<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: April, 2007
 

Archive for April, 2007

Garden Update

April 30th, 2007 at 08:25 pm

I so enjoy reading other gardening blogs, it spurs me on to get out in the dirt here, as well as gives me new ideas.........so I'm jumping on the bandwagon & going to try to keep up with a listing of what's growing here in my corner of the world.



The seeds inside are in all stages...
Cucumbers up and almost a true leaf stage
Cosmos up and growing
Pumpkins sprouting

Seeds directly sown outside...
Lettuce of all kinds......no sight of them yet
Cucumbers..One seedling showing itself this AM
Multiple packages of flower seeds outside...lupins are up, so far no sign of anything else.

Starts of onions, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts all growing like crazy.
Rhubarb producing enough I have been sharing already.
Strawberries; Many flowers this year and already noticed a few tiny berries forming.

Just added a row of carrots, beets and radishes....too early to start looking for signs of life there! Smile

The cost to me is almost zero this year, as my mom paid for all the seed and starts this time. I put all her things in for her, so she paid for my plants & seeds. Since the water is from the well, no water bill......and the fertilizer is from the flock out back...... I can't think of anything this is costing but the work. And, I'm pooped!

Frugal Fertilizer .......Delivered

April 30th, 2007 at 01:42 am

I'm working hard to have a garden that is a true cross between Organic........and Free.

Here's a picture I took today, of the crew out back; Rocky (the rooster) and his flock of Ladies, busy at work, creating my absolutely free and most definitely organic fertilizer.



I don't have to go far to get my fertilizer...right out the back door. I'm currently taking a bit of the bedding from the coop each week and distributing it through the garden beds. The plants that are up already are loving it! I also rinse out the nesting boxes and use that water on the gardens too. Nothing goes to waste here!

The chickens have a 2nd job these days, like all the rest of us! Besides being in charge of producing all the eggs we can consume, they are taking care of all the weeds I can pull every day. Busy gals out there... Smile

Money Out doesn't Equal Money In

April 27th, 2007 at 09:50 pm

I'm getting closer to my June deadline ....the month I make a decision as to what to do re; my life, retirement, where I'm living, etc, etc.

After paying the property taxes this month, it is horribly clear to me I'm not cutting it with my pasted together lifestyle I've created this past year. It's been fun, as well as different, but I can't continue indefinitely, or I'll run out of savings. Not a good plan.

Touchy keyboard, it published while I was typing... I know, I should type in Word & cut & paste. Too lazy. This is about the biggest risk I take in life, so I'm going to continue this way! Smile



Rental Agreements all Round

April 25th, 2007 at 03:44 am

We welcomed a young couple into the mix last night.........might work....or??? They do have some challenges, but what else would be appropriate for this place? Smile Only one car, a part time job between them, 2 cats and 1 BIG dog. We'll see.... They are paying more than the last couple & seem willing to work too, which sounds like a good combo to me.

I've been advertising my moms apartment too, and today I think I had the first great response. The woman has done a drive by already and had a phone interview with my mom..........they are scheduled to meet at the apt tomorrow. That would be a great deal if it comes to pass.......a years lease and the amount I had researched.... another good combo.

Neighbors of the others houses' tenants called today........a bit of a soap opera going on in that neighborhood re; a culvert and drainage as well as a delinquent young man mixed with alcohol, a vehicle and goodness knows what else. The sheriff and the health department are both involved .... My tenants are the ones having to deal with this, not the ones causing it.... It makes it hard for me to keep reminding them they aren't paid up on their rent too!!!

And, if all this weren't enough, I'm trying to wade through the numbers about refinancing my primary home, to get some cash back. I have a bit more to scrape up for the dental work I'm getting done this year and this would almost do it. The payment would be lower, the interest rate would be lower.......and I'm pretty darned close to saying 'do it', especially since it is with the same company I have both the houses with now. No paperwork involved on my part, no appraisal needed either...something called Fast Track. It is sounding attractive at this point.

The check came today for the 2 classes I taught this month.... Payment came to $175. for Knitting!!! Such a deal. Money for having fun; my kind of job. I'm set for more classes Fall quarter already too.

