Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finding Abundance

I went to a class sponsored by Backyard Abundance today. This is a local group advocating permaculture and local foods. It was an inspiring morning. Not much new information for me but it did motivate me to work more on our permaculture plan for the property.
Now I'm really pumped to attend the two day workshop in March on landscape design. This is the first in a series of classes that they are providing that will eventually lead to a nationally recognized certificate in permaculture design. I'm going to have to save my pennies.
I'd post more... but we're still celebrating the signed offer for the house and I've had more wine than I am able to easily type with.....
Have a good rest of your weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ooo, a chance to win!!

Penny over at All Natural Mama is hosting a giveaway. A cast iron skillet!!! Can you believe that!? What a sweet deal. I really hope I win. I love, love, love cast iron. And I only have three! I have one large (12 inch), one medium (8 inch) and one small (4 inch). Would you believe that the small one gets the most use? It's just the right size for cooking a single egg.
In house news- we have no news. We haven't had a call from our realtor so either he is really busy or the buyers let the deadline pass without accepting the counteroffer. I just wish I knew one way or the other.

Updated just minutes after posting!!!
Heard from our realtor. They signed!!!! And they now have our permission to show the house to perspective renters and if they can get it rented they will close before April 1.
Darn it, we don't even have any champagne!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another offer

Woo Hoo. We have another offer on the house in town. Another property investment group. Again they offered low but our realtor called theirs right away and told them that we won't go for less than $..... Their agent called them and they said OK, send the counter offer. So that is off to them this evening. They have until 3:00 Friday afternoon to take it or not. I was rather surprised, they are offering a CASH sale. Eeek. Who has that kind of money just lying around!?? Definitely not me. The downside is that they don't want to close until April 1 (not exactly an auspicious day) But at this point, I'll take a firm offer. And, we've lived with our current financial situation for about 10 months already, we can do this for another two. Of course, our financial cushion is much, much flatter than it was a year ago- but there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looking up

Things are looking up on the home front. V is feeling a bit better already- after only 2 days of antibiotics. The sun was shining this afternoon. And, when V and I went to the house in town to shovel the walks (we had about an inch and a half of snow yesterday- with wind!!) there were fresh footprints in the snow. Someone had been by to look at the house. And, we had a call from our realtor. There are 4 showings scheduled between now and the end of the week. Hurrah! Hopefully something will come through for us. This makes me even more glad we turned down that offer we had over the weekend. Something better is in store- I can just feel it (either that or it's the warm cat on my lap!).
We had a brief meeting at work today to clarify schedules. Our new therapist started with us this week (I had done some orientation with her a week or so ago) so assignments are being shuffled. I'm actually ending up being the "jack (or jill) of all trades" I'm doing lots of coverage when people are off or have conflicts. And I'm picking up most of the cognitive evaluations that we do for placement purposes. It's a jumble of stuff and rarely the same thing every day but it won't be dull, that's for sure! At least I have a set schedule of group coverage so I know somewhat of what I'll be doing in a day.
I need to sit down with my calendar and start plotting out planting dates for things. Unfortunately, the weekend when I would probably be setting things out in the garden we will be out of town for my niece's wedding in Colorado. Maybe I can schedule a few days off after we get back to plant and recover from the wedding. Of course, looking at all the ice and snow out there, it's hard to believe that it will ever warm up. It's been forever since I've seen the grass- even cold and brown!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Independence Days, long overdue

