The world has too much “busyness”


Hello friends,


I have been away from the vineyard roots blog for some time now. As many things/excuses in life, “life is too busy.” Ive heard that nonsense a lot in my life and online. Everyone is too busy and life is too complicated to get anything done. I disagree, as a short analysis of my day to day routine reveals this to be false.

(Remember this is a quick, short enlightenment of my daily routine – its not very scientific.)

5:45 AM wake up, shower for 17 minutes (20 is too long, 15 too short), then come back upstairs to change (yes, its sucks tremendously not having a bathroom on the same level as bedrooms).

6:05, downstairs to relieve the pup, make lunch, make breakfast, eat breakfast (spend 10 mins on that while reading on phone), brush teeth, shave, comb hair.

6:55, go back out with pup for a poop, play with pup for 10-15 mins outside in yard. This sounds like fun, and it is since I love my pupper but remember this is done every single work day in any weather condition. The only time we don’t play is when its pouring rain.

7:15-7:20, leave for work. 20 minute commute, sometimes 30 with all the morons in society.

7:45 all the way to 4:30, work. Yes my work time is 8 hours 45 minutes. That includes a 10 minute after lunch walk and a 30 minute lunch. So I work 5 minutes free everyday for the company.

4:30 PM to 5:00, or even till 5:10, commute home. Yep only 6 miles via road, but hey there is at least 20 stop lights and countless more morons, sorry humans.

5:00 – 10:00, this is my free time. Just because its free doesn’t mean it really is. I have to cook dinner with wifey, take out pup for a play or walk, cut grass at least once per week, do some of my garden stuff, other yard work, clean up house that never ever is fully neat, go on computer, do laundry, go food shopping, eat dinner, watch TV, read a book. And also other activities which will not be mentioned here, but those are always allowed to take my free time!

10:00 to next morning – bedtime.

As you can see, work and sleep take up a majority of my daily time. Logically, I would assume the same is true for you! Haha who would have thought?

I am blessed to have an average commute (35 minutes at most) which is still above the average American’s 22 minutes (I do not know how that in any way on God’s green earth this is possible – maybe all the part timers? Que est in tarnacion?). I know some folks have it good while others, myself included in the past, have it bad with long commutes.

That leaves the final 5ish hours to do what we want. To not be busy, to be free of the shackles of life. This is false AGAIN, since we need to LIVE and SURVIVE. That includes getting food and cooking it. The wife and I try to minimize our fast food and restaurant consumption, 1 because it saves a crap load of money eating at home and 2 our waist lines have leveled off. It also makes my three to four trips to the food store hurt a little less when I see the very -not-filled-cart and the bill of $100 per trip!

Back to time management and busyness, let’s say there are three solid hours of free time left. This is assuming a single person (folk [sub parenthesis: I know folk can be construed as plural as well as singular – take a grammatical break and bear/bare with me!]) or married couple (folks), as this scenario would not work if you have a family or someone to take care of. I can hear future kids complaining about not being considered after reading this long lost post. You have three hours, you can do chores or watch TV. I would say the overwhelming number of older Americans watch TV while the younger demographic chooses to split time between TV and internet. Further analysis (from reading online articles and not citing sources since I have no time- kind of contradictory to this post) reveals that most of the younger folks spend time simultaneously watching TV and the internet. This can only be accomplished by using a phone/smartphone or as my Grandfather likes to call “a TV” (that’s a story for another time).

As for busyness, yes, Americans are busy. We work too much, we commute too much. After a hard day at the office, we just want to come home and relax. We eat out because its fast and easy. We watch TV because it draws us in with its tantalizing programs. We are more and more becoming absorbed in our smartphones. My wife is constantly, every waking second of the day, playing “match three” games or “build a farm” games on her phone. Is this an addiction? Who knows but it sure looks like one to me. I feel like we need to stop being to darn busy! We need to chill out remember why we are here on this earth. We need to stop wasting our own precious free time drawn to screens and spend it with family, friends, or even alone doing something great.

I find myself, especially seeing how the last few months have had a void in posting to the blog, frustrated at my life and how fake busy I have been. I have been consciously trying since 2016 to live a simpler life, but getting married then trying to search for a home to live in adds a whole lot of complication to day to day living. Maybe it’s the millennial in me being a complainer right now, but I would like to think not. I am really not that busy, I just find myself being lazy and deciding to sit and watch TV along with my wife.

