Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's been a while

And there's been so much that's happened. Hubby got sick with pneumonia and lung abscesses at Halloween, and was in hospital for a day to get a ton of antibiotics poured into him via IV. Then he was off work for two months for sick leave to recover. The stress sent my blood pressure through the roof and I spent a bit of time in hospital, too. Then he got fired the other day for something that he didn't do, which supposedly happened around two weeks before he went on sick leave. It's on appeal.

So now we're way behind on bills, having to sell and/or pawn things to get by, and hoping he get his job back or a different one FAST so we don't lose everything. The cabin's so cold with this arctic blast going through that it's barely 50 in here in the main area, and the bedroom is a little worse - no thermometer back there so I don't know and don't care, because it's cold. At least the next week or so, things will warm up a bit so the house will stay a little warmer.

Honestly, I'm scared, I'm cold, I'm beyond everything. Seems like I've hit rock-bottom just when things should have been starting to even out and look up. I can't deal any more. So what do I do?

Work on the Bonanza shop, and join a free-to-join candle/essential oil direct sales company to see if that will do me any good. You never know, since one of the lines is called "Cash Candles," and has anywhere from $1 to $100 under the lid. Goodness knows, it can't hurt and has no monthly quotas or anything. I can only hope and pray and work like crazy on everything, because I'm terrified of losing it all and ending up back in the hell that is a motel room or starter apartment, and hoping we can find one that will let us have our cats, because there is no way we are getting rid of the furkids.

With that said, do shop the Bonanza shop, though all I have there right now is Mom's stuff and jewelry, or the SoyLScents shop. Hugs and love, all - I have to finish the dishes and do some crying and some work on things. Gonna be a rough night again and back to the Just Over Broke tomorrow.

Shop with me on Bonanza!

OR

Shop with me on SoyLScents

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Easy Sunday morning

Not a lot of chores to do on the homestead today, thank goodness. I'd like to work on the shops and relax for a bit before I have to go back to work tomorrow at the Just Over Broke! What do I have to do?

Trash needs to be pulled together and gotten out so it can be burnt.
Cat box needs cleaning.
Sweep the floor.
Laundry sorted out and put up.
Dishes done.
Have to pull out something for dinner later.
and I have to fix the left cuff on my sweater because the seam end is coming apart.

All in all, a relaxing day mostly. Thank goodness.

His big chore this week is finally getting the plastic up on the inside of the roof to prevent any drips from where a few screws went through the plywood when they put the roof on. No biggie, but something for him to do while I am at work and out from underfoot and he is still on sick leave.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thrilled, scared, tired, cold, BLEAH

I should be thrilled. To some extent, I am. To another, I'm scared spitless. And I'm tired, cold, and so miserable over finances right now that it's not funny.

Starting to get the notices from Blue Cross about what they covered and how much we have to pay, though none of the actual bills have started rolling in yet. So far, ER doctor almost $560, we are stuck for $225, and the chest x-ray and cat scan, almost $400 and we are stuck for a bit over $150. I'm almost afraid to see what the ER itself and the overnight stay are going to cost.

As for the thrilled/not thrilled ... well ... one of the younger guys at work over in FP is leaving soon and his manifester job is going up for bid. (Further Processing is where my plant makes cooked products for the clients per their instructions, then packs them up and ships them to the clients.) Anyhow, he is a friend at work, kind of an adopted son, even calls me Mom all the time, which is funny as heck, because we have similar type of humor, so we get each other laughing frequently.

Anyhow 2 - he apparently talked me up to his supervisors about the situation with Quentin being off work and how I could use more money and he thought I would be interested, which I kind of am. It's only 15 cents more an hour than I'm getting now, but considering I have no CLUE when they will finally get around to reversing the attendance points and making them FMLA non-points, and putting me back to the line, So essentially, I'd be giving up a chance to go back to the line for six months if I got it, and nobody else really seems to want it anyhow.

I'm seriously thinking about it. More hours, but also a lot of weekends. The upsides are that I wouldn't have to worry about doing wing off any more, which was really killing my hands (thank goodness the rotation is only an hour for the line for each job), they'd give me a freezer suit because I'd be having to go into the freezer every so often and it's DARN COLD IN THERE, and I'd be certain to at LEAST get my 40 hours every week no matter what, unlike where they pulled me to when I had to take time off and points for taking care of him. (It's a silly way to do things, but hey, whatever ...) Also, I wouldn't be hunched over a conveyor belt all day again any longer. That really sucks on my back.

It's kind of odd, because I had to work yesterday, and the one supervisor my friend had talked to, and had me talk to a bit, actually came over to where I was working yesterday, specifically looking for me, and asked if I still could use some overtime. I was thinking, ok, yeah, he's probably going to offer to let me come work in FP any weekend they're running that my current spot isn't ... but he didn't. He just said, ok, then, that manifester job is getting posted this week and I'll be looking for your name. I think if I put in for it, I would have it sewed up in a heartbeat.

It's just ... I've ALWAYS worked in debone while in poultry proessing. I've volunteered or been sent to help in other departments, but I've never worked steady, day after day, in any department other than debone, and it's a bit freaky to think about leaving it. It's a little daunting, because pretty much everybody I know is over on THAT side of the building, and the thought of leaving for the other side is a bit scary. Change and I don't generally get along well. So I'm thrilled to be considered for it, and scared that I would really screw it up royally.

Tired and cold because it's blah weather and there's so much to do and so little time to do it in and the cabin's not insulated all the way so it's staying warm but it's still chilly in here ... and I'm not looking forward to another frozen winter. NOW he wishes he'd listened to me all summer when he kept telling me not to nag him about working on the cabin before cold weather hit, especially because he's recuperating from that blasted pneumonia!

In keeping with homesteading and not just blecky Just Over Broke talk, I had a chance to get myself some free chickens the other day. A local poultry farm which had 50,000!!! Red Sex Link laying hens in nine barns got bought out and the new people didn't want the Red Sex Links. They wanted these folks to run a totally different hen, and said to get rid of them however they could. The farmer put up a Facebook post on a local group offering them all up for free, and folks were going nuts for them.

A work friend who I call my "little brother" is another off-grid homesteader, carving his little place out of the woods. I had the cage to bring hens home in (a large wire dog crate which we use to take the cats in groups to the vet as needed instead of a bunch of small carriers), he had the truck and gas to get there, and we worked out a deal where he would keep the hens for now until I got a pen and shelter for my 5 or 6 set up, and I would help pay for the feed. He was going to go to his Mom's and get the t-posts and fencing she had sitting in the garage ... only problem was, unbeknownst to him, she'd gotten rid of the stuff, so no pen or shelter for the hens now, and neither of us was fond of the idea of letting them free range in the woods. So we had to pass on free hens, which is a pity, but I'm sure there will be others out there free or cheap down the road, when I can better house and care for them.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I am beat

The last couple of weeks have been sheer h-e-double-hockeysticks.

The guy we're buying the land from had the neighboring, unsold, lots brush-hogged, and the tractor guy offered to do ours as well while he was at it. That was fine with me, though the field looks weird now with all the tall stuff gone.

The webstore is going well, with almost 50 products in it and the migration from Etsy and Bonanza is doing fine, just slow going. It looks nice, though, and if I want a different template than the standard default white background and all, there are a number of free ones. It also has a built-in affiliate program so I can hopefully get some people to sign up as affiliates and promote the site and products. I'm more than happy to give folks a 10% commission if they'll help me sell stuff and save ME some promoting work.

What has me pretty well exhausted, though, is HIM. He's been out of work the last two weeks for sick leave. At first, it presented as gastroenteritis. In simple terms, severe stomach/intestinal flu. On his return to the clinic for follow-up and getting FMLA paperwork filled out, he was still fevered (101!), not moving well, not keeping much of anything down, dehydrated, and worst, every time he stood up or sat up, his blood pressure would plummet. Kid y'all not, when they triaged him at the clinic that morning, he stood up for his weigh-in, then sat down for the BP/pulse/temp time, and his BP was a mere 88/76. Definitely not good.

So the PA there did some more checking and said, "Dude, there's something going on and it's NOT gastro. It's pretty serious. I'd say your septic with something. I hate to say this, but I'm going to shoot you across the street to the ER (the clinic is an urgent care clinic offshoot of the local hospital) and have them do some more comprehensive tests that we can't do here."

