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Frugal superpowers

May 28th, 2012 at 04:36 am

Thursday night, I swapped the cords from our non-working DVD player to to the one I bought last week at the neighborhood yard sale. The player and the remote work!

Friday I joked that I had a frugal superpower. Along with being able to pick grocery store produce ... and I used that this weekend by picking out and buying the best 3 pound clamshell of strawberries. Our own strawberries in the strawberry pot are flowering and just setting fruit, as is one of our blueberry plants.

Got the idea for sister's birthday gift in August from a photo she sent me with my birthday gift... turns out that the farmette finally now has a mailbox. And that got me thinking; the classic first mosaic project for some is a house number plate. I know we have no house number plate at the farmette, so a mosaicked one will be her birthday gift.

green tomatoes and other stuff

November 6th, 2011 at 02:23 am

So a few observations and doings about:

Harvested about 15 pounds worth of green tomatoes. My early girls were decidedly very, very not. I've split them off into two items I'm making - a green tomato jam and green tomato mincemeat. The green tomato mincemeat is perking away as I type. I plan on making little tarts out of the mincemeat for Thanksgiving and have it with a bit of cheese - kind of a dessert/cheese course in one. So far, it smells absolutely wonderful: green tomatoes, quince (as a substitute for the apples .... quince is still in season), orange slices, orange peel, dried currents, golden raisins, sugar, brown sugar, a bit of apple cider vinegar, cinnamon sticks, ginger, a tiny bit of hot red pepper.

Saw a few people with BECU (credit union) forms today, leave your bank day. We got word though, that the little neighborhood BECU is moving from the grocery store. Bummer, but I hope they keep the ATM. Otherwise, grr, double bummer.

Somebody had Andy Rooney on their list.

somewhat extreme

June 17th, 2011 at 03:46 am

I put in $46.42 into savings from my tip box this month (I added the paper dividend check.). I paid $1.99/lb for broccoli this afternoon - it had better be cancer-fighting. The container garden is doing well - we have teeny tiny tomatoes; with any luck, a full ripe one by the end of July.

Pay day was yesterday - dispiriting though that its been spent already, mostly on paying off the credit card. Lucky I've moved most of my intimate savings - not the ING - to checking.

I very much enjoyed the CNN

Text is gallery and Link is
gallery of extreme savers. Some of these tips aren't all that extreme, and I am doing WAY better than Adam at no 10. I'm at $84.73 in finding change, with about 4 weeks left to go.

firmly in the 21st century

May 29th, 2011 at 05:07 am

Well, I had an entry yesterday but my Firefox burped and the site ate it and it was gone. Let me summarize:

I moved my checking from Chase to a local credit union, and was asked whether I needed checks. Since I am 49, I was taken aback - you mean people don't use checks. Turns out that I only have 4 places that I use checks regularly ... so I've become one of those people who don't use checks. I set up two bill pays, two more to go should I need them. I feel like I'm the 21st century.

I will have to go back to monitoring my spending - I've had to dip into my savings twice this month. Its one thing if its inflation or bad luck or I spent a bit on some fun, but its another thing if there's a mindless leak that I can do something about.

So far in the two last weeks I spent on two out-to-eat lunches, one with a woman I met on the Vietnam tour (to be honest I didn't think I made any friends), the other with screenwriter friend and partner of lawyer friend; money on net rice papers that were a lattice instead of solid (those were $1.49 per package, so not a bank breaker), some on pork sausage, ginger, rhubarb, and other groceries to make cha gio; the sewer water garbage bill; to take one class in garden mosaic art; paint, brushes, sandpaper to artistically 'distress' the picture frames I got at the neighborhood yard sale - so so far, I've spent on needs, social, and fun that I'm going to implement. No mindless leak has appeared yet.

Two days ago I began to harvest some baby lettuces that I've been growing in a two foot bowl with wheels. This year I was clever - I planted the lettuces in a big "X", so that no matter when I got around to weeding and harvesting, I knew what's in my pot. Last year I planted randomly, and what happened is that the lettuces sprouted randomly, along with the weeds. It was okay for a few weeks, but then the weeds got the better of me. Planting the "X" means that I can also plant another "X" between the older "X" for a later harvest.