It's been a long while since I posted an Independence Days update. Of course, we are in the dark days of winter so the production aspect is absent. But, here goes the update:
1. Plant something- Yes, I actually did. I planted some chive seeds in a little pot on the kitchen windowsill. I saved some seeds last year from our chives in town and while I could transplant some from there, I thought I'd try to to start some from seed. I also picked up some herb seeds (see the last post) and hope to get the rest ordered soon. I also have figured out where I will do my seed starting this year. I don't have the set up I have used in past years and now I have cats to contend with. I'll do a post on the seed starting cupboard when I get it up and running- I'd hate to spoil the surprise.
2. Harvest something- Nope, only snow and ice. And we've got plenty of both that I'd be willing to share with anyone who feels deprived.
3. Preserve something- not yet. I got a good deal on some organic oranges so we have been saving the peels and will make candied orange peel. I also need to process some apples from the fridge but I'll need to see when I have time to do that.
4. Waste Not- Um, just the usual. We have been really good at remembering to take the cloth bags to the store lately. I did resort to getting little packets of hot chocolate mix for the sledding party the other weekend so that contributed to extra waste around here.
5. Want Not- Hit the sales at the store recently and got some extra dog food and toilet paper- all the things that make the world go around. V picked another 50 lbs of ice melt/rock salt today. Our entire driveway is a skating rink so I'm sure that won't last long.
6. Community food systems- While I haven't actually done this- I'm planning to go to a series of events sponsored by a local organization that promotes local foods and permaculture. 7. Eat the food- Hm, let's see. There was a lovely beef veggie soup of local ingredients, all from stores. Except for milk, eggs and citrus fruit/juice. We've been pretty self sufficient.

It's been a while since I made yogurt but I may be trying that out again in the near future. V is now on his third course of antibiotics trying to kick a sinus infection. He's now on a 2 week course of antibiotics (Levaquin) that are almost guaranteed to shred his guts, hence the yogurt. Hopefully this round will do the trick though. He's been fighting this since just before the start of the year and a month of living with him living with the off and on "ice pick through the face" pain is getting really old. And of course, all three times he has been to the doctor I have had to coerce him to go... sigh... men.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Impulse buy?

V and I made a trip out to the grocery store this afternoon. They were having a good sale on a few things today only in honor of their 80th anniversary. While we were out and in that part of town we stopped at a local garden center to check out their seeds. I knew that they carried seeds from Seed Savers Exchange and wanted to see what they had.
Only a few....
I picked up a package of the Black Sea Man tomatoes. They are the one new tomato I want to try this year. I was thinking about just trying to get a plant when we make our trip to Decorah this spring but I was worried that they wouldn't have any. This way I can share some plants or seeds with others. I just think they look so cool.
I also got some seeds from Botanical Interests out of Colorado. I got some Clary Sage and Summer Savory for the herb spiral and a mix of heirloom varieties of basil (cinnamon, genovese, lemon, lime, mammoth and purple) that should be fun.
The true impulse buy was a pack of hollyhock seeds. An heirloom variety called The Watchman. They evidently are such a dark purple that they look black. And the package says that the blossoms are edible. I guess I didn't realize that hollyhocks were edible. But black flowers looked so fun.
I still need to pick up a few more herbs. Many of the perennials we are planning to pick up as plants this spring since I know that several places here in town carry locally grown herb starts.
Some of the more obscure things I want I'm likely going to have to order. I will need to check out to see if Botanical Interests has a website since it looked like they have good stuff.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recitals and such

J15 had her violin recital this afternoon. She is glad to finally have it over. My parents drove up to hear her play. J15 played second to last of a group of 17 students. The children ranged in age from a little boy probably 5 or 6 to J15 and one of her friends who were, I think, the oldest. It is kind of fun to have the mix of beginners and more experienced students.
Waiting before the recital.
Isn't she pretty? Of course, I may be just a bit prejudiced about that. Her violin is a family heirloom on V's side of the family. It was her great, great grandfather's, built in the early 1800s and was supposedly, one of the first in the state of Minnesota long ago. I did shoot video of her performance that I may try to post later. It's too long for blogger to accept and I don't feel like editing it tonight.
I12 baked the cookies that we took for the reception after the recital. He is doing a cooking unit in school and has to prepare three different dishes. Each recipe has to have at least 3 ingredients that need measured and he has to write out the recipe and detail what he did and what he had help with. I was thinking about this assignment, thinking that it wasn't really that difficult but then I thought about all those people out there who don't cook. (oh, and butter doesn't count as a measured ingredient- probably because you just cut it off the stick) Most box mixes don't have 3 or more measured ingredients. He's had the assignment for only a week and is already finished with it and it isn't due until mid February. But then, he likes to cook.

We did hear back from our realtor this morning. We had asked the prospective buyers to change the closing date back to the one they had originally proposed but with the new, agreed upon price. They decided to walk out and keep looking. I'm not sure what was on their agenda but now we are once again without buyers for the house. But, really, I'm not that worried about it. There was something too fishy about this offer that made me a bit uncomfortable. Like I said in a previous post, a new add hit the newspaper yesterday and the house hunting 'season' here is just beginning.

