Friday, November 30, 2018

Planning the gardens, planning in December

First I am looking at what we actually eat... what is going to be low or completely out of (grape jam, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage for freezer slaw (slaw already gone).

Then I am looking at using the space to produce the most I can and have things staggered so I don't get all of it at the same time. Variety is a big key for us as I can some of the more exotic things like roasted red bell pepper or pickled asparagus or something we run across and decide to try. Victorian conserves (rhubarb and raisins).

I am looking at heirloom and open pollinated to save on buying seeds. Which also means I have to watch were I plant things so they don't cross breed along with increasing my perennial garden.

I would like to grow cannelini beans. They only come in a can around here and that's only at one store for over a $1 a can. I need to figure out how much to plant and if it is feasible for me to do or is my time (as it take time to shell dried beans) worth more than ordering the beans from Amazon or some other supplier.

I want a spring garden followed by a summer garden followed by a fall garden and then have a small hot house for winter garden... especially lettuces as Hubby would eat salad every other day if not daily. 

I am keeping track of how much onions, sweet potatoes and white potatoes we eat a month along with the rest... as the Amish neighbor told me focus on what you need to go to the next season then deal with the extra. You don't want to run out of canning jars, space etc because you put up 100 jars of pickles and jam and not have room or jars for tomatoes, corn and green beans.I won't run out of room because I will shove it under furniture, behind doors, use it at stands (covered with cloth). If we don't need it, I can promise you one of the kids or grandkids will.

Son 2 went to the store and priced what I gave Daughter 4... it came out to about $500. Since I keep track of what I spent this past year I knew what it cost us....$150  because of the  canning, freezing, gleaning, accepting garden stuff, and only buying meats on sale.Cheapest turkey he could find in their area was 98 cents/lb. The 2 turkeys I gave her were 37 cents/ lb.

So the month of December I will be working out plans for what to plant, where to plant and how much to plant.

Blessed Be

The pantry... what I am buying in December.

I will start with Son 2 that gave me some of his recipes he got from Home Chef, he thought I could make some of the seasoning blends etc instead of buying it because he has found that the "spice of life" is actually the "spice in food" for him. So I made a list of what I didn't have and then went online to find out if I could make it myself... 98% I could make myself. The other 2 % I needed anyways as I didn't get enough herbs from the gardens this year.

The root veggies: 20 lbs of potatoes, 20 lbs of sweet potatoes, 3 acorn squash, 3 butternut squash, 3 spag. squash and 3 kabocha squash are in the north loft as it has the correct temp and humidity for that type of storage. I am not storing onions this year. I haven't found a place in the house yet that would be good and not be with the potatoes.I am looking at making a place in the barn for them if I have enough insulation next year. I didn't take a picture of this. I have them in milk crates with other crates under them so they have air flow and over a rubber backed rug so it something gets nasty and I miss that it's spoiling it doesn't mess up my new flooring. I check at least once a week but usually daily when I go up to get something.

I have on the grocery list 50 lbs of all purpose flour (yes I am down that much) 50 lbs of sugar again down this much. ( I gave 5 lbs of sugar and flour to Daughter 4), dried Italian salad dressing (used more for rolling cream cheese in), ground pork (found recipe for Spanish chorizo on Pioneer woman), cashews (From Aldi's)milk, half and half, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms, a small jar of basil pesto. I already ordered my seasonings, spices and dried peppers that I can't buy in this area. Cheaper for me to order it than buy fuel to drive 2 hrs to buy it.

Daughter 4 was here the other day and wanted a tour of the pantry. Since she was one of kids (Son 2 was the other one and an out of state friend) that put food on our table for 2 yrs when Hubby's plant went to a 3 day work week, I have no problem with her checking ...she also got a few things that I canned that she just won't buy at the store like roasted red bell peppers. 

This is what she saw when I opened the basement door.
Hubby put the buckets of flour, sugar, and rices that I use most often on the landing at the bottom of the stairs.

more of the flours, sugars, regular oats, quick oats, grits, under the stairs.

the oils, 3 empty buckets for sugar and flour,dry goods cabinet, over flow cake mixes in washer..hey at least the bugs don't get to it ;)

aisle 1 as it was named. Couple shelves on the low side but that's the broths that I make during the winter from turkeys, hams and beef roasts.

