Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Have I mentioned that Bill is into the whole homesteading idea? REALLY into it. Besides our talking about land and what not he has gone slightly insane in downloading DIYs and Homesteading books and articles...and yes he will read them all. He mentioned how much he loves the Back to Basics book that I got from the library and so I found a copy for him on Ebay that Im hoping to win. He got me a subscription to Mother Earth News as an early Yule present. He point blank told me he 100% wants to do this..and not just to make me happy either. That makes me pretty ecstatic. He was disappointed in the loss of the peppers as I was. He uses it a lot in his cooking. He has been thinking ahead about things we would need if we found say earnest money, inspection fees etc. He has also taken inventory on things he would need WHEN we get it, like a list of tools and equipment he doesnt have. Oh yeah and we need a tractor :)

Still dont know what Im going to do about the canning business, I keep looking for them online and the classifieds and freecycle but to no avail. I simply cannot affort a pressure canner right now. But I want to start this stuff NOW. Yes I can be impatient at times, its not a usual trait of mine though. Well Im off to go clean some stuff and work off my irritation. Its just half past midnight and I'm nowhere near tired.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yeah so remember that I was complaining about having too much cayenne. Tonight I lost almost an entire summer's worth of cayenne peppers to mold. I had a jar full of air dried peppers and I was looking at them and noticed that several were moldy so they all had to go. It could be that the jar let in moisture or that a couple weren't as dry as I thought when I put them in the jar. I'm kinda pissed and now I want that food dehydrator. In good news I had just picked the last batch of peppers before the frost hit (whats left out there now is ruined) so they are being oven dried as we speak. I've never tried oven drying though I have read about it. Coincidently I went back to Rural King tonight to price the 22qt pressure canner $93.99), the 16qt is $79.99 and saw that the Nesco food dehydrator was on sale for like $30. Hmmmm I think the kitchen gods might be speaking to me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Decisions, decisions

So I decided not to take the job. The fact that I kept questioning it was one of the deciding factors. The other one was the fact that I would give up my Xmas bonus and would not be getting one at the new place whatsoever. That money will not only help with Yule but also help pay off bills. Paying off bills leads me to have more money for things like a house and land :D I found a kit house that I want if we can't find land with a place on it. Actually there are two that we really liked. There were a couple possibilities in the classifieds today that I hope to call about. I also have been scouring the papers and Freecycle about a pressure canner to no avail.

The library called today to let me know that "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" arrived so we went and got it. I didn't get to read much of it tonight at work because of the paper hunting and well, and I did have to actually work too. I found that two grocery stores are having VERY good sales. I need to do some inventory and see what we need. Hard to pass up 10 for $10 sales and loaves of bread for 88 cents. They do freeze well. Then I need to re-arrange the cabinets and the pantry. I want more room mwahahahahahahah.

Tomorrow I am going to try to drag Bill out of bed to help me take the ac unit out. I miss having a window I can open and it is officially too cold to have it. It needs to be properly wrapped and put in the shed. J got on the roof of the trailer over the weekend and cleaned and recoated it. But it hasn't rained or stormed again to check the seal. I brought the rosemary plant in and we'll see if I can keep her alive. The jalepeno and cayenne plants are still producing but it's getting down to 34 F tonight don't think they will be around much longer..they did splendidly this year with little effort ...however I have way too much cayenne... note to self... six plants is too many for us. I've dried quite a bit for Bill to use for cooking and I have given a bunch away as well. I could probably try 2 jalepenos next year and definitely more bell peppers. Ohhh but planning the garden for next spring must wait as I am still waiting to hear about if the park dist. is doing allotments this next year... otherwise Im gonna be screwed. My little plot just doesn't get enough good light to warrant making it bigger.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


It's been very rainy and stormy here and Tues. morning when I woke up the bed had a wet spot. At first I thought one of the cats was going to have to die but upon further inspection realized it was water, our ceiling has a leak. Right down through the bracket that holds the light fixture. So we let S&J know as it's their trailer. The roof needed to be re-tarred and I guess has for the last year or two. Grrrr. So it was kind of a wake up call, I want my own place even more now and though I don't think I could get anything right away. I am honestly looking because you never know what might fall into your lap. Carbondale is way too expensive..seems to be the price for an acre here is $10k-20k, which is nuts. But outside of Carbondale is sooo much cheaper and thats what I want...outside of Carbondale. I don't mind having to do some repair/remodelling either if it lands me a sound sale on a place..but alas these are just daydreams. I'll focus on learning what I need to know before I get land.

