First stock-up shop: this is $737

I am so glad to be home.

The drive in wasn’t too bad. There was lots of blowing snow. It was bright and sunny, with hardly any clouds but at times, I could barely see the road. The snow being blown around was what fell last night. It wasn’t accumulating, though, and the road under it was dry. Road crews were out and keeping on top of clearing the shoulders, before things could drift over the roads. On the way out, I was driving with the wind mostly behind me, so that wasn’t too bad, either. On the trip home, however, with a loaded van, it was a bit of a fight the whole way. Not too, too bad, at least, but I could feel the van was having a hard time with both the weight in the back – all those cat food bags! – and being buffeted by the wind.

Not only has it been a long time since we’ve done a Costco trip, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there on a Friday! Gosh, it was busy. Things went smoothly, though, even when it was time to wait in line to pay. I wasn’t in any hurry, so that helped.

This is what $737.19 – after taxes – at Costco looks like.

Almost.

I went to the post office before heading to the city. We have an executive membership, and today I got our renewal and rebate. The renewal was $120, and the rebate was $118.36, so a tiny bit extra went to the renewal.

There are only two “extras” on here, and quite a few things we didn’t get. One extra is the LED light. We now have three of those, for our plant starts. It was $10 off the regular price of $45. I think I’ll pick up one more next month, and then I think we should be good. The other extra, which you can’t even see in the photo, is a flat of Coke Zero, which was about $15. (I’m rounding the actual prices, since I don’t feel like typing .99 over and over)

When I started loading the flat cart, I reached about $200, just in cat food! (Thank you, M, for your donation!) I got two 9kg bags of the Kirkland brand, at $29 each, plus four 11.6kg bags of Whiskas at $35 each. It’s a better price per kg with the larger bag, but the cats do get tired of eating the same thing all the time after a while, so I like to change it up when I can. There is also a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, which now costs $39. The toilet paper now costs $23. The Kleenex was a good price, at $21 for a dozen big boxes.

Then it was time for some actual people food!

My daughter requested coconut oil, which was about $19. For cooking oil, I got Avocado oil this time – something we haven’t bought in a long time and were really missing – at almost $18 for a nice big bottle. Local stores have small bottles that cost even more, so it’s work waiting to get it at Costco.

There’s a couple of large tubs of mayonnaise, which now costs $11 each. A 2pk of butter chicken sauce was $10. There’s a large container of whole peppercorns, at $7, a 2pk of goat cheese for $11, a wheel of brie for another $11, and a 3 pk of cream cheese for under $10. I got only five pounds of butter, which is now $5.29 – higher than it was, but still much, much lower than at regular grocery stores.

They had the big blocks of marble cheese at $30, but nothing else in that size, so I got smaller blocks of old cheddar and mozza, at $15 each. A 10 lb bag of yellow potatoes was $7, a 2pk of rye bread was $6, two packs of wraps (36 count) for $10 each, and jumbo hot dog buns at under $6, to go with a 3pk of hot dog wieners at $21. For other meat, I only got a pork blade, at almost $29, and a pork loin, at $30.

There’s a 4L of milk at $5.69 – no savings there, since the prices for milk are government controlled. Two 1L of whipping cream, though, was only $4.79 each – quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere. A 5 count of avocados cost $8. The price of peanut butter hasn’t changed much, at under $9. A jar of raspberry jam cost only slightly less than the peanut butter – but was quite a bit cheaper than the strawberry jam I usually get! Usually, it’s the raspberry jam that is much more expensive.

Things on my list that I did NOT get included garbage bags (I was running out of space), ghee (I never found it), sour cream (I forgot), chocolate chips (running out of space), lemon juice (I forgot), pasta (the only ones I found were really expensive), pain killers, vitamins, shampoo and conditioner (I no longer had the energy to go through the pharmacy section) and sugar (I remembered, but didn’t want to add another big heavy bag to the cart).

One thing I almost got, but ended up putting back, was a package of really heavy duty, interlocking squares of floor mats. I want them for the kitchen. We had some regular ones that get sold as yoga mats, but the cats just tore them apart. The kitchen floor is in really bad shape, and it’d be nice to have something that not only covers it, but makes it easier on the back while standing there, doing dishes or whatever! In the end, I just couldn’t justify the cost, even though it was a really good price.

Later in the month, we should hit the Wholesale Club, where we can get pasta in giant bags, and I know I can find the big buckets of ghee. We still have some, but it’s getting low. There are other places we need to go to to pick up certain things, so we will have at least one more trip to the city after main pay comes in. Probably two, before we’re set for the month. Which reminds me: also in the mail, my husband got letters from Sun Life. One to confirm that yes, he’s still disabled, and the other to confirm, yes, he’s still getting disability payments! So we’re confirmed to have money for another year.

Thank God for private health insurance!!!

I also plan to pick up more meat and eggs from local homesteaders. We’ll have to see what the budget is like after the vet visit on Sunday, before we can decide how much we’re getting. Yes, we still have plenty of meat in the freezer, but if I’m going to be going more carnivore, I want to make sure to have more, so we don’t run out too quickly.

Tomorrow, I’m going into town to pick up my new prescriptions, including the new pain killer that I’ll be trying for 2 weeks, to see how it does for my OA. That will be a good time to swing by the local grocery store and refill a couple of water jugs, and one of my daughters will be coming along to do some of their own shopping, as well. I was hoping to pick up some seafood for them (my husband and I are not big on seafood at all), but it was so bloody expensive!!