Didn't spend anything.....but getting myself ready for the Big Spend day here soon. Property taxes due by the end of this month. YUK. Wouldn't feel so terrible if I thought I was really getting my monies worth! Smile

Finally Coming in from the Garden

April 23rd, 2007 at 08:29 pm

Since I last posted...........I've been in the garden if it has been daylight. Nothing like a film crew scheduled to visit your garden to spur one on!!!!

The crew just left & said they had some "good stuff." Hopefully, I answered the questions with reasonably intelligent responses??? I did get to sit down for most of the interview; so all my gardeners muscles were grateful!

Never did come up with a local gardener to participate in the feature; perhaps the producer has been more successful. The crew was asked not to film things like evergreens or palm trees for the spot........no problem with palm trees here, but there are evergreens everywhere you look from my yard. No idea how they will get around that problem.

I'm glad to be back to my version of "normal" here.....gardening when I want to, instead of ALL the time! I have to say....the front yard here has never looked so good!

Help Needed for Gardening Feature!!!

April 16th, 2007 at 09:33 pm

I'm stepping into uncharted territory ...for me! Needing help........big time, and quickly!

Background: Jeffrey passed an email on to me, from a network news organization....who wanted to do a feature on Frugal Gardening.
They have contacted me and now want to do several other interviews & stretch out the topic to cover other aspects.

What I Need: The producers asked if there was anyone I knew of that had read the blog or articles on www.frugalgardening.com AND had followed any of the tips. Anyone??? Plus, they want this person by tomorrow, Tuesday! Anywhere in the U.S. is fine, they explained, as they have affiliates throughout the nation!

If you have created a garden on the cheap, using Craigs list, Freecycle, a plant exchange among your friends & neighbors..........I would love to hear from you. If you have procured free plants from landscapers, nurseries, etc.......I would love to hear from you!
I would need your contact info, in order to pass it on to the producer I'm working with. Speed is of the essence here....as they plan on finishing up the feature here in the Seattle area on Thursday. (yes, THIS Thursday!)

I'm contacting others locally, in addition to a landscaper who dumped their trucks of trimmings here last year.......and a local nursery owner......so am scrambling to come up with people available here to speak with reporters this week. (and yes, I am still crocheting like a crazy woman, to get my samples set up for my Thursday evening class...THIS week!)

I'll check email often.....And, a huge thank you to anyone able to help out!

New Numbers

April 15th, 2007 at 10:37 pm

I weighed myself this AM (after being at my moms for a few days) and surprised myself with a brand new number! I knew I was making progress, as I've been able to button the bottom button on a few shirts....that used to be an open type, jacket only situation! All buttoned up these days, and I can sit down without ripping the buttons off too! Must be the walking!

Felt jazzed about the weight loss & started getting busy on the TO DO list around here. I've got laundry out on the line, the burn pile started and the compost dumped. Eggs collected and chickens fed.

I brought home some free wood from my dads vintage wood piles.......I found great stuff to make some roosts for the chickens. Now, I just need to figure out how to mount them to the walls. (these are to replace the almost silly version of a roost that a very helpful someone made for the coop......looks more like a prop for a manger scene in a Nativity)

Now, I'm back to crocheting the first of my samples for this Thursdays class. The purse is done, now I'm working on the handle, then out to the sewing room it goes for the lining and assembly phase. I'm wasting too much time today, thumbing through patterns, when I just need to grab one and start on another item for the display. Thinking small things at this point.....planning on a soap sack, 2 different size hats and a scarf at this point. I can start a small baby blanket after I get these done......

Back to work........

Back Home Again

April 15th, 2007 at 03:25 am

Back home from my few days at my moms again. Getting to be routine these days....although it is a bit hard to know which place is more like home. Confusing.

My beginning knitting class went well ...the huge one with the Parks Dept. It was a little chaotic, as there were knitters there who should have been in an intermediate class......so it was like teaching 2 different levels of class in the same room at the same time. No way am I getting paid enough for that. Not sure if I will do it again. Pondering that for a bit.

I do have the crochet class next week......I'm expecting it to be the same way, as I have 2 people attending that I had in class already this week. Not beginners!!! So, I'll think on how best to structure the class.

