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Ugh--Gas! And Planned Purchases

May 31st, 2022 at 11:54 pm

I can't believe gas is at $5.89 a gallon.  I think I may have to increase our gas budget again.  I'd already doubled it from $100 per month to $200 per month, but now may need to go up to $250.  Even if we don't end up needing it for the cars, DH will start fishing soon and need to pay for his portion of the gas for the boat.  They try to take as many people out as the boat allows, so the gas costs can be split between more people.  That's more important than ever now.

I also need to add a fishing license cost into the next budget I make up, which reminds me, I need to do a budget for June.  I like to be prepared in advance, and usually I would have done this after filling in the budget for the first paycheck of May.  But it has been a busy, busy month and I didn't get around to it.

My Fitbit is acting up.  It has been for a couple of months now, usually after I go in the pool and submerge it, but also the last couple of times I've showered with it on.  It's one made for swimming, but it is also several years old so maybe the water is starting to leak in.  At first it was only freezing it on the clock for a couple of days afterwards while it dried out, but now it isn't giving me even that.  I can still check my steps on my phone, so that part is working, but I use it as a watch just as much as a step counter, because it is a pain to pull out my phone to see the time.  Plus the text messages I get show up on the Fitbit. Or did.  I've tried to reboot it several times, and at first it worked, but now it is a no go.

So now I need to price out new Fitbits and see how much it will cost to replace it with one that can go in the water.  I also need to get a new memory card for the new used camera.  I have $100 in my allowance folder, and can share the memory card out of my handheld back and forth for now, but that is a pain long-term.  I gave one of the kids my old memory card for their game machine when the old camera went belly-up.  I need the new Fitbit first, I think, but it depends on how long it will cost for me to save up for it.  I have no idea what they run now.  The last one was $100 and I doubt they have nothing in that price range these days.

At least my phone is in good working order.  Knock on wood.

No Spending Today--Garden Talk

May 31st, 2022 at 03:36 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 01:01 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.

 

 

Seattle was Exhausting

May 29th, 2022 at 02:18 am

Tuesday night after dinner we headed towards Seattle, but our hotel was in Lynnwood.  We stayed at a Hilton.  Let's just say it was not the best experience.  We get up to our suite and the door didn't unlock.  So my daughter and I are both left standing in the hallway while DH runs down to get the keys redone.  Standing is hard for both of us because we both have degenerative discs at the L-4 and L-5.  So does my mom so we think it is hereditary.

So DH comes back up with the keys again and it's still a no go.  And we can hear people inside who are very loud for 11:30 at night at a hotel.  So we figured it was locked from the inside and someone had gone into our suite who wasn't supposed to be in there.  DH runs down again and tells them someone is in suite.

Meanwhile, I am just about ready to cry from the pain.  So the front desk calls security and gives us an empty room across the hall.  One room, not a suite, but at least they were King size beds and had a fridge and microwave.  We reserved two rooms because I don't like sleeping in the same bed as DH.  He has restless legs and every movement or noise wakes me up.  It is horrible.  It felt like he was trying to pedal a bicycle next to me whenever we do.

So they booted the people out of the suite, but of course they had messed it up.  The bed clothes were off the beds, they'd used all the towels to clean up a spill.  There was honey on the floor and it reeked of alcohol.  There was no way to clean that up for us since there was no housekeeping until morning.

Needless to say I slept very poorly.  My fit bit says I managed 1 hour and 25 minutes.  The hotel breakfast was really good, though.  They had eggs, ham, sausage, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, blueberry and banana nut muffins, English muffins, bagels, cream cheese, toast, packets of peanut butter and jelly, 4 types of cereal, two of which were healthy, milk apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch, various teas, and 4 grind it on the spot coffees.  Oh, and 2 waffle makers.  So lots of options to choose from.  I just had eggs, ham, and a small amount of potatoes, with milk.  I seldom drink milk but it sounded good that morning.

DD's first appointment with the ENT went well.  She does not have a 95% deviated septum like the previous ENT claimed.  She has a mild deviation that isn't worth correcting as it is not what was causing her problems.  She has very, very fraglie blood vessels close to the surface that keep bursting.  He put a scope up there and I got to watch on the computer and you could see where the vessles had been bursting.  It looked nasty.  So he did electric cauterization, which is different from burning it somehow and last longer and is far more effective.  Hopefully that will put an end to the nosebleeds for a good six months.

After that appointment we went to Duke's seafood restaurant.  It was nice, but casual nice.  We got chowders and sour dough bread with real butter. It was delcious and light after having breakfast only a couple hours earlier.  Then we headed back to Virginia Mason for DD's second appointment with the endocrinologist.  By the time we were done, both of us were dragging.

Then we went back to the hotel and ordered dinner from Red Lobster, since there is one in Lynnwood.  I got the ultimate feast but they forgot the Walt's favorite shrimp and there was an extra linguine.  It worked out to the same price and I had plenty off food so we just let it go.  I had just figured I'd have some for breakfast, but no biggie.  I wouldn't get the crispy Brussels sprouts for a side there, though.  They were mushy and super spicy, not crispy at all.  And they had the dinkiest baked potato I have ever seen from a restaurant.  But again, it was enough food.  The forgot the clarified butter, though for the crab and lobster.  *sighs*

After dinner DD and I both felt like we got hit by a freight train.  I mean, it was full on cold symptoms just bowling us over.  DH ran out to a Walgreens and got us Dayquil and Nyquil.  I slept better that night, but only 5 hours.  I wish I had insisted on bringing my wedge.  I do better when I sleep propped up, but DH didn't want the hassle.  Next time he is going to have the hassle.

Neither DD or I felt good enough to have breakfast the next morning, so DH ate the extra linguine and we headed back to Virginia Mason and saw the internal medicine doctor who specializes in chronic illnesses.  It went well and we really liked her.  I know we shouldn't have gone into a doctor's office with a head cold, but we were both masked and this appointment was too important to miss.  So, yeah, I feel guilty, but it is not like it is Covid and people have been going to doctors for years with colds or other infections.

We headed home after that. We picked up some water bottles and Pringles at a convenince store because DD and I were craving salt and feeling very dehydrated.  Somewhere along the way DH stopped at a McDonalds and we got some food.  Not a lot for DD and me as we didn't have much appetite.  I got a cup of ice, though, as we had a case of Real Sugar Pepsi in the car. I don't drink it often, but I was barely staying awake.

I went straight to bed when we got home.  DH went and got me and DD ice cream.  I ate some and then went to sleep and had a wonderful nights sleep on a bed that doesn't have springs you can feel through the bed (or springs at all) and my nice wedge pillow.  I slept very well, dosed up on cold meds.  I spent most of Friday in bed, had some potatoes and gravy for lunch and a sandwich for dinner.  Today I feel a little better after another great night of sleep.  So does DD.  Still very tired, stuffed up, and throats a little sore.  And the cottonwood is blooming.  But definitely on the mend.  I think it'll be a few days before I feel back to normal again.

DH's mom covered the hotel stay and every meal, except Red Lobster, because we felt that was too expensive for her to cover.  She's very good with taking care of our travel expenses when DD has to go the hospital.

The main point I am taking away from all of this is that we won't be staying in a Hilton hotel again.  Next time we'll try for a VRBO.  Or maybe a Mariott.  At least they have good beds.

Retirement and Net Worth Updates--So Close

May 27th, 2022 at 08:45 pm

I was willing to look at the retirement accounts today and to do the math, now that the 401K is in recovery. The poor IRA, not so much, but at least it quit freefalling. The contribution from today's paycheck to the 401K has not yet been made yet.  So, the reckoning.  As of today the retirement accounts have lost $2,017.92 this year and pretty much ate up all of our contributions.  I know we have more stock, but until that stock is worth something, it means very little.  Our new retirement total is $73,086.69.

