2017 garden review

sunrise, gardening, Palouse
Sunrise on the Palouse
Lessons from 2016

Garlic, zucchini squash, potatoes, and basil were big winners in 2016. The big losers were tomatoes and cucumbers. The tomatoes just dropped dead in front of my eyes due to mice/pocket gophers eating the roots. I did not plant enough cucumber seeds to account for losses. Green beans and snap peas were OK but I lost too many to birds or rodents. Asparagus were OK but I am waiting for my patch to expand. Strawberries were Ok but with too many losses due to mice. Vermin are the biggest problem for the inthewheat garden. I definitely need to pay more attention to controlling them. Based on the tomato roots getting eaten, I decided to plant tomatoes in a garbage can for 2017. Continue reading “2017 garden review”

Save $57,000 on the path to financial independence

Where many people go wrong
Costs matter when saving for your golden years

When signing up for a retirement plan at work and faced with a 1% expense ratio (ER) versus a 0.1% ER, many people think who cares? A difference of 0.9%, big deal. For every $1, I only give up 0.9% or 0.9 pennies. No reason to sweat the difference. But if your retirement plan has 1% expense you won’t just lose 1% of the total amount of your portfolio to expenses, you’ll lose 1% per year. That’s the key, your losses COMPOUND, and humans aren’t good at comprehending the effects of compounding.

Great, show me how I save $57,000

Continue reading “Save $57,000 on the path to financial independence”

Two ways to save money on Amazon

Save money at Amazon. Frugal living. In the wheat
Camelcamelcamel tracks the price of Amazon items
Method 1. CamelCamelCamel

The camelcamelcamel website tracks the price of an item on Amazon and when it goes down the website will email you. Then you buy it quickly before the price goes back up. I use this approach for larger ticket items and several non-perishable repeat purchase items on our homestead like vehicle oil and air filters. Steps: Continue reading “Two ways to save money on Amazon”

Getting ready for winter on the homestead

palouse snow
This year our first snow came on Oct 13th
Four seasons on the Palouse

In Eastern Washington we have all four seasons with a real winter. Yet the Pacific Ocean still has a moderating effect, and it is milder than East of the Rockies. Each season has it’s activities. In early Spring it’s time to rototill the garden and get the tomatoes and other vegetables started in the basement. Spraying for weeds is best done in April. In early summer the garden gets going and weeding is a big chore. In mid-summer we arrange to have hay delivered for the horse. It gets hot and activities like mountain biking are best done before 9am. Finally the heat breaks and this year as October starts, its time to get ready for Winter. Continue reading “Getting ready for winter on the homestead”

Best purchases for 2017

My top four purchases for 2017
  1. Oral-B Black Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun. I paid $39.97 and this item has been well worth it. My dental hygienist has noticed the difference during cleanings. The refill brush heads are a bit expensive, so I have used Generic Oral B Compatible Toothbrush Replacement Heads – 20 Brushes. Each brush head is lasting at least 2 months. So for the $16.48 I paid I will get at least 3.3 years of toothbrushes.
  1. Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Green Tea Mattress, King and Zinus 12 Inch Solid Wood Platform Bed with Headboard / No Box Spring Needed / Wood Slat Support / Antique Espresso Finish, King. After trying a memory foam mattress for our SURV and noting it was as comfy as our bed, we decided to try a memory foam mattress for the bedroom. I find it quite firm, but I like that. The bed frame took awhile to put together, but I followed the instructions carefully. I took my time and had no problems. We paid $279 for the mattress and $255 for the frame. $534 combined is pretty incredible for the comfort level and DW is happy with the comfort and look. We let the mattress off-gas (air out) in a guest room for two weeks after opening it before we started using it.
  1. Panasonic KX-TGE233B Expandable Cordless Digital Phone with Large Keypad – 3 Handsets. This phone set allows you to block specific phone numbers without having to pay a monthly fee. This has been a major advantage to block repeat telemarketers. I paid $49.99.
  1. YI Home Camera Wireless IP Security Surveillance System (US Edition) White. We have used this to monitor our pets while we are not home. We set it up so it monitors the path to their water source. It detects motion and saves a short recording that can be accessed over the internet from an android phone. So we can see each day that our pet is drinking. I paid $39.99 and also got this memory card for it: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter, Grey/Red, Standard Packaging (SDSQUNC-032G-GN6MA) for $12.77.