Monday, December 31, 2018

examining the budget and the pantry

I'm sitting here drinking my last cup of coffee for the day, smelling the beef broth I am making from odds and ends of beef roasts we had during Dec that I had tossed in the freezer until a "broth" day. Makes me hungry so I will probably have a cup of beef broth for lunch.

End of the year I tally what I have spent in the kitchen and gardens... What I saved us that we probably would have spent if I had been working outside the home.

I have already ordered all my seeds for the coming season. I will need to order garlic IF my garlic does not do well. I will know that come Sept. We are adding berry bushes also this spring. I have $1200 left in the garden budget from this year since we didn't really plant anything. SO that will be added to this coming year's budget. I know I will need trellis and black plastic and other odds and ends that comes with starting a new garden so it will be higher in cost this year.

Years ago I used to do the twice a year Pantry Challenge that Jessica has over at It really helped when I had to clear the pantry after Daughter 2 and her 4 sons moved out... then again when Daughter 4 and her two kids and Son 2 moved out at the same time.It also showed me how our eating habits had changed.

Now my pantry challenge is different... I will need room for the new produce coming in. I need room in the freezers and room on the pantry shelves.

2018 I spent $6,603.42 on food, that included any produce I bought to stock and to restock 3 empty deep freezers. Of that $6,603.42 I spent $1, 211.99 on meat, that is including 9 turkeys, 6 hams and 6 briskets (that I cut to make 24 briskets) along with other meat.

SO I spent $5,391.43 at the grocery store for other stuff than meat. This is the only year I did not put eating out as part of the grocery budget as I knew it would be on the high side with working here daily.

As I kept track I know that $3594.29 was for fresh produce, which 80% I could grow on my own and the majority of that is NOT stored in my pantry. That's $2,875.43 I could have saved.

Hubby was talking to a friend about how I save us enough money that it would match me working full time at $10/ hr.

$10/ hr for a 40 hr week is $400

$400/ wk for 52 wks (1 yr) is $20,800

$20,800 minus the 25% tax we pay is $15,600.

$15,600 divided by 52 wks is $300 a week...

He could have took the taxes off the week and multiplied in by 52 also but the friend needs things broke down this way.

With the way I price things out, push him to price things out, do the pantry, the gardens, drive our autos etc. On average I have saved that during a year. This year I save over that with researching mortgages,loan to fix the house and Hubby's truck... not counting anything else.It's what I used to pay off the hospital bill.

My goal is to match the $15,600 this year even with the extra expenses of medical ins/copay/deductibles and have it in the savings.

We will see how this goes

Planning the garden

I would rather look at this picture of the south garden from Autumn than look at the muddy mess it is right now. We are having a warm rain, a blessing as it's December in Ohio that it's not a freezing rain with it being New Year's Eve. This has been one of our wettest years.

I spent 3 days , 8 hrs each day going through seeds, writing out a sheet of information for each one that will be on a clip board and taken to the gardens during the season to monitor how each does. I don't know what varieties work best here.I listed each on spreadsheets by their family I have 14 families (did you know that beets, spinach and Swiss chard are the same family?) and then listed them by what season they could be planted in.

That is simple except I have 245 varieties between herbs, flowers (most edible) and 4 seasons of veggies. Not counting we will be adding to the berry bushes and might have to replace strawberries if they didn't take in the transplant.

I have chose some more heirloom so I can provide my own seeds. And will have to make sure they don't cross breed with another. One person said they put their seed plant(s) in pots and keep them separate from the rest of the gardens so they are easier to not let cross breed.

In the past year I spent just under $5000 for veggies and fruit to put on the table...not can or freeze for later use.

Amish neighbor gave me a sweet potato to start my slips with. I got that in a jar of water as of yesterday.It's the variety her brother and brother in law grew when they lived here.

Now, I have to figure out a rotation plan so I am not planting something after something else that shouldn't be plus Hubby would like to see a spot that rests each year plus plant green manure each fall, annual rye does good around here.

I also need to figure out what needs started in house to be transplanted.

We took a walk around the property and I was pointing out where I could plant things that wasn't in the gardens... I could see the look of " more work for me" on Hubby's face until I pointed out I could put weed barrier along the fences and use the fences to plant vine plants and he wouldn't have to run the trimmer along the fences... that's at least an hour if not more of work he did this last summer. I could plant 3 areas that have been trouble areas for him to get mowed as he has to use the push mower to mow them. My thoughts are to change it so it works for us and be easy to maintain.

I talked to my Amish lady neighbor as she is the one that does the gardens, she has 3. When an Amish person looks at your gardens and then back to you and says "weed barrier and black plastic, cattle panels with stakes"you listen. I've paid attention of how their gardens are set up and watched how them maintain them. My neighbor does most her gardens by herself. Her oldest 3 are old enough to watch the youngest 4 while she is in the gardens especially since they are outside playing where she is at. Towards the end of the season the oldest 2 were starting to help pick and the other 2 olders ones watched the youngest 3 but were right where she was at.

She told me to be in the garden by (meaning her laundry is washed and on the line and she's fixed breakfast for 9 and did the dishes by hand by this time also)8 am the latest and start at the row that is away from the house. Stop at 10:30 and fix lunch which is at noon for them. Process what ever you picked after lunch. Do the house work, fix dinner and go back out to the gardens after dinner for at least 1 or 2 hrs, process that before bed. She "puts up" over 3000 quarts of veggies, over 2000 of fruit, over 3000 of meat (they don't have freezers or refrigerators) not counting the jam, jelly, juice she cans also.That is also not counting the root cellar of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and winter squash  or the onions she stores. She said "it's not energy, it's routine". Putting food up is the priority over housework, not being in the gardens in the heat of the day is also a priority. She also told me that if I wasn't planning on selling at the auction to pull the plant once I have enough for the pantry and replace it with something else. EAT FRESH FROM THE GARDEN. She does not pull any veggies or fruit from her pantry when the garden is in full swing.

So I asked for her routine...
Monday is laundry and cleaning the home

Tuesday is baking, ironing and mending and more laundry (9 of them, laundry is pretty much daily and takes 4-5 hrs to do not counting drying time on the clothesline).

Wednesday is for more detailed jobs or something that pops up, sometimes she will go help clean whomever is having Church that coming Sunday or go help a family member. And laundry

Thursday she helps her mother in law(her parents live out of state) and laundry

Friday laundry and maybe errands if her Hubby is able to go also. She very seldom goes in the buggy without him.

Saturday, laundry, clean home which is over 5000 SQ FT, do laundry, baking, preparing Sunday's meals

Sunday, church or family on off church week (church is every 2 wks), it's the day of rest. She tries to not cook much, cold bfast, lunch at church and maybe soup or sandwiches for dinner. In the summer, it might just be salad, popcorn or something else that is light.

She offered the wisdom that to get my home routine in place that reflects the time I will be in the gardens, then in the "off" months I will have time for sewing and such.

Blessed be