Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Wondering how everyone made out after the storm?

We had strong winds all day yesterday. The cows weren't quiet at all, moving this way and that just like the wind. It couldn't make up its mind which way to blow. The barn creaked and cracked with the wind during barn chores, the dogs and cats wanted in the house. They know!

Dearest and I were outside until the daylight left. Him dangling from a two story ladder getting the leaves out the eaves, while I sat at the bottom steadying the ladder. Sometimes my weight is of an advantage!

By 8pm the pelting winds and rain hit every window. I closed the shades in the windows to keep the thought out. The wind coming from the east sounded like a train coming across the farm.

Dearest had gone to the city to play hockey and one of my daughters to work. I called her at work at 11pm to tell her to be careful of tree limbs on route home. She said if it were terribly bad she would sleep at my folks, but would text me to let me know. The power had gone out at work and she was on back up generator.

Dearest was home 12:30pm. The brunt of the storm. He said all was good until he came up our concession. Trees where on the road. He moved them to the side, so they were small trees. Daughter home 2:15am, by then the wind was pretty normal. I went to sleep then and up at 4:30am this morning feeling it was already warmer out.

After morning barn chores, I cleared the lane way and branches off the road. Could hear chain saws on the concession. Township work crews at work.

The sun is trying to come through. Weather network says it won't. Rain on the way. I'm okay with that. Hope to get some cooking done, and some cleaning.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mission Accomplished

It is done. All my set projects for October. Amen!

I worked for 5 1/2 hours today under the back stairs. Vacuumed each and ever book under there and decided what to do with each one. There are still many there, classicals and ones of interest to everyone. But bags of stuff went out of here. Many to 'Friends of the Library'. One bag to donations and a full canvas bag ready to go to a home school family of boys. Books on rocks, fish and space.

I found a few photo albums. Going through them. Many from the last 1980's. Memories. But I noticed many of the pictures were the same as those in the cottage journal books ( when we owned a cottage) and though to tare the pictures out and send them to designated child. It took over an hour but I was down to one photo album instead of four. I was thrilled about this. Funny how when you are young all this is precious to you but as you get older it becomes stuff.

Found daughters guitar case. Wonder if she still has her guitar?

At the very back of this crawl space are two tall tower ,plastic container shelving units on wheels. These have been my sewing cabinets for over 20 years. One had five drawers and held my patterns. Well I went through them with a cheerful eye and thought deeply about what to keep and what to get rid of. I am happy with my decisions and am down to two drawers of very practical and often made outfits. The teenage patterns are bagged for my friend who has a very tall....I mean VERY tall daughter. They like to sew and I am sure she will enjoy some of these. The rest I packaged for donation.

The second tower had threads, overcast thread, binding, embroidery, quilting supplies. The problem with this unit was the amount of given to me, stuff that was stached in there. I had a friend who was a missionary and moved to Mexico. She had brought bags of sewing supplies to me many years ago now. I never went through it but stuffed it in these drawers. Then my folks closed up their sewing machine shop and I took one of each colour of thread and many sewing notions before the auction. Today was the day! I removed lots of stuff. Put it in baggies and sent it off with daughter to the missionary center. Someone will take a bag of zippers, or seam binding etc.

I am now down to one tower of sewing supplies/patterns. The second one I will give to eldest daughter to put the baby items in. It is handy because it is on wheels. She can cart it where ever she wants.

The whole area is vacuumed, and scrubbed down. I ahd to put books abck on shelves, but it will be easy to remove anything when Dearest decides to insulate this area.

Now I am tired!