I am not that person, I am a creator! I want to do something with my life. I want to fix up my broken down car, I want to save a ton of my income and I want to pay off mine and my wife’s student loans. Furthermore, which is the whole reason for this blog, I want to grow grapes and create wine. So, I am asking you the reader, along with myself, to start up and get going. No more excuses for “I am too busy” because I am not, and neither are you. Take action in your life, and avoid the “busy trap”. Let the rest of the world run races with rats. You arn’t a rat!



Trip to New York City

Hey all, I recently had a business trip to New York City. This wasn’t a vineyard-building related trip, but a day job related trip. The trip was a week long and it entitled spending time in a class discussing work-related things from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. It was a difficult week.

The week started out with an omen of things to come. My boss booked a hotel under his name outside of Manhattan in Newark NJ. The hotel was right nearby the airport, so I assume it was much cheaper than staying in Lower Manhattan (turns out it was the same price). When I arrived at the hotel, I couldn’t check in since my identity wasn’t my boss’s. So after an awkward 7:00 PM Sunday night phone call to my boss, it was sorted out and I was allowed to stay.

The next morning, I was required to take an airport shuttle, an airport elevated people mover train, a regional commuter train and finally a subway to get to the city. The price (which was of course reimbursed) = $24 round trip! What was more amazing to me was not the price but the travel time. It took 1:45 minutes to get there one way! I was only staying 5 miles as the crow flies. I knew it would take at least 30-45 minutes due to numerous rivers and highways to cross, but I never expected the trip to take that long.

After a hard day in classes, I trekked the same brain numbing 1:45 minutes back to the hotel. It was 7:15 PM and I was exhausted and starving. Because of an impending snow storm hitting the next day, I drove out to a convenience store to pick up dinner and food supplies. I eventually ate around 8:00 PM.

The next day, the storm hit, causing a complete shut down of all movement throughout the region. I spent the day wandering around the hotel, reading in my room and enjoying no free wifi. I don’t understand how if you stay at a “nicer” hotel, the wifi becomes a paid service? The wifi was free for Hilton members, which I am one, but my information would not work because my account was not associated with the room. My bosses information was. Alas, a week away becomes a week without internet.

On Wednesday, I proceeded as usual to the class, albeit an hour early and staying an hour later to make up time. We did the early/later routine for Thursday and Friday morning too. For my commute, I did some research and drove to a parking garage two miles away. I then hopped on the subway, saving my company $8 in train tickets and me over 1 hour of time wasted. It was a good day in the commuting department.

On Thursday, my car broke down in the parking garage. I have an 18 year old car that is very reliable, only if you keep up on the routine maintenance. My car’s timing belt was due for a replacement-it had almost 10,000 miles over its recommended replacement interval. After a terrible grinding noise, burning smell and smoke coming out of my engine, I pulled into the subway parking garage. I later found out after having it towed with the help of some family, that the timing belt was failing, but it did not actually fail yet. After the belt cover was removed, I found the interior portion of the belt was frayed and ripping apart, while the two outer edges remained intact. Thank the Lord the belt did not snap! If it did, I would be stranded and my car’s engine would be destroyed. For who ever thought it was smart to have a machine with moving parts occupy the same exact space at different times, I have a common sense question for you!

Friday was a good day. The class started early, there were no transit delays, breakfast was provided for us and I passed the class test. I got to leave Manhattan and North Jersey around 3:00 PM and was home by 6:00 PM.

The week was tough. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, but I am a little. Some things were out of my control but I like to think I handled them effectively. The moral of the story that I like to take from my experience is that life may throw many hard obstacles in your path. You just have to break them down into pieces to get past them.

A Warm Wind is A’ blowing

Have you noticed the warm weather? If you live in Maine, or some areas in the Pacific Northwest, you may have not (sorry Alaska, you are excluded from these regions based on distance). For the rest of the 48 United States, there has been significant warmth for the month of February.

I live in Southeastern Pensyltucky as I like to say. For the non-geographical folks, that means outside of Philadelphia. This past weekend, there was three days of warm temperatures above 60 degrees with highs into the 70s. For Thursday – Sunday of this week, there will also be highs into the 70s. This weather and prolonged warmth is unusual for our area. I have noticed that the Philadelphia region has some of the most boring and standard weather around. There will be days of cold, then days of mild temps, then back to cold-in the winter at least. This regular ho-hum weather temperatures are not heard of elsewhere. In other areas of the country, the temperatures change day to day. My friend in Dallas Texas reports days of 75 degrees and sunny with the following day cold and 33!