However, the contribution of company stock hit today, so our total net worth has gone up.  Our new net worth is $149,542.88.  It's weird to see it sitting that close to $150K.  If nothing goes down by the time our 401K contribution is made from this paycheck it will hit that next week.  It's so close I can taste it.  It would be a major milestone in a year that has otherwise been pretty horrible financially.

 

Camera Purchase

May 22nd, 2022 at 04:03 am

Today I ordered a used Canon Powershot Elph digital camera off Amazon. It's a gorgeous shade of purple and after my last one broke (blue), I told myself if I ever found a purple one, I'd get it.  I do have a handheld video camera that can take photos, but it isn't the best at it.  It takes good video, though.  My phone is a better camera than it.

So I've been waiting and waiting and finally one came up refurbished from the Canon Store on Amazon.  I wasn't going to pay $400 or more for a new one.  It comes with a battery and charger, although I have two batteries and two chargers already so that would have never been a deal breaker.  Now I can take fairly nice photos again on a proper tripod.  I paid $167.98.

Pardon My Rant

May 20th, 2022 at 04:52 am

Gas hit $5.29 a gallon cash price and ten cents more for credit cards.  Diesel hit $5.49 per gallon.  So the cost of food will go up even higher now.  I hope you all have been paying attention to me for the last couple of years, but especially this year, when I told you to stock up on food, meds, and personal care items.  I have not been wrong about this yet and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Did you know that in Washington state they are uncovering an extra digit on the big digital gas signs with the amounts on them, because they are anticipating $10/gallon gas coming up?  Some gas stations have run out of gas entirely.  I hope they suspend the gas taxes here like they have in other states.  We are not a living wage city for the most part and we are sprawled so it is not easy to get across the city on a bicycle or on foot and the climate is not conducive to it most of the year.  The bus system is already packed and they don't have enough buses to run anymore of them, so they can't just add more runs.

Some of the McDonalds in my state are starting to offer $20/hour to help offset gas prices so employees can get to work.  And you know what that means, right?  The food there is going to go up to compensate.  And it will go up to compensate higher delivery costs because of the gas prices.  It's a vicious circle spiraling ever higher and out of control.

The same thing is going on at grocery stores and stuff clearly isn't getting delivered on time so sits in the warehouses too long and gets put out on the shelves when it shoud be chucked out.  And we get to go through rotten, moldy produce to hopefully find something edible, when two years ago we would have turned our noses up at the very thought.

Meanwhile our infrastructure crumbles, our manufacturing isn't done at home so shortages abound, the Fed prints money out of air that we can't back up, and raises interest rates causing inflation to get worse, the stock market tanks, and our administration does whatever it can to sucker punch our energy independence over and over again and then blames the last year and a half on Putin and not their own policies.

Dustbowl states believe a new Dustbowl type of situation is coming and the lack of fertilizer won't help.  There's too much rain except where their is too much drought.  Basic supplies and animal feed are in short supply, meaning meat prices will go up a lot more and many will not be able to afford it anymore.  Welcome to being a second world country, America, where you can't even find baby formula.  If things don't change soon, this is the beginning of the New Great Depression, make no mistake.

 

 

 

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

May 19th, 2022 at 02:06 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.

 

 

 

I Wrote the Check

May 17th, 2022 at 07:28 am

Honestly, I thought it was going to hurt writing such a large check.  Nearly $6000 is a lot of money.  But I felt really okay with it.  Having my son's teeth fixed will be worth it. He had his appointment today where they did x-rays, took photos, and did some kind of scan of his teeth with a tool.  On June 20th he will get his full set of Invisaligns.  I didn't know he would get all of them at once, but he will.  You move onto the next set every ten days.  It's different, but seems so much more convenient than traditional braces.

I would, one day, like to get this for myself as my teeth have moved since I had an appliance to fix my bite.  My teeth were always straight and I never had a gap, but over the last ten years or so I've had a gap between my top front teeth that is getting bigger and bigger.  And I have a couple of teeth on the bottom that seem to be pushing forward a bit.  They aren't visible so they don't bother me so much, but I don't like being in photos because of the gap in my front teeth.  So I avoid it.  But I want my kids to have photos of me when I'm gone, so I've thought about fixing them for a while.  But that was back burnered when DS needed to get them.

I feel like I'm always give stuff up for my kids (but mostly my daughter).  Probably because I am.  I guess that is motherhood in a nutshell, though, always sacrificing your own needs or wants for theirs.  And for my mother as well.  I think I am getting caregiver burnout.  I really just want to run away for a while.  I think I need to go down by the water and soak up the negative ions and just let myself read a book for a couple of hours.  It would do me a world of good.

Getting Stuff Done in the Garden

May 16th, 2022 at 12:00 am

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.

 

Buying Things on Sale

May 10th, 2022 at 07:58 am

I haven't bought much in the way of clothes since before the pandemic and most of what I've bought since it started was underclothes.  My daughter and I both were sorely in need of some new clothes, me so more than her.  I've been sewing up a lot of seams.  Woman Within has been having a 50% off on most items this week and today was the last day of the sale, so I bit the bullet and bought.

For myself I got 4 tank tops, 1 t-shirt, 1 blouse, 3 shorts with pockets, 1 sundress and 1 short-sleeved dress, and a swimsuit.  I color coordinated the tops with the shorts, plus I have a black pair and a navy pair already that haven't worn out, so those will go with everything, too.  DD got 5 t-shirts (she got tank tops last year and won't wear shorts), 1 dress, and 1 swim top, since her swim bottoms are still okay.  Only her dress and my swimsuit were not on the 50% off sale.  Shipping and handling and taxes brought the total to $644.48.  Without those it was $543.31.  I think we did fairly well for plus size clothing.

The swimsuit I have is fine for going in the hot tub or the ocean when I'm not around people except DH, but I always have to wear a shirt if I'm up close with people in a pool or lake because it's a bit low cut, as most suits with good bra support are, and that cuts down my mobility.  But when you are having physical therapy in a swimming pool, and the male therapist is standing above you on the deck, it makes me uncomfortable.

I finally found a higher scoop neck suit that does not have crisscross straps in the back and still has a built in bra.  I can't put on or take off crisscross straps or suits that fasten behind the neck due to the rheumatoid arthritis in my shoulders.  I've looked for years for a suit like this.  And as I get older I find my modesty has increased, so this will be my public suit and the other will be for private.

It will be nice to have some new dresses.  My favorite dress has faded after so many years of washing, plus it is heavy weight for a sundress.  It also has ties and again, because of my shoulders, I cannot tie behind my back anymore or untie it, either.  So that puts me down to one wearable summer dress in my current size.  I have no winter dresses, although I used to wear the faded one with a turtle neck or sweater and some leggings in the cold season.  And the one is very loosy goosy so it will be easy to wear over my swimsuit and then to put on again after physical therapy.

It was a big spend and I still would like to get two more t-shirts, but I really couldn't find any styles or patterns I liked and I didn't want to get the same pattern on a t-shirt that I have on a tank top.  It would bother my OCD.  A lot.  I am really glad to be getting some new things.  I'm tired of the same four shirts and four tank tops I've had for years.  Now I can interchange them with some fresh new colors and patterns.

I also took DD to the eye doctor to get new glasses and she found some with octagon-shaped frames.  She was okay with the color, but she really liked another color that they come in that they didn't have at the store.  It was too late to get a hold of the manufacturer to see if they had any green ones in stock, but he will call in the moring after he gets a hold of them.  If the don't have the green ones, she will just get the champagne ones.  I really hope they have the green ones.  They are so pretty in comparison.  They put the champagne ones on hold just in case.

