Let's start with personal goals. I think a lot of stay at home parents can relate to the the feeling that whatever they do is never enough and don't cut themselves slack or allow themselves downtime, because there is always crap on the counters and crumbs on the floors to clean, however much their spouses encourage them to take time "off". And in spite of it all, your house is a hot mess 24/7 and your child has sticky hands. I didn't do a lot of my loves last year because I had a beautiful, nursing, bottle-refusing baby who needed me. I'm going to put these first because I think I'll be a lot more productive overall if I keep these in the forefront:
- Camping. We finally have a vintage camper. For the love of all that is holy, get me to a State Park. Let me sleep in the fresh air, cook over fire and nap in my hammock.
- Fishing, fishing, fishing. Please. Like, once a week I want to be at the lake or in the creek for a couple of hours. Catfish and bluegills - get yourselves in my skillet.
- Take the canoe out. See above. Ever caught a big catfish in a canoe? It's like Your own personal The Old Man and the Sea.
Go turtle trapping again. That was awesome.
- We've talked about getting one of those bicycle trailers for the little man so we can all go biking.
- I hate shopping but am trying to put together a classic capsule-type wardrobe that I feel good in. That sounds fancy but all it means is that I can reach into my closet and any items I pull out will fit, make me feel good and match each other.
- Keep trying new things in the kitchen. In December I discovered leeks and squid.
- Keep making bread. I bake about 5 loaves a week.
- Read a book each month.
- Possibly 2017 might be the year I take the time to get a haircut.
- Possibly 2017 might be the year I shoot a deer while hunting. Last year I slipped in fell in a pile of deer crap and that was about the closest I got.
- Freezer chickens.
- I raised 10 Red Rangers for the freezer, butchered 9 and kept one for laying (she's doing great). I'd like to put 25 in the freezer in 2017.
- I also put away two silkies - they have black skin/meat/bones and are used in soup. Not sure if I'll do more next year because I need to order things like wolf berries online to make the soup.
- I don't know how many random roosters/culled hens we ate -maybe 5 or 6?
- If I'm at this auction again and grown roosters are going for $1 each, someone hold my wallet. I will impulse buy a dozen. Also, any turkeys for sale will be bought and killed because Lord knows I'm not raising them myself again.
- Eggs. As it stands, I got my winter numbers down to 7 chickens and 5 ducks. The ducks lay an egg a day, every single day, starting in about March. I'm projecting 4 dozen eggs a week for the house. This is enough but I'll set more eggs because I can't help myself. They're Easter Eggers and I can always Craigslist the pullets.
- Quail. I really miss having quail and that cute layer pen is just sitting there. I 'm thinking of ordering Golden Manchurian eggs from James Marie Farms. I'll keep a small covey for tiny eggs and butcher the rest for fancy-looking dinners.
- Mushroom logs really need re-seeded this year. I've had my shiitake logs for about 7 years and while they give mushrooms every season, I don't know how much longer it's going to last.
- I'd like to find a way to grow fresh herbs indoors in the winter that doesn't involve my gross basement or the cats messing with them.
- The garden. I am re-evaluating the layout and our food priorities in order to be more effective in the future. Eventually, I would like to work back up to selling at the farmer's market again. For 2017 I just want to feed us very, very well and have a house full of beautiful flowers.
- Sometimes I feel like our house, a small 1930's Sears & Roebuck, is closing in on me. We have too much stuff, period. Time to cull out the things we don't need and set up a spot at the flea market. Which is great fun in itself because I get to spend the day tanning myself and making a bit of money.
- This is going to sound ridiculous, but I plan on kicking ass at the local fair this year. Bragging rights and ribbons are fun. And when you win Best In Show? Golden. So far I've done it once in the Eggs division and twice in the Canning.
Dreams. Things that I don't expect to happen but would really be thrilled about if they did.
- I really want geese on our property. A trio of American Buffs or Toulouse. Geese that will chase off cats, bite the UPS man and honk really, really loudly. Geese that look beautiful in out yard and eventually produce offspring that I can roast for Christmas.
- It would be really nice to find a foraging class or survival skills class to take instead of just reading about these things. A (very) long-term goal of mine is to do a months-long pilgrimage hike like the Appalachian Trail when the little man is older. I want to start laying a path to prepare myself.
- I would love to be in a place at the end of 2017 where I'm thinking of selling at the Farmer's Market again in some capacity during 2018.
Comments? Suggestions? Here we go; cheers to a new year!