Random Crumb 11: What We've Been Up To
Every once in a while, the Crumb Saver household shares a snapshot of a recent crumb-saving (or wasting!) incident on A Random Crumb. This column is proof that, hey, we’re people just like you! Prepare for a little randomness, a little embarrassment, but hopefully mostly encouragement.  You’ll get a sneak peek at what we actually do to save (or NOT save) in real life, which is motivation to us to stay crumby (in the good way) and (hopefully) inspiration for you join in the crumb-saving action too!

As many of you noticed, we took a little hiatus from posting in the first few months of this year.  While the typical excuse of, “We’ve been busy” may be true (it is!), I thought I’d just share a little bit of what has taken our attention.  But first, indulge me in a little preamble.

How We View This Blog

In the past three years since we’ve started jotting down our thoughts on this wee website (has it really been that long??), slowly and somewhat imperceptibly the demands of this little hobby has grown.  Frequently we’ve thought that this blog could be a whole lot more if we just spent more time on it, but as with all things in life there’s got to be boundaries and balance.  So as of right now, we’re keeping this firmly as a side hobby as there are other things that we feel currently are higher priority.  We keep this as a matter of prayer, and if the Lord tells us to focus more attention here, then we will surely do it!

But don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere.  We’re not closing up shop.  We’re just sharing this so you don’t fret about where we’ve disappeared to if you notice a drop in the frequency of posts.

So besides work (we gotta earn money in order to have anything to share here, after all!), family, and church, what else has kept us so occupied these past few months?  Here’s a quick update on a couple things.

Personal Finance Seminars

One of the unexpected things that’s come up since we’ve aired our thoughts here are invitations to give financial seminars in different places.  Deb detests public speaking, so I do most of it.  And there’s been a steady stream of invitations to the point where I simply can’t accept all of them.  Preparing for each audience, even though it’s altering the same basic core presentation, requires quite a bit of time.  Speaking to a bunch of college kids about money has to be different than speaking to a bunch of middle-aged to older professionals.  It’s been a real blessing, and I’ve really enjoyed it, but it does take time!

If you’re interested to hear the seminar that started it all (it’s actually from 2015), check out this link for a 6-part series I did for one of my church’s youth conferences.

The Garden and the Orchard

Besides personal finance, gardening is my other big hobby.  Since we paid off the house and upgraded our deck last year, we had a little more wiggle room in the budget and so we’ve been investing much more into our home’s edible landscape.  We expanded our vegetable garden a little bit and are experimenting with some container gardening, but the big news is in our orchard.

Shortly after we moved into this house, we put in a few fruit trees, but this past winter and early spring, we expanded significantly by putting 13 more in the ground. (Those were a LOT of holes to dig!)  But we’ve got another 13 that aren’t ready to go in the ground yet for one reason or another.  So by the time it’s all said and done, we will have upped our tree total to 30 trees!  I guess you can say that I’ve got a mild obsession real interest in fruit trees!  With my track record so far on growing things however, only half of these are likely to survive…

While the concept of growing our own fruit does have a bit of a financial savings ring to it, the unfortunate reality is that it’s really difficult for a small-scale home orchard to result in any significant savings.  Once I factor in the investment of time, effort, quality stock, equipment, sprays (if you’re in a disease-prone area like me), it’s tough to come out ahead of stocking up on fruit when they’re on sale at Aldi.  But we grow because we enjoy it, not just to save on our food bill.

Here’s a little before and after of a section of my fruit orchard (a bunch of other trees are tucked in different spots on our property).

Newly Planted Fruit Trees

These are the dormant trees in winter shortly after they went in the ground.

Fruit Trees in Spring

Here they are in their spring flush of growth a few weeks ago. (The round cages are to prevent deer from defoliating my tender young trees, a lesson I learned the hard way a few years ago.)

The Garden Spring 2017

Here’s a shot of our small raised bed garden this spring with some of the trees behind it.

Toddler Crumb Saver

And finally, of course, the highest priority in our lives right now is our little girl.  Over the winter months she graduated from being Baby Crumb Saver to now being Toddler Crumb Saver!  (Although, out of habit, we still refer to her as “Baby” most of the time.)  With the increased mobility, the eager drive to explore the world, and a growing interest in flexing her will, she’s taken more of our time and attention.

So between all these things and more, it’s been tough to be able to write regularly.  But at least, it looks like we’ve got a growing gardening helper on our hands!

Garden Helper
Garden Helper

We’ve got a long list of topics to write about, so there’s still lots more to come on this blog, but they’ll be written as we’re able.  If you haven’t already, sign up for our email newsletter to be notified in your inbox whenever a new post come out.  Thanks for sticking with us and keep saving those crumbs!