Preemie Nightie

I have a real busy day here today. I have decided to book two days off in a row to do nothing but what needs doing here. I am not leaving the farm for anything ( except an emergency). It is the end of the month and I promised myself two projects would be completed by October 31st. One the cleaning of the kitchen cupboards which I finished last week. The second, under the back staircase. This is where the homeschooling books are kept, along with other reading material, magazines, photo albums and tucked way in the back is two plastic drawer sets with my threads, machine needles, patterns and knitting needles and such. Today it gets cleaning out. The shelves dismantled as Dearest wants to insulate that wall. It is the north wall, and is cold in the winter. The small downstairs bathroom is off this space and is pretty cold to sit at in the winter. I also want to make turkey pot pie and turkey loaf today for later this week. I have help today as the 21 year old is home until 3pm. So either she can help with schoolwork or cleaning. I'll let her pick.
Last night I pleated two preemie nighties for daughters third child due in January but we are told will be early. My daughter is sending a hormonal signal that is telling her body it is time. But she is only 26 1/2 weeks along. the doctors have told her to be prepared. In the meanwhile she is freaking because she had big babies before and has nothing small. I thought to comfort her with two preemie nighties, smocked.

Off to work!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grocery Challenge October 28/12

My grocery spending for this week ( not good)

2 x Milk @ 3.93 each $7.86 (used rain checks from last week)

6 x 454g I can't believe its not butter @ 1.00 each, $6.00

No Frills:
yogurt (12) $ 2.88
cat food (4kg) $6.98
cheese (500g) $3.88
dog food (18kg)$9.98
2 x Demster bread @ 1.88 each $3.76 less coupon for $1.00 = 2.76
pork loin (7 pieces @ 30% off) $3.62
broccoli $.88
English cucumber $.97
3lbs oranges $2.88
2 tomatoes $.90

24 hens processed $27.93

Budget $300.00
Total what spent this month: $374.88
coupons this week: $1.00
Total this week: $77.52
Total Over: $74.88

I have to admit I was a little scared this week shopping. I knew I would be over my set amount because of the chickens being dressed. That said I have 24 chickens in my freezer for the winter, which is really comforting to know. I also have 10 tubs of maragine in the freezer for baking. The one item I was willing to go $40.00 bucks on this week was Kraft Peanut butter which was on sale at a fantistic low price of $3.88L but I priced matched everywhere and there was NO peanut butter to be found.

This month I am over by $77.88!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


They weather network was calling for a fantastic warm sunny day today. I put all my wash from the hamper , though the machine last night and after morning chores, went to hang the laundry on the line outside. Both lines full, still dark outside.

Last night I pulled a turkey from the freezer. A small 5kg one. Enough for a few meals that I won't have to dream up over the weekend. Made stuffing and am at present cooking the bird.

Dearest had some secretarial work that needed doing. So while helping with school work I did this work for him. It took over 2 hours but it is all done now. He will be pleased and I happy he isn't spending inside all day tomorrow pondering over it all.

As I was doing this  bookwork it poured out. I was beside myself. Two lines of laundry outside and all sopping wet! But by noon hour the sun shone through. Everyone is outside now raking leaves. There are many more to fall, but a good start for the garden. Today's load will go into the raspberry patch. Hopefully a dozen wheel burrow loads worth.
Yesterday in the city I bought two meters of flannel in baby pink. One plain, one with floral to smock baby nighties for my new granddaughter. They were $4.00/meter. We have been told to expect a preemie, as my daughter will almost 100% not go full term. Finding doll size clothing is difficult in our city.I need to finish the layette I am making first, but somehow a new project seems more fun at this point.

I have one more kitchen cupboard to clean out. The one that houses the plastic containers and my large kitchen appliances. Really not looking forward to this one. I hate matching the plastic containers, but I am admit I am going to do it today.

Joke on me this morning. I still have my rooster, called Chochi. But when I went to let him out this morning, for some reason I looked in the rafters and there was a hen sitting. The one I call"Scary Cat" because she never went with the flock. Guess she gave the last laugh at me, being scared saved her life. Guess I still have chickens! All my other hens are names after Jane Austen characters. Don't know why? I can just see dinner conversations in the future. "Well mom is this Eleanor we are eating?" Kids!!! 

Tara; on my husbands retiring. First we didn't expect to have a young family at our age. Our plan when we got married was to retire at 55. We will be able to at 57 with a partial pension. I have decided that 2013 we will be living on the partial pension and see how we do. If we can't accomplish this a move will be in the making. Farms sell at prime right now. I can't say they will in the future. However I have yet to loose money on selling property. I have spent this month fine tuning the budget. It is so scary to think at 51 you still have to worry about such issues. It is like worrying about getting wrinkles. No one wants them but it a reality. My scariness is the though I 'might' have to leave my little piece of Paradise here on the farm. However Dearest has assured me he won't be moving into the city if the time comes. This is of great comfort because it would depress me severely. Our children at home have voiced the same opinion. It helps to know they share my values.

