Category Archives: Frugal Choices

New Version Eggmobile

Oh my goodness, i’ve lost track of the number of eggmobiles i’ve built these past two decades.  The first one was large and on an ancient wagon running gear.  It was part of daughter Jessica’s Missouri Department of Agriculture sustainable ag grant she wrote for and received being the youngest ever at age 9!

Anyway, done bragging now and on to the newest plan.  My favourite ‘look’ is that of a Conestoga Wagon and this one is no exception although much smaller than the traditional real Conestoga.

The one i replaced was just worn out and had some issues which of course i corrected with the new version.

66823551_10214295523364376_6566911025994530816_n
This one was several years old and just dilapidated.  Wood was deteriorated and wasn’t a well balanced design making it awkward to pull around.  Also, as you can see the old wagon pull broke, the pop door was too short and manual, not enough nesting boxes or roosts, and overall it was simply too heavy.
6adca5bf-5e29-466e-a21f-7c5a72d05b67-465-0000004574a10b54_file
Moved it home and the old hens gave it a complete check out, then had no hesitation going back in.   Note this new version has an automatic pop door.  Should have done that on the very first one.  A very good investment even for my small flock.
IMG-6127
Had to come up with a new way of holding the ‘hoops.’  My previous eggmobile, i used 1 inch schedule 40 pipe and it has too much spring to it and i had it attached very securely.  This time, i raided the water pipe supply and chose 3/4 inch black HDPE pipe and it is much easier to handle.  Here i’m cutting short pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe.
IMG-6128 (1)
After drilling a hole to receive a longer 1/4 lag screw, i installed the screw with the plastic tube topped with a 1/4 inch flat washer.  Powered it in and it makes a sort home made sort of shoulder bolt.
IMG-6129 (1)
Enter a caption
038a92eb-5b0a-498f-919f-16641513f7bc-256-0000001640f6eb11_file
This view shows the nearly finished eggmobile.  I built it in separate pieces so that it can be disassembled if needed.  There is the floor which i reused (newer lumber).  Don’t use anything less than 1 x 2 inch welded wire.  It’s a little big for small chicks, but is perfect for grown hens because their poop will go right on through.  The second section is framed then sided with old corrugated plastic.  Except for new hardware, everything is reused on this.
ffe9fd41-d21f-47f6-b33d-f174b1cdde1d-2146-000002e29c5865c5_file
i installed a door on one side just in case i need access.

8a937373-7f27-4cae-9e88-69078fcf91e4-2146-000002e2bbff8707_file

c0443b60-8be0-4d01-ac92-895d907b5c3b-248-00000015e7f5b048_file
See how the black pipe forms a nice hoop to hold the standard sized white tarp using the makeshift shoulder bolts.  Roosts are cut from old electric posts.
6cc8caf2-9b56-48bf-8694-63475772bcf8-2146-000002e236ddc8df_file
The translucent panel is cut from an old solar panel cover.  Not sure if you could find those used.  My father-in-law had a couple left over from a business he tried starting about 40 years ago.
05E6AF5C-F657-4D97-83F1-A4F5D2E6DE63-2146-000002E2581C20CC-file
Lift the lid and inside is the top level of the nesting boxes.  I may or may not end up dividing these.  If i do, it’ll probably just be little curtains.
E380E67B-F07B-4E59-B38B-F45CC2B502E6-2146-000002E28B531665-file
Lift the floor of the first level to collect eggs on the lower level.
635e2631-9127-471b-aba9-f9d9f7dc2c18-2146-000002e227e9d823_file
Ador1 battery powered automatic pop door.   Note the ladder like roosts – i have to change the supports to wider stance because if a hen edges to the outside, it will tip.  I also had to take off the green corrugated bit above the door and attach boards to secure the canopy.  i used more of the solar panel stuff to make it match the front.  At the front here, you can see that i built double decker nesting boxes – there are 6 now vs the 3 before.

This is the coolest ever.  It comes preset to automatically open at dawn and close at night.

Craft Supplies

For whatever reason, public school teachers seem to need to buy supplies for their classes each year, using money from their own pockets.  I won’t comment on that being right or wrong or even why because i simply don’t know.  However, we as home educators, really can’t afford to purchase extraneous supplies, so we are careful to collect and use free stuff for educational supplies.  When possible, we purchase secondhand textbooks and use them for all the children in the family.  Or we share with other families whose children may be similar in age, but offset just a bit.  (Currently, Missouri public education is funded by taxpayers at the rate of $10,457 per student per year).  Since i have three children – had that been sent to me, i could have managed nicely on $31,371 per year!

