The latest posts from Bacon And Eggs
Look on the bright side though. At least I don't have that stupid word verification set up. That thing will keep me from commenting on blogs that I love. (Not that I comment much anyway.)
The sun is finally out here again. Here it is the end of May and it feels more like April. I'm itching to get out in the garden but it's still to wet to do anything out there. So I sit and watch the weeds grow. Boy do they grow! Hopefully the rain will stay away for a couple of days so it can dry out some. There is much to be done out there when it does. The bugs don't seem to mind the mud at all and the whole garden needs to be sprayed. I've got my handy dandy sprayer filled with my pepper/soap mixture standing by. Maybe it will dry out enough in the next couple of days and I can get out there and take care of business!
I'm happy to say that we've been eating salads from the garden! Well, lettuce anyway. More stuff on the way. I've become somewhat of a snob regarding store bought tomato's. I refuse to buy them. My grandmother used to call them "plastic" tomato's. I'll wait for mine to come in. Till then I just add what ever comes to mind for a quick salad. Onions, celery, carrots...etc but NO PLASTIC TOMATO'S!
And speaking of tomato's I need to try and start some for the fall. It takes them a couple of months more or less to be ready to plant. From the looks of things around here I'm really going to have to try for a productive fall garden to make up for the lost time this spring. I'll try to get some broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and stuff started as well. I'm also wanting to start some more pepper plants. I've had some bad luck with getting them up and going in the past. Then I learned that they have to be planted in warm soil. As in 75 degrees. I have a feeling that's where my problem lays. I also learned that peppers planted in containers and protected during the winter will produce for a couple of years. So now that we've got the greenhouse I just might be able to keep some growing.
I don't know exactly what I did differently in planting the spinach this year. Whatever it is I need to do it again. It's growing like gangbusters for the first time! We've had spinach for a couple of meals so far. I'm looking forward to more. Lot's more! Once things dry up around here I want to start some more. Around here you just can't get enough spinach. The flavor of fresh spinach is a true joy and nothing out of a can can come close to touching it.
My brother and his wife are coming to visit in a couple of weeks! I'm so excited!!! I haven't seen them since before she was deployed to Japan. She's a Doctor in the Navy. I'm so proud of what she's accomplished in the past few years. Believe it or not she has worked her way up through the ranks, starting as a Corpsman and now is an officer. They've only got a couple of years left before she will be able to retire with full benefits. Pretty cool, yes?
It's hard to believe it's already Memorial Day weekend. We don't have any plans to do anything special really. We'll fire up the pit and do a little BBQ. Probably chicken... maybe some ribs or a pork loin. We'll play it by ear.
There are some things in life that are out of your control. Accept it, embrace it, work with what you have and just ride the tide. What can you do about things like the weather? Gardening this year should prove to be really interesting . The best laid plans were at the ready. Mother Nature has had other ideas.
Back in late February we were having some really nice weather. We "worked" the lower garden, laid the water tape and filled it up with onions, spinach, lettuce, chard and turnips by the first part of March. Right on time. Mother Nature smiled and said "Nice job!"
Feeling wonderful and ready to go we moved on up the hill to the main garden. One row at a time we've been working the beds. Getting rid of weeds and the evil Johnson Grass takes time Those roots are deep and they really want to stay where they are. It's better than last year and hopefully in another couple of years we might win. Until then we do battle.
With high hopes we got the first row cleaned, compost and ground goodies in. And then Mother Nature giggled a bit... and it rained. A lot. To wet to work in. About the time it dried up again we had one of the latest freezes on record here. And then more rain. Then we made history with the very very latest freeze and a few snow flurries. At this point I was really happy we hadn't had a chance to get everything done. We'd have lost everything.
By this time it was almost May and there was nothing planted in the main garden. I kind of panicked for a bit but I'm learning that you just have to ride the tide.... go with the flow. There's not much you can do about the weather except let it do what it wants. So we are gardening by the rythem that Mother Nature is allowing. (as it should be)
We've been able to get in three 100 ft rows. I had to decide just what is most important to us over the next year. Tomato's and beans won hands down. Only 30 tomato plants in and about a row and of half of various beans. We eat a LOT of both. I'm hoping to start some fall tomato's to make up for tomato's I wanted to plant this spring.
We have a row and a half left to dig out. IF it ever dries out long enough to get out there. Mars has been wanting to add two more rows to the main garden but I don't see that happening any time soon. The Powers that Be seem to be pushing me to put in my first fall garden. I'm ok with that. Last year was so hot that trying to get plants to grow was just too much to ask of them. 110+ weather for days on end doesn't seem to agree with them.
So honestly? I have no idea how well we will do in the garden this year. It really waits to be seen. Mother Nature is obviously making sure it's interesting.
Then we have the IRS scandal. That one kind of came up out of the blue. When the IRS actually apologizes for something it's done there HAS to be more to the story. If they are targeting Tea Party, We the People, Patriot folks, then it's obvious to me that others are bound to be targets of the IRS as well. We'll see how that all comes out in the wash.
And last but certainly not least we have this breaking story of the Associated Press being wire tapped for two months without their knowledge. They are outraged. I can't say I blame them. Now the very press that has covered up and covered for this administration is calling foul. Don't get me wrong here. I KNOW how precious our rights are and what lines were crossed, but I do get to chuckle a bit that their darling Leader has stabbed them in the back. THAT is who is running our country.
I almost feel like I'm waiting on Christmas. I would love nothing better than to see this entire administration taken out of office and charges filed against everyone who knew anything about any of the above incidentsand ESPECIALLY Benghazi. From Obummer and Billary Clinton right down the line. Hanging them would be too good for the likes of them.
Good Morning from Boo and the girls! I don't know why I started calling him that, but I kinda like it. Boo the Roo!
Look what I found growing in the yard. Pretty awesome. This is Mullein. It's an amazing herb and I'm so excited to have found that some bird must have pooped a couple of plants.;-)
Here's a shot of the lower garden. The first row is onions. The other two rows have onions on both ends as well. The second row is spinach starting to take off. The back row is chard, romaine and leaf lettuce, and some turnips.
This area used to be so overgrown you couldn't see through it, much less walk through there. One of the things we've been working on around here. Our property sits on almost on top of a good size hill. This is a shot from "the top" of the property. You can't even see either of the gardens from here.
My "ET" clothesline and birdhouse have new residents this spring. Of course when you want a picture of a bird they are never around! There's a new nest in there though, I promise.
Did you know cilantro can overwinter in many place? I had no idea until last fall. I planted a couple of seeds and pretty much forgot about it. We've had fresh cilantro since late February and it's now going to seed. Time to plant more for the upcoming salsa season.
I love chives.
Here's a shot of the old grapevine on the left, my garlic patch in the back a bit of lettuce in the middle and some mint in the bucket.
Good Neighbors! I'm seeing more and more lady bugs every year. Gotta love it
This is a plant called Rocket. It comes from the mustard family. Last year there were only two of these pretty plants. Again I'm not sure where they came from but I'm thinking it might have been the birds again. It will re-seed itself (obviously) and the bees love it. I want to gather up the seeds and plant some in that area around and under those trees in the picture up top. Some say it's invasive. I guess it's a matter of what YOU call invasive. I love it.
Wash and hang out laundry (2 loads & bedding)
Plant the rest of the tomato's
Plant ALL the flower starts
Make more potting soil
Replant marjoram and lemon balm
Clean out chicken coop
Weed lower garden
Plant marigolds along lower garden edges
Sweep/mop/vacuum muddy floors
Lunch and Dinner
Do you see it yet? I can see it here. Yep that strange brightness flooding the entire sky. I think they used to call it sunshine? I hear it's not supposed to last long here before it disappears again. So today I'll be doing all those things that I've been putting off. Not to mention that it's already 6 days into May and I don't have my beans, black-eyed peas, and several other things in the ground yet. I'm not sure just how things are going to work out but I'm not waiting one single more day to put them out. How about you? Are you on schedule? Ahead? Behind?
|Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans|
If it's not one thing it is another around here. Our coffee pot doesn't keep coffee very hot. It's the heating element I guess. It just doesn't stay hot enough. So the easy answer to that problem has been to just pop the coffee cup in the microwave for a minute and ... ta da..... hot coffee. Until today.
All was going well, coffee perfectly blended with my cream and sugar, sitting in the microwave. Ding.... Coffee's done! I reach up to take it out of the microwave.... and the door won't open. No amount of pushing, pulling, smacking, shaking.... nothing could convince that freaking microwave to release my first cup of morning coffee.