You know, I think I saw some fishing rods in the pump shack, and there’s a net in the garage. The girls are interested in taking up fishing. It would be handy if these were in useable shape!

We shall see. 😁

So that’s one big, stocking up shopping trip done!

The Re-Farmer

A smaller shop: this is what $254 looks like

Okay, so I didn’t make it to Costco, and at this point, I probably won’t make it there at all this month. With the roofers showing up today, I was able to get almost everything on my list, at the Walmart where I’d met the cat lady to take our cats to be spayed.

When I got home, along with all the cats running around on the tarp the roofers laid out to catch what they were tossing off the roof, I found these guys in the sun room.

Are they adorable, or what?

I think these white and greys are all from one litter, but at this point, we just can’t tell for sure anymore.

Judgement is looking somewhat less judgemental than usual!

Alas, I had to interrupt their snuggle time on the swing bench to bring in the shopping.

This is what $254.53 (after taxes) looks like.

There was one thing on my list I did not get. Ghee. The largest jar they had was almost $30. For about $10 more, I can get a big bucket – about 5 times as much – at Costco. We still have some left, so I skipped it entirely. At Costco, I would normally get 10 pounds of butter, but we still have some in the freezer, so I only got 2 pounds. The Costco price is better, and so is the quality of their house brand butter.

One thing I got that I could not have picked up at Costco was the distilled water for my husband’s CPAP humidifier. I also got a small ceramic heater for the upstairs. We got two of them for the girls last year, but one of them recently stopped working. The fan still works, but no heat, so it was just blowing around cold air. It gets so bitterly cold on the second floor, they really need a heater for each room. Hopefully, once the roof is done, it will be a bit less chilly up there!

Other items include the biggest package of toilet paper I could get, that also happened to be on sale. We got more laundry detergent, which was surprisingly cheap, as was the dish detergent. I got a larger type of hot dog wiener, as requested by one of my daughters, but forgot to get hot dog buns. We prefer the Costco ones, but these will do for now. I did remember to get wraps, though. Again, we prefer the Costco ones, but we will make do. 😉 They only had small containers of cocoa, so I got two, along with some LED light bulbs for the bathroom light fixture. One bulb is burnt out, but I want to replace all four, as I can’t find the same type of bulb anymore.

At Costco, I’d be getting a giant block of cheese, but here, I got 4 different types of cheese in the largest sizes they do have. They had large jars of green olives at a good price, so I grabbed one of those, along with a case of Kraft Dinner for the girls. The Pizza Pops are a much better price than elsewhere, so I grabbed a big box for the freezer. They make for a quick meal, and one my husband can make without needing help. I found a new seasonal flavour of coffee creamer – waffle! – so I got that as a surprise for my coffee drinking daughters. I also grabbed three flavours of popcorn seasoning for the pantry, and a box of size medium slide lock freezer bags – we’ve only got huge ones left right now. At Costco, I would have picked up a 60 pack of eggs, but their biggest size is 18 eggs.

I think that’s all of it. I keep looking at the receipt, trying to see what I’ve missed for this to be over $250! Even the ceramic heater was pretty cheap.

This is such a small shopping trip for us – and it feels weird not to have any cat food in there at all!

The Re-Farmer

This is what $430 looks like – and they’re going to do it!

I was going to do a Costco trip today, however by the time I reached my mother’s town, I changed my mind. Road conditions and blowing snow was getting worse the further south I went, so I just got some gas, then went to a nearer Walmart. Costco will wait for another time.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because the trip was shorter. I was just leaving the store when I got a message from my brother. The roofers had called! They wanted to come by today and at least drop off the materials for the roof, if not get started on the work. They’re going to get it done before winter is officially here! They have not yet arrived, but I am glad to be home to be able to keep an eye on the security camera live feed. The gate has been left open, and we will be leaving it open, at least during the day, until the job is done. Everything is weather dependant right now.

Also, WordPress just let me know that this blog has hit 100,000 views! Thank you to everyone who has visited with us, and especially those who like what they see enough to follow and comment, too. It is really encouraging, and greatly appreciated.

So that’s our amazing news!

Meanwhile, I ended up picking up more than I originally intended today. This is what $428.74 (after taxes) looks like.

I got another four 10kg bags of kibble. Normally, with the four I already got, I would say we are stocked up for the month, but we have more yard cats this year, and they always need more food in the winter. The cat lady was going to see about getting some donated cat food for us, so that will be a help, but I’m not going to count on it.

If I’d made it to Costco, I would have picked up a case of 48 cans of wet cat food. Instead, I got two cased of 32 cans. That makes three cases of that size for the month. I’d love to be able to get some wet cat food to the bitty babies, but that would be difficult to manage with so other cats around, and we just can’t afford to buy enough wet cat food for them all.

All Purpose flour was on sale – $8.97 instead of $11.97 – so I picked up an extra bag. Stove Top Stuffing was also on sale for 87 cents, so I got a couple more boxes for our pantry. With all of us being sick for the last while and not having the energy to cook much, we’ve been going into our quick eats supply, so I got more of the ramen type noodles and canned tomato soup to replenish the pantry.

Other items for the pantry include toilet paper, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, and a couple of tubes of toothpaste.