So I finally made it to the Co-Op and the library, yay! I had three books in mind: "The Encyclopedia of Country Living", "It's Not Easy Being Green" and "The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency". They didn't have any of them available there but they could get a copy of the Encyclopedia from a sister I requested it. In my search I did however get three other books: "The Manual of Practical Homesteading", "Back to Basics" and "How to Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty"
I've been trying to research pressure canner equipment as well as boiling water bath equipment and Bill is as enthusiastic about canning as I am....especially his salsa which is divine. He does make it from store bought diced tomatoes but there is also cilantro, jalepeno, onion and concentrated lime juice. After a bit of reading and asking around we have decided that its something we will try in a boiling water bath instead of a pressure canner. He's been a bit gun ho about all this and he even bought me these eggs today from the little local grocery down the street. Cage free and no antibiotics :)
In other news the hospital called but I didn't talk to them. I will call in the morning and see what's up. Im pretty sure that they called to offer me the job but I had made myself unavailable by phone ( a rare thing indeed). The lady had told me they would know by the end of the week so I had figured on a call Thurs or Friday so let's see how tomorrow goes when I call them back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On to another weekend

Second interview went well but as much as I want to get back into the hospital Im not sure this is the job for me. That and right as they were calling me in the power went out! Kinda says something to me. Bill says if thats the case and they offer it to me then say no. Im worried that this will be my only shot back into the hospital but I guess it really isnt. Its just after 3am and it's my "weekend". What is on my agenda? The library again....hoping to get books and to also hit the Co-op to price check and gather some other info. Still want my own place, now more than ever. I ended up spending $39 on a new pair of pants and a new pair of shoes. I think Im going to have my bike checked out tomorrow and see if I can bike into town....that should make for an interesting post. I have some new pics but Im not sure what to put up or what anyone would want to see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not saving

Haven't been online lately but I dont really know who all reads this. I have a job interview at 1:30pm and I have mixed feelings about it. It's the second phase of their interview process. I've been a little melancholy lately and I had to pitch 2 pairs of jeans due to total destruction in the past 2 weeks. My sneakers are starting to fall apart I hate buying new clothes and shoes. I also needed a new pair of dressy pants. Im trying to save money not spend anymore grrr.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Storms and such

We had some spectacular storms last night I was up til 4 am helping the teen do her laundry. We never once lost power but major portions of the town and the next one over did. We needed the rain. Southern Illinois has had a bit of a drought. No damage to the trailer or cars. I enjoy storms thoroughly just have to be careful with the possibility of tornados.

Today was a good day. I took a half day from work and spent some extra QT with Bill. It was wonderful. I also talked to my dad yesterday and mentioned that I was looking at dehydrators and pressure canners. He said my mom's mother has one stashed away that he doesn't think she even knows she has anymore. (they just redid her cabinets and found a LOT of stuff i guess lol) He was going to talk to her about it and if she agrees he will see about getting it checked for safety and if safe then calibrated :) He said he'd mention to Mom about the dehydrator as a possible Yule gift. I am trying to figure out what I want to plant next year, I usually dont do that until Feb or March but with the possibility of getting the extra allotment I want to be prepared. I talked to my mom today but briefly as she was taking my out of town cousins to the doctors office. She wants me to come visit. I get some time off to burn soon Im hoping to get up there before Halloween, hopefully before Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow is a fairly blah day, Bill mention picking up stuff to make his famous salsa and Im going to hit the Co-Op to ask around about local meat and dairy. Oh and of course my never ending quest to get to the library to check out some books.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday Bill and I went to the Public Library book sale and I came away with these fantastic books for only $3!! The green and tan one is the Farm Journal's Freezing and Canning Cookbook circa 1967. It even had cut out articles from newspapers inside it with extra recipies. I got to also go to Rural King and price a food dehydrator ($40-65) and a pressure canner. The smallest one had a price tag of $79 the other ones I couldnt find prices listed but I could guess it was over a $100. I plan on shopping around prices online as well. I still haven't gotten to spend time in the library itself to check out books but its been busy. I have a job interview Wednesday morning.
I was talking at work about wanting to make cheeses and butter and Deanna said they did that once using baby food jars? Wonder how well that works out and if I could use a good sealing mayo jar for that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A blown "weekend"

So my days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So I call that time my weekend. I didn't get a thing on MY to-do list done. I got the teen's homecoming dress and shoes onsale for $45...amazing in this town and I got the house ready to be bombed but sadly that didnt happen today either. So now I have to try and pull it off tomorrow. I have to work tomorrow. That doesnt bother me so much as I still haven't gotten to go to the library.

