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Entries from November 2016

Today I went to town and used my PHONE to pay for EVERYTHING.

See, here in the 'third world' we have this really cool, modern thing called 'mpesa.' Basically, we load money on our phone by going to a little shop, handing the guy cash, and then he sends it digitally to our 'mpesa wallet' on our phone.

In a society where most people do not have bank accounts, and having cash in one's house is risky, mpesa is amazing.

Mpesa is everywhere. I took a taxi and paid by sending 'money' to the taxi driver's phone number.
I paid for our 30 'day old' chicks the same way.
I paid for our lunch, our groceries, our cow feed, etc... all through my cell phone that has now turned into my virtual wallet.

I pay our workers this way, as well, keeping our house cashless and safe.

Pretty cool? Huh? Money from our USA bank can be sent directly to my phone, too! It is INSTANT. No waiting. No going to a moneygram office or an atm. It is like someone handing me cash over thousands of miles right into my hands.

It has its limits, though. It only allows $1,000 worth of transactions in one day, and that is the max amount you can have in your 'wallet' at once. But we find it is a pretty modern thing for where we live.

*We have been using mpesa for years, but thought it would make an interesting article!


One of our readers is enjoying our archive posts so much, he suggested I remind folks that they are there! So for fun, perhaps, or to get to know us better, maybe try reading through some of our old blog posts. We have come a long way since 2005!


Farming Fails?

I like to always talk about the positive and try to keep things light, but for the sake of being completely honest, I am going to tell some truths.

As I was taking inventory of our farming successes and failures... I realised that we have not been completely successful.

Our rabbits have not produced much for us (people). Our cats have probably eaten over 150 baby bunnies over the two years since we moved here. In fact, we only have the male and the female rabbits left. The babies all vanish. Finally, we made our enclosure completely cat proof with double wire, and bunnies were hopping all over the place. A few weeks later, they started dying without any symptoms. I called the vet, but he didn't have the meds on hand. By the time he found some, the babies had all died. Hopefully, the mom and dad will produce more soon, and they will thrive.

Our cow has given birth three times since moving to The Shire. This is a success. However, each calf has been a bull, and we need more COWS. So that end of things is a failure. At least our cow produces milk for us to make butter and cheese.

Our chickens have been eating their own eggs, and they don't sit very well. From one 'couple' we have hatched and grown probably a maximum of six chickens in two years. We hardly get any eggs since they like eating them before we can. This is not a success. Since we ate the rooster this afternoon, we have found 2 eggs unharmed in the coop! Obviously, they won't be fertile, but we can eat them. I think we should just eat our 4 hens, buy 30 chicks and rear them up for future eggs and meat.

Our pigs have been the MOST successful animal on the farm. They have birthed 11 babies in the last two years, and we have sold 5 and given away the rest. We hope to buy a second sow so we can always have piglets around...

As far as farming produce goes, we managed to grow some maize that looks pretty small, but our fruit trees are growing (minus the ones the neighbor's cows munched). Plus, our boxes are growing beautiful carrots, spinach, a few beets, oregano, and strawberries!