The house is great, but we didn’t know there was a fencing problem!

Ok, sorry, had to borrow that from that insurance brand. Really, once we got rid of the tree, we were able to install a fence and keep Cocoa the wonderdog out. She supervised the construction of the fence. The garden area is shaping up for some planting this year.

Yes, a fencing problem
gravel 2.5′ down in a whole, cement from 2′ to 6″ deep, 8 posts installed.
There was a 40 foot tree in the center of that view previously.
progress pic, oh, and I picked up some wood for a 8×4 garden bed as well.
4′ opening for the yard tools and wheel barrows.
Uhh, nevermind that unfinished gate, you didn’t see that.
Blackberry trellis installed with a plant that was barely a twig and has overwintered.
And yes, as I promised. A winter tomato picked by the youngest SNH’er. It was delicious.

I am boycotting the anti-first amendment corporations !

Greetings Fans of the SNH site. Today, I am blocking twitter, facebook and other platforms that are singularly focused on suppression of free speech and opinions in opposition to theirs. You will no longer have the convenient links to their platforms from snhliving. I recommend you do the same for your privacy and freedom.

It is my Libertarian view that the first and second amendments are paramount to the freedom of all US citizens.

Mr. SNH.

Happy New Year, time to get your financial plan in place!

With the New Year upon us, it is a great time to review your financial plans. Some great areas to look at are:

My new year will start out by dedicating a deposit to a new high yield savings account and funneling part of that deposit into a taxable investment account. The reason I am adding a taxable account to our plan is to fill in the gap between short term savings and long term retirement goals. This middle-stage bucket of funds will allow some growth and allow us to use some of the dividends that we receive. A key difference between my taxable account and my “tax advantaged” accounts are as follows:

  • Taxable account will require me to pay taxes on realized gains and losses each year.
  • Taxable account will not be penalized if I choose to use those funds since they are structured in a way that allows me to take profits at any time.
  • I usually DRIP funds into my retirement account, but the taxable account will not use DRIP since we may choose to funnel those dividends into other opportunities or spend them for some entertainment.
  • Will open me up to funds that I would ordinarily avoid in my Roth. For example, I can now invest in Muni CEF’s if they appear attractive and get to take advantage of the tax free nature of these funds. This would be a great post down the road. Hmm!!!
  • The Taxable account will allow us to make gains above inflation for big ticket items like a new roof, solar or future car purchase. That new Toyota Hybrid Sienna and Subaru Ascent look mighty fine! For now, we will continue to drive ours into the ground. Grandpa SNH recently bought a Honda CRV will all of the bells and whistles and seems to be very happy with it.

I may also look at sending back our TV box since our Roku provides the same functionality with our cable subscription. Doing so would save about $90 a year. At the end of the year, we may also decide to remove cable altogether and go back to antenna services since we seem to watch a relatively small number of channels and programs. We were cord cutters for a long time in Georgia and decided to trial cable again in Florida to see if there was a large benefit. I don’t currently think we get a good ROI for the service. Again, it is up to evaluation after a full year cycle with it.

Have a happy new year! Don’t forget to review your New Years financial plan. Keep building and growing.

Mr. SNH

A couple of things are happening in the garden and the home!

Mrs. SNH did a great job of clearing out some of the old homeowner’s plantings around the house. This is making way for us to get the back yard in shape. I was planning to chop down the large Pine in the rear, but decided it would be better to talk to a Professional before I take that one on.

If you are planning to do your own tree removal, please check out a few safety videos on felling trees. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Better to pay a pro if you are in a tight spot and haven’t done it before.

We got a few of the cool season veggies started in some plant pots. We placed them on the roof of the shed that is still standing. This avoids the rather nosey wonderdog from interrupting the young plants. We started with Broccoli, Snow Peas and Romaine lettuce.

Last night was fun too, we ordered 2 Orange trees from backyardcitrustrees.com. I staggered the variety with a Valencia and Navel to give a slightly different flavor and slightly different harvest time. It will take about 3 years before we see the ‘fruits of our labor’ but well worth the free shipping and anticipation of our fresh citrus. The last little bit to round out our trees for the property will likely be an avocado and peach.

