So, we’re on the flip side. Welcome 2013. Despite my intentions and deepest desires I was awoken a mere 5 minutes after the new year rang in. My Small Man! I was in bed early to catch up on last nights missed sleep (again thanks Orik) but spent more time awake listening to the silence of new years eve (never heard that before in Melbourne) than asleep having that long and deeply desired full nights sleep.
It’s 8:30 as I write this. Did you realise that most of the world is still in last year? 🙂 Kinda cool hey.
Well, as we say, “see you on the flip side”… It’s the flip side! Day 1 of a mere 365 days in the year. There are 8760 hours to use, 525600 minutes to make count and I don’t know how many seconds. Wait, take just over 8 hours and 37 minutes from that! 😉 So what are you going to do with your year?
13 is my lucky number. I was born on Friday 13th so naturally, 13 sort of HAS to be lucky for me. 2013 will be a great year for us. It is sure lined up to be a great one with many first and opportunities and so much more. I’m feeling so hopeful albeit incredibly sleep deprived. And I have a dream! Actually, I have many dreams. I don’t do resolutions. I haven’t done for years. I stopped when I realised that when you’re drunk as a skunk (do skunks even drink booze) it’s not the best time to make deep and meaningful long term life affecting promises to oneself. Swearing to give up the smokes whilst inhaling deeply just seems silly to me. I’ve long since given up the smokes and the booze, neither as of New Years but still I resolve to make no resolutions each year. Ironically in making that resolution I am breaking it instantly. Lol
So this year as I said I have dreams. I have plans and desires to do things. I want to achieve. A blog I follow said to do epic shit and although my little world might not be the stuff of epics, I am definitely dreaming big. So, here are my dreams and plans and hopes and desires for 2013.
1. I would live to become self sufficient in most vegetables. To never buy a tomato again is probably my first big one, followed with pumpkins and then maybe carrots. I wouldn’t have thought it would be such a hard one but early I need to do some research into my gardens more, plan for Autumn and building my raised beds up and getting them full of compost and soil and green manure to rot down and grow over winter. The bed rotation plan is already sorted so Spring planning and planting is already mapped out.
2. I plan to remove all of the poplar trees on this side of the creek. A BIG task and no mean feat that. This will sadly include the use of a poison. The only other way is to dig up each and every root the trees have put out and that is simply not feasible. I have a bottle of poison there waiting and it burns a hole guiltily in my conscience every time as it goes against everything I believe but I also realise that sometimes there really is no other option. This plan also will involve some discussion with our neighbour as he has left 1 tree on his property near the fence line and its runners are shooting into our yard. If I poison the saplings I may well poison his tree. Not good for neighborly relations.
3. I’d like to become at least partly sufficient in meat. We are probably about 4-6 weeks away from chicken harvest as our roosters and hens are looking quite mature. It’s not something I am anticipating with joy but I believe that we need to take responsibility for our decision to eat meat and be intimately aware of the process it goes through to get to our plate. Modern society skips the step of raising and culling animals and those neat feather, wool or fur free, bloodless and ready to eat packages on polystyrene plates keeps us ignorant. I don’t want to be ignorant any more although this is not enlightenment I will enjoy. I’d also like to raise a lamb (once its bottle weaned) to be our lawn mower and later on, chops. Not sure if we will get a permit for that but it’s in the and still. And I also hope to be able to serve my family subterranean chicken too. Starting with the rabbit that’s sneaking in to my garden and eating my herbs! 😦
4. I’m hoping to get a goat. Well, 2 actually as they need the company. 1 for milk and 1 for companionship. Either a doe kid or a weather (desexed male). I believe in the health benefits of raw milk and I also know although I haven’t researched it much, that the dairy industry is also up there with cruel practices and unnatural farming practices. As a hue dairy consumer (I LOVE my milk) its something I want to be able to enjoy guilt free. I’m not going to drink soy as a substitute as soy is nothing even remotely close to the healthy drink the tv ads would have us believe and much soy is actually genetically modified (around 95% or so in America is GMO from memory) and although I can make nut milk or rice milk easily enough in Hermy the Thermy, I’ve not enjoyed it when I’ve made it.
This dream also ties in with the next one.
5. I would like to learn to make my own deli products. I would love to never buy cheese or salami or prosciutto again. Cheese making, according to the curd nerd Gavin from Greening of Gavin and Little Green Cheese fame is not overly difficult, just time consuming and I’d like to have a go at a cheddar or tasty type of cheese and mozzarella. It’s most definitely on the plan for this year to buy a kit and get started. As for prosciutto, I have a friend who’s mum makes her own pasta sauce and prosciutto or salami each year (yes, she’s Italian) and shes offered that i could come along! Who better to learn from than a real honest to goodness Italian nonna? 😀 I hope I can learn from her and then source free range organic and all round ethical pork to make it with.
6. I plan to fit out the house with curtains. We currently have roller blinds which go a long way to cutting out light and will help at keeping the heat in/out but not enough. So, fully lined curtains it is. Maybe even pelmets which will keep in even more heat/cool. But step by step there.
