Saturday, December 13, 2014

Farm Update

Ledger Page
Time for New Year planning (Source)
Whenever I sit down to do a farm update, I seem to have forgotten what happened the previous week - or weeks as it often is.  I tend to consult my journal and calendar to help jog my memory. Here are a few bullet points to cover farm happenings (and thoughts) over the last couple of weeks:
  • The holiday bazaar I participated in was very disappointing. If it had been me, my feelings would have been hurt. But, for the most part, none of the vendors were making sales. The day was not entirely a waste as I networked with other farms, met some new people, and learned a few things. Always good to find that silver lining!
  • We had several visitors to the farm these last few weeks:  the garden manager and one of the student assistants from Liberty University's garden and the director and a staff member from the Dan River Basin Association. We love to share what we're doing and connect with people from organizations that share our ethic.
  • We made some deliveries this week and will next week, as well. In keeping with our decision to reduce our energy footprint, we always combine errands with our deliveries. This week we needed more chicken feed and you can't run to the local feed store for the soy-free, GMO-free feed that we use. So on the way back from one of our deliveries, we picked up some feed at our friends' farm. Saves our time, saves energy. Win-win.
  • I've simplified our gift giving so that we're down to a handful of gifts. One way to reduce your gift-giving burden is to tell people to not give you anything; that tends to get you of the gift-buying treadmill, although some people think it's strange. I don't understand the mentality of expecting gifts; they are almost always unwanted and unneeded. I also tended to get stressed out by getting gift that I didn't want. While I'm grateful for the time, care, and expense put into the gift, I feel disingenuous when expressing my thanks for something I know I won't use. However, I'm thinking I can do some great shopping (for things we need) at the thrift stores come mid-January as people shed those unwanted gifts they can't return or donate perfectly-good items that are duplicates of things they received as presents.
  • Speaking of presents, I found a great way to give during the holiday season. If you're able, give the gift of life by donating blood. Due to my trips to Haiti, I haven't been able to donate blood for many years (due to the malaria threat). But since I haven't visited since 2013, I was able to donate blood last week. Blood is a gift of your time, your self, and of life, and it is helping the sick and giving to a stranger - the ways we should be giving. Please consider donating blood if you're able, not just during the holidays but any time of the year.
  • I'm jumping the gun on getting some organizing done. I don't understand the need to wait until January. Instead of all the busy-ness we create around the holidays, I prefer to simplify and reflect. Some of what I've done:  deleted rubbish from my computer and organized what remained, set up my calendar for 2015, partially cleaned out my closet, starting thinking about routinizing my menu planning, began a new journal/list keeping system, and worked on our financials for our New Year review. Which leads me to the last bullet.
  • Going over our personal finances revealed that, with the exception of taxes and insurance, we actually live on very little. Do we deprive ourselves? No. We eat home-cooked organic meals, take walks in the country, play with our pets, read a wide variety of books, attend cultural and educational events, watch documentaries, entertain friends, and enjoy life in general. What we don't do is give into what mass media tells us we *need.* When we find we're lacking in an area, we try to be creative. Right now, my laptop screen is dead (and our son told me it would be almost as much to repair as to buy new). While I do intend to purchase a new computer, I'm not rushing into it. Instead, I've plugged in a flat screen monitor that works fine for now. That's one thing we've learned on this journey - if you tell yourself that you're postponing a purchase rather than outright prohibiting it, you not only don't feel deprived, you usually make better decisions. Often we've found that the thing we thought we must absolutely have turned out to be not needed at all. By postponing we save money and resources.

Have a great week!


David said...

Cherie, looks like your week was filled with activities just like mine was. I contracted hepatitis about 30 years ago and my blood donating days were over. I used to give plasma to save money for my now 30 year old daughter's adoption costs. But that came to and end after my bout with hepatitis. I've been told that I'll never be able to give blood again. It was sad because I have A negative blood which is not real rare but is only about 5 percent of the population. Only A negative blood can be given to patients with that type of blood so it's always in demand.

I have a thing about giving in to buying new when something is broken. Right now I have two TVs that the electronic tuners are not functioning. I went to the thrift store and found old VCRs with tuners in them and hooked them up to the TVs just for the tuning ability. The VCRs don't really record but I don't care about that function. The TVs still have great pictures but just can't do any tuning. It's a great set up and with a universal remote it works just as good as the way it did with only the TV. As you have found out, it doesn't have to cost a lot to live well.

Christmas presents are a totally other story. I'm not very inventive. The gifts that I do give are entirely gift cards and they are given to grandkids mostly. The cost of shipping presents that I didn't really know if they wanted or not was pushing $50. I came to the epiphany that I could increase the gifts by just letting them buy their own. All but one of my grand kids are girls that are teenage or above. Being an old grandpa, how could I possibly know what they would want. It just works better for me to do it that way.

Have a great simple life day.

EcoGrrl said...

Agreed agreed agreed! For our first Christmas as a married couple, my husband did want to do gifts (ordinarily we don't do them, just do something special together), so we agreed that we would do stockings and that only one thing in it could be new, everything else had to be either used or a "promise" (i.e., coupon valid for a day hike somewhere new) or a "service" (i.e., massage etc.). We don't give gifts to others, just some made-in-Portland cards that we sent out to family in Australia :)

I love December as well for taking stock of things for the new year - I've even geeked out and put a spreadsheet together preparing for tax time so that when my 1099's come in it'll be super quick data entry and that's all!

Cherie said...

EcoGrrl, congrats on your first Christmas together! Great idea on the gifts.

Cherie said...

David, I know there are many people who cannot give blood due to health issues. I do think the ban on people who have lived in or visited European countries over a certain period of time is silly. Europeans are obviously donating blood to one another.

I like the idea of gift cards for grandkids so they can get exactly what they want/need. But sometimes with adults it gets out of control, with two people exchanging $25 gift cards!