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29 December 2007

Planning for a good year

The beginning of any year is a great time for changing and making new plans. There seems to be endless possibilities at the beginning of a year; anything is achievable. A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was thinking about what worked and what didn’t work for me last year, while making plans for next year. If you don’t want to stand still, or worse, go with whatever comes along, you have to grab your life by the collar and decide what it is you will do during the year. If you make definite choices you are in control and you can steer your life in the general direction you want to go. You’ll still have unexpected things pop up, but if you’re in the general area you wish to be in, the unexpected won’t take over and steer you away from your chosen path.

I’ve finished thinking about my last year’s list. I have a few things to do to finalise everything, but it’s all under control and I will do what I have to do in the next week to complete my 2007 work. I’m severing ties with a few things that haven’t been what I expected, and developing others that were better. I’m putting last year behind me so I can concentrate on what’s ahead. I’m really looking forward to everything that will come my way next year. I’m looking forward with optimism and the feeling that 2008 will be a good year. I turn 60 in April, how can it not be a good year!

In 2008 I’m going to teach myself how to crochet. I want to make some more jug covers, both for myself and for giveaways and gifts. I also want to make a couple of fiddly crocheted things that I’ve seen in books. I will teach myself to knit on circular needles so I can knit socks and mittens. I will write more.

I will also push the envelope and keep growing the vegetables we’ve been told we can’t grow. Yesterday we harvested the best crop of kipfler potatoes we’ve yet grown. We’ve been told we can’t grow potatoes in our climate in summer. Wrong! We grow potatoes all year long now. I’ve also planted 20 rosella bushes in the front garden so I hope to be harvesting rosellas right through till April and maybe May and will be freezing the juice and pulp for concoctions later in the year. I’ve been told I can’t do this. We will see. If someone tells you that you can’t do something, don’t listen. Just do it; about 90% of the time you’ll find they are wrong.

And that reminds me. We will also continue to grow peaches and nectarines. A while back I said we’d have to cut down our two trees as the fruit were wiped out by fruit fly. Well, on reflection, we’ve decided to keep those two trees. The reason – when we picked the dozen or so fruit that weren’t stung by fruit fly, they were simply the sweetest, juiciest and peachiest fruit we’ve ever eaten. We have been told we can’t grow them here as the fruit fly will get them every year, and while that may be partially true, we WILL find a way that will enable us to eat some of them. Those 20 fruit make the growing of them worth every peach we give to the chooks. Maybe in 2008 we’ll have 40 fruit.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. I hope to squeeze every bit of pleasure that I can out of next year. I hope to learn more, become a better person than I am right now and I hope I can encourage more people to slow down and live simply. I want to look back at this time next year and know that I did my best and I took every opportunity that came my way.

What are you doing with your year? I have a couple of copies of the next edition of Warm Earth magazine to give away. I’ll post them to two readers who comment here about the plans they have for next year. Both Australian and international comments are eligible.

THE WARM EARTH GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED NOW. Thanks to everyone who commented. It's been wonderful reading about your plans.


  1. Hi Rhonda Jean

    I love reading your blog. You seem to be a very content with your life and that's refreshing. I love that you are so clear in your projections for your new year. You inspire me. I want to be a better person and reach out to others more. I have been working on a simple life for some time now but feel I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be. You help me in that journey as I get much inspiration and knowledge from you. Keep up the good work.

    We lost our Venus (Cocker Spaniel 14 years) and Little Bit (Yellow Tabby Cat 17 years) this month and it has been very sad. I have used the grieving time to reflect on my life with them and to use the time to reflect on what my life will be in the future. Animal friends are the best and help us in so many ways. I hope that I can find peace and ways to live my life lighter and with focus on the bigger picture.

    Myra Henderson

  2. Hi Rhonda!

    I'm so excited about my plans for 2008 I think I could burst!! A few weeks ago I handed in my notice at work :) I have one day left to work (8th Jan) and then I'm retired from teaching (at 41 heh heh!)

