Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year!

I despise New Year's resolutions, though I have of course made a few in my past. For me, they invoke the overly puritanical roots of American society, an all or nothing mentality that my Brazilian friend, Juan, adores to mock. If you think about it, they are rather silly. How many times have we witnessed or participated in making the annual New Year's dietary resolutions, giving up the irresistible scrumptious treat that we know isn't great for us but we can't help indulging, only to fall off the wagon within days of the year's turn? I say why bother. This year, I am setting goals rather than making resolutions. Goals have more of a fluid, mutable feeling to them; they are shaped, swayed, changed by life's vicissitudes. Resolutions are so... so... resolute.

2010 is already shaping up to be an exciting year on the urban farm. So much is happening: the back 1000 is starting to take shape, the chickens are all laying, there are public speaking engagements on the horizon. I've been meaning to tell you all about them sooner, but time has gotten the better of me with all the holiday hustle and bustle that I haven't even had the space to sit down and plot out my annual plans. I promise to update everyone on the haps around the homestead, but first I want to take a moment to jot down what I would like to accomplish on Itty Bitty in the upcoming year.

  1. Finish Landscaping - The poor animals have been scampering around our obstacle course of a backyard, dodging leg breaking and gut impaling dangers with the mounds of dirt and rubble littering the lot. Furthermore, feeding time is always a treacherous task with the mud sliding slopes leading into the animal area. At the beginning of this week, we hired a friend to come help us out with building the last retaining wall and getting things set up for the fence to be put in. I'm in the back with him, humping bricks and moving dirt. Just when I think that it's "almost done", I realize how much work is still left to do. But I've got six fruit trees and six berry and grape vines coming in two weeks, so come hell or high water, it MUST get done.
  2. Use Less Gas and Electricity - I must admit that we aren't always angels when it it comes to our energy consumption. Lights get left on. I have been known to leave the oven on for half a day before realizing that I didn't turn it off. We have most electric items hooked up to power switches to prevent phantom power suckage, but are inconsistent with turning the strips off. The behemoth gravity heater that takes up a large section of our basement is a giant gas guzzler we can't quite part with - our attempts at going heater free were met with high levels of dissatisfaction, especially during that big cold snap. To remedy the situation, we are trying to develop some routines that would help us be more disciplined about turning things off when they are not in use. We are also saving up to replace our ginormous heater and are hopeful that by next winter we will be able to have it installed. Fortunately, PG&E gives us a report of last year's usage for the same time period so we will be able to check our progress.
  3. Install Gray Water System - We've got our barrel and now we need to use it. We've vowed that the next time we need our plumber friend to come out and fix something, we'll have him install a drain diverter for bath and sink water. The garden will need a lot of water this summer with all the fruit trees going in.
  4. Four Seasons of Plantings - Due to the sad state of the backyard and the chicken ordeal, I was only able to get in two seasons of plantings last year. This year, my goal is to get a planting in with every season and attempt to determine how much production is feasible on our small spot of earth. Trellising will be big. Vegetables will hang from the sky with the use of Shepard's crooks. Vines will be grown against retaining walls. Fences will support trees. I'll keep you posted throughout the year with pictures to document our future creative uses of space.
Happy New Year to everyone and good luck with your own goals in the upcoming year!

1 comment:

  1. I don't make resolutions either. Congrats on the eggs (read the story at Civil Eats). I'd love to get some chickens, but we settled on bees instead last year. Perhaps someday really soon we'll have some. At least we have a local farm we can get good eggs from, I love seeing the chickens running around the yard when we stop by to pick up our eggs.