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No Good Sales This Week and Things to Do

August 4th, 2022 at 09:58 am

I got my chuck roast canned.  I now have 28 quarts and 2 pints on my pantry shelves and 1 quart in the fridge because of a seal failure.  It's my fault for using a faulty ring.  I knew it was suspect, but didn't want to go find another one.  Anyway, it's a start.

The sales suck for the new ad cycle that started today.  I will be ordering 20 pounds of green beans and 40 pounds of gold potatoes for a Friday pickup from a local farm, if it isn't too soon and I will work on getting those canned.  I will likely not have green beans to pick until September and I don't want to have a bad season and then just not have any to can.  I will order 20 pounds of carrots after I get all that done.

I think our potatoes are doing fine, but what I can grow is never enough to make it through the year.  We added 3 more rows of potatoes this year, but there isn't room for more than that yet until we clear some more space.  That means a lot of weed eater work and then putting down black plastic, something that I am not capable of at the moment and haven't been since my last fall, so that will have to involve my husband and son.

I see the doctor on Friday for a mental health checkup and to see if he is ready to bump me up to 200 mg.  I've still had some hyper mania incidents, though they are getting fewer and further between.  I think another 50 mg is going to help me significantly.  It's like on sort of lingering on the cusp.  While I am there I am going to ask for new x-rays of my back and my other hip to be taken and my tailbone.

Those were not taken at the hosptial because I was feeling everything in my arm where I tore it open and the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and collarbone.  The other pain didn't hit me until the next morning and was still overshadowed by the arm.  Until it wasn't.  And it has gotten worse and worse and after sitting up too long it just kills me, like the bones are rubbing together.  I can stand for 30 seconds only, so I'm back to that.  I can still walk okay, it's just when I stop that the unignorable pain comes back.  After canning it is severe, but that has to get done.

Regardless, of what they x-rays say, I mostly want to know if it is safe for me to go back to physical therapy or if I did some more damage to my spine or broke something in my tailbone.  Honestly, it could just be a lack of physical therapy.

DH's boss's wife and grandmother are having a joint birthday party and they want us to come.  I don't know that I am up for it with all the pain I'm having.  I also don't like being around large gatherings.  But I do like the man and his family.  DH will go even if I don't.  My immune system isn't the greatest so if someone comes there who is sick or doesn't know they are sick, I am likely to catch it.  It is not a lot of fun to be on immune suppressing drugs sometimes.

Tomorrow I will start back on a diet.  I do this so many times, but hopefully this one will take.  It is best for my overall health to get this weight off, especially because it pulls on my discs, but that is often easier said than done.  Plus I need to lose 75 pounds to get the nerve burning surgery done, assuming my insurance will pay for it.  It won't fix the problem, but at least I won't feel the pain there anymore.

 

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.

We'll See

July 10th, 2022 at 02:26 am

DH's boss has put in for a sizeable raise for DH.  I know he just got one in December, but his responsibilities have increased by a large margin...a margin that was not required for his job or the last raise.  The last raise was completely swallowed up by inflation.  I had to double, and then raise by another $50, our gas budget.  Electricity, gas, water/sewer, and even garbage have all gone up.

He said that if the raise goes through, DH will probably fall down on the floor.  About the only thing that would make me fall down on the floor would be $150K.  But anything more would be fine, especially if it will cover DD's COBRA (still waiting on the appeal, but who knows?) while we try to get her on disablility or find a cheaper insurance that will still cover her medications.  And maybe let us bump up our retirement contributions.  At least we will be able to claim a significant amount of medical this year and that was before paying for COBRA, which starts in August.

Right now we are at 16% and I would like to be at 20%, maybe even 25% one day.  Even if I can only go up to 17% or 18%, that will help.  I haven't looked at retirement since the freefall started.  I really don't want to, either.  I am hoping in November we will see a sea change and all these people willing to throw our money away on other countries and not take care of us here so we can recover in our own economy and infrastructure, get voted out.  I'll certainly vote against Patty Murray.  She stopped being the Mom in Tennis Shoes she originally campaigned as when I was young and is now just another rich career politician who has strayed so far from what she used to be, I just want her gone.  And I like her opponent.  But I digress.

I've been able to stay within my food budget only because I don't have to buy much in the way of meat, mostly just chicken and the occasional pork.  DH caught the limit on spot prawns and was given more by some of the others again.  They tried to catch Pacific sand dabs, which are in the flounder family, while they were out there but only caught little ones that they threw back.  There is not much meat on the little ones.  Still both prawning trips have been more than enough to cover the gas to go out.  These ones are super expensive to buy.  So we'll get a few meals out of those.  I am really looking forward to crabbing and salmon seasons and we may try to catch some river trout, too, since there are some fishing areas in our local parks.

So mostly I am buying produce right now and it'll be a while yet on when I can replace much of those types of groceries.  Right now I am getting scallions and the first peas are ready to be picked today.  I've got some herbs to harvest from and I am still picking strawberries.  The raspberries are starting to turn color.  So I am able to supplement a little.  Plus I'm pulling the elephant garlic today, now that I've had 7 days in a row with no rain or watering.  That helps them dry out some before being pulled and put on a ventilated drying rack for about 2 weeks and then I can cut off the greens and trim the roots and they can go into a box for dry storage in my coldest cabinet that seldom gets opened.  I think the Music garlic is ready, too, but I'll have to dig down and check.

Once all the garlic is out I can plant carrots, radishes, and 90 day parsnips.  Those are all great things to plant after garlic or onions.  The onions are starting to swell, but they have several weeks to go.  Maybe in another 2 weeks I can ring them and then their growth will take off significantly.  And I'll be able to use the sprinkler and just handwater once this garlic is out.  

I've got baby zucchinis starting and saw my first tomato (small and green) yesterday.  My cucumbers are still really small plants.    My lettuce has bolted and my spinach, too.  My herbs are big enough that I can start to harvest them.  But that's still not a lot of fruit or veggies.  We finally got the green beans planted, but they haven't come up yet.  I will be getting the sweet potatoes in today.  We'll have to do a peusdo greenhouse when the weather starts cooling off in the fall, since it took so long for DH to get the grow bags filled for me.  They are up on pallets to keep them off the ground for when the ground starts getting cold.

I am considering dumping the hog lady since she keeps having her butcher dates pushed back and I haven't heard from her in some time, and going with another beef.  Almost all that is left is hamburger.  Any new hamburger I get I can put through the grinder on a fine grind, mix with some ground chicken, some tallow, and with herbs and spices, run it all through again, and make sausage with it.  I can make mild Italian and I can make breakfast sausage.  And if I ask for the navel cut with the new steer, then I can make beef bacon as well, unless they will make the bacon and the sausage for me at the butchers.  They might not if the equipment for that is dedicated to hogs only, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  It might be, to keep kosher.  I know they will do kosher or halal when asked.

I need to do a stock up on herbs and spices at Costco this weekend, particulary salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and chili powder.  I also want to get more tomato sauce, some PH water, some TP, Ziplocs, some oil for the fryer, some olive oil, rice, stir-fry veggies, and some golden kiwis.  Maybe one or two more items, but I'll have to check.

I don't need to buy anymore fruit this week, as I still have strawberries to pick, a watermelon, 2/3 of a melon that was not labelled in the store, but tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew with a yellow rind, 2 small pineapples, some grapes, 3 nectarines, 1 peach, and 4 kiwis.  I might get Rainer cherries, though.  They are my favorite now and only have a short season.  But we don't really need it.  As for produce, we have two zucchini, 1 English cucumber, a head of lettuce, 1 green cabbage, 2 Napa cabbages (for cabbage rolls), 1/4 of a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, 2 packs of frozen broccoli, carrots, potatoes, radishes, 4 yellow onions, 1 red onion, and a head of garlic.  Also, home canned green beans, canned corn, and a can of water chestnuts.   I think we should be fine, so I'll take the opportunity to stock up on some long-term food storage and longer-lasting pantry items, while saving enough money for week two of this grocery budget.

I had raised the grocery budget to $500, but I have popped it back down to $400 every payday, due to the increase in gas prices.  It had to come from somewhere, so I am economizing more and sticking more firmly to meal planning and eliminating take out to more than once a payday and one of those meals MIL pays for.  We have all but eliminated prepared foods and are cooking mostly from scratch, now that I am feeling better.  It took a lot for me to recover from that last fall.  My scab has almost completely fallen off and now I just have to work on keeping the scar tissue from pulling the skin tight, but using cream on it 3 times a day.  I still have some pain from the fall, but I'm down to just using Ibuprofen at bedtime, so it is obviously better.

It was hard to keep a good attitude through the healing process, because it has set me back, but I can still feel the higher dose of the stuff used to control my hypomania and death spirals (as I like to call them, not really death, just dark dives into misery) is doing it's job to keep me on a more even keel.  I still don't have a formal diagnosis other than hypomania and depression.  No one's come out and said bipolar, though.  Which is okay, because let's face it, I don't want to go on lithium.  I will likely be going up another 50 mg on my current drug the next time I see the doctor.  I feel it is the final step, because my outlook on life has improved tremendously over all.

I'm need to call in to physical therapy this week and get myself rescheduled.  I think I will need a new assessment, though, because my range of motion and the flexibility I was getting has now become less and so is the amount of time I can stand or walk with an assistance device and definitely without one and the pain is pretty bad unless I sit rather quickly.  I had been cane free for 8 weeks before this accident.  It's so frustrating, but I will put my head down, muddle through, and get stronger again.  I did it once, I can do it again.  I'll call the doctor, though.  I never got an x-ray of my lower back after I fell and I want to make sure I haven't done further damage, before I do.  I was so concerned with the pain my arm when I went to the hospital, I was completely unaware of other pain.  It wasn't until the next morning that I felt it and kept hoping it would get all the way better on it's own, but maybe it can't.  So we'll see.  We'll see about a lot of things.

It's a Ground Beef Thing

July 1st, 2022 at 07:04 am

So as we have eaten our way through the steer we bought last summer, we are now mostly left with ground beef.  A lot of ground beef.  3 compartments in the chest freezer and 1/2 a bin of it in the upright.  So I spent a good amount of time on youtube the last couple of days trying to find recipes that aren't all about Mexican food.  My daughter is having issues right now with those spices so I've been trying to veer away from them, but the hugest number seems go there.

Taco Mac, chili mac, enchiladas, Taco spaghetti, Taco penne bake, Taco bowl, Taco salad, Chili, Tacos, Taco Mac and Cheese, Taco Chili, Taco Lasagna and on and on and on.  The Italian ones are good, but are basically all variations on a theme, too, pasta or bread, meat, usually sauce, and cheese.  And there is only so much spaghetti, calzones, stromboli, pizza, goulash, meatball sandwiches, baked penne or ziti, macaroni and cheese and Fettuine Alfredo that one can eat in a week without being bogged down by a wheat hangover.

I was on a mission to find some other recipes and it took a lot of weeding through it, but I found some Asian inspired ones and some German ones, and of course there is meatloaf and burgers, cabbage rolls, etc., but I'm still lacking in much else.  I still have to do some recipe searching on google to see what else I can find.

But I have enough for a start and today I went to the grocery store and stocked up on what I needed to do this.  The goal is to have ground beef three times a week, or two if we are having steak.  Which we are just about out of, so probably not much of that will happen.

We've made a recommitment to cooking almost exclusively from scratch and eating healthy and not eating out for the month of July, because we really need to buckle down and stop spending money.  There are a few things in the freezer that are convenience foods, like fish sticks, fries, hot dogs, sausages, and garlic toast, but not a lot of that.  I'll be baking bread, rolls, and buns myself.  Everyone has pledged to help me as much as they are able, so hopefully this time around things will go as planned.  We have a good chance as summer tends to be the season I don't get badly sick in.  So if I can refrain from falling down or hurting my back for the rest of it, we can get this done.

We had a deer in the garden again today. It had big abscesses on its face, poor thing and was bashing it's head against one of our trellises until one of them popped.  It was really gross, but the thing needed to be drained.  We had to spray things down to get the gunk off and the smell was atrocious.  If I see it again, I will call animal control, because that is not a healthy animal.  We will be getting some fencing up tomorrow to hopefully keep the the deer out of the garden, and building some more low tunnels and cages for the thornless blackberries.  One day we will be able to fence everything tall enough to keep them out of the whole back yard, but this year is not that time.

We finally got DD's old doctor to fill out the forms needed for the insurance company and hopefully she will qualify to stay on our insurance.  We also need to have the chiropractor fill out one, because he has been treating her for congenital hip dysplasia since she was 3 months old, and correcting for hypermobile joints since she was 3 years old.  And he has seen first hand what her degenerative disc disease has done to her.

We had an online appointment with her new primary care doctor.  This is her second appointment and it was so nice to be heard.  Really heard.  She put DD on a muscle relaxant that does not interfere with her other meds.  It is actually the one I take, too.  The doctor also brought up this new treatment for obesity.  It is a diabetes drug that had a big side effect of weight loss.  It's called semaglutide and it's a pen injection.  They are very expensive, so I don't see us being able to do this for DD unless she is able to stay on our insurance and then they approve it.  She is hyperinsulinemic, the step before diabetes, so maybe.  If she doesn't we will be paying so much for COBRA or another insurance, we will never be able to afford it.

Prayers that the insurance company accepts from her reports that she is disabled enough to stay on it would be greatly appreciated.

 

A Walking Infinity Sign...but at Least I'm Walking

June 28th, 2022 at 03:36 am

Last Monday night, I had just finished picking strawberries and set them safely on the raised bed.  I went to sit down in my garden chair, but instead of double checking I was lined up properly and sitting on the seat, I sat down on the arm and it broke, collapsing the chair.  The sharp edges of the chair arm cut into my arm as I hit the pavement.  It was horrifically painful.  It cut two large gouges into my arm, which would be one without out the one inch break between them.  Altogether, it is 6.5 inches from the start of one to the tip of the other.

