Sunday, January 12, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Quick January Update

Thus far, I've avoided a half-assed 2013 reminiscence post on Facebook, but I must admit that the past year has been pretty nifty. For the sake of posterity and internet stalkers, I shall recap the year's major events.

The Year in (Relatively) Major Life Events:

This summer the husband and I made the move from City to Country and began renovations on our very own money pit. We bought the ugliest house on the block, thus setting the bar low. Any change made is a substantial improvement. We'll slap some fresh paint on her this spring, and I'll add to the front flower beds (theme: purple!). She'll shine up real nice.

Began putting down roots! We've been busy cramming plants into the ground. At last count, we've planted 13 trees on our property (which was mostly wooded, to begin with). Apples, cherries and currants are the latest additions. I suspect we have a rogue mulberry bush/tree near the house, and I spent hours picking black raspberries in the woods. They need some cultivation, but unknowingly acquiring two acres of tasty little berries was a wonderful surprise. I have big plans for the 2014 Garden.

Dog: Acquired. GillyDog is a wild beast and a snuggle bunny. She's a keeper.

Bought a new (used) car... and just in time! In doing so, I've become relatively good at driving a manual transmission. Just after purchasing our hot new ride, we blew the transmission in the poor ol' pick-up. Until we scrounge up enough extra money, the truck will be our finest lawn ornament.

Survived SolsticeStorm2013, though our little forest suffered major damage. It seems that our young apple trees will survive, as will the little evergreens and currant bushes. Let's hope the straw atop my strawberries is thick enough! We completely winterized the house (drained everything, even the water heater) and snuggled close to Mr. Buddy for a few days. For Christmas we "abandoned ship", packed the car full of gifts, cats, GillyDog and dirty laundry, and joined the other storm refugees at my parents' house. It was quite an adventure.

Managed another Handmade Christmas, though losing power for a week threw a wrench in my plans.

My wee baby sister is a bride-to-be! OMGSOEXCITING

Successfully completed another year of baking bread. We did, admittedly, buy a loaf or two when life got too crazy (moving, Renovation Week and the ice storm). Still, I must have baked 100 loaves of bread this year, not to mention the countless crumbles, cookies, biscuits, muffins and other treats.

2013 was also another year without TV (though plenty of Netflix and internet videos), a year of fabulous vintage fashion finds, my most successful year as an Etsy artist, a good year for the bookshop, a relatively healthy year for me (mind, body and spirit), and a year full of delicious homemade, home-preserved foods.

Favorite Books of 2013:
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (2013 publication)
The best new fiction novel of the year! It's inspired me to try my hand at quilting and reawakened my interest in Quaker history. (Yes, I'm an odd duck.)

Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm by Mardi Jo Link (2013 publication)
LOVED IT! My favorite new nonfiction memoir -- and it's by a Michigan writer/historian!

Libriomancer by Jim Hines
This fantasy novel is a hoot! References to MSU's library and a certain, quirky East Lansing bookshop made it a real blast to read, even though some of the science fiction references sailed clear over my head. 

The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy (Recommended to me by LeighAnna, who rocks!)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (LeighAnna recommended this one, too.)

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
This novel will haunt me for years to come. It is beautiful, fantastical, clever and creepy. An excellent adaptation of an age-old fairy tale.

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
Steamboats. They're pretty rad. Though I don't indend to read the Game of Thrones series, I certainly consider myself to be a Martin fan after reading this historical, dark fantasy. I dig it.

Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West by John Ralston Saul
Finally, finally, I've finished reading this historical/philosophical whopper! For two years I've savored and avoided this beast of a book. It's the sort of book I'm leery of lending, because I've become quite sentimentally attached to it. Still, I have a special person I'd like to foist it upon. We'll see how he likes it...

The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
For the past month or two I've been gobbling up these massive dystopian novels. They're hard to describe, but I've settled on "dystopian steampunk alternate-universe philosophical fantasy" which would be suitable for a fan of Harry Potter, looking for a darker, more adult saga. It's good stuff, y'all! 

I have big plans for 2014. 
With luck, we'll add chickens to our little homestead this spring, as well as countless new garden beds.
A good deer fence is needed, and we'll set up our rain collection system, too.
One of my favorite garden experiments is seeing which saved seeds I can convince to germinate. Fingers crossed for onion blossoms, melons and a huge variety of Marigolds!
I'd like to focus more on working from home, which seems like it'll be surprisingly easy to achieve.
My sister and I really ought to launch our neat website, though it is still in the planning stage...