Saturday, December 12, 2009

clawing uphill

I spent the morning doing the odds and ends that make a small farm run. I bedded the chicken coop and sheep shed with fresh straw and filled up the grain bins with new feed. I carried out fresh water in heavy buckets to the sheep, dumping the old rubber bin of the spaceship of solid ice inside it. I put weight in the back of the pickup and called a tire store about getting snow tires on the rear wheels. After the spaceship incident I called a few feed stores to price water tank defrosters and found a sale at Tractor Supply. For twenty bucks a small device can be hooked up to an extension cord and float in the sheep's water and keep it from freezing solid in the night. That's money well spent, but money isn't being spent like it used to. I was never in a position to spend a lot of money, but from time to time treated myself to a lower end guitar and that used truck. Now that I'm saving and planning for a house in the spring, everything is taken into consideration of frugality and common sense. Things I used to never even blink and eye spending money on I now pass by. No more coffee at stores, the pot stays at home. No more renting videos or buying new clothes or toys I don't need. Christmas presents will be humble and I hope it doesn't offend anyone when they are. I understand if you want something (and lack a trust fund or inheritance) you need to work, sacrifice, and plan for it. So that's what I'm doing: the work that needs to be done and building my small nest egg for a down payment on that farm.

I'll be announcing my Etsy shop re-opening soon. I'll be selling a mix of watercolors, antiques, knitting, knick-knacks, instruments... anything I can part with. My banjo will be up for sale with a great backpacking case and extra strings and a strap. I'm also offering beginner fiddle and dulcimer workshops for locals, so please email me if you're interested. And if you have a watercolor ordered, but have not received it, could you do me a HUGE favor and email me a reminder with your name, address, and subject matter. My web-email program runs on slow dial-up. It makes looking through old emails a long, long, process. I'll be painting all weekend so be assured if you write, 'I'm the gal with Popeye the cat! Here's my address! Here's that photo again" you'll get it mailed next week. Just make sure files are small, like I said, dial-up.

I'm going to see Abi, Greg, and Finn today. I'll be brining his hay and hoof-trimming shears to show Abi how to do it for her alpacas, and to maintain hooves. If you go to her blog, Spiderwomanknits, you can see photos of Finn and her boys Hayden and Indy. It's a cool site and her taste in design, antiques, and her Etsy business are all top shelf. We have the same Lincoln Bread box in our kitchens. (You can trust people with like taste in retro kitchen appliances.) I'm beyond grateful for their help and yours as I claw my way into my own farm. When I get there, and I will, we need to throw a proper Antlerfest and celebrate.

Say you'll come? This farm stopped being just mine a long time ago...

P.S. I'll still be at Northshire Books tomorrow, is anyone still coming? The snow may be an issue?

photo by abi, off spideerwomanknits

22 Comments:

OpenID mountainchicken said...

It's amazing how much money you can save by cutting out those little things you buy all the time but don't need. I'm confident that you will realize your dreams. Where there's a will there's a way, right? And as for humble xmas gifts, try fudge. Throw thee type of fudge squares in a pretty tin and all recipients are happy.

December 12, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Seafish said...

Be there for Antlerfest, you can count on it!

December 12, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Seeing Finn with the alpacas made my morning! It's good to know he's in good hands until he can come home.

When you get your farm and are ready for that Antler Fest let us know. I'll be coming all the way from Kentucky for that one!

December 12, 2009 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Tami SouthStreetShabby.blogspot.com said...

Jenna...
I realize that being frugal and aiming for your goal is the priority right now, but be careful not to over do it. Don't sell everything that means something to you. Selling everything (instruments etc.) will only put you in a bigger funk than you were before. Nothing that makes you 'you' will be left and losing who you are is difficult.
Sell smart and not those things that you will eventually have to replace.
Tami

December 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger laluna said...

I'll happily drive across New York State to attend Antlerfest! It sounds like you've got a great plan in place to reach your goal - and you watch, it'll likely be here sooner than you think!

p.s. I've been plugging away at my "new" fiddle, and anxiously awaiting for Wayne's book to arrive! But I *can* play Jingle Bells already ;-) (disclaimer - I grew up playing piano and flute and so can sight-read music pretty well)

December 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Jenna,
Good luck with your new found frugality. It's one of the best things our family ever did as a group. It is very freeing. After a while, you don’t notice anymore...it just feels normal to not stop of coffee. (Unfortunately, I notice that I have to really bite my lip when others start complaining that they don’t have enough funds to cover their bills, but do not hesitate to treat themselves to coffees, books, CDs...)
On another note:
I'm thinking that your part of the country is not finished with the snow as we are getting pounded this weekend. We had the terrible weather you have been experiencing this last week, two weeks ago. (But the media never comments on our bad weather. I guess Montana is supposed to have bad weather in the winter.) Anyway, we are under a winter weather advisory for the weekend into the first of the week....8-10 inches of snow with well below 0 wind chills. So get ready! It might be coming your way!

December 12, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger kate said...

Jenna,

You're making smart choices for the dreams you have.

In the back of your mind, keep another idea.

You have a paying job for your day work.

When I bought my first property, my employers gave the bank a letter saying my job was secure -- something the bank wanted in 1992.

A month later I was laid off, from some belt tightening in a bad economy. It took from September to February to find a new job near my house.

I am not trying to scare you. I only want to say do NOT cut it close. Do not do it by your fingernails.

Okay, enough of that. I think you are making good choices -- and I get the feeling you always will!

December 12, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger kate said...

P.S. I'll buy and foster one of your instruments until you can buy it back, if that helps.

