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Does yogurt count as a retirement plan?

November 7, 2010

How’s your root acquisition going?

I know that as you’re approaching 40, you’re supposed to be storing away money, not carrots, or even the lovely pink potatoes that I grabbed from our root cellar (laundry room) for tonight’s curry. And even though I did feel wealthy unearthing all those colorful tubers beside our washing machine, it’s not like spying corners of green paper under the mattress.

Dan and I were recently talking about trying to pay down our mortgage a little more each month with the hopes of owning our house outright by the time the kids are teenagers. At which point we quit our jobs, buy a VW van and take the kids on a berry-picking tour of the country. Can we stay with you?

Actually, this discussion of how much we could afford to throw at our mortgage every month evolved into the realization that we don’t have A PLAN for our retirement, and it made me wonder if back in the day, a Jersey cow, a root cellar and owning your own property was the retirement plan.

Right now, the wind is whooshing saffron-colored leaves to the ground, a vat of sauerkraut is bubbling down the hall, chickadees are nabbing sunflower seeds furtively like masked bandits, yogurt is brewing on the stovetop, and Col is checking Rose’s pulse (to see if the CPR he just gave her worked).

I can’t help but feel wealthy.

Also, I do save some significant cash (approx $50/month) making my own yogurt and it’s super easy. Read this week’s San Juan Table to get inspired! Or tell me your yogurt making method! Or your retirement plan.

PS: I’ve been nominated on a Top Mom Blogger List (it’s like the write-in nomination in an election). Go here and tell them you like me (click on alphabetical listings).

21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2010 10:14 pm

    Does a ridiculous number of children’s books and a cabinet full of art supplies count as a retirement plan? Other than that, I’ve got nothin’.

  2. Emily permalink
    November 7, 2010 10:27 pm

    I love the two for one: blog + San Juan Table! I realize it isn’t good for your retirement, but I can’t believe your writing is free! No retirement plan, unless you count a loving extended family, hopefully well adjusted kids and a house?

  3. Bonnie permalink
    November 7, 2010 10:42 pm

    I marvel at your fine food served up. If only more people could learn to appreciate simple fresh food, there would be far fewer health problems in our world. I preach this non stop, but few seem to listen.

  4. November 7, 2010 11:36 pm

    Our plan sounds a lot like yours~except our home will move to Northern Cal. Yes, already so very wealthy. Loved that!

  5. Chi-An permalink
    November 7, 2010 11:37 pm

    Of course you can stay with us! We’ll hopefully have some decent berries in our yard by then. We have blackberries, starting on strawberries- harvested a whopping 3 of them this year- and are dreaming of blueberries.

    On my harvest-related list for this weekend was: freeze green beans, make applesauce, pickle cucumbers. I accomplished the first two and am terribly proud of myself. Small potatoes (haha) in comparison to your extravaganza, but nonetheless rewarding.

    Thanks for the perspective and xoxo.

  6. November 8, 2010 12:34 am

    Rachel, Rachel, Rachel… I am swooning over your yogurt post. I do SO adore a good batch of homemade yogurt, and hate to say that it is close to number ONE on my list of “can’t eat”. UGH! It seems downright unfair! (Isn’t warm yogurt, freshly made sooo good!?) Anyhow, I make mine (well for my family, not ME) in the dehydrator, as I have NOT had success with the other methods. The dehydrator is great and I can make 9 pints at a time. Also, did you know that if you let it ferment for around 24 hours, it eats up ALL the lactose!? SO, lactose intolerant types can have it. Also, I must agree with Dan on the savory pleasures of yogurt. I love it with dill and cukes… and since you were the one to mention curry today – it goes so good on curry! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. November 8, 2010 5:48 am

    I think when we, as a culture, stored up roots instead of cash we died about the time our limbs got tired of pulling up said roots.

    I think that’s about right anyhow. When you’re too tired to pull roots… time to lay down and become one. So, sounds like you’ve got it about right..

    We went on a berry picking trip once. Huckleberry Haven we called it. Northern Montana was the furthest reach for that double H. And I’ve got great pictures to prove our pleasure. Nothing beats that kind of retiring…at any age.

  8. November 8, 2010 8:01 am

    yes, yes you can stay. of course, I have no idea where we’ll be then, so please call first so I can give you the proper address. (ha!)
    we’re only in our early and mid 30’s here and all ready talking about retirement. saving extra money so Joe can quit too ;) one great thing about this kind of living is that once the house is paid off, folks like us don’t need a lot of money to live. a few odd jobs here and there are just enough to make life good and keep the power company from shutting the electricity off.
    our retirement goals are simple : if it’s sunny on tuesday, we want to go hiking. freedom!