Lastly, we decided to relieve the stress of vacuuming up after the cats and dog. We purchased a Shark Robotic Vacuum and put it to work. We named her Mrs. Patmore after the cook in Downton Abbey. I know, pretty unimpressive if you already have one of these doing the chores for you, but it truly is a time saver allowing you to do more productive things.

Ahh, the peace of automation

December Garden Activities and a few smart tips.

Good Afternoon SNH’ers. The little SNH’ers are looking forward to Santa Clause making a visit and I am out prepping parts of the garden. Here are the highlights:

* Hose system is partially extended to the garden area. I’ll be finished with the extension tomorrow. I cant wait to actually have water on the other side of the house.

* The Lemon/Lime combo tree is planted in the ground about 10 feet outside of the edge of the house. This should give enough room when it is full size.

* I’ll be cementing the first permanent post of the fence system tomorrow. I also fixed a hole in the fence where our pug friend was popping in to visit Cocoa the wonderdog. While our pug friend is nice, he should stay in his own yard.

* The banana tree has been trimmed of a few of its dying leaves which pulled down our ISP cable into the house.

Other smart tips for December:

Get your investments in order before the end of the year in case you need to make plans for filing taxes.

Re-evaluate your portfolio’s and talk with your financial advisor about the upcoming year.

Don’t leave your iPhone on the hood of your car. Apparently when you drive, they fall off! Who knew. Mrs. SNH wont be doing that one again!

Fall wherever you are…

I do love the fall and miss the days when I could go to the local park in Oregon and grab a nice harvest of apples and walnuts for free. I would then fill the house with the cinnamon infused scent of cockpot apple butter and enjoy a great treat after it had cooked down to a jelly like spread. Here are a few pictures from those fall Oregon days.

This was Mrs. SNH’s favorite local coffee shop! Go Dutch Brothers!

Meanwhile in the present, this rainy Florida Saturday yielded a surprise when I went to check on the plants. I cannot believe it is near Thanksgiving and there are still tomatoes producing in one of my garden bins. We kept one of the roma plants when we moved to the new house. It has continued to grow. The Florida weather has held up and the plant now has about 5 tomatoes on it. It would be great to harvest them before Christmas! Other plants that seem to keep on ticking are kale, blackberries (which were once just a small twig) and the Seminole pumpkin which is now about 8 feet long with several flowers on it.

I also have a Moringa tree that we cut down when we first moved in. It is back to a height of about 10’. We cannot kill it! Moringa is widely hailed as a miracle tree for its edible leaves. We may just decide to manage it and if you are a local and want a cutting for your own yard, feel free to contact me. I will gladly propagate for you. Here is a picture after we cut it down in August. I’ll try to get a pic up this weekend of how it has grown.

Lastly, I wanted to report that the first shed is fully removed so we can start building our raised beds for the spring season on this portion of the yard. Cocoa the wonderdog has to be fenced off first, so that project will take me through December to properly section off the yard. I did manage to put up part of field fence during a lunch break, but it cannot compete with the size that we now have available. I will solidify the sketchy back fence by using some 4×4’s with a concrete footer and extend a 4′ high section to where the field fencing is now (just in front of the Moringa tree shown in the picture above. I am still debating about how I would like the gate. I think a nice arbor would make a great entrance. Maybe my ambitions are bigger that my capacity.

Seed saving from your fall harvest!

If you want to continue to propagate loved plants or specialty varieties, you should try saving some seeds from year to year. In this group of pictures, I take you through the steps of saving some pepper seeds from our tabasco pepper plant.

1) If you’re like me and have built up a tolerance to the capsaicin in your peppers, you might not need to put on some gloves. All others, please put on some gloves.

2) I like to dry my peppers first before pulling the seeds. This way, when you cut off the head, most of them will come out by simply rolling the pepper between your fingers.

3) Put the seeds on a paper towel to remove excess moisture that may still be left on the seeds. Moisture can be an enemy to seed savers by allowing the seeds to mold or even sprout.

4) Count each and every seed you have on your paper towel. Just kidding, please don’t do this.

5) Get a glass jar with a lid that creates a decent seal. Place your seeds inside, but give them some time to dry again.

6) After a few days, place the lid on it and put in a cool, dry and dark location.

7) Plant in the next garden cycle, check your propagation rates. Beware that not all plants come true to seed, but peppers are fairly reliable as long as you don’t have a lot of different varieties growing in the same space.