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I Brought Home a Cow

September 1st, 2023 at 06:07 am

Well, technically I bought a steer after saving up for him for a year.  And he fills up 2/3 of my ginormous garage chest freezer (the biggest on the market), and 1/3 of my mini chest freezer in the house.  The rest of the mini chest freezer has what is left of the last beef we bought, mostly a grocery bag of hamburger, then round steaks, round roasts, bottom round, top round, eye of round, can you tell I don't like round cuts?  I also found some sirloin tip roasts and all the soup bones. So those are setting on top of everything else to get used first.  It's not a lot, just 3 grocery bags worth, which will go quickly with my family.  The rest of the chest freezer is filled with what is left from our hog, a turkey, and a couple packs of chicken.

The steer had a hanging weight of 674 pounds.  The cost to us from the farmer was $3.75 per pound, which came out to $2527.50.  The cost from the meat company to slaughter was $135 and the includes the disposal fee of the waste products.  The cut and wrap fee was .92 a pound.  We did not get the organ meats this year, but we did get the tail for making oxtail soup.  We did not get the tallow.  We did lose some bone, but got the soup bones.  So our overall weight that was wrapped was only 653 pounds, giving us a total of $600.65.

We had all of the round cuts made into hamburger this year, along with the usual meat that goes into hamburger and then had half of that made into hamburger patties, so we ended up with 86 pounds of hamburger patties, 4 to a 1 pound package, which had a fee of .80 per package or $68.80.  And yes, I could have saved that fee and made them myself, I even have the press to do it, but you know what inevitably happens?  I don't and we end up buying a bag of grassfed burgers, even though I have plenty of grass fed hamburger at home.  So this year we decided to just do it and I am so glad we did, even if raises our overall price a bit.  We eat burgers a lot, probably once a week to every 10 days.

So that brought the price from the meat company up to $804.56 and since it is a service, the state gets to charge taxes on it, even though food in its raw state is not taxed otherwise.  Taxes came to $70.80.  Bringing their portion to $875.36.  Adding $875.36 to $2527.50 brought my total to $3402.86, which was $90.11 more than I had in my account, so I had to scrape that up.  But I had $16.50 in my coin jar to roll and I had a $47 check refund and I took some cash out of the household envelope and then $3 out of grocery envelope and made up the rest with change from my purse.  I would have just taken it all from the groceries if I needed to, but I wanted to see if I could drum it up if I could.  If I hadn't done the patties I would have almost had enough.  But I wanted those patties.

Anyway, so if I take the total of $3402.86 and divide it by 674 hanging weight it comes out to just shy of $5.05/lb for grass fed beef.  If I divide it by 653, which would be closer to what we are actually left with, it would be $5.21 a pound.  Even considering bone waste, which we don't really have, since we save all our bones for bone broth before we toss them, it would still be at the max $6/lb for grass fed beef.  So I am very happy with that.  It's not that far off from what we paid two years ago, despite having a bigger steer this year and it being 25 cents more per pound and the kill fee and the cut and wrap fee being higher.  I'm really surprised.

We took the time to organize things.  Roasts in one and a half compartments.  Steaks in one and a half compartments, and those steaks alternating, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, so we don't do something like eat all the ribeyes first, then eat all the t-bones, then eat all the sirloin.  We go through them equally.  We took the weird cut steaks in the house, like tenderloin, flank, and skirt.  It'll make it so much easier to know what compartment to go and grab from.  We've kind of tried this in the past, but stuff has gotten mixed around too much so everyone has been warned not to screw with the system this year.  It really will save a lot of time searching for stuff.

My next focus will be to take those soup bones from the last steer and make them into low sodium bone broth, which I will need for a lot of the new recipes I have been trying out.  While I did find a good broth from Bonafide, it is expensive and I'd rather save it for making soup, not gravy or sauce.  Then I will take the new soup bones and make broth with them, too.  Just want to get it done and have the space because I have a bunch of tiny zucchini coming on that I will need to be shredding and putting in the freezer in about a week and a half.