Hitting the concrete was awful.  I jarred everything in my hips and pelvis, the area where the discs are deviated, my upper back and my shoulders.  I had to sit there stunned for few minutes.  I hadn't brought my phone out with me to get help, and my husband was taking a nap, so I knew I had to get up by myself.  Fortunately the raised bed was right there, I just had to figure out how to get onto my knees from my butt with one working arm and crawl three feet, again with only one functioning arm.

Somehow I managed and then forced myself to use both arms to pull my body up.  By the time I was done, the pains in my shoulder, elbow (which hit the concrete) and wrist were excrucitating.  I managed to slowly walk into the house and as far as my daughter's room and asked her to check my arm.  She did and immediately said she needed to get my husband.  I said no, he was sleeping, and she argued with me for a minute before deciding to get him anyway.

DH came in, took one look at it and said I needed to go to the hospital.  I really didn't want to, because my whole body hurt and I was barely able to walk and the wheelchairs at the hospital are not well padded at all.  DH cleaned up my arm, got all the blood off and held a pad on it until it was just seeping and then tried washing it out again, because there was still dirt in it.  It started bleeding again and the dirt was still there.  Finally he took a photo of my arm on his phone and showed it to me and I agreed to go to the hospital.

For a Tuesday night it was packed.  By the time we got there my elbow had gone numb.  Once we got into triage my wrist was numb, and by the time we got called back to the acute care area my fingers were numb and the cut on my arm was bleeding through the bandage and got on my sundress.  I waited quite a while until they brought a little x-ray machine in to do my elbow and wrist.  I had no idea they had those.  It kind of reminded me of the x-rays on an arm my dentist uses, only this had a bottom plate for resting your arm on.

I laid back down on my side with a pillow under my arm and by the time a P.A. came in, I had bled all over the pillow.  He checked out the x-rays and thankfully, there were no aparent breaks.  He asked if anywhere else hurt and I said my shoulder so he poked around up there and rotated it around and found an incredibly painful spot so ordered a shoulder x-ray, too.  Then he inspected the cuts and said they didn't need stitches, but it did need some deeper cleaning out, so ordered some numbing gel put on, which helped a lot.

Then he asked me if I took anything for pain and I said no because if they were going to give me something I didn't want to interfere with that.  So he gave me 800mg of Ibuprofen and 1000mg of Tylenol.  It helped a little, but not much.  I was hoping for something a little stronger that would take me through the night, but at least I had hydrocodone at home.  I just knew it was going to be a long time until we got home.  He then rotated my elbow around until I heard a pop and then the numbness started to fade.  So something had been knocked out of alignment and was pinching on a nerve.

So then we waited for me to be taken to the big x-ray machine.  They took me there on the bed I was on and everytime we went through a door with a raised threshold it hurt so bad.  It just jarred everything.  By then my back was getting really sore and so were my hips.  X-ray took a while and then I was taken back to my room.  By then it was midnight and the nurse came in and washed out my wound.  It wasn't too bad because of the numbing gel.  She managed to get the dirt out.  Then she put on more numbing gel and bandaged it up.

The P.A. came back in shortly and said he didn't see any breaks in my shoulder or collar bone, although I don't know why he would, it was my  elbow and wrist that hit the ground.  But he still wanted us to wait for radiology to do a complete reading and it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.  Hah!  At that point I was so exhausted I just wanted to go home and I had had a mask on for 4 hours.  While I had used my inhaler before coming into the hospital, it can only do so much when I have a mask on.  So I went to the private bathroom that was for acute care patients only, took off my mask, used my inhaler, and breathed in cool fresh air for about five minutes.  By then the inhaler was working, so I put my mask back on and went back to my room.

When it was about 1:00, we still hadn't heard from radiology.  I wanted to go home and take a real painkiller and go to bed.  DH went out and asked how much longer it would be.  They called down to radiology who said they'd look at it right away.  At 1:30, I finally said I was ready to go, I'd take the P.A.'s word for it that nothing was broken.  I didn't care if I had to sign out against medical advice.

They must have heard that because two minutes later as I'm getting into the wheelchair to leave, the P.A. shows back up again with the news that radiology agreed.  He then asked if I knew when my last tetanus shot was.  I told him I thought it was five years ago, but I'd call my doctor and ask.  Then we got to go home.  By then the bandages they had given me had popped off a few time.  I was later to learn that the location of the injury made it impossible to keep bandages on because if I moved my arm one way they popped off that side and moved it another way it would pop off the other side.

For the first night we used some vet wrap to hold some guaze in place.  I had some unopened ones from when we had animals.  It's the same as what they have for people only cheaper and with more pretty colors.  Even that managed to wad up overnight and leave part of the wound uncovered so I had a pink stain on my blanket. We struggled with that for another day and then I just left it uncovered.  It took a total of 4 days to stop seeping.

The first day I spent in bed on my side with my arm propped up and on hydrocodone.  By the second day I could move around a little and my arm was starting to get some range of motion back, but the cut pulled hard if I moved it too much.  I was able to get through that day on Ibuprofen and Tylenol and just take hydrocodone at night.  Last night was the first night I didn't take any, just Ibuprofen and Tylenol and today I have not taken any, but probably will tonight.  All of my joints still ache, but not like before.

I've been a lot more mobile since Thursday on.  I feel like my arm is almost back to normal with range of motion.  I can't raise it above my head with the scab still pulling so hard.  I've been keeping it moisturized to try to prevent that, but it may take another week or so before I can fully raise my arm up.

Meanwhile I found out on Wednesday that my last tetanus shot was in August of 2012, so I needed one, but they didn't have any openings for a nurse appointment, so I would need to go to urgent care.  At that point I decided, screw that.  I can't sit like that again for 2 more hours to get a shot.  I still had two months left from my last shot and it was plastic and dirt, not rusty metal.  Probably a dumb choice, but I was done.

A couple minutes later the person I talked to called back and said, check some pharmacies, most of them give tetanus shots.  So I called the one in the closest grocery store where I got my Covid vaccines and they had them, so I was able to go down and get one once my husband was done with work.  I couldn't drive yet.  So we got that taken care of.  Then I let the doctor's office know that I'd done it so they could put it in their records.

So where does the walking infinity sign come in, you might ask?  That's the shape of the purple bruising around my wounds.  It's a very pretty purple.  Or looked at another way, it looks like Mr. Peanut got gutted, which is a little closer to how I felt.  At least I can drive now.  Still ache all over, but every day it hurts less and I'm able to garden, just no heavy duty.

Thursday I went out and picked another collander full of strawberries.  Can't say that there wasn't a little bit of a PTSD moment when looking at the remains of the chair, but this time I took both my phone and my husband out with me and all was well.

Friday I was okay enough for DH to go out for spot prawns.  He caught his limit.  There were a total of six other guys on the boat, who all got their limits, but 3 of them were single, so when they got back to the guy's house who owns the boat, they only wanted to take enough for their dinners last night, so gave the extras to DH.  And since the boat guy had been out every day since the season opened, he gave his entire catch to DH.  So he come home with a lot of spot prawns.  If you've never had them they are the sweetest shrimp and they require nothing, no cocktail sauce, no clarified butter, no scampi sauce.  We had some for dinner and cooked up enough to snack on for a couple of days and the rest went into the freezer.

Saturday I was able to pick another round, this time with my phone and my oldest sister who came over.  So I've picked 13 pounds of berries last week and half a pound the week before.  After this massive heat wave, there will probably be some ready tomorrow.  I need my son to go out and water, though, because I still can't lift a hose high enough and those beds haven't had drip hose put in yet.

I also need to cut off the garlic scapes on the Music garlic and process them for the freezer.  I'll freeze them in tbsp size servings and put in a ziploc and then I can use that in place of garlic until the garlic I grew is ready, pulled, and properly dried.

Other items I have harvested so far is a head of lettuce and a bunch of green onions.  The garden went in late, but it is starting to produce.  I am looking forward the first snow pea.  They are about two inches long right now, so a couple more days to go.

I was able to go grocery shopping with my husband today after he got off work.  I used the ride on cart, though.  I was really happy to get out of the store under $250 and that means I have enough money leftover to take advantage of a chuck roast sale.  I need to can some for the winter.  It's $2.99/lb and it didn't list a limit, just that it was a digitial coupon.  Without the coupon it is still $3.99/lb.  So tomorrow DS and I will go to the store that has that.  Tomorrow is supposed to be below 70 after several days in the high 80's, so that would be a good day to can meat, since it takes so long.

Anyway, that was my week.  Hopefully this week will be anticlimactic.  Even without what happened to me, last week was a doozy.

Surfacing

June 9th, 2022 at 01:15 am

I realized I haven't posted since May, so thought I'd surface for a little bit.  My autoimmune stuff has been kicking my butt lately, probably because I have been pushing too hard to get stuff done.  And the spring head cold, which was brutal.  And now I'm going through caffeine withdrawal, day 2, so you can imagine I'm not thrilled with life.  But I am trying to keep a postive attitude.

DH and I got the rest of the seed potatoes in.  I wish we could put in more, but I'll know better for next year to order more seed potatoes and save more, too.  We planted 15 pounds of ordered seed potatoes and 25 pounds of what we saved.  I think that we need a total of 50 pounds for next year.

We still have to plant the sweet potato slips, but we need to get more soil for that.  The area we want to plant them in is horribly uneven. It's still a bit chilly at night, so we will wait until the weekend to get those planted where warmer nights are forecasted.

We bought a new electric weed eater ($159) that even I can manage.  The battery is compatible with all of our other electric tools.  I can do it for 5 minutes and then I have to sit down, but after resting for 5 minutes I can do another session.  Three is my limit, but it is amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes worth of weedeating a few days in a row.  I've got most of the area cleared for green beans, now we just need to even out the ground and put down the black plastic.

We are growing in buckets, but they will be going up a trellis.  The buckets will have a soaker hose running across them held in by landscape staples.  We are using buckets because there has been an explosion of baby rabbits this year and I don't want them nibbled down like some of them were 2 years ago when we had the same issue.

We still need to put up some fencing to go around the green beans, too, and build 3 strawberry cages.  The strawberries have deer netting on them, but we want something better than that going forward.  Pole beans grow up until the first freeze here which is usually Halloween or the next week, so even though they are getting started later than I like they will still produce a long time.  Hopefully we can get that accomplished this weekend.

I just keep pushing my body as it has been able to do more and more.  I usually can go for 2 days and then have to spend a day doing nothing.  But I am getting stuff done so I feel accomplished.  I still can't use a shovel, though.  Different muscles that cause pain after 30 seconds.  I may never be able to, but at least I can do something.  The power of physical therapy is great.

No Spending Today--Garden Talk

May 31st, 2022 at 02:36 am

Last night about two hours before sunset, I got my plants in.  DH grabbed one of the wrong types of tomatoes.  I wanted two Early Girls and a Roma, but he got one Early Beefsteak.  I don't buy beefsteak tomatoes because they always take so long to produce here.  Same reason I don't buy Brandywines.  I've tried them once or twice and they basically start turning red in October, so they take up a lot of garden space with little production.  But I've never seen an early beefsteak before so hopefully it will produce earlier in the season.

I wish I had more space to grow tomatoes, but with the way everything is going so slowly, I'm not even sure we'll get green beans in on time.  I got my peppers in, then planted basil in what will be the understory of the other plants.  I put the blue Veronica and the Red Rock Yarrow in front of the cosmos.  I don't know how big the Veronica will get, but I know the Cosmos will get taller than the yarrow, and if the Veronica gets bigger than that I will have to transplant it elsewhere.  I have enough space for one more flower to fit in, it just has to be one that deer hate, like the others I've done so far.

After that I planted my green and yellow zucchinis.  I planted them at the distance of their mature size.  Too often in the past I've crowded them because the space is so big and it looks naked until the zucchini grows, but crowded plants slows down production and sometimes will block sunlight to the plants that weren't as big as some of the others.  So this year I am giving them room and making sure they are far enough from the cucumbers that they don't block the light to them.  That was a big problem last year.  Even after a lifetime of gardening, I still find myself learning things.

I had to look up when to harvest garlic, since my garlic stalks are so tall.  I found out that each leaf represents the outside paper for the bulb, so if there are ten leaves there will be ten layers of paper to protect all the cloves inside.  I've never had great luck with garlic in the past, but I planted it at the right time in the fall and it has done beautifully, growing like it was in an Alaskan summer with 20 hours of sunlight a day.

My onions are coming along nicely, too.  They are not quite ready to start bulbing, but I see a little swelling near the bottom of the stock, so maybe another week or two.  And I think the bunching onions will be ready to start harvesting pretty soon. 

Oh, and another fun fact I found out.  Elephant garlic isn't true garlic.  It's actually a leek.  Isn't that weird?  Because it bulbs like garlic and tastes like garlic, but it isn't garlic.  I think that is kind of cool.  Just one of those facts you stumble upon when searching for other aspects of garlic.

We didn't get the zucchini cages made yesterday as DH went down hard last night with the head cold.  He's not doing the greatest today, but he slept all night.  He said he will manhandle the fencing wire over to where I need it and he'll help me form the curves, but that may not be until tomorrow.  I am hoping for tonight, but I am not going to push him as I know how bad the first two days of this cold can be.  And even though I am somewhat better, I still fell asleep for 3 hours in the middle of the day, so I am leaving it up to him.

I do have to at least water.  Even though the soil was very moist when I planted, and the plants were wet from being watered at the nursery and store, I would like to get a good drenching on everything.  We've had light sprinkles, but as my grandfather always told my mother, a farmer can't count on the rain to water deep enough.

The drip hoses I ordered arrived in the mail on Saturday, so each bed will now have a 50 foot hose in it, which is enough to go down, cross the back, go back up, and then across the front and then I will attach a hose to it to go to the faucet, which has a four way hose splitter.  That way I can do the three 22 foot long beds and then set up a sprinkler for the strawberries.  We will run a hose from the other side of the house to set up a sprinkler for the potatoes.  The blackberries already have a drip hose on them and uses the hose from the back of the house as well.  So we should be set for watering with as little difficulty as possible.

