Thursday, January 28, 2016


We are getting bees!
Our friends donated their bee supplies to us
after they started to concentrate on goats
and a disastrous winter a couple years ago
that resulted in the loss of many bee colonies.

My husband's friend is a farrier but also raises bees
so he came out to inspect the equipment.  We passed.
There is some cleaning to do, some painting and a
few repairs but what we have should do us fine.

My husband will clear out this area just below the garden
and set up the hives on blocks.  We'll make sure to plant
some flower beds with bee favorites too.  

The bees are ordered and we will drive up to  Foley's Russian Bees
in Des Moines this April and bring back the bees.  We also have
to order at least one suit, two veils and all the tools.
With any luck we will have successful hives and start making
candles, soaps and honey treats!   I just read today on how to 
make mead which is now thought to combat antibiotic resistance, 
see the link here 
What makes Honey Hunter's Elixir different from other types of modern mead drinks is that is uses all 13 beneficial honeybee lactic-acid bacteria and the wild yeasts from honey that normally ferment mead spontaneously.According to the team, commercial honey does not contain these bacteria. Since the honey and water mixture is sterilized before later adding industrial wine yeast, all other life in the honey, including wild yeast, is killed off.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

$700 Pills

This is what $700 of pills looks like,
and it is just a 30 day supply
of a medication I am on, likely for life.

In December, under my old insurance plan that
was generous, I paid $30 for the same 30 days supply.
Our company was too good to us and was going
to get fined for treating its employees to a Cadillac 
Health Care plan, one that we could afford.  
So they had to change the plan.

Now we have our prescriptions tied to the deductible.
Before it was a straight discount.
Now I have to meet $1,400 (individual) deductible before
I get a discount on my medication and there is no generic.
The manufacturer won their case to prevent generics
until something like 2025, or at least a long time.
The alternatives are just as expensive or require preauthorization.
Once I reach my deductible, and if I choose to mail order 
a 90 day supply at a time, it will be $125.  I can manage that.

So what do I do about the $700 prescriptions?
I looked up my medicine on line as advised by my 
pharmacy benefit provider.  The manufacturer has a discount card for
everyone that chooses to sign up for it.  It is not income based
but you cannot be on medicare, medicaid or other state or
federal medical plan.  They may have another program for that
but the discount card is for people with insurance.
If you have no insurance and are not on a plan I think 
there is yet another discount for you.
They will give me $500 off each monthly refill for 3 times.
Then they will reimburse me for a portion of my mail order
prescriptions- the pharmacy benefit mail order service does
not accept the discount card, which is fine. 
I just have to copy and mail in all my receipts
and fill out some type of claim form.
Hopefully they process refunds quickly.

That being said, the plan is not good but manageable
with the drug benefit card.   I suppose they don't just lower the
price since some insurance will pay much more for the 
fill and/or they are making more money when people don't know
about this card.  I wonder how much the medicine is in other
countries?  I"ll bet it is less.

So, if you have an expensive prescription and no generic alternatives, 
look your medicine up on line to see if there is a plan for you too.

I also took advantage of the $4 prescriptions that retail 
pharmacies have.  I went off insurance for my Pepcid (generic),
thyroid med and iron pills for 30 ($4) or 90 ($10) days.
I wouldn't even give them my insurance card so they don't file it.
It was going to cost $30 under my plan for one of the prescriptions
where it was $10 to go with the store plan.  They generally have 
a list of $4 or Free medications on their website.  I actually got an 
antibiotic free about a month ago. 

These days you have to shop around for the best deal!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Looking for Grocery Deals

Our local grocery is offering some great deals,
this beef for $2.09/lb and canned vegetables for around 
$0.39 each.  We have purchased several dozen cans
to stash away in the basement, dated and sorted
so we use the oldest last.  You can't beat a great sale.

We vacuum seal and freeze the beef in one pound packages.
Fricks raises and butchers their own beef plus
they make the hams that many of you may be familiar with.
We ended up with about 7 lbs of packaged beef for 
hamburgers, sloppy joes, spaghetti or lasagna.
Pretty good deal.

In 1896 a historic event took place in the small town of Washington, Missouri. That's when a well-known cattle trader named Edward Frick opened his own meat shop for the early citizens of Washington. Edward's hard work soon paid off. Word spread to the surrounding areas and Edward hired his first employee. Not long after, his son Malvin joined the business and Frick's Meat Shop moved into a larger facility downtown Washington.
Today, four generations later, the Frick family still operates out of Washington, Missouri making smoked meats and sausages in many varieties. Throughout the years, Frick's Quality Meats has remained a family-run and family-owned company committed to quality.
That commitment to quality has allowed us to contribute a few "firsts" to the meat industry. In 1980, we developed one of the first consumer packaged pre-sliced ham items for the meat case. Back then, ham had to be sliced in the deli at the time of purchase.
Link to Frick's meats and link to the hams

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Cabinet and the Closet

The house is almost back to normal, almost because
in cleaning out the very deep closet in the girl cave
we made more of a mess than we originally had!

