mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
jacob
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by jacob » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:04 am

@c_L - Once the flow/stock-system is set up [for production rather than consumption], producing doesn't take nearly as much time anymore and conversely, consumption might take a bit longer. Hence my comments about DIY'ing a solution instead of driving out and buying some. Ultimately, I posit that whatever level you're on, living it takes about the same time/effort(*). It's only the switching between them that takes time because it requires learning or relearning new behavior.

(*) I suspect Parkinson's law play a role. Breadbaking might take longer than driving+shopping because one simply chooses to make fancier bread (because one can). However, if it was a race, I bet I can beat the driving+shopping by making something simpler. I note that chefs think nothing of making their own pasta and for them it really only takes 5 minutes. For me it takes longer, but that's just because it's not something I've been practicing. Still, I have to understand that it's possible.

bigato
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by bigato » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:45 am

As a data point for this post, yesterday I tracked how much time I spent making a bread. It was less than 12 minutes and I see that I could keep it under 8 minutes with practice . Off course I am not counting time the dough is resting and on the oven. But I included time to clean and store utensils back in place.
I am eating it now and it’s one of the best bread I remember eating!

bigato
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by bigato » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:00 am

Also, if you use very little yeast, you can let the dough grow overnight and bake it in the morning. The slow fermentation bread tastes great.

If you don’t have time to bake it in the morning, you can get one of these bread machines with a timer that will prepare it to you during the night and time it so that you will wake to the smell of warm baked bread.

7Wannabe5
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:10 am

@bigato:

Excellent! Now it is time to move on to:

1) Grinding your own wheat.
2) Growing and harvesting your own wheat.
3) Breeding your own variety of alternate high protein edible grass crop optimized for your region.

:lol: ;)

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:47 am

I grew up with a mother who actually baked bread every Monday, she even had a little side business selling loaves. So, baking bread isn't an area I need too much practice with-I get that it was just an example. What I need are more reminders of next steps, like the list 7w5 added. Not for anything specifically, just as a thought experiment to move myself out of my current Wheaton level.

For the garden this year, I bought (didn't DIY it) a heating pad for starting seeds. But I haven't started anything yet; I guess I'm not sure which ones to start and where to put them all so that a two year old doesn't have access. I'll try and start some seeds this evening, maybe only squash and sunflowers. That will be a first for me.

I am working my way through the ERE book again, and trying to go more slowly this time. I've put together my first 'web of goals' and it looks like a kindergartner did it. I also made a list, as the web drawing part looks wonky. Anyway, one of my early goals had been to learn five new birds this year. I think I've got the songs down for two, the house finch and the song sparrow. I can identify the male house finch by sight, but not the song sparrow. I've definitely been more attentive to birds and am calibrating my ear for them. We've got a sorta thicket at the front of the yard, mostly quince, lilac and mock orange. The song sparrows and perhaps chickadee's sing and hop along in that area all day. I'd like to make a water bath for them, once I get out cats outfitted with bells.

I don't know how to add photos of my web of goals, maybe it's better as it really looks like a child did it. So, here is the list:

1. Exercise -time in nature (trail running, hiking), health, fun
2. Financial independence: learning (investing, systems theory), frugality, saving, reducing possessions
3. Gardening: health, time in nature, learning, saving
4. Birdwatching: time in nature, fun, learning

I feel a little critical of my list because I'm still figuring out the systems theory and also, I don't have anything about relationships in there, is that ok? I'm trying it out with the hope that I can increase my understanding of it and also, of course, make some progress on all of the goals.

I think one of next natural steps is to start thinking about wants and needs. Not sure how to get started on that, but I'll keep reading here and the book.

bigato
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by bigato » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:39 am

I’m actually thinking of grinding the grain, because it’s the best way I know to have fresh and better tasting flour. Also, the whole grain can easily be stored for longer and bought in bulk. It’s very convenient to make a single yearly buy, the same way I already do for rice. I probably won’t grow wheat here though, even after I move to my rural property, because the weather is not adequate and there’s plenty more things that I could grow instead. I may mix the wheat flour with more local alternatives like corn flour or even some rice flour.

classical_Liberal
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by classical_Liberal » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:24 am

@mooretrees
wrt to web of goals. I actually did the same thing as you last time I read the book, with highlighters 8-) . I was very general and used generalized "needs" as points in the web and then colored lines to connect them. The lines represented the different activities that provided for those needs. I can't say that it was an immediate life-changing activity, except that I visually recognized I could provide for my needs in several different ways each. Also that I did not need a line that represented FT job income and/or Walmart to do it.

@Jacob
I still use the assumption that I'll make weekly grocery store runs anyway, so grabbing cheap bread while there doesn't really take much extra time at all. This is, of course, because I'm set up for consumption (ie grocery store runs). So I see your point and it's actually got me thinking :idea: . Thanks. Yes, you are correct, I do make higher quality stuff at home, just got done with some corn bread :D

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Mon May 06, 2019 7:42 am

We might have a buyer for our Honda Fit. We'll see if it happens Tuesday as planned. If it does work out, that will knock at least 8k off the debt and I'll be able to reduce the car insurance as well. Fingers crossed!

