cmonkey's journal

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

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:46 pm

Some of the things we are doing/have learned to do but haven't done yet to turn gardening into a nearly free hobby..

1. Stinging Nettle soaked in a five gallon bucket filled with water for 3 weeks makes great nitrogen feed concentrate. Mix 1 cup concentrate to 1 gallon of water and feed weekly.
2. Comfrey, soaked in the same way, is great for phosphorus (for flowering and fruiting time).
* These will get VERY smelly, so cover with a lid.
3. Long sticks for trellises.
4. Garden centers often give away plastic containers as they will be recycled anyway. Same with pallets which are always handy.
5. Long grass is your friend! Maybe not in the garden, but some where close! We keep ours long in the orchard and it -
  • a. Keeps disease spores from being splashed up on the trees in rain (sort of like a filter). We noticed a huge difference in disease spread this year so far.
  • b. Home for all sorts of predatory insects
6. Baking soda mixed in water and sprayed on plants creates an alkaline (high pH) environment that is not conducive to disease growth.
7. Learn to save seed! It is quite easy and fun and your saved seed will remember your growing conditions from last year and improve itself. Done over many years your plants will be much stronger.
8. Save eggs shells as a calcium supplement for blossom end rot and general plant health.
9. Save old coffee grounds (or find for free from Starbucks) for low pH/ericaceous plants (like blueberries).
Last edited by cmonkey on Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:48 pm

Debt Free

I have spent the better part of the past few weeks pondering whether I wanted to just discharge our truck loan with some of the cash in our cash accounts and have decided to do just that. Employment is stable and we frankly don't have any use for the large cash fund right now and the pychological relief of not having the loan in the back of my mind is very wonderful.

So I am happy to announce that we are officially and forever debt free (once they cash the check). :D

Starting next month we will be achieving at least a 50% savings rate. Outside our core expenses we can achieve up to a 75% rate. I am hoping to settle about 65-70% for the rest of the year.

This month is the worst of the year at about 30% and most likely will stay that way due to a couple of large expenses. Even so I am still light years ahead of my fellow citizens. I will post more details in July.

llorona
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by llorona » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:06 pm

Thanks for the ideas on gardening! I just wrote about trying to reduce gardening costs in my own journal.

Where do you get stinging nettle? Does it grow wild near you? How are you able to identify it? I looked at photos online and it looks like any green plant to me.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:19 am

llorona wrote:Thanks for the ideas on gardening!
@llorona, No problem!

Stinging nettle grows wild where I live and most likely where you live as well. It can be found in wooded areas mostly. Usually near the forest edge, but can also be found in fields and ditches. Look in the wettest area you can find, it loves moisture. It is very easy to recognize once you know what it looks like. It has pairs of fairly large, oval, jagged leaves that grow up the stem across from each other. Also, it hurts to touch! The plant is covered with hollow prickles that act as hypodermic needles which, when touched, inject a host of chemical irritants. Make sure to wear gloves when handling.

Image

The plant looks similar to the mint family IMO. It is also a great food source surprisingly, since when you boil the plant all the needles are rendered useless and safe.

Or if you are up for a real challenge try doing like the brits do and eat it raw. :o

Image
Last edited by cmonkey on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

llorona
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by llorona » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:56 am

I appreciate the photos. Thank you! I'll let you know if I find any stinging nettle to try your nitrogen feed idea.

spoonman
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by spoonman » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:07 pm

Congrats on knocking down that loan. It's great to have a balance sheet with zero liabilities.

Btw, I really like the photos, especially the close up photo.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:33 pm

Thanks spoonman! It feels good but at the same time a bit lack-luster. It really didn't change our day-to-day and we won't yet realize the savings potential until the end of next month.

Speaking of which, I have spent some time this week working on a less transparent way of tracking our progress. After a few unsettling text messages ( asking how much money I have in my bank accounts { who asks that, by the way, after months of no contact?? } ) from someone that I helped out financially several years ago (but is no longer a part of my life) I have decided to shroud our situation a bit more.

I am no longer going to give balances but will give the ROI we are getting at Lending Club, the number of defaults and the income we receive going forward. I will still share expenses but no more income or savings amounts. That way it's a bit more work to figure out how much we have (something the mooches can't do :P ).

I have settled on calculating our Forward Annual Income as a metric for how we are progressing and when we'll be FI.

Image

I credit a couple of people for inspiring me to make this, namely spoonman for the idea of forward income, and C40 for his awesome charts.

You can see we are currently sitting at $292.20 of FAI as of May 2015. This is based on a SWR of 7% for Lending Club (based on expected returns of 8-9%) and all Dividends from the dividend fund. It should start to rise with my August/Sept update since the end of July will see the beginning of our investments.

This chart matches the calculations I have fine tuned over the past year or so and has us reaching FI for our core bills in mid-2018, FI for all of our expenses in mid-2020 and reaching a runaway level about a year later in late 2021. The yellow stars are the achieved goals.

So about 6 years. :) Visualizing our path makes us very motivated!
Last edited by cmonkey on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

thrifty++
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by thrifty++ » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:59 pm

Great graph Cmonkey. Freaky that someone contacted you asking such questions. I had liked to think we were all fairly anonymous and here and that people would not recognise who we are. Its a tough one as the transparency can make it more real and helpful to other people to take tips and advice and make it more real, but I get what you are saying. Touchy information.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks thrifty++.

Sorry I should have clarified, text messages, not forum messages. That would be truly freaky!