There was a really good sale on whole chickens, so I got a couple of those, along with eggs, rye bread, a bag of clementines and a new flavour of coffee creamer for the girls. I picked up a 12 pack of cranberry ginger ale as a treat, along with a big box of granola bars.

Some unplanned items included a shower curtain and shower curtain liner. The cats have been destroying them, so I sprung for higher quality ones, in hopes they will last longer. Leyendecker in particular keeps trying to eat the fabric curtain hanging on the outside, so I got a plastic one, this time.

I also got a set of 3 wire cubes. I am thinking that, with ones we already have that we used to display inventory, back when we were doing the art markets before our move, I can use them to make a kennel if we can manage to bring Broccoli and her babies inside.

One last extra was a box of religious Christmas cards for my mother. The ones I ordered online for her won’t arrive for some time, and she wants to send cards overseas, so I got these for her. Then, when I was paying for it all, I added a donation to the children’s hospital, too.

I swung by my mother’s place to drop the cards off on the way home. While there, I told her the news about the roofers. She was not happy, because if they put the shingles on now, they will all crack in the cold. Clearly, they have no idea what they’re doing. She then demanded (again) that we have a warranty, and that it’s in writing. I keep trying to explain, it’s all going to be there in the contract, spelled out in detail, but she refuses to believe me. I get the impression she thinks there is not actual contract; that it’s all being done with no record. Which might be what she’s used to, considering who they’ve hired in the past, but my brother and I would not hear of calling a local guy that has a reputation for being very drunk while he works.

Since I’d finished my shopping before I got the message from my brother, I made another stop at the grocery store near my mother’s place to get a few things I’d intended to do on another trip. When the roofers are here, I’d like to have hot food and coffee going for them; it’s not like there’s anyplace nearby they can pop over for their breaks and lunches. So I got what I needed to make a chili for one day, and a stew for another and, when I got home, I brought the meat for them out of the freezer to start thawing.

So that shopping, rounded up to donate to a local food bank, was another $40.

Finally, I stopped at the post office on the way home, as my husband was hoping a package for him had arrived early, but it did not. Since I was there anyhow, I picked up some Christmas treats out of the booze corner; some alcoholic eggnog, and a sampler of tiny, uniquely flavoured drinks, which added another $47 and change to the day’s total.

I’m still going to need to do a Costco trip, plus a trip to Canadian Tire to get the stove pellets we use for litter, but nothing is urgently needed.

It’s past 4pm as I finish writing this, and the roofers have not yet come by with the supplies. I’m not really expecting them to make it tonight, but who knows! Tomorrow is supposed to reach a high of -15C/5F, and be mostly cloudy. The day after (Sunday) is supposed to reach a high of -5C/23F with “snow showers”, then start getting quite a bit colder again.

This is not going to be a pleasant job for them to do!

The Re-Farmer

First monthly stock up shop: this is what $393 looks like

More specifically, $392,96, after taxes.

I was feeling well enough to finally get our first stock up shop for December done. I am no longer sick, but still feeling pretty weak. Honestly, I would have stayed home if I could. I didn’t want to be driving in that wind, when the roads are in that “is that melted snow, or is that ice?” stage! I had intended to take my mother’s car, because it needs an oil change, but our van has winter tires, so I took that, instead.

Even so, I wasn’t sure how far I was up to driving. I reserved judgement until I reached my mother’s town. She has a cold now, too, and was complaining about coughing badly at night, so I went to her pharmacy and got some cold medication for her, then swung by to drop it off. By then, I knew I was up to making the rest of the drive.

My mother looked quite miserable, and had had another rough night of coughing. One of the medications I got for her was some NeoCitrin so, before I left, I got the kettle going, cut apart all the pairs of packets for her, because I knew it would be harder for her to do herself, then got a cup ready for her before I left. We also went over the directions for how much to take of the cough syrup I got for her, which would be best for her to take before bed, since that’s when her coughing is the worst. When she found out where I was going, she asked me to pick up some milk for her to drop off on the way home.

Once I was done at her place, I got some fuel (local prices are now 158.9/L) then headed to a small Walmart at the nearer city.

There were two things I especially needed to get, and those made up most of the bill. I got four 10kg bags of kibble for the outside cats, at just under $26 each (a really good price for our area) and a case of 32 cans of wet cat food for the inside cats (we still have dry kibble for them). The canned cat food is now $28.47, which is about $10 more expensive than just a few months ago. Altogether, this is about half the cat food we’ll need for the month. When we do our Costco trip, I’ll get more kibble (how many depends on what size bags they have available at the time), and a 48 pack of canned cat food.

Then I got some cold medication. There are shortages of cold medications across Canada right now, and there was less of it at the Walmart than in my mother’s pharmacy! Still, I was able to get both day and night time NeoCitrin (at my mother’s pharmacy, they only had the day type), and a big bottle of liquid cough medicine. I also picked up some vitamins my doctor has me on, and at checkout, I grabbed 4 different flavours of cough candy.

Since our quarter beef should be ready for pick up this week, the only meat I got was some chicken breasts and, because none of us are up to cooking very much right now, a big box of Pizza Pops. There’s some Havarti, mozzarella and marble cheese in there, coffee for my daughters, some clementines, a couple of loaves of rye bread, a 4L of milk for us and a 2L milk for my mother. I also remembered to grab some popcorn seasonings, in three flavours. Oh, and a box of Vanilla Rooibos tea.