It is raining here today- and almost 40 degrees!!! Of course, with as much snow and ice as we have on the ground, it is a slippery mess out there. I still need to finalize my seed order. I don't think I'm even going to be ordering any veggies- I've already got plenty of seeds but I do need to order my herbs. And the cherry tree that we want- and a couple more blueberries.
I did run across a bit in the paper about a series of programs called "Seeds of Sustainability" sponsored by Backyard Abundance, a local organization. I have seen information on their organization for a while but have never been able to attend any of the events they have sponsored because of conflicts. But I think I'm going to try to go to some of them this year. They are planning a two day workshop in March about permaculture landscaping. It costs $110 but may be worth it. I'm going to try to go to the event next Saturday. It's called 'Find Abundance in Growing Food'. I'm not new to growing my own food but I'd really like to meet some of the people in this organization. I've been feeling the need for more local involvement and this could be the way to go. They are also going to be sponsoring a seed swap on March 6 that could be fun. That is K9's birthday but hopefully I can sneak away for an hour to do a swap or two.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weirdness and a discount

Things just keep getting odder and odder. We heard back from our realtor. Evidently the investment group that made an offer on our house in town accepted our counteroffer price. But they want to move the closing date to May 1. WTF!! We really don't want to sit on this house for an extra two months if we don't have to. Honestly, even though we are early days for this negotiation I'm about ready to tell them to come back when they can be reasonable. The new add for the house with the new, lower price went into the paper today so I'd hate to accept an offer from these guys (which was really the bare minimum of what we are willing to accept- but we offered 'as is' meaning we won't pay for any repairs that need to be made to bring it up to code for a rental) if there is the potential for something better out there. The housing 'season' is really just beginning here for the year. We've got a few days to think it over so maybe we won't accept it at all. Or we were thinking that maybe, if they really want to wait until May, they need to pay us more money, since we will still be paying taxes, utilities (even though minimal) and interest on the home equity loan we took out on it to finance the repairs on our new house. We'll see.
On a cheerier note. I got another email from Scott at Hometown Seeds yesterday. It goes as follows:


We at Hometown Seeds have been overwhelmed by the help given to us by the online gardening community. From advice on products, tips to improve our website, and links to help increase traffic to our site, we sincerely appreciate all you have done for us.

In appreciation for your help, we would like to offer a 10% discount on all of our products to you and your web community. By entering the coupon code thanks, 10% will be reduced from the total cost of any order. The code will be good through February 28, 2010. Feel free to offer this to your readers and visitors.



So, if you're interested in a 10% discount, check them out. They are NOT 100% heirloom seeds. They do have some hybrids that, if I remember, are clearly marked. But they do not sell genetically modified seeds.

And, I received an award from Yart. I'll post more about it later and select a few recipients. Thanks Yart!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm back...

Miss me? We have been without internet service at home for a bit (maybe due to the ice storm we've had?) and I think I'm going through blog withdrawal. I do have a post up over at Homemakers Who Work today about my wonderful co-workers.
I'll try to play catch up on everyone's blog at some point. Maybe not tonight though. We're meeting with our realtor. We had an offer on our house in town but we're not thrilled about it. It's a really low-ball offer (about $20000 less than we're asking and not even as much as the assessed value of the house). We need to decide if we're going to counter offer or tell him to come back when he's ready to make a real offer. We wonder if he's thinking that we're desperate since it has been on the market for a while. We're not that desperate.
I'll keep you posted and try to put up some pictures of the beautiful but treacherous ice.

Monday, January 18, 2010

When bloggers meet

They exchange seeds of course!
I had the good fortune to meet a fellow blogger 'for real' this afternoon. Jen R of Emerald Sunshine and I discovered that we only live a few miles apart (maybe 15?). So she, her two lovely children and her brother all trekked down the highway to our house today. The children had hoped to go sledding on our hill but after a few runs decided that it was too icy and fast. So, they came in, had hot chocolate and watched cartoons with my children. Jen and her brother got the tour of the house (and all the unfinished projects), we chatted for a while and then got down to business exchanging seeds. What fun!!!
I'm excited to try out the seeds I got from her. There is a rainbow cauliflower mix and Rosse di Milano red onions but most exciting of all are a few seeds of Galeux D'Eysines pumpkin. Ooo. Fun!!! I'm going to have to expand the garden!
I had a lovely time, although, honestly, I was nervous about letting her in. I mean, really, she saw the cold cereal on top of the fridge (and a few 2 liter bottles of soda- gasp!!!). She got to see our chaotic, barely finished basement and that we still have a lot of things in boxes 6 months after we moved. Definitely no blog 'polish' here. I do hope I didn't scare her off. It's fun to know that someone 'out there' is really quite near.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And a grand time was had by all!

