Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Once A Month Income

The Binghamton Press, January 5, 1939
Look at those prices! 

It sure seems like life goes by in a flash. One day you are a young man or woman, the next thing you know, you are at retirement age. I remember my father always saying that it seemed like he had just graduated from high school. "Where did the time go?" he'd ask. Indeed, that is how I feel now. Right now my business isn't making enough that it affects my Social Security check. Some day it may. That is okay with me, because that means I'd have more money to live on. For now though, times are tight.

How do you stretch the money when you get paid once a month? Actually it is not once a month, but some months it is will be four weeks until your next check, and then some, five. Those are the killers. The months that you have to wait to get your check after five weeks is really hard. I don't know how we'd do it if I did not grow a garden. In the summer we have fresh vegetables that are basically free, if you do not include our hard work. The seeds are heirlooms that I save every year.

Our grocery bill is basically dairy products, meat, some fruit (bananas for Hubby and Rabbit, our house pet and berries for me in the off season that I can't pick them) and vegetables we like that we do not grow. I stock up on bulk buys often. Meat especially. I can it and the broth from it. Part of our supply is ingredients like oils, nuts, flax seed meal, almond meal and butter, seeds, baking supplies from a low carb perspective. I buy organic NON-GMO as much as possible.

The coffee we buy and love!

We also buy organic fair trade coffees and teas online. Items that we had no way to buy before are available online now. That has helped me a lot in changing over to an organic diet. Do you think it is a lot more expensive? Not at all. Do you know why? Because when I stopped eating high carb and processed foods, I started using that money to buy the organic foods. I buy what we eat at meals and don't spend a lot on snacks or things like.

I am not saying it is easy to stretch that money. It isn't. When you live with your own electric system though, that is a big help. Electric bills are a big part of those pay checks. I don't know how people do it anymore. There are so many bills that others have to pay that we do not. I am glad for us, but feel bad for everyone else. Now Christmas is almost here and everyone will be scrambling to buy presents. We don't celebrate it any more than just having a bigger dinner than usual that day. If I had to buy presents though, I' d be giving everyone gift cards to their local grocery stores. Our life in the forest, somehow just seems easier when compared to what most people living on once a month income must be going through.

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Decluttering The Homestead Means Progress

Rabbit enjoying the wood stove heat!

The cooler weather is definitely on the way, our wood stoves have been fired up. Not at full capacity yet though. Mostly banked back. Which meant my husband had to clean our chimney already! Messy job, but he does it at least once a month, when it is banked back. Our pet rabbit, "Rabbit" has taken a real liking to the wood stove. Just like our cats have always hung out around the pedestal during the night, when it banked back in the cold of winter.

Fall is here!

Today I have been spending some time organizing upstairs in my house. It is so strange how it gets so cluttered so quickly when I am not looking! "How did all that stuff get here?" I ask myself. Can't blame it on my husband, as it all my stuff. It is amazing how when you throw stuff out, that you have been collecting for whatever reason, it frees you. Yes, that is what the minimalist write about and you think, "what are they talking about?" Well, it is true and it does. I feel so much better when I go back upstairs and all that stuff is GONE. Not just put in another box, but gone out of my house for good.

  Can't you just smell the fall leaves? Love that smell!

We are making plans for fixing our chimney, hopefully in the very near future. So it will be more efficient. Right now it has an adapter on the hole from the stove, where it connects to the chimney. The adapter changes it from  8" to 6". It was on it when we moved in here in 1999. Now we want to get rid of the adapter and the 6" pipe and make it 8". That is what the stove was designed and built for. We believe it would be much more efficient than it is presently.

Freshly Harvested Heirloom Carrots & Tomatoes

That is why I want to clean out the upstairs. More room to work while my husband is changing the chimney, since it goes right through the bedroom and out the roof. Then he can put insulation into the ceiling to keep the warm air in the house. Little by little, we need to get this work done. I am encouraged by the plans we have made recently to get this house into better shape. We can get a lot of work done inside the house during the winter. I hope to show you some progress soon!

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Homesteading Income From Home

Our solar and wind systems

Living the homesteading life does not mean you have to isolate yourself or family from the modern world. People tend to think that. My husband and I have blended our off the grid, homestead lifestyle with the modern world for many years now. We both embrace technology since that is what allows us to live this way. To tell you the truth, it isn't all that hard once you have organized your life and everything is working. I am speaking of the solar panels, the wind turbine and all their components that makes up our alternative energy system.

