Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, there you are, Old Man Winter!

Hate me if you must, but I am a recent convert to the cult of Snow.  Growing up in the mid-Atlantic meant that I never really realized that snow could stick around for a full season - what a shock it was to come back to college after spring break my freshman year in Poughkeepsie and see snow still on the ground! in March! Spend enough time in upstate NY, though, and you get a bit more used to it. Now, I love snowshoeing, love the sound of snow squeaking underfoot on a walk, love the silence as it blankets the roads.

And so it was with great joy that I read the following:

Can it be? Can we really make up for our pathetic excuse for winter in one fell swoop? I leave you with a portion of Lewis Caroll's Jabberwocky to more fully express my feelings.

Oh frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's official.

This weekend I attended the NOFA-NY organic farming conference in Saratoga.

OMG wow.

It was so inspirational to hear people's stories of getting started, having animals, bringing soils back to life... I failed at the whole small talk/networking thing, which was half the point of attending, but was expected.  I did, however, take copious notes and got a slew of websites to visit.  Every day I came home practically bursting with excitement and ideas.

Farming is still a budding dream, but I feel fairly confident that sometime in the next 6 years, this will move from an idea to reality.  Now I just have to get over my chicken phobia.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An ode to my sorels*... or, why I didn't lose any toes

*with an assist from Keats.

Thou still-unmarred bride of joy!
Thou descendant of bean boots and mukluks!
Thou hast well surpassed the pleasures of a toy
Having joined boots for snow and boots for ducks.
In guarding my phalanges big and small,
Thou giveth warmth and tenderness.
Thine appearance is homely, tis true.
But in allowing me to truly stand tall,
I have felt something unfamiliar: greatness.
All this would not be possible without you!

I spent at least 7 hours standing on a minimum of 8 inches of ice this weekend, and never once did my toes go numb - a true feat, given that they do that at least once a week while in the house. I didn't even need toe warmers! And the added weight of 2" of rubber sole really gave me a great leg workout.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New year, new you.

Having completed a list of accomplishments for 2010, I compiled a list of top 11 for 2011. The title of my list is: Stop being so damn trifling.  
  1. Run a minimum of 6 miles a week. Every week, no matter where I am or how I feel.
  2. Can more food. This is no joke, I have space in my freezers for maybe 2 extra half-gallons of ice cream, and that's it.
  3. Spend an extra 5 minutes each night putting something away. Hopefully this will make my sporadic clean-ups of the house much easier. It should also help my marriage. Hi, my name is Joanna, and I'm a slob.
  4. Grow a fully organic garden. I'm not fully against chemicals, god knows I love me some processed food. But when I'm the one delivering the lethal doses of pesticides, it seems a lot more evil.
  5. Take pilates/gyrotonic classes. My mother routinely kicks my butt at strength exercises, and now I'm ashamed of my core muscles. Plus, it's no fun having a beer gut if you don't drink beer.
  6. Beat my Army Ten-Miler time from 2010. At the rate I'm going, I should have a respectable time when I turn 40. 
  7. Spend 20 minutes every day doing something with the dog. Waking, running, fetching, training, roughhousing, whatever. Even on Mondays. Especially when I don't feel like getting out of bed. Yelling "no! off!" does not count.
  8. Do more projects. A continuation of last year's accomplishment. 
  9. Remember the joy of sitting with a book. In the sun, on the porch, by the fire, curled up under a blanket. I was a champion reader as a child, and have somewhat gotten away from that. I miss that pleasure and want it back.
  10. Continue exploring homesteading and similar endeavors. 
  11. Run a half marathon. I have no illusions of running one quickly, I just really want to earn the right to a 13.1 sticker for my car. 
So far, 1.5 weeks in, I'm doing ok. I'm on track to get 6+ miles fun for this week, did 8+ last week. The dining room table continues not to have stuff piled on it, so I must be putting it away. I finished another scarf. I have only slacked one day with the dog. Onward!

Friday, January 7, 2011

You've come a long way, baby!

New year, new motivation. We'll see how long it lasts, in all aspects of my life! I am very trifling these days, so to make myself feel better and less pathetic, I thought I'd take a moment to list my top 10 of 2010. Thanks, A.Leo, for providing the idea.
  1. Run. I did. 428-ish miles. 
  2. Garden. I did. For hours and hours. Some plants flourished, some succumbed to a trifecta of evil. Overall, I'm pleased - lots of food from 3, 4x4 boxes.
  3. Explore 'homesteading.' I can now can all sorts of things. I made jam, pickles, jelly, stock, juice concentrate, corned venison, venison sausage, bread, pesto, sauces... I learned how to cook grass-fed beef, and how to fry perch. I like to think that I excel at the kitchen side of homesteading.
  4. Ice fishing! This brings me a strange amount of pleasure. Not because it's a lot of fun - frankly, I was freezing and had to bite back a laundry list of complaints - but because I felt really hard core. Plus, it sounds cool. I probably would have really enjoyed it if I'd actually caught something.
  5. Reach an understanding with the dog. It helps that he's now past 2 years, and has settled down a bit. Gus and I, we are a team. He always waits at the top of the hill for me when we go for a run. Can't get much better than that.
  6. Beat my Army Ten-Miler Time from 2009. Check. It still wasn't pretty at the end, but I did a lot better through mile 8.5 than I did the first time around.
  7. Do projects. This sounds lame, but I found that I was pretty much a slug at home, if I wasn't in the garden. So, I started knitting again. I like this kind of project.
  8. Reduce chemicals. I stopped using shampoos with sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. I stopped using harsh cleaners and switched to Method. I use goat's milk soap instead of antibacterial soap. I didn't use any pesticides or herbicides in my veg garden. It's not much, but it's a start.
  9. Compost. I actually started the bin in 2009, but managed to produce enough compost in 2010 to put it on the raised beds when I put them to sleep for the winter. It was very satisfying. 
  10. Alaska. Hubs and I took a 2-year delayed honeymoon to Alaska, and really enjoyed it. Rented an RV and drove around for 2 weeks, managed to not throttle one another, and saw things I'd never seen before. 
I feel significantly less trifling now that I've compiled that list. I'm anxious to get started on a similar goals list for 2011!