Center or end aisle

aisle 2..dried beans are on low side but I won't refill them until next summer. Low on grape jam as I made juice since we didn't get many grapes.Will have netting to deal with birds getting to the grapes before us next year.
Buckets have different rices, pasta and specialty flours.

the 3 deep freezers, sorting the meat and veggies into cloth grocery bags has been a great. First, it's easy to pull up a bag or two to get to what I am hunting for. Second, like foods are kept together. Hubby has even mentioned he like it when he was wanting bacon and I said, first freezer, left back corner, gray bag.

Refrigerator freezers hold open bags or leftovers...chocolate LOL Bread items.

Dried fruit teas, drink mixes pantry staples I use daily and the over flow of spices and herbs.Maple syrup,molasses, sorghum, honey,agave, boiled cider etc.
100 plus herbs and spices. I grew most of my herbs, didn't this last year which is why basil pesto is on the grocery list. Herbs are in on my garden plans which I am still working on.

On the home front

We have started eating our supper by oil lamp, something I grew up with  until Daddy wired the house for electric. We have found we slow down with our eating, fill up faster OR just acknowledge we are full and I am cooking less as a result.Better for our health and will make the pantry last a bit longer.

I found some winter curtains in the barn that daughter 4 had passed back (we don't get rid of curtains, someone will always need them). They are way too long and I had to put one panel at a window to have enough but they are helping keep the home warm. I did get scissors. I like the new ones better than the old ones, don't strain my wrist as much when I am cutting. Hubby did tell me he wanted me to use shower curtain hooks for all the windows. He LOVES how they slide when he opens the curtains as he is usually up before me.

I did not go shopping on Black Friday. I hate crowds. I did check prices on some things we needed on Cyber Monday but they were not low enough. Today the prices were where I was willing to pay so that's been ordered. Spices and dried peppers is not something that is stocked as well as over where we used to live and something I use daily.

We had a doctor appt (Thursday) so took the dogs along and stopped at the vet's office as both Charlotte and Wilbur were due for their annual shots and 3 yr rabies shot, Rascal is March for heart worm testing. All 3 got their nails trimmed. Because we were okay with the vet assistant doing the shots and nails they gave us a discount. They are not sure if they are going to continue the discount or the practice . We have talked about Hubby giving the annual shots, getting the rabies shot at the local TSC during their clinics.I bought nail clippers like our vet has .

We have been eating from the pantry except for Wed night. Hubby went to the funeral home (his aunt died) while I stayed home (coughing again don't want to pass it) and he went to the grocery store and got a couple items that he could heat in the microwave. All of it was marked down and was around $10, it feed us 3 meals so I guess that wasn't bad.

I found out Tuesday that the meds I was on for 3 wks for my Crohn's has caused me OTHER problems that I am now dealing with. My GI wanted to have me take another med... no thanks. My primary backed me.

We started to put Christmas decorations up...very slowly as we don't have very many lights since we agreed and really want to focus on only having LED lights.The windows here are about half the size or smaller than the windows we had so a lot of the window decorations do not work. I still haven't figured out where to set my candles or stockings since we gave the mantle to daughter 1(it was the one her late father grew up with).

Hubby called the appliance repairman. The front big burner on the stove will only light with a lighter and has more yellow in the flame than it should. It hasn't worked right since right after we moved in. Repairman said he would run the bill through the warranty before billing us. He is local and was happy to find out we moved back into this area as we all went to school together.

Hubby called about getting a bill from blood work that we had paid two months ago. He gave them the confirmation number and they immediately corrected the billing.

I called and ordered propane (we prepay for the whole year) but since I agreed for it to be delivered when he was already going to be in the area I don't have to pay an extra delivery charge.

I called our ins guy and told him I was looking for new auto ins as their cost for the new truck was horrible... he went back through  it and found they had the price as the month price when it was the price of 3 months NOT ONE. Made a lot of difference. He also caught that even though he changed the address (four times now to be exact) billing still had the auto policy listed at the other place. When that was corrected we are back down to where we was before I got rid of my car plus they gave us a credit since it was THEIR mistake.

