Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cheers to the New Year...

Well here it is, January 1st. The day where everyone wakes up with good intentions for the year ahead of them. Looking forward, I am very excited about what I have planned for my family. I could not have started the day off better today. I went to lunch with a good friend who is also sharing my homesteading vision. It is so nice to be able to talk freely about my ideas without getting weird looks. She has also been doing this longer than me, so she had some advice and resources I haven't found yet. She also is the proud owner of a farm. I'm incredibly jealous, as my new aspiration is to have a goat farm. I'm not exactly sure why this is though, I don't believe I have ever formally met a goat outside of a petting zoo.

It's time to figure out a game plan! I have started a binder where I am keeping some of my articles, tips and recipes. Organization is not my forte, but hey, its a new year right? Anything is possible. My collection of homesteading books is growing too! I have gotten some for Christmas and I bought three more today.

The biggest piece of advice that I have gotten is to start small. Sometimes when you have big dreams, you start off strong but then get overwhelmed. I have decided that I will make monthly goals to learn a new skill. This months skill is knitting! I have gotten some knitting needles and yarn from my grandmother, as well as a Knitting for Dummies booklet and several knitting magazines circa 1980s. Tonight since the kids were gone, I decided that I would try it. After some practice and a few obscenities, I actually learned to knit! Not quite a knitting expert yet, however I see many scarves and hats for Christmas presents this year. And maybe a nice 1983 sweater vest for the boyfriend. I think he would like that :)

In my last post, I channeled my inner old man and was complaining about the cost of Miracle Whip. I have found the answer!!! Well actually I found the recipe online! So instead of spending $6.00 on a jar I will just make my own. This got me thinking, what else can I make that would save money at the grocery store? With two young kids, we go through tons of ketchup and chocolate syrup. I found recipes for those too. All of the recipes contain ingredients that I have in my kitchen at most times. Since we already have some left in the fridge, I will just wait until we use the last of it and reuse the store bought containers. I am also thinking that next months goal will be bread making...

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the monotony of daily life and not realize what you have around you. While I was off work with my kids for Christmas break, I got a chance to slow down and think. Sitting in front of my Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, I was suddenly hit with the amazing reality that I have everything I have hoped for in my life. My kids are finally happy. We have had some rough times in the last three years with the divorce from their dad. I have a wonderful, supportive partner who I am absolutely in love with. We took a big step this year and moved in together. Finally, I have a home. In the years after high school, I moved many times and always felt like my living arrangements were temporary. I now have a house where I can plant my roots and start making new memories. 2011 was pretty good to us, but I cannot wait to see what 2012 has in store.


  1. Tracey, books and magazines are a great source to get answers for homesteading questions. I still aquire books about gardening. A great source of information other than the Internet is your local library. It's how a normally review books and decide if I want to buy it.

    I too went through a divorce manys years ago and was left to raise two little kids who are now in their 40s. It was a challange and if not for my second wife's support would not have made it through the tough years. It didn't leave much time for gardening during those child raising years. Now that I'm retired, it's much more enjoyable to spend time gardening.

    Bread making is definitely worth the challenge but if done the old fashion way takes about five hours to mix the dough, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise, punch it down, divide it into loaves, and bake it. There are faster methods which might be better to try if you've not baked bread before. I used to bake bread all the time and with two hungry kids and a wife hovering around the oven waiting for the bread to be done, I would have to bake five loaves at a time because two were gone with in 30 minutes of being removed from the oven. :0) The family will get hooked on fresh bread if you bake it.

    Have a great new year to plan and start homesteading right where you are.

  2. Starting small is really important. Otherwise you do things like buy four goats instead of just one and forget you have to buy hay for 4 goats and feed 4 goats and raise 4 goats and find a buck.... We now are back to 4 goats but much better prepared! I have one Lamancha doe and two boer does and a boer buck. The boer's are for meat and the lamancha is our dairy goat. Goat's milk is really good and I love milking her! Right now two of my does are pregnant and we should have kids in Feb and March. I'm really excited because when my lamancha dried up, I had to buy milk from the store again- yuk.
    Plant a small garden this year with veggies the kids really like and then each year add something else. That way you don't get overwhelmed and end up with a weed patch instead of a veggie garden.
    I crochet (I haven't figured our knitting yet!) Around here people pay $2 a dishcloth. Maybe you can knit a few and sell them to buy your seeds. I love setting those kind of goals. I have chickens super easy to raise and earn their keep with eggs! I sell my eggs for $2dz. If I want to buy something I figure out how many dozen eggs I have to sell to be able to buy it. Then I have a little chat with the girls(hens) to speed up the process...I'm excited for your new adventure, good luck!

  3. I would just like to start off by saying that I am super excited that I have two comments from two people I have never met!!

    Okay now since that is out of the way...
    I think I will start off my baking my bread from scratch. I think it would be a good skill to learn the old fashioned way first before I find short cuts. I have many memories of my grandmother in the kitchen making fresh baked bread. When I was younger though, I did not like fresh bread! Times have changed!

    The divorce was rough on all of us for quite a while. Things are finally getting back to a good place. I am very lucky to have a good partner who is supportive (even if he does think I am crazy sometimes)

    Unfortunately, I am not able to have any animals yet since we live in the city limits (only by less than a block). But I will take the time to research all my animal choices. I really don't know what my obsession with goats is lately. I think I want to make cheese and soaps from the milk. Once we are in the position to sell this house, we both would like to move out into the country and have a little land. So I guess I am somewhat starting out small since I have huge plans!!

    I love being crafty and knitting is something that I have been wanting to do. I learned how to crochet when I was a child but I have forgotten since then. In this month of knitting, I plan to relearn that too. I would love to see what you are making. My goal is to be able to make some money while doing this project.

    Thanks to both of you for reading!!

  4. Meat rabbits-- You can raise those in city limits. They don't take up much room and are contained. Raise the babies to eight weeks and butcher. The meat has more protein per portion than chicken. If you cut it into parts to cook the kids won't know they are eating rabbit!