And this is post 400!
We were the host for the January Youth event for our church today. We hosted a sledding party at our home. It was a nearly perfect day. We had snow on the ground, temps in the low 30's and about 30 people sledding on our hill.
We had hot chocolate, hot spiced cider and I12 baked snickerdoodles.
J15 shows some attitude.

A dad and 4 children (not all his own) try a run down the hill!
Sledding through the trees. EEEK!
We had a fire outside and toasted marshmallows.
And made S'mores... Mmmmm!
The woman in the foreground is my friend D. She has agreed to teach me to knit on Wednesday evenings while our children are in choir. Hurrah!!!
D's son L on the big hill.
In case you're wondering, he is a dwarf. But generally a rather normal teenager.
After everyone left, V and I sat outside by the fire- relaxing and drinking rum and the last of the spiced cider. It was wonderful.
A crackling fire
And a happy, relaxed V!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I finally joined the 21st century with technology and used my cell phone to make a donation to relief efforts in Haiti. Amazingly enough, people have donated over $10 million as of Friday afternoon through text messaging!!! $10 at a time.
Simply text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. I did. You can too. The donation will show up as a $10 charge on your phone bill. But all the money goes to the Red Cross. Your cell company doesn't keep a dime.
Even as tight as our finances are at the moment- we can afford $10 for people who have nothing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Come on...

Hey all you out there in Blogland. Guess what I discovered! Today is National Delurking Day! So, what does that mean, you may ask. It means, if you've been stopping by for a while, leave a comment to say hello.
I love all the people I've been "meeting" over the past year or so. Come on in, I'd like to get to know you. I'll put the kettle on....

ACK- a boxelder bug just landed on my keyboard. Ewww.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A grocery confession

I have a confession to make....
I used a box mix tonight for dinner. It is one of my few grocery prepackaged indulgences. What do I fall victim to, you may ask? Ok, it is Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix. We love that stuff, and their chicken creole as well. Oh, I know I could learn to make it myself from scratch but I'm lazy on occasion.
This is one of those quick easy meals that I make to use up little bits of leftover meat in the fridge. I do add extra rice to the mix and whatever leftovers are handy. Tonight we had the mix with chicken, a bit of Italian Sausage and some frozen shrimp thrown in for good measure (the shrimp were not leftovers). Sometimes it has left over bits of beef or pork.
I do try to cook mainly from scratch but sometimes it's good to be bad.
Anybody else have a grocery confession?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another night as kitchen assistant

I'm going to get spoiled. Last night V cooked dinner and tonight I12 wanted to take a turn. He asked early enough to get his idea onto the menu plan for the week. Fortunately, we had all the ingredients on hand to make what he wanted- Shepherd's Pie. Well, a variation of it. We used our local, grass-fed beef rather than lamb. And a tasty local meal it was.
Mashed potatoes go on top.
Oh my, he's getting tall!!
I12 has said for several years now that he wants to be a chef when he grows up. For being 12, he is already a pretty good cook. (although I still cringe when he's chopping veggies- it's a Mom thing) Since he has expressed such interest in cooking he got in his stocking this holiday season the Cooking Personal Trainer for his Nintendo DS. After getting over the disappointment of it not being a real game, he decided that it was pretty cool. And it is. It walks you step by step through a recipe giving verbal directions. And you can use voice commands to have it repeat a step or move on to the next. I was impressed by the number and variety of recipes it has from all over the world. It should be fun. I think next he wants to make steamed dumplings. That's even a new one for me. He is in the middle of a cooking unit in school which should be pretty easy for him.
Tomorrow I'm back in the kitchen for jambalaya. That was K9's request for the week. He wanted something with lots of shrimp. Definitely not something local but oh so good. And we have quite a few in the freezer from pre-holiday sales.

