It's fashionable to say "I don't do New Year resolutions", but I like them. I'm a great believer in turning over a new leaf, in re-inventing yourself, and in taking stock and taking action. In fact, I like resolutions so much I make them all the time, not just at New Year. That's what my monthly challenge polls are about - setting goals and targets and then holding myself to them.
So what changes will we be making in 2007? For one thing, we plan to do more with the allotment. We were only given a quarter of a plot, and half of that was very weedy, the other half having been under plastic sheeting for a season. So we cultivated the clean part, and laid the sheeting down over the weedy areas until spring. It was a smart way to begin, because the area was manageable. In fact we tried to cram rather too much in and some crops suffered from overcrowding. So now we can cultivate the whole of the plot we were given, but we have also been given another section of plot. Maybe this time we're overstretching ourselves, but we'll see.
Another goal for 2007 is to try our hand at beekeeping. I've looked up local courses, and the nearest one is fully booked up. I'm on a waiting list for 2008. But I'm looking further afield, and considering going on a weekend course somewhere. If all else fails perhaps I'll just dive straight in without any lessons. I'm good at learning stuff from books, willing to try things and see if they work, and sensible enough to join a local club for some expert advice if I come unstuck.
The main project for 2007 is to pay off our mortgage. We have calculated that if we were free of our mortgage and largely self-sufficient in food, Ed could afford to give up his full-time job. So we have spent the past couple of days making calculations about how much we can afford to tighten our belts and how quickly that will pay off the loans. Funnily enough this is the part that really makes me feel like we might actually one day buy some land. I'm confident that I can learn the knowledge and skills needed to make it work (perhaps foolhardily so), but what worries me is the ever rising cost of land and property. The financial aspect of buying a smallholding is the daunting bit, and it feels good to make steps towards that.
I'd also like to visit a smallholding or organic farm for some real hands-on experience and a taster of what it would be like to live like that permanently. To that end I have been investigating WWOOFs (voluntary working for brief periods on organic farms). You arrange with a farmer to come and do voluntary work for a weekend. I expect to work hard, but I also expect to learn a lot, not least whether this is really the life for me or should I just stick with my allotment and backyard chickens.
What are your plans for 2007?