Im not exactly thrilled about the whole bombing thing because its insecticide. My roomie J has been feeding the trailer court cats and now it seems we have their fleas. I have 2 cats of my own, Bill has 1 and they have always been indoor kitties...and yes they are fixed. So now our cats have fleas. Yay! So we are bombing. I am debating asking J not to feed the cats anymore. I don't want to have to do this often. We had to do this one other time when an old roomie who had a dog decided to stop giving said dog his flea medication. Chaos ensued and my cats not only got fleas but they got worms from the fleas.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Busy days

Still haven't gotten to go to the library. Life keeps getting into the way..well actually Saturday we had to go to the SIU homecoming parade as the teenager was in it. It was a really long parade I might have pictures but I cant find my cam at the moment. Then today I was at fight practice....I'm part of a medieval combat group, but I had to work this afternoon so I just hung out and talked. It was great because I talked with a friend of mine who is VERY eco friendly and we are kicking around the idea of getting an allotment and splitting it. He is getting divorced and is letting her have the house and has moved in with another friend of ours. He is clearing some space there and has been allowed to put in a raised bed but it wont be very big. Not nearly what he usually plants. I've come to the hard conclusion that while I have lots of yard here at the trailer court only the front part of my plot gets good sunlight. My friend has said he' come out and help me and Bill start our compost pile (especially with placing it) and also plans for the garden here to optimize it. So Im psyched.

So hopefully I'll hit the library late Monday morning and if not then I will definitely hit it Tues or Wed as those are my days off of work. What types of books do you guys read as far as homesteading and gardening?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Getting started and a bit of seredipity

So today I got about 3 hours sleep. I fell asleep sometime after 4am then awoke around 7:30 to my dear boyfriend (DB from now on until i know he's cool with me using his name lol) dragging me out of bed cuz he went to McDonald's and got me breakfast..I am a Steak,Egg N Cheese bagel addict. Puttered around the house and talked with the roommate J and waking up the teenager. I tried to return to bed for an hour but alas DB would have none of that so we gathered into the Blazer to go check out a Tabacconist's shop. My DB smokes, and is trying to find a cheaper alternative to constantly running to the gas station so he looked at a home kit to make his own cigs. We found a nice setup for him and with all the supplies in tow we headed home. Then I went to work for 8 hours. I do telephone sales for a vitamin company.

Now while Im not an advocate for smoking and I have never been a smoker I did give him some props for buying this machine as it will save him money and we won't have all the waste that comes with buying packs and packs of cigarettes like the wrapping that doesnt biodegrade, and it supports a locally owned mom and pop shop. The tobacco is more pure and doesnt have a 1/8th of the chemicals commercially bought ones have. He didn't see the extra pluses of it beyond money til then. But yes, I still tell him that he really should quit and he's tries, and at the least is trying to cut back.

I came across my first task on my path which was brought to the forefront of my brain by Vonne's comment and me coming across an ad for 10 ac of land with a cabin for $44k . I need to get out of debt. I have $3k on a car loan and about $1k in credit cards. Yes I know its not as bad as some other people but nonetheless needs to be tackled. It mainly boils down to poor management of my money. I could easily put extra on my cards (beyond the extra I already am paying now) but I'll reference my addiction to McDonalds and the such. So I have an opportunity to get some overtime this next week. What I make over my normal check will get put on to my card. The other part is basically cutting out the fat so to speak. I am creating a spreadsheet/ aka budget so I can track where I am wasting money and then try to remedy it.

I spend way too much money on fast food. I work 2nd shift, sleep weird hours and it's just too damn easy to pull into the drive thru. So it must stop. I let DB in on my plan. No more fast food. I had actually done this for a month once before and I can do it again. If we go out to eat it can't be there and it can't be often. The next part is to start taking my lunch more often to work. I get an hour and usually come home (usually picking up fast food cuz no one cooked) then scarfing it down and running back to work. In my defense on this waste of gas my lunch hour is sometimes the only time I get to see our little family. He works 3rd shift and she's in highschool. So I'm hoping to take my lunch 2-3 days a week and stay there.

So I have a plan, I have the means to tackle it. While Im at it I can use my library card and find the oodles of books I know I should be reading but arent. Any tips on any of these subjects are more than welcome. On my final note (yes I talk a hell of a lot) at work today they passed out these totebags that have my company Logo on it. Its neon yellow and when I brought it home DB said "Great!!! Now we have a reusable tote for shopping at the CoOp!" Thats just what I had in mind and it also lets me know that he's into getting into this as well. :D Now, its 1:30am and Im going to bed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

In the beginning

So I guess to start off I'll let you know a little bit about me. My name is Stephanie, I'm 29 and as my intro states, I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life. I'm a pagan and open about it. I do know a few things that I do want. I want to live a greener, more simple life. I am very interested in the homesteading movements and permaculture and wish to learn a lot more about them. I live in a double wide trailer that is all electric and I want to make us as "green" as possible. I am blessed that my family and roomies are pretty cool with this and also we have one of the biggest lots in our trailer court and a landlord that has no problem with me putting in a garden. I'm fairly new to so bear with me and by all means feel free to comment with pointers, problem solvers and recipies :)