Missouri Statistics by district

Linn County R-I School District

Name: Linn County R-I School District
City: Purdin
Average Daily Attendance: 220.8
Expenditure per Pupil: $11,343.44
Local, Percent of Expenditure: 43.89%
Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,978.31
State, Percent of Expenditure: 46.54%
State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $5,279.22
Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 9.57%
Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,085.91

Brookfield R-III School District

Name: Brookfield R-III School District
City: Brookfield
Average Daily Attendance: 968.3
Expenditure per Pupil: $9,569.70
Local, Percent of Expenditure: 44.99%
Local, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil:$4,305.84
State, Percent of Expenditure: 43.91%
State, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $4,202.25
Federal, Percent of Expenditure: 11.09%
Federal, Contribution in Dollars per Pupil: $1,061.61

To that end, i have on hand various supplies that have been given to me or sent in the mail (we get a bunch of return addresses from outfits asking for donations and typically there are fun stickers and parts of the address that can be cut for stickers.)  Gifts that have been given to us (or i unapologetically collect tissue and paper from bridal showers or birthday parties that would have just been thrown away).  Coloured tissue paper is so fun for tearing into shapes (think Eric Carle) and making books.  Also, fun to fold and tie to make flowers, etc.

Coloured paper from flyers in the mail can be cut into strips to make decorative chains.

Making books involves math skills (ie: fold paper in half, one fourth), large and small motor skills (folding, tearing, punching holes, gluing, drawing, etc), sharing and helping (work in groups), creativity (develop story telling skills, logical and chronological thinking, and how to express ideas in picture and words), understanding relations (large and small, tall and short, etc), shapes, colours.  Goodness, so many skills in just one fun activity.  At the end, have each child read and show their creation to encourage public speaking and reading skills.

There are a multitude of craft and art activities that can be expanded to teach nearly all aspects of education.

Time is the most important investment in the education and training of your children.

Ask for, gather, then develop a plan using those free supplies.  Wow, you can even then teach the importance of repurposing, recycling, reducing.

b6f18d77-e316-42de-a778-05432dc6f406-609-000000638ca51ead_file
Some of this is brand new that was given to me but i have no use for so it needs to be in the hands of someone who can educate and encourage children.  Not shown is an envelope of stickers that i cut out of the Arbor Day return address labels that were sent in the mail.  

 

 

Barn to Bookshelves

At long last my feeble attempt at building a much–needed bookshelf out of the boards from our old horse barn that was located at the Lamme Farm is complete.  Most of the delay was due to the super cold and long winter.

Horse Barn - Lamme 1-9-2013 (4)
Final portrait before starting tear down of the horse barn at the Lamme Farm. – 2014
Horse Barn - Lamme 1-9-2013 (8) - Copy
The old barn was past its prime.
Horse Barn - Lamme 3-5-2014 (1)
Salvaging side lumber.
Barn Board bookshelf (4)
Boards in storage.  I did have a bed made from these boards a few years ago, but hadn’t made anything until this bookshelf i recently completed.
Barn Board Bookshelf (1)
Lots and lots of sanding to remove layers of old paint.  My husband won’t let me buy a planer – says they are too dangerous.  Hmmm, but he has no problem with me running a table saw, chainsaw, reciprocating saw, circular saw, jig saw, band saw, and working cattle all day long.
Barn Board Bookshelf (2)
Putting on the final sanding.  Still without a planer, there are gouges which don’t show up until i add stain or other finish.
318754d3-d637-4979-971e-2829587ccc5d-892-000000aaf7f1d36e_file
I loaded this 6 foot tall unit into and out of my pickup, then into the house and up a set of curved stairs.  Good thing it’s not heavy!  A bit awkward.  The shelves are removable.

3aa5a2da-7516-4f7d-9ae9-e3526af9e3b9-892-000000aad59bf85c_file

fd1fc28d-f8d9-43e4-8b34-067528e7dc5d-892-000000a950aa2d5f_file
A point of interest is that the Monocoat Pure wood conditioner/stain i used shows the difference between the ‘front’ of the boards (the side that was painted and exposed to outside weather) and the ‘back’ of the boards (shown here and the side without paint and inside the barn).  The back or inside stained darker.  I don’t know why.
8af441c1-8b43-40e9-9411-65fd60928a9f-892-000000a938d4ad80_file
Here is the ‘front’ or outside painted side of the boards – showing a warmer finish than the darker reverse side.
a854f57b-119e-4f00-aa80-ab68276e1936-1931-000001bda3e2e190_file
Not much organization, but it’s gonna hold a lot of books.  i’m encouraged to put another build on my ‘to do’ list once i get all my other ‘to build’ items completed.

Have a great week!

tauna

Horse Barn teardown 5-27-14 (1)
The barn, and later our house, was razed, shingles removed, and the rubble burnt.  Not much left after we salvaged so much from it. (the house was removed in a truck since it is illegal to burn a house – even out here in the boonies)

Hoarder or Frugal?

Finally giving up on my old jeans and stretched out Empire State Building hoodie as work clothes.  Actually going straight into the rubbish.  The hoodie was pricey since it was a souvenir, but the jeans, like most of my clothes, were purchased for a $1 a year ago from a local second hand shop.

They needed throwing out long ago, but i always justify keeping them a bit longer because they are great for fence repair.  That is to say, fence repair will destroy them even more, so why start with something new, right?

Oftentimes, i’m frugal to a fault, but a hoarder i am not – if i have no use for an item and it has possible value to someone else, i’m selling it or giving it away at earliest chance.

Nevertheless, the hole in the butt portion of the pants that i keep covered by pulling down my stretched out hoodie is just getting too large for comfort.  With a windchill of 4F and a foot of snow outside,  it will be a long time before any fence repair will take place.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

 

 

Hillbilly Valances

I may not be the queen of repurposing, but i do try my best.  Not able to find and purchase valances of the right length and type i wanted for my kitchen windows had me tying on my thinking cap.  Of course!  Old pillowcases!  Of all the households’ worth of stuff we have in storage, surely i could find something that would work without using an heirloom.  It took me longer to scrounge through all the scraps than it did to make the valances.  A couple mismatched yellowed and gross pillowslips were found and put to a new purpose and they are exactly what i had in mind!

IMG-4680
The slips i used were yellowed from use and despite bleaching and washing twice were not recoverable.  Thankfully, the ends with the pretty lace were beautifully white.
IMG-4681
Cut to length.  I wanted very short valances to let in as much light as possible.  Notice that this piece is different than the other.  If you are matchy matchy person, you may have to buy new, but i’m eclectic at heart and mismatched by similar works fabulously for me.
IMG-4682
Cut or rip seams to lay out for full length.
IMG-4683
Stitch up each of the loose ends.
IMG-4685
I sewed in a rod pocket, but you wouldn’t have to if you just wanted to sew and edge then use rings and clips.
IMG-4686
Curtain number 1
IMG-4679
Curtain number 2 – they are both white – it’s just the photo.

Ranching for Profit

I always chuckle a bit when i type out ‘ranching for profit’ because it’s almost an oxymoron!  Yet, David Pratt, owner of Ranch Management Consultants and Ranching for Profit instructor, contends that there is such a beast if we ranchers use sound financial and economic principles.

Mr Pratt’s most recent blog discusses using debt properly.  Now, okay, my mind goes immediately to the song, ‘Neither a borrower, nor a lender be.  Do not forget, stay out of debt.’  Which then led me to wonder where that came from.  I knew it was from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ (Polonius counsels his son, Laertes in Act-I, Scene-III of William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet by saying, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”  But what about the tune?

Completely surprised when i discovered that it was created and made famous on the TV sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, which i watched religiously when i was young.  SO FUNNY!  It is sung to the tune of the Toreador Song in Bizet’s Carmen.

The Bible also has advice on debt and teaches us to guard against being in debt, likening it to slavery and bondage.  However, debt does not seem to be a sin, but a tool to earn money wisely, but counting the cost before taking on the burden.

