My husband has full time employment, with benefits! Also, I spent so much time working my butt off last year we actually got a tax return that helped to improve our lives. Now with a regular income and plenty of hard work, we have 4 goats, a pig that we are growing for food, and are looking at a new barn soon. It will be a tiny one, but good enough for us. I am so delighted!!
Ugh! Why do I do this to myself?
First off, I bought groceries $49.45 and don't ya know they were gone in a day! Then I got gas, another $47.32. Also gone before the weekend was up. Then I had to get wood chips for the animals and goats feed...another $30 gone.
We went to a free pool but dear hubby wanted to get the kids a snack, $50 later it was more like dinner delivered pool side. So much for free swimming. He likes to buy more now that he is working.
Then on the way home "Oh mama, mamma fireworks half off." Yes, I caved, $10 down the drain.
$200 gone in what, a day! How am I ever going to get ahead spending money like this. I showed my husband how much lower our account was and he shrugged, "It will be taken care of dear." I know it will, but why does it have to go so fast?
This is his first week and he survived. It is a very physically demanding job. First I noticed his pudge is a bit less in just three days. I also noticed he is eating twice as much. He is actually losing weight while he eats more. He comes home in pain and sore. It's worth it though, he says.
He is making $9 an hour before taxes. He drives only 7 miles to and from work. He works 10 hour shifts four days a week. According to http://mustachecalc.com/ his real hourly wage is $6.84. That is a lot better than my measly $0.24 an hour real hourly wage.
We plan to pay off the credit cards. We have already paid off the care credit card from buying my daughter glasses. It was a small amount on there. We also added an extra $60 to our Amazon card. We want to pay off the Matrix card completely and get rid of it in the next 4 months. We just hope that he gets hire done full time at the plant instead of as just a temp.
He found some work!
It's temporary though. He is working in a position for a temp agency. The position is soon to be made redundant by the company due to automation. However it could be a few months before that happens. This may see us through the summer. I am still working like mad as a writer. Loving many of the jobs I get now. I have established myself with a few agencies and they seem to like my work. I write ads, so nothing glorified, but definitely up my alley.
The tomatoes are starting to wilt and yellow. Does anyone know why this would happen? We fertilized with fish emulsion, but nothing is improving.
The beans are still going and the okra. My peppers are limping along. Pulled some shallots the other day. So delicious.
If things pick up we can finally start paying off teh credit card debt! Woo hoo right?
and I got rewarded ...... Drum roll Please
I made $46 in one day writing! Whoa right? How many writers do that just starting out. Of course I worked 12 hours straight.
We have a baby goat that is very healthy and happy. We have green beans coming on, squash, and some tomatoes. I have one okra with fruit on it. Very excited, being on the cusp of so much deliciousness.
I have cleared 5 beds. I have a few more to clear and then we replant in mid August for a winter bed. Probably more potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, beets, turnips, and things. I can live on those. Actually we have been.
Also, super duper awesome dawsome news, we got a contract for almost 500 bucks a month on top of my writing stuff! Plus my husband might have found work. God I hope so, working my tail off like this leaves little time to garden, cook, or preserve.
Yesterday we pulled potatoes after my work. They came out lovely. We still have another bed to pull, but that will be later in the month. We are saving the tiny potatoes to replant for fall potatoes.
Then we made homemade chicken fingers and french fries for dinner. A neat treat from our chicken and our home grown potatoes. We cut so many fries we put back half in the freezer to fry up another way, or bake in the solar oven.
We have over 90 percent of the potatoes we pulled left. Yummy an scrumptious. I should have taken a picture of the fries and fry making process, but we were all to hungry to worry about pictures.
Well first, I got my medication, at least the most important one. I couldn't afford the rest. I did a little job for a client that normally has me work. The extra cash was just enough to get one medication.
I sold one more book. The first one of Bringing Up Baby, I believe. That or the second one. Either way, I was super ecstatic.
Work picked up a little more. No where near enough to make up for the $800 dollar short fall, but that's ok. I found another way to make up for it.
We happen to have a lot growing in the garden now.
Our beet bed.
Our turnip bed after we pulled about 5 pounds of turnips for the weeks dinners. We chopped the greens and froze them for our soups.
Our onion haul two days ago. We chopped up all the green onion bits and froze it for soups. The little onions are being used in everything from Mexican food to caramelized onions for snacks for the kids. It's basically onions fried in very little oil to caramelize the outside of it. A very tasty snack. We also made eggplant Parmesan with our onions. We didn't have Parmesan though, but it tasted fine.
