Becky's Farm Life

The simple life, living off God's land, one day at a time.

Low Income – Disability Check – Recession

This year is hard on everyone with the recession : high gas prices – high food prices – job cut backs – no jobs – etc.  I wanted to share how we are making it on just a disability check of $996 a month for 3 people. This is our second month living off of it, and it was a little hairy last month but better this month.

With this check, we first pay the rent, power and phone bills. And we are left with $ 211. The $211 is used for: food, gas for the truck, truck ins., soaps and etc., and animal food. And this can be tricky and overwhelming, but so far we are doing it.

The rent bill, we can not lower.

The power bill: is high in the summer due to having to run a AC in the food barn (which holds a years supply of food) , in the winter: we use gas to heat with so power bill will drop but then we have to add back the gas bill. Everything is turned off when not in use.

The phone bill: is a little high but it includes- free long distant and a toll free number ( for family and friends to call), and our Internet which is used for school and to find new ways to save money.   

Some ways we are saving money, not spending money, doing without wants, new ways of doing things:

  1. We started last year storing and stocking up on food and other house hold goods. Which I am so thankful we did because we would be having a hard time now if I had not. And we put a beef cow in the freezer a few weeks ago. So our meat is good and will last 1  1/2 to 2 years.
  2. Our milk cow is giving us 21+ gallons of milk a week, chicken give us eggs ( 80+ a week) and meat, and vegs from the garden. You can do a lot with milk and eggs including feeding cats and dogs.
  3. We only go to town twice a month. I’d like to get it down to once a month but I’m not there yet.  A trip to town cost us $30 in gas round trip.
  4.  Bought power strips to plug in the TV, VCR,  etc., so as they can be turned off all the way when not in use.
  5. Lower watt light bulbs
  6. Home school books left over from older kids, another 4 years worth left before I need to buy more.
  7. We do not eat out, and our sweets are homemade. I do buy cereal as I have not learned yet to make it.  The good, low sugar kind- the good for you kind.
  8. I make a lot of my cleaners, clothes soap, monthly pads, dish clothes, cloth napkins, socks ( I buy wool sweaters from the thrift store, and take them apart for the wool.)
  9. I do use my dishwasher but I don’t use my clothes dryer. I chose to give up using the dryer so I could use the dish washer. And it is only ran once or twice a day.
  10. I chose to have Internet over dish/cable TV. We have air TV and get 3 channels (ABC, NBC, CBS),  we think that is enough for us.
  11. We fix things when they break not buy new. I love DUCT tape, but hubby does not. Oh, well I still sneak it in once in a while.
  12. We save for things that are needed. We don’t rent to own, where you end up paying twice. Now there is nothing wrong with people who choose this, as I know it’s their only way. But we chose not to.
  13. When I go to the store, I only buy things on sale. I plan my menu on what I have on hand.   And at times it’s been hard, as you ladies know sometimes you just want something you don’t have on hand.
  14.  You really have to learn to give some things up but not everything.  We have all of our needs meet and still have a few of our wants. It’s hardest on the kids. But I have been giving mine a choose of things. I just don’t say no. I ask her, “Would you like this or that? or Do you want to do this or have that?” Recently she wanted to go to the pool, well we did not have the gas money. Which I told her, she said ok and went out side to play. She came back in a while later and asked,” Mom, can I use that big roll of plastic to make a water slide?” I said sure. She found a way to have fun with out spending a penny. I am so proud of her.
  15.  Read a lot. There are so many ways to learn something new.
  16. Pray a lot. Count your every blessing both big and small.
  17. Remember this earth is not our home. I say, Earth and living here is our boot camp for heaven.

I know it’s going to be a long hard winter for everyone. And we might have to give up some things for a while. But the sun will come out again, this I know. I know some of you are working with a income lower than ours. Some of you may not be able to pay your rent or buy food. And I’m really sorry, I wish I could be of more help to you, but I’ll pray for you. Maybe some of my ideas will help you, at least I pray they do.

 

I will list more things as they come to mind on saving money, etc. And I’ll let you know when I find great web sites, too.

Well I better go for now, work to do. Hope you all have a blessed day.

Becky

August 27, 2008 Posted by | creativity, disability check, Food prices, food storage, ideas, low income, making do, recession, saving money, self sufficiency, Stocking up | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Just trying something new

Ok, to all my readers, What do you think about this look?

Is it easier/ look better/ like/ dislike? Would you like me to go back to old one?

It’s easier and more fun to change things here than to rearrange the living room.

Please let me know what you think.

Becky

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

"Noah", He shouted, "Where is the Ark?"

“Noah”, He shouted, “Where is the Ark?”  “Lord, please forgive me!” cried Noah. “I did my best but there were big problems. First I had to get a permit for construction and your plans did not comply with the codes. I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system and floatation devices.

   Then my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinance by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.

  I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the U.S. Forest Service that I needed the wood to save the owls. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won’t let me catch any owls.  So, no owls.

  The carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Union. Now I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but no owls.

  When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard. Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn’t take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the universe.

  Then the Army Corps of engineers demanded a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe.

  Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking godless, unbelieving people aboard!

  The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I’m building the Ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes. I just got a notice from  the State that I owe some kind of user tax and failed to register the Ark as a recreational water craft.

  Finally the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it is a religious event and therefore unconstitutional. I really don’t think I can finish the Ark for another 5 or 6 years!” Noah wailed.

  The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up hopefully, ” You mean you are not going to destroy the earth, Lord?”

  “No,” said the Lord sadly,” The government already has.”

  AMEN

 

 

Technorati Tags:

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Clean Humor | | Leave a comment

Things I Have Been Making

 This is a knitted oven door towel. “Shake , Rattle and Roll”  Pattern can be found HERE .

IMG_0010

A knitted placemat, and pattern found HERE .

IMG_0007

 Rachel’s Knitting Corner Blog has a lot of patterns for sale and free patterns, too. A great site. 

IMG_0008

Knitted dish clothes. These were really fun to knit. The patterns were free on line. 

IMG_0012

Here are a few of my home made pads. I used flannel baby blankets from the thrift store, 25 cents a blanket and each one made two pads.

IMG_0013

This was a  flannel king size fitted sheet for  $1 , and is now going to be napkins.

IMG_0014

This is a knitted clothes pin holder.

IMG_0017

This is the 8 foot bench that Tommy made for the kitchen table, to hold all of our family. They all signed it before they left. It’s heavy and takes two big men to move it.

IMG_0015

 

IMG_0016

  Have a blessed day.

Becky

 

August 23, 2008 Posted by | creativity, ideas, knitting, making do | , , , | 5 Comments

Canning Potatoes

You can use garden or store potatoes to can. Our potato plants died to soon, so we did not get the crop we usually get. So when potatoes go on sale, I will buy a bunch and can them.

IMG_0001

These are our new potatoes dug this year. The small ones, I wash really good and can. These are good when it’s cold outside.

IMG_0018

The above canned potatoes are from this year. The below are from last year. The starch (the white coating on potatoes below) is just washed off, and potatoes are good.  The chopped potatoes are used in : beef stew, put in a pan and fried with butter and onions, in a pan and eaten as boiled potatoes, drained over night and used in potato salad, and more.

IMG_0019

To pressure can Potatoes:

 (are a low acid food and must be pressured canned  to destroy all bacteria and etc.) 

Small ones:  just wash well and pack loosely in jars.

Large ones: Peel and cut into a brine water ( 1 teaspoon salt to a quart of water) , then rinse and pack loosely in to jars.

Then add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart and fill with water.

Process 40 minutes for quarts at 15 lbs.

Happy Canning!

For those of you who do not have a pressure canned, the potatoes can be froze, put in the cool part of your refrigerator. But please do not use a hot water bath canner as it is not safe.

See comment #25 below on how to freeze potatoes.

( more answers can be found in the comments here)

Becky

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Canning, Food prices, food storage, garden, ideas, making do, recipes | , , , , | 258 Comments

Drying Clothes without a Dryer

IMG_0002

 This chain is on my porch. But it could be hung in a hallway or between two trees.  On bad days, I fold towels in half and clothes pin them to the hangers. Blue jeans, socks, and on can also be pinned on. Even in high winds the clothes do not come off the hangers.  When you go to the store to get the chain, take a clothes hanger with you, to make sure it fits in the chain.  IMG_0004

 

IMG_0003

Here is how Tommy screwed it to the porch.

IMG_0005

These little spindles are great.  Each holds 8 pairs of socks or 8 underwear.  As you can see I have a lot in the back ground.  And they take up very little space.  The one with the socks on it, is hanging  on a clothes line that is run in our hall way. And in the winter, I hang blue jeans on this line, and other clothes.   It is up out of the way, and can not be seen unless you are looking for it.

IMG_0006

I have 4 of these wooden clothes racks. I picked them up at the thrift stores for a $2.00 each. I put towels on these, too.

Hope this gives you some ideas on getting by with out your dryer.

Have a great day.

Becky

August 23, 2008 Posted by | creativity, ideas, making do, saving money, self sufficiency | , , , , | 9 Comments

Getting ready for Winter, Family weekend, Photos,

The News yesterday said we were in for a hard, long winter, with prices still going up, and all the floods and fires in the USA.  All around here people are without jobs, and having a hard time making ends meet.  More and more people are asking me what I do and how I do it.  I tell most it’s about giving up things, (eating out, driving to town for no real reason,  buying ready made meals, etc.). This is not a easy time for anyone here in the USA. People need to go back to helping each other and trading for what they need.  We had family up last weekend, and  we needed help cleaning up the yard and house. With no money to hire help, we asked friends to help. They too, have been out of work for months.  So we traded meat and canned goods for their help. So everyone won. I liked too thank those good friends again for their help and their friendship, you guys mean a lot to us.  Good friends are very hard to come by.

