Monday, June 27, 2011

Means to an End

Looking to justify my means to an end to decision to buy a lap top cooling pad with my accumulated $5 Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks.
First let me say that I am at once torn between feeling blessed that I had the funds in my Amazon account to pay for the cooling pad and yet upset that I wasn't purchasing something a bit more in the homestead vein.

Like a plow.
K, not a plow but a hoe.
K, not a hoe but something more ... or pantry items like that huge 8 lbs. box of powdered milk on Amazon's site I've been coveting so I could make Greek style yogurt.
Which we've been out of for a few weeks because I'm outta powdered milk.

K, that's not exactly true I have powdered milk but it's sealed up in big #10 cans (restaurant size) and it's for long term storage. Going without thick creamy yogurt during Strawberry season doesn't exactly fall under the category of SHTF (S_it hit the fan an expression u use when life smacks u down; job loss, flood, spouse leaving with rent $ ect.) scenario.

Unfortunetly with the warmer weather (read bathing suit season) on us pie sales have been down.

Flip side is that my lap top/ internet access allows me to be a better urban homesteader.
It's a tool that I use on a daily basis to get the job done. Study ways to improve my garden soil which puts food on the table learn how to preserve my harvest.
Research from more traditional routes or learning from fellow bloggers both urban and rural the world is my oyster.
I'm able to network & share information on gleaning & foraging, conduct bartering,
I dislike no I hate being without my own lap top just ask Woodsrunner.

So yeah I bought a lap top cooling pad on Amazon for $36 & change which left me with $4 and some copper.
No plow, no hoe, no boxed cow, but I did scored free shipping.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Plant Sale Update

Here's the latest update on my plant sale - $64.
This includes the first $12 I made @ a gf's yard sale selling to strangers, then the $20 purchase from my gf. Followed by a dollar purchase to a woman waking down the street. She only wanted one Cherokee Purple Tomato plant.
Yesterday I made a whopping $7 selling Sundrop Primrose and one Purple Cone flower.
Today I sold more Sundrops, one Red Raspberry for $5, three 1 1/2" pots of English Ivy from a neighbor's front yard, and more tomato plants along with a few melons for a total of $19.

Still have about a dozen tomato plants that really needed to go in the ground a week ago but tomorrow after church I'm heading out to our church sponsored garden to plant them. Harvests are donated to members of our congregation as well as area food banks.

$5 worth of Pepper plants

Yesterday my bbgf (barter buddy girlfriend) gave me a shout out from a not so local nursery on her cell. She had stopped in to see what was what.
Veggie plants were deeply discounted well actually just peppers & collard greens.
Did I want her to pick me up some.
Yes, what are my choices ?  I have proceeds from my plant sale burning a hole in my pocket.

Got some Yellow & Green Bell along a few others. Placed the flat in my greenhouse to stay warm. It's 61 degrees, dark  and gloomy rain on & off all day.

So far I have $59 in cash, pork in the freezer, canned goods on the shelf and digging rights to a few gardens for new to me plants.

Makes me wish I had thought this plant sale out better. 
  1. Start seeds earlier so then I could sell earlier in the Spring. I heard allot of, " I've already put my plants in but I guess I could find room for one more". And one is all they bought.
  2. Offer more cucumbers, although at the first sale no one needed cucumbers this weekend all I heard was got any cukes?
  3. Plant what will be grown in an urban/suburban environment by most gardeners - melons were a stretch for most who don't do vertical gardening. The few that I did sell went to rural gardens.
  4. Perennials - bring potted plants such as the Purple Cone Flowers either indoors or in to the greenhouse in March so they will be in bloom in time for the sale. People were really attracted to the plants that had blooms (duh!).  
  5. Offer an info sheet on plant purchases. Most people who bought my plants didn't know what they were buying just that they had seen those purple flowers in the side yard last year and wanted that.
  6. Offer subscription sales to the friends who bought or bartered seedlings.
  7. Collect feed back.
~~ pelenaka ~~

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Mirror Mirror in my Garden

    It doesn't get anymore ghetto techno Amish than this.
    I've been gathering up Mylar bags from food products like nacho chips that we eat & potato chips that neighbor's eat to fashion this garden mirror in the hopes of reflecting badly needed sunlight into my garden. Working my way along the outside wall of the garage to the front.

