For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.
* I spent a half hour one evening weeding the garden beds.
* I separated the pepper plants into individual containers.
* We spent an entire afternoon working in the garden together. Trucker burned yard waste (from all the trees he cut down) while I prepped a garden bed and planted it. I planted: 5 rows of Blue Lake Bush Beans (my old boss gave me a bunch of seeds she had leftover last year), 3 rows Chantenay Red-Cored carrots, 2 rows French Breakfast radishes, 2 rows Detroit Red Beets, 3 rows Plum Purple Radishes.
* Trucker saved some long, straight sticks for me from the burn pile to use as bean trellises.
* When I was planting, I swooped a line through the soil for my seeds. I disturbed some of the bugs living in my soil. One of these tiny bugs came running over a clump of soil right as I dropped in the first of the beet seeds. It hit the poor guy in the head (accidentally!) and sent him flying. On a tiny scale it was like watching a documentary re-enactment of dinosaurs and meteorites. It reminded me of a Gene Logsdon quote: "The
beauty of bugs in your backyard rivals, if not surpasses, the beauty
of birds in your backyard. Exciting things are happening in the world
of bugs outside your door-as exciting as the survival of the fittest
among animals in the jungle. All you need to watch is a magnifying
glass and some time."
* I purchased rabbit hutches and supplies from someone off of craigslist. I paid $80 for a three-rabbit hutch, 4 water bottles, 3 feeders, toe nail clippers, a scale and the poop trays. We'll get everything set up this week and I'll try to bring my rabbits home within a couple weeks.
* I harvested 3 cups of baby kale and lettuce from the container garden.
* I picked up some composted manure from Menards. It was only $1.50/bag; 1 got 5. I just need a bit of something to supplement what I've made and the coffee grounds Trucker's been bringing home. Very soon I'll have rabbit manure to put on the beds, so this will hopefully be my last time buying manure. Rabbit manure is one of the few kinds that can be put on without composting, so I'll be able to start using it right away. This alone will be a worthwhile reason to keep rabbits. When I get them, I'll try to track how much brown gold I get for the garden so I can see what the dollars and sense adds up to.
* I took my parents and sister their transplants.
* I made tacos one day with some leftover diced pork from the freezer (about 1/4 cup). I rinsed out an almost-empty jar of salsa and poured it in the pan, then added handfuls of dehydrated cherry tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers and eggplant (just to use them up) and cooked until the veggies were rehydrated. I served in tortillas ($.90/pack of 12) with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salsa, and lettuce.
* We made a quick, easy lunch one day of quesadillas and tomato soup. The soup was from the salvage grocery store: $.40 for a quart. We used half and saved half for another day.
* I made grown up slushies with a koolaid packet and vodka for our major gardening day. Sure, the koolaid doesn't count as a health food, but it's far better than drinking all that mold from the store-bought slushies, plus I use way less sugar. Nice little grownup treat for the first day it breaks 85 degrees.
* We did eat out one day. We had a very busy day and were temporarily without use of our kitchen (long story that doesn't apply to this page). I used a coupon from a pizza chain for a very cheap pizza. We signed up for the pizza joint's customer loyalty program so that on the rare occasions we do buy a pizza, it adds up to a free one. This purchase bumped us up to a freebie on the card. We'll save that for a day that we want to have a relaxing/lazy evening with a movie or for another crazy day. We drank beverages from home. We had enough leftover for lunch.
* I didn't preserve any food, but I wanted to point out something incredible. Last year I tried my hand at making something weird: crabapple candy. I basically just cut crabapples in half, seeded them then dipped them in sugar. I dehydrated until they were thoroughly dry and leathery. I've stored them for over 6 months and hadn't tried them until this week. WOW! They are like a chewier sour patch kid. They're really, really good.
* I met up with a good friend one evening. Since I'd made the drive, he insisted on taking me out to dinner. We went to a local Mexican restaurant for enchiladas and hours of talking. It was a lovely evening.
* Trucker and I had a coffee date for $3.18 with our travel mugs.
* Trucker and I took a 3 mile round trip walk to get ice cream/frozen yogurt. Sure, it's not the healthiest thing, but I burn about 235 calories in that distance, and the small size cone I get is 170 calories. This is my version of Michael Pollan's rule (you can eat whatever you want, but you have to make it from scratch yourself): I can have the frozen yogurt cone, but I have to walk to get it!