December 12, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger taylor said...

Hey Jenna,

I've been keeping up on your blog, and should give you a call sometime. Will you be in PA over Christmas at all? I'd love to catch up.

In another note, I saw this blog post: http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2009/12/02/knitting-in-process-short-row-earflap-hat/
and was wondering if this is something you would know how to make or something close? I would LOVE to pay for materials, work, shipping etc. if you could knit me something like that and would much rather have something homemade than try and find something similar in a store. Let me know if it's something you'd have time to do or be up for. It wouldn't even have to be red, could be made with whatever yarn you have handy.

Good luck with saving and keep your chin up! I love reading your blog, and it's definitely an inspiration. Especially with the saving money, just reminded me how often and how easy it is to grab a $4.00+ latté and how fast that adds up. Oy.

December 12, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 12, 2009 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

There's nothing like a bit of fire, drive and determination! Good work on finding so many ways to raise yourself some money. It's a real inspiration.

On another note, I partially agree with Tami's advice. I think it's wise to hold on to things that aren't replaceable (like your grandmother's wedding ring or something), but when it comes to your banjo, a car, and whatnot, those things are replaceable. Stuff is stuff and when you've accomplished your ultimate and more important goal of owning your own farm you can gradually replace those things you sold off.

Good luck!

December 12, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Hey Kate,

I love my job, I don't want to cut it loose!

-j

December 12, 2009 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Also, I can't sell my fiddle, or my special things. I will sell things I honestly know I can do without and replace down the road.

December 12, 2009 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Canadian Eh! said...

Hi Jenna,

Re Snow tires
Goodyear nordic icetrac or
Bridgestone Blizzac icegripper
would be the best choose.
My opinion.
You just will not be able to do donuts in the parting lots.
Wow alot has gone on since the last time I check in on you and the farm good to see you are holding up well. (yes I have been busy myself had to build a new igloo for the family up here north of the 49th) ;);)
Sorry I can not make it to the book store to meet you the snowmobile broke down just out side of town with only 2259 miles to go again sorry maybe another time we will meet good luck with it.
About the acreage there is always Idaho,Washington and B.C. Canada,
Keep your eyes on the goal and you will get there very soon I know it .

December 12, 2009 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I was so worried about little Finn, but when I heard that he was found in between the two alpacas, I couldn;t help but smile and know that he was going to be ok. What a nice picture to carry around in my head all day as we brave the chilly winds here.

A note on frugality - personally I hate it, but i know how necessary it is. We are on the verge of buying the adjacent 2 acres to our farm and every penny counts. No more Barnes and Noble and "extras" at the gorcery store. It's hard to change but I just keep thinking about how nice it will be in the end.

I can't wait until you get our farm and we will definately be there.

December 12, 2009 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Good luck in you saving routine. Even if you never have to scrimp again, I think it's important to know how. Here's my experience, having been in my home 3 years now...it's a stretch getting in to a house and there are always things that need fixing when you get there. Don't be surprised if you need to continue to scrimp for awhile after moving to your very own farm. It's okay, it's definitely worth the sacrifices. You're gonna love having your own place.

December 12, 2009 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

Here in Eugene, OR we're a scrimping and a saving too. I love your updates and am so happy Finn's fine. Here's hoping the winter flies by.

the other Naomi

December 12, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Scrimping and saving is a good way to be always. You'll get a better sense of yourself and accomplishment, and of course your bank account will continue to grow. I think most of the country is scrimping and saving right now, honey- there's no shame in it. Being careful with your money is ok and you'll get really used to it.

One of my tricks is to fold up the pages in catalogs I get, like I'm marking what I want to buy. Then I throw the whole thing in the recycling bin. Yeah! It was free entertainment for a couple of minutes, and then cost me a walk to the kitchen.

BTW- there's a lot of good stuff out there on being frugal- the internet's a great source of info on that!

Good luck, and onwards and upwards!!

December 12, 2009 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger LindaSue said...

Vermont is a long way from SE Alabama, but if I can come I will. If not my happiness is with you when you get that little piece of heaven that will be yours.

I hope in the late spring to early summer to get my little piece too. Only a double lot, about 360' by 160'. Enough for my little place, a few square foot gardening plots, and maybe a few chicks for eggs. You have me thinking now.

You have a great holiday and stay warm and safe. Later

December 12, 2009 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm a firm believer in creating space for what you want to call into your life. This summer I "purged" my house and took 4 truckloads of stuff to the thrift store. It was all stuff I could/needed to part with, and I don't miss a single thing. I feel free and ready for the next step...whatever that is.

Here's to your own clearing and money-making process, readying for the arrival of your new farm and the return of Finn!

December 13, 2009 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Grant Wagner said...

Hi Jenna,

I read your blog often and it is a source of inspiration to me. Good luck in all your works.

As for slow internet, most web based email services let you use a stand alone email client such as ThunderBird to read and archive your emails. It shouldn't be to difficut to set up, but it is differenct for each service. They will have instructions on how to do so on their web site. Once connected, it will take some time to sync the two up, but eventually you will have all your emails locallally, and access to your webspace willl only be required to actually transfer. If they give you an option, select IMAP over POP3, as IMAP will keep all your directories.

If you need ssome help in setting it up, let me know, and I'll help as best as I can.

December 14, 2009 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger DeeCee said...

I will so be there for Antlerfest, even though I would be travelling from GA. I have family in MA and CT,so might bring some of them too. We grew up on a small family farm, first in MA and then in CT so it would be a blast!

December 14, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

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