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Garage cleanout windfall?

April 14th, 2013 at 12:18 am

This past week our city had a free cleanup day, where you could put stuff you weren't usually able to put on the curb for pickup out there and they would pick it up for free. I took advantage of this to clean out a lean to attached to our garage that I haven't even set foot in. I don't think my husband had either. It was a pure mess, all stuff from the previous owner.

Most of it was junk, so it either went into the trash or to the curb for this cleanup. I worked until I ran out of boxes, and almost got it done. Maybe 1/4 left?

It looks like they had a pool you set up out on the lawn, and the PVC pipes they used to hold up the sides were still there (but no pool). I kept those for other projects (making homemade Earthboxes for my strawberries). I also kept a door that goes to the second bedroom in our house and three Christmas village pieces. I'm going to clean those up and see if I can sell them later.

I also found a whole corner of Beanie Babies! Woohoo! Just kidding. I don't know what I am going to do with them. They were all in plastic boxes so even though the plastic boxes are dirty, the actual Beanie Babies are all completely clean and untouched. I wonder if there is a market for that kind of stuff? I have been asking locally, but no one is interested. I guess it is time to jump into the ebay thing. I have never sold on ebay, just on half.com. I have bought a lot, though. I bet there are a hundred of them. I haven't counted. Ebay prices looked like $1 to $3 a piece, but I don't know if they are moving at that price.

Looks like I am going to set up a little photo corner and photograph them all. I have read that you should use a white background without any creases or lines and use a bright light instead of your flash, and it makes great ebay pictures.

Might as well. No hurt in trying, right?

State FFA Winner

March 20th, 2013 at 03:20 am

I am so proud of my sister...she won 1st place in the Kansas FFA Equine Science Entrepreneurship Proficiency project.

She made this video for their local chapter's banquet to show about her SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience).

Text is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPiiu-QDDmI and Link is
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPiiu-QDDmI

One of the horses she is working on in this video is ours...the one bucking off my brothers Smile

Thought you might enjoy.

Cleaning Schedule

January 29th, 2013 at 07:05 pm

I have a hate hate relationship with cleaning my house. It is boring. It is never ending. Miss a few days, you might as well miss weeks. I've tried. Doesn't really make a difference. I'd rather hold/play with my son. Or watch TV. Or read the internet. Anything but wash dishes.

But, my house was a scary, embarrassing disaster over Christmas. I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to keep the house clean.

I read a book ages about that said to put all your chores on 3x5 cards, then assign them either daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Then, keep them in a file box, as you get one done, move the card ahead, and always stay on top of it.

Ok, I think that was written in the 80's sometime. I did this for a while, but if I missed a day (or week, heck two weeks. Who am I kidding?) it was very hard to pick up again. We are now in the age of computers. So, I adapted it.

I did come up with a list of chores, and then in my Outlook Calendar, I put a recurring appointment in for each chore. When I get done with a chore, I delete that instance of the appointment on that day, but the recurring appointment in the future is still there. I look at the calendar in weekly mode, and at the end of the week, the calendar is blank, and I go to the next week. I broke my chores out like the following:

Daily:
Wash Dishes
Clean off table

Every other day (changed to 3 times a week):
Sweep
Take out trash
Wash, dry and put away clothes

Weekly:
Clean three areas of consistent clutter
Deep clean stove
Clean microwave
Clean bathroom countertop
Wash bathroom sink
Take trash to curb
Do paperwork

Every 2 weeks:
Scrub toilet
Scrub bathtub
Clean bathroom mirror
Clean coffee area
Wash floors

Monthly:
Clean under coffee area
Clean top of washer/dryer
Clean cobwebs from corners
Wash shower curtain
Clean window sills
Clean front entry way
Sweep back room
Dust

Since January 1, the only thing I have missed is washing the floors once. My house looks amazing, for my standards.

I have been tweaking the system. I changed laundry, sweeping and trash from every other day to 3 times a week. Since I work at home on Tuesday/Thursday, I moved laundry to those days + Sunday. I can throw a load in at lunch, get it in the dryer and start another load, so the machines are practically done once I am done with work. During the winter, I am pretty much only doing 2 loads each time, colors and whites.

Sweeping and trash were moved to M/W/Sat, with taking the trash to the curb on Wednesday, since trash gets picked up Thursday morning.

On Mondays, I clean three areas that are always cluttered. One is by the door, one is a shelf between the kitchen and dining area, and the last one is right beside that shelf. Gets a good start to the week. I also sweep, take out trash, clean off table and do dishes.

On Tuesdays, I clean the stove and microwave (and do laundry, clean the table and dishes)

On Wednesday, I sweep, take out trash and take the trash out to the curb, dishes and clean the table.