Work will be a bit more interesting for the next few months. One of my co-workers had a baby yesterday. A bouncing baby boy, her first child. They are both doing well. But that means that we are another person down until she gets back. Our new staff member will be starting with us on the 25th but that still means a few weeks of being really short staffed. Oh well, we will survive. We always do.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


They're what's for dinner!??
V took a turn in the kitchen this evening, showing off his cooking skills and his sense of humor...
Hard at work.
Making hamsters!
Ok, they are really his take on Chicken Cordon Bleu- with the addition of bacon 'ears'. Calling this dish hamsters has a long history in our family but the ears were a first!
Baking away all cozy in the oven.
Poor little tasty things...
They were really yummy and it was fun to see the reaction of the children. And speaking of children... while we were gone last night, J15 cut K9's hair! Ok, he was looking pretty shaggy and needed it but....
She did a really great job!
She may have just earned herself a new task. She said she looked it up on Wiki-how. Who knew....

It's been kind of fun recently, I've had several new readers commenting... Welcome along on our crazy journey! It's nice to 'meet' you.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Busy Saturday

Well, I got my apple trees ordered. We did a little re-thinking after I checked the Stark's website. We still got them from Gurney's since they had better prices for standard trees. We debated between standard and semi-dwarf trees and decided to go with the standard trees. It will take a bit longer for them to really produce but we have the space and thought it was worth the wait. We are going to order our cherry from Stark's though since they had some different varieties. But there isn't a rush on that one.
In other news, tonight V and I are going out- not that it will be that much fun, though. Tonight is my work 'Winter Get-together'- otherwise known as the schmooze and booze. But I won't be drinking- I slipped on the ice this afternoon and twisted my hip funny so I've taken some Advil and don't want to drink on top of it. Just as well- it's a cash bar and they always charge WAAAY too much for bad wine.
V and I went into town today and shoveled out the driveway, back patio and all the sidewalks at the house in town in preparation for an open house tomorrow. Cross your fingers for us. We're thinking about dropping the price a bit again but are hopeful that after the holidays people will start looking again, especially since the homebuyer's tax credit ends in April. I would really like to get that house sold and pay off some debt. We had the consultation with I12's orthodontist yesterday morning. We're looking at $4600 spread out over two and a half years which brings it to about $150 a month. Our insurance is really bad for orthodontics so we basically end up paying most of that. But his teeth are really bad- he is likely to have to have oral surgery since one of his upper canine teeth is coming in perpendicular to where it is supposed to be and she doesn't think it can be moved into position and will start causing all kinds of problems in his upper jaw. Ugh. Just what we needed, one out of braces, one in. K9 will most likely be next. His teeth aren't as bad as the older two, thank goodness!
Well, we've gotta go soon. Schmoozing starts at 6:30 and the catered dinner at 7. But really, last year, the food was pretty good for $5 per person.
Stay warm out there, It's already below zero here again. Someday it will warm up.

Parmesan bread

Last weekend I tried a new bread recipe. It was really tasty. I've got the recipe posted over at Homemakers Who Work. Check it out. It's fast, easy and fun!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Of herbs and such

