Appearing today on The Hur Herald (www.hurherald.com)
Resolutions or Goals?
It’s been years since I’ve made any New Year resolutions. I don’t much care for the idea of starting over. Some like to look at the New Year as a fresh start. Well, I’ve made plans, I don’t want to go back to scratch. For me the turnover to a new year is a time to reassess the goals I have already established.
In early 2006, Frank and I set a long-term goal to simplify our way of living and become more self-reliant. For us, this is the path we have chosen to pursue our happiness. Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine; our “super sized” garden; farming; my experiments with canning, freezing, raising chickens, baking bread; our studies into earth and body friendly resources; practices of budgeting and saving and recycling – all of these are attempts to “simplify” our lifestyles.
Unless you were raised that way, simple living is anything but simple. In order to be “self-reliant,” your life schedule comes under the control of daylight and dark, the whims of seasons, the influences of the clouds and the sun. Meeting times are set by chickens and projects are planned around planting, weeding, watering, and harvest.
In college, I studied writing and literature, not herbs and livestock. I may be able to quote Shakespeare, but I cannot tell you the germination period for a tomato seed. You have to study, learn, practice and polish simple living skills to reach the goal of self-sufficiency, and I feel, in many ways, I’m just getting started.
1. Learn About and Launch Hot Beds: Frank and I learned last year in our first “serious” garden that vegetables like carrots, beets, etc. really need to be planted early. Also, we don’t want to wait until spring to have fresh leaf lettuce. We know that hot beds can help us get an early start and more fruitful harvest, but I know very little about how hot beds work or how to manage them.
2. Study Compost, Fertilizer and Earthworms: In an attempt to increase the quality of our soil, we began a compost pile last year. In addition, this year, we have what we need to “farm earthworms.” While these things may not seem related, the soil the worms will be living in will be excellent for our garden, and we might sell some worms for fisherman. Worms can double their population in less than three months. Of course, I know very little about raising worms, and I haven’t quite gotten full control over the compost pile, but I can continue my studies and practice.
3. Expand the Herb Garden: I started an herb garden last year, mostly from plants given to me by friends. It did fairly well until the rabbits, chickens and deer found it. Even so, I have herbs dried and frozen and I use them in my breads, teas and other dishes. But, I need to fill out the selection I have, and I need to get a fence around it. I will master what I’ve learned about drying and freezing them, and maybe next year I’ll learn to make salves, vinegars, oils and tinctures. But right now, I just want to master keeping them alive.
4. Get More Hens: I’ve been the parent of four hens for eight months now. We call them “The Ladies.” DeeDee, Ellemby, Pepper and Red provided eggs for Frank and I, my mother, my aunt and uncle all summer and fall. If I get four more, I can supply more friends and family, and maybe work through the process to sell some at the farmer’s market with excess herbs and vegetables from our gardens.
These four goals are some early 2010 goals for the land around us. We also have goals for the house, goals for the business, goals for our health, goals for our minds and our mentality. So much can be done in a year, the possibilities are overwhelming.
It helps me focus, organize and plan if I reassess my goals instead of making resolutions. For me, it’s the difference between promises made from scratch, and simply maintaining our set path.
It helps me remember that I’m already part-way there.