It took my son and I 45 minutes to load it into the van, but we were also sorting the different cuts into different boxes and insulated bags.  Then when we got home DH was off work.  After figureing out what went in the house, we took the rest to the garage.  It took about an hour to get it all back there, mostly because we kept having to stop and rest.  It's one thing to be able to back right up to a loading dock and move stuff a few feet, it's another thing to have to walk 40 feet with 40 pounds of meat (DH) and 15 pounds of meat (me).  But at least we got it done.  And we were both exhausted.

My elbow from the side I had the catheterization on can't support any weight today without pain, so I'm back to that, but at least my hand is working fine.  And it was worth it.  That meat is going to last us a long time.  Probably 18 months, since we have a lot of fish and pork in the freezer, too.  We are low on chicken, but I buy that as it goes on sale.  It is the only thing I don't buy organic or fish for wild.

Organic chicken is so expensive and I can't see paying $30 for one chicken.  And I'm not set up to raise chickens anymore, nor do I have the energy or physical capabilities or desire.  The best I can do is look for ones not pumped full of brine.  Not the easiest of tasks.  Maybe that's just something I will have to save up for next.  102 chickens will not come cheap and would require another chest freezer.  So probably out of the question.  But it would help us on our road to health.  We all feel better when we eat truly organic or wild food, from farmers we trust, and our own fishing lines or prawn or crab traps, so when we can afford it the transition will be fully made.


I'm Finally Going Whole Hog! Plus Medical Expenses, Etc.

July 28th, 2022 at 10:32 pm

It has taken forever, between our first upright freezer breaking down, to having it replaced after many months when no one could repair it, which also took months because they were on backorder, to me ordering the hog, to the butcher dates being pushed back several times, to today, when my hog is actually being butchered.  It will be about 3 weeks before I actually get it, since they have to hang it for a while and then have to cure and smoke hams, bacon, and hocks.  But I will have it before the end of August, so that makes  me very happy.  I wanted it before fall, so this is great.  This saves a lot of money on meat in the long run.  Now I can start saving up for a beef.

I'm still trying to locate a pasture-raised lamb that has never been fed grain, but it is harder than you would think.  I may have to look outside my county.  Hopefully the next one over has some.  Otherwise I will have to give in to those who ate grain early on, but then switched to grass only.  As long as it is organic grain, I can deal.

The garden is doing well.  The onions need to be ringed, but they are growing nicely.  It'll be nice not to buy them at $.1.29 each.  I resent that so much, because before I could get them at 25 cents each.  I planted so many I think I may not have to buy them for 8 or 9 months.  I will probably braid all the yellows and the reds, but the Walla Walla sweets I will chop and freeze.

The garlic is pretty dry, so I think I another week and it'll be done.  Now I have to decide if I want to clip them or keep the stem on and braid them.  I love the way braided looks, but we don't really have a good place to hang them unless DH puts in a hook in the hallway or we hang them on a rod in the laundry room.  Neither place is convenient.  I will cut some up small and dehydrate it.  Then I can grind it for powder as I need it.  If I make it powder and keep it in a jar, it tends to clump badly or go hard.  I think I have enough garlic for a year, but we will see.  It's going for $1 for one head right now when you used to get 4 or 3 heads for $1.  That's outrageous.

The zucchini is quite small, about a dime in circumference for the largest and about 3 inches long.  I've got itty bitty cucumbers starting, but the vines don't want to climb the trellis yet.  I've got several green tomatoes coming on.  The green beans are about 8 inches tall, having been planted so late.  I'm still getting strawerries and the blueberries are starting to blush.

It'll be a while before I get more to harvest, but when I do I won't have to buy produce for some time.  I'm thinking about getting a CSA box in the meanwhile, since that is also cheaper than buying them from the store right now and I can pick out of several boxes of what I want, whether it be just fruit, just veg, or a combo, and there are different sizes at different price points.  They also have meat boxes and milk and egg boxes.  That's pretty neat.

