This time of year, we have plenty of vegetables from our garden and eggs from our chickens. While this does make up a good portion of our diet, we still need to buy our meats. Top quality ingredients like farm fresh meats and produce allow us to cook very simply and still have incredibly tasty, healthy food. By using basic ingredients we also save a lot of time and energy preparing our meals. Buying from a farm can be more expensive sometimes, but we respect the ingredients more and in turn, waste much less.
“Buk buk buk buk… bukAAAhh!” That’s what we hear first thing in the morning. It’s our chickens singing their egg song after laying. They can get pretty loud sometimes, but as our friend once put it, “imagine shitting a watermelon.” You’d be singing pretty loudly too. We like to hear the egg song anyway, it means someone laid another egg.
It’s August in Connecticut, and we’ve been working on our garden since May. We were able to start eating out of the garden back in June, but now the harvests are coming in full swing. This means there is one main task at hand – you gotta eat ’em all!
It’s a good day in the arena.The ever-present sun is shining, and weather couldn’t be more perfect for the games. The girls have feasted and rested as sisters, but now will be pitted against each other. Will a victor emerge to hold back the onslaught? Tension builds as the competitors grow anxious. They came prepared and will do anything to claim the prize.
Then it appears – one of the girls reaches down and tears the prize free. But as she looks up, a competitor snatches it from her grasp. The rest of the girls are off, and the games are in full swing. They jostle and jockey for position, the prize changes hands back and forth, no one is giving it up easily. A leader appears to emerge. A true warrior, like a shadow in the night she dodges left, then right, and with fire in her eyes, breaks free, still clutching the prize. No one can catch her now, she is in the clear and still maneuvering quickly. Just as victory seems imminent, she looks down. Her eyes widen and confusion comes across her face. The prize is not what she thought, and in that brief moment of uncertainty, she fumbles. Another competitor scoops up the prize. “Athena be cursed!” she cries, but there is no time to think, she gets back in the game.
“Want to save money on your pool? Get rid of it, problem solved.” That’s the standard answer, but what if you don’t want to? It’s hot right now, 95 degrees with 90% humidity, and I love taking a dip everyday to cool down. So I spent some time figuring out the cheapest way to maintain my pool, and exactly how much it’s costing me on a regular basis.
We wish we were the kind of people who love ski season, but we’re not. We scheme and plot vacations and toys to make the long, cold months bearable. Last summer, we bought an EPA-rated wood stove for our fireplace. At $3500, the cost of the stove could have paid for a lot of fuel oil. And while we could gather some wood for free, we rationalized the purchase as a hobby to enjoy in the winter. And we enjoyed the shit out of it.
Since retiring, I am more determined than ever to explore different ways of living off the land sustainably. Heating our home in Connecticut is one of our largest expenses, and winter is coming.
When I got out of college, I thought I had made it. I managed to get through an engineering degree and secured a good job. At the time, that was as far as my plans went. This was to be a career I planned be in for a long, long time, so now: what do I do with all that money? I did start saving to buy a house, because that’s what a responsible adult does. And I would need a nice car, one that would show everyone I am no longer just a college student.
Ever since I quit my job, new interesting opportunities seem to keep coming our way. It’s only been a month and I have had some really good luck sailing, fishing, and going on a 2-week vacation to Colorado and New Mexico – all for free! On our vacation, we stayed in Colorado Springs, Taos NM, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Rico, Grand Junction, and Denver, and we actually ended up coming back $1000 richer than when we left. I am really not the best travel hacker, but the stars somehow aligned because with my best efforts, we were expecting the trip to cost us $1400.