Stair cats, and this is $424 (plus $155)

I spotted this adorable sight, just as I was finishing up my morning rounds.

The cats are taking advantage of every snow-free space they can find!

This morning, my daughter and I headed out fairly early to do the first of our stock up shopping trips in the city for next month. We are using my mother’s car, as we are avoiding using the van as much as possible now that things are warming up, which means smaller trips.

Smaller in size, but not in cost!

Our first stop was at an international grocery store, where we also had dim sum for breakfast (which I was able to do and still stick to my Lenten fast of no sugar or starchy foods).

I completely forgot to get a picture of our first purchases, but this is what we got:

2lb bag of Mandarin oranges: on sale for $6.99
Avocados; bag of 4: on sale for $3.49
Bananas: $1.095/kg got us a bunch at $1.88
Caramelized onion goat cheese: $8.99
Triple creme brie for our Easter basket: on sale for $11.99
Gouda cheese, truffle (a real treat!!!): $9.61
Blue cheese stuff olives for our Easter basket: $7.99
4pk quantity sale: 2 of ground chicken, 2 of stir fry beef, $20 (saving us $4 total)
Ketchup: sale price $4.49
Bell pepper variety pack: on sale for $5.99
Coffee creamer for my daughters: on sale for $4.49
Two 5lb bags of Russets: sale price $3.99 each
Bacon slab: smoked applewood $10.43
Bacon slab: smoked $10.25
House brand sliced bacon, 2 packages: sale price $3.89 each
Two 2L soy milk for my lactose intolerant daughters: $4.69 each
Dark soy sauce for my husband (the Filipino brand we usually get was out of stock, so this is a new one for him to try): sale price $3.49

Non Food:
Extra strength carpet odour eliminating powder: $4.79
Febreeze (for upstairs): loyalty card 20% off for $5.29
Non-bleach, pet safe spray cleaners, 2 bottles: $4.99 each

The sale prices (with our loyalty card discount) saved us $23.75, for a grand total of $155.62 after taxes.

All of that, except for the potatoes, fit into two of our hard sided grocery bags, with room to spare.

Our next stop was Superstore.

This is $424.02, plus a free turkey for purchasing more than $300


Non food:
Dry cat food, two 10kg bags: $32.99 each
Paper towels, 12pk: $11.99
Toilet paper, 24pk double rolls: $19.99
Replacement mop head: $6.99
Polysporin, extra strength + pain killer: $11.49
Gauze for the first aid kit: $6.79
Insoles, for my daughter: $17.49
Insoles, for me: $17.99
Deodorant: $4.99
Argan oil (hair treatment): $.68
Feminine liners: $13.99
Hair elastics: $5.00
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth: $6.49
Large bottles of shampoo and conditioner: $15.99 each (we finally found the kind we’ve been looking for!)

Soy sauce – they had the brand my husband likes! (he’s basically the only one who eats soy sauce): $2.99
Tapioca pearls (for my mother): $1.49
Giant block of Old Cheddar: $32.49
Whipping cream: sale price $5.69
Frozen chicken nuggets (something I asked my daughter to pick for a quick treat): $10
Frozen pizza bites (another quick treat): $10
Giant pack of hot dog wieners: $9.99
Frozen pork lion: $19.71
Frozen shrimp: $16.99
Sourdough loaf: two at $3.00 each
French bread: two at $0.95 each
Torpedo buns: 1 large bag at $5.00
Rye bread: two loaves at $4.79 each
Hot dog buns: two at $4.29 each (most of the bread went straight to the freezer)
Goat cheese: $7.99
Sandwich meat: smoked turkey and Montreal smoked meat, at $6 each
Figs and Port salami for the Easter basket: $9

Butterball turkey: free

I didn’t realize until now that the cashier didn’t ask me for my points card, and we were so busy loading the cart, I forgot I had one, which means I didn’t get my 4420 points. I’ll have to hang on to the receipt and claim those, because I can actually get cash off my groceries with them. We’ll be back in the city in a few days, so I should be able to take care of that.

Our next trip to the city will likely be a Walmart and Canadian Tire trip. I only got 2 bags of cat food, which won’t last long, but I didn’t want to overload my mother’s car. We’ll need at least 8 big bags, total (unfortunately, the cats don’t want to eat the larger bags of cheap stuff from the feed store) for the month. More, if I can only find the 9kg or less sized bags in stock. We also need to get more stove pellets for the litter boxes. Those come in 40 pound bags, but I think if I spread them out in the back of the car, it should be okay to get a couple of those, plus a couple of bags of cat food at the same time.

The price of beef is absolutely insane. I was looking to order another freezer pack from our local ranch supplier anyways. I’d hoped to find some good sales to supplement but, nope. The “sale” prices are still too rich for our budget! The only beef I got today were the stir fry beef that were part of a sale in the first store we went to.

On top of all this, I put $25 gas in the tank, which almost filled it, and by the time we got home, the fuel gauge was lower than when we filled!

