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Archive for August, 2020

Produce, Produce, Produce

September 1st, 2020 at 12:00 am

It always seems to take forever to get here in the garden season, but finally at the end of August everything explodes into production. I picked more green beans today and it is around the same amount I got last time, so I think I will have another 12 quarts at least. Something has been eating the middle portion of the vines. I am thinking a deer got in, so we are going to have to do some additional deer fencing. Darn dear.

I picked half a 6 quart bowl full of tomatoes and got 2 more zucchini. I gave half a dozen cucumbers to the neighbor lady. I will work on snapping them tonight and will can them tomorrow.

I did pull out a lot of weeds from the base of the beans. I am just glad I felt good enough to do it. I still have some things to harvest tomorrow. It looks like the first broccoli is ready, maybe two. The last of the carrots need to be pulled. And the potatoes still need to be got to and the herbs need to be attended to. At least everything got watered really well last night. One of the tomato plants needs more today, though. It really is suffering. I might want to pick up a bag of compost for it, too.

It will be nice having the veggie portion of our grocery bill go down for the next month.

This and That

August 29th, 2020 at 11:29 pm

I spent 4 hours yesterday snapping beans. DS helped me during the last hour. All of that resulted in 12 quarts of green beans, bringing the total I have canned so far to 19 quarts. I need to go out and pick some more today, but likely won't snap and can them until tomorrow. My hands need a break. I need to pick tomatoes today, too, and maybe see about getting some of the herbs in and drying. The carrots might be ready to pull and I need to do a test dig on the potatoes that were planted the earliest.

All I really want to do today is veg out in front of Hulu watching ER. I forgot to take my blood pressure medicine yesterday until bedtime, not the ideal time to take it, but I took it then. I feel very hungover, but at least the fluid is leaving my body. I swelled up pretty bad. I thought it was just from all the repetitive motion of snapping the beans, but no. I think I need to start setting reminders, because I forget to take it at least once a week.

My weight loss continues. I am down 11.8 pounds and have 1.9 pounds to go to finish my dietbet. I have 11 days to go. I think I will crush this if I don't do anything stupid with food between now and then. I don't think DH will win his. He is only at 48% of goal, but at least he is losing something. Other than quitting pop, I'm not sure what he is doing. I don't think he is exercising at all. I mean, I'm not, either, other than gardening, but I am controlling my diet.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She is 81. It was pretty low-key as she wasn't up for anything. She did get calls from some of her grandkids, an email from one of them, and of course my kids saw her in person. She forgot it was her birthday for most of the day anyway. My eldest sister came over. I don't know if my middle sister called her or not. I didn't ask. She usually sends a card, but she's in the process of moving so I don't know if she remembered to this year or not.

I'm debating on what to make for dinner tonight. Maybe we'll barbecue some burgers and sweet onions, patty pan squash, corn on the cob and have some fresh cucumbers. That is a pretty easy dinner. If DH is too tired to drag out the BBQ than we will just do it on the griddle inside. I really am in the mood for burgers, just not takeout burgers. I'm avoiding wheat, so gluten free buns or no buns is the deal.

So far we only ate out once this week. My goal for next week is to not eat out at all. But once was sure better than four times. I am really tired of wasting money on restaurant food. I just need to have the energy to make it happen at home. DS said he'd step up to the plate more, so hopefully he actually will.

I need to try to make it to the grocery store tomorrow. Chicken and chuck roast are on sale and even with limits, they take the same amount of time to can, so between the two I can get enough meat for a canner load. DH will cut up the roasts and I will do the chicken. We'll get it done.

Bits and Pieces

August 28th, 2020 at 01:38 am

As of today, I have lost 10 pounds on my diet bet. I have 13 days until weigh in and need to lose 3.7 more pounds. I think I am going to make it. I can see a big difference already and my knees certainly feel better.

We picked green beans, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. I filled two plastic grocery sacks with green beans, 1 with cucumbers, got 10 tomatoes and two patty pans. I also harvested my first jalapeno, so I will be making pico de gallo this week. I will be spending a couple of hours snapping beans tonight so that I can can them tomorrow. I may have enough to do two canner loads.

It looks like DS is going to need a new mattress. That'll be around $900 I wasn't expecting to spend. We won't be buying bamboo mattresses again. It made it 3 years when it should have been five. DS has a huge wallow in the middle of it. We are looking into a Purple mattress.

We have just about got everything arranged so we can purchase a handicapped ramp for the back porch. It will make life so much easier for my knees and hips to not have to deal with stairs, and also for DD who has mobility issues due to hip dysplasia.