I have been pulling from the garden a lot to supplement our food budget so I spend less. Well I went through everything we had in the house and made a meal plan. I believe, at least for the next month, we should get by without buying any food. It will be tough. We will have to eat beans a lot when the garden doesn't bless us. Beans are good anyway though. I usually buy more butter and things when the goat isn't producing a lot. This should free up more money for about a month. After that we will have eaten down every last store and only have what we produce, so hopefully money picks up soon.
Unfortunately we do not produce enough to live on exclusively. It does make up a lot of our diet in the summer, but until the green beans take off and the okra is setting and the tomatoes are ready to drop we will just won't be able to do it. It's awfully cold here now, so they aren't wanting to grow like usual. My peppers are dying. My tomatoes are beautiful, but only 3 of the 22 plants are setting. My okra are growing, but slowly. The green beans had to be trellised already, so they may take off soon. My squash and cucumbers all came in, but aren't setting fruit yet. We should have some potatoes soon and that will be fine. Other than that, we have fields of beans. They take 90 days and they have been in only 30. Plus no guarantee they will set right also. The weather has been so weird. I like it, I just need to learn to grow better I guess.
I found a few things to sell on eBay, but none of them are doing well. I assume the items I chose are not that popular.
I was making progress. We had money coming in. I was working a little as a writer. I got sick and missed a days work, but that isn't the worst of it. The worst is we just lost $800 a month in income. It's complicated, it's likely to be temporary, but it's going to sting.
I have been on edge all day. I went to the doctor and got my medication prescribed, but haven't been able to get it filled. I take blood pressure medication, thyroid medication, and blood sugar medication. I'm not really worried about any of them except the blood pressure medicine as it gets really high without it. Like 205 over 95 high. Really high. It's partially due to my thyroid still not being in check. My stomach is doing back flips. If I don't get my medication soon, I may have some serious issues. How can I find the money when half of our income is gone, just like that.
I am doing everything I can to replace this lost income. I know we can make it. We have before, but man if the world doesn't have some crappy timing. I'm looking for things to sell so I can raise a few dollars before I run out completely. I am hoping something comes through on my writing gigs...but that money is slower. It takes 2 weeks for it to clear.
I have a husband. He has been employed regular like 9 months out of the past 6 years. I have had a job more than him. Sometimes I get frustrated. I imagine men that work for a living must feel this way. How many working men have to cook, clean, menu plan, grocery shop, garden, sew, and home school their kids though?
Let me stop right there. Complaining will do nothing. I love my husband even if he does not rise to the challenges that life hands him like I do. Perhaps that is why I am his wife, to keep him from drowning.
My daughter Aukxsona was one of five children selected to go to a special camp for children with disabilities.
She has transverse myelitis.
Transverse Myelitis is a rare condition where the spinal cord has pieces missing. As you noticed in that picture she is standing. She can walk too now. She is a miracle in so many ways. When she was a baby she didn't walk and until she was six years old she hopped around. She fell down so much, it scared me to let her walk so I had to hold her hand as she hopped about. She had trouble toilet training and just recently got out of training pants. She couldn't walk well enough to get to the bathroom and her pelvic muscles were to weak to retain the urine. She now walks with braces that hide under her pants and goes to the toilet like a regular girl. She still can't feel her feet, but thanks to Shriner's she is getting better every day.
She is even being sponsored to go, the Transverse Mylelitis Association will sponsor her costs to go. However, they require a caregiver to go and the caregiver must pay $1200 to go. I thought the care giver might be sponsored as well..since it is a requirement for the child to go. Unfortunately it is not.
Does anyone have any idea how I can raise this money to go with her before August 9th? I know it seems so frivolous, but this is a huge opportunity and I really do not want her to miss it. She will be with other children like her, horse back riding, kayaking, zip lining. She will also have a chance to meet the director of the international Neurorehabilitation Institute and the assistant professor of Neurology from John Hopkins.
My daughter left the house. She is 18 and old enough to fly the coop, but her absence has been noticed. I don't know for how long she will be gone. She said not long, but she went awfully far away!
At any rate, even though it's been just a few days, I have noticed things. The food in the pantry is not disappearing mysteriously anymore, so we have peanut butter still. Usually it's gone with in a day. I also noticed my house is cleaner. Which is weird considering she was always complaining about how much cleaning she did.
I miss her to pieces though. She's happy and having fun. She texts every so often to say what she is doing, which is nice. I just never expected to notice anything besides how much I would miss her.
