I am taking some time to rewind and document the happenings of my life in the recent past. I love my where my life is sitting right now; I have fun, stay busy, and have been enjoying time with Carson and Kenobi (my cat).
For the New Year I've struggled with the idea of resolutions. But I did make a few goals for myself, as follows:
- 2011 is going to be the year of production. Big plans.
- Brew (at least) one batch of fermented beverage per month
- Preserve (at least) one batch of foodstuffs per month
- Complete (at least) one knit/crochet/weaving project per month
- Make a good faith effort to complete one spinning project per month
Much of my free time is wasted in front of the computer at home, staring into the oblivion that is facebook, or ravelry, or (insert name here) news website, or blahhhh. I'd like to cancel our internet subscription completely, and just go to a cafe when I want to get out and write. I spend enough time in front of the screen at work and for whatever reason, I'm spending a lot of time on the same at home. So production instead is my mantra. I want to look back on my year and say wow, look what I did!
Starting with goal one, I've always been the assistant to the brewing process, participating from the sidelines unless my hands are needed in a more active role. My understanding of the fermentation process is a step above novice (I've probably played a role in at least 15-20 batches of homebrew [all beer until now]) so I feel prepared to take the leap in planning my batches and experimenting with healing herbs and tonics, moving beyond wheat and barley ales into something else. (non)Traditional "beer," meaning a fermented grain beverage in this context, causes issues to my digestive track and I've not yet pinpointed it to a certain grain or yeast, so to begin I will be brewing non-grain beverages. In the past I have viewed alcohol as a simple refreshing beverage or a tool for recreation, but there's been a shift in my view of fermented beverages after reading (and re-reading) the book Sacred Herbal Healing Beers. Some of the recipes from the book that I'm aiming to sample include Ginger Ale, Nettle Beer, Dandelion Beer, and Chamomile Ale.
The canning goal is straightforward. Though I've only completed a few batches of my own in my adult life, I grew up around food preservation and helped my mom with innumerable batches of this and that. My all time favorites are her bread and butter pickles, canned peaches & pears in light syrup, and pickled beets. I also loved grandma's mustard pickles, and my friend Sara's mom's (or grandma's?) dilly beans with garlic. I hope to can all of these goodies, plus another big batch of tomatoes, and experiment with what's fresh at the market.
For the knitting and spinning I am already behind schedule for January (that's another blog post), but overall the two goals are completely achievable for the year. I am still spinning wool on drop spindles, both high and low whorl depending on the fiber and my preference at the time. I've got some random wool from Utah (maybe corriedale?) being plied right now, and some merino from a farm on Orcas Island, WA on a different spindle. I hope to try my tahkli with cotton for the first time soon. My spinning technique is still young-- I'm confident in my ability to spin and now am working to refine my skills in drafting, the amount of twist in my yarn, and various plying techniques. Efficiency/speed is an area for improvement, which is why I left that goal timeline open ended. I'm getting better but it's hard for me to produce quantity at my current level. I hope to take a class on spinning from Weaving Works to gain a basic understanding of spinning wheels, aiding the big purchase I am saving for this year.
And beyond being the worker bee on the home-front, I hope to:
- Rediscover personal health
- Read at least one book per month
- Be successful in my position at work, both in terms of productivity and compassion
- Better document my exciting life
- Spend more time on useful endeavors, less time on soul-sucking, time-eating, lame-ass websites.
- And enjoy the beautiful life I've got.
What are some of your goals? And if you're also on a production kick, what's on your needles/in your jars/fermenting in your house?