Today I worked on turning the compost. I got the second bin turned into the third bin all the way down to the level that all that was left was composted soil. It is rich, black, and full of worms. Such beautiful homemade dirt. Yes, things like this make me so happy. I am a garden geek, what can I say?
Tomorrow I will work on filling our large containers with some compost at the twelve inch from the top mark and then putting more compost about 4 inches from the top. That gives seeds and starts a good starting place, but also gives them a boost when the roots get a foot down.
After all that soil gets moved out then I will turn bin one over into bin two, then we will replace the outer wall of bin one with a bigger pallet. The one we have on it is too small for the amount of animal bedding that goes into it. When that is replaced then bin three will be turned back over into bin one. Lots of work ahead of us, but I only do that when it is raining, because it is under the shelter of trees, so I can still work outside without getting wet.
I might also weed tomorrow as it is supposed to rain until 1:30, but then be clear and nice. The soil will be lose from the rain and more likely to give up the weeds. Then Friday is supposed to be clear all day. We need to get as much weeding done as possible before the weekend as it is supposed to rain Saturday through Monday. I don't mind working in a light rain, but the guys are whiners. I guess it is from growing up working in the berry fields in the summers, rain or shine. As long as I have a rain coat and a hat to protect my glasses from rain drops, and it isn't cold, I am fine working in the rain.
My kids are driving me crazy today. I've avoided my mother for my own mental health. I hate caffeine withdrawal. And I might be rapid cycling. I hope not. That usually happens before mania. I have been level for such a long time, 3 years I think, but I feel like I am on the doorstep of mania. I guess I'll get a lot done if I go over the edge. And I might even finish my book. But I won't sleep and that is always the hardest part of a manic episode for me.
Archive for April, 2020
Today I worked on turning the compost. I got the second bin turned into the third bin all the way down to the level that all that was left was composted soil. It is rich, black, and full of worms. Such beautiful homemade dirt. Yes, things like this make me so happy. I am a garden geek, what can I say?
One thing I am really lamenting is that I didn't go to the library on the last day before it was closed. I have run out of library books to read and you can't read Kindle in the bathtub. Well, you can, but I'd rather not risk it. Chris pulled out the few books he has in the house and one of them both interested me and had large enough print for me to read. I think a trip to storage is in order for the weekend. There are plenty of books there that I would be happy to reread and some I have never read. I'm sure some of it even has a large enough font for my poor eyes.
Yesterday I got the weed pile and the rose trimmings moved into the bed of the pickup truck. It's a full sized bed and the amount of weeds I put in it are slightly rounded above the top of the bed, except for the garbage can full of rose trimmings and the giant kale plant that was pulled out. Those are slightly higher. We will cover with a tarp and tie it down before taking it to the green part of the dump. It is their composting portion of the dump for all yard waste. It costs $6 a load to dump, which is a lot cheaper than the cheapest dump load which is a base $12 plus weight.
It was a lot of work and what I did was load the wheelbarrow, empty it, then sit down for five minutes. This is what I do to get over my stamina issues since the illness in February. It takes longer, but I got it done in two hours. I've got two mini brush piles I need to move this afternoon and then the load is ready to go for tomorrow.
The plan for today is to figure out where I am going to put the containers for the tomatoes and zucchini and then fill them up and hopefully to get the parsnips planted. I also want to transplant some of my big herbs into large containers and then find some small ones for the smaller herbs. We've got totes and garbage cans and buckets, so everything will have a home, I just have to get it all gathered up and figure it out. I think the giant rosemary plant will have to go up in the front yard. It is about two and a half feet tall and I am not sure it's roots will fit in a container other than a garbage can and those are reserved for the tomato plants.
I can't believe it is almost May. There is still so much to do and I am pretty much the only one working on the garden right now. Mom is driving me crazy right now. She seems like she is doing everything she can to slow down getting the attic finished for my nephews arrival. Last night, for instance, around 7 p.m. the guys were ready to vacuum the floor. But she didn't want them to vacuum the floor. She wanted to do it herself and refused to let them. But she didn't want to do it then, she wanted to do it in the morning.
