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Gender: Male
Hometown: Michigan
Member since: Sun Feb 24, 2008, 10:46 PM
Number of posts: 15,672

Journal Archives

Homemade antacids and gatorade

In a thread in the Lounge about indigestion, DUer Denninmi posted this:

"Any eggs in the house? You can take an eggshell, boil it clean, dry it, and powder it completely then mix in water and drink it - it's pure calcium carbonate, chalk, same active ingredient as Tums.

Baking soda works, too, about a quarter teaspoon in 8 ounces of water. "


Rather then throw eggshells away, the above would be another good use for them.

As for homemade gatorade, here is one recipe:

"Homemade Rehydration Drink Recipe Homemade Gatorade or Laborade

1 cup lemon juice (approx 6-8 lemons)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (purchase raw honey here)
1 teaspoon sea salt (purchase unrefined salt here)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Place in a pint mason jar and stir to combine (the lemon juice and baking soda will react, so stir it down), keep concentrate in the fridge. This can be added to 1 gallon of filtered water, or add 1-2 tablespoons to each 8 ounces (1 cup) of water."


A very basic rehydration recipe is:

4 1/2 C. water

1/2 tsp. sea salt

8 tsp. sugar

Basic food and water supply for 1 person for approx. 30 days

First the list for a 2000 calorie daily requirement and water:

380 calories provided by 4 tablespoons of peanut butter

100 calories provided by 1 5 oz can of tuna in water

490 calories provided by 1 16 oz. can of pork and beans

400 calories provided by 4 cups of Cheerios or other cereal such as Total, Raisin Bran or Chex. Eaten dry.

600 calories provided by 2 cups of rolled oats (makes 4 cups when prepared)

60 calories from 1 tablespoon of honey

13 cups of water for drinking

3.5 cups of water for cooking

2030 calories total with 16.5 cups of water

For a 30 day supply, I'd need the following:

30 5 oz cans of tuna
2 40 oz containers of peanut butter
30 16 oz cans of pork and beans
4 42 oz. containers of rolled oats
7 18 oz boxes of Cheerios
1 32 oz container of honey
6.5 gallons of water for cooking the rolled oats
24.5 gallons for drinking

The above is a bare bones list for which items could be added to for variety. I do have a LP gas stove which is supplied by a 500 gallon LP tank. In case of a power outage, i could not use the oven but the stove top would be functional. I'd just have to light the burner(s) with a cigarette lighter or match.

My cheap coffee making system

1 stock pot with cover
1 hand held fine mesh strainer
1 1/3 measuring cup
1 2 quart pitcher

In the stock pot, I pour in 2 quarts plus a couple of cups of water and 2 close to full 1/3 cups of coffee ( I use the 1/3 measuring cup 'cause it's smaller and it's easier to get the coffee out of the can)in the stock pot. Put the cover on the stock pot and heat on the stove till boiling then simmer for another 5 minutes. I let the coffee cool down to room temp in the pot before placing the sieve over the opening of the 2 quart pitcher and pouring the coffee into the pitcher.

As I drink my coffee room temperature or colder, I use a plastic juice pitcher. The reason I add a couple of extra cups of water is that the coffee grounds will retain some of the water. If you use just 2 quarts of water, you'll not end up with 2 quarts of coffee.

This method of making coffee is pretty much the way my parents made it and pretty much everyone else I knew when i was young made it although they had regular coffee pots while I'm using a stock pot.

Electric drip coffee makers last about 1-2 years in this area because of the hard water even with regular cleaning. The one I have is getting very slow and rather then go out and buy another, I spent $1 on the hand held strainer and another $2.50 on the plastic juice pitcher. The stock pot and cover I already had. And because I have a LP gas stove, I can make coffee even if the power goes out.

Update 10/02/13

It's taken awhile to get into a groove here but enough time has passed where I now have enough info to get a good idea of the costs here.

Water is cheap here compared to the other town where I lived last year and without even really trying to save on water, I'm using less then 1000 gallons a month and the bill is still $10 less a month then at the other place.

I have the Rheem heat pump water heater set at the lowest setting and the water is warm which is good enough for me for taking showers and for hand washing the dishes. I've started keeping track of the electrical consumption by reading the meter last week and this week. I've used 57 kWhs in the past 7 days. Electricity is expensive here and it looks like my monthly bill will run about $60. Which really isn't bad considering the that I have an electric heat pump water heater, a chest freezer and a electric dryer.