I was home from work today...and it wasn't the weather, although the weather outside is frightful! I was sick. Yup, sore throat, cough, low-grade fever and generally feeling icky. School was in session but K9 was the only one who went. I12 was hacking and coughing all night and we decided even before we went to bed last night that he wasn't going. J15 was also coughing and miserable this morning so we let her stay home as well. It was a day of snuggling on the couch under the blankets, drinking lots of herbal tea and for me at least, going through the seed catalogs.
I've got my fruit tree order ready to go and I'll probably place that tonight. It's through Gurney's. They're having an on-line early-bird sale and I've got a $25 off coupon that I can use. So we've got plans for Granny Smith, Gala and Sweet Sixteen apples, a Stella Cherry, and two more highbush blueberry bushes. All in all it should roll out to about $75. It seems like a lot given the state of our checking account at the moment but I keep telling myself that it is an investment in our future. And really- it really isn't bad for 4 trees and 2 blueberries. I'm still thinking about strawberries. I need to replant this year since the deer totally demolished them last year. They were outside the fenced garden area and I ended up not having time to protect them from devastation before it was too late. They will go in one of the raised beds. But I'm still thinking....
But mostly today, I've been trying to finalize the list for the herbs. It's still a work in progress but here is the list so far:
Culinary herbs: Rosemary (based on comments I've heard, we're just going to put it in a big pot rather than risk it overwintering), Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Chives, Italian Parsley and Summer Savory. We will also have basil but that will be in the regular garden since I tend to use and plant a lot. The only thing new to me to grow is Summer Savory but it sounds good.
I've read that nasturtiums repel squash bugs and cucumber beetles so I'm planning to plant them in the raised bed with the squash and cucumbers.
Herbs for tea: German Chamomile, Lavender, Lavender (or Anise) Hyssop, Bergamot (Bee balm) and possibly Clary Sage. I will also most likely plant a row of Borage in the garden although the Japanese Beetles love it so much. J15 really wants some Lemon Verbena but it isn't hardy here and would have to be another potted plant. She also wants to try to grow Stevia but it's the same thing. Until we have the solarium built we only have so much window space with good light.
We also want to grow several mints but since I have always had such trouble with them spreading into everything else, we've decided to put in a separate Mint Garden with peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm (or lemon mint, or both) Chocolate mint and hopefully apple mint.
Separate from the herb beds we also want to grow some tansy, and some pennyroyal and wormwood for pest control. Maybe a few other things over time. Now I realize that this is a huge list. I'll most likely not be able to plant all these this year. But the list is a place to start.
J15 and I decided that we want to take a trip to Decorah this spring, up to the Seed Savers Exchange. They have a spring plant sale from April 5th through June 13th. I'm thinking that maybe I could pick up a plant (or 2, or 3, or...) of something different so I don't have to buy an entire package of seeds. It could be a fun way to expand my garden repertoire without all the trouble. And besides, it isn't far and it is one of those places that I've always wanted to visit but haven't made it to yet. This will be the year!!

Well, the wind is picking up here. It's been in the teens all day but is now supposed to start dropping. We've got probably about 8 inches of snow. And here I was worried about having snow on the ground for the sledding party that we are hosting on the 17th. I just hope it's warm enough to make it fun to go sledding. We're hosting the January youth event for our church and since we have such a great hill we're hoping to go sledding. Weather permitting we'll have a bonfire outside. But regardless, we'll have hot chocolate, cider and treats. I'll let you know more details as I figure them out.

Stay warm and safe.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Making my list...

... and checking it twice!
I've been looking through my seed catalog collection, making my dream list. Of course, the dream list will be pared down into the reality list before all is said and done.
I want to try a few new things. We didn't grow any carrots last year and I finally used the last of the dried ones from our bumper crop the year before so I'd like to try some this year. We grew a mix of rainbow carrots and really loved the purple and red ones. They are so much fun and the children enjoy them. I'm also thinking about some purple tomatoes. But I've got lots of veggie seeds that are either left over or saved from last year, so mostly I'm planning my herb garden.
I've been pondering hardy rosemary that is supposedly hardy here into zone 5- but with the way the last two winters have been I'm not sure. We are dangerously close to zone 4 and I'm not familiar enough with our microclimate here to know if it would be safe. We seem to be colder out here than even just a few miles away at Roger's house where I used to garden. We have consistently gotten more rain in the summer and more snow this winter- but I don't know if that is typical or just a fluke. I saw that the rosemary is hardy to -15. We were much lower than that last year in town and have been close on several occasions already this winter. I guess we can always pot it up and bring it inside for the winter- but for some reason, I've never had luck overwintering it- maybe this house will be better.
I've been babbling- not much to say really- It's cold (we had a high of 5 today!) and it's supposed to snow again. They keep raising the amount of snow we're supposed to get so we'll see what happens.
I'll post my seed orders when they're finalized.
Stay warm and safe out there- this year has brutal so far with the temps.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Another goal