This month should be a good month for debt reduction besides selling the car. It's a three paycheck month and I'm hoping we can sell one more iPhone. At the very least, I should be able to throw $1500 at debt.

We also have our farmers market starting the 18th. This will be our third year selling our coffee there. I love it. We started three years ago roasting 8 oz at a time in a homemade coffee roaster-a former popcorn popper. It took a long time to get to 4 pounds! We've got a commercial grade roaster and I have been slowly working on the business side of things. I'm not so good at it, but we want to grow the wholesale side of the business and see if we can't bring in more money. DH built the tricycle we serve coffee off of out an old mtn bike, a bed frame and various bits of wood. He did a fantastic job, it's fun to ride and very eye catching. It will be an interesting market season with a two year old to wrangle, but we have built up a lot of friends with other vendors so I think we'll have help.

Selling the Honda will be interesting. I've been thinking a lot about what our life will be like in the next 5-10 years. It's hard to predict, but I feel like I'm returning to myself as I get more wrapped up in ERE. I used to make hardly any money but had a very cheap life. Living with roommates, biking everywhere, making most of my food from scratch. If only I had saved money during that time! I remember something from MMM (I think), where he wrote about being grateful to his younger self for making good decisions. I hope to feel this way about myself in a few years.

Buying the Honda was a classic middle class decision, we had talked ourselves into it because I was pregnant, we thought we could pay it off fast, and we sorta wanted to 'treat' ourselves. We both had only ever owned cars from the 80's and 90's, so this car was FANCY! And there were a lot of subtle 'welcome to middle class' approval from people around us. Like, welcome to the real world of fancy cars and debt. I've been dealing with not necessarily regret, but sadness with that decision. I mostly provide the financial direction in our relationship, and I steered us wrong with the car. I try and remember the "no shame, no blame' mantra of ymoyl, but I will feel a lot of relief to see it gone.

We drove the car quite a bit, mostly the miles came from fairly frequent trips to see friends and family in Portland. We could go car free in our valley, but it would be hard and I don't think I want to try it. Not a lot of public transit and lots of great hiking areas that we would miss out on. We will see if we're able to reduce the big car trips and keep biking around town for small errands. I hope we can transition away from jumping in the car to get something, to jumping on the bike, to not going to the store at all!

prognastat
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by prognastat » Mon May 06, 2019 12:31 pm

Good job on continuing to vigorously tackle the debt. It's the best way to take care of it because debt is generally an anchor dragging you back where investments are like a sail pulling you forward. It's best to get out of the former and into the latter asap.

Good luck on expanding the business. Sounds like you've been hard at work on it by increasing your efficiency and volume. Have you expanded beyond the farmer's market yet?

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Mon May 06, 2019 8:44 pm

Thanks prognastat! I just made an extra $400 payment and hope to make the big payment tomorrow. Looks like we have a time to meet our potential buyer tomorrow to sell the car, aka one of the anchors trying to sink us. I'm ready to be out of debt! Soon.

We do sell whole sale at two places in town, very low key. But, we've been working to get insurance, certified by the Dept of Ag so we can legally sell at different places. The farmers market has an exemption for selling that has allowed us to legally fly under the radar. We've moved the roaster to a commercial place, are working on correct labelling and will get certified in July. We don't want to pay for the inspection twice, so we'll wait until then.

RealPerson
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by RealPerson » Tue May 07, 2019 7:21 am

bigato wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:39 am
I’m actually thinking of grinding the grain, because it’s the best way I know to have fresh and better tasting flour. Also, the whole grain can easily be stored for longer and bought in bulk.
I do that and it is very easy. The wheat berries are put in a blender and are ground in a minute or so. Involves virtually no work. I have a fancy Vitamix blender and they sell a special container for dry goods. I don't have that but the regular container works just fine. The wheat berries stay fresh much longer than flour, similar to coffee beans vs ground coffee. Vitamix is a high end blender and I don't know if that makes a difference. You might try your preferred tool with a small quantity before buying a 50 lb bag of wheat berries.

Frita
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by Frita » Tue May 07, 2019 10:09 am

@RealPerson

Do you know the lifespan of a Vitamix? I have a decent blender that works well for most applications; however, the grinding/blending capacity of a Vitamix isn’t there. I am thinking about purchasing a used one. Any suggestions on appropriate test to determine condition?

bigato
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by bigato » Tue May 07, 2019 12:22 pm

Nice! I was thinking more about the lines of using a manual grinder of the kind that you propel with your arms and was routinely used a generation ago to grind cofee and corn, among other things. But it's nice to know that it can be easily done with electricity.

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Thu May 09, 2019 7:00 pm

No go on the sale of the car, pretty annoying potential buyer who tried to dicker us down on price based on some issues he had with the car that were sorta manufactured to lower the price. Anyway, we didn't sell to him. It was a big let down as I had really gotten worked up about getting rid of that debt. DH listed the car in another big city, which will be interesting as it would be a long drive for us to show the car. We'll see how it goes.

