I always like to wait until February of a given year, to finalize my New Year resolutions. A bonafide procrastination technique: my excuse is that I begin THINKING about resolutions at the beginning of January. Then let them marinate. Until I finally come up with my deliberately crafted list of things to do/change/see/be. Yes: I need to drink more water (and probably fewer Manhattans---certainly not this whole case of beer!).***
Yes: I should cut back on the carbs (though good bread will forever be a weakness!).
Yes: I need to go to the gym more. Who doesn't?
Yes: I should eat more greens. Leafy greens. Non-leafy greens. Leaves. Sprouts. Salad. Weeds.
I get a kick out of 'new' years and fresh starts. A re-visitation of goals and priorities---a reminder an opportunity to put a stake in the ground, improve oneself, update one's list of dreams.
Also on my list of New Year resolutions: [shockingly] working out more, hugging each family member first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This year: I want to start a book club. Not just any book club but a cookbook club with over half a dozen women, where we cook from a book for 1-2 months, then make a recipe from the book and 'potluck'. I should just call it: cookbook club.
We have been spending months building an awesome chicken coop (and by 'WE' I mean James); for 2012 we will aim to finish the backyard, build a deck or two and make our basement hang-out worthy (for high school boys and their burgeoning social life).
All other resolutions aside, I have specific food, farm and frolic resolutions. Here they are:
- learn to ferment foods
- learn to make cheese
- make my own bitters
- can/pressure cook my own tuna
- watch at least one---and hopefully more---demonstrations of a cow/pig/deer being butchered
- become adept at foraging urban weeds
- buy 1. pressure canner, 2. dehydrator, 3. food mill and learn to use each
- grind my own flour
- learn about rabbit-keeping (maybe build coop and get rabbits). And yes I confess: rabbits will be raised for consumption. BUT I promise until the moment where we 'process' them, they will have a most amazing life where they are well-fed, coddled, talked to and held on a regular basis.
- learn about greenhouses. Certainly I want to turn my garden boxes into 'greenhouses' next fall by adding hoops and plastic to protect winter greens and lettuces. BUT we also intend to build a more permanent greenhouse to house special dwarf trees, start seedlings and ideally function as an outdoor 'office' to our gardens. My plan this year is to start learning, and convert my existing garden boxes into hoop houses---so I can entertain four season gardening.
- compost. James (my partner in crime) cringes every time I say compost. He envisions a lofty stench, buzzing flies and an invitation to our neighborhood rat population. A former architect, he can hardly imagine: compost bins with eye appeal. This will take some convincing. Composting to me is quintessential to urban farming (especially since I have access to 'chicken excrement'!). All I can say is: stay tuned.
- I am not going to lie. It is a big year. A big birthday year: I turn 40. Which means frolicking is front of mind. I am planning fun weekends and getaways with friends. You will hear about it. MOST of it. Because you know the saying: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
- attend Feast Portland, sponsored by Bon Appetit.
- tropics. sun. find it. I haven't figured out where it is... but there is a beach out there calling my name.
***BTW I recently met the very cool, very talented Angella (tiki juice beverage co.) while visiting Astoria*---she based a whole business on helping people drink more water. After years selling Polynesian fare at farmer's markets she noted beverage options were often soda or sugar-loaded lemonade. She sold fresh berry and herb juices, started playing with teas and found a niche! Her first bottling was a lavender mint julep concentrate. You put a jigger of lavender mint into sparkling/regular water and have a tasty drink that is full of herbs and sugar-free. AND: you will drink more water.
In addition to her Lavender Mint Julep, she also brews bottles of 'botanicals' including but not limited to: keen lime revitalizing, purity cleansing and paradise punch energizing. Think Siberian ginseng (steady energy), schisandra berry, antioxidants and hydration, hydration, hydration. Find Tiki Juice Beverage Co on Facebook.
* Elements of my trip to Astoria were hosted and arranged by Travel Astoria-Warrenton and Cannery Pier Hotel. The first-hand experience, shared opinions and photography are my own.