Mars finally got it open a bit later but says the problem with it can't be easily fixed. Something about small plastic parts and made in china was mumbled a few times. So I guess we are going to need a new microwave. <sigh>
Sometimes living on a small budget can be challenging. For instance this month, included in the regular bills is the car registration. That by itself isn't really a game changer. I knew it was coming and so I'm ready for it. Same with a couple of other "extras" on the list this month. I've got to fill at least one propane bottle this month for the canning stove. Strawberry season is upon us which means it's time to pick up strawberries and make my strawberry jam for the year. And I still need to pick up a few more tomato plants from the farm/nursery down the road and get them in the dirt.
You see, I've had those things figured into the budget. Now, I know folks say you should have an emergency cash stash for times like these. And I can just hear someone saying "Dang it's just a microwave, they are cheap". Well you would be correct on both counts. Stuff happens. I've always known that. And this is just another one of those small annoying things that happen from time to time. The microwave will have to wait. My priorities are already set for the month. I can't justify NOT doing any of the stuff I'd already planned. The car, the propane, the strawberries, and the new plants are all higher on my "need" list than the dang microwave. If I happen to see one on CraigsList or Freecycle though.... ya never know!
I can't be sure but I think that the broody girls all trying to stay on that one nest have committed murder. The one little chick was dead this morning. I think they stomped her to death, which, by the way, is what I think happened to the other one. So now I'm on the look-out for new peeps. I'll try to rig up a box of some sort for it for now. The heat light might be a problem. I DO have one bedside lamp. It's got like a "bendy" neck on it. Maybe that will work. I've still got a little chick starter so that's a good thing. We'll have to see how it works out. I'm pretty much playing it by ear with them.
UPDATE: I've got a confession.... the chickens kinda freak me out a little anyway. Don't get me wrong, I love having chickens. I'm just not one of those "chicken petter" peeps. Last year one of the old roosters came at me and left a few marks. I'm a tad gun-shy with them now. But there was a baby in there. I just knew it would get stomped to death like it's other eggmates. So I pulled on my big girl panties and jacket ( Gotta protect the arms) and grabbed my gloves.
WOW! Those hens got MAD. They were flying at me, pecking me, squawking up a storm, dust flying, flapping wings, ruffling feathers, looking for any weakness on my part.
Who knew? Stop laughing! You could have warned me ya know? Anyway, I rescued the chick and its now in the house in a box chirping non-stop. Life is good!
So other than the Attack of the Killer Chickens and the death knell of one of my favorite appliances ....... Today was a good day. Plenty of sunshine and a good dose of dirt under my nails. I planted the rest of the row that was finished and we're getting the next one ready. I'm not in as big a hurry at the moment though because we are going to have yet another cold front come through at the end of the week. What a spring!!
With the higher and higher cost of living these days, many of us are left struggling trying to make ends meet. These days I'm always looking for a new way to save money. Things are tight all over. If you haven't already done it you might want to sit down and write out a budget. Figure out where ALL your money is going. You can't stop "leaky pockets" if you don't know where the leaks are. Once you've done that it's time to see just where you can make some changes in the way you spend.
I've compiled a list of things that I hope will be helpful to some. If you have some other ways you use to make your dollar stretch, please feel free to leave a note in the comments!
In no particular order at all ... Lets get started!
1. Check out your phone service. Do you have a homeline and a cell phone? Are both really necessary? There are several good cell phone provider's out there and rates are starting to be quite competitive. Some prepay cell phone plans are even cheaper than a monthly service.
2. If you have a high speed internet connection, consider loosing your home phone long distance carrier and use a program like Skype to talk for free. Or consider Magic Jack or Uma. Very very low cost phone service.
3. Take a look at your car insurance coverage. When was the last time you compared insurance prices? I'd been using one of the "Big" companies for a few years, having found that at the time they had some of the best rates around. Recently I decided to see if I could find a better rate. I was ecstatic to find that I could save over $300 a year with a new company! Shop around. You never know what is out there if you don't look for it.
4. Pay your insurance annually. You can save a few more bucks a year this way. My insurance company charges a $5.00 fee every month if paying by the month.
5. Are you paying your bank to be their customer? There are too many banking services that offer free checking to be paying your bank for the "privilege" of doing business with them. Lots of banks will require direct deposit or a minimum number of debit card uses per month for free checking but that's not a big price to pay for free(ish).
6.If you are printing something from your computer, check the "Print Preview" first then print only one page. Most of the time you can save your printer from using a second page and save ink as well.
7. Invest in a solar dryer. Hanging your laundry out not only saves money on your utility bill, it just smells so much better!
8. Use cold water in your washing machine. It's the action in the washer that cleans the clothes!
9. Unplug anything that is sucking "ghost power" We've got a power strip that we can flip on and off when we need to.
10. I like to declare a baking night when it's cold and I'm going to be using the oven. It warms up the house and you get yummy goodies too!
11. Turn down the thermostat. We aren't blessed with alternate heat (yet) so we use electric heaters in the RV. They have a thermostat we crank down to about 60. This may be a little cool for some but learning to layer your clothes in the winter can save you money. That's why they make sweaters you know! :)
12. Speaking of turning down the thermostat, you can save money if you'll turn down your hot water heater to 120. Most are set to 140 degrees. You'll still have hot water but you won't be scalding yourself!
13. Keep your air conditioner filters changed/cleaned. This helps keep the AC from working so hard.
14. Use your laptop instead of the home computer. It runs on batteries therefore it can save you money since it's not always plugged in.
15. Speaking of computers, set your computer to "doze off" after 10 minutes of non-use. This will save on your electric use as well.
16. Close off the rooms in your house you aren't using to save on heating and cooling. Around here we close off the bedroom when we get up and open it up an hour or so before bed. In the spring/summer, use the weather when you can. Open up your windows at night to catch cool breezes and close them before it gets hot again outside the next day.
17.Make your own household cleaners. You can make your own all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, de-greasers, floor cleaners, anti-bacterial wipes and many other things to use around the house. Not only are they cheaper... err...frugal.... they are also "Green Products" made from things you probably already have on hand. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and alcohol are just some of the ingredients you can use.
18. Make your own laundry soap. I've been making my own for a couple of years now and have saved a ton of money. It works well, it's easy to make and it's inexpensive. Have you seen the price of some of the name brand laundry soaps lately?? You can make your own for pennies a load. I just love it! And I love the savings too.
19.This one may not be for everyone but I cut my husbands hair. We invested in a pair of clippers a few years ago which makes it so easy to do. He looks good and it's also saved a ton of money. Now I just need to learn to cut mine.
20.Craigslist, Freecycle, Penny Papers, Thrift Stores and yard sales all can provide most things you are looking for. Why buy new when gently used is so much less expensive?
21. Can you borrow what you are looking for? Sometimes there are things tht you only need once. Maybe your neighbor already has "one"?
22. If you do have to buy new, choose wisely. Well made products may cost a bit more but they tend to be durable.
23. Check out 3 month supplies of prescriptions thru mail order. With some insurance plans you can have your medications for much cheaper via mail order. Especially those that you have to take every day.
24. If you are on medications, ask your doctor for the generic drug. Places like WalMart and Target have hundreds of generic medications for $4 each.
25. Drink more water! Not only is it better for you than those soda's but it's FREE.
26. Keep your freezer full. If you have to, put milk jugs or 2-liter bottles of water in the freezer. It's less expensive to run a full freezer than an empty one.
27. Have a no-spend weekend, or a no-spend week, or if you think you can do it, try a no-spend month! Guaranteed to make you take a look at how your money actually works for you.
28. Check out shopping online. For example, we recently had to replace the starter on our car. The auto parts store wanted $150 for a replacement. We went online to Ebay and found the same exact starter for $30. (and free shipping) Quite a savings.
29. Plastic grocery bags can be reused all sorts of ways. A regular size plastic grocery bag will fit in most bathroom trash cans as a liner. Use them as lunch bags. Going to the park? Take extra's for your trash and for things like wet towels and swimsuits.
30. Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Along the same line, use kitchen towels instead of paper towels whenever you can.
31. Shop "Seasonal Sales". This not only goes for food but for just about everything. For instance I buy all my "stationary" once a year. Notebooks, office supplies, pens, pencils, sharpies etc are bought during the Back-To-School Sales. There's a "season" for just about everything. (http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-sale-cycles-when-do-things-go-on-sale)
32. If you are going to college, consider your local Jr College to get some of your core classes out of the way. Most Jr College credits will transfer to a University but be sure to check first. Attend an in-state college and save a ton of money. Also, try finding used books. You can find them online for wayyyy less than they want in the college bookstore. Consider auditing classes that you are interested in but don't "need" for your degree.
33. Lots of folks use CFL light bulbs to save energy. I'm not one of them. Personally I think they are dangerous and don't belong in the home. You can save money over the long run by switching to LED lighting where ever you can.