I do want to get a box of nectarines to cut up and freeze, and two boxes of tomatoes for canning as I never have the space to grow enough.  I'll probably get 40 pounds of yellow potatoes and 20 pounds of carrots to can as well.  I'm not sure when, though.  And I will be buying chuck roast this week to can as it is $3.99/lb at Fred Meyer this ad cycle.  I'd like to get at least 14 quarts canned during this sale.  I'll do more if I can get it and my hands can take it.  I am almost out of that.  This sale seems to repeat itself somewhere around every six weeks, so I'll have a chance to do more.  These are still pre-Covid sale prices.  I use canned beef a lot during the winter, because it, canned potatoes, and canned carrots make a great quick stew.

I'm still waiting to see if there will be a good sale on boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I may have to just buy regular thighs, which do go on sale, and skin and debone them myself.  It's more work, but I can then make stock with the skins and bones, so I do get more out of it.  I need to make a lot of stock as I am completely out of canned stock.  It's an economical way to do both.  I can't get pre-Covid sales prices on the chicken, but the new sale is $1.29 per pound if you don't want to get the stuff injected with stuff, which is about what it was not on sale pre-Covid.

When I do go to Winco I will pick up some turkey sausage and turkey chorizo.  It is still pretty cheap at $2.99 a pound.  Way cheaper than pork sausage, which I will have a lot of with the hog, because I didn't get any roasts in my order.  I'm going to buckle down and start making the largest items from the freezer instead of what I feel like.  We've got some beef ribs and soup bones that take up a lot of space, so I need to deal with those.  We have some freezer burned pork that is meant for crab bait, so we need to get that to DH's boss, so he will have it when they go out crabbing.  It can sit in his freezer instead of ours.  And we will eat up the rest of the roasts from our beef.

I'm not sure how much room we will need for the hog.  When she first told me it was about 400 pounds, but that was six weeks ago.  It could easily be 600 pounds by now the way hogs eat, since she wasn't able to butcher on time.  I guess I'll know soon enough.  Funny thing was, I wanted a hog around that size originally, so I guess I get what I wanted.

When I go buy the meat later today, I won't have to buy any produce.  I still have plenty from last week.  2 watermelons, the first good cantaloupe I've seen this summer, 1 and a half bunches of bananas, 2 golden kiwis, WA state red cherries, 4 peaches, and 4 nectarines.  The latter two are still ripening.  I also have a nearly full bag of salad mix, a full bag of spinach, a green cabbage, a purple cabbage, a napa cabbage, 1 parsnip,  2 sweet potatoes, 2 stalks of celery, half a bag of Russet potatoes, a full bag of gold potatoes, 1 cucumber, 2 shallots, 1 yellow onions, 1 walla walla sweet onion, and 4 carrots.  I foresee cabbage rolls in my future as well as a root vegetable dish.  I need to use up the parsnip and the sweet potatoes before they go bad.

I scheduled DD's cavity appointments.  I wish we had been able to do them sooner, before she loses her insurance, but such is life.  I'm pretty sure the COBRA is just medical, not dental and vision.  We have spread it out over 3 appointments about six weeks between them.  The first one will cost $367, the second one will cost $258, and the third will cost $261.  That will allow us to cash flow fixing her teeth.  Then maybe after that we can get her the $400 night guard.  So $1286 all told.  We don't want to do it first because it will effect the shape of the mouthguard by small amounts and it might not fit right.

If we don't cash flow, we should have enough in the Medical Fund to cover it.  I put $500 in it every 2 weeks.  Of course we spend it a lot through the year, but I should have enough by September to pay for the first appointment.

If MIL gives us $10,000 like she did last year, I am going to dump $5k into the Medical Fund and $3K into the Emergency Fund and $2K to start saving for my son's education.  It's not much, but it's a start.  While he finished high school through homeschooling, he doesn't have the piece of paper.  So he needs to get his GED before going to the technical college.  You can also get an actual high school diploma through the technical college, so we might do that.  He'll have to test and see if he has enough knowledge to pass as that was a while ago.  He may have to take some more math to get into the program he wants, but everything else is where it should be except possibly his essay writing.  He always hated that because of his dyslexia.  He doesn't have the problem with numbers, only letters.

