As we sit contemplating the sparkling LED lights of our Christmas tree our minds have turned to a great many things besides the lights. The green that is temporarily absent from our wallets. The blinking red lights of the wind farm and the possibility of future bulk energy purchases. The upcycled, thrifted, and often reused items that have gone into our Christmas celebrations. The cellulose insulation that was blown into all our exterior walls over the summer (it has the highest level of recycled content in the insulation industry). The green grass in the bright sun of summer. Solar energy packages for private homes and the insane cost of being tied to the grid. Our garden sleeping silently beneath the winters snow and the seed catalogs which dare us to dream of spring. Summer camping, mosquitoes, and tornado skies. Then sadly we are snapped back to reality by our freezing feet, cold noses, and slightly numb fingers from the subzero temps we are having and our inadequate heating situation.
All that dreaming did lead to hours of conversation about what worked and what very pointedly does/did not. What we would like to change or add and how to accomplish it. Skills we want to learn and crafts we wish to improve upon. Trips we want to take and how to manage things while we are away. All of which eventually became our homesteaders resolutions for 2014. It is a relatively short but intensive list as much of it will occur over the summer.
Our 2014 resolutions
1. Property improvement to our 1918 farmhouse. First A Winter time necessity a good furnace and heat registers to improve air flow. Next, moderate changes to the tornado shelter otherwise known as the half basement, which include fixing the leaking foundation and installing privacy screen and a porta-potty set up. Finally and actually it’s probably going to be the first thing to get done...paint the interior...after blowing in insulation this past summer the walls are ugly.
2. Garden redesign--the current set up did not work with a 'treat it like it’s broken' ankle injury and we lost a great deal of it by default. We are going to be taking a permaculture course to help with this. The redesign will also more than likely include letting it lay fallow this year, adding a surround or green house to keep out feral cats and possibly submersion to extend the growing season. Still the seed catalogs are calling out with all their glorious promises of new life.
3. Improve our canning and hand crafting skills.....practice, practice, practice...read, read, read...cook, eat, stitch, cut, sand, nail...take the plunge try NEW things.
4. We have also resolved that as much as we love home and garden we should probably vacation occasionally to avoid burnout. That means managing animal/property care while away and since we have not vacationed in quite some time we need to figure out a good plan for this! Luckily we have grown kids. However this also means not adding anything new. The chickens will have to wait another year. In the meantime we can read, build a good coop, and talk to our neighbors about proper care, feeding, and wintering requirements for our area.
5. We have resolved to be busy but live life slower. We have time to acknowledge the setting sun and the feel of the earth upon our skin. We have time to make plan and build bit by bit or to change directions and follow a new path should one present itself. We have time to be of service to our neighbors, to watch our kids and grandkids grow. We have time for starlit skies, cocoa by a fire, and learning what our ancestors knew to be timeless truths. We have time to merge two types of lives in this crazy fast paced modern world where this newsletter can reach you in an instant. In short we have time to grow our web based business, our family, our homesteading skills and our garden too.
Lastly we would like to point out how important it is to continue to strive to learn new skills no matter where you are in your journey and that winter can be an excellent time to do this. We will be taking a course and endeavoring to learn more about permaculture prior to doing our garden redesign. We are doing this course over the winter months when we have more downtime in order to really study it. It's also a great time to learn to knit, crochet, sew or simply indulge in those things that can become a rarity in the busyness of summer....like moving the furniture to clean underneath, cleaning the coils on the back of the fridge, clearing the lint hoses on the dryer, washing the tops of the door jams and window frames, reorganizing the pantry and so on. You know the fun stuff! Of course there are still stalls to be mucked out, a rabbit to be maintained, winter watering on warm (over 40*F) days, seasonal decorating, and whatever the new year brings along with it.
As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.
We also are currently running a fund raiser to offset our internet costs. This will be done once each month. We will sell ten or more shirt with assorted designs and sayings on them. This year's theme is "Dirt Shirt" and revolves around playing in the dirt. You can purchase January's design here. Just click the picture below: