Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dreaded Lay Off

Hubby Laid Off

We have always known the dreaded pink slip could be coming but this week will be my hubby's last on the job for who knows how long. We have enough saved to live on for quite a while and with unemployment and a quick lifestyle adjustment we will won't have to touch much of the savings. Not that I want to live on unemployment for a long time but it will allow us a few weeks to get some things done together and give us some quality time to spend together.

I am looking forward to the quality time I will get to spend with Ryan. He works 6-7 days a week most of the time and lives on a third shift schedule. I only get to see him in the evenings for a few hours each night. Hopefully he will go on a day shift schedule until he gets called back or finds a better job. That way we can spend a lot more time together.

What Does the Future Hold

The other great thing about this lay off is that my hubby can explore other career options. I have always known that he is not excited to go to work each day so I plan to encourage him to think about what he would like to do. We can make a plan to make it happen even if he really does want to be a goat or ostrich farmer.

I hope it looks like my dreams of having a small farm that produces much of our own food but also generates other types of income. If it doesn't I just have to try to think outside the box and see how we can meld our dreams together. Now that he has time to think I want to give him that freedom.

I had a big segment typed on a few other things I wanted to vent about but I think I will save that for another post. Right now things are okay but there are some issues we need to pan out. I am thinking we might have the time now to really discuss these issues before I write about them. As I was writing I realized that we are polar opposites on these issues because of our spending/selling styles.

I realized that because of our lack of quality time together we don't really want to spend what time we do have hashing out the issues we don't agree on. It would not be fair to write a long public post complaining about them until we both understand where the other is coming from.

Other Money Saving Ideas
Well I am hoping to learn to make a few things at home that will save money but I am not sure it works that way anymore. I was thinking with my bread maker it would be cheaper to make my own bread but I can't really tell. So if any one has frugal bread recipes please send them my way. I am going to make some freezer jam this evening and start having eggs and toast for breakfast. It is more filling and it is cheaper that the kinds of cereal I eat.

As long as we are on food I also plan to make meals with the things I already have in the house in mind. This will only cut the grocery bill until my cupboards, fridge and freezer are empty but it is always a good thing for me to try to use what I have.

I have not had the heat on much even though it gets cold at night, I just don't want to pay the high gas bill anymore. I have it turned down to like 40 so it does kick on if it gets below freezing but that and the use of natural light instead of turning lights on when it is sunny should save me a few dollars a month. We also don't plan to turn the A/C on this year unless it just gets down right nasty. Since we can barley hit 60 right now I doubt that will be any time soon.

As you might already know I have chickens and right now they are costing me a little money but eventually they will help lower my grocery bill. When they are producing eggs regularly they provide eggs for me and I will be able to sell the surplus to family and friends to cover the cost of keeping the chickens. While I am not going to get rich with six hens I will be able to cover my costs and eat fresh yummy eggs.

Please if you have some easy money saving tips for me sent them my way. You can always email me at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Everything is Going My Way.....

I get sick!
At least that is what happened this last week. I was having a great weekend but it ended on Monday with a horrible stomach bug. I woke up at 6 am after a fitful night of sleep and really you don't want to know the rest. Just know that for almost 24 hours I couldn't go to far from a bathroom. Then when that subsided I had a headache and sore throat that could have killed a lesser person or at least if felt like it.

Now that I have had a few small but solid meals and plenty of liquids I am feeling human again. Amazingly my chickens didn't die and my dog is still okay. If my hubby was not awesome they might have been really hungry by today. My husband came to my rescue and went to the store to get me the stuff that sounded good like Popsicles and chicken noodle soup. He also made me Jello and ran to McDonald's to get me a chicken salad for my first solid meal. He didn't check on the chickens as much as I do but he did make sure they had food and water a few times a day. He also took care of the dog so I am happy.

Clean Up Time

My hubby did a great job of taking care of us and he even finished the laundry that I started...well he put it in baskets. Now I have to finish the laundry and clean the mess that has accumulated in the two days I was super sick. I have started with cleaning the chicken brooder and a really good wash on the food and water dishes. I have laundry in the washer, I went to the post office to drop off the stuff I sold on eBay and I went to the grocery store. I still have a ton to do but I already feel very tired stupid stomach bug has me wiped out.

Hope everyone else is having a better week than I am. Hopefully by Friday I will be caught up on regular chores and back to myself again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sustainable Living Progress in Toledo Ohio

Weather in Toledo Ohio

Well I live in Toledo Ohio and I am really starting to wish I lived in Florida or somewhere else that rarely gets snow. We have had a few beautiful days even one day that was near eighty degrees but right back into the just above freezing temps. I think that I have some seasonal depression because I am actually very happy with my life right now and the direction it is taking but I have so much trouble getting motivated. This is causing me to think we may need to talk about moving further south when we are ready to move.