Yesterday's Spending

May 30th, 2022 at 12:01 am

I spent $142 on garden stuff yesterday.  The welded wire tomato cages were the most expensive items.  I had hoped to make it back there before the turquoise cages were gone.  I would have bought a couple last time I was there, but they were all zip-tied together and they were closing in ten minutes, and it was too much of a hassle.  So I got two yellow ones and two hot pink ones in the smaller size.  I use these on peppers not tomatoes anyway.  It is just so windy here during May and June that the cages help keep the plants from being blown over.  They were pricey.

I was able to find a jalapeño plant, but they were out of bells.  They had cayenne, but I had one of those already along with 1 bell.  They had serrano and poblano, but I'm not growing any other spicy peppers this year.  There were no Anaheims.  I just wasn't able to get over there when I needed to.  But I was able to pick up 4 gold rush zucchini plants and 2 of the regular green ones, 4 cucumbers, 2 Early Girl tomatoes, and 1 Joe's best Roma.  I have 1 million pears already.  I also picked up four big sweet basil plants, decided not to get a Thai basil plant because the three they had looked very stressed.

After that I looked for some flowers.  As much as I wanted to get a couple flats of petunias, I have no place to plant those.  I ended up getting a 1/2 gallon pot of Veronica, which is a deep blue perrenial (unless it goes to 10 degrees, which might happen once every ten years or so, and a deep red yarrow.  Deer don't like either of those flowers so I will plant them with my zucchini.  The prices of starts have gone way up this year.  Next year I really have to start my own.  I have the grow lights and I have the station set up, I just haven't done it.  I have all the seeds and everything.

After that we went over to the grocery store that carries plants from the same nursery and found 3 Better Belles in 1/2 gallon pots. Better Belles are not my favorite type of bell pepper.  I feel like Northstar performs better here, but I waited too long and these are my choices if I want plants from a no-spray source and not a big box store.  I may yet check the food co-op, because they will often have things later than others and they are organic from another source.  I might find an Anaheim that way, but if not it is not a deal breaker.

That about did me in, just going to those two places, since I was still not doing that great, but again, I wore my mask, and DH handled the money and picked up the plants, so I didn't touch anything and I wasn't passing anything along to anybody.  Plus I had a negative Covid home test, so I think I'm okay.  We can't not ever go out with a head cold again, after all.  If I waited any longer there would have been nothing but flowers, herbs, and lettuces left.

I didn't plant anything yesterday, but I sat out in the fresh air and under the lightly overcast sky while DH put in another row of potatoes and then hilled up soil on the other four rows we planted before we left.  Those five rows were all the seed potatoes I purchased.  This morning DH put in two more rows before I got up.  These were the Kennebecs and Russets that I planted last year and saved for seed this year.  He's still got some more of that to do and then I have some grocery store potatoes that have sprouted as well that are golds.  I'll have to check the other potatoes I bought two weeks ago, too.  Everything that can go in the ground, will go in the ground.

After all the potatoes I have get planted, I will plant the sweet potato plants that I've been growing in water for 3 months.  One of the vines goes all the way up to the top of the window, so now that it is warm enough to plant those I want to get them in the ground.

I still have to plant the plants I bought yesterday and the put a wire cover over the zucchini and cucumbers.  I have to make the wire cover, though.  We have the welded wire fencing and the wire cutter, which is one I can operate with my arthritic hands, but the fencing is so heavy DH will have to help with it, since DS has come down with the cold.

I think I'm about at 60%, so I still need to take it easy and get enough sleep, but I definitely turned the corner yesterday and I think tomorrow, if I stay on this projectory will be about 70%.  I have physical therapy on Tuesday.  I won't make the decision on going or not until Monday around 3:00.  If I still feel sick then, I will cancel, because I have to touch too many things that others have to touch.

The cottonwood has started blooming and blowing its fluff balls all over the place, so it's hard to tell how much of the congestion is from my allergy to that and how much is left from the cold.  Either way, it is not helping.

DH is out running around trying to find a pharmacy that has Adderall that doesn't have blue dye.  DS is allergic to blue dye.  Walgreens is out in the whole county, so he was going to try one of the Rite Aids and have them call around to the others and then he'll try the Haggen pharmacies, then Costco, Fred Meyer, and Wal*Mart.  Hopefully he can find them, since DS left it to the last minute to tell us he needed it.

When he gets back I will plant my plants, since they are still in the back of the van.

 

 

I Didn't Think I'd Be Able to Ever Move Again

May 19th, 2022 at 01:06 am

Last night was rough.  I did a lot of new exercises at physical therapy and even though it was in the pool it totally kicked my butt.  45 minutes of non-stop exercise was only possible with the decreased gravity.  By the time I got home everything hurt so bad.  I made it halfway to the house before I had to sit down in the chair at the bottom of the ramp and put the bag down.  It was so heavy with a wet towel and suit in there.  And I forgot my phone so I couldn't call DH to come out and get me.  So I sat there about ten minutes until I could go into the house and send DH out for my bag.  That's how weak I was.

I wasn't able to move my arms enough to make dinner.  They just felt like lead.  It felt like a full on fibro flare with the RA kicking in just for fun.  So we got Mexican.  I had a single tostada de ceviche.  They make it with tiger shrimp and it is really good with lots of tomatoes and onions.  And then I had a rectangle from a chicken quesadilla.  I also got 1 beef enchilada with rice, but I was too exhausted to eat it, so it went in the fridge for today.  I figured I would be able to eat it all since I hadn't eaten all day (yes, bad, I know).  And the rest of the family only ate 1 triangle each of the quesadilla, so there are still two left which I will probably have for lunch tomorrow.  We spent $80 for the four of us.

I took a hot shower after dinner and that helped, but DH had to come wash my hair since I wasn't able to lift my arms above my head.  I still had a good bit of pain going on so I took half a hydrocodone and it knocked me out and when I woke up I felt a lot better.  I can still feel some soreness, but it is just muscle soreness and not fibro.  It hurts to raise my hands above my head, but I can.

The hands still hurt, but they always do after a lot of work.  And not near as much as yesterday as I am typing fairly easily.  I will probably have to avoid that exercise in the future due to how hard it was on my hands.  It was using a mini-kickboard, holding it upright underwater, and pulling it towards me and pushing it away.  It builds the core, but so do a lot of other things, so we'll figure something out.  I have PT again on Friday so we can talk about it then.

I am able to make dinner tonight so we have steaks thawing.  I am going to cook the steaks rare and have green beans, and French fries.  It's a fairly simple dinner.  If my hands were better I'd be making fried potatoes, but French fries will have to do.  I have been making a lot more meals, but yesterday just threw me for a loop.  I will be making a crockpot meal on Friday so that I won't have to worry about making dinner when I get back from PT, it will just be there and ready.  We have beef ribs which work really well with low and slow cooking, so I will just throw them in there with some potatoes and sweet potatoes and then all that will need to be done when I get home is micro-steam a bag of broccoli.

DS and I went out to "shop" the freezer and brought in some steaks and roasts, Canadian bacon, and a pack of hotdogs.  I only had 16 pounds of butter, so I need to do a major stock up.  Last year I bought 60 pounds of butter and 8 of those in there were bought recently, so we went through a pound of butter a week, so I guess I planned pretty well.  I like spring and summer butter when the cows are on green grass and not hay.  I get grass fed butter and there is a world of difference between that and conventional, but also between summer and winter butter.

DS and I need to do an inventory of what is out there and of what is in the mini-chest freezer.  It is easy to see what is in the upright.  I need to see what we need to eat through and how much space we will have in the house and how much we will have in the garage.  I know some of what is in there is crab bait chicken and turkey breast and that will be out of there as soon as the dungeness season starts.  They have freezer burn, so this is a great way of not wasting the meat.  It'll get us through the season and it sure beats buying crab bait, especially at today's prices.

I had regular therapy today and we talked about how I don't like change and how I want to cut my hair and I've wanted to cut it since before the pandemic and things have been open and without masks for quite some time, but I don't do it.  Part of it was my salon went out of business, but something else was affecting me and I knew it.  So she asked if anything from my childhood might be affecting me and I realized that Mom made me get pixie cuts when I was a kid, because she didn't want to deal with the work of longer hair.  I wasn't allowed to choose my own hair cut until I was in the third grade and then I grew it long.

And even though I have had it short at various times in my life it was because I wanted to.  Now it is below my waist and full of damage and i need to get it cut.  And you know what?  My mom keeps saying that I need to get it cut.   Constantly.  And I haven't, because I still resent her very much for forcing me to have a style of hair that I hated for so many years.  Or that one time she made me get a perm.

So, now that I realize the only reason I am not doing it is to spite her, I think I can finally get past this and cut my hair to a couple inches below my shoulders and be done with it.  I've found a salon after much looking, so all I need to do is call tomorrow and schedule an appointment.

It's good for me to be able to realize what this is and get through it.  This is not the only aspect of my life that Mom affects this way, unfortunately.  And all of it relates back to having no bodily auntonomy when I was younger.  So steps were taken today to help me realize this and I feel a lot lighter.

Alright, well I better get to making dinner now that the steaks have sat out for an hour and are at room temp.  Then after dinner I will work in the garden a little.  Instead of getting a whole load of dirt, I've realized that we have a bunch of totes that we were growing in for the last two years that have dirt in them.  I weeded several of them yesterday and I managed to screen all the dirt in one to pull out roots and other things, like the peanuts our crazy squirrel couple bury all over the place.  Two of the peanuts have roots on them, so I put them in a large pot and we will see what becomes of them.

Last year there was one that grew and actually formed some peanuts.  Of course, I didn't know what it was until I'd pulled it out and it didn't take to being replanted and died.  I didn't even know peanuts could grow here, but apparently they can.  And these one's hadn't formed any other nuts on them so they have a better chance.  I'll have to look up their needs to see if they need special care and make sure I planted them at the right depth.

Okay, really going now.

 

 

 

Getting Stuff Done in the Garden

May 15th, 2022 at 11:00 pm

We have almost got the third 22 feet long by 3 feet wide by 2 feet high raised bed completed.  We worked on it last night and then this morning in the rain.  It was supposed to be nasty all day, but of course the sun came out a 1/2 an hour ago.  We got the steer manure in and then used up the rest of the garden soil mix from GroSource.  Unfortunately the are not open on Sundays so we will have to wait until tomorrow to pick up another pickup truck load.

DH priced it all out and while a 1/2 a load (about what we'd need) is $30, a whole load is $40.  If we did bagged soil from the garden center, it would cost $60.  So we decided to go with the $40 option.  It will all get used eventually.  So DH will get some on his lunch hour and then we will have it for Tuesday, which is supposed to be the next nice day.

We discoverd a way for me to help with moving soil in the garden.  If I sit next to the wheel barrow, I can use an old feed scoop to move the dirt into the raised bed.  I feel useful again.

On the last nice day, DH and I cut the climbing rose bush down to waist high.  That probably took off half the height of it.  So he did the lopping off of branches and I cut them up into smaller pieces and put them in the wheelbarrow.  Then we used them in the raised bed.  We put about a two inch layer of garden soil down and then spread a bale of old, rotting hay down, and then the rose clippings, and then layered garden soil on top until we were six inches from the top of the bed, and put down a two inch layer of composted steer manure, and then topped it off with more garden soil.  I like doing a lot of biological inputs.

So we got it all the way up to the top for the first 2/3rds of the bed.  I was able to plant the one tomato plant I picked up, which is Million Pears, a yellow grape type tomato.  I've had it in the past and it was prolific plant.  Then I planted my eggplant.  I forget the type but it is one of the long, skinny Asian varieties.  I figured I'd give it a go.  Then I planted the orange blaze bell pepper and the cayenne pepper.  That's all I've bought so far.  I am going to do three more tomato plants, probably Early Girl or Big Boy, maybe a Yellow Boy if they still have them.  I don't know.  I'm only doing four this year, but I will focus on fertilizing on a schedule, so should get better production.  Then I want to get a jalapeño, an Anaheim, and a couple of bell peppers.  Possibly a poblano, but no serranos this year.

The rest of the bed will be zucchini, but I will put some calendula between the tomatoes and zucchini to encourage pollinators to come into the garden.  I will probably tuck basil into the understory of the tomatoes and between the peppers.  We'll see.  It is too cold to plant basil or zucchini yet.  I need the nights to be at least 50 and they've been running in the 40's.  Either that or I'd have to put cloches over the plants or some kind of green house plastic hoop thing.  It is too cold for May.  The rain is pretty normal, it's one of the main reasons we use raised beds, for drainage, but usually we'd be having temps in the low 60's during the day and 50 at night, not low 50's during the day and 40's at night.

Even if I have to build 3 foot to 7 foot (for the tomatoes) tall hoop tunnels for everything in the raised beds, I will.  We need a great harvest this year, not just a good one, what with the state of produce in the stores and food shortages.

The garlic is doing fantastic, the best I've ever had garlic do, and the onions are starting to get bigger.  They were itty bitty when I planted them, thinner than a blade of grass.  But each one has gotten bigger than that and I see a third blade starting to form on some of them.  I have planted enough onions, that I shouldn't have to buy much for the next year.  They are good keeper varieties, except the Walla Walla's which I will freeze.  And if the others get close to sprouting, then I will cut them up at that point and freeze them.

There are lots of flowers on the strawberries, so I think we will have a good year there.  I hope so.  I want to freeze a lot.  I'll go to the berry farm if I have to, though.  They freeze in one or two gallon buckets.  The blackberries are coming up very nicely from the bottom, but we need to get all the weeds away from them.  I can see the start of itty bitty green berries on the blueberry plants.  The raspberries are getting tall.  The apple tree is in full blossom and it is gorgeous.  And the plum trees did flower this year and there wasn't a storm during the days they flowered, so hopefully that means lots of fruit, because there were tons of blossoms.  It would sure makeup for the nothing of last summer.

We are still prepping the potato plot.  We'll be harvesting in October again, but it doesn't usually freeze until Halloween here.  Then we'll move on to the area for green beans.  As long as we get them in before mid-July we will have plenty to can.  I am growing blue coco pole beans.  They are a purple colored green bean that turns green when cooked or canned.  I have found that the beans are a lot easier to find than green on green and I misplaced my Kentucky Wonder pole bean seeds, anyway.

I wish it would just warm up so I can get on with it.  I also want to plant the sweet potato slips I've been growing, but it needs to be much warmer.  One of them is so long that we have it propped on some cup hooks to keep it out of the way.  They are in the window above the kitchen sink and have a tendency to want to go into the sink.  It'll be my first year growing sweet potatoes. I wanted to do it last year then herniated those discs instead.  I did grow my own slips this year for the first time from a sprouted sweet potato so that was interesting.

Not much else going on here.  I did the banking and the bills on Friday and then bought produce and shrimp and that was it.  I'm still not looking at the retirement accounts.  I don't want to know.

 

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2022 at 06:22 am

I ordered my hog so that's taken care of.  She's going to give me the original price of $3.50 per pound even though she raised her prices last month to $4.00 per pound to account for higher feed costs.  She just felt so sorry for me with the whole freezer saga.  I've kept her updated as we went along.  She said the hog's butchered weight should be around 170 pounds.  A bit smaller than I've gotten before, usually around 200 pounds, but I don't care.  Cut and wrap is .89/lb, plus extra if we want sausage which we do.  They don't charge extra for bacon.  We don't eat as much pork as we do chicken, beef, or even seafood usually, so a smaller amount is not as big a deal and it means I should have room in the freezer for a fall lamb.

DH's boss if cleaning out his freezer because he is going halibut fishing on Tuesday.  We are getting lots of wild Pacific salmon and possibly some cod as well.  DH didn't say how much, just that his boss said a cooler full.  Depends on the size of the cooler, I guess.  So we should get that on Monday.  I will never turn down free wild Pacific salmon.  I'd turn down farmed Atlantic salmon in a heartbeat, though.  I am a salmon snob, but how can you not be living in the coastal Pacific Northwest?

I spent $49.40 on chicken thighs today at Safeway.  They were .99/lb.  I bought 8 packages with 10 thighs each.  That is 80 pieces of chicken.  That portions up to 10 meals for my family or $4.94 per meal or $1.23 and a 1/2 cents per person per meal.  Can't beat that anymore. It was just nice to see a pre-late 2020 price on chicken again.

Speaking of prices from before then, I haven't made it to Fred Meyer to get the $3.97/lb chuck roast for canning yet.  I will probably go on Monday.  We've eaten almost all of the roasts from our beef that we bought last summer.  There's still plenty of beef left, though.  I have a lot of hamburger, quite a few steaks, and some ribs.  I think there is some brisket, too.  Oh, and soup bones.  I still have soup bones.

I called Virginia Mason today and got an appointment for my daughter with ENT doctor who specializes in Rhinology.  Her nosebleeds have gotten so bad that she is waking up every morning with blood running down her throat and causing so much stomach distress.  Because of the high iron content of blood, if you swallow a lot of it, it can cause nausea, vomitting, and troubles with the other end of things as well.  And the clots she's been passing lately have been frightening.  The ENT here just seems to have no clue about anything, so seeing a specialist seems the right course of action.

We were able to make it on the same day she sees the endocrinologist and the day before she sees the internist who specializes in chronic diseases for the first time.  We are staying in Lynnwood, which is pretty close to Seattle instead of at the Inn at Virginia Mason, because no one wants to sleep on those beds again.  Especially me with my deviated discs.

Mom fell yesterday and then again today.  I honestly don't know how this woman has not broken a hip, given herself a concussion, or died.  I keep telling her to slow down and she just won't.  If you looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary, my mother's face would be right next to it.  One of these days it's going to happen when no one is here.  DS is staying home while we go to Seattle because we don't feel she can be left alone for nearly two days.  He doesn't mind.  He's not much of one for car travel.

I am really hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow so we can get more work done on the garden.  It's just been one thing after the other and I feel like we are never going to get it finished.  I so wish I could just get down on the ground and weed.  It is really hard depending on other people for things.  I guess in that way I am like my mother.

Another Step Towards Food Security in a Time of Shortages

April 4th, 2022 at 03:34 am

It was dry and overcast yesterday, so worked on the garden, filling a 22 foot by 3 foot raised garden bed with rotted manure and soil.  I can't do any weight bearing exercise, so I was in charge of raking the dirt out after DH and DS dumped it in, plus breaking up clumps in the manure.  This stuff has been composted for 3 years, so it wasn't gross or anything and anyway, I wore gloves.

So we now have two beds the same size ready to go, although one of them has 8 feet of garlic in it that I planted in November.  It's come up very well and I can't believe how huge around the stem is on the elephant garlic.  I will be planting onions in the rest of that bed.  The per pound cost of onions has gotten ridiculous and the selection is kind of gross sometimes.  I am planting mostly keeping onions, but I will plant some sweet onions to cut up and freeze.  I want to do some shallots this year and of course some bunching onions.

With the bed we just finished I will be planting carrots, parsnips, turnips, and radishes.  I can can all of these things, but I will just have the radishes for eating, not for canning.  I don't know if I like pickled radishes or not, so I am going to try making one pint and if I do, then I will make more, but I don't think I will.

We have 1 1/4 pallets of cinderblocks left, enough to make one more raised bed of the same length, so on the next sunny or at least dry day we will be weed eating the area down to dirt and then covering it with a tarp until the next time DH can get to it to start making the next bed.  I plan on growing zucchini, kohlrabi, chard, cabbage, cucucmbers, and herbs, in that bed.

I looked at the deck today and all the plastic boards are the same length and they seem to be tongue and groove.  This will be great material for raised beds, plus we can reuse the support beams and posts as well.  I can't see how they were attached to the supports though, there are no nails or screws, so I am wondering if they were attached on the underside.  DS will have to look underneath to determine it when it is time to take the deck apart.  I don't think DH is capable of crawling under there anymore.

So those beds will be built where we had the potatoes last year, which is a 16 by 20 foot area. I am planning to transfer the strawberries into one of those beds, because where they were last year led to a lot of scorching of the plants in mid-July through August when we were having temps in the 90's and when it wasn't it was in the high 80's.  But it didn't kill them.  Which reminds me, I have to get a couple more room air conditioners before summer.

I'd like to also plant asparagus in that bed so it can pull double duty, but I think it will have to wait for next year.  The two grow well together since one has a deep root system and the other has a very shallow root system.  That area gets afternoon shade so will get a break from the sun for about 4 hours before it comes back around the giant cedar tree in the neighbor's yard and gets sun for a couple more hours.

As for the other bed, I am thinking tomatoes and peppers since it will be far less shaded than the first bed.  

We are putting potatoes in next to the yet to be built third cinderblock bed.  It is a 22 foot by 16 foot area, so a bit more space than the other and it will get more sun.  Eventually that area will get three more cinderblcok 22 x 3 foot beds, and we will just plant potatoes in raised beds in the future.  We have plenty of potatoes that we planted last year that have sprouted that we will be planting, but I also got 4 new types of seed potatoes that will ship when it is time to plant, so soon.

I wanted to try some fingerlings, get more Kennebecs, a different red, and German butterballs.  The last ones are supposed to do really well here and are very yellow inside, more so than Yukon golds.  I couldn't get them to try last year as they were sold out.  This year I was smart and ordered in December.  Everything I got is supposed to be long keepers.

I am hoping with better sun placement, we will get a higher yield this year.  And if I like the new varieties, that I will have enough of them to replant with next year, especially the German butterballs, because buying seed potatoes to have them shipped is expensive.  And the ones available locally are not the ones I want to grow and don't even necessarily do well here.

We plan on digging out and giving away some mature raspberry plants.  We have one person that eats them so we will leave a three foot area and get rid of the rest.  We can put up posts and trellis green beans there.  It'll only be the one row but since it is pole beans it will produce and produce.  Some will be green and some will be purple.

Once the deck is torn down, we will be moving the huge climbing rose bush, that used to climb the apple tree before it was cut down, into the front yard where the deck was and dig out a weed tree, then we can build another raised bed row that is 20 x 16 feet.  And if we get a stump grinder to take out the old apple tree stump at least enough so we can level the dirt, and tear down the old chicken coop,  I want to get a 10 x 12 foot plexiglass green house and we can put in two beds inside it for growing sweet potatoes and tomatoes in the future.

That probably won't happen this year, but it is on the agenda, as is tearing down the rabbit shed and planting fruit trees.  I want two more Italian prune plum trees, a Bing cherry tree and a Ranier cherry tree.  I don't know if those ones cross fertilize or not, but there are plenty of flowering cherry trees in the neighborhood.  I also want a good apple tree.  Maybe Opal apples or Tsuguras.  And maybe even a cold hearty nectarine and a pair of male and female cold hardy kiwis.  We won't let anything get huge, we need to be able to pick them easily, so will keep them pruned to a reasonable height.  And I need to get a huckleberry bush from a new supplier.

The dead, rootless sticks Tennessee Wholesale Nursery sent me last year never did anything and they refused to honor their warranty when I told them well before the year mark, and they said to just wait and see, then refused to give me my money back when I did just that.  Never do business with these losers.  I am getting a one gallon plant in a pot shipped to me from a reputable nursery.  I would like two but since one plant is $37, I may have to wait until next year to buy a second one.

So that's the plan.  It may be a three year plan or maybe a five year plan even, but we will do what we can this year, so we can grow and preserve as much food as possible and be far less dependent on the supply chain.  

Gardening, Sick kid, Prepping

February 28th, 2022 at 05:33 am

I got my seed starting kits in the mail, so I can start planting seeds this week.  I only ordered a small amount of seeds this year, because I ordered a lot last year.  I'm trying a few new things, a Korean pepper, a little finger eggplant, and dill.  It always sucks that when the cucumbers are ready, but the dill isn't, or vice versa.  And it seems like you can only buy the fresh dill (not the little packets), the cucumbers are mostly done.  So I will grow my own.  I got the kind with the big bouquets.

Mom wants us to take down the deck in the front of the house.  It's not made of wood, but some kind of imitation decking.  We are going to use it to build a long raised bed, probably 16 feet by 4 feet or 2 8 x 4's.  But I want it 3 feet tall, too, and I want to put my strawberries in it, so I can then easily pick while standing.  The strawberries are also in a place that gets so much sun they get scorched and no amount of water helps them, they barely stay alive.  Plus it hurts my back too much to stay hunched over to pick as many berries as we get, for as many days as we get them. 

I'll have to use a lot of dirt, but in the long run it is better for me to be able to continue gardening.  I'll hugelkultur a bit and add all the trimmings to the bottom, like the roses and the raspberry and blackberry canes that need to be trimmed.  Also the apple tree and blueberry bushes need to be trimmed.  And we still have a bunch of compost in the back that can go in.

I'm not sure if we will have enough deck to build a second raised bed or not.  Maybe a smaller one.  But we can use the balustrades to build the arbor that will make the garden gate.  I think we have enough to do two of them, so one into that main garden and one into the smaller garden, and then fence it up.  I feel good about being able to recycle so much.  There will be some trellises that covered the underside of the deck.  We might use that on the outside of the raised bed, just to pretty it up.  When we can get away with reusing so much of what we already have, and only adding the cost of screws it is a major win.  It might not even take the cost of screws if the deck was put down with screws.  If it was put down with nails, that's another story.

We'll be taking down the rabbit shed sometime this summer.  We should be able to reuse the plywood on the end walls and the roof, but the floor is not useable at all.  We'll have to see on the back wall after a lot of pressure washing.  But the 2 x 4's in the walls and ceilings look good and there will be either 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, I can't remember which, for the foundation.  With the cost of wood being what it is, every good piece of lumber is a piece worth saving and reusing.

It'll be a lot of work to be frugal, but the work has to be done anyway, so if it can build more beds, then that is the work we will put it to.

When we run out of the huge side yard and back yard, I'll start eyeing the front yard.  There are some narrow places off to the side that we could put a bed or two in.  It would  be hidden from the road going one direction.  and harder to see because of the bushes coming from the other.  But it gets 8 hours of sun.  And even when we planted zucchini and yellow crookneck squash by the road the one year, no one seemed to steal them, or at least not that I noticed.  There was still plenty if they did.  Anyway, that and the skinny side yard can't be planted until we do some French drain work to try to keep the basement from flooding during big storms.

It may take a few more years to do what I want to do fully, but by the end I'll have a fully handicapped acessible garden, so if I need to use my walker, I can, and if I end up in a wheelchair one day, I still can garden.  We might have to take a layer off one of the planned 3 foot tal beds to do it, but that will still be doable.

I had a setback at physical therapy last week.  He tried to put me on a machine I didn't think I was ready for and it ended up hurting my back and hip so badly that I started crying.  I won't be doing that machine again.  I will insist on it.  I had been doing so good up to that week.  I was walking without my cane most days of the week.  Now I've had to use it even for short distances like the bedroom to the bathroom.  It is so frustrating.

I ended up cancelling my next PT appointment on Tuesday, partly because I am still in such pain from the machine, but mostly because DD has bronchpneumonia, which is the worst type of pneumonia you can get and also the most rare, I believe they said.  I got my info secondhand because DH took her to the doctor for a car appointment, because we knew her lungs needed to be listened to..  I was too sick to go, but I don't have pneumonia, the flu, or Covid, I was checked for all, but they gave me antibiotics because of how long I've been sick and they do seem to be working.  DD can't be left alone and DH has a bunch of meetings that day.

