Sunday, August 18, 2013

Money Grows on Trees

Money Apple Tree

Have you ever bought an apple?

Money does grow on trees… it also grows on vines, underground, in a nesting box and is commonly disguised as weeds along the side of the road. Growing your own food is a little like printing your own money. Keeping a garden and fruit trees is a better investment than having a lot of money because food does not lose value due to inflation. An apple tree planted today will produce enough apples for you to eat for the rest of your life. The tree only grows in value over time because food prices will always rise. The same concept for planting and harvesting can also be applied for accumulating monetary wealth.

Ecclesiastes 3
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Save for the future
Wealth and vegetables can only be harvested during specific times. Spring is the time for sowing and late-summer to early fall is a time of reaping. During the winter very few plants grow, so it is important to have saved enough for times when there are limited opportunities to harvest. Any crop harvested from the garden can be frozen, dried or canned for times when it is otherwise unavailable. It saves money to not have to purchase food outside of season.

Diversify your investment
If you plant a field of only tomatoes, you should expect to reap only tomatoes. Not every year will be optimal conditions for every plant. A wet summer mixed with blight will kill all of the tomatoes. I meet a lot of young people who invest all of their future earnings in student loans and if their life doesn’t go as planned, they are left without much fruit from their labors. With growing your own food, it is better to grow a large variety of vegetables, fruit trees and to have a few hens that will produce eggs even when the weather is bad. 

Plant trees whose shade you’ll never sit under
Soil and water are limited resources. Without quality topsoil and clean water, a plant will not grow. Soil has to be taken care of and nutrients must be replenished periodically. Spreading healthy compost and manure over a garden plot every year will give plants the best chance of growing. Invest in the future generation by keeping chemicals out of the water.  

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.  ~Cree Indian Proverb

Death of a Hen

Feathers from dead hen.

(Some phrases are adapted from the play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller)

I don't say she was a great hen. The black Australorp never made a lot of eggs. Her name was never in the paper. She was not the finest hen that ever lived. But she was a chicken, and a terrible thing happened to her. So attention must be paid. She should not have been allowed to be dragged away like a rag doll. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a chicken.

I only wanted a little place in the country to raise some vegetables and a couple of chickens. Now only six hens remain out of the eight I originally had. Nobody’s worth nothin’ dead and that includes hens. The death occurred between the hours of 2:30-5:30pm so it was still light outside. I think it may have been a coyote because a trail of feathers led to the woods. I do know some poor animal died a violent death in the front yard at around 3am this morning because I heard the screams. I should not have let the chickens outside today, but they are always so happy to be let out of their coop. I will have to be more careful with them from now on.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Retire Early

The Field of Dreams
I meet so many people who absolutely hate their job. I really don't understand why anyone would stay at a job they hate because there are so many better things to do. I'm also  a little tired of the view that the only way to make money is to be employed by a business. If you don't like your job, get a new job or better yet start your own business. There is another aspect to this, though, many people feel like they have to keep their current spending rate in order to be "happy" so they will continue to spend years of their life working at a job they hate in order to get more money just to spend it in an attempt to find happiness. Does that make sense? No, I can tell you already that having such a mindset will never make anyone happy.

Let's assume you have a job that you hate. You feel physically ill when you think about it and dread Monday mornings because you "have to" go to work. What would you do if you could retire today? I do not mean retirement in a general sense of sitting around doing nothing, but a retirement where you will still be productive. Also imagine that you live in an amazing country where you can start a small business in almost any field you desire. In this country you can also grow large portion of your food with very little risk of starving people stealing your crops, and if you choose to purchase your food, the country has some of the lowest foods costs in the world. In this hypothetical country, there is a reliable highway system and better yet some of the lowest fuel prices anywhere. Many of the citizens have a "can-do" attitude. The free public library systems contain vast collections of books about do-it-yourself projects and not to mention free internet access. The only limit is time because time is one thing that once spent cannot be regained. Would you rather spend your limited time working at a job you hate in order to buy more things, or would you rather save your time and retire early to be able to do more? It is an important decision.

I found this interesting comment on a site called :

The Investment Banker and the Mexican Fisherman.

An investment banker stood at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The investor scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.

“The investor continued, “And instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would then sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution! You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

To which the banker replied, “Perhaps 15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions. Okay, then what?” wondered the fisherman.

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”  

July Food List

July Food Totals

January Total: $39.48
February Total: $43.39
March Total: $35.51
April: $33.91
May: $39.11
June: $28.59
July: $22.39
Year Total: $347.71
Total Remaining: $17.29

This month my total expenditure for food was less than any other month. There are several reasons for the low amount. I worked more than usual this month which saves a lot of money on food because I can eat at work. Most of my calories consumed this month actually came from the restaurant. I also ate a lot of meals with family and several members of my extended family visited this summer, so I didn’t count that in my amount because normally I would not eat those foods. On the 8th I ate several restaurants in Asheville that specialize in serving local organic food. I went out to eat with a friend on the 30th which I count as an entertainment expense because I haven’t seen her in a long time.

I have made it through 212 days of the year averaging $1.64/day for food. I am right on track for my secondary goal of spending less than $600 this year for food. I hope next year I will be able to achieve my goal of less than $1/day for food. I still have much of my food remaining from past months. For example, I have over half of my rice remaining and gravy mixes.

Working in a restaurant is a great way to save money on food. I like where I work because the food is such high quality. I no longer make as much bread because I eat so much of it at work. I have even calculated the commute and it costs $0.78 in gas each day with gas prices at $3.56/gallon.