So I drove him over to the ER, got him in there, and they were so worried about his BP, they wouldn't let him go up to radiology for a standing chest x-ray. They brought in the portable unit instead. He was so dehydrated that they couldn't get much blood out of him through natural flow into the tubes. They had to rehydrate him with a full IV bag before they could draw enough the old fashioned way to get all his blood work done. After that, the orderly came in and started unlocking the gurney wheels. Tells us that he has to have a CAT scan.

After results from that came back, the ER doctor tells us that HE is being admitted at least overnight, because he has pneumonia! Instead of filling his lungs with fluid, it became encapsulated abscesses, so he had to have more fluids and loads of antibiotics. He was released the next day, but is on huge doses of antibiotics for six weeks and has his first after-hospital follow-up with the doctor tomorrow morning. Short sleep for us both. If six weeks of antibiotics don't cure this, he has to have surgery to remove all the abscesses. (A big one and lots of little ones on each lung.)

So I have to work the plant, which because I had to take time off to care for him, has bumped me to a lower-paying, less hours job, and look for a part-time weekend job, AND work on the shop, AND take care of the house, AND everything else. So I'm beat to heck. Need more sleep but gotta get shop work done so I can hopefully generate some income that way. UGH. I wish some of this would END.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Back to McQuack's!

He's doing more on the house - or supposed to be. We shall see. This is a short post, because I have a few week or so old photos to share and then I need to get some writing work done. Oddly, none of my suppliers sites will work on McDonald's wifi, but amazon will, along with ebay and others. Go figure. Not a lot of work will get done on the stores while here because of that, but I can still do some writing/editing and stay out of his hair.

Found a couple volunteer pumpkins out in the longish yard "grass"/weeds the other day due to a peek out the window. Two biggish orange blobs. Went out today before leaving the house and found I have five plus a ton of wild elderberries. Can't do anything with those this year due to lack of equipment, but got two of the pumpkins. Still a tiny bit green but they will make dandy porch decorations. The other three had been trampled by the neighbor's cows from a few lots over on the nearby county road. He doesn't do something about his fence soon, those cows will be going in various freezers instead of back to his pasture. He has been warned by me and the local cops about fixing his fence and keeping it that way, to no avail. Guess it's time for the rifle to be put to use. They are even trampling what little garden I have, so I'm kind of mad. All those tomatoes are stomped to nothing. Grrr.

I do have a few small garden shots, though.


A tiny zucchini on one of the plants.


Another tiny one on a different plant.


Some of the tomatoes that the cows haven't trampled YET.


One of my red bell peppers that hasn't ripened yet completely.

There's three total on that plant alone. They are weighing it down a LOT.


And some more of the late tomatoes that are really just starting to pick up. From the way they are growing, I think these are large cherry.

That's about it for now. Off to get some writing done!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Today's update on insulation

So what was my Sunday like? Ain't done yet, because I still have to get my shower in, do the dishes (they are soaking to make washing easier), make/eat dinner, and get laundry sorted out so we can get it put up.

But ... as a recap.

Got up, pulled together and ran into town to pick up Keaton, a buddy of the hubby's for the extra muscle needed to move heavy things today, while hubby started moving things out of the house and unloading the fridge, as that was the section he was insulating and paneling today. Got back with Keaton, finished up the little bit in the corner that wasn't out yet and swept the floor before heading out to McDonald's for a few hours so they could do everything that was getting done. While I was there, I got a bit done on the Scott's Marketplace and Bonanza shops, and quite a bit of editing done on my next little ebooks.

Came back, hubby had taken Keaton home, and started on cleanup while I headed back. I'd been watching a longish youtube video when he said he was back from dropping off Keaton and it was clear to come home. Knowing the boys, there would have been a lot of racket and cussing, and I got more done at McDonald's than I would have at home, plus was able to stay out of the way. The cats hid in the bedroom the whole time.

Everything got put back where it belongs, trash out and burnt, doody bucket dumped for burning, floor swept, dishes put to soak, shower water is heating up... so a longish day is about over.

Now there are long-term temporary curtains on the front - door and windows. There is insulation and paneling above all the window voids, and a good chunk of the side wall behind the microwave and fridge and down to where the heater is going to end up is all done, with plenty of insulation left over for further work in a week or so. Microwave, well ... it's temporary.

It's only a couple of years old, but most of the numbers buttons (5-9) no longer work for whatever reason, so using it is a bit difficult. Add in that it draws a LOT of juice when it's running, and even HE is beginning to think that a microwave is a pain in the butt. Future kitchen purchases include a solar oven for better weather, and for cold or crappy weather, one of those collapsible camp ovens you put over the burner on a camp stove. As that's how I cook anyhow ... no biggie. Get rid of the microwave and I can move the camp stove over there, next to the fridge.

Because in a couple of weekends, I will hopefully be getting a real sink in here! Still won't have running water, but there will be a double sink. We have one potentially available used for free, just have to fetch it. It will go in the door-countertop (solid-core door, and eventually, the faucet will come up through what WAS the knob hole), with no p-trap. As it is going to be straight greywater, it will go through a bit of pipe from the sink drains into a Y, which will feed to a piece of straight pipe right to the ground. No muss, no fuss for draining dishwater, or the shower water (until a proper shower stall is in). Until the microwave is outta here (working on convincing him NOT to replace it), I can put a piece of plywood on top of the sink to support the camp stove for cooking.

So you wanna see the pictures? Ok!


First picture - side wall behind fridge and down to almost the middle window on that side, which covers the area where the propane heater will go as well. Nothing except perishables had been put back at this point, which is why the condiments shelf is so empty. Why he didn't think the Parmesan cheese needed to go back in the fridge is beyond me.


Second photo is the bedroom wall he built the last couple of weekends. I didn't want brown for the curtain door (cabin is tiny house, so no real room for a swinging door, but curtain door works fine). but it works ok.



Last picture is the front wall. Not completely done yet, but looks a lot better with curtains up to block light and keep in a bit of heat. Only bad part for me is - MORE CAMO. I'm beginning to think I live in a hunting cabin. That is going to CHANGE.

Anyhow, I'm outta here for now to work on shops and other things that aren't done yet.

Update that i forgot to post!

Wrote this last night and forgot to post the darn thing, left it as a draft. Silly me! Back at McDonald's today so hubby and a buddy of his can get the insulation and paneling part done that I mention. More writing work and work on the Scott's Marketplace and Bonanza shops to get things added for sale, since McDonald's wifi doesn't let me go to "shopping sites." But they will allow me to go to places like Amazon and my shops on Etsy, etc...aren't those "shopping sites?"

Anyhow, what I was going to post from the laundromat last night and forgot to do more than save as draft.

Busy day here, after all the long hours at work. Slept in a little bit, fed the cats, came to town with hubby. Hit up his favorite pawn/rent to own shop as they were having hot dogs and chips for an anniversary party and so he could do some window shopping while I sat outside and relaxed and talked with the one guy we use for a salesguy when we get stuff - he is usually willing to work a pretty good deal for us.

Groceries, and ran into a work friend and his wife there and talked for a bit to catch up on general news (she doesn't work at the plant). Home Depot next for a package of batt insulation for the cabin that will fit the voids between the studs (he thought of getting more 15" wide rolls, and I said no, for $70 they have packages of 23" batts that will fit perfectly in the voids - 10 per pack 93" long ought to insulate a LOT of wall in a tiny cabin like ours), and a few more pieces of paneling to cover up what will go up tomorrow.

Some of it likely won't get covered right away, but that's what masking tape or gorilla tape is for if the cats get funky about trying to climb it before it gets paneled over. What's done so far looks great, along with the little wall he built for a real bedroom wall. All voids above windows are done, but a ways to go yet before real deep cold hits. By end of the month, the soffit vents and roof turbine will be covered for the winter to help keep heat in and moisture out - any stiff breeze and the vents spray in, lol. As one is right over the head of the bed, it gets a bit annoying when it's really raining and blowing hard. I need to get a photo of the wall with the curtain door so I can show that off.

Then it was split up - it was getting a bit late and he wanted to get gas and house water filled, home and unloaded before dark, so I said go ahead and head home, while I go do laundry alone. Oh, I also did a bit in the garden before we headed out. Got a couple more tomatoes and a small purple bell pepper, and found a couple of small acorn squashes starting to do well plus a couple zucchini that are good sized already. One is around 8 inches long; the other is about half that. Both look great. Can't wait to peel and slice them into something like a hash or stew.