I have to call the doctor tomorrow, because they only gave DD a week of antibiotics and she is not any better and tomorrow is her last day.  I worry she'll have to go to the hospital and I won't be able to see her.  She does not do well with withdrawal from the family due to her anxiety and one of her illnesses needs her to stay calm or she'll burn through her cortisol and have to take more prednisone and she already has to take so much just to stay alive.  In normal times we could have someone with her in shifts during the day, but now they won't let you have visitors at all.  Not that I'd be able to go being sick, anyay.  So I'm just really worried about her overall and stressing if she has to go in.

Nothing financial has happened since payday.  DH worked ten hours of OT last week and is due to work OT this week and the next.

I added some items to mid-term food storage this week.  2 cases of tomato sauce, 1 case of pineapple, and 25 pounds of flour.  WE will be freezing that for a bit and putting it into Mylar, sealing it, and into a bucket with a gamma lid.  I can't find whole wheat flour anywhere.   Costco was so low on everything.  No French fries, no frozen broccoli, no pasta.  And limits on meats.

We still have over half a steer, part of a lamb, not nearly enough chicken, a bit of turkey, some frozen salmon and spot prawns, but almost no pork in the freezer.  What we do have is bacon, one bag of pork chops, and a ham or two, so we'll be okay for a while.  Our potatoes are starting to sprout, but we still have about twenty pounds that have not.  Potatoes are getting a bit hard to find and there is a 2 bag limit.  I do still have some canned, but we won't make it until the next crop is ready.  I have some winter squash that we can eat after the potatoes run out, but only four.  And there is always rice.  We have a lot of that.

I'm not happy with what I am seeing at the grocery stores at all.  Prices and quality wise.  Stuff that would never have made it onto the produce shelves a couple years ago are now the norm.  There are bruises and brown spots and even outright mold.  And these are not bargain stores, these are regular stores.

We still haven't had our new freezer come in.  I really hope it does before harvest season.  I want to be able to freeze strawberries, plum prunes, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, and blueberries at the very least.  Corn, if we decide to grow it, since it tastes better frozen than canned.  But I won't give up room from meat for it.

I'm worried, but I am doing everything I can to be prepared.  If things get bad enough they will start limiting food purchases.  They're already limiting on chicken and some canned goods, beans, and rice.  Who knows what will happen if these things in Ukraine and Taiwan escalate?  If we enter into a war, we could see actual rationing again.  I want to be stocked enough that it isn't something I have to worry about.  I'm generally not this much of a worrywart, but these times they are a changing.

 

A Frozen Future?

February 4th, 2022 at 12:23 am

Not very likely.  DH decided to check up on the freezer we ordered that was supposed to arrive this month, and surprise, surprise, it has been delayed until May now.  I am losing all hope of ever actually seeing this thing.  DH asked if the employee thought it would really come in March and he said nobody really knows.  Supposedly they are supposed to be getting in some brand I never heard of "soon," whatever soon means.  It's called Midea.  From what I've seen the 21 cubic foot upright has good reviews, but again, it may also never actually arrive.

I am done with this pandemic and how it is affecting the supply chain, shipping, and trucking.  We really, seriously, need to go back to building our own stuff in our own country.  It would have curtailed a lot of this having to wait months to a year for new appliances if we'd never moved our manufacturing bases to other countries.

My goal for now is to eat down everything that is in our mini-chest freezer, so we can at least get half a hog.  While I could fit a whole hog in the mini-chest freezer, we do need to have some room for fish, crab, and prawns once the different seasons start up.  Meanwhile I am keeping an eye out for used upright freezers.

We are still working through our chicken freezer stash, but I can't imagine that's going to last more than two more months.   I don't like what I'm seeing on chicken availability.  Or pricing.  I don't think I have the ability to raise meat birds anymore, either.  I know it is only an 8 week committment, but they are a lot of work if you don't have room to put them out in tractors.  Since most of our land is going towards garden space, we really don't have the space to give up to chickens.

Since my January pantry challenge crashed and burned due to the flu, I am doing a no eating out challenge for February.  I want to keep a handle on that, because it is my greatest financial weakeness.  It is just too easy to let money fritter through our hands when we get takeout as much as we do.

DH gave me the amount of tomorrow's paycheck so I was able to finalize the numbers for the budget for this payday.  There was a lot of OT on it.  There will be some on next time's paycheck, too, but doubtful it will be to this extent.  Internet went up again, so I changed that on February and March's spreadsheets, which were as far ahead as I've worked, and then changed it on the 2022 Budget Template as well.  I will also be adding line items to the budget for sinking funds for our yearly portions of property taxes and home owner's insurance, $25 and $34 per month respectively.

We have also finally convinced my mother to put out weekly trash cans instead of every two weeks and then having to call for an extra can at least once a month, so that will go up a bit, too.  Since there will be a lot of stuff to throw away for the next several weeks as we clean up the back porch and clean out the garage and then tear down the rabbit shed we will be filling the cans with a lot of stuff.

Some stuff  we will save, though.  All of the studs out of the rabbit shed will be saved and pressure washed down.  The roof's 4 x 8 plywood sheets look salvageable and possibly the side walls, but not the back and front walls, I don't think, or the floors.  Depends on whether there are weak spots or spots with too much moisture damage.  The window framing is also made from 2 x 4's, so those may give some salvageable wood as well.  The cost of lumber is too expensive not to conserve what we have available to us.  And we have always been ones to reuse as much as possible.

We may be able to build some garden beds with it.  Any raised beds built out of it won't be in the main part of the garden, though, as we want all that to look uniform with the cinderblocks, so long as the cost of cinderblocks doesn't go up to high.  We shall see.

I don't know if I mentioned before, but we are going to get grass-looking astroturf to go between garden rows as we can afford to do it.  I am done with fighting weeds all the time.

I just hope after putting all this time into the garden this year, I'll actually have space to store frozen vegetables.  I will can a lot of root vegetables, but some things are either not cannable or are just better frozen.  My goal has always been to freeze enough zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli for a year, but I still do not have the freezer capacity to do such a thing, so zucchini is my priority this year.  I don't want to be beholden to grocery stores anymore than possible.  The shortages are getting a little scary here and the produce is not best quality.  Growing and preserving as much as I can is the biggest thing on our agenda.

 

EF, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates plus an Aside for Gardners

February 2nd, 2022 at 07:12 am

Interest hit today and it was $4.59 at the online bank, and .07 at CU#2.  CU#1 only pays out quarterly.  So a total of $4.66 in interest, so that goes to the Emergency Fund, bringing the new total there to $20,212.21.  That leaves $310.49 to go to hit 6 month's expenses.

Retirement is starting to creep up again to where it was, but is still $342.72 short of that, putting it at $70,634.30.

That means the NW has gone up by $4.66, but down by $342.72, so the new net worth is $128,759.49.  Still nothing to sneeze at, but still depressing to see it going down and eating any money you put in every payday.  I know I am getting more stock, but I want more stock and good prices.

Let's hope that fire at that fertilizer plant in North Carolina does not make the markets implode in the morning.  I feel really bad for those that lost loved ones and probably their primary bread winner.  Plus, losing a fertilizer plant when there is already a fertilizer shortage, is going to mess with the farmer's and the food supply, which is already pretty screwed in many places.

If you're growing a garden this spring for your own family's food, go get your fertilizer now, because once the chemical stuff goes, they'll be swooping in for all the organic fertilizers like bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion and you won't be able to get it.  And no one wants to go haul rotted horse manure from the local stables, even if it is free.  Not that we won't.

The More Things Change, the More Things are Changed

January 25th, 2022 at 07:28 am

I got a notification from Costco's Citi card today saying that the amount I earned this year was $566.68 and that it will be available in February, so expect an email soon.  They also said that this year you can direct deposit the amount into your checking account instead of having to go to Costco in person to cash it out.  This is so much better.  I hate having to go to Costco to do this, mostly because they seem to change the rules everywhere of where you cash it out and asking doesn't help, because no one really knows until you try then they tell you, oh, we can't do that here, you have to go over there, and then they say somewhere different and so on.  This will save worlds' of frustration.

The plan will be using that towards the garden.  We never got around to building our third garden bed last year, and we have the supplies for that, but we will need supplies for a couple more garden beds, plus I want to buy some astroturf that looks like grass, not that artificial bright green stuff, to go down on the rows between the raised beds.  I don't want to deal with weeds in the pathways.  It'll take somewhere between $80 to $90 per row.  Which seems like a lot, but will be many years worth of weed control.

Mom wants help on the property taxes and the home owner's insurance.  She'd like us to pay half.  Since it is senior rate for the property taxes that is only $300.  Half of the home owner's insurance is $400.  That's for the whole year.  DH is making book on overtime right now and will be for a while yet, so it won't ruffle the budget.  We feel it's fair as it does cover our things as well.  And also we don't pay rent to live here.  We take care of Mom, take care of the house, take care of the property, and pay the utilities.  It's still way less than we would be paying out in the real world.

We are looking for an elder law lawyer so that we can set things up for my mother.  I have been her medical power of attorney for several years now, but she also wants to make me her financial power of attorney.  And she wants to figure out how to pass the house to us in the best way possible so neither of my sisters can make a claim on it after she has died.

We have agreed to take in my eldest sister when the time becomes necessary, which is when she decides to stop working, but she plans to keep on as long as possible.  She's 11 years older than I am and her hip is giving her problems so who knows?  We get along with her, even though Mom doesn't, and there will be room once Mom passes.  Mom might leave a little money to her if she has something left.  If we were to ever sell the house, we would give her some of the proceeds.

And my middle sister is already set in a home with plenty of money, with life insurance set up, and Mom doesn't want her to get a dime because she never visits or helps after surgeries, uses Mom for what Mom can do for her, expecting Mom to drive great distances (they moved further away two years ago) for an 82-year-old, instead of her coming here.  It's been so disgusting, the way my middle sister behaves.  Mom made the choice not to go see her anymore or do anything to help her due to her selfish, using behavior.  Which honestly, she's had her whole adult life so I guess it has just taken my mother this long to see it.  It has always infuriated me.  It has just hurt my mother so badly.

I do not get how you can just abandon your elderly mother like that.  She doesn't call, doesn't send cards on her birthday or at Christmas.  Just ignores her.  And Mom has done so much for her, to be dismissed like this is just horrible.  But middle sis is a narcissist.  My mother can be difficult and she can drive me crazy sometimes, but I could never abandon her and not care like that.  I can never understand why she turned out so differently having been raised the exact same way.  Oh, well.  I can't see ever doing such a thing to my mother, or to my eldest sister.

And even though middle sis has chosen not to be in our lives, either, if her husband dies and none of her four boys would take her in, and she ran out of life insurance money, I'd still figure out something, though it wouldn't be living here, because I have seen her true colors for years and don't want to be around her either.  But family takes care of family.  That's just what you do.  Or maybe that's just what I and my husband do.  Maybe we really just are that different.

I've set up my budget for February and started on March and want to get one set up for April.  April will be a three payheck month, and I want a plan going into it.  And because one of the payday's is on the first it will mean that the last paycheck in March won't need to pay some things it would usually be scheduled for, because the stuff comes out of checking on the 1st or the 2nd.  Sometimes as late as the 7nth if someone drops the ball somewhere.

We are thinking about switching life insurance to AAA, because we can get an additional $50K $8 a month more, than with Allstate.  Allstate is also selling our policies to somewhere else.  The reason we had them was we wanted a local office, so I don't like this.  And who knows what they might raise it to.  We also have some life insurance through his work, but that goes away after he quits working.  I also want to look at the life insurance offered through our credit unions.  It's like $2000 for $1 a month, you just have to fill out the paper work.

I also want to look into getting car insurance with AAA and see if it is cheaper.  Our Allstate office is changing hands and I don't really like it.  Especially the selling off of the life insurance policies.  If we have to deal with non-local people, we might as well do that elsewhere.  I hate change.

Well, maybe not all change.  We started DD on edibles a couple of weeks ago and the change has been amazing.  She is much more able to deal with the pain because it takes the edge off and she is also able to focus, so she is able to read and paint again, and her mood has been quite lifted.  The one she is taking derives its THC from the hemp plant and not the marijuana plant.  I even tried it a couple of times when my nerve pain was off the charts and it really helped.  I mean, you definitely couldn't operate heavy machinery, nor should you, for 12 hours, but it has definitely made a difference.  The dose is quite small, but wow on the pain management.  I never would have believed we would ever be doing this a few years ago, but when pain is so vicious and violent, you change your mind on a lot of things.  Plus, you know, back then it wouldn't have been legal.

Woman Within cancelled my winter coat order after mutliple delays.  I guess they can't get what was supposedly in stock when I ordered it.  And that is the problem with having your manufacturing in China instead of the USA.  But that's whole 'nother bucket of worms.

I am so anxious for my freezer to get here.  I know it won't be until February and we still don't know when in February, and something could go wrong with shipping just like it did with the coat, although I think GE is made here.  It used to be, anyway, just not sure if it still is.  I just feel this need to get more meat in the freezer.  I'll feel alot more food secure with a whole hog and about 3/4 of a steer still in the chest freezer.  Then I can work on chicken and then start saving up all over again for a steer.  And in the summer, we will go fishing/shrimping/crabbing for our seafood.  And also in the summer we harvest and can and freeze as much produce as we possibly can.  These food shortages are getting scary and I don't want to deal with sky high prices on the stuff that is left.

I don't have anything on the schedule tomorrow.  Maybe I can get those spot prawn shells made into bone broth in the pressure cooker and get it canned.  That'll clear out some space in the below fridge freezer.  I might even do onion skins with beef bone broth as well.  We have lots of bones and soup bones and onions skins in the freezer for that and I really want beef and onion broth for making French onion chicken and French onion pork chops.

I can always get out the huge All American canner as it can do 3 levels of pints if I decide to make both.  But I'm not sure I want to tie up both my Instant Pots making broth.  It depends on how early I get up in the morning.  Broth does not take that long to can compared to most things.

Well, this has gotten super long, so I'll sign off for tonight.

 

 

Blathering On

November 10th, 2021 at 11:35 pm

On Saturday there was a break in the weather and DH and I went out and cleared out the dead plants from the two new raised beds.  I had to sit down a lot due to my back and my leg weakness, but I was able to sit there and pick up all the windfallen tomatoes without it hurting too much.  We filled half a bucket with them, most of them cherry tomatoes.  They were all split and rotting due to the two weeks of unrelenting rain, so there was no salvaging anything for green tomato salsa, but I hadn't figured there would be.

After cleaning out the beds, I planted garlic.  There were seven cloves in my elephant garlic bulb, so I may end up getting one more.  And then there were six bulbs of music garlic that I planted as well.  They had 8 to 12 cloves per bulb.  On two of the cloves the skin came off so I used them in making my spaghetti sauce on Monday.  They smelled really good and when I ran into a couple of the minced pieces in the sauce, they tasted really good as well.

We have 8 frost free nights on the forecast including tonight and it happens to be clear today, so I am hoping to get the perrennial herbs transplanted and the huckleberries out of their pots.  We have a rosemary tree which is about 3 feet tall, a big thyme, a big sage, and a dwarf marjoram that will go into the same bed as the garlic, but the opposite end.  I will put the huckleberries in the middle of the bed so that they can be surrounded by the annual herbs I plant next spring.  DH will be doing the work with the most I do being holding up the plants while he shovels dirt around them.

I dont know if the huckleberries are even alive.  They never leafed out, but the company says to give them the full year as it can take that long with berry plants.  If they dont leaf out they will give me my money back or replace them.  I felt when I got them that they were just sticks.  Only one had an actual root on the bottom and not even that one leeafed out.  So I need to keep track and contact them two weeks before the warranty runs out if they still show no signs of life.  I don't think I want replacements from them.  I'd rather go with Stark nursery.  The berry plants I got from them leafed out the same summer I planted them.

On Sunday I flared up big time due to all the garden work and was pretty useless through Monday, though I did cook.  Yesterday I had my physical therapy assessment and the guy agreed with me that it would not be a good idea for me to do pool therapy right now, due to the fact that I can't lift my left leg high enough to go up and down stairs.  They do have a lift, but it is not working right now.  So I will do 8 land therapy sessions and then we will see if I am able to lift that leg enough to go in the pool and continue from there.

He gave me 3 simple exercises to do.  I feel like they are manageable.  I was pretty wiped out afterwards so we grabbed Fiamma Burger for dinner.  They have gluten free options so you can get a burger with a gluten free bun and fries or sweet potato fries cooked in oil that has not been used for breaded products.  I am trying to eat out as little as possible, but it doesn't always happen when pain and exhaustion are involved.

Tonight I am making beef stew for dinner from my home canned carrots, potatoes, and beef.  I wanted to make it last night, but just did not have that kind of energy.  And it's simple because you just take the juice from the jar of meat, and the water from the potatoes to make gravy (maybe add milk if not enough potato water), ditch the juice from the carrots (makes it too sweet) and then combine everything and heat until everything is warmed through.  But even the idea of it last night was too much.  I have good days and bad days and today, at least, is a good day.  Good enough that my fingers are working enough to type and I can open and close my hands.

I found some sweaters I want to order for Christmas, so need to let MIL know since she wants to know what to get me.  I have a hard time regulating my body temperature these days.  I've always had extremely cold hands and feet due to Reynaud's, but now it seems to be moving into my arms and legs, so sweaters and leggings for under my pants are becoming a must once the weather changes like this.  I have cardigans, but I want three pullovers.  And maybe some long sleeved shirts.  MIL gives $200 so I should be able to swing both with that budget.

Tomorrow I need to go in and have blood work done.  My physical is next week.  I've had great blood work for the past few years, but I haven't been eating as well the last three months as before and I think it is probably going to show up in my cholesterol.  I hope not.  It's bad enough I gained weight since my last visit.  At least that is going down again, but I don't think I'll be back to where I was the last time I was weighed there by my appointment time.

I also see the rheumatologist next week and start therapy so I can get medicated again and possibly get a new diagnosis.  I need to talk to someone about never just getting to be the one who can be hurt or sick because I always have to put my stuff on the back burner for my kids or my mother and function regardless.  It's building and building and really affecting my mental health.  My husband does a lot and he is the best, but it doesn't mitigate the others and I've definitely gone into a depression over it and I'm at the point where I need to be medicated again.  Or go on a vacation with just my husband again.  Or possibly just myself.  Three days completley alone with only me to take care of sound like heaven right now.  Although I'd rather have DH with me and go for a week.

Anyway, next week will be very busy.  At least I am sleeping fairly well.  I don't need insomnia with all this pressure building because then I'll spiral and I don't need that right now.

Covid 2.0 Recovery Continues, Growing Music in the Garden, and General Whining

October 15th, 2021 at 05:33 am

I had hoped I wasn't going to have a long, lingering recovery after Covid 2.0, but I am having the same kind of exhaustion and breathing issues I had after Covid 1.0.  Last time it took 10 months to feel like I was normal again.  I really hope that is not what I have to look forward to this time.  I am not eligible for a booster since I took Moderna and it was only in the summer.  I am a little hesitant about the idea, having had it twice and having had such reactions to the vaccine, where I ended up in bed for 10 days after the first one and 11 days after the second one.  I do need to get a flu shot, though, when I feel up to it.

My doctors are also hesitant about the idea of me ever getting boosters at this point, thinking it will do more harm than good.  I don't go anywhere, really, anymore, since it hurts to walk.  Basically just to all the doctors and I send DH to the grocery store.  So it probably doesn't matter if I don't, unless they mandate you can't see medical personel unless you are boostered.

But enough talk about that.  My garden is still producing tomatoes, patty pan squash, zucchini, and cucumbers.  With no sign of frost, I'll just keep going.  I don't think I mentioned, but we got 85 pounds of potatoes using the Ruth Stout method of gardening.  It would have been 90 but there was some rodent damage and slug damage.  Last year I think we got 90, but we planted twice as many potatoes as this year.

I managed to track down some Music, which is a hard-necked garlic that stores exceptionally well.  I've been trying to get it for the last two years and it has always been sold out.  I had to settle for conventionally grown, because organic was sold out, but I will grow it under organic conditions so when I harvest it next year I can save some for planting the following year, and after three years of that it is considered to be fully organic.  I don't buy organic garlic at the store anyway, so that's not a deal breaker.  It isn't generally sprayed since everything stays away from garlic and onions.  With shipping it cost $26 for a pound, which is ouchy, but I'll never have to buy it again, so it is worth the investment for garlic that will store for a year and allow me to grow it in perpetuity.

I also want to plant some elephant garlic this fall, but I will just buy that from the grocery store since I don't want a pound of it.  All I need is four bulbs and that should give me enough cloves to grow so that next year I can eat a couple and still have enough to replant.  They are larger so there is typically around 6 cloves per bulb, so I should get 24 plants.  And so on and so on, until they are fully organic.  I plan on using the elephant garlic to make garlic powder or if I can figure out how, granulated garlic, since the latter tends not to stick.

I have not done much in the past couple of weeks.  Mostly feeling miserable, so it was a good time to plan next year's garden.  I did manage to get off the soda again.  What an addiction that is to me.  I keep going back to it, but sugar makes it take longer for you to get well when you are sick and honestly I just don't feel good when I eat or drink junk.  I am fine with honey, but not even raw cane sugar.  I have already lost weight being 4 days off.

I did make a great stir-fry the other day with soy free, gluten free oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, coconut aminos, honey, water, and corn starch for the sauce.  It was the first time it felt like actual Chinese food again since we quit soy.  The oyster sauce is actually made with real oysters.  That's actually a rarity.  But the saltiness that soy usually provides is replaced by oysters and it is amazing.  And the soy free hoisin sauce was even more savory than regular.  Stir-fries are definitely back on the menu.  As long as I have the energy to cook them.

I had to cancel my physical therapy assessment because I woke up with a fever.  It seems to have passed, but I really don't feel like doing pool therapy in bad weather either.  They say it is an old wive's tail that going out in cold weather with wet hair makes you sick, but it happens every time I do it, so there you go.

Tomorrow is payday, so hopefully I will get a report up.  I have to go to the bank, which I really don't want to do, but I'll have either DH or DS drive me, so I don't have to.  I'm not in any shape to drive with what my back and hips are doing right now.  The chiropractor was back this week after being gone for a week.  The week he was gone was awful, as I subluxed pretty badly.

Even after three adjustments I am not doing so well.  My tailbone turned pretty bad while he was gone and he's having a hard time getting back to where it should be.  It's better, but it will probably take a couple more weeks to undo what one week without adjustments did to me.  I wish he would stop taking these week long vacations.  It's almost to the point of once a month now.  That's when it's not two week long vacations.  No one needs to go away ten times a year.  Oh, well, at least I have a walker, because right now I can't even make it out to the car without it.

Payday Report for 9/20/2021

September 23rd, 2021 at 06:57 pm

$281.04 Tithe

_325.00 Groceries Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

1181.34 Citi

_100.00 Gas Money

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 Me Spending Money

__30.00 DD Allowance

__30.00 DS Allowance

------------------

2810.37 Total Money Out

I run a zero based budget, so that brings the paycheck down to $0.00 left.

Additional Bills that were paid out of short term sinking funds, were the 6 month car insurance bill at $965.00 and the 2 month garbage bill at $86.79.  I set money aside monthly for these things in savings and then pay them when they come due.  It allows me to easily pay for bills that are irregular instead of monthly without having to worry about it at all.

I will be glad when the garden season is over and the last of the yard waste can go to the green dump for composting, as we've had that on top of regular carbage can fees each month as well.  It's $12 for a dump load of green waste, which isn't bad if you fill the whole truck, which we do.  I usually compost most things, but not tree trimmings, rose bush trimmings, or tomato and potato plants, which can carry blight.  So while I haven't budgeted monthly for green waste, I did drop some money into a sinking fund early last spring to deal with it.  We can probably do two more dump loads and then it will be gone.  So I may or may not have to budget more.

I did have to raise the amount I was setting aside for car insurance in the budget template.  I had saved $900 and their was an additional $65.  I had guesstimated how much more it would cost with DS as a licensed driver and was a little short because he is not getting the student discount this time as he is not a student right now.  Once he buys his car, he will pay for his own insurance (or the difference in ours) and we can go back to only paying $600 every six months.  Anyway, I am now saving $167 a month instead of 150 going forward.

Grocery Spending Tracking, Garden Purchase, and the Sweetest Stray Cat

August 6th, 2021 at 08:19 am

I finally made it to the grocery store for a decent sized shop.  DS and I went to Whole Foods since today was his day off.  It really isn't as expensive as some people think.  Like all stores it depends on what you buy.  For organic, it can beat some of the other stores and some of their prices were lower than for regular produce or gluten free items in regular stores.  I never find moldy produce there which is beginning to be more and more of a problem at one store I shop at.  And it has more selection than say Trader Joe's, which I haven't been in in at least 9 months, because they were so draconian in their Covid practices.

I mean, the employees at TJ's were always rude, like shoving their way in front of you to stock something instead of waiting until you moved out of the way or rolling their eyes when the store layout had changed and you asked them were something was now, or when they discontinued an item that you bought a month before but they would lie and say that was discontinued months ago or a year ago.  I've had a couple of them knock me off balance because they just run into you.

But their Covid practices were what really pushed it over they line.  They were like 8 steps beyond what every other grocery store was doing.  I swear I expected to end up in the disinfection scene from New Earth on Doctor Who or something.

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htkUa_fVwCA and Link is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htkUa_fVwCA  But they were inconsistent on enforcing it between registers.  And I got one too many rude cashiers when I asked why the other cashiers allowed you to stand in front of the plexiglass instead of making you wait 8 feet from the place where you could watch your prices ring up or start bagging your food, I was done.  They were just snarling and one even swore at me and I swear I was polite.  I've worked in the service industry, so I don't ever talk disrespectfully to employees even if they are being donkey hats as it gets you nowhere (and I never talked to customers that way either, no matter how exhausted I was).  If you have rules, everyone should follow them, not just one sole cashier.    There is nothing they have that I cannot get elsewhere anymore.  Plus their parking is, pardon my English, utter crap.  I was willing to put up with it when they were the only game in town, but they haven't been that for a long time.

Anyway, here is what I bought at Whole Foods:

2 uncured sliced meat selections (think chorizo, cappicola, etc.)

1 organic watermelon

2 jars of soy free Hoison sauce (first time I've found this)

2 whole organic rotisserie chickens

5 organic nectarines

1 2 lb bag organic French fries

1 box Lundberg's organic Spanish rice

4 boxes Jovial gluten free brown rice penne pasta

1 box almond flour crackers (gluten free)

1 jar organic dill pickle spears

1 box Vital Farms pasture raised butter (cheaper than Kerrygold)

1 box gluten free pancake mix

1 box gluten free organic cereal Cheetah Chomps (like Fruit Loops in concept, but healthy)

1 box of strawberry applesauce (4 shelf stable pouches)

1 small box organic baby spinach

8 Siggi's skyr yogurt (various flavors)

1 pint organic grape jelly

10 pouches organic baby food

1 box Annie's gluten free white cheddar and shells pasta

1 box Annie's gluten free cheddar and rice pasta

1 half gallon bottle of organic lemonade and iced tea (mixed)

1 pineapple

1 bag with 7 colored bell peppers

1 head of cauliflower 

1 lb sugar snap peas (which they rang up as a serrano, I see, which is a lot cheaper)

1 bunch green onions

1 6 inch piece daikon

2 heads of broccoli

1 large bok choy

3 lbs of dark red cherries

I spent $211.95 and that grocery cart was full.  I didn't buy much meat because we have a ton in the freezer.  I will have to go to one more store to buy milk, bread, gluten and soy free bread, uncured hot dogs, and then Whole Foods was sold out of ginger and black plums so I'd like to get those, too.  I shouldn't have to buy much else during the next two weeks, depending on how the fruit lasts.  It seems to not last as long with days in the 80's and 90's like right now.  The garden is producing lettuce, raspberries, zucchini, patty pan squash, and cucumbers now and it looks like I will have a lot ready by next week.