34. Never ever spend your change. Set a goal and save for it. You would be amazed at how much money you can save this way.
35. Open the curtains/drapes on the sunny side of the house during the daytime and close them on the shaded side(in the summer I reverse that). This works very well on sunny, non-windy days. This allows me to use natural light as well.
36. Try your hand at DIY projects. YouTube is a goldmine of hands on visual teaching. You would be amazed at how many things you can learn to repair or make at home at pennies on the dollar compared to their store bought counterparts.
37. Make your own gifts instead of buying. If you are good at crafting, knitting, sewing or crochet you may already be doing this. You can also make some pretty cool gifts if you don't know how to do any of these things. You can make Food Mixes in Jars, Homemade Jerky for the guys, jellies, jams, candy, breads, cookies, candles, soaps.... all sorts of things that take very little money. Did I mention that they will love the homemade touch AND they can use the gift instead of it being shoved into a closet somewhere to be re-gifted later on. Don't forget to include a handwritten note with your gift. It makes it so much more personal. Oh, and did I mention all the money you can save doing this?
38. If you are considering making a big purchase why not try waiting 30 days and then see if you still feel the need for the item. I find myself sometimes not needing something nearly as much as I thought I would three or four weeks later.
39. Yes, I know smoking is horrible for you. Stop if you can (or if you want to). This can save a TON of money over a years time.
40. I'm still a smoker. I buy my tobacco and the cigarette tubes on line and roll my own. A pound of tobacco and 2 1/2 boxes of tubes are under $25.00. That comes to $1.oo a pack. Not a bad savings at all.
41. Do your own auto maintenance. Learn to change your own oil. Keep your tires properly inflated. Wash your own car. Check your own fluid levels. All these things cost $$ when someone else is doing it for you.
42. When traveling, pack yourself some goodies from home. Instead of stopping somewhere and laying out cash, consider packing a nice lunch. Stop at a park along the way if you need to stretch.
43. Try planning your vacations in places you have friends and family you can visit. Staying with Aunty Em could save you a ton of money!
44. If you are going to be traveling for more than a day, find a local grocery store and buy your foods there.
45. Consider a vacation in your local area. Camping at the lake or river is not only fun but it's really inexpensive. Even if you don't have camping gear many state and corp parks have cabins you can rent. You'll still save money and have an awesome time while you are at it.
46. When running errands, try running them at "off peak times". You'll be able to save time and gas by not having to wait in 5'o'clock traffic. You'll spend less time looking for a parking spot too!
47. When you have errands to run, make a list. Stop making all those extra trips in the car. Gas is expensive. Get it all done while you are running around in one trip.
48. Boardgames are a fun way to spend an evening at home with the kids. Pop some popcorn and have some fun!
49. Take advantage of your local area for having some fun. Festivals and free concerts, parks and lakes cost next to nothing and can get the whole family out of the house for awhile. There are free basketball courts, disc golf, tennis courts and playgrounds. Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch!
50. Check out your local community events and hit the fun ones. Lot's of time you can get free entertainment and meet some new folks. To find special events and festivals, pick up a free state tourism guide.
51.Instead of going out to the movies, subscribe to a DVD rental service like Netflix. No late fees and no gas used going back and forth to the movie shop!
We chose to disconnect from tv here. To have it installed here is an expense that I'm not willing to pay. We do have internet acces for news, weather and "fun" stuff. Our internet provider has a bandwidth usage limit that doesn't allow us to stream movies. What we've chosen to do instead is to not for everyone. We rent Netflix DVDs and watch one per evening. Our total cost for both the internet and the Netflix is still less than having tv on satellite.
52. Think about loosing some of those cable channels you never watch. Sometimes it's cheaper to rent a movie occasionally than to keep all those extra channels. Do you really need 259 different channels? You could save a good bit of money by at least getting rid of some of those channels you never even watch anyway.
53. Rediscover your local library. Depending on where you live you might be amazed at all they have to offer. Free Books, DVD's, CD's, internet service. What's not to like? Some even offer E-Books for lending.
54. Libraries have lots of programs your tax dollars pay for anyway....story tellers, classes for adults, movie nights, nice bi-lingual people who do taxes, videos, internet access, etc. Not to mention magazines and newspapers, so drop your subscriptions. You know they just pile up to be recycled after the first read-through anyway.
55. Cancel magazine subscriptions. Read them at your local library.
56. If your town or county has a community college, you can usually join that library as well. It is available to all community members.
57. Check out the Amazon Kindle Reader. Even if you don't have the actual "reader" you can download a version for your computer. There are 1000's of books offered free at any one time.
58. Instead of going out how about inviting friends over. Just about anything you do at home will be cheaper than going out. Fire up the grill or put on a potluck dinner. Maybe watch a movie or play some cards and have a few drinks. Always fun and easier on the pocket too.
59. Here's another along the same line. Get together with a group of friends and all take turns at being hostess for dinner and DVD's. Everyone else gets a night out of the house and your turn only comes up once every two or three or four times.
60. I like to keep a running list of the things I use. Mine is on my fridge. A friend of mine keeps her's inside her pantry door with a pen attached to it so she can jot it down as she takes it out of the cupboard. When you remove something from your pantry write it down so you will remember to replace it. And always remember to rotate your groceries. This makes sure you don't end up with wasted food. There is nothing worse than having to toss out something that you could have used if you had just rotated it in your pantry!
61. Check out the weekly ads in your area BEFORE you go shopping and use it to help with making your list. Once you get your pantry stocked up you can use this "tip" to help you prep and save money while you are doing it. The idea is to try and NEVER buy anything that isn't on sale or doesn't have the best bang for the buck so to speak.
62. Always shop with a list
63. If you have to veer off the list... make sure it is because you have found a REAL bargain. Try and give yourself a little "leeway" just in case you find one of those Unadvertised Specials. Don't make a habit of it but always try to be aware of these specials and jump on them if you find yourself a good bargain!
64. Use coupons. You CAN save a lot of money using coupons. There are tons of websites dedicated to couponing. Check them out and do a little homework. Check out stores that offer double and triple coupons. Don't buy things that you will not use or that you don't need. Remember: Eat what you Store and Store what you Eat.
65. Never shop when you are hungry. There is no better way for me to load up on "crap" than when I go to the store with the munchies. All the sudden everything looks good!
66. Try to shop alone. Think about it. When you take the kids or even the significant other how often do you find yourself buying things you had NO intention of getting when you walked in the store?
67. Check out the store brands. Not always, but more often than not, the store brands are just as good and usually less expensive. If you try the product and don't like it, most stores will refund you your money. They want your business and want you to come back. I have actually taken back the label of an empty can of soup once that I thought was disgusting. They gave me my $ back! OK I know this one isn't a tip for the faint of heart but hey ....if you are cheap....er frugal...
68. Compare unit prices. I have found this to be really really helpful. Most all stores show the price per ounce. Lot's of times what you "thought" was a good deal really isn't at all. Compare the per ounce costs of each item. You would be surprised at how many times "bigger is not always better".
69. Buying in bulk can save money. Be careful with this one though. I have found lately that some smaller sizes are actually less expensive than buying in bulk. This is where watching your "unit" prices comes in handy.
70. When you are checking out ALWAYS watch the scanner. I've caught mistakes over and over again because items didn't ring up correctly at the checkout. Why spend all that time trying to save money just to have them not ring it up correctly? Don't be shy about letting them know.
71. Watch for marked down items. You can save huge money. I try to go earlier in the day to catch marked down items. Always check what I like to call "the bargain buggy" This is where you can pick up some great deals on "dented" and discontinued items. When a package is torn or squashed they will mark the item down as well.
72. I also find some excellent deals in the meat department like this. Since I either use what I have bought the same day or freeze it that same day this works well for me. I once found sliced cheese (24 oz package) marked down to $0.75 each. And yes it was "real" cheese. I bought all 15 packages and put them up in the freezer.
73. When you find something that you use regularly on sale - Stock up and buy as much as you can afford to. You know you will be using it later on and prices are rising fast these days. Store what you eat and eat what you store.
74. If the store is out of your "sale" item always ask for a raincheck. They usually ask how many you want at that price. I ALWAYS tell them I want the maximum number allowed if it has a limit. When you redeem the coupon you don't have to buy that amount but if you can afford it and want to you still have that option. While you are waiting for them to restock that item you can also start looking for coupons for it. That way when it does come in, you can save even more.
75. Sign up for the "Store Card" This can save you money that you didn't even know about. If you are reluctant to give up your information to them do what I do. Make up some BS information. They NEVER check the information anyway. And if they do, so what? What are they going to do? Call the grocery cops on you?
76. Remember that a sale is not always necessarily a sale. Many times a store will try to push something that has been overstocked and will just put it on an end-cap to get your attention.