Thankfully, tonight is the only other cold night we are expecting here for a few weeks, giving more time to get insulating and such done before deeper cold sets in. Must admit, even with the chill last night, it was nice under all the covers once I got warmed up a bit. I woke up to three cats deciding under blankets with Momma was just terrific (their higher body temp means even in 90 degree summer weather, they want to sleep with/on me!), and several more were curled up on me and around my feet. I was TOASTY!

I've got a bit of time to work on the shops before the dryer is finished and I have to head home, so I'm off to do some fun work!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Not feeling well, updated shop logo

I didn't feel too well all weekend. He built a bedroom wall over the last couple weekends, so now the bedroom is actually physically separated from the rest of the cabin. This is nice. I should have known I would end up calling in today when I stayed home yesterday while he finished up above the door and all, and with all the banging and whatnot, I slept through it. I slept through it for nearly four hours.

Today, I got up and got ready for work, not feeling great but feeling like I could just manage the day, and got to the plant and ate lunch, etc., only to start feeling awful again. Before the cutoff time, I grabbed my things, told hubby I was going home and why, and left. Called in from the parking lot as a personal day, and headed home. Got to the cabin in one piece and went in. Didn't bother opening a single window or anything, just kicked off work boots, emptied pockets and stretched out. I figured I would try to rest, but didn't expect to take a nearly four-hour nap. Guess I was feeling worse than I thought.

I didn't feel like trying to mess with starting the gennie at that point, so while I still had a tiny bit of fading daylight, as sun had set but full dark had not arrived just yet, I took the opportunity to pack up the laptop and head to McDonald's for wifi to work on the shops and for a quick burger fix. I'm feeling quite a bit better and have gotten some shop work done, including a new logo for Halloween for the Etsy shop. Is this neat or what? I downloaded a free spooky font called Gypsy Curse and got a free background/border from I forget where offhand. I think it's kind of neat. I wanted a blood-dripping font, and got that, and wanted something kind of spooky but not overwhemlingly so for a border. Poof. Ten minutes work and I have a new shop logo for October. Sadly, Etsy cuts off the sides, but the top and bottom are there and the words, which is enough, as folks at least see the bats and graveyard.


I finished up a small ebook of just under 30 pages and will upload that to Kindle later tonight. It's on cheap Chinese/Oriental cooking. The next one is cheap and dirty crockpot recipes that I used frequently when I was on-grid. My crockpot hasn't been used in six months, and it likely will be a couple of years until it is used again, when the solar/wind system is finally installed. I miss my crockpot meals that fed so well for so many leftovers. I would use the bowls that went from freezer to microwave for leftovers (one regular bowl full was enough for us both for later), and when the freezer was full, I would pull out one a night till the freezer was empty. I'd stick them in the fridge while at work to let them thaw out and nuke them or dump them in a pot with a bit of water for a few minutes when we got home. Made for cheap grocery bills long before I could get in any size of garden.

Speaking of which, I got a good bunch from the garden the other day, and the seeds are being saved. Have at least one acorn and one zucchini going out there, along with tons of tomatoes in bloom, so whatever gets going before first frost will be it. Never did manage to scrape up time for a fall garden. I need to get a small portable greenhouse early next year so I can get going sooner, and over winter I am planning on building several raised beds plus ordering a lot of seeds so I have plenty for a few years of heirlooms and open-pollinated varieties of everything I will eat. There isn't much I can't stand, and even those things, I could figure out how to stomach in a pinch, because when you are that hungry, hating brussel sprouts does not matter. If I could cut the grocery bill to less than $30 a week, I could possibly quit the day job even without the shops doing great at that point. We shall see.

More small ebooks are in the works, and a LOT of them. I have so many ideas that it is going to take years to do them all, but between my Amazon royalties and the Etsy and Bonanza shops and any local craft fairs I can get to, I am hoping that I can eventually quit my day job and do what I love most. My goals daily are to get at least three items in the shops each and to complete at least one page in a book. Not huge goals, but attainable ones, even on rough days. So, for now, it's back to work promoting and working on things and doing some other things that I can do while I can do them before I have to go pick him up from work. Hugs and love, all!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fall gardening

I still haven't managed to have time, with everything going on, to get anything started for a fall garden in the way of onions, carrots and the like. I'd like to, but I'm beginning to think it just ain't gonna happen this year. On the other hand, what I do have is going gung-ho. Yes, I know from the photos that I REALLY need to make time to do some weeding. Just there's so much needs doing that I never seem to have the time I want to do everything. Kind of sad in that respect. I have a to-do list a mile long and I seem to manage to ever-so-slowly get anything checked off on it!

Anyhow ...

I put in a bid a few weeks ago at work for a better-paying job on the line cutting up the chicken, and found out Wednesday night that I got it. Thursday, I went and signed my bid acceptance papers. Friday, breast line threw a small going-away party for me. I got a big jar candle in "harvest splendor," which is kind of a pumpkin spice scent as a gift from all the gals. The lead brought in pizza, and others threw in cookies and soda. It was a surprise because I knew they were planning something, just not what. Now that I'm going to be on the line, though, I splurged this weekend and got me some new rubber boots at Wal-Mart for $14. Perfect for work, especially once I put my fuzzy liners in them to keep my feet warm. The boots keep me dry and have great tread so I don't have slip and fall accidents, and the liners keep my toes toasty! I start tomorrow (for me), on Monday the 19th.

I did manage to get out today to the garden for a few photos, though. It's been raining a lot lately, so before-work garden time has been severely limited (yet another reason I hadn't put anything to sprout for a fall garden ... there's just so much rain that I can't get out there during daylight because of the downpours!). But all that rain has been stupendous for the garden.


Remember those 17 mixed squashes that got pretty waterlogged with the last round of major storms? Five survived transplant and are going strong. The one in the front left is really going crazy. I like how they are growing, and hopefully will spread all over that little patch.


Far right side of the original patch. The older tomatoes in front got so big and heavy with green fruits that they literally broke the heavy jute twine I had strung up for fencing. So now they are laying on the ground, ooops. The ones in back from the late spring/early summer seedlings that I got started from seed are doing great. The rain has really helped them take off.


This is the middle part. Just to the right of the bottom left corner, you can see my first bell pepper getting red and fully ripe. More of the tomatoes from seed behind, doing great!


The very left side of the little bed. You can see some of the blooms in the previous photo, but more now. Mostly all male blooms that I can see. There's a mini watermelon in there somewhere on the very left and the blooms are all off that yellow crookneck that I let rot there and it exploded. These are looking really nice! Both of my bell pepper plants are loaded with blossoms. I do wish they'd get busy making peppers for me, though! I have a red and a purple bell.


One of the yellow crooknecks got a funky bloom! You can't really see it in the photo, but the stem is two that split apart a bit back but not completely, so there's this weird double bloom thing going on!


My sole current bell pepper, ripening to a yummy-looking red. It's been sitting there for WEEKS, all green, while I've been waiting semi-patiently for it to ripen up!


The older tomatoes from early in the year are still blooming strong and setting me lots of tomatoes! I got a bunch of both Rutgers and Cherokee Purple the other day off the plants.


The ones I started from seed are starting to bloom, too!! LOTS of blossoms! I can hardly wait to see what all I get out of all these plants!

I know, the garden isn't much, but considering what I was only able to do at the trailer on the mountain (half a dozen tomato plants, if that), this is a HUGE jump in gardening for me now that I am on the homestead I am buying. SO much to do yet and so far to go, but there is progress being made, so I am happy.

Now, since it's late and dark and all, I need to make some dinner (working second shift can really bite when you want to get a chunk of time to work on the homestead!), and on the Etsy shop and Bonanza booth some more tonight. Hugs and love, all. I'll see you again later!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Holiday doin's!

Woke up from a nap (it's hot, not much else to do unless I hie meself off to McDonald's for iced tea and A/C!) ... and heard my phone make the most BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL sound! CHA-CHING! That little Etsy cash register rang again! I'm starting to make some progress! Brings me up to 32 sales in just about 8 months, or average of one sale a week. Just gotta keep plugging away at it so I can keep bringing that number UP!

I have to haul out the printer tonight when it gets cooler and print off everything (packing slips and mailing labels), and the stuff for the one from last week came in Saturday, so that's going in the mail tomorrow. Have to order stuff for these two and get them in, but might as well print everything while I have the printer out later and tuck it away so I can get those orders shipped ASAP once they come in.

