Thursday, June 4, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 5/25 - 5/31

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.
This is a Serrano pepper plant that I overwintered.
It put on loads of new growth and now that it has been
transplanted, it is going wild.

* I planted more tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce and radishes. I have in total: 15 tomato plants, 11 pepper plants, a small section of scarlet runner beans, one long row of appaloosa beans, one long row of jacob's cattle beans, a section of Blue Lake Bush Beans, 80~ heads of garlic, lots of carrots, radishes, beets and swiss chard.
This is Hazel-ra, the more calm, docile doe. She's taken a
shining to Trucker. She climbs the front of the cage when
he walks up with fresh greens.
* Another day I planted: two containers by the front driveway. Each had a tomato plant in the middle (one Mortgage Lifter, the other Matt's Wild Cherry), I had some volunteer lettuces from last year, so I kept those in. I planted nasturtiums and filled in the gaps with lettuce. By the tree in the front yard, I planted chives. By the front door, I planted basil: regular, burgundy and cinnamon. I planted two window boxes in mint: one orange mint, the other chocolate. I didn't plant mint in ground to keep it from going wild.
* I harvested several small, overwintered parsnips (nothing to write home about), a small carrot and 4 small, but decently sized radishes. I planted more things in the spaces they vacated.
* Continue to add compost and rabbit poo to the beds.
* To prevent bugs, I need to cover the rabbit poo while it's in the trays. I've been grabbing a handful of wood ash from the firepit each day and sprinkling it over the trays. No more bugs. The wood ash is also good for the garden beds, so it is a perfect thing to add. As we continue to cut grass this season, I'll let it dry a couple days, then rake and pile it near the rabbit hutches to use. In winter, I'll try to have more leaves available to use. If I run out, the plan is to shred newspaper.
This doe, still unnamed, is fiesty. She clawed me up pretty
bad when I tried to handle her. Her quick growth will
hopefully make up for her lack of social graces.
* I brought home my does. I found a local farm (a little over an hour away) that was selling pure-bred New Zealand rabbits. I bought two, each from a different mother to be able to keep as much genetic diversity in play as possible. Both litters were kindled on the same day. I got first choice on the rabbits, and I think I chose well. I chose the largest doe of all of them; she's huge. The other I chose was in the largest half of the does, and she was one of the most docile. I'm going to have to do a major amount of cuddling with the other doe to calm her down a bit so it's easier to work with her. Both of the girls are a lot more uptight than Frank (the buck), which makes sense. I bought the does from a farmer, whereas Frank came from a backyard situation and was probably cuddled by a lot of kids. I'm very excited to get started on this new venture.
* I harvest weeds daily to feed to the rabbits. Frank is now eating a huge amount of dark greens. I'm starting the girls out with a lower level and I'll build them up like I did for Frank. This will save me a lot of money on food while increasing my self-sufficiency.

* We had a couple leftover stuffed peppers from last week, so one day I heated those up, added some salsa and sour cream to moisten them. I made a couple of quesadillas. Satisfactory lunch and super frugal.
* I made pop tarts one morning for breakfast. I made Smores (marshmallow creme, crumbled graham crackers, chocolate chips and sprinkled with smoked sugar for a bit of campfire) and orange curd. The orange curd pop tarts were wonderful, perfect for me, although Trucker thought they needed a little something more. They were very understated, but I liked that. I don't think most people would love it as much as I do, but that's okay. I re-rolled my scraps to make more pop tarts that weren't quite as good, but were still decent.
* I made homemade pizza. We had run out of pepperoni, so I tried using a tiny bit of salvage-grocer beef jerky ($.50/worth). While I wouldn't do this on a regular basis, it wasn't too bad. I also added black olives and pickled jalapenos.

* Went on a couple of cheap coffee dates.
* We went to a free concert at a local theatre. We stopped at their turn-of-the-century style bar for a cocktail. The drinks were a bit pricey (for us), but in all, we spent $18 for a couple drinks and a concert, making it a cheap date.
* I got to spend a whole evening with one of my dearest friends. We visited her father (see below), went out to eat at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican place ($6 for perfect al pastor tacos), walked around a Half Price Books (I didn't buy anything) and then hung out at my place and talked.

* I make sure I go outside every day. Since I'm not working so much anymore, I am really enjoying getting the chance to be outside. I'd forgotten how pretty the sky is!

* I bought new underthings on clearance using a coupon for an additional 30% off.

Waste Reduction:
* Composted weird things.

* I worked over a half hour on the one day I worked this week.
* I packed a lunch of leftovers for the day I worked.
* Trucker brought home a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds for my garden.
* Trucker brought home a bag of goodies from his job.

* I continue to go out exercising at least once a day, sometimes 2-3 times. These are shorter bursts, 15-30 minutes usually, but are adding up to a fair amount of exercise.

* Because of the holiday, I wasn't able to work my Monday shift, so I lost out on some pay.
* Family emergency.

* My neighbor saw me working out in the garden and brought me some perennials he had divided from his garden.
* I mowed the neighbor's lawn. She is ill and currently lives across the neighborhood with family. The grass had grown to be 3 feet tall and it's obvious no one is there. It's had some issues because it looks so painfully vacant, so I decided to take care of the yard so it looked a little less abandoned.
* My friend and I went to visit her father, who is a gardener. He shared some great tips with me. He sent me home with a huge bag of lettuce, kale and spinach and a bag of heirloom lettuce seeds.
How was your week?


  1. Thank you for mowing your neighbors lawn. I was always grateful when someone did that for my mom when the regular paid mower did not come. She is gone now and the house is sold but I'm still thankful for caring neighbors.
    I wish I had something like this in my life - neighbors I could help. I'm not agile enough for yard work these days though. and most of my neighbors, if not all, are younger than I.

    1. I've been wanting to live in the kind of community where neighbors did things for each other. I have been trying to look for little, easy ways to connect to people, even just saying hello when running by. It's nice to see the street coming together.


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