77. Stay away from convenience foods. You can make most of the same things at home for half the price.
78. Avoid last minute impulse items. They put all that stuff next to the check-out counter to try and get you to make unnecessary purchases. Keep your hands to yourself in the check-out lane!
79. Eat fruits and veggies in season. Stock up and can,freeze or dehydrate what you can't eat now.
80. Wean yourself off of processed foods. They are expensive and you can make most of the mixes yourself. Link here ,and here for a couple. A Google search will net you plenty of them. Another good thing about making things from scratch is that you KNOW whats in it.
81. Buy in bulk when possible. If you can't afford to do it alone, maybe a family member or friend could share the expense.
82. I rewash freezer bags and use them again. I am careful with them and I do buy the good bags because they seem to be a lot tougher. When I've used them once, I wash them, dry them, and use them once more. I've used some more than 3-4 times with no holes and it kept great. With a garden that has saved me a ton.
83. Buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook them in a crock pot to make them tender and flavorful. Crock pots are also great for chili, stews and soups.
84. Make your own pudding cups ( or jello cups or applesauce cups, etc) No more buying those individual snack packs. For instance, pick up a large box of "snack crackers" are then repackage them into small zip-lock bags. Instant savings!
85. I used to think making bread at home was hard to do. Then I found a brand new bread machine at a thrift store for under $10 and proceeded to start making my own bread. These days I have given up the bread machine for the oven but either way I've saved so much money making my own bakery products. I haven't bought a loaf of bread from the store in a few years now. A tasty way to save money!
86. If you just can't bring yourself to bake your own bread, check out your local day old bakery store or even your local dollar store. I just can't justify spending over $2.00 for a dang loaf of bread, even on a good day!
87. Go "meatless" one day a week. We love meat. But face it, it's expensive. We like beans around here so I'll cook up a pot with some rice and cornbread for dinner sometimes. Makes great leftovers as well. Use the leftovers as a side dish during the week. Another thought is to have "breakfast for dinner". Pancakes and eggs for dinner.... oh my!
88. Buy cheese in bulk and stop buying those per-packaged expensive ones. It's super easy to shred cheese in your food processor and bag it up yourself. Make your own cheese cubes and cheese sticks too.
89. If you don't know how to cook it's time you learned. Cooking from scratch saves tons of money and it's just plain better for you.
90. Invest in a deep freeze. It can pay for itself over time pretty easily. You can take more advantage of meat sales, as well as fruits and vegetables. Buy meat in bulk, take it home, repackage and freeze. You can save several cents per pound this way.
91. Made a little to much "stuff" for dinner? Label and freeze it. Pull it out of the freezer and take it to work for lunch one day.
92. Make your own "fast food". You can make things like breakfast tacos, biscuits and sausage and egg "Mcmuffins" at home for breakfast on the run. . Put them together and wrap with plastic wrap and toss in the freezer.
93. Check out local discount stores in your area. Try places like Family Dollar for "luxury" items like cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate. Dollar stores and "scratch and dent" stores can save you even more money.
94. Keep a steady supply of low cost basic "staple" foods, then use small amounts of the other more expensive foods (or food from your garden, better still) to round out the basics and add variety without breaking the budget.
95. Buy foods on sale in bulk when you can see the savings. Freeze, can or dehydrate what you can't use right now.
96. Food wasted is money wasted. Rotate your foods. Use the First In First Out method and remember the old saying.... "Store what you eat, and eat what you store". There is no sense in stocking up on Spam for an emergency if there is no one in your house that eats it now.
97. Use your leftovers. People waste so much food they stick in the fridge and forget. When I have leftover vegetables, even if its just a small spoonful, I put it in a jar in the freezer. When its full I'll turn it into a soup or a casserole.
98. I keep a roll of masking tape and a sharpie on my fridge and label the leftovers and date them when I think of it. This really helps when you have no idea how long that science project has been lingering in the back of the fridge. (I need to work on this a bit harder... hey no one's perfect!) Around here nothing actually goes to waste. We usually make lunch from intentional leftovers from dinner and what doesn't get eaten by us, or the chickens goes into the compost pile.
99. I can get at least two and sometimes three meals from a whole chicken for the two of us. That doesn't include the carcass, which I use to make a nice chicken broth for a soup or stew or something. That can make a single chicken stretch out for four or five nice meals for us.
100. If I've got leftover meats sometimes I like to cut them up and add them to a quick stir fry with rice. (no, really, it's ok to eat pork and beef at the same time) Really quick and easy meal.
101. A FoodSaver vacuum sealer is another one of those things that will pay for itself over time. You can easily double the time many foods will last using one. (INSERT LINK TO FOOD SAVER POSTS)
102. If you have a way to have a garden of ANY size you need to be growing as much of your own food as you can. Even in an apartment, with a balcony you can grow enough to enjoy fresh salads all season long. Gardening can go a long way in reducing your overall cost of food. Not to mention how good and how good for you it is!
103. Learn to can. It's not as hard or as scary as people think. Modern Science has made it safe and easy to do. Even if you don't have a garden you can take advantage of your Local Farmer's Market. I promise you there is nothing better than opening up a jar of home-canned green beans in the middle of winter to put a smile on your face.
104. Dehydrating is another excellent way to put up and store foods that show up on sale or are in season. Last year I grew several herbs and dried them to use until I can grow them again this year from the seeds I saved. That saved me money at the grocery store. I didn't have to buy parsley, chives, sage, basil, oregano,thyme, rosemary, cilantro, or dill. This year I'll be adding mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lemon basil to my herb garden. You can grow herbs in small posts on your kitchen window sill and enjoy fresh herbs most of the year.
105. Do you eat out for lunch at work? Stop for coffee and a doughnut in the mornings on the way in? Try taking your lunch to work. One thing I used to like about going out to lunch at work wasn't so much for the food but for the change of scenery. Try heading to the park for lunch. If you REALLY want to be entertained try parking under a shade tree at one of your strip malls. People watching is always interesting!
106. Stop eating out. Make eating out something you do for a special occasion.
107. If you DO go out to eat try going out for lunch instead of dinner. The menus are often the same, only with much lower prices for lunch time.
108. Always take a snack and a bottle of water with you while you are out on errands and avoid hitting the fast food lane.
109. Pick up a discount card to buy gas. Lot's of grocery stores have them as well as places like Costco and Wal-Mart. With some cards you can save 5 cents a gallon or more. If you are worried about them tracking your information, just make something up. It's not like they are going to do a background check!
Use your crock-pot during the summer, instead of the oven when you can. This will keep you from heating up the house. If you do have to use the oven during the summer, try doing your baking late at night after things have cooled down. Your AC won't have to work as hard.
110. I use those generic SOS steel wool pads to clean the bottom of my cookware. To re-use them again I toss them in a baggie and store it in the freezer. No more rusty wool pads that have to be tossed WAY to soon.
111. Invest in a thermos and take your coffee to work with you. With the money you save by not buying $5.oo coffee's every day you could easily afford a nice home brewed coffee every day!
112. If you can't live without your venti latte, consider buying an espresso machine. It will pay for itself in just a little while.
113. Avoid buying nonfood items such as detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, napkins, and facial tissues at the grocery store. Usually you can get these items much cheaper at discount or warehouse stores.
114. Reduce, reuse, recycle Good words to live by!
Do you have a tip or trick that saves your family money? Please feel free to share it in the comments.
Copyright 2013 Bacon And Eggs/ SciFiChick
We may (or may not) have seen the last of freezing temps here. I've got my fingers crossed. The tomato's I set out last week are still alive. I've been covering them at night for the past week. I'm going to step up and be brave today and get some things in the ground. I really need to get the root bound peppers into the ground. I figure if another freak freeze comes thru I can just try covering them as well. As for everything else, I'm going to start sticking seeds in the dirt as soon as the grounds ready for them. Today I've got 100 foot to work with. It's still wet out there but maybe.... just maybe..... it will dry up enough to work before it rains again.
I've got chicks trying to hatch right now. I don't really know how all that's going to work out though. I'm no expert when it comes to anything, much less chickens. I've got 4 hens sitting on two piles of eggs and they all went broody about a week apart. I've found one dead chick that looked as though it might have been squished in the melee that happens when one of the hens gets of the nest to stretch a bit. I just happened to be in the coop at the time, sticking my nose where apparently THEY didn't think it should be. So I got a full head on attack by an angry mama hen! Knocked my hat right off and scared the crap out of me. Heh,... at least I got to see that there is one live chick in there so far. That's a close as I want to get for now.
Those of you who've been following along for awhile might remember that since we moved here to Oklahoma we've been experiencing weather records. And not the good ones either! Rack another record breaker up for me here. The freeze two days ago was the coldest overnight temp for this late into April. Our last frost date is supposed to be April 15th.... Uhmmmm... not this year.