Chores today are going to have to wait until it cools down a bit. 90-something and feels like 98 with the humidity, despite a nice breeze. HE is taking a nap because he's "tired." From what? Oh, wow, he cut some of the roll insulation and tacked it into the small header holes over the rest of the windows today. Took him less than an hour, he quit on that, and said he was "tired." I'm going to FREEZE this winter unless we get back to full hours so I can work on the cabin!

Not like there's that much to do - a few dishes to finish up, and that's about it. Might reorganize the kitchen food stuffs a bit when it cools down, too. Just so darned HOT. I need to get some more jewelry ready to ship for when it sells and get more stuff done on the shop, but it's just so freaking HOT! I'm so grateful for all the windows in the cabin to let in the breezes I am getting, and for it being a one-room shotgun cabin.

Off to do some more shop stuff. Go, me!

Oh, yeah, and I got five whole green beans out of the garden today, but silly me left them on the counter. Need to plant more for fall. What happens? Nothing much, except I ended up with beans in the bed since the cats thought they were PERFECT toys! Washed them and snapped them and put them in the smallest pack of beans in the freezer. Corn's done, got a few cobs there that I shelled. More tomatoes on the older plants are getting ripe and they are blooming again now that nights are cooler. Most of the late squash that got drowned on the porch died, but several are still going. The volunteer yellow crookneck are going nuts, along with the one volunteer mini-watermelon. The two squash I put out with the rest of the tomatoes right before it poured for a week straight are going nuts, and those tomatoes are going strong to eventually give me some fall tomatoes.

I do feel badly for my buddy I gave some of the seedlings to. He put cages around the tomatoes and everything, and something got up on his deck and ate every last one of them to the ground! Darn the bad luck!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Labor Day weekend starts!

Couldn't sleep. Got up an hour early. Pulled out jewelry stuff and total hour's production was one stretchy bracelet (because the cord just would NOT cooperate in tying off) and four pairs of earrings.

The event I invited all you ladies to last night/this morning, I may or may not end up as a vendor. Apparently, while not in the "rules," the hostess only wants DS reps. Every other event of this type I've attended or even been interested in allowed eBay, Bonanza, Artfire, Etsy, your own website, Amazon authors, etc. As long as you were self-employed in that respect, you were allowed to join the event.

That the "rules" do not specify, I can guarantee, if my Etsy shop isn't added after following her "rules," she's getting reported to her DS company (Perfectly Posh). One thing I've learned in years of craft shows and online vendor events is, you follow your rules. If the rules don't specify only certain types of vendors, you don't refuse those who are willing to follow rules to get in/get a table/vend.

However, there is a lady who does a LOT of events through her business, Rising Star Events (Valerie Roe, for those interested in promoting their businesses through online vendor events), and I will be joining as many of those as i can. She charges for "tickets" for a spot, like a table fee at a craft show or other vendor event such as a trade show, and as I can afford tickets, I will be attending and inviting all you galpals! But if you are self-employed as a DS rep, Etsy or other online marketplace, your own website, or even an author on Amazon, get with her and her events and make some $$$!!!

Supposed to get some rain today in about an hour and it looks like it could pour. The temperature is lovely, the skies are a lovely rainy cloudy grey, and there's a nice breeze. Got out in the garden yesterday and did some weeding and pulling some dead stuff, picked a few ears of corn for seed, actually got a tomato before the deer did, and saw that most of my little squashes and tomatoes from a couple weeks ago are doing great! The tomatoes especially have gone crazy in growth. The old tomatoes are blooming again! The squash seedlings that got stuck on the porch for a while from rain are not doing so good but a few look like they will survive. The volunteers from the yellow crookneck and the mini watermelon are going gonzo as well.

Anyhow, time to catch up a little on here and work on the Etsy shop so I can get some other things done and be ready for one more day at the plant this week. We have tomorrow and Monday off for the holiday for a four-day weekend, with Monday paid of course. I am so juiced for this weekend. Hoping to get lots of jewelry finished and ready to ship on order, lots of work done on the shop, some more ground broke for fall garden and seeds soaking, and visit my buddy Kathy Harris to drool over her new car (I'm SO JELLY!!!!! Keyless entry, push button entry/start engine/stop engine).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Today's doings

Still having the sale in the Etsy shop (link to right) to raise funds for various things. Battery is finally covered, thankfully, but so much else has to be done that I am promoting like crazy to try to get some sales and see what happens.

I got him out of here for a few peaceful hours today. A guy from work stopped by to offer him a day job for a few hours helping to move some cattle panels. He made enough to get my battery. So we go to Wally World to get it. What does he do? Oh, gosh, we better not get it because I'm not sure the posts are on the right sides of the thing. i think the positive and negative posts are reversed from the one in the car on this new one! So I am still without a new battery until tomorrow! The one in the car is so dead it won't even light anything up. Of COURSE he has to try to start it anyhow and it's so dead all you hear is the solenoid clicking. ARGH!

But on the bright side, I got the spray foam done around all the windows (which he's been "promising" to do and "getting ready" to do for four months). It's still got to be trimmed back for neatness but the windows are done.

Did some gardening.

Swept the floor.

Did the dishes.

FINALLY had some peace and quiet to get LAST week's laundry put up.

Did some stitching on a baby quilt. I've discovered that while I still love counted cross-stitch, it's really hard on my hands and eyes, so the kits I have will be going up for sale on Etsy and I'll stick with stamped kits, knitting, crochet and needlepoint. Still leaves me LOADS of things I can stitch without hurting myself. I'll never run out of patterns unless I live forever (which I plan on doing, but you never know ...)

Filled the gennie with gas (which, as a mere woman, I'm not supposed to be able to do, apparently).

Edited a few pages in the Cheap Chinese Cooking ebook.

Texted Mom for a while and had a nice convo. We don't talk much on the phone anymore, which is a pity, but her hearing at 68 is really starting to go so texting is a bit easier.

Saw a butterfly (black with blue markings) on the porch. Got a couple pictures and watched amusedly as the cats were fascinated by it.

And went to pull the roll of insulation out of the shed to work on THAT for a while and gee, it's now in the burn barrel, because imbecile boy forgot to put a cover on it when he put it in the trash can in the shed, and the rain got in and SOAKED it. A near-new roll of insulation now ruined because he does not use his brains for much more than keeping his skull bones apart.

On a brighter note, I was able yesterday at work to finally!!! bid on a better-paying job on the line, and with my seniority and lack of absences for 6 1/2 months, I may just get it! Only downside would be working on the line across from his, but that's okay - he's ignorable.

One of these days, I want to get me a decent, cheap sewing machine and a treadle base, convert the machine, and have me a sewing station here. First things first - get that better-paying job and get him and all his crap out of here! Eventually, without all the extra stuff of his (stereo, TWO tvs, DVD player, VCR player, microwave) and by swapping the fridge for a propane RV fridge, and getting a propane pig in, I can have small fridge, stove/oven, hot water when I have running water, and heat without having to have a wood stove (I'm a bit old to be cutting/splitting/stacking wood and stoking a stove). A 500-gallon pig in the yard would be enough propane for a year with as little as I would be generally using. Then I could get rid of half of these stupid lights, which don't get all turned on anyhow, have room for sewing and crafting and a bookshelf, and get by with a 1000-watt solar/wind system instead of a 3000-watt or better so he can power all his stuff that he rarely, if ever, uses. (The TVs have not been on in months, the microwave is used maybe twice a month and you have to unplug the fridge to use it, and the stereo has not been used in over a year ... I say get RID of them, but he "might need" them. HA!)

I'm off to work on the store and on promoting it so I can get some more things done. Possibly a movie and more stitching time tonight. Found out Wally World has white fleece in a plain style (no fancy bubbles or designs or anything) fairly cheap, so when things are stitched for babies, I can back them with that and cover up the knots and stitching on the back of things. A bit of tacking with white sewing thread here and there and it should be fine.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden update

Just a quick update on the garden. The tomatoes from early in the year are starting to go ... lots of green tomatoes yet, but no new blooms, so they are likely gone for the year once this round of fruit ripens. Beans are about done and will likely be replaced with peas. The corn .. .I have a whole seven ears and I'm pretty sure they're not going to be full, but I know I will be saving whatever there is for seed. If things can survive my benign neglect this year, it's got to be pretty hardy and worth saving seed from.

