This is my favorite time of year. It is a time to look back and reflect and to look forward and plan. I think it is always important to know where you are going and where you have been.
First a look back at last year's goals and if progress was made.
At the top of my list is to do some adventure with my husband. We really enjoyed our time together this summer and I want to spend a couple of weeks with each other doing something fun or even a project.
Our adventure was taking the month of October off to elk hunt and enjoy our lives. The elk hunting was a grand adventure. We will forever enjoy those memories together. I got my elk the third day of October so the rest of the month was just appreciating our life. It was relaxing and I highly recommend taking a "Sabbatical" as I called it. The lady that took my bear claw and elk ivory just sent me a photo of the necklace she made. I must say it is the perfect way to capture the memory of my two favorite adventures our Canadian bear hunt and my once in a lifetime elk tag.
Next is to continue family and friend traditions. I missed our family gatherings this year. Even though we still had a week at Aunt Bonnie's not all of the nieces could make it and it just wasn't the same. I was happy to have my sister come out. That was fun. I am committed to a new tradition of providing all of my nieces and nephews with a family cookbook and a quilt when they graduate. I have also enjoyed taking a little time here and there to meet with friends. This weekend I went hiking and had coffee with my friend, Michelle. I'm super excited that my friend, Jodi, is moving back to the area. I really missed going to the Festival in the Park with her and going to quilt camps.
I can't say I was overly happy with the week at Aunt Bonnie's. After months of planning, things got changed at the last minute. I did my best to be a good sport, but am not sure if I have the heart to go through that again. The tradition may be no longer. We will see. As for keeping up with friends that has gone well. I enjoyed spending the Festival with my friend. I also had some grand visits with my other friends. My sister was able to come out for a few days without the little ones and it was nice to just sit and visit. I am also halfway through this year's quilt for my nephew. I'm putting a lot into this quilt, as his mother passed away this year. I cannot imagine what he and his family is going through. It makes me appreciate mine all the more.
I am adamant this year that we need more water features on our property. Long ago when we moved up here the road past us was filled with giant potholes that were always filled with water. Tree frogs used them for laying eggs. Butterflies and birds used them for water. Now we have people living past us and they have drained or filled all of the puddles. There has been a huge decline in the number of tree frogs. I want to add a small pond or at least some puddle pools. Hopefully, that will make a difference.
Bless my husband's heart. He had somebody come up with a back hoe and dig me a big old frog pond. I love him. It was later in the summer and a very dry year, so I am anxious to see if it fills up this spring for my little peepers. I also added a washtub water feature which was relished by one fat frog. I also found that little cups and pans filled with water was appreciated by the birds and wildlife, especially since it was such a dry year.
In the garden, I want to include Westerland, Campfire, and Music Box roses. There are some orange hollyhocks that I am dying to try. This fall I really put a lot of work into my bee and butterfly bed. Hopefully, I will see some results. I'm very excited about the bigger greenhouse. I am addicted to roasted peppers and tomatoes and want to produce enough to keep me happy and well fed all winter. Of course, I also have eyes on the biggest pumpkin prize.
I was very successful in many aspects of the garden. I was able to get my hands on all three roses. The campfire rose didn't look like it was going to make it. In fact, at one point after emailing the company about its struggles their horticulturist told me the Campfire was out. Lo and behold it came to and made some progress. Hopefully, all three will make it through the winter. I was able to get my hands on some orange hollyhock seeds. I can't wait to start them this year. All the work I put into the bee and butterfly bed was enjoyed by the turkeys this spring. Drat. My new greenhouse was a success. My bumble bee tomatoes were amazing and I even enjoyed some today on the nana bread pizza my husband made me. A taste of summer long into winter. I did not win the biggest pumpkin. My husband's reached a hefty goal of 26 pounds.
Probably the biggest thing I learned from COVID was how important it is to slow down. Life goes by too quickly. I spent the summer working from the porch and enjoyed not having to make the high stress drive to work and the immediate demands of the day can drain you. Now that I am back in the office and the students are trickling in, I am trying very hard to pace myself at work and try to balance paperwork with people. That is difficult, because the government likes its paperwork. Being without the students taught me just how important my time with them is.
COVID made me incredibly thankful for my job. Working with the students is what keeps me going. We are slowly getting back to the new normal. I think I had a pretty good balance of students and work. There were some curve balls I did not anticipate, but in the end I managed to juggle them and I am very proud of that.
Where do I go this year? I've been thinking about my goals for a couple of weeks now.
I want to put some extra effort into seed starting. Especially, to create my annual planters. I was appalled at what petunias cost now-a-days. I am frugal by nature and it takes all the fun out of gardening when you you suffer from sticker shock. I am also going to focus on rotating my outside crops, having a successful strawberry harvest, and growing a pumpkin bigger than my husband's. I need to extend one of the planters in front to deal with some erosion and perhaps add a rain chain and water barrel.
This year is 50 for me and I am going to embrace it. I'm going to live this year with confidence and appreciation for life. I am thankful for my husband, home, health, way of life, and career. My hope is to complete a few challenges, as I did when I turned 40. I'm not certain what they will be, but I will continue to ponder.
I finally stepped up and volunteered to be part of a community committee. I'm still feeling my way through it. So far so good. Now I want to try to start a small side business of sorts. Not sure what yet. There are so many things I enjoy creating. I will probably go in with my husband, who is also leaning in this direction. At least I will try to put my toe in the pool.
The land around us is getting bought up and built on. I can say I do sympathize with the show Yellowstone. Weekend warriors driving back and forth 6 times a day is getting nerve wracking. We need to mark the boundaries around our 20 acres, as we have had a lost landowners bulldoze three acres of our oak trees. Also perhaps a few more trails, as our road is now becoming a highway. My peaceful walks in the woods are constantly interrupted by well meaning neighbors wanting to chat, not understanding that my sanity needs some quiet time.
I guess that is the extent of it. I like to keep things short and manageable. I hope everyone looks back at some good memories from last year and have a happy and healthy 2022.