Friday, December 30, 2011

Sustainable Living Goals for 2012

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions.  They tend to be very general and very predictable.  Let's just stipulate that, in any given year, I'd like to lose weight, stop some bad habit or other, and generally be a better person by the end of the year.  Let us also stipulate that I have a kitchen full of Christmas cookies that will delay the first resolution, and that the other two will fall prey to perfectionism or seasonal affective disorder by February 1.

On the other hand, I love setting goals!  Goals are tangible, specific, measurable, and allow you to make progress even if you don't totally meet them.  So, in that spirit, let me present my sustainable living goals for 2012:

To Be More Frugal/Sustainable:
  1. I want to bake more bread.  I had a craving recently for store-bought refrigerator-section rolls, so that has been the bread of choice around here for a while.  But now it is back to the whole-wheat, flax-enriched, cheapie homemade stuff that tastes better anyway.
  2. I want to get more deliberate about weeding my book collection and selling unwanted volumes to the local used book store.  I need the space and always want the money.
  3. I am in the process of cleaning out my craft stash, which is giving me the supplies for a number of projects including a couple of quilts I am piecing.  These will either be gifts or for our use, but they will be much cheaper if I use what is on hand.
  4. I intend to do a better job stocking up on sugar and flour, including exploring frugal ways of grinding my own grain. Right now, I tend to stock up during seasonal sales, which means that if a weather or similar emergency came around, I may or may not have enough flour and sugar on hand to support continued baking and food preservation until normalcy was restored.
  5. We plan to expand the garden by a few feet to better take advantage of the sunniest spot in our back yard while reducing an awkward place to mow.
To Improve My Skills:
  1. I need to fix whatever is wrong with my mozzarella cheese technique and then start making our mozzarella more regularly.  I'm signed up for a class in February and hope that helps.  Until now, I thought it was the milk I was using, but I'm starting to think it is bad technique.
  2. I want to learn more about foraging for edible greens and the like.  I did pretty well last year, but I would like to continue this year.
  3. I want to explore more ways to extend the gardening season.  I am particularly interested in finding some cold-tolerant, shade-tolerant plants that will not just survive on 6 hours of winter sun in the sunroom but actually thrive.
  4. I plan to grow eggplants for the first time this year.
  5. To continue my exploration of medicinal herbs, I need to learn more about strengths, applications, and delivery methods. This might mean sorting out once and for all the difference among an infusion, a decoction, and a tincture. It also means figuring out which herbs you dry, which you stick in a bottle of vodka, and which you make into a tea.
  6. I plan to finally learn how to make sausage in natural casings.  If I get ambitious, I might explore smoking (sausages, that is).
  7. I plan to make more of my own clothes to improve my sewing skills.  I have wanted to be a better seamstress for a while, and now is the time to learn.
For This Blog:
  1. I want to write a series on prepping.  As you may have noticed, this blog is part of the Survival Mom Blog ring; if you follow the ring, you will learn a lot about prepping for emergencies and societal shifts large and small.  However, I would like to explore how this fits with suburban sustainability and hopefully give you some ideas for how to start prepping in your own life.
  2. I plan to pursue turning Fast, Cheap, and Good into a book-length project!  (I have some ideas, but editors, call me!  :-)  )
To Improve My Life:
  1. This might be my only true "resolution," so I'll share it with you to hold myself accountable:  Ration the social media usage!  I think Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like are all wonderful.  But they can be an enormous time-sink, and worse than that, the constant barrage of everyone reporting on everything about their lives sometimes overwhelms me.  I want this information, but I need to control how often I consume it so that I can live my life and still enjoy hearing about others' lives.
What sustainable living goals are you setting for 2012?
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  1. So....losing 10 lbs and being a better person are on the top of my list LOL. Last year I lost 25lbs, so 10 should be easy-peasy.

    And being a better person, specifically learning to love people that are hard to love, should reduce stress and make life more enjoyable.

    I plan on adding more perennial-edibles to the landscaping. Gonna rip out some butterfly bushes and plant a patch of gooseberries. Also going to start the asparagus patch my 5-year has been begging for. And I think I'm going to try some Egyptian walking onions this year too. I love the idea of never planting onions again :)

    Skill-wise, this year I'm learning how to make maple syrup. Producing our own sweetener is way up on our to do list, so maple syrup seems like the logical place to start. And if that's a total bust, then sorghum.

    And of course, I plan on upping the amount of canning I do next year. I gave away a LOT of home-canned stuff for gifts this year and plan on doing MORE next year.

  2. I just blogged about reviewing what I spent on food, groceries etc over 2011. I have a household of 5 A, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 6 chooks and we spent $130/week average on groceries, cleaning products, etc.
    Included in that total was the $511 we spent on takeaway over the year.
    That's a MONTH'S worth of grocery money spent on pizza and chips. I was shocked.
    So yeah. Far less takeaway is my big goal for 2012. Imagine what i could do with an extra $500?

  3. I bow to your more laudable goals. My primary one is to get Viking to fix this hideously expensive sewing machine. It has spent more time being fixed than embroidering. The frustration of having to unsew and resew together with the seasonally short days and miserable cold (anything below 60 degrees) is making me rather short tempered. Not to mentionyou heel turns.

  4. My sustainable living goals:
    -Bring a mug with me when I get coffee. I have one, I just forget it all the time. You would think this would be really easy for me but I've never been able to keep it up.
    -Buy fewer bottled/canned drinks

  5. Our main goal this year is to have days, and then a week sometime, eating only what we grow or produce ourselves.
    It seems harder the more we talk about it but it will happen, starting with 2 days this month.

    It means I need to get heaps more organised with my planting. And soon!