The mini-watermelon has completely exploded. We'll see if I get anything from that. The one yellow crookneck that exploded and left me a small patch of squash looks like a few of those will survive to make more squishes. The two whichevers I planted on either end of the fall tomatoes are putting out new leaves, as are all those tomatoes. Hoping to get a bunch of yummies from those. The pepper plants are a bit stunted, but blooming like crazy, and I have one smallish pepper for sure that I'm going to let ripen to color and dry it, while saving those seeds.

The squash I put out yesterday, I'll likely lose three of those 17, just because they got so waterlogged before I could get them out. That still leaves me 14 of those, plus however many survive from that one yellow crookneck, plus the other two by the fall tomatoes. I don't think I will have a problem with squash this year.

Looking forward to it drying out just enough that I don't sink into the ground so I can break more ground for a fall garden. Peas, onions, carrots, lettuce, turnips, and whatever else I can get going on a short season crop cycle.

Off for more work on the Etsy shop, woot! Another couple listings and I'll finally be at 300, and then I get to work towards 400! The more, the merrier. I need to get a LOT more listed. I've noticed that the sellers with physical items who sell the most there have HUGE stores, and I aim to be a big seller myself. I don't do digital stuff, which is also a big thing, and you don't have to have as big a store, but it's not my thing, so lots of listings for me! I need to really get a lot of sales, because a - battery for car, b - O2 sensor for car, c - tires for car, d - closing for land, e - winterizing the cabin, f - some new clothes!, and g - anything else I can come up with. Thankfully the holidays are coming up and if I can hit a few of the Facebook vendor events coming up that I know about through Rising Star Events there, I may be able to generate some new customers, which would be AWESOME!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Today's news

Well, there's good news and bad news about work.

Found out from our old GPM, Jamie, who is now the day shift APM, what our schedule is supposed to be for the next few weeks.

This upcoming week - 4 days, Friday off.
Week after - ditto.
Labor Day Week - 4 days, Monday off (Labor Day). If you're off probation, like me, you get paid for the holiday, IF you work the last full shift before and first full shift after.

So two more weeks of SHORT checks, I need that new battery, and can y'all believe he's still telling me to go ahead and drive the car? Don't worry, I'll jump your car with the truck if it won't start! Granted, once it starts, it stays running just fine, it's sometimes the getting it started that's driving me up a tree. It started hard before leaving for errands, fine at Wal-Mart after groceries, lunch at McDonald's, then it didn't want to start at all, so came home, got the food unloaded and put up, shifted laundry to the truck and used it to do that. The truck is having minor issues as well, but nothing that can't be worked around. The car ... this is going to drive me crazy.

I know it's not the starter (no clicking solenoid) or the alternator (no battery light). It's just I'm starting to occasionally get that nyeh-nyeh-nyeh you get from a dead or dying battery. Now, part of it has to be the terminal ends, as the one especially is corroded (today was the first time I really looked under the hood good in broad daylight), so I'm going to have to replace those, too. Do that and likely SOME of the issue will be solved.

But both O'Reilly's and Wal-Mart suggest a new battery ASAP, because it's old enough that it has the punch outs on the battery sticker for age, and the WM guy told me flat out that they haven't done those kind of stickers in five years, so the battery is at least that old and definitely going to need replacing.

Thank you to those sharing my "battery funds sale" in my Etsy shop - lots of tire kickers, a couple of sales, but a long ways to go. Time to add more stuff to the shop, right? If you want to go shopping, lots of pretty finished jewelry pieces and plenty of beads, charms and more. I'm particularly fond of making earrings, so there's nearly 100 different kinds in there.

Homestead Crafter on Etsy

Of course, once I get back to full hours AND on a better-paying job, I'll be looking at opening the standalone store back up and adding not only the stuff I sell on Etsy but other items as well - home decor, holiday/seasonal decor, more jewelry but not stuff I make (I have to get a lot of things wholesale, like any other retail shop), candles, spa sets, lotions and potions, etc. Things that if I made them myself or they were supplies, I could sell on Etsy, but who has time to make over 100,000 items themselves? I'm barely going to be able to keep up with making the 2000 or so different jewelry pieces and holiday decor things from kits! Whew!

This is turning out to be a grand adventure despite the recent setbacks. Because you know what else happened today? Errands got finished up with daylight still going, despite the issue with the car, and so once groceries were put up and laundry in the house (still have to put it up), I grabbed the mattock and broke a 4x4 foot plot for the last of those squash seedlings and crammed all 17 in there. Some, I don't think will make it because they've had to sit for a couple weeks longer than I wanted and the heavy rains lately that I couldn't completely keep them out of have left them a bit waterlogged and yellowish. If anything survives, great. If not, I tried. It wasn't raining, so I hurried and got it done.

The rain has been good for what garden there is, though. The older tomatoes are setting a lot of fruit, but I wish they'd ripen up some, lol. Beans are about done, and I have four full packages in the freezer from the little bit I grew. Corn is trying to ear up, my two pepper plants I bought are stunted but I have lots of blossoms and one actual pepper! The yellow squash I just threw out there as they were pretty overripe anyhow ... two are just sitting and one rotted and exploded. About a dozen of those have sprouted and are trying to grow. I'm going to leave them alone and see what happens. A friend at work gave me some kind of tiny watermelon that is about softball size, along with some seeds. I tossed the melon out there, too, and it has exploded, so I'll see if anything comes of that. The two squash and all the dozen or so tomato seedlings (mixed varieties) that I plopped out a few days before all this rain hit are looking good. Nice and green and perky!

So once this round of rain stops, I'll break more ground, use some of the ratty styrofoam cups laying around here, and soak some seeds for the fall garden to sprout them. Onions, peas, maybe more beans if I have any left, lettuce, turnips, radishes, maybe some more peppers. No idea right now what I have left to plant for a fall garden, lol!

Time to get back to work on the shop and get some dinner and whatnot. I'm promoting the shop sale like crazy in my Etsy groups - maybe I'll get some sales that way, too!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Conflicted

Broke as I am this week, I'm still trying to decide if I want to go with a standalone shop so I can sell things in addition to what I have on Etsy, or do I want to just stick with Etsy. Pros and cons to both. Etsy's fees are getting kind of pricy, won't go with this "Scott's Markletplace" thing I'm seeing once in a while because their CSV import is only in beta and you have to ASK for permission to use it. I can get a standalone site for less per month than I'm shelling out to Etsy. Problem comes in, Etsy is all my traffic and sales right now.

What I think I need to do is set everything in Etsy to manual renewal, save that money aside to start a standalone shop and the flea market, and go from there. I can take credit cards through a standalone shop with Square, and ZenCart is quite similar to OSCommerce in design, plus has the advantage of accepting credit cards in a way that keeps the numbers split so the site doesn't break rules for accepting cards. Don't get me wrong, I love Etsy to pieces, but I need to keep more of what I make for me, and I know I can get website hosting for less than $25 a month, easy.

I'm not fond of living in Arkansas, but here and over by Eureka Springs and Huntsville, as well as up in Branson area are a ton of flea markets I could slowly expand to. Branson area alone has over 80, there's a dozen or so in ES/HV area, one good one just south of me in Harrison. Business cards there can lead people back to my standalone shop, and I can carry more things like I make only commercially made (which Etsy doesn't allow). I'm just so conflicted. Of course, if things went well enough, I could drive down with a ton of stuff once a month and restock all the shops, after having moved my happy behind back to Michigan where I long to be. (Plus Mom is eventually going to need me around to help her, and she's NOT going to move here. Plans have to be made NOW for a decade down the road.)

On the bright side, while I can't get outside to the garden, at least it's raining good these few days, so my seedlings I did get out are getting well-watered. Now if it would just stop long enough for me to get out and break ground for the rest of the squash so I can get them in.

Work at the Just Over Broke continues. I'm waiting on something to open up for bids that is second shift, so I don't lose my tiny little 40c an hour shift premium, and which pays enough to make it worthwhile for me to bid on it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Headache but still going strong

The couple squash and the tomatoes I put out the other day are still going strong out in the ground now. The rain we had gave them a good start. Now I just need to get rid of this stupid semi-migraine that's trying to kick up so I can have a decent night at work. There's so much to do and so little time to get it all done in.

I did get a few new things in the Etsy shop today, which is a good thing. I need to get a lot more done, but if you're interested in shopping, feel free to look.

