Stocking up trip: this is $700

Or, to be exact, $700.04

I was planning to go into the city tomorrow, but I was able to change plans and do it today. That means I’ll be available to help my mother tomorrow, when she has to be away from her apartment while it’s being sprayed for bed bugs again.

I did a Costco and a Canadian Tire trip today. We will have to go another trip soon, but I was able to get most of what we need, I think. This is what I got at Costco.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it earlier or not, but we had an unexpected financial hit last month. My husband had a bi-weekly subscription order with Amazon for some sugar free drink mixes. One flavour had been back ordered. Well, it suddenly was available, and they shipped ALL of the back order at once. It worked out to be 10 cases of 16 bottles of mix in total. We only found out about it when almost $500 disappeared from our account on Sept. 13. I thought it was a fraudulent purchase on my husband’s debit Visa, at first! He found out what it was and tried to cancel the order, but they said the deadline for cancellation was Aug. 27. So we were going to let it arrive, then start the return process – only to find out that it wasn’t available for return, because it’s considered a “food item”. There are supposed to be ways to still get refunded, but my husband couldn’t find it. His searches had him going in circles. So we are now trying to sell them through our local store, and hopefully get at least some of our money back!

The hit did a number on our budget, but thanks to having already stocked up as much as we did, plus my daughter covering a couple of automatic payments, we managed all right. It means my focus is largely on replacing what we used, as well as continuing to build up our stash for the winter.

After seeing the prices for me, I’m really glad we’ve got a quarter beef coming in December, that’s for sure! I got a family pack size of lean ground beef, and it cost over $30 – almost twice what the same weight pack cost a couple of years ago.

Along with the ground beef, we got some pork loin, pork chops, a three pack of all beef wieners (but no buns; I’ll get those later. I’m hoping we can do a cook out soon). I also got three rotisserie chickens. Normally, I don’t even look at those, but I’d caught a new shopping video from Our Half Acre Homestead last night, and she mentioned that the cooked chicken was cheaper than the whole chicken. So I made a point of comparing. Sure enough, the bags with three whole chickens in them were all in the $30 range, while the rotisserie chicken was $7.99. On top of the fresh meat, I also picked up a 6 pack of canned chicken.

Normally, I would have picked up 10 pounds of butter for the month, but we still have some in the freezer. I’d picked up a jar of ghee and we still have a bit left. It’s worked out quite well, so instead of getting more butter or oil (which we also still have), I got a big bucket of ghee. At $39.99, it cost less than getting our usual 10 pounds of butter, and it’s shelf stable.

I ended up getting a LOT of pasta this trip. I found boxes with 9 – 500g variety packs of pasta for $9.99, so I got two. Then I found a plastic bag with a different variety mix of pasta, same quantity and weight, for the same price, so I got one of those, too. Plus, I got a case of Kraft Dinner. The girls like KD.

I also got a case of frozen perogies, a couple of containers of sour cream, a multi-pack of Kirkland cream cheese (I forget how many were the package), a 2 pk of goat cheese, a large pack of Old cheddar cheese, a 2 pk of butter chicken sauce, a big jar of peanut butter, a big jar of mayonnaise, a bag of Basmati rice, two packages of flour tortillas, a container of ice tea mix, as well as a 3 pk of Q tips and some extra strength ibuprofen for the girls, as they are running low. I also got a case of Coke Zero for a treat. Plus, I got a large package of facial tissue, the Kirkland brand toilet paper, some all purpose cleaner, a case of Friskies wet cat food, and four 11.6 kg bags of dry kibble.

Oh, the sticker shock on just about everything reminded me of another one I got. I was at half a tank when I left home, so I stopped along the way to put in a bit of gas, with the intention of filling at Costco, at their lower price. Pretty routine. I put in $30 of gas at 165.9 cents/litre. After I finished at Costco and was heading out, I walked past the sign with their gas price – 174.9 cents/litre!!! It took another $60 to fill my tank. On the way home, the gas station I’d stopped at in the morning was at 186.9 cents/litre

Ouch.