7. I plan to spend more time stopping and playing with my kids as well as including them in all we do. It’s hard to sit down and play trains or dolls when there is washing to hang and a floor to vacuum but its even more important to do. We already try and involve the kids in the jobs around the house as its their house too and we want to raise healthy happy and capable children who have a strong sense of their place in our family (by doing chores they are contributing to helping our family run smoothly) but I need to involve myself more in their small worlds. Lunch might be a cubby house tea party today. 🙂
8. I plan to experience my local area. We took a trip to Tuki Trout farm the other day (I’ll post more on this later) which was a brilliant day out. On the way home we decided to try and see what our local area has to offer. Day trips and outings. Ballarat has several things we have already planned to go and visit and there are others in Creswick, Geelong and around. Good family days out. I will of course share what we find. 🙂
9. And finally, I plan, at 9:57 to get up and out of bed. Not a bad sleep in for a mum of 3 on New Years Day. 😉
I have so much enjoyed following your journey over the past 12 months and I really look forward to hearing about what you set out to achieve in 2013. Spending more time in Miss 3’s world is definitely something that is on my to-do list this year especially since this will be her last year at home before heading off to school in 2014. Like you, we include Miss 3 in most things that we do but I think sometimes we forget to slow down and step into their world. One of my dreams this year is to take a trip down to Victoria and visit a very good friend of mine who has just moved to country Victoria. 🙂
And you are most welcome! That is, IF you’re referring to me. 😉
I too have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog too and your journey into a sustainable life and future. I look forward to seeing what 2013 brings for you.
Well, you have a fan squad here on the sidelines rooting you on. 🙂
As for soy and GM–I speak of milk only,–all that is readily available in Australia is GM-free. Brands like Australia’s Own is certified organic in fact. What the case is abroad, I don’t know. But soy products in Australia tend to be alright.
That’s good to hear at least regarding GMO. However the so-called health benefits of soy also seriously concerns me. I’ve not read much into it as I don’t drink soy, but from the little I have read, soy is nothing like the health drink it’s touted to be. I encourage you to look it up if you drink soy.
My son was born on Friday 13th as well :). Try cutting the poplars close to the ground and topping the cut surface with a hefty layer of salt…salt is a killer! NEVER put salt onto your soil you will screw it up for years and my guess is that it will give those poplars a hearty shock…might be a good first option before you poison? It might also protect your neighbours trees…Self sufficiency burns in me but I am cursed with being intelligent enough to know that it isn’t possible on such a small 4 acre block…I am also optimistic enough to realise the value of making friends with like minded people and sharing the load around…the value of community is the saving grace of the smallholder :). With 2 of us, one vegan, the meaty self sufficiency is not so hard…the occasional culled chook (Big Yin is doing himself NO favours in his new enclosure as the hens cant run away from his amorous advances…) makes several meals for Steve and eggs and veggies are staple here now. You haven’t enjoyed nut milk?! What kind did you make? Try using Hermy to make cashew milk and almond milk is lovely if you remember to strain it (and you aren’t lazy and leave the skins on like me and your milk ferments and becomes the vegan equivalent of yoghurt! 😉 ). We will be planting chestnuts out on the property as a viable alternative to wheat sometime down the track…no wheat grown here in Tassie but we do have organic spelt somewhere up North (must do my homework and find out where…). Using chestnut flour (and in desperation perhaps the acorns from the HUGE trees bordering our property) might be the way to go? Love the cheesy idea…we have a dairy just around the corner from us that might just sell us some raw milk…I love the excitement that sharing possibilities does for a body! (Forgive me…I have been watching the Amish on television lately…sort of “Hunt the Amish and watch them from a distance with a long LONG telephoto lens David Attenborough style…). I can’t wait to see what we all do this year (Tropical hippy included 🙂 ) it is going to be a most exciting year…I feel it in my bones! (note to self…get some blood and bone for the garden!) 😉
Have you thought about making your own blood and bone? You use the bones of and blood after you make the stock too from what I can gather so it’s yet another use. Wish I’d discovered this BEFORE I chucked out the duck bones. Ah well.
I could make other nut milks but I really do simply adore milk milk and to be very honest, nuts also carry carbon miles if they’re tropically grown nut varieties. I have a friend who has goats and I will hopefully be able to get some of her excess milk which is raw and organic and local (3 points right there). as for Tassie flour, there was a fellow growing some that Matt from Gourmet Farmer bought but it’s cake flour n not firm enough for sourdough that he tried to bake with it.
By the way I found another easy peasy sourdough bread recipe that so far seems to be pretty fail proof and even Bertha (my sourdough starter has a name now too) is loving her new digs (always refrigerated) which I’ll blog about soon. 🙂
I recently watched the Living with the Amish series which was definitely very interesting. Total respect for them and their chosen lifestyle.
As for self sufficiency on 4 acres I’ve seen several web pages that indicate you can be self sufficient including a cow for milk and wheat etc on 2 acres or less. 1 scenario I saw included a pig and on 1/2 acre but that would be pretty intensive and not too pretty I’d think.
Poplars are those nasty trees that send their roots out to build new trees. Aside from the veggie garden saplings I will be poisoning as we want to kill the roots good and proper and not find new trees next year. There are also at least a half dozen under the house and those simply MUST be killed stone cold dead. They’re incredibly tenacious, opportunistic and stubborn trees. They’re also completely beautiful as a light breeze is enough to rustle their leaves and display their silver underneaths so you can imagine how they ripple silver green. I’ll speak to our neighbour and see what he says re the salt. I’m hoping that my idea of replacing the tree with a tagasaste or 2 might be well received – great fodder trees for cows and they raise 4 calves for a while in their paddocks (law mowers). I can hope anyway.