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.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekend adventures

Friday night I called my uncle to see if he wanted to go to Kidron with me to an antique store. I planned on FINALLY getting that Rolls Razor I've babbled on for so long. He was excited at the idea and said yes. He had to run to the bank when they opened at 9, so I picked him up at 10am.
Off we went on the 45 minute drive. We talked the whole way down about what he's been doing, (I'll get to that in a minute), and before we knew it, we were in Kidron. Smiling, I pointed out the store and pulled in. Hmmmm.......not very busy for a Saturday, I don't see a single car in their lot. I pulled in, popped the car in park, and spotted a sign on the door. "We will be closed january 1st-7th". ARRRGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now why wasn't this sign up last weekend when we were there??? Boneheads!!
I decided not to be angry, so I just headed for another store I knew of in Berlin. He saw all kinds of things he wanted, but didn't find anything. I picked up a nice pipe rack for myself. Solid cherry, with racks for 6 pipes and a humidor in the center, (including 2 old pipes), for $12. Woohoo! He mentioned that he wanted to get some saspirrala since he got one the last time we brought him to that area and loved thes stuff. So......rather than deal with the tourists in the Berlin stores, we ran to the bulk goods store I mentioned last week. We walked in and there were 6 bottles in the cooler. I reached in, got him one, and a birch beer for myself. He says "hey, gimme all of those", lol. He finally got his prize for the day. I figured I would show him one more antique store before heading home, only to pull in just in time for them to put up an "out to lunch" sign on the door....blah. We stopped at the one in front of it, only to be highly dissapointed. It was one of those women tourist traps. (sorry ladies lol) Yanno, full of fancy scented candles, old wicker baskets, overpriced quilts.....you know, the kind of stuff you can take home and decorate your house in "country".....lol yea right. We left and headed for home. On the way home he was talking about wanting to see his fathers grave again, so I stopped in since we were driving right past it. (my grandfather died when my dad was 3 and my uncle was 5) Since there was still snow on the ground and it is a flat stone, we couldn't find it. I told him we'll come back in the spring when the snow melts. We left, went to his house, talked for a while, and I headed for home, of course calling Lisa on the way laughing about the store being closed.

Now....back to what I was saying about my uncle. As I've said earlier in other posts, his place is being left to me. It's where my grandma raised my dad, uncle and aunt, (who's already passed), on 8 acres in the same township where I grew up. He was talking not long ago to some friends about it, and they talked of the nightmares of probate court and the costs involved. He decided that we shouldn't have to deal with that mess, and is just having the place put in my name sometime in the next few weeks. He has some good sized savings already broken into 3, and they'll each be changed over to my sister and 2 cousins since we are the only 4. It kinda bothered me to hear him talk about it, but again, it made me proud that he knows I will take care of the place.

OK....it's all handled, right?? Nope. He wanted to make sure I knew about the rest of it since it involves me as well. He wants to be cremated, and will be making all those arrangements this week too. The reason he wanted to find my grandfathers stone is he wanted to see if it was big enough to add his name and my grandmothers to it. He wants his and grandma's ashes buried with him, but not ALL of his. He laughed a bit when he made his request to me, but he wants some of his ashes loaded in 12 guage shells and shot over the back of the property. That's going to sound downright strange to most of you (if not all), but when you figure he has spent his entire life on that property, and has been an avid trap shooter for just as long, it just makes sense. It's no different than my dad wanting scattered on the reservior where we fished for so many years. I laughed at my uncle a bit, and just answered "If thats what you want, I'll be happy to". That's all he needed to hear.

Yesterday was mostly spent sitting around and talking other than my trip to the grocery store. Our talk was about plans for this year as well as the future, along with some other discussions. We decided to follow Farmergeek and give saurkraut making a try, and made a small list of other things to stockpile/store. We ended the night watching the last episode of "Seven Deadly Sins"
on the Discovery channel and went to bed still talking about our plans till I passed out cold. I'm thinking of making a list of this years goals and posting it here......who knows, I may do that tonight.

Off to work!

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