Well best get at those cupboards and outside to enjoy this day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Never Dull

First I want to say that my grocery list yesterday was part of the Canadian Budget Binder ( web site on side bar) challenge. My computer would not allow me to type that bit of information in. Once I have saved, that's it, no more information can be had.

It is to keep me focused on my grocery spending. I do all my budgeting on my Google Drive. Everytime I purchase something , that night it goes on the spreadsheet. Groceries and gas are the two categories that make or break it for the budget. So this year, with the exception of our PEI trip, in which we cooked our own food, the prices there were way too high compared to Ontario and broke my budget for September. From January to September I went over grocery budget five months. However only once by a significant amount. My goal it to try and get at least half the year under $300. and re-assess our budget for 2013. In 6 years Dearest will be retiring. I need to work out how we will live on less income. He will be 57 years old! No old age yet.

This morning after barn chores I collected my hens , boxed them and brought them to the abatoir ( a fancy French name for slaughter). I will pick them up Friday, frozen ready for our freezer. This should last us until spring, when I will once again have a wanting for new hens. These girls were two years old now and their eggs were getting thin, as they have aged. After two most do not produce well anymore. I didn't want to pay for feed throughout the winter. One of my simplifing ,was to put them in the freezer.

Once they were gone I got right to work. My fridge is near empty now. Good time to clean it out. I have done that this morning, putting any old in the dogs dish for supper. There was hardly anything for them this time, just empting of some jars.I washed the whole fridge out. So that's clean. I moved on to the cupboards again. These ones hold large items. Bowls, soup pots etc. So they don't take as much time as the food cupboards did. However I had purchased from the Dollarstore some rubberized cupboard liners last year, and I am removing it back down to the wood. After awhile the rubber sticks to cups that have just been washed. Every time I take a cup out the cupboard I have to wipe the rim so as not to have blue rubber on it. In the food cupboard sticky honey and molasses made it a mess. An experiement I will not be doing again. Mom has it in her cupboards and I thought it was nice, but she doesn't have kids that don't look where they put things, and spill everywhere.

Dearest brought the German Shepard in last night. He had done a dump in the kitchen on the braided mat, which is now outside in the rain. I shall have to scrub it and somehow in this rainy weather dry it.

Son-in-law, cut his finger right down to the bone last night. My daughter unable to deal with cleaning it, he came here, bleeding all over the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. I cleaned and cared for the wound. Once cleaned we could see it did not require stitches. But the mess in my house. Let alone all the camping gear, and laundry from camping. My kitchen could pass as a mens locker room without a blink of an eye. Hockey gear dring by the woodstove!!! Makes me want to leave.

Anyway daughter and family arrive 5 minutes before supper, so I invited them to stay ( I think they planned it that way!). All the extra dishes and last minute thinking of how to strtch this meal. Thank goodness the garden still has spinach and lettuce. We managed.

Well break time over. Best clean out those cupboards.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grocery Challenge October 21/12