Insurance now covers the coating that takes out the blue light on computers and makes it easier to read things on white paper, so he'll be getting that with his new glasses this month.  Another expense, but one that the money is there for already, as are mine, if I decide to get them.  I may just wait until January when I can get both frames and lenses, not just lenses.  Or I might get contacts if the prescription hasn't changed much.

Animal Free and Christmas Purchasing Time, I Suppose

November 21st, 2020 at 11:41 pm

We sent the last two rabbits off to a new home today and are now animal free for the first time in a decade.  I'm not sure this place qualifies as a homestead anymore, just a huge garden now.  But whatever, it is nice to no longer be tied down.  We can take a family vacation again if we so desire without one person having to stay home to care for the animals.  It is a nice sense of freedom and one less stress to deal with.  And less stress is good in a house with seven people in it.

My mom is making noises about having chickens again, but if she does they will totally be her responsibility.  We aren't having anything to do with it.  I'd really rather not have them as they tear up the yard and take away from the garden space and their feed attracts rats.  I think my mom forgets that.  I also think she forgets what she is and isn't capable of anymore, but again, she'll have to relearn that the hard way.  And people will always take laying chickens off your hands.

It'll be nice not to have those feed costs anymore.  Although they had narrowed significantly with only two rabbits, now they will be totally gone and I can remove from the budget.  We were spending maybe $35 in a three month period, so it wasn't a ton, but that is still $140 a year that can now go somewhere else.

We ordered our new mattresses directly from Purple since they were having early black Friday sales.  Not sure when they will ship, but they'll get here when they get here.  Can't be soon enough, though, with the way my fibromyalgia has been lately.  We also went ahead and got the pillow/sheets bundle, because you get quite a discount with those if you buy a mattress.  Since the mattresses do not take those huge deep pocket sheets that seem to be all you can find anymore, I felt that ones that actually were guaranteed to fit properly were the way to go.  We had been planning for everyone to get new pillows for Christmas as well.

MIL gave us some money to go towards the mattresses and that combined with the $1000 I saved was enough to cover it all, so once these three arrive, all four of us will have new mattresses.  DS got his a while back.  I'm glad MIL gave us the money or it would have taken a long while to save up enough for all of us.  I would have only been able to get one now.

I do need to start ordering Christmas gifts.  DD and DS are each getting a new comforter and a waterpik for Christmas.  I need to figure out what to get MIL.  I know what I am getting my Mom, a 4 piece setting of salad forks, because she's lost several over the years and it is her preferred fork to eat with.  DH and I are putting our money for ourselves towards a propane grill.  DH also put his birthday money towards this and I will put mine in in February.  We are also going to put in the money his mother gives us for Christmas.  That should give us a total of $1200 after my birthday.  More if I put my birthday money from MIL in.

I have no idea if that will be enough for what I want, but I think it should.  We want a big enough grill that we can cook enough for a family of four on it at once and not in turns.  I also want a burner and a side table, storage underneath, and a place to attach a smoker in the future if we chose to do so.  If it is not enough, then we will just have to save longer.  And if it is more than enough than it will go into another savings goal.

I like to cook outside in the spring and summer and early fall, but only having a charcoal grill can make it a lot harder.  They take a long time to get going and then you have to babysit them while they die out.  Propane is on and off, just like that.  While I do prefer charcoal for taste, it is just so inconvenient.  We'll probably use it for burgers and hotdogs, but for serious meals like steak, zucchini, onions, and corn on the cob, propane will be the way to go to get it done quickly.  If the object is to just not heat up the house when it is hot, this is the best solution.

I will be ordering some LED net Christmas lights.  I want to do five different colors for our five bushes in front of the house.  They are more expensive than regular, but they last longer, the bulbs don't tend to blow, and they are prettier, brighter colors.  We bought some last year for the deck and they just looked so much better than the old kind.  I think Christmas will be subdued for a lot of people because of Covid lockdowns, so I want to be a cheery spot in the neighborhood for people to enjoy as they drive by.