    Extremely low/no cost since I already had the staple gun and the bags are  free.

    Another alternative is to collect mirrors that have been put out to the curb on trash night. Or go  to yard sales. Or snag a few of those reflective car dash covers when you see them cheap.

    That's one of our 2 peach trees to the left of our 1920's garage or shed by today's standards. I have no idea what's holding it up other than the paint job I gave it 8 years ago after the Code Guy sent me a letter. It was in all honesty looking really trashy. So I bought the cheapest paint I could find @ Mr. Seconds , scraped for a few days then had the children have at it. Back in the day when they thought home repair was cool.

    Woodsrunner, put the gutter system on a few years ago and of course hooked up a rain barrel.
    That's a slightly cracked crock pot insert inverted on top. I normally plant it with white & red Petunia but I'm not so much into flowers this gardening season unless I can profit.
    It's all about veggies, stocking the pantry this year ... or bartering & selling plants.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~


    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    The Pretty Factor

    A.k.a. by TPF which translates into how certain people or things get away with things. An example is how the pretty girl in school is able to score extra time completing an assignment or how a coworker gets away with hour long lunches.
    In this case TPF refers to the method that hubby used to help negate the fact there is this two 55 gallon barrels collecting water sitting in the end of my driveway. It's not illegal to have rain barrels in our city but we prefer not to broadcast our rain collection efforts.
    Still need to paint the barrels gray to match the foundation although I haven't had good results with the paint staying past a few months. I also want to attach more lattice to the barrels in the sides & front.

    A second advantage is that once plants start growing up the trellis there will be a sound damping effect. Directly across from those barrels about 18' is the backdoor of neighbor. He & his have been getting pretty loud lately. Since we share a driveway sounds bounces between the two houses and is amplified.

     On a side note the pale green with tiny yellow flowers is a ground cover that appeared 8 years ago in the backyard. This year I've dug it up & re potted it for both selling and to use in a future garden project. Anyone have any idea what it is ? It is similar to a jade plant.

    Behind all those 2" pots of ground cover is my Stevia plant and another widow box planter with Nasturtiums and Kentucky Wonder Poll planted.

    In the background behind the greenhouse is a neighbor's Walnut tree that blocks sun when we have it. Today it's that day it's cloudy & raining.

    I should point out that originally Woodsrunner just started out to build a platform to elevate the rain barrels so I could slip the watering can underneath the spigots.
    Then I suggested a trellis but sold it to him an another area to grow food in.  Hence the cucumber and the companion planting of marigold for bug control and later pole beans when they sprout.

    Follow this link to my husbands blog where he gives details on the building rain barrels.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Free Fishing

    Here's a link to the Department of Environmental Conservation New York State website.
    Scroll half way down for the complete information on free fishing in New York State on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 & 26.

    No license required.
    No need to have paper.
    No hiding in the bushes when you see the DEC officer wandering along the shoreline clipboard in hand. Or my all time fav watching Dad after Dad throw their pole @ a child fishing next to them anytime an official looking person hikes by.

    Snag a pole either from the back of the closet or a friend, grab a bucket or to (one for sitting) pack a lunch, head on out to some of our great state's fishing holes.
    You could even go old school, unlace your sneakers, rig a hook from a safety pin and do a McGyver.

    Leave the cell on vibrate, ditch the ipods.
    Don't forget bait  & bug spray.
    Be prepared to make a memory.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Making Green

    Quick update on my efforts to generate a limited cash flow growing money.
    If I'm just counting coin & not the barter goods I made from my plants then I made $32.
    Sold $12 @ yard sale that I piggy backed on to which was held @ my gf's the coupon queen front yard. Her home is on a busy city corner so I was hoping to I'd get enough foot traffic to sell out.

    Did enjoy hanging out, meeting new people in her neighborhood & catching up with fellow urbanites that I hadn't seen in a while. I also sat on her front porch playing online games for swagbucks        (free groceries) and perhaps got a referral by emailing one of the ladies who was shopping @ the yard sale. She was interested when I told her that I got free food of of Amazon and really perked up when I mentioned that Amazon also sells diapers. She was holding a 9 month old who was all boy.