I also picked up a couple of t-shirts for my husband. The cats climb him a lot, and all his t-shirts are getting filled with holes from their claws! I went looking in the craft section for little things I could use with the Christmas ornaments I’m making this year, but there was absolutely no Christmas themed or coloured crafts items available. None. It’s like Christmas doesn’t exist in the Walmart craft department. It’s been like that for a few years now, I’ve noticed. I used to work in a craft store. Christmas craft materials started showing up in July, at the latest, because of the time it takes to make things in time for Christmas. I did find some replacement blades for my Xacto knife, though. I have some, but just can’t find them right now. Then, while waiting in line, I went ahead and bought some caramel filled chocolates, as a van snack.

My husband had suggested I pick up some McRaunchies burgers as a treat for the sickies, so after I finished paying for my stuff, I ordered 4 double quarter pounders with cheese and bacon. That came out to almost $44, after taxes! You know it’s bad when McDick’s burgers are $10 each. Ah, well. Beggars can’t be choosers! The girls really appreciated the treat when I got home. Even a barely warm, kinda soggy from being in an insulated bag, treat.

So there we have it. Thirty four items, and almost $400 later!

Of course, I did stop at my mother’s on the way home to deliver her milk. What a difference! That one dose of cold medicine I’d made for her earlier, and she was feeling – and looking! – so much better! She was so very happy at how well it worked, and how quickly. I’m really glad I did that on the way out, rather than getting the medication for her at the same time as ours, as I’d originally intended. She was breathing clearly, feeling stronger, and was in much, much better spirits.

Amazing what a bit of the right medication can do!

The Re-Farmer

The Costco shop – this is $580

More specifically, $579.06

I forgot to take a picture while it was still on the flat cart. Not visible, because they are on and under the seat that isn’t folded down, is a box with three rotisserie chickens – which are still cheaper than buying a three pack of whole, raw chicken – a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, and a double flat of 60 eggs.

There’s more toilet paper for stocking up, as well as an extra bag of rice. They did not have the larger bags of cat kibble, so I got four 9kg bags of Kirkland brand, which cost $28.99 each.

The two insulated bags are not completely full, but I wanted to distribute the weight between them more evenly. There’s a litre of whipping cream; something we don’t normally buy, but at $4.69, is quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere. It’s the same with the 10 pounds of butter at $4.99 each. Everywhere else, even the no-name or house brands are around $6.50 each. A big block of Old Cheddar now costs $29.99, and that’s cheaper than the few other places that carry that size. I got a pork loin and pork blade, both of which were small enough to cost under $20 each by weight. (I’m so glad we’re getting a quarter beef in December, because beef prices right now are really high.) There’s a pack of Kirkland brand cream cheese which, at $9.49, is much more affordable here.

I got a 6 pk of canned chicken, which was $21.99 – I think it actually stayed the same price as last month. I got a couple of big jars of mayonnaise that was on sale; regular $10.99, which is higher than last time, but the sale price was $8.49. Since my bee keeper cousin lost so many of his bees to our long, late winter, I bought a 3kg bottle of honey, which cost $24.99 I think that’s actually the same as what my cousin charges. I usually try to get his 5kg size, and the last time I got any from him, it was only a 1 kg jar, so I can’t quite remember. I also got more brown sugar for the pantry, as well as chocolate chips, peanut butter and popcorn. The package of AA batteries, which is mostly for the trail cams, now costs $25.99 – plus the eco fee. I don’t get the cheap brands of batteries, because the trail cams suck them dry in no time. If the new, solar powered trail cam handles winter well, I think we’ll get more to replace the old ones. The batteries on that are still 100%, while I’ve had to replace the batteries on the older ones at least twice, each, since we got the new one.

What else is in there? Oh, a case of bar soap, a stock up on feminine hygiene products, and a couple of packages of tortilla wraps. I did not get any other bread product, though I did look for hot dog buns. In fact, I’ve been trying to find hot dog buns since I got the giant package of wieners at the wholesale store. I haven’t found any! We’ll just have to start baking more bread again. We do less of that in the summer, partly because of the heat and partly because there’s just too many things outside that need to get done.

And that’s it.

I didn’t even fill the flat cart for the cost.

*sigh*

Bahahahahaha!!! Oh, this is too funny! While I was writing the above, there was a sudden noise at my window, and all the cats sleeping on my bed jumped. Now, they are all watching with great fascination, as my daughter cleans, then squeegies, my big window from outside, their heads following along in unison.

Anyhow… Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Distracted.

Like these guys.

When I back up to the house to unload the van, that gets the attention of a lot of cats. Princess even jumped into the back of the van while we were hauling things out. The smell of that rotisserie chicken was just too tempting! She never found it, though.

When we were done, there were about 5 or more kittens under the van. Slamming doors and kicking the sides was not enough to chase them away. I even turned the hose on and tried spraying under the van, which worked for some kittens. Other kittens started chasing the water! So my daughter distracted them with a bit of kibble, long enough for me to get the van started and out of the yard. Once it was parked, I topped up the kibble bin, then gave them their full evening feeding, with powdered lysine dusted over the kibble this time.

