A Year in Review and My Calendar Conundrum

New Year's Morning, Scott out with the pigs in the snow.
New Year’s Morning, Scott out with the pigs in the snow.

One of the things I love about the end of one year and the beginning of another, is looking over what we accomplished and setting our sights on new goals. This year was a bit of a highlight because I don’t think we have ever done so many new things in one year. We went from city kids to country kids in 2012. At the end of 2011, we were all excited about having our own chickens laying eggs. We were so proud of ourselves.

By the end of 2012, we had put in a giant garden, visible from space, I tell you! We just did a Google map of our home, and the Super Garden of 2012 was bigger than our house! What an enormous endeavor for people who had only ever really had one little garden in a couple of boxes in Fresno – that died.

We canned for the first time this year, mostly spaghetti sauce and salsa, because we had so many tomatoes. But we also pickled some cucumbers, canned some jalapenos and put together some salad topping mixes. We have a wall of canned items in our storage room.

We haven’t bought a loaf of bread since February of 2012. Scott has been making all the bread, including buns for hot-dogs and hamburgers. The biscuits he makes on weekends to go with gravy are ridiculously fluffy, gorgeous and mouth-watering.

We also raised our own meat chickens and turkeys. It is something I don’t talk about much because I guess I’m afraid that some of the people I adore, who are leftish leaning, and organic and beautiful, are possibly vegetarians, and I don’t want to offend them. But goodness gracious the meat we have raised and processed is delicious. When we packaged it all up and labeled it and put it in the freezer, I remember feeling so well-provided for – all the meat we would need for the rest of the year was here and ready for use.

This year we have built fences and structures for our animals. Scott has helped in the birthing of piglets. In a few more weeks, we get to help our goats have their babies, and then the whole dairy thing begins. We get to learn to milk goats, bottle feed the babies, make cheeses and creams and butters, also soaps and lotions from goats milk. That right there is a whole lot we get to learn real quick. We have raised pigs and sold pigs and we will be breeding our pig again in a little while and starting that whole process again.

Over breakfast on New Year’s Day this year we realized that in the midst of a whole lot of work this last year, we sort-of became farmers. It was a proud moment.

And now, for the last week, I have been trying to figure out how to put together a calendar that would encompass all that we are trying to keep ourselves organized to do this year. There is not a calendar on the market that is ready to go with all that I want to manage. There are the family times, kid’s learning objectives, farm projects, work projects, other work projects, our own business and our other business and my job’s work projects, community involvement, the books I want to read, the artists in my area I want to see, my writing and the book I want to put together this year…

Scott found me last night at the computer trying to design something with circles all over the page of varying sizes where I could put my different objectives, and I was spinning a little bit and stressing out a little bit.  I thought doing it artfully with circles would help. The linear look or boxiness of most calendars stifles me. He said that children, for one, do not need to be calendared. Our boys run wild and free out here. Trying to plot out things for them in advance could be a very self-defeating enterprise. I can over-complicate even my plans to simplify. So there.

For now it looks like I will try to simply have a chart on the wall of daily tasks, another chart for when seeds need to be planted, and expected birthing times on the kitchen calendar. I will keep a calendar in my phone for actual appointments.

It scares me to not have everything in my world on one neat little page that I can look over and check off and see at the end of the year that I did it right. Yet, with all that we are doing, I may just have to give up being right very much of the time, and stick with being busy about the things that matter most – my big beautiful sky to enjoy, and the kids running hither and yon with adventure. All the rest will get to fit onto a daily list.

In separate news: The outline for my book is coming along quite nicely!



4 thoughts on “A Year in Review and My Calendar Conundrum

  1. oh so jealous of your canning endeavors, liesl! it stalks me these days, the desire to be somewhere…out. some of it’s the news, sure, but some of it is just a general migratory sense of the need to be somewhere more open where things will grown, damn it. your farm sounds like a little bit of heaven–with jars of spaghetti sauce on the shelves.
    looking forward to hearing more about your book outline as the year comes into its own. go get ’em.

  2. I can’t help you with your calendar, unfortunately. Mine (I use my Mac’s calendar function, which offers the option of creating new categories by color) ran out of colors. =( What I’m commenting on is that feeling of satisfaction from a full freezer and pantry of home-grown and -raised food! Seems I never manage to preserve enough salsa. I thought one jar/month would be plenty. I only have four jars left and it’ll be next July or August before I make more! Funny thing is I never used to buy it, as we don’t eat chips and salsa. But I throw a jar into chili and use it for tacos/enchiladas. Love, love, love me some home-canned salsa!

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