If she had done it last night, they could have been mostly finished. It wasn't because it was late and she was tired. She stays up to 11 p.m. most nights, and she spent the entire day watching TV and not doing any work, same as the day before. We're not the one letting my nephew move in after all, yet they are the ones doing all the work to get the room cleaned out and ready and she keeps doing things like this to throw spanners into the works.
Meanwhile, I don't get the help I need in the garden because she insists on them working on the attic and complains if they go out to help me that they aren't working on the attic. This is just one example of the petty, stupid stuff she pulls. I will be so glad when we can afford to move out of here.
Another thing she did is back in February she insisted that the dishes need to be done on the longest cycle, which takes about 3 hours and uses 4 times as much water, because we were sick. But the quick wash gets everything clean and only takes an hour and uses far less water. She thinks the three hours sanitizes everything better. I think that's BS, especially coming from someone who does not wash her hands with soap after touching raw meat, just water. DS follows behind her cleans every surface she touches in the kitchen.
Now she's complaining that the water bill was $40 higher this month, but insists that the rise is do to my son taking long showers (he isn't and they aren't any longer than they've been) and not the fact that the dishwasher is using more water. That is the only thing that changed. Also, we pay all the utilities, so I don't know why she is whining about the water bill anyway.
I put a stop to this dishwasher thing, since my son or husband are usually the ones starting the dishwasher and told them to just do it on the short wash and ignore her. I am also keeping an eye on my son's shower times and making him get out after twenty minutes, at the latest 30 minutes if he's been working hard and using the shower to soak his sore muscles. The rest of us keep our showers pretty short, like 10 minutes or 15 if I am doing a double wash and condition of my long hair, and if my muscles hurt I will just take a bath. It really is just the dishwasher.
And she is just one of those people who isn't happy unless she is complaining about something. It gets worse than older she gets. I try to have compassion, but some days it is really hard. I stay nice and I stay polite and she apologizes often for being so bad, but I'd rather she just stop doing these thing than keep apologizing for it. It would be easier on all of us.
And then as we start watering the garden it will see a rise there, so hopefully I can keep it down with the dishwasher enough that it will still make a difference. We are still getting quite a bit of heavy rain so we may not have to water too much. I'd like to hook up rain barrels to the drainpipes again and use that water in the garden, but I'm not sure if I can find used ones and new ones are expensive.
Oh, I sold a rabbit buck on the weekend. Zane has gone to a new home to be a stud for some folks getting back into meat rabbits. Cyrus went a couple weeks ago. That leaves me with four rabbits, one breeding pair that are both broken blacks, a retired red doe who is more of a pet now, and another buck that is a broken red.
I may sell the breeding pair, and may just keep the broken red as a companion for the retired doe. Vincent is my favorite buck, he is super friendly, and while he and Ruby can't be in the same cage because she still might get pregnant even though she is old, they can be right next to each other. Well, with two inches between cages to prevent any accidents.
I don't know, though. It might be worthwhile to hang on to the breeding pair in case we can't get meat. I don't really want to do that again, but there may not be a choice. We have enough cages left to have three grow out cages, so it is doable. But I think I'd rather get meat chicks if we are going to go the route of raising meat animals again.
It is always easier to get chicken feed than rabbit feed as the stores keep it in stock consistently. And Cornish cross only take 8 weeks to grow out whereas kits take 12 to 14 to get them to a large enough dress out size that 1 animal feeds us 1 meal. And on the practical side is much harder to kill a cute rabbit than an oblivious chicken, even if it is easier to dress out a rabbit.
Mom has been making noises about having laying hens again, too, but she can't take care of them so it would fall on us. I don't want to get up that early in the morning or always have to be around at sundown to put them in, so I don't think that will happen. I can handle it for 8 weeks for meat birds, but not full time and not in the cold season. And hens are noisy. They cackle when they lay eggs and sometimes when they don't. You can hear them from a couple houses away. I don't want people knowing we have them if things get rough out there.
Chicks aren't too loud once they are old enough to go outside and these would all be boys who don't start to crow until they are much older than they'd be butchered at. I just don't know if I want that responsibility, though. The garden can be done at any time of day, weather permitting. Chickens have a time table. Rabbits always have food and water before them so don't require a specific time to check their feeders and waters only need to be filled once during a 24 hour time period. And they are quiet.
