Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grits, squirrels, no-see-ums, and expenses

I had another culinary first for me this morning.  I decided to make some grits.  Diana (being a southern belle)suggested I add some cheese, a dollop of butter, and an egg on top for breakfast.  I sort of poached an egg and lightly mixed it in to the enhanced grits.  My opinion?  Grits are rather gritty.  It was not exactly a ‘to die for dish’ in my opinion.  It did stick to my ribs however.  I’m thinking it’s going to take me a very long time to use up the eleven individual servings that are left in the box. 


This is a nice yellow flower blooming in front of the VC, but you’ll not see any squirrels with yellow spots running around the refuge.  Turns out the new and improved shooter that I got to plunk away at the squirrels seems to have a mind of its own as far as  ejecting the pellets is concerned.  The pellets don’t leave a splotch of paint as I’d hoped, but perhaps just a dusting of yellow dust on a target.  My fingers get yellow loading the pellets, but the squirrels just smirk at me.  Someone close by, who will remain nameless, has advanced to a Daisy Red Ryder Bee bee gun in this range war which has resulted in a virtual absence of the critters near their feeders.  I leave you to guess where the marauding pack of fluffy tailed rodents has moved over to.  Crying face

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A couple of folks have asked how the dryer sheets are working against my battle with the no-see-ums.  I’m here to report that after diligent testing, this has turned out to be another old wives’ tale.  They are about as effective as standing on your head! 


Perhaps I could use them to dissuade snakes?  I’ve also found them of no use in curtailing mice.


Maybe they’re called dryer softening sheets because that is the only place they are effective??

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For the past six years, I’ve diligently been recording how I’ve spent every cent since I’ve been on the road.  I’ve typed in every purchase in yearly spreadsheets broken down by month.  You know what?  I’m tired of doing that, and have seldom gone back to check were my money has gone.  I’m living within my budget, so I think I’m just going to rely on checking my bank account when necessary.  Can anyone give me a good reason to continue this practice?


My parting thought tonight is to remind you to stop and smell the roses…  Smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Sounds like that yellow paint gun pellet needs to be returned for a refund. We've been tracking our expenses since we started full-timing. It's been helpful in figuring out how much we'll need in this new lifestyle, but I think after a couple of years we'll stop. Sounds like you've figured out how much you'll need and that's all that's important. So, I say let it go if that's what you want to do!

  2. I ate grits for the first time this week, my son-in-law made them with some good provolone and sharp white cheddar. I enjoyed them, I don't think they are any grittier than cream of wheat. Maybe you'll need to get a BB gun. I am tracking my spending, this is my first year and I'm curious to see what it costs, especially the time period working vs. not working/volunteering. If you are "on budget" and don't have any spending problems, you can probably stop doing it.

  3. If your grits were gritty, you didn't cook them long enough. Grits are supposed to be creamy and smooth. Give them another try. You might like'em. My philosophy is that if there's money in the bank on the last day of the month, everything is fine.....jc

  4. if there is still money at the end of the month you have done well!... I keep track of most everything we spend..can be a bit scary sometimes but we manage!..it is something I have done for a few years now..and we sure have had more month than money months in the past...but it does get better!!..thank goodness!

  5. I sure hope you're not using those packets of instant grits. The real thing is far superior. Don't give up on grits until you've tried the other kind. Adding cheese and butter is a good thing.

    I'm like Jerry C, "if there's money in the bank....", but my CPA husband (who takes care of all our financial stuff, thank goodness) says the reason to write it down is to make you aware of what you're spending. If you quit writing it down, that level of awareness gradually slips away. At the end of each year, we plan our budget for the upcoming year. He drags out all those spreadsheets and we discuss each line item and create our new budget based on what we actually spent over the previous year, or two, or three. Of course, he is a CPA and those guys just love spreadsheets. I came home from work one day several years ago and he had arranged all my refrigerator magnet cat words in columns and rows--nouns, adverbs, etc. Gotta be careful; it may just be a spreadsheet thing with him.

  6. We Northerners just don't have it in our DNA to like those grits. I think the only thing they are good for is wallpaper paste.

    You know what you're doing with your budget, so simplify. Stop and smell the flowers, but I think you've got that down pretty well... ;c)

  7. We kept a record to see if we live cheaper as Winter travelers than Ill Winter Idiots..We found that we live cheaper here in the Winter than at home, with heat bills, electric and food for grandkids...That also included our fuel...Don't make yourself nuts seeing how much you spend...As Dennis says..write a bad check the last day of your life and you have lived well....

  8. I kept very good records for about five years, but Craig never wanted to even look at them. So I stopped wasteing my time. If you never never look back, why bother.