What is it when you get to a certain place only to spin your wheels at that point? I feel like I am doing that now. I have been writing articles for $5 a pop over on fiverr.com. I love what I do, but I'm not very fast at writing. I can only seem to get 5 one thousand word articles done in an 8 hour day. Of course, I only actually get $4 per article, so I am making about $20 a day for 6 to 8 hours of work. I'm not complaining! I am thankful to have work at all. We were living on much less. I just wish I could become better or faster at it. It really depends on the subject matter.
So I was thinking of selling off a bunch of stuff on ebay. My husband had great success with selling a Mantis tiller so far. In the end it sold for over $140. We are so excited, thankful, and blessed. I paid the water bill with it. My youngest son needed new shoes and now he will get some. We also got some staples we sorely needed like tea.
The yard is beautiful and the cactus are in bloom.
The baby goat is growing fine and her mamma is still giving plenty of milk. We should be rich in milk before long. I pulled off just enough to make a little goat cheese this past week. I don't dare pull off much more because I want the baby to have plenty of milk.
We just pulled a ton of onions that look oh so delicious. We had a few in soup and salad.
My tomato plants are starting to put on some small tomatoes. I'm very excited.
I have 5 writing gigs already this week and ebay may turn out to be a life saver for this week. My writing gigs are about family things which I love doing. We are selling a tiller someone gave my husband. It wasn't working when it came here, but in 5 minutes he had it fixed up. Then he started it up and tilled my garden beds.
That is the tiller. We put it up for $42 on ebay about 2 days ago. It is now at $98. My husband is really good at fixing things, but he never got certified. He just tinkers with things until they work. He likes it. It is like a puzzle that his mind enjoys solving. Anyway, he said this was an easier problem to solve. We told the person that gave it to us that is was fixed, but they said we could keep it anyway. They had bought a new tiller already. She also gave us another, larger tiller that my husband believes he can fix with a couple bucks.
My sun chokes are already bushing. I planted them by the house this year, but the old patch is still going strong. I must have missed a few! They are growing like weeds and thank heavens too! The ones that we replanted near the house have not grown at all. I have no idea why. Here is a pretty picture of them.
Hope you have a wonderful day.
I got my first harvests out of the garden. Just a handful of turnips and onions, but it made soup tonight taste delish!
The arugula has started to flower which means we will get to save seeds.
I expect to get plenty of seeds from the plot. Notice I don't weed much. I try to keep up, but after they have gone to seed, I let nature take control until I plant again.
The baby goat is alive well and sucking. We named her May and she is going to be a welcome addition to our homestead. Her mother is already giving tons of milk.
I have to keep this brief as I have a ton of work to do.
I have been working non-stop this week and it finally paid off. I got $108. I earned $27 from my coloring book sales. I earned $23 from my psychic line. I also earned $35 from fiverr.com. I got $22 from child support. Working these extra jobs has paid off a little. Normally, I would have gotten only the psychic pay and the child support, so I doubled what I got this week.
A lot of people tell me to just work really hard at one job and I have done that. Let me give you an idea of what my best pay ever was at my psychic job, $180 dollars for the week. Most weeks it is $20-$90. I can do these other jobs while waiting for customers, so it was wasted time anyway. It is not a distraction from my job, it's finding things to do during my job hours since I am never working non-stop on the line.
The extra went into buying supplies for the goat. I got a salt block which she needed, $7. I got hay for her barn. I got litter for their little bedding area. I want to keep her healthy. I also got her vaccinations for when she needs to get them at 4 weeks and 8 weeks.
She should be fine for the next month. She is putting out enough milk now too, but we are waiting until she has been nursing the little one at least two weeks before robbing any for ourselves. We are still giving the excess to the kittens and puppies our animals gave birth to. They are getting as fat as little round sausages with legs.
We planted one more bed of tomatoes and peppers, laid straw on the potatoes, watered everything, and visited with friends like we do most weekends.
This week our goat gave birth and she has come into fresh milk of the sorts I could not believe possible. We had to stave off mastitis when the kid would not suckle, by milking her every three hours and bottle feeding the newborn kid. All excess milk was given to the numerous baby critters on our little homestead. We will not collect milk for ourselves until the colostrum is clear from her.
We put down two new beds and planted tomatoes. Tomorrow I hope to get in more tomatoes and some peppers. My husband was given two non-functioning tillers as payment for weed eating a woman's yard. We have no idea what they are worth, but suspect we could get $10 to $30 from the junkyard. My husband spent all afternoon tinkering on them and got the little one to working. He said something about a valve? Anyway, we intend to sell the little one to get his payment for working. How much is a little Mantis Tiller worth second hand anyway?
