GOALS FOR 2010:
1. Throttle back a little - yeah, already failed at this one by the looks of my seed order, you will see what I mean when I post that!
2. Try new varieties, new vegetables - this year I hope to find "the tomato" for my area, and try growing artichoke, melons and corn for the first time.
3. Spend more time in the garden - meaning, when it's 100 and dripping humidity, I am still going out there and working and not letting produce go to waste! The tomatoes don't pick themselves.
4. Get my family involved - the kids are ages 7 & 5 come this summer and so they will have assigned "chores" in the garden and will work along with me. I see no reason not to, and they will benefit from this in the long run. My kids already know weird, nerdy stuff about rhizomes, seed germination, Latin names, etc... why not make them nerdier?!
5. Kids will eat my vegetables - this is the year, and I have finally found their "currency"... the Nintendo DS and BB Gun... they will do anything in order to have some time to play it or shoot it.
6. Continue to keep track of produce harvested and preserved - This has been a great motivator and just plain makes me happy when I look at the sidebar and see that all the work is paying off.
7. Can/Preserve more - I can do better this year. Husband will be deployed, and it may seem strange, but I get way more done when he is not here, without anyone to talk to in the evenings, I can just can away!!
8. Annuals - I am a huge perennial gardener, but this year I plan on starting annual flowers from seed to add another dimension to the gardens.
9. A "pretty" veggie patch - I hope to incorporate more flowers and herbs among the vegetables and take a cue from the French Potager gardening techniques. I reason that if it's prettier, I will spend more time there!
10. Learn how to handpick Tomato Hornworms - If you read my post about this, you know it's pretty much the only thing that freaks me out, besides the copperheads and Water Moccasins we have here. Yeah, I went a little overkill in freak-out fashion on those hornworms last year.
11. Continue to maintain my "Garden Manual" and seed storage area - think I will do a post about this one soon.
12. Seed Saving - I hope I have time for it, when you see my upcoming seed order you will see the extra financial reasons for this, but it just plain makes good homesteading sense.
1. Reuse/Repurpose/Recycle - I can always do better, one good thing is that I am downright embarrassed now when I forget my reusable bags while shopping!
2. Turn compost more often!
3. Create a sunken "root cellar" - our climate doesn't allow for proper storage and we don't have basements here due to the high water table, so I plan to use the "sink a trashcan into the ground" method, more on this later this year!
4. Save more energy - I grew up in Minnesota, there's no excuse for me to not just "shut up and put on a damn sweater!" - yep, I'm the worst offender in the family when it comes to the heat and a/c!
5. Get started in earnest on the chicken plans - Find a stealthy coop design, (preferably mid-century modern, lol) and have hubby build when he returns from deployment. Research chicken breeds more and develop a "master plan & timeline"! (I would dive in, but since my husband is up for new "orders" soon - meaning a transfer, but not necessarily out of the area, we need to make sure we have several more years here before we do this - I'm a responsible animal owner!)
6. Can/Preserve More - same as above
7. Construct a shady area with hammock - this equals more play time for the kids, since I will be able to read while they play instead of sweating in the sun watching them throw sand in the sandbox
8. Train the puppy to do something other than "be a puppy" - Not sure if this belongs in this category, but I have never had an Australian Shepherd that didn't basically "train themselves" to do helpful things (i.e. laundry, picking up their own toys, etc) and my older one Marley has no trouble with this concept and will be helpful rounding up chickens when their free range time is up, but well...Sprocket on the other hand is part Jack Russell, yeah, the unhelpful part! She is almost 2 and we are still calling her "the puppy" if that tells you anything.
9. Keep on making our own cleaners and laundry detergent - I never calculated how much this has saved us the past year, but with a family of 4, boys at that, I am sure you can guesstimate... it's hundreds!
1. Keep track of cholesterol, blood pressure and exercise more regularly in the cold months - Family history of problems, so I want to stay on top of this.
2. Be more patient with the kids - I am type-A, OCD in the worst way, so this one will be baby steps! I will say I am a little better now than I was last year... gotta keep improving!
3. Turn off the TV! - more "off" time equals better behaved kids and a more sane mother not yelling over the TV, and more time to read!
4. Read for pleasure more - I have loved to read since I can remember, but it has gone by the wayside since I had kids.
5. Learn to Knit - yeah, that one...
6. Work on relationship - yeah, exactly. It's hard to do when your husband is at sea for 8 months out of the year, lol, but we make it work! We are as different as night and day, but this is why it works. But it can work better. We need to communicate more effectively, and be on the same page when it comes to parenting, so this will be a recurring goal every year!
7. Find a project with the Master Gardener program that really works for me - there are so many that right now I am just trying them all, but so far the Community Vegetable Plot and "Ready, Set, Grow!" for at-risk elementary students is speaking to me!
8. Find a babysitter - yeah, I know, this is pathetic. My kids are 6 & 4 and have never been with a babysitter. Other than my best friend and when my mom comes to visit, I don't have anyone I trust! I don't even know where to start...
9. Admit that we can't afford "stuff"! - This is the biggest one. While I feel that we are getting along pretty well considering we are a one-income, enlisted military family, according to IRS standards, we are below the poverty level! This year I really want to be able to say "we can't afford it" or "we don't need it" without feeling guilty. I know in my head & heart that my husband provides all the income we need plus enough for a few things we don't. I provide a stable home, grow food for our family, try to teach my children to succeed in life and budget like a madwoman... but why do I feel this need to have "stuff"? And why do I feel badly when we can't afford things (things we don't need anyways!)? We really are better off than most of our peers, military that is - most we know drive cars that cost more than their rent, yes, rent... I should feel good that we own our house, drive two sensible fuel-savvy Subarus instead of gas-guzzling SUV's but yet I still have a hard time just accepting our financial deficits. So I decided to make my fears "public" on the blog... it's the first step, right? Bottom line is, I need to remember all we have done - remodeled the house, kitchen, gardens all by ourselves without contracting any of it out, we are able to have one parent at home with the kids, and we grow our own food! So I just need to become okay with saying "no", and budget more smartly and save more for our future. And anyways, who needs a big SUV? We have killer dinner parties, so there! End rant.
10. Start thinking of our final resting place - nope, not the raised bed where old gardeners go, but what our plans will be when hubby retires! With 5-10 years left in the military, we need to get hot on looking at areas, land, careers. I need to firm up my plans about returning to school for a BSN, and be able to finish that before the time to move comes.
11. Keep blogging! - I have "met" the most warm, wonderful people here on the blogosphere, and it has been so fun swapping stories, ideas, failures, and successes! I want to keep on with this and definitely want to make time for updating my blog a bit and fixing the slideshows, labels, etc. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and know that you will take on an even more important role for me once hubby deploys in March, you may become my only adult interaction in the evenings, LOL!
12. Clean up the "office" - this encompasses everything from the file cabinet to the thousands of photos to be organized on the Mac, old emails, budgeting, and general the "list-making" I am so fond of.
I hope you all achieve your goals this year, thanks for following along on our little suburban homestead adventures. Your support, advice, ideas and kind words are always appreciated!