May 9, 2018
ProfitTips
from the Ranching for Profit School
A lot of people tell me that they want to be “debt free.” They are tired of making big interest payments on land, livestock, machinery and their operating note. They have had too many sleepless nights worrying about making the next payment. They believe that if they didn’t have to borrow money they would be more profitable and financially secure.
But the proper use of debt makes us more profitable, not less. And being debt free doesn’t make us financially secure. In fact, for most of us, short of winning the lottery, the appropriate use of debt is our only realistic path to financial security.
The problem isn’t debt, it’s our misuse of debt. The two most common ways we misuse debt are:
  1. We put finance first and economics a distant second
  2. We use debt on the wrong things.
Using debt effectively begins with understanding the difference between economics and finance. It boils down to this: In economics we ask, “Is this profitable?” In finance we ask, “Can I afford to do it?” If we are going to be smart about our use of debt, economics must come first. If it isn’t profitable you don’t have to worry about how you’ll pay for it, because you shouldn’t do it in the first place.
Smart Debt
Economics vs Finance
When RFP grads evaluate the profitability of a livestock enterprise they include opportunity interest on the herd as a direct cost in the calculation. If the enterprise has a healthy gross margin it tells us that borrowing money to expand the herd will increase profit. If we haven’t included opportunity interest in our calculation we can’t be sure if expanding the herd is a good idea.
Opportunity Costs
The other problem is that people use debt on the wrong things. There are two primary places where we put money in our businesses: fixed assets and working capital. Simply put, fixed assets are things we intend to keep (e.g. land, cows, infrastructure, vehicles, equipment). Working capital is the money tied up in things we intend to sell (e.g. calves). Most of us have most of our money invested in fixed assets. This is the biggest financial problem in agriculture. It’s a problem because when most of our money is tied up in things we intend to keep, we have relatively little to sell and generate very little income relative to the value of our assets. Making matters worse, a lot of the income that we do create gets spent maintaining the fixed assets. That’s why most ranchers are wealthy on their balance sheet and broke in their bank account.
Borrowing to buy fixed assets may be a smart long-term investment strategy, but it might cause you to go belly-up in the short term. We’d be better off to use debt to buy assets that directly produce income.
We shouldn’t be afraid to borrow money, provided the economics of our enterprise is rock-solid and we use the borrowed money to buy income producing assets.
2018 – 2019 School Schedule
Sept. 9-15, 2018
Boise, ID
at Holiday Inn Express
Dec. 2-8, 2018
Abilene, TX
at MCM Elegante Suites
Jan. 6-12, 2019
Colorado Springs, CO
at Radisson
Jan. 13-19, 2019
Billings, MT
at Billings Hotel
Jan. 20-26, 2019
Rapid City, SD
at Best Western Ramkota

‘Death Cleaning’

Be kind to future generations and throw out your junk.  Give away or sell what is usable and chuck the rest.  In all likelihood, your children or others will simply hire someone to come in get rid of your stuff – they don’t have time.  To me, it is selfish to saddle anyone with this chore.  If you are married into a family who has plenty of storage, then NOTHING is thrown away and there is machinery, furniture, plates, and other trinkets stored to the rafters of 4,5, and 6 generations.  It is honestly beyond ridiculous.  Stuff that could have had value and usefulness 50 or 60 years ago, sits in storage all this time and is now worthless.  Selfish and sad, very sad.

‘Death Cleaning’ Swedish Style

Decluttering helps you and loved ones downsize

attic trapdoor and clutter

DAVID SEED PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” explains this downsizing ritual.

The latest export from Sweden isn’t a sturdy station wagon or a funky furniture store, but rather it’s a way of life. More specifically, it’s a way of end-of-life. It’s called döstädning, which translates to “death cleaning.”

In the tough-minded ways of this Scandinavian culture, it’s a decluttering practice that’s more about relieving a burden on family than creating pleasant surroundings. Americans have taken note of the ritual, which can begin as early as one’s 50s.

Margareta Magnusson, the 80-plus author of the new book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, explains the phenomenon.

Q: What problems does keeping too much stuff cause your loved ones after you’re gone?

A: It’s very time-consuming. Why should my family take so much time — having jobs, families and everything else they have scheduled — to take care of my things?

Q: How do you decide what to keep or discard?

A: Talk about it with your family. It’s a delight to go through things and remember their worth. But if you don’t remember why a thing has meaning, then it has no worth, and it will be easier for you to part with.

Q: You write that you should get rid of “private” items — such as diaries. Why?

A: If you think a secret will cause your loved ones harm or unhappiness, then make sure to destroy such items. Make a bonfire, or shove them into a hungry shredder.

Q: How does cleaning help the cleaner?

A: The more I have focused on my cleaning, the braver I have become in discarding possessions. I have had a moment to reflect on the event or feeling, good or bad, and to know that it had been a part of my story and my life.

27749814_567807843566427_9048228979471088117_n