I briefly described living in a foster home where no one owned anything. The first night I was there, they took off my shoes, bathed me, and put me in a cute purple night gown. I remember being amazed that they had a night gown just my size already without having to go to the store. I was tucked in next to a passel of children in a big queen size bed and passed out.
When I awoke there were a lot of children running around. There were teenagers, big kids, and babies. There was even a little girl my age and size. We will call her Angie. The mother and father handled the finances and food. The bigger kids handled everything else. The house was filled until bursting at the seams with people and never had a dull moment.
Angie brought me to "the closet" that morning. She explained everyone kept their clothing here. If it fit, I could wear it. If it was broken we should tell mamma or papa. If it needed washed, we put it in the laundry basket near the washer. I was amazed, I could pick any outfit I wanted and wear it if it fit me. There was a catch though, I had to let everyone wear my clothes I came with too. This was hard to accept at first.
I remember the first day someone wore my shoes. It was one of the bigger boys and I started to cry. He asked why I was crying and I said he was wearing my shoes. He offered to take them off, but then the mamma came over and talked to me. She said I was a good girl to let my older brother wear my shoes. That I already had a nice pair of girly shoes on and that it would be selfish to not allow him to wear my shoes when his shoes were broken.
I said but they are a girl's shoes. My bigger brother said it's fine, he likes them. Then I asked if they really fit them. He said yes and they were the nicest pair he ever wore. I stopped crying. I said I was glad he had a nice pair of shoes to wear and I wouldn't cry any more as long as he took care of them.
Later at dinner with mamma and papa after prayers, they spoke with us. They explained that by sharing we show love. They said they knew we made big sacrifices to be together, but a family is love and if we loved one another those sacrifices should not be hard. Then they went around the table and everyone shared what they sacrificed for the family. Papa worked all day to feed us and pay the bills. Mamma worked hard washing clothes and cooking. The eldest sister mended the clothing and helped with the baby. The second eldest sister helped with the cooking and did dishes. Our older brother helped papa with a man's car and brought money into the house. The boy I let wear my shoes let his older brother borrow his bike so he could help papa with the car. Angie let me borrow the purple night gown so that I could have clothing. I asked her really and she smiled and got shy. Then mamma and papa skipped me and said the baby (age 3) picked up the toys. Finally they laid their eyes on me and said, "Even the newest member of our family helped by lending her shoes". It made a lasting impression. I wanted to cry for joy because I belonged somewhere and I was good enough to be someone's child.
Then they went on to explain that though papa works hard everyday, we would not have enough money for everyone to live here if everyone had to have their own clothing, shoes, bed, and everything else. That it was our duty, if we wanted to be a family, to share so we can stay together. I watched as the older boys nodded solemnly. This was a reminder to them and for me it was like a new religion.
This was fine for me, but I had a hard time with the other aspect of sharing later on. When our neighbors came over with a child that had no shoes or sandals, mamma would give one of our pair. When I protested she would tell me that they are our brothers and sisters in God and we should care for them. This concept did not sit well with me. I saw time and again as people came to mamma and papa for things and later when I played with them, they had newer nicer things. When I asked where the shoes were that mamma gave, they got mad and threw "The old nasty things" at me.
I explained to mamma what happened and she seemed upset. I caused a problem by pointing out that they had very nice things, but did not share with us. It was rude, but when I heard mamma and papa discussing it he said I was right to at least point it out. That it must go both ways or they are not acting as brothers and sisters in God.
My actions had divided the family and instead of blaming the poor mannered neighbors, I got the blame from the kids. Then when the kids complained they did not want me because I caused too much trouble the parents had a vote. The vote was to kick me out of the family. Most of the older children voted me out, but papa, Angie, and the brother I lent my shoes to, wanted me to stay. Not even mamma wanted me to stay. There was a big discussion since papa wanted me to stay, but ultimately it was decided I would leave. I cried. I took only what I wore and waited for the social worker to come.
When she came that night, I sat very dejected. She asked where my things were and mamma informed her I owned nothing. The social worker protested that she brought several outfits for me. Mamma waved it away and said they were all ruined. The social worker noted that I had sneakers on when I came a couple weeks ago, but now I had little sandals. Mamma said the sandals fit better. The social worker didn't like her answers because the sandals were cheaper, but took me anyway. In the car the social worker questioned me continuously. She seemed very angry. We went to a store and she bought me five or six outfits from her own pocket. Then we went back to the office. I sat in a chair while the social worker and her boss argued. It was late at night and they had to open the office and turn the lights on, but since only a few lights were on it was still creepy and dark. I was scared while I sat.
I stayed the night at the office and the social worker stayed with me. In the morning she drove me to a new foster home with my new clothes. There were no other children there. It was an elderly couple. She told them it was only for a few days until she could find a proper placement. They said how many days and she said at most a week. I asked if I could sleep and they showed me to my new bed and room. It was beautiful and I could sleep without anyone else in the bed.
While the foster home that had a lot of people and shared everything was wonderful...and would have remained wonderful. It also had problems. I wish they would have given me a better chance, but it turned out the way it did.
Later, in my own life, I have made my children hand down things to one another when it no longer fit. If two of my girls were the same size at the same time, they also shared. However, they always remembered who had the shirt first. "Oh well Nilla, is wearing my shirt, but it doesn't matter because I wore her dress." They would laugh and swap clothes constantly when they were the same size. My youngest two do this now, but they still retain an idea of ownership by saying. "Bubby is using my shoes" even if Bubby has been using the shoes for a year. I think it allows a child a sense of control over their life to say it is their shoes, but by making them share it builds a sense of family. After a while, sharing becomes second nature and the petty squabbles about who owns what are avoided for the most part. Also, mom and dad luck out, because now each child only needs half as many clothes to get by.
There are some things in our family that everyone collectively owns, "the wind up radio", "the computer" (which is a little mini laptop my husband duct taped together), "the bike", "the dog", "the goats", "the legos", "the books" but school books are individualized, "hair ties" belong to every girl, "the fish", "the black belt" is everyone's because it fits most of the people in the house and it rarely is needed, "the internet", "the phone", and even "the car" assuming they have a license.
A thought occurred to me today, when I was younger, I was much more frugal. I had a lot less "stuff" too. I remember fondly sorting, repairing, shining, and putting away items for their use. Now we have so much, to keep track of all of it, is an almost Herculean task.
Back then I had one child and she had a ton of stuff to herself. I remember she had enough clothes that without washing, she could go a month before all her clothes were dirty. She had a closet full of toys. She had her own bed room. She had 6 pairs of shoes. I didn't pay a dime for all of this as grandma bought all of it. I saved every outfit, toy, bottle, cloth diaper set, bed, pair of shoes, coat and bed spread as my number of children grew.
Due to this, for my first three children, until the eldest was six, I never had to buy a single solitary thing. As the eldest grew, I barely had to buy anything for her, because of grandma. I saved every single thing from when she was small and in due time, her sisters would grow into it and use it. When the youngest girl used it, out it would go if it was less than perfect. This was perfectly fine, until I had sons.
When I had sons, grandma had passed on. We were still living on the gifts she had given a decade or more prior. Although not everything made it to the fourth daughter, enough of it did that I rarely had to buy a single necessity for her in a year. We had no one to bestow a treasure trove of clothes upon us for the boys. I didn't know what to do. I hated seeing a perfectly good wardrobe go to waste too.
I decided that up until a certain age, a boy and a girl look the same, so wearing pink shirts or shorts wouldn't make a difference to anyone, least of all the baby. I tried to dye the less girly things a more boyish color, but a lot of items are just cut for a girl. It was when my son, wearing the cutest pink shorts and shirt set, with long curls, came running up to me with a lady following behind calling, "Come here little girl" that I realized I was dead wrong. I hadn't accounted for other people calling my son a girl.
I politely informed her that he was a boy. We talked about the short set he had on and why he wore pink. I explained I never dreampt I would have a boy due to hormonal issues and that I hated that his sisters perfectly fine clothes would go to waste. I informed her the outfit was at least 10 years old as his eldest sister wore it and I saved clothes from previous children. I also said grandma bought the clothes for the girls and we didn't have the disposable income she did. I did not plead poverty, just that there was a difference between mine and my late mother in laws ability to pick up 6 outfits a week. She seemed genuinely amazed at my ability to save clothing for a decade. She also said she would like to get him an outfit someday. Is said fine, if she felt that way. I never in my wildest dreams imagined she would even remember us after leaving the park that day.
About a week later, her aunt came up to me and handed me two cute boy outfits and told me it was form her niece. I was floored. First that she remembered, second that her aunt knew who I was, and third that she actually went through with getting him some clothes. I felt truly ashamed as well. She must have thought we were too poor to get him clothing. It made me think about society and what people assume based on the colors a person wears. It made me realize hat gender roles are hard lined into our society and that as a practical matter, using old clothes from the wrong gender, can send a very bad message even if it is thrifty. I thanked her aunt profusely.