Got moms lawns mowed; beginning to feel overwhelmed with the 3 yards I'm taking care of now. No renter in sight for her rental house, and of course, the yard needs to be maintained or we will never rent it. Electrical problems to surmount prior to even listing it.....Tons of work.

Spent some of my supply money from last weeks class on supplies for this coming week.......will still come out ahead. I realized I had NO samples of my crochet work here.......so I'm a crocheting maniac this week. On the plus side of this, I'm making sort of a market bag/tote thing.....to use as my own purse/bag over the summer. Black & white slubby sort of cotton yarn....I'm liking it so far.

Did get the taxes in the mail......on time, no extension this year. Small victory. I did have to pay, but only a small bit. I wish I understood this part of my finances more......I'm totally in the dark. I have usually had an income that was non taxable, so this is new stuff to me here. By next year, I am thinking I'll be tossing my paperwork in with my moms, as I'm inching towards handling more and more of her affairs. Her tax prep person is more affordable than mine too!

Spent more money on seeds & starts for the veggie garden. Did get some flower seeds too, as I'm certain the rule about planting flowers in and around your veggies is a good one. Plus, I love it, it makes the garden more fun to work in!

Your Own Free Trial of .....Calf-Vision

April 12th, 2007 at 04:18 pm

Here's my best shot this morning.......took the pics when I thought it was daylight, but obviously, it was still pretty dark, thus the odd white eyeballs!

Mama & twins!



Off to pick up tax paperwork today & then headed to my moms. Hoping the rain will hold off a bit so I can get her place mowed.

Then, a shower & change and off to my BIG knitting class this evening. Hoping I haven't forgotten anything. I have only taught big classes like this in a shop and always had extra supplies there. This will be a bit different, I'm hauling everything with me.

Timing being what it is here, I'm going to miss the Navy pulling out. Will handle the goodbyes via email. Left the newly lined jacket here for him to pick up on his way out. Tough duty he has....6 months in the south pacific, supervising exercises with all the little island nations navy's.

Calfvision: Free Entertainment

April 12th, 2007 at 03:37 am

I've been keeping a close eye on the neighbors pregnant cow, checking the window facing her pasture every time I go past...

This afternoon, I could tell (even with my limited cow experience) that she was standing odd... Best description I could come up with. Looked a little closer and there was a teensy little pile of brown calf on the ground. Not moving yet even.....I must have missed the birth by minutes.

I just pulled the couch around and decided to plug into the local calfvision channel. It didn't take long before I realized there was going to be another calf. And, I got to watch it being born. Sat there for what seemed like ages, watched both calves practicing using all 4 legs at once. So cute. When I finally decided to get back to work, both new little additions had figured out how to walk a few steps and where dinner was located.

Way better than television and totally free. I didn't have watch a calf being born on my life list........but if I did, I could cross it off now!

Off & Running Today

April 11th, 2007 at 02:49 pm

I've totally spaced on a commitment made at least a month ago........& today is catch up day.

I had been asked to re line a jacket for Mr Navy's wife..... I hadn't started it, since I was waiting on her answer re; the existing buttons. (seems she shuts them in her car door frequently.....not so good for glass buttons). Anyway, the Navy is shipping out this month and I was asked about the status of said jacket. Status??? Still hanging right where it was a month ago. As of last night, the lining is out, pressed & ready to use for a pattern. Just waiting for the local fabric store to open up..........have always thought all night fabric stores would be a good idea! Smile

I'm hoping the lining just slides into the jacket and I can finish it up before lunch...then, off to pick up the tax stuff & get it in the mail.

I have to leave for moms tomorrow & be in her area for my knitting class tomorrow night, so both the jacket & taxes need to be completed today.

Still fitting in my walk today.....and picking up the free bread for the chickens at the same time. ..I'm determined not to let these additions to my day interfere with my new plan of putting ME on the TO DO daily list.

Here's hoping everything goes without too many glitches today......

Do I Have a Typical Day??? Ever???

April 10th, 2007 at 09:40 pm

I've come to the conclusion I don't. I don't have typical days here, unless the fly by the seat of my pants, deal with who & what crosses the threshold qualifies as typical. I try to make some sort of blog entry that is neat & tidy and has some sort of theme to it.......and fail miserably most times. Today is no exception. Nothing has hooked together at all....

