Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Goals

As I said in my last post, we've decided to set ourselves a few good goals around here. We sat downstairs after dinner till almost 10:30 talking about all of this and writing down some ideas. We plan to do the same tonight since we feel we got a lot accomplished. The list isn't very long so far, but covers a lot of areas. Some are in the category of homesteading, others are money savers, some are being more "green", (though I still hate that term), and others are in preparadness.

What we want to do is live simpler than we are, spend less, live healthier, use our time more wisely, reduce waste, and go easier on the planet. We're on our way there already, and have made great steps in the directions we want, and now it's time to pick up the pace. Things may be rough since we both work full time, but we'll manage. The key will be using our time for better things but not wear ourselves out or get burned out on constantly doing something. We'll start working out a schedule of sorts of what to do each week and on what particular day, leaving out minimal leasure time to do nothing but relax, read, talk, or play a board game. For instance, Saturday's will be Lisa's day in the kitchen while I work on home projects. Especially now that it's mid-winter, it's become too easy to spend half a day or more at the computer, in front of the tv, or napping. Those days are going bye-bye.

The list we have so far is fairly small, but has some good points to it.
1-grow ALL heirloom variety vegetables and save seeds for next year. Our seed orders are all filled out and ready to go already, we just have to write those checks and stick 'em in the mailbox.
2-Learn Cheesemaking. Lisa has the starter kit already, I got it for her on our anniversary in September. She just hasn't set aside the time to start it yet. We eat a lot of cheese, and it's just something else we can do for ourselves rather than go buy it.
3-Learn soapmaking-Same as above, I got her a basic soapmaking kit for Christmas, she just hasn't started yet.
4-Make & can more homeade soups. I love Lisa's soups. We both like the convienence, cost, and nutritional values of homemade soup. We already make and can some, we just plan to do MORE.
5-Can meat and meat products. Same as soups, it would be more convienent than waiting for something to that to make dinner. Plus I like the idea of not having to rely on a freezer. It would also add to my prep stock
6-Switch to 100% homemade bread. Lisa makes bread on occasion, and we both love it. It's just too easy to run out and go buy 2 loaves, then next thing ya know, we're buying it all the time and not making any. Her plan is to make 6-8 loaves every other weekend, keep one out, and freeze the rest. I'll just have to get in the habit of getting one out of the freezer when the bread drawer gets low. Plus it really sickens me that commercial bread has additives that kill mold spores as soon as they appear....yummy.
7-Find local dairy. We drink a lot of milk, and we just want to find a smaller guy to support rather than the big dairies around here. It's gotta be more fresh and better for you, plus we want to find an inexpensive source for cream to make our own butter.
8-Eliminate buying pop/soda. We're both admitted Coca Cola addicts. It goes in spurts though. Sometimes we'll go weeks without buying any, then we'll end up going through a few 12 packs in a week. That stuff gets expensive, and is certainly not good for you. On top of that is the amount of cans that go out of here, even though they go to recycle.
9-Get rid of the cable and cable internet. This one's a biggie. We don't watch much tv, but when we do it's on channels other than your run of the mill basic, so we have "digital basic" now. Add that to the cost of the internet, and it's almost $100 a month. My stepdaughter got Lisa a wireless card for her laptop that only costs $30 a month. That card can easily work on this desktop too. It's high time to bite the bullet and just shut them both off.
10-Stop smoking. I know, I know, I've said it a hundred times. I'm feeling the effects more now at 43, and the expense has gotten insane. On an average day, I'm at about a pack and a half. Figure I'll buy 2 packs a day at $4 each, thats $8 a day, $56 a week, or $240 in a 30 day month. I must be outta my $%&@#! mind. Imagine the things I could get at Lehmans with that. As silly as it may sound, my plan is to set aside the money I WOULD have spent on cigarettes, then reward myself with the Alladin lamp I want. Wish me well folks, I've been at this for around 27 years.
11-Go as plastic free as possible. We do our best to eliminate waste around here. We compost almost everything, and our trash company has a recycle program. It still sickens me to see what ends up in the garbage can, and it's mainly plastic. Packaging from foods, cling wrap, cigarette packs....it's a lot of garbage that we can eliminate. Lisa already made some canvas and denim shopping bags, though we have an awful habit of forgetting them. We'll work on that, as well as not buying anything packaged in plastic as much as we can.
12-Find local meat market. We just want to find somewhere that gets their meat from local sources; somewhere that isn't pumped full of BGH and packaged with gasses to keep it "fresh" on store shelves. Simple enough, we'll start calling and driving around this week.
13-Increase the herb garden. With all that we do on this tiny acre, there's no reason we can't grow and save more of our own herbs for cooking. It's something we talk about every year and just never really get around to other than 2 or 3 things. This is the year to set aside a few small areas and devote them to herbs. We plan on even starting to toy with some medicinal herbs as an experiment. My sis gave us lots of books on that subject, so we just plan to give it a try.