Greenwood Yard Sale and auuuurrrgh for other reasons

May 24th, 2011 at 03:43 am

The aaaauuuuuurrgh came from total computer problems for me today at work. I (and the IT guy) thought it was hard drive problems, but it was a piece of despicable mal-ware that was pretending to cause a hard drive failure ...probably to pay 'em money and they would magically "fix" it. So I didn't get much done today. Thankfully, I'm now in the quiet season, where there is planning, but all but one of the big projects is done.

Change finding for this year is marching along - I'm at over $80 since last July. One of the players of the death bet had Harmon Killebrew, so he is now ahead.

Greenwood Yard Sale for 2011 has come and gone. DH and I went to go, thinking we'll just see what's out there and take a picture of something that I couldn't believe was for sale. Nothing to do a double take ... maybe that "make me an offer" saddle. But I did buy a batch of picture frames - one for $.50, where the lady wouldn't play when I tried talking her down, and 8 more for .25 apiece, with the seller who did play along. Since even the fifty cent frame was so cheap, I thought I'd have a little fun and distress them artistically. I also bought a sturdy one foot square cedar table that we could use as a little outdoor tray, a stool to stand on, a stand for some of my outdoor container plants. $10 for that.

Repotted the sage and rosemary. DH has potato plants growing in a black plastic garbage can that are now about 3/4 of the way up the can. Blueberry plants are going great gang busters, even the plant that I thought was on its last legs from canker. This year, its all leafy goodness and doing wonderfully.

boring stuff

March 22nd, 2011 at 04:16 am

Friday I deposited $41 from my tip box to savings. I've already added $5 to it so the cycle begins again.

Remember last fall when I was in the bird flu adjuvant study. Tomorrow is my last visit - it was weekly for a couple of months and 1 visit after 180 days. Tomorrow is the 180 day visit, with the last $50 to follow. Apparently I was a hit - I've gotten a couple of letters for another study. I'll see about it - now that I've gotten in a groove with them its easy to schedule, didn't do so with the trip ahead because I didn't want to make too many additional plans. My only complaint about the researchers is that they seem to pay in a lumpy manner.

After mailing the asian seeds, a friend of the Duvall friends is sending out more garden seeds. Exciting! And speaking of the Duvall friends, one got a job in her field. Not quite permanent, but its away from the psychotic boss she had been working with and its a start.

all quiet

December 3rd, 2010 at 05:47 am

Been about a week since I last posted. Mostly because not much has been happening. Waiting for my passport with the visa to come back from the visa service, and I plan to hit my medical center to get the shots I'll need for my February trip. Hep A, typhus shots, along with a blister pack of anti-malarials just in case. With that, the heavy duty buying is done, the rest is just collecting for the packing list.

Sister is a bit funny - she's asking me whether I'm reading what's on the book list. I think she means the professor who is leading the tour. If that's the case, probably not. There isn't going to be a formal test, at least not one that couldn't be passed by buying two slots on the tour. Smile

Sister sent a TON of turnips in her latest box. I was at a bit of loss on how to use them - DH hates turnips so too much hiding is out of the question - until I remembered how much I liked turnip pickles at the Indian/Middle Eastern restaurants. Turns out making them is very easy:

Turnip pickles
6-7 medium turnips
2-3 tiny beets
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
red pepper flakes
1 c warm water
1 1/2 c white vinegar
clean glass jars

Peel turnips and beets, slice into 1/4 - 1/8 in slices. Put in large bowl, sprinkle red pepper flakes and salt over slices. Toss to get everything well mixed. Cover, let sit for 12-24 hrs.

Pack slices into the glass jars. You should have a bit of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Add the warm water and vinegar to the bowl, mix well, pour the liquid over the slices in the jars.

Cover, let sit for at least 2 days. And this is what they look like...

this and that

June 26th, 2010 at 04:05 am

Found money
6/21/10 - $0.01 (sidewalk)
6/22/10 - $0.02 (road, floor)
6/23/10 - $0.33 (car wash concrete pad, Safeway floor)
6/24/10 - $0.24 (road, parking meters, planting strip)
6/25/10 - $0.12 (curb, Safeway floor)

Broke $48 in found money today. I started this tracking and more seriously finding money on 7/14 last year, so I have 19 days to "find" $1.98 if I want to hit $50 for the year. Quite doable.
$48.02: 1,067 pennies, 42 nickels, 176 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.