Driving home I swore my sons would never have to wear girl clothing again. I also swore to keep the outfits she gave for as along as possible, just as I did the girls. I still have them. My youngest son just grew into them. Once he is done wearing the clothing she gave, I will give them to a local charity because I am no longer having children. They have lasted almost 9 years so far. I still have a few baby girl outfits put up in boxes too, but these are saved for my grandchildren. Only those items which are pristine have been saved. Enough for a start so far. My eldest daughter is dating and talking about getting married and I still have many of her outfits from when she was a baby. That's organized and frugal.
I sure have been busy! I am still working on that annual budget, but that's not all.
I picked up extra work this week. I was accepted to "hang out my shingle" at another company while I work for the one I am with now.
The weather won't let me plant and that is infuriating. I have Jerusalem artichokes coming up...I thought I lost them all. I am so pleased, they truly are a survival food. I also planted some pretty fancy dandelions. We are going to try dandelion greens this year, from a dedicated organic patch. Saving the seeds is super easy and makes fo0r a fun afternoon with the kids. (Trying to keep them from blowing away)
The goat will be giving birth soon, you can tell now! Her mucous plug came out yesterday.
We went through all the clothes and turned the ruined pants into shorts for this summer. I got rid of all teh stained and whole filled shirts too. They make great rags for cleaning.
We also went fishing and had a great time. The kids didn't catch anything though. Something kept grabbing a hold onto my line and snapping it. My line was only for 4 pounds, so it could have been anything.
Today, after my husband lost his job and my hours were dropped, I decided to remake the annual budget. I found that we have more month than money and more year than money too, but luckily I have ideas to make that work.
First we owed back taxes on our house, so I junked my old truck that was falling apart and worth less than it would cost to replace just one part that needed replaced. I got $407 for it. I took the $407 and paid my tax bill for my house. Now I just need $110 more by June 1st to pay off the tax bill for the year. I anticipate being able to pay that off.
Second, I joined a gig site called fiverr.com. I have made $44 in the past 9 days. That's not a lot of money, but considering we are in the negative here, it was worth it to me.
When going through our expenses, I found we haven't been using what money we do have to the absolute best of our abilities. Part of my motivation for selling the old junked up truck was to reduce my annual tax bill by $20, to eliminate the $28 a month for insurance, and to make sure I didn't have something lying around going to waste.
I also found that we pay a heck of a lot more for electricity than most people in our area do. I assume it is due to the amount of usage, so I will be looking into dropping that.
I think, if I implement everything I am planning, we will have enough money for the month and maybe a little to set back.
Free cookbooks from a genius in the kitchen and with money
Well, I haven't been able to expand the garden as of yet. Between the dang finicky weather, my husband looking for another job, me working, and preparing for the next home school year...I got nothing in the garden done this week. My turnips look gorgeous though. I can not wait to sink my teeth into those babies. The potatoes are finally coming up as are my shallots and garlic.
My goats have been jumping the fence. She is so ornery. I have no idea how to keep this little lady in one spot!
My work has taken up a lot of my time. I usually work about 20 hours a week, but I have increased it to about 30 hours. I have certainly seen an increase in my income, from 65 dollars a week to 95 dollars, but it's still making about $3 an hour. (I work at home). I have tried adding incentives for customers to call, but so far the pay off isn't happening.
I did find some awesome printables for home schooling moms at 123homeschooling. I was looking at paying about $50 for a proper day planner, calender, lesson planner, and chore chart. Instead I used less than $5 in paper and ink to print out everything I needed. I also found some online curriculum, that might even save me a little more!
Wow, what a rainy season we have had. I have already planted and started to grow my early spring crops. As you can imagine, some are doing better than others. I buy my seed from Baker Creek Seeds. I have planted turnips, arugula, potatoes, shallots, onions, basil, parsley, and dill. The turnips and arugula are coming up by the handfuls. My onions are doing very well. The herbs are not doing so well. It's the first time I have done these types of basil, parsley, and dill. My potatoes are doing poorly, but it is the first time I have tried the raised garden bed method for them. I still have time to throw a bunch in a field. The shallots are also growing poorly in the same raised bed set up. The author I got the idea from must have had some secret trick I know nothing about.
Tomorrow I will harvest some turnip greens for soup. I will also harvest a bit of arugula for salad. I intend to plant some more items tomorrow, though I'm not sure what just yet. I'll look through my seed packets in the morning. It's getting time to plant the tomatoes, egg plants, cucumbers, okra, squash, and melons.
The goats are doing fine. One is named Butter and the other Sugar. Sugar may have been bred. If she was, we should have a baby goat in May. She doesn't look big enough to be carrying though. They like to eat the grass in the yard, but one of them got into the onions! She only nibbled a little off the tops though. Butter is a nuisance goat, though I do like her. She has broken two collars, one of them made of metal! She is quite determined to NOT be chained up. I enjoy their company in the garden...far away from my onions. It can be a chore to chase them out of the garden though, so that is why we were chaining them.
