Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End Evaluation

2009 was a tough year for many people. The impact of foreclosures, unemployment, wage cuts, and retirement losses were just the first unhappy glimpse of the results of building our way of life around unsustainable and unstable market forces. Luckily, my husband has kept his job, although I have taken a 20% "pay cut" due to a downturn in my business.

Time to see how I did on my 2009 goals. Supposedly, writing down goals and making them public makes them more likely to be achieved. Hmm....

1. Save $XX thousand by end of year.

Year End: NO, due to paying for the 2007 Prius and kitchen remodel.

2. Pay down mortgage by $XX thousand by end of year.

Year End: Yes, as scheduled.

3. Grow garden for spring, summer, and fall and plant blackberries and kiwis in the spring. Preserve the harvest as much as possible by canning, drying.

Year End: The garden grew, although it was upset by the drought in early summer. It did bounce back a bit when the rains returned. This year I am really trying to look for "heat tolerant" and "drought tolerant" varieties. The blackberries lived, the male kiwi died a slow death, and we got a first small crop of apples. Hopefully next year we will be able to harvest blackberries.

We did preserve the peach harvest by canning, drying and freezing, made pesto (I find homemade pesto much superior to store-bought), and stored garlic and butternut squashes, which are still holding up nicely. We didn't get enough tomatoes, beans or okra to store this year.

4. Renovate kitchen to allow two people to cook in the kitchen at the same time, add storage space, and increase ease of cleaning.

Year End: Yes! I now have more than 1.25 contiguous feet of countertop! And DH even got a cubby for his home brew supplies. This project required months of mess and many weekends of priming, painting, tiling, and grouting, but now that it is 97% done it seems completely worth it.

5. Replace old carpet with wood flooring in kitchen, dining room, and front room.

Year End: Due to the length and expense of the kitchen remodel, this has been postponed to next year.

6. Fitness. Walk - every day if warm enough. Yoga - twice a week. Lifting weights - once a week.

Year End: Abject failure. Although I did walk regularly and did yoga about twice a month.

7. Start Riot 4 Austerity in 1 or 2 categories.

Year End: We pursued a reduction in gasoline by purchasing a Prius, which was one of the few options available to us considering the almost-total lack of public transport, sidewalks, crosswalks, or bike trails, and without a desire to stop seeing family that live on the South side of OKC and in Tulsa. I doubt that we got a 90% reduction, and since I fell off the wagon with the receipts, I'll have to guess at a 40% reduction (going from an average of 28 mpg to 51 mpg) on the car we use 75% of the time. Maybe I'll keep the receipts in January to compare to the "average" American use.

8. Continue preparing for Peak Oil.

Year End: Most of my energy this year was taken up with Transition Town OKC, trying to catalyze the community to create a more resilient and sustainable system to meet the challenges of peak oil and climate change. MAN, this takes a lot of time and effort. Between writing and running a website, going to training, going to meetings, giving presentations and speeches, manning events, and writing brochures and newsletters, TTOKC ate up 5 - 20 hours of my time per week (depending on the week). And I know my TTOKC co-chair spent just as much, if not more, time working on this project.

Next year, we will continue TTOKC and try to inspire smaller, more localized efforts, such as Transition Neighborhoods. I hope that this will be the level at which real change is effected - although TTOKC is necessary for city-wide coordination and focus. Next year will also be a return to focusing on home preparation for my family.

All in all, I feel good about the year, although it always seems that I never accomplish enough. How did you do on your 2009 goals? Were you derailed by economic forces? Or did you manage to make progress?


Aimee said...

my goals are rather overwhelming, but luckily not limited to any given time frame. So yes, last year I made major progress towards many goals, though mostly in the form of buying stuff. I now have a water storage system, though it isn't yet hooked up for rainwater catchment, I have a woodstove, also not yet hooked up, the biodiesel processor is up and running (thanks, hubby!) and I am close to my goal of having a year's worth of stored food. We also learned to butcher and eat the goats. I did not do so well on my garden last year. That's my main goal for next year: a bigger, better garden. Plant another four or six fruit trees and a hedge of hazelnuts. Get serious about electricity generation.

Steve in Hungary said...

Ah, Hausfrau I do so love your blog.

Please don't fall out with me if I pick up on some points!

1. Save XX - hope it's in gold or silver
2. Yes, I realise that not everybody is in the same position as me, but No. 1 rule for a Peak Oiler is get out of debt - NOW!
3. Know what you mean! Plenty of potatoes and carrots root cellared, a nice crop of onions. But nowhere near enough beans and peas. And I still haven't got the herb garden sorted!
4. Yep - same problem, but there's only me :)
5. Same problem - including dry rot!
6. Dig, saw and chop wood and use a scythe. No fitness problems!! But then I have no idea how much land you are dealing with.
7. OK, I can understand your problem, but how many miles are you talking here? I'm 62 coming on 63 and I would not think twice about cycling 30 or 40 miles if the need arose. It's a 15 mile round trip from my village to town - up hill and down dale. When I first came here it hurt. Now it doesn't.
8. Good. I am fortunate in having found a place that really needs very little 'transitioning'. Fertile land, self sufficient people and lots of skills in the village.

Gavin said...

Great update PO Hausfrau! Even before I looked at yours, I was typing up my own 2009 goal update. You can read how well I went at the link.

I also found that my sustainable living group (similar to a TT) is gaining momentum and takes up a fair bit of my time. But then if it was easy, it was really worth doing now wouldn't it or someone else would have done it before us?

Great work in 2009, and I look forward to reading about your adventures in 2010!


Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Aimee- The goal every year for me is a better garden! As they say - try, try again.

Steve - Hi - it's not so much a fitness problem for my husband (I work from home so don't travel that much). It's the danger from the traffic. We live in the middle of a city and he has to cross a river over a highway to get to work. He used to bike 2x a week to get to work in Denver, but here it's impossible, except if all other vehicular traffic is shut down :).

Gavin - Thanks! From your blog, it looked like you did great things with your sustainability group!