Monday, January 18, 2010


I paid off one credit card this week. Seeing that zero balance feels AWESOME. I've been using the "snowball method" to pay my cards down, and my lowest balance card was also the card with the highest interest rate. One down, four to go.

Monday, January 11, 2010


YES. I'm back. I didn't exactly make a New Years resolution, it just happened to be right around New Year's Day that I resolved to bring this ol' thing back to live and start writing on the regular again. No pressure this time: I won't force myself to update every single day, and I won't force myself to write something meaningful or profound every time I update.

On that note, 2010 has been pretty awesome so far. For the first time in several YEARS I can finally say "I love my job." Retail will always be retail, but the best kind of retail can only involve coming to work and seeing puppies at least once a day. Oh, and the best kind of retail can only involve supplying said puppies with quality, holistic food and supplies. Oh, and the best kind of retail pays you what you're worth.
Yes, this is as close to heaven as retail can get.

Now that the relatively substantial paychecks are coming in, my lofty aspirations for the new year involve paying down by debt. A lot. About 75% by December, to be exact. I'm allowing myself quite a bit of flexibility on that number, because I don't know what this year will bring as far as financial needs. But if I pay off 50%, I'll be more than happy. Next paycheck, I'll make the final payment on my lowest-balance credit card. One down, four to go.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ok, I have to admit I feel a little embarrassed to come back to this blog after neglecting it for so long. I started it fully intending to post every single day, and, well...

Anyway, the past few months have been a whirlwind of job hunting, job starting, wedding prep and planning, gardening, preserving, learning and stressing. The brief rundown:

  • Wedding in less than two weeks. GAH. I'm like a kid at Christmas.
  • In the very early stages of looking into home ownership. Yikes.
  • My garden was basically ravaged by deer.
  • Fortunately my grandmother, aunt & uncle had great success with the HUGE garden on their property, and have been sharing the wealth.
  • Dad and I have taken bushel after bushel of tomatoes from said garden and made gallons of tomato sauce, which was then frozen or canned. Home preserving is awesome. Checked canning off my "to-learn" list.
  • Had a couple of disappointing experiences with breadmaking, and gave it a rest for a while. I get frustrated easily. Just threw together some no-knead dough tonight, hopefully this batch turns out ok and I get back into baking regularly.
  • Started work at a bridal gown store. It's... a job. But I really need to make more money, or get a second part-time job (ugh). I'm desperate to get my credit card debt paid off.
  • 2009 = craziest, most eventful year of my life. This is one for the books.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Massive photo update part four!

DOGGIES! Nuff said. :)

Massive photo update part three!

CRITTERS WHO EAT MY PLANTS! The deer have all but destroyed the sunflowers. Every time they valiantly sprout new leaves from their pathetic stubs, the deer come along and strip them bare again. They also sampled my yellow squash plants next to the sunflowers, although they didn't seem interested enough to eat much. I need to get some pictures of the deer, there are several regular customers who frequent my sunflower buffet and aren't particularly afraid of humans. 

Now these guys... these guys are AWESOME. I've never seen them before, but there were four of them hanging out on one of my dill plants. I left them alone, because they afforded me some really great pictures and I felt like they were probably butterfly caterpillars. I did a little research and feel pretty certain they're black swallowtails. Exciting!

They were all just hanging out,

except this guy, who was going to TOWN on these dill flowers! It was a moment of pure nerdy joy to watch him happily munching away.

Massive photo update part two!

GARDEN! So much activity in the garden lately. First... SOMETHING is killing my tomatoes. According to several websites I've been reading, it's either early blight or verticillium wilt, likely triggered by the weeks of record-setting rainfall we had earlier this summer. I can't figure out which, but neither have a good prognosis. The remaining fruits are still edible but the disease will likely kill the plants soon. I sprayed them with an organic anti-fungal spray containing copper, hoping to salvage them, so we'll see.

In far more cheerful news, my watermelons and lone surviving cantaloup plant are thriving. I planted them out by the driveway because there was simply no more room in the garden, and the sunflowers we'd planted there before had either been dug up before sprouting or, more recently, chewed to shreds by deer (see next blog entry for photo evidence). 

Daisy meandering.

My dad bought a few disease-resistant tomato seedlings that were on clearance at the local garden store, though at this point they were less seedlings than half-grown plants (one has a tomato already). I pulled up the peas and their little trellis, as they were starting to dry up and die, and planted the new tomatoes in their place. The garlic is long gone, after I realized how late I'd planted them I pulled them up rather than have them waste space, and put a horseradish plant down (mostly for fun, I have no idea how to grow or harvest horseradish). The eggplant are huge and already have one or two fruits each. The beans will probably be done soon, and I'll probably leave that space to put down another row or two of broccoli in August. I'm already planning out next year's garden in my head, making adjustments and trying new plants.

Massive photo update part one!

I've been unusually inclined to spend time in the kitchen lately. I think I've been inspired by the abundance of fresh yummies coming out of the garden and the farmers markets lately. The whole general concept of a more simple, frugal, self-sustaining lifestyle has been on my mind for a long time now, and I've been trying to make changes here and there to move in that direction. So my most recent endeavor involves buying less pre-made, packaged food, and instead making what I can from scratch. In my last post I mentioned the unsuccessful ricotta experiment, and the moderately successful no-knead bread... I haven't given the ricotta another go, but...

I gave a new bread recipe a try and made two tasty loaves,

made another no-knead loaf which turned out beautifully,

and made fresh, delicious, homegrown SALSA!

Chips and salsa are easily my favorite snack, and I buy a jar of Tostitos salsa probably once a week. They cost around 3 or 4 bucks, and I always thought they were tasty until I mixed up some homemade. This stuff blows store-bought salsa out of the water, and that's not because I'm a wizard in the kitchen. It's incredibly simple to make; the reason it tastes so freaking good is just because the ingredients are FRESH, homegrown and natural! I've made 4 batches so far and we've blown through several bags of chips (oh yeah, next projects involves homemade tortilla chips).