Saturday, October 14, 2017

Planning ahead: yard projects for 2018

 Although the left rear aka "dumping ground" was already identified as a hot zone project for next Spring/Summer, with the removal of the 6 trees up front and along the right side of the property, that has been pushed back, priority wise for projects next year. This right front area must be tended to first, as it is very visible from the street. Not hideous, it already is a vast improvement over what was there, and the tree removal has really opened up the yard. I'm calling this phase 1. The stumps and exposed tree roots will be ground up, the chips hauled off (there will be a ton of them), topsoil brought in, the lawn seeded and topped with hay.
I had my land scapper over this morning to discuss and review the area, confirm what the tree guy (who works with the land scapper all the time)recommends and come up with a plan. He will send me a quote in a few days. I told him that the front right is priority, to give me a quote for that work. I also asked him to send a separate, additional quote to clean up and take care of this right side area in front of the stone wall. I want everything cleared out so that the wall is visible. He indicated that it shouldn't be that much more, as the real work (outside of the stump grinding) will take place in the right front area.

Information and estimates ahead of time make it easier for me to plan, set aside monies. While plan A was for me to get a FT job, my health had other plans. Currently, I am not volunteering, focusing on my health and family. Plan B is now to get some sort of PT job once the health issues staballize, and use those extra monies to cover aforementioned projects as well as pay down debt.

Just getting stuff done!

 With the removal of 6 trees, the hanging repurposed bird feeder turned into bird house (this feeder came with the house; Finches had a home inside of it. I had previously taken the pole from it, to use as a suet feeder, then had the "house" hung from a right side of the home tree)no longer was suspended. It is now out back.
 Here's reglue the side Formica attempt #2, this time using Gorilla Glue and taping it down, as was done last time. Also new is the cup hook suspended from the cabinet, allowing me to hang some potholders near the range and toaster oven, yet far away from the gas flame and heat source.
 The bedrooms got new air vent covers, revealing that the original ones were installed directly onto drywall that was unprimed. Almost 60 years of glue, paint and gunk was removed from around the newly installed covers, which take up less surface area on the wall, but the size is exactly the same inside the vent. This was then spackled. It will later be painted.
 2 missing screws from the hinge of the kitchen storm door were replaced, the black rubber gasket that was hanging part way from the door sweep was repositioned. The door closer was repositioned right side up (yup, it was upside down, with the hold into position button on the underside of the unit @@-typical of all repairs done prior to my ownership)but then it was determined that the closer is actually broken, so it was removed. I will get a replacement one for about $15. This is cheaper than replacing this Anderson storm door. (not pictured) The front garden  whose was removed from it's storage wheel, drained and placed in the garage. I need to buy some hooks in order to store it on the wall in the garage. The 2 water faucets that feed the front and the back of the home were shut off down cellar, opened and drained for Winter. While it's warm and humid today (A/C back on) and will be even hotter tomorrow, this is the time for Winterization. On a related note, I called earlier this week and set up an appointment to get my snow tires on in one month.
 The  window latch and crank hardware was installed on the laundry window. (not pictured)Scrap wood from construction was sawed into small enough pieces to fit into my trash barrel. I will get rid of most this week, the rest will go into the bin after trash pick up Wed A.M. Glad to clean that mess up off of the side of the house, although I had it stacked neatly.

 I hit the edge of my new stove just right with a stack of heavy pans, nicking the corner as I did. Bummer .. .I already had white appliance paint on hand from a rental Colonial I vacated in 2016, touching up some appliances prior to moving out.

I finally got the dining room drapery rod installed. With nightfall getting earlier and earlier, and cold weather approaching, I've been anxious to regain some privacy as well as to cover the windows for comfort. These are the drapes that I bought on super clearance for the rental condo. Glad to be able to reuse them.
 The best part: here is my new handyman drilling a pilot hole into a tree.
 This is where one side of my pulley clothesline (bought back in 2014)  is installed
the other end is attached to the home, just outside the laundry window, on the kitchen stoop. Finally back in business! I'm thrilled! 

Handyman is returning next Sat, ideally to color stain the back deck, which was the original plan for today, but the weather was rainy in the morning. So far, the forecast is excellent for next weekend. If the weather changes, there are other things for him to tackle. My last handyman disappeared, so I had to find a new one. His work is good, prices reasonable.

Saturday soup pot: trying something new

 I had a coupon so I grabbed this chicken tortillas soup maker mix. Once home, I also needed a can of diced tomatoes, so I chose this crash n burn can of Mexican style tomatoes. I had some homemade chicken stock, and leftover, cooked chicken already on hand.
 Here are the ingredients
and it's low salt!

I chose to use the Crock Pot to make this easy on me.

It's what's for supper tonight. Very good, I'd do this again, but only if there is a coupon. I think the normal retail price is $3.99.