Barb // August 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

I found your blog most helpful and I do agree with your husband. We are headed for some very hard times ahead. I would love to know how you heat your home and what part of the country that you live in? We may not have gas or electric heat in the future….and that is all I have. I have a wood stove that I have thinking about installing in case we lose our electricity.
Love your blog…..great info.
Barb

Barb asked in a comment about  how we heat our home. Well we use gas, and live in  GA, USA.  With Tommy’s breathing wood  heat would be hard. And our house has no where to put a stove.  With our gas heater, it still works if the power goes out. If you all can get a wood stove, do so now. A friend told me yesterday, that the wood stove companies were not making as many this year due to high prices on everything.  We know our heating bill will be up but right now we just will have to make due. No running around the house in shorts this winter. And we’ll wear our shoes in the house. I’ll being baking more this winter: breads, cakes, cookies, etc. Which will help heat the house.

Tommy and I were talking about the winter times coming just last night. We are trying our best to plan ahead as much as we can.  With his disability check we get every month, we’ll pay the rent, power, phone, heating gas and have a little let. So we are blessed to be able to pay these bill as some can’t. Heating gas: we used 200lbs. a month last winter( running it on low) for about $100 a month, but the gas prices have jump here by $20 extra a 100lb tank.( last year a 100lb tank filled cost $50 and has jumped to $70 and winter is not here yet) We use two 100 lb tanks, and fill them as needed. I know most people have the big 250 lb + tanks in their back yard, but we have never had the money at one time to fill the big tanks.  And we are really paying less per gallon than those filling the big tanks.  Our biggest bill this winter will be our feed bill( cow’s milk and eggs) without feed we will not get the milk and eggs. Right now our feed bill is up $25-$30 a week($70 in feed week). But we get some much for the money: 21 gallons of milk, 80+ eggs, beef meat, chicken meat). So we are trying to find a way to pay the feed bill, as this bill is a must. And we know the feed prices we keep going up. Many farmers have sold all their stock due to high feed prices. I can do a lot with milk and eggs, so we really need them. We’ll just have to wait and take it one day at a time.  And our food stores, I can make them last two years( just needing to buy flour, sugar, oil).   We have learned to make due or just do without. Yes, there are a few things we would like to have, but that’s life. We still have fun, we eat very well compared to some who can only eat very little due to food and gas prices. We always look for things to be thankful for instead of wishing for what we don’t have. Take a really good look around you, look really close: You can find many things your family can be thankful for.  And being thankful for everything will lighten your load, we all are really so blessed. We sometimes forget to count our blessings ( including me). And most of the time the smallest blessing mean the most.

It going to be a long, hard winter. And we all can make it one day at a time and helping each other along the way. I have learned so many new things since we got the Internet. I know I will not use it all daily but when it’s needed I’ll have the info. I have always prepared for the worse times and prayed for the best. The simple life has been good for us in more ways than one. It’s a working life( garden, and animal care, cooking from scratch, using less power and using God’s wind), but we have always had a roof over our head and food in our tummies. God has blessed us, we have always had all of our needs meet.

Tommy is doing ok. Yesterday, he was hurting in his hip bones. He rested most of the day.  Friends brought us some dog cage panels yesterday ( an other answer to prayer, we needed them to make a jr. chicken pen, badly, and no money for new fencing, God sent them to us). So Tommy had a nice visit with him on the porch for a few hours (Tommy does not sit still well, thanks Scott).  It has been getting really hot about noon and staying that way until dark. ( 92-95 in the house) Well winter will be here soon.

Our family weekend with so well. We all had a great time.  Someone had given us a big, big roll of plastic, which my 11yr. turned into a homemade water slide.   The kids had so much fun, and they were funny too.

DSCN0014

DSCN0015

DSCN0024

DSCN0026

Most of the weekend everyone was trying to get a photo of the humming birds coming to the feeder on the front porch. Even with everyone sitting on the porch they still came, but went as soon as someone tried to take a photo. Well they finally got a few Sunday evening.

IMG_1971

DSCF1066

DSCF1076

I made homemade cinnamon rolls, but there was none left, oh well.

DSCF1059

IMG_1638

And I had my first S’ mores, and it was really good.

DSCF1053

IMG_0092

It was really a great week end. Thank you to all who came. Well I had better go and get this day started. Hope and pray you all have a great day. Becky

August 21, 2008 Posted by | blessings, family, Food prices, making do, self sufficiency | , , , , | 3 Comments

Weekend Family Photo

I’ll post about our wonderful weekend in a day or two, but wanted to show off our family.

 

IMG_2048

 

IMG_0081   

 

  IMG_0128

 

 

 

IMG_0127

 

IMG_0155

August 18, 2008 Posted by | blessings, family | 3 Comments

Taking a break

I’m taking a little break, for about two weeks. We have family come in to see Tommy. And it’s time to fall clean house, and get ready for winter.   And my daughter (19) has moved out a few weeks ago, and her room is now my sewing room. No more kitchen table sewing. So I am cleaning it up and getting ready for sewing.

You all have been a great blessing to me. And thank you for all your prayers, they are felt daily.

For those of you that are following Tommy’s health updates, I will still be doing them. See: Up dates on Tommy’s health 

I will check in here every other day or so. But will not be posting for about 2 weeks. 

Becky

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments