2010 was a year of disasters - the Deepwater Horizon, Haiti, Pakistan, Russia, and some unpronounceable volcano in Iceland. Something new and incredibly depressing came along about once a month to top off the old and incredibly depressing - peak oil, climate change, economic inequity and financial instability. Despite that, we keep chugging along with our family and community preparations; trying to build fun and joy into our lives along with sustainability and resiliency.
We spent a fair amount of time trying to finish the house, preparing backup plans to heat and cook with an unreliable electric grid, and learning to cook with more local food. It seems like we will never be "prepared" enough, and sometimes I awaken with crushing anxiety that I've missed some critical piece of the puzzle, or that I'm spending my time in all the wrong ways. Still, I accomplished many of my 2010 objectives, though not all.
At least with family preparation I can cross goals off my list as I finish them. With community work, it's often the case that I don't quite know what I've accomplished. Was someone inspired enough to store some food, prepare for an oil shock, start biking to work? Without a good feedback loop, it's hard to evaluate. But I've been inspired enough by the efforts of other people - some of whom will never realize how they've changed my life - that I can have faith enough to keep trying.
What did we accomplish?
- Used a permablitz to upgrade the weedy spot in between driveways to a mini food forest with three fruit trees, herbs, and edible flowers. Watermelons and black futsu squash planted in "crop circles" out-produced my ability to use them, resulting in lavish giveaways.
- Preserved melons, 164 pounds of peaches, pesto, and okra via jamming, drying, and freezing.
- The tomatoes in the lasagna garden were a massive disappointment; possibly because of the shade in the fall, they did not recover from the usual mid-summer downturn. No tomato preservation this year.
- Purchased a freezer to enable us to buy a side of grass-fed, pastured beef from a local rancher. The freezer is so efficient we have not noticed an increase in our electric bill.
- Learned how to cook meat once per week. I was a vegetarian (pescatarian, really) for nine years and I have never really cooked beef.
- Purchased a super-insulated grill to cook steaks and allow us to cook during summer blackouts. Stocked an extra 50-lb bag of charcoal, but the grill will also work with wood fuel.
- Enrolled in an Egg CSA.
- Installed a Lopi wood-burning fireplace insert with a small cooktop (will hold a 6-inch pot/pan and a small kettle). Put in a stock of two ricks of wood. We have had an ice storm and a blizzard in the past four years and it makes sense to have a backup source of heating, including fuel.
- Installed bamboo floors, replacing worn out carpet.
- Replaced roof and gutters destroyed by a hail storm with a hail-resistant, lifetime warranty roof. In Oklahoma, that means maybe fifteen years.
- Still have paint samples on the walls from 16 months ago in my living room and kitchen. Still need to install a new mantle, since our old one had to be removed to satisfy code requirements related to the Lopi fireplace insert.
- Met our family's financial goals.
- Transferred savings account from large institution to local credit union.
- Began facilitating the Going Locavore local food strategy group.
- Became the newsletter writer/editor of our neighborhood association.
- Held an educational Permablitz and a fall gardening workshop.
- Started getting together a small group of friends to help each other become more sustainable and resilient.
- Continued co-chairing Transition OKC - maintaining & upgrading the website, writing Facebook posts, revamping our bookmark, upgrading our OKC resources page, hosting a Discover Transition event, helping put on a Transition Training, participating in Sustainability Demonstration Center meetings, giving a few presentations, attending lots of meetings, helping promote events via Constant Contact e-newsletters, etc.
- Attended more delicious potlucks last year than in my first 30 years combined.
- Read an embarrassing number of pulp fiction novels.
- Wrote several satirical blog posts, which are fun to write, and hopefully make other people laugh.
- Went hiking.
How about you - how was your 2010?