My Progress On Sustainable Living

As many of you know one of my goals in life is to learn to make more of my own food. I have not been able to plant anything this year because of the weather. I do have a tray of seeds that I started yesterday but other than that I am waiting a bit because my kitchen is not big enough to cook in and have plants in there all day as well. I need to be able to put them on the porch during the day then bring them in at night.

I am learning to cook things from scratch even though I have to rely on the grocery store for my ingredients at this time. I hope to have less reliance on the grocery story as my plants grow and my chicks grow up. I also hope to find a few places to volunteer that will teach me how to live as much as possible off the land I am on now. I think I have a few things starting to line up but I don't want to jinx that by posting about it just yet.

I purchased six hens for laying eggs, fertilizing my yard and taking care of my mosquito problem. Okay you got me it was after I bought the chickens that I realized they would be for more than eggs. From what I hear they are going to help me make a naturally inviting backyard. I am loving caring for them right now and I am really hoping I can eventually raise my own meat birds too.

Raising Food VS Buying Food

I have been reading a lot about chickens and how they are treated in the agriculture business. In big poultry houses they are housed in tiny cages and often debeaked and they are either fattened up for consumption or they are dropping eggs to meet our growing demand for convenience. I don't this like it at all! I know from my research that most animals we consume in high quantities are treated in a similar fashion. Now that I know I wish to gradually reduce my dependence on these animals from traditional grocery stores and meat markets.

Also the fruit and veggies we eat are full of toxins from unnatural fertilizer to many different pesticides. I would love to be a great organic farmer but if what I am reading is correct you are safer if you grow your own veggies and just apply pesticide as needed. As far as I can tell large agricultural businesses spray more than one pesticide and they spray on a schedule. They are in the prevention of pests business because they don't have the time or the resources to inspect crops daily. 

Call to Action
It all has me wondering if what I eat today is poisoning my body. I don't want to get all crazy and tell people they have to change their lives all at once. If you do a little research and decide you feel the way I do spend a few moments thinking about what you can do today to change things. I am not changing things all at once but I am taking baby steps toward my goals.

If you live in the Toledo Ohio area and you would like to start a group to discuss these topics I can set it up.  Just email me( )or comment on my blog and I will start planning a monthly meetup or an online message board. Whatever works best for everyone.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Subheadings for Blog Posts and Other Lessons

Subheadings to Make Your Post Easier to Read
I have been blogging for quite some time now and I have never thought about why some people use subheadings within their posts and some people don’t. I submitted an article to Tribal blogs and gave them permission to change it because I was not entirely sure what they wanted me to do. They didn’t change much but they added Subheadings.

Not only does it make the post look much better it makes it easier to read. It breaks up the large block of text and makes it easier on the eyes. I went to check out some of my favorite blogs and the most of them utilize Subheadings no matter how personal the content. They still write in first person and have a lot of personal stories to tell so they don’t sacrifice personality for style.

Changing my Posting Format
In an effort to learn from my mistakes I am going to be changing the way I post on all of my blogs. I don’t have the time or energy to change all of my old posts but from this day forward you will see Subheadings. It will work quite well for this blog considering I love to write about different aspects of my life. I can create a title that sums up my week and tell you about my diet, my new baby chicks, my exercise, my interviews and whatever else strikes me as important to document. With subheadings you will get an idea of what I am going to talk about in the next few paragraphs.

Extra Lessons I Learned This Week
If you plan to live a life a little against the grain expect many people to get behind you. You must also expect just as many if not more to tell you how crazy you ideas are. I get a lot of support from like minded individuals but I have had to search for them at times. I often run into people who are just extreme in whatever they believe and they really get on my nerves. These are the people you will have the most trouble with.

Bringing the Farm To the City
I live in the city and I just bought 6 chickens (pictures here) I have two patches of strawberries to take care of and I intend to plant a huge garden at my mom’s house this year. I am also hoping for a great big porch garden here because I have not had any luck with an outdoor garden in the area of this yard suitable for gardening. I want to learn to live off the land as much as I can.

What I Want to be When I Grow up
 If that is not enough to get me admitted to the mental institution my career aspirations might get me sent there in a straight jacket. I also wish to only work part time in my schooled trade and part time writing while picking up various other projects. I am still working on what I want to do when I grow up. I think I want to live on a farm and raise animals, write about the farm life and maybe a fun novel or two, and run some sort of charity where children can come see the farm animals and learn how to grow food. Even I think it sounds crazy but it sounds like loads of fun!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My New Blog Longing for the Country Life

I started a new blog as an experiment in niche blogging called Longing for the Country Life. I have been reading ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income and the idea came to me. Okay that was a lie. To be honest the idea actually came to me because I didn't want this blog to be all about my dreams of having a farm. I was reading this book but I already had 4 posts on the new blog before I hit the chapter on niche blogging.

