cmonkey's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:38 pm

theanimal wrote:Not sure if you take cold showers or not. But if you're looking to drop your water usage even further, doing that is my simple suggestion ;).

Congrats on hitting 100k!!
Not sure if I'm that adventurous, but I do take really quick showers. :lol:


Surprisingly, selling the piano was more exciting. I discovered the 100K as an afterthought in the evening. I knew we were close, but was counting on a contribution to make the difference.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:22 pm

Our three FI accounts topped $100,000. :mrgreen:
That's awesome! Round numbers! The next $100000 will go much faster.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:50 pm

Free Entertainment & Some Winter Gardening

C40 had mentioned how little our entertainment budget is. Well here is why!

On top of being part of the Prairie Cat Library System (access to dozens of libraries, shipped to our local branch) our local library has a huge selection of movies. Most of them are new. Movies & books are what we consider 'entertainment' and its all free.

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We even get the "new" stuff. So now we don't have to pay 15 bucks/person to watch stuff like this. Just stay a couple months behind the trend.

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Today I decided to build a small hoop house. It is built in the spot where our greenhouse will be! I planted a mix of spinach, lettuce and arugula. I expect we can start picking in early-mid March based on our experience last year. It was 45 outside today and this hoop house got up to 65 within an hour of building it. It is on the southwest side of our house, which is a suntrap. That's why we are putting the greenhouse here.

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George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:41 pm

I would stick to hoophouse in this location and put the greenhouse elsewhere. Why? Because the greenhouse will more easily overheat if you've got plentiful sunshine whereas the hoophouse can be temporary.

Here at my place, we don't have plentiful sunshine... for instance it is futile to plant anything now in our greenhouse because it is so overcast and the greenhouse works fine in Jul-Aug (provided we fully ventilate).

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:53 pm

I was also thinking about the overheating (and making the house hot in summer) issue. Sufficient venting would be critical but possible. Ideally, the vents should be temperature-controlled.

My concern would be the moisture generated. Unless the greenhouse is free-standing, it could encourage rot in the house siding.

The hoophouse is such a great, simple idea when you have frequent winter sunshine. If we made a hoophouse this time of year, it would become a moldhouse. As soon as someone figures out gourmet ways to cook mold, we'll be rich.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:51 pm

I built a $600 harbor freight greenhouse once. It works really well. Shade cloth is required in the summer or it gets too hot. I don't really know the greenhouse market but it was cheap and easy to build.

You can also start plants indoors under lights in the winter.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:55 pm

George the original one wrote:Because the greenhouse will more easily overheat
Even in winter? In winter it would also double as a heater for the house.

In summer, we'd have shade clothe on and no plants inside with it fully ventilated.

halfmoon wrote:My concern would be the moisture generated. Unless the greenhouse is free-standing, it could encourage rot in the house siding.

This is a good concern. The wall with the windows only has foam board for sheathing so that wouldn't mold. The other wall has OSB.

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:19 pm

cmonkey wrote:The wall with the windows only has foam board for sheathing so that wouldn't mold. The other wall has OSB.
Do you mean foam board under an exterior sheathing such as T1-11, pre-prime OSB, Hardiboard...or is foam board the exterior layer? That would be new to me.

Are you concerned about mold in the OSB wall? I don't know anything about your climate. Here, mold is the default.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:05 am

Yes just foam board. It goes steel siding -> building wrap -> foam board -> studs. Also three to four 1x2s in there to attach the siding to, nothing substantial. I had never seen it either and it makes the livingroom cooler in the winter compared to the rest of the house, which is now very warm.

I'm not sure on the OSB/mold thing. The Midwest is pretty dry (<50%) most of the year except in July when we get the corn effect going on. I had thought of it before. I'll have to do some research. We have a friend here with an attached greenhouse on the south side. I'll have to ask him if he's had issues. I don't think he has.

I'm not too concerned about overheating.

Gilberto de Piento wrote:You can also start plants indoors under lights in the winter.
This is what we do now, and it is less than ideal. Very difficult to keep clean. :( If we decide not to do the greenhouse we are planning, I would build a standalone in that same area.

George the original one
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by George the original one » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:23 pm

cmonkey wrote:
George the original one wrote:Because the greenhouse will more easily overheat
Even in winter? In winter it would also double as a heater for the house.

In summer, we'd have shade clothe on and no plants inside with it fully ventilated.
LOL, I wouldn't know about a sunny winter day cause we don't get them!

Spring/fall sunny days where it's 60F, our greenhouse can sometimes touch 80F with the vents open. We pull the side panels off to keep it from overheating in the summer, but we're not using shade cloth (partly because the sunlight isn't terribly strong here most of the time).

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:38 pm

Sprouts!

9 days later, I have some sprouts in my hoophouse. I think it's arugula.