On the way home, I asked my daughter about what she hoped to do here at the farm; things to build, fix, grow, whatever. She is very interested in having to buy as little as possible which, in the future, would include things like making shoes and weaving cloth. She wants fiber animals (goats or alpaca), but would also like to grow flax to make linen. For the space we would have available to grow flax, it would take a few years of accumulating the fibers, but then, it’ll take a few years to buy or build a spinning wheel and loom (her drop spindle won’t quite cut it!). I also have some heritage wheat seeds that I want to grow, just to collect more seeds, for future use. We would be converting parts of the outer yard into small fields for stuff like this – which requires significant clean up, first!

As for leather, once we get to the point of hunting deer, she would be interested in tanning the hides. My husband has been doing some leatherworking and has lots of tools, but the leather itself is so expensive, he hasn’t been doing anywhere near as much as he would like.

We also talked about building more smaller sheds. Most of the outbuildings here are falling apart. We’ve got way too many things crammed into one side of the garage, and that space would make a great workshop. Plus, the garage itself needs a lot of repairs. If we have someplace else to safely store this stuff, that’ll make it easier to do the repairs it needs. Right now, the only space we could use is the barn, and it’s already got so much stuff in it, much of which is probably junk, simply because of how long it’s been sitting there. Plus, the barn isn’t exactly in good shape, either. I certainly would never use it for animals again, without a lot more repairs than we are able to do ourselves.

We also talked about fixing the pump shack; the concrete floor is breaking up and the wooden walls are rotting away, but the frame is still sound, and it has a solid metal roof. It’s also possible that the only thing we need to get the old well going again is to replace the leathers in the pump. After all this time, they would need to be replaced anyhow. We just have to find out what size we need and find where to get them from. If it still doesn’t work right after that, then we would call a well company.

Of course, we want to grow as much food as possible. With the way things are going, food prices are not going to be going down again for a long time, if at all. The value of our dollar is dropping too much.

Once the snow is gone enough, the first thing we need to do for this year’s garden is start building the trellis tunnels. My plan had been to bury the vertical posts in the ground, which would still be mostly frozen. However, now that we know that that area can get flooded out, we would need to have at least low, probably mid height, raised beds at the base of the trellis tunnels, we might not need to. The vertical posts can be part of the walls of the raised beds. The tunnel part would be 4 ft wide (for accessibility reasons, all our paths will be 4 ft wide), but we would not be able to reach the beds from the inside of the tunnel once the climbing mesh is in place, so the beds would be only 2 ft wide. Once the walls, mesh and soil is all in place, we won’t need to worry about the vertical posts getting blown over. We will also be making portable trellises, but they are not as high of a priority, since they can be built much more quickly.

Then there is my priority to have a chicken coop. Our homesteading neighbor that has a shed he needs to get rid of promised to bring it over to us in the spring, once the snow is clear. We need to figure out where, exactly, to put it. It then needs a floor and a modification to the roof to make it into an angled shed roof, rather than a flat roof (which started leaking and is why it needs a new floor). Heck, as long as we have the floor, we can throw a tarp over the roof to start with. As for nesting boxes, I think we actually have some in the barn, and it wouldn’t take much to make roosts.

This would do to start with. I also want to get that antique wagon frame from the car graveyard and see if it’s salvageable to make a chicken wagon. For the amount of eggs we go through, having chickens will be a huge help with the food bill. Eventually, I’d like to have a couple of pigs; both chickens and pigs can be a huge help in clearing and reclaiming land so it can be used to grow food. Plus, of course, we will have manure for fertilizer. The fiber goats my daughter wants to get would be helpful with that, too, but I think that’s for a bit further in the future. Plus, we would get a couple of piglets in the spring and they would be butchered in the fall, so that makes them a priority over goats. Unless we get a milk goat, first. Then my daughters wouldn’t have to buy soy milk.

The main thing is, the more we can grow ourselves, the easier it will be on the budget, and the more food security we will have.

After spending more then $550 today (though we did spend more than usual on non-food items), and not having anywhere near what we need for a month’s stocking up, this isn’t even a matter of choice anymore.

The Re-Farmer


2 thoughts on “Stair cats, and this is $424 (plus $155)

  1. Off the top of my head, I just paid $8 for 18 eggs, $1.99/ea for 3 avocados, $8 for 24 Kraft singles, $11 for frozen breaded chicken strips. I don’t recall what else (LOTS of canned soup)…$360+ and will need to last a month+

    LOVE the cat pic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s just painful!

      The $10 flats of 30 eggs I get works out to US$7.37 The last time I went to Costco, they were still cheaper at just under $18 for 2 flats, or about US$13.26 Eggs and chicken seem to be among the few things we have cheaper than you guys do. The prices have gone up. Just not as much as they have on your side of the border. I don’t think we’ve slaughtered as many chickens, due to “avian flu” (I’ve heard of a number of US chicken farmers that were basically forced to slaughter their chickens, even though they were never tested for AF; it was either get paid to kill them, or not be allowed to sell their eggs).


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