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The Pet Gene

Some people do not have pets. For many of us, this may be a difficult concept to grasp. Let me explain.

There are people who do not have dogs or cats. Or horses. Or chickens. Or even that whole foreign land of guinea pigs, rabbits, lizards, and fish. They do exist. These pet-less individuals are amazing. Baffling, and amazing. No animal husbandry, of any kind. What must that be like? I bet their lives involve a lot less poop than mine does. Poop and responsibility. With an increase in money. And more room on the couch. That doesn’t sound so bad.

Of course, there’s also less warm dog. Warm dog with wet nose and contented sigh. Maybe a stray snore here or there. Ever-ready companions, whether it be for adventure or just to hang out in the yard. Non-human creatures that know me, communicate with me, rely on me, and are a distinct part of my life.

How do you quantify their value to people without ‘The Pet Gene’? Read more

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The Target Demographic

I recently found myself in the rather awkward situation (for me) of having to define Dogs or Dollars. Repeatedly. To people who’d never read it. And didn’t know me. Huh. There’s a task that shouldn’t be hard. And sorta was.

Mumble, bumble, leaving corporate servitude, uhhhh saving money, erm growing shit, and how ’bout those dogs? Personal journey? Anyone? I conveniently managed to put myself at the intersection of two of my favorite bloggers: Northwest Edible Life and Mr. Money Mustache. Both of whom, I had the distinct pleasure of being in the same room with at that particular moment in time. Read more

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Free Compost. Just Add Pallets.

Pallets, the humble wooden shipping platform. They are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Somebody, somewhere in the last few years realized their potential as an excellent source of (usually) free wood, suitable to any number of projects. Maybe a lot of somebodies, because a quick Pinterest search reveals a cornucopia of DIY inspiration: headboards to bookshelves, play houses to coffee tables. Possibilities, endless.

One could create a veritable rustic decor oasis from a bunch of bunged up free wood! But no where is the pallet more at home than the Urban Homestead. In all things garden, think free, repurposed, versatile, and sturdy as ideal. Pallets fit the bill. So last year, when I was building out the Ugly Garden infrastructure, I knew I wanted a kick-ass compost system. What would I construct it out of? Pallets, naturally. Read more

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How to Save $1000

One THOU-sand dollars. Note the dramatic emphasis. The holy grail. Or the start at least. To emergency funds. Emergency funds to free you from vicious credit card debt. Breaking the shackles of that debt being the first nano-step down the yellow brick road of financial independence.

A cool grand. Dave Ramsey recommends it. Is further endorsement required?
(Well, yes. Have you seen that dude’s house? Conservative Fiscal Fail.) Read more

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Knowing When Its Time

The most difficult part of owning a dog isn’t potty training. It isn’t having your couch eaten. It isn’t making food decisions. Or big vet bills. It isn’t the first year. But, the last. And knowing when your time has come to an end. They don’t live forever, these creatures. Not even close. Really only long enough for us to take them for granted. To completely incorporate them into our lives. To make them firmly and officially family. How long is that? It varies, and I dont think it really matters. Years or months. Its never easy.

Which brings us to a certain little dog. I’ll say up front he’s still with us. We just don’t know for how long. Read more

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Winning & Losing & Paying Attention

So much of what we do in this lifestyle – day to day attempts to manage our dollars and our lives responsibly – so much of it is just our best attempts. Sometimes those work out. Sometimes they crash and burn. If you’re lucky, you break even somewhere between the two.

Exhibit A: $50 and a flyer from Whole Foods, with which I am demonstrating two of the three principles found in the above title. Read more

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Urban Homesteading Reality

A little over a year ago, I wrote about my Urban Homestead Dreams. Chickens, expansion, raised beds, crops, and big, big, grandiose plans. Now that we once again dwell in the time of little daylight, when my garden is neglected because there just aren’t enough hours in the day (not that there’s much going on there anyway), I’m reflecting on those dreams and plans. What was a success? What failed miserably? What do I want to add? Was it all worth it?

Broccoli. I manage to grow broccoli. Read more

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Badassity: Re-Branding Frugality

I’m writing this post because I wanted to use that word. A word, I am not genius enough to take credit for. I should probably be paying the venerable Mr. Money Mustache five cents every time I use it. And I would gladly hand over a fist full of nickels for the pleasure. Badassity. Badassity. Badassity. Not just fun to say, but a call to arms.

Am I really going to dedicate a whole post to another blog? Potentially. But, no. Hang on. It could be worth it. Read more

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Animal Advocacy at the Vet

Many of us will happily wear a t-shirt declaring our strong feelings on spay and neuter policies, animal adoption, breed legislation, and a variety of other animal related topics. We will shout to the world our opinions and declare our unconditional love for a specific breed, dog, or activity. But, will you stand up to your Veterinarian?

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Grizzled, old, immune compromised Springer lady or rabid bite risk? Who makes that call?

Educated animal types tend to know a little about food, about general health, about the dangers inherent in over vaccination. Maybe we haven’t done all our own research, but at least we’ve heard about it. We know the world exists. Some people have those opinions. Opinions that are brushed off by your local vet as ‘inconclusive’, perhaps ‘dangerous’. They use phrases like ‘to be on the safe side’. They are all too eager to sell you a prescription diet that you shudder to read the ingredients label on. Believe me, it’s best you don’t. The alternatives are expensive at best and incredibly labor intensive at the outside. Or at least that’s how we are made to feel. We cave. We aren’t experts. We don’t have the pile of student loans and certificates to prove we went to vet school. Sigh.

Despite my lack of qualifications, I don’t always do what my vet says. Look at me and my rebel self. Read more

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Combat as a Consumer

I have expensive taste. It may seem contrary to the image of cheap bastard extraordinaire I cultivate. However, it’s true. And its my cross to bare. Why buy a print, when you can get the original artwork? (At 3 times the cost). Need new workout clothes? Only Lululemon will do. (But, they last and last and last). You’ve seen the vacuum I’m going to purchase (with its rave reviews). Cheap options don’t appeal. This is probably my secret weapon in the No Big Box campaign. It’s easy when most of the crap those stores sell, I don’t want.

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Happiness is not a new set of sheets, but it ranks somewhere in there.

What it does do is leave me with a significant etsy habit, the need for a overwhelming sense of patience to save up for my purchases (this does not come naturally), and a desire to cut corners whenever and where ever I can (this does). Those are just different skills than coupon clipping and clearance bin scrounging. Read more

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