We decided to give a couple years of trying to sell produce from the garden at the produce auction..but only what I don't need to have in our pantry. Most use boxes, but the one Amish lady told me to just use either plastic grocery bags or bread bags the first year to see if I really want to go that way. It is a lot of work to grow it, harvest it the night before or the morning of the auction along with cleaning it and making sure it is dry.

Hubby applied for a part time /seasonal job at Ohio Dept of Transportation AKA ODOT. He was hired, filling out paper work today (Friday) and will start towards the end of Dec Unless they call him in sooner. I did not want him going back to the plant and working 40 hrs a month. Common for the workers to go back and do that as it's enough money to pay their health ins.It's Mon through Fri. unless there is a snow event and first shift. He hasn't worked first shift in over 20 yrs except when he was in Alabama building the plant down there and the kids and I stayed here in OH.

He did get the stuff from his brother in law to set up his portable welding. Just needs to set that up.

He also went to a couple people that were looking for someone to haul pallets. His trailer isn't the size they want and he isn't going to go buy a trailer for a couple trips... not enough work/money to justify it. BUT another one told him that if he ran across a 20-24 ft live stock trailer that he could afford, he would have work as the Amish are always looking for someone to haul animals to the butcher. THEN another Amish guy put him in touch with a guy that was going to get a new live stock trailer that was still deciding if he would trade the old one in or sell it. He agreed when he got to the place (went to work at local fab shop to earn enough to buy a new one) where he was getting the new one, he would call and see if Hubby could match the price offered for trade in...but that won't be until spring. HE also told Hubby if he heard of anyone looking for someone to haul on a 16 ft flat bed, he would send them Hubby's way.

We have an appt on Monday to talk to our finance guy, he asked for the budget for 2019 so he can help figure out how to make the retirement to last as long as possible and us figure if we should take Social Security at 62 or wait. Stock market went down right after we retired (figures) and the medical bills were higher than we budgeted but the house only was over budget by $50. We are saving for gravel to put the deck on this spring as we don't want just weed barrier. Gravel for the driveway and pond. Need to replace posts on the kitchen porch and both front and kitchen porches need railing and painted (railing will help bring down house ins). We need new windows and the house needs siding but we can handle waiting for those for a couple years. We have the deck stuff and ramp in the barn but will need to save up for the awning that will go over the French doors. We want to redo the steps and awning at the back door. We think we have enough left over wood to do the steps.

The worse case is we pull the cash from the retirement, pay everything off  and put back enough to pay health ins until we are 65 and live on the balance and not pull the SS ... would take a hit on taxes (like we are this year) but stress would be lower as we would only be paying utilities and what ever we need for medical copay,'s a thought.

Blessed Be

Friday, November 16, 2018

When it rains it pours... still some more BUT

Good news is we have a good solid truck...bad news is we got a truck payment.
Good news is the payment is under what we had worked out because the finance guy took it for LONGER time (and then worked out what we needed to pay extra to hack off that last year he added to get the interest rate that was 3 % lower than what we had found and it still was under the $900 payment even with the extra payment saving us even more on the interest. Our insurance agent looked at a couple different underwriters to get us the best deal on insurance and still was an ouch due to the size of the truck.

Bad news is my favorite car is now at the junk yard

Good news is they came and got it for free, plus paid me for it and it's off the insurance. I will miss it as it was FAITHFUL to a fault of even driving when the axle broke...yeah really went 5 miles while Daughter 4 drove it slowly home in a rain storm. She knew the tire was coming off but it stayed on until she put it in park.Next day we realized the axle had broke.

Good news is we took food to Daughter 4, whose own daughter had invited a friend to spend the night (kids take turns on that) and at the last moment found out the friend can't eat gluten. If we hadn't take food to her she wouldn't have had something for the young lady to eat. Bad news is Daughter 4 dislocated her shoulder at work and is off work. Medical payment is 60% of her normal paycheck. Good news is , that's what she bases her budget on and with us giving her food she is going to be fine going through the next two months especially since she was back to work today with restrictions.