We'll see. I am hoping it doesn't get as bad as all that but with another meat plant closing, it could get bad fast. I think this is the eighth one.
I have done so much work in the garden the past three days I am practically falling down exhausted at bed time. But I've got my peas, carrots, and radishes planted, a lot of weeding done, and tackled the overgrown climbing rose bushes today. That was a major chore and I got my fair share of thorns poked into me, but it looks so much better and the blooms this year should be outstanding. That took me three hours to do.
Tomorrow I want to work on the potato planting area and get the big weeds out. The soil is pretty loose there, but there are some things that will require digging out with a shovel, like Russian thistles and pernicious creeping buttercup. But then I can easily shake all the soil back out so we can keep that. I think I can get that done in an hour or two, even though it is a big area. It's just not horrifically overgrown like some areas.
The pesky squirrel and her babies are still under the turkey coop roof so that is still on hold to be torn down. I just want them to move out already. That coop in on prime ground.
After the potato area is done I want to start loading the truck with the weeds and branches and rose clippings so they are out of the way and off the ground where I need to pull yet more weeds. I'll probably be wiped out by then but if I can I'd like to start work on the corn and beans area. We are reversing them this year from last year so we aren't planting them in the same place. Then next year we can rotate them with the new potato bed, too. I will be glad when the guys are done with the attic so I can get help in the garden again. Nephew moves in on the first.
Of course all that is contingent on it not raining. If it is raining I will be canning beef chuck roast instead from the $3.49/lb sale.
Also mid-day tomorrow I have to take DD to the rheumatologist. I am really wishing DD had gone with a telemedicine appointment, but she had the option of going in. I don't know if they will let me go in with her, but the rate at which she's been having panic attacks means it would be a bad idea for her to go alone.
I am going to try to kick my real sugar Pepsi habit again. In February I started drinking it after a couple years of not and it is making me feel cruddy, after the initial lift from the sugar and caffeine. But I got addicted, so it is pretty hard to quit. I know I will feel a lot better if I do, though.
Okay, off to bed with me now.
My Google/AdSense payment was deposited into my account yesterday. I wasn't actually expecting one until next month, but I must have done better on YouTube during March than I thought I had. I know my two virals were getting hit a lot because there were tons of new comments. Wasn't expecting such old videos to get so much interest. They are the ones on making homemade sausage seasoning and making and canning homemade mustard. I have a very small channel, but I still manage to make about $500 a year with it and that's with putting very little effort into it.
$7806.29 Balance Forward
+_123.92 Deposit Added
$7930.21 New Balance
$2069.79 to go to hit my next mini-goal.
I'm pretty wiped out today from working in the garden yesterday, but I am still hoping to get at least an hour in later today when the sun moves behind a tree. Yesterday I got the rest of the dirt out of the one long raised bed and then got the rotten wood all torn down. Then I started working on weeding the next bed. I got one 8 foot by 3 foot section finished and then about 2 more feet by 2 feet additional done.
I moved 2 wheelbarrow loads of soil as well. Today DS will help with moving soil while I continue to weed. He puts the dirt into the wheelbarrow and then I help him unload it. That is easier for me to do since the wheelbarrow is at a good height for me and the soil is all loose at that point. At least we will do that if I can get my body moving. Some days are much harder than others. It might not get done until tomorrow. I have to pace myself within my body's limitations.
If I don't do it today, I am going to sit down and make myself do a one hour writing sprint. I just need to get over the hump on something and then I can move along on the book again. I tell myself I have to be a productive human being for at least one hour a day, so I don't fall into a slump of just watching YouTube or Netflix all day, every day. That is not good for the mental health.
I sat down and have made up two budgets. One I am calling an emergency budget and one I am calling an extreme no income budget. The emergency budget is for if DH has to go down to 32 hours a week again. The extreme budget is for if he gets laid off. It was looking like we were going to weather this okay, but what with the oil companies getting slammed this week, I don't know. He works as a lead engineer for a construction company that does work for refineries. So this could trickle down to hurt his company.