    My plans include helping my almost 21yo son get his health and life back on track. I'm going to run a marathon (Dublin in Oct). I'm going to finish my novel. I'm going to learn to crochet (already signed up to a class). I'm going to volunteer to help with Adult Literacy. I'm going to grow as much fruit and veg as I can. I'm going persuade my hubby we can keep chickens.

    I want to keep my home clean and tidy and not be embarassed when unexpected visitors ring my doorbell. I want my family to eat wholesome and nourishing food every day.

    I'm sure there's so much more but I'm still in the early stages of thinking and planning. I know it will take time but without work my life will be a lot simpler.

    Happy New Year when it comes!

    Alison x

  3. Hi, Rhonda! I've been reading you blog for the past two weeks or so and it's in my top 3 favs now. You post such wonderful pictures to go along with your posts, and you post about so many different interesting things, I just can't seem to get enough! I'm currently reading through the archives to catch-up with your journey.

    Two major things for my new year will be to plan our vegetable garden and begin planning a small orchard. We just moved into our new home and did not have time for a garden last year due to the construction we've been doing. So, this winter, I'm drawing out the plans for an organic, heirloom garden and we'll get started on it. Hubby and I were both reared to believe that bug spray and nitrogen mix was the only way to grow food! We are making the change together.

    The second thing is to get healthy. Hubby and I have gotten overweight and unhappy with our health. We've made a pledge to eat well and encourage one another in exercise other than the hard spurts we spend in cutting wood or finishing construction. This past year was too full of convenience foods for us! I am trying to cook more whole-foods and learn to bake bread (which has not gone well so far.) So I hope to improve on those things as well.

    I wish you great joy in your continued journey and success in your New Year's adjustments. You are loads of fun to read about and equally inspiring!

  4. To Do List 2008

    Hug my children more often,yell less often.

    Sleep out under the stars, worry less often.

    Teach my children about money, cut up my credit card (photo coming soon on my blog)

    Write letters to my children and grandchildren for them to open when I am old and can't remember things.

    Go on more nature hikes, spend less time in front of the tv.

    Go fishing with the children, spend less time on the computer.

    Keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year long!

    Happy New Year!

  5. your post couldn't have been anymore well timed. i just finished a very teary conversation with my mother about old dreams and pursuing passion versus where i currently am. so while battling a variety of thoughts that have landed upon my mind in the last few days, your written words were further confirmation that my renewed thoughts about re-embracing old plans/dreams/passions are at times necessary. finding the "right path" as you put it. thus this year my primary goal is to find the way to do just that. i will finalize my applications to combine grad programs, but i will find ways to incorporate the plans and dreams i once had into them. i plan to read more, to find a satisfying part-time job, to spend quality time with family and friends, to expand my knitting and growing abilities, and to continue to transform my life into an even smaller ecological footprint while expanding my positive footprint even more upon the world. thank you for consistently sharing your thoughts-always inspirational!

  6. Dear Rhonda Jean,
    Hello from Pennsylvania, USA! I've been reading your blog for some time now. Your determination to live more simply and deliberately is an inspiration to me! However, with 4 children, sometimes simplicity is rather elusive, but I keep trying! For those desiring to scale down, life here in the states is a constant battle against rampant materialism. Christmas is an especially difficult time to control what comes into our home, but finally this year we have gotten the extended family to exercise a little self-control. It's still not where I'd like them to be, but it's hard for them to understand how their "gifts" can become burdens when time and space are limited.

    As for our plans for 2008, we are planning a new home-building project on an 11-acre wooded parcel about 25 miles from our current home. We'll be going from about 1476 sq ft to almost 2500, with lots more closets (for me!) and lots more land for our 3 sons and 1 daughter to explore and enjoy.

