Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Last year a lot happened in our lives.  We moved across country from New Mexico to Tennessee, we bought our first house and we started our little farm.  We still feel really lucky for everything that happened and fell into place for us.  And while 2010 was a good year I'm looking forward to 2011.  This year I have a few resolutions or goals to work on.  

1. Have a garden.  We've already made some preparations to have a garden.  We dug up a large space in our front yard tilled the dirt and added mushroom compost this past fall.  We'd love to add raised beds there with a small fence surrounding them but at the very least we'll be able to throw some seeds down this spring and hopefully have a few vegetable plants.  I'd love to have at least tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and peppers.  I can't wait for seed catalogs to start arriving - I love to look through them and plan.

2. Raise a pig.  We have enough acreage to have a few more animals and we've recently been talking about getting a pig to raise for meat.  While the thought of raising a cute little piglet just to later eat him/her breaks my heart, I don't generally think twice about it when I buy pork at the store and I have no idea where it came from, if it was treated humanely or what it ate.  I think that if you are going to eat meat, it's best to raise it yourself, treat it well and feed it right and then it will feed you well.  So, come this summer we may find ourselves looking for a pig to raise.

3. Remodel the loft.  We have a nice little loft over our garage and recently we've been talking about remodeling it.  Perhaps this is a good year to get the ball rolling.

4. Add gutters.  Believe it or not our house didn't have any gutters when we moved in.  It hasn't really been an issue but we know it's something we need to fix.  It will make our house look nicer, protect the siding of the house more and once up I can then start working on a rain barrel system for our garden.  I've also seen a gutter system hooked up to a chicken waterier and I'd like to look into to something like that for the coop. 

5. Landscape.  We have several seeds in the freezer right now that will be ready to plant this spring including persimmons and witch hazel.  I'd like to get these planted in pots and hopefully when they are big enough plant them around our property.  I'd also like to start working on a pollination garden by the barn.  We currently have a bat box over there and this summer I'll add my hummingbird feeders.  I'd love to plant some native honeysuckle and other butterfly and hummingbird friendly plants.  Also, this past fall I planted almost 100 bulbs up by our mailbox and I am so excited to see what it all looks like this spring. 

6. Read more.  I know this may seem silly to most readers who can and will read a book in a day, but I have a goal of reading one book a month this year.  I really need to get into the habit of reading more.  It's good for your brain and good for your soul.  We don't have TV (although we do have instant Netflix) so I should have plenty of time to accomplish this goal.  I have several books in mind to start with including a few we got for Christmas.

7. Eat local - more.  For some reason we are always pleasantly shocked when we go to a locally owned restaurant.  "Wow, this is really good... Wow, this is made with local ingredients.... Wow, I've never had anything like this" But yet, we haven't made it a habit to go to local restaurants and more often we end up at a chain and we leave disappointed with our choice.  So this year I want to make it more of a habit to support local restaurants that are good to their employees and use local ingredients.  For New Years we were in Asheville, NC seeing the Avett Brothers and we ate at the Early Girl Eatery.  It was awesome.  It's a local restaurant that uses local ingredients and supports local farming.  They serve what's in season and we left really loving Asheville's slogan, "Buy Local.  Put your money where your heart is."  So with this in mind this year when we order pizza it won't be from a chain and when we go out we'll try and find a cute little place that is locally owned and operated.

8. Make more, buy less. Going along with number one on my list, I'd like to make it a goal to make more of what we need and buy less.  I've been pretty good about this with food.  I make all of our yogurt, chicken stock, some potato chips, some of our bread (I'm hoping to make all of it this year, although I've run into a few problems), granola, and thanks to Santa we'll be making most of our pasta this year.  We also have eggs from our chickens.  I also make our laundry detergent.  I've made some of our socks, hats and scarves.  And of course I make 99% of the cards we send out for holidays, birthday's and special occasions.  This is usually the economical way to go: make what you need and not buy it.  It's also usually healthier and better for the environment.  So, along with what we already do this year I'd like to add a few things to the list.  A few to tackle:  make butter, make some of our cheese, make suet for my birds, get better at making bread, of course grow more of our food and can it this summer, and try again (maybe) to make our ice cream (we tried to make ice cream last year and it was expensive and didn't work).  Also, Lewie would like to go trout fishing and hopefully we'll get a freezer full of local fish to eat this year instead of buying it and we plan on getting some mushroom logs going so we don't have to buy as many of those and can harvest our own.

9. Paint our ceiling.  When we moved into our house I spent two weeks painting the entire inside.  The only thing I didn't get to was the ceiling.  It is in desperate need of a good paint job.  There are several different kinds of paint on it and it bothers me.  Hopefully this year I can finish the job.

10. Take a bee class. The University of Tennessee offers a bee course every spring to become a Beemaster.  I would LOVE to take this.  We would really like to have bees someday.  Probably not this year, but hopefully sometime in the future.  Honey bees have been dying in alarming rates and more bee keepers are needed to help farmers pollinate their crops - 1/3 of all food gets pollinated by a bee.  We'd love to have bees to help pollinate our garden and we'd love to have their honey.  Local honey and bee pollen is good for allergies so we use honey in our coffee and tea and I try to cook with it too.  We support honey bees and I hope to take the Beemasters course to learn more about bees, how to raise them and how to help with the bees that are disappearing.

So, that's a small (although large) list of things I'd like to pay attention too, think about, and do this year.  I'm looking forward to 2011 and all the new things we'll experience and all the new adventures we'll have.

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