  9. November 8, 2010 9:45 am

    That’s a smart way to think!
    Retirement wasn’t in my vocabulary but having a house paid for was! Guess it works the same. Ginny

  10. November 8, 2010 10:41 am

    You can stay with us on your berry-picking tour, but I’m sure you won’t need to worry about retirement…you’ll be raking in the royalties on your books! I do the cooler method, putting my jars in a large pan of hot water which I lower into the cooler. But, I need to get more organized, because after the second or third batch, we get tired of yogurt or forget about it and it gets moldy and I have to go out and buy another plastic tub full to start more (and my kids live for the visits to one of their grandmothers who stuffs them full of Stoneyfield Farms strawberry (sugar and beet juice and “natural flavor”) yogurt).

  11. November 8, 2010 1:17 pm

    Um, hi. My name is Aldra and I’m a little slightly obsessed with personal finance and retirement planning. If by slightly I mean a daily topic of conversation and numbers crunching. Praise the sweet glory of distance, or I would be at your house right now, forcing you–I mean, helping you–plan the World’s Most Amazing and Doable Retirement Plan.

    Instead, I can offer up a free book! One of the authors of “Your Money or Your Life” gave me a massive box of older editions to give away (seriously? How awesome is that?). It’s hands down the best personal finance book out there (altough many folks don’t agree with the investment advice. Lawd knows there’s no shortage of other books on investment to read). If you haven’t read it yet, shoot me an email with your deets and I’ll send you a copy this weekend. Best. personal. finance. book. EVAH.

    And yeah, your mad skills are hugely important in a retirement plan. People lacking self-sufficiency have to pay for everything. You and Dan, being supreme badasses, need not worry about such nonsense. Booyah!

  12. Melissa Neta permalink
    November 8, 2010 2:20 pm

    Now I really have no excuse not to make my own yogurt! Thank you!

    And we have all kinds of retirement plans, but then again, Leeor’s parents have been so on top of us about it that it’s easier to just do it and quiet them (: But we are still renting–I feel like owning your home outright is s huge boon.

    Anytime you guys find yourselves on a berry-picking tour, you just let me know and the door is open. . .seriously, Avi would have such a massive crush on Rose!

  13. rose permalink
    November 8, 2010 4:24 pm

    What you have is true wealth the likes of which cannot be taken away. It’s the type of “recession-proof” security we are working towards ourselves. To live debt-free with the ability to grow your own food is the ultimate in financial independence if you ask me.

  14. Barb permalink
    November 8, 2010 8:41 pm

    sell Rose’s Victorian era stellar antique dress for a bundle….though maybe that becomes the college fund?

  15. November 8, 2010 11:59 pm

    You can totally stay with us!! I think your food storage is maybe more of a winter plan than a retirement plan, but if it helps you save more money in the long run, then maybe it counts as both? Seriously, it would be so cool to have some blog acquaintances visit. My parents traveled for 3 months this summer after mom retired, and they want to take us traveling next summer. Maybe I could encourage them to hit your neck of the woods?

    I bet once your kiddos are a bit older you will be able to write more and get more income that way. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

  16. November 9, 2010 1:36 am


    Loving the $$$ saved on yogurt, off to read up!

    Erin :-)

  17. November 9, 2010 7:44 am

    The only retirement plan we’ve discussed in our house resembles yours pretty closely! It definitely sounds like you’ve got a much more concrete type of wealth than many!

  18. November 9, 2010 3:23 pm

    I try and believe that my yarn stash that I have saved and gathered from friends, family, etc acts as my retirement plan, since I am trying to knit the boy’s all of the sweaters every year.

    I have added up the savings from doing things like making my own yogurt, cheese, etc, and I am amazed at the savings. This is a wonderful post, and a great reminder.

  19. November 10, 2010 10:44 pm

    My mom is a financial planner. Her skills and interest were clearly NOT genetic.


    If you come to Canada, please come stay a while.

  20. Diane H permalink
    November 11, 2010 11:50 pm

    We’re trying to pay our house down, too, just in case our only jobs are part time at the ski mountain then we could still afford to live here (adjustable rate mortgage makes that a bit more possible).

    That said, your adventure sounds awesome, and totally do-able. Even if your house wasn’t paid, you could rent out your home while you are on adventure and that could pay the mortgage.


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