    We have always had a garden and will hopefully have even more room for that once we've cleared some space for the beds. We hope to have chickens, which will be a new experience, and you have gotten me interested in aquaponics, as well. We also hope to install water reclamation tanks to harvest rain water for the garden. It will be a year of hard work, but this project has given our family a great sense of purpose and unity for the new year! We hope our 2 older boys will get some valuable experience from this project, and that all the children will have great memories of living there.

    Thanks for bringing peace and inspiration to those of us who hunger for it! Your life and your words are an encouragement to many, I'm sure. God bless you.

    Kris in PA

  7. Hello Rhonda & Happy New Year!

    I try to not set too many goals for fear of being overwhelmed and accomplishing nothing ;), however, I do have a few things in mind I'd like to do:

    One thing I have already done is gotten rid of the the cable t.v. and we now have no t.v. reception which is wonderful! It is already giving me so much more peace & time.

    Other things I plan to do are to look into volunteering as my health allows; organizing in baby-steps my home & life; focus on my health & make it a top priority & do more joyful things - like reading & taking more time in my day to enjoy life in general.

    All my best to you in 2008!

    Lyn from the U.S.

  8. Last year, like this year I have chosen a word to embrace my golas for the year. In 2007 my word was "enough", that was when I started blogging and reading about other people trying to do the same thing. Along the way I stumbled across your wonderful words. Although I didn't achieve all my goals in 2007, I did make some progress towards where I want to be. My word for 2008 is "less". Some of my less things will be body size/weight, material possessions, waste, goods not home made/grown, clutter, ecological footprint...
    2008 promises to be a great year!

  9. My plans for this next year are based around decluttering; getting rid of things that we don't use or need and taking on the philosophy of "Less is More!" I also plan take on some volunteer work and cook more things from scratch :)

  10. Hi Rhonda,

    The focus will be on my family in 2008. My husband had a very big health scare in the second half of 2007 which had the very positive effect of hightlighting what was important to us in our lives.

    I have been studying part-time this year but I will be postponing it next year, as we can live well on the amount of money we have now if we continue to live simply.

    I have started clearing some debt we have so that we can buy that longed for tank at tax time to use in the garden and laundry.

    We are going to put in many new fruit trees so we can be more self-sufficient down the track.

    I am going to make one "green" change every week in 2008 and blog about it to keep me to it to help lessen my families impact on the environment.

    I'm going to continue cooking from scratch and making my own cleaning products and soap and am going to learn to make cosmetics and candles as the current supply runs out.



  11. Hi Rhonda- for 2008 our family will be changing as our married daughter and her husband will be moving so he can go to grad school and she will finish her BS in Nursing and will be working. Our youngest now lives in Calif. so we will be empty nesters and will be changing the way we live. My hubby is going to make a grand garden (or so the plan goes) and I will be doing more simplifing, organizing and cleaning out. We aare cutting back and saving too. I want to do a lot more sewing also, as well as knitting projects that need to be finished. Your idea of lists is right up my alley so I hope to incorporate it into my every day life and start the day with a list of things to do to keep organized. I hope you and Hanno have a wonderful New Year! Hugs!

  12. It is nice to read about your garden when mine is cold and frozen. Good for you for trying so many things and congratulations on your success. Wish I could come taste some of your produce that doesn't grow here in the far north.

    I plan this year to keep trying at my garden, come spring. I have some difficulties that need to be overcome with poor soil and intense dry heat, along with very vigorous weeds that take over very quickly. I want to keep thinking of things to do as a family, here at home, to bond us closer together and make warm memories for the kids.

    Elizabeth Joy

  13. I really like your post for the coming year 2008 plans ... I use to tell my girls that we should always learn something new and that nothing is impossible, maybe difficult, but not impossible and that we should be positive people on the go.
    I do apreciate your writing-teachings and sharing experiences.
    Greetings from Spain.