Family of seven, two adults ( parents) 25yrs, 21yrs, 16 yrs,4 yrs, 3yrs,2 dogs and 2 cats, one income.
Budget of $300./month
This week:
No Frills
Beatrice yogurt 2.99
Cheese strings 4.44
frosted flakes 2.99 ( price match Sobeys)
brown sugar (1kg)4.27
icing sugar (.5kg) 1.68
bird seed 5.88 ( for my chickens due to slaughter this week)
2 cans black beans (.89 each) 1.78
4 lbs ground beef ( 1.99lb) 7.96
banana 1.79kg 1.84
taxes 1.28
Total 35.11
Bulk Barn
icing sugar .510kg 1.22
chocolate squares .120kg 1.38
chocolate chips .510kg 4.77
candy .030 .21
tea 3.19
coupon -3.00
Total 7.80
From Jim’s
cheese bread free
bag of begals free
sub buns (3) free
3 chocolate bars free
2 bags of milk 3.96 each 7.92
60lbs of ‘ not for human consumption’ meat for dogs free
10 lbs of onions ( 4 were bad) free
3 grapefruits free
Budget: $300.
total grocery spent for the month :$297.40
total coupons used this week :$3.00
total spent this week:$50.83
total under :$2.60
Total left to spend :$2.60
When I bought my milk at Foodland they did not have the advertised milk in store, but a different brand instead. I asked for a rain check for the advertised special and they gave them to me, enough for 4 bags.
This week my husband went camping. he needed some special foods. I just got him cheese strings and baked the rest. Saved a bundle.
I will be over this month. Too many good specials for the pantry at the stores this week, chickens go under the knife.
However garden still producing root veggies, cold cellar and larder are full.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I have "new" boots!

Took the younger children and teenagers friend from the Frankford area down to Belleville for the day of shopping and just doing something different. We made a picnic lunch and snacks before leaving. The weather was a nice fallish. Warmer weather at present but the sun only decided to peek through now and again.

Our first stop was Value Village ( new-to-you shop). The Belleville one is bigger and better priced then in our near by city. My friend tells me this is because of the Sears Warehouse there which keeps the prices lower. I was disorientated in there at first because the isles are very long and narrow. Hard to get a cart with kids in down the aisles. Once I got going it was okay. I really am out of my comfort zone shopping.

We were looking for a fancy dress for the teenagers for there formal dance tomorrow night. It didn't take my daughter long to find two dresses. Both look really good on her. I made her decided and she went with the more expensive one at $12.99. It is a 1940 style and she is going to put her (heavy) hair up and wear red lipstick. Oh the dress is red!

I was looking at winter coats for the youngest as the zipper has gone on hers and we all know how long it takes to fix that? Well in case you don't know, an hour to tear the zipper out and about an hour to put  a new one in....if all goes well. Then the cost of a new zipper. I used jacket was the solution, but there was none her size. Tons for the next size up!
Then I found the shoe department. What I didn't expect to find were all the boots! The ones on the left are Tender Tootsies. I got them for $9.99. They have never been worn. Still have the stickers on the bottom, untouched. perfect for shopping in the snowy weather. The tall ones I had to chew my lips over. I liked them but did I need two pair of boots. These are not 'keep your feet warm' boots, but stylish under my many kilts! They have been used but hardly. I paid $14.99 for them. Now that I have them home I am thrilled with my purchases. I had banked $100. for new boots and got two pair for $25.00.

Feeling good I bought the little ones a game for $5. and teenager clip on earrings which cost as much as the dress. She will look adorable.

Just had to share my excitement.


I worked hard today inside the house and my eyes see the difference.

I was so happy to have the food cupboards cleaned out. It had been bothering me since August. I just have been too busy. Making an appointment to get them cleaned out worked fantastic.
I have the first cupboard done in about 45 minutes. It seemed to go quickly. Each Tupperware container washed clean. My suggestion if you use any sort of plastic to store food is NOT to have a light coloured lid! Mine are pink and the cocoa and chocolate chip containers were so dirty as they stain terribly over time. Lots of Baking Soda on them.

All the containers are now restocked from the cold cellar supply. I did get rid of a few items. Paraffin Wax with the price tag of .69 a large box. Don't use this for canning anymore so it went. There was a near full box of bran flakes that I couldn't tell if bugs had gotten into or not, so I fed it to the chickens. And some sugar free Jello daughter bought on sale not seeing it was sugar free. I brought it to the Food Bank. We are allergic to Aspartame.

In total it took me close to three hours to clean, and move around. My cook books needed some overhauling as well. I removed recipes I have never made and have made my mind up I never will.

Tonight I cleaned all the towels and rags I uses.

