Monday, April 28, 2014

Simple Joy of the State Fair

September 11 - 21, 2014
Every state in our union has this delightful tradition annually known as The State Fair. The state fair is a gathering of food, rides, and exhibits that normally lasts a week or two and allows for family-friendly good times. This year the Oklahoma State Fair will be from September 11 - the 21st. I am excited because for the first time in many years I am going to exhibit some of my photography work.

The state fair has been a gathering place since the very first one held in New York in 1841. The purpose of the state fair was as a way to promote agriculture through exhibitions. Eventually various forms of entertainment such as rides and concerts were introduced. In Phoenix our state fair brings well over a million visitors each year. Oklahoma State Fair, held in Oklahoma City, brings in over 900,000 visitors.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tick Tock - Just One Month Until The Big Move!

Check out what has been going on around the farm. Just one short month to go and many, many changest are still taking place. Catch up with all the latest happenings and follow along on the adventure. Welcome to Rancho No Dinero.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ugh! I have the Flu

Yesterday morning I woke up nearly unable to move. Every inch of my body hurt. I stayed in bed as long as I could before finally dragging myself to the bathroom to get ready for work. I figured I had overdone it doing yard work the other day. By the time I made it to work I was feeling even worse, if you can believe that, and was promptly sent home. I have had a fever hovering at around 100+. I ache everywhere. I slept most of yesterday and finally had to wake up long enough to put in for a sub for today and get lesson plans sent. I haven't felt this icky in a long time.

On a positive note, it is just a little more than a month until I make the big move. I called on a dumpster to make gutting the old building a tidier proposition and to know that my property won't get all junked up with piles of scrap building material. I am suffering from a little sticker shock, but I know I can't avoid the expense, so I will make due.

I am still on the hunt for a wood heat stove. Many that I find listed on Craigslist here in Arizona look unsafe to use. Some look like folks  had them in their yards for the last 10 years. While I know I need heat, I don't want some ugly rusted eyesore in my living room. So the hunt goes on. My limited budget makes shopping that much more difficult, but I know, when it is meant to be, I will find the "one." If it comes down to it, I may just have to go for a season using a space heater until I can afford the "squirrel" stove I love so much.

Time to go back to sleep.

Happy Thursday everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mason Jar Monday - Tabbouleh to Go

 Easy meals in Mason Jars are one of my staples. I love being able to grab one from the fridge on the way out the door in the morning. It makes life so much easier when the recipe is quick and easy too. Tabbouleh is a salad of Arabic origins. The ingredients are simple and healthy and the salad is fantastic on hot summer days when cooking something hot is the last thing you want. Prepare a weeks worth in advance for easy lunches or for side dishes at dinner. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Puppy Love

Sleepy Sooner.
This is Sooner. She is the latest addition to Rancho No Dinero. Half miniature poodle and half chihuahua, she won't get very big. I just could not resist sharing her with you. Happy Sunday!

Sooner and her sister, Mika.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shouse vs Mobile Home

Ok, I have a need for some advice, dear reader. Perhaps ya'll can help me make up my mind. On my property is an old mobile home. I don't know what year, but I am guessing it was built in the late 1980's to mid 1990's based on its style from the outside. I have not seen this in person, but my friend has and she said it "needs work." There is some water damage to one wall, the roof on one end needs fixed, and the siding needs repaired. The floors are mostly solid though, which is good.

Now, up until now I hadn't really given this old building too much thought simply because I didn't believe it to be inhabitable. However, upon further reflection it would appear that there is potential to this building. This building, if redone would be a cross between my first ideas for a tiny house of a house on wheels, since it can be moved if I choose, and a Shouse, because I can gut it to its bones and have a shell to work with. Let's consider the pros and cons of this building.