On Thursdays, I clean the bathroom (depending on the week, sometimes just the sink/countertop, sometimes the toilet, mirror and bathtub are added on). If I need to wash the shower curtain, I do it on Thursday. I also do laundry, dishes and clean the table.

On Friday, I have no additional chores, except daily ones.

On Saturdays, I wash the floors every other week, sweep, take trash out, dishes and clean the table.

On Sundays, I do laundry, dishes, clean the table, and paperwork. I am now caught up with paperwork (balancing accounts, paying bills, etc) but this took me 3 weeks to get all the way caught up. This Sunday, I'm going to work on taxes as well.

They "every 2 week" ones and "monthly" ones are added with no real thought to when, except washing floors on Saturday, since that involves moving furniture, etc.

There are a few keys to my system working so far.

My son has gotten bigger. He is 20 months old now. I used to come home from work, and he needed to nurse, so I would sit down to nurse him and I would continue sitting in that chair all night, holding him, except to make supper. Since he has gotten older (I am still nursing, though am slowly weaning him right now), we nurse for about 5 minutes, then I make myself get up to do the chores. And he helps me! He can help me put clothes in the dryer, and he likes taking the clothes from the dryer to the basket, then climbing in the basket to take them out so I can fold them. He helps put some of the clothes away, too Smile He follows me around with a dustpan when I sweep. I put him in the bathtub while I am cleaning the bathroom so I can keep an eye on him, and get everything cleaned while he is playing. He picks up toys so I can sweep. When supper is done, we line up things he can carry (salt/pepper/salad dressing/yoghurt/etc) at the edge of the table so he can reach up and grab them (or Daddy hands them to him, one at a time) and he brings them into the kitchen. We, of course, grab plates/glasses/knives, etc, and the food. I open the fridge and point to where he needs to put it, and he puts it there and shuts the door. If it needs to go into a cabinet, I lift him up so he can put it away. All the while I am washing dishes, so pretty much once the table is cleaned off, the dishes are washed. I have found that this is a great way to interact with my child, he is learning responsibility, and I get the chores done Smile

Another thing is being able to evaluate what is working and what isn't. I used to do laundry every other day and sweep/trash every other day. This was actually too much for my house, so I would look and think "don't need to do laundry today" so I would skip it. For me, once I skip something, it is so easy to let everything fall apart. It was also too hard to come home after an 11 hour day (after work + driving) to do laundry. Once I changed it to T/T/Sun, it has gotten a lot easier. Luckily Sweeping/Trash/Trash to curb naturally fits on M/W/Sat, too. Having a day off on Friday is helpful.

I also tried to do my bills on Thursday, which just wasn't working. I don't know why. But I naturally wanted to do them on Sunday, so even if I wasn't following a schedule, I would do it Sunday. When i was trying to follow the schedule, I'd get to Thursday, skip bills, think "oops. Might as well let everything else fall apart." Then not try to pick it up for a month or so. By putting bills on Sunday, it just fits my schedule better.

Finally, shame and pride had a bit to do with this. I fancy myself a pretty smart person, so when I couldn't figure out how to keep a damned house clean, I felt like an idiot. Telling someone I would rather have dinner at their house instead of mine because mine was dirty was embarrassing. Now, I look around the house, and feel pretty good.

spice order

September 10th, 2012 at 04:02 am

I've been using spices like they are going out of style, especially for baking, pickling, lacto-fermenting and other things for the garden. The spices at the store are horrendously expensive, and we don't have a local spice outlet or bulk place.

I saw on a blog that someone mentioned a spice company in California they order from, called San Fransisco Herb, sfherb.com. They mentioned there was a discount at a certain price level, and that their church went together to put one big order so the discount would pay for the shipping.

I decided to see if I could get a big order together. I had 3 people at work interested, and 10 facebook friends (including a sister, my MIL and GMIL) go in with me.

I just placed an order worth $1,011! Holy cow.

There was a discount of 15% if over $500, and the shipping went down by $95 compared to if each person had bought by themselves.

I entered each person's order into the website to get their shipping charge, then when I finished the order, I gave them back a discount on the shipping proportionally to what theirs should have been.

I'm keeping the discount amount ($128), cause I had to do all the work to tally everything up. That will actually pay for all my spices, so once I get paid by everyone, I will get about 16 pounds of spices for the cost of keeping track of things on a spreadsheet Smile And making the payment and waiting to get the money, of course.

I think this would be a great fund raiser for schools, at least for schools that aren't close to a bulk spice provider.

How dumb

September 3rd, 2012 at 05:26 am

I just have to post this little snippet.

