As I post about my second full month of participating in the Anyway Project, I realized that having these small goals each month have really helped to make our homestead work a little better. In small ways and large ways we are refining systems. It is exciting to see that by small actions we are reducing our electric bill. Larger actions connect us to our community in a better way.
So on to the update..
Domestic Infrastructure: Mark was able to get a few more boards up on the shed. We have started stacking some of our really dry wood in the shed which means that it is burning much more efficiently and keeping us warmer. I have been giving each room a good cleaning. From Tristan's room I was able to get a whole bag of clothing to the Thrift store. I rearranged it and it seems to work much better for him. I rearranged Evan's room. We needed to put a dog crate in there because Cheddar, loyal friend, has had some anxiety issues since we moved and can not be trusted at home alone. The kitchen got a good cleaning. After being here for a few months I realized that even though the room is smaller than my last kitchen, the stuff in the kitchen was not placed in a way that worked best. Now everything that gets used often is easily in reach and no one needs a memo or a map to find it. For this coming month, I would like to continue with the room refinement. My sewing corner is a mess. I need to spend some time figuring out how to make this space work better but with little cost.
Household Economy: Well we did not track expenses. But we talked about it this morning and came up with a plan for entering our daily expenses into a spreadsheet. We did open the Christmas club. We also opened a small savings account for Evan where we automatically deposit a small amount. We would like to use this money for lessons. I would like to come up with a goal for how much food we could put up next year. In our attempt to become as self-sufficient as possible, I would like to learn to sew some of my own clothes. I have a few good pieces of fabric for a summer dress and a couple of skirts. This would definitely grow my sewing skills which are pretty primitive.
Cottage industry: Well, I paid for a day of advertising on Etsy. I need to explore more ways to draw traffic to the shop. I have an idea for a couple of smaller items to post in the shop. I am currently working on designing a sweater pattern that I hope to put up for sale on Ravelry. We need to finalize our seed order.
Resource Consumption: We did pretty well this month. We insulated the hot water heater which brought our electric bill down by 5.00. I did not get the big curtain made for our bedroom yet but that gets me back to the sewing corner thing. Once we start tracking our expenses I think it will be good to see how much gas we are using right now. One of cars has died and we are on the fence whether to replace it or not. But it might be worth our while to find a car that gets better gas mileage and not use our Subaru as much. With gas prices climbing again we need to be better tuned into condensing trips and maybe think about keeping the car off the road a day or two a week.
Outside work: I've been teaching kids to knit at Mark's school. This is a lot of fun. I am going to post a flyer at the local yarn shop for donations of needles and yarn. Right now all the kids are knitting small squares for a blanket or scarf that we will be donating to Nest Maine, an organization that donates hand knitted items to those in need. I have two separate groups and they share knitting. I would like them to have their own knitting needles that they may take home at the end of the year.I am still going to work on teaching a class for Adult Ed next fall.
Family and Community: Much has happened here. A couple of days a week I take Tristan into town for his GED class. This leaved Evan and myself a couple of hours to kill. We have been spending some time at the library. But even though we get a lot of time outside Evan doesn't have a good space to just run around. So I found that the local community center had a gym open for walking. I figured that I could walk and he could just run around. Well, just after the hour of walking we found out that there was a preschool playtime. So we stayed. He had a blast. I have been trying to connect with some local homeschoolers, so I told some of them about the preschool gym. But many of the kids are older. I was able to reserve some time at the community center for our homeschooling group for free. Also, we are still looking for a church. Many of the UU churches in our area are more than a half hour away from where we live. One of the reasons that we want to join a church is to feel connected to a community. But it is hard when it becomes a long drive. So we attended a UCC church in Farmington. It is a large congregation with a big Sunday School. There are many folks that we know that attend the church. I love being a UU. I love the way it is governed by committee ( I can hear Garrison Keillor cracking a UU joke right about now). I love the idea that there is more than one path, or book of faith that we can learn from. I love the liberal religious tradition. We'll see...
Time and Happiness: I have been taking long walks on my country road. I love snow covered hayfields, finding footprints of critters in the snow, clearing my head in the brisk air....