Oh, and the organic baby food pouches are because my daughter's gastropaeresis is acting up again, which makes it very hard for her to digest fiber.  This allows her to have some fruits and vegetables in a pureed form.  And since it is all organic, it really isn't that much cheaper to do it myself.  The convenience factor is worth it, though I will still puree any food I cook for her that can be pureed.  Right now having a soft food diet gives her digestive system a chance to rest without sacrificing nutrition.  It is very easy for her to become malnourished and I don't always have the stamina or freedom from pain to do it all myself anymore.  That particular yogurt was also for her.

I did order a shade cloth from Amazon last night for the strawberries.  It cost $30.46.  It's 10 x 13 and the two beds together are 12 x 4.  They are hooped so while I probably only needed 8 feet instead of 10 for the sides, this was what was available.  The strawberries are really struggling in this unrelenting heat and they are in the garden bed that gets the most sun during the day.  Watering well just has not been enough and I don't want to lose them.  I will move them next spring to a bed that gets shade during the hottest part of the day, assuming those beds do get built in late August and September as planned.  I know at least one will, but I don't know if all four will.  The potatoes and tomatoes are thriving, but I don't know what is going on with my peppers this year.  They are stunted.  I need to fertilize with fish emulsion.

There is the sweetest  young cat coming by.  I think she is descended from Mrs. Norris, a stray cat that was pregnant a couple of years ago, because it looks just like her.  This is the most beautiful tabby in the traditional grey and black stripes.  I think it is about five or six months old.  It is just shy of the lanky teenage cat stage.  It looks healthy and like it is eating, and I saw it with a mouse once, but there is no collar and when you pet the friendly little thing it has a lot of flea poop that comes off its fur, so it is infested.

It is what I call friendly/wary, which makes me think it has been recently dumped or got loose, but was raised among humans until then.  I am putting out fresh water for it, but mostly the neighbor is looking out for it.  It'll wind around my legs and loves to be pet, but it will not let me pick it up.  I do wash with soap anywhere it touches me, though, as soon as I go in.  I'm not getting flea bites or taking fleas into the house.  Any clothes it touches go straight into the washer.

I wish I wasn't allergic to cats and DS wasn't.  I haven't had one since the cat I got when I was ten died when I was 26 and I do like my ability to breathe.  But this cat just makes me want to adopt it.  It is beautiful and sweet and has such lovely eyes.  I'm afraid I might fall in love with it.  It is hard to be the cat person you are when it makes you miserable to have one in your home.  The neighbor is looking out for it and will probably adopt it or at least bring it in for the worst part of the winter.  She's a soft touch and all of her cats for the last 3 decades have found her, not the other way around.  I might buy a flea comb if it gets really comfy with me and see if I can't help it.  And maybe a flea collar.  Do they make break away flea collars these days?

Tired but Not Cranky

July 30th, 2021 at 07:32 am

I didn't fall asleep until two last night, which isn't unheard of, particularly on a night when I've been writing, but I wasn't last night.  Then I woke up at 8 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep.  I've been dragging all day, but I am in a surprisingly chipper mood.

I did manage to get some stuff done that I have been putting off.  I called the main doctor's office to follow up on referrals for my daughter.  She was supposed to have them done for P.T. for the torn miniscus and for an orthopedist for the same reason.  The P.T. has been approved by the insurance company, but the orthopedist referral hadn't ever been started.  They said to go ahead and call the P.T. place.  I hate it when we see someone who isn't our actual doctor.  They always seem to drop the ball somewhere.

While I had them on the phone I had them ask to renew a prescription for my daughter and one for me.  Her's is a powerful NSAID, but not a narcotic and mine is a narcotic.  Both cannot have refills left at the pharmacy, but have to be called in each time.  It used to be you had to go into the doctor's office to pick up the paper prescription, but that changed when Covid lockdowns happened.

Then I called the allergist to schedule an appointment for my son.  That was no waiting time on the phone, thank goodness.  It'll be a 3 hour appointment so he can get all the little pinpricks to see what he is allergic to.  He can't be on anthistamines for 5 days beforehand.  It's not until October, so he should have had time to settle into his job by then.  Speaking of which, orientation is tomorrow (the time stamp is still off, but I mean the 30th) for 3 hours.  I don't know why I'm so nervous for him, but I am not showing it at all.  I don't want him to be nervous.

After that, I called the P.T. place, but still no referral on their end.  *sighs*  It's a bummer, but there's only so much chasing down I can do.  And I don't know how far out they are scheduling.  I need to make sure they actually sent it to the place I asked them, too, if I haven't heart in a place.  It might actually be somewhere else as they do use another place sometimes.  I've gone to both, but one is a lot closer to our house than the other.

The new drug continues to help a lot.  I was able to wash my hair without any help from the husband today.  Usually he has to wash my hair, because it is hard for my one shoulder to be held above my head that long.  I have obnoxiously thick, long hair, so it isn't a quick shampoo, rinse, shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse.  It is a longer process.  It's still no fun bending over the kitchen sink for my back, though.  And I had to do the towel on the floor, wipe stuff up with my feet method for the water I got all over the place.  Then kicked it to the laundry room.  But I still did it.

The part of the garden on the drip hoses got watered.  Two more drip hoses arrived in mail today, a 25 foot to finish off the blackberries and huckleberry area and a 50 foot for the strawberry bed.  I picked off some more of the potato flowers.  I am about 2/3rds of the way through with that.  I can only bend for a little bit before it starts to ache.  I harvested my first zucchini and some of my cucumber plants have itty, bitty cucumbers on two of them and I have an tiny patty pan.  My pepper plants have itty bitty peppers, and my tomato plants have some small and medium green tomatoes on them.

My lettuce is finally ready to be harvested.  Planting late on that means no lettuce until practically August, but at least I have some now.  It is leaf lettuce so I just take the outside leaves and more grows from the center.  So a salad is on the meal plan for tomorrow.  I think I'm going to go ahead and pull the onions.  Transplanting them from the containers might have been okay if we hadn't had that excessive heatwave for so long, but the watering just couldn't keep up, so a lot of the greenery died. Better luck next year.

I forgot to mention in the last post that DH got crab on the weekend.  He got 8, one guy only wanted two of his 5, from the second day of crabbing.  The first day was for the "office" party for his group.  It wasn't as big a showing as usual due to people still not being vaccinated and not wanting to go to large gatherings.  The kids and I were sick with that stomach virus, so we couldn't go.  DH ended up bringing back five crabs from the leftovers.  DH got the meat all picked out of the shells and a lot of went into the freezer.  I can't due the picking due to my RA.  My hands just can't.  There is one container in the fridge that holds 2 picked crabs' worth of meat for snacking.  It's pretty good.  Dungeness always is, though I prefer snow or King, they just aren't around here.

They hope to go out again, but not sure what the season will allow.  They will be going fishing, though.  The salmon haven't really started running yet.

DH still hasn't called the Fridgidaire people.  I hope he manages to get it done this week.  I really need to give the hog lady a head's up.  I do almost all of the calling and appointment making, but DH is the one who can explain things with the freezer best, so he really needs to do it.  My speech gets confused a little too easily these days and I fluster when I call unfamiliar places that aren't doctor's offices, because that is usually some variation on a long memorized script.  It's the meds (not the new one), but what else am I going to do?  I'm miserable without them.

 

Van Maintenance

June 3rd, 2021 at 09:55 pm

We took the van in for a 5000 mile check up yesterday.  It was basically an oil change and fluid fill up and an inspection to see what else needed to be done now that the car has reached ten years of age.  They do have things they rec at either 10 years or 100,000 miles.  Well, we only have 51,000 miles, but we bought the van in June of 2021 so we are going with getting the work done that is recommended.  We paid $94.69 for that appointment.

Because we want to drive this van until it dies, maintenance if very important to us.  Vehicles, even used ones, are super expensive, so we take as good of care as possible of our vehicles.  They want to flush the transmission at $315, flush the coolant at $200, do an induction (cleaning the build up off the inside of the engine) at $170, and something to do with the electonic fuel injection at $170.  That's a total of $855 worth of work.  I only have $708 in my car maintenance envelope after paying for the other.  That's a shortfall of $147.00.

Since DH will get quite a bit of overtime on the next paycheck, I will take out $200 for car maintenance, which will cover the shortfall and leave a little left in the envelope.  I set aside $100 a month generally in this envelope.  I will set aside an additional $100 the following payday, too.  I don't like to run that envelope so close to bone.

I didn't end up planting any seeds yesterday, but we did get the wire hoops cut to size and put into the bed and then measured out and fitted the netting to the hoops.  We hand watered, too.  It was still pretty hot and it just sapped your strength.  Today is 68 and much cooler so we will try to get it done.  My soaker hose is supposed to arrive today.  I got it for the bed that has the tomatoes, peppers, and summer squash in it, because those don't like to get their leaves wet and will get blight if they are wet too much.  This way I can water at the base and not have to worry about that.

If I like the way the soaker hose works I will order them for the other beds, too.  I want to see how great the coverage is with it.  A soaker is the type that beads out water droplets not sprays them out.  That's a drip hose.  People get them confused, understandably, and then complain on Amazon reviews because it doesn't work the way they thought it would because they ordered the wrong thing.  A simple reading of the description would tell them.  But the whiney reveiws were actually helpful because I knew for sure it would do what I wanted it to do.

Tomorrow is my MRI on my back.  Since the 20 weeks of physical therapy did nothing to improve things, they are now looking for disc issues, most likely a slipped disc.  It would be nice to have an answer and maybe a better course of treatment.  I really don't want to be on pain killers the rest of my life.  It addles my mind.

Garden Work

June 2nd, 2021 at 09:58 pm

We finished building the second 21 foot long raised bed on the weekend and worked on getting it filled up on Monday.  We let it settle and my intention was to plant it on Tuesday, but it was 86 degrees for most of the day.  It finally cooled off enough to be outside around 8:30.  DS and I transplanted the onions out of the totes I was growing them in.  I gave them a deep watering and will water again tonight.  We did get the rest of the blackberries planted, too.

By the time we were done moving the onions the sun was almost down, so I didn't get to plant any seeds.  It is hot again today, but not nearly as awful, so I will go out after dinner and plant seeds for carrots, radishes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.  I am only going to do one row of cauliflower.  Last year was the first time I was able to successfully grow it and I'm still a little hesitant to plant more after years of failures.  Since I only have the two beds for now, I'd rather not risk much.

DH isn't going to have time to work on the third bed for probably a couple of weeks.  He's got a lot of overtime planned.  The next paycheck should be a very good one.  I can plant more broccoli and perhaps cauliflower then for the freezer.  And I'll sow more carrots for canning.

We've been picking strawberries for a week now.  There hasn't been much, enough for everyone to have one every other day, but a lot are ripening.  They are very good berries.

I still have to plant the sweet potatoes.  I got a 90 day variety called Beuregard.  I have the slips in water in a window.  I am going to grow them in big round totes, with trellising for the vines to grow up.  I'll put the totes on black plastic, because I don't want the runners escaping out of the tote and going into the ground.  The whole point of growing this way is to avoid digging in the ground.  We'll set the totes up where the fourth bed will go.  That way we can build the bed around it and next year have a fourth one ready to go.  As well as a fifth and sixth one.

Next year we'll really be able to grow a lot of food.  This year it will mostly be eating fresh from the garden with some to can and freeze, but not enough.  Still, it should lower food costs July through April and that money can go to save for pork and chicken bulk purchases.  And I should have harvestable lettuce in a couple of weeks and radishes in 3 to 4.  It will be nice when I can just cut the grocery budget in half for most of the summer.

It's Been a Long Two Weeks

May 14th, 2021 at 07:08 pm

Until today I think I went about two weeks between posting.  I had my colonoscopy/endoscopy on the 3rd and it really threw me for a loop.  They gave me ketamine.  The anesthesiologist says it was the highest dose he had ever given anyone in his career.  I was in a lot of pain and kept waking up.  I don't remember being in pain, but I do remember waking up once and going ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, then nothing.

I think a lot of the pain had to do with the position I had to lay in, which was on my worst hip and worst shoulder and it put pressure on my degenerative discs, as well.  But when I woke up my fibromyalgia pain was gone.  I had been in the middle of a bad flare up and it was the weirdest thing in the world.  Usually my pain background level is a 6 or 7 out of 10 and the really bad days can go up to a 10.  I woke up at about a 3 and it was very specifically the degerative discs and the joints with arthiritis in them.  And high as a kite.  It was so weird to be at such a low level of pain.  I'd forgotten what it was like to not have the fibro pain.

The high lasted a good 48 hours and then I was just kind of dissociative for another couple of days before I felt like I was in my right mind again.  The fibromyalgia pain has not come back yet.  It will, but for now it is turned off and I am getting stuff done.

My daughter had her lumbar puncture on the 7th and her spinal fluid pressure was super high.  It was supposed to be a 20 and it was at 44.  She was given a new medication to start on, but we had to consult with her neurologist because she is on another medicine that does not play well with others.  It is generally a drug that needs to be weaned from if you take it for epilepsy, but she takes it for migraine.  So we are waiting to hear back, but of course, the neuro doc is out of the office for the rest of the week.

They were going to see if they could consult someone else, but even if they do, that person may decide it still needs to be a consult with her neuro doc first.  So we may get nothing until Monday.  She can't start the new drug until we find out and she really, really needs to start it because her pressure is building up again.

People always go on vacation at the least convenient times, I've found, for our medical needs.  Ah, well, what are you going to do, but wait it out?