  9. I say just forget the grits! The only time this California/Oregon girl ate grits I had to add a lot of sugar! Nice pics, but I could pass on seeing the snake! :) I agree with giving up on writing things down. If you start to run into a problem with no money at the end of the month, then you can go back to keeping track. I say you have done it long enough, give yourself a break!

  10. Since I am on a fixed income, what I have is what I can spend. I try to end up with a little extra at the end of the month, but don't figure it is all that virtuous to keep track of where I spent it.

    I love grits with cheese, butter, bacon, gravy, etc. Some folks eat them with sugar and milk, sort of like cream of wheat. If you don't like them, then you don't like them. I have a really good recipe for a grits-cheese souffle. I don't even have a souffle dish or pan, but just fix it in a bowl with high enough size for the souffle to rise well.

  11. I'm with YOU on the grits. It's an acquired taste, for sure. Oh, well, maybe if it was served wtih a healthy dollop of something sweet and sticky (maple syrup?), I might try them again.


  12. I love grits!!! Developed a taste for them when i was in the Navy. They always had them in the chow hall, i guess for all of those Southern boys :) BUT have only had them for breakfast with sugar and dollop of butter. Have yet to try them the REAL Southern way with cheese or other things and at lunch or dinner.

  13. For the first few years after retirement I wrote every cent of spending down to see how we were making out with our income. Finding that everything was working well and we could even save some money I quit writing it down. When our bank statements come each month I write down the debit side and tally it up at the end of the year. That way I know exactly what we spent during the year without all the fuss. I can also see how much cost of living has gone up. Never mind what the government wants us to believe, it goes up a lot more than the measly percentage the checks go up ☺

  14. Not a real lover of grits. I do need lots of butter IF I eat them. We tried the dryer sheets also...same result as you :(
    We TRIED to write down everything and compare our expenses each month. That lasted about 6 months. TOO much work for us. If you know you are living within your means...give it up. Too many other things you could be enjoying instead of entering numbers in a spreadsheet. Enjoy your weekend. ~wheresweaver

  15. Born and raised in Arkansas --- well, on the border with Texas - never had grits until I left home and got to the big city. I thought it was a newspaper! When I saw Grits on the menu… I asked the waitress at H. L. Green's lunch counter in Dallas, Texas... you serve Grits? She had to tell me what they were. 1961. man oh man...

    I didn't like them. I like them better now but prefer potatoes with m'eggs... dang that sounds good. crispy chunks - crisp on the outside and moist inside? real hash browns not the shredded kind. sliced tomatoes. toast all slathered in butter...

    Anyone old enough to remember The Grit? Yer old if you do!

    I'm about to hit the road again... in the morning. I'm looking forward to finding fun breakfast places. I'm on a quest to find Mom and Pop places. I'm going Route 66. so... we'll see.

    The only thing I keep track of is gas. I keep a log book in my overhead visor - I like to check my mileage. It's also interesting to look back in my book and see where I got gas and the price.

    I don't spend a lot on much else... unless there's a dolphin or animal place ... I recently spent $35 to go into an Aquarium and the Botanical Garden thing...

  16. Grits are definitely an acquired taste but better than boiled okra or black eyed peas (the vegetable not the singing group). Lots of butter and sugar make them palletable or maybe that was milk and sugar. Hmmm. Been awhile.


  17. What kind of snake was that? I have never seen one like that.

    Maybe you can up grade to a paintball gun. lol


  18. I agree - grits are good if you cook them long enough. I prefer the instant packet type in the micro for 1 minute and 20 seconds. Tracking expenses helps you see where it is going even if you only look at the spreadsheet when you update it.

  19. I think keeping track of expenses is good each time there is a lifestyle-change to see what adjustments are needed. We'll keep track of the $s when we get on the road fulltime, but once we're comfortable we're doing OK and have adjusted our budget accordingly, I'll probably go back to using Quicken just as my bank register, which is what I do now.

  20. Love grits with butter! My Southern husband won't eat them. Sounds like you didn't cook them long enough. You get 11 more tries to get it right! I started tracking every dime we spent before we went full-time. Definitely helped to know how we stood financially. Once we became full-time, we quickly learned it was costing us a lot more than how we had set our budget for full-timing. I'm still tracking every penny because we've made a couple major changes (bought an RV lot and then a park model). I think it's a pain in the neck to track everything, but I am so curious about where all the money goes that I'll probably keep tracking. I've also referred back to my spreadsheet several times.

  21. I need to send you a picture of Al's squirrel proof bird feeder. No squirrels can get there.

    Real grits are much better than the package kind, but try some bacon pieces mixed in with the egg and cheese....yummy.