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Operation Single Catdom

Since we adopted Monty from out backyard 2+ years ago, we have had two cat worlds. Originally he lived outside until we just couldn't stand leaving him out anymore (and he got hurt), so then we said "one month in the basement" (while he healed). That turned into "well, now it's winter and he's so used to the warm basement!". So then we started keeping inside in cold weather and putting him in the garden in warm weather.

Meanwhile, we've had two sister kitties since 2011. They have had the run of the upstairs that whole time, but we really wanted to keep them in the basement at night. Now that's half finshed, we can...well except that's a different cat world!

So we've decided a fun project will be to merge the two cat worlds and give them all the entire house (upstairs+basement) during the day and just the basement at night. We've already started actually, following this method. We have started bring the girls downstairs and the boy upstairs. It's going well with the boy and one of the sisters. The other sister is a big baby and hates it! It'll take more effort with her.

They have always sniffed under the door, and so they know each other's smells already. We have been cracking the door and they are starting to sniff through the crack at each other.

Starting today, we are bringing them into face to face contact, one sister at a time. One is in a cage, the other is free. Then we swap them the next day.

Doing this will give us a number of positives

1. We have a good place for the girls at night. Currently we have a huge multi level cat cage condo for them, but I feel bad about it.
2. We can keep the basement door open, letting heat up from our stairwell. It's a heat trap.
3. We can stop living in a locked down house! We always need to be careful around the basement door. Monty wants up and wants attention when we are upstairs.

Sisters

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Soon to be step-brother

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The moral of this story is - shoo away stray cats!! :D

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:13 am

January 2017

This year is starting off with a bang. We saved 89% of our income. That includes my companies contribution to our HSA. Without that we still saved 87%. All in all it was a "normal" feeling month with no effort to save any more than we felt we had too.

This was also the first month in over a year that spend zero on renovation.

We also started air drying our clothes inside and it works very well. Jeans take the longest at about 5 hours or so. Everything else is dry within just 2-3 hours. We have a rack set up in the warmest room and have a fan blowing on low.

Expenses/Savings


Total Spend - $804.08
Total Savings - $6,633.39 ; 89%


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Lending Club is continuing to lose money. This is the second month in a row, however, it was less of a loss. I did a bit of my own Loss Projection and I will also lose money in February, although the loss will be less. Things will probably turn positive starting in March, but we'll see. My portfolio age is now 13.4 so returns will start to stabilize within the next few months.

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For now I am funneling all our savings into liquid dividend paying stocks with a slight cyclical bent. I've added to LYB, TGT, T AND PFE over the past few months. I also sold MDU (+56%), CAT (+42%), and GPS (this was in Sept for break even).

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I still can't bring myself to max out the 401K. Don't ask why, because I don't know.

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Total FAI - $3849.83 (+239.20)

Time to Bills Only - 7 Months (-2)
Time to Bills & Food - 21 Months (-3)
Time to TTM Expenses - 46 Months (-2)

TTM Expenses - $14611.64(-170.21)


Our TTM is set to plummet next month as last February's high spending rolls off. March will be an even bigger drop. We'll sit around 13K at that point. Our 'Time To' values all decreased nicely due to saving more than I have projected.


Work Life

I mentioned a few months back that we had changes coming at work. The changes have come and gone and we've settled into new balances for now. Our tech lead retired (not the one I thought would) and so work has shifted around. I now have more work to do. Or it could just be the time of the year/timing on projects. Our team is transitioning more into a service where we don't handle the planning for the projects going on within the systems we support. We are really just administrators so that's the way it should be.

Overall the changes were for the better. I enjoy being here more than I used to. I am also doing 2 days a week at home now, so that is saving me 4 hours a week of commute time.

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C40
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:53 am


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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:15 am

Peer pressure really get's to me, I guess that's all it took. ;) DONE!


I have been on the fence for the past few months. Originally the plan was that the earnings from LC would be greater than the tax hit from not maxing out. Now that LC isn't performing as well, I can't make that projection anymore.

I've been toying with the idea of just halting all LC investment until I'm done working and then roll some of the 401K into LC. I only need a certain amount for what I have planned. This would end the tax I'm paying on LC interest now, and would allow me to roll over more from the 401K via the Roth ladder each year since my taxable income would be lower.

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C40
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:52 am

Now you can put your feet up on your desk and feel like the Monopoly man knowing you'll be getting a Community Chest cards every year about how you're getting a bunch of income and capital gains and paying zero taxes on it.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:03 pm

Are you concerned about the funds being locked up? I know there are workarounds but they could if the laws change.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:05 pm

Yea it is a concern, but I haven't seen anything about Trump wanting to chang the conversion loopholes. I expect if it were to change, now would be the time and I could change back.

