Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010, and what I want from it.

There was a post recently on Living the Frugal Life about goals for 2010 that really made me think about just what I want to get out of the coming year. A lot of my goals are long-term, things that don't have definite endings and will probably take more than a year to complete them to my satisfaction, but there's something to be said for making resolutions like that. A calendar year is an easy way to mark a period of time, to look forward to and to look back on, and to give one ample time to work on various projects and goals.

So with that in mind, here's what I want out of the year 2010.

Clean my apartment - I've been saying for years that this place is cluttered and a mess, and it's true. Things are still packed in boxes from when we first moved here, because we have nowhere else to put them. I want to declutter, I want to get rid of the things we no longer want and no longer use. Too much mess is sucking the positive energy from this place, and Rachel and I have been through a hard enough year this year. Next year, we should invite more positive energy in, give ourselves some comfortable and clean breathing space.

Start my Rubbermaid garden - I don't have any land to call my own, but the apartment I live in does have a porch right out front. Dirt is cheap, and with a few Rubbermaid tote bins (or any kind of bin, really), I could start a small garden. I'm thinking of sticking mostly to herbs, since I can grow a decent number of those in a small space, but I might try for tomatoes, just to see if I can. Maybe squash if I'm feeling very adventurous.

Have more food in storage - I don't have the equipment to can things at the moment, but my oven can dehydrate apple slices as well as anyone else's over. If I invest some money in some good storage containers, I can stock up on rice, beans, flours, sugar, and salt when they're cheap, and then perhaps if another situation comes up where I lose my job and find myself very strapped for cash, food won't be as much of an issue.

Cook/bake more - This one's self-explanatory, really. If I cook more meals instead of ordering out or just eating some microwave meal, I get to understand food better, and I get to save money while I'm at it. I'm trying to reduce the waste from my household, and reducing food waste will be a big step. Everything from candying citurs peel to making soup stock from bones and skin to trying all kinds of different bread recipes. There's something very satisfying about making ones own meals. Also, I have another entry planned for this blog regarding my feeling on eating meat, which will come in a few days.

Exercise - Exercise is hard to get around here in the winter, since snow and ice cover the streets and the wind is often bitterly cold. But when weather permits, I want to be sure that I walk for at least half an hour, three times a week.

Barter instead of buy - Where and when I can, I'd like to do more bartering. Whether this means an exchange of crafts come the holidays or maybe a good meal gets exchanged for washing and drying a load of laundry, it doesn't really matter. But I want to stop thinking of money as the be-all and end-all of life, and to prove to myself that I can get things that I don't have in exchange for what I already have.

Go gathering - Around here, there are plenty of places where free food can be gathered. Rhubarb grows in wild patches, as do blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Wild rose bushes along the sides of roads yield plenty of rose hips that just rot on the plant because nobody ever picks them. We have pine trees aplenty, so I want to try gathering pine nuts. Chestnuts litter some streets in the fall, and just get kicked aside, unused. Crabapples, I hear, make a nice jelly, and everyone always complains that there are too many crabapple trees in this city. I'm sure there are plants that I haven't even considered looking for that are growing in abundance and not being used, too.

Make butter - I haven't made butter in years, and last time I did it was using a churn made from a yogurt container and a dash made from popsicle sticks, all for a craft project. I'd like to try it again. Even if I don't end up using this for all my butter, I'd still like to give it a try.

Pickles! - Rachel likes cucumber pickles. If I grow tomatoes this year, I can pickle the green ones that don't make it before the frosts. We all enjoy watermelon, and I can pickle the rind so as not to waste it when I don't have to.

Make two blankets - I've got a large fabric and yarn stash that ought to be used up, and we always like and need blankets around here. A knit one and a quilted one are good goals to have for the coming year.

That about covers it, really. It may not seem like much to people who are used to living a more sustainable life than me, and who have done it for much longer, but I have to start out somewhere, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much of these things I can do, and how much better my life gets because of it all.

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