Posted in Homesteading, Musing & Stories

Moving Part 4: Small Town Possibilities?

Several ‘floating’ criteria come into play around midnight when I’m trolling realtor.com.  Some of which are our current and future side gigs. Hubby is a woodworker so he needs an outbuilding or garage, and I need an office, of course.

Coffee Mug Garden SeedsI’ve being looking across four counties, hoping for enough indoor/outdoor yard space to dog sit & have gardens, and chickens. Within an hour’s commute & under our price limit. There’s nothing that isn’t ‘handyman special,’ too close to Indianapolis (YUK!)… or on back roads with no phone service, that won’t see a snowplow for days.

Alternate plans forward: We are thinking it’s not our time yet, for a county homestead. We have to live with this decision for the next decade. We’d rather wait than compromise; or go too far in debt. 6 months of not quite right. Yikes! 5 months left till our lease is up here, and we ain’t stayin’ — Time for a new strategy.

Lilly in bloomWe’ve been revisiting the possibilities of  ‘small town life.’ Some pros… So many 2 story old Victorian style/Farm Houses listed as 4 bed/2 bath– just off the main street. Luscious dark woodwork within; begging to be loved up with Murphy’s oil soap. 😉 Cupboards and closets for miles. Neighborhoods with shade trees and bisecting sidewalks. I don’t dislike sidewalks.  Or neighbors for that matter. I could plant a both English and veggie gardens while he builds fences.

More than double the house in square foot, but smaller lot than we wanted {although bigger than we have now!}. Some traffic noise, but away from the city scurry. Closer to weekend attractions and small colleges. Solid and well built. City utilities & wifi/phone connectivity are a plus.

Alternate Side Gigs: Pet friendly air B&B? Maybe rent out an extra room & bath! A corner lot will be handy for hubby to display and sell his woodwork projects, too. Other ticks on the ‘plus’ side – Basement! Friendly community chatter page. Covered porches for rainy days, potted plants and corralling Border Collies. 😉 20-25 min to family and groceries & 40 min to work is reasonable. So are the house prices {even though a few updates are needed}. We’ll be viewing at least one mammoth place this Saturday. I’m excited for the possibilities!

 

I try not to complain in length or detail, but Friends and Confidantes, we are sick of this trailer park! There’s a racetrack across the street and moderate traffic from 7am till 7 pm in front of our place. There’s also two side roads that run within 6 feet on either side of the trailer into the park. I chose it because it had a covered porch and huge tree. It was meant to be temporary. –“3 years tops” is closing in fast – Gma Auburn {Jen}

#midwestliving #bordercollie #househunting #indianapolis #farwestside #hoosierstate #hiking #retirementplans

Advertisements
Posted in Musing & Stories

The Adventures of Teddy and Z

pexels-photo-59676.jpeg
Photo by Wopke on Pexels.com

{Teddy has been with my granddaughter, “Z” since she was a few days old. She’ll be 5 years in the fall.}

Teddy has been slobbered on by dogs, left in the yard, and at the sitters. He rides in her bike basket. He’s been washed, bleached, and re-sewn– though I didn’t do a very good job on his eyeball button; so he’s starting to look a little Tim Burton-ish! HA!

He lost his bow a long time ago; but he’s still her best friend. So her Daddy entered Teddy in the Lysol Teddy Bear Repair Contest.

SO… from recently being in the lost- and found at the local gas station; to NEW YORK! For a makeover from Lysol. I’m as excited as she is! {I really hope all the Teddy Bears make it back home safely!}

Friends and Confidantes, file it under random cuteness – Gma Auburn {Jen}

“I’m gonna give hearts to everybody in the whole world!”- Z 

Posted in Homesteading, Musing & Stories

Recipe- Beefy Hash Brown Bake

Beefy hashbrown plate 1Beef up your mealtime potatoes! The whole family will want generous portions.  Budget: under $9.00 total/Feeds 4-6 people. Total Time: 30-45 min.

  • Pre-heat oven: 400F.  2- 8 or 9 in. square or round baking dishes. Buttered or sprayed.
  • 1 pkg. Frozen Shredded hash browns–
    • Thaw. Squeeze excess water out. Divide in half.
    • Press evenly into bottom of both baking dishes. Set aside.
  • 1 lb. Ground beef– cooked, crumbled, drained.
  • Return to the skillet.
  • Add: 1 med. Onion- chopped
  • 2 sm. Cans Mushrooms, drained.
  • 1 pkg. powdered Beefy soup mix [or Lipton onion soup mix]
  • PLUS: 2.5 to 3 c. Water.
  • 1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powder. S&P to taste.
  • Bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Then reduce heat to simmer for 6-8 min.
  • Make the SAUCE: In a small bowl combine until smooth:
    • 2 T. each flour & milk.
    • Then add: 1 T. of the hamburger soup broth. Mix well. Set aside.
  • When hamburger broth has reduced by 1/4, remove from heat.
  • Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into soup.
  • Yet more stirring! Pour more… Repeat until there’s no lumps.
  • Re-heat to a low boil once more. Stir 2-3 min longer.
  • POUR: equally over hash browns; Spread mixture evenly to edges.
  • BAKE: 400F/15-18 min. Uncovered. Sauce firms & edges get crispy!
  • Last 3 min: Optional-Top with Shredded mozzarella [pictured] or cheddar.
  • Serve hot – with peas or salad with radicchio. 
  • Want more recipes, plus quick tips, reviews and money saving/making ideas>?
    • Sign up below! – Thanks for stopping by! Grandma Auburn

  1. There’s exciting news at Grandma’s! A Digest/Newsletter called
  2. Tidbits!” For every busy household. {First issue next week}
  3. It’s a free- bite sized, mid-week spark of ideas & inspiration.
  4.  —>>Email gma.auburn@gmail.com put TIDBITS’ in the subject. 
  5. Privacy policy: Your email will never be used for nefarious purposes!
  6. Newsletter use only. Full policy will be included in the first issue. -Gma Auburn
Posted in Musing & Stories

Moving! Pt 3- Hypothetical Homesteading

How can we plan for retirement with very little savings; and get our homestead sooner?