I took my frozen turkey out of the fridge to thaw yesterday.  It is 25 pounds so it needs this long to be thawed by Thursday.  I wasn't really sure if I was even going to do Thanksgiving this year, but the prednisone the rheumatologist put me on really seems to be helping.  I hope I can make a gluten free stuffing that tastes as good as the regular stuffing I usually make.  It will be disappointing if I can't.  I will be working on my bread recipe over the next couple days.  I'm close to getting a perfect bread machine gluten free loaf, so there is hope.


Uneasiness and Planning Next Year's Enclosed Raised Bed Garden

November 3rd, 2020 at 01:24 am

Well, all of the ballots in my family have been registered as received by local officials.  Ain't the internet grand?  Right now 3 out of 4 have been marked as signatures verified.  DS didn't get his in until Saturday night and the rest of us got them in on Wednesday, so that is probably why.

We have done all the grocery shopping we are going to do and now are prepared to hunker down for the week and/or month.  I am hoping nothing bad happens, that people accept the results of the election with dignity and grace, but since that didn't happen last time, I have little faith it will happen this time.  Hopefully it will just be tantrums again and not rioting, but the last several months with the riots springing up constantly, I again, just have little faith.

The downtown businesses are prepared to board up and will be armed on election day and the week following.  I don't know if it will come here, but someone blew up a mailbox about 8 or 9 blocks away the other night so hard it ended up in four pieces, one of which landed on the roof of the home.  I believe the mailbox was at the street and not on the house like many here are, but don't tend to be on that street since the houses are set so far back.  I can't verify it through a news source, but the rumor on the neighborhood blog is they had a political sign in their yard.  I really wish the reservation would stop selling dynamite to people who are not part of the tribe.  It's really getting to be an issue.

I just want this week to be over.  It's like sitting on the edge of my seat all the time and waiting for the country to explode or not explode.  We are as prepared as we can be with the resources that we have.

I did get 14 quart jars of chicken canned and we will grind the rest of it tonight for the freezer. I still haven't gotten the garlic planted.  My body is killing me from cutting up all the meat.  I hate rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  It takes days to recover from things like this that are so simple for other people.

DH and I have started planning next year's garden.  We want to build a large rectangular raised bed garden with enclosed fence.  Two foot wide raised beds will horseshoe around the inside of the fencing and then the side with the door in it will have a sitting bench on one side of the door and a potting bench on the other with a sink I can hook a hose up to for rinsing vegetables and watering plant starts.  Then in the middle section will be one long raised bed that you can walk all the way around.  We will also fence over the top to keep out racoons and squirrels.  That will protect everything but the strawberries from the deer and rabbits, too.

As for the strawberries, I want a hinged cage to go over those.  One that will lift up from either side so I can pick one side, then the other, easily, without having to take the whole cage off to do it.  Since it is an eight foot bed, taking the cage off is awkward for me to do on my own.  With hinges, half can rest on the other half and then be pulled back down into place with very little effort on my part.

As for the inground garden, I'd like to expand it enough to double our potato yield and mom wants to double our corn yield.  The green beans were just right this year, so that area is fine as is, just needs to be ammended and covered with a tarp for the winter.  I think we will probably plant corn on the far side of the house in the narrow area between the house and the fence and that will be Mom's project.  It gets a lot of sun there and should do just fine.  Personally, I wouldn't waste the ground growing corn again if it were just up to me.  We've grown it there before and the roots are shallow enough not to interfere with the French drain.

I will continue to grow my herbs in big containers, but next year it will be one type per container, except my big rosemary bush.  I want it in the ground as a permanent feature.  It is about 3 feet tall right now and quite tree-like.  And basil will get two big containers.  We have been self-sufficient on herbs that can be grown here for 3 years, but I can always use more basil, especially since it won't overwinter and the growing season for it is only 4 months.

I have been trying to sell the last two rabbits, both bucks, but winter is usually not a good time.  Most people don't want to feed animals through the winter and want to aquire them in the spring before breeding time begins in earnest.  They are quite beautiful so once people want them again, they should go quite quickly.


