Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year!

The last 2 months have been a crazy blur - we went to the SEMA convention in Las Vegas for Subietech (our first business trip ever!), made some wonderful new friends to spend the holidays with, took a little vacation to Palm Springs and Los Angeles, and then I got sicker than sick with Stevens Johnson Syndrome (don't google it, it's disgusting). I was laid up for weeks, and I'll be recovering well into 2016. On the bright side, it has given me a new zest for life, and a lot of time to reflect on things we would like to do in the new year!

SEMA is pretty boring if you don't like cars...

Red Rocks National Park - a.k.a. what I did while Mike was at SEMA.

When we first moved to Bend and changed our lifestyle, we imagined we'd have lots of land and be starting a homestead where we worked to feed ourselves. A year and a half later, we realize that our idyllic daydreams were A: unrealistically ambitious for an urban couple, and B: not what we really wanted. What we really wanted was to live lightly on the earth (as much as possible in the modern world) and to know exactly where our food comes from (grow/raise *some* of it), while living reasonably close to culture/fine dining, an airport, and a hospital. We still want to travel, play with our pets, have afternoon tea, and take naps (that last part is all me). If you own a true homestead, there is no time for any of that. 

And, we actually cannot afford a farm. Farmers are secretly rich. Seriously. Farm equipment and buildings are crazy expensive.

Homesteading: the dream

Homesteading: our reality - pets, camping, foraging, and the pear tree.

We accomplished a lot in 2015 towards our goals - we remodeled our fixer upper with all eco-friendly appliances, got the compost bins built (reducing our trash), tidied up the yard, put up a fence, and started keeping chickens. I also found all sorts of local sources for produce, honey, bread, and meat. Of course there are lots more things we can do better, and we will definitely keep trying to do so. For one thing, I'm going to can and preserve a bunch more food for winter 2016, and figure out a place to store it.

Our new bunnies - just pets, not meat.

We also added 6 new family members! Introducing LDP, short for Lou Diamond Phillips, the big dark bunny on the right, and Momo (which means "peach" in Japanese, or "dumpling" in other languages, either of which is appropriate!), our little gray bun on the left. They are in a temporary pen on some very temporary linoleum in our living room, until we can build them proper, modern living quarters. LDP is part Flemish Giant, and is larger than the kitties, which amuses us to no end.

The other 4 family members are of course, the chickens, who live in a very expensive coop in the side yard. In retrospect, however, the expense was well worth it. They've been snug, safe, and warm all winter, and while we watch those who built cheaper coops and runs struggle with snow, predators, collapses and fires, we are grateful we splurged and built something extremely sturdy and insulated. 

One major goal for 2016 - clear this demolished deck and make a patio!
What does 2016 have in store? Well, I finally got my sewing machine unpacked, so there's a world of curtains, quilting, and other things to get started on. We are having the yard excavated and spring will bring us a blank slate to begin building on. We'll be planting a new fruit tree, a variety of berries, and building raised beds from our demolished deck pieces...and then there's a patio to learn (i.e. Google how to) to pave. Not to mention gardening, round two - I hope to redeem myself from 2015's failures. While we do have trips planned, I think 2016 will be a year where we concentrate on staying home and feathering our nest. We're starting to get more involved with things in Bend, and we're meeting people with the same ideas and values that we have. There's definitely something to be said for creating a little home to be happy in, and building a community to be happy with. Wishing everyone happiness and fulfillment in 2016!