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Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year Recap

My gosh the blog is dusty!  I guess I better open some windows and let in a little fresh air.  Apologies to anyone who was actively following the blog.  The year just got away from me.

I wanted to look back at how I did on last year's resolutions, so here is a brief retrospective.  (AKA, how Jen dropped the ball and/or changed her mind so very many times!)

Jen's List 2011

  1. Knit or sew one project per week.  Well, this one lasted until about May, when I started my new job.**  I did manage to knit a dog (pictures coming), some toys, and created a pattern for an arm sling for my mother's upcoming surgery.  So the year wasn't without projects.  I just lacked the vision and time to keep motivated.  And the Etsy shop I created for my knitting has completely stagnated.  Chalk one up to wasted effort!
  2. Chickens.  This one got shunted to the side for a year.  We needed to do some other projects first, and then the well broke, and the van died and we had to buy a truck, and then the heatpump died and we had to get it fixed, and then ...  You get the picture.  But next year, baby.  Next year.  And goats.  Maybe.
  3. Wood-burning stove.  Well, Last year I stated that "the heat pump just can't hack these winters."  It turns out that the heat pump has a major leak.  It can't hack anything!  So we had it tuned up and decided to delay the wood-burning stove and see if the heat pump could actually function for a winter.  So far, so good.  The house is warm enough and the energy bills are reasonable, so far.  But it will need to be replaced in the next year or so.   And the thought of that sets my blood pressure rising.
  4. Financial end. Isn't this always a work in progress?  Fell off the wagon a bit this year, but still moving forward.  Enough said about that.
  5. Financial, part two.  Um, yeah.  See above.
  6. Garden!  The garden did pretty well this year, but suffered from some neglect, potato bugs, and clay soil that still needs some work.  Our seeds didn't wash away, but I think next year I am going to buy seedlings.  Growing the seeds myself was a lost cause for a lot of things (ahem, squash!)  We did have an amazing bumper crop of okra, which I pickled and canned.  And we had potatoes.   I had to go and buy a supplemental crop of tomatoes just to have some to can, but it is all gone, already.  Our garlic came up great (but is long gone), and I have already planted next year's crop.
  7. Rain barrels.  I don't know why this project didn't happen, but all that we have done with our barrels for now is try to keep the hornets from nesting in them!
  8. Mud.  Grr, mud.  This project was a total success!  Husband created a wonderful stone patio that has completely solved the mud problem.  Very cool.  I should post pictures.  The dogs are happy, I am happy, everything is sunshine and roses!
  9. Then I am getting the carpets cleaned!  Or not
  10. Keep trying one new dinner recipe per week.  This fell completely apart as I readjusted to working full-time.  But it is a great resolution to carry over into 2012.
**Oh, I haven't mentioned my new job?  Well, it seems that I was in desperate need of a good serving of my own words  So I ate them! 

Last October, I was offered a position at a local library.  For reasons of my own, I turned them down.  Then, in March, they contacted me and asked if I would reconsider.  It seems that the person they had hired when I declined didn't work out.  So I reconsidered.  After a lot of thought and discussion, I accepted and am so glad I did.  It is funny what a little time and perspective can do.  I now have a wonderful job in a great community, my kids are in a fun afterschool program, and it all worked out well.  It has been a hard adjustment for me, getting back into the full-time swing of things.  My craft projects were the first to suffer, but my exercise and diet focus also suffered.  Which means that while I am feeling very proud of my work, I am not very proud of myself. 

2012 will be a year for finding balance between work and home, wants and desires, fitness and relaxation, and homesteading and modern living.  Finding that balance should be interesting.  Maybe I will even find the words to blog about it.


  1. You're back! I was starting to worry, you know.

    Do you guys compost? With all the food scraps and whatnot that your farm-family is producing, a compost pile would be a great way to reduce waste and can also go a long way to helping your clay-soil-garden. I have a ton of info if you need help getting started... it's too easy not to do it!

    Happy New Year, dear blogger... we look forward to reading more in 2012!

  2. We do compost! It was one of the first things we set up when we moved in. That part of the homestead, at least, is chugging along just fine.

    It turns out, the best thing for clay soil is gravel! Fine, pea gravel, to be exact. It allows air and water flow for those plant roots. too bad it is so expensive!


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