Bad news we are not having Thanksgiving dinner for the family any more, not just this year. After not having it this year we had several comments of kids and grandkids wanting it to stop but did not want to offend anyone with their reasons why. One grandson was very open about being torn between families and having pressure put on him by his parent to attend ours instead of the other side and he has a girlfriend that is likely to get a promise ring at Christmas so there will be her side also.Good news is no one is under pressure  to attend, no one is AKA us and Son 2 is spending money, time and effort to be at a dinner that there is a lot of complaining going on. Do not need the DRAMA which is on the good news side.

Bad news I won't be getting deep fried turkey for dinner or sweet potatoes with marshmallows(son 2) or baked beans (by girlfriend who makes extra so I can freeze them), good news is I am roasting those 3 turkeys and putting them in OUR freezer and making broth.Deep Fried turkey doesn't make good broth.

Good news is since we didn't have Tday dinner we just sent all the kids money ( a lot more than normal)for them to buy Christmas as we had trouble connecting to them all at the same time last couple years and can't afford 6 different trips (bad news). SO we all told them it was time for them to come our way and it did not have to be on holidays. The kids are fine if we don't do cookies and candy BUT if we do and want to limit it..Buckeyes, sugar cookies for Granddaughter who eats NO chocolate , snickerdoodles for most of the rest and oatmeal cookie and peanut butter for Son 2 and no candy for him. We will see how that goes.

We thought about a Christmas open house and decided to pass on that as we are still changing things around.

Bad news is my sewing scissors , all 4 pairs is missing, Daughter 4 said something to Daughter 2 and she said she had borrowed them while she lived with us for work to cut cardboard and forgot to bring them back....then Daughter 4 who does sew reminded Daughter 4 who does not sew  that sewing scissors are for fabric only not paper, cardboard etc. Daughter 2 did say she did not know where they went after she left them at work. SO I now have to replace my scissors and since they were missing I couldn't sew the winter curtains...

BUT I did use pinking shears and cut this no pill fleece for the wheelchair bathroom that at this point I call Hubby's bathroom .

I used a hole punch to put the holes in for the shower curtain hooks. Hubby decided he liked it better than me sewing a rod pocket. Said it's easier to open and close. SO that is good news... I just don't have the rest of the house done which is bad news but good news is the house really isn't getting cold because of the lack of winter curtains.

Bad news is the lights in the north loft don't work, good news we put the winter squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes in that loft since it's on the cold side and we would have to use electric heater to have it warm enough for any one. Hubby already called the electrician that installed it and they are on stand by until Hubby checks a couple things with his tester as they think it's the actual light not the wiring since the outlets and other light works.

Bad news is we need to get our propane tank filled... Good news is I prepaid it when they delivered the tank.Doubled what we used at the other place.

GOOD news, even though Hubby doesn't care if we decorate for Christmas, I would like to some...the weather is suppose to be decent Wednesday,Thursday and Friday so I can get what I want done and Hubby won't have to deal with icy cold crap doing the outside lights.

Bad news ,between the house, car, truck and medical our one retirement acct will not last to Hubby can collect SS...GOOD NEWS is , we have not touched the other retirement acct and could actually pay everything off and still have money to live on allowing him to not pull SS when he planned to. Our finance guy is bouncing some figures around and looking at the big picture to show us our options in Dec.

It all balances out in the long run is what Mother used to say. GOD will provide the work to earn what we need.

IN the pantry

Not sure where I got this from, I used to have it hanging from my frig in the fall. This year nothing got hung but I have been stocking the pantry.

I made pear butter out of the pear's the neighbor's 4 yr old helped Hubby pick up off the ground while 4 yrs old dad put roof on the neighbor's garage. She had told the child he could have all the pears on the ground or that his dad or Hubby could help him reach on the tree. We got 2-5 gal buckets. Hubby helped him take 4-5 gal buckets home while his dad finished the roof. Good thing as the freeze came in a couple days later.

I am pretty much stocked with meat for a year. I would like to have a couple pork butt roasts or loins maybe one of each instead of two of each but if I don't get them on sale for the right price I will pass. We now have 18 months of main dishes in the pantry... 2 main dished per day. Though I image with a little bit of this and that I could turn it into a 3rd dish if needed to stretch the main meal part of the pantry for 2 yrs.Which would be great as the next 2 years are going to be very thin on the income with the outflow of the house and truck etc.

