Happy New-ish Year! I spent over a month trying to write a post about the holidays and whatnot, but it got long and life got crazy and then I read it over to edit it and bored myself silly. So, bullet points!
- The holidays were a little nuts. I made a ton of gifts for the boys and Patrick, probably as a form of over compensating for depression apathy, and then was too tired to do much on Christmas day. Yeah. Lesson learned. But the jammies are cute and Seamus digs his new outdoor chess table. In fact, all of my gift making inspired Seamus to make gifts as well, which was really cool! He made Tristan a hat using a knitting loom, and stenciled a shirt for Patrick. He drew me a gorgeous picture which is in a frame and bound for our bedroom.
- Patrick has taken on a ton of new work, which is both great and kind of a damn shame, because all of my volunteer time vaporised in December, and hasn’t returned, and the truck is still not running, which has a chilling effect on our bigger DIY efforts. And man, I’d like a more functional bathroom this year.
- In response, I’m turning my focus onto things I can do without Patrick’s assistance, and with two kids in tow. Tuesdays are our big gardening days as a result. The boys and I put in the rest of the blueberry and strawberry patch a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve got a spot for their planter as well as my vertical planters, so it’s just planting left to do in back. The three of us have begun clearing weeds from the front. My goal is to clean up the lavender hedgerow, put a raspberry patch up against the house, close-plant several fruit trees, and get paths to the house from the sidewalk and driveway. The hedgerow is almost done, and the raspberry patch is next.
- Interior plans include painting the bedrooms and the entryway. Patrick’s mom gave us a copy of Mariko Kondo’s book, which has been interesting to look at, but I think will end up better off in Patrick’s hands, because I’ve been a lot better about letting go of discarded hobbies, and quite frankly, I don’t hoard. There is a line between having things and enjoying things, and I’m working very hard on staying on the enjoyment side of that line.
- One of the chickens, Kili, died shortly after Christmas. Dumpling has just started laying again, and Fili is still dormant- she hasn’t laid since October, maybe. After thinking over all of our options, I plan on getting more chickens in maybe another month? I’d like to get either coop-ready chicks or started pullets, who will all still be young enough to be socialised a bit more to humans, and hopefully easier to monitor for health issues. The chook that died was our flightiest girl, and I think I only managed to pick her up once to check for mites and lice in the two and a half years we had her. I’d like our next batch to trust us a bit more. Our coop is built for five birds, so I’d like to have at least four. I like the Easter Eggers we have, but I’d like to check out other breeds that are typically high-yield layers with good tempers, like Black Australorps and Barred Plymouth Rocks. Since Fili and Dumpling are three years old now, they’re hitting the end of reliable laying as well as the average lifespan length for a chicken, so replacements will be necessary this year if we intend to keep this up.
- I am awash in sewing and knitting projects, and baking like mad. I seem to have problems with bread I buy these days, and with the quick bread projects like muffins and coffee cakes, but I seem to be able to eat fermented breads, so I’m making a lot of no-knead bread. Next up is capturing wild yeast for a starter. I’m trying to streamline other parts of the housework so I have time to play with all of this stuff. I want to try canning and pickling this year, along with fermentation.
- After years of avoiding over-scheduling, Seamus is now taking Brazilian Jujitsu, Ballet, and swimming classes, as well as pursuing his own interests (art, trumpet, photography, coding, and randomly jumping into the kitchen with me). I’m really happy he can dabble like this now, and still have unstructured play time with Tristan, but our weeknights are busy!