This and that are happening. I planted sugar peas (var. Alderman) against the south wall under my kitchen window. The packet claimed the peas will grow 6-8 feet. They certainly did that! I see them growing above my kitchen window. It looks restful, rather than scary. Pea pods are developing and we should be eating in a day or two.

The Milwaukee Film Fest has still not cashed my check - been a couple of weeks. Wonder what's up.

Thursday, I deposited $45 from my tip box this month, giving me over $1100 in immediate savings. I probably will be using most of it next month to keep my credit card paid off. The weekend cow trip was inexpensive - $75 for 2 days of minivan and gas, $60 hotel room first night, and $40 for several meals on the road - but will expand my credit card bill a bit.

Work has slowed a bit, but the gossip is passing through. One of the VPs (whom I'm not fond off) was pushed to resign. The VP himself had "let go" his admin last year, who didn't like him either. The admin got picked up by HR as a spare worker. She worked with us for awhile, and worked in other departments. She and I shared an elevator today and I mentioned (I thought slyly) "good that you survive your enemies." She laughed and told me that many, many of my co workers expressed the same sentiment.

After this round of performance evaluations, HR told us that the plan was for a 2% pay raise, but that they are holding it off implementing them until October in case the medical premiums shoot up. Right now, I'm thinking that employment is like a game of musical chairs. The music stopped; if you are in a seat, its all good.

Was at 167.4 before cow trip. I went up to 169, and am back down a bit at 168.4. I was tempted and ate a bit more than I hoped these last weeks, so only being up a pound is a win.

Excited about the Greenwood Car Show tomorrow!

red four

June 15th, 2010 at 04:06 am

Well, we visited the ranch that we got the beef from last year and from which we are buying a whole animal this year. Here's a picture of our beef cow:

We actually did name it a pretty appropriate name. I hesitate to use it because its a nice name and not "Dinner". Four comes from the ear tag, its a red Angus. The yellow of the tag means that it will finish putting on its weight in August. The rancher buys the cattle at about 12 - 14 months and they eat the pasture and native grass exclusively.

We visited outside of Yakima, in the shadow of Mount Adams.

Most of the acreage is pasture. The rancher has a lot of interest in developing a mixed grass and native plant pasture,

including some exotics called winterfat (in the picture, the bluish green strip exactly in the center background), an important plant that is rich in protein and which comes into its own in the fall and late fall.

but some is wetland that rancher is also trying to rehabilitate.

But it wasn't all biology - I tried a few artistic shots.

and got a good sunset shot.

double negative

May 9th, 2010 at 04:56 am

Found money - $0!
Found money - $0!

Yikes, I guess, that I haven't found any change for two days in a row. Holding at $40.38, so there is more to life than finding it. Smile This weekend has been glorious so far and I'm close to getting the patio in shape for us to use it. So far, I've:

1. Painted the bottom and legs of the patio table. I have one good coat on it everywhere. Tomorrow I plan on lightly sanding the top, get the second coat on and be done with it.

2. Set up two chairs for DH and I. Turns out that Fred Meyer, Lowes, and Home Depot all had the cushion pattern that I liked. FM price was $35/per, Lowes at $29.98 (so $30)/per, HD at $29.96. HD it was. I also sprung for a stack of chairs cover at $20 ... it does rain here, after all.

V.I. immediately commandeered the chair in the sun. She looks very sultry against the cushion - like Lena Horne on a beach chair. I'll have to post a pic.

3. Planted the 3 strawberry plants we got last Sunday in the strawberry pot. 5 plants at the top is a little tight, but at least everybody has new good soil for this year.

In other financial news, I checked out the new Grocery Outlet one neighborhood west of mine, about a 5 minute walk out of my way. I joke that they put the "gross" in grocery, and I could see that in the produce, but I was surprised that I could get brand name canned tomato products (diced, stewed, sauce, paste) for a least 40 cents/can cheaper, brown rice for 60 cents/lb cheaper, toothpaste for $2 cheaper, etc. Quite useful.

The other irony is that the stock I'm interested in selling (FIS) is possibly going to be bought out by a consortium of three private equity firms. In other words, go back into private hands. Apparently, I just need to sit tight, watch the price rise, and wait for the shareholders to get paid off.