Homesteading Choices Coming Up

April 28th, 2020 at 11:07 pm

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.

And the Beat Goes On

March 30th, 2020 at 12:58 am

I came down with a head cold for a few days, but fortunately it was short and did not have the same symptoms as Covid19, so I wasn't spending the whole time freaked out. I had a very wet cough, though, that precipitated a couple asthma attacks. I used my nebulizer twice to open up my lungs. But I actually feel a lot more human than I have in months.

I've got a couple ladies who want to buy rabbits off me. I think the plan will be to meet in the feed store parking lot and have the rabbit in a box, place it down on the ground and back away. She can place the money in the back of the van and then pick up the rabbit. I will wear gloves and a face mask. I have a mask from the summers where the smoke from the wildfires was overwhelming us. It is washable and I have several filters for it. I will put the money in an envelope and then remove my gloves. I will leave the money in the envelope for a couple days.

If I manage to sell the three rabbits Cyrus, Zara, and Zane that will just leave me with three left, Ruby, Vincent, and Zander. We may also sell Zander. Ruby will never be for sale and Vincent is to keep her company. He's the sweetest male. We aren't breeding anymore at all. Ruby is old and a pet and Vincent is young, but also more of a pet than a working rabbit. We really are just done with the whole farm thing at this point except for the garden, though the rabbits contribute their manure. But it will cut the rabbit chores in half, so that will be wonderful.

Not too much going on here. DH continues to work from home. We are slowly working on the garden. I've started watching The Last Ship on Hulu. It is about a virus that wipes out 80% of humanity and the Navy Ship that holds the only possibility for a cure. It's got five seasons so I should be good with that for awhile. I do like movies and shows like this, although it might be hitting a little close to home at the moment. The virus on the show also started in China, but it has a 100% mortality rate if you get infected. Thank goodness Covid19 isn't as bad as that.

We are still doing fine on food for now and toilet paper. DH found a store brand 4 pk, limit of 1, and the rolls are so tiny in comparison to the big ones in the Charmin case from Costco. DH has not seen any nice brand of toilet paper or tissues for sale in two weeks, just store brands and rarely those. We picked this one up for his mom, but won't take it out until she needs it. We are fine still on what we picked up right before this started.

It's a little weird right now not knowing what is going to happen to the world, but I feel an almost eerie sense of peace. So long as things stay calm around me and no one gets sick in this house, I'll probably continue to feel this way. We planned and prepared and now we just have to sit it out.

Trucking Along

April 1st, 2019 at 06:25 pm

I need to go to Winco and pick up a bag of oats for the rabbits. The feed stores have been getting corn in their oats the last several times we have gotten them and the rabbits can't eat corn. It has been a real pain in the butt to deal with. So I am hoping that oats from Winco will be clean. Since they are for human consumption there is better quality control. It's a little more expensive this way, but I'd rather that than risk killing my rabbits.

I've been on the Enbrel for a few days now and I continue to improve. The swelling in my legs has gone way down. It used to be a constant. A large part of my pain is gone throughout the day, though by evening I do have some that comes back. It is not as bad as before, though. I get a little queasy in the mornings, but haven't thrown up after the first morning post injection, and it seems a little less each day. I am starting to feel like a semi-functional human being.

I still haven't quite shaken this cold, but I am getting there. I'm able to do all my indoor chores again. I haven't tried to do my outdoor stuff yet. Seasonal allergies have piled on top of it, though, so there is just a lot of nose blowing going on still. I didn't sleep very well last night or the night before, which doesn't help with getting better. I keep waking up too early. I've tried going to bed earlier to compensate, but then I just lay there not sleeping until the normal time I fall asleep. Very exhausting.

I am looking forward to payday as we will be able to make some more progress on the loan. I'm not sure I'll be able to pay as much as I was hoping. We've got a couple things that have come up that need to be taken care of. Isn't that always the way? I'll still be able to make an extra payment, though.