One thing we have not been doing of late is putting out feed for the birds. Normally, this time of year, we’d be switching to deer feed, but I’m not sure if we’ll be keeping that up. One reason is the racoons keep tearing apart the hanging feeder. We started just leaving seed on the ground, but not all birds like to eat from the ground – and the racoons still eat the feed meant for the birds. So when the black oil seed ran out, I just didn’t get more.

The deer, however, are still checking the feeding station out.

When I got home, drove through the gate and was back in the van after locking it again, I looked up to see a stag in our “parking lot” area near the garage. It had just come through the inner yard, and was standing there, staring at me! I started to drive very slowly, and it made its way into the overgrowth where there had been standing water during this spring’s flooding. The grass there is actually taller than the deer! It didn’t even run off, but just slowly made its way through the fence around the outer yard, and kept on going.

So beautiful.

We might not buy more seed for beside the house, but at some point I want to start getting a round hay bale and leave it out behind the barn for the deer, to draw them away from the house.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After today’s trip, we should be done with stock up shopping for the month! It is less than we normally would have gotten, but it was what this month’s budget allowed for. We still saved enough by driving to the city to make it worth the cost of gas. Locally, gas prices dropped to 180.9 cents/L, but I filled my tank at Costco at 175.9 cents/L. It’s 3.79L to one US gallon, so that works out to 685.6/US gallon (US$5.03) locally, or 666.6/US gallon (US$4.89) at Costco.

Gas prices are still way too high, but I’ll take any break in price I can get.

And that’s it. Our monthly stock up shopping for November is done.

This turtle is more than ready to climb back into her shell.

The Re-Farmer

First monthly stock up trip: this is $421

This is also the first photo taken with my new phone!

I set the new phone up to the bare essentials, making sure I had Discord set up because that’s what we used to message each other with, then headed out. I stopped along the way to pick up some fuel and breakfast (it was about noon by then!), then sent a test message home. It wasn’t until I got to The Wholesale Club and connected with their free wifi that I saw my message never got sent. Not connection to data. My set up wasn’t complete. Which meant I couldn’t have made a call if I needed to. Ah, well.

This store caters more towards restaurants, especially take-out places, so while there is a lot of what we’d find in their regular retail grocery stores (Superstore/Loblaws), there’s a lot that they carry only at their wholesale locations, or things in sizes that are only here.

For this trip, I picked up their last two biggest bags (9kg) of dry cat food. They always seem to be low in stock on that. They had other sizes and their no-name brand, but these were the better deal per kg. I also picked up a 32 pack of canned cat food. When I get to Costco, I’ll be picking up more of both, of course. There’s no way this will last us long. The outside cats go through almost 2 bags of this size a week. The wet cat food is just for the inside cats. The dry cat food has gone up to $30.99 a bag in this size. The wet cat food in this size was $26.99 I used to be able to get them at Walmart for under $19 just a few months ago.

In the non-food items, I picked up a couple of packs of paper towels, because it was cheaper per package to get 2 of them than just one, by about 40%. I also picked up a 6 pack of facial tissues, which I usually get at Costco or Walmart. I found some biodegradable liners for our kitchen compost bucket. A spur of the moment purchase from the restaurant supply section was a wooden muddler. It’s designed for mixing drinks, but it will come in handy the next time we make sauerkraut. It’ll work better than what we made do with, before. There’s also a 4 pk of distilled water for my husband’s CPAP humidifier, and a jug of windshield water fluid rated to -45C/-49F for the van.

I picked up more peanut butter for the pantry. I was very tempted to pick up a big restaurant sized bucket, but that was just out of budget for this trip. There’s a box of Sweet and Salty peanut granola bars that was cheaper than even Costco. I picked up the giant bags of pasta, in penne and rotini, for the pantry, which will be repacked into more functional sized containers. We should be well stocked for pasta for a long time, and if we really need to, we can make our own from scratch, too.

There’s a giant container of stuffed olives – a favourite snack of my husband’s, as well as a cooking ingredient – and a restaurant sized tin of tomato paste. I had been planning to buy a case of tinned tomato paste at Costco, but after making our own and canning it in those little tiny jars, we’ve been spoiled at being able to use a spoonful and seal the container for later. I have another case of those jars, so we can open this giant can, transfer the paste into the little jars, and water bath can them like we did with or own. We’ve been going through those pretty steadily, so more will not go amiss!

I picked up some seasonal coffee creamer for my daughters – the Christmas flavours are out already!, and only 3 pounds of butter. The no-name brand was $5.99 each. I’m hoping Costco, where I usually get 10 pounds at once, will still have better prices. There’s a tub of sour cream, and smaller blocks of old cheddar, marble and mozzarella cheese that were ten bucks each. Usually, I get a giant block of old cheddar at Costco, and I still might do that. We’ll see. I also picked up a bag of AP flour, there’s a flat of 30 eggs, plus four big bags of frozen perogies, in two different flavours. They were only $4 each! I would have gotten more, but it’s a long drive to keep things frozen, even with the insulated bags. There’s a bulk package of wieners (I’ll get buns another time), a giant summer sausage, and a box of frozen chicken tenders that was only $20. I’ll get more “real” meat at Costco. The bunch of celery is for making bone broth, and I picked up more sweet potatoes, now that we’ve found we like them in certain soups. I like them in general, but I’m the only one.

