Happy New Year to one and all!  Like so many others out there I see the new year as a blank canvas – a plain white piece of paper waiting for inspiration.  I’m not so much into making instant resolutions because for me, the whole thing just doesn’t seem to work.  However, I will make a list!  I will make a ton of lists… lists for everything.  Since I don’t do resolutions I will just make a list instead.  Right?  Right!

So here’s what I would like to see in my personal life in 2016:
–  Increase my kombucha and kefir intake
–  Get all gluten OUT of my life
–  Finish the backyard patio
–  Install the new in-ground fire pit
–  Change the pump house from general storage to my very own “she shed”Garden goodness
–  Make more “homemade remedies”
–  Set up a medicinal herb garden
–  Continue planting edible landscaping
–  Plant a garden just to attract butterflies
–  Attend more classes about gardening and homesteading
–  Increase my compost-abilities (buy a chipper?)
–  Get my business started
–  Spend more time with friends, family, and my garden
–  Drive up to see my family
–  Reduce the clutter!!!
–  Continue to reduce debt
–  Help my son begin the next chapter of his life (graduation and the Navy)
–  Refinish the kitchen cabinets
–  Change two exterior doors on the house
–  Paint a few walls in the house both inside and out
–  Blog more!
–  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…..

Wow… that’s a long list.  If you know me you know that’s not the half of it, either.  I am not a sit-on-my-butt-and-watch-TV kind of person.  My day starts very early and ends late.  I’m always looking for a few extra hours (aren’t we all??).  The best way for me to finish a list is to start it in the first place.  That seems like a daunting task, doesn’t it?

Okay… kombucha and kefir:  I make my own of both and there’s a whole section of kitchen countertop dedicated to the jars of stuff I’m working on including kefir and kombucha. I have a hard timeLots of kombucha giving up diet Dr. Pepper but kombucha will become my DDP replacement.  No more aspartame!  Period!  I’m done with it!!  I have made some black- and blueberry kombucha so far this year and it’s delicious.  I just bottled the second ferment of star fruit (carambola) and ginger kombucha and I have yet to try it – maybe tonight.  I recently made some blueberry kefir “nice” cream and when it warms up a bit I’ll enjoy it, I’m sure.  Homemade fermented foods provides lots of natural probiotics which makes for a happy tummy.  Also good for a happy tummy is for me to eliminate all gluten because I have such a sensitivity to it.  I haven’t had pasta in over two years now and most bread has been gone for the same amount of time.  Gluten will be gone for good.

The backyard patio has been in a holding pattern since the holidays and now it’s time to get it finished.  The old concrete has been removed, dirt was excavated, 4 tons of rocks were added and 4 tons of sand were delivered so now it’s time to spread the sand and tamp it down so the paver bricks can be laid.  Once the bricks are down we can lay out the fire pit area and work on that so we can enjoy a nice warm fire during these cool Florida nights.  Yay!  The pump house is currently a storage facility and I’ll get in there and clean it out so I can make my own “she shed” so when I’m out in the yard working I’ll have a lovely place to stop and take a break.  Think “man cave” gone fem. 

Medicinal herb gardens and homemade remedies have recently become a strong focus for me. I found Mountain Rose Herbs as a wonderful supplier of things that cannot grow here in southwest Healing Herbal Salve with a list of benefitsFlorida. To date I’ve made lots of items to replace in my medicine cabinet like a migraine tincture, herbal mouthwash, probiotic deodorant, foaming facial wash, remineralizing tooth paste, healing salve for skin (similar to Neosporin), and perfume blends just to name a few. Not only do I enjoy the research for the recipes and ingredients but I really like creating and using my own natural products.  Not long ago I made the best window and mirror cleaner I’ve ever had and that is a permanent addition to my cleaning arsenal. Back to the medicinal herbs – since I have the real estate to use, I want to grow as much of my own as I can. To start with I’ll grow echinacea, nasturtium, lemon grass, lemon balm, mallow, and cranberry hibiscus. The current herb garden has rosemary, dill, oregano, pineapple sage, basil, garden sage, lavender, chamomile, and stevia growing nicely with a broad leaf thyme that is taking over the world! The proposed medicinal herb garden is an extension of what I have currently growing.  The raised bed garden has been very successful this year and more will be added to it as well as the addition of a full garden dedicated to monarch butterflies.  Years ago when Parker was very young we had a butterfly garden and it is quite magical.  All of the gardens will benefit by increasing my compost output so a tree chipper will be a great asset to do just that.  Whew!

On top of all this I still want to start a business and since my primary focus keeps changing, I can’t officially get started.  This year I will make it happen.  Of course all the usual items are on my “to do” list – things like decluttering my space, reducing debt, helping my son in the next step of his life, and so on. As the weather gets hot again I’ll start working inside the house more and that’s when I’ll be working on the kitchen cabinets and painting walls and so on.  Plus, I must blog more.  I love blogging.  It’s very therapeutic and I think it helps me check off all those things on my everlasting lists.  I love my lists but I love taking things off of my lists even more.  Maybe that’s why my lists are so long.  Hmmm….. Now it’s time to do the grocery shopping so I can plan what I’ll cook this weekend.  Aren’t weekends great?  I love my weekends, too.

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