  22. I think I might have told you my Home Ec teacher sewing story... well, I have a similar grits story; no thanks on the grits for me!

    Man, on man, I am tired of seeing snakes this spring! They are everywhere I've been turning!!!

    And I think 6 years of doing something and not checking it is plenty!

  23. While mowing last week, a snake slithered out from high grass. Not sure what kind but I hear in TX there are lots of poisonous snakes.

    I, too, like grits. Even though I am a Yankee.

    Expenses? I keep a spread sheet. The first two years of fulltiming we had LOTS of out of budget expenses. i.e. - installed satellite system, pressure-pro, two accidents where fiver needed repairs, and a lot more diesel expenses due to the failing health of our mothers and costs associated with returning to our respective homes in Louisiana and NJ. This year we have been under budget each month. YIPPEE~

  24. Judging from the number of folks here that don't like grits....maybe the mice and snakes wouldn't either..The no-see-ums??? I don't think there is a chance of getting rid of those pests. I really enjoyed the mushroom pictures.

  25. I'm one of those wierdos who enjoys budgeting and tracking expenses. I started way back when I spent way more than I earned and wanted to turn that around. It worked, and became such an ingrained habit that I'll probably do it until my last day. I find it interesting to be able to easily calculate how much money we've put into our motorhome since we bought it, how much we average in repairs to the Jeeps that we buy when they are 5 years old. I like to compare fuel expenses from when we began fulltiming up until now, and I like to be able to find the answer easily when I wonder about how much something cost, say my three year old camera or something similar.

    But, seeing as how we do live within our means, I definitely would NOT record all of our expenses if it wasn't something I enjoyed!

    BTW, Odel grew up in the south. Grits are very low on his list of favorite foods - but he is a fan of soft polenta, another "ground corn" mush type of food.

    Safe travels!

  26. Grits are like cream of wheat or oatmeal. Only taste good when you put something good on them.
    We don't keep track of every penny we spend, although we have always been frugal. We do use Microsoft Money so we can go back and see our expenses for a month or year if we want. Fortunately since we've been fulltiming we haven't spent as much as we thought we would.

  27. Do you know what GRITS stands for. Girls Raised In The South. (Just cook them until they are soft.)

  28. Since you are so close to Louisiana, GRITS also stands for "Girls Raised In Tiger Stadium". Grits is a mainstay in our diet especially "Grits and Grillades". Give them another try.

    1. If you don't like the grits on the second try, don't throw them out. Sprinkle grits, or corn meal, on fire ant beds, they eat them and blow up and die. Not as effective as Amdro, but better for the environment.
      Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny, TX. www.pennys-tuppence.blogspot.com

  29. Wow! You got pretty close to that snake for its photo.

    We're taking a road trip next month to Kentucky, Tennessee, and southwest Virginia. I wonder whether we'll have grits on the menu. I wonder if we'll try them.

  30. I would stop tracking money at this point but be alert for creep. It can be like when you stop measuring food--the portions slowly get larger until you are putting back on the weight you just lost!

  31. Boy look what louzy internet will do for you. I'm WAY behind here. But obviously you've given us all lots to comment on. So I'll weigh in with I love the snake picture!! What a beauty. Hate grits. If you have to put a lot of stuff on it then it ain't any good in my world.

    But like Laurie I love keeping track of expenses. I like spread sheets and I'm not a CPA. I've been keeping track of every penny for over 30 years. First because I needed to and now because it is so much fun to look back and see waht things cost or what I spent over the year on X or Y or Z. Also handy for doing the income tax deductions. Makes it all way easier.

  32. Oh I forgot........what about one of those paint guns for the squirrels. You cold SPLAT them with whatever color you want!

  33. Budget, smudget. :) I kept all receipts and tracked all our expenses during the first several months on the road. Ours is a slightly different situation, as we are working "full-time" and bringing in a decent income and have opportunities for other income streams now and then. We're doing well, savings intact, etc. I say you've done your duty and you're an experienced full-timer, so give yourself a break and give up the expense tracking. BTW, I'm seeing way too many snakes on blogs so far this year! Haven't seen one in person yet, but I'm sure that will come when the warm weather is here to stay. Enjoy!

  34. Nix on the grits...

    That snake is beautiful--- how'd you get such a closeup?

    We swear by the Thermocell for the mosquitos... will it work for no-see-ums?

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  35. Like you say, stop & smell the roses. If you are living within your budget, with no real extra expenses, then it's probably a waste of time to keep up with all that. ;-)
    And grits are one of those things you either like or don't. So give them away if you don't. Trade someone for something in their rig that they might have bought, but don't like! Like cookies ;-9 I like grits though but like them at The Cracker Barrell or somewhere like that. Yum.