Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

2011 has started off with a flurry of cleaning and decluttering of farm, home, and body. With the monsoon-like torrents pelting the backyard and the tornado of activities during the holidays, all systems are in need of an overhaul.

On the first sunny day of the year, I finally got around to turning the ginormous compost pile. And what a gorgeous, brisk day it was for a bit of outdoor laboring! Look how happy I am to be in the sunshine.

What a welcome relief from all the rain. So much needs to get done around here; the animal pen needs to be mucked, the greenhouse cleared of hay and goat doodie, the basement cleaned and organized, not to mention the inside of the house. Ugh!

And to top it all off, I need a good cleanse as my insides are feeling like the animal yard looks: mucky, boggy, and anaerobic. The holiday over-indulgences - including the five gallons of eggnog, eight cups of tea per day, cookies, and tamales - have taken their toll. Some of you may assume that I eat really well since we grow our own food around here, which is true for the most part. But you should have been tipped off by the lard post that I'm a fat whore.

So I'm off to see the hydrotherapist next week followed by a three week cleanse. No, someone is not going to give me a bath. I'm going to have my large intestine flushed. I realize this is totally tmi and I promise I won't post any pics of what comes out, though I have to admit I can't wait (oh come on, you know you're curious as to what might be hanging around your colon for the last decade or so). After the colonic, I'll be focusing on a primarily veggie and whole grain diet for a few weeks. Which reminds me, I better get a jump on the spring planting.

I'm also using this time to reflect on what I'd like to accomplish around the homestead. Here's the top 10 goals for the year.

1. Improve Organization. This is not my strong suit. My brain functions more like a pattern of overlapping circles rather than in a linear fashion. Ironically, I am a compulsive list maker. Yet I rarely, if ever, follow my lists. This just won't do anymore with a farm, household, finances, and two businesses to run. I'm hoping that technology can solve the dilemma.

Last year I inherited a free iPhone, which is another example of the ridiculous irony of my life as I don't actually use it as a phone. I have a perfectly good phone that doesn't drop calls so I stick with that for my telecommunications. But I use the iPhone as my do-everything-else device: iPod, organizer, camera, blog writer, etc. Though it seems like there is an app for everything, so far I haven't found the perfect daily planner/organizer. Right now I'm using YadaHome for my to do lists, calendar, and grocery lists. Though it takes a bunch of time to set all of your activities up, especially if you are like me and have a shitload of them, I love the fact that it has alarms. I need alarms. Bad. Along with all of my meetings, appointments, and payment due dates, I'm also scheduling planting dates, compost turning, chicken house cleaning, hoof clipping, household cleaning chores, etc. I think this going to change my life. For reals.

2. Keep Production Records. Poor record keeping is just par for the course when one has "unique" organizational skills. Yet again, I have found an app for my problem! Isn't technology swell? I started using Daily Tracker to calculate how much food we are producing on our 1000 square feet. So far I'm crazy for this app because I can track anything I want and it does the calculation for me with graphs and charts. Cool beans. Though I can keep an eye on how much I'm spending on supplies with this app, I can't figure out how I can make it evaluate how much I'm spending versus saving. Anyone know of a good app for that? I guess for that part I can pull out some of my basic math skills. I'll be posting the monthly tallies in the sidebar of the blog, in case you are curious to see our progress.

3. Offer Urban Farm Classes. In February, I will be offering a basic chicken keeping class here at Itty Bitty (date tbd), which will hopefully be followed by more homesteading types of classes. Let me know if there is something you would be interested in. Classes will be sliding scale and low cost because my grandmother would roll over in her grave with a fit of hysteria if she heard I charged you $75-100 to learn how to can.

4. Build Attractive Fences. The fencing situation around here looks like a leftover bamboo prisoner of war camp from Vietnam. I need to fix this in deference and cultural sensitivity to my Vietnamese neighbors. I know, totally not cool for a former anthropologist.

5. Get Bees. I'm going to put them on the roof.

6. Learn to Be a Better Gardener. I need to mend my crappy gardening ways otherwise I'll never survive Armageddon! Seriously though, we are a long way from veggie self-sufficiency. If I can get the majority of our plant needs met in the backyard, my gardening street cred will be untouchable.

7. Annihilate Rats. The electric fencing will be extended and we will be adding more weapons to our already hefty arsenal. Those fuckers are gonna die!

8. Install Drip Irrigation, Gray Water and Rain Water System. Once you start talking about boring PVC tubes, zones, and digging instead of lovely, shiny, colorful veggies and flowers, you've pretty much lost me. This will be a challenging project for me to stay focused on, but since I am an inconsistent hand waterer, this may drastically improve my planting outcomes.

9. Build a Deck Cover. No more swamp for the poor goats! Better get this one done soon.

10. Install an Herb Garden. It's going under the loquat tree and it's going to be beautiful.

Oh crap, that's my alarm telling me to go pick up the kid from school. What do you all have planned for 2011?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. 1. I need to start making lists. I've got some much to do around here that it's easy to just "forgettaboutit" if it's not written down.
    2. For keeping records I simply use Excel. 4 columns - Type; Quantity; Unit Cost/Savings; Total
    3. Srsly awesome! I've been considering doing this as well, but don't have much of a demand for it up here in Vallejo.
    4. We also need some new fences. Our neighbor's mastiff keeps pushing out the boards on our old fence. I'm just not looking forward to replacing 250' of wood fence.
    5. Yay! I'm considering telling the guy we're hosting bees for to come get them and then set up our own. We're going to set up our own anyways, but his roughness with them has been causing problems for us after he leaves.
    6. Let me know if you need any help or have any questions.
    7. Squeek will find them for you! She's really good at that. She hasn't killed very many though, but she did get a big fucker a couple of weeks ago.
    8. You know the garden planning series I'm reposting on my blog? Yeah, I've got an irrigation series too that I'll be reposting. But in the meantime you can go check it out under the Gardening Tips topic.
    9. One of the things I need to put on our non-existent list is building a cover for our milking area. Um, yeah, milking in the rain doesn't sound so fun.
    10. Yay! What kind of herbs are you going to grow?

  2. Heidi, your list looks so much like mine! I'm also feeling a little bummed by the lists that litter the house and never get checked off. It hit me yesterday that I'm a terrible gardener and messy to boot. I keep telling myself that once I get that damn pine out of the backyard it will all be better. Yeah, that's right, I AM blaming nature for my ineptitude. Thanks for sharing your goals!

  3. @ Rachel - i looked at your irrigation stuff and you lost me at "zones" :) I will have to buckle down and concentrate. ack! btw, goats hate to be milked in the rain. i don't like it that much either.

    @ Nicole - you are funny. but i say, go ahead and blame nature :)

  4. Don't be confused about zones! Let's see if I can explain this. A zone is made up of similar plants in a similar condition. So one zone would be trees. Another zone would be the vegetable garden. Drought tolerant plants would have their own zone. Plants living in full shade would be on a different zone than full sun plants. Everything on one zone will get watered at the same time so you want to make sure only similar plants are in the same zone. You don't want to water your trees every other day with the veggies and you don't want to stress your veggies by watering them on the same schedule as drought tolerant plants. Does that make sense?

  5. LOL!!! I love a blog that makes me laugh! The list thing - we are kindred spirits there!!!