Monday, June 27, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 6/20 - 6/26

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 fed the bunnies scraps from the farm, mainly beet and carrot tops.
* I planted some summer and acorn squash in empty places or where the pepper/tomato plants died. I had a half a packet of black acorn squash (I split the pack with Daisy) and a pack of crookneck squash.
* I turned the compost and mixed in some spent potting soil and shredded cardboard and paper. I'll admit, I get a little too lazy about my compost bin and it had started to stink. I mixed it thoroughly with browns so hopefully it improves. I'll try to be better about this. I already set aside a trash bin for paper to tear up as I go to mix in.
* I moved the bunnies onto a new garden bed. This bed has had no soil amendments, so the manure will be a welcome addition. It is also in a shadier part of the yard, so this will help the bunnies stay cooler this summer.

* Trucker bought me some manager's special mushrooms. I sauteed them to add to dishes throughout the week.
* We grilled out one evening. We had Trucker's amazing burgers along with grilled carrots (a dish a farmers market customer turned me onto). We had leftovers for a couple more days.
* We generally didn't do much cooking of real meals. We ate a lot of leftovers and simple meals. One evening I made quesadillas and tomato soup (from scratch with some frozen tomato puree from last year's garden/farm seconds).

Food Preservation:
* I put up a lot of greens from the farm: beet greens, Swiss chard, kale and collards. Three grocery bags cooked down to three small bags for the freezer. While greens cook down to nothing, I will be so thrilled to have those little bags of farm greens come December.

* Trucker's work days got switched so we ended up with a day off together! Yay! We decided to take a trip out of town. Trucker had bought a Groupon for a steep discount on a car-safari type activity. It was $18 for two people; usually $25 each. Parking was free. It was about 2 1/2 hours away at the lake. We enjoyed our morning drive, talking and singing together. You could drive through the safari section and feed animals (one cup of feed was provided; we didn't buy any additional). I got slobbered on by a Highland beef and Trucker got nibbled by a moose. As you do. Afterwards there was a pig race (arguably the worst thing I've ever seen) and a small zoo. While I'm generally not keen on zoos, it was a fun thing to do once. We went swimming at the lake for a little bit (at a free state park) and had a lot of fun laughing together. We got lunch at a slightly overpriced restaurant near the park, but we drank water and split a small pizza that was slightly less than the cost of a single entree. Also, we had brought snacks, so we only got the one meal out. We drove to Marblehead Lighthouse. We enjoyed the small museum (free) and took a $3 tour so we could walk up the lighthouse to look out over the lake. Totally worth it. Overall, the trip ended up costing little. Safari: $18. Lunch: $20. Tour: $6. Gas: $20. Total cost: $64.
* We went out for a couple free coffee dates using our travel mugs for the special promotion at Panera.
* This week was Doodle's birthday. I took her out for coffee and a light breakfast. I'd bought a groupon for a higher end breakfast place that she wanted to try, but since she wasn't feeling 100% she didn't want to waste it that day. We enjoyed talking, stopped to visit her dad and went grocery shopping to get her the perfect birthday cake. I adore this girl.
* Trucker started taking a free philosophy class. It is taught by a local professor and meets once a week. He is learning a lot and enjoying meeting new people.
* We went to the Fright Night movie at the theatre downtown. They were playing Vincent Price's Theatre of Blood. It was a double feature, but we were pretty tired by the end of the first movie. We brought our own snacks; tickets were $5 total with our volume discount.

Waste Reduction:
* I used water from rinsing vegetables to water the garden.
* I composted a lot of random cardboard scraps and junk mail (non-glossy).
* I used the last bit of a shower gel container as bubble bath.

* I packed a lunch each day I worked.
* I brought home lots of seconds produce.
* Trucker ate for free at his job one day and brought donuts for everyone the other day.
* We have been wanting to buy a futon for awhile but haven't found one at a good price. Trucker's boss sold him a new-in-the-box one for $40.

* I've been watching what I've been eating. I've been snacking less and working to get more veggies into each meal.

* Some of my coworkers took a field trip day to different markets in the region. One coworker brought back sweet corn to share with us all. I took two ears home for dinner. It was amazing.
* My mom bought some seltzer but didn't like it. Since my coworkers love it, she sent it with me for them.
* I went to my parents house to help my dad work in his garden and clean out his garage. We worked for a few hours and had a great time talking. (This was last week, but I forgot to add it to the post).
* Trucker volunteered at a local festival.

How was your week?

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