Checklist for home, garden and beyond in 2012

12/27/2011 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment


Winter sky

A western Oregon winter sky. Photos Rachel Beck.

Sometimes I think the new year comes at the wrong time. From kindergarten through college, fall was my time for a fresh start, with new teachers, classmates, clothes and books. In nature, spring is when things are born and emerge. But according to the calendar on my wall (even the Australian one, with its backwards seasons), the new year begins in a few days — January 1.

But what is there to do other than get a new calendar? I don’t have new subjects to study, nor is it the right time to plant a garden. Frankly, the chill and the short daylight hours don’t make me feel like starting new projects, unless they involve sleeping or eating more.

The next week, then, is the time to plan and dream. It’s when I can make lists of all the things I want to do in 2012, as soon as the time is right. While Extension can’t help me with some of my goals (running a new half-marathon, for example), here are a few things I’d like to do next year with the help of Extension:

Grow succulents. Last summer, I was wooed by a bowl of succulents from a local nursery. This year, I want to try making such a creation myself.

succulents

I love these succulents, but I didn't grow them myself.

Smoke fish. I’m predicting one of my 2012 highlights will be learning to fly fish. So of course, I foresee a lot of fish from successful outings. Because the bounty will be so plentiful, I’m sure I’ll have to preserve some of it.

Be prepared for a disaster. To be as ready as possible for an emergency, we’ll need to store food and water, make a kit and make a plan. Fortunately, I can follow Smith & Lever writer Jennifer’s lead as she chronicles her path to emergency preparedness.

Make blackberry jelly. It tastes delicious, it’s pretty, and makes great gifts. Plus, if I can bear down and pick enough (and avoid the poison oak), the blackberries are free.

blackberries in a bowl

My measly haul of berries from 2011. It was hot out.

Grow better vegetables. Each year, I plant some cherry tomatoes and a few other things like cucumbers and peppers. With the exception of the tomatoes, the harvests are inconsistent. In 2012 I want to take the time to garden right, at the right time. I also want to prepare my produce in new ways.

Can salsa. I ran out of time to try this last year, but it’s one of my favorite foods. Since I’ve been learning more about canning, I’m much more aware of the safety issues with canning tomato products. I’ll take all recommended precautions – it’s worth it for delicious salsa.

What’s on your 2012 to-do list?

~Rachel

Entry filed under: Cooking and eating, Emergency preparedness, Food Preservation & Safety, Gardening, Pests and Pest Control. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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