This afternoon I went through our file cabinet which is bursting every time I open it. Dearest always looks after the financial stuff, I am just the book keeper. Well we missed a retirement savings roll over in April and the financial institution gave him what I think is a bad return when they rolled it over.  My frustration is that this institution never send you anything as a reminder. I wanted to make sure that this doesn't happen again. So I went in the file. What a disaster. It is all just shoved in the file with tons of un-needed papers attached. I went through this pile and must have burned at least 100 pages of non-information stuff. I stapled by year in order of the year and when they came in the mail. Amazing enough not one was missing! Guess he does have a system??? Perhaps I ruined it? I kept the last seven years in a current file and the remains I put in a Rubbermaid container in the basement. We will never need something from 1995, but he would want to see it at some time.

This took hours. But it is neat and clean and organized, easy to find. I then posted the due dates of investments on the 2013 calendar three weeks before the investment comes due. Gives us time to see what we want to do with it.

I have never bought a calendar before. I did this year from Staples for about $10. It is longer then most and a handy wire hang up so I don't have to use a clothes peg by March to keep the previous month up on the hook. It has lots of room to write on in each square. So today I marked dentist appointments and eye appointments etc on this calender.

Quiet night at home. Ate leftovers and watched a DVD from the library while knitting. Enjoyed my so called 'me day'.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Am Around

I have been all over the place this past week and have not had much time to myself. Today I "booked" me time and everyone knows it. I need it before  I break. My me time however is not really me time, but time to try and accomplish one of the two things I wanted done by October 31. Clean out the kitchen cupboards!

I began it one night after do dishes. I pulled my whole spice drawer out, washed all the containers and the drawer, put the spices I need to refill on my phone memo pad, and refilled the drawer. That little bit made me feel really good.

Today I am going to tackle the three food cupboards. I have  pretty much everything in Tupperware ( country mice situation). So it is a matter of taking out the containers, washing them all down, washing the cupboards. Re-filling what needs doing, and plucking what I will need in the next month into the phone.

The phone is handy for this. I have a running list of items I am getting low on so if there is room in my weekly budget for one or two of these items I  can get it.

Dearest and boy have gone interior camping this morning at Algonquin Provincial Park. there will be a group of them meeting up there. It is a fishing, guy thing weekend. They do it twice a year and I get fish in the freezer to boot. Good deal, because when they are gone I don't cook! So it is kind of a 'me time'.

I said last week I would share my knitting projects. The computer is a Lenix System and it doesn't seem to like putting pictures on blogger anymore. Hopefully today it will work.
It is made with 4ply fingering wool. A new born size for a friend due mid-January. The pattern is from Patons Baby be Good booklet,(1989). the wool was given to me from a friend who bought it 14 years ago when her third child, first daughter was born. She bought a lot of wool then but with three kids under four never had time to knit anything and now 14 years later still had the wool, and handed it over to me. I was grateful for it. the buttons on the neckline I got from my mom' s stash. So free to make sweater, only my time.
This is the back of a layette set for baby size 6 months. Same pattern book and same wool weight. Wool Called Bernat Lollipop, given by the same friend. This will be for my new granddaughter due in January but wanting to appear already. My daughter is in and out the hospital the last few days having steroid shots to keep the baby's lungs well so if she does come at 25 weeks her lungs will be able to breath well. Good news about this yesterday, as the baby has settled down and daughter other then side effects of the steroids ( not sleeping) has also calmed down.Daughter is now allowed to do anything for three weeks. Yah right with a 4 year old and 3 year old at home? Anyway my daughter has large babies, so no use making the first size.

The leaves are really starting to fall here. It is beautiful out today. laundry on the line. I hope to work up the garden this afternoon. Still getting daily root crops out of the garden. A good thing.

Tomorrow the little ones and teenager travel to Belleville to do some girlie things ( shopping). I still need to get winter boots. Other then that just something special for the teenager, the hard one to buy for. On route home we are picking up her friend as they both have been invited to a formal dance Saturday night. Guess who gets to drive them there and stick around to drive them home? Wonder, should I bring my knitting?

Dat turned 84 yesterday and was quite coherent. I brought his car to a dealership yesterday before having to get a new license sticker and e-test. the car has only 62,000km on it. It will sell fast.