Homestead Crafter on Etsy

I'm still debating a standalone store in the new year. I like the idea, but there's the headache of driving traffic there, and waiting for people to find the store, and to buy stuff ... as well as getting a gazillion products in it. I'd probably go with OSCommerce, as I like the way it sets up visually for a customer, and has a number of nice add ons that you can install easily. One of them is called Easy Populate, and if you have a text file of your products, you can easily upload all your items and it will even set up the categories for you on the fly. They only real issue I have is setting up the policy pages and all, because I have to go into cpanel (the main background admin with all the page code) for doing that. It's a pain but not too difficult if you know what you are doing as I do. Then I just have to get the code from Square (the card reader people), as they also do full on store stuff like card swipers for stores, pay readers for things like Apple Pay, and even developer APIs for folks who have their own webstores and want to take credit cards. It costs a bit more in fees than a regular merchant account, but on the upside, no monthly fees to take cards, so you're not losing tons of money on a merchant account for a business that's not going anywhere for a while. OSC also means folks can pay with PayPal if they want, which is good. There's good and bad to the idea, but I've time to cogitate on the whole thing.

For now, I have to start pulling together for work, yay me. Another day in that crappy job with a crappier lead. Joy of joys. At least one of these days, I'll be out of that job and into something I like a lot better.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm bad at regular blogging and generator woes

I keep getting so busy that I forget to write anything and then I'm tired and say, "Oh, I'll throw something together tomorrow," only I don't because I'm tired again. Sorry, gentle readers. I'm just awful that way.

Working on another small ebook, cheap oriental recipes. It's done but needs formatting completed before setting up on the Kindle platform. $50 a year is not enough to sneeze at from royalties, but the more books I write, the more there are to sell, and the more I will make, right? Same goes for the Etsy shop. The more I work on it, the more sales I get and the happier I am with that. Not so happy with the Postal Orifice right now though. I sold some buttons and had to order them in. That went great. Seller shipped them with tracking. That went great. They were supposed to arrive yesterday and are due out Tuesday. Tracking says they were delivered. They were NOT. So instead of getting anything done tomorrow before work, I have to get up and dressed and head the 4.5 miles into town to the Postal Orifice and see if they can track the package down. I'd wait till later in the day, except the overlords of the P.O. decided to cut hours on this particular station a few months ago, and now it's closed before I'm off to work. So now I have to make a special trip in for them to try to find my package! No slip in the mailbox, no box on the porch, and no way to make a claim through Amazon for "did not receive" for some odd reason! ARGH!

I got a lot of seedlings out of that last planting in the flats, though not full flats. They came out about half full. I ended up giving some of the seedlings to a friend at work who is also an off-grid homesteader, and is trying to get a small fall garden going at his place. He hasn't done much but he is trying, so I figured I could give him a few of the serious excess I had going. We are talking around 35 or so tomatoes of various varieties and about the same of three varieties of squash. Most of the squash seedlings already have small male flower buds on them.

Rain off and on all week is expected this week, but Saturday while it was between showers, I got two of the squashes and all of the tomatoes out in the garden. Did a lot of weeding of thistles, Queen Anne's Lace and some kind of bindweed with purple flowers from the patch I broke up a couple months ago, and that's where the seedlings went. If all goes well in the next couple of days, the rest of the squash seedlings will be out in the ground.

Generator woes ... don't even get me started. A couple weeks ago, I chanced upon a nearly brand-new generator, same exact one as my rattly 6000 peak watt I've been using, on a local yardsale group for only $200. Cashed myself out, so to speak, and went and tested it, and got it hauled home by a friend. It runs great. Only problem is, the cord broke tonight, and while the remaining part is long enough with the handle on it to get it started, I screwed up somehow and lost all the tension on the tensioner spring, so I also get to tear it apart to fix that. The older generator tried it's darndest to choke itself off tonight while I was using it, being so gloomy from all the rain and all, and that was fun for several minutes. I seriously thought about just sitting down in the grass, while the sky drizzled rain all round, and crying. Pulled together and got things going, but it's going to be a bit of a job in the morning for 15 or 20 minutes to get that spring tension back where it belongs so the cord will retract like it's supposed to. Aggravation!

So the last few weeks have had some good parts and some bad parts and a lot of aggravating parts.

Right now, I feel so badly for all the people in LA and MS that are flooded out. I know some of the people affected an it's so awful what is happening to them. You can try to prepare for catastrophe, but it doesn't always work. (Building in what you know is a major flood plain is part of the doesn't always work.) For now, I'm off to bed. Full week this week, which is nice, and I'm finally at a point at work where I can bid on better-paying jobs, because my current lead is driving me up a tree and I don't want to explode at her again like I did last week before work. (Thankfully, before work, otherwise, I could have been suspended or fired for how I laid into her - she deserved it for all she does, but I was pretty blunt. On the other hand, now I have a fan club at work for finally breaking down and giving her what for.) Night, all. I'm off to bed!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Some days, I wanna laugh so hard at people

I homestead off-grid, as y'all know. It's not the easiest life to choose, and sometimes it's one of the most difficult, because it seems like everything that can go wrong, absolutely does at the worst possible time. (Right now, it's my sole generator has decided that if the microwave and fridge are running at the same time, it will shut itself off. Solution is to unplug the fridge for a few minutes when I need to nuke something. Getting away from that so eventually, I can get rid of the microwave entirely.)

But what is so funny is people's expectations of how much free time I actually have since I homestead. Apparently, I just sit around all day, waiting for things to happen and enjoying fresh air and sunshine all day long, with nary a care in the world. HA! I only WISH it were that easy!

Today, for example.

Ran into town to do laundry and pick up lunch fixings for this week at the Just Over Broke since the deli is back up and running. The crap that passes for lunchmeat in the prepacked stuff is just gross. Pricier in the deli but more edible.

Filled up a gas can and two water jugs.

Mowed most of the yard and did the weed-eating around the house to neaten things up.

Did dishes.

Fed the cats before I left for errands and came back so I could dump out the litter box and do a complete change out on it. (When it starts to smell a bit ammonia-like, even with twice-daily cleaning, it gets dumped, bleached and redone completely. I wouldn't want to smell ammonia in my bathroom like that, so I'm pretty sure the fur kids don't want to, either.)

Swept the floor.

Replanted all the empty cells in the flats one more time, hoping to get a fall garden of late tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, and late cucumbers and three types of squash (acorn, zucchini and yellow straightneck summer), along with some Calabrese broccoli. Eggplant was Shooting Stars, peppers were plain old California Wonder, and Tomatoes were Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim and Red Beefsteak. We shall see with that. Watered seeds/seedlings that finally came up after FOUR months and the garden. One of the Cherokee Purple is starting to blush nicely, but accidentally knocked a ripening but still green tomato off the vine, so HE can have it for fried green mater slices tomorrow.

Worked on the Etsy shop.

Got some insulating done.

More work on the Etsy shop.

Made and ate dinner.

Anybody wanna trade lives with me? Right now, I think I'd take a nice, quiet-ish city apartment where I can have my cats and don't have all this other stuff to deal with, lol!!! Well, maybe for a day or two, then I'd be bored. Anybody who thinks I have nothing but free time on my hands has no clue what I go through, even on a weekend day.

Back to work in a bit, I think ... there's so much to do and add to the shop, and to pick out from my suppliers that I can't sell on Etsy because it's not something I made or a supply for crafting, that I want to put into a flea market stall or three ...

And yet, there is no looking past the fact that things have to get better because I need a second generator, I need to get the closing done on the land, and I have to get the cabin winterized and a heat source in for winter.

I'm looking at propane this year, as I already have a small propane heater that takes the canisters but can work with the 20-lb. tanks if I get the adapter and hose for it. Cheaper than a wood stove for this year.

I also need to get a couple interior stud walls put up and a shower stall in for something resembling a real bathroom. I need a well dug, I need a deep well submersible solar pump and a small shed for a pumphouse. I need to plumb the cabin. I need a solar and wind turbine system to power the cabin without a gennie. I need a bigger garden. I need fruit trees, nut trees, a small vineyard, lots of different kinds of berries. I need a deep freeze for more meat and other garden produce. I need a dehydrator for easier storage of many foods. I need a smokehouse for more meat. I need chickens and rabbits and redworms. I need to get the interior of the cabin finished properly. I need kitchen cupboards. I need a bedroom with a real wall and door. I need an on-demand hot water heater. And that's just all the things I can think of off the top of my head that have to be done to make this place a properly livable HOME, and a lot less primitive.