Broken Blogs, Broken Blog Goal

January 17th, 2019 at 10:09 am

So the commenting feature is acting up again, claiming I'm not logged in when I am. Will they ever get this thing permanently fixed? I've gotten to the point where I don't even feel like complaining anymore, because they'll make it work for a week, but it never works for good. The emojis haven't worked for what, two years now? *sighs* I know it is little things, but it is really making it user unfriendly.

My goal to blog more consistently kind of went by the wayside. We cleaned rabbit cages this weekend with our new clearance pressure washer, swept out the rabbit shed, including all of the cobwebs on the ceiling and put away the summer fans which had not been stored properly yet, and I wore myself out so bad that the last thing I felt like doing is blogging. I did, however, finish watching season 2 of Westworld.

The pressure washer was a $200 machine that we got for $70 because of the season, I'm sure. It is an ecofriendly one, too, that doesn't use as much water, but is very forceful. It made the chore much easier and faster, but it still took several hours because some of the trays had to be fired. Also having only 8 rabbits now makes it easier to get through all the cages quickly.

I haven't made up a meal plan for the second half of the month yet, since I was basically using up leftovers the past couple of days. We had some shredded chicken to get through so I made quesadillas. I also made some Mexican rice which had leftovers so DH and DS will have some for their next couple days of lunches. Both are big rice eaters. I used some of my home canned salsa in it. It's from 2015, my huge tomato year. The day before that we had leftover pork stew. Tomorrow I will sit down and figure out a meal plan for the remainder of the month.

I have to be more careful about how much work I do around the farm. I still haven't completely shaken my cough and despite it being fairly warm at 45 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, it was still a little colder than I probably should have been out in. But the work goes faster with three people than two. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed, though. Partly the cough, but mostly the rheumatoid arthritis flaring up after doing so much work.

I have misplaced the rabbits' nail clippers so will have to pick up a new pair as they are all due for a clipping. I hate having to go to the pet store, but the farmer's co-op doesn't sell the right kind of clippers, the kind that encircle the whole nail. I think I need to get a new brush, too. The last one broke. The don't need to be brushed generally, but a couple of them are blowing their coats already. Makes me think we might not get a super cold winter this year. So when they do that it helps to brush out all the old fur. Plus they really seem to enjoy the extra attention. So a couple of small expenses there, but I doubt I will spend more than $15 there. DH needs to pick up a bale of hay this weekend, too.

I need to get a new charger for my phone as well. The one I have only works if it is propped at an angle. So while I can get it to charge, sometimes I forget to prop it and then go to grab my phone and it is dead. I don't know how much that will cost, but I have over $100 in my allowance envelope, since I rarely spend it. It won't be near that, I know, but I am prepared regardless.

I got my medical checkbook balanced. Found a mistake that made the balance $365 off. It was $182.50 that I'd added instead of subtracted, thereby doubling to $365. But that account has over $5000 in it so no worries.

I have entered in all the medical bills for each month. Now I need to add them all up and see the total to see if we can deduct for them. I know some stuff has changed this year. I'll get that done tomorrow and get the numbers for that and our tithe to DH. I'd like to get our taxes done ASAP. With identity theft in our lives, the sooner the better. Of course, I don't know if the IRS will be processing or not due to the shutdown. The last time there was a shutdown at this time of year, we sent it in early and still got it back fairly quickly, but that one was shorter than this one, so who knows?

I called VM today as I still haven't heard anything about DD's surgery being scheduled. I know there was a delay for the holidays, but it has been nearly a month. I left a message with the scheduler, so hopefully I will hear back from her tomorrow. DD has dropped 75 pounds in that amount of time. Pretty much all of it retained water. The new meds are working very well in that respect. She has cheekbones again. No guarantee it won't come back, but for now it is a major relief for her body.

Okay, I think that catches me up.

Quiet on the Home Front

August 7th, 2018 at 12:39 am

I didn't mention it before, as it has been a crazy week, but we rehomed our little flock of ducks. I had been thinking about it for a while and with all that has been going on, it has been hard to maintain the farm. It is quiet without them. I miss hearing their little noises and the occasional loud quack. So now there are no more birds on the farm. We are down to just rabbits and the garden.