My poor mother got into an unexpected wasp's nest today. She got stung twice in the back of the head, once on the ear, once on the tip of the nose, and twice on the wrist. We gave her benadryl and got the one stinger out that was in. She used to do bee venom therapy on purpose, so she's pretty well immune to any allergic reactions, but we are watching her just in case.

We found out yesterday that one of her arteries, I believe it was one in her neck, is 95 percent calcified. But the ones around her heart are fine. Now that she's had the test we are waiting for her doctor's appointment to see what is to be done about it. She's probably going to have to have a procedure and change her diet. Good luck with that. At 80 I don't see her changing her diet.

Next Retirement Milestone Met and New One Set

August 27th, 2020 at 12:52 am

Our retirement accounts have done very well in the last 3 weeks. They have gained $1,389.11, only $440 of which were contributions. We have hit our next milestone of $35K. Actually, it is almost $36K. Our next milestone is $50K.

It is so nice to see the IRA well above where it was in February. I hope this means that the economy is starting to recover from Covid. It seems to be in my area as more places are open now. I am sure there are places where things are still quite bad, though. I am very thankful we do not live in a big city.

Anyway, here are the numbers:

$25,481.16 401K
+10.452.43 IRA
$35,933.48 Total Retirement Amount

Busy Getting Ready

August 26th, 2020 at 01:16 am

The last few days have been exhausting, but I have muddled through like I always do. I have started canning my green beans from the garden. I have to pick again and get another load or two going tomorrow. My tomatoes are starting to turn red and I will freeze them as they ripen until I have enough to can. Freezing them means that when I thaw them the skins will pop right off, saving me the step of blanching. I have more cucumbers than I know what do with. There are only so many pickles you can eat during the year.

I went to the dentist yesterday and got the chipped tooth repaired. It looks really good, they matched the color of my tooth enamel exactly, and I don't have to worry about further damage happening anymore. I had been due to have it fixed before Covid happened, so was grateful to actually get it done. It has been on the to do list for quite some time.

I still haven't gotten a hair cut. Each time I go to make the appointment I just hesitate. I know it is silly, but I am still worried about doing it. My mom has had hers cut twice since the salon's reopened. We are doing so well here. But something in my gut is still worried. And summer will be over soon and the warmth of long thick hair will be wanted.

I have got my toilet paper and tissue stores back up to the levels that make me feel comfortable again. I need to work on getting butter again and I'd like to get more gluten free flour ingredients in buckets. We still have plenty of rice and beans. I do need to get a ton of meat canned, so hopefully I can get that accomplished here soon.

I ordered some replacement rubber gaskets for my narrow mouth reusable canning lids. I just cannot find where I put them. Fortunately the wide mouth are stored together with the lids. I do have quite a few metal lids, too, as I was making it a habit to buy about 4 boxes every payday through the year. Between the two types I will have enough, I hope, to get through canning season. I am still finding metal ones, but at places like grocery stores, and only narrow mouth.

I really need to take an inventory of my long term food storage now. I've done all the freezers, but everything that is canned or in #10 cans needs to be written down. I need to know easily where we stand on all food supplies. I want to be ready before mid-fall for whatever is going to be thrown at us with the coming flu/Covid season.

I have got my medicine stores up to a comfortable level, but will continue to buy a box of each item each payday for a while yet. Better safe than sorry.

DH and I have decided not to do a late summer getaway. My nephew has gone off on some long-term house-sitting gig and I don't want to leave my mother with just the kids. I can't rely on anyone else in the family to help, so it is better not to go right now. The way I have been feeling I don't really want to go away, either. I am just so exhausted all the time.

The weight loss is going well. I have to lose 5.5 more pounds to win my dietbet and I have two weeks and 2 days left to do it in. I think I will make it. I feel a lot better already having lost what I have.

Not much else going on, but thought I should check in.

Payday Report 8/21/20

August 21st, 2020 at 09:56 pm

$318.47 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
__75.00 Household Envelope
1814.44 Citi
_280.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
__71.99 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Adult Spending Mone
__50.00 Car Maintenance Fund
_120.00 Allowances Kids
3290.36 Total Money Out

Freezer Fund Update

August 21st, 2020 at 09:51 pm

I didn't have near as much money leftover in the grocery envelope this time, just $39.00, but I still shuffled that over to the Freezer Fund Envelope.