I haven't turned the heating system on yet and I don't intend to until the middle of November and then I'll keep the t-stat set at 55. I'll shut the furnace off again about the middle of March.

Mowed the lawn for the last time this year last week. The reel mower worked very well. Considering what I used to spend on gas for the riding lawn mower we once had, the reel mower will probably pay for itself in 2 years.

The scooter has worked out very well for transportation and I'll keep on using it as long the weather allows. It's nice being able to travel about 80 miles on 1 gallon of gas.

Been spending less then $100 a month on food for myself. I'm going to increase that amount though so I can restock the shelves here.

Heating, electricity and water I'm estimating will run me about $300 a month this winter. Utilities run about $100 a month now but there will be a jump when I turn on the heating system.

The phone, internet and Netflix cost $68 a month.

Called the local VA clinic yesterday and the nurse said they'll get back to me about setting up appointments. I'm on blood thinner medication and I'll be going to the VA for all my medical issues and prescriptions now.

I qualified for a reduced rate dental plan and I pay 40% of the bill. It looks like I'll have enough money within a month or two to set up an appointment for a cleaning and checkup. It also looks like I'll have enough money for an eye exam and a new set of glasses. I'm years past due for that!


Was outside doing yard work and thought of a few other things while out there which I'll jot down here while taking a break.

Garbage pickup cost me $25 a month at the other place but it's free here. With a burn barrel in the back yard, I have less then a 13 gallon bag a month of non burnable garbage and I bring that down to my ex in-laws and put that in the pickup. When my former father-in-law wants to make a run to the landfill, I go with him and do the unloading.

Fall is here and the leaves are changing color and beginning to drop. I have the compost bin made and have been adding to it. A step-son has my mulching mower and I'll get that back to mulch up the leaves here to work into the vegetable garden, the flower gardens and a bunch in the compost bin.

The initial plan for my 2013 garden. Edited 1/9/13

Got my first seed catalog in the mail recently and I've been excited about what to get. Have a few areas worked up last year already but only had a vague idea about what to plant and where to plant them.

The areas I have worked up are as follows:

(A) 2'X24 plot on south side of the garage wall. Gets full sun from morning till sunset.

(B) 1'X9' plot on east side of garage wall. Gets part sun from morning till very early afternoon.

(C) 3'X8 plot. Gets part sun from morning till very early afternoon.

(D) 3'X8' plot. Gets part sun from morning till very early afternoon.

(E) 2'X13' plot. Gets full sun from noon till sunset.

(F) 2'X14' plot. Gets full sun from noon till sunset.

Spent a good part of the day looking over blogs and website covering the square foot gardening method and at the seed catalog and this is what I've come up with so far (subject to revision):

(A) will be planted with 6 Beefsteak tomato plants with red onions planted in between. There is a 9" overhang from the garage roof which I'll run wire up to to train the tomato plants to climb.

(B) will be planted peas with the trellis being two 5'X160" mattress spring pads I salvaged

(C)will be planted with a combination of bush beans and radishes

(D) will be planted with a combination of beets and radishes

(E) & (F) will be planted with bush cucumbers for fresh eating and pickling


(B) I have it marked on my calendar when to plant the peas so that I have an early and then later, a fall crops of peas.

(C) Will be divided into 6 1'X4' subplots so that I may succession plant radishes and bush beans. I have it marked on my calender when to plant what so that I have a continuous crop all growing season right up to first expected frost.

(D) Will be divided into 6 1'X4' subplots so that I may succession plant radishes and beets so I'll have a continuous crop all thru the growing season until first frost.

At my ex-wife's garden will be planted tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, red onions and green onions. There are already chives and strawberries planted there. At my former in-laws will be planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage (of which I'll make homemade sauerkraut) and peppers.

Edit: I have two other small plots worked up (about 2'X4' each) where I think I'll plant daylilies.

Dehydrating apples today

The plan to make apple sauce and apple butter with my ex hasn't panned out yet but when I was over there a couple of days ago, her parents were also there and we got to talking about it. They, the parents, said that they had a dehydrator that I could use it for as long as I needed it so when my ex was bringing me back, we stopped at her parent's house and got it. Yesterday I made a batch and it took about 12 hours. Enough to fill a quart size freezer bag and part of another. I got another batch going this morning. I may be dehydrating apples for some time as I do have quite a few. I still want to make applesauce and apple butter and that may happen yet.