Now that this trip is done, we’ll go over what we’ve got and what I didn’t pick up this trip, and make a new list for the missing stuff. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a second trip in a couple of days.

I had stopped at the Canadian Tire first, since it was all non-perishables. We needed more stove pellets for the litter boxes. The hardwood pellets have gone up from $6.99 for a 40 pound bag to $7.29, but they also have softwood pellets that are still at $6.99 I got one of each, so we can compare and see which work better. I also picked up furnace filters. For some reason, the 20″ x 20″ size of the type we need is harder to find. I’m only finding them at Canadian Tire, and they aren’t always in stock. They’re not expensive, so I grabbed two 3pks.

Which reminds me. It’s almost time to replace the filter on our furnace. 😊

I also got a gallon of exterior paint for the water bowl house. I picked a yellow close to what the kibble house is. Considering what it’s for, I asked for their cheapest exterior paint. It turns out they only had two options, and one of them had a base coat in it, so really there was just one choice. A gallon of paint cost $52.99 While she was mixing the colour for me, I spotted a display of Flex Seal and picked up a can of clear. That’ll come in handy for some patch jobs we need to do. I remembered to look for a new handle grip to replace the one that broke off our garden fork. I ended up having to ask an employee for help. We both looked around for a while, then she went to the customer service to look it up on the computer and see if it was in stock. There was plenty of inventory in stock, and it was apparently right next to where she was working when I asked her for help! We went back and looked again and finally found it, right in front of our faces. We both looked right over them, several times, without seeing them! I was looking for the same bright blue as the handle that broke off, but the replacements were black.

Along with that, I remembered to pick up some toilet tank pucks. There is so much iron accumulating in our toilet tank, it’s starting to affect how well the toilet flushes. I found two septic safe brands, in 2 packs, specifically to help remove iron and got one of each. We’ve tried one brand before, so when the girls unloaded and put everything away, my daughter popped one of from the new brand in, so we can compare. And finally, I picked up a roll of self adhesive felt padding. It’s for the corner of my bed frame, where we all keep very painfully barking our shins!

Total damage at Canadian Tire was $148.75

Add in the $700 at Costco and $90 total for gas, it was a pretty expensive day!

I called my mother a little while ago, and made arrangements for tomorrow. Hopefully, the guy will remember that she needs to be away for 12 hours and will do her place first. The earliest the letter she got says they will be there is 9am. It would actually be feasible for her to still stay away for 12 hours and not have to spend the night at a motel. She doesn’t want to stay at my sisters, because where she would be sleeping means having to take several steps up and down, just to get to the bathroom. She can’t even stay here because, with my husband set up with his hospital bed in the bedroom closest to the bathroom, she would not only still have steps to take, but a much longer walk. Staying at a motel month after month is a ridiculous expense, but it’s really the best option. Close to home, private, no stairs, and even a bath tub, if she wants to us it – her apartment has only a shower, and she does miss her baths! But if the guy doesn’t come early enough, she may not have a choice. While I can help her for most of the day, at some point, she’s going to end up hanging out in the lobby of her building, like her neighbours do. They can go back into their apartments after only 6 hours, though. My mother had been thinking she could go in early and open windows, but the more stress and anxiety she feels, the more breathing issues she has – and she’s already had stress issues just today. Along with a meeting for tenants today, they had someone in to give everyone shots. My mother thinks it was a Covid booster shot, but she wasn’t sure. Which irritates the heck out of me. People like her and her neighours just line up to get injections that don’t actually work, and causing so many injuries. It’s like playing Russian Roulette, every time. No one is telling them anything to get informed consent, either. Most of the people living there couldn’t understand it, anyhow.

Argh. Venting.

Anyhow.

I will see her tomorrow, and we’ll figure out what to do as the day goes!

Meanwhile, I’m just really, really glad I was able to do a substantial part of our monthly shop today.

The Re-Farmer

A few surprises today, and wet, wet, wet!

Since I was wanting to go to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were cut a bit short.

That and the ground was just too wet for all of my usual checks.