I've been trying not to stress over not being able to be out gardening. Wondering if it's safe to plant yet, I'm sure glad I waited. The neighbor wasn't so lucky. She'd set her tomato plants out a couple of weeks ago one day when the sun was deceptively shining. Three days later it froze. Then, just to be sure, it froze again the next night. Needless to say she will have to replant those tomato's. That kind of reminded me of the freaky early frost we had the first part of October last year. Just bad enough the first night to shock everything, and one more time the next night just to make sure what wasn't dead before is now. Gotta love gardening, eh?
I can't blame her for wanting to plant. Honestly? I did the same thing earlier this week. Monday here was beautiful and I couldn't stand it so I waded out into the muddy garden and set out about 20 tomato plants. Then I happened to hear the weather forecast on the radio saying it might freeze towards the end of the week. Well CRAP!!!! All's well though, we covered up the tomato's and they are ok. Everything else is still sitting in the greenhouse. It's even muddier out there now than it was before so I'm resigned to wait until it dries up enough to work in.
I did have a "Duhhh" moment the other day. The back of every pack of seeds gives instructions for planting. One of the first things most say is " Plant in the spring, after all danger of frost is gone." OK... I'm waiting.....
My American Truth
Do I honestly think that this is how a lot of the rest of America feels? Yeah, sometimes I'm afraid so. I find that many of us hunker down like cowards rather than stand up to what is happening to our country. It's an easier road to travel. We don't have to respect "Her" like we used to these days. We don't have to honor those who laid down their lives before we came along, who fought and died so we could "bitch and moan" about how things are these days. Those fine men and women who died laying down their lives so we would have the RIGHT to "bitch and moan". But do we respect them... or her??? Oh hell no!
Don't you DARE grab her up by the throat and tell her "What must be done will be done" to try and extinguish the fire that is in her heart. Don't you DARE threaten her with what will "happen to her" if she doesn't bow down to what you think she should be. This lady, America, is a fine lady, and she may forgive some of the injustices done to her (for the "greater good") but she will never forget where she came from... where her roots lay ....and where her heart stands. Folks will say that "She asked for it.. that she deserved it...that she did all she could to make others treat her that way".... Just remember
You may judge her handlers, but you cannot be a judge of her heart. There is so much in all of us, those who know that to judge someone by the actions imposed by others cannot possibly see into the heart that still lies beating in this great country. It might be just under the surface, facing the lies and untruths they want us all to believe....But there is much still here. It beats wildly in the Patriots that are awakening. She cannot die. Let it not be said "She was good and strong, yet I failed her." If she dies then we will surely all die with her. And if she will stand then they will say "America, Long Live Liberty"
The calendar says it's spring time. The weather IS warming up .... and down.... and wet ... and windy.... sunny and warm... cloudy and cold... (did I mention cold and freezing?) Every time that I think it's going to be nice enough to plant the weather changes again. And I know it's not just me. There are blizzard warnings for Colorado out for tonite and hail and tornado's from Nebraska down to Texas. We are all in this together!
Honestly, I just want to be able to get into the garden and get the rows ready to plant. Rain is moving in tonight though and will be sticking around for a day or so. More wet and soggy garden. Sinking in mud doesn't actually work out too well when hoeing up rows. I know I'm supposed to be patient. I know that our actual last frost date is April 15th. It just doesn't seem right is all. Living most of my life in and around Austin, Tx doesn't quite give me all the prospective I need to live in a state that has four actual seasons. I never knew how hard it was to have to wait to plant. It makes me realize I just might be "impatient"! Especially since everything was in the ground and starting to come up by this time last year.
Hey at least we were able to get some stuff in the ground. The area at the "bottom" of the hill is all in and planted. It doesn't seem to get as wet down there. I think it runs off pretty fast is why. The onions are looking good. Same for the different lettuces. I'm not sure what happened with my turnips though... not a single one came up. So I replanted them this weekend. A bit of spinach and swiss chard are finally starting to come up.
I don't know what the deal is but I seem to have trouble getting the chard and spinach started. I'm working on a learning curve here I suppose. Which reminds me.... if you are thinking about gardening as a means of survival if SHTF you might want to get a bit familiar with the whole process. Just tossing some seed in the dirt and hoping for rain isn't going to save your family. A seed vault of heirloom vegetable's aren't going to save your family if you have no idea what you are doing. Oh and don't forget that it takes a couple of months to actually eat anything from it. Anyway... I digress.
I picked up about half of our tomato plants over the weekend. They are some good looking plants but I still need to drive over to the farmers place down the road. He sells vegetable plants and I know he'll have some tomato's. Lets just hope I can afford them.
Things are starting to green up here and the grass is getting tallish so Mars broke out the lawnmower. Checked all the fluids, aired up the tires, worked on the battery and mowed all of about 15 minutes before it quit. Seems like the same spindle housing that broke off last year decided to do it again. <sigh> Part has been ordered and should be here by the end of the week. Just in time too! What is it about spring every single year that has us buying lawnmower parts?
Uses For Dryer Lint (11/13/10)
Walk into most laundry rooms and you will probably see a pile of lint somewhere. On top of the dryer, in a separate trash bag, in an old coffee can and some even have a "special container" just for lint saving. I'm one of those. I have an old trick or treat bucket stuffed to the rim with dryer lint. Somewhere I even have ANOTHER container to dump the bucket into when it gets full.
I was thinking about it one day (yeah I do tend to think of off the wall stuff sometimes) and asked myself just what in the world I was going to do with all that fluffy, multi-colored recyclable material. I don't know why I even started saving it to start with. I just kept thinking " There must be something I can do with this stuff". I also decided to ask around and see what others had to say about the stuff. The number one answer, hands down, was to use it for firestarter.
I started searching around and came up with a few other things that dryer lint can be used for. I'm kind of glad I did too. Somehow it makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in my "harvesting" of lint!
Here is where I have to put in a serious warning. Dryer Lint is EXTREMELY flammable. Which is, I suppose, one reason that the #1 use for it is for starting fires!
You have to be careful when you burn dryer lint as well. Remember that how it burns depends on what the lint was made out of. Things that are man-made will melt and/or smoke. It might smell like burnt plastic or even put out fumes. Cotton, wool and linen dryer lint will work just fine. If you aren't sure about what's in it you might want to take it outside in an open area and burn some. If it morphs into something ( like little beads etc) don't put it in your fireplace or bbq pit.
Some of the things people use it for call for caution and a bit of common sense. If you decide to use any of these ideas please use your head and remember just how flammable this stuff is ok?
Alrighty then.... We have the warnings out of the way. Now on to some of the interesting things you can use all that harvested dryer lint for......
Here are a couple of ways to use that fluffy stuff as a firestarter. I like a couple of these ideas because not only does it call for using your dryer lint but also some of the other things just laying around the house "just in case".
Try using it instead of lighter fluid the next time you fire up your BBQ pit. Lay little pieces around your briquettes to start your coals.
Lint also makes a good woodstove or fireplace tender. Just ball up some of the soft lint and place it in your starter kindling. They should ignite quickly and get your fire started easily.
Take an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll and stuff it with old newspaper and dryer lint. Close up the ends and you have a great firestarter. Use it in your fireplace or put a couple in your stash for your next camping or hiking trip.
This idea seems to be one of the most popular in the searches I've done. Take a cardboard egg carton and stuff lint into it. Then, using old candles, paraffin, or even used crayons, Pour melted wax over each cup on top of the lint. Use one or two of your "lint eggs" to start your fire.
Make firestarter "kisses". Take a small piece of wax paper and wrap lint and little wax bits in it. Then twist the wax paper ends like a candy wrapper. Put them in your stack of wood and light the end of the waxed paper. This would be a good way to use up some of those little bits of crayon pieces that the kids have laying around too.
Something else I ran across while reading about lint is to use it when making small dolls and teddybears as well as the batting for quilts. Stuff your home-made cushions with it. I saw where someone used it in their old farmhouse for insulation against drafts. Personally I'm not sure I would want to do this though because of the possibility of it catching on fire. I only mention it because it actually would work.
You could leave some out in the yard somewhere for birds to make their nests from as well as using it in your worm beds. Again, I would do a bit more research before trying one of these ideas.
How about using it to make a draft stopper? It would work well on a tile floor, especially if you have a metal door or one of those metal kickstopper on the bottom of your door. You could use a tube sock and stuff it with dryer lint and then sew the end closed to keep the drafts from blowing in under the door.
You know that nesting box material you pay an arm and a leg for at PetSmart for your hamsters and guinea pigs? Try using dryer lint instead. Warm, clean, cuddly and cheap!