My ex's niece who stayed at this house for a few months last year left a number of bills (most of which I had to pay) behind and I saved them. Yesterday I was doing some paperwork and came across the gas bill for last November when she was here and she had used 76 therms that month. I'm positive I'll be using much less then that but then again, she didn't have the furnace shut off during the night and much of the day like I'm doing. It's about 40 degrees outside right now but a balmy 62 inside even with the furnace off. The dehydrator itself is putting out some heat.

Got a letter from SS explaining the extra payment I got at the beginning of the month. The letter also said that my regular monthly benefit will be $1103 in December and not $1071 and there will be another increase in January for cost of living adjustment. How much of an increase in January will not be known till it is determined how much is deducted for my Medicare premium and that won't be done till sometime in December. So the monthly budget I posted here will have to be tweaked a bit when I get the info.

Monthly Budget -Updated 1/24/13

I now now what my monthly SSDI will be after the Medicare premium has been taken out and I have the montly averages for gas and electricity costs since Feb. of last year. I also know what my property taxes for the year are and my home owners insurance premiums are.


$1119 SSDI
+$16 SNAP
$1135 Total


$75 Phone & Internet
$33 Natural gas for heating, hot water and cooking
$39 Electricity
$88 Property taxes and homeowners insurance
$25 Garbage pickup
$48 Water & sewer
$150 Payment on hospital bill
$8 Netflix
$120 Food, personal hygiene
$16 Dog food
$90 Cigarettes
$34 Dog's medications
$5 My medication
$100 Miscellaneous, clothing
$831 total expenses

$304 available for discretionary spending

I myself won't have that $300 some dollars a month until very early next spring as I'm helping out the ex-wife with some of her expenses as she's gotten herself in a heck of a financial pickle since the divorce.

Assuming there are no further charges on my account at the local hospital, I ought to have that paid off in full by January of 2014. That would add another $150 to the monthly discretionary fund for a total of $454.

Quitting smoking would add another $90 for a total of $544 a month.

Looking at my gas and electricity usage history

Spent a bit of time signing up for on line payment on the utilities and garbage pickup. Interesting info to look at when reviewing my accounts at the gas and electric websites.

Here's the history of my gas usage since Feb. in therms (a therm of natural gas contains about 100k btu's of heat)


Looking at my bill, a therm costs me a little over a dollar and that includes service charges and tax. The reason my usage was so high in April was that I was doing drywall work that month in the kitchen and I needed the heat turned up for the mud and paint to dry. At the end of June or beginning of July, I stopped washing my clothes in hot/warm water and that would explain the drop there. At the beginning of August, I turned the gas valve on the water heater to pilot which provided a minor savings.

As for my electric usage, the amount in kilowatts varied greatly from month to month but that's because they only did actual meter readings every other month and estimated the usage the other months and based that on my consumption 12 months before when no one was living here. So, the following month when they did an actual reading, I had to make up the difference.

Here is the history in kilowatts:


On average, I used 159 kilowatts a month since April. I had called the electric company a few weeks ago and asked them what a kilowatt cost (as it wasn't explained on my bill) and was told it's 19 cents. Adding tax and distribution charges to that, my monthly bill is about $38. Right at the end of August, I stopped using my electric clothes dryer but it's hard to see how much I saved by doing that because of they only did an actual reading on the meter every other month.

By signing up to pay my garbage pick up bill on line, which I pay every quarter, they waived the $4 administrative fee. A very minor savings but it all adds up.


Gas bill came in today for October and it's $19.75. A couple of dollars more then for the month of September. I use natural gas for heat, hot water and cooking. Looking at the extended forecast for this area, it may be in the 40's all of next week so I won't use much gas then and then it's expected to drop into the 30's and 20's the following week.

Went on line yesterday to balance my checkbook and noticed there was much more money in my account then I expected. There was a deposit made by SSA into my account so I called Social Security to find out about it. Thinking that someone may be missing their SS payment as it had been deposited in my account by mistake. After being on hold for awhile, I talked to an agent and he said I had been underpaid in 2010 and that was money owed me. Woot! Woot! So today I paid off in full an account I had with a local hardware store and then continued to walk to the county courthouse where I paid in full what I owed for 2011 property taxes. The money I was going to pay on those two debts I'll apply to two other bills and they will then be paid in full. This will reduce my monthly expenses by $225 a month giving me $300 a month available for miscellaneous. But I'm going to open up a savings account and transfer $200 of that a month into the account which will be spent on replacing all the old windows and doors in this house by early next fall. I already have budgeted $100 a month to be set aside for future property tax payments and fire insurance premium payments and I'll transfer that amount into the savings account too.