Just saw a girl, probably a year out of high school. Walking around with her soon-to-be baby daddy (who is married, btw...you know, to someone else) while drinking and smoking.

That poor kid. The baby on the way, I mean.

the D word

August 7th, 2012 at 05:29 am

Drought. The drought is just plain kicking our asses out here in our little slice of Kansas.

Hubby is working like a madman trying to swath/bale CRP for neighbors. He got home at 10:00 p.m. tonight and asked me to wake him up at 1:00 a.m. so he can go back out and bale again.

We have only mowed our grass twice this summer. And last time, it was just for the random prickly tall weed that dots the brown grass.

We are hauling water every day to one pasture. Takes a couple hours each time. Actually, DH is doing it. I've only done it once, though I have volunteered multiple times. I think he worries about the heat and DS, since he broke the window out of the pickup and the air conditioner doesn't work.

The cows keep getting out because they are searching for anything at all that is green. DH had to put an electric fence top wire on one pasture yesterday because they were getting out twice a day in that pasture.

We are going to try to wean our calves early, maybe next month, but the price of distillers grain is $180 a ton. Last summer it was $40 a ton. Corn is at an all time high. Those lucky bastards that irrigate are going to make out like bandits.

I've been watering the garden twice a week. So far it has held, and that has really saved us a lot of money this summer. I am really surprised it is going so well.

Our company, a farmer's co-op, is slowly reducing staff. It is scary. Every week or every other week, they announce about 4-5 more people. At what point do you get tired of waiting for the hammer and start looking for something else? I hope I don't have to. I love my job and my working arrangements are AWESOME!!!

Even if it starts raining now, it won't help much, unless we get a real turd floater to fill up ponds. That might help. But pasture is going to be severely harmed for years to come because of the drought pressure.

I try to think "Great Grandpa (30's)/Grandpa (50's)/Dad (80's) went through this too." I hope we can keep it together. The land we have has been in DH's family for over 100 years. They were some of the original homesteaders around here.

Boo.

Extra work today

July 27th, 2012 at 04:57 am

I worked at home today, and after work, I was planning on going to see my cousin. She is not doing well, and we are afraid we will lose her soon with cancer. :'( I was going to go on Tuesday, but her mom said she was too nauseous, and so I called today before going, and her mom said she was going to have everything pumped out of her stomach to maybe help with the nausea? She has a blockage and her stomach/lower abdomen is very uncomfortable for her. My aunt sounded frazzled, but actually apologized to me for not calling to ask me not to come. Wow, Aunt Karen. I think you have plenty on your mind other than remembering to call me.

So, instead, I called DH to see if he could use any help. He said "sure, you can come run the swather." Yippee!!! I LOVE running the swather! So, I went down to DH's Grandma's place, who takes care of DS, nursed him, then headed out to the farm.

The drought is causing many people to think they won't have enough hay for the winter. The USDA opened up some of the CRP for haying, but you have to leave 1/2 of it uncut, 5" of stubble on the rest of it, some of the CRP is still closed to cutting, and it all has to be done by Aug 15. DH has gotten 5 new customers since CRP was opened.

The problem with the 5" cut is that our swather has a floating header on it, if you push the button down all the way. If you bump the button up to bring it up more, it doesn't float anymore. Fine if you are in a field, but in a CRP field, there are most likely bumps, gulleys, other crap you don't want to hit...if you do hit something with the rotating blades, it could cause major damage. The front does tilt up and down, so he is going to try to tilt it up as far as it will go and see how much stubble it leaves. It might be close enough for government work.

This one I was working on today is actually ours, old CRP that we didn't sign up for the program again. The slight rain we had yesterday (< .5") made things tough, so it took way longer than it should have. Didn't get home until 10:00. DS was more than ready for some momma time.

Got home, made some sandwiches, going to bed. No money out the door for me today.

It is payday today, too. Saving up to put a roof on the garage...almost there!

Cooking effort

July 26th, 2012 at 04:49 am

I have no confidence in the kitchen. I don't know why. Most things I cook turn out ok to good.

Well, I do know why. Growing up, the only things I cooked were things to take to the fair. I always helped dad, and when you help dad outside, you don't have to do inside work when you get home. Sisters who have not been on the cabless tractor or chasing cows can do dishes and cook supper while you finally relax for the day.

Then, in college, I had a meal plan and the basketball team would stop for supper after games. So, no cooking for almost 4 years there.

Then, in grad school, well, I got in the bad habit of eating out alot.

Being single until I was 30 didn't help either. My social activities while single included playing sand volleyball at a very cool bar (so I would eat out/drink those nights), playing volleyball at the church (and going to Applebees after that), going out to eat and going to the bar. Hmmmm, sounds kinda one dimensional, doesn't it? I finally had to suggest to my friends that they come over, we would watch movies and I would cook supper on one night a week so we didn't go out every damn night.

