount Added
$3569.33 New Balance

The $28 is what was left in the grocery envelope and the household envelope, before I refill them today. I have $430.67 left to go to hit my mini-goal of $4000 and $2979.91 to go to hit my larger goal of one month's income saved, which would be $6549.24. I know people generally only save expenses and not income for their EF, but for us, we need to save income due to the fact that if there is a job loss again, we will have to pay an extraordinary amount for an insurance plan above the month's normal expenses because of our daughter. When we get to 3 month's income saved I will feel good again, but even better when we have 6 months in the bag. Although I'll probably just round it up to $40K in the long run.

Quiet on the Homestead

May 16th, 2019 at 01:01 am

I haven't been posting. I managed to pull a muscle in my back last Friday (didn't do anything, just happened) and am finally able to move around without being in agony. Today is the first day that sitting in the computer chair wasn't super painful. Hopefully that means I will sleep better tonight. I have been waking up a lot due to shifting and my back twinging. This was not a good week for my chiropractor to go on one of his many vacations.

I used my mom's jetted upright tub with the bench seat a couple of times and her massage chair. It is good to have someone with things like that in the family. MIL has one of those tubs, too.

I was able to manage to do the dishes today and I have been able to cook (but not clean) since Monday, so I think I am starting to get back to normal. I hope so. This Friday is payday and I need to do the grocery shop, although I might have to use the ride on cart.

We haven't spent anything on take out. DH cooked when I couldn't. I hate having him do that on weekdays after a full day at work, but weekends don't make me feel guilty. DH's meals were sandwiches, burgers, and fish and chips, so easy meals.

I am hoping to be able to go out to the garden tomorrow with DS. We need to start ringing the onions. I would have done it last weekend if I hadn't hurt my back. Hopefully DH and I can get the raised bed finished and painted over the weekend. But if I can't, I can't. Maybe DS will help him. Maybe even DD with the painting. I will just have to pace myself and be very careful.

I went online and got the grocery ads so I could start preparing for Friday's shop. There are some good steak prices at Fred Meyer and Safeway and FM has whole wild sockeye salmon on for $4.99/lb so I will get one whole salmon filleted.

I am starting meal prepping this week with help from the kids. Today DD and I made chicken glop for her. Appealing, isn't it? It is just chicken, rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We just plopped everything into my giant mixing bowl and stirred it up until she liked the consistency. Then we divided it up by putting two cups into freezer bags. This is something she can easily digest with her gastroparesis.

Tomorrow we will be making lamb glop, which will be rice, ground lamb, and gravy and we will divide it up, too. I know the name isn't attractive but it tastes good and I don't have the energy to write a big, long name on a Ziploc.

Then for DS and I we will be making up steaks and chicken thighs and cutting them into strips, measuring them out and dividing the into baggies for the freezer. He will get 9 oz and I will get 6 oz. Then we can easily pull out what we need the night before and make salads the next day or just warm up some veggies.

I will also be cutting up and putting 24 sausages into the Instant Pot, cooking them quickly, and measuring them out into containers and making some bell peppers and onions on the side. I have bags of cut up bell peppers and onions in the freezer still. I think I will also make some zucchini patties from the frozen shredded zucchini and then refreeze.

I just want to make our lunches simple and easy and not something we have to think about during the week.

Oh, and DD and I will also be making sushi rolls (with cooked meat) and freezing them. They will just be seaweed, rice, and either shrimp, salmon, or crab. Seaweed is one of the few vegetables she can still eat without getting ill. Then she can take one out as she needs it and cut it up. She needs to have simple foods that are easy to digest. I just need to pick up a new bamboo mat for rolling. I think they have them at Winco, but if not I'll go to the Asian grocery store. I just don't like to go there unless I have to because the aisles are not exactly ADA compliant.

Hopefully with the kids helping me, we can get the meal prepping done without it hurting my back too much, we can be eating better, and I can spend more time outdoors.

Payday Report for 5/3/19

May 4th, 2019 at 03:02 pm

$327.36 Tithe
_400.00 Utilities
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_280.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan
_108.91 Internet
__36.00 Garbage Fund
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances Kids
_200.00 Clothing Envelope
__81.00 Truck License Tabs
_395.00 Credit Card
3273.27 Total Money Out

Massive Grocery Shop Plus Some Food Rambling

May 4th, 2019 at 02:56 pm

I went and did the two week grocery shop, but I also stocked up on a lot of chicken. I went to four stores in one day and boy is my body telling me I overdid it today. Although it might also have to do with some weeding last night.

