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This has been a loooong month. I worked a full time temporary job starting on October 4 so for four straight weeks I’ve worked 40 hours a week. But you know working 40 hours a week means I’m actually gone from home quite a bit more. I leave a half hour before I am scheduled to start, take an hour lunch and get home about a half hour after I get off work (provided I have no stops to make). Figuring all that in I’m away from home about 50 hours a week.

I’m still working my ‘from home’ part time bookkeeping job in the evenings (if needed) and on weekends and sometimes on my lunch break at my temp job. We are still doing virtual school with Lulu. She goes to her virtual rooms during the day time (they are scheduled by class) and does some of her lessons and then in the evening we work on anything she needed help with and do the testing. She is doing quite well.

Joe goes to work a few hours after me so he has been wonderful and such a help with doing things around the house. I came home one day and the entire place had been vacuumed. Joe also helps me with the chickens in the mornings and he gets breakfast together for everyone.

Overall, things have been going okay with me working. Originally this was to be an assignment for the month of October covering for someone out on emergency medical leave. But I have been asked to stay a bit longer (no definite end date) while the person that was on medical gets back into the swing of things. Joe and I talked about it and decided that since things are going good and I could get called for another temp assignment pretty soon I might as well stay there. It is a good place to work, the job is enjoyable and the people are nice. But I did tell them that if they end up needing a very long term or permanent person, I’m not it. While I enjoy working (mostly) I can’t do it full time. Part time maybe. Working from home yes. And during the summer it is so busy with chicken tending and attempting to garden and grow trees that those things become almost a full time job plus I have visions of adding a few more things on a little two acre plot.

Our grocery budget has remained steady. I did worry a bit that with me working we would end up getting more ‘convenience’ foods and/or eating out more. It does help our budget that our freezer is full of wild game (thank you Joe for the nice big buck deer, doe antelope and buck antelope and Kiki for the doe antelope, plus some friends gave us elk and so did Joe’s dad) and we have some of our home raised chickens in there too. I think for the month of October our total food spending was around $550 so that is good. We are now into our November budget (since I budget according to Joe’s once monthly paycheck). For this month, I forgot to submit my Azure Standard order this month but I still have enough (I hope) flour, coconut oil and legumes in my pantry. Without the Azure this month my budget will be lower in the $350 range I am thinking.

We are still eating pretty good but I do notice a few deficiencies. This week I want to make a concentrated effort to up our probiotics through raw and fermented foods. I have plenty of ferments in the fridge I just can’t seem to remember to serve them. And we are once again getting real (raw) milk thanks to the cows having their calves. I’ve been making raw soft cheese which is delicious but the milk isn’t being consumed as fast as it was before the cows went dry (I think we got out of the habit of drinking milk). I also have kombucha and beet kvass in the fridge which we need to drink (the kombucha is delicious, the beet kvass is more of an acquired taste I think) and am making dairy kefir again (I put my grains to rest when the cow dried up and haven’t got them out again, I’m hoping they are still active).

Another thing I think we need to work on is the fat in our diet. I think that we are not eating as much as we were. I have noticed that our butter and coconut oil seem to be lasting longer so I’ll be looking at adding more healthy fats to our diet. And along with this trying to remember to dose everyone daily with cod liver oil. We weren’t taking our cod liver oil during the summer but I feel for winter it is essential (to be honest, I feel it is essential for summer too but got out of the habit and decided to restart it when winter came).

What we ate last week for dinners:

Monday– Joe took us all out for my birthday dinner. Before we left I started sourdough sweet rolls for Tuesday’s breakfast using my No Knead Bucket of Sourdough (Lesson 5 from GNOWFGLINS eCourse) and also started some soft raw cheese. The dinner out was not planned by me (it was a surprise) so I already had meat in the crock pot for dinner that carried over to Tuesday. For dessert the girls had made me a chocolate birthday cake and Joe picked up ice cream. Wonderful!

Tuesday– Stew Meat (cooked in the crock pot on Monday) Stroganoff (sauteed onions and mushrooms made into a gravy with milk and broth and finished with a little sour cream) over rice, broccoli, artisan sourdough bread (no knead).

Wednesday– Bean Bowls. Black Beans on top of choice of rice(leftover) or grits topped with avocado, fresh tomatoes, sour cream, soft cheese, shredded cheddar, and if desired some delicious spicy Adobe sauce that I had in the freezer. I can not recommend the Adobe sauce enough. It is so delicious, easy to make and the leftovers freeze very well. I had time before dinner to get a batch of lacto fermented salsa going. We love this Salsa! I use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions but tend to substitute things a bit depending on what I have on hand. Surprisingly I had most everything to make salsa 🙂

Thursday– I had a Weston A. Price Foundation meeting so Kyla cooked. She made scrambled eggs, reheated black beans, and shredded cheese plus put out sour cream and the salsa I made last night. Every one put the toppings on (store bought) corn tortillas. We liked this so much we repeated if for Saturday’s lunch.

Friday– Elk Steak, sweet potatoes, sourdough bread

Saturday– Creamy Black Bean Chili- I used this recipe as a guide but substituted small chunks of leftover elk steak for the ground beef. So good! The coconut milk gives it a totally different and wonderful flavor.

A pretty good food week. I love that we are able to still eat mostly unprocessed food that goes together quickly. I have to admit that I do miss my kitchen adventures and experiments a little bit. And to be quite honest, I am very thankful for my family helping me so much during this busy season.

I’m working on a menu plan for next week. I have broth going in the crock pot that will be the basis for a couple of meals but not really sure exactly what we will have yet. I am pretty sure I will be using one of my crock pots on a regular basis. I am so happy that my family bought me a third crock pot for my birthday. A giant 7 quart one! It will come in very handy.

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