Once she does start this medication it should help her significantly.

My chiropractor mentioned the other day that they are testing a new fibromyalgia drug that is supposed to be really promising and they are looking for volunteers.  I have to look it up and see if I can find out about it.  I wouldn't mind being in a trial and neither would DD.

My husband, son, and I are all scheduled to get our first dose of the Covid vaccine on Sunday and then DD is scheduled for the 25th (she wanted a late afternoon appointment and that was the soonest they had).  We'll be getting the Moderna vaccine.  I will be glad to have that done with.

We have hit our out of pocket max on medical so now all of that is covered for the rest of the year.  We hit it before the above procedures so those were completely covered.  I will still be putting money into the medical fund, though.  DD still needs to get a pair of glasses.  We were waiting until this stuff was resolved.  And then DS needs braces.  We'll be doing Invisilign.  I have $3000 saved for that so far.  We have to go in and do a consult and get an estimate, but it will probably be around $6000 based on what I am seeing online.  Which I can save by the end of the year if I put $400 per payday into the Medical Fund starting next week.

I don't want to go into debt for it.  I am hoping the orthodontist is willing to start with $3000 up front and then either do a pay as you go or wait until January for the rest.  When DD had her braces the doc we went to wanted half up front and then the rest paid off in the following 3 months which was very hard on the budget and that was when we had 50% coverage on insurance.  We have no coverage now with the dental we have.

I had been hoping to use that money for our deductible and out of pocket max for 2022, but such is life.  We just never get ahead when it comes to medical expenses.  But at least we break even.

I need to get the ball rolling on trying to get DD on disability.  She's got hypothyroid, secondary adrenal insufficiency which makes her steroid dependent, ideopathic intercranial hypertension (too much spinal fluid on the brain), fibromyalgia, bulging discs in her back, traumatic brain injury, Raynaud's Syndrome, and Sjogren's disease.

I think she should qualify and then there would be that money to use towards her medical expenses as well as to give her a little something for herself.  We can handle the living expenses, it's her medical that has us barely making progress towards our goals.  She has to go off our insurance at 26.  I don't know if there is any provision for her staying on longer because she is disabled, other than 18 months of COBRA.  DH is supposed to check into that and what qualifies for it.

I am not sure if going on disability also qualifies a person for a government insurance like medicare or the other one, but we might be able to afford a policy for her with the disability at least.  That's what she wants it to go towards if she can get it, her medical expenses.  A private policy would probably be better just because so many doctors don't take medicare or the like and you are often relegated to a lesser standard of care because of it.  That has been my experience with Mom anyway.  It would help if there weren't so many run away costs in medical treatment.

Anyway, other than that we've been working hard in building the garden.  It is going slower than planned, but is starting to come together.  Once we make a bit more progress I'll post photos or a video link or something.

I've also been reading now that I have functional glasses.  I'm on my third book in 4 weeks, which may not seem like a lot to the avid readers around here, but for me, it is.  The first book I read this year took me 3 months because my glasses were so bad and it wasn't easy to read.  This is so much better, now that they raised the reading line a couple of mm.  It's such a tiny amount, but it has made a world of difference.

They are saying the library might open up on a limited schedule shortly.  I hope so.  I like to browse and by then I will be fully vaccinated.  You just don't stumble across books that might be gems if you have to know what you are looking for to reserve online.  I like the books I wasn't looking for.  Those are some of the best.

It is also looking hopeful that the fair will run this year.  They didn't have it last year and it was a major bummer for the community.

Not much else going on here.

Working in the Garden

March 18th, 2021 at 02:56 am

My husband, son, and I spent a few hours working in the garden before the son went down.  My son was weeding the strip beside the house where we will be planting the blackberry bushes.  He got a 4 x 2 foot area and a 4 x 3 foot area weeded.  These are the nasty weeds that are really hard to get out because they have runners.

My husband got the garden bed empty that was so heavily invested with morning glory.  The root structure in there was unbelievable.  The three sides to the bed still need to be taken down, but he was beat after that, so that is a project for the next nice day we have.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow but be overcast only on Friday.  And then rain for the forseeable future.

I was working on digging up and dividing strawberries.  It took me about 3 hours, but we have quite a tidy amount to sell and I've expanded the ones we are keeping to fill a 12 by 4 foot garden bed with four rows.  I filled 4 garbage cans that I grew tomatoes in last year and then 3 more containers.  There will be lots of strawberries this year for fresh eating, jam, and freezing.  I should be able to sell 4 dozen plants at a dollar a plant.

I'll be able to divide both my peppermint, lemon balm, thyme and spearmint this year.  And I've got some more fennel volunteers that can be sold.  And I can divide my bee balm and plant it in a couple of locations.  We will also be selling raspberry plants because we have way too many plants based on how many people actually eat raspberries.  We will keep a few of the thornless ones and plant them in a different area away from the fence, so we can see if the morning glory starts creeping over from the neighbor's yard again and do something about it before it gets into ours.

I got a check in the mail today from Allstate for the safe driver's refund.  It's for $37.49.  I will deposit it on Friday (payday) and send it to the EF.  I am starting to think maybe we will hit the original goal for the EF for this year after all.  Wouldn't that be something?

 

Planning out my Yearly Food Needs to Lower the Grocery Budget

February 10th, 2021 at 04:13 am

Every year I make up a food preservation plan, which is an overarching pantry plan, really.  I keep the previous year's plans so I can see what I planned before, what I actually achieved, and what I might want to do more or less of.  This includes a canning plan, a dehydrating plan, a freezer plan, and a long-term staples plan.  It's really quite in depth and when I make them up, I feel like I've got a really good handle on things for the coming year.

This year I will need to fill 1,316 jars, 626 quart jars, 28 pint and a half jars, 573 pint jars, and 89 pint and a half jars.  I have around 750 reusable canning lids, but will need to buy more and maybe some metal ones if I can find them.  I prefer metal ones for waterbath canning, but reusable for pressure canning.  They are supposed to be back in stock now, but there was huge shortage during 2020 due to people growing and canning a lot more food because they were worried about food shortages.  I think I have enough jars, but if I need to, I can store the culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and teas I grow in take out soup containers or spaghetti sauce jars.

Knowing how much I want to do, helps me to plan how much of what I am going to plant in the garden, how much freezer space I will need, and how many mylar bags and food grade buckets I need to have on hand, and of course the aforementioned jars and lids.

All of this, if I can achieve it, should cut our grocery spending by half.  That is assuming a good growing season and a good harvest year.  It is worth it to me even though it is a lot of work.  When you have to eat gluten free and you don't want a ton of processed food in your diet, and you prefer organic, you have to find other ways of doing things so you can actually afford all that.

In my case, it turns me into a prepper, at least with food.  Not a crazy one, mind you, but like what our grandparents and great grandparents did, because they had to.  I will be most comfortable, especially in these days of pandemic, to have a year's supply on hand.  That is my ultimate goal.  We have been building it back since the year we had to use it almost all up when DH was unemployed for 10 months.

Anyway, if you would like to see my 2021 Food Preservation Plan I made a video of it. 

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iDcIjsSbTI and Link is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iDcIjsSbTI  Maybe it will be helpful to anyone else who wants to build their own plan.  Mine is for a family of four adults.

 

Payday Report for 1/22/2021

January 22nd, 2021 at 08:55 pm

I did get my Google/AdSense payment this week so I added that into the regular budget.  10% of that went to the tithe and the rest to the Emergency Fund.  I did buy some garden stuff with the Citi card, but the rest of that was monthly charges for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sirius Satellite for the van (that includes the up to date GPS information), and Ting (our cell phone service).

I know I'm not meant to be using that card for anything but the subscriptions, but I did.  And I'll be transparent about it, because that is what this blog is about.  The seed catalogues online are selling out already and I didn't want to wait until today.  I'm glad I didn't, or I would have missed out on the onion plant variety I wanted, the thornless blackberry plants, and multiple varieties of seeds that are very hard to get.  As of today they were sold out. I checked.  I have made all of my seed orders now.  I will still have to order the seed potatoes I want, but if I miss out on those I'll just get some locally of a different variety.  The shipping will get you on the seed potatoes, because 25 pounds is heavy to ship, so I probably won't order those until next payday, but on my debit card this time.

$281.47 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_556.56 Autopays/Citi

__71.99 Life Insurance--DH

__60.46 Life Insruance--Me

_300.00 Taxes Fund

_100.00 Spending Money--Adults

__90.00 Allowances--Kids

_479.25 Emergency Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

-------------------------

2814.73 Total Money Out

This and That

January 17th, 2021 at 06:07 am

My daughter came home from the hospital last night.  They got all of the tumor.  We have to wait a week or so for the biopsy results, but it did not appear to be cancerous.  She is doing well, eating soup and Welch's version of Jell-O, which has no artificial dyes in it.  She's a little high on the pain medicine, but that's kind of how she reacts to it.

I started physical therapy on Friday.  They can't do much with me because of how inflammed I am right now, but they started an electrical stimulation thing called a tens machine and did that over the L-4 and L-5 vertabrae on my back.  I think it made a small amount of difference, but it is early days.

The pantry challenge is going well.  We still have not gone to the grocery store yet.  I have only repeated one meal and that was because there were leftovers.  I have salmon and spot prawns thawing in the fridge, both of which my husband and son caught.  DD thinks those will be easy for her to eat.  Her jaw and throat are pretty sore from having a breathing tube in during surgery.  So easy to chew foods are on the agenda for a couple of days.  We have a lot of seafood in the freezer, but it is getting close to the time when it needs to be used up by.

I finally succeeded in finding some dye free, fragrance free shampoo and conditioner.  I am hoping they are good products.  I still can't find a body wash like that that doesn't use coconut oil.  We make do on the castile bar baby soap that is fragrance and dye free, but sometimes you just want a liquid body wash.

If that new stimulus Biden wants passes that will give you money for all dependents not just children, we will be getting quite a lot of money.  DH made a mistake when he was trying to figure out our taxes early.  Turns out we will owe somewhere in the $900 range, not the over $2000 he'd originally thought.

If so, and if this stimulus comes quickly I figure we'll open a spousal IRA for 2020, which may be enough to get rid of that tax bill, and see about getting a new ceiling in the tiny bathroom.  If it doesn't pass or we don't get it, then I guess we will just have to save up to fix it.  First off I will need to price everything, but I think DH and DS can do it themselves.

It should only require two pieces of the moisture resistant drywall and rental of a drywall lifter, and some tape, some mud, and some paint.  We have plastic sheeting to keep paint from dripping onto the floor, tub, sink, mirror, and shelves.  We saved everything our mattresses were wrapped in.

I got my first seed order today from Victory seeds.  I am really excited about starting to plan for the new garden.  We are completely redoing it with cinderblock raised beds that we will use mortar on to make a permanent structure.  The wooden beds just fall apart too quickly and I don't want to throw away anymore money on this.

I have another order coming from Fedco and I have to order a couple more things yet, but not much.  I am just waiting on one of the companies to put up its seeds for the year, which should be any day now.  It's just the type of broccoli and the type of lettuce I want.

Not too much going on here.  I have slowly been working my way through the novel I am reading and am about 80% done.  I can't read like I used to since the concussion a few years ago and because of the floaters in my eyes so I mostly take 3 to 4 weeks to read a large print novel these days.  I set my goal on Goodreads to 12 books read for the year.  I listen to a lot of audio stories and books, though, but I don't count that as actual reading.  I do read quite a bit online, but I have to put the magnification up pretty high.

I've now lost 13.4 pounds, but I gave in and ate gluten today, still within the confines of my diet.  It was breaded cod fish.  We will see how I feel tomorrow.  I don't react like my kids do, but it usually makes me feel bloated.  At least I made it halfway through the month.

 

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.

 

Entry I Wrote on October 25, 2020

October 28th, 2020 at 10:24 pm

The lack of progress on the blogs is really starting to frustrate me.  I know it’s a platform change and that just makes everything drag out longer.  It looks like a better system when I can get into it.  At least one from this century anyway.

So, I added up the numbers and this is what we have harvested this year:

102 pounds of potatoes

5 pounds of bell peppers

5 pounds of Anaheim mild chile peppers

3 pounds of serrano chile peppers

6 pounds of Trident poblano peppers

2 pounds of jalapenos

12 pounds of radishes, plus their greens

3 pounds of carrots

64 ears of corn

104 pounds of green beans

6 bunches of celery

12 kohlrabi

12 broccoli heads

45 pounds of cucumbers

3 months’ worth of lettuce greens

2 cabbages

30 pounds of tomatoes

5 months’ worth of chard (still going strong)

10 pounds of beets, plus their greens

1 quart jar each of dried peppermint, spearmint, raspberry leaves, bee balm, calendula, and yarrow for tea

1 quart jar each of dried basil, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and nasturtium buds (dried they taste peppery)

 

I will be drying and powdering some of the poblanos to make ancho powder and the serranos to make a substitute for cayenne powder.

 

Sirloin steaks are on sale this week for $2.88/lb.  Hopefully I can make it over to the store this week and get some.  I’d like to grind some for burger.  You can’t beat that price right now.  Don’t know if I will make it or not.  This sinus infection is still kicking my butt.  I did go and have a car appointment on the 23rd and the doctor I saw put me on prednisone and an antibiotic called cefdinir.  I had to get the liquid kind though, because the pill form is red #40 and red #28 and I really prefer not to have migraines, thank you.  It tastes like artificial sweetener, which I also try to avoid, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.  Since I can’t take penicillin without getting hives it is the lesser of two evils.  And the Z-pack didn’t work last time.

 

Mom canned 14 jars of beef for me and seven jars of potatoes, so even though I’ve been in and out of it, things are still moving in stocking up the pantry for the upcoming cold and flu/political upheaval season.  Time is running short and I want to be ready in time.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention, DS passed his driver’s test.  This makes my life so much easier.  His license should be here in a few days.


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