My hummingbirds are having a bit of a time with it too, they are not used to such cold temperatures and although I took down my hummingbird feeder in August and tried to encourage them to fly south they hung around and were here in November so I decided they had little to eat by that time and put it back up. This morning it had lots of ice in it so I brought it inside to warm it up and as soon as I hung it back up they were at the feeder. I will bring it in every night now and put it back in the morning to ensure they get food. Poor little things. They are very shy so no photo of them but there is a pair that dive-bomb Buddy and I on a daily basis as they are very protective of their yard and feeder.
Buddy actually loves snow, since it is a novelty. He has only seen it before when he was a couple of months old so he has asked to go out about once an hour since it first snowed. The only thing is that he won't do his business on it, and walks around the perimeter of the house to find grass under the overhang. Perhaps he thinks it is like carpet and he is very well house-trained. Silly dog. When his feet get cold he asks to come back in and if I am not within his sight he barks at the door. He apparently has me well-trained as well.
I have one very small gift to find for one of my stepsons and some caramel popcorn(popcorn twist crack if you live in Canada, a family favorite and recipe is printed on the bag) to make for my Mother-in-law and I am ready to fly out for our family visit Friday. Alberta is experiencing extremely low temperatures of -20 to -30 Celcius while we are there and I suddenly realized I do not have a heavy enough scarf. We still have all our heavy coats and mitts but my current floral thick scarf doesn't really go with the plaid coat I bought 2 summers ago. Last year's visit temperatures were much warmer and a heavy scarf not needed but we are traveling around little Alberta towns and should we break down need to have the proper gear. I'm just back from taking hubby to the airport and stopped in at my favorite (and cheapest) thrift store in town and found the perfect warm soft black long scarf that will work perfectly for $2 - it is in the washing machine as I type this. Much better than the brand new and not nearly as nice scarf I saw yesterday at the store for $24. I also found a brand new pack of clips that hold our Christmas lights on the house - I always buy them one year and advance and had to pay a whopping .75 cents. And finally, I also bought a brand new package of gift tags as I was running very low for .25 cents. Yes, I went on a $3 shopping spree lol.
Sometimes I save on the unimportant stuff to spend on important stuff - like cleaning the 10 year old area rug in the living room that was just delivered back after 2 weeks. We originally spent $500 on it, a mid-range quality wool rug (would love an authentic Eurasian rug but not the price tag associated with it) and it cost $225 to clean but I did the math and if it lasts us another 10 years of use it was worth it over buying a new one It also included pickup and delivery as the thing weights a ton. It looks brand new, I am a little shocked at what a good job they did and so glad I got it cleaned rather than replaced, also glad the design we went with is timeless rather than trendy. We actually own a carpet cleaner which we use on the rest of the carpets but there is no way to clean a large area rug properly except off premises with the proper equipment.
I ended the month of November at $463.34 - under our grocery budget which was $539.54 ($550 less previous months overages). Woohoo! That means I have a budget of $550 plus $76.20 underage from November for a total of $626.20 for December! I might end up using it all as we have 1 adult kid here for an entire week and another for 3 days so extra groceries will be required. Part of the reason why my numbers were lower is that I used all of a $60 Shoppers drug mart redemption in November for groceries, things like milk and butter, not frivolous stuff. Plus, I still have $20 more in PC plus points that I will be putting towards groceries in December. Mom has already redeemed some of her grocery points for a 6 KG turkey that is now parked in my freezer destined for our family Christmas supper.
I am currently planning out my 2017 budget. Yesterday I received our final electricity bill for the year. Our bills for electricity (furnace/AC pump and all lighting) and natural gas (hot water heater, fireplace and BBQ)totals as follows:
Electric - BC Hydro - 1700 sq foot home
2014 - $1610/year
2015 - $1663/year
2016 - $1627/year
Natural Gas - Fortis
2014 - $671/year
2015 - $663/year
2016 - $580 (that is an approximation as will get final bill in a few days but I've over-estimated)
I'm very proud of those figures, especially since electricity has gone up about 10% in price each of the last 2 years. Natural gas did go down and our usage has remained about the same. This year we have turned the heat down 2 full degrees over what we have had in the past winters - took some getting used to but now we are accustomed to it. We use an electric blanket on the bed with dual controls (I need more heat due to my arthritis) and when we feel cold we put on a sweater or turn on the natural gas fireplace.
Speaking of which, I've heard on the news lately that Canada is supposed to see a 3-5% increase in the cost of groceries in 2017 due to our dollar value being down. Our $550 per month is more than sufficient and will not be increased. If anything I've gotten a little lazy in my bargain hunting ways, perhaps it is too high? If you want to see the article click here.
And that is what is shaking in my little corner of the world. No blogging now until our return from Alberta Monday afternoon - in the mean time have a great week-weekend everyone!