I am going to refinish this old cabinet which used
to be my husband's grandmother's.  My daughter had
it in her room for years as she was going through her teen
years- can you tell???  Then it sat in our basement filled
with my husband's old tools.  I thought I would clean it up 
and store my quilting books and some patterns in it 

First I had to take photos so someday I could
tease my daughter about her old flames.
Although you might not be able to read it 
she also loved Kid Rock.  Now I will 
have to paint it and put new liner paper 
on the shelves.  I picked up a couple of
different paint colors from the recycling center.
Anything less than a gallon is free!  You have to 
pay to dispose of the paint cans but if you
want it, it's free.  For full gallons it is $6.
If you like the colors they have it's a good price.

I am not sure how to handle this.
It's drawn on with puff paint (by my daughter).
Do I try to sand it off or cover it with paint so
it will be a reminder of her art work?
It does not wash off.

Then, when I went searching in her old closet for an old doll
I discovered she had stacked every stuffed animal both she and
her daughter has owned into the closet.  I swear, there had to 
be thousands of them (well, may not thousands but LOTS).
They had to be three feet tall and even deeper.
I have temporarily stored them in full sized trash bags so she 
can go through them and pick out the best ones to keep.
Then I folded all the clothes and boxed up anything else.
This is just one of the closets!

We have boxes and bags all up the hallway 
and the room is still so full you have to watch where you step.
I was able to put my spare sewing machines in one of the closets
plus my two rolly bins of fabric that were in the middle of 
the room, now protected from light and not in the way.
There are also two giant tubs of family photos in the back.

Tonight I have to get it all put away and stored in Taylor's room
so they can come over and go through everything.  I guess I will 
have to do the second closet tonight as well, no sense in making
two trips.  We've had cleaned the basement and closets while
we were flooded in and those trash bags are still stacked up.
We'll probably get a small dumpster brought up as soon as one is
available.  The trash guys have a lot of them in town to pick up
the flood debris that homes and businesses are piling up at the
curb to be hauled away.  I don't know if there are spares anywhere.

More on this later as I start updating the cabinet.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Water Finally Went Down

I am not sure anymore what day the waters covered the roads
and flooded our area, but we spent a lot of quality time with 
each other at home between Christmas and January 1.
With the flash floods that covered our county roads and the 
historic flooding once the 10-12 inches of rain settled in
submerging our highways for days and days, we were cut off from town.
I had a few days vacation left so it was not a problem for me, 
although I can work from home if the weather is bad.

This is a video of the county road we use to get to town.  This is shared with the Public so I don't think you have to have a Facebook Account to see it.  Click Here.  

You can also see Eureka, where we lived before Robertsville.  Click Here   The water came close in past floods but it did reach the homes at the end of our old street this time.

It will be months before everything is back to normal.  It won't surprise me if some businesses close for good, the flood levels were so much higher than anticipated some people did not get out and then found out at the last minute that the river was going to rise higher.

We sure got a lot accomplished at home.  I sent Taylor back home to her mother in case we lost power (which means we also lose water which equals toilets!).  My mom did not visit at Christmas this year, thankfully, or she would have been stuck up here with us, the cats and chickens!  Instead, it was just the two of us and we tackled some of those big cleaning jobs that need to be done.  I organized our walk in closet, set aside clothes for donation, cleaned and organized the basement so we can get to the exercise equipment easier, set up a table and chairs by the pool table and got our food storage organized.  I tacked all the kitchen cabinets and hall closet.  Tom reorganized the garage/work shop too, a huge undertaking!!!

My brother and sister in law live next door so we were not without company.  We could travel about 2-3 miles before running into water, as long as we were not in flash flood, so we spent New Years with friends up the road, barely making it to midnight.  We're oh, so old now!!!  Finally the road opened up Friday and we could get out to do some shopping- really just to take a drive and get out for a bit.  We still could not go East but West worked for us.

The roads are almost all open now and I'm back at work.  The weather guys here say that we could get more flooding in the Spring if we get heavy rains so keep your fingers crossed that we don't!

Highway photo credit here   (That is the intersection I need to use to get to work).