Some of our raised beds

It affords you the option of working from home. You can be growing your own food, generating your own electric, supplying your own heating and cooking fuel by cutting wood and you can make your income right from your computer in your home. What could be better than that?

Satellite Dish at Peaceful Forest

Many people like the option of working for a company from home. Being a virtual assistant, telemarketing representative or working for an answering service, etc. is all available to people who like to work from home. That has never been something I wanted to do. I really like working for myself. In the beginning I was just writing. Writing blogs and eBooks because I have always loved writing my thoughts down. On and off during the years though, I have sold on my own websites, String Baby and Larry Lupole, which is now my husband's personal page.  Both of those sites are in the process of being redesigned and my husband will be working those.

Making a living from a secluded location

My favorite selling avenue has always been eBay. I used to sell there and would get mad that I wasn't making any money and I'd quit. Now I have learned to go with the flow and when sales are slow, just list more. The sales will always come again. I have been working on my store, katlupe's Shop day and night. I am really into it and it does take up most of my time. This year was not a good gardening year so I didn't get a lot of food to can. Usually that would send me to my local produce market to purchase more. Not this year. I just worked on my store all summer and fall. Now it is paying off!

Part of our home canned food supply

I had so much food canned from previous gardens that I really felt no need to buy more. I am planning on some big canning jobs after the end of the year. That will be meat, soups, stews, chilies and stocks. By then my store will be able to survive a few days of nonstop canning in my kitchen. For me, all of this ties together as being self-sufficient in these times we live in. I do not think of it as living "old fashioned," as many people believe. It is a matter of taking care of yourself and family.

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer 2015

Summer 2015 at Peaceful Forest Homestead

Summers at Peaceful Forest are always nice. Even if the weather is not cooperating with my idea of summer time weather. It has been pretty cool at night. With our temperatures going down to the forties. Not real good for the garden. I made a big mistake and didn't plant as many green and wax beans as usual. I figured I would plant other vegetables, since my shelves are packed with various winter squashes and beans. At least those plants would be producing, even if it is not as much as normal.

Georgie Girl is not crazy about bugs either.

What has been abundant is the bugs! It is hard to even take the laundry down from the clotheslines. My poor husband has chores to do outside most of the day. He is pretty strong to put up with them all day long. I start to do something outside and I chicken out and come back inside. I have found that putting some peppermint essential oil diluted down in a carrier oil, keeps them away from me. I use that when I must be out in the garden. It works every time.

Stairs from root cellar to the pantry.

Since I am not working outside too much, I am getting a lot of work done on my root cellar. It is finally ready to be used again! I have waited something like five years for the foundation to be repaired and back together. You know us, we do our projects little by little, so that we pay for them instead of taking out a loan. Now it is fixed. I worked down there cleaning it out real good last week.

Containers of canned foods, as well as others.

All of my canned foods and empty jars have been in Rubbermaid ™ containers upstairs. That keeps the mice and bugs from getting on them. It might not look as pretty as other homesteaders' pantries, but I like it better that way. I had read about soda cans that were stored, spreading diseases from mice urine being on the tops of the cans. Yuck! I don't want to take that kind of chance, after all the work I do growing and canning it.

Original bin for apple storage built in 1850 in root cellar.

I hope to get the root cellar, pantry, kitchen and upstairs organized before winter. It is a long hard job for me since my knees cause me so much pain. I am doing a Candida cleanse diet and hoping it will take care of some of the health issues I have been having. It does make you feel better, if you can stay off ice cream during the summer!

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, July 03, 2015

Selling On eBay IS A REAL Business Not A Yard Sale

I am happy as can be selling in an eBay store again! I really enjoy the whole process. From locating the products to sell, to listing, to seeing my items sell and shipping it out. I am sometimes as excited as I hope the buyer is to receive it. Over the years, I have seen so many whiners and complainers about eBay and Paypal. No matter what they do, it will never please the masses. That is just the way it is. Many times that is why a seller gives up.

I saw a comment on the eBay for Business Facebook page that said, it is lying if you say you have free shipping, and you include the shipping costs in the price of the item. What deserted island has she been living on for the last thirty years? Why do buyers expect a seller to not include the price of shipping in their price? What about shipping supplies? What about Paypal and eBay fees? What about your time???

If someone thinks the price they pay at Walmart or any store locally, does not include the freight or shipping cost of their products on their shelves..........then you are crazy! Anyone in business gets that shipping cost back through the sale of their products. A real business has to pay for other things besides buying that item at wholesale. She thought sellers should say the shipping isn't free, but included in the price. Okay, my shipping costs are pretty low as my items usually aren't very heavy.