Started with email & phone calls. Contacted the tenants; the downstairs couple is bringing 2 months rent (which brings them current) this evening. Just got an email from the upstairs people, they are only sending the check minus the $600. they asked about. (I had told them I couldn't reduce the rent) Now what???

Foster dtr with grandbaby stopped by for a visit..........Fun to see her feeling so competent with him.

Called new potential tenant here......left message about him moving in. No response.

Gathered 8 eggs from the new chickens. Getting at least 6 a day now.....Making for some frugal meals.

Received my order of supplies for this months knitting & crochet classes. Used my new ball winder & made up smaller balls of yarn for each student. Wound up some odd balls of mine, to use for a couple door prize drawings at class. Almost ready now, which is good.....one day to go before the knitting class.

And, because I promised myself I'd campaign for Obama if & when he decided to run for President.......I signed up to volunteer here in our county for his campaign. I've always wanted to be involved in a political campaign, but couldn't due to kid type commitments....so this actually qualifies as something I'm doing for ME too.

So, I guess today is typical for me. Just one thing after another...all unrelated mostly. I think this is why I'm unsure about getting a 'real' job. I think I would be crazy doing the same thing all the time. As I get closer to June (the end of my one year trial at semi retirement) I find I'm looking at employment ads & imagining myself doing something.........anything........

A Bit Gun Shy Here in Blogland

April 10th, 2007 at 01:26 am

OK, this is the 2nd try here to post an entry. I had almost finished a long rambling on post about my day & all the details when...........with much internal grinding noises, my PC flipped a few pages instantly and there I was viewing Thrifty Ray's latest post about her new job starting tomorrow.

Now, I'm always interested in Rays new adventures, but I would have liked to have finished my post before reading hers!! Smile

So far, I haven't disappeared again....and all the error messages on my Add Entry page are not included this time.......so I'll do an abbreviated version.

I put ME first today, in line with my 2007 goals. Walked before I got started on the things for others.......and fit in a haircut......even tho I didn't have a coupon or a half off offer.

Interviewed a potential renter for the room here.....a single gentleman who says he loves to split wood. Is there a better way to make points with me???

I'm committing to sending the icky email to the tenants in the house.....the ones who want to reduce their rent by $600. I've checked locally, my rent there isn't out of line. The state hasn't answered yet, about the possible new home, if they do, I'm giving the tenants notice asap.

OK, that's the quick version........still probably more than anyone wants to know.
Will try this and see what happens!

Easter: My Version

April 9th, 2007 at 12:21 am

Easter took on an added meaning 6 years ago, when my dad died on Good Friday. Even if the date doesn't jive each year.......on Easter week end, I'm all about doing something pertaining to Dad.

This year, a project was calling....no, make that 'screaming' for attention. Dad had been given a house as a young man, and it has been vacant since Halloween. I picked up my mom this AM, and her lawn mower and assorted tools and off we went to Dad's house. What a disaster it was. This is the place that put the BIG dog in the little yard and let it tear the place up.

I mowed for what seemed like a couple hours, then mixed up a serious batch of Round Up and sprayed everything that was growing where it should not have been growing.
I took a lawn chair for mom, and she did a fair job of sitting down....with occasional spurts of clipping and pruning something spliced in.

I had even remembered my camera & got some shots from the street to post with the upcoming rental ads (HAVE to do something to the inside walls and electrical system prior to renting).

We're exhausted, but feel like it was a day well spent. I prefer doing something like this, rather than making a trip to the cemetery.... We had a chance to visit about Dad all day, didn't have to cook a company sized dinner and got some great sunshine & exercise too. A pretty good combination! (and no money spent either)

Classy New Look Here

April 7th, 2007 at 07:15 pm

Love the new look with the blogs ....and I can't wait to see what else is in store. I will start playing with the colors some day...just not today. Too much on my list.

Still working hard aiming to clean out the strawberry bed. How is it the weeds far out number the strawberry plants, no matter how many buckets of weeds I pull? The chickens are thrilled again....and gave me 6 eggs this morning as a thank you!