Being interested in viticulture, or the growing of grape vines, I tend to monitor the temperatures around the year. Some winters, I look out for extended cold temperatures, since I don’t want the raw cold to destroy my vines.  Other times, like this past winter, I watched for these extended warm periods similar to the one we are having this week. I am worried that the April temperatures that we are experiencing in February are going to really screw with my grape vines. Most plants need so many thousand hours of “chilling” before they are cued to regrow in the spring. Some plants’ chilling hours are satisfied by being below 50 degrees. Others, such as grapes, are satisfied being chilled below 40 to 35 degrees. This doesn’t mean that the vines are destroyed from lower temperatures, as all it means is that after so many hours below the chilling temperature, the vines are ready to break their dormancy and emerge for spring time.

In southeast Pennsylvania, we have a moderate type of winter. The winter is long enough to easily satisfy grape vine chilling but not too short or either too long. It is just the right length. In fact, since similar grape varieties grow in Virginia and North Carolina, one can deduce that the required number of chilling hours for the same vine in Pennsylvania will probably be satisfied around late January to mid-February. Hence my concern for this early warming period we are feeling now. The vines in my area have already satisfied their needed chill requirement. With the continued warm temperatures, they may eventually emerge with new leaves. This is a concern because March weather is erratic and wild, with some late freezes and at other times mild wet and rainy days. If a late freeze occurs, small grape flowers will be ruined, forcing the vine to use its secondary, later flush of flowers. Those secondary flowers are not as numerous as the first flowers, which limits the number of potential grapes to grow.

For many folks, the warming time is the beginning of spring fever. It is a needed relief from a cold and raw winter. In fact, I don’t mind it either! I even wore shorts and a tee shirt today when taking my dog for a walk. The weather was pleasant, the air smelled fresh and the birds were singing/tweeting ferociously. On Wednesday I saw a few forsythias and flowering pears with the beginnings of flowers. I really do enjoy this break in the weather, but as a grape grower I enjoy it with a side of noted caution. Happy early Spring.

Thoughts on Politics and News

Recently, my Wife has been troubled by current events. This past Sunday, while driving home from Church, she told me she further believes the world is ending, and very soon. Now, to let you have some background, she has always been a pessimist, so I can’t hold it against her for having such “world ending” thoughts. But, the Church service we were just at had messages that said us Christians should be wary, since President Trump recently announced restrictions to USA entry for certain countries. It seems to me that the Church pastor wants to preach about possible similar prejudice situations for Christians. There are some reasons why this may be true, but in the end, there really should not be much to fret about.

The world is an ever changing place

I tried telling my wife that she should have no fear, since the world is currently ending and it always will be ending. No one knows when it will end. The world is an ever changing place, there will always be something to worry about. Personally, I am not worried about that fact. I told her my conclusion and she dismissed it. Hopefully the dismissal is just her pessimistic outlook on life. I have since come to think that her opinion may be a product of what she hears around her. Let me explain.

My wife does not watch the news or read the news (be it online or in print from). She gets most of her news through Facebook or what I tell her. Because of this, I have an opinion that most Americans are similar to my wife-they get their news from social media or second hand conversation. To me, social media is an echo chamber of nonsense. People complain, rant and yell all the time, “lets protest this” or “boycott that”. To a social media user, ever single thing they consume (newsworthy, that is) is most likely polarized and opinionated. There have even been examples of social media having polarization and/or “news” that was deemed important or less important to be shared. Some news was made to be popular while other popular news was hidden by social media companies. I have concerns that there could be an agenda or a process where certain news that the social media company likes is pushed to the masses. Some may find that hidden agendas are sinister, but I see them as a more common occurrence in our society where most people believe what they hear on social media. There is a powerful and large audience with social media, so the desire to send hidden messages to everyone disguised as news can be too tempting to pass up. I don’t know why the current news seems to be all about the world ending, or a disaster here and there. All I know is that sensational news with subjects as such sell advertisements an keep eyes and ears close by. Therefore, it is right for my wife and others to have a grim view of their world since they define their world by what is found on Twitter or Facebook.