Thats the list for now, though I'm sure it will grow tonight when we spend the evening sitting down here. I'll post more items off the list as we write them down.


DivaHick said...

Gosh we have some of the same goals for the year!

Hey once you find a local dairy, let me know. We used to get Hertzler's milk from Buehler's but now we live no where near them. It was good to have non-homogenized milk though, it cured my lactose intolerance. (Or whatever it really is.)

FarmerGeek said...

Hmmm, dairy... we've been talking about dairy goats (and DivaHick wants a cow)... we could do a herdsharing? LOL, who knows, but yeah, let us know!

Also, I really should quit the ciggies too, but due to money, I went to the tobacco store and got the stuff to make my own... tools: $6.40, tobacco and ciggie rolls: about $10-$15. Additive free and cheap. They also have lights and menthol, etc... maybe a cheap way to step down till you quit?

Also, I don't know about room in your place, but many of the herbs can be grown in containers and used year round fresh in addition to the dried ones from the garden!

Good goals, keep us updated on the progress!

Patrice Farmer said...

Great goals!!! I too have been thinking about returning to bread making. I don't want to get bogged down with it though but we keep running out of bread and it cost us $2.99 per tiny loaf because of Lea's allergies we buy these All Natural breads...why not make it at home?

And I started recycling in March and at first we were using alot of products and had ALOT of stuff to add to the recycling bin but apart of recycling is the reduction of waste so now we have barely anything to throw out in our garbage or to put into our recycling bin. Thats a good thing!

As far as the milk, can you see if someone has goats milk? It tastes really good and would probably be an easier find that a small dairy farm-(depending on your area).

Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Great goals Chris! Good luck on the quitting smoking. A reward is just the ticket! We found our local meat source on www.localharvest.org We now buy fresh grass fed beef & pork plus found eggs *until our hens start laying. I still haven't found the milk source ~ it's a secret due to the laws governing the sales of raw milk here... but I found a few leads.

Barb and Steve said...

Hi Chris,
I want to do the same. Write down all our goals. About getting rid of the cable...I found Hulu TV on the web. Check it out if you have a chance. They have lots of movies & TV shows you can watch. We have a package deal of phone, internet & cable all in one which is costing us around $130 a month in IL. Our goal is to just use our cell phones & drop the land line, drop the cable & watch internet TV & switch to an internet provider that is only $20 a month for high speed. We live outside of town so a wireless card won't help us.
In Wisconsin, we live next to Amish & we have thought of getting fresh cream to make butter. They have given us some & it is so much better than anything in the store. I enjoy reading your blog. I just started blogging a couple months ago. Check it out if you want...
Take care,

Deborah said...

Hi Chris, I just found your blog tonight while jumping around on some others. Have enjoyed your travels thus far, read back to January 1st. I would encourage you to drop the cable viewing. We dropped our TV viewing last May 2008. It has been a great thing for us. Was unsure at first how we would feel about it, but took the challenge my sister offered to just try it. We have not missed the media hype, materialistic comercials, drama and "lost" time spent in front of it. It's been GREAT and I would challenge anyone to try and unplug theirs for a month. Money saved on nothing has added value to our little homestead action here. Reading is a favorite pastime, along with talking and planning like the two of you are doing. Learning is an ever present activity that spurs us on to try new things. I too have some of the same thoughts toward new activities for our small farm. Keep taking small steps and you will find that the journey has been pleasurable.

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