The Angelicscalliwags Challenge: Week 7

Last week I had the rather dubious pleasure of watching Omelette lay her first egg.  I had gone in to feed them some scraps from the kitchen when she suddenly doubled in size.  A little bit of fluid trickled out of her nether regions and much effort was going into expelling something.  I thought she was constipated.  And whilst I realise egg laying was probably more likely, I really was expecting poo.  Imagine my excitement when her first egg popped out.  I believe it must have been her first because the shell was a little soft and she wasn’t roosting when she laid it, she was out in her run.  But the thing that made me certain it was her first was the sheer look of stunned astonishment on her face post labour.  She literally didn’t move for five minutes whilst she tried to work out what on earth had just happened.  It was the event of the week for me (and quite possibly for her as well).  We are now getting three eggs each day.  Long gone are the memories of exactly how much these birds cost for us to buy.  They have undoubtedly inched their way into our family affections.  They are here to stay.

So love our chickens
So love our chickens

Of course the fact they give us something in return for their care goes a long way in our books.  Now the eggs might be a little on the small size, being smaller than even the smallest shop bought egg, but the taste is like nothing else.  You have not lived unless you have tasted an egg covered in yucky chicken slime.  Just don’t include the yucky chicken slime on your plate, I’m not vouching for it’s taste.  I thought I would take a photo of one frying for you all to see, so you too could dash out and spend copious amounts of money on your own chickens to lay you the same fresh, pert little egg.

Elsewhere, T11 has been spending every penny he earns on herbs and vegetables for his garden.  Getting him to actually part with any money is difficult.  This boy will be a millionaire when he grows up.  He has a real head for business.  Yesterday  we went to the garden centre to pick up some plants for A4 and B2’s prairie garden.  We particularly wanted beans but they were sold out.  T11, who is currently moving into replacement sugar production, bartered half of his bean plants (acquired free from granny) with us in exchange for us buying his Stevia plants!  Gotta love his business acumen!  He also bought (and actually paid for!) some rocket, lemon verbena and some basil for our salads.

It’s been two months now since we began our financial diet and much like any other kind of diet, it is much harder to maintain once the initial excitement has passed.  Things around here are getting a bit samey.  We’re borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, so to speak.  Yes, we put away our £100 each week, but sometimes it is at the cost of buying in home schooling supplies, going out on a family trip and so forth.  Gary commented that he would rather not pay off our mortgage if it meant we couldn’t live.  As with everything in life, sometimes one has to regroup, re-evaluate and be honest about priorities.

Having been diagnosed with cancer, for me, ensuring the mortgage is paid off is incredibly important.  Cancer changed my priorities.  I want to know our family will always have a home, regardless of the future.  For Gary, he wants to live.  He wants to enjoy every minute.  Cancer made him realise that none of us are here forever and to make the most of the time we have.  Neither way is right and neither way is wrong.  We feel the way we do for the same reason, but are coming at it from different angles.  Gary and I often approach things in different ways.  It is why our marriage is such a happy one.  We truly are each other’s complement.  We balance each other out.  He is the Yin to my Yang.  So what do we do when we meet at a cross roads.  We compromise, of course, and travel cross-country!  We have done this so often in our marriage that we are confident of eventually arriving in a place both of us want to be.  Gary would happily increase our mortgage term to 25 years in order to enjoy life now.  I’m sure many would be sympathetic to his reasoning.  I am sympathetic to his reasoning.  However, I would gladly scrimp and save to be mortgage free in 2 1/2 years, which if we carry on how we are, is a definite possibility.  Thing is I love Gary and want him to be happy.  And he loves me and wants me to be happy.  What will travelling cross-country look like in this instance?

I have had many experiences with going on a diet.  My biggest battle in life is the battle I fight against my appetite for all things tasty!  The diets which are the most successful are the slow and steady ones.  The one’s which allow the freedom for treats.  I think this is ultimately what Gary and I need to do.  We need to allow for the freedom of treats  (of the non-edible kind!).  Folks, it’s time to move on to Chapter three in Crystals book – the dreaded budgeting.  No I haven’t finished decluttering, but I think probably that is a task which will take months not weeks.  So budgeting it is.  And within that budget will be some treat money.  Some for Gary and I to have to spend on what we choose and some for our family to have a bit of fun with on a weekly basis.

To an extent we do budget.  I know what goes in each month and what goes out.  We budget for holidays, car expenses and save a little each month for an emergency fund.  It is the small amount of excess which I don’t budget and which seems to disappear into thin air.  I think what will make the difference for us is a cash budget rather than one which merely exists on paper.  We would not be considered a high earning family so every penny really does count.  If I’m honest, we could tell you where the pounds go, but probably struggle to tell you where every penny goes.  Next week Gary and I are going to work and rework our budget, until we have something which is acceptable to the whole family.

This week we are not going to put any extra money towards our mortgage.  We are going to spend it on a family fun day out.  Gary has a day off next week and for just that one day we are not going to scrimp and save but are going to live extravagantly!!

Let me be clear, we are not giving up, but more reassessing.  Gary needs a bit of fun, as do the children.  Hopefully we will come back next week refreshed and  ready to begin again.