How about using it for packing material? It can't be any worse than using those dang peanuts that get everywhere when you open up a package.
Use your artistic abilities and make a masterpiece from old dryer lint. Use it for kid's craft projects. You can shape the lint into almost anything or even use it to replace cotton for things like snowmen or clouds. Just glue the "shapes" onto construction paper. How about using it for things like hair or even fur for your craft projects! You can make some dryer lint clay from it or even make paper out of it. There are several places to get recipes for either of these projects on the internet.
You could make candle wicks from it, as well as rope. Just roll it the same way that the Indians used to make rope from plant fibers. It would take a bit of time but it would work!
You could use it to help with growing your plants. You don't want to put the lint on the soil next to the plant. It could mold. But you could use it in the bottom of your pots. It will keep the soil IN the pot and let the water OUT. If you are going to do this though you might want to be careful with what kind of lint you use. Some fabrics and some laundry detergents have chemicals that you might not want on your plants. But if you use the dryer lint from natural fabrics like cotton and linen and eco- friendly detergents it should work just fine!
Here's another use. Use dryer lint to soak up used motor oil. Before you change the oil in your car, put down a "sheet" of lint under the car and on the sides of the front of the car. If you spill oil, cover it with another layer of lint and firmly step on it so it soaks it up well. Be sure to discard the lint carefully.
So there you have it! Some actual uses for that stuff that seems to magically "grow" without much help.
I think one of the most important things we can do is to learn everything we can. The more we can do for ourselves the less we will have to depend on others to do them for us. There might even come a time that the things you have learned may well help keep you alive. Besides, learning new things can be alot of fun as well as being useful.
Is there something that you have always been interested in but don't know how to do? Why not try your hand at it? Make a list of things that you would like to learn. Things that you want to be able to do. Then just pick one and go for it. Some might require that you take some classes but I guarantee that there are plenty that don't. These days with the internet right at your fingertips there really isn't much of a reason not to try your hand at learning something new. There are great places to find out how to do a million things. Heck, there are even places like YouTube that can show you step by step how to do tons of things. There are forums on just about anything as well. Most of the forums would be happy to answer any questions you might have. I am living proof that even an old dog can learn many new tricks. I look back now and am amazed at how just setting your mind to doing something can make a "want to" into a "can do".
I'll give you a couple of examples. Since I first knew Mars, every year he's grown at least a couple of tomato and pepper plants. Of course these days that has expanded but... back then we would eat all the fresh stuff we could and the rest ended up being given away or it would just go to waste. Now it just broke my heart seeing it go to waste and so I decided I wanted to learn how to put them up. So I asked a few questions and did some research. I even found a free online canning class. I started with the easier methods and gathered up the "tools" I needed to begin. That year I taught myself how to do Water Bath Canning. I learned how to put up pickled peppers and tomato's that year. I was so excited that I had learned a new skill! Then I decided I wanted to learn to put up other things. So I did some more research and I started saving my money and the next year I bought a pressure canner. I learned how to put up lots of different kinds of vegetables.
Since then I have learned lots of things that have helped me tremendously in my prepping. I consider all these skills valuable. I also truly enjoy doing them. I still have a list and am still learning new things. I guess what I am trying to say is why not take some time and learn a new skill? It may really come in handy some day. And heck, even if it doesn't, you will be all the wiser for having learned something new.
~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~
I didn't realize that there were so many of you who have had the same type thing happen to you. Having your content stolen and taken and used as if it were the thief's own property is hard to swallow. I've always felt that the least a person could do is to credit the source when and where you can. Someone wanted to brush that under the rug yesterday and used the excuse that "those folks at that website" are senior citizens and might not "understand" that. I call foul on that one. Trust me, you know when you are stealing someones work. Stealing is stealing. Black and white. No greys. You took it or you didn't.
After some thought and some conversation, both here and other places, I decided to pull yesterdays post. There were multiple reasons I suppose. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that plagerizim is right. And as I have said in the past- it takes a certain kind of horrible to steal another persons words. I think the quick actions on the part of the editors of the website was admirable. It doesn't change the fact that I abhor a thief. Always have, always will. But there were other things in play as well. Sometimes it takes me just shutting up, calming down and listening to my "inner voice" (Hey Michelle, that's my inner voice, not my inside voice... hehehe)
To quote a good friend of mine MMPaints "Sci, it happens to us all and the whole liar/poser thing seems to be pretty rampant in the whole prepper movement thing. It went from a good idea to all about money and fake prestige. Those of us that walk the walk always seem to get passed by for the ones with big stories and huge claims of success. We know what's true and what isn't so that's all that matters. "
Nothing could be more true. I know that there are folks out there who don't think twice about their actions or the consequences of them. This huge swell of folks leaning towards becoming more self-sufficient was bound to bring out the bad as well as the good.
As it has grown, the prepper movement has become more "mainstream" and more folks are getting into it. Some of these folks aren't in it for the prepping aspect, but because they saw how to make a quick dollar on the backs of those who have come before them and laid the foundation. It seems we have now moved from the shadows into the sunlight. Unfortunately the bottom feeders have found new territory to explore. If you had told me that I'd be hearing ads on the radio for "storeable foods" five years ago I would have laughed in your face. The world is changing and folks are getting nervous about what the future might hold. I suppose it's the natural reaction of buzzards to circle around and pick off what they can. For the wolves to stalk the sheep.
In the past five or six years I've watched this movement grow. I've seen all kinds of things and met all kinds of people. I watched it start as a smallish bunch of folks who's real motivation behind sharing their "prepping info" was to help others along the way. It was small enough for online communities to form good relationships. I was lucky to have found some. Many of those folks held my hand and guided me through all sorts of learning experiences. I consider them my friends to this day. Those are the type relationships to strive for.
When I first started this online journey of learning to be more self-sufficient I really only wanted to journal what I was doing with the hope that maybe along the way, I could help others too. That's it. My only motive. So what's changed? My "motives" are still the same. What has changed is the shear number of people who are moving toward a more self-reliant lifestyle. I suppose with the good comes the bad.
I had real hope that somehow as a Prepper Community we would be a better model. That we were somehow better than this. That we, as a community, should be held to a higher standard. Truth is people are people and aren't always what they seem. Some will lie, cheat and steal and never think twice about it. It's the one's that hold true to their beliefs that I want to be around once SHTF.
We've been working on the lower garden spot this week and I'm happy to say that every row that was ready is planted! The drip water irrigation tape is laid and the water hooked up. The weeds are pulled one last time before planting and the rows are raked out. Seeds in..... lets GROW! We've got onions, spinach, turnips, three types of lettuce and Swiss Chard planted.
|Drip line Irrigation set up|
My broccoli seed didn't come up and so if we want to grow some we'll have to pick up some plants along with the tomato and pepper plants. I just got too late a start this year to do them. Next year I'll be in the greenhouse a couple of months before planting season and try to eliminate this expense.
|Onions Going in|
I want to get some carrots started soon but I've got to get a spot ready for them first. We filled up the lower garden pretty quickly. It's not the place to be growing carrots though as the soils just not right for them down there. Speaking of getting a spot ready, we have been, and will be continuing to get everything ready to plant. All the rows need to be cultivated and raked and weeded and the water tape laid this month. Our frost free date is April 15th.
|I'll use anything to plant in!|
I don't want to jump the gun and start tender plants too soon. Last year we did really well with the plantings. We had an unusually early spring and Mars took total advantage of it. This is a risky way to plant though. You just never know when things just might freeze that one last time. Perfect example is last October when it froze for two nights running (almost a month early). We lost most of what we had planted in the fall garden and what was left of everything else. I'm not sure we'll do that this year. I've always been a fan of at least waiting till after Easter.
I've been having a wonderful time playing in the greenhouse. Things are finally just starting to come up and its a cool thing to see all the little sprouts pushing out toward the light. I've got several different types of flower seed started as well. It feels a little strange to me to be trying to grow flowers. I've been on the "Eat what you grow" kicks for a few years now. Now that we are here on our little slice of Heaven I've got room to grow some flowers. I've been trying to focus on perennials and flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. I really want a few butterfly bushes someday, but that's going to have to wait. We've got a spot all picked out for a sort of "wildflower" area. This is where we planted potato's and squash last year and realized that it was so close to the old burned out house that we would be picking old pieces of glass and assorted junk from the soil for years to come. So I'm going to try and turn it into a little spot that is colorful and doesn't need to be mowed often. I'm pretty danged excited about that.
|See where I need to put another shelf?|
I've been really quiet about the rabbits for awhile. I've got to be the most inept rabbit breeder around. How can you have rabbits for well over a year and a half and have had no living baby rabbits to show for it? I wish I had an answer. Mars has been eying the bucks lately and there's a real good possibility that one may be invited to dinner soon. I don't know what the deal is. The new doe seems OK. The bucks just don't seem interested. I've tried everything I know to do. I think it may be karmic. ;o). I finally stopped by to see Sandy over at Oz Ranch. This is where I got my new doe a few months ago so I thought I'd hit up an expert for some advice. They raise New Zealand's for public sale and for pelts. Don't freak out ok? They also sell pretty much any sort of poultry you might be looking for. From standard breed chickens to peacocks and turkeys. The other thing they are doing there is raising Nubian and Boer Goats. So it's a really cool place. I like going out there and Sandy is always happy to take a break and talk to me as we stroll around her place.