I almost got a 50lb bag of potatoes, but after looking at them through the window in their paper bags, I found they were not really in good shape. They were the “irregulars”, which I don’t mind, but I do mind if I see what looks like scab, or bruising. The bulk sized boxes “table potatoes” cost almost double, so I just got an ordinary bag of russets. Oh, and there’s a big jug of olive oil in there, too.

So that trip is done for now. I won’t be able to make another trip into the city until next week. Tomorrow, I’m taking my mother’s car in to get the slow leaking tire fixed, so hopefully, I can use her car instead. We’re trying to use the van as little as possible, until we can finally replace it.

Once at home, and the girls helped me put everything away, I got to work on finishing setting up my phone. The phone came with a data transfer cable, so I could potentially hook my old phone to my new phone and transfer data that way. It never worked. It kept telling me the cable was connecting and disconnecting. Then an alarm started sounding from the new phone, telling me that it had detected moisture or debris in the connector. !! I tried cleaning out the old phone, but it made no difference. I finally gave up and tried transferring data through wifi. That too forever to get working! I kept getting messages saying that both phones had to be on the same wireless connection (they were), then the new one would tell me it needed to disconnect my internet so it could use the wifi alone. I even tried turning on the BlueTooth on both phones (it made no difference), then turning on the NFC on the old phone – there doesn’t seem to be that option on the new phone. Then it finally started working.

I wasn’t able to transfer all data, though. The new phone cannot support a micro SD card. On my old phone, that’s where my photos and video default to. When I tried to transfer everything, it told me there wasn’t enough room. So I switched to transferring internal storage data only, and it finally started working – only to have something turning on and interrupting the transfer!

Eventually I got it done, but the new phone’s storage is already at 63%. I took a look and found a backup from my old phone was in internal storage, which means that some things are duplicated. Before I’d looked at that, though, I’d removed the SD card from the old phone, and am currently transferring everything on it into my external hard drive.

There’s more than 20,000 files on there, and most of them are photos. It’s going to take a LONG time for that to transfer! Since I want to transfer the internal back up folder onto the external hard drive, too, that will likely have to wait until tomorrow. It’s been about an hour since I started, and it’s at only 4%.

I’m going to have to spend some time figuring out the new phone, resetting things and testing things out. While I did take the one picture, I have yet to look at the phone camera’s setting for quality and resolution.

One of the things my husband did while I was away was order a phone case and screen protectors for it. Smartphones always feel like they’re going to slide right out of my hands, if I don’t have a case on them! He found a style very much like the one I got for the old phone, so it will have a “wallet” cover for the touch screen that can fit a few cards and maybe some cash, and that’s it. I want something as flat as possible, since it’s going to spent most of its time in my pocket while I work outside.

When I turned on the old phone this morning, while starting to set up the new one, a couple of texts came in from the cat lady. She sent pictures of the bitty babies, and they are doing great! I told her that the missing bitty showed up in the cat shelter again. At this point, we will leave things as they are, but if there is any sign of distress or abandonment, she said to contact her and she’ll come get it, too. I was looking for it while we unloaded the van, but it wasn’t in the cat shelter anymore. Likely, it was underneath again, while there was a lot of to-do going on as we unloaded. I will check again before it gets dark and hopefully will see it inside again. I did check one last time after putting the van in the garage, and I saw Junk Pile looking back at me through the window, from inside the cat bed! I have the hardest time believing she’s the mama, since her second litter is still so young, but if she’s decided to mother the bitty baby along with her own, I don’t have a problem with that at all!

Now… time to play with my new phone and get it set up the way I like!

The Re-Farmer

Stock up shopping: this is $300

I finally made my second trip to the city to do another stock up shop. After going over our list, I decided it was just a Walmart trip.

Then I got a message from my brother, we chatted a bit, and ended up arranging for me to visit! It’s been ages since I’ve been to their place. My brother has come here a few times, but I haven’t seen my SIL since the beginning of summer. She’s allergic to cats, so she can’t really come here. 😔

We had an excellent visit. Gosh, I love those two so much! 💖

Then I headed to the Walmart to get what I needed.

Well. Most of it.

This came out to just over $300. Almost half of that is cat related. I got four 10kg bags – the largest they had – of dry kibble. We now have enough to last us the month. I also finally picked up a covered litter box. Nosencrantz and Butterscotch still refuse to leave my office, but Nosencrantz has litter issues. She will go to the litter box to scratch away at the litter, the sides, the bottom, and the removable top part that is supposed to keep the litter inside the pan. She still manages to get the litter out. There have been times she’s almost ripped the top part off completely, and every now and then, she tips the whole thing onto its side!

What she isn’t necessarily doing is using the litter box. In fact, there are times when she’ll go to the litter several times, scratching away, then go into my closest and take a dump. Then, after I’ve chased her out and cleaned up her mess, she’ll go right back to the litter box and start scratching again.

So I now have a covered litter box, with a filter, in my closet, right where she keeps trying to do her business.

I did have another extra purchase that isn’t normally part of our budget. I picked up some artificial flowers. My younger daughter and I will be going to my MIL’s grave to tidy it up and leave some flowers, then take pictures to send to my FIL. He’s not physically able to get out there anymore. I’ve actually never been to the cemetery. My husband flew out for the funeral, with our daughter as his mobility assistant. The problem is, she was feeling quite ill during the funeral, and doesn’t have a clear memory of any of it. Still, I know where the cemetery is, though I’ve never been there, and hopefully she’ll remember enough that we won’t have to search too long to find the grave.

