Random Tips and Notes

Gnats fly up to the lights, die, and fall into the seed beds. The circle of life.

Time to clean out the blog idea notebook.  Lots of little snippets and thought clouds. In the Garden The germinating station is going great guns. As you can see from the picture, I’ve got three flats of seedlings going, tomatoes, ground cherries, peppers, basil and swiss chard. I gave to temptation and set a few tomato plants out just to see how they’d do, and promptly got them whacked by a couple of hard freezes.  Curses! Good Eats: Baked Oatmeal Sound good? It is, it’s screaming good.  3 cups regular oatmeal, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and cinnamon, 1 cup of whole milk, half a cup of applesauce (or veg oil for a richer taste), and two eggs, beaten.   Mix it all together in a bowl, put into an 8 … [Read more...]

Centavos Portfolio Update

Picture 4

The last portfolio update was more than a month ago. Under the current and self-imposed guidelines of the portfolio, I’m showcasing penny mining and resource stocks I’ve purchased since inception.  The recent disaster in Japan and ongoing crisis at the Fukushima reactor have just pounded some of the uranium exploration stocks.  The sell-off triggered some limit buy orders I had on some of these companies, so readers will notice some new names in the lineup: Hathor Exploration Strathmore Minerals Formation Metals North American Gem Virginia Energy These last two (VAERF and NGEMF) were mentioned in the last portfolio update as being on a watch list.  Their price came down, and here they are.  I’m a little more … [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Randomness and Links

Random Doodle #12

Around The World Here’s a couple of articles about the most recent corruption case in China: From AsiaOne: S$36 Million Misused in China Railway Project From Financial Times:  Fresh Blow for China’s high-speed railway From WSJ:  China Investigates Railways Manager Thirty million dollars and change embezzled from one project alone.  Stories like this one are some of the reasons I don’t have any China investments.  I used to hold the Matthews China fund and also shares in SilverCorp, a silver miner with ongoing production in China.  Sure, the corrupt official will be prosecuted, and probably get a bullet in the head.  But what with official corruption, melamine in baby milk formula , fake rice, and even fake … [Read more...]

Negotiate for Anything

Very Cool Carving Fork

Spring Fever is upon us, and we’re busy bees with the garden(s), re-habilitating and painting used furniture, and other projects.  The blog has suffered as a result, with sparse posting and commeting on other blogs, and an Alexa ranking that mirrors the lack of activity, bouncing around as it is up and down the 120,000’s.   I was planning to write a collection of snippets that I had put down in my blog idea journal, but as I started writing this snippet on negotiations, it morphed into a full-blown blog post. negotiation 1570s, from L. negotiationem (nom. negotiatio) "business, traffic," from negotiatus, pp. of negotiari "carry on business," from negotium "business," lit. "lack of leisure," from neg- "not" (see deny) + otium "ease, … [Read more...]

4 Lessons Gardening Taught Me about Money


This is a Guest Post from Paula Pant at AffordAnything.org, the blog that teaches you to live richly + savor life. If you like this post, please Tweet it, Like it on Facebook, and Email it to your friends. I've always loved plants, but until recently I never knew a thing about them. I can't identify plant species, discuss the blooming cycle, or tell you about the conditions that would put plants at risk of infestations. For years, my bedroom -- in various apartments, across various cities -- would be covered in potted indoor plants I picked up from the local Target or Home Depot. Friends would tell me my room resembles a rainforest. Yet when they'd ask, "what kind of plant is that?," I'd simply shrug and reply: "Um, the … [Read more...]

Raised Garden Beds on the Cheap


Looking back at last year, I think I splurged a little with making new raised beds.  New lumber, wire hardware cloth for mole-defeating under-armour, and store-bought manure.  Building new beds was also justified (in my mind) since I'd bought a new 3-gal compressor and brad nailer, and it was just begging to be used for something!   Compare that to this year's effort on the the raised beds I put together this month at Terra Farms, for a grand total cost of .... zero.  All the materials used came from scrounging around the property. Here's a photo of the semi-finished product: Started with cardboard mooched from Lowe's, and a combination of rotted hay and manure found in a couple spots around the pasture and the old loafing … [Read more...]

Riverboat Gambler : How The Small Investor Can Afford To Buy Commercial Real Estate

The following is a guest post of sorts by Fred Carach (aka The Riverboat Gambler), cross-posted with permission from his blog. The small investor has always longed to buy into commercial real estate but it has always been a bridge too far. Simply put it has always been beyond his resources. And yet the investment tool that could enable him to buy not just commercial real estate but multimillion-dollar blue chip commercial real estate has been readily available to him since 1972 when the first Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs as they are called arrived on the scene. What is truly astonishing is that after all these years this fantastic investment tool is almost unknown to the general public in spite of its impressive … [Read more...]

Random Links for the Week

Random Doodle #11

The news cycle this week has been dominated by the tragedies in Japan.  Our family are personally moved and saddened by the travails of the survivors, and have done what we can to help.  In particular, I am awed by the courage and dedication of the nuclear plant workers that are putting their life on the line to bring the disaster under control. Knowing what we know about the concept of duty in Japanese culture, perhaps these actions should not be surprising, or be very much different, for that matter, from the firefighters who went up the blazing twin towers on 9/11.  The same heroism was displayed by workers at Chernobyl years ago, many of who later died from radiation exposure.  It leads me to speculate how each of us would react in … [Read more...]

Yakezie Blog Swap 4 – My Biggest Financial Pet Peeve: Sales Tax

This is a guest post from Miss T, who blogs at Prairie EcoThrifter. Miss T. grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can live a green, debt free, and fun life.  Please read my own guest post at Miss T's. This week I am participating in a Yakezie blog swap where I am to answer the question "My Biggest Financial Pet Peeve." We all have those little things in life that drive us bonkers, even when it comes to our finances. For me, my biggest financial pet peeve is sales tax. Now to start off I need to clarify that I am not against paying sales tax. I know that this … [Read more...]

Financial Tips – India, Part Two

This is one truck stop restaurant we did not stop for

This is the second part of my travel journal entry for India. Part one was posted here. Went to the PowerGen trade show.  Lots of European, Japanese, Korean and Chinese companies exhibiting, but predictably, no US companies except for GE, and even then they had a very small booth.   ABB Alstom, Siemens, Ansaldo Energia, Mitsubishi, Areva and Vesta (very big in wind turbines), they were all there.   For all the talk about globalism,  American companies are either inept or unwilling when it comes to competing in export markets.  Lots of companies exhibiting in the renewable energy pavilion.  There was an Indian company (forget the name) exhibiting their own proprietary wind turbine.  Very slickly arranged booth, glossy and … [Read more...]