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The Garden is Picking Up Steam

July 16th, 2019 at 12:59 am

Well, I got 4 gold rush zucchini, 3 cucumbers, 3 giant kohlrabi, a bunch of basil and a bunch of parsley from the garden today. I've got 3 trays of basil and 4 trays of parsley in the dehydrator. That makes 5 cucumbers now, so I think I may make a small jar of half sour pickles tomorrow.

I need to call a local sporting goods store that has a big canning and fermenting section and see if they have any fermenting stones first. If not, then I will just eat the cukes and order the stones from Amazon and wait for a few more cukes to grow. I already have the fermenting lids. I've never made half sours before, but I love them. Those are the kind you get in delis, but in delis they often add yellow #5, which I am allergic to. It takes 1 to 2 weeks of fermenting time to make them. I have the dill in the garden, but will have to pick up some garlic. I didn't grow any this year. I wasn't expecting any cucumbers to be ready yet, so didn't think to buy garlic on my shopping day.

Tomorrow I need to cut some cilantro, thyme, peppermint, and spearmint to dehydrate. The peppermint and spearmint can be hung to dehydrate, but I have to label them because both can look like oregano when dried. (Because of our humidity the other herbs don't dry as well in the air). Well, the spearmint is purple so it is easier to identify, but the mint and oregano look very similar. They don't smell the same, but I don't want to be second guessing myself later, either. I might even be able to harvest a few sage leaves, too.

I think I will also harvest the purple basil tomorrow and make a pesto with it. I like how purple basil tastes in pesto. I may marinate the chicken in that this week. We will see. It depends on how busy my dehydrator is.

I can't believe how much the beans and corn have jumped this week. And the butternut and sweet meat squash plants really have taken off. I did do an update video on my channel if anyone wants to see just how the garden is doing.

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYIjd0itLug and Link is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYIjd0itLug

I also need to clean the kitchen tomorrow. All the counters, the sinks, and the floor. DS will have to help with the floor. I can sweep it, but he needs to mop it. The long hallway could use a good vacuuming as well. Hopefully I will feel up to doing that after the kitchen. If not, well, at least the bathroom got cleaned. That was my major priority for today.

Oh, on the sad side of things, Persephone died. She was our last New Zealand white rabbit. She was the oldest, although Ruby (who became DS's pet) is only a couple of weeks younger. Persephone was a particular favorite of mine. She was descended from the first three rabbits we ever owned.

I am debating selling all but Ruby and one other rabbit. I am not sure which other one I would keep though. Rabbits are social so I don't want to leave Ruby without a friend in the cage next door. It would make the most sense to keep Zara and not the boys, but Zara is a bit of a snot, so maybe we will keep Cyrus or Vincent. Vincent is the prettiest as a broken red, but Cyrus, a broken black is the sweetest, most friendly rabbit aside from Ruby and he is Persephone's son and Starbuck's grandson. But Vincent is Ruby's grandson. Well, maybe I will keep 3.

Celebrating Independence Day

July 4th, 2019 at 11:23 pm

Well, we just made the long trek home from the end of our driveway, where we have the perfect view of the bay for the city's fireworks display. I love not having to fight traffic or crowds and just being able to set up chairs at the last minute to watch the show. The display didn't seem to last as long this year, but it had some impressive new fireworks I've never seen before.

We broke out the new charcoal grill for dinner tonight and I was happy it wasn't hard to use at all. I think we will be using it a lot while the weather is good. We made ribeye steaks, bell pepper kababs, zucchini kebabs, little onion kebabs, and also grilled green onions and corn on the cob. I think it was the best meal I've ever eaten. It was definitely the best steak.

The yellow zucchini, little onions, and green onions were from the garden. This was the first zucchini from the garden for the season and there were actually two ready. We made so many veggies that we have them for tomorrow's dinner, too, which will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. I can see how people get so obsessed with grilling. It really hasn't been something we've done much of outside of hamburgers or hot dogs at a park or something.

I'd love to do the Shawarma spices on chicken on the grill and of course Honey BBQ chicken, too. This thing is going to get a work out. It was well worth the $99 plus tax we spent on it and the cost of the charcoal, lighter fluid, and grill tools. We will get tons of use out of it.