Another way I find people tend to have world ending paranoia is through the 24-hour news cycle. Yes, it seems like I am going off into another rant about how the masses are fixated on their computer screens and not paying attention to anything…well I may be, haha. I am mentioning that there is a continued polarization in television news media. I see, especially during and after the election, an incessant drum pounding of news media whom are for or against Trump/Hillary. Everyone knows the age old joke about Fox News and how they are a stand in for the GOP. Yes, there is definitely a slant to the right for Fox. There is also a definite slant for MSNBC. Most people agree with this. What I am trying to tell people is that there are other hidden motives behind news media, besides the obvious one of political persuasion. Do a Google search for “6 media companies.” The results that you see are true, most American consumer media is founded under the wide umbrella of 6 large corporations. Now, the job of a business is to make money, everyone knows and respects that. However, when you get to be one of the 6 mega-companies who controls a machine that most Americans look at least 4 hours a day at, money becomes an afterthought. What becomes more lucrative, is power.

Think of any old bad guy/good guy tale. The antagonist has motives that usually sound something like they want/need/have power. For some men, power is far greater than money or fame. There are plenty of individuals that I am sure most folks have never heard of, who have a tremendous power in the behind-the-scenes America. Some of these individuals work in media. Their philosophy, their beliefs, their…agenda, flows from top down to the stations and tells them what to show. Since the TV is on at least 4 hours a day in every home, now you may realize why they call a show lineup “programming”. Its programming because the news media companies are programming the viewer to associate with the beliefs of the station and the owners at the top. Again, people may consider this to be sinister, even treacherous realization. Some may consider it to be un-American or completely ludicrous. I consider it normal, since the only logical step after maximizing profits is to further take advantage of every opportunity to lock in those potential, future profits. By wielding such power over many people, people see the world the way the media wants them to see. A dumb population who doesn’t want to do their diligence on story gathering and news reading is a population who believes everything they hear on TV. This is exactly what the media companies want-and by effect, is exactly why so many people, such as my Pastor and my wife, believe the world is ending. Its ending because its what powerful folks want you to think! Fear sells, and that means more eyes and ears to accept advertisements. Once people get their heads out of their TV and computer screens and relax, they will enjoy their life and find the world is not a place that is ending any time soon.

Enjoy your life! See this beautiful cardinal outside in the snow.

Budget & Living – Part 2

Hello all, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I certainly did, I received most of the gifts I asked for and a majority of them are gifts that make my life better and not clutter it up. I asked for a ceramic coffee mill and some tools, both of which I received from my family.  These gifts are useful to me because I enjoy fresh delicious coffee in the morning and I like to do my own car repairs, so the tools are really handy. I also for the first time did not receive any clothes! I am a big proponent of keeping wardrobes simple and efficient by getting rid of clothes I never use after a year. But enough of that! There will be more on decluttering and efficient living down the road. Today, we talk for the second time about budgets and living.

I would like to bring my thoughts back to living simply through a budget and also trying to minimize the “cost of running our business” – aka the family. I talked before about having a budget and breaking it down between items that are necessary and items that can be reduced. Necessary things in a budget would be a rent/mortgage payment, health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, savings, future payments for cars or other big ticket items, utilities, etc. These items are things I like to set in stone right away, and then build the remaining budget with discretionary items, which are items I like to try to reduce.

To start, first take a look at your income. I am going to do all of my budget calculations with a $50,000 sample income. This is a good example income for a below average American two earner household or an above average individual American income. Other income amounts can be used too, but I want to keep this budget as realistic as possible. Substitute in your own income and adjust accordingly. As you will see, the total income does not matter, since we are going to exercise our budget in terms of percentage spent on each category.

Take that sample $50k income and look at your take home income, or “after tax” income. This is the money you earn each week, bi-weekly or monthly. Regardless of your payment schedule, take that after tax income and equate it out to what you would make in one month. In my example, the person making $50k would take home $3000/month, or make $36,000 a year take home after tax. Note: depending on your household and filing status, most people will receive a partial tax refund for “overpaying” each month. We can talk about taxes another day. For now, just remember that our example is making $3000/month to budget for. Any tax refund is then extra money to be used for other purposed come June the following year.

Our example income earner makes $3000 per month to budget for. Let’s look at this person’s mandatory expenses they must budget for each month. Say for our person, they have one car with a car payment, a small rental apartment, insurance for the apartment and car, utilities to pay for at the home and their employer has an 401k retirement matching program. Their employer also has a health care sharing program through the company. Also, don’t forgot those student loans!

