Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!

As 2013 begins, I've been thinking of things I want to improve or do in the new year. I'm not one to condone only making changes to your life on the 1st of the year. I think for real improvement you need to change during the year and stick with it, all the way through the holidays. I consider these "resolutions" more as plans for the new year.

By making these resolutions public, maybe I'll have a better chance of doing them. So here they are, as odd as they may be, this is what's up:
1. In the upcoming year, I really want to go steelhead fishing. I received an amazing set of chest waders for Christmas and I absolutely can't wait to use them. I've been scouting rivers and steams in the Willamette area and there really are so many options. I fly fish, which I love, and for the first few years I only had a steelhead rod (longer and less flexible) for fishing trout. I was setting the hook and flinging the trout out of the lake into the trees. (Okay that was a hyperbole.) I do have a sweet trout rod now (magenta!), but I would love to break out the steelhead rod again and actually catch the fish that it's made for. 

Sepia-toned lovin' with three rainbows caught last spring.

2. This term Organic Chemistry pretty much kicked my butt. No love. Although I passed the class, I did not do so with flying colors by any means. I wasn't able to make it on the Dean's List this term, so my goal for the upcoming year is to identify why I didn't succeed to my full potential and address those issues. I would love to get back on the Dean's List. Hell, I would love to get a 4.0 for a term. I'm actually registered for 19 credits this winter, so it's going to be a ton of work to get my grades. But I have everything planned out, getting at least 25 hours of studying done per week. I'm going to stick to it. My schedule is even color-coded, so you know this is for serious.

3. As far as my income goes, well, there is none. Except for what my loving grandparents afford me, I am really pinching pennies here. I have a ball park idea of how much I spend on food every month, but have never really budgeted it all out to see where the money goes. I am going to keep track of at least a month's worth of food expenses. I'm predicting my biggest non-nutritional money-suck treats are these citrus gummies they sell in bulk at our local Co-op. Delicious, but about $8/lb. (They have Vitamin C though!) My diet at school consists mostly of vegetables, and I love finding deals at our local farmers' market during the growing seasons. It's all grown locally and it's way better than any grocery store comparatives. Here's what we got for $20 one day over summer:

Butternut squash, tomatoes, carrots, celeriac, rutabagas, lettuce, spinach, Italian plums, and eggs!

4. My poor chickens have been living in a mud pit since the rains have come. I really would like to upgrade their living quarters this year. Preferably sooner rather than later. Plans include: raising the coop floor and providing a ramp entrance to keep the coop floor drier and cleaner, upgrading the run door so that it's easier to let them in and out of the yard, and providing the chickens some interesting "furniture" like a straw bale to climb on and maybe some more perches. I want to get a trough waterer that I can channel rain from the coop roof into. No more chickens perching on the top of their water bucket and pooing in the town well! (Not the brightest little creatures...) I really enjoy the idea of this trough, it can be connected to a larger water source (rain barrel!) and they can't dooty it up. 

Furthermore, I want to get a good gate on my garden so they don't dig in the beds again. It was very upsetting when they pulled out all of my baby kale plants. I may or may not have put them into a three-week timeout for their heinous crime... 

So fierce, so beautiful...

5. Finally, I want to do even better with my garden this year. I think things went beautifully for me, a novice, this last year. I grew almost everything from seed and the great majority of my plants were of heirloom varieties. I know now that brassicas are not worth planting unless I want to go Rambo on aphids. While I did enjoy many tomatoes, it wasn't worth the space lost to plant eight plants of one variety, maybe just four for next year. The best crops were definitely the loose leaf lettuce greens, radishes, beets, snow peas, and carrots. I never planted spinach at quite the right season to get it to produce. I should plant kale earlier this year; I did a fall crop really late and got lovely baby greens from it, but I should do twice as much earlier in the season. This year I want to try growing bell peppers, ground cherries, and Asian-style eggplant for some variety. (The company I linked to here is based in Oregon and have the best quality seeds I've ever used, I won't get them anywhere else anymore!) I don't think there's much that's more rewarding than eating a meal that's almost 100% from your garden.

All in all, these are just a few of the big resolutions for 2013. This new year seems to already be shining with promise, and I'm excited to dive in. 

I wish you a wonderful new year and good luck in your future endeavors!

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