This, that and the other thing

The Camp Chef big two burner propane stove just went on sale this week at the local farm store for $69.99.  I have been looking to get one of these for canning and doing the beer outside during the summer.  Sure would be a big help with keeping the house cool and a great thing to have for the outdoor kitchen idea I’d like to do next year.  Once I have the the propane burners the only things left to get is a prep area/sink and a brick oven for doing bread. I have an old plastic patio table I think I can turn into a prep area though I’m still working on how to do the sink and water spigot. The outdoor kitchen would make a life a lot easier and the house a lot more comfortable in summer.

Smokey the cat seems to be over her “cold” and the pekes are looking much better since I switched over to the real beef doggie treats instead of the biscuits.  These treats are more expensive but if the dogs are healthier and happier it will be worth the extra cost. I have to wait and see how long the treats last before I have an idea how much to add to the pantry for long term storage.  Thankfully it was a very easy fix for the pekes.  On the backup dog I’m going to look at a couple of new ones that are at the shelter. I want a dog that is not only bigger than the pekes I want one that is more of a guard dog so I think that leaves the pointer mix out.  The shelter is always getting more dogs so something will turn up eventually.

Got in a little more practice with the chain saw, it was one of the chunks of wood Mom brought over. This was more of an actual log and  long for my wood stove.  Oh it wasn’t huge just about 5 inches across but well within the capabilities of my little chain saw. I want to confident as well as competent with the chainsaw when I get the next batch of wood, just in case it is cut to big for my stove.  I got all of the backup buckets full and enough wood in standing by to be cut to finish up the last couple of party buckets. It hasn’t been to cold here so far this year, teens and twenties for the lows. But the wood stove is really making a big difference in my power bill this year.

I have been reading on some of the other blogs about people  having some trouble doing all those things that are recommended for preparing. Yes it can be hard to keep working on that debt, adding to the pantry as well as getting the basic equipment and fuel needed to be prepared.  I know there were a few times I felt I would never accomplish my goals and I would get frustrated at how much I was  “sacrificing” to get everything done. I think worst was about the third year of working on it when I was in okay shape but it felt like I was not gaining any ground. Like it took all my energy and resources just to stay even but that feeling did pass. Mostly because I stopped looking for a finish line and started to embrace prepping as a lifestyle.  A few things that helped me get over that hump:

  • Never stop looking for ways to save money.  Even if it is just $5.00 a month that can get you a start on a big box of wooden matches or your first aid kit.
  • Budget every month: You have to know exactly where your money is going and make it work for you. Most of us have a basic budget of the big items like the house payment or rent, insurance, cable, internet, phone that don’t vary a lot from month to month. If you don’t adapt your budget for what’s on sale or you let dollars trickle away from you in unplanned spending it will make things a lot harder to stay focused on those goals.
  • Know exactly what and how much you can cut on your budget for things that are not necessities.  If you are on track there is no reason not to have hi speed internet or cable/sat. TV if you can afford it.  I got great peace of mind knowing nothing is on contract and I could drop those items if I needed too for an emergency.
  • Mad Money: Have a ten or twenty dollar bill stashed away from your regular spending money in case you run across a great deal or if you need to pay cash if the electronic system goes down. Sometimes you will just want some fast food or a silly little item. As long as it is a just once in awhile thing that should not bust your budget.
  • Trick yourself:  I suck at using credit cards, but if you can use a credit card and pay it off every 25 days so you don’t pay interest and get all those bonus points and goodies, DO IT!  I can’t, in fact I notice a big difference when I paid in cash and using a debit card. For some folks it is writing out a check, however you spend pick the one you like the least when shopping!
  • Make a list: Write out your goals for the year, the month and the week.  Learning skills can be very cheap and those skills can never be stolen. Make sure to update those lists along with smaller goals that help you achieve the bigger goals.

It’s not easy and there will be times you may wish you could go back to being asleep and unaware. You will get over the hump and start seeing real progress in time. I think it is worth the effort!

14 Responses to This, that and the other thing

  1. You aren’t using the chain saw by yourself, I hope. Two things I am trying really hard not to do alone is go up a ladder or cut wood with the chain saw.

  2. If I am not mistaken it is an electric saw they don’t have the possible kickback issues the gas ones have. I have an electric saw for limbs and occasionally break it out for small stuff that is over long they are so safe they don’t even have a safety shut lever on top.

