Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010...Hello 2011

It doesn't seem possible that we are already going to say goodbye to 2010 in just over 12 hours. So much has happened to us this year,and we have learned much.Not everything got accomplished,and some things that I personally was striving for (such as weight loss) fell to the wayside. However,the overall year was certainly more positive than negative. Here is a reflection on the year that was........

The biggest things that happened to us as a family was that Rick was finally medically retired from the military in April. It took three med boards and 5 years for this to happen. By November,he was 100% disabled through the VA,collecting his monthly pension and receiving Social Security Disability. In May,his knee problems were finally diagnosed by one of the best hospitals in the US,Dartmouth Hitchcock,which is also a training hospital for Dartmouth College,one of the Ivy League schools ( For those of you who are outside the US and may not know,Ivy League schools are schools that are the oldest in the nation,such as Harvard,Yale,Brown,Princeton).He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Degenerative Arthritis,which was incurred from his days in Combat Airborne back in the 1980's,fighting what I call President Reagan's "secret little wars." Both knees were replaced with titanium.He spent three weeks in rehab,and has made  a quick recovery-his surgeon is very pleased. Those three things are most certainly the biggest things that have happened to us this year.

At the beginning of the year,we sat down and discussed what we wanted to do,why we wanted to do it,and how. For the first time,we started seeds indoors. That was a learning experience.Lights,grow trays,heating pads, timers....the one big thing I learned was that I should not take peppers off the heating pads once they sprout. Our basement is cool,and it stunted the growth of the peppers,but I put them back on heat and they did wind up growing.We learned about Square Foot Gardening,and made boxes,made a compost shifter,and shifted lots of compost. We bought a compost tumbler,and my sister gave us a compost bin. We put a small bucket in the kitchen for composting kitchen scraps (who knew that paper towels were compostable? I didn't!). Rick and I built our turkey cage and got Narragansett turkeys from one of our friends. We built a chicken house and got chickens. I discovered that chickens and turkeys love weeds pulled from the garden. We did our first canning this year,and though my veggie weight tally wasn't complete,I do know we grew 28lbs of cukes! We set up rain barrels from juice barrels that Brother Dale gave us. That helped keep the poultry watered since our dug well was low. We planted blueberries,blackberries strawberries,and raspberries. We started a kitchen garden-mint,rosemary,oregano,thyme,and basil (Rick and Brother B tell me I need to plant and dry more oregano next year).Our Concord Grapes took off last year and we bought a trellis,which is already too small-I think we will make an arbor this coming Spring. We got edible apples from out Jonathan apple tree this year! It was planted before Rick went to Iraq. We used our neighbors wood chips to make a walkway to the house and we also used them in between the raised beds. Our  other neighbor let us use a mix of their dirt and wood chips to extend our driveway.  We made our own maple syrup,as little as there was.I made lye soap,continued making laundry detergent,and attempted to make dish soap,but because I didn't like the results I went back to store bought,but went to Planet,and stopped using Ajax. I stopped buying Clorox wipes and started making my own cleaners-bleach and water for disinfectant and white vinegar and water for glass cleaner. I began making my own brown sugar ( sooooo much better than store bought!). I make our own bread and baked goods.I started teaching myself how to knit.

We made a few investments: a new (used) four wheel drive truck,an artesian well (which will never run dry),a new snow blower,and a new wood splitter. We purchased tree length wood,which should keep us in heat for a few years. Rick bought me a Cuisinart stand mixer,with  food processor and meat grinder attachments.

We took a lovely trip to Malone,NY,and got to explore the world of Almanzo Wilder,the husband of one of my all time (if not THE all time) favorite authors,Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was so much fun,and was really something to stroll among the grounds and in the house that I have read about so many times in Farmer Boy.

Personally,though I haven't succeeded at weight loss,or conquered my procrastination issues,I have done much soul searching this year. I feel as a person I have grown and have a more sense of self,though I still have much more growing to do. I am more comfortable in my own skin and in what I believe. I don't get into religion and politics on this site,because that has nothing to do with what we are trying to achieve here.However, these two issues have been some of what has been rolling around my head this last year. Suffice it to say I don't like extremism in religion or in politics,and I don't like it when people try to use fear or paranoia to try and gather followers or votes. Sadly,there is much of that out there right now. I think it's scary.

We have a list already in the works for this coming year:
-Double the size of the garden
-New metal roof on the house and garage
-New deck
-Weatherproof the mud room so we have a place we can keep coats,etc since we dont' have a coat closet.
-Remodel the bathroom
-Remodel the kitchen
-Paint the house and garage
-Clean out the attic
-New windows in the basement
-Make a cold frame with the old sliding glass doors
-Have a cold weather garden this year
-Maybe get goats!

I am sure the list will be added to,and though I know not all will get accomplished,that is what we would like to see happen.

Thank you all for following our lives here in our little cottage.I am very grateful that you all have followed us on our continuing journey.

From all of us here at The Little Yellow Farm to all of you throughout the world,have a wonderful New Years! I hope your joys are many,your sorrows few.

See you next year!!!!!  :)

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