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:13 am

Free Mulch Worth $3,000+

Last week we had a load of free wood chips delivered by a local tree company. They deliver whenever you request, when they are in the area. I was told I could have all I want! I told him I could probably go through 4-5 loads per year. Maybe more.

We actually had 2 loads delivered back in 2014 and we went through it quickly. It broke down in our fruit garden and around trees after about 1-2 years.

I calculated how much it would cost me to purchase each truck load from a big box store and the amount I came to was $1,107.74 per truck load that they deliver. So in total I've had over $3K worth of mulch delivered now.

You might be wondering why I named this post with a dollar amount in it! Well, we figured out how much all this mulch would have cost us if we had bought it at a store such as Lowe’s or Menards.
Lowe’s has 2 cubic foot bags for sale for $4.49. Notice that is cubic FOOT. Now we had 17 cubic YARDS delivered in each truckload so that is 34 cubic YARDS of mulch. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard (3*3*3). 34*27 = 918 cubic feet of mulch / 2 = 459 bags of mulch from Lowe’s. 459 * $4.49 = $2,060.91 * tax rate of 7.5% = Total of $2,215.48!

I want to start building the organic content in our soil and I think these free wood chips will be the bulk of the building. There are some concerns with nitrogen depletion at the soil surface, so I'll have to see how it goes.

The plan is to start putting down 3-5 inches per year and adding when ever it gets low. We are also still composting and I want to get some red wigglers soon as well.

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vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:28 pm

Nice haul! Wood chip can be very dry, one trick is to mix in leaves stockpiled from autumn to help retain moisture. The wood breaks down much faster releasing the nutrients to the soil sooner than it might have otherwise, whether or not that makes the nitrogen depletion more acute is another thing entirely, I'll defer to wiser green wizards, I wouldn't worry too much though, particularly if you plant nitrogen fixing plants in the mulched beds... but I can think of bigger problems.
http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/what-every-gardener-should-know-mulching wrote:Wood chips aren't a great idea for vegetable and annual flower beds, though, since you'll be digging these beds every year and the chips will get in the way. They do serve well as a mulch for garden pathways, though.
Depending on size, wood chips are great for mixing into compost heaps, particularly if you find you have too much green matter and you're attracting too many bugs or it's too wet. I have been layering sawdust into mine which is pretty similar, just much finer :)

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:41 am

Thanks! If you look, you can find all sorts of free organic material. I don't think I can get enough, especially once I have more worms in my soil. They'll go through it quickly. I try to collect all the leaves I can, but I think I need to start collecting down in the city. People just bag it up for you! I put a whole bunch in my coop yesterday for bedding. I'm not sure how it'll go but I want to try. The stuff I put in last fall was chopped up and so had almost broken down now. These were full leaves.

Nitrogen depletion is minimized if you use larger pieces and use it as a mulch, instead of digging into the soil. And yea, you can sprinkle clover all over and fix nitrogen. I'm thinking about that.

As far as digging goes, I want to start 'no-digging' all over the garden. I'm not a fan of turning over soil and now that I know you can just keep adding organic matter year after year and your soil will get better, I'll just do that. The most I want to do is stick a fork in and wiggle around a bit. I've heard it said that soil life takes over 6 months to recover after you turn soil over. So I want to stop that.

I'll just push aside the mulch and make a small hole for transplants. For broadcast sowing, I'll just move more mulch. :P

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vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:51 am

You need to plant more tree's so you become self sufficient with regard to leaves! :)

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singvestor
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by singvestor » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:27 am

from a fellow chart addict: your forward annual income chart is fantastic!

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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:48 am

DH and I have always hesitated to use a lot of wood chips in the garden, due to concerns about soil acidification and nitrogen depletion. Apparently both of those concerns are unjustified:

https://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/upl ... -chips.pdf

Bring on the wood chips!

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cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:08 am

@vexed, Yep! We have 5 trees that are 100+ years old and probably going on 100 feet tall. Still not enough. We have planted about 20 fruit trees, so down the road we'll have more.

@singvester, Thanks, :) I enjoy the charts a lot. Glad to know others do too!


@halfmoon, Yea that's the conclusion I've come too as well. Worrying is pretty fashionable. ;)

I might just mulch around the transplants (tomatoes, brassicas, etc..) and leave all but one seed bed un mulched since there possibly is a chance that seeds won't germinate as well. Depending on how that one bed goes, I'll decide if I want to do the rest.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:57 pm

halfmoon wrote:DH and I have always hesitated to use a lot of wood chips in the garden, due to concerns about soil acidification and nitrogen depletion. Apparently both of those concerns are unjustified:

https://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/upl ... -chips.pdf

Bring on the wood chips!
This guy will talk about wood chips all day.

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/

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