2010 in Review

Ok, everyone else is doing it…so here’s what I did in 2010.

  • Built a root cellar.
  • Got comfortable making basic cheeses.
  • Had my first successful over-wintered crop in the greenhouse. Didn’t buy kale from June, 2009, until December, 2010.
  • Planted about 1200 sf of garden which, with an average of 3 hours of work a week in-season, yielded about 715 pounds of food.  We had sugar snap peas for weeks and weeks, enough cukes to be able to give away pickles, enough potatoes and squash for the winter, and finally “enough” green beans to eat and freeze.
  • Cole crops were a total bust, however; we harvested very little kale (certainly none to freeze) and no cabbage or broccoli.  I managed to get a small fall crop into the greenhouse but we had to buy kale in December.
  • Wheat crop was summarily munched by deer; ‘coons got the corn (again) despite a tangle of squash vines, blood meal, and nylon stockings over each ear.  I think I’m giving up on small-scale grain.
  • Toured an Amish farm with Lauren Zinn’s Michigan Agritours.
  • Expanded the indoor garden to include ginger, bay, Meyer lemon, and cinnamon.
  • Weathered 2 (or three?) 24+ hour power outages with no worries.
  • Taught or coordinated 18 workshops for Preserving Traditions – including the popular tamale class that sold out in three hours and several iterations of “Intro to food preservation methods” that drew well over 50 people total.
  • Canned what should be a year’s worth of jam, tomatoes, and probably 1/2 or 3/4 of a year’s worth of salsa.
  • Installed bur oak guild and tidied up the coppiced ash trees.
  • Coordinated a mas purchase of seedling trees from the Washtenaw Conservation District; planted oaks, red osier dogwoods, and service berries (these were mowed down by late summer, though).
  • Helped arrange the most popular Grange program in living memory – 40+ attendees for an info session on the Cottage Food Bill.
  • Filled the root cellar with homegrown and market-bought veggies and apples. We may run out of potatoes; I gave away most to Food Gatherers this year.
  • Planned and sheet-mulched a mini-orchard, which I’ll plant in the spring.
  • Burned out a little less than last year.
  • Celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary.
  • Am now relaxing and enjoying the deep quiet of the winter “off” season.


  1. Lisa Bashert said,

    January 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

    So excited to hear this list. Wow — makes me want to make one. Especially excited about your citrus. I just ordered a Meyer Lemon and a lime — been wanting one and you just pushed me over the edge. My wonderful mother in law gave me her gigantic and beautiful bay tree when she moved to Santa Fe. She did NOT give me her lemon, which was also enormous. But seeing these flourishing indoor tropicals gave me the urge to try them myself. And the bay tree has been happily growing for an entire year, now — I even had to prune!

    • Emily said,

      January 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

      The lemon has flower buds and will bloom soon! I’m so excited! I’m a little worried what will happen when we replace our front windows – apparently they are not UV coated, so the plants are getting a good spectrum of light through the glass. (All our furniture is fading, too, for the same reason.)

  2. Pat said,

    January 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Do you ever have rodent problems in your root cellar? If so, how do you deal with it? Due to veggie-loving mice, we hang as much of our produce as we can, but discovered an amazing leaping pack rat who gets to our onions, garlic and squashes no matter what. If you know of a good source of wire mesh baskets, or other items that help-rodent proof precious produce, I’d really appreciate your suggestions.

    Thank you for your enjoyable website, Emily. Congrats on your many accomplishments this year!

    • Emily said,

      January 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

      This is the first season for the root cellar, and the mice haven’t found it yet. I keep some things in open-top Rubbermaid tubs…the mice can’t climb those, though they could drop in from above, I guess.

      Could you just line and cover containers with hardware cloth? Also, the best mouse trap I know of is called “The Better Mousetrap” – it’s a gray plastic snap-trap that’s really easy to set, empty, and reuse.

  3. January 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

    You done good, especially with the less burnout. I sort of feel that that has to be a continuing trend for myself, or else the whole thing’s gonna unwind. I hope you can continue the trend yourself this year.

    • Emily said,

      January 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

      Yeah, EVERYTHING will unwind if we don’t approach our personal energy with the same sustainability mindset as we approach other kinds of energy conservation. But hey, we’re smart people! We can figure that out, too, right?

  4. kate said,

    January 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    You forgot “organized & executed the group purchase and filling of a cute little monkey’s freezer”…. 🙂

    • Emily said,

      January 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

      Hee. That’s true. I’d forgotten that was this year, too. 🙂

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