Friday, October 13, 2017

November 2017 menus


I spent several hours reviewing my books, accessing my cash flow, paying bills and calculating how November should go, cash flow wise. My credit card bill just came in, and it only had the insulation project on it, monies are available to pay that in full, as planned. Meanwhile, I've put the recent tree work also onto that card, which won't come due until the end of November, again, it will be paid off in full, with monies set aside to do so. The rest of November could* be tight as I am still owed significant funds, through "bank of Mom" that really need to be returned to me, to keep my cash flow going. I continue to tweak my budget as known costs emerge, and am bracing for the upcoming heating season's increased energy costs (hopefully reasonable, given the scope of my recent insulation project). I've already trimmed my budget further in some areas, including Christmas. We'll still have a nice dinner, and time together. As is my custom, I will (hopefully) complete any actual mortar and brick store shopping well before Thanksgiving as I simply do not enjoy the crowds or rude behavior that seems to go alongside.

 So here are  my November menus:

1-macaroni and cheese, salad
2-quinoa burgers, 2 veg TBD
5-CP pot roast, mashed potato, carrots
6-creamed Salmon over boiled potatoes, fzn peas
8-hamburger and macaroni (substitute fzn Ital sausage), salad
9-Swiss steak over egg noodles, green beans
12-chicken cacciatore over brown rice, salad
13-shrimp scampi (use fzn pkg) over linguini, green beans
15-baked ziti with cheese, salad
16-sausage with lentils and spinach (NEW)
19-Salisbury steaks, mashed potato, Butternut
20-Parmesan crusted fish with potatoes and green beans (NEW)
22-spaghetti with fzn meatballs (homemade), salad
23-Thanksgiving feast
26-spinach lasagna (pasta and sauce for me), salad
27-lemony Salmon with pesto cauliflower mash (NEW)
28-pasta with lentil bolognese, salad
29-stewed peppers and tomatoes with eggs and toast (NEW)

I have 4 new recipes to try, veggies are mostly TBD unless already specified. I continue with soup twice weekly, which will also afford me the opportunity to try a few new recipes as well. I need very little, beyond perishables, to complete these menus: fresh cauliflower, fzn long French green beans, fzn Cod fillets, fresh flat leaf parsley.

Thanks for the suggestion on where to find the votive candle holders

 This is the look I was seeking. I am using these corn candles up, come Thanksgiving they will be burned down. I will then turn to my small stash of votives to fill these plain, clear votive holders, leaving them seasonless.
 Only $1 each candle holder but I still was able to use a coupon on top of that modest purchase.
Naturally, my receipt included a second coupon to encourage me to return and buy more..

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What little take out has been happening

and on purpose! DS has a weekly appointment on Saturdays. Normally, DD takes him, but on occassion, I have had to. Our agreement is that one time, I will pay the tab for take out subs, and the next time he will (for the 2 of us). I had to pay once in Sept. None so far in October.

No take out pizza, I've had some stashed away, frozen, store brand "Digiorno" type pizzas as an emergency meal, and for days that I am struggling. This has meant $4 to feed DS and myself. Pretty good. DD has $$$ gluten free French bagettes that I have been using if she is with us on these nights.  Easy enough to prep them.  One meal that I did order out, on an off night for me, (it was dinner with Dad night so just myself to worry about) was a Chinese take out meal for well under $10. I have $100 budgeted for the month so $10? I am ok with that.

The monies that I pinched here as well as from other not used accounts in my monthly budget such as clothing, have been used to offset additional home repairs/maintenance.

Home maintenance

 As promised, the driveway company came back and added more product to the crack. It has become black over time, initially, as I was warned, it was brown. No cost to me.
 After a few weather related delays, the tree removal company is back this week for phase 2, removing 6 trees from the right front and side of the property, as well as trimming deadwood and questionable branches from the only tree in the very front of the home. They initially parked their rigs out behind the house and worked from back to front of the property. They were here 8 hours.
 Here they have started working on the last of the right front side trees.
 One guy is up in the crane bucket cutting away, while the guy on the ground drags the cut branches over to an awaiting wood chipper.

This is what remains in the right front
Here is what the rear, right side of the yard now looks like. The side was left riddled with large logs,

(until this morning when the owner of the tree removal company came with a Bobcat that had a  cherry picker attachment and moved all of the logs down on the treebelt, curbside for the large cherry picker to come by this afternoon.)

 The right rear, since the logs were moved
Here are the logs, stacked together for later this afternoon.

And there's the cherry picker truck, to take the large logs away to the mill.

The tree company is again working in my neighborhood, literally just a few homes down at an intersecting street. When they return this afternoon, they will do a final clean up, but they are excellent in cleaning as they go, raking, leaf blowing, picking up sticks, etc. I also got a general quote idea (as in range) of how much it will cost me next Spring (do that I can save) to have him come back, and while working in coordination with my land scapper, do some stump grinding, cutting back of brush in the left rear aka "the dumping ground" with the neighbor. It is my goal to 1: clean up the now barren right front corner, bring in topsoil and seed the lawn and then 2: clean out the left rear corner eyesore. I can't do more this year and am relishing the idea of recovering this Winter and making a plan.