One other unusual purchase was a request from my husband: nacho fixings. Actually, only the chips are an unusual purchase. The cheese is something we regularly pick up; there’s just more of it this time. I got more Old cheddar, havarti, gouda and mozzarella.

We like cheese.

While I don’t pick up a large jar of olives every month, it’s still something we get fairly regularly. My husband loves green olives, just as a snack. As for the chips, I got 4 big bags, and hopefully we’ll get one batch of nachos out of them. They tend to be pretty broken up. When we make nachos, it’s in my big roasting pan. Enough for the four of us, and usually some left over for the next day. 😁

I remembered to get hot dog buns. I also picked up some rye bread, and some garlic naan. It’s cheap turkey season, but I only got one turkey. Looking at the other meats, none of them appealed to me, so that was it for meat. I wasn’t too impressed with the fruits and vegetables, but the cabbage looked good, so I got a head of cabbage. The Stove Top Stuffing was on sale for only 88 cents a box, so I got two. Thanksgiving is next weekend, and we’ve got a good start on what we’ll have for dinner. I also got a couple of 18 count cartons of eggs, and a couple of bottles of coffee creamer – pumpkin spice and maple flavours – for my daughters. I remembered to look for alcohol swabs for our first aid kit, but couldn’t find them. I asked a staff member and found out they now sell them from behind the counter! I even had to pay for it there. When I mentioned this to my daughters, my younger daughter, who was working at a pharmacy when the “15 days to flatten the curve” started, told me that they had to do that, too. People went nuts, and didn’t stop to read directions, so things like alcohol swabs, sanitizing gel, etc. all had to be hidden away to keep people from stealing them, or snagging them all for themselves. I know the other stuff is out and easy to get at, so I do wonder why the alcohol swabs would still be a behind the counter.

I feel like I’m forgetting something, but I think that’s all that I got today. Oh! I remember now. I got a 4L of milk, too. Usually we get 2L cartons, but we’ll be doing more baking over the next while. I also picked up a case of chicken flavoured ramen noodles for the stash.

What I didn’t get:

Butter. We still have some in the freezer, but with more baking on the horizon, I wanted to get a few more, but even their cheaper house brand is now more expensive than I could justify. Not when we still have a few pounds in the freezer, and a big bucket of ghee on hand.

The wood screws I needed. Not only did they not have the kind I wanted, but the small boxes of screws were insanely expensive.

I also did not get a new door knob. The knob on my door is probably about 45 years old, is missing a screw, starting to get stuck and generally becoming a problem. Worse, though, is that I’m starting to have problems opening my door – and we have to keep it closed, because when Fenrir and Turmeric come in, they both immediately start hunting down and attacking Nosencrantz and Butterscotch! Cheddar comes in and out, and now Leyendecker is accepted by the ladies.

Yes, Layendecker is doing all right! In fact, he seems fully recovered. Tonight, he gets his last dose of medication. We need to book him for follow up blood tests with the vet, but they are closed until they complete their move to a new, larger, location. They’ll even have their own parking lot now! So we will call to book the appointment on Monday (the day after tomorrow), when they are open again.

Cheddar and Leyendecker go in and out rather frequently, which means having to get up and open the door for them when they start scratching at the mat we have under the door to keep them from scratching the carpet. The problem is, my hands are hurting so much, I’m starting to have trouble turning the knob. There have been times when I couldn’t grasp the knob with my right hand at all because of the pain. Even today, while shopping, I’d reach to pick up a jar or something with my right hand, and would get shooting pains in my phalanges and simply couldn’t grip it.

Because of this, rather than trying to fix my door knob, I want to replace it with a lever style door handle. Something I can open even if my hands hurt.

The only ones they had were the heavier duty ones for exterior doors, complete with a deadbolt. Which, of course, is more expensive. There were no simple, cheap, lever handles for interior doors.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some at the hardware store when I pick up the screws I need.

Which I could have done today, but completely forgot when I had the chance. When I was done at the Walmart, I decided to check out a nearby Canadian Tire to see if they had any seed garlic (the only garlic at Walmart was imported soft neck garlic, which might be treated with something to keep them from growing).

It took a while, but I did find the display!

There were only two bulbs per bag, so I got two bags of two different types. The Nootka Rose (long storing variety) is a new one for us. The other is Music. The garlic we’ve already planted from our own harvest are Porcelain Music. Previously, we ordered our garlic from Veseys, which were packaged by weight, so it felt strange to be paying $6.99 for only two heads of garlic.

We will plant these tomorrow, in the same bed as the ones we’ve already planted.

And there we have it. We’re stocked up for most of the month, with a few extras added. The few things we didn’t get today, we should be able to get locally later on.

It feels especially good to have so much kibble on hand. If I can pick up extra later on, I will. When winter hits, the outside cats are going to be eating a lot more to keep their winter fat, and there are going to be more outside cats than before, too!

Hopefully, it will be mild winter, but we’re not going to be counting on that!

The Re-Farmer

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

Finally did the Costco shop

Today, I finally made it into the city to do our Costco shopping for the month. Normally, we would have done it more than a week ago. Thankfully, we did get to do our stocking up at other stores, so we weren’t running out of things. I just prefer to get it over with, earlier.