    • Jamie says:

      P.P I think any chainsaw can kickback but the electric ones tend to have less power so that helps. My chainsaw has the safety kickback bar and a little thumb switch for the right hand that must be held for the chain to work. So I think it’s relativly safe.

  3. Marilyn says:

    You might consider looking for a deep sink for outdoors. The are all plastic these days, making it easy for you to move and they have optional legs. Also, Dutch ovens are great for baking bread.

    • Jamie says:

      Marilyn: that’s a good idea on the sink. I’ll keep a lookout for a used one.
      I haven’t tried cooking bread in a dutch oven yet!

      • Marilyn says:

        When I bake breads in the Dutch oven I always put something on the bottom of the oven so the bread pan doesn’t lay directly on the oven and burn the bottom of the bread. I have a cooling rack that can fit in the bottom but even a foil disposable pie pan turned
        upside down will do the trick. You can also purchase a diffuser for the burner of your Camp Chef. With that you can turn the heat down low enough to bake on the stove top. Camp Chef, and probably other sources, have that tent to put over the top of the Dutch oven. Works great to keep even heat all around the oven. I like to use it when baking on the Camp Chef stove. I considered purchasing an oven but storing all these things takes space and $ so I’ve opted to learn how to make due with less items but accomplish the same thing, such as baking in the Dutch oven.

  4. dee says:

    Love your methodology and improving skills and material needs. i tend to use credits cards to collect the points. THis ONLY works when you pay the bill monthly! I write my purchases in my check register, and keep account accordingly. When the bill comes in there is no “sticker shock”. We bought a chain saw with our points recently. I have to fly somewhere next month and paid for it with points, or we apply the points to our card card balance. This frees money for anything else.

    • Jamie says:

      dee, I wish I had the discipline to use Credit cards. They can be a great deal, but for me it’s to tempting to not to pay off every month.

  5. TOR says:

    On cards (either one) vs cash. I find that I am much more aware of total amounts with cash but heck if I know what it went to. Obviously if I had $200 in my wallet that is the top limit of spending but who knows where it went. Cards on the other hand you can look at what was purchased, or at least where it was purchased. Good for keeping track of things.

    We use a credit card for almost everything. Wifey got us one of the ones that does the airline miles. Pays for about every other trip back home. In our credit card owning life we’ve paid $1.62 total in interest as we forgot to pay the CC in time once. Other folks are bad at forgetting or go spree purchasing so they should not have credit cards. However if you can handle it and get some advantages then I do not see a down side.

    • Jamie says:

      TOR, I got into bad debt problems before I was disabled but going 8 months without a job or paycheck sure made them a lot worse! It’s odd that I can be very disciplined using cash but suck doing the same thing with credit cards. Well I can’t slam dunk a basketball either, so I just work around it.

      Finding a system that worked for me and not trying to compare myself with others took some time and trying out different ways that worked for me. It can be tough to be brutally honest with yourself and admit you just don’t do some thing well. I’m getting better at admitting that others are better at the self discipline using Credit cards rather than saying they are all evil.

      I did take out a small loan for the wood stove with a good interest rate. If the government wasn’t playing games with the budget and SS, I would be working hard to pay it off. I need to stay liquid until I know what they are going to do next year. If the PTBs do come up with a longer term solution I will put that saved up money on the stove loan. I’ll just have to eat the interest until I know which way things will go.

  6. Patti says:

    I live in a suburban home with a six foot concrete block fence. However, we still get racoons, possums and all manner of rodents, birds and wildlife. We have chickens, cats and a pointer. The chickens free range all day and get locked in a coop with a run at night.
    Our pointer spends a good portion of her nights running off any and everything that threatens the cats or chickens or even braves our yard. She really protects her pack in a way that I found very surprising…just like the male lab that proceeded her. A pointer is a great guard dog for us, surprisingly. Good luck. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Jamie says:

      Patti, I think the pointer mix I loked at was a great dog. He was a real sweetheart and good with even an aggresssive pit cross that walked by as I was taking the pointer out for a little play and walk time at the pound. I’m still kind of leaning toward a smaller german shepard or a bigger terrier mix. I know the right dog will come along if I’m just patient and remember why I want the emergency backup dog. Heck I’ve only been looking for a couple of weeks so it’s still early days yet!

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