    Sold $20 worth of veggie plants to a gf which will go to buy rabbit feed. I think there might even be a Tractor Supply coupon/discount going on for 20%.
    Every little bit helps as the price of feed has gone up this past year.

    Here's what I spent for gardening 2011 - $9 for organic bone meal, and discounted French Marigolds. $3.25 for a pack of seeds (yeah I know pricey huh read my growing money post & u'll see why) and 3 big bags of potting soil which were $3.50 each ... Let say an even $25 and I still need to buy a another flat of marigolds for bug control.

    Best case scenario is that I break even and start this years garden with a clean slate no debt.
    That every tomato & green bean or cucumber is pure profit. 
    But then again I'm already ahead if I count in the bartering (groceries) I got from bartering plants.

    Thank you God, I'll stop complaining now.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Growing Groceries

    Follow up to my post on growing money.
    So far no real cash flow but allot of great bartering opps of grocery items that we need from barter friends.
    Most current was yesterday when my gf the coupon queen stopped by for her plants. She picked out almost a flat of Strawberries, a 6" pot of Rhubarb, 6 - 2" pots of cucumbers, and 3 each of 2" pots heirloom tomatoes the beefsteak variety so Howard German, Cherokee Purple, & Valencia.
    This is a pic of what I got in return minus a can of soup, & a small bag of dark chocolate.
    The shaving cream is for the girls of the homestead it is after all Summer now.

    Good for coffee as I was running low. I haven't saved up enough swag bucks to make an amazon purchase but if I can get coffee by bartering then I'll of course use the "free money" for other items.

    Bounty from a plant barter yesterday; coffee,pistachio, clam chowder soups,saving cream, & spam.

    Locally grown & butchered pork; mild Italian ground sauage, bacon, ham steaks.

    This barter haul earlier in the week was from an old coworker who has decided to plant her garden this year. Last year she choose not to because her house was on the market.
    Last Fall she ordered half a pig. The butcher offered her the other half @ a discount because the original buyer's check bounced. What's missing is a small pork roast that cooked up in the crock pot the day we did the exchange.
    She accepted 3 - 2" pots of each of the heirloom varieties I grew, & 6 cucumber seedlings. While I was over at her house her Mom stopped by & I got two yellow pepper seedlings & two zucchini seedlings.

    Last week I also bartered tomato plants & Shasta Daises for farm fresh eggs.

    Next Friday planning on carting what ever is left of the seedlings along with an assortment of potted perennials like Purple Cone Flower to a gf who is having a yard sale. I would like to recoup the cost of potting soil, organic bone meal, & if possible have a small stash for seed buying in this Fall when packets are discounted.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    New Throne

    Remember how I was complaining about the gods realizing I have moolah. Well lets just say that while I didn't quite out smart them I did give them a run for the money.
    Our one & only not counting a flush camping toilet, broke, started leaking.
    Not out any money on that john because I had picked that one up curb shopping in an upscale hood about 8 years ago. The lady of the manor actually came running out of her home waving & shouting that there was nothing wrong with the toilet. She was just changing the color of the powder room in the pool house. Yes, apparently Buffalo has homes with pool houses. Go figure.

    So I go down to Lowes with my trusty gift card that I purchased back in April read post on fiances & score a deal on the last in stock dual flush commodes by American Standard For $198. On the website it's listed for $398, really ?
    But it gets better since Lowes had run a promotional adding an extra $100 to the gift card so the new crapper actually cost just $100 (adding in transportation cost & a new supply hose). 
    Hubby gave his lovely assistant a.k.a. dd #2 a lesson in installing a toilet.

    New throne uses just .8 gallon per flush for #1 & 1.6 gallons per flush for #2/solid matter.
    Good maybe we'll see a cost savings in the water bill.

    Back in the day I use to keep cash in envelopes earmarked for unexpected expenses such as this. Gift cards are really an improvement since I'm not tempted to "barrow money" from an envelope.

    K, enough gloating the gods are listening I'm sure.

    ~~ pelenaka ~~