Anyway, I figured out that with an extreme budget we can get by on $1683.18 a month excluding medical. That's cutting out everything that isn't a bill and cutting the grocery budget in half. Without an income there is no tithe, either, which also cuts things down a fair amount. If DH gets laid off they will continue to pay their portion of medical for two months. I am not sure how much our portion is, but I think it is around $450 a month, so I would have to add that in. After that it would be the full amount for the COBRA. DH would qualify for unemployment so that would basically go to pay medical and if anything was left, to the Emergency Fund, for future months.
With what is in the EF now, that will last four and a half months. We will be harvesting from the garden by then, too. Of course we are going to continue to add as much to the EF as we can between now and any possible future layoff. I feel better having some kind of a plan in place. It is scary to think about, but it is scarier not to think about it at this point. Better to know what we might be getting into.
I hate living with uncertainty. I always have. I just pray his job continues, even if it is at reduced hours. The medical insurance is the big thing. It is what absolutely leveled us last time. When you have people on life-saving drugs, it is sometimes the only thing.
The garden is starting to really come along with the clean up and getting dirt moved. I am ready to plant one bed now and have transplanted the strawberries. There is a lot of work ahead, but I am determined to have a big garden this year. With the food supply chain being disrupted, I want to have as stable a source of fresh vegetables and fruits as possible.
I have my first garden video up of for this season if anyone wants to see it. It's only six or seven minutes long. It has a new intro, new music, and a new outro. I'd be curious what you think of those things in particular. I always go with a country theme for my garden videos.
I will be planting snow peas this afternoon and possibly carrots, radishes, and parsnips, too. Carrots and parsnips are something that can be canned, so I'd like to do at least 2 plantings of those, one after the other. They are 60 day crops and do well in both cool and warm weather so I should be able to take a crop into the fall/winter season, since you can overwinter both in the ground, too and go out and pull as you need them.
I planted my Aerogarden 2 weeks ago with lettuce and it is doing amazing. It grew much faster than ever before. I guess it knows we need it to. Or maybe it just likes the environment of the closet where the temperature is always stable.
So anyway, we should have edible lettuce in four weeks and if I plant the radishes today, about the same on that. Can't wait to start eating homegrown salads again.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
__75.00 Household Envelope
__66.55 DH Life Insurance
__60.46 Me Life Insurance
1000.00 Emergency Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Fund
_100.00 Computer Fund
2637.23 Total Money Out
While I am still putting money into the Car Maintenance Fund and the Computer Fund those will be available to be raided for additional Emergency Fund dollars if it comes down to that. I have no intention of buying a new laptop unless this thing gives up the ghost, but I would like to continue saving with it in mind and of course all bets are off if this lock down gets worse and it affects DH's job more than the cut hours. Looks like that was only for one week at this point and that was on today's paycheck. But it is possible that could happen again down the road.
$6806.29 Balance Forward
+1000.00 Emergency Fund
$7806.29 New Balance
This is the money that would have gone to an extra loan payment on the Monster Mom Loan (the loan is a monster, not my mother!). So that gets it to the $7500 mini-goal. Next mini-goal is $10K. I have $2193.71 left to go to hit that goal.
I moved our stimulus payment to the Emergency Fund and also one of the accounts finally posted interest so I am adding that as well.
$4405.64 Balance Forward
+2400.65 Amount Added
$6806.29 New Balance
I am now over the one month of income mark in the EF by $257.05. To reach my mid-term goal of two month's income, I need to save an additional $6292.19. My short term goal is $7500 and I have to save $693.71 to reach that. The next short term goal will be $10K.
Of course, those are all goals, which we can only maintain if DH continues to work. So far he seems pretty safe, but that doesn't mean it will remain so. We are saving as much as we can starting with Friday's paycheck. If DH ends up getting furloughed at some point his employer will continue to pay their portion of medical for two months. But he is pretty vital to keep the company going, so as long as the company doesn't fail I think we will be okay. It really depends on how long this quarantine business lasts.
DH only had to work one week at 32 hours. They are allowing 40 hours this week. So this paycheck will have the hit on it, but that is okay. I've planned for that loss of income.