It wasn’t raining quite yet, but I decided to NOT put our transplants out. With all the pots in bins and trays to water them from below, the bins already had more water in them than they probably should have, just from what rain we got yesterday. Some of them are on baking trays, which are easier to tip and drain at least some of the water out. With the bins, we’d have to remove all the pots to be able to drain it, and I would rather we didn’t knock them about too much. Especially the pots that are made to be planted directly into the soil. When they get wet, they are a lot more fragile and basically fall apart.

So today, they stay indoors.

I did remember to grab the bag with what’s left of our wood shavings to put a light mulch where the peas were planted yesterday. After switching out the memory card on the corner cam, I popped through the barbed wire fence to check on things.

The most obvious was that the “road closed, local traffic only” sign is gone.

The stand is still there. Just the sign has been removed. The stand had already been blown to the side of the road by wind, heavy as it is. I guess they’ll come back for it later. I don’t think the road has been repaired, though. I think the water levels have just finally dropped low enough.

The area in front of where the corner cam is, is where I’d sown a western wildflower mix in the fall, and I was hoping to see if anything was coming up.

I’m still not sure, but…

… we have strawberries! There are quite a few, all around. We don’t mow this area often, but I’m sure I’d have noticed strawberries if I’d seen them before, and deliberately not mown there. There were a few other things growing that didn’t look familiar, but it’s hard to say. With last year’s drought and heat waves, following even more years with lack of spring rains going back well before we moved here, it’s entirely possible that our current wet conditions mean that things that had been dormant are now finally sprouting. When I had the chance, I looked up the description for the seeds I got. It has 16 varieties native to Western Canada, but only 7 are listed.

Well, we’ll find out eventually! I’m just happy to see strawberries growing there.

I then checked out that really bad spot on the road that’s close to us. It was very muddy, and it’s getting longer, but it still looked like I could drive around it on one side. It did convince me to use our van instead of my mother’s car. Her car is lower to the ground, and I didn’t want to drag her undercarriage on some of the muddy ruts left behind by heavy trucks.

The funny thing is, I got a call from my brother later this morning. He was at work but, he knew I planned to go to my mother’s. Having driven through that spot himself just a couple of days ago, he called to recommend I take the van instead of my mother’s car, because it’s so much lower and we wouldn’t want to catch anything in the undercarriage on those ruts…

I love my brother. 😀

I also wanted to leave early enough to hit the post office first. While at the store, I picked up another bale of wood shavings and some black oil seed for the birds. Then I remembered to ask about bale twine. We’ve been using some light sisal cord for most things, but I wanted something more durable. There wasn’t any bale twine in the store, but the owner went to check in the house behind the store (I guess inventory is stored there now; the previous owner used to live there), which gave me time to load the big stuff into the van. While I did that, a Canada Post van arrived. As I went back to the counter to wait, the post master brought a package to me that had just come in, even though she hadn’t had a chance to process all the deliveries yet! That was very sweet of her.

It was also sweet of the owner to go check for me, as she came back with a pair of bale twine rolls. I hadn’t realize that size came in pairs. I’d always seen the larger ones. I asked for the smallest size; only 2800 yards. 😀

We’ll be set for a while!

The package I got was our perishable stock order from T&T Seeds, including two highbush cranberry trees. As I was writing the above, my younger daughter came by to talk about them, and now she’s outside in the rain, transplanting them!

What a sweetheart!

Once I had everything bought and paid for, it was off to my mother’s, picking up some fried pierogi for lunch (it was too early for the usual fried chicken I get as our lunch treat) on the way. My mother was already waiting for her telephone doctor’s appointment! The appointment was at 11:50. She thought it was at 10:50. When she realized we still had about an hour for the call, she dove right into those pierogi – all the while telling me she should probably stop eating pierogi, because the last time she did, that night she had severe stomach pains. Which as never happened before, but every time she has some sort of physical discomfort, she blames it on whatever food she most recently ate. :-/

Then the phone rang. The doctor called almost an hour early!