The copay for the exam was $10 and the glasses will run $259 after insurance.  I thought they would cost a lot more, so I was happily surprised.

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2022 at 07:22 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.

It's Here!

April 28th, 2022 at 10:07 pm

And it's beautiful!

Sorry, I tried to add a photo, but of course yet again something in the blogs is not working right.  I'm talking about my new freezer.

Grocery Store Tracking--Winco Foods

April 28th, 2022 at 02:27 am

So I went to Winco on Sunday and I had a few surprises, but I guess I shouldn't have been since it has been in all the other stores, it just took a long time for the shortages to catch up to Winco.  The wall of deals at the front of the store was missing it's stacks of canned green beans, corn, potatoes, and all beans but black beans, and fruit.  In it's place they had Chef Boyardee and Nally chili and tomato products.  It was shockingly noticeable.  The regular canned good aisle was obviously lacking stock.

On the bright side their was plenty of chicken.  Thighs, legs, wings, breasts, and whole.  It's been a while since I've seen that, especially wings, which have been missing for 18 months.  I still can't find pork sausage though.  And the cost of cheese has gone up 70 cents a bag or brick.  Oh, and I did find 5 pound bags of French fries, for the first time in 18 months, so grabbed two.  I will go back once the freezer is set up and has been running for 24 hours.

Anywho, here's what I bought along with their prices and some analysis.

2 Franz buttermilk breads at $3.98 total

2 5 lb bags Winco fries at $7.96 (She made an error here and only charged me for 1 of the fries)

2 boxes honey nut Chex at $5.16 total

1 box of cinnamon Chex at $2.58

1 sleeve Orowheat crispy Englis Muffins at $2.18

4 packs of Winco CoJack Cheese Sticks

Bananas $2.46

4 Roma tomatoes at $1.01

1 jalapeno at 13 cents

1 2 lb bag shredded CoJack cheese at $6.48

1 bag of party size Tostitos tortilla chips at $3.68

1 bunch cilantro at 48 cents

1 large sweet potato $1.85

4 onions $3.14 (She made an error here and charged me for sweet onions and not yellow onions).

5 lb bag of red potatoes at $2.98 (They didn't have a single bag of yellow potatoes although there was a sign for it).

Red grapes $3.75 for 2.23 pounds

4 containers of chicken thighs at $35.23

Total money out $96.21

There were 10 chicken thighs per container, so I divided that up into 5 bags of 8 pieces, which is what our family eats at a meal.  It works out to $7.05 per meal of chicken.  I used to be able to get chicken thighs for .99/lb, but the new normal at Winco is $1.59/lb for the same meat.  Legs were cheaper at $1.29/lb, breasts were $1.99/lb, whole chickens were $1.19/lb  and wings were $3.48 per pound.

I came out ahead on the cashier's errors, but I didn't even see them until today when I was going over the receipt.  Winco's policy is that if the cashier makes a mistake in your favor you get to keep it and if they make a mistake in their favor they'll correct it.  It might even be you get the item free, but I can't remember.  But since I came out ahead, I won't bother going back about it.

The Cost of Orthodontia

April 26th, 2022 at 05:52 am

Today I took DS to his consultation with the orthodontist.  As the people here on the blogs told me, it will be around $6000, the amount I saved.  If we didn't pay up front the cost would be $6180, but since we are we get a 5% discount.  That is $309 off.  So our total is $5871.  Which means I have $129 to figure out what to do with.  He will be doing Invisalign, but the cost of regular braces was only $200 cheaper and I don't think he would tolerate them well, due to having a tender mouth.

Randomly, dinner tonight was delicous.  We had baked chicken that I rubbed with olive oil, salt pepper, and sazon seasoning.  Then we had herbed mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Simple but full of flavor and one of my favorite meals.

Freezer Saga--An Update--And Food Security

April 25th, 2022 at 06:17 am

Well, the freezer that was supposed to arrive in May has now been pushed off until the end of June.  But they do have some of another brand with the same size coming in this week.  It has a similar layout with the 21 cubic foot capacity.  We went in to look at the smaller version and decided to go ahead and switch to it.  So on Thursday we will be getting our new freezer. 

We have been without an upright since July and I wasn't sure we would ever get one, especially in time for harvest season.  We will finally be able to stock up on chicken and get a whole hog.  Mostly what I want from a hog is a lot of sausage, bacon, shanks, ribs, chops, and steaks.  I don't need any roasts or hams.  Then if I have room I will see if I can get a fall lamb.

We are really going for food security this year, where we don't have to rely on the grocery stores as much as possible.  I'm growing extra zucchini so I can freeze it and a ton of green beans, carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, and parsnips for canning so we can have veggies through the year.  We'll be buying peaches and pears for canning as well off a farm.   I'll also be installing some low tunnels in the fall to keep the harvest going as long as possible.  I've grown peppers and lettuce and spinach into November before this way.

I still have a lot of work to do.  We'll be renting a sod cutter soon so that we can clear up some more garden space without having to do as much work getting the mat of weeds and grass out of the way.  It'll make it a lot easier on everyone.

We started work on the third 22 foot long garden bed.  A lot of weeding and leveling had to be done, but the bottom layer of cinder blocks has been laid to the halfway point.  DH is going to try to work on it a little at a time after work.  The bottom layer is always the most difficult.  Once the bottom layer is in place, we put down the weed barrier, and then the next two layers go on very easily since it is just a question of putting the adhesive layer down and then putting the blocks in place.  After the second layer goes down it has to dry for 24 hours and then the third layer can be put on and dry for 24 hours.

Once that is done we can work on pruning the giant rose bush down to about a foot high and put all those trimmings in the bottom of the raised bed.  Then the rose bush can be transplanted to the front yard and we can dig out the weed tree that has been impossible to kill.  We'll also be cutting down another tree and the wood will go in the bottom of future raised beds.  It's kind a cross between hugelkutur beds and lasagna style beds, since compost and manure and hay and cardboard will go in as well, before the four way garden soil fills the top foot.

I have a woman coming next week to dig out almost all of the raspberries and in exchange she will give me a couple bags of rabbit manure, some tomato and pepper plants, and some calendula starts.  I do like bartering when I can.  It saves me a lot of money.

I got the rest of the onions planted.  These ones are Walla Walla sweet onions.  They will have to be chopped and frozen as they don't keep long like the non-sweet yellows and reds I planted a week or so ago.  I up potted the tarragon, parsley and oregano in one pot, but will have to divide them up into their own pots in about a week or so if the new bed doesn't get finished.  I just needed them out of the four inch pots as they were just starting to get root bound.  I did locate some larger pots in the garage.  The oregano will need a big one, but the parsley and tarragon should be just fine in 8 inch pots.

I've been able to do quite a bit more than I thought I would.  I am getting stronger every day and a lot of the physical therapy has been designed to strengthen the muscles I need for gardening.  I may never be able to do weight bearing exercise again, but I have been walking without my cane and my son and I are going to try to take an actual walk tomorrow and see how I do.  One of the local parks has a flat loop to walk, I can't do hills without pain, so we would never be too far from the van if I had to go back.

Next on my agenda for the garden will be to weed out the strawberries.  This will be the last year for this set of strawberries.  I know what I want to get next year and will probably pre-order them in December or January.  They ship at time to plant so I need to get the jump on other people to get the variety I want, which alway sells out so early.  It is a much sweeter berry than the ones we currently have.  I'll likely pot up what we have now next year and sell them or exchange them for plants I want.

My goal is to eventually have the entire backyard and the little side yard devoted to growing as much of our own food as possible.  It's a lofty goal, and it might take five years to do it, but I know we will get there.

 

 

Done with the Deductible

April 18th, 2022 at 08:11 am

Well, I've maxed out the deductible for the family this year with my therapy, both physcial and mental.  We still have the out of pocket max to hit, but we no longer have to pay for the full amount of doctor's appointments or prescriptions, just the co-insurance part.  That takes some strain off the budget.  We also have used all of our FSA debit card for the year.

I had my first pool therapy session early last week.  All of the other appointments were on land to stengthen my core, legs, and back enough to be able to climb down the stairs and into the pool.  It went okay, but I had strained a muscle in my thigh gardening the day before it so I was a little sore.  I walked on the underwater treadmill for 12 minutes, which is really weird because you bounce between steps.  Then he had me walk across the pool sideways, which bugged that muscle in the one direction, but not the other.  Then I had to walk backwards and then do toe raises and then step up on a step and back down.  Then we did some arm exercises with floaty weights, while keeping the core engaged.

It went really well.  The hardest part was getting out fo the water and getting gravity back.  Being in the pool took a lot of pressure off the herniated discs.  Getting back out put it all back on.  It also made me realize that my legs are still weak and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I see the neurology surgeon on the 24th, I think and we will decide from there what to do about more PT.  I think I need it as I finally started progressing forward.  I have one more session scheduled for now.

Then I had a hypomanic event.  I hate hypomanic events.  This time it went so high I nearly touched the sky.  And more to the point, I spent $300, because my judgment went out the window.  I mean, I had the money in my allowance envelope, but I was saving up for a Smart TV and then a new laptop, because I hate not having a touch screen.  It lasted 2 days and then I went crashing down into a depression well.  That was not a lot of fun.  I seem to have pulled out of it this morning, and being outside working in the garden helped a lot, but I had a miserable night of it, crying for 2 hours straight after everyone else went to bed.

I hate mental illness.  I thought I was finally starting to feel the effects of the new dosage of this medication, but maybe not.  This was the first time this happened since I started it, but at least it wasn't full blown mania.  The last time that happened it lasted 2.5 months and I wrote 400,000 words.

I graduate from the six month mental health program at my doctor's clinic on Tuesday.  I don't want to.  It will be my last day with that therapist.  I have started with another, and she's okay, I guess.  I like her, but her nose ring is distracting.  It's weird seeing a 60 year old lady with a nose ring.  I wish these visits could be in person.  Then I'd have somewhere else to look instead of just at her face on my laptop.  Anyway, now I have to build up trust in a new therapist.  She deals with people with chronic illnesses, so that is good.

I've also been referred to a psychiatrist to see if we can manage this a little bit better with medication.  It would be nice.  Plus, only he can diagnose whether or not I have ADHD, but I know I do.  I haven't heard anything from his office yet, though.  He is my son's psychiatrist and I've sat in on a session with my son and liked him well enough, I guess.

Well, I best be off to bed.  It's already midnight.  I have an appointment at 11:30 online, which means I have to wake up two hours before that to give my muscles enough time to warm up so I can even get out of bed, do my physical therapy exercises, and eat breakfast.  RA is a b-word and I am a night owl, so this won't be fun, but it must be done.  At least I'm not in a fibro flare.  And my mood continues to stablize so I might even get something out of this session.

Blogoversary...And This is How the Money Goes

April 11th, 2022 at 02:15 am

It's my 16 year blogoversary here.  I can't believe I have been here this long.

I splurged a couple of days ago and bought the complete 15 season set of Supernatural.  I had watched it all along up until halfway through season 12 and just finished up watching the rest of it a couple of weeks ago.  I was waiting for a price drop to purchase it and when Honey informed me it had dropped, I snatched it up.  I do like that app, even if it gets in the way sometimes.  I paid $170 for it.  I can't even get X-Files for that price, but it's on my droplist, too.  I used the money I've been saving in my allowance folder.

Anyway, I've started watching Supernatural over again from the beginning.  It started airing a long time ago, and even though I have watched every episode, I don't remember a lot of it.  I'm not letting myself binge watch it, though.  Just one episode a night.  I've got too much to do right now with the garden.

I also bought some protein sticks off of Amazon.  I don't remember what they cost, but some of them are paleo and some of them are keto and all of them are no sugar.  It gives me something to grab in the morning when I first get up so I can take my pills without getting nauseated.  Then after a bit, I can make a proper meal.  I got some beef and some turkey.  I think it was around $40, but I got a lot of them.

I paid around $800 in medical bills today.  All but $658 was on the FSA debit card, which leaves about $5 left on it.  So we've gone through the $3000 we pay throughout the year pretax already.  Lots of medical bills and counseling bills, imaging bills, x-rays, plus physical therapy.  We've met the family deductible, but not the out of pocket max.  But now our medical visits will drop down to around $40 instead of $253 and the counseling will be lower.

As for the $658, that came out of my medical fund that I've been socking money to left and right.  There is enough left in there to pay for DH's upcoming crown and DD's eye exam and a new pair of glasses and of course I will continue to contribute to it.  DH is going to find out how much the COBRA for DD is going to cost so I know how much I need to be saving for it each month.  Plus we need to start saving up for next year's out of pocket max and of course prescriptions until we hit this year's out of pocket max.

I still have hope that the endocrinologist will file a report with the insurance company that she is completely dependent on her meds and that she is fully disabled.  Also the neurologist because of the passing out that leads to dibilitating migraines.  She is so bad off that her doctor recommended she go on disability, but if we can keep her on our insurance that would be so much better.  If she can get both, that would be ideal because then she could contribute to her own medical expenses.

She will be seeing an internal medicine doctor who deals with multiple diseases in May.  There's a possibility there, too.  I'd really like to get her tested for Elhers-Danlos syndrome, which requires genetic testing as soon as possible.  Also, I'm hoping she can recommend a better ENT because her daily nose bleeds are getting so bad and are coming from way up in her sinus cavity, but no tumors have shown up in there on scans.  There has got to be something that can be done.

Yesterday was so bad she had to go to the sink and lean over it because she couldn't keep up with the tissues.  I saw the amount of blood and it looked like a half a cup.  Plus she'd had one earlier that morning.  Maybe if they could cauterize something it would help.  Anyway, I made her drink an electrolyte heavy solution because she got really woozy by the time we got it stopped.  The ENT we saw before was useless.

It's going to be a bumpy ride the next few months.

Grocery Spending Tracking with Commentary

April 7th, 2022 at 11:23 pm

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I think I did pretty well.  The sales at Fred Meyer were pretty fantastic, though.  I walked out of the store with six bags of groceries for $212.  It was a little less than that but they have program where you can donate the change to the local food bank, so I always choose that option there.  They say it really, really adds up, because most people don't want to deal with coins.

6 bottles of Miracle Whip at $3.99 each if you bought six.  This will give DH enough for 6 months.  Since it has gone up to almost $7 a jar, this was something I was not going to pass up.

4 containers of onions and chives whipped cream cheese for $3.99 each.  It's less than the new normal price, but more than it used to be by 50 cents.  However, there is a shortage on cream cheese, and my kids like it on their bagels, so I stocked up a bit.

I got a 15 pack of large tortillas for making breakfast burritos.  I wanted to get the large double pack that has 20 each, but they didn't have it.  I was four short for the number of burritos I want to make.  Not the best price either, but I'll have to go to Costco for that when I get more.  They were $6.49. It might be time to start making my own tortillas sice I do have a press now, which will be much easier than rolling them out.