I'm looking into getting a small late flock of chickens. I swore after I got ducks that I would never go back to chickens. However, there is nothing quite like the taste of a free range chicken egg. I may get a more "wild" type which will make it harder for wild animals to kill. Docile chickens are great for children to get to learn to grow, but horrible at self defense.
That's all for tonight. Awfully tired.
Time has flown. Here it is 3 years later and the middle of another planting season. So much has happened. I want to share with all of you our struggles and good fortune, but it would be writing a book!
Our tiller broke again when a drunk driver ran it over almost killing me, my husband, and our then 4 year old son. The drunk also managed to destroy 50% of what we had planted last year.
We purchased two nanny goats. They are very young, but we should breed them this year. I enjoy their company as much as the idea of having milk form them.
We have a newer car that we got for a price I could not refuse and my husband had found work closer to home for about 9 months. He lost his job last month. I have a work at home job currently where I make 200-300 a month. He was making only 300 a month at the end of it.
I wrote two books and have started to make a few sales. Not enough to put food on the table, but some pocket change.
We took in a family of four in 2012 that I knew which was living on the street literally and gave them a home for 5 months until they got on their feet. 2012 gave me a very good garden and we fed everyone (All 12 of us) out of it until about November when the frost killed it. By December, it was truly horrific. The pantry was bare and our garden was dead. This was before my husband found work. So it was up to me to figure out something to feed everyone. It wasn't very easy. I got very creative on the recipes by adding chamomile to bread and Mullen, herbs usually reserved for teas. It made the bread sweeter when we had almost no sugar, honey, or molasses. By the end of December they found a home and work. I was so thankful. Most of the beginning of 2013 was devoted to recovering. By June, things were better, until the drunk driver showed up.
Last year was the first real Christmas from mom and dad my kids had in 5 years. My husband had good work at that time and we bought them toys for the first time in a long time. I even bought them new clothes. Now that he is out of work, I am kicking myself in the rear for spending the money. The kids did love it though.
I guess I will update on my planting later. I'm tired, it's late, and I just got off my shift.
What a difference a month makes. No, I am not employed full-time. I still have the same job making the same low pay. However, two things have changed.
First, I have been able to find 200 dollars from a lawsuit. More like the attorney found it for me. This paid for groceries. It was like manna from heaven when it came.
Second, our machinery is working! Finally, we will be putting in our fall garden in the next week. It was not an arm and a leg to fix, because my husband fixed it. We did need a 25 dollar part. This took a considerable amount of time to find also.
Finally some of you had questions and suggestions. I will handle the questions first. We grow food for our family, with an option to sell at the farmer's market. We never have as of yet, since I have a large family that gobbles up everything before I can sell or preserve it. I blame that on under planting, which means, I the farmer is to blame.
That is why we were opening up an extra acer. We knew we needed more land planted to make more food. I have grown things as John Jeavons suggested, so I know about intensive agriculture and organic agriculture. I also know, with out a lot of animals on site, it requires a lot of inputs. We currently do not have any goats, cows, or the like on site. We are looking into a Jersey cow or Water Buffalo, but they cost thousands.
Finally, moving is out of the question for one simple reason. I have a large family. The reason I had to move in the middle of no where is due in part to my large family. When we lived in the city, I needed to find an apartment. I asked around and the first thing every landlord wanted to know is how many kids. Once they heard I had 3, they all refused to rent to me. Now I have 6.
Plus, my house is paid off. I don't have to pay rent. I can't imagine being much better off after rent was removed from my pay.
Finally a Turker, is someone that works on Mechanical Turk. It's like the temp site of the world on the internet. The pay is low, usually. The days are long. Your lucky if you bring home 100 a month. Most people assume people in "other" countries work there, because the pay is so low.
So what is happening now? Well, we have food. I am so happy to say that. We have enough for a bit now. I have gotten more telephone work, like I was hoping in June. Not a lot more, but I can tell the difference.
Now I am looking to cut back. How frugal is too frugal? I was looking at how much my electricity costs, and it is outrageous. 150 USD per month in the summer. Imagine, if that were brought down by a quarter.
I have my electricity through a co-op. I love my co-op, but I don't love some of their policies. For example, some of the people working their refuse to tell me what policies they have written for delinquent accounts, why they are charging me a "connection fee" of 50 cents a day, etc...
