Tuesday, March 9, 2010


As it usually does, winter has broken fast. Despite the 88 days of continuous snow cover and the great expense of feeding 6 little sheep alfalfa all winter, the end of winter is glum and mildly disappointing. I always work myself up making lists and getting ready for spring - and invariably it rains on my parade. The 18 inches of snow that was on the ground a week ago has saturated the ground and our forecast is for five days of rain. We're sequestered in the house for another week. I guess that will give me more time to work on my chore list.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Paying for college

I'm a worrier. I am especially good at worrying about money. I have graphs and charts, paper and digital. I have savings projections, lists of necessary and potential future expenditures, secret stashes and secret-stashes. But how to pay for college for three kids had me utterly baffled. They seem to be smart enough - but that is certainly no guarantee that they will get scholarships. Clearly I needed a different plan, but based on projected college costs it was almost impossible. College savings plans offer little tax relief and putting money in the stock market that will have to be extracted at a particular time is risky.
I found a great little calculator one day at
and I found out that instead of putting money in a risky investment plan, I could put that money in my house. I can pay off my house and then I'll have money to pay for college as we go! And my house will be paid off. (Some say that you shouldn't pay off your house but I'm all for being completely out of debt. But that's another story entirely.) If you buy a house before you have kids or shortly thereafter, you can pay off your house by just putting a little extra into the house every month. Run some scenarios on the calculator and see what you come up with.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A long winter

We have had snow on the ground since Christmas Eve. The sheep are digging through a half foot of left over slushy snow, but it's been above freezing the past few days and the end of this long winter is in sight. I'm reading Love and Hate in Jamestown by David Price. This is a jewel for anyone with even a passing interest in history. It reads like a novel and is very well researched.