Last Wednesday Hubby picked up 2 turkeys for 48 cents/ lb if you spent $25 for Daughter 4. He got her  beef roast (buy one get one) and potatoes. I picked up 2 turkeys for us (same price) and beef roast (same deal) for us and onions for Daughter 4. 

Thursday, I run to store for dairy items, and grab 2 more turkeys and found hamburger marked down, hot dogs and smoked sausage also marked down.Got home and found out that Hubby had went to the store when he went to town to run an errand for the neighbor and got 2 more turkeys and 2 more roasts(buy one get one) and coffee as he had checked his coffee before he went to town.He had 2 coupons for the coffee and it was on sale.

Spent the weekend dealing with the food etc.

Sunday we meet son 2 and our friends over at Hong Kong to celebrate Vet's day Son and friend are vets) and since friend wants us to deep fry turkey for Ham radio Christmas dinner we went to Kroger's there so he could pay for them and we just bring them home. They had turkeys for 38 cents/lb limit 2 so we picked up 2 more (total is 8 just FYI)for us AND they had brisket for $1.99/ lb while it's running $5.99 at our Kroger's. I picked up 2 briskets.

The next day we had eye appointment back over to the other Kroger's (my steroids has cause my astigmatism to change) so we stopped at Kroger's.  I got 4 more briskets, brats that was marked down, hamburger that was marked down, 2 large containers of oats and a bag of potatoes.

I cut the 6 briskets in four pieces  to make 24 roasts (that's one every other week) or one once a month for 2 yrs.Vacuumed they will hold good.

Turkey 1 was roasted, deboned, ate and the remaining part vacuum packed (6 meals)and in freezer and carcass is been turned into broth which is now in frig to let the fat come to top and be able to remove fat and can tomorrow.

Turkey 2  was roasted today, is now deboned , I ate it tonight for dinner (Hubby working parade)and carcass is in pot simmering as I type this for broth to be defatted and then canned.

Turkey 3 is thawing. Actually I had no choice as I now need that space for the briskets LOL. But that's okay. We figured we would cook 3 turkeys this month to get the broth back up as I was low and I vacuum the meat in 3 cups packages as that's what I use in most of my casseroles, noodles etc.

We decided on our basic once a month perishable list. I will go to Save A Lot here (don't have an Aldi's) to get what I can BEFORE going to Kroger's. Walmart here does not have the choices or smaller sizes that I use. It's $125 IF I go to Kroger's a month .... but with the understanding I might have to buy something that isn't on the list but needed for a meal if it's something we agree on. I set that amount as $25. When we don't use that money or there is some left, it goes back into the stock the pantry envelope. Any of the $125 not used also goes into stock the pantry envelope.

There are a couple stores in the next town where our parents live that I would like to do a price check when we are over there. They have an Aldi's.

I pulled some different breads out of the freezer trying to use that up before I baked another loaf when the neighbors down the road brought a loaf of bread they bought from the Amish bakery around the corner so we are eating that as well.

We talked about things we were no longer eating...cold cereal for Hubby as he used to eat it in the mornings when he got home from work before going to bed.
Apples, he used to eat one either at work or before work with peanut butter...not happening. I used to eat cottage cheese, pickled beets and applesauce for lunch  and a yogurt for 2 pm snack with fig newtons or cookie, not doing that either.

I already need 25 lbs all purpose flour, 25 lbs sugar, and peanut butter and choc chips... not out but lower than I usually am at this time even without baking cookies or making candy for the kids for Christmas. IF they come on sale cheap enough I will pick them up.

Monday, November 5, 2018

What can I cut

End of October I was thinking, pantry is almost fully stocked, just need turkeys, some fresh cranberries ...then my mother in law reminded me of mincemeat. Saving account looked decent, bills were paid.

Nov. 1st, daughter 4 bought a car and now has payments (she's trying to rebuild her credit after her divorce) and she had budgeted for an oil change this paycheck and 2 tires the following paycheck and another 2 tires the following week and right after she left the dealership her doctor called her to tell her she did not have a sinus infection but is going into stage 2 mold poisoning. She called the health dept and they told her to find another place to live because as soon as they contact her landlord (AKA slum lord) he will evict her. WHICH she already knew because she knew a couple of people that went through this with him. She is now saving to move along with needing the tires, did her budget and called us to see if we could provide basic groceries for 3 months (without causing ourselves problems) so she could only spend $20 a week for dog food, toilet paper, milk and margarine.