$345.00 Balance Forward
+_39.00 Leftover Grocery Money
$384.00 New Balance

Garden Produce is Coming out my Ears

August 19th, 2020 at 02:14 am

It's been a rough week because I twisted something in my knee, the knee formerly known as the good knee, and it swelled up with a ton of fluid which made it hard to walk. I've been icing it and finally took some water pills to help with the excess fluid and the pain has eased up a little. I hope I didn't tear anything. If it is still bugging me next week I will go to the doctor. My doctor isn't in this week. It's finally easier to walk today and I was able to get out to the garden.

The weeds are ridiculous, but I was able to get some of them pulled and I got my first green bean harvest. It filled up a dishwashing basin that is 3 gallons. I think that is enough for a canner load and there is enough out there for another one in probably two days, maybe one.

I've also harvested 60 odd cucumbers so I need to get to pickling. I picked up some dill and garlic so I can do that tonight. I think I will get at least one canner load of pickles and do some refrigerator pickles as well. I'll can the green beans tomorrow. If I have the energy, though, I will snap them tonight. That will make tomorrow go much easier.

These cucumbers are amazing. They are so sweet they taste almost like melon. Which makes sense since botanically they are pretty closely related. It is nice to be noshing down on a cucumber every day. I love this time of year.

I also have some red tomatoes. Just two, but one is not far behind it. I can wait to pick them and eat them. I'll probably make a nice pico de gallo with them. I like that better than salsa. I just need to pick up some cilantro since mine has flowered and will soon go to seed.

The strawberries look like they need another picking and I've got to harvest herbs and tea flowers and dry them. I can't believe how much the garden exploded in just a week.

It looks like the potatoes I planted first are starting to die back. Maybe in another week or two I will be able to start digging up potatoes. I hope we get a lot out of it. I plan on canning most of them since I don't know if any of them are keeping potatoes. I waited too long to get seed potatoes and had to buy and sprout organic ones from Trader Joe's. I have no way of knowing if they are determinate or indeterminate, either. Next year I will be better prepared. I hope.

I am thinking about getting an electric weed eater, the kind that plugs in. We have battery operated ones, but the battery pack makes it too heavy for me to operate with my arthritis. This is also my problem with gas powered ones. Plus those ones are too long for me. I want to get a shorter one with a cord. I always hated dealing with a cord when we had one in the past, but it was so lightweight and it was short so fit my arm length better. That one is long gone, but they don't cost too much and since my husband and son don't get around to it when I need it done, it might be the best option. I have enough in my allowance envelope, even after buying a new laptop. I had been saving for almost a year.

Oh, yeah, I got a new computer! It was $600 plus tax. It has a DVD player in it, which is pretty hard to find anymore. It is not touch screen, which takes some getting used to, but I really like it. My old one is still going, but the DVD player has been broken for almost two years and the speakers don't work well, so I had to use regular speakers.

I figure I will continue to use that one for writing and for video editing because it has the software and I will use this one for everything else, which is basically watching videos and movies, and doing research. I couldn't justify a big expensive computer like my last one was if that was all I was going to use it for even if I had enough money to buy one.

We are still eating out too much. It is hard to cook when I am in pain. I need to try to push through and do it, but I just have no motivation.

New Diet Goals, Motivations, and End of Life Planning

August 11th, 2020 at 11:26 pm

DH and I decided to sign up for a dietbet. We've gotten so far off track and I am now at a higher weight than I have ever been in my life. I don't know if he is or not, but it looks like he is. I am ruining my knees at this weight and am in constant pain. So the dietbet we joined was $35, so that is $70 out. It starts on the 13th and is a 4 week kickstarter. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight in that amount of time. So that is my goal. I know sometimes people on here do one, so if you want to join the same one as me the invite is here:

Now that my focus does not have to be on paying down debt anymore, I do think this is an area where I need to target my focus. I need to get my motivation going again and I think that if I start being successful at weight loss again I will also want to work towards being more successful at working towards saving goals.

Right now I need something strong to focus on. Mom isn't doing too well healthwise right now. It's to do with her arteries and her heart. She does not want me to tell my sisters. She had a talk with us last night about what we want to be passed on to us. My answer is simple, keep living 20 more years. Then after that the knives and the canning equipment, and some of the paintings I gave her. She has already given me the Christmas ornaments (most of which I gave her over the years) and told me to take them to storage so my middle sister doesn't try to steal them. She already said she wanted them and my mom said no, they were mine since I gave them to her, but that sister can be persistent. She has long since given me Grandma's bowls and china.

Mom is going to get her will done up. She's kind of annoyed with my sisters, though. She is insisting on there being no funeral and the cremation is already set up and paid for. Her figuring on the funeral is that no one came and saw her while she was alive, they don't need to see her when she is dead. My figuring is that I have been here while she is alive, so if those are her wishes, so be it. I know my sisters might be mad at me, but if they wanted input they could have been here helping all along. And if they want a funeral than they can put it together and pay for it. Mom wants me to dispose of her ashes.

