Monday, December 19, 2011

Setting goals now for 2012

So,what are your goals?I won't say resolutions,because we all know in the end less than 1% of those will be kept....LOL....

Well,we have already set a few goals.Here they are:

1)Double the amount of produce we get from our garden.
(That would be 800lbs for 2012)
2)Raise as much of our own food as we can,including meat(rabbits)
3)Reduce what we send to the landfill by raising our own,buying in bulk,and letting as little as possible go to waste.
4)Take an actual,real,out of town vacation,I know this one is a stretch,but I put it on there anyway.

Let's talk more about number 3 on the list for a bit.

Unless you've been living in a box under a rock for a while,you are already aware that the USA is one of the most wasteful countries in the world.Our whole economic system is built on consumption,and along with consumption,is waste...out with the old,in with the new...

I don't know the exact numbers,but drive down any street on trash pick up day,and you can see,we Americans produce a LOT of garbage.

There are some simple ways we can all work to produce less trash.

The first that should come to your mind,is taking your own,reusable shopping bags to the store.All those plastic bags do make great waste basket liners,but they also require a lot of energy to make,and are made from oil..a non renewable resource,once it's gone,it's gone there will be no more.

There are now available reusable lightweight produce bags for when you're shopping the produce section of the store.Look them up,if you purchase a lot of store bought produce,they will be a good investment.

In the kitchen you can reduce how much ends up at the curb by disposing of food scraps(no meat or bones,fat),coffee grounds,egg shells,etc,etc at home,by composting.If you're lucky enough to live in an area where you can have chickens(we don't),you can simply toss veggie peels,carrot tops,etc to the chickens,they love them.I save up my egg shells,dry them out in the oven,then crumble them up and sprinkle them right into the garden beds.These add small amounts of calcium and other minerals to the soil,and the rough edges are a slug's nightmare.

Proper meal planning will go a long way to reduce what gets tossed,by cooking just enough for that meal,or making large batches that you can freeze to eat later,doing a little menu planning,and things like that,you can reduce what must be disposed of.

Stop buying paper plates and paper towels...period....honestly,is it that hard to wash a dish towel,use cloth napkins,or wash a plate?I know,you're in a hurry,but really,come on now,get with the program here.We are using up the current supply we've had hanging around,but once those are gone,there will be no more brought into the house.

Buy in bulk whenever possible,you can do this with meats,baking staples like flour and sugar,pet food if you have pets.If you live near a meat packer,you can buy bulk beef and pork from them rather than the grocery store,and they will cut and package it however you want.

IF you have rabbits,chickens,or ducks,you SHOULD be buying their feed and bedding from the local feed elevator,farmer or farm supply store,DO NOT BUY RABBIT FOOD FROM THE PET STORE....also,hay,straw,bedding,pine shavings....if you've been buying those from the pet store,stop now,brake the habit and save not only on packaging going into the landfill,but also save yourself some money.

Moving on...let's go up the list to number 1.

Double the amount of food we get from our garden...I know it sounds like a lot,800lbs is a big goal....but keep in mind,we garden 100% organically,we've got our own onsite fertilizer factories(the rabbits)and with careful planning and better weed pulling,it should be that far of a stretch to say we could grow that much food.this year we were able to supple enough tomatoes for three household to can up,and more zucchini than 10 households could use(chickens would have been handy here). It's late December here,and the Kale is still green...rabbits love it by the way..So we'll see,and we will weigh and track everything that comes from the garden so my dedicated readers can see if we reach our goal.

Number 2 on the list goes hand in hand with number 1 one the list,so we'll leave it at that.

Number 4,yeah,number four...we haven't taken a real vacation in at least four years....and it would be nice,even just for one week to be able to go somewhere and see some new scenery for a while...we'll see what works out....

So,now it's your turn....share with me what your goals are for the coming year....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So,let's try this again,shall we?

It's been a busy couple of months around here,getting everything in order for the winter.

We bred the oldest of the three does to our buck,and waited,and waited,and....nothing...apparently she didn't take for whatever reason.Everyone I've spoken with suggested maybe she was too fat...fat rabbits don't get pregnant well...

So,now we are going to wait until spring and try it again.Monitoring the rabbits' food intake a little more carefully.

In the mean time we are working on cutting our expenses here at home as much as possible dispite the up coming holidays.

With the increasing uncertainty of the economy,no matter what those people in the White House say,it's still a scary scene.My own father just got a call yesterday saying that they will most likely not be calling him back to work in the spring.

I came close to loosing my own job in September,but because I was simply doing what I was instructed to do,I walked away with my job intact,and a write up in my file.

Regardless of how things turn out for others,we need to concentrate on matters close to home,and look at the possibility still of combining households to ease the financial burben on all of us.

By my parents moving in with us(they rent currently) it could save them a few hundred dollars a month,and by splitting the mortgage and utilities,save us a few hundred dollars too.

The downside though is that my father is a difficult person to put up with,being very stubborn and old fashioned " a woman's place" kind of person.I personally have no tolerence for people that treat women like they are lesser beings...especially less so of a man who expects to be waited on hand and foot....he is my father,but in all honesty,I've never been able to figure out why my Mom puts up with him.It's a mystery to me.

I think we would butt heads, A LOT........

We did some late fall planting here,I got a good deal on some dwarf and semi dwarf fruit trees,and just had to get them.With any luck they will make it through the witner and put on lots of new healthy growth in the spring.

As winter starts to creep in,we've been adding generous amounts of rabbit manure to the garden beds,but soon we'll stop adding,and let nature takes it's course,tilling it all in when the ground thaws again in the spring.

The rabbit manure is one of the reason we got rabbits,having an at home source of rich fertilizer to add to the gardens,and rabbit manure does not need to be composted,it's not "hot" like other animal manures,and breaks down quickly,enriching the soil as it does.

We are also about the embark on a "spending diet",in which we will do NO SHOPPING for about a year(that's the goal anyway).Sure,there are going to be a few things we need,but everything that is not an immediate need will have to wait for the time being.

I'll keep you all filled in on that as we go along and see how things work out.

I'm looking for ideas for new posts,so if you want me write about something specific,please feel free to make a suggestion in the comments.