Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Call for Comments

I’m looking at this AdSense option for my blog. It is tempting to add it in and perhaps earn a few bucks to keep my chickens fed.

I visit a variety of blogs, and the ads don’t deter me from reading them. But I’d like to hear opinions from my readers on taking this step.

The following isn’t a plea for pity. Overall I’m pretty happy with my life. What I’m going through now, I consider training for the opening years of post-peak oil. My wife and I have used the last few years to better learn to live with less…

Since Bush took office, I’ve gone from being a very well paid software engineer to a well (often enough), a software engineer looking for work. I had a two year stretch where I worked intermittent short term contracts that added up to about nine months of work. During that period, I worked temp positions on a freight dock, hand loading tractor trailers as the token white guy. I learned enough Spanish during these jobs to discover the difference between Palettes and Palitas (sp?).

Times are better now, but tough. I bought a modest home in 1999 and got in pretty cheap. But still intermittent work makes for intermittent mortgage payments. Finance companies frown on this behavior. So now I’ve been in one of those wonderful government programs known as Chapter 13. It was the only way left for me to keep my house when my mortgage company out of the blue decided to drop our payment arrangement and foreclose. In two months I would’ve been caught up on my mortgage, but I think they saw an opportunity to cash out on a house that’s half paid for. I would’ve been better off probably, if I had refinanced and brought my debt load back up to full.

And maybe that wouln't have been enough to push us into bankruptcy on it's own. But after my wife's near death experience from heart failure and $50,000 hospital bill, our options had run out. It was a good try though. :)

The US bankruptcy system, even before the new law went into effect, really sucks. It’s not the freeloader system it’s purported to be. It’s tough to get any expenses past the trustees, and they want to lowball everything. For instance, I’m allowed $50/month to keep my house in repair. Right now, I have a dead garbage disposal and my garage door no longer functions. It needs new gears and springs. So it’s manually operated for the next 3 years. There are a lot of other minor little things asking to be repaired, but they’ll just have to wait.

My wife, who suffers from high blood pressure, recently had another bad tooth. There’s no room in the budget for extra medical expenses, so she suffered until it was time to pull it. A little Orajel, a strong cord and it was done. We’ve paid for her doctor visits by selling stuff at the pawn shop. We’re lucky to have stuff to sell. The amount of money we’re allowed to deduct for her medical expenses covers her medication, but the infrequent doctor visits aren’t accounted for.

We have 2.5 years left of this, and then we can concentrate on paying off the house. I have a great job now that pays pretty well. But for now I must be punished for the declining economy that Bush and Greenspan built.

I truly feel for those who are forced into the stricter bankruptcy system by Hurricane Katrina. I wish the best for them.


At 8:21 AM, Blogger Puma said...

Well, I was going to try AdSense myself, but now I can't remember why I didn't end up doing it...I *think* it was something silly, like to do with the html not working properly on my page or something. Weasel, have you thought about writing a how-to book for raising chickens and living off the land? A lot of people are going to need to know that stuff :)

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

As to raising chickens, I started out by reading the articles at http://www.backyardchickens.com

They are tough birds and tend to take care of themselves.

Here's a link to an article I wrote about building a cheap incubator:

As to living off the land, we know longer have the resources to do it the way my grandfather did as a young man, during the depression. These days living 100% off the grid is impossible. You have to be commercially involved in the system in some sense, if for no other reason, simply to pay taxes.

I'm still experimenting with homesteading on a hobby basis. I have a childhood background in this, handed down by that same grandfather who had me immersed in this sort of lifestyle at an early age. But there have been a lot of city years in betweeen.

I've done it in easy stages, every now and then giving myself a new goal of something to learn and do. My backyard garden is expanding. My latest big goal was making a meal of one of my own birds. I hadn't killed and butchered an animal of any kind since I was 14. So over the summer, I reduced my rooster population from two to one. My big ole Auracana rooster that I was in a constant contest of wills with, found himself in a pressure cooker with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

It was little easier with him than it might be with the hand raised birds I have now. My Welsumer poults and cockerels run up to me, and want me pick them up when they get scared of something. I'll be trying to give extras of those away for now.

But at least I proved to myself that I can do it if I need to.

I'll post something about my gardening efforts soon.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Puma said...

See, I think you could sell a lot of books, chronicaling your journey of learning about it all in this modern day context; your experience will mirror many others' too, with the exception that you perhaps began a little sooner than most. I grew up on a small farm too (we had chickens and sheep and quite a large garden) and am moving towards living that way again myself... I look forward to reading more about your experiences.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Barry said...

Weaseldog -
My vote is for sticking a banner on the page if it'll bring in a few extra bucks. I assure you, it won't have an adverse impact on your readership; your posts are always interesting, informative, and, often, just plain fun to read.
Congratulations on being mentioned on the Malloy show - pretty good feather in your cap!

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

Weaseldog, I think you could probably write a book if you wanted to. Best of luck with the finances--sympathies!


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