2023-03-05 19:36:23 (UTC)

2023 Birthday Reflections Pt 4

Personal entry follows.

In December '22, I'd given mini-journals to the rest of the interns as part of their Christmas gifts. These small booklets included over a dozen questions they could use to reflect on the previous year's activities, and then visualize the coming year. I decided I would ask myself the same questions, and then record my thoughts here.

This is the fourth and final part of this series of entries.


11. Who did you spend time with this past year? What did you do together?

The bulk of this year was spent with the rest of the interns, and then the manager of this place. It's been over 10 months since I first arrived here, and during that time I've done a broad array of homesteading tasks and projects.

Gardening tasks ranged from planting seeds, to constant irrigation, to mulching and weed control, to eventually harvesting them months later.

Construction tasks ranged from digging trenches, hauling wood, moving rock, shingling building roofs, felling trees for both firewood and lumber, sharpening chainsaws, driving an excavator and a tractor, plowing snow, mounting wall and ceiling paneling, milling lumber, and even adding glass panes to windows.

When it comes to homesteading and home-making skills, I've built a tremendous amount of fires, dried food in solar dehydrators, prepped meals for dozens of people dozens of times, washed and scrubbed and swept a house from top to bottom, making sauerkraut and other ferments, hung laundry to dry outdoors and indoors, and blended my own teas.

Many of these tasks have been executed while serving as part of a team. A smaller number of them I've done on my own, though others and I benefited from them.

It's been the first time in a long time I'd spent any time at all with others for "holidays" and traditional special occasions. Over the time period for summer events and especially during the cold winter season, we've spent a lot of time together. This also includes watching movies. Though I've not always been the one to choose which movie we'd watch, there were many group viewings of films I'd participated in this past year.

Finally: as part of the day's work, there are group meetings at least twice a day. Collaborating on the day's schedule and how to address pressing concerns - where all members of a group were able to share their opinion and input - has been a near-daily process. Learning how to communicate with others is a skill well worth practicing, and at least in this case experience can be one of the best teachers.

12. What skills/practices do you want to learn or master in the new year?

I intend to become a better gardener. I want to build more furniture using hand tools and maybe power tools. I want to continue building my conversation skills. Finally, being able to quickly and effectively shoot and edit video is a worthwhile - and lucrative - skill I want to further enhance this coming year.

13. What are your top three goals for next year? How will you stay on track with your goals?

GOAL ONE: complete my full year as team supervisor. This is essential in terms of me earning stewardship of an acre of land. As I'm already engaged in this, the process is on rails and I'm set to be complete by October of this year, at the latest. While I doubt I'll make too many fast friends as part of this goal, I feel like the acre is an integral part of my future plans and so I'll do everything in my power to ensure it will not be interrupted.

GOAL TWO: map out my planting goals and location for my acre. I see the available land several times a week, and it's simply a matter of visiting the plots and selecting one that I want to go with. Once that stage is complete, I can start measuring and observing the available growing spaces there, eventually sorting out which vegetables will go where.

I intend to grow vegetables that can tolerate a measure of neglect, and can resist drought. The main goal for these vegetables is to sell them back to the institute so I can pay my bills entirely with what I'm able to grow on the acre, and eventually feed myself. If I am ever able to stay on the land for the majority of the growing season, visiting town only for social calls and recreation, that would be ideal.

GOAL THREE: Live in the tent for six months straight. I think I moved out in late November of this past year due to the cold. If I move in during the month of May, once I return from my trip back East, I should be able to meet this goal. Prior to my departure - during this month - I ought to set things up so that when I return I can just walk in, unpack my bag, and take a nap.

Again, this tent is something that I see nearly every day and I'm constantly reminded of this tent. On top of that, I immensely enjoy the time I spend in the tent. Going to sleep in there, and then waking up in the morning in there, brings me a lot of joy. Making myself some furniture and finishing a long-standing rag-rug project for the floor can also make this a much more enjoyable experience.

14. I dedicate 2023 to…

...Building my realistic homesteading life upon 2022's foundation.


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