As for the homemade ice cream, it did indeed get hard. It is very rich, though. You know that silly serving size on an ice cream carton that says 1/2 cup? Yeah, that's about how much you can eat due to the richness, but that's great. An ice cream that actually enforces serving sizes.

We had a very good day as a family. It was nice to relax all together and enjoy the time.

If We Weren't in Debt Maybe We Could Help

June 22nd, 2019 at 09:29 pm

I think my sister and BIL are in trouble. First they wanted mom to take out a mortgage on her house and loan them money so they could buy a new house before they sell their current house. Mom said no. Now it seems like they have racked up some credit card debt and want to move in. Mom said no because there is no space for them. I also suspect because my sister has done nothing to help her over the last decade or she might clear out the attic. Not that BIL can climb stairs. They have a house, but it is in good standing as far as we know.

I think she's just overwhelmed right now. Also, the reason they racked up credit card debt was that my sister was watching her grandson while her DIL was going through chemo treatment and her premature granddaughter was in the NICU. So they used that to get by. BIL is too disabled to work due to disc issues in his back, but he is on disability. Even when the medical issues are not your own, they can lead to debt for people in ways like this.

My mother is very afraid of losing the one asset she has, which is a paid for house. I can't even imagine asking my mom to take that kind of risk when she is about to turn 80 years old. That's why I feel they are in trouble. I don't think she would ask that if they weren't. But maybe they are just treading water. That can be overwhelming, too. I know. We lived that way for years.

I understand how hard it is when you get into credit card debt, so I feel bad for them and wish that we could help, but we are in no position to do so. They are better off than we are. I'd give them FPU if we could afford it, but we have our own debt (the one to my mom) that we are paying off. At the same time, having them come would turn everyone's lives upside down. And there are not enough bathrooms to comfortably add two more people to this house or enough room in the driveway for two more cars.

I guess they will have to dig out on their own. I think that they can if they don't let the overwhelmed feeling take them over.

I feel a little guilty because if we weren't living here and taking care of Mom while getting out of debt, then she could move in and get some help. Yet, at the same time, if she did move in, I'm not sure she'd be taking care of mom as she would have to find work here and she still would have to take care of her husband.

BIL does have an extended family, so I am hoping one of them can help. It's a mess, but I feel a little better just getting it out of my system a little by venting here.

MIL is Giving Us Money Tonight

June 6th, 2019 at 09:14 pm

MIL has decided to distribute more money to DH and to DH's sister. They will each get $6000. Even with gifts I think it is important to make a budget of sorts, so I plan to put $2000 in the Medical Fund and pay the Citi card off from our overcharging in May. I've got about $400 in medical bills to pay as well. Oh, but that $1059 bill from the hospital did get audited by the insurance company and they ponied up $798 of it to the hospital, so we only have the remainder of that to pay. That's part of the $400.

I think we will also put $1000 in the Emergency Fund. I would like to beef it up a little bit. I would feel a little more comfortable then. I'd really like a full month's wages, but this will make it quite a bit closer to that.

After that I am not sure. Maybe I could save $1000 for the half a beef we want to buy. I could also put $500 in the Christmas Fund, which is what we use each year. I haven't put anything in there yet this year. After that I am not sure. DH and I will have to discuss it.

I know he wants to get a fishing/crabbing license so he can go out on his boss's boat with his boss. He got enough crab last year to pay for his crabbing last year, so I imagine we'd get enough fish and crab this year to make it worthwhile as well.

I know there are a couple of things I would like to get that are small items like an electric griddle and an electric tortilla press, but those are wants not needs. Anything left after that I'll have to think about.

I made chicken fettuccine Alfredo for dinner tonight. I made enough to put one container in the freezer and for DS to have for lunch for the next two days. I am still feeling under the weather, though I did finally get sleep. About 12 hours. It helped, but still not up for the big burrito making session yet. I'll get there.

Update During the Sick from Heck

March 19th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

The last time I posted was on the 6th. 13 days later and I am still sick, though on the upswing. This thing has kicked my butt so hard. I've lost 15 pounds on the too sick to eat diet. The first week I was sleeping about 22 hours a day. Then days 8 through 10 I was sleeping about 18 hours a day. Now I am sleeping about 15 hours a day. I've been able to sit upright for a couple hours a day for the last 3 days. I still have a cough, but it is in my throat and that stupid runny nose this whole time.

