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.

Lifestyle design on the path to FI

 

View from the home office

How close is your current lifestyle to your idealized lifestyle?

Exhibit A: Current

Wake up at 7am to an alarm, shower, eat a quick breakfast and jump in the car. Fight traffic for 45 minutes. Arrive at work, slog it out for 9 hours in the cubicle. Buy a cheeseburger at the cafeteria for lunch. Attend 1 mind-numbing meeting and 1 meeting that skyrockets your blood pressure. Fight traffic 45 minutes and get home at 6pm. Cook dinner and clean the kitchen. Melt into the couch, watch some TV. Surf the internet. Get on the playstation till midnight. Repeat. Continue reading “Lifestyle design on the path to FI”

Easy whole wheat bread

easy homemade bread
Fresh out of the oven
Why bake your own bread?
1) eliminate preservatives
2) tastes great
3) can make it anytime and eliminate a run to the store
4) It’s satisfying to make something yourself
5) It’s cheap and can speed your path to getting FI

 

With a bread machine it doesn’t take much effort, but it does take some. It’s probably best to be honest with yourself and if you don’t see yourself making bread on the weekend or evening as a fun activity, then don’t spend the $ to go down this path. It’s not frugal to store an unused bread machine in your basement. Another consideration is it takes a bit of skill to cut bread slices, if that is not something you are into, again, maybe don’t go down this path. Continue reading “Easy whole wheat bread”

Buy quality clothing to get FI

Buy quality clothing to be frugal for financial independence
My go-to cool weather outfit on the farm. Fleece shirt with 1/4 zip and fleece pants.

What goes into choosing a shirt in the morning?

I own about 50 shirts but I only regularly wear about 20 of them. So 30 just sit in my closet. They are all in good shape, close to new condition. But they all have something not quite right with them. So I wear my favorite shirts and the rest just hang there. It took me quite awhile for me to figure out that I have a long torso relative to my arm length. This means when I buy shirts I have to pay attention that they are long enough, or they just come untucked when I wear them. I also figured out that when I wear T-shirts I like the ones that are loose fitting. I am a large but different brands make larges at different sizes. So some fit a bit tighter than others. Those tight ones stay in the drawer because when I pick out a shirt I choose the ones that feel good. Now I buy XL depending on the brand.

I like high quality socks

I grew up in the era where white tube socks were cheap and everyone wore them. Later I migrated to darker poly-cotton socks and found a brand that was pretty good. But then I found Lorpen socks. Lorpen makes a bunch of different types with different materials like merino wool and coolmax, and they are not cheap. They have reinforced areas and feel solid. They also make socks that are anti-odor that are great for travel or camping. When I put them on I can’t go back to the thin cotton-poly socks. Lorpen socks last a long time. Now my other socks just sit in the back of the drawer.

Who cares about what shirts or socks Mr. Wheat wears?

Good question. My point is not to convince you to buy long shirts or Lorpen socks. My point is that it’s worth figuring out what works for you, and then putting some thought and effort into a wardrobe that you like to wear. Just because a piece of clothing is a good deal, doesn’t mean it works for you.

5 Strategies for getting value for your $ in clothing:

1. Spend some time shopping, from your favorite couch: Amazon has become the 800 pound gorilla of commerce for a reason. You can search a product and sort for the highest reviews. It’s like surveying a hundred people who have tested your product. I rarely buy a product with less than 4 star rating. And I actually read some of the ratings, it’s worth your time. You don’t have to buy from Amazon, I actually buy a fair amount of clothes from Sierra Trading Post. Continue reading “Buy quality clothing to get FI”