Sunday, October 27, 2013

Where's Dr Doolittle When You Need Him?

Well...Alberto Alpaca is good at what he does.
Alice and Ana are both pregnant and closing in on their due dates!
I think Ana will deliver sometime around the middle of November and Alice about a month later.
I am sooooo reading up on alpacas again...specifically labor, delivery, behavior after birth, baby alpacas (called crias), etc.
Alice, looking peeved.
Ana looking for food.

Alberto, looking exhausted. we go again!
Since Henry, the stud goat, arrived in August and goat gestation takes around 5 months, our goat girls are all well along the way in gestation. Mid-December to Mid-January.
Looks like I am about to have a VERY busy couple of months!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Round and Round We Go....and a Few Honest Opinions

So, switched real estate agents in Vt. The last one kept sending me listings of condos, for pity's sake! I don't think a condo association would be too happy with the goats!
So....looking at the listings the new realtor sends me, listings on, listings on the GSA site and so forth and so on. Our lease, such as it is, is up the end of March.
So....Vt., or NH.
Have to find a realtor in NH now as the VT one is not licensed to work in NH.
Now, on to some honest opinions.
The opinions are mine, not anyone elses and if they offend you, you need to pull up those big girl (or big boy) panties and suck it up...or just move on.
The whole mess of food stamps.
I am sure everyone read about the panic in some areas when peoples food stamp cards wouldn't work due to a *glitch*.
Then the free for all that occurred when another *glitch* didn't show food stamp cards balances and a few Wal-Marts allowed those shoppers to get whatever they want. (Wal-Mart has to pay the bill for that, by the way)
And then there is the absolute angry frustration that people that are NOT on food stamps feel when they see some use their food stamp card to pay for lobsters and thick steaks, OR conversely, pay for loads of chips and sodas and other *junk* foods.

First of all, I have nothing against feeding the hungry, especially hungry children. I had to get on food stamps in the past and they were gratefully received as a temporary help until I got back on my feet.
Food stamps, however, were never meant to be a PERMANENT *entitlement*. (and, boy, do I hate that word!)
Food stamps, in fact, were not meant to provide ALL the food a person/family needed every month. They were meant to ASSIST a family in having proper nutrition, to SUPPLEMENT their food budgets.
Food stamps can also be used to buy seeds and vegetable bedding plants. A lot of people don't know that.
I used my food stamps to buy flour, yeast, milk, orange juice, a lot of chicken (I am surprised my now-grown kids even like chicken, as much as I fed them when they were young!), plenty of produce, seeds and plants for my gardening efforts, etc. I bought mainly basic foods and I cooked/baked/prepared everything I could from scratch.
People tell me that folks on food stamps don't have the TIME to cook from scratch. Bullshit.
I worked two jobs, plus various side jobs and still managed to cook from scratch. Sometimes I had to do all my cooking for the week on my day off, so I could just pull something out of the freezer after a long day and put it in the microwave or oven.
I also did food storage in case my benefits were denied unexpectedly or my garden didn't produce sufficiently.
All that being said, let me get into the junk food debate...
If a parent using food stamps is taking home chips, sugary cereals, soda, and other *junk* food, they are creating health problems for their child that will become every tax-payers problem later on.
Diabetes and other chronic health problems are directly connected to our diets.
Cooking, shopping and nutrition classes should be a MUST for all food stamp recipients.
I have given such instruction to friends that were on food stamps. They were appreciative and found they could get more out of their food stamp allotment when they cooked from scratch.
I also think that ALL recipients of *entitlement* (ugh, that hated word again) benefits should have to undergo unannounced  and random drug screenings.
That pisses a lot of people off, especially liberal type people. I have no clue why.
As far as the lobster and thick steak food stamp purchases, I can understand that for a special occasion, but not for an every month thing. Also, I learned when I was on food stamps, that some recipients buy expensive items to sell so they can use the cash to buy things not allowed on food stamps. Like drugs and alcohol.
Look, I didn't buy JUST basics, at Halloween, Easter and Christmas I used my food stamps to get candy for the kids. That is reasonable. Kids need those special celebrations and occasional treats in their lives.
But they also need good basic nutrition and far too many are just not getting it!
Look ahead 10 or 20 years...if only 10% of those kids currently on food stamps develop diabetes (and I am being generous on the low side with that estimate), what kind of stress will that put on our health care system? How many tax dollars will it cost? How many people will not be able to work because of medical disability?
Too many people look at the short range and not at the long range.
We have 5 adults (over 18) in this household currently.
Dinner tonight:
Shepherds Pie
Iced Tea

Cost breakdown:
Bag of potatoes...I used 6 of them for the mashed potatoes...entire 10 lb bag was 2.99 (on sale!) still have plenty of potatoes in the bag. Enough for 3 to 4 meals.
Frozen corn, used half a bag. Bag was 1.00 (again on sale!)
Hamburger...I used 1/3rd of a *chub*, 6.59 (on sale) 3 lb chub.
6 cups of flour for the bread (rolls) and I made enough dough for a loaf for tomorrow, too. I buy my flour in 50 lb bags for around 20 bucks and I have no clue what that breaks down to in cups, lol!
Yeast, salt, sugar for bread....lets call it .50 for all as I buy those in bulk, too.
Salad....found salad *kits* on sale 2 for 5.00 Half a bag will be enough salad for 5.
I make my own salad dressing...50 cents of ingredients...more or less and it will be enough for 2 meals.
Iced pitcher will do it. I buy tea on sale for 1.50 for 100 tea bags and use 8 bags per pitcher.
Sugar for iced tea...again, I buy it in bulk and figure maybe 50 cents worth per pitcher.
Butter for bread....found it on sale for 1.50 per pound (YIPPEE!!!) bought a lot and froze it. Figure half a stick. We like butter. MUCH healthier than margarine.
Figure it out. That's for 5 full grown healthy adults.
I may even make some brownies for dessert. Found some baking chocolate I had forgotten about in the freezer.
We spend around 300 bucks a month for groceries. We eat well, no one is starving. I have snacks (healthy ones) available most of the time.
So there.....there's my opinion, my experiences and my menu for tonight!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Okay...New Direction...

Blogger limits my blog to 500 total posts.
This is post 493.
So, my options are:
1) Start a new blog on blogspot
2) Go *pro* and pay a fee to get greater post numbers and other goodies on blogspot.
3) Go elsewhere and start a free blog
4) Go elsewhere and start an entire website/blog/etc. for a fee.
5) Just end my blogging days with post 500.

I don't want to end my blogging.
I don't (currently) want to go elsewhere.
I don't (currently) want to go *pro*.

 So...I will have to start a new blog on blogspot.
I am working on that today.
My last post here will be the first post on my new blog (how's that for continuity, folks?).
My last post here will be #499.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Animal Family

I have my human family and I have my animal family. Both are important to me....although if a member of my animal family is not working out, I can sell them or give them away!
Here's my current mammalian animal family...we'll leave the birds for another day!
Siona...*Queen* of the house!

Victor, our newest addition in his sweater sleeve coat

Victor, all naked


Tabatha, the fellas dog and my sons constant buddy

Champagne, looking for snacks

Gabrielle, aka Gabby, *Queen* of the goats

Nola and Nikki, Mama and daughter

Lilac, about to have breakfast

Alice, Ana and Alberto Alpaca

Alberto, taking a nap
 I love all the critters here!