I cleaned out the nesting boxes, right into the garden bed under construction. Have 6 wheelbarrows of good compost added to the mix and think I might be ready to plant this week.... I need to get to the nursery to check out veggie starts & pick up some fresh seed. Fun, fun, fun!!!

Almost had a full scale rodeo in my front yard this morning. The new horse lady brought a friend (with another horse) and they decided to try a ride. The horses had other ideas & gave quite a show tossing riders as soon as they were in the saddle. So, I had gardening; with a Show!

Combine the rodeo with a parade.........a continual stream of freecyclers arriving this AM for strawberry plants & my morning has been busy. Still have oodles of plants left, so I need to get to my list here and arrange for some more potential gardeners to show up....there is no way I'm planting more than a dozen more strawberry plants!

Record Breaking Heat.......... In Seattle???

April 7th, 2007 at 12:42 am

Again, it snowed this week (Monday) and now we have a record breaking day for the Seattle area??? Gorgeous & lovely to work outside in, but it is just odd. Taking advantage of the weather & have clothes on the line.

I'm still dividing and cleaning out the strawberry beds.....too many necessary breaks when it is over 75 here. I'm hoping to save up some energy and tackle the project again after sundown. I'm sharing with 7 freecyclers now.........maybe more, depending on how many plants are hidden among the weeds. The chickens are thrilled with the new gardening schedule, as they eat the 5 gallon buckets of weeds as fast as I can pull them and haul them to the coop. Feels very thrifty turning weeds into eggs for breakfast!!

My week end young man is here for just 2 days, due to the Easter holiday. Seems peculiar having someone here after being gone so long....and this one only comes 2 week ends a month anyway. But, this will mean a paycheck from this source for April, which will be nice.

I started advertising the vacant room, as well as the parking spaces out back. No bites yet, but did get one on my moms apartment (which I also listed).

Walked again this AM, with my walking buddy.........we didn't go as far as usual since we're both just getting back to this after taking our 2 weeks off. How out of shape can one get in 2 weeks??? Apparently, quite a bit.......Sad really!
But, it is one more item on my 2007 goals list......doing things for me, so it always feels good to do it regardless of the collection of aches & pains.

A no spending day here........like most of the days. I wish I was more organized & could figure out a system where I would keep track of these. I have started several, then around the 2nd week of the month I realize I have no idea. I should challenge myself to do a no spending month some day....other than necessary utilities & house payments of course.





From Snow to 70 in How Many Days??

April 6th, 2007 at 03:15 am

It was just Monday of this week.....just 4 days ago, I woke up to snow.......all over!

Today......the thermometer said 70 and I was mowing the lawns & wearing short sleeves & sandals. My garden won't know what it's supposed to do!!!

I didn't get to spend much of the day outside, as it was the day for another looong dental appointment. The last of my cleaning appointments before the new work begins, and tons of measurements & such. By the time I got home it was already 4PM. But, I will get this accomplished & be able to check off the biggest goal on my 2007 list.

I heard from the parks & rec dept re; my scheduled classes this month.......the knitting class has hit the max number we decided on.....I OK'd adding 2 more in, if they would extend the time in case I can't get everyone to Get It by the time the class ends. I'll need to pick up more supplies; of course I had just sent in my order (and yes, I tried a quick phone call, but the order had been shipped, drat)
I'm working on the lesson plan and some hand outs.....I never like to teach a class without sending the group home with lots of materials.

Quitting early tonight, as I'm going to meet my walking partner again in the AM....we were both a bit wiped out on Wed.......at least it wasn't just me!



Recovering from Yesterdays Work Marathon

April 4th, 2007 at 06:27 pm

It's a new day & I'm almost a new person; compared to yesterday! Was pretty sure I'd wake up sore & broken from the wood stacking, concrete lifting activities yesterday....but, I'm OK.

Even met my walking buddy this AM and got a couple miles in already. She needed to quit early, as her knee was acting up, so I wasn't even the one to whine first!! Smile We've scheduled another walk on Friday, so we can get back into our schedule...felt great to be walking again.

Picked up day old bread (for free) from the local gleaning group since it is located within blocks of my trail parking lot. Chickens are happy & I'm thrilled to not be buying commercial feed.