  • The building is 14' x 75', which is double the size of the largest shed building I can afford. 1050 sq. ft.
  • It is a three bedroom, two bath model. I could make it into a 2 bedroom model with one large bath  and use the additional floor space for a rocking pantry and storage room as well as a laundry room.
  • Parts such as doors and cabinets may be re-purposed.
  • It is a greener option since I will not be sending it to a landfill as originally planned.
  • The chassis is metal. 
  • The chassis is mounted off the ground far enough to avoid water in a flood and critters who slither. 
  • It can be considered "real estate" if it is redone and placed on a foundation.
  • It is already there and free, as it came with the land.
  • It is a mobile home that has been neglected.
  • I will have to gut it myself. Hello respirator.
  • Wiring will need to be redone ($700)
  • Plumbing will need to be redone ($500)
  • Kitchen will need to be redone. ($2000)
  • Insulation will need to be redone. ($800)
  • Roof will need to be redone. ($2000)
  • Exterior will have to be redone. ($1200)
  • Interior walls need to be redone. ($800)
  • Basically, I will have to strip the entire thing down to the frame and build back out. 
The cost analysis is the real kicker for me. This building is free. The Shouse building would push close to $9000 and that is prior to any improvements. I am wondering if it would be wiser to use that $9000 to build up my own Shouse-Mobile. I would still have had to spend another $5000 for the Shedroom (master bedroom) with my original plan. I have "guestimated" the costs to redo this building on my own and I am still coming in under the mark by about $2000, which I am sure will be sucked up by incidentals. This is quite a bit of savings overall which will allow me to install a central heat and air unit should I so choose. In my minds eye I can see this old mobile made-over and all finished, covered in log cabin siding,  a corrugated and pitched metal roof installed, a custom kitchen to my own design, the wood floors and walls as I planned, etc. The size is more than enough to have the office/guestroom I planned to build later, plus I would have lots of space to "put by." Although I would still be spending the money, I would end up with a Shouse that is larger and can increase the value of my land as it is considered real estate whereas the Shouse would be just a portable building no matter what.

I know this building would add to my workload since I would have to gut it in addition to all the other work I already had planned, but it has already wired for electricity and plumbed, which I could use as a guide as I go along. I could essentially run the new systems parallel to the old for direction and remove the old when finished before closing up the floor or wall. Eventually, when it is finished, I could hire a moving company to haul it up to the part of my property where I envisioned my house being and have a great, custom home.

I don't want to abandon my Shouse plan, but I think I would be a fool not to recognize that I can use my initial capital in a much more effective manor if I don't have to pay for the Shouse building itself.

What do you think, dear reader? What would you do?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mason Jar Monday: Butterfly In A Jar

I love the detail.
I found this the other day and could not resist purchasing it. What is it? It is a butterfly in a jar. I cannot get over how realistic the butterfly is. Here is how it works:

Under the lid that mimics a mason jar lid, you insert 3 AAA batteries. There is a fine wire that is not perceptible from a normal viewing distance that is attached to a Monarch butterfly. You tap the jar once to wake up your butterfly. This causes it to flutter its wings. Two taps on the jar has the butterfly fly around the jar once and then flutter its wings. Three taps and the butterfly flies all around the jar opening and closing its wings. I placed my butterfly in a jar on a shelf over my sink next to my kitchen radio. The sound vibrations from the radio cause it to flutter periodically. It is just lovely. It automatically shuts on and off preserving the battery life.

My radio activates it.
No, this is not an item that is mandatory or particularly useful, but it is beautiful to look at and prevents the desire to capture a real butterfly. I think keeping a butterfly in a jar would be cruel for any lengthy period of time, but this one suits my sensibilities. I think it will give my granddaughter a thrill.

Would you like your very own butterfly in a jar? You can find them here. There is also a Yellow Swallowtail version here. They range in price from $17.99 to $19.99.

So there you have a fun and cute Mason Jar idea for both decor and delight.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Dreamy Bath Tub for a Great Deal

Yesterday I was heading to the feed store and had decided it was time to lock down a bath tub. I had planned from the get go to use a galvanized stock tank as my bath tub. I think it is a durable and attractive, if not unique, option. However, the tank would be over $100 and I am looking for bargains. So, before leaving the house I decided it was time to check Craigslist for a deal one last time. I am certainly glad I did!

Built in arm rests
I found a gorgeous Avonti acrylic drop in tub. Manufactured here in Phoenix by, model BT25 is oval in shape and white in color. It is larger and deeper than my current garden tub and includes built in arm rests. Additionally one of the quality features of Avonti tubs is that they are sprayed with a foam insulation. This makes them quieter and helps keep the water warmer longer. New these tubs run around $650 - $800, more if you have the bubbler option. This particular model runs about $800. I was able to purchase it for $40! That's right, 40 bucks!