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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Getting Organized

One of my goals in the new year is to get a little more organized.  Short of hiring a professional, I must force myself to sit down and go through the mountains of paperwork, the drawers of files, the binders of stuff that I have managed to collect.  Some of this information is extremely useful as it relates to crop production, farm planning and plant care.  Some of it is just pretty pictures of things I might like to incorporate into the house I hope to build on my 2.5 acre piece of heaven just a short 1/4 mile away.

The last couple of days have been spent organizing the seeds, getting the seed order ready and cleaning up the little corner of my kitchen I call an office.  The seed catalogs came in so in addition to putting the saved seeds into envelopes, I managed to get an inventory of our current seed store done as well as the order set for this year.  It will be a week or so before we have the cash to actually place the order, but it is ready and waiting in my shopping cart.

The overflowing bookshelf has been tamed.  Articles, clippings, research and magazines which contain too much information to cut out have been organized and placed into binders.  The miscellaneous computer parts and pieces have been either stored or discarded and the labels, extra copy paper and business card stock have found an organized space.  The scanning project continues.  I have managed to complete 6 days in a row of an hour a day.

Tonight is relaxing with a glass of wine, a sausage, beef and spinach meat loaf with tomato gravy and perhaps a movie, relaxing on the couch with DH.  As the snow flurries abate, the day comes to a close with a beautiful sunset.

What are your organizational plans for the new year?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Research Storage Project

In an effort to clean out my house of the never ending amount of clutter I have managed to collect in my 36+ years on this planet, I have been scanning anything I do not need to save a paper copy of.  Certain things, your car title, birth certificate, your children’s crafts, need to be saved.  Other things, like the one year of utility bills, bank statements, etc. that you need for taxes or proof of purchase for warranties, can all be scanned into electronic format and easily purged with a stroke of the delete key at the end of the year.  Earlier this year I had a computer hiccup which crashed Windows Vista.  My scanning project got put on hold.  It is amazing how much stuff I save!  Windows 7 now installed and updated scanner software drivers downloaded, the project is back on track.  Each morning of this new year I am trying to spend one hour tackling the mountain of paper that I have managed to save.

Besides the monthly utility bills and receipts, I have collected a small library of research on my dream. Magazine articles, publications, lists of books which I would like to read, something someone said to me which might be relevant someday – all squirreled away in a file for future reference.  Reviving a farm which has been retired for forty years is no small project.  My grandparents, who had successfully run this farm, have now passed.  My father and his brothers who worked on the farm into their late teens have all moved on to other pursuits in life.  Local farmers are emptying their haylofts, selling their milking herds and retiring or looking outside the farm for employment.  Intimate resources are becoming few and far between.  Books, magazines and the internet have become invaluable learning tools for me as I take this journey.

This past summer I was given an incredible gift of research.  My mother-in-law’s good friend moved from her longtime home and cleaned out years of publications which she had saved.  I received the seven taped, brown paper, grocery bags with trepidation.  I placed those bags into the van and started to close the van door when my husband told me to hold on, I turned to see two old vegetable crates full of more taped bags and some loose magazines.  At the time, I accepted the ‘gift’ with a forced smile thinking that I would be piling yet more paper into my already overstuffed bookshelves, adding more stuff that I could only hope to get to someday.  There are few occasions when it is nice to be proven wrong; however this was one of them.  The scissors trembled as I cut into the first bag – Organic Gardening – the WHOLE BAG.  Giddy I skimmed through the top few issues saved from 1993.  A wealth of information.  DH walked in and grimaced, ‘Oh, boy.  I have lost you for the next several hours.’  I removed two issues and placed them in my bag to take to work and read during slow times.  The next bag – Mother Earth News – this time DH was smiling, I can’t say happy exactly, but at least smiling.  Another bag had a selection of saved information from another gardening magazine and saved pamphlets from Better Homes and Gardens.  Six months later, I have gotten through all seven bags, but am still working on the vegetable crates.  Maybe when I am done I can have an entire electronic library on how to choose, care for, harvest, preserve, sell or simply enjoy everything that can possibly be produced from the family farm.

If I were to keep all of that paper, I would need several lateral filing cabinets.  All this research has only reserved the first few hundred megabytes on my hard disk.  I may eventually hit a gigabyte, but for now I have plenty of room.  I back up the computer every month onto a portable hard drive and store that in the safe.  My shelves remain crammed with books on farming, raising trees, making cheese and various other farm related subjects.  And there are those magazines which contain far too much useful information to tear out each and every article, but that’s why some ingenious individual created the bookshelf in the first place.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye 2010!

As the temperature in my corner of Northern Vermont reached 42 degrees today, thoughts turned to the greenhouse and the garden (after a failed attempt to fix the exhaust on the car brought on by 11 years of rust).  Standing in the garage, defeated by our automotive project, the greenhouse began calling from me across the door yard.  Out I went, sorted all the flower pots, moved the buckets of compost and seed starting mix, and pulled left over errant weeds when my dear husband came out and said something to the effect of, 'oh you are going to be out here for the rest of the day?'

Inside I went, after another 30 minutes of procrastinating, and pulled out the seeds we had saved from the summer and fall harvest. Dreams and plans of trees to be trimmed, garden fences to be repaired, tools that need rehabilation, and seeds saved from this very farm which will sprout anew this spring.

When I went to bed this afternoon it was 41 degrees, a far cry from the 10 - 15 degree weather which inspired my most recent yarn project, a Christmas gift to my stepson who seems to forget his each time he comes over.  Of course that might be a ploy to stay inside with the playstation.

P.S. - I did actually start this post in 2010, best laid plans...