The lowest bill I ever had was 75 USD. That was for a black out of 2 weeks. Half of that bill was delivery fees, taxes, and connection fees. (Even though I had no electricity for 2 weeks) For reference, a normal bill in the winter is 100 USD. I think they ripped me a new one on that. How can I lower my bills, with all these fees? Should I leave my co-op?
I need to start this for myself, to put into perspective the absolute impossibility that is living in the middle of no where on next to nothing. I know, that is a terrible way to start a blog. Why would anyone want to read that? It's depressing. However. you maybe able to glean a few gems on how to reduce your costs, based on my tried and true methods. Furthermore, you may gain a more complete understanding of the desolation your fellow humans must endure. Compassion, is not required, but you may find yours here.
I live on ten acres, that I have more or less, tried to farm...with some success. The latest year has been the worst to date. My husband, lovingly and jokingly referred to as "the mule", has been working the land for all these years and no longer can. I, not accustomed to having to do his share and my own, did not get enough planted. We were going to need those plants in the ground, to eat you see. They still didn't get in there in time.
It seems someone had other plans for us. Every piece of machinery we own broke down within one week of the other. The repair bills would be too much all at once, more than our savings. Also, no one can be found to repair the machinery within a few miles, so we have to wait until one can come to us from faraway. We were left with one option, do it by hand. Do you know how hard it is to till an acre by hand with just a shovel? Never mind the fact this was a new virgin acre we were supposed to bring online, to let our old land lay fallow and recover. It is impossible alone.
Instead I planted the old land and we tried to clear the new land, to hopefully plant a fall garden in. I still hope that will happen. We don't have a lot of time left, and we still have a few pieces of broken equipment. Hope, what is there without hope? People seem to think I am an optimist. I am a pessimist, I assure you, with a lot of "let's hope for the best" thrown in.
Due to our poor spring harvest, I am having to buy groceries...like everyone else. Everyone else that has a normal job, a normal car, or at least has SNAP benefits. In the beginning, I used my savings which was minuscule. Originally, we were saving for the car...just in case it broke down. It is over 20 years old now. No, I had to use our savings for food. I don't regret it, I just wish it could have stretched further.
My savings has been gone for about a month now. I have had to become very creative in my budgeting. I receive about 428 a month in child support from my first marriage. For a while, I sold cosmetics through a large company and made about 400 usd more per month. I stopped selling them last year though, due to the expenses being higher than my returns. Gas was killing me. I also make money on the side from a call center, but it isn't anywhere near full time. It is more like part-time, 2 days a week. Nothing big. It's inexpensive to get to work, because I don't have to drive anywhere, have a babysitter, or even worry about professional appearance. I work at home with my internet and VOIP through Google. I may make 200 usd in a good month on this job. Now, this is money already allocated to bills.
As you can see, I am in a bind. All of my income is going straight to bills. One might reason, cut back. Turn off the cable, cut the internet, use less electric and try to find a real job. Trust me, I have thought about that too. I turned off my land line and only get my phone through Google Voice. I need the internet to work for the phone center. I hang dry laundry, I cook from scratch, and I sew my kids clothes when they get new ones. Yes, I am that frugal.
As far as finding a "real job" (TM), they don't exist within 30 miles of here. My car is too unreliable, gas is too high, and the returns are too low. When my husband had a "real job" (TM) making min. wage, 100 usd went straight to gas. Keep in mind, this was when gas was in the low 2.50 usd per gallon range. At the end of the week once we paid for gas, and his lunch, plus the tools he had to buy for the job... we got may be 100 usd left. For what? 40-50 hours of work a week, 16 hour shifts, leaving home at 2am to make his 4 am shift and then have to work until 6 pm? The "real job" (TM) wasn't worth all the work to get there, all the expenses to get there, and the insane hours. That doesn't take into account the toll it had on his health or the lack of health insurance.
I only need 40 to 50 usd a week to get groceries. I came up with a few ideas about how to get that money. First, I sold many of my old college books on half.com. It has so far netted about one weeks worth of groceries. Not bad, but not something I would like to bet my food budget on. I still put stuff up on half.com, but it isn't my primary strategy.
Second, I have started becoming a Turker. Yes, Mechanical turk. While sitting waiting for calls from customers for the phone center, I work on mechanical Turk. Currently I have earned almost 100 usd, about 2 weeks worth of food. That has taken about 3 weeks to make, by the way. It beats doing nothing at least.
Finally, I have begun putting in more time on the phone line. I know many don't have this option. I am very lucky I do. It doesn't yield as much return on the weekdays, so I am not getting much more. It may just be enough, to round it all out.
I am thinking of more ways I can cut back. We have a few options I will discuss later, but for right now...I am signing off.
D. L. Mitchell