We're all sick, bad head colds. Our little man had a low grade fever for four days, reduced appetite and generally felt pretty bad. We took him to the doc finally, just to check that it wasn't an ear infection. All clear, but $192 out of pocket. The nice lady setting up the appointment reassured me that at least it went all to the deductible. I didn't feel better because of that. I hate to look at my paystub and see how much is taken out each month for health insurance, and then, when we go to use it, have to pay more on top of that. It's maddening.

Anyway, I resisted the urge to buy any vegetables for the garden and instead started seeds that I had on hand. Hopefully some of them sprout. If 50% sprout I'll be really happy.

I don't really want to share much about our spending here because I feel too nervous about it. Maybe I'll buck up and do a brief run down and use it to inspire more reductions in spending. Sorta why I'm here, right? I want to keep food spending under $400 and am actually shooting for $350. I have a newish iPhone to list for sale and some odds and ends to take to the kids second hard store. The iPhone sale money will go to debt of course.

I think I'm starting to enter the phase of 'reducing possessions' that I keep reading about in other journals. It'll be a long journey to get rid of a bunch of this junk responsibly. But worth the effort.

Looking forward to more bread responses :lol:

classical_Liberal
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by classical_Liberal » Sat May 11, 2019 3:16 am

My next task is cinnamon swirl :D

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Sat May 11, 2019 7:19 am

niiice. I made a delicious recipe in a our cast iron skillet for DH's birthday. Complete with cream cheese icing.

Quantummy
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by Quantummy » Sat May 11, 2019 8:06 am

After years of trying various recipes I found what seems to be best pizza dough yet from "Mastering Pizza" by Marc Vetri. He recommends trying in cast iron skillet as well, which turned out great.

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Sat May 11, 2019 7:01 pm

I am horrified. I finally tallied our April spending. All I can say, we have a lot of room for improvement. I don't think I can post it here, yet. I need to recover from my shock.

Frita
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by Frita » Sat May 11, 2019 7:11 pm

mooretrees wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:01 pm
I am horrified. I finally tallied our April spending. All I can say, we have a lot of room for improvement. I don't think I can post it here, yet. I need to recover from my shock.
Been there before! It’s easy to spend and just not notice. That can be where recording and monitoring more frequently can help. (I am an ENTP so I need that accountability. DS Is an ESTJ and needs to keep his spreadsheets.) Have you identified an area to improve? How’s it going so far this month?

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees » Sun May 12, 2019 6:34 pm

Thanks Frita. I think I need to look over the numbers weekly as we're looking to reduce expense. DH doesn't really want to talk money as much as I do, so I'll have to figure out a way to navigate his limited interest and make sure we are on the same page with spending.

I am over the shock and am going to post the numbers and rip the bandage off. I will set goals next to the items I think we can reduce.

Food Home: 410 (350-400)
Food Out: 119 (<50)
Loans: 870 (I actually want this number to increase until they are all gone)
Cars:
Fuel: 70 (<50)
Insurance: 81 (might get much lower if we sell the car and only carry liability on an older vehicle)
Maint: 122 (included annual registration fee for one car and motorcycle so good for two years)
House/Garden: 99.25 (includes 4 yards of bark chips for weed prevention, and some basement renovation supplies) Should be $0 in May
Tools: 60.45
Bicycles: 19.98 (shifters for mtn bike, should be $0 next month)
Books: 11.96 ($0 next month)
Pets: 32.25 (already higher for May, maybe we should look into making the dog food?)
Bills: 223.14 (wiggle room with electricity, phones, and gas; fixed bills are trash/recycling (could reduce to one pick up a month? water is too high but city charges a base fee which we never go over, and internet)
Morgtage: 912.18
Misc: 197 This included two one time purchases that were about $100, but can work on making this lower.

OK. The areas I want to work on are:
1. Food home and out, would be nice to be under $350 for both and it seems like a worthy goal.

2. Cars: F*^@!!! We have another potential buyer for the Honda, I'm not getting my hopes up, which is a lie. I'm totally getting my hopes up, I'm not good at moderating my excitement, but I do recover quickly from disappointments. But, in the meantime we can drive less and we don't have any maintenance coming up. If we sell the Honda, then we drop $196 in a loan, we'll be able to lower the car insurance and we'll see how well we do with NOT driving a really fuel inefficient vehicle. We have four bikes between us (a mtn bike and our coffee cart tricycle as well as two regular bikes), and we're getting back into the grove of riding again.

3. Electricity: we're holding steady at around $65-75/month. We have two old appliances (fridge and washer machine) that I don't want to replace yet. But, DH hung up the clothes line in a more convenient location and we should only use it now that the weather is better. Not sure if that will make a big dent or not, but I'll try it.

4. Mortgage: I'm talking with a coworker about living in our basement for a few months as she only has two weeks to find a place and might not find something. Would be only short term, but would add $450/month. Also, not going to happen this year, but we are getting obsessed with converting a school bus into a tiny home. Might happen next year if we can get this debt off our backs and reduce expenses so we can cash flow a build.

Anyway, I feel like making caveats to explain everything, but, it is a ridiculous amount of money and we can do much better. I appreciate any feedback.

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