2 bags of Dave's Killer Bagels at $5.99 each. Not on sale, but not bad.  These are softer than typical bagels and the kids like them a lot.  DD has problems with harder bagels.  This might also be something I need to start making myself. It can't be any harder than making soft pretzels.

2 bags of Simply Cheetos, the crunchy ones. Talk about shrinkflation.  The bags are half the size and they don't weigh as much.  They were on sale, though, at $3.49 per bag.

2 packs beef sausage (Paleo) at $4.49 each.  These were on sale and are for meal prepping.

2 packs polish sausage (Paleo) at $5.49 each.  Also on sale, and also for meal prepping.

2 packages of mild Italian sausage at $7.19 each.  These have gotten so expensive, it might be time for me to go back to making my own sausage from ground chicken, turkey, or pork.  These are used in making the breakfast burriots for meal planning.

1 Cook's picnic ham at .79/lb.  It came to $5.68.  I would have bought more but there was a limit of one.

Chuck roasts were on sale for $3.99 a pound so I bought two.  $13.66 and $14.29.  We have run out of pot roasts from our beef.  Again, I would have picked up more, but I like the flat ones and I like them to be at least 3 pounds.  They mostly had the tall ones, which tend to be a little chewy, even when pressure cooked.

Red grapes were on sale for $1.48/lb.  I spent $2.31.  They are very good, too.  Sometimes that is a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 bag of spinach at $1.99.

1 chub of turkey breast $9.09

1 chub of turkey ham $7.30

Fresh green beans.  I got 1.5 pounds for $2.69.  This is for meal planning lunches.

2 packs of blueberries on sale for $3.99 each.  These also were very good.  This is also a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 box of kiwis on sale for $4.  This was a tremendously good sale and it was a good sized box.

1 small red onion $1.03.  Ouch, these are getting so expensive.  Probably should have bought the non-sale produce at Winco.

2 red bell peppers for $3, for lunch meal prepping.

1 head of iceberg lettuce $1.99  It's been $2.99 for a while now, and the leaf lettuces were tiny, so it was the best bang for my buck.

1 green bell pepper for 99 cents for lunch meal prepping.

3 large yellow onions for $1.91.  Double ouch.

2 green zucchinis for $1.39/lb totalling $1.81.

1 bunch organic bananas at .69/lb.  At least some things haven't changed.  I paid $2.18 for the bunch.  The regular ones were .59/lb, but were pretty green.

I bought 2 large crowns of broccol for $1.39/lb totalling $2.21.

1 small bok choy at $1.99/lb totally $1.71.

1 head of green cabbage at .89/lb (up about 20 cents from a year ago, but still cheaper than what it is now not on sale).  I spent $2.51.

2 yellow summer squash at $1.39/lb and spent $1.31.

1 head cauliflower at $1.39/lb and spent $3.39.

 2 English cucumbers at 2/$4.  The regular ones were cheaper but really small and kind of beat up so I went for these.

6 paper bags at 48 cents.  We are still not used to bringing our own bags again.  This was a small expense that did not need to happen.  I need to get back in the habit, now that our own bags are allowed again.

So I saved $67.24 according to the receipt, which is pretty darn good for six full bags of food.  The total was $211.27 with 73 cents of change going to the food bank.

I could not find French fries, but their is potato shortage nationwide, so these have been pretty hit and miss.  That's why we are planting more potatoes this year than last.

I also bought 25 pounds of hard white wheat this week on Amazon.  There was a $3 off coupon, so I got it for $56.

So all in all this week, I did pretty well.  I still have to go to Winco for cheese and to see if the have French fries, but will do that on the way back from the chiropractor to save gas.

I'm debating a Costco run, too, for more tortillas for next week, some frozen broccoli, a rotisserie chicken, some seasoned potatoes, some chicken spinach ravioli, and some tomato sauce.  Maybe on Friday.  Or I can have DH pick it up on his way home from work.  Costco can be a lot as it is huge and I can only walk so long without it starting to really hurt my herniated discs and there aren't always ride on carts available.  I might put it off until next payday, except the rotisserie chicken.

We'll be meal prepping a lot, so we can have consistent portion sizes for breakfast and lunch, and for weight loss, so that DS and I only have to cook all that up for a week and then only have to worry about dinners for the rest of the week, which DS helps me with most nights.

Hopefully, I can put together a full meal plan as I know some of you like to see that as well as the grocery tracking.

Grocery Shopping Tracker with Commetary

April 7th, 2022 at 11:02 pm

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I think I did pretty well.  The sales at Fred Meyer were pretty fantastic, though.  I walked out of the store with six bags of groceries for $212.  It was a little less than that but they have program where you can donate the change to the local food bank, so I always choose that option there.  They say it really, really adds up, because most people don't want to deal with coins.

6 bottles of Miracle Whip at $3.99 each if you bought six.  This will give DH enough for 6 months.  Since it has gone up to almost $7 a jar, this was something I was not going to pass up.

4 containers of onions and chives whipped cream cheese for $3.99 each.  It's less than the new normal price, but more than it used to be by 50 cents.  However, there is a shortage on cream cheese, and my kids like it on their bagels, so I stocked up a bit.

I got a 15 pack of large tortillas for making breakfast burritos.  I wanted to get the large double pack that has 20 each, but they didn't have it.  I was four short for the number of burritos I want to make.  Not the best price either, but I'll have to go to Costco for that when I get more.  They were $6.49. It might be time to start making my own tortillas sice I do have a press now, which will be much easier than rolling them out.

2 bags of Dave's Killer Bagels at $5.99 each. Not on sale, but not bad.  These are softer than typical bagels and the kids like them a lot.  DD has problems with harder bagels.  This might also be something I need to start making myself. It can't be any harder than making soft pretzels.

2 bags of Simply Cheetos, the crunchy ones. Talk about shrinkflation.  The bags are half the size and they don't weigh as much.  They were on sale, though, at $3.49 per bag.

2 packs beef sausage (Paleo) at $4.49 each.  These were on sale and are for meal prepping.

2 packs polish sausage (Paleo) at $5.49 each.  Also on sale, and also for meal prepping.

2 packages of mild Italian sausage at $7.19 each.  These have gotten so expensive, it might be time for me to go back to making my own sausage from ground chicken, turkey, or pork.  These are used in making the breakfast burriots for meal planning.

1 Cook's picnic ham at .79/lb.  It came to $5.68.  I would have bought more but there was a limit of one.

Chuck roasts were on sale for $3.99 a pound so I bought two.  $13.66 and $14.29.  We have run out of pot roasts from our beef.  Again, I would have picked up more, but I like the flat ones and I like them to be at least 3 pounds.  They mostly had the tall ones, which tend to be a little chewy, even when pressure cooked.

Red grapes were on sale for $1.48/lb.  I spent $2.31.  They are very good, too.  Sometimes that is a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 bag of spinach at $1.99.

1 chub of turkey breast $9.09

1 chub of turkey ham $7.30

Fresh green beans.  I got 1.5 pounds for $2.69.  This is for meal planning lunches.

2 packs of blueberries on sale for $3.99 each.  These also were very good.  This is also a crapshoot at this time of year.

1 box of kiwis on sale for $4.  This was a tremendously good sale and it was a good sized box.

1 small red onion $1.03.  Ouch, these are getting so expensive.  Probably should have bought the non-sale produce at Winco.

2 red bell peppers for $3, for lunch meal prepping.

1 head of iceberg lettuce $1.99  It's been $2.99 for a while now, and the leaf lettuces were tiny, so it was the best bang for my buck.