Safeway has boneless skinless thighs (and breasts) on sale for $2.99 a pound in my area. I was going to get some bone in skin on chicken elsewhere for 88 cents a pound, but they were all out of it and didn't have more in the back, which was annoying.

It is cheaper to do it myself, but my hands are bugging me and I didn't want to deal with pulling skins off and working the bone out while keeping the most meat possible intact. Since $2.99 is my buy price for boneless/skinless chicken thighs, I bought 8 of them. They were around 4 pounds each. So today we will haul out the Food Saver and divide them up into 8 piece packages and take most of them out to the deep freezer in the garage.

My first stop was Trader Joe's and I spent $96.51. I bought:

2 boxes maple pecan granola cereal
1 chive and onion cream cheese
4 frozen chicken fettuccine Alfredo
4 frozen mac and cheese dinners
2 bags flour tortillas
1 box fish nuggets
3 bags garlic naan bread
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 bag (of six) large hamburger buns (no soy!)
2 packs Co-Jack cheese sticks
1 4 lb bag organic gold potatoes
1 5 lb bag organic russet potatoes
4 boxes chocolate truffle bars (no soy!)
1 organic Caesar salad kit (they were out of plain romaine)
1 bag organic baby spinach

Our next stop was Fred Meyer were I spent $50.47. I bought:

2 Simply Strawberry lemonades (digital coupon)
2 Simply lemonades (digital coupon)
4 boxes organic fettuccine noodles (cheaper than normal ones on sale)
2 bags English muffins
2 bunches organic green onions
2 organic red onions
6 organic yellow onions
1 bunch organic bananas
4 containers Pringles (on sale 2 for $3)
4 organic lemons
2 organic limes
1 large container cubed watermelon

Then we hustled across the street to Whole Foods where I bought only 4 items, but the meat was expensive. I spent $41.37 and I bought:

1/2 pound of uncured pepperoni
1 pound of uncured sopresatta
1 box organic strawberries
4 strawberry mochi

After that we went to Safeway and spent $145.16 and bought:

4 boxes of organic spaghetti noodles
1 box of organic lasagna noodles
1 big bag of ice
1 1/2 gallon of milk
1 package organic white cheddar cheese slices
1 box of Vital Farms pastured eggs
1 10 count box of cupcakes
8 packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds of wild cod (on sale for $5/lb)
1 pound of Dietz and Watson deli roast beef
1 pound of Dietz and Waston deli homestyle roasted turkey

The total on groceries spent is $333.51. That leaves me with $66.49 in the grocery budget for next week if I need to pick up milk, tortillas, or more deli meat.

I should not have to buy any more noodles for a couple of months as the noodle cupboard is fully stocked. I also don't need to buy any spaghetti sauce for a few months as I finished stocking that up the previous pay period. We eat pasta once a week, because it is fast and easy in the Instant Pot. I have learned how to do penné, bow ties, rotini, spaghetti, and fettuccine all in the Instant Pot and have been pretty pleased with the results.

I like having a three month supply of everything in the house in case of emergency situations. Then of course my extended pantry for six months of food which got us through those 10 months of unemployment a while back. My ultimate goal is a year's supply, but that takes a lot of time to build.

I need to make up a big batch of meatballs again for the freezer and then it will be even easier to just pour and dump the whole thing. I have to get DS to shred the parmesan and romano for me, though. That is the hardest part for my hands. We like it at powder consistency, otherwise I'd use the food processor or salad shooter, but the little cheese mill is all we have for it.

I am thinking about getting an electric cheese mill, but it is around $100. We do eat a lot of powdered cheese, though, and the only way to get it without the anti-caking agents is to do it ourselves. So it might be worth it. I haven't spent the majority of my allowance in ages so there is quite a bit built up in the allowance envelope. Also we have $100 from MIL that we could use to buy it from our anniversary in March. We hadn't figured out what we wanted, though I was thinking about an electric flatbread press for making tortillas and pita bread easier. I need to watch more videos of people using them and see if they are really worth the price. Does anyone here use one?

Emergency Fund Update

May 4th, 2019 at 02:05 pm

I have decided to start saving whatever is left in the grocery envelope at the end of the two week period and depositing that into the Emergency Fund as I am a little concerned about what happens if we do have to pay that medical bill that I think crossed in the time period between out of pocket max being paid and submission. It's not much, but it it is a little bit and makes me feel like I am being proactive. I will also be dumping all of my change at the end of two weeks and rolling it for deposit. I try to use the change as I go, but I don't always if there is a long line behind me.

$3524.83 Balance Forward
+__16.50 Deposit Added
$3541.33 New Balance