Today was the first day I've been outside since April 3rd. I didn't even realize it has been that long since I only sat down to figure it out. It was too cold to work on the garden this week and I am still weak, even this many weeks after "recovering" from the flu or Covid or whatever it was I had back in early February. The more I read, the more I honestly think it was Covid.
Anyway, DH and I went to the grocery store. It was nice to get out and do a little walking around. We wore masks and gloves. There are a lot more people wearing gloves now and way more people wearing masks. There were people without masks, but now they look like the weirdos, not us. While everyone was keeping their distance, I noticed how much bigger a distance it was from the unmasked. It was nice to have a conversation with someone not in my family even if it was minimal with the checker.
They had toilet paper and bleach (the real kind, not the splashless), so I bought one 9 pack of Angel Soft, 1 of those little square boxes of Puffs tissue, and 2 bottles of bleach. Now I can get some serious cleaning done. It's been weeks since I was able to find real bleach and while vinegar does a decent job, I feel better using bleach.
We stocked up on fresh produce, a big ham that we will cut into thirds (two for the freezer) and then slice up for sandwiches, and bread products. I also got a couple fill in ingredients for some recipes that will help with using up some things in the fridge.
I think we should be able to stay away from the store for another 2 weeks now.
I know I already posted today, but I am having thoughts. They keep making a big deal about people not being able to make rent next month. And what I am wondering is if there is going to be any kind of financial changes in people's lives on the other side of this. There are so many people who have been irresponsible with money for their entire lives. They have lived with debt because there was always money coming in to pay it and now they are experiencing what life is like without that.
Do you think this will change spending habits when jobs and incomes come back? Do you think people will fight to get out of debt and save up enough money in an emergency fund to get through a couple months if something like this happens again? Or do you think they will put their heads back in the sand and go back to how life was before. How many people will learn from this and will it alter the financial rules of society away from being credit based?
I read an article today or yesterday about some small grocers and restaurants that are still open for take out going cash only because their margins are so thin now they can't afford to pay the credit card fees. I wonder if that will ripple out to larger stores and restaurants or if they will continue to be able to handle it. Or if they will pass it on to the consumer?
I don't know, money is so dirty and changes so many hands, and may or may not carry the virus, so maybe we'll see an end to cash and only have debit and credit cards in the future. I guess it could go either way. But if they do eliminate money they should eliminate all debit card fees. Not that society ever does what it should do.
I keep reading about people going out and partying or insisting they are going to hold Easter services and people letting their kids run all over their neighborhoods with all the other kids and I wonder, in my more cynical of moments, if we will have enough people left to run the world after all the dumb ones die off.
I wonder if the big cities will see a mass exodus as people continue to work from home? They have been the most dangerous place to be during this outbreak. I wonder how many people will plow up their lawns and plant a garden for the first time this year? I wonder how many will stick to it if things appear to be getting better?
It's strange to not be having cars going by on our street all the time. It is a secondary route to the hospital and also is the only outlet street for the elementary school so it could be pretty busy at certain hours and now it is just dead all the time. It's been nice, since a lot of those drivers would blare their music. I can't remember that last time I've heard the bass so pumped up it was loud enough to hear in the house. That part has been a happy change.
The other thing is the medivac helicopter has not been buzzing the house lately. I guess there are far less traumas because people aren't driving and getting into accidents. Or the hospital is too full. We have 222 cases in my county and have had 12 deaths.
They were going up the street yesterday and today replacing gas lines because there were several leaks. They had to take out the long flowerbed that runs along the driveway because the line is under it. We've been wanting to take that out for a while and now we don't have to. We are going to plant it in grass. We can't plant a crop there in case they have to dig it up again.
Okay, guess my second brain dump of the day is over.
DH was just told that they will only be working 32 hours a week for the next two weeks. Its because they are waiting on another section of the project to be finished before they can proceed forward with theirs. They also have decided to stop matching in the 401K, but hope to be able to catch that up at the end of the year if things are better. The 32 hours will not affect qualifications for medical benefits.