1 green bell pepper for 99 cents for lunch meal prepping.

3 large yellow onions for $1.91.  Double ouch.

2 green zucchinis for $1.39/lb totalling $1.81.

1 bunch organic bananas at .69/lb.  At least some things haven't changed.  I paid $2.18 for the bunch.  The regular ones were .59/lb, but were pretty green.

I bought 2 large crowns of broccol for $1.39/lb totalling $2.21.

1 small bok choy at $1.99/lb totally $1.71.

1 head of green cabbage at .89/lb (up about 20 cents from a year ago, but still cheaper than what it is now not on sale).  I spent $2.51.

2 yellow summer squash at $1.39/lb and spent $1.31.

1 head cauliflower at $1.39/lb and spent $3.39.

 2 English cucumbers at 2/$4.  The regular ones were cheaper but really small and kind of beat up so I went for these.

6 paper bags at 48 cents.  We are still not used to bringing our own bags again.  This was a small expense that did not need to happen.  I need to get back in the habit, now that our own bags are allowed again.

So I saved $67.24 according to the receipt, which is pretty darn good for six full bags of food.  The total was $211.27 with 73 cents of change going to the food bank.

I could not find French fries, but their is potato shortage nationwide, so these have been pretty hit and miss.  That's why we are planting more potatoes this year than last.

I also bought 25 pounds of hard white wheat this week on Amazon.  There was a $3 off coupon, so I got it for $56.

So all in all this week, I did pretty well.  I still have to go to Winco for cheese and to see if the have French fries, but will do that on the way back from the chiropractor to save gas.

I'm debating a Costco run, too, for more tortillas for next week, some frozen broccoli, a rotisserie chicken, some seasoned potatoes, some chicken spinach ravioli, and some tomato sauce.  Maybe on Friday.  Or I can have DH pick it up on his way home from work.  Costco can be a lot as it is huge and I can only walk so long without it starting to really hurt my herniated discs and there aren't always ride on carts available.  I might put it off until next payday, except the rotisserie chicken.

We'll be meal prepping a lot, so we can have consistent portion sizes for breakfast and lunch, and for weight loss, so that DS and I only have to cook all that up for a week and then only have to worry about dinners for the rest of the week, which DS helps me with most nights.

Hopefully, I can put together a full meal plan as I know some of you like to see that as well as the grocery tracking.

 

 

Another Step Towards Food Security in a Time of Shortages

April 4th, 2022 at 04:34 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.  

Payday Report

April 2nd, 2022 at 10:51 pm

This paycheck had a lot of OT on it and my AdSense payment.  This is also a three paycheck month and things are a bit different than usual.  This will be the second paycheck with the higher grocery budget, which went nicely last time with $37 left over to go into the meat fund.  I doubled the medical fund contribution for this check since DH is getting a crown done this month.  We are also helping my mom with property tax, so that came out of this payday as well.  As a reminder, I run a zero dollar based budget, where every single dollar is assigned a job.

$413.51 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

1000.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

__17.15 Box of Checks (a rare purchase these days)

_122.23 Internet

__70.00 Garbage Temp Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Temp Fund

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance

__30.00 DD Stipend

_310.00 Monthly Chiropractor Family Plan

_420.24 Citi

_250.00 Mom's Property Tax

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

4135.13 Total Money Out

Interest, Emergency Fund, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates

April 2nd, 2022 at 10:35 pm

We recieved our dividend check from Louisianna Pacific for .70 last week (I think) and the interest income from C1-360 was $4.81.  I also had $15.50 in rolled coins.  I haven't checked the other two accounts but they are generally pennies.  I'll do that later.  Anyway, altogether that made the deposit to the Emergency Fund $21.01. We've already hit six month's expenses, so now I am working on hitting one year's expenses, but slowly.  I've other things to save for.

$20,264.50 Starting Balance

+__,_21.01 Deposit

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

$20,285.51 New Balance

They haven't dropped this paycheck's contribution into the retirement account yet, but last payday's finally showed up.  With all the OT DH's contribution was around $1450, but it has gone up by $2639.45 since last I updated, so finally starting to make some gains.  The 401K is only down by 5.08% for the year, instead of 11%, so that's something.  Not sure on the IRA, but it hasn't moved much if at all in the past two weeks.  It's still down by around $700 from it's high.  So the new retirement total is $75,104.61.

That means NW is up by a total of $2660.46 between the EF and Retirement.  The new net worth is $133,303.40.  It's nice to see some real progress again.

I'm not going to add it in to Net Worth, but just for fun I checked to see the value of our vehicles again.  I had checked at the start of January to see if it changed our net worth and it was steady.  Well, when I checked it yesterday, the value of our van (54,000 miles) has gone up $2000 and our truck has gone up $500 (288,000 miles).  Toyotas are of greater value due to even higher demand than at the start of the year.  At least in my area.  I wouldn't have even looked, but we were checking prices on used Camry's for when my son has enough money saved, just to know a ballpark to save for, so since I was on there anyway I took a look and was quite pleased. 

Got Paid

March 25th, 2022 at 03:22 am

I got my AdSense payment today, $104.20.  I haven't even made a youtube video since May, I think, but I have two old vidoes that always chug along at the top of my views.  I haven't decided what I am going to do with it yet.  I've kind of lost my mojo at youtube, but maybe that will come back when it is time to start planting in the garden again.  I've thought about using it to upgrade my video editing software, but I don't want to waste it if I don't resume making videos.  I probably will, though.  I just need to get on the right dosage of anti-depressants and I will start caring about things again.

Oh, and Amber, if you are reading this, congratulations on all you have accomplished.  I don't want to deal with the pain in the butt captcha today to leave a comment.

 

Emergency Fund, Retirement, and Net Worth Updates

March 19th, 2022 at 01:39 am

We recieved our safe driver's refund from our insurance company.  It was $42.85, which is about double normal, but maybe it is because we have 3 drivers with no accidents in a year.  I also had $5.12 left after paying all the bills, funding all the envelopes, and funding the medical fund.

$20,216.53 Starting Balance

+__,_47.97 Amount Added

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

$20,264.50 New Balance

The deposit out of this week's paycheck has not yet been made to the 401K, but it is still on it's way to recovery.  The IRA is just barely starting to recover and it needs to make up about $800 more before it is back to where it was, but at least it is above $13K again.  It's the first time in a while I haven't felt sick looking at the accounts.  I guess as the Ferengis say, "War is good for business."  I really hate that, but I'll take the recovery and pray for the innocents.  I wish that today's deposit had made it in, though.  With the amount of overtime on there the deposit would have been well over $1000.  Probably won't show up until Monday or Tuesday now.  Usually it shows up on Friday unless there was a banker's holiday during the week. 

Anyway, here's the amounts

$72,456.16 New Balance

_71,759.98 Old Balance

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

$__,705.18 Amount of Change

That brings new worth up by $753.15 to $130,642.94, so finally cracked $130K.

 

This and That

March 18th, 2022 at 06:09 am

I got my mouth guard from the dentist yesterday; best $400 I've spent since getting my orthotics.  It was a pain in the jaw using the broken one for two weeks, but it was better than none.  This one fits like a dream and I had a great night's sleep after not having had very many in the last two weeks.

I can restart my cinzia shots now because surprise, surprise, I am finally well.  Just in time for allergy season to go into gear with the blooming of dogwood and forsythia, but you can't have it all, and they are very beautiful.  I can really feel how bad my rheumatoid arthritis has gotten since having to stop the shots and am looking forward to getting some relief again.  You never realize how well meds can work until you are forced to go off them.