Hubby told her we could do that as this is the kid that LOVES beans and rice.

Nov 2rd our old landlord got a hold of us and told us when they pulled the carpets up they found mold UNDER the padding (figured it was from where the basement constantly had water) and thought they should let us know to go get checked for it.. so since we was in the doctor's office when they called our doctor ran blood work...yep, it showed we had had mold poisoning but we were healing (probably due to bronchitis meds) so we have to take meds a week longer to just be on the careful side

 Nov 3rd Hubby's truck starts making a grinding noise  so on the 4th he hands me a sheet of paper that had all the information of the truck he would like to buy... he has been pricing trucks for the last year... I am glad I was sitting down. He priced it out, down payment, sales tax and title, cash payment or loan with down payment and without down payment and 5 different years. Best deal is a 2015, he PLANS for it to last 15 to 20 yrs like what we have so that puts him 75 -80 yrs old and most likely won't be driving a big truck...I really didn't want a payment of $900 along with the price of the insurance which he priced also but is the worse case. There has been a couple jobs he couldn't take because it would have been too much for his truck which is a 1998.

SO back to the budget, yes we can do it but it makes it tight because we don't want to increase what we withdraw from the IRA especially when the market is DOWN since he retired. We will be going this Thursday to look... sigh.

As I went through the pantry today, making sure we had everything, refilling the containers in the dining room from the pantry etc. Hubby came in and told me to buy more turkeys than what I had planned and handed me 2-5 gal buckets of pears he had picked up out of the neighbor's yard while helping the other neighbor with his 4 yr old put a roof on the her garage. She has all she wanted so Hubby and Neighbor's 4 yr old picked the rest up from the yard to "clean" the yard up for her. Hubby said the 4 yr old ended up with 4 -5 gal buckets in the wagon and he helped him pull them home while his dad finished the garage roof.

Hubby really does NOT like pears, they taste sandy to him...but his grandma used to mix apples with pears for sauce and in pies so I will be doing that because I definitely did not need any more pears canned.

We will be going to Kroger's to get turkeys on Wed as they have them on sale for 48 cents/pound.Paper ad says you have to spend $25 and limit 2, website had limit 1 with nothing to spend... either way we will be going on Wed.

We have ate from the pantry, finished canning the last of the tomatoes, hubby gave away 40 lbs while I was in the hospital , still I ended up with 6 meals of fried green tomatoes in the freezer and 30 qrts of juice beside what we ate daily.

I sewed buttons on 2 of my shirts, Hubby darned his socks three times. Amish neighbor baked a loaf of bread again for us as we stopped at the store (not out of our way) for her and saved her 4 hrs of being away from home as she is also canning the last of her tomatoes and tomorrow will be doing pears like me.

Charlotte has been finding a way to get out of the yard when we leave, I caught Wilbur and Rascal jumping on the fence when barking at the neighbor and Charlotte started to go over it since the 3 of them can tug it down.far enough she can jump it. Hubby took old fencing wood and put it on the top of the fence so they can't pull the fence down and she can't jump over it. He also put lattice we used to use several years ago over the top of the gates because he saw she could get half way through it today. Both neighbors are watching to see if they can see her get out when we leave to go vote tomorrow and again on Thursday for our doctor appt and going to look at the truck.

We had some birds getting in the loft of the barn making a mess and since that is where we store stuff we weren't happy about it. Hubby thinks he found all the holes , said they could get in but not out that way so he plugged them up today using wood I had savaged from here when the contractors where working.

We are still slowly going through the boxes in the barn and getting things put away.

I did get my gate leg table (Grandpa built it out of ply board)in the house and upstairs as I use it to cut fabric on . I also got the table I use for sewing in the house and up stairs so MAYBE I will get to start sewing the winter curtains next week.

I am spending this week gathering my recipes of things I will now make from scratch instead of buying.

Blessed Be