Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I told myself I wouldn't write about the election anymore but I just had to write about something that came to me today as I was responding on another blog.

As the election draws near I've noticed the arguments for a particular candidate are increasingly focused not on what he will do for the nation but what he will not do. We are being asked to vote for this candidate because of fear. Fear of what the opposing candidate will do. All that matters to some people is keeping the other guy out no matter what their supposed "lesser of two evils" will actually accomplish while in office.

I constantly read blogs bemoaning the state of our government. Freedoms are being eroded and the government just keeps growing. Taxes keep rising and socialism abounds. Is it no wonder these things are happening when people refuse to vote for the candidate that they believe will to do the best job and instead vote for the "lesser of two evils"?

Friday, October 24, 2008


Since we live in a rural area we are automatically sent absentee ballots. I really like voting in this manner. We can take the time to look at the issues and candidates with the ballot in our hands. Once we make a decision, we vote, seal it up, and have the option of either mailing it or dropping it off. We always drop the ballots off at the elections office for our county to make sure they aren't lost in the mail.

Usually Paul drops them off while out and about for work but today I had a few errands to run in the city so we went with him. As we walked out of the office Paul was stopped by the local news station who wanted to ask him a few questions. He said it was really difficult to come up with answers off the cuff but I think he did a good job. They asked things like why we were voting early and if we thought this election was more important than any other. They mentioned the record number of people who have registered and asked if we thought the lines would be long on voting day.

I'm not sure that his answers were really what they were looking for. We didn't vote early in anticipation of long lines. We really don't think this election is any more important than any other. All elections are important and I feel that as long as people keep voting based on who might win as opposed to who really reflects their beliefs than things will never really change for the better. I know those of you who think the world is going to end if your candidate isn't elected are probably shaking your head right about now, but I really believe there isn't much difference between the 2 major candidates. It was interesting to be asked these questions though and good to see so many people taking their civic duty seriously.

Monday, October 20, 2008


If you are tired of reading about home improvements and my scavenging go ahead and skip this post.

Since we don't have a garage to store our recent finds in I feel this pressure to get things installed or used prior to the next big rain. Luckily we live in the high desert so rain isn't all that common. The October gymkhana was canceled due to an outbreak of pigeon fever at the facility we use, so I figured this was a good weekend to install that flooring we scavenged.

Here is a picture of what our deck looked like right after my wonderful stepfather closed it in for us.

It was really nice but since we were replacing the carpet I wanted the siding taken off the outside wall of the house. A number of months ago we found nice wood siding under the vinyl and had decided at that point to remove all the vinyl siding. Luckily we never got around to it. You are probably wondering why I said luckily, well when we took the siding off in the deck this weekend we found this.

The siding has holes in it from woodpeckers and the paint is really peeling. We figured we would have to sand and repaint but due to the age of the house I figured I should test the paint first. Of course it is painted in lead paint. So we decided that we had no choice but to cover the siding with plywood. We had taken apart a plywood covered wall in the same building where we pulled up the flooring so we had more than enough nice 1/2 inch plywood to cover the wall.

It actually looks really nice and will look even better once it's painted sometime in the future.

We spent a day and a half prepping everything and we haven't even started the floor. Well it took until 8 pm yesterday night but we finished the flooring. It looks wonderful! It really takes the enclosed deck and makes it look more like part of the house.

As we were working on the floor we talked about a number of ways to rearrange the furniture to give Malachi more room but still leave us with enough room for the dinning room table and all my sewing stuff. We turned his bed around and put it against the wall which really opens things up. It will also mean that I can easily see into his room so he won't be able to pile stuff all over the floor.

We still need to put in moldings but that will have to wait awhile. I'm so pleased with the way everything turned out and even more pleased with the cost to us which was $0!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frugality vs. Green Living

I've taken to reading a lot of "green" blogs to fill time freed up by permanently unsubbing from Loopers and also to get away from all the political "the sky is falling" kinda posts on the other blogs I frequent.

I see being frugal and being green as two things that don't always go together. Turning off lights and buying less stuff certainly fall into both categories but that seems to be where the similarities end. So I was really excited by the title of the book Go Green, Live Rich. I wasn't looking for a book to tell me how to become rich but I was looking for some advice on how to be both green and frugal. I saw the book mentioned on a few of those new blogs I've been reading. It was a complete waste of a library request, although I did get a few chuckles out of it.