Angela
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Angela » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:24 pm

Thanks for sharing your journey. Congratulations on being debt free!

I used to use Azure, will think of doing it again. Dry commodity storage is challenging on my farm, I've got a rat problem at the moment and only so many galvanized cans with lids.

Enjoy those hens. I sure like mine and am spoiled with the amazing daily fresh eggs.

cmonkey
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:35 pm

Thanks Angela! It's starting to sink in what a great position we are now in.

I read your intro right after you posted it and meant to say welcome to the forums but forgot! Also, I hope you are doing well with the loss of your new husband. I could not imagine losing the DW.

We are definitely enjoying the chickens, although still about 2-3 months from eggs, so they are not profitable yet. :P I need to post more photos soon, they have grown a lot!

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:59 pm

Here are some pictures of the chickens taken this morning. The chickens are growing quickly, they are 3 months old.

Opal/Cristo
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The top roo, Stanley. He is a very handsome bird.
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My favorite of the whole flock, Gem, sitting on the DW's leg. She is always the first to jump on us when we enter the run.
Image

Rosie, using one of the roosts we built.
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Saving the handsomest for last, Humphrey (right) and B (left). We call him 'B' because we couldn't figure out whether he was a male or female. Originally we though it was a girl and so called him Beatrice. Then we thought 'Bernard' for a male. Then we didn't know what he was, so we settle for 'B'.
Image
Last edited by cmonkey on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

BlueNote
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by BlueNote » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:17 pm

These are great pictures, I didn't know chickens could be so beautiful. I've wanted to try pasture raised chickens ever since I read a few articles about it. I don't own land but one day I hope to have enough for a great big vegetable garden and hopefully some chickens. My DW may not take kindly to the idea of birds roaming the yard but I bet she'd be on board for the cute little chicks!

Congrats on becoming debt free. I became debt free a while back and it doesn't seem like much at first because it's not a suddenly life changing event. However as you keep rolling the proverbial snow ball you should notice how much faster it grows and over time you'll appreciate the lack of debt particularly when shit hits the fan and you've got ready cash available during an emergency vs having to finance with debt while already in debt.

Ydobon
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Location: Scotland

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:41 am

At least it was someone you knew asking the freaky questions, it would be *really* disconcerting if it was a random person asking!

thrifty++
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by thrifty++ » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:56 am

Pretty chickens. Rosie looks like a star. I would love to have chickens. They would not fit in too well on a small inner city apartment balcony though I imagine.

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:22 am

Thanks everyone. We love them a lot, they are turning into very beautiful birds. I can't believe they still have about 2-3 months of growing yet to do. The roosters will change quite a bit more actually.

@Ydobon, agreed! In reality I doubt this person would ever find me on here, but just the thought of *someone* who would cause problems finding out about our journey is very unsettling, thus the change. We are very private people, and I have learned that keeping your mouth zipped is the better part of ERE.

I expect most people on here could do the math to figure out where we stand. ;)
BlueNote wrote:These are great pictures, I didn't know chickens could be so beautiful. I've wanted to try pasture raised chickens ever since I read a few articles about it. I don't own land but one day I hope to have enough for a great big vegetable garden and hopefully some chickens. My DW may not take kindly to the idea of birds roaming the yard but I bet she'd be on board for the cute little chicks!
Thanks for stopping by BlueNote! There are many varieties of chickens, most of which go unnoticed by the general population. If you do a search for 'heritage chickens' or 'heritage poultry' you will discover dozens of varieties. In fact, there is one called the Sumatran Chicken which is pure black....including the meat and bones! Its pretty incredible. I am pretty sure I could NOT eat those birds. Way too beautiful.

Image
Last edited by cmonkey on Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ydobon
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Location: Scotland

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:29 am

Your experience certainly serves as a valid cautionary tale.

I'm considering starting a blog to chart the journey to FI and I am very torn between wanting to be completely transparent (net worth, investments, data sets etc.) and worries about the loss of privacy experienced as a result.

My current thoughts would be to use one of domain providers who hide your details so that a simple 'whois' request won't give scammers your name and contact details?

cmonkey
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:36 am

@Ydobon, yea it just depends on the level of privacy you want. More people tend to follow people who are more transparent and show net worth. If you are strong in your resolve to mooching relations I can see it not being a problem. I am pretty sure you can hide your 'whois' information but I have never looked into it. I would think the most problems would come from people you know as opposed to unknown scammers, so the best course would be to avoid telling them and sharing on social media.

Ydobon
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Location: Scotland

Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by Ydobon » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:57 am

I'm lucky in that I don't know any moochers. I can think of one individual who has past 'form' in moochery, but I'm not rich enough to interest them at this point!

vexed87
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Re: cmonkey's journal

Post by vexed87 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:14 am

There is usually a small charge for making whois data private. Blue host charges $1.99 a year (IIRC).

Off the back of your concerns I have decided against sharing too much data on the forum too. I realised it was pretty easy to find out who I was in RL with a few searches. (everybody runs off to google vexed87... :roll: ) I'm almost tempted to run off and re-invent myself online ;).

One of the most important things you can do to hide your identity is setup totally new usernames/passwords and e-mail addresses for use on your account and be sure to never use these elsewhere. Using these anywhere else give up your identity so easily as so many websites/companies who hold your data are hacked on a regular basis, it won’t take long for scammers/extortionists to attempt to dupe you if they know your worth something.

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