So according to this person, I should say my price on this item includes:

1.   My time to locate this item.
2.   My cost of buying this item.
3.   My time to clean it up to sell.
4.   My time to research it for price and description.
5.   My time to take good photos of the item from every angle.
6.   My time to list the product.
7.   My time to keep my listings updated.
8.   My cost of storage of this item.
9.   My cost of relisting it if it didn't sell yet.
10. My cost of an eBay store.
11. My cost of ink and paper for printing out the packing slip after it sold.
12. My cost of printing the label to ship it.
13. My cost of bubble wrap to wrap it in.
14. My cost of the box or bubble mailer to send it in.
15. My cost of the postage I paid to ship or mail it with.
16. My transaction fee from Paypal.
17. My final value fee for selling it from eBay.
18. My time to package this item and get it sent quickly.
19. My time to give you positive feedback.
20. My cost of an accountant to do my business taxes on my eBay store.
21. The cost of my internet connection.
22. The cost of the electric to run my office equipment.
23. The cost of my camera, battery and storage data card.
24. The cost of my computer to keep it updated, virus free and working to run daily.

I am sure with more time, I could think of much more. What do you think? Do you think sellers should buy items and pay to ship them to you for free? How long do you think a seller would stay in business that way? One reason I like free shipping for the items I sell on eBay is because nobody complains that I could have shipped it a cheaper way. It is one way for me to control my feedback because they cannot say I didn't ship when I said I did. If you sell on eBay how do you manage the shipping options?

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Concord Resort Hotel at Kiamesha Lake, NY

The Driveway at The Concord Resort Hotel

Yesterday I told you about some old photographs from 1942 that I was selling in my eBay store. I know most people would be saying, "I don't have any old photos like that to sell. Where would I get any of those?" Would you be surprised to know that I am also selling old photos I took of various vacations I went on, back in the seventies and eighties? I see some sellers that sell photos they take now, when they go on a trip and sell it many times over in digital formats only. Gives them an unlimited supply. I am not talking about those, but that is an option too. This is what I have been doing.

The Concord Resort Hotel at Kiamesha Lake, NY

I have a big supply of pictures I took in the seventies and early eighties of The Concord Resort Hotel at Kiamesha Lake in the Catskills in New York state. Every year, my son and I spent about four weeks there and his dad would come up on the week-ends. It is about an hour and half from us, half way to New York City. Staying there was just like the movie, Dirty Dancing. The Concord was gorgeous and filled with people from the forth of July to Labor Day. Name acts performed on their stage. Many of the comedians such as Joan Rivers, Allan King, Rodney Dangerfield, and many more, got their start there.

Our suite had 2 bathrooms!

The suites that we stayed in were huge. Two bathrooms, which I must admit, back then, I needed. Every evening you dressed for dinner. The dining room was bigger than a football field. The waiters bringing you trays of food all through your meal. You didn't just order. After you placed your order, the waiter would bring food out, putting it in front of you, saying, "Just try this." The food was kosher and very good. The dessert trays would be piled high with such desserts, you just couldn't imagine how good they were.

The pool at the Concord

My son spent time in the pool form early morning till late afternoon. His skin was always all wrinkled up from being in the water so long. I laid out in the sun, going in the water to get cooled off. The cabana boys would come around and spray you with their little bottle of water if you looked hot. Waitresses brought you all types of drinks, pina coladas being one of my favorites. The pool, which was Olympic size, had a diving tank, as well as a kiddie pool area. There was an outside cabana where they prepared barbecued food and cold sandwiches if you did not want to go into the dining room at lunch.

Dining Room at The Concord

This area in the Catskills was known as the "Borscht Belt," since the clientele in the hotels were mostly Jewish people from New York City, and the surrounding boroughs, as well as Long Island. People escaping the heat of the city for a few days. Many families stayed all summer with the fathers showing up on Friday evenings, after they got out of work. It had two PGA golf courses, one being called The Monster. There was indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts the lake, horseback riding, a children's activity camp (which kept them busy all day), a miniature golf course, the dinner theater, a couple of nightclubs, an all night restaurant for late night meals and snacks, stores to shop in. Many people would go to Monticello Raceway to the track in the evenings, which was just a few minutes away.

Kiamesha Lake

It is an era that is gone now. Gone, since The Concord and all the other hotels are gone too. It is a memory my son and I will always hold dear. I will be listing many of these photos and more in my eBay store in the next few weeks. There is a market for these, since these are the memories of all the people who stayed there. 

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole