In a bit more detail, part 1

I've been thinking a LOT about food choices.  So, I wanted to go into a bit more detail about what my plan is - 'sides, I think the less vague a resolution is, the better the chance it will actually be kept.

A. I want to try to grow all the fruit and vegetables that I eat in a year.  Can I do this in 2010?  No way in hell.  One fantastic way to get out of gardening is to go too big, too soon.  And I haven't actually gardened as an adult (well, I did spend ~15 years growing weeds, then trying to kill them, but I don't think that will help too much).  So I will start out with a few raised beds, including as many fruit plants as I can afford, starting as many things from seed that I can, and try succession planting and season-extending techniques to increase yield, and look into different preservation methods.

Thus, the break-down is:

1. Get seed catalogs - partially done, as I've been signing up for some as I come across the companies.  I do need to try to get a more diverse selection though, including some heirloom varieties.

2. Plan out what I want to grow - then cut that in half.  Example: I canned (with Mom's help) 2.5 bushels of tomatoes this past summer, as salsa, sauce and whole tomatoes.  And I don't think the sauce/whole yield will do me for the entire year, as I love soups and sauces that use tomatoes.  But I don't think I can grow enough tomato plants to yield 3 bushels of tomatoes, plus whatever I eat fresh.  So I really do need to limit, for now, what I grow and in what amounts, until I get a better handle on the work and money required.  Besides, remeber those house renos?  Yeah, I'm going to be a bit busy this year.

3. Talk Dad into letting me use some room on his grow-light stand.  I would LOVE to have my own, since it makes seed starting a lot easier, but I cannot justify spending the money (never mind the room it will take up) this year, especially when Dad has one that he uses for storage for the most part.

4. Get the wood and parts I need for raised beds.  And try to do this as cheap as possible.  Why raised beds?  Clay soil, poor drainage.  'Nuf said.

5. Get the wood and parts I need for raised bed covers I might need, to prevent pest damage, extend the season, etc.  Again with the emphasis on "cheap".

6. Build the raised beds, get the soil and amendments i need to fill them, and plant.  Then sit back and rest on my laurels...  LOL.  

I'm sure there will be more as I go one, but this is enough to start with.  And it give me a time line as well - this needs to be done in the next 3-4 months... can't wait for spring!

Oh yeah... Happy New Year!!

Local?  Sustainable?  Ethical?  CHEAP??  FAIL!

Tasty? Epic win.

Happy New Year everyone, and may 2010 bring you want you want, and what you need, even if you don't think you do. 

Resolutions 2.0

It's that time of the year again!

Getting in the Way Back machine, let's go back to this time last year... and lo & behold, I actually did pretty good on that one. Good thing I aimed low.

Of course, it helped immensely that both grocery stores in town now charge for bags. I did pretty good for grocery stores, but notsogood on stores for things other than food. So, I'll keep working one this one. The biggest hurdle I now have is to remember to put the damn bags back in the car!

Other things for this year are a bit more ambitious, and there are more of them. So yeah, this post might get a wee bit long. Sorry 'bout that.

1. Work more with Kip, especially on agility.

I still haven't looked for a training club, basically due to lack of money. While I have enough to pay the bills, adding agility lessons to that isn't an option right now, especially with the renos planned. But, there is a LOT I can do cheaply at home. Like build a board (okay, not so much "building" as "painting and putting sand on it for traction") and work on body awareness. I even have the board already. And work on tricks that will build back-end strength and awareness, something Kip is lacking. And build and use a tippy board. And of course, I already own jumps and weave poles, so let's get working on weave entries and jumping already! I can also build a pause table, and a "contact" obstacle (not having tons of extra space, this item combines both the dog walk and A-Frame in one unit, sorta) to work on those 2o2o running whatever contacts. 

Goal:  "10 treats per day" (counting out treats helps keep each session short and fun)
Plan: make a plan of one thing I want to teach every month, and do it.

2.  Find a new job.

For reasons I won't go into here, my current job is not a good fit for me.  One reason I left Saskatoon was job dissatisfaction.  And while I'm living where I want to live now, I won't stay in a situation where I still am dissatisfied with my job, for half the money I was previously making.

Goal: 2 job applications a month.  While this doesn't sound like a lot, there aren't a lot of jobs in this area that a suitable for me, and yes, I moved here knowing that.
Plan:  Apply to anything that is slightly suitable!

3. Food.

This is a multi-faceted resolution, and one that has been emerging for a long time now.  There are so many food "revolutions" out there - 100-mile diet, organics, fair trade, cruelty-free, sustainable... 

And I have issues with each.  They sound great, but I know if I attempt any one, I will fail - for me, there are built-in fails in each. 

Let's take the 100-mile diet:  eat only what is grown/produced within 100 miles of where you live.  Great... no coffee, no spices, no citrus... no way in hell that diet will last more than one day for me.

Organic:  sorry, but I have issues with buying organic produce from 1000s of mile away, when I can get non-organic local.  It seems to often be a trade-off between finite resources and pesticide free (and I also know that organic doesn't necessarily mean pesticide free).

Fair Trade, cruelty-free, etc.:  Those can be a bit easier to do, especially for items like meat & eggs, chocolate and coffee.  But the trade-off is cost.  And while I'm better off than many others, I don't have an unlimited amount of money, and there are too many, more important (to me anyway) drains on it at this point in my life.  Just looking at meat - sure, I can eat less meat, thus making cruelty-free, sustainable, local, organic meat fit into the budget, but I can't for Kip.  It already costs me just under $1/day to feed him, and I WILL NOT compromise on a raw diet for him. 

So basically, I've come up with my own food revolution.

Grow what I can.  Make what I can.  Buy local what I can't grow or make.  Buy "ethically" what I can't buy local.

So that means a vegetable garden.  And a herb bed.  And some fruit plants/bushes.  And I do know this isn't a single-year endeavor.

It means less reliance on processed foods,  on eating seasonally, on reducing some items while increasing others.  It means making contacts in the community to find local, sustainable foods that I can't grow, to find sources of "un-local" products that are produced in a way I'm comfortable with.

It actually comes down to one thing - THINKING about the food you eat, and making decisions about where it comes from, and how it's made. 

So yeah, I'm aiming a bit higher than last year.  Think I can do it??


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