Approximately a year has passed since moving onto this property. I can hardly believe so much time has gone by. So time for a little new years reflections… Here are some of the thoughts I have about what we’ve done so far and where we go from here:
We moved during winter into a ramshackle house with no wiring, plumbing, or electricity… which totally makes us crazy. We made it through the cold season with a single portable kerosene heater despite our lack of proper windows or insulation. Living here like that didn’t feel all too different from the 2 room apartment with shared bath we had lived in 6 months prior to moving here…. only we didn’t have to share our bathroom!
I can honestly say that our dreams, before and during that winter, for a sustainable lifestyle had much grander designs than our time, energy, or budget have allowed! I don’t feel ashamed for thinking large, and in no way do I regret this choice as I’ve learned so much and feel a greater since of capability and strength, but this year we must strive for a more realistic set of goals… maybe we won’t do EVERYTHING on this one property (at least not within the next year). Doing it all at once just won’t fit in the category of “practical reality.” Ah well!
So even scaling back our goals for this year, we still feel passionate about the direction we’ve headed and will continue to head. We just need to do it with a sense of reality and patience with ourselves. On our extremely limited budget we have managed to rough out a bathroom and kitchen,replace 5 of 8 windows, built a bedroom which involved some structural work, fixed and installed our wood stove (and use it now that the weather has gotten chilly again… boy it’s wonderful!), sorted through a bunch of stuff (I think we’ve sent 5+ boxes to the family yard sale, have taken 2 trailer loads to the dump, and have stacked the bad wood from the house to burn for winter warmth), fixed another person’s house, and done a bunch of gigs and jobs throughout the year. I feel proud and accomplished already!
This coming year looks great to me! Our cost of living is so low that it doesn’t take much to meet our basic needs. The house gets more and more homey every week, and how can you not feel excited about that? I just started a compost pile, and I feel so good about not putting viable items into the trash… hello nutrients! We still need to work on our bad habits like smoking cigs and drinking soda… they completely do not fit into our ideals or future lifestyle, but damned if they aren’t entirely addictive, and finding a successful method to quit still eludes us, but we’ll keep on quitting until it sticks!
Fruit trees and expansive garden will have to wait, as will animal friends like cats dogs and goats. We still intend on having chickens, but like the other animals, we need to make sure that we can take care of them well and often, but they will be the first warm blooded additions to our homestead (thanks to Gabriel, my mom). Truth learned this year is that it’s hard to tackle everything and the things that require regular attention can become difficult to properly tend in the morass, so we’ll scale back for next year and will slowly grow from there. (Also it turns out that the garden plot we selected just doesn’t get enough light, live and learn).
We do need to tackle our water waste. We had the septic cleaned out months ago, but when we wash clothes or take a shower, there’s an odor in the back yard… yuck! After much discussion and contemplation, we decided to install a grey water system instead of replacing the septic. By reducing the load on the tank, leaving it only for the toilet, we should be able to solve the smell issues and be much more “green” in our water use. We will also attach rainwater to the system for additional goodness and potable water savings (it’s not about money, it’s about doing the right thing). I will post about that process as we get into doing it!
This year we’ll find a balance between the idea of something and the reality of doing it. That’s my resolution. I guess we all have to grow up sometime. This is my time! I’ll become a farm girl still, just have to ease into it! Keep your eyes peeled for the next post where I’ll cover some of the specific goals for the coming year and include some tips you may find useful or inspiring (hopefully) too! Great love to all and stay warm!