Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 6/1 - 6/7

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.
The front yard containers each have a tomato plant
with nasturtium and lettuces filling in the extra space.
* Fed the bunnies lots of weeds to stretch their pellets and improve our self-reliance. We do give them free access to pellets. One bunny chows down on the pellets, but the other two prefer the greens and will eat pellets when they are hungry, but don't have greens available.
* Harvested garlic scapes. I specifically plant a lot of hardneck garlic because it gives a scape about a month before you harvest the bulbs. This gives an earlier garlicky harvest when last year's supply is running short.
* Harvested 10 cups of greens, mainly kale with some lettuce.
* Weeded a garden bed one evening. Saw the first lightening bug of the year.
* Harvested 2.5 pounds of mulberries from trees in the neighborhood.
Volunteer mustard with a bunch of weeds
* Planted the shade garden to extra tomato, pepper and squash seeds. This area is kinda a lost cause so far as formal gardening goes, but I hate to let it go. I just toss surplus seeds that otherwise would be wasted and hope for the best. Last year that was a lot of tomatoes, peppers and greens. The mustard went to seed and has self sown through part of the bed this year. Yay for free mustard greens!
* Planted half a garden bed to White cucumbers and Homemade Pickle cucumbers.

* I found crackers on sale at the grocery store for $.36 (down from $3.60). I also got those little packages of yogurt smoothies for kids for $.39/4 pack. I wouldn't usually buy those items, but they were clearance-priced at such a good price that it was worthwhile. These will go into my work lunches.
* We found ground beef on manager's special for $3/lb so I bought a pound (if there'd been more at that price, I would have frozen some).
* We had some corn on the cob that I used to make fried corn. Fried it in bacon fat with pickled jalapenos. Served with some chili lime seasoning and creme fraiche. Delicious. It's a favorite side dish here.

* We walked 3 miles (round trip) to get ice cream cones. Cheap, fun date.
* Friday was National Donut Day. We stopped by Krispy Kreme Donuts for a free donut. Freebie date!
* Cheap coffee date with our travel mugs for reduced waste and cost.
* My friend came over for drinks and talking one evening. We had a blast, as we always do. I served mulberries for our snack. Mine were with creme fraiche (homemade). She is vegan, so creme fraiche was out. Fortunately, I had some soy creamer that I'd gotten on clearance, so I used that with her berries.

* We went on a 2 mile walk at one of our favorite parks.
* We walked around the reservoir one afternoon and ate a picnic lunch. We got up close and personal with a Great Heron.

* We signed up for the summer reading program at the library. If we complete 12 hours of reading, we get two entries into a raffle and a coupon sheet. The coupon sheet is for free food items at different restaurants and for free or BOGO entrance into local activities. We always do more than that much reading, so it's definitely worth signing up.
* Trucker was driving my car to work one day and noticed that the gas stations were all raising their prices. Then he drove by one location that hadn't yet, so he filled up at $.20 cheaper, saving $3.

Waste Reduction:
* The night before Trucker closed at work (and would be bringing home more baked goods), we still had some sweets left over: 3 muffins, a cookie and a scone. I crumbled them all up. I'm planning on making bread crumb cookies sometime soon, so this will come in handy.
* I used up the last of two jars of pickles and one of pickled peppers. I dumped dehydrated peppers into two containers, and dehydrated green beans in the other. The veggies rehydrate in the brine, making them taste like pickles, even though they aren't pickled and don't have that perfect crunch.

* I worked 1.5 hours overtime this week.
* I packed my lunch each day at work.
* Trucker brought home a big bag of goodies: bagels, a few cookies and some scones.

* I went for frequent walks and runs.

* I discovered why I always break out really bad every single summer, all season long. The entire yard is poison ivy. I haven't mowed the back yard for a bit and it is carpeted in poison. I actually don't know what to do about it. I don't want to use anything that will kill surrounding plants (thus preventing food production) or kill insects (thus killing my friendly bees and preventing me getting hives next year). I may have to resort to covering up, slathering vasoline over all exposed body parts and pulling it all up by the roots. Maybe if I tackle it several times the next couple of years, it will be better later? Sheesh. Anyone with experience getting rid of major infestations of poison ivy and sumac is more than welcome to share your secrets.