I put the book down to read a few magazines on chickens and didn't pick it again because I was learning so much about urban farming I just couldn't focus on a book about blogging. I feel like a new person when I think about my future life as a freelance writer living on a farm and producing much of my own food so the topic was a natural and easy progression. I have been doing tons of research on it and I just decided to share it all in one place.

I woke up yesterday and checked out some of my blog stats and found that the new blog has been doing quite well for a baby blog. Maybe it is a supernatural force guiding me in the right direction or maybe it is just the topic I picked to blog about. Somehow Longing for a Country Life it is doing better without a bunch of blog ads than my other blogs did at this stage.

I am not looking to make a fortune blogging but it would be great if I could make a little while sharing the knowledge I am gaining.So if you are interested in moving to the country or in urban farming visit my new blog. You will find some great tips and tricks as well as fun journey of turning this spoiled city girl into a hard working country girl.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Maybe Life Shouldn’t Be Easy

Today I was sitting here typing some blog posts and thinking about how sore I was after two days of heavy duty cleaning. I worked on a basement that had not been cleaned in many years and a garage that was in disarray when we moved in. Of course we added to the mess that was already in the garage and basement but never made a move to make things better.

We are always looking to make our life easier from kitchen gadgets that promise to make you preparation time a breeze to garden gadgets that turn the soil when you are sleeping. We don’t want to have to do the hard stuff. I have to wonder though if we all did the hard stuff would we have the weight problems we have today. If I spent hours each day cooking from scratch and cleaning and working in the garden would I need that cardio machine? If we get a farm and I have to get up and milk some goats and collect some eggs, clean out animal living quarters and feed them would I end up lose weight purely because I was physically active as a part of my regular day.

I think I would be a lot thinner if I were to do those things. I think our modern lifestyle of sitting on the couch or in a chair all day is why we must work so hard to lose weight. I am not saying that if you start a light cleaning routine that you reach your goal weight. What I am saying is that many people who don’t have physical jobs are like me. They are so out of shape and out of touch that when they take on a project that requires some moderate lifting, bending, squatting and standing they end up immobilized for a few days. I am saying if we kept it up and added to it we would end up thinner. We would build the muscles we needed to do some moderate physical labor without having to set aside extra time for a good workout. You won't make it to your high school weight or become a bodybuilder with this approach but if you have a couch potato gut you might just loose a good portion of it.

I have to admit I envy the people who get to spend their day working on their land to feed themselves and others. I wish I could have fresh veggies and raise the chickens and cows that I eat. I wish that had to work hard each day to grow and raise my own food. I have not done a survey nor do I have any scientific facts to back up my claims but I do believe if we stopped trying to find the quickest easiest method to accomplish our daily tasks our lives would benefit greatly. So what are you doing today to make your life harder?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This City Girl Longs for a Different Life

I stopped at a local Tractor Supply store on Friday. I heard they had baby chicks and I just wanted to take a peek. I was so tempted to bring a few home but you had to buy six and I just couldn't see surprising my hubby with that many chickens.

Instead I picked up a few magazines about chickens, goats and gardening/farming. I figured even if now is not the time for purchasing chickens I could at the very least learn about them, and of course look at the cute pictures of baby chicks.

Over the last few days I have read a lot about chickens and I still want my own flock of chickens. I just don't want them right now. I wouldn't mind having them now but there are quite a few preparations to make and then it is the question of how we would deal with long harsh winters and extreme summer temps.

Not to mention the fact that we rent this house and would have to ask permission. I think the one that screams no is that we have a dog that would not like to share her tiny back yard with chickens. She is not much for catching animals but she would be chasing them all over all the time. If she didn't accidental kill some chickens by pouncing on them or trying to make them play like a dog she would give them heart attacks. I would need a place where I could have a designated area for the chickens and preferably a large area. I would want my chickens to have a good sized spot for grazing.

What I would really like is a farm of my own. So here I am going to outline my ultimate dream home for you. Well at least I think it is what I want. We would probably be building a home on at least five acres of land. I would want to find a way to build the home so it was not entirely reliant on gas and power companies.  The problem is finding a great deal on land so we can afford to put a house on as well as out buildings and fences. I would also like a pond stocked with fish. I would like to have plenty of room for grazing animals and an organic garden.

What I really want is to live with less dependence on  other sources for survival. I would like to learn everything I can about making my own.....well everything. I keep saying to myself I guess I could live save money here and there but it all comes down to living my dream or not.

I am guessing that I would have a lot of fun stuff to write about if I lived on a farm. I would have a lot to do as well and it would be like a mini vacation to sit down and write.

My hubby isn't to vocal about anything but he always talks about wanting goats. I am not so sure I would enjoy them the way he thinks he would but they have the potential to be very useful creatures. So I guess I should get him to sit down and we should discuss what we want and where we want to live. We are not even sure we want to stay in this area (another good reason not to buy animals now) so what we really need to do is work on a plan.