I did an emergency budget template up, but don't have the exact numbers. DH will run them for me tonight after he is done with work and I can tweak it, but I think we can manage it. I will stop contributions to the Clothing Fund, the Christmas/Gift Fund, the Laptop Fund, and the Car Maintenance Fund. We will cut out the allowances for the kids and the spending money for us. I think that will do it, but if necessary we can cut out the grocery budget for that two week period entirely. We have enough food although we'll be relying strictly on canned fruit and frozen or canned veggies during that time period.
It will break down at least to having a paycheck with 40 hours for the first week and 32 hours for the second and then for the second paycheck 32 hours for the first week and 40 hours for the second. Which is better than two weeks at 32 on a paycheck.
That is assuming things go back up again like they say they will, but I am prepared to stay at 32 and will keep that belt tight.
School has been closed until September. They are graduating the seniors who were doing well enough to pass when the schools closed down and those that weren't will have to repeat. They are housing the homeless people in the high school right now. Apparently they are not behaving well. They are smoking in the gym and have smuggled in drugs and alcohol. I have a feeling the school may be destroyed due to this.
They say it is because they can't have homeless people on the streets right now. I think their hearts are in the right place, but their heads are up their butts. Because when they are outside they are automatically social distancing, but when they are all housed together in one big area they no longer are and they have already been caught sharing needles. I think we will see an outbreak from gathering them up like this.
I am all for helping the homeless. We donate our tithe money (10% of our income) to the Mission, which is a Christian homeless shelter since we don't go to a physical church. But I question whether or not this is going to actually to help them at all. Housing them in a hotel where the had individual rooms would have been far better. The hotels are empty. But the city didn't want to have to pay for that. I have a feeling they will be paying in other ways for a long time to come.
I was thinking about making a $100 donation to the food bank until I heard about DH's hours being cut. Maybe after things go back to 40 hours a week.
I've been getting so bored with my food. It's mostly because I don't feel like putting the effort in. We've been eating a rotation of about 4 different meals and I really need to snap out of this and get some variety back into our diets. I have the food, just not the usual inventiveness or energy to look through all my recipes. I'm wondering if this is just a sort of quarantine depression? I mean it's not full blown, but it is slightly worse than seasonal. I usually delight in cooking.
But maybe it is also that I am so tired of the limitations on my daughter's food. I don't want to be making two different meals so I've kind of been avoiding that type of food that she can't or won't eat. Tonight for dinner we had pancakes and ham, but her pancakes had to be gluten free, so while it wasn't making two different meals, we did have to make the gluten free ones first so we could use the griddle without a wash in between.
I think I will just have to buck up and do it or make her a bunch of freezer meals and us some of the foods she can't eat, like fajitas and tacos and jerk chicken.
I really shouldn't be complaining right now because we have food and we have an income and it's not like in the old days when women had to cook 3 meals a day. I do have some help from my son and sometimes my husband and I only need to make dinner, not lunches or breakfasts. I miss takeout and I miss the store's deli department more than I should. We are all losing weight though without those things.
DS had a telemedicine appointment today about a new medication. I sat in on it with him at his request. It was so nice to see a new face! He is the doctor for the whole family and he asked after all of our health at the end of the appointment and whether we were taking our vitamins A, C, D, and E, which we are. He also asked me about how often I was using the nebulizer even though it wasn't my appointment.
Tomorrow I am going to try to get out in the garden, weather permitting. I haven't been outside since Thursday and that is probably contributing to my closed in feelings.
I am debating on whether or not to cancel our rescheduled vacation that is mid-May. We are trying to cancel our gym membership, but their voicemail is full and so far no response to email. They charged us for April even though they won't be open at all during April. I know it is an autopay, but they should have stopped those when they know darn well they won't be open the whole month. We are not on a contract. I might end up disputing it if we can't get through to them.
$4000.00 Balance Forward
-1000.00 Payment Made
$3000.00 New Balance
This will be all we will be paying on the loan this month. No extra even though DH is still working. We will be saving the extra we would have paid in two weeks to go into the EF. Even if life goes back to normal in May, we could be shut down again in October. The extra will be a cushion. Either way, as long as DH is working, this debt will be paid off by the end of June since May is a 3 paycheck month. It would have been paid off in May otherwise, but that's only the difference of a couple of months.