Thinking about goals.

I've written up my goal list for this year three or four times and not been happy with it -- maybe my first goal ought to be to decide on goals!

In the past two years, we've begun gardening, planted lots of perennial fruit plants (more on the fruit later), and ripped out much of our grass to create growing space and a permeable patio area. We've learned to can just about everything cannable (including milk and meat), dry food for later use, make basic cheese and yogurt, make candy, slaughter chickens, and bake all our own bread. We've set up a full-room pantry and begun stocking it with staples, built a vermicompost bin, and gotten two compost piles going. So I feel like we're making some good progress, but we're getting to the point where adding to our skill-set is more of a challenge.

Things we're working on now that could use some improvement:
-Cooking vegetables -- particularly greens. Both of us approach this as if they're likely to explode if we do it wrong, which is kind of silly. After all, the worst that could happen is they could turn into unbearably disgusting green slime, right?
-Trapping with snares
-Crocheting (Which I finally seem to have gotten the hang of, as of last night! Woohoo!)
-Sewing (I can do repairs and sew a straight seam fairly well, but patterns and cutting pieces out always seems to end in disaster)
-Cheese-making (As in branching out beyond ricotta and feta)
-Canning (As in planning for canning, which even though it rhymes is actually the hard part in this era of grocery-store food on demand. This is a great post on this topic.)

Things we're not working on yet that I'd really like to learn:
-Using our greywater in the garden
-Shooting (I'm a decent shot in archery, but I'd like to learn to hunt in general, if I can ever afford to do so.)
-Soap-making (Seems easy, but I can't find lye anywhere local!)
-Knitting (Because I should be making all of our socks by now. For shame, Angela!)
-Keeping chickens for eggs and meat (I've had them before, but there's a lot of planning and city approval and such to deal with to have them here.)
-Keeping rabbits for meat (The fact that we refer to the neighborhood bunnies as "Dinner" and "Lunchable" depending on their size suggests we won't have a problem with this.)

Projects that are started and not finished because I need to get off my rear and stop being lazy:
-Rain barrels
-Pulling out some of the shrubs our predecessors unfortunately left us with, including the evergreen that seems to be entirely composed of bird poop and ugly.
-Tearing out more grass so we can plant more useful/attractive/interesting things.
-Putting up the clothesline (though I have switched from using the dryer to hanging things up inside, most of the time).

Of these, I think this year we can manage to finish the unfinished projects and figure out at least a couple on the "like to learn" list. Seed-starting and crocheting were both on that list until very recently, so we are making some progress. The trick with a lot of this is finding cheap or free ways to learn the skills, since we have very little funding to put toward them. I'd love to get more skill shares going in the area to barter some of that, but I'm not really sure where to start. (I always end up feeling like we don't have anything to barter in return for learning the things we don't know, since what we do know is so basic.) I tried to get in touch with a local Transition Towns group, but they never responded, so I think they may be defunct. I will have to do some more digging to see what I can find.

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