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


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!