These mandatory expenses work out to be:

  • Health insurance at work = $100
  • 401k Retirement plan at work: 3% of yearly salary = $125
  • Rent = $1200
  • Car payment = $200
  • Rental/car insurance bundle = $145
  • Utilities (electric, water, heating) = $200
  • Student Loans = $400

Total: $2370/mo in mandatory expenses

Remaining budget: $630! Wow look how fast basic American living can destroy a budget and how mandatory spending can account for about 80% of a person’s income.

As you take a look at the above breakdown, can you find any ways to reduce the budget? I can. The person can reduce or eliminate their car payment by saving for and driving a car older than 6 years old. Even if they had to take out a car loan for the car, it would be significantly cheaper to have a lower payment on a less expensive car. Plus, the cheaper, used car would also have less of an insurance burden, which would lower the car insurance cost.

A big stickler with my own household is utilities. Note the $200 per month utility bill. Note how I also did not include cable TV and internet connection as a utility. I do not believe these are utilities, as they are still a luxury in my book (that is notwithstanding I still purchase both of these in my own home). In my own house, I try my hardest to lower the utility burden. This can be as simple as buying LED light bulbs and replacing every incandescent (old fashioned) or florescent (spiral type) bulbs. The incandescent bulbs use 90% of their energy as waste heat and the florescent bulbs use 30% of their energy as waste heat (plus they have mercury inside them which is toxic if the bulb breaks). LED bulbs only use 10% of the former in energy usage which will drastically cut the electricity bill. Utilities can further be reduced by turning off lights and appliances, and even turning down the heat in the winter (up for AC in the summer). My utilities range from $145 in the winter (oil heat cost) to $75 in the summer, all by me and my wife trying the most to follow these simple steps.

By driving an older car and lowering the car payment, in addition to being smart with home utilities, you can save up to $167 per month. That extra $167 can easily pay for an average cable TV/internet bundle and a $40/month smart phone plan. Conversely, you can add even a $100 from your new savings to your company 401k plan each month and save 5.4% of your income instead of 3%. Together with the 3% 401k company match, you will be saving 8.4% a year-which is an excellent way to manage your money (and probably a better rate of savings than most people).

I hope you enjoyed the simple breakdown of “mandatory spending” in budget planning. Soon, I will tackle the more fluid “discretionary spending” part of the budget – where we will discuss the usage of the remaining $630 left per month. We will also run a scenario with the more cost conscious mandatory spending I proposed earlier and add that savings to our discretionary spending.

How to Propagate: Italian Cypress and Atlantic White Cedar

Today I’d like to show you how to propagate plants. I plan to propagate Mediterranean (Italian) Cypress and Atlantic White Cedar. These are two of my favorite plants and its never a bad idea to try to have more of them.

Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing plants. If you like to garden, or are a plant nut like me, propagating your existing plants to have more of them or even trade them is a fun pastime. It really does not take too long, just 15 minutes of work and some patience.

Like I said before, the Mediterranean Cypress and Atlantic White Cedar are two of my favorite plants. The Cypress, cupressus sempervirens (also known as Italian Cypress), and White Cedar, chamaecyparis thyoides, (aka Whitecedar), are in the same genus, or group, of plants. Italian Cypress is a famous tall, slender evergreen tree with scaly needles. The Whitecedar is also a tall, somewhat more full tree with scaly needles. Cypress grows in Mediterranean climates, or in places with artificial irrigation, similar to Arizona or California. The Whitecedar grows along the Eastern Seaboard, from Maine to Florida, in swamps and bottomlands. The Whitecedar is also evergreen. Both trees are used as ornamentals in the garden, with Cypress being used extensively in climates that it can survive. The Cypress is reportably hardy to 0 deg F, while the Whitecedar is considerably hardier, to below -20 deg F.

To propagate these trees, first gather cuttings. Cuttings should be taken in the winter on younger trees. If a young tree is not available, take a cutting from a low branch. The theory is that a low branch will have more natural rooting tendencies. When taking cuttings from the Whitecedar, be sure to take only a few. Atlantic White Cedars were once common in large tracts in their original range, however logging has reduced their range to 30% of its extent. The wood is waterproof and was highly sought after in the colonial days. Being that the tree usually grew in pure stands, with most being perfectly straight, it was a logger’s easy picking to cut many of them down. So, take only a few cuttings and let the native tree be.