SO HERE’S THE GRAND PLAN {HA! as if those ever worked out…}

Also! “How we saved the Down Payment in two years”

  • Vibrant Rose
    Almost time to plant!

    $75k Budget for HOMESTEAD over 18-24 months.

  1. Spring 2019
  2. $5-6k- Used truck
  3. $27-33k- Raw Land- (+/- 2 acres)
  4. July/August
  5. $8k- Used Travel Trailer
  6. MOVE onto land
  7. $500/mo. Savings!!
  8. Autumn ’19
  9. $2-3k- DIY Shed, Generator, Wood stove, Livestock/Garden prep.
  10. Spring/Summer 2020
  11. $10k- Well/septic/block foundation/electric hook up/permits etc.
  12. Autumn 2020
  13. $12-18k- Used Single wide MH 3bd/2bth {actually bigger than what I have now!}

After extensive research: we nixed the notion of a Pre-fab cabin, yurt

viewfromthetruck falltrees-jsm

or modular kit as a year-round residence. A tiny house under 400sf would suck long term. We lived 2 yrs on the truck… just ask me anything about teeeeny living... O.o

Prefab Kit builds over 600sf: Adding any electrical, plumbing, etc. is pricey. Though we’re still considering a tiny ‘something’ as a guest room or AirBnB, but not for a couple years.

Manufactured Homes: Why yes! I have spent weeks researching every tidbit. Craigslist. LandWatch. AutoTrader and RVTrader. Finally, we found one used MH dealer Homenation.com (by state). ALSO Factory Direct.

 

A pot of turkey hash feeds a big family.

Land Loans {and/or rolled into a  ‘Land/Home’ next year}: Most require 20% down payment. Pre-Approved is not the same as Pre-Qualified. 

  • HOW WE SAVED THE MONEY:
  • Baseline figures: 20% x $33,000=$6,600.
  • Down payment:
    • [1 year: $132.00 x 50 weeks]
    • [2 years: $66.00 x 100 weeks]
  • OUR 2 year method: $50 weekly; [Feb. 2017-2019]
    • then added: bonuses, overtime, tax returns.
  • Top money saving tips:
    • Write out a budget. Say “no more stuff.” Repeat often.
    • Secondhand only, DIY or do without.
    • Plan less trips to the store. Plan meals around sales.
    • Get a side gig. Use your skills.
      • Upwork, Thumbtack or Taskrabbit
      • Or find free courses to learn new skills.
      • [I walk dogs and Mturk in between writing & merch]

OUR #1 prerequisite for all of this — It all must be paid for in 8 years. Hubby retires in 10. Thus why we’re doing this in increments, and saving additional money by holding over this winter [and budgeted for] a travel trailer.

Other considerations: Grid-tied for health reasons. Yet enough land to sustain a simple, back-to-basics lifestyle. Close to our jobs. Close to daughter’s family AND close to my Dad. Must have trees and a good stretch between neighbors. 😀

Frugal now; peace of mind later, Friends and Confidantes – Grandma Auburn

#homesteading #retirement #budget #truckerswife
Posted in Musing & Stories

Oven Roasted Acorn Squash and Variations

Grandma Auburn's Kitchen
If squash is difficult to cut raw; Roast it whole.

PICTURE AND RECIPE: {from my TinyTrailer Kitchen 10/18 jsm}

Whole or Halves- Roasted Acorn Squash

1. Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees F. 

2a. Wash Squash. Cut off stem end.  Cut in half from point to stem (lengthwise)  and gut seeds  – Place on a cookie sheet. The bowls facing up; lightly score the inside with a knife.  then add…

Step 3. Into each half  ** 1 to 2 Tablespoons of almond milk or apple juice.  [water with raisins], **1 tsp. butter, **1/2 tsp. of cinnamon **1/8 tsp. vanilla.  **Optional additions: brown sugar, syrup, pecans or dates . See step 4 to ROAST…

OR  Step 2b.  {Roast Whole} – NO CUT METHOD- Poke 12-15 holes all over the squash-it’s OK if some water seeps out.  See Step 4 to roast.  THEN; Let cool somewhat before cutting and discarding (or roasting) the seeds. FINALLY-> scoop the warm squash into a bowl and mash. See Steps 3 & 5 to incorporate the milk and mix-ins}

Step 4. ROAST at 425-450 F [you know your oven. Mine runs a little hot]: for HALVES place on baking sheet on middle rack in oven for  35 to 45 mins .  –>Whole: -50 minutes to ONE HOUR {Maybe 65 minutes}; depending on the size of squash.  TEST FOR DONE: Skin will wrinkle slightly at the edges, Slide a spoon next to the skin or poke through with a knife in a few spots. Should pierce easily. Orange insides turn a shade darker.

It’s scoopable- like mashed potatoes.

Step 5. SERVE:  in the skin as is – or scooped into bowls and add fruit and yogurt for breakfast.  FOR KIDS: Try acorn squash mashed with banana and honey on toast.

More recipes or tips being added under these tags:  Quick RecipesFrugal/SavingFood Budget – Household Tips – Thanks for stopping by! – Grandma Auburn, workin’ & whiskin’ in the kitchen 😉