I have quite a few ripening tomatoes I need to look at and I have got to pick green beans and check for zucchini and cucumbers. I have only gotten one cucumber so far, but I haven't checked for zucchini in a few days, so there are probably a dozen out there, hopefully not too large. I already have one that is larger than my forearm to deal with. I also need to water tonight.

I think there will be enough green beans that I can can them tomorrow. I will try to get it done early in the morning before it gets too hot.

I am thinking about buying a flatbread maker. It's a device that you put the dough on, close it and it flattens it, and then it cooks it. You have to turn it over partway through. But you can make all the flat breads on it and it sets it at the correct temperature, taking the guess work out of it. I can make pita bread on it, but also tortillas, chappati, and roti. It would make it a lot easier since I wouldn't have to roll out the dough.

So many of the flat breads contain soybean oil. I can find tortillas without it, but it is harder on the other flat breads, especially pita. They run the gamut from $32 to $99. Right now I am reading reviews.

I would probably only use it to make tortillas for fajitas and carnitas. I think I'd still buy the large packages for making my huge run of breakfast burritos. It's one thing to make 8 for dinner and another to make 48 in a row for burritos. But I would definitely make pita bread at least once a week. Does anyone have a flat bread maker? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Grocery Ad Lull, Endocrinologist, and Wal*Mart Trip

July 25th, 2018 at 01:40 am

Well, this is the second week in a row where I have gone through the grocery ads in preparation for my Friday shopping and only found one thing that was worth buying. Last week was a milk sale and this week is a beef roast sale. Since I am not sure when we will get down to the farm to buy more beef, I will probably stop into Safeway for the meat deal and for the organic milk, lettuce (mine has bolted), and radishes, but the rest of my shopping will be at Winco. The other stores are just so high priced when there is not a good sale going on.

Things went well at the endocrine doctor. He has ordered more specific blood tests, checking individual hormone levels. The took 5 of the large vials of blood. DD was a little woozy afterwards, as she hadn't eaten in case they needed fasting bloodwork, so I got her some onion rings from the last of my blow money. I get more on Friday, though, so that is okay.

We stopped at Wal*Mart as well and I got two packages of white wash cloths. They had product shrinkage though. Used to be those were 12 packs. Now they are 9 packs. It has gotten so hot here that we all need to wipe down during the day at least twice. It's too expensive to keep hopping in the shower every couple of hours! So having a big stack of wash cloths will be very helpful for quick, icy cold sweat relief. I had 12 white ones that were just for me, but I use those on my face morning and evening and the others kept stealing them even though they have their own color codes ones. Now maybe I can keep up.

I also bought a couple of cheap notebooks for budgeting and meal planning since the back to school sales have started. I'll probably get a few more in the coming weeks, but two was sufficient for now. It took me forever to find college ruled, but I did. I also got an accordian file for my daughter to keep her medical records in and a dry eraser for the white board. I also got DD some gum. I spent $20.83 out of the household envelope.

I really should have picked up tissues while we were there, but I totally forgot we needed them by the time we got there. So they will be on Friday's shopping list. I'll probably just stop into Kmart, though, because it is closer. Wal*Mart is a ways out, but it is near the endocrine doctor. I don't like making special trips just to go there.

I don't want to make dinner. It is so hot. But I really don't want sandwiches two nights in a row, either. Maybe I will make fajitas in the Instant Pot. Then at least I won't be heating up the house further. Man, I wish we had A/C.

I had to go change the ducks' water around four today as it had gotten so hot they couldn't drink it. I moved it further into the shade and they were so happy to get cold water. They all splashed around in it and then I filled them again and they drank it. Then they all waddled off in their little line to hide out under the raspberries where it is cooler.

I feel bad for the rabbits with their fur coats, but they all have an individual fan attached to the front of their cages and they are hanging out directly in front of them and seem to be doing fine. I'll have to watch them closely if we crack the next temperature decade. Or whatever you call groupings of ten when it is temperature.