How Are We Doing?
First on my list were the Challenge Goals ...those things that I hoped to accomplish, believed I could accomplish, but knew I would have to dog myself to get them done. I would say I'm at about 50 percent on that list. That's kind of disappointing when you consider there were only three items on that list ...purging some of the stuff that is just laying around and not being useful to anybody, organizing our food storage, and minimizing ME ...as in dropping some weight.
Purging might be one of those things like housework that never really gets DONE. You have to do a certain amount of it on a regular basis and do a whole lot of it once in a while, but you never really get done. I've made serious progress though. In general, there's a lot less 'stuff' laying around and, in the process of sorting and purging, I now have a much better idea of what's actually here. That's the big bonus!
On getting organized in the food storage, I have to say we have exceeded the expectations I had when we set the goal. Yeoldfurt built me some shelving, I bought some new storage containers, we've improved the methods of labeling we use and streamlined our process for maintaining the inventory spreadsheet. I'm now much more confident in the amount we have stored, how long it would last us and the accuracy of our record-keeping. We've made a lot of improvement in organization this year.
As for the goal of minimizing ME, I didn't set a specific goal weight but I'm halfway to where I'd like to be. I wish I could say I am all the way there now ...but halfway is encouraging. It's enough of a difference that people who haven't seen me in a while notice, and enough that I can feel the difference in the clothes I wear. Best of all, my ankle bothers me much less these days ...less often and less severely when it does.
The second part of my list was the Standard Goals ...those things that pretty much stay on the list year after year in one form or another because we are preppers. It's more than a philosophy, it's a lifestyle. There were five items on the list of Standard Goals ...Reconfiguring the raised bed, Improving the chicken coop, Debt elimination, Increasing our supply of non-food items, and learning New Skills.
I am pleased to say we can check that first item off the list. Yeoldfurt single-handedly reconfigured our 16x16 raised bed garden into several smaller beds. He accomplished that goal on a couple of Tuesdays when he was off and I was at work and he did a great job. He even built me a deluxe compost bin conveniently located just a few feet from the raised beds. He is making plans and scavenging lumber to add additional beds and I'm making plans for some cold frames to set over the smaller beds and hopefully lengthen our growing season. One thing always leads to another!
He has also made some real improvements to the chicken coop, building new nest boxes and further snake-proofing the structure. I still want to build an off the ground brood box in the smaller room but there is no rush since we only buy new chicks every other year and the next time we will need a brood box will be 2013.
Debt elimination is another one of those almost never done goals. We still have no debt other than our mortgage and make additional payments on the principle every month, but we're a long way from paying off the mortgage. We did speak to a locally owned bank about refinancing a few months ago, but the interest rate they offered was only one-quarter percent lower than we have now and they would only consider a fifteen year note ...our monthly obligation would have increased by nearly 40 percent. The amount of the payment on their terms would have been equal to what we normally pay, so certainly feasible. But the amount we pay now includes our additional payment toward the principle and if we have a tight month, we always have the option of paying only the amount due. We didn't think refinancing made sense on those terms. But we have made significant progress in eliminating our mortgage so I consider that goal met as well.
Yeoldfurt has had fun with the next goal on that list which was increasing our nonfood supplies. He has acquired some additional ammunition as well as some of the tools he needs to do a lot more reloading of his own again. He used to do quite a bit of reloading and I think he's enjoying picking it up again ....kind of like me and sewing. We also accumulated a lot more in the way of canning supplies and a second (backup) Foodsaver.
Finally, there are the new skills and knowledge we hoped to acquire. Specifically, I said that I wanted to learn to make shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I can't claim to have even investigated any of those processes, so I need to get busy in that regard. I know Humblewife makes all those things and many more useful things from scratch so that's probably where I will start my research. She is an amazing source of information and inspiration, but true to her blog name, she is also one of the most truly humble people I have the privilege of knowing. If you have not ever visited her blog, I hope you will do so. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I hope to learn to make dishwasher soap this year as well. As long as I am working a full time job and commuting two hours a day, I will be using a dishwasher so I will be using dishwasher soap. I might as well learn to make it. And finally, felling trees is the other 'new skill' I had hoped to acquire this year. We have about ten dead pines along the driveway and in the sideyard that need to come down but need to land a certain way in order to miss the fenceline or keep from blocking the driveway. I'm waiting for cooler weather to tackle that one though.
So I set thirteen goals for myself, am somewhat lacking on two of them, and totally lacking on the last one. Not a horrible score, but nothing to brag about either. Guess I better pick up the pace!