See, I said my master list would be a work in progress. I realized today something else that I would like to do this year.
I got home tonight and was going through my mail. There, along with the Seed Saver's Exchange catalogue (ahhh, more garden porn!) was a flier for a free issue of a quilting magazine. sigh. Up until a few years ago, I got several quilting mags and made on numerous quilts. It has been a while since I quilted. Life seems to have gotten in the way. So this year, I want to try to finish at least one quilt. Yet another goal. Of course, this depends on whether or not we get my sewing room finished. You see, I'm supposed to be getting a room in the basement that is to be my sewing room and the spare bedroom- a queen sized futon is excellent for laying out quilt blocks! However, it is only partially framed at the moment- hence the sigh. I have a beautiful queen sized quilt that I have all done but for one block, then I just need to do the sashing and borders. It has been unfinished for about 2 years but is supposed to be for V and my bed. I know exactly where it is packed and I have the backing fabric, batting and everything. I just need to have time and a place to work. I also have several other tops finished and a quilt for J15 that is done except for the binding. Why haven't I finished them? I don't know- like I said, life has gotten in the way and I've been distracted
But, that is my additional goal for the year- to finish at least one quilt.

It's been incredibly cold here, much colder than normal. We have made one decision, though. We need a new thermometer! We never had one outside while we were in town- well, we had one but it disappeared one night- and the only one we have here is one that the previous owners left nailed to one of the porch posts. It has several problems. First, it is small and impossible to see from inside. But an even bigger problem- the lowest it reads is 0!!! And it has been much colder than that recently. Brrr!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

What are you doing to me!!??
Ticket wasn't too sure about the New Year's Eve celebration last night. The noisemakers and party hats were a bit much for him, poor guy. We spent a quiet evening at home, watching a Three Stooges marathon. It's great to hear the children giggling so loudly.
Another year is behind us and the new year opens up before us like an empty book, waiting for us to write the story of our lives in it's pages. The past year has had it's ups and downs and I'm looking forward to continuing work toward our dreams here on this little piece of land that we have.
I've been giving lots of thoughts to what I want to accomplish in the year (and decade) ahead. I've got some goals for the coming year, some broader and more vague but most very specific. So the format will be a bit different than last year. I bet you're dying to hear what I've got in mind for 2010, aren't you? Here goes:

Home/house goals:
  • Sand North wall in the kitchen and paint
  • Finish kitchen island (V's mother sent us a gift card that we are to use for the countertop!)
  • Finish work on upstairs bathroom
  • Plan and begin construction on deck
  • Sort closet and donate clothes to Goodwill
  • Replace septic system (dependent on selling house)
Garden/land goals:
  • Complete raised beds (at least 2)
  • Construct herb spiral(s)
  • Draw master permaculture plan
  • Plant apple trees
  • Plant apricot and/or cherry trees
  • Replant strawberries into raised bed
  • Add another blueberry bush or two
  • Remove fence between yard and meadow
  • Build three bin compost pile
Personal goals:
  • Once again, get in better shape. This isn't as much about weight as it is about health. While I've always been in pretty good health, my parents both have trouble with blood pressure and the extra weight I'm carrying has been causing mine to creep up. That NEEDS to change.
  • Learn a new skill or two. OK, I'll confess- this is the knitting goal again- and this time I'm going to make it happen.
  • Complete CEUs. My professional license is due for renewal in June. With the craziness of the last year, I really need to get going to complete all my continuing education for that.
  • Spend more quality time with V. We have been so busy and working so hard that it seems like most times we have a chance to sit down on the couch together one or both of us fall asleep. I'd like to have more focus on our relationship. We went through really tough times a few years ago, mainly because we didn't communicate well with each other and I don't want to fall back into old habits.
Food production/security: I'd like to aim for the 50% home or locally produced goal again but I found that it was so hard to determine that percentage. I think that rather than aim for an overall percentage that is hard to gauge, I'm going to go for at least 2 local meals a week.
The other thing I'd like to do is try our hand at making wine. We tend to drink quite a bit of wine and, while we have made some in the past, it is something that we haven't done for years. Maybe now that we have more space we'll need to get back into that. But not a firm goal for this one.

The three R's: I want to continue to repurpose and recycle as much as we can. We still need to be aware of our purchases and be more deliberate about where our limited finances are going.

I'm sure this master list will be morphed over the year. I've got it typed into my ipod so I can keep modifying it as I go.

What do you think? Am I being reasonable with myself this year?
And what goals do you have for 2010?