The book mentions things like CFLs, buying a hybrid vehicle, getting rid of a second vehicle, walking/biking to more places, etc. Like buying a hybrid vehicle is going to do us any good when Paul's commuter mobile gets 35-40 mpg. Not to mention the fact that buying a brand new vehicle when you really don't need one isn't green because of the resources used while building it and it certainly isn't frugal. The other ideas like taking a vacation and volunteering at the same time were interesting but hardly useful for our family. Maybe we aren't average but we don't take yearly vacations, in fact we've taken 1 family vacation together in the last 13 years we've had kids. All total that vacation didn't cost even 1/4 the amount this book was advocating for a less expensive vacation while volunteering. Maybe we aren't an average family but still the ideas were next to useless.

This brings me to the blog that I've been following that said it was going to prove that going green could be frugal. The very first post in the series talks about how this family purchased a dining room set used from someone in their area. They figure they saved around $6000 because they only paid $2300. Wow, I don't think we've paid that much for all our furniture combined but I do have to commend them for buying used since that is a frugal and green thing to do. But the rest of the post talked about how using dishes to eat off of is green and frugal. Ummm, isn't this how most of America lives though? Does the average family really eat off of paper plates and use plastic cups everyday? How can you prove to doubters that going green can be frugal when you use examples that just don't apply to the average person? I'm still waiting to be convinced that being more green can be frugal.

If you have any great ideas how we can be more green and still be frugal I'd love to hear them. But please don't include buying less stuff and turning off the lights because I think I've got that down.:)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I finally remembered to get outside during the day to take a picture of some of the pavers we picked up. I know it's really abnormal but I'm excited about our find. We still have at least one more load to pick-up.

Here is a picture of the wood holder we built out of old recycled plywood we had lying around and one of the industrial racks I mentioned in my last post. Now it's Paul's job to split enough wood to fill it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I've been so busy scavenging things for the house that I just haven't had time to blog.

Of course, I'm now sitting here ready to blog and it's dark outside so it's difficult to get pictures of all the things we've acquired. I'm on this kick to clean up the property and the house. At the same time I just don't think it's a good idea to buy new stuff to do this with. I joined the local freecycle community in the hopes of getting an old bathtub to use as a water trough. At the same time the opportunity arose for us to get some free stuff around here. Being part of the freecycle community really made me think outside the box.

We got 4 industrial racks with 3/4 plywood. The racks are or have become: a firewood rack (it can hold up to 1.5 cords), a washing machine enclosure, and a storage shed for all the extra clothes and bedding that are currently under our deck. I'm very excited! The fourth rack is either going to become a greenhouse or a chicken coop. Maybe I'll combine the 2 ideas and put a green house on the roof of the coop.

We also picked up 2 truck loads of brick pavers. Those are going to become a new patio under the carport.

We were able to get an awesome vanity, mirror, light fixture and toilet.

Our last load of stuff out of the building we cleaned out was a heavy shelving unit that is destined for our shed and 400 square feet of high quality laminate that will replace the cheap stuff we currently have in the house (the old flooring will be moved to the bedrooms).

The only cost for all this was time, labor, and fuel for the truck.

I've also redone our closet and my sewing area by reusing stuff we already had lying around. The plastic shelving that was sitting mostly unused by the washer was put in my closet to hold clothes. The hooks we've moved from house to house during the last 4 moves were hung in the back of my closet to give me more hanging space. The hope chest that was originally sitting in the closet has been moved to the sewing area to hold fabric and stuff I use for my business.

The house is beginning to look like a whole new place. I'm really hoping to have a number of projects to blog about over the coming months. The hardest part will be to keep the momentum going and actually complete all these big plans.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Coupon Codes

This is a great site I've used a couple times recently. I was able to find coupon codes to knock $10 off of an order at an online equine store a few weeks ago and today I used it to buy new checks for less than half the normal price the company charges. As opposed to other similar sites these codes seem to be current and there are lots to choose from.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dan in the Real Life

We watched this movie this evening and I have to say that I was really disappointed. The story could have been good if not for the large part the main character's daughters played in it. They spent the entire movie being rude, argumentative, and just generally horrid. Their father and their entire extended family encouraged them in their disrespectful behavior. I spent the most of the time ignoring the plot because I was in horror at the way these girls were speaking to their parent.