thank you! it is way too much. we are so blessed and grateful. both tabitha and i are blown away by so much generosity and love. i find it difficult to be on the receiving end and am in a perpetual blush.
we are going to make it through this. we have our community support. thank you.
to answer a few questions;
wendy, tabitha is compiling a list of the kids needs and will post it soon on her blog.
debB, toly is fine, difficult but wonderful and we cherish him.
Renee, i can't put ads on my site it goes against my current position on the matter. my blog has become a labor of love and i like it that way.
how do we save money? in many ways, but mostly try to provide better quality for slightly less money. for example, our chicken raising operation probably cost us more per pound than we could get it in the store. but the difference between our chicken and tysons is vast. we don't buy processed food--only on the extremely rare occasion. we buy most food in bulk but usually the highest quality available. like whole organic grains that we hand crank mill ourselves. the best quality still costs less than processed foods. we raise our own hogs. there is a real money saver. they consume all of our food waste. also, we get their specially mixed and milled feed at a mill. it is almost half the price of the pelleted stuff available at feed stores. plus, we know what is in it. our hens and cows get similar treatment. additionally, the cows eat hay that i occasionally help put up. it is tabitha's generous fathers hay. we still buy it but we get a killer deal. we hope to be milking our heifer in about a year. that usually is a break even deal but the fresh raw milk is like heaven on earth. we sell a little to try to help offset the cost.
i make, install or fix everything myself. outside of warranty work there are no workers here besides us. our garden really kicks it up a notch. garden food makes it possible to eat like kings but cost next to nothing. well, almost nothing. if you were to add our labor at say a mere $5 dollars per hour this would be a deal breaker. luckily we love it and don't mind the considerable effort necessary. tabitha bakes bread and has canned tons and tons for our pantry. we exclusively use our solar clothes drier. so, mostly instead of working out of the the house, we work here on the farm. sure, i miss fatty tuna sashimi but i would trade no aspect of our life for it.
further plans for making ends meet are, we are going to put up an "eggs for sale" sign. we might sell one of our fat hogs. i'll work a bit more for my state job. i plan to try to get some solar work--i've got a couple of leads. i'll probably cut some extra fire wood this winter to sell next year. additionally little packages of campfire wood for the local camp grounds. our fall garden is doing nicely and should provide many many healthy meals. we might raise extra broiler chickens for sale next year. winter is our least expensive season and spring is always full of such hope. we plan to sell a little hope, rather seedlings this spring. we have tons of seed and a nice roomy greenhouse that we'll already be occupying with our own seedlings. we are going to butcher our own hogs and cow this winter. i'll probably try to kill a deer this year also. this will be a home-made christmas this year. our food costs are already extremely low and cannot reasonably be lowered without compromising our health. most of our clothes are from thrift stores or passed through friends. we buy stuff when we need it and discuss every purchase. frivolity is reserved for very special occasions and almost exclusively for the kids.
i almost forgot. tabitha posted her meat ball recipe at her blog. also