Happy solstice!

It's officially summer.  Shayne and I celebrated by doing a bunch of yard work this morning.  We had a big tree limb come down about a week ago after a semi truck bumped it.  Luckily, our neighbor has a chainsaw, and he came over to help out.  We gave him the cut-up pieces to use as firewood.  Then, two days later, about a quarter of the tree came crashing down.  It's been struck by lightning several times, and I'm guessing that the shock from the semi was just the straw the broke the camel's back.  This section was HUGE, and we had to call a tree trimmer.  Thankfully, the trimmers cut everything into small-ish pieces, and Shayne loaded them in the truck and took them to a friend of ours.

We finished mowing, trimming, and cleaning up the front, then I went out to work on the garden.  There was tons of crab grass mixed in with the onions, but I think I managed to only pull grass and no bulbs.  The tomato bed was surprisingly weed-free, and the bed with the cukes and sweet potatoes only had a few.

The chickens are about a month old and pretty well feathered.  I've been letting them have the run of the coop, instead of confining them to the hen house.  Today, I'm allowing them to venture outside.  They're staying right by the coop, happily eating bugs, mulberries, and grass.  I worry that they'll get eaten, but I feel bad if I keep them inside the coop.  I suppose that even if they are killed, at least they've lived happy lives just being chickens.  However, I want them to live long, happy chicken lives, so I'm keeping a close eye on them.

Much of the rest of the yard looks like a jungle.  The mosquitoes have been terrible, so it's been hard to get out there to take care of things.  We are seriously considering spraying, even though I'm generally against that kind of thing.  Now that the chicks are running around, I'm even more hesitant.  We'll see.

Strawberries have finally come in, and I've been gorging myself on fresh fruit.  My local eating has gone out the window a little bit; I've bought pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon so that I could make a fruit salad.  I'll use pregnancy as an excuse.  I don't want to eat many veggies, and fruit just sounds soooo good.  I've been having a hard time with food, so I figure I'll just eat what I want, when I can.

I found a bread machine on ebay for about $25 last week.  I can and have made bread without, but I figured I'd give it a go to see if it's easier.  Since the bread we buy is almost $4 per loaf, if I can quickly and easily make my own, the machine will pay for itself in a week or two.  I thought it might be a worthwhile purchase that will help us save money when I'm off work.

We still have so much to do before the babies get here.  I'm 12 weeks along, and it seems like this pregnancy is just flying by...


Ever since finding out that we're pregnant with twins (TWINS!!), any sort of progress on just about everything has ground to a halt.  I'm tired, cranky, nauseous, and all-around pathetic.  I can barely go into the kitchen without vomiting, and not because of the awful wallpaper and nasty ceiling tiles.  It's all I can do to keep up with Ethan right now, so everything else is just on hold.

I have managed to get the garden planted, though I bought all my plants from the nursery.  We have 40 roma tomatoes, about 50 spanish sweet onions, 4 peppers, 8 broccoli, 2 cucumbers, and 2 sweet potato vines.  I would have liked to grow some lettuces, but the idea of salad right now makes me feel sick.  Maybe in the fall.

We're also trying to plan out how we'll get by on one income.  Thankfully, our mortgage payment is fairly low, our car is paid off, and we have no debt.  Unfortunately, our car just needed $1400 worth of work.  Also unfortunately, before we knew we were pregnant, we bought my step-daughter a car.  We did pay cash for it, but it still put a sizable dent in our savings account.  But now that she has reliable transportation, hopefully she can find a job and support us (ha-ha!).

The problem with living frugally is that when you need to, there aren't many places left to cut.  We've already ditched cable for Netflix, we unplug all our electronics when not in use, and we buy almost everything secondhand.  Granted, we also live way below our means, but when you're looking at cutting your income by more than half, it's still a little intimidating.  We're obviously trying to save as much between now and when I quit working as possible.  We're still eating out more than I'd like, since cooking (or even going into the kitchen) is almost certain to make me throw up.  I'll be rectifying that as soon as my hormones settle down and I can cook again.  We cut our trash service to the bare minimum, since I doubt we'll be renovating anything any time soon.  We're also working on building up our food storage further as things go on sale or are in season.

While part of me is scared to cut our income by so much, part of me is intrigued by the challenge.  It will be interesting to see just how far we can get Shayne's salary to go.  And since I'm taking a leave of absence from work, we still have a safety net.  When I was on maternity leave last time, I was amazed at just how little money we spent.  After all, there's no eating out with 2 newborns and a toddler!  It might be a bit rough, but it'll definitely be an interesting ride!