This mistake by SSA is a major blessing as had I been paid that in 2010, the money would be long gone on whatever but now I'm going to be pretty much debt free months earlier then I thought.

The county I live in provides a transportation service and I applied for and was approved to get reduced fares. It's getting cold now and doing the walking that I did today was invigorating to say the least. Every Wednesday I have to go to the hospital to have my blood thickness checked so I can get a ride there for 75 cents. It's a short walk from the hospital to the grocery store which I can do and from there, I can get a ride back home with my groceries for another 75 cents. That sure will beat walking 3 miles, carrying groceries for half that distance, when the temp gets down to below freezing. I have another debt that I'm paying $100 a month on but it'll be paid off early next year and I plan on then using that money for payments on a new motor scooter which I can use for much of the year.


The monthly water bill came in and it stated I used 500 gallons this billing period. Which is half of what I had used in August. For about a week now I've been shutting off the water when taking a shower and just have it on long enough to wet down and then turn it back on again to rinse off. Before, the water I got out of the tub after taking a shower came close to filling a 13 gallon container but now it's half that amount. Not enough now for flushing the toilet so I make up the difference by lugging up from the basement saved wash water from washing clothes. It will be interesting to see if the November water bill shows a further drop in water consumption.

The temp in the house stabilizes about 15 degrees higher then what the temperature outside is. It was 55 in the house when I got up this morning and the thermometer outside showed just under 40. We had a few days of relatively warm weather (in the 50's) and the same was true then. The temp inside was in the mid to high 60's.

The task of raking and buzzing up the leaves with my mulching mower is done. Finished it this morning. The compost bin is full and everywhere I wanted mulched is so. I had even went to my ex wife's home and raked up her big yard and mulched the leaves and spread it out evenly over her large garden. She had the best of intentions with her garden but didn't have the time to keep up with it. I have the time and interest so we talked about combining our efforts next year on both our gardens and splitting the produce. I already know I'll be doing the bulk of the work but that's no biggey as I do have the time.

I have lots of apples and later this week, my ex and I are going to make applesauce and out of some of that, apple butter. She has the bottles and equipment and I have the apples.

Was told early this month by my former sister-in-law that I ought to be eligible for a reduced phone charge. I called the phone company the next day and the lady said I needed to come in and fill out an application. When I got to the phone company, the lady (who is a neighbor of my ex's) said she looked over my account to see if there were also other ways for me to save money and said that if I sign a 1 year contract for internet which I get thru the phone company, they'll reduce my internet bill by $15 a month for the first 6 months and then after that, it'll go back to what I was paying. I signed that and filled out the application for the reduced phone bill. Later in the month, I got a letter from the state of Michigan saying I was approved for the reduced rate and when my phone bill arrived this past Saturday, it dropped from the usual $87 a month to $43. That savings includes the $15 reduction on internet fees. This comes at a good time as my gas bill will be going up for winter heating.

The compost pile continues to cook nicely. When I removed the blanket that I had made from the fabric I salvaged from the two bed box spring mattresses I had taken apart earlier, I could feel the heat coming from the pile and the pile is moist. I have a sheet of plywood that I place over the bin so the blanket itself doesn't get soaked from the rain. I think the makeshift blanket helps a great deal in retaining the heat and thus aid in the decomposition.

The price of fuel oil for home heating has gone way up and my ex was worried she wouldn't be able to afford to heat the house with using the fuel oil furnace so she asked me if it was feasible to switch to an LP gas furnace. LP gas being much cheaper then fuel oil. I told her that it was and altough I no longer work, my accounts with my suppliers are still active so I was able to get what was needed at contractor prices and the total cost was just under $1500 to remove the fuel oil furnace and replace it with a 95% efficient, two stage LP gas furnace. She later told me that other people has said that job would cost about 3 grand or more and I told her that was my ball park figure had she hired someone to do it. So I saved her about $1500 minus the cost of the sub sandwich and chips she fed me one day. Before, this would have taken me one very long day or a day and a half doing it myself but it took me 5 days to do the job as I could only work so long before the body gave out.

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