Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

No post last Friday. Last week went all roller-coaster on me. I felt good at the beginning of it and did actually make some progress on both the laundry and the dishes, cleaned the litterboxes two days in a row (!) and managed to be at work on time and without forgetting anything. I even got some work done on the rag rug, albeit very little. I didn't manage to get 'round to plastering, but I was feelin' proud... and then my motivation left entirely and I started waking up congested and thought I was getting sick again! Thankfully thus far it seems to be just a reaction to the weather (which has also been roller-coaster-y).

Rick's without hours for a while because his company's client severed the contract without warning, which is really really annoying and a little disheartening. We were just starting to get ahead and now we're going to have to work to keep afloat again. We can't live on just my income! So that's now a worry, and my focus on the house and garden is out the window. He won't be out for long, I hope!

On the other hand, I did manage to work out a settlement payment on a longstanding overdue debt, which means there's one less credit card in my portfolio and one more "PAID IN FULL" being sent to the credit reporting agencies. I'm excited about this and grateful for my sister whose generosity is matched by her intelligence and beauty (ok, I'm sucking up a little, but she did send me the last bit I needed to pay the debt before the settlement offer expired, and I can't say "thank you" enough!

So anyway, after all the progress I made at the beginning of last week, by Sunday nothing was done again and I felt awful about it. I've been avoiding posting for two days now so that I can catch up again. I'm still not really caught up, but at least there's a load of laundry in the dryer and I managed to clear one side of the sink (the other side and the counter are still piled with cooking utensils and cutting boards and bowls, oh dear...).

Today was beautifully mild and very warm, but the wind is roaring out there tonight, and I think we're due for some more rain/snow. I can't wait for spring!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Forward-Thinking Friday #2: One Small Step...

Hush, I know it's Saturday. I was miserably sick with a sinus infection on Thursday and Friday (I'm still sick, but - to quote the infamous Monty Python skit - I'm not dead yet! Actually, I'm getting better!)

Quick recap from last week: I've managed to keep a pretty good attitude despite being miserable due to this awful infection, which is nowhere near gone yet - I'm just grateful that I can breathe again! Picking out paint colors and working on a garden plan really helped this week, as did nabbing some sparkly pins from the clearance rack at work that will make my favorite black shawl a little more colorful! Getting things done is a good antidote for bad moods, and having color around the house is nice when it's grey outside. I'm looking forward to warmer weather, so we can open the windows and paint!

The garden planning is also working toward big goal #1: Enlarge the Garden!. I'm planning a second raised bed to match the first, and figuring out what I'll need for trellis and compost to put the pea bed up front this year. One step at a time, the front lawn is getting more productive and less ugly!

So here's the FTF for the upcoming week: Smaller goals to be finished by next Friday (hopefully!). I have Monday and Thursday off work plus a shorter shift on Sunday, so I'll have lots of time to get things done!

I've decided on two goals:
1. Fixing up the downstairs,
2. Keeping up on the chores! (Which is really a key component of getting anything else done around here, although it wasn't on the big list).

I'm going to keep up on the dishes, laundry, AND litterboxes this week (I can often manage to get one or two done every day, but not all three). This is really important, since not only am I trying to feel better about my homemaking skills but I'm really eager to get some actual WORK done on this house, and it'll be so much easier if we're not shuffling dishes around!

For the 'fixing up the downstairs' bit, I'm going to do two things. One is to continue work on a braided rag rug that I started the summer we moved in. The other is to get out the patching compound and patch some of the uneven and broken spots in the entry and living room walls. Doesn't that sound easy? It sounds easy to me. I'm so excited to get started!

I'm off to do the dishes - any suggestions for crops I should add to the garden this year? Leave 'em in the comments!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Forward-Thinking Friday #1: To Infinity, and Beyond!

Happy New Year!

I figure it's about time this blog had some alliterative titling going for it. Lots of other bloggers I know do Wifey Wednesdays and Thankful/Thoughtful Thursdays and I'm sure someone somewhere does Mournful Mondays! Since this blog is mostly about my hopes and dreams of homesteading (and occasionally the progress I make in that area), I figured Forward-Thinking Fridays would be a good place to set out goals both large and small, and look to what's coming instead of reflecting on the past. I reflect way too much on what's been done and not enough on what needs doing!

(Which reminds me, I need to wash the dishes!)

Anyway, it's January and the weather's milder than January in Pittsburgh has a right to be. It's bringing to mind sweet spring breezes and planting layouts even though I know we're going to have a real nasty February ahead of us, and probably March too! Still, gardening is on my mind, and painting, and all the million and one warm-weather tasks that I'd love to get done this year (and probably won't because let's be honest - it's way more fun to plan them than to finish them all!). Therefore this first FF is going to be a nice tidy list of goals for the year. I didn't do New Years' resolutions, but I can do goals!

Goals for Dawn's Homestead:
1. Enlarge the garden!
Pretty self-explanatory, really. Last year's garden did ok, but I want bigger and better this year! And I need to find somewhere to put the peas, because the kitchen garden isn't cutting it. I think it'd work better as a pond, with all the water it collects anyway! (Shhh... don't encourage that idea!)

2. Finish fixing up the downstairs!
This is a HUGE multi-part project and isn't realistically going to be "done" until we can afford to rip out the entire kitchen and re-finish it, but I'd at least like to get the living room, entry, and dining room cleaned up, patched up, sanded, primed, painted, and trimmed out, and if not refinish the floors then have a solid plan of action for them and a budget so we can save up to do it next year.

3. Learn to preserve my harvest!
I have some of the knowhow already, but I've never bothered with it before because we never grew enough to be worth the trouble. This year I'm not only planning to grow more, I'm planning ahead for preserving!

4. Find a volunteer position (or better yet, a job) in community planning/development/urban ag.
There are a few nonprofits in the city doing some really great things, and I want to get in with them. I've been having a tough time with my current retail job and the ugly side of humanity it exposes (shopping never was my favorite activity, unless it was for garden supplies!), and the argument to go back to school and get a Master's degree is losing interest. It's time to quit -thinking- about finding a job and either find one, or make one. (Making my own path in life scares the bejeezus out of me, quite frankly, but I'm NOT happy where I am, and I figure it's about time I quit waiting for happiness!)

5. Be "happier" in general.
This is probably the hardest goal of all. I don't need to be cheerful 24/7 but I'm prone to mild depressive episodes and self-loathing which not only keep me from working on the things that are important to me, they make me feel like that work isn't worth doing. That's awful! So my goal for the year is to spend more time reflecting on the good things about myself (and how much I've done!) rather than imperfections and unfinished projects. Because I AM good, and I AM productive, and I AM a halfway decent gardener and homemaker, and I AM going to get BETTER!

I'm going to keep re-visiting these goals on Fridays (assuming I remember, because blogging isn't one of my main goals this year!). Next week I'll try to break down some of the bigger goals into smaller goals! This year is going to be a good one for the homestead. I can feel it!

Are you ready for the new year? Let me hear some of your resolutions/goals in the comments!