Friday, December 31, 2010

Plans, plans, plans.

I like scheduling things. Plans give me comfort. I like taking the time to do all the thinking and then - once the planning is done - jump in and get the actual work done with gusto. Just plow through it because the path has been decided.

In the world of Myers-Briggs, I'm a pretty strong J. A scheduler.

So, yesterday, I scheduled 2011.

Well, I made goals. I also made contingency goals, so that if all the initial goals are completed, a back up plan has also been scheduled. The goals are broken into three key areas and are as follows:

  • Get Sheep - Such a simple statement! There is a lot of work involved with this one. The barn needs some repairs and the fence has to be reinforced. Plus, I have to find sheep. The plan is to start with 2 older ewes of any acceptable breed. I'm not too particular at this point with breed, as I don't have much experience and there are so many types it's a bit overwhelming. As these will be practice sheep and we won't be breeding them, to be acceptable, they should be hardy and have a desirable wool. Once we have more experience, we'll be looking for a good dual purpose breed for a sustainable flock.

  • Can 20-30 quarts of veggies - About 95% of the canning around here is fruit. I'd like to put up some beans, tomatoes and other veggies this year.

  • Build raised bed and plant fall greens - Extend our gardening beyond spring and summer.

  • Drive pickup truck - It's time to reacquaint myself with a standard transmission.

  • Kill chicken - Really not looking forward to this one, but I eat the meat and I think it's time I earn it. Plucking is certainly hard work, but it's not fair that I rely on Bill to do the really unpleasant part. This one is going to be hard - but it's a reality I'm (nearly) ready to face. Plus, Aaron Sorkin broke my heart with a ridiculous blog post about Sarah Palin and hunting which made me realize that until I take this step, I'm not really fully involved in what it means to eat meat. Blech.

  • Convert 25% of Sugar's food to homemade - This is related to the chicken killing. Pet food is the major source of CAFO meat in our house. Feeding the dog 3-4 meals a week of homemade food is a pretty easy goal, especially in the summer when the chickens are laying prolifically.

  • Learn to shoot rifle and shotgun - Also not excited about this - I've been promising Bill I'd learn for about 2 years now, but I keep wiggling out of it. However, I am even less excited when a raccoon kills our poultry. The goal is specifically not to learn to shoot well enough to hunt or defend our animals - but just to learn to shoot and not hate it. Small steps. I'll be putting this (and the chicken killing) off as long as possible, I'm sure.

  • Paint and re-roof woodshed (stretch goal) - It needs it but it's a big job.
  • Make curtains for Bill's Room and Guest Room - I can't think of anything more boring that sewing curtains, but the ratty lace has got to go.

  • Trim 2 hearths - It's just wood and a little bit of grout. I don't know why we haven't done it yet!

  • Paint bedroom floor, decorate walls - Our walls are a spunky orange, but the room is still pretty stark.

  • Make upstairs landing into library nook - Move crap, paint floor and walls, make curtain, furnish.

  • Strip wallpaper in upstairs bathroom (stretch goal) - Yeah, it's just wallpaper, but it happens to be on the ceiling, 12 feet up.
  • Complete 12 projects in Self-Imposed Yarn Club - Based on the brilliant idea of the Yarn Harlot. I took 12 yarns I've had in my stash for 2-3 years, but am still very excited about using, and packed them up with a matching pattern. They are wrapped in packing paper and each month I'll pick a random package to knit up. There is a mix of socks, shawls and other accessories.

  • Knit sweater from handspun, hand-dyed yarn - We had a lesson on our wheel at the knit shop yesterday. I'm feeling confident!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Knits

It's been pretty lazy 'round these parts. Making bread. Knitting. Keeping the home fires burning. Shopping at Goodwill.


Uh - no photos of the bread. We ate it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I remember the exact moment I fully understood the purpose around celebrating the winter solstice. We were in Iceland, the day after Thanksgiving, and decorations were being hung in Reykjavík - evergreen boughs and festive lights.

It was cold (though the natives weren't bundled up as much as me and Bill) and dark. The sun rose around 10 and set by 4. Here is it just before noon:

A mere 6 hours of daylight, and it was still a month away from the shortest day of the year. So much darkness!

As I watched Reykjavík be decked with signs of life and light, I understood that marking the shortest day of the year - the longest night - was a big deal.

Since we moved to the farm, we definitely notice the change in seasons and enjoy celebrating the cycles of the year. For the past few weeks, we've been watching our supply of firewood dwindle (and our stock of eggs, since the chickens have stopped laying [which is related to the shortened day light]). Tonight, I pulled a cart of wood out of the shed - and through the snow - knowing that we've made it half-way. It will start getting easier, and lighter, and closer to spring tomorrow. Tonight, we celebrate!!

One of our celebrations involves this Yule Log. I don't know a lot about Yule Logs, but we took the concept and made it our own. The log was cut from our property, by us, and decorated with tokens to represent things we hope will prosper (or be abundant) over the next year.

It contains: a turkey feather for the productivity and health of our birds, pancake mix, wool and bacon (three things we hope to never run out of - ever), corn from our garden for a prosperous harvest, and wine to represent wine....and grapes ;)

The Yule Log is burning right now and the celebrations continue!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Snow

We've got about 4-5 inches of snow on the ground and it's still falling.

It's lovely!

Indiana isn't very pretty in the winter - lots of empty brown corn fields. It looks a lot like a wasteland, so it's nice when the snow blankets the ground.

The chickens don't like it much, though. These two ladies are trying to determine if it's worth venturing 6 inches outside of the coop for the corn we threw just beyond the door.

They decided not.

The turkeys, however, have been out playing. They're staying pretty close to home, but at least they're outside.

When I venture outside, I make sure to wear my newly finished mittens:

Not really. These are fancy mittens and when I go outside it's to do dirty chores like fill up the birds' water or bring in firewood. But...I thought it was a nice transition.

Happy Snowy Saturday!