I’m Dreaming of a Green Garden

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There has been a shift in the weather since I returned home from my trip to California.  Maybe I brought some of the sunshine to Arkansas from Cali or maybe not.  All that matters is that we are having warm weather!  Last week we got a ton of rain.  Nonstop.  This weeks forecast is looking brighter.   Im talking sunny and 70s!  I know its still early, and we could get hit with another snowstorm, but my  fingers are itching to be in the dirt.  So we are taking a chance and just planting some plants.  We saved this old wooden couch frame from the burn pile and repurposed it into a garden bed.  I bought some dirt at Lowes and mixed it in with the droppings from the rabbits.  It backs up against the dog kennel and you can see jack there in the back.

We planted peas to climb up the rails on the back, spinach in the row in front and a jalapeno pepper for Hubby.  Once again, there is dirt under my finger nails and sunshine on my back.  I am a happy camper!

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(see how sad it was on the burn pile?)

Updating the Flooring in a Camper

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(carpet torn out)
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(flooring laid)

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(before- when we first bought the camper)

 

I have NO idea who thought that it was a good idea to put carpet in a camper. Why? Campers are used for camping…where there is dirt and mud and no one wants to vacuum on vacation. Our camper just had carpet on our slide out, thankfully. The rest of the flooring is nondescript vinyl tiles. At Lowes, I found some vinyl “wood”. The flooring looks like hardwood floors but is just peel n stick strips. I was able to do the majority of the camper in Texas before we moved, but stopped near the carpet. Now that Hubby is gone during the week for training, and I am stuck at home with no car, I finally have time for this project. I ripped out the carpeting and was disgusted with the amount of dirt and dust under it. One corner of the slide out will need to be replaced as its still damp from a leak. After pulling the carpet and all the millions of carpet staples, I put down the new flooring. Its not done, but already it looks so much better.

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(look at ALL THAT DUST)

 

Ways We Saved Money…Soup

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Hubby’s favorite thing to order if we go out to eat is broccoli cheddar soup. Just because we are on a super tight budget doesn’t mean we can’t have our favorite treats. We just have to do it ourselves. I found a super yummy recipe on Pinterest for crockpot broccoli cheddar soup and gave it a whirl. We loved it! I enjoy being able to recreate things we love at a fraction of the price we would have paid if we went out to eat.

Frugal Breakfast Sandwiches

We live on a super tight budget and I am always looking for ways to save money. Earlier at Walmart I bought up some bread on the clearance rack. It was getting close to the expiration date which doesn’t bother me at all. I bought some sliced cheese to add to the eggs we had at home to make breakfast sandwiches. Each pack of bread had 6 ciabata rolls. I bought two packs so I could make a total of 12 sandwiches.
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I cooked the eggs (which were free because we bartered for them since our chickens are not laying yet) individually and let them cool. Then I assembled the bread and cheese. Each sandwich gets a roll, one slice of cheese and one cooked egg. I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.
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I was sure to get the plastic wrap that is microwaveable. I hate microwaving in plastic, but we don’t have paper towels in the house so I am not sure of a better way to microwave these babies. I am completely open to non plastic suggestions. We will try nuking them out of the plastic but I am afraid it wont work as well…
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Price wise, these sandwiches are super cheap. I got two bags of rolls for $1.79 each, which comes to 30 cents a roll. Cheese came out to 12 cents a slice. Considering how the eggs were free, the sandwiches only cost $.42 each. So if hubby eats two for breakfast its like our own personal dollar menu!
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Using a Composting Toilet

It is our goal someday to live off grid. While right now we have the luxury of being hooked up to power and on a not too cold day, water, we are trying to “practice” some off grid living requirements. That said, we have also had trouble with our camper’s toilet from the day we bought it. We didn’t notice the issue at the rv sales lot because the black tank (the tank that holds the sewage) was empty and clean. Once we started using the toilet, there was a very obvious smell. I am talking overwhelming as soon as you walk in the door smell! We tried everything we could think of to get rid of the smell but it just wouldn’t go away.
Now that we are living on family land, we have a little more wiggle room. We decided to completely remove the rv toilet and instead go to a composting toilet. Now you can buy fancy composting toilets that look similar to a standard toilet. In my research I found that its very common for off grid rv’ers to put in composting toilets. Wanting to keep things inexpensive, we bought two 5 gallon buckets at Lowes. We found the toilet seat at Bass Pro in their camping section. The toilet seat snaps on a standard bucket and the lid closes flush with the seat.

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(the almighty throne)

Obviously the bucket with the seat is the toilet. The second bucket is for cover material. We bought a huge bag of sphagnum peat moss and I filled the bucket full. I keep a mason jar (man those jars are useful for just about everything!) to scoop the dry peat moss and dump on the toilet. The key to having a composting toilet it cover material. Cover material. COVER MATERIAL. I can’t stress it enough. You can use sphagnum peat moss, coconut fiber, sawdust, etc as your cover material. I read that you shouldn’t use wood ash because it neutralizes the compost and thus makes the compost take longer to do its thing.
The way the toilet works is pretty simple. do your business. cover. do your business. cover. repeat until bucket is full. as long as your business is completely covered (like a half inch to an inch of cover material each time) there will be no smell. whatsoever. You can get your nose right up in the toilet seat if you want and you wont smell a thing! its pretty awesome if i do say so myself.

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(Family cloths aka toilet paper hang on a shelf near the door. The small black trash can is for dirty cloths. We do have toilet paper available which can be added right into the bucket)

If an average toilet uses 7 gallons per flush, and the average person flushes 5 times a day, that means each person is wasting an average of 30 gallons of water each day! Our toilet uses no water. So between the two of us, we are conserving an average of 60 gallons of water each day. Hey, I do what I can to help the environment, especially if it helps my pocketbook too!

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(view into the outhouse)

We were going to just use the toilet in the camper, but having to have the two 5 gallon buckets took up too much room in the little bathroom. I was at Walmart and I saw this camping shower tent. It works perfectly as an outhouse! It has a window, a rain cover and “shelves” for our tp and reading material. It cost under $50 so it was super affordable. It might sound strange, but I really love the whole outhouse thing. Maybe not when its pitch black and 9 degrees outside, but a girl can hold it if she really has to…

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(The outhouse all zipped up)

My favorite thing about this toilet set up is that it is completely off grid. I don’t need running water or electricity to sustain it. Once set up, I only need to pay for the peat moss and a bag lasts practically forever! Technically I dont need to pay for toilet paper either. This would be ideal for going camping, using at a deer lease, the beach or anywhere where there is not usable plumbing. I will explain the composting side of it in a later post.

House On Wheels

A couple months ago Hubby and I, sick of watching our money go down the drain while renting, bought a used camper and have been living in it ever since.  We paid cash of course and it definitely needs some work.  The first rainstorm we had we discovered a huge leak in the bedroom roof.  We had to wait for a sunny day so that Hubby could reseal the whole roof.  In the meantime we had tarps and bungee cords on the camper to keep it from leaking further.  Now that we have the major issues fixed, we are working on making the interior more “homey”.

Our plan is to live in the camper for at least 2 years.  That is our break even point with what we would have spent on rent vs paying cash for the rig.  We have stayed at a couple different rv parks and never  realized how common the lifestyle is.  It seems that everyone I meet has a story about how they lived in an rv for a spell.

One thing we love about living in a house on wheels is the freedom it allows.  If we dont like an area, park or even neighbor it is super easy to move to a new spot.  Utilities and “rent” are super cheap compared to a house or apartment.  We average about $50 on our electric bill (we do try and use as little energy as possible no matter where we live).

One of the downsides to living in an rv park is the rules.  If you stay in a nicer park like we try to, there are a lot of rules!  Our first week at our current park got us a lot of notes on our front door.  I got scolded for drying my laundry on drying racks.  My garden planters are not what they allow… say what?  Etc.  We try to roll with the punches but are getting more and more fed up.  The freedom we thought we had is not exactly what we thought.

When we bought the camper, my aunt casually mentioned that they have an rv hook up on my grandparents property.  My grandparents have acreage in Arkansas and put in an rv hook up site a few years back so that relatives with rvs could come visit.  My aunt mentioned that we were welcome to move there any time. Recently Hubby and I decided that if we could get a job up there, we would go ahead and move.  I am so excited to announce that last week Hubby was offered a job in the very same town as my aunt and uncle.  At the first of the year we will be packing up our house on wheels and moving to my grandparents land.

This move will allow us to save money by not paying for a rental site AND have more freedom than we have now.  Not to mention that we will be near family again!  Living in Texas, we are hours away from Hubbys family and a plane flight away from mine.  When we lived in Maryland before moving to Texas, we had absolutely no family there.

Stay tuned as we gear up to hit the road!

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