I cheated a bit on dinner tonight.  We got two rotisserie chickens and a 2-pack of ready made potatoes from Costco and made some of my home grown and canned green beans.  Total cost $19.95.  It was way, way cheaper than takeout and I have plenty leftover for making other meals over the next couple of days.  I figure a couple of chicken salads (over lettuce for me) and then some chicken salad (sandwich spread for the others), and quesadillas, and then I will pressure cook the bones in water for chicken stock and can it. We could do this once a week if we wanted to and I could make things like taquitos and enchiladas to vary things up a bit.  DH works very close to Costco and now that he is going into the office 3 days a week, it is very doable without having to waste gas making a special trip.

Speaking of gas, it is at $4.35 per gallon at the cheapy cash only gas station and $4.79 to $4.89 everywhere else.  I did make some budget decisions, one of them being gas.  I've doubled our monthly gas budget to $200.  We may not need that much, but I want to run a surplus in the gas envelope, because who knows how bad this is going to get.

I've also raised the grocery budget by $100 per payday.  With the extra money I'm going to start purchasing more long term pantry items.  I did get my wheat berries in the mail this week.  I still have to get them into mylar bags and buy some buckets with lids, but that can get done either tomorrow or on the weekend.  But I would like to buy more.

I have also raised the amount I am putting into the medical fund by $100 a month to $600.  And as long as DH is working overtime, I will throw extra into it, too.  With the very real possibility that DD will get kicked off our insurance on her birthday and we will have to pay Cobra for 18 months and then who knows what after that, we have to save money for that.

So that really means buckling down about the take out.  I'm still trying to get a disabled dependent exemption, but with having to find a new doctor for her to go to, it's making it really difficult.  You'd think with as many diseases as she has she would be a shoo-in.  And it is stressing me out.  I am trying to use the coping methods my therapist taught me, intead of my old stand-by of carbs, carbs, and more carbs, but it isn't easy.

Well, I better go over the ads and make my grocery list.  It'll be so nice to step foot in a store without a mask on my face.  I won't have to worry so much about my asthma, although I will start having to smell people again with their overwhelmingly scented soaps, lotions, shampoos, body washes, and perfumes, sometimes all on one person with a horrible clashing and clanging from all the different fragrances.  I struggle with that so much because of my synesthesia.  That was something that was mostly gone with the mask.  Still, I think maskless and not aggravating my asthma so much wins.

Bits and Bobs

March 10th, 2022 at 12:31 am

I am almost well enough to get my third booster shot now.  Actually I can't tell if I am still sick or if it is just allergies starting, because there has been pollen on my windshield for the past several days.  I still feel really tired, but I'm functional.  I have started taking my more serious antihistimine, though.

The last few days have been beautiful and in the 50's.  There is still a chilly wind, though.  It is nice even if it still isn't outdoors weather.  I'm not sure what is causing all the pollen.  The nearest daffodils are 4 blocks away and the forsythia haven't started yet.  That basically leaves crocus and no one in the neighborhood but us has them and there are only a dozen blooming.  Not enough to count for the pollen dump.

It looks like the guy who is going to do the mold abatement in the guys' bathroom and repaint it will start next week.  He's also going to do the alcove of the back door area and the room Mom watches tv in that also houses my piano.

I've been holding steady on my weight because I haven't been focused on weight loss while sick.  I also haven't been taking my cinzia, because I am not supposed to while ill.  I think I can restart it on the weekend.  I haven't really noticed any increased rheumatoid symptoms getting worse, but that may be because the weather is warming up.

I looked at all the grocery ads today and made up my shopping list.  I haven't been inside a grocery store in a long time.  DH has been doing the shopping, picking up little things here and there.  But I need to do a bigger shop.  Fred Meyer had the best ads this week, so that will be my main shop, but I think I will also go to Winco.  They never have ads, but they always have the best produce and best produce prices.  We've made it through all the potatoes we grew that weren't sprouted and it's the only place I know where I can get 20 lb bags of potatoes.  We're lucky if we can find anything above 5 lbs anymore.  Since potatoes are pretty much a staple of our diet I just want to buy the one big bag at a time.

We'll see how far my grocery dollars will stretch.  I have been debating about raising my grocery budget by $100 every 2 weeks, but first I want to see if it is necessary.  It'll really depend on the cost of chicken.  Which I'll likely get at Winco, because they always have the cheapest chicken prices.  They also have the turkey chorizo we like.  Since chicken doesn't go on sale anymore, that's where I need to go.  I don't need to buy pork except for a small ham.  I don't need to buy beef or lamb.  If I can find dark turkey parts (necks, wings, backs) either place for cheap, I'll buy those.  They make the best broth.  I might even go for chicken feet if I find them, because that is so much collagen for bone broth.

I have found the tomato strainer I want to buy and also the honey strainer.  I won't use the honey strainer for honey, but it will help in the tomato sauce making department as well as in the bone broth making process, since it is fine enough to catch all the spices that I use in making it instead of having to use cheese cloth, which is harder to clean.

I have been debating on buying a 25 pound bag of hard red wheat berries.  I have my own flour mill, and the wheat is from my state and non-gmo.  This is the type of wheat berry that will make whole wheat flour.  I might get a bag of hard white wheat, too, which is for white flour.  Soft white wheat, if anyone cares, is for making pastry flour.  Wheat berries last a lot longer than flour and these ones are sproutable, so if we wanted to grow it (which I don't) we could.

It's a little $2.24 a pound.  1 cup of wheat berries equals to cups of flour, so it would be like $1.12 a pound for flour.  Which you cannot get anymore.  Not to mention, we haven't been able to find whole wheat flour in months.  So 50 lbs of flour per bag without taking up the room of 50 lbs of flour.  I would have to figure out how to store it, though.  I haven't been able to find food grade 5 gallon buckets in about a year.  But I have found 1/2 gallon and gallon jars, so maybe I can store it in those.

I won't order until I know DH will be back to bring it in the house.  DS has tweaked his back getting my mom up off the floor yesterday.  Just what he needed, since he tweaked his back about six weeks ago.  Mom's okay, but this is the second time in a week she has fallen.  I'm trying to get her to go to the doctor, but she's refusing.  I may have to pull out my medical power of attorney documents and force the issue if it keeps happening.  We'll see.

Well, it's time to make dinner, so that wraps this up.

 

Taxes, IRAs, and Food Strainers for Tomatoes

March 6th, 2022 at 12:51 am

We set DS up with a Traditional IRA today and taught him how to do his taxes.  Of course we have to wait to get paperwork from Vanguard before they actually get submitted, but he dumped $3000 from what he earned last year into it.  So instead of having to pay $300 in taxes, he will now be getting $161 back.

He has been wanting to get this set up for a while and we didn't want to miss it.  I know we still have a month, but I never like to push it.  He would have got more back, but we still claim him as a dependent.  Which we will until he works full time, buys his own groceries (or contributes his share to our groceries), and pays 1/4 of the bills.  Then he can be an independent while still living with us.  He's not even working right now, so it is a moot point.

DH finally sent off our taxes today.  I thought he'd done it in early February like usual, but nope.  So I'll stop looking for it to be deposited and just check on Wednesdays, just not this coming one.  We always seem to get stuff deposited on Wednesdays from the IRS.  We usually do them in February because it only takes a week at that point and because we want to get it in early in case someone tries to pull identity theft.  Someone used DH's SSN back before we were married, and while it wasn't to claim taxes, it was to pay them.