It isn't going to happen overnight. It's going to take YEARS of slogging. I might have it all done the way I want by the time I'm ready for Social Security, if it exists then. Am I up for the challenge? I have absolutely no idea, but even on days like lately, when I want to cry so hard it's not funny, I keep my chin up and keep on keepin' on, because quitting is simply NOT AN OPTION. Much like the poem says, "Rest if you must, but don't you quit."

So I'm going to rest with a book for a few before heading back to work on the shop. Gave up on Bonanza ... unless I'm willing to have them "advertise" my stuff for me and pay upwards of 10% of each sale for the "help," I haven't sold a thing in about a year. Buh bye! Sticking with what does work - add in that there are so few groups on FB where I can promote Bonanza but a ton for promoting Etsy, and it makes the choice easier. Stuff I'd sell in Bonanza can eventually go into a flea market stall. Time for book. It's not great (Kindle freebie, author needs to work on verb tenses and so forth a LOT), but it's not so awful that I can't stand it, either.

Now if I only had some ice cream.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Holiday Musings

It's the holiday, and I'm doing okay. The weather broke some recently, so the  temperatures are a bit cooler. It rained really well the last couple of days, so the garden's been well-watered. I really want to get some rain barrels for next year, to catch rain. Plan is to plop a water plant and a couple goldfish in each one, to keep the bugs down and the water from going stagnant, and for the goldfish to eat any mosquito larvae that end up in the water, with daily feedings of fish flakes in the meantime.

No word yet on my job bid at the plant. If I don't hear by tomorrow, two weeks exactly after the job closed to bids, I'll be going to HR and finding out what's going on. I want my new job, and with just over three years in for seniority, I'm pretty well guaranteed a spot.

Spent most of my holiday weekend down with salmonella of some kind. I had it all, and it was not fun. I stayed in bed and slept a lot, ate the "hospital diet" of soft foods and kept really well-hydrated. I was NOT going to end up going to the ER for this. I should have suspected it Thursday night, because I felt like crap all shift and it just got worse the longer the night went on, to where I almost didn't get through it. Friday morning, I woke up and thought I was going to end up in the ER for sure, but lots of fluids later, which I'm still pouring down me, I'm doing well enough to eat a small meal of solids each day now. Back to work tomorrow!

I've gotten a few new things up in the Etsy shop, and some are darned nice. While it's Christmasy, it would work year round, too, and it's a neat design (not mine - I'm not that talented!). People are going to have to lay out some dough for a pair of THESE pretties though, at $40 a pair. What else do you expect with Swarovski and TierraCast elements in the things?




Angel Earrings with Swarovski and TierraCast elements

And this is the first harvest from my new garden! A little cereal bowl full of green beans! I got a small half-handful again yesterday and they are all in the freezer awaiting me to get fully back on my feet, food-wise, so I can make hamburgers, mashed potatoes, and make the beans up with bacon, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Oh yeah. Gonna be yummy!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Things You Should Know For Off-Grid Living

There are some things you REALLY need to know when you go off-grid. I mean, you really, really, REALLY need to know some of these things, because they make your life just that little bit easier when transitioning. Granted, I had the advantage of being semi-off-grid for the last few years with no running water while living in that crap trailer on the mountain, but being completely off-grid now, with my only power coming from the gennie, it just imposes those things I learned before a little bit more harshly. I will say do not skimp frequently in this, because being miserly is great in a lot of things when homesteading, but certain areas, you want to be as generous as possible. These are some of them.

1. Toilet. If you are one of those not blessed with running water for a while, you learn to conserve it. This also applies to the toilet. If you have a sawdust, composting or camp toilet, which has to be emptied regular one way or another, and no flush toilet, you are going to have odor from your bathroom facilities. There is no worse smell on this earth, I think, than coming home after work on a hot night to find your house smelling like the sewer backed up. It is awful.

There are ways around this. If you have a composting toilet, use lots of sawdust. Don't skimp. The stuff absorbs moisture and odor and will break down with everything else. Sawdust is cheap and your nose will thank you. If you have a camp toilet (they do flush, in a way), or a sawdust toilet, empty it regularly. In hot weather, I highly recommend at least twice a week. If someone has issues, like diarrhea, even more often is necessary. Again, with a sawdust toilet, like the composter style, do not skimp on the sawdust. Generosity means emptying more often but it also cuts down on odors.

Air fresheners also help. Those little gel doodads from Renuzit or Glade or whoever are a nose-saver. Change it out whenever it gets used up. It will help to cover up a lot of odors as well. I keep a good stock on hand during warm weather. When the temps get into the triple digits, as the heat indices have been for the last few days, I use two. You can always close the extra one up when it's not needed, and finish it later. They cost about $1, and are worth the cheap cost of effective odor control.

2. Dishes. Do them frequently. At the least, scrape and rinse when you're done with them. Soak overnight if you have to, but do them up first thing in the morning to clean them. Dish drainers are great for air-drying, but make sure you change your towel under it every few days or wash off the plastic drain pan underneath also regularly. Mildew and odor will build up and it's nasty. I do dishes every couple of days. It only takes a few gallons of water in my dishpans and keeps things neat. Also, paper plates and plastic silverware are a help when you do not have running water, as it saves on a lot of dishwashing. You end up with pots and pans and not much else to deal with.

3. Trash. Get it cleared out regularly. Again, do not skimp on getting it out. I have one big 30-gallon can for house trash and three small cans for beside the bed, desk and bathroom. They are emptied a minimum of once a week and the trash burnt. I had someone question why I burn my cans with the trash. I live in the country, and there is a lot of wildlife here that would love to tip over an outside can to lick the food cans (like cat food) clean and make a mess of the yard. I hate cleaning things up more than once if it is not necessary, so all cans go into the house trash and are burnt. They are then cleared up and taken to the scrap yard for recycling and gain me a couple of bucks of cash. Took a load the other day and got $11 and change for four bags of cans. Prices flucuate, but what the heck, it's easy money.

4. Cooling your home. If you are off-grid, passive cooling is essential. Active cooling is things like air conditioners, which basically refrigerate the air. Problems are that they not only run up your electric bill (or use a lot of your off-grid power), but that also when you leave your home, you end up feeling worse than if you didn't use A/C. Fans are a good source of active cooling - they actually move the air, which can dry it up some. If you need to humidify the air a bit, making a swamp cooler from a fan is easy. A deep pan of water set on the floor in front of a fan works fine to improvise that and cool the house without A/C.

My favorite, however, is convection cooling through completely passive sources. As many of you know, I was finally able to get a roof wind turbine installed this past few days in the cabin. It is much more comfortable now. The way it works is that the top of the turbine is installed to be higher than the roof peak. This allows the heat from the house to escape the house when it rises. With the windows open, it also draws in the cooler air from outdoors (though the last few days, cooler has been a relative term), thus moving air in a convection current throughout the house to cool it. As small as my cabin is, one 14" turbine cools the whole house to about 68 to 70 degrees at night, and it has not gotten above 90 during the day, despite humidity driving feels like temps to well into triple digits.

5. Windows. If you're going to go off-grid, you're going to want LOTS of windows, especially in warm weather. They will allow in lots of light and air. Cover them during the hottest part of the day, possibly leaving a small opening at the bottom to let air flow. Open at night to let as much cool air in as possible, because that helps keep the house cooler for a longer period during the heat of the day.

6. Hot drinks. It sounds silly, but if it's warm out, drink hot drinks instead of cold ones. The heat in your gut makes your body pull heat from your innards and sends it to your skin to cool your gut. This heat evaporates through your skin and will cool you off, or at least make you think you're cooler. Cold drinks make your body pull your body heat to your core to keep you warmer, and thus, will make you hotter in the long run. Cold drinks are nice for a treat, but lots of warm drinks will help more. Warm water or tea are favorites of mine in really hot weather, especially as I'm not much of a coffee drinker.

7. Bedding. Change your sheets for the seasons. Don't skimp on the cost of good sheets. Skip the microfiber stuff, as it's mostly useless. Go for cotton in the summer and flannel in the winter. Both are cool when you lay down on them, but cotton will stay cool in the heat and is good for helping you sleep more comfortably. Flannel is basically brushed cotton, so it's cool when you go to bed, but absorbs heat quickly and retains it well, making cold weather sleeping much nicer. Wash your sheets weekly no matter what, but especially in the heat. You're going to sweat and your bedding will smell like it.