It turned out to be a fairly short call. My mother’s back is feeling much better now, though she insists the painkillers she was prescribed, have not been helping her at all. The doctor asked the expected questions about if she had twisted it, lifted something heavy, or done anything that might have triggered it. He was looking at her Xrays and couldn’t see anything that would explain the pain. The way he described it, she just has a 90 yr old back! He mentioned arthritis, but I don’t think she heard him.

Ultimately, though, he wants her to come in, in person, as it’s been a long time since she’s been to the doctor. My mother was already talking about doing exactly that. Normally, she would have to phone the clinic and talked to a receptionist to book that – though I would have been the one to actually make the call – and he did start to say that, but then changed track and simply named a date and time. It worked for us, so in a few days, I’ll be driving my mother in for that.

Hopefully, using her smaller car instead of my van, though!

Once that was booked, that was it. We were done, and much earlier than expected.

So we finished our lunch, then headed out to run errands. My mother had three places to go, and was a real trooper about climbing into our van! Especially since the van has no hand grips, like her car does. Getting out was a lot easier, but I had to insist, each time we stopped, that she wait until I brought the walker around before trying to climb out. The last stop was the grocery store, and for that I go in and get a shopping cart and bring it over for her to use as a walker, instead.

Having looked at the weather forecasts, I took advantage of being there to pick up a few little things, too, just in case I’m not able to make the rest of our stock up shopping in the city. That should be tomorrow, but we’ll see.

You know what I didn’t buy today?

Tinned meat.

Because, WOW the prices have gone up!

Cdn$4.49 is currently US$3.54 Those tins are 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces
Cdn$4.99 is $3.94 Those are 213 grams, or 7.5 ounces
Cdn$6.49 is US$5.12, for 340 grams, or 12 ounces

Small town grocery stores tend to be more expensive anyhow, but this is almost double what I last saw them at.

When my mother was almost done her own shopping, I quickly went through the till with my own stuff to get those put away in the van first. While chatting with the cashier, the increase in prices came up. He told me the prices have been going up daily! This store is affiliated with a larger franchise, so they don’t control the prices, but the whole point of being affiliated with a franchise is to be able to get inventory at lower wholesale prices, so retail prices can be lower.

Which means the wholesale prices have jumped significantly.

Thankfully, my mother only needs to buy enough for herself, and with me there to help out, she got extra in a lot of things, to stock up. She didn’t even look at the meat section, though. She’s convinced herself that meat, especially red meat, is bad, but she’ll buy deli meats or sausages instead of fresh meat. *sigh*

The main thing is that she is now stocked up for the next week or so. With her back giving her grief, she might supplement with Meals on Wheels every now and then, too.

It was raining every so slightly when I left my mother’s, but I found myself driving through several areas of heavy rain on the highway home. I’m so glad I didn’t take the transplants out this morning! The gravel roads were just soaked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more sections degraded until they were like the bad patch near our place. I messaged the family before heading out, and the girls were waiting for me at the garage with the wagon to help bring things in, since it was too muddy to drive up to the house to unload.

Just a few minutes ago, the girls came in – soaking wet! – to let me know they finished transplanting the highbush cranberry, as per the instructions that came with the trees. They planted them at the opposite end of the rows originally planned, because it has somewhat less water there, though they still had to shovel out as much water from the holes as they could. The holes they dug were mostly gravel, so the wheelbarrow of garden soil I had ready for something else was used instead of putting all the gravel back in the hole. The last of the bag of wood shavings I’d used to mulch the peas was used to mulch the cranberries. Hopefully, they will take root well enough.

It may be a couple of days before we can plant the sun chokes and sweet potato slips. The forecast says “light rain”, but it’s also supposed to be chillier than today. The sunchokes could probably handle it, but I’m not sure the sweet potato slips will. These are supposed to be a variety suited to our climate zone, but they’re still not a cool weather crop.

And we still need to get those potatoes in, but the package said not to plant them until temperatures are above 10C/50F. Looking at the 14 day trend, we won’t have overnight temperatures above that until June 7 – over a week from now! They will be under deep mulch, though, so that should protect them. I hope.

So much to get done, in a very short time, and the weather is not cooperating!

Well, we’ll do what we can. Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer