New Year’s Resolutions Update

Back in January, I set out a list of things I planned to do this year. Six months in, I’m well on my way:

Bake a good loaf of bread (or biscuits?) from local flour, preferably sourdough. Yes! It wasn’t sourdough; I decided sourdough is more of a “pet” than I’m willing to take care of just now. I’ve now done a crusty bread and a sandwich bread that are both worth repeating. And a pumpkin bread, but that’s just for a treat.
Build pergola to shade the front windows, tidy landscaping underneath, and grow edible plants up the side. Yes! This was finished last weekend.
Learn what I’d have to grow to feed ourselves for a year. Yes. The short version is I can grow 1.8 million calories of diverse foods (enough for 2 people for a year) on 1/4 acre (a little under 12,000 sf). My garden last year was 150 sf. This year it’s 250 sf and next year it’ll be between 1450 and 2400 sf, so still a ways to go. I have horrendously complex spreadsheets, if anyone is interested.
Find out how deep our well is; investigate hand pumps. Urgh. Yes. Turns out we need a new well soon. It’ll probably be 80-100 feet deep, and the county probably won’t allow us to have a hand pump, for fear of contaminating the water table.
First pass at rehabilitating soil in the back yard: manure, radishes, and field peas. The “rehab” area looks like a jungle of reed canary grass. *sigh* I did till up a new patch, though, and am starting to build the soil there.
Kill an animal for food, clean and butcher it. Not yet, but still plan to.
Grow, process, and eat homegrown quinoa. No, and it won’t happen this year; I can’t seem to get quinoa to grow.
Donate 500 lbs of produce (home grown or gleaned) to Food Gatherers and still have all the garden veg we want. Haven’t donated any yet. It’ll be mostly potatoes and squash, which haven’t come in yet. I will have to bring my goal down a bit since half of this was supposed to be gleaned apples, which won’t work due to bug infestation. Though perhaps I’ll pick some at an orchard and donate them, anyway.
Can tomatoes (and maybe peaches); freeze corn, broccoli, and green beans. Not yet – waiting for the harvest!

I’m also adding all my Carbon Reduction goals to this list and have learned that I can, in fact, ride my bike to the nearest store (11 miles round trip) without dying or injuring myself.



  1. Jen in MI said,

    July 15, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    You’re making strong progress. I really admire all the work you’re putting in!

  2. Brittany said,

    July 15, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Good work!!! You should be really proud of yourself.

  3. TeacherPatti said,

    July 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Don’t die or injure yourself!!

    I’d love to see spreadsheets so I know how much stuff to grow…. 🙂

  4. Derrick said,

    July 17, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    “Kill an animal for food, clean and butcher it.”

    Just take the easy way out and go fishing 😉

    By the way, I agree with TeacherPatti, I would like to see those spreadsheets.

  5. Gina said,

    July 18, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Great job!

    I’m intrigued by the one about the county not letting you have a hand pump-is this common?

  6. Emily said,

    July 19, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Gina- No idea about the pump. I need to get the full scoop on that. I think it’s related to fear of groundwater contamination – unused wells can channel crud right into the water table. Everything I know at this point came from a 5-minute conversation with a well driller who knew a guy who tried to keep a hand pump and it cost him big bucks because it had to be inspected yearly.

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