First, gather the supplies. You will need scissors (or a knife), plant material, water, rooting hormone, potting mix, a pot, and a plastic zip-lock bag. Snip the cuttings down to 4″-6″ high individuals. Find individuals with stems that are 1″ to 2″ long, so they can adequately stand upright in the soil. If there are leaves near the bottom 2″ of the stem, remove them so the stem is bare. Set your desired cuttings aside.

Prepare the potting mix. The mix should be a well draining but decent water retentive mix. This seems like an oxymoron, such as “what soil drains water quickly but still holds water?” Crazy talk, or not. Perlite and peat moss are a good solution to what we are looking for. Taking 50% perlite and 50% peat moss, combine both into a pot and mix thoroughly. The perlite is a volume filler, allowing large pours that have air. These pores allow water to drain quickly, not saturating the roots and potentially causing rot. The peat moss on the other hand is like a sponge, it holds water well. Together, the two soils form a great medium for root development, which is exactly what we are trying to do with plant propagation. There is no worry for over watering, but some water is always retained helping roots grow.

Take the potting mix and run it under the faucet to thoroughly saturate the mix. Stop filling water when water begins to drip from the bottom of the pot. Set the potting mix inside the plastic zip-lock bag. Next, pour some rooting hormone onto the table, or paper towel in my example. Dip each cutting in water, then into the rooting hormone powder. Tap each cutting to remove excess powder from caking the cutting, as excess powder will only hurt the roots from growing rather than help. Take another cutting, or use a pointy object (pen or pencil) and poke the soil to form a cavity. Place the cutting in the cavity, then gently tamp down the soil around the cutting to ensure there is no voids under the soil.

Finish up with the same procedure for the remaining cuttings. In my example, I used a 6″ diameter pot, which I felt comfortable filling with 2 large cuttings and 2 small cuttings.

The finished product should look like above. Close the zip-lock bag and set in a bright but indirect light window. Direct sunlight will burn the cuttings. The bag temperature should be between 60-75 degs, the warmer the better. Once a week, feel the soil with your finger. If it is bone dry, add a little more water. Try to avoid adding too much water, as this will cause mold or rot.

Over the years, I have been successful on a number of occasions with this method. Other times, I get mold and brown twigs. As with most plant endeavors, it seems like a 30-40% chance of success is normal. Don’t worry though, as over time you will refine your method. There is a great feeling gently tugging on your cuttings after 5-6 weeks and feeling a small resistance-this means that the rooting was successful! I wish you the best of luck with propagating these evergreens.

Look forward in the future for more plant propagation tips. There are many other methods of plant propagation that I would be happy to write about and demonstrate. I will also create a follow-up post in a few weeks to notify you of any of my new baby plants.

Budget & Living, Part 1

I would like to start a series in the blog, entitled “Budget & Living”. This series will be a few parts long, breaking down how my household has a budget and how we tackle debts and living expenses. I call it Budget & Living because I’ve noticed that a few different “budget busting” sites and blogs tend to have their followers go “all out” when defeating debt. This approach is okay, but there has to be a better way to feel good about ridding yourself of debts while still living life. My plan is a little radical, but after reading what I am thinking maybe you may not consider it as radical as it sounds.


Don’t go “all out”.

Why don’t you have to go all out? Too often I see my college friends and acquaintances are buying houses, getting new cars and the latest and greatest stuff. My inner minimalist says “ahh-no can do!”, they must have a ton of debt! The realist in me sees that they are making more money, are successful in their careers, hence they want to celebrate by living life. Their debt is something they live with, accepting it and “forgetting about it.” Both approaches have pros and cons, but my approach of “don’t go all out” seems to have a balance, at least I think (aka feel) it does.

A radical proposal.

I propose something radical; why not live off of 1/2 of your income? My grandparents thought this was normal. It was even normal to think like that while only having one breadwinner. What if you have two incomes, as most families do now a days, aka husband and wife working? Live off of one of their incomes! It still satisfies the living off of 1/2 an income since a husband and wife should be considering their net income as one income.

…why not live off of 1/2 of your income?

