One week after the new year feels like the right time to reflect – 2017 is still fresh, but it has started a bit. In Maryland, the first snowflakes of winter are falling, and I’m taking the opportunity to snuggle up with a blanket and start to dream about spring. I’ve been reading my favorite seed catalogs, we set up an awesome cold frame Jake got me for Christmas, and I finally put up artwork and full shelving in our house. We were also lucky to celebrate the season with family and friends for Christmas, New Years, with Hanukkah treats, and a Twelfth Night feast.
I’m trying to take time to be grateful for 2016 – it was a tumultuous year in the world, but there were good things that happened last year. Jake and I took great trips to Newport and Burlington Vermont, Asheville North Carolina, and Winchester Virginia. I appreciate travel – even when I don’t go that far, the perspective on all people’s differences and similarities can be really grounding. We also had a lot of great beer, good dinners, and beautiful hikes!
I am proud of all of the preserving workshops I taught, and looking forward to many more next year! I also started a Supper Club that I enjoyed immensely as a delicious, creative outlet to connect with folks over good food – I hope to continue these as well. We also had a great garden season and a well stocked pantry – I learned a lot of lessons about plants, preserving, and seasonal food, and I am excited to keep building on this knowledge next Spring.
Each year, I prefer to set out New Year’s Goals. I know I won’t get to everything, but laying out aspirations, sometimes with specific steps to reach them helps me feel positive about the process of resolving to accomplish something! Many of my goals are along the lines of goals I am living by overall, but these are the ways I am breaking them down into specifics for 2017:
- Do more yoga. I always feel so much better after a yoga practice – increasing my sessions from once or twice a week to 2-3 times a week is super doable.
- Continue learning to sew: every winter I imagine I’ll become a crack seamstress, but I think I’ll have to reach that goal a bit more slowly than I dream of. Last year I finally watched a bunch of youtube videos and learned to use my sewing machine – this year my goal is to practice some quilt squares and trivets from old clothes to start practicing quilting. Bonus, maybe I can recycle all my those college club t-shirts!
- Be more environmentally friendly: I have already made some adjustments in my life – I turn the lights off when not in the room, attempt to buy local foods, recycle, compost, winterize my house, and limit my AC. Now that some of those practices feel routine and easy, I know there are more areas that I can focus on improving my plastic and energy use:
- ALWAYS use reuseable bags. Including when using produce bags at the grocery store – find something to invest in.
- Find and buy a pooper scooper. I want to stop using plastic bags for my dog, and also look into a composting garbage situation to break down pet waste (probably not for use in the garden though!).
- Limit plastic wrap and sandwich bags – invest in more alternatives like stacking glass portion containers and bee wrap.
- Hang dry clothes – my dryer sucks and I’ve wanted to do this for a while. Last summer a house nearby was being renovated, producing a lot of construction dust in the back yard – but this year there should be no excuses.
- Fix up a rain barrel. We used to have one but it started leaking – I plan to take time in the spring to build a new model, which should help us store rain water for use in the garden.
- Shorter showers. I am really bad about taking long showers – I enjoy them, but I could learn to accept a shorter shower. I think I will time myself, and make an average between a regular shower and 5 minutes, then set a timer for that every time, and start working my way towards shorter numbers.
- Reduce my use of environmentally destructive palm oil and seek to move towards more environmentally friendly dish soaps, detergents, cleaners, and shampoo.
- Set aside time for creativity daily. For several years this has been a goal of mine, and it’s one that I have slowly moved closer to. Many activities are creative for me – writing, making videos, fermentation experimentation, home brewing, garden planning and research, drawing, designing, teaching, and more! But seriously, I want to work towards creativity every day.
- And my biggest New Year’s Goal and project: get married to my favorite person in the whole world! June 2017, baby.
Happy New Year!