He had to go through the rigamarole of proving that he didn't earn that money, because he wasn't living in California, so that we could prove he didn't earn an extra $50K that year. It was a pain, but since he was working at home, he hadn't started in Alaska, it was pretty easy to prove.  Plus he had receipts from his credit card proving he was making purchases during that time and the location.  So it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

We keep having these beautiful sunny days, but they are too cold to sit outside with the wind.  DS says it is still too cold most days to go on walks.  I want to soak up some sunshine, but I don't want to get chilled.  It's probably just false spring #2.  We can't plant around here until mid-April, but I really need to get my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and basil going.  I'll have to check the chart for anything else that takes a long time to germinate.

I'm only planting two varieties of tomatoes this year and it'll be mostly Opalka paste tomatoes  They are heirloom and open pollinated, so seeds can be saved from them.  I've grown them before twice with great results.  The tomatoes can be as big as your hand.  These aren't your typical baby romas.  I will also be planting Lillian's yellow heirloom tomatoes.  I'll probably just do two plants there.  Since I am planting organic seeds and using organic planting medium, I will easily be able to sell any extras I don't need.

I'm seriously going to be making homemade tomato sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and ugly sauce (from the yellow tomatoes), and anything else will be quartered or diced.  I need to buy a food strainer.  My food mill that came from my grandmother and was new in 1934, won't hold together anymore.  I am trying to decide between a hand turned one or an electric powered one or just the add on for the Kitchen Aid.  The latter two are quite a bit more expensive, but none of them are out of budget.  Anyone have any experience with these and could recommend a good one?  I want to make the purchase sooner, rather than later, before prices go up for tomato season.

Interest Income

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:22 am

Now, after that long-winded post, this one shall be short and sweet.  My saving accounts earned $4.32 in interest, so I will add that to the EF, bringing the Emergency Fund to $20,216.53 and Net Worth to $129,889.79.  I decided to dump the interest into the EF because it is easier than anything else, and I do want it to eventually grow to a year's expenses, which I will be rounding to $40,500.  Long, long, long term goal is a year's income.  But that is not the priority right now.

A lot of This, Some of That

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 am

I woke up feeling better today.  I slept in until 11:30 instead of 3:00 p.m. and was far less stuffy.  My voice still is scratchy when I talk, but my throat doesn't hurt.  Let's hope it's not a false spring situation where everything is starting to bud and then boom snow, like last week.  That's how this illness has been.  I know it is technically still winter, but you get my point.  But I got up, drank my water, and did my physical therapy exercises, plus some arm exercises I do to strengthen my shoulders.  It only takes 15 minutes, but when I am well I do them twice a day, so I get 30 minutes of exercise a day.  As I improve, I can start doing them 3 times per day.

After that I made lunch.  And not just soup.  I made stir-fry, which involves chopping things.  I don't remember the last time I made real food not out of a can and I didn't even do much of that the last 6 weeks.  DH did a little cooking, usually spaghetti, but mostly it was take out.  And I could really feel how detrimental that was to my body.  Not to mention how detrimental this has been to our bank account.  I mean, if it wasn't for the overtime we wouldn't be breaking even.  When I think where that money could have gone...well, I try not to, because that dog has already bitten someone.

After this recent bout of illness I am determined to change my health through proper nutrition and whatever exercise I can do.  I can't continue on this way with my weight.  I am literally killing my body.  My nutritionist has said to cut out a lot of carbs, but fat from dairy, tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck fat, goose fat, or healthy oils is fine. So when we do get our pig, I will get and render the leaf lard.  I'm going to make some ghee to make the butter shelf stable.  My nutritionist says that the government did the USA a world of hurt with it's old dietary recommendations for diabetics, people with heart disease, and extreme obesity.  That's why so few people actually got better on those diets and why so much more medical intervention was required.  Maybe 10% improved with a low fat diet.  I've believed that for a long time.

So I am cutting out sugar except on birthdays or holidays and replacing it with fruit, but only one serving of fruit a day.  And lots of vegetables and good quality protein.  If I have a starch it'll be a potato, sweet potato, winter squash, nuts, rice, or brown rice pasta.  I'm not the biggest fan of rice, but the family does like it.  Brown rice pasta is good, though and we have a lot of it to get through before I buy regular pasta again, if I can even find any.  The store shelves have been pretty bare of spaghetti or anything other than a few boxes of elbow macaroni, according to DH.  Pasta's not an end all for my family, though, and I can make noodles from scratch if I feel up to it.

I think I will try to avoid flour for a couple of weeks until the ball is firmly rolling and may then have it once a week in place of a starch, mostly so I can still have a slice of pizza here and there.  Depends on how good I feel.  I make a good gluten free pizza, though.  Either way, I pile on the vegetables and meat and cheese on my pizza anyway, and roll it quite thin, so it is pretty balanced, and add a salad.  In the summer I might allow corn, but it is extremely sweet and a grain so I'd have to be careful.  I will allow corn tortillas, but limited to once a week or less.

I would also like to eat more seafood.  We still have quite a bit of salmon and bags of spot prawns in the freezer that I need to get through before those seasons start up again and we'll have new stuff to put away.  DH has talked about maybe going for mussels, clams, and oysters this year and and also get the add on for gathering seaweed.  Seaweed is great in the garden when you are building new beds or for your compost heaps and is easy to harvest after a high tide as there is lots of dead stuff.  It doesn't have to be alive like for eating, it can just be what washes ashore.  He'll need to lose some weight, though, to be agile enough to do much of that. 

One day it would be fun to go for geoducks, (prounounced gooey ducks for non-coastal Washington and Oregon people), which I believe is the biggest of the clams in the world.  We'd have to buy a clam gun, though.  Which isn't an actual gun, but you can look that up if you are interested in knowing what it is.  It would be useful for other clams, too, but I'd have to look up the regulations on that.  It might be allowed only for geoducks.  My son would have to do the actual getting down in the sound and sticking your arm down the hole the clam gun leaves, but he says it sounds like fun.

I've been reading and thinking about growing my own peppercorns.  The same plant produces white, black, pink, green, and red peppers.  It depends on the level of maturity of the peppercorns.  It can be grown indoors, so I am thinking of trying it in a pot this summer that can be brought in when fall starts.  That may have to wait until next year.  The next time DH goes out fishing or prawning, I will have him bring back a couple of gallons of salt water as I want to try making salt, too.  As many spices and herbs as I can grow or forage, is what I think.  Has the salt shortage hit your grocery stores yet?  I have a good amount in my preps, but I want to know I can make it.  My food storage may be great, but I can't think how miserable it would be without herbs and spices to season it with. 

I have decided the family is going to eat like me or fend for themselves.  We all need to lose weight and this is how it is going to be.  I'm sick of their bad food habits dragging me down every time I try to get my diet under control.  I won't buy junk.  My son is on board.  The others are paying it lip service.  We will see.  I don't want to fail this time.  I can't afford to anymore.

Today was a beautiful day and 55 degrees F.  I did take a short walk out to the garage and back.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a start.  Maybe tomorrow I can do to the end of the driveway and back, weather permitting.  That's even longer.  I know that sounds sad, but for someone with two deviated discs in her lower spine, it's a lot of progress.  And I'm back to no cane.  So yay, me.

Also, I noticed the garlic was up about 3 inches and last week's snow didn't seem to do it much harm.  It was only here a day, though.  It looks like every single bulb I planted came up, so kudos to Fedco (for the Music garlic) and the grocery store (for the elephant garlic).  There are only a couple of weeds in the raised beds, which I will pull next time I go outside.  I didn't want to get my hands dirty and my garden gloves and shovel were on the porch.

I need to think up a meal plan with this new diet.  Good, healthy, tasty food that doesn't make us feel like we are giving anything up.  Tonight's dinner, at least, I know.  Rib steak, yellow potatoes, and green beans.

 


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