If America had a literal voice, she would cuss and swear and tell me that “their ain’t no darn gosh tooting way” she can live off of half her income. If America had a negative Nancy generation (some who even hasten to label them as a “nasty Nancy” generation) who would echo this clarion call, it would be the Millennials. Apparently, news media says I am a Millennial (25 years old to be exact). Millennials say how they are burdened with mountains of student loan debt and they would say how they aren’t ready to get married and also how they cannot afford a house…among other things. I say boo-who! I, with the help of my wife, lead our family by living off of half of our net income. You might think we do this by living under a rock, having no fun and be social outcasts. That is incorrect. My wife and I rent a nice (but old, drafty and dingy) single family home with a decent running yard for our dog. We could be getting a nicer rental property for our money but we like the area and the yard for the dog. We don’t move because most rentals at our rate are condos or townhouses with little or no grass. My wife and I have a ton of student loan debt, but I was able to live at my parents house for almost a year and pay off a tremendous amount of my own debt. The wife, on the other hand lived with her sister in the real world and did not have the ability to pay off as much debt. Now that we are married, she and I assumed each others debt. But its okay, no worries! Did I mention we are also saving about $1800 each month in a down payment fund? Yes, a rental payment, utility payments, a down payment, plus we are paying over $800 in student loan minimum payments each month. How in tarnation do we do it? Sometimes I don’t even know.

First things first: count your blessings.

I say count your blessings first because if you are reading this blog, you are a lucky person. I am not trying to boast about my blog, haha, I am merely mentioning that if you have access to a computer and internet, you are a minority. If you are healthy, if you have any job; you are lucky! Consider yourself blessed, either by God as we like to think or to whomever you believe is doing the blessing (Allah, Budda, Fate etc.) Remember to always be thankful for the life you have. Don’t envy those friends who go into debt to acquire the latest and greatest stuff. Be thankful for your own life and your own things. After counting those blessings, its time to start your budget.

Be thankful for your own life and your own things.

Business 101 = Budget 101

To run a business, the total amount of sales must be greater than your salary, your employee’s salaries, the cost of doing the business, and Uncle Sam’s heavy hand of taxation. After that is said and done, anything left over is pure profit! The same holds true for your life, or in this case; your household. Your sales is how much money you make, your own salary is how much you need to live each year (home and food). Your employee’s salaries are those if you have a spouse, or children or other people who depend on you. Uncle Sam’s hand is similar, but at a lower rate. Finally, the “cost of doing the business” is what is extra in your life: debts, fun, purchases, gambling etc etc etc. Most of the time, the cost of the first three things are solid and cannot be changed (yourself, your dependents and taxes), however the last part is what can be changed.

Stay tuned for the next part where I will set up a sample budget based on my own budget, and how I will share with you ways my wife and I fiddle with the “cost of doing business” in our own lives to save more money.  I really like talking about efficiency and finances, so I am very excited to continue the series with great updates on my own learning on how to achieve my dreams.

Welcome to the site

Hello, and welcome to Vineyard Roots!

My name is Victor, and this site/blog/thought area is a place for me to discuss and describe mine and my wife’s journey to fulfilling our dream-to have a vineyard. It has always been a personal goal of mine, to own and run a vineyard. I love growing things and I love grapes, therefore a vineyard was a logical dream to have. Luckily my wife who hates to work also is on board! You gotta love her for that.

I have been meaning to start this site in July 2016, but we were in full blown power mode planning our September wedding back then. Now, as its October, the wedding is finally over (it was a blast) and our lives have returned to normal. We are no longer feeling like we are back in college with the constant nag of wedding “homework” to do after real work. Now we are free!- to a point that is. Our new short term task (or my wife’s newest anxiety) is the purchase of a house. Between fall TV watching that she loves and house hunting online her free time is very little. We have some time before house hunting though, since we need to save for a down payment first.

About this site: I plan to update the site on a regular basis. There is no point in having anyone read our saga if there are no regular scheduled updates! I will post our week to week jobs and tasks related to realizing our dream. There will be other posts on topics that interest me, and possibly a few too many topics on plants. Some posts will be “how-tos” aka tutorial posts. Some posts will be informative, or just me questioning things. I will try not to rant and I am not a fan of politics, so there will not be any of that to taint the site. I look forward to hopefully have the chance to look back on this written record as a testament to a couple who achieved their dreams.

About myself: I like to keep things simple. I like to garden and grow things. I enjoy being outside in nature, be it in the woods or at home in the backyard. I love spending time outside with my dog. I love my wife very much. None of these things are in any order of importance of course!

I believe that in life, anything can be achieved. I see other individuals go out and start businesses, so that makes me want to do the same. I want to struggle with a challenge. I want to grow grapes and bring wine to the world. I want to be my own boss. I believe that me and my wife together can do just that.

So, follow me on our journey. I look forward to taking you along for the ride. Enjoy life and take it slow.