July Food List

As usual:
Food I grew
Locally sourced
Honey from my bees or bees I know

1st - strawberry freezer jam, 1/4c broccoli, 1c bush beans, 2 eggfrtst, ramen, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: shell pasta, cheese sauce, bread, butter, lemonade, sprite) (walmart: bisquik w/ coupon $2.64)
2nd - 1/4c strawberry freezer jam, 1-1/2c blackberries, 1/2c raspberries, blueberry muffins (blueberries, bisquik, egg, milk sugar), 1tsp honey, butter, 1 pot coffee (taco bell:$4.48 )(newport TN snacks: ~$3.25) (DG: pint milk $1.35)
3rd - strawberry freezer jam, 1c bush beans, 2 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/3c rice, blueberry muffins, brown gravy, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken wings, potatoes, bread, butter, lemonade)
4th - (family: brownie, doritoes, cookies, blueberry pie, mtn dew) (work: pizza, chicken wings, spaghetti, lemonade)
5th - 1c bush beans, 1/3 box stuffing, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (family leftovers: blueberry pie, doritoes) (work: penne, marinara, bread, butter, b-day cake, lemonade)
6th - strawberry freezer jam (last of last year's), 2 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken thigh, herbs, potatoes, lemonade)
7th - 1/2c blueberries, 1/4c black raspberries, 1-1/2c squash & zucchini, 1/4c broccoli, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/2 eggwash, 1/3c rice, butter, house autry, oil, soy sauce, blueberry pancakes (bisquik, mlk, egg), lemonade, syrup, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
8th - ramen, biscuits (bisquik, milk), butter, lemonade, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (Asheville: Roman's Deli - chicken salad sandwich local&organic and local ice cream) (subway: cookies $1.20)
9th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/4c tomatoes, 1/4c swiss chard, scallion, 1c bush beans, 3 eggomlt, 1/3 box stuffing, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken, herbs, red bell pepper, onions, zucchini, root beer)
10th - 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (DG: nutty buddy $0.75) (work: pork parmigiana, spaghetti, key lime pie, root beer lemonade)
 11th - waffles (bisquik, milk, egg), syrup, 1/4c tomatoes, scallion, 3 eggomlt, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken herbs, potatoes, spaghetti, bread, butter, lemonade, root beer)
12th - (made bread) 1-1/2c squash, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/4c tomatoes, scallion, 1/3c swiss chard, 2 eggomlt, 1/4 bread, ramen, butter, oil, house autry, lemonade, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken herb, lettuce, tomato, cannoli, fanta)
13th - (work: pizza, spaghetti, bread, butter, potatoes, chicken wings, lemonade, coffee, sugar) (family: lemon cake)
14th - 3/4c raspberries, 1c bush beans (this year's), 1c squash sauté, 1/4c tomatoes, 1/4c swiss chard, scallion, 3 eggscr, butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee
15th - blueberry syrup, waffle (bisquik, milk, egg), syrup,  eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: pizza, lemonade)
16th - 1/2c raspberries, 1c bush beans, 1c potatoes, 1/4c tomatoes, 1/4c swiss chard, scallion, 2 eggomlt, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (family: chips, cookies)
17th - ramen, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken picatta, spaghetti, lemonade)
18th - 1/4c tomatoes, scallion, 1-1/2c fried zucchini (oil, egg, house autry), 1/4c swiss chard, 2 eggomlt, butter, sugar, 1 pot coffee (work: cappuccino, pizza, lemonade, coffee, sugar, bread, butter, shell pasta, Bolognese sauce)
19th - 1c applesauce (family: cupcakes)(work: cannoli, grilled chicken, lettuce, lemonade, root beer bread, butter)
20th - lemonade, sugar, coffee (family: cupcakes)(work: pizza, veal parmigana, pasta, peas, lemonade, root beer)
21st - 1c applesauce, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1-1/2c fried squash (house autry, oil, egg), 1/2c raw bush beans, 1/4c tomatoes, scallion, 2 eggscr, butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee
22nd - (work: coffee, sugar, cannoli, pizza, chicken wings, potatoes, bread, butter, fanta, lemonade)
23rd - 1-1/2c fried squash (oil, house autry, 1/2 egg), 1/2c raw bush beans,  1c bush beans, 1c potatoes, scallion, 1-1/2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, brown gravy, mac&chs, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (starbucks: $2 Frappuccino w/ coupon) (GO: mac&chs $0.59)
24th - 1c applesauce, mac&chs, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: chicken, lettuce, italian dressing, cucumbers, lemonade)
25th - 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, butter, soy sauce (work: pizza, root beer)
26th - pancakes (bisquik, egg, milk), syrup, 1-1/2c fried squah (oil, house autry, egg) butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: pizza, root beer, lemonade, hamburger patty, mushrooms, onions, potatoes)
27th - 1c bush beans, ramen (work: bread pizza, lemonade, chicken picatta, coffee, sugar)
28th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/4c swiss chard, 1/4c tomatoes, 1/8c bell pepper, scallion, 3 eggomlt, butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee, payday, 2 strawberry pops, frosting (family: salmon patties, ketchup, corn, butter) (GO: choc cake mix $1.00, frosting $1.25, king payday $0.89, (6) strawberry pops $1.00, cheddar cheese $1.99)
29th - 1/4c tomatoes, 1/4c swiss chard, 1/8c bell peppers, scallion, 3 eggomlt, cheddar, butter, 1/3 choc cake box (oil, egg), frosting, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee  (work: baked penne, marinara, lemonade)
30th - day out with B
31st - 1/4c tomatoes, 1/8c bell pepper, scallion, 3 eggomlt, butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, strawberry pop (work: chicken wings, potatoes, spaghetti, lemonade)