Your Questions, My Answers – Part I

Before I chose my winner today on Friday morning, I saw a post listed with a title very similar to the one on this post under the BlogHerAds:

Tricia's Q&A

I freaked out for about two seconds, clicking to load the post all the while thinking I accidentally posted my answers that I’d started before my contest ended.  Whew.  Thankfully, it was Tricia over at Blogging Away Debt who was having a similar Q&A at her site.

Thank you for everyone who participated in my little Q&A contest.  I appreciate everyone who took the time to ask a question.

David asked:

What is your plan once you get out of debt? Will you continue working, or will you start doing more to boost Mr. A’s business and focus on that? IOW, will getting out of debt free you to do something different, or are you happy with the way things are now (besides being in debt)?

Initially, the plan was GET OUT OF DEBT, period.  We didn’t really think much beyond that.  Then Mr. A felt it was time to take the leap and start his own business, which sent us further into debt.  If you’d asked me these questions one month ago, I’d have had a very different response.  I probably would have said not much would change. I’d probably keep working at my job, and working for Mr. A evenings and weekends for free. But then I had a paradigm shift and I had actually prepared an entire post with all my thoughts. Then I got cold feet.  And I’m still going back and forth on it. Here it is in a nutshell: Mr. A and I are looking into what it will take for me to quit my job within the next six months to a year – which would definitely give me more time to focus on Mr. A’s business.  And that’s all I’m going to say for now.  Look forward to a post with my thoughts in the next few days.

Collette asked:

I was wondering, how you decided that not being self employed/contracting out/freelancing was the right thing for you.

Collette, thanks for the compliment on my glasses! I do like the way they look on me. On to your question: I like the reliability that comes with a steady paycheck. I like knowing that XX amount of money will be coming in next week, next month, next year.  I’ve tried to start some businesses of my own while working at my regular job and I don’t seem to get anywhere.  The self-employed people I know were very unhappy working for someone else, and self employment seems to be the best option for them. It just has seemed more difficult, to me, to struggle on one’s own, than to work for a company – more difficulty than I want to put myself through. Perhaps if I’d been laid off, or fired, I might feel less confident about having an employer.

The short and dirty of my response to the rest of the your question/comment: GO FOR IT!!  I think the hardest thing you are going to encounter is all your old “customers” wanting to keep on paying you nothing for the work you are doing. So stay tuned for a post in the next few days with some ideas I have for you to get started.

Shevy asked:

Do you have any experience with gardens that require minimal space and are practical for busy city dwellers? How much time does your garden take you on a weekly basis? Did you find it hard to get started back in the beginning?

I’ve omitted the part of your question with the self-fulfilling prophecy.  😉  Think positively.

I use a lot of the square foot techniques even though I live on 3.5 acres. Depending on the area you’ll be able to use for gardening, you may want to consider container gardening.  Another important aspect is you’ll need to figure out the planting dates for anything you want to plant.

Do you and your family like radishes? What about Swiss Chard?  If you do, I’d suggest you start with these two vegetables.  Use seeds for the radishes. They germinate quickly and grow fast, you can often harvest within a month.  You can plant seeds for the chard also, but you can probably find seedlings to transplant at a local nursery which will cut down on your waiting time to harvest.  Bright Lights Swiss Chard comes in beautiful fluorescent colors: bright yellow, hot pink, sunset orange and other colors. If you buy seedlings, you could plant in a color coordinated fashion.  Swiss Chard is a fabulous green that is delicious steamed and served with some butter and salt. The great thing about Swiss Chard is you plant it once at the beginning of the season and then you pick the outer leaves as they grow larger.  Swiss Chard is similar to spinach, although spinach is much more delicate once steamed. I recently harvested the rest of my spinach and it had a melt in your mouth texture once cooked. Swiss Chard is more “meaty”  in texture, but very delicious.  Once you have some success with these two, then you can try moving on to other things.  Baby steps I always tell myself, baby steps!

You can learn when to plant seeds and seedlings by contacting your local cooperative extension services. Just type “cooperative extension” and the name of your state, county or city into Google.  Or, try your local nursery.  I don’t recommend buying plants and seeds from Walmart (unless you know what to plant when!) because I don’t think the purchasing agent, at least for the one nearest to me knows anything about the planting schedule in our area.  Spring in Arizona doesn’t equal spring in other states.  Other states might be putting spinach in the ground right now, but it will die if I tried that with our weather here.

Currently I’m spending 1.5 to 2 hours every Friday and Saturday, and then about another hour or two during the week. So about six hours a week.  If I set up automated watering systems, I could cut that down to the two hours on Friday and Saturday. Remember I have a fairly large garden, and I am still getting things in order, like widening beds so the plants get more water, putting down thick mulch, very little weeding, and some harvesting.

I was very keen to get my garden going again after not gardening for almost three years, so I just kept plodding away at it. It was very hard because I had also gotten out of shape quite a bit, and my back was KILLING me – just walking out to the garden it would start spasming and tightening up. Thankfully I am in better shape physically now just from the weekend work I’ve been doing in the garden and I’m not in pain while working in the garden.

Tomorrow I’ll finish up with the other questions.

Mrs. Accountability

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