I finally finished the books for the year. ( Sep 30) We are trying to live on less as we retire in 6 1/2 years and will have to live on less for 10 years before CPP kicks in. I see where I need to make some changes in our everyday living. This is always a good exercise for me. Opens my eyes to new ideas and changes. You shall start to see these changes on this blog as I type about them as the weeks go on.

Enough procrastination. On with the cupboards.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cold and Wet

It is damp in the house today as the dampness seeps through my bones. I really dislike these shorter days. Seems I just get into something and it is dark out.

This past week I went looking for winter boots. Dress boots for under my skirts that keep my feet warm. It would appear people do not walk out in cold snowy conditions anymore.All the boots I could find are fancy dress boots with enough warmth for a fall dry day. I was so put out. Near tears. My old ones have holes in them and I already wore them one winter with milk bags in them to keep my feet dry.

Sears had a good special on dress shirts which Dearest needs badly. I am afraid I have been putting buying these for too long. But if my dearest of friend didn't call me and say she has a bag of dress shirts that the arms length does not fit her (very tall) husband. There were 14 dress shirts in that bag ( she is a shopaholic). I was so thrilled to get this bag. Washed them all and today ironed them. I didn't have to buy any and these shirts are like new. Thrilled.

I wish to sew, but have too many knitting projects on the go right now. Have to finish them first. Shall show them next week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Food Wastage

I often babysit for my eldest daughter for free. It can be one of the hardest things I do in the week as the combination of our children exhuasts me. However the payment in general in great.

Today I was with the girls at their house all day because they are sick. Normally I would have them here which is easier for me, but I didn't need the sickness back in the house.

Daughter works in produce at the local grocery store.

My payment today..about 60 pounds of beef, chicken, turkey and sausages stated for the dumpster. I have beef frying on the cookstove as I type and chicken in the cookstove baking for dog food. Some of this meat is recall and must be handled with great care ( gloves) and cooked well. But I'm up to this challenge to feed my beasts.

Most other days it comes it forms of browning banana's, broken bags of grapefruit or oranges, fruit and vegetables not so pleasing to the eye but still 80% good for eating.

It bothered me today, as Dearest and I seperated the meat tonight that there is so much waste in our society. And that food banks are filled with fast easy to cook, high calorie foods.

My thought anyway.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Mode

Long weekend is over now. Plans that were to happen tomorrow have faded away sparing up time to get down to some real work. My goal for October is to clean the kitchen cupboards and rid of items I do not need or want. I am sure a box will come out of them. Then to head under the main floor stairs and clean out my sewing patterns, books, photo albums and needlework. I am hoping to make good progress and get rid of items I have had over 5 years and have not touched. Then I hope to insulate the north wall under the stairs with blue insulation boards to help with the heating.

The woodstove came on last night, as the temperatures dipped below the freezing mark. No snow though! However I did have to scrap frost off the wind shield in the morning.

So this means a clean-up of the garden now. Anything damaged by frost will have to go to the chickens who will be leaving here in a weeks time for the freezer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Happenings

Fall colours are alive right now.
Simply spectacular!
breath taking!
I think the hight of the season.
I am in awe.

My garden is still producing, mostly rot vegetables right now. The pantry is full, the upstairs cupboard filled, there is little I am in want of.

The 21 year old has a new job, from 3:30pm to anywhere near 3am. This means a full adjustment of habits around the house here. I normally do my noicy housework first thing in the morning when I have energy, but it is all done now after she has left for work and the toddler has completed her nap. I am having to practise patience here. Its hard. I hate not vacuuming until near supper hour, but I must allow her to sleep.

School is coking along very well here. The 16 year old is well into her courses and is ahead of the game as of yesterday. the four year old is doing grade 1 work now. Enjoying her spelling lists and reading simple words.

Dearest is now having to work an extra day a week. Yet another adjustment for all of us. I have come to rely on him being home more and find myself having to replace his work on those days. Hence my lack of presence here.
This is Thanksgiving weekend here. Where I live this is fall fair weekend, when our near by village hosts the largest agricultural fair in the province. However Thanksgiving weekend is a week early this year and we will be away. I had items to put in the fair, but shall give them as the gifts they were intended for, without ribbons.