* We went out to my parent's for their town's community yard sale. We all-parents, sisters, Trucker and me-had breakfast together. I actually don't remember the last time we'd all been together (until a month ago, there had been at least one of us working opposite shifts of everyone else for at least 5-6 years). Trucker brought home lots of bagels, muffins and a scone from his job. We brought those and left the extras for them to enjoy. Dad fried up a pound of bacon (which we fought over fiercely; it's good bacon) and fried eggs. Afterwards, we all walked around town for the yard sales together. We had a lot of fun and all found some great deals.
* After the yard sales, my dad took me to visit a microfarmer he knows. The guy and his wife have a wonderful setup: hogs, cows, horses, chickens, gardens, and bees. When he found out that I am thinking about getting into beekeeping, he got me all suited up and took me to the apiary. I got to do some very minor things to see how I felt while a couple million bees were buzzing around me. He said I did great and he thinks I'll do well with it. I felt calm and didn't get stung once.
* We went for a walk at the park we went to last week, although this week we didn't get lost! We did the 2 mile loop we didn't do last week. It's a lovely trail that winds through a meadow then through a pine woods. There were butterflies all over. Walking, talking and laughing with him is one of my favorite things.
* Paid extra onto a couple of debts, including the mortgage. We have paid extra on the mortgage every month since we got the house.
* We have started printing postage from home. We usually get a small discount by doing so. When our mail guy is finishing on our street, we take the packages to him at his truck. So not only do we save money on postage, but time and gas money by not going to the post office.
* I filled up the gas tank at work instead of elsewhere since it was convenient (and less time driving and wasting gas to get to another gas station) and saved me $.10/gallon.
* Trucker placed a bid on an online auction for a freezer. Hopefully we win (bidding ends Tuesday night). We want to use it to store meat from our rabbits and some garden produce, as well as day-old breads or other bargains.
* I bought two pieces of cast iron at a yard sale for $5...total. I'm keeping the pot with lid and will either sell or give away the small skillet, as I've already got one that size.
* I used the last bit of a bottle of shower gel as bubble bath since I couldn't get more out otherwise.
* Composted all sorts of random things.
* We won at auction a box of kitchenwares. In it was a stack of plastic pudding cups. I used these for my pepper transplants. After I put them in the ground, I'll recycle them.
* I worked overtime for a half hour one day.
* Trucker brought home goodies from his job.
* I brought my lunch to work each day.
* We both continue to work on our online stores. We're doing a lot of excessive research, so it's taking time to get everything listed. However, the way I see it, a lot of people go to college to get ready for their jobs. So this is basically my educational time. I'm researching each item thoroughly so that I'll know better what to purchase in the future, and I will have an easier time listing items later since I'll know exactly what it is and where to look for value, etc.
* I worked a bit on my book.
* We went for a couple 3 mile walks together. We also walked for 4 hours at the community yard sales.
* I went for a run one day.
* I've lost a couple pounds and my arms are a lot more toned.
* Between eating healthier, exercising and keeping a more physical job, I'm noticing real changes. My mood is completely different than this time last year. I'm much happier, more relaxed. My fingernails are growing out for the first time in I don't know when. I feel prettier and more confident. When I ran this week, I tried for the first time to run up the killer hill that I'd never been able to run to the top of last year. I ran to the top.
* I'm nervous to say this, but it was a pretty even-keeled week.
* When I met up with my friend, I brought him a yummy scone from Trucker's job for his breakfast the next day.
* For mother's day, we gave mum some beautiful perennial flowers for her flower garden instead of just giving her a bouquet. This way she can enjoy them for years instead of days. Trucker brought her some of the most expensive coffee they offer at his job. She loves coffee but doesn't buy really nice stuff for herself (although she often gets nice stuff to give to other people).
* I gave my dad some water kefir grains to help his indigestion.
* My dad let us borrow his truck so I could get manure for the garden and my rabbit hutches. It was at half a tank when I got it, but I filled it up for him. I also remade his key. The top part was broken and he hadn't gotten around to replacing it. It was only a couple bucks, but it needed done and saved him an errand.
How was your week?