@Jason and @wolf, thanks guys. Of course, now we are back under 200K a few K. Thanks volatility!
It's nice to have crossed it. Another couple months and we'll be over for good.
April 2018 Update
We spent 2 weeks in MN with family during April. We had a wedding to go to, but an historic April blizzard closed all of southern MN for that weekend, so we made the trip for almost nothing. It was nice being back up there though. We looked at one house, but it definitely wasn't for us.
Finances were very good, slightly lower than April 2017, so our TTM dropped slightly. This will drop more in the next 6 months.
We crossed 7K in FAI. Yay!
We are starting to have meaningful dividend growth contributions to our FAI. For the year we are at $190.23, which is about 3/4 of a month. April was $74.55
Our Expense to Income numbers are getting closer and closer to overlapping for the first time. I feel like this will happen in 2018, but not until December. My big dividend months are March, June, September and December and I have home insurance/tax payments in all those months except December, so my expenses are higher than the average. My "month 3" number is now $752, and will grow by a lot before December.
Garden Photos at the bottom!!!
Finally, both of us have been busy busy busy having fun outside. It was a very long winter/late spring here in the midwest. We didn't get regular temps above 40F until 2 weeks ago in mid-April. The greenhouse is packed! I built a second bench and have some more changes planned.
Total Spend - $877.51
Total Savings - $7,251.58 ; 89%
Years Saved - 13.23
SWR - 7.56%
TTM Expenses - $15,062.26(- $44.84)
Total FAI - $7,275.02(+ $329.71)
The past couple of years I have thrown most of my grass clipping and oak leaves in my chicken run. Going forward, I'm putting ALL of it in there each year.
Well here is the result! They compost better than I do. I was able to cover 3 garden beds at 2-4 inches deep. Probably about 200 square feet. The soil in our beds is getting pretty good because I've put down organic matter on a lot of them.
The mulchers! We still get but loads of eggs. We give them to family and sell them at our garden club. And eat a lot of them.
DW has espaliered a couple of old variety apple trees in front of the coop. They are coming along nicely.
I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't when it comes to mulching over the past year. We have huge VOLE problems where we live. Anywhere that is undisturbed and has ground cover quickly becomes infested. This past winter a large chunk of our largest hostas were 90% eaten because they were covered by leaf litter that I didn't clean up.
Last year, I mulched a lot with grass clippings and the voles moved right in as well. So this year all the grass clippings are being composted by the chickens, because they don't work well in the compost bin either.
Wood chips don't work in annual beds! Don't do it! I don't think they tie up nitrogen so much as people think but they make it IMPOSSIBLE to do anything with vegetables. So they are confined to the paths, the hedges, fruit trees and the fruit garden.
The ONLY thing that I will mulch with on flowers and veg beds is finished compost and finished leaf mould. Also, no deeper than 4 inches because then the voles cannot tunnel under the mulch. They have to make entry holes, at which point I can destroy their tunnels and they leave.
The key to vole management is -
1. NO ground cover
2. Keep everything 'disturbed', meaning work the beds from time to time. Vole hate being disturbed and leave very quickly.
I love the idea of no-dig, but it just doesn't work for us for the most part. I am not turning soil over anymore, but I do disturb the top 2-3 inches.
So here is what our beds look like now. I love them.
I finally have our fruit garden cleaned up after about 3 years of always falling behind. It just needs some more free woodchips. Working from home has given me so much more time!
I'm a bit behind on my composting operation. I bought a chipper/shredder on craiglist for $100 bucks and will be using it to shred this stuff.
I have so many flowers in my orchard and I don't even need to tend them! They just keep coming back.
My second bench. It has helped tremendously and I need to get another built for the other side. I'm also going to build a small plywood cabinet for storing pots, labels, tools, etc...
As you can see, we go overboard. But we find room for everything! Growing in the greenhouse is going extremely well compared to kitchen growing. No fungus gnat issues yet! We saw a few today and so set everything outside so the wind will blow them away.