Forgot to mention I got my application in to Pinecone when it was mentioned in the blogs a couple weeks ago........and I've completed my first survey & have been paid. What a great company. Pretty much falls into my category of Free Money!!

Paid the usual beginning of the month bills today, including the housekeeper who is working away here today! (Just love Wednesdays!!)

Have a rent glitch on the other house. Two families renting, as they have divided the floors & completed the things I never did, so it is really 2 houses now. One 3 BR & the other a 2 BR. The 3 BR people have paid their rent, the others.....No. And the 3 BR people are saying the amount is a hardship for them & want to lower the amount by $600. The new amount would cover the mortgage but not the taxes & insurance....which was covered in the agreed upon rent when they signed the agreement.

So, the question is.......what to do? I think I will make a call to a friend who wanted to know if & when the house would become vacant, & see if they could swing the higher rental .....and if so, give the 2 families notice. Not my usual style, but these days...I've had to do some things differently. I truly hate being a landlord, but I can't see selling the place either.....although, perhaps a call to my Realtor friend is in order too?

Time to get to work here, my TO DO list gets longer with each phone call!

Can't Get Any More Tired

April 4th, 2007 at 05:00 am

I'm pooped. Feeling old.......and pooped tonight.

I started off the morning finding out I "won" 36 concrete stepping stones....took the gentleman from the back 40 with me & we picked those up....and unloaded them back here. Doing OK at that point....

Then, I knew I was going to have my last kiddo here for the day & wanted to fix him a 'real' meal since he has been eating cup of noodles & potato chips at his new place & he's really a meat & potato kind of guy....so, off to the grocery store for 3 things (and I only bought 3 things) to finish off a big dinner. Started on that during the day.......

Room mate person picked up said kiddo..and when he got here, he & I started stacking firewood until the roast finished. Getting tired by now....

Then, inside to finish up dinner and then back out to the firewood. We did get one big pile stacked, 3 more piles to go. (probably 5 cords or a bit more) Then, back in to pack up a care package for the kiddo and in the van to drive him 25 miles or so back to his house. (thank goodness room mate offered to clean up the kitchen, as I'd used everything at least once!)

By the time I got home.......old & tired is all that's left. I'll be counting pieces of firewood in my sleep!

I Can't Garden in This!!!

April 3rd, 2007 at 02:28 am

No gardening for me today..........I was planning on planting the seeds I soaked overnight, but when I woke up, this was what I saw here......in April no less. Some sort of delayed BAD April Fool's Joke it seems!



I re did my to do list and left off all outdoor activities. Lit the wood stove and pretended it was winter all over again.

I did make progress in the garden yesterday, so much so that I was VERY sore this morning. All my bending, reaching and lifting muscles were complaining to me this AM....

The rhubarb bed is all cleaned out and fed; and I do believe there will be rhubarb ready to pick in a week or so.

First crop of lettuce seeded, as well as pumpkin and cucumber seeds indoors.

Hard to decide whether to really get in the gardening mode.........or haul firewood for the stove a few more weeks???

Keeping Track Here

April 1st, 2007 at 08:45 pm

First off........the April Fools version pales compared to last years event! Cute, but not even close to the panic that set in last year! Smile

I entered a bin full of books onto Amazon last night and sold one already this AM. Good to get that going again. The new books are all the same theme/topic, so perhaps the rest will get picked up too??

The backyard people brought home a bunch of really ripe bananas from the food bank & asked if I knew how to turn them into banana bread (or anything else??), so I've been doing the Betty Crocker impression in the kitchen today. Smells terrific in here....I hope I can NOT eat any of this.

Been doing OK with the diet changes. Managed to stay the same weight while on vacation. Did get into a different pair of jeans when I got home, so one small victory for me! Can't wait til my walking partner is ready to hit the trail again, thinking we can get back to our schedule as soon as tomorrow...hopefully.

Found a couple gift Cert. for Amazon when I was cleaning my daytimer for this new month.........they are good til the end of the year. Will start putting some thought towards gifts for the year and use them up, just so I don't forget them.

Hard to believe it is April already. I'm ready for spring, but it seems like time is going so much faster than I am these days.