Anyway.... I promise... this is leading somewhere.... eventually.... After talking with Sandy about the rabbit situation here at the homestead, she made a couple of suggestions. Here's the game plan. First I'm going to take Gladys ( the doe) over to Oz Ranch and get her bred. If she has babies (like she should) I'll take a male back to Sandy and trade for another with a different bloodline. If she doesn't get preggo then Sandy has offered to replace her. I like the way she does business and will probably buy my meat chickens from her because of it. I still want goats as well but I've finally decided that I want to go with a Nubian Dwarf or a Pigmy. I'd be willing to bet she might be able to hook me up with a breeder. I'm just real happy to have met the folks out at Oz Ranch. One day when I'm out there I'll have to take some pictures. It's quite a set up.
All this talk of rabbits has me thinking that it's time to get them moved out of the barn. Winter is over (I think) and the days are warmer and warmer. Their spot out under the old shady oak tree is ready. Well... almost ready. The leaves aren't quite on the trees yet. I really like having them in the barn since it just makes feeding and watering so much easier, but they can't stay in there all year long. And speaking of things in the barn, I've been looking longingly at my empty dehydrators. They've been sitting idle most of the winter and are now covered in dust. So I need to clean up all 20 trays, the screens and the fruit leather trays. Once I get that done I think I'll find a sheet or something to cover them when they aren't being used. I don't have the room in the trailer to run dryers so I dry in the barn. Maybe I'll get that done this weekend. We'll see.
So what are you doing this weekend? Any plans for Spring Break? Will you be doing any gardening this year? I know some of you are still too far North to do much more than want to reach out and smack me for even asking yet. Sorry.... lol... hang on folks... Spring is right around the corner!
|Spring is on the way!!|
You know, because the sun's coming up earlier and all?
And every year I get blindsided by how horrible it is to get up an entire hour earlier and realize all you did was get out of bed on time.
I like to keep a running list of the things I use. Mine is on my fridge. A friend of mine keeps her's inside her pantry door with a pen attached to it so she can jot it down as she takes it out of the cupboard. When you remove something from your pantry write it down so you will remember to replace it. And always remember to rotate your groceries. This makes sure you don't end up with wasted food. There is nothing worse than having to toss out something that you could have used if you had just rotated it in your pantry!
*** Check out the weekly ads in your area BEFORE you go shopping and use it to help with making your list. Once you get your pantry stocked up you can use this "tip" to help you prep and save money while you are doing it. The idea is to try and NEVER buy anything that isn't on sale or doesn't have the best bang for the buck so to speak.
*** Always shop with a list
*** If you have to veer off the list... make sure it is because you have found a REAL bargain. Try and give yourself a little "leeway" just in case you find one of those Unadvertised Specials. Don't make a habit of it but always try to be aware of these specials and jump on them if you find yourself a good bargain!
*** Use coupons. You CAN save alot of money using coupons. There are tons of websites dedicated to couponing. Check them out and do a little homework. Check out stores that offer double and triple coupons. Don't buy things that you will not use or that you don't need. Remember: Eat what you Store and Store what you Eat.
*** Never shop when you are hungry. There is no better way for me to load up on "crap" than when I go to the store with the munchies. All the sudden everything looks good!
*** Try to shop alone. Think about it. When you take the kids or even the significant other how often do you find yourself buying things you had NO intention of getting when you walked in the store?
*** Check out the store brands. Not always, but more often than not, the store brands are just as good and usually less expensive. If you try the product and don't like it, most stores will refund you your money. They want your business and want you to come back. I have actually taken back the label of an empty can of soup once that I thought was disgusting. They gave me my $ back! OK I know this one isn't a tip for the faint of heart but hey ....if you are cheap....er frugal...
*** Compare unit prices. I have found this to be really really helpful. Most all stores show the price per ounce. Lot's of times what you "thought" was a good deal really isn't at all. Compare the per ounce costs of each item. You would be surprised at how many times "bigger is not always better".
*** Buying in bulk can save money. Be careful with this one though. I have found lately that some smaller sizes are actually less expensive than buying in bulk. This is where watching your "unit" prices comes in handy.
*** When you are checking out ALWAYS watch the scanner. I've caught mistakes over and over again because items didn't ring up correctly at the checkout. Why spend all that time trying to save money just to have them not ring it up correctly? Don't be shy about letting them know.
*** Watch for marked down items. You can save huge money. I try to go earlier in the day to catch marked down items. Always check what I like to call "the bargain buggy" This is where you can pick up some great deals on "dented" and discontinued items. When a package is torn or squashed they will mark the item down as well.
*** I also find some excellent deals in the meat department like this. Since I either use what I have bought the same day or freeze it that same day this works well for me. I once found sliced cheese (24 oz package) marked down to $0.75 each. And yes it was "real" cheese. I bought all 15 packages and put them up in the freezer.
*** When you find something that you use regularly on sale - Stock up and buy as much as you can afford to. You know you will be using it later on and prices are rising fast these days. Store what you eat and eat what you store.
*** If the store is out of your "sale" item always ask for a raincheck. They usually ask how many you want at that price. I ALWAYS tell them I want the maximum number allowed if it has a limit. When you redeem the coupon you don't have to buy that amount but if you can afford it and want to you still have that option. While you are waiting for them to restock that item you can also start looking for coupons for it. That way when it does come in, you can save even more.
*** Sign up for the "Store Card" This can save you money that you didn't even know about. If you are reluctant to give up your information to them do what I do. Make up some BS information. They NEVER check the information anyway. And if they do, so what? What are they going to do? Call the grocery cops on you?
*** Remember that a sale is not always necessarily a sale. Many times a store will try to push something that has been overstocked and will just put it on an end-cap to get your attention.
*** Stay away from convenience foods. You can make most of the same things at home for half the price. (I should do a whole post on this one!)
*** Avoid last minute impulse items. They put all that stuff next to the check-out counter to try and get you to make unnecessary purchases. Keep your hands to yourself in the check-out lane!
These are just a few suggestions. I am sure there are MANY more. But following just a few basic guidelines can help you save lots of money and help your food storage to grow and grow.
~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~
The tomato plants I've got started aren't going to be anywhere near big enough for the garden come April 15th. (Our last frost date) Nor are there nearly enough. Next year I'll be able to start them 6-8 weeks earlier so they should be pretty nice size by the time I put them out. This year though, it looks like I'm going to be purchasing them.
We've spent this week working on trimming the underbrush and dead limbs off the trees in the front of the property. It's starting to look pretty good now. We've still got a bit to go but then, everything around here seems to be a work in progress. The old trash pile that's been covered in weeds and semi-covered with dirt for years and years is now just a memory. This was the pile the folks that used to live here must have put all their old glass bottles, aerosol cans and things that wouldn't burn. It took a couple of shovels and a couple of days to get all that stuff cleaned up. Now we can actually drive all the way around the perimeter of the property! Which comes in handy more often than you would think.
Mars has started another project. He's figured out another way to use the old cinder block from the burned out house foundation. There's a lot of it but since it was in the fire the blocks are real "fragile". They break and crumble pretty easily. So he's using them to make a driveway up to the house. Where the main driveway is located is a little bit of a walk to the front door, especially if you are carrying in groceries or something. He's already made a walkway out of some of the cinder blocks so we aren't walking in the mud up to the house. It looks and works great. This is one of those jobs that gets done when there aren't other projects he can putter with. Me, I'm trying to finish the afghan I've been working on. It's close to being done, which is good because before long it's going to be too hot to be sitting with a dang afghan in my lap! It should have been finished already but finding the time to just sit and crochet isn't always as easy as it sounds.
Anyway.... that's just about all I've got for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful day. And don't forget to set your clocks back this weekend! Spring is springing!!!!
As most of you know, we live in a small RV out here on our little acre. This in and of itself demands a bit of give and take. You learn to move differently wen you live in small places.. There isn't room for two people in the kitchen for instance. Not even to stand with the door open on the fridge "and looking for grazing material. You pass in the hallway by sliding sideways. Little things that, after awhile, you just do as naturally as breathing.