I am trying to eat now, but it is still a lot of work. I am trying to get in at least one meal a day, but I am just not that interested in food. Eating should not be such a chore. This illness is worse than the one in October that threw me down so hard. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I wish I wasn't just so exhausted. It's viral so there is nothing I can do but treat the symptoms.

It has been really nice outside the last two days, in the high 60's, and I would love to be able to get out into the garden, but even folding a basket of towels winds me. Getting my hands in the dirt always makes me feel recharged, but I think I have to have at least a quarter of a charge in the first place, so it will have to wait.

It is hard to believe a little over a week ago we had snow. There is pollen all over the car windows. The purple crocus have been up for about four days and today I saw my first yellow hyacinth. I see the tulip leaves pushing their way out of the soil, too.

I managed to get all the bills paid two days ago when I could think enough to write out checks. The day before that DH took me to the grocery store, but I had to use my inhaler halfway through. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but we were out of so many things and DH doesn't shop well on his own. He comes back with things we don't need and that are junky. We only did the one store, because I had no stamina.

We have been getting a lot of take out. I guess it was good that we had the tax return to spend. I just haven't been able to cook much at all. I hate that we spent all that money on it, but so be it. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

What has been really nice during this time is that I have not had an RA flare up. Usually when I get sick I have one, but I guess my body decided it was only going to deal with one thing at a time this time around. It may be just a coincidence, but I also stopped eating a food that had nitrites and nitrates in it when I got sick and haven't had swelling symptoms at all since. I am too afraid to try that food and test it out, because I really don't want to swell and be in pain. It's not worth the chance.

So that's why I've been so quiet. I really wasn't on the computer much, other than I had audio stories playing when I was awake. I was too sick to watch anything and too sick to read, but listening to stories I could handle. I do bless all the people on youtube who tell stories, especially the ones who do voices and add music and make it interesting. Hopefully as I get stronger, I can get back to my normal life again.

It's Official

February 27th, 2019 at 08:39 pm

I should have posted this the other day, but I have been dragging and the extent of my online activity has been on the level of watching videos of a cat singing the Game of Thrones theme song on youtube or the like. Yeah, that's where my intellectual capacity has been at. So not a lot of brain power going on.

Anyway, the raise for DH is official and all of the paperwork has now been signed. It won't be on the next paycheck, but will be on the last one of March. He's officially told the other place he won't be working for them.

On the bad side, the alternator is going out in the truck so we are going to have to get that fixed to the tune of around $600. I have $250 in the car maintenance fund. They had said it was going at the oil change DH had last week and today when DH pulled in the driveway it was really straining. Hopefully we can get it to the dealership without having to call a tow truck.

They made it sound like it would probably last six months, but we don't think so after today. It also needs the air filter, the cabin filter, the spark plugs, and the brake fluid replaced and we have decided to do all of that. So we will dip into the EF for this for the rest of the money. I had been planning to use the tax refund when it came, but I don't think it will be here in time now. But we will reimburse the EF when the tax refund comes. Sadly, it will probably use up the entire tax refund. But at least we will break even.

I will start saving $100 a month instead of $50 a month to the car maintenance fund for the next two months, just to build that back up again. Or maybe keep it at that level. The truck is a 2007 and there may be some other issues coming up. A belt or a fuel pump or something, though as of now those things are fine according to the mechanic.

I worry less about the van. It is a 2011 and we haven't hit 45,000 miles on it yet, but it will be needing an oil change shortly and I would like to eventually get the dent pulled out that DH put in it a couple years ago.

The Plot Thickens

February 14th, 2019 at 01:56 pm

DH's current job has offered him more money and a more secure position to stay. He'll have to run the numbers tonight when he gets home from work. It isn't as much pay as what the other job is offering, but current job matches 5% in the 401K, not just 3%, has a Christmas cash bonus, a Christmas 401K bonus contribution, company stock, and the insurance is better. Plus he'd be home. This just got interesting.