Once, I gave up for Lent "eating out because I was lazy". That was a tough one. (Seriously! It was tough!) I allowed myself social eating out, because living by yourself is hard with no social interaction.

Then, I met my now husband, and moved to within 2 1/2 hours of him while we were still dating. Driving that far sucked, and I was always tired. When we got married, I still had that job. We sold that house, and I moved in for 3 nights a week with a lady who had an extra bedroom. She allowed me use of her kitchen, but I didn't feel very comfortable using it (Totally not her fault. She was very very very nice. Just me and my situation was weird.) I would come home on weekends and just be exhausted after working 10 hour days and a 2.5 hour drive every Monday morning and Thursday night.

Skip forward to today, now that all the excuses are out of the way. I work 2 days a week at home, 3 days at work, which is an hour drive each direction. I struggle with my weight, which has stayed steady for the past 2 months after losing all the baby weight (36 lbs), but could stand to lose 30 more. I tend not to plan ahead and take lunch with me, and for a time was even going to get a sub type sandwich at the local gas station when I worked at home. I was also going over to the quick shop at work for BREAKFAST.

I am an idiot, I guess.

I planted a pretty big garden this year, the biggest I've ever had. I'd say 15x40. (I went through all the produce I've gotten out of it so far in a previous post.) I got squash bugs about a week ago, so I had to spray them, but up to that point, I was overflowing with zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, etc.

It is pretty stupid to have all these great fresh vegetables and eat out.

Also, well, we aren't rolling in money, to say the least. We have lots of debt, up to the point where it is almost overwhelming. Sometimes it seems saving $1 on sour cream, for example, seems pretty stupid to be excited about.

We started getting stuff out of the garden at the end of June, so on July 1 or thereabouts, I said to my husband "let's make it a goal to not eat out at all in July". He was not excited. He said he couldn't tell where he will be when he is working, and he might not be able to make it home for lunch. Which is true. He doesn't have a microwave at the farm, and sometimes, he is bouncing around from waterway to waterway, field to field in the tractor/baler or swather, so driving to where he last left the pickup so he can some in for lunch won't work.

Ok, fine, I'll try it for myself.

I stumbled across a good recipe for chicken pot pie. Pretty easy, and a very good pie crust. DH was very excited about it, even asking for seconds, and for lunch the next day! So, I figured, that is one to keep in my hat. That next weekend, I made chicken pot pie pockets, and since I had a bit more pie crust than chicken pot pie filling, I also made ham and cheese pockets. My oven is small, and so I could only cook 4 at a time (I made 18), so that was a long, exhausting day in a house with a bad air conditioner. But, when all done, after eating 2 for dinner that night, I had 16 in the freezer.

You know what, DH started coming home more for lunch, because he could pull them out of the freezer and put them in the microwave and have a good meal. I also took them to lunch, along with at least 2 cucumbers and a zucchini to snack on.

When I made the chicken pot pie, I had filled the crock pot with some cheap chicken (I think $.98 a pound for bone in breast/rib meat), onion, carrots, celery and a bay leaf. Fill with water, cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Just until the meat falls off the bone. I used about half for the chicken pot pie and shredded the other half and put in the freezer.

Another thing I did was make my own yogurt and start eating that for breakfast. I make it in the crockpot, and put it in canning jars, but I don't actually can it. I just keep it in the fridge. I've been making that for a couple months now, but just yesterday, I started straining it through some coffee filters, and YUMMMMMMY I will never make yogurt and not strain it again!

When I wasn't straining it, it was a little too sour, so I needed to put something in it. Our apple tree in the front yard had non-ripe apples on it, but in the past, it has always dropped all the apples or had bugs eat all of them before we could harvest them, so I started pulling a buckets worth off here and there, so at least we could have something. I made apple butter with most of these, so now I can mix the apple butter with the yogurt and have a great breakfast. There are still bunches of apples on the trees, and though I do have some with chunks eaten out of them, I can cut around that and still get a crock pot full.

The first batch I made, I peeled each one before putting it in the crockpot. Wow, that took a long time. My MIL let me use her manual strainer thingy that you rotate the handle and push the pulp through, and leave the peels, and that took a lot less time. Add some spices, leave in the crockpot until as thick as you want, and that is all there is to it.

Final thing we have been doing is getting good deli meat from the local grocery store. I've been using ham and turkey, cheese, and slices of zucchini on tortillas, and that has been very filling. Better than DQ.

The crockpot chicken thing has been the best thing I've been doing this summer. I've found chicken for $.98 a pound and for $.88 a pound today. I stuff the cr