A look back and a look forward

The look back: Highlights of 2012

The biggest thing that controlled my life in 2012 was that I was unemployed.

In the beginning of the year, I was hopeful to launch a new business – website design and social media management for small businesses. I spent part of my free time learning the ins and outs of self-employment, researching marketing techniques, pricing, and creating a business website.

Also, early in the year, when the weather was still chilly, I spent weeks in the workshop learning how to paint gourds. Over time, I got better at choosing the paints and inks that worked best and honed my drawing skills.

I also began baking bread – peasant loaves, white loaves, baguettes, yeast rolls and biscuits. (I had never been a baker and was [still am] pleasantly surprised at the outcomes.)

As winter began to fade, I began a major house spring cleaning, literally from ceiling to floor in every room. And, I prepped the vegetable garden, hand tilling the bed, planting and caring for the young summer vegetables. And, I started clearing brush that is overtaking the property, a major undertaking. One that will never be done.

I made a trellis out of branches to support a rose bush.

In May, my sisters came to my house for our yearly sister vacation. Our visit was more low-key than normal, mainly because my budget was so incredibly tight, but we did manage to go to the beach and go to Firefly Distillery and we went to see a movie together. One with Johnny Depp.

And, then I tended the garden. I spent more time there than in other years, since I had more free time, and productivity was the best ever, and I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen preserving the harvest for winter consumption.

And, in between, I continued to work on my business and paint gourds and clear brush and bake bread and I learned to make concrete casts out of leaves for yard art.

And, we began work on my plant shack.  And, I planted a winter vegetable crop.

And, my sister and her husband came for a vacation in October and we took the boat to Folly Beach to fish and scavenge for sand dollars. We golfed with them and ate oysters. And, then they went home.

And, after that, I continued to work on my business and tend the garden and paint gourds and make concrete leaves and bake bread.

The winter crops are coming in now and I am preserving the excess of the harvest.

My old car continues to hang in there, even though the transmission has been giving me a headache for a couple of years now. And, our tractor, a major tool at our house, has died and is non-repairable and there is no money in the budget for a replacement.

Looking back I can see that most people would find my year fairly non-descript. But, I have to say, all in all, it was good!

The look forward: A plan for 2013

If I had my druthers, I’d prefer to continue to pursue my dream of self-employment. But, since I do not have customers waiting in line for my services, that is not possible right now. My number one priority for the new year is to find a job.

Outside of that, I have made a few personal goals to have a happy year ahead.

  • Finish the plant shack. It’s been on hold for a few months because we ran out of money. But, that’s temporary (I hope) And, when it does get finished, I will have my own place to work on all my crafty things and gardening pursuits.
  • Grow more vegetables. I like growing things. Vegetables are fun to grow because they taste better and are fresher than anything store bought, I can grow organic, and I can preserve for future use and save money.
  • Paint more gourds. I’ve never considered myself an artist, but, I learned last year that the more I practice, the better I get.
  • Make more concrete leaves. Mixing concrete is like the adult version of making mud pies.
  • Bake more bread. A loaf of plain, bland, store-bought bread costs over $3.00 a loaf these days. My bread, on the other hand, tastes awesome and guests think I am super talented!
  • Clear more brush. The work is great aerobic exercise and the other end result is a prettier homestead.
  • Begin a daily journal. Because I want to.
  • Doodle every day. Doodling is great exercise for a more creative brain.
  • Write more. The more I do it, the better I get at it.
  • Learn new stuff. I want to make home-made wind chimes and other yard art. I’d like to start doing yoga. I want to learn how to use the table saw and drill press and jig saw and, then, make stuff.  I want to re-study classic literature, take an on-line course, study the stars, learn how to make pasta, make hand-crafted soap.

All in all, it looks good!



A new year and a new look

As I have said several times this year already, there is a lot of ‘moving forward’ going on for me in 2012. And, this blog is no exception with a new look!

It was actually quite by accident. I was updating programs (they get updated regularly mostly for security purposes) and when I got to the current theme I was using, I hit the update button, and voila, my blog was so very screwed up! I had no choice but to change the theme, create new headers, change some formatting, yada, yada. I hope you like it.

Since my last writing, I have finished another gourd. I think it my best ever!

We had our first hard freeze of the season the other night. It was wicked cold! I wore long johns under my sweat pants, and made homemade hot cocoa in an effort to keep us warm and cozy. Even Sam Dog got his ears covered!

 And, I had to cover the garden vegetables, too! Now, most fall gardens are done producing in these parts near the end of November, but mine was super slow to start. I don’t know if I needed more fertilizer or what, but, when most people were pulling out their garden remnants, I was watching my cabbages finally forming heads.

With my first head of cabbage, I made cabbage rolls.



After all this time and even after the hard freeze the other night, my cauliflower and red cabbages are finally forming some nice heads.


By the time my fall garden is done, it will be time for spring planting, once again!

So, what have you been up to, lately?