Blankets are a must, and lots of them. No matter how many you think you need, have more on hand. If you won't be using them, they'll come in handy for guests. If it's cold enough, you'll have plenty on hand. In this case, microfiber comforters are good, afghans and quilts (REAL quilts, not the wimpy stuff you find in Wal-Mart that calls itself a quilt) are good. You want thick and warm and lots of it in cold weather. In winter, I have been known to pile as many as six afghans on the bed. Granted, you won't be moving much under them with that many on top of you, but you will be warm. The more comfortable you are for sleeping, the better you will sleep.

So there's a few musings from me on things you should know for off-grid living. Until next time!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

So, um, yeah, I'm bad

I took these photos last weekend, and forgot to upload them to here. Bad me. Better late than never?


Butterfly on some flowers near the top of the property.


The cabin from the roadside by the mailbox. Looks tiny!


Taken closer to the house, from the top of where my driveway starts.


More flowers near that spot.


Another butterfly "puddling" in the yard.


A few tomatoes starting finally. Two on the leftmost are Large Cherry, the other is a beefsteak, Mortgage Lifter.


This is what you get when you dump out the burn barrel. I drag a trash can out by the dump pile, put a bag in it, and toss all the metal into the can. The bags of cans go to the scrapyard whenever I get up early enough on a Saturday.


Some cucumbers and broccoli starting.


The beans so far, both plantings are doing well.


The tomato starts I bought and plants. They started out down by the lowest string. Now look at them!


Mazda (front) and Shelby (rear). Finally got photos of the rest of the cats.


Smokey. He moved as soon as I took the picture, then ran and hid.


And Cocoa. She has a sweet face.

So, yesterday, I hit up Home Depot. Found out they are still dumping plants cheap at 4/$10, so I picked up a green pepper, purple pepper, straightneck squash and buttercup squash. Also picked up a few more seeds. I'm out of Brandywine Red and couldn't find any more, so grabbed Black Krim instead.

Today, I broke more ground out behind the existing garden, such as it is, and put them in. I also replanted the last of what I'm going to try to get growing this year, redoing things one more time. I did find that two of the Brandywine Reds had started, so I replanted the other four cells with Black Kirm. I don't have a lot going right now, but whatever I get now will be the summer garden, and I'll put in a bunch of greens and late roots (carrots, radish, turnip and so forth) in a couple months, to harvest just before first frost.

As of today, I have growing the starts I bought, a bunch of Blue Lake 274 Green Beans, a whole THREE corn (Country Gentleman, I think), 3 Large Red Cherry Tomatoes, 2 Brandywine Red Tomatoes, 1 Mortgage Lifter Tomato, 1 Hale's Best Cantaloupe, 2 Straightneck Squash, 2 Sumter Cucumber, 2 Marketmore Cucumber, 2 Straight Eight Cucumber, and 4 rather leggy Calabrese Broccoli.

Chores got done early - trash out and burnt, bed made, laundry put up, and I will make me some spaghetti for supper pretty soon, with Italian sausage and garlic sauce. Back to the salt mines tomorrow.

Had to send HIM to Tractor Supply for liquid wormer for the cats - found out that at least four of them have a roundworm infestation, and Fuzzy, the most physically delicate of the lot, has the worst load of any of them. Treated them when he got back with the stuff. Most of them were okay about taking it, though Stars fought it (apparently, she doesn't like fish, and it has a fishy flavor to entice them to take it better), and Trouble and Oreo just let me give it to them without issue. The others varied in amount of "I don't WANT to take the medicine!" but all got treated. Retreat in ten days, and this time, I'll dump it in their wet food in the morning, haha.

Oh yes, and I made a video with my camera that I put up on YouTube to sort of show what I have going on here! If you want to see it, here's the link:

Bountiful Farm, June 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Busy Sunday, big dreams

So ... today. Typical kind of Sunday on the homestead. Quiet. He did some mowing. Griped about how much gas it uses. (I TOLD him a reel mower uses no gas and would be quieter and would mow easier through all this tall stuff, but he HAD to have a gas mower!) I got trash out and burnt, laundry put up, dishes done, water is heating for showers, supper will get made once that is done, cat box cleaned, floor swept. I did some gardening, too. He mowed my flowers down and my iris didn't come up - maybe they will next year. I want to build raised beds for everything but that is pricey as all heck. ONE day, one little bit at a time, it will happen.

Got more dug up for the teeny garden I have going. The tomatoes I bought as starts are nearly up to my knees and one of each of the Rutgers and Cherokee Purple have blooms and buds on them. The corn and squash I planted before haven't even started to grow, so may be duds, but the beans have at least 50% germination on old seeds. Planted the rest of that pack of beans, some more squash in two places and a pack of corn from this year (Stowell's Evergreen). Nothing showing in either of the flats yet other than one tiny something (it's either a pepper or a tomato) in the one. Considering I've been collecting seed in the late summer at BOGO prices for a few years, I'm surprised ANYTHING is growing, so if stuff stalls, I'll just replant.

Picked up two short u-posts at Home Depot yesterday. HE pounded them in for me without my asking him to do so, and then proceeded to pound them in deeper than I wanted so they would "stay in there good." Never mind that I plan on pulling them up in the fall so if I can get a tiller, I can till and won't break the tines! Also picked up some jute twine at Wally World yesterday and ran that back and forth through the holes in the posts to give the tomatoes something I can tie them to and the beans something to climb on. I didn't get the twine as tight as I would have liked, but that's ok. At least it isn't sagging and will help hold up the beans. Ran out of daylight before I ran out of ground I had dug up, and hopefully this week, I can get out a bit and do more digging to expand the garden.

If all else can get done, over the fall and winter, I will get 1" x 6" pine boards and build me some 4' wide by 8' long raised beds so I can do my square foot gardening better, and have a truckload of good dirt brought in for planting. The dirt here is really nice, but I'd like to have raised beds, and that means expense and work, which is fine. Eventually, I'll have fruit trees, bushes and plants of all kinds (apples, pears, peaches/nectarines, plums, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and so on and so forth), a few kinds of grapes in a small vineyard (planning on red, white and Concord for eating and jelly making). As much ground as I have, I may even be able to grow some of my own grains, such as wheat, oats, millet, barley and amaranth. Plans for way down the road are a small hoophouse for year round growing and for the more tender trees like some citrus (I do love my oranges).

Lots of work to do ... so much work and so little time and money, but as things progress, more things get done so more money is freed up. Just wish it was all going FASTER.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

More garden stuff started!

So for Mother's Day ...

I put dishes to soak.
Swept the floor.
Put away laundry.
Mowed.
Emptied the camp toilet (fun job, really, just doesn't sound like it).
Changed oil in the gennie.
Trash out and burnt.
Made the bed.
Napped.
Mostly puttered in gardening type stuff.

That last, I got to full cell flats started, a six-pack each of:
Large Red Cherry Tomato
Brandywine Red Tomato
Super Sweet 100 Hybrid Cherry Tomato
Roma Tomato
Mortgage Lifter Tomato
California Wonder Sweet Pepper
Grand Bell Mix Sweet Pepper
Jalapeno Hot Pepper
Hot Pepper Mix (Anaheim, Serrano, and a couple others in the packet)
Hales Best Canteloupe
Black Beauty Eggplant
Shooting Stars Eggplant
Early Acorn Hybrid Winter Squash
Waltham Butternut Squash
Straightneck Early Yellow Squash
Buttercup Squash
Dark Green Zucchini Squash
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce (that's going to be succession started for a long while - I like my salads)
Sumter Cucumber
Marketmore Cucumber
Straight Eight Cucumber
Calabrese Broccoli
De Cicco Broccoli

Now on to digging up more ground so all this stuff has a place to go in a few weeks!

Photos from a couple weeks ago:



 The baby blanket I finished


An old Chevy Bel Air I saw in the parking lot at TSC


Kizzy

Stars and the twins, Shelby and Mazda


Trouble staying OUT of trouble for once


Fuzzy


Oreo


A fairy ring in the yard near the house

Still can't get the rest of the cats to be still long enough for photos! Missing Bouncer Jr, Smokey, and Cocoa.



Also gardening related, my beans at least are starting to sprout and my tomato transplants I'd bought and stuck in the ground are going gung ho! I might get a decent garden this year yet!