I think we need to revisit what is going to go on with the house, though. I need to make sure we can continue to live here as long as we want after she dies. She has always said we could and that my sisters won't be allowed to force a sale, but I need to make sure that gets in the will. Although the way my sisters have been acting all these years, I'll be surprised if they even end up in the will at all. It is sad when they only see her when they want something from her. It is also frustrating because they never come give me a break despite knowing I have these autoimmune diseases.

Yesterday was DD's 24th birthday. We made a gluten free chocolate cake. It was from Bob's Red Mill and it was very good. It tasted just like regular cake, maybe better. It doesn't rise as high, but it is not dense at all. I made homemade vanilla buttercream icing. It was way past the level of bakery icing in my opinion. The trick is to whip the heck out of it at every level.

We also did a barbecue with steelhead trout, corn on the cob, and zucchini and ate dinner outside. It was good birthday dinner for her and she picked everything that she wanted.

I need to get on top of the garden again. I need to go harvest a bunch of cucumbers and berries. It has finally cooled off enough, but it has been hard since my knees are both swollen and DS has been sick. He's feeling better today, though.

Leftover Grocery Money Finds a Home

August 7th, 2020 at 09:06 pm

So I had $156.00 left in the my grocery envelope and today is the day to refund it, so I took that $156.00 and added it to what I had saved last payday the same way. I am hoping that I can continue to squeeze out money this way. I'd like to have $1000 for this. I want to get a 17.3 cubic foot upright freezer. While I may find one on sale for $700 or $800, I'd rather have the larger number setting there. Anything leftover can be put towards saving for bulk meat purchases.

$189.00 Balance Forward
+156.00 Leftover Grocery Money
$345.00 New Balance

Quiet Week and No Motivation

August 6th, 2020 at 12:01 am

There really is not that much going on this week financially. I am pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for payday, which is Friday, to come. Then the bills get paid, the funds get funded, the groceries get bought, and I settle down to wait for the next payday. Lather, rinse, repeat. I guess that is life for all of us these days. I really just want to go do something and there is nothing we can go do because none of the fun stuff is open. I miss our former world so much these days.

Heck, I'd be happy with the library being all the way open so I can go browse books. Using the online catalog is not the same. In real life browsing, you discover some of the best books by accident. You really can't do that on their system. And I can't use the library recommendation page, because all the books there are political and suck. It is weird because the book store is open to the public, but not the library. How is it different? Maybe volume.

Since becoming debt free on June 12th I seem to have lost my motivation. I know we need to be saving for things, but the more life unravels, the more I think we may never move away from here while Mom is alive. She can't be left alone anymore. I mean, she can for a few hours, but someone needs to be here on a daily basis. I don't know if we should be worrying about saving for a house. Maybe instead we should just be socking it to retirement and the EF. It's a tough decision, but we will always have this house to live in, even after Mom dies. We will only own 1/3 of it, but the will stipulates we don't have to move out until we want to, but make interest free payments to my sisters on their portions until it is paid or we sell the house and they get their remainders.

We did some looking at freezers and while we can order them, they won't be available until November or December. I don't figure we will have the money by then and when we do have the money, it will be several months further out at that point. So definitely no buying a beef this year.

Knowing we can't buy another freezer as soon as we have the money is going to change how I store food, though. We will can a lot more chicken and beef so I don't have to worry so much about the space I do have and may be able to get a lamb and a half a hog. And of course as much fish and shellfish as we can catch and freeze.

Sorry, I'm rambling all over the place. I have no focus. I really need to decide what I am going to do, so I can retarget my goals and find the oomph to follow them.

July Interest to EF

August 5th, 2020 at 11:03 pm

$7864.62 Beginning Balance
+___2.62 C1-360
+___1.28 CU#1
+___0.03 CU#2
$7868.55 New Balance

Retirement Update

August 5th, 2020 at 10:48 pm

The retirement accounts have really done well since my last check on the 14th. It is up $1,454.91 in that time, with only $440 of that being our contributions. We are $45 shy of the IRA having recovered completely from pre-Covid19. It is back over $10K. I remember how excited I was the first time it hit that amount. It is really good to see it up there again. And the 401K has jumped nicely even without contributions from the employer. I will be so glad when they go back to making contributions.

$24,442.71 401K
+10,101.77 IRA
$34,544.48 Total Retirement