Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year and a new decade...

 2019 was a difficult year.  In May, I sat in on a phone conference where we were told that all Forest Service Job Corps were being closed.  I then had to tell our 57 employees that in September we would be done.  Thankfully, legislators and support from the Forest Service kept that from happening.  Still it was a scary year.  Twenty five years at an alternative school and finding out you need a new education job at the end of May does not bode well for a person.  Still, we made it through.  Now that that heart stopping obstacle is over, I'm mentally stronger and ready for a new year.   I'm a goal setter and I feel like I already have a good head start on 2020.  

First is self improvement.  I have been doing yoga six times a week for the last two months and I cannot say enough how much better I feel.  My balance, strength, and stress level has all improved.  Last year I started reading a book a month and I will continue that into 2020.  I am still looking for something to do within the community.  This one is more important than ever as the support we received from the community was overwhelming when we were told our program was going to close.  Very few of our students are local, yet the concern from the people around us meant more than they will ever understand.  I really feel the need to give back.

Gardening is always a goal.  I need to be proactive with all garden intruders.  Last year it was deer.  This year it was mice and slugs.  They ate all of my vegetables.  I do have a sneaky suspicion that Ella ate the broccoli.  I found Sluggo and this year I'm not afraid to use it.  I want to add one more cutting bed by the barn.  I would also like to add some plum trees to the orchard.  I also need to come up with a water feature.  My beautiful birdbath was decimated by the hail storm two years ago and I have been unable to find a replacement.

On the family front, I want to create a finished family cookbook.  With every family there are traditional meals and dishes that everyone is known for.  For the last year I have been gathering recipes and photos.  I gave myself two years to complete the project, so it was an enjoyable experience and not a rush to complete the job.  

I also started a big commitment and plan on making a quilt for every niece and nephew that graduates.  I believe there will be one every year for the next 10 years.  Oh my gosh.  What have I gotten myself into?  At least it will keep my winters busy.

My biggest goal this year is to support my husband on his new endeavor.  He plans on retiring in April.  We have been preparing for projects and a few bucket list items.  I am really looking forward to enjoying this summer with him.  His job had him busy and rarely able to make any weekend plans.  Now the world is our oyster.  Maybe we will even be able to take a trip.

Those are my future plans.  Now, lets see how I did last year.  

My biggest goal for 2019 was war with the deer.  They decimated my gardens in 2018.  It was very frustrating.  Generally, I don't have problems with them until the fall.  This year they munched through my garden in the spring, summer, and fall.  It was very disheartening.  I will spend the winter making battle plans and stinky smelling sprays.   Well, the deer didn't give me any problems.  Unfortunately, the slugs and voles ate everything.   The mice girdled all of my orchard shrubs, ate my plants, enjoyed my strawberries, and munched on my melons.  I spent a majority of the summer sniping them with my pellet gun.  I got pretty good towards the end.  The slugs would just attack a plant or zucchini and it would disappear overnight.  We had so much rain this year the slugs had the run of the place.  At the very end I found Sluggo and sprinkled it everywhere.  We will see how they do in 2020.

Focus on seed starting for the vegetable beds.  I did not have any luck with my seed starts last year and it hindered my vegetable garden.  I may even toy with using a grow light.   The greenhouse took it pretty hard with last year's hail storm.  Hopefully, I can get it back into shape.  I want more cherry tomatoes to broil and freeze for the winter.  More canned vegetables for stews.  Herbs for my olive oil and herb ice cubes.  They work great for cooking.  I'm still trying for a giant pumpkin.  I did great with my seed starts.  I had broccoli (until Ella ate it), melons, pumpkins, and tomatoes.  The tomatoes never ripened.  It didn't get warm enough.  My herbs did amazing.  I not only made my herb ice cubes, but also made salts, smudges, and teas.  I brought them all inside this winter and they are doing great.  

On the orchard front...  I am super excited about my new fish fertilizer program.  I am anxious to see how the orchard responds next spring.   I am definitely going to add grapes this year.  I am also looking at adding some June berries and adding more raspberries.  Despite the mice girdling the shrubs, the orchard actually did really good this year.  I continued with my fish fertilizer program.  I added some grapes and raspberries.  I still need to get some more June berries.

I want to add more flower pots to the rose bed and a bench.  I also want to make another butterfly bed by the barn door.  I was super happy with last year's butterfly bed.  I have some new garden chairs and I think adding a little sitting area outside of the barn would be lovely.  The flower pot project was a huge success.  I put lavender and marjoram in pots throughout the yard and since it rained regularly they were beautiful.   I didn't get the bed next to the barn done, as we were working in the area.  This year it will happen. 

Since I finally have some healthy habits for my body, it is time to expand my mind.  My brother, sister and I are going to try and read a book every month.  My brother calls it the FBC (Family, Book, Club).  We will see how it goes.   We each picked four categories and then will chose two books out of the four categories.  Some months we will read the same books, some months we will read from the same category.  I also have to take a college class for my teaching re-certification.  I'm a bit grumpy about the cost and I haven't had a college class since 2004.    If I'm a bit sporadic on my posts for the next couple of months, it is because I'm either reading a book or doing homework.   I not only passed the class, but also learned a lot about research.  I am utilizing this knowledge for a project this year.  The family book club was sporadic, but overall I would consider it successful.  My brother and I enjoyed reading and discussing books. 

In  October of 2018, I was honored to be nominated for the Spirit of South Dakota award.  It was an amazing experience and a great adventure for my family and I met some outstanding women.  I didn't win, trust me I didn't expect to win, just being nominated was an honor.  I was in the league of women all over South Dakota who had made a huge impact in the lives of the people around them.  The experience did inspire me to be a stronger influence in my community.  I am confident that at work I give everything and do my best to make young lives better.   I try very hard to be a solid support for my friends and family.  Now I need to look at how I can be a more impact in my community.  I'm not certain what my niche will be, but the Spirit of South Dakota experience showed me the importance of community involvement.    As I wrote above, this is still a goal.  If any of you have ideas I would love hear them.  What have you done that made a difference?  What was something that somebody else did that made a difference?  Please let me know what you think.

I hope you all had a wonderful 2019 and that 2020 will find you all happy and healthy.  Happy New Year!


  1. It's good to have goals. It gives your life structure.
    As to the voles before we moved from the house they had become the menace in my gardens. In the raised beds I put down a fine mesh screen under the soil to prevent them from coming up into the bed to eat the roots and plants. That helped but I couldn't do that in the flower beds and they were eating my hostas. It was horrible to see the hole with the last leaf of the plant being pulled into it. Good luck with your battles. It's not easy gardening in where wild critters have had a home there first.

  2. A wonderful post! There's so much inspiration here for all of us as we advance into a new decade. Best wishes for another great year!

  3. You are so talented, you might contact the extension service and ask if there is any interest in a class or two (whatever you would like to teach: defeating garden pests, saving seeds, quilting, meat processing???) Love the pictures.

  4. Hi Bonnie,
    I really enjoyed this post. It was fun to see what you've been up to and as expected, you are never one to stop moving for long! Wishing you the best in 2020 as you tackle the next set of goals :) Cheers, Jenni

  5. Bonnie, I so much enjoy your blog!! My visits to blog land have been scarce lately, but I always come back here. Your energy, your ideas, and your beautiful home and surroundings just make we want to stay and visit a while. It sounds like your year was full of frustrating times, but you made the best of it. Blessings to you and your family in 2020. The cookbook sounds like a great idea, as do the travels that you and your hubby might take!

  6. Our allotment neighbour’s dog sneaks the heads off his broccoli when he thinks no-one is looking.


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