Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Year's Reflections

2006 was an incredibly busy year, and I feel like we accomplished so much. But I find myself caught in a philosophical tug-of-war space between the elation of goals met and the daunting reality of how far we still need to move towards sustainability.

Lots of the things we did in '06 were big steps without immediate gratification:

  • we purchased our goats, but still no milk

  • we purchased pigs, but still no pork

  • we planted several fruit trees (in fall of '05 really) that are still years away from bearing fruit

  • we continued creating the infrastructure for homesteading and a farm-based business, but still not making any money (and maybe never will!)

Big goals accomplished:
  • built chicken coop

  • began fencing

  • butchered 20 of our own chickens

  • grew much of our own food

  • froze or put up lots of food

  • bought a side of beef from a local pasture-based farm

Little steps that added up (that I should have done long ago!):

  • improved our recycling thanks to county program expansion

  • switched from paper napkins to cloth

  • switched from paper towels to old hand towels

  • switched over to eco-friendly dishwashing tabs and laundry detergent

  • switched several bulbs over to cfl's

  • joined an organic purchasing club

Goals for 2007:

  • move further towards simplicity and sustainability

  • make Touch the Earth CSA a reality and not just a dream

  • grow more food

  • preserve more food

  • learn to make goat cheese and goat's milk soap

  • further reduce dependency on grocery chains

  • set up home-made pet-poo vermiposting system that I've been designing for ages

  • begin heritage poultry breeding program

  • improve goat breeding program by bringing in new lines

  • set up tamworth breeding program

  • set up heritage duck breeding program

  • start up Touch the Earth's "Vintage Farm" line of products

And I'm sure there's much, much more—there always is!


Christy said...

I think what you've accomplished this year is incredible! You are my role model on this journey I hope to be starting on in 2007. Every step you take is a step closer to your goal. I'm going to use my time in this house to learn some of the home making skills I'd like to have like sewing and canning. These are things that can be done anywhere and will make a difference in the long run.

Danielle said...

Thanks Christy! Of course, you guys are welcome out here any time.

I think you'll be so pleased that you used the time you had to move forward. It's so easy to obsess over what we want in the future without taking concrete steps to get there. (Can one take concrete steps?)

Life is a journey! You've accomplished so much this past year as well—the wildlife certification, helping your sister on her new property, visualizing your goals, choosing to move forward in the present rather than waiting for the future to happen. Wow!

Christy said...

I'm so depressed, my sister moved last week and abadoned all the plants I had gotten her. She had some wonderful berry bushes. I would have taken all the plants but I'm not going to see her for at least 3 months and she didn't want to hold on to them that long :(.

I've been trying to do what I can here, it keeps me busy and moving forward. Might as well use the time to learn what I can instead of getting depressed that I'm not where I want to be yet. But we really want chickens! We aren't allowed to have them here but my mind has been trying to plot a way to have 1 or 2 anyway. I'm not sure we can pull it off without getting caught. I guess we'll just wait...

Logan would like to see the pigs so we'll have to plan a trip out there soon.