I've actually learned to be a bit more patient because of living in a small space. Things some folks take for granted like personal space are sometimes hard on folks. One thing I think has helped us with this is our different preferences in early morning vs late night.
Mars wakes the chickens up so they can meet the sun together I think. He likes to get up early, drink coffee and do some reading. He is an avid reader and is a news hound as well. This is his "quiet time" and I don't invade it. Besides.... I'd rather be sleeping at that time of the day!
In the winter time I don't roll out of bed til about 8 o'clock, stumble to the coffee pot and then a little computer time to check emails and all ya'll blogs. (I'll never get caught up on reading all the blogs I love) Spring and summer will have me up earlier because I'm trying to beat the heat, but not much.
We don't have a t.v. (by choice) but I'll admit that even on our budget I carve out the $$ for DVD's from Netflix every month. It's less than $2o and we've got it down to an art. We watch one movie a night 6 days a week. That's only because mail isn't delivered on Sunday. It actually works out pretty well because Sundays are great for good radio shows. Anyway... I digress....
Once all the daily chores are done and dinner is on the table we watch our movie of the day. Mars will head off to bed to read awhile before he starts snoring. That's when I have my "me time". Time to read or knit/crochet or write. Time to unwind Quiet time.
I don't know how other folks do things but this has worked for us for almost twenty years now. Of course back then it was because our jobs called us to different hours. These days it just is what it is and we seem to have adjusted just fine.
So here's my question. Are you a morning person or a night owl? What about your partner in crime? Do you have a "mixed" family or are you all on the same page?
I'm starting to get antsy. Spring is around the corner and it's time to get started getting the rows ready to plant. The irrigation drip line needs to be laid and then I can start putting in seed. Around here it's time to plant things like broccoli, cabbage, kolrabi, green peas, spinach, turnips, potato's, onions and lettuce.
I'd like to try my hand at growing potato's again. Last year was the second time we've tried them. Unfortunately, they didn't do real well but that was our fault. They didn't get the attention they deserved and it showed in the end. I'd really like to try again though with a different method. I'd love to try to grow some in tires but Mars is still adamantly against it. He doesn't want tires "junking" up the place. < sigh> I think I might try growing some in some of the heavy duty feed bags I've been saving. I'm thinking I could put a bit of soil in the bottom and use straw to cover them as they grow. Yep, I think I'd like to try that.
I've got some things trying to break soil in the greenhouse. Pretty exciting, actually. Unfortunately, tomato's aren't among them. I had some seedlings up a couple of inches but some got stem rot, others just didn't germinate, and the few that are actually up don't look real good. I'm sure it has to do with the temperature changes. We are still working on that. Mars wants to put in a couple of vents as well as try to build a mass rocket heater for it. It's just not going to happen this season. This year it looks like I'll be having to buy tomato's again but next year I should be able to get an early enough start to not have to do that again. I'm just happy to have the greenhouse!
I've been wanting to get my Mom and Sandy to come here for awhile now. Mom's been teasing at me for the last couple of years. Saying they were thinking about coming out this way for awhile. This year just might be different! I've got my fingers crossed. (and my eyes, toes and any other parts I can cross) Rumor is that they are going to come out here around the first part of April! And that came from Sandy so I'm really really hopeful. It would be so great to have them here. I haven't spent as much time as I would like to with them over the years and I'm excited beyond belief. It would be so neat to have them close. They've been living in the mountains of Northern California for as long as I can remember so I'm not sure what they'll think about this part of Oklahoma. I'm hoping they like it well enough to stay!
Believe it or not there are some really cool benefits here in this state for Disabled Vets. One of them is that Oklahoma Disabled Vets don't have to pay a sales tax. I think that's neat. A friend of mine here bought their new car a couple of years ago and were able to drop the sales tax on the purchase. They don't have to pay the stupid sales tax at the grocery store either. Sales tax on food was a new thing to me when I moved here. In Texas they don't tax groceries. For me that was really hard. I was shell shocked at having my grocery bill suddenly increase by 10-12%. I'm used to it now, even though I still don't think taxing food is necessary.
Well I suppose I best find me a project for the day. The sun is shining and it's calling me out. I'm feeling "The Need To Seed". I think I'm up to the challenge!!
We've been taking advantage of the good weather we've been having (until today) and getting all sorts of things done around here. Those big stacks of pallets that have graced the front of the barn for the past few months have been re--stacked and moved to a more out of the way place. As has what's left of the tin from building the barn and various other odds and ends, along with a woodpile. There's still another wood pile to move but it shouldn't take too long.
We've also been working on clearing more of the underbrush and dead cedar limbs along the front of the property. That's one of those things that we'll get finished....eventually. I'm not in any big hurry to get that finished as I think it kind of helps keep the dust from the road cut down some. We had a nice fire yesterday, burning some of the brush we cleared out. We've got a couple of different places that we burn things. The trash barrel, a burn pile for "stuff" and then we have the wood burning pile. Mars saves the wood ash and so we are careful with that one.
Oh, another thing we got done this past week was to transplant two redbud trees. There is a stand of them under a couple of the cedars in the front. Since they are a native plant and free (gotta love that!) we are going to try moving several of them around the property. Last year we tried to grow some things in that spot but it sits right next to where the old burned down house was and there is all sorts of "junk" under the ground. While he was digging holes for the trees new home he found the old original septic tank! Good to know that its there. Go figure.....
I've been playing in the greenhouse this past week as well. We're still working with the temperatures in there. I've started all the different types of herb seed I have on hand. There are some things I'd still like to try and grow but finances are tight and what we have will do for now. I've got a list (imagine me with a list!) started of some of the things I'd like to try and grow. Most I've never tried my hand at but hey, I'm good at trying new things! I may have to try to do some seed swapping for some of the herbs I'd like to try my hand at. Unfortunately, all the seed I have is pretty common.
Anyway.... I guess that's all the news that's fit to print. Have a Super Day!
I've been putting off writing this post for several days now. Not because I don't want to share this awesomeness with you, but because Blogger is a royal PITA when it comes to uploading pictures. And with that being said, here goes! Are you ready for the BIG REVEAL??? Here's what Mars has been working on for the past couple of weeks or so. I
I am totally amazed at what he's been able to do with just a few dollars and lots and lots of "scrap" materials. He shoveled up dirt and put a "floor" in first.Used bricks were laid for the foundation.
Expenses involved were pretty minimal. A cattle panel, some screws, some tack strip, and a can of that squirty foam insulation. It was the labor that was intensive. I'm really proud of how talented Mars is.
The plastic sheeting was a gift from a friend. It has a high UV rating and is made for greenhouses. It's supposed to last 4 years, but we'll have to see how that works out. There's enough plastic left on the roll to do this another 4-5 times. Here it is going up.
The shelves are racks from a couple of old stoves that he cut and hung. I don't know how well you can see it here but the shelves are hanging and are built to be adjustable. We still need to find some more shelving but this will work for now!
Mars has an idea for heating that I'll keep you all posted on. It has to do with a rocket mass heater and cob. That probably won't be until after the summer garden is done though. We are getting ready to be real busy around here soon. Still on the agenda is finding a good tarp and rigging up some hooks for it. That way if/when it hails we can just hang it up over the greenhouse. Also to keep the sun from doing damage to it during the summer months.
For those of you who were wondering why I wasn't using the baggie method for my seed starting this year....... Now ya know!
I'm about as happy as a kitten sittin' under a leaky cow!
Now of course you know me, I'm going to move forward with positive thoughts. Lots of rain this spring, a mild summer, a productive garden are just some of them. Of course in real life things can be quite different. We shall see! I'm cranking up into garden mode now. I've got some tomato seedlings coming up. Some still haven't popped up yet and I'm not sure why. I'll give them a few more days and then start over if necessary. I've got several kinds of pepper seed in trays along with broccoli and cabbage. I've got a feeling I'll once again be supplementing the tomato's with a few store bought plants. My goal is that by this time next year I won't ever need to buy another garden plant again. One can dream, right?
Can you believe how big my "little" Coco has gotten? See that cup-holder in the picture up there? I used to be able to put him in there and his little head was all was showing!
We've been invited down to the neighbor's on Saturday for their oldest son's birthday. She's a wonderful cook too. They are Mexican and eat traditionally. I'd like her to teach me how to make some of her recipes. Like her tamales (to die for I swear!) They are really nice folks and I'm glad we have been blessed with good neighbors. Lord knows I've had my share of bad ones over the years. Anyway, I need your help guys. Any idea's for a
Well I'm off to start some more seed tray's and enjoy this nice day. The suns out and I want to be out with it! I hope everyone has a wonderful day and and even better week. Springs right around the corner, even if it doesn't feel like it yet.
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