* I gave the neighbor a half pound of mulberries that I foraged.
* I sent my friend home with some seeds that I wasn't going to use. I had way too many, and she is getting her feet wet with food production at her new home. I'm so excited for her to be starting a garden! I also sent her home with some baked goods from Trucker's job, as we always have extras.
* Had a few chances to share gardening resources with people who were interested. I always love helping people get involved in growing their own food!

UPDATE 6/15/15:
* I got a couple of great responses from you wonderful people on how to deal with the poison ivy.
Nancy Tinney said: I moved into a new house with a VERY well-established poison ivy patch. tried commercial and home-made sprays, and the stuff just laughed at me. So i spent many days dressed in long pants and long sleeves and gloves, pulling the stuff out of the ground--some of the roots were 30 feet long! I used those shoes and clothes for that purpose only, and washed the clothes in hot water after every session, after showering of course. After the first summer, i just had to go on "poison ivy patrol" every couple of weeks to pull up the new shoots. If you leave even one hair-fine root in the ground, a new shoot can grow from it. Even after it's gone, if a bird's been eating the berries and happens to poop while flying over your yard, guess what will grow there? It takes constant vigilance, but after you get rid of most of it, the vigilance isn't a heavy burden.
* M Mccarthy shared: Perhaps you could layer newspapers ( many layers and keep them damp) over the whole area and kill off everything, then replant grass seed or whatever next spring.

Thank you both so much! I'm going to try to tackle it in the coming weeks.

How was your week?


  1. I'm looking forward to these posts :) My life is on the upswing for now as I have gotten to where I have been eating so much healthier and now I crave it. I've also been given some new assignments at work which get me out of the office, interacting with others I don't know well and walking a lot.

    Isn't it funny now $3 lb for ground beef is a bargain? I've started buy ground chuck again to avoid the extra fat runoff.

    How much bacon fat do you use for the fried corn?

    Our library also has a summer reading program for adults and PRIZES :) It's provided a catalyst for me to start reading for pleasure again. Although....I chose Gone Girl and am about 1/3 way in it. It's riveting but not really my forte.

    My gardening is limited to 3 potted herbs for now - basil, tarragon and sage. I'm hoping to add a tomato plant this week - I have a large container and tomato cage ready.

    1. It's amazing how much your body adjusts once you start eating better. I used to eat a LOT of candy. Now I don't even put any sugar on my apples when I make apple chips as it's super sweet just as is!

      I usually just use enough bacon fat to cover the bottom of the pan when it melts. I'm a pinch-of-this-dash-of-that type of cook.

      Ooh nice! Garden fresh tomatoes will go perfect with that basil! :)

  2. Great week! I know what you mean about buying things like the crackers you would not normally buy when they are super cheap. My hubby and I went to the next big town last week and happened into the grocery store just as they put a whole bunch of clearance items ( everything from produce to soap, tea , vitamins, refrigerator stuff) 80 % off the reduced price. We bought things like a fave body wash we never buy because of cost for $1.80 ( we took all of them and now have a years worth of body wash), organic tea for $1.12 a box etc. It is such a great feeling for frugal folks like us to get such deals. I have had success of late selling things ( mostly ceramics) online lately. I love this little side business :)

    1. Wow, Vicki! You had an awesome week!

      Love those manager's special clearance racks. Very smart to stock up on the body wash. It's so expensive for decent stuff.

      Congrats on the business! Those side businesses are wonderful. Provide some extra income, a little more stability. Trucker gave me a book when we first got together called Multiple Streams of Income. It talked about having lots of little income streams (the book focused on passive income mainly). That concept stuck with us. While most of our income streams currently are active, we always have multiple sources. That helped a lot during the recession when it took me 3.5 months to land a job.

  3. Perhaps you could layer newspapers ( many layers and keep them damp) over the whole area and kill off everything, then replant grass seed or whatever next spring. But... Maybe the area is too big to do that. Good luck!
    Keep writing. I enjoy your blog.

    1. Thank you, M! I'm so glad you do!

      Thanks for the tip. It might work for the area back by the bunnies. That's a smaller section of the yard, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to do that much. It is one of the most frequented parts of the yard, so it would be good to definitely get rid of the poison there.


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