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If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out And About...

Today we decided, for the second year, to OptOutside. We've always avoided Black Friday insanity, so Green Friday seems a natural substitute. This year, our free pass took us to Jack London State Historic Park. We toured a couple of the building, and the winery ruins, before hiking out toward the lake and beyond. We plan to go back, to see the Pig Palace, Wolf House, and more!











Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Making plans...

Backyard Farming Project Plans
 I wrote in this post about my garden planning, and then started research on building beds without going broke. I ended up finding this awesome tutorial on building raised beds with cedar fence boards, as cedar is naturally rot-resistant, rarely "treated", and fence boards are quite inexpensive overall. They still won't be $10 beds...more like $25 apiece, but that's far, far cheaper than getting them pre-made, with prices starting at $46 for something of comparable size. I'm hoping to put in 4-6 beds (leaning toward six...we have the space!), and a couple of potato towers. I know we want to grow tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, lettuces, chard, maybe broccoli, etc., and I just learned about tree collards, so am fascinated with them!

I also really need to rebuild for the chickens. We want to relocate the chicken run, to free up our mini orchard space, and so I want to take my time to do it properly. Our chickens are sadly down to two in number, and have aged out of laying entirely, so I am seriously considering investing in 6-8 lovely ladies in the spring. I've been perusing Backyard Chickens for ideas in the process of designing my own new coop and run, which will all be made from reclaimed lumber, chicken wire, etc., much the way this blogger built one.

Cooking Project Plans
I've decided I need to learn how to can things. My mom does it all the time, so next time she has a canning project planned, I'll be watching and helping! I'd also like to try making cheese -- I understand both ricotta and mozzarella are pretty easy, so I think I would tackle those first. I also want a dehydrator at some point....

Household Project Plans
More decluttering really. I find more and more that we need far less stuff than we have. I'd also like to sew new curtains later this winter, as curtains are an easy way to really change up a room's appearance. So everyone will need to choose curtain fabrics for their rooms, and then I get to choose for the main rooms! Another deep cleaning is needed soon too. We have other plans for next summer, including a roof overhaul (just the addition, thankfully), and a shower wall and plumbing overhaul. I'm just glad those jobs are a ways off!

Finishing Grad School Plans
This one will take a while. I need to get the required foreign language out of the way (yes, a foreign language for an MA in English). I also need to take my GRE and write my thesis. So this is a 1.8 year plan (I'd say two, but this semester is almost over). I will continue with the jobs I have now if given the opportunity in the 2017-2018 academic year, and then graduate in summer, 2018. To keep me busy in the meantime, I have essays to assign and grade, and a 15-20 page seminar paper of my own to write by mid December.

Homeschooling Plans
We're doing much better with math these days, and have kept up nicely with history (Victorian times) and literature. Getting writing done though has been like pulling teeth, so that is the next area to tackle. I think both kids will be taking sculpture at the junior college in the spring, and I'd really love to incorporate a thorough study of biology into our next semester.

And there you have it... my current plans! Plenty to keep me busy!