I didn’t want to do it on the weekend, though. I had stuff to do that require a lot of time, so I did my morning rounds quickly and headed out as soon as I could.

This is $481 worth of stuff looks like, including the Pizza Pops for my daughter that she sent me funds to cover. I didn’t get everything I would have gotten, because that already put me over the grocery budget for this trip.

Just to be clear, our “grocery” budget covers food, household cleaners, paper products and cat food, and other miscellaneous items.

Everything has gone up in price.

There are two 11.6kg bags of dry cat food, which now costs $34.99 each, and two 9kg bags of their house brand cat food at $28.49 each. The case of wet cat food now costs $33.99

I meant to get our usual 10 pounds of butter for the month, even though we still have a couple of pounds in the freezer from last month, thanks to also picking up some ghee. I accidentally grabbed 11, and when they counted and found an extra, I just kept it. House brand butter at Costco is now $4.99 each. There’s a package of AA batteries in there, mostly for the trail cams, as well as a 60 pack of eggs, toilet paper, all purpose cleaner, a 2 pack of lemon juice, peanut butter, a couple of jars of mayonnaise, a 2pk of baking powder, a 3 pack of hot dogs, their big package of Old Cheddar cheese, 6 pack of pasta, and a can of pink lemonade powdered mix to try. One thing in there we don’t normally get is a 3 pk of cream cheese, for a recipe we want to try. Some of this is for the pantry, stocking up on the assumption we’ll be stuck for at least 2 months in the winter, but not much.

It’s a ridiculously small Costco shop for the money, but that was what the budget allowed for. I did make a quick stop at a nearby Superstore to pick up a couple of bags their $5 buns, and a non-Costco size of paper towels, a specific snack my husband requested, and a sandwich and drink for me to ingest on the trip home. With that one, I at least had enough loyalty points accumulated that I was able to get what would have been $38 for $8, instead.

The biggest item on the list is always the cat food. We really need to reduce the number of cats we’re feeding!

That done, my afternoon was spent working on making crab apple sauce. It took 2 hours to remove the stems and flower ends, as well as any damage, from the apples remaining in the one bin from the other day. We still have one more bin to do something with, as well as the bucket of apples I’d set aside for my mother. I called her about it, hoping to arrange a time to come over with them, but she declined them. Aside from the apples she picked here, apples had been left in the lobby of her building for the residents. She is all done with apples now. I was hoping she’d enjoy having apples from here that were fully ripe. Ah, well.

The apples took a long time to prep, but they sure cooked down fast! I’ll do a separate post about it later, as it’s not done yet. I’ve asked the girls to give it a taste and add as much sugar as they like, then cook the sauce down, and tomorrow morning I’ll can them while they’re still hot. I don’t actually like apple sauce all that much, but the girls requested it, so it’s on them to get it to their taste. 😊

I don’t know that I want to make more apple sauce with the rest. We shall see.

Unfortunately, my hands are now knackered again. My finger joints are really hurting. As least they’re not so stiff I can’t type, but … ouch.

Arthritis sucks.

Even my elbows and shoulders are giving me a hard time. I did go out and do some work around the yard this evening, but not enough to warrant that kind of pain.

Ah, well. I suppose I should just pain killer up and deal. 😕

The Re-Farmer

One last shop and… ouch

I saw one good thing when heading into town with the cats this morning. The gas prices dropped 10 cents per litre, overnight. At 169.9 cents per liter, it’s still higher than it should be, but every little bit helps.

I was going to fill the jerry can after dropping off the cats, but the cats didn’t get dropped off. On deciding to head into the city, that will just have to wait again.

Before hitting the Costco, I went to a Canadian Tire to pick up a couple of bags of stove pellets for cat litter. I also picked up some ant traps. I would prefer not to kill off ant hills, since ants are also pollinators, but there are a couple of hills that are large enough to damage some garden plants, plus we’re seeing more of them in the house.

We’ve hardly used the van this month at all, and the gas tank was almost full when I left home. Costco gas prices were 159.9 cents per liter for regular. A considerable difference! So I topped up the tank, anyhow.

I had expected doing a Costco shop in the middle of the week would be quite, but nope. It was insanely busy! At least I wasn’t fighting a flat cart around crowds of people. With the other stock up shopping done already, I didn’t need to get more dry cat food. I was able to just just a regular cart for a change!

In the end, I didn’t get much at all.

With reason.

This is what Cdn$350 looks like. Plus change.

Under the cart is a package of Kirkland brand toilet paper, a package of 60 eggs, and a case of the cheaper canned cat food. 48 cans in that size.

I also got 10 pounds of butter (at $5 a pound, that’s at least a dollar cheaper than other no-name or house brand butters, but higher for Costco prices), a package with 3 whole chickens, a triple pack of all-beef wieners, and a pork tenderloin. There’s a 6 pack of canned chicken, mayonnaise, peanut butter, cooking oil, AAA batteries, 2 packages of tortilla wraps, and a 2 pack of hot dog buns. Oh, plus a package of white button mushrooms and a big block of marble cheese.

That’s it.

This is one of the smallest Costco shopping trips I’ve done, but it still came out to pennies over $350

That’s just painful! There aren’t even any fruits or vegetables in there, either.

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if our own garden was producing, but it just barely is. Most things are, if not a complete loss, at least a month behind in growth and development.

Ouch.

The Re-Farmer