  14. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Another wonderful post. I so appreciate you taking so much time with your posting and for teaching so much!;O)
    We hope to live even more simple this yr. Can,freeze,dry more food for our stockpile. I have all supplies bought to make gifts for b.days and next Christmas.Bought on on sales and markdaowns.
    We're trying a new route for us ,our car we need a new one instead of buying a new one we have ordered a motor ,we've never done this before and hope it works well. By going with a motor our insurance will be cheaper here if you buy a new car you have to have full coverage insurance.
    Trying to cut back on electric and water useage.
    Using cloth napkins.Mending clothes, buying as much as possible 2nd hand altho we don't think some items are best 2nd time around.
    Other things we're hoping to do also.
    THanks again for all you do !
    Blessins', Lib

  15. I just thought I'd let you know there is a typo in your blog today... You said you are 60 this year but I thought you said you were 70 already....Pictures can be misleading, can't they!! Happy birthday for April!!

  16. Hi Rhonda,

    This year has been full of reminders for me all on the same theme. 2007 was designed to hammer home to me the message "Give freely to your family and embrace your health and happiness when you have it".

    2008 for me.....

    My plans are to focus on building my home business so I can have more control over my time.

    Remember to use that time to love and share with those in your life who are important.

    Celebrate the days when I can do more and try not to resent the days that I can't.

    Kind Regards

    PS Good luck with your 2008 plans.

  17. Hello Rhonda Jean
    I love to read your blog. You inspire me every day. I haven't quite decided on my goals for 2008 - still mulling them over. I want to do so much but I know I will be disappointed if I do that!
    I do want to continue to grow my fruit and veges in an organic way.

    I really need to know how the eggs and Mary are doing though? You haven't mentioned them since you said 3 had died.

    Thanks again for your blog.

    Kathryn in SA

  18. Goodmorning Rhonda! Yay for keeping the peach trees.

    Learning (remembering) to crochet is also on my list for 2008. Last week I bought a book called "the A to Z of Crocheting" and I am practicing like crazy. I REALLY wanted to participate in the cleaning cloth swap - and I am glad I didnt put my name in, because those little crocheted squares are coming along quite slowly and wobbly! IN the evening when it is cool, I sit crocheting beside MR Duck Herder while he is watching the cricket, with my Nana's beautifully crafted crocheted rugs over our laps.

    Have a lovely day OK!

    Duckie xxx

  19. I just tuned in to your interview on abc central west and it inspired me to try and be more self sufficient. I lost my wife of 45 years two & a half years ago and am still trying to get my life in order. Having come to terms with the kitchen, the laundry and the housework it must be time for me to to try and grow some of my own fresh produce. My cocker spaniels Holly & Honey help weed the garden so maybe now I can enlist their help in starting a vegie patch. I will add your blog to my 'favourite' file and try and draw some inspiration from it from time to time. Thank you.
    James Frewin

  20. Hello everyone! There are some wonderful plans being hatched in minds all over the world. YAY! It's a really priviledge for me to read what you hope to be doing next year. Thank you.

    Anon, I'm 60 this year. I doubt I said I was 70, if I did, it was wrong. I'm still a youngster. ;- )

  21. Hi from Ohio, Rhonda Jean!

    I have a lot of work to do this year. I am 63 years old and my husband died in late September after being ill for many years. So I need to take time to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life and this I will do........I have three children who are grown up and two grandchildren who are just three years old and just three months old. I am pulled in several different directions, but I will slowly think all these things through and begin reconstructing my life. I had a wonderful marriage, with all sorts of unusual opportunities, and now I have to figure out the rest of my life. I need to go through everything in my house and figure out what to keep and what to donate. (But I will do this slowly and thoughtfully.) I need to continue to work on my own health. I need to find out what I want to do to help the earth and its people (especially the ones near me) and also what I want to do for my own satisfaction. For thirty five years I have had responsibilites to other people and suddenly this is much diminished. It will take time to find a new path. I am lucky to be debt free and in a good financial situation, but there are a lot of things to rethink. And I know it will take time, lots of time. But I will keep moving forward with baby steps if that's all I can do. I'll figure it out....Thanks for your many sorts of inspiration!

  22. Hello James, thank you for making contact. I'm sorry to hear of your wife's death. My sister lost her husband a few years ago and she went through a period of readjustment and finally, renewal. I think it's a very good idea to start a vegie patch and produce some food. Are you in Orange? What's the weather like where you are?

    I hadn't said anything on the blog about the radio interview but so everyone knows, I was interviewed on ABC radio this morning, we talked about simple living. The interviewer was none other than Lisa (The Tin House).

  23. Hi Kristi, you're another with much more than the commonplace changes that come with moving from one year to the next.

    My sincere condolences on the lost of your husband. I hope the adjustments in your life give you a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.

  24. Great post Rhonda. I too have become an empty nester this year and am coming out of a dark hole I seemed to be in for a year or so after my mother passed away. All this freedom has been surprisingly hard to handle, and I plan to make more active use of the time I have regained next year. (A post sometime on how you navigated the empty nest time in your life would be interesting Rhonda.)

    I have been thinking about moving closer to where my children are living and studying, but I am still in a dither about whether that is the right thing to do. I bit the bullet a month ago, and engaged a builder to get the house up to scratch ready to take off if I decide that's the way to go, but don't know if I really want to say good bye to my vegie patch and friends and home. Major upheaval is always therapeutic though, and the dirt and dust and cleared out rooms for maintenance/renovation/refurbishing have given me the opportunity to reassess my space. While I've been endlessly painting over the Christmas break, I've suddenly realised I can now finally realise two long held dreams, even if only for a short time - one small room is now going to become a library - with all the books in one place along with a comfy wing chair and table and nothing else, and a second room is currently morphing into a "studio" where I can draw, paint, sew and quilt and leave the mess as projects progress. A real Room of My Own. Bliss!

    My "me" resolution for next year, wherever I end up, is to get more music into my life - take singing classes, learn to play my grandfather's 110 year old violin (which I had restored last year - another long overdue task completed) and play my piano more regularly. Thanks to that gorgeous music on Jewel's site, I dug out all my old music books and started playing again late last year. Kids band music and endless trumpet and trombone practice had taken over this space in life, and I am now filling it back up with my own music. I had forgotten how fantastic it feels to make your own music if only you make the time. Who cares if its not all concert performance standard.

  25. I have lots of plans for the new year... most involve trying to hone my homemaking skills. I'd like to try the garden thing again, plan weekly menus and take better care of myself physically.

  26. Hi Rhonda *waves*
    my plans for 2008 are as follows:
    listen to my inner voice more (I tend to ignore this now)
    Knit socks ~ I have some beautiful yarn from the USA to use
    make enough dishcloths to give away too
    Jug covers and whatever else covers
    Improve the range of veg I grow and extend the veg garden
    Extend my chook run for the new babies to have mroe room
    Go for an early morning walk before work
    Change jobs to one that requires less hours
    Make soap!
    Keep in better contact with my friends
    Finish my studies and then have 2009 off before starting again
    Keep to my home management binder and have a tidy home
    Declutter my home, I don't need or want half of what I have
    Redo the budget, our income has changed so it needs a rejig
    Reduce utilites used, ie. water, power, phone
    Spend more time with the family, with aging relatives, I want my children to know who they are and where they come from

    thanks for a great post


  27. Rhonda,
    I am so thankful I ran across your blog. You make more sense out of life than any 10 people I know. I am thrilled every time you post a new message.
    I will be 50 in April so was excited to see you will be 60 in April.
    I have been working on closing out 2007 and planning for 2008. My dream has always been to be more self sufficient. We have taken many steps in that direction this year but I want to do much more next year. I plan to start collecting water to use on our new vegetable gardens. My husband is a professional photographer and we are planning to landscape the yard to provide backdrops for photo sessions. These will be small areas of native plants both edible and non edible, rock gardens, etc. These things will happen in 2008 but there are many more on my list that I want to work toward.
    Thank you for being so inspiring.

  28. My plans for 2008 are to take one day at a time to enjoy every moment. Love laughter smiles and a great vegie garden are the main keys in life. I don't worry about what other people have ,do you really need the latest things?? No!!
    Best wishes
    Bev C

  29. Greetings from beautiful Canada!

    I stumbled across your blog and have been enjoying reading through the archives. I am a mother with a young family and strive to make our lives as simple and joyful as I can. In the upcoming year, I am:
    -signing up for The Compact (a commitment to not buy new for a year, with the exception of food, health, and safety items);
    -continuing to declutter my home;
    -planting a small veggie garden;
    -focussing on being in the moment, especially when I'm with my children.

    Happy New Year!

  30. Hello Myra, thank you for commenting. I'm so sorry to read that Venus and Little Bit died. Our Rosie and Alice are getting old - Rosie is 13 and Alice will be 12 on New Years Eve, and I know that we'll have to say goodbye to then soon. So I really do understand your pain and I hope you are able to use your grief to find some answers.

    Ally! Congratulations!! How wonderful. Your excitement is contagious. LOL Happy new year dear.

    Ladyfromthe woods, welcome. Your plans for an heirloom garden sound wonderful. Let me know how it goes.

    Pooh, what a great list. I bet your kids and grandkids will remember 2008.

    simply authentic, your plans sound like they will set you up for the coming years. I always enjoy your comments. I send love and hugs.

    Hello Kris, what great plans! I love knowing you'll have adequate cupboard space in your new home. I think most new homes are very economical with their closets. I'm sure you children are excited to have all that space. I send all my best for your move and hope you settle in happily.

    Lyn, no TV and plans for volunteer work. I could kiss you! Good luck, love and happy new year to you and your family.

    Lis, "less" is a very good word to follow "enough". I send you all my best and hope all your dreams for the year come true.

    Ali, I'm really pleased to see you volunteering too. It's just the best thing to do. You'll get a lot out of it, love. Good luck with your decluttering. : )

    I want to talk to everyone who has commented here but I must go now. I'll return to this tomorrow.

  31. "I’m putting last year behind me so I can concentrate on what’s ahead. I’m really looking forward to everything that will come my way next year."

    I think that says it all in two sentences. 2007 was quite a year for me, a finalised divorce a move to a new country and a complete change of life and lifestyle along with continued recovery from a breakdown a few years ago.

    For me 2008 will be a year to take stock again and find a way to ensure I can earn enough to remain on my farm here as I love it so much already.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom Rhonda Jean. Each morning I switch on the computer and read your blog while I have my morning cuppa and find myself inspired for the day ahead.


  32. We were three single women at Christmas lunch. Lee has a permaculture garden as does The Trad Pad. We made a decision to join Animals Australia in 2008 to fight against animal cruelty - particularly the cruelty of the live animal export for slaughter. We made a commitment to hold a garage sale in April at Lee's place to raise money for AA. So we will be looking for all sorts of saleable goods other than clothes. And donations for a raffle.

    At The Trad Pad, I want to explore growing vege crops that can be harvested in winter - can I manage this, am I up to this in a Melbourne winter?

    And I plan to be sewing soon - those trouser suits I have had beautiful fabric for and haven't yet got too. I'm coming - hopefully before 2007 is out!

    Happy New Year to you and yours, Rhonda. Long may your garden prosper and nourish you all. Happy New Year to all your readers too who, like me, appreciate the wonderful resource you provide for us.

    Blessings and bliss

  33. Hi, Rhonda Jean,
    I am just overwhelmed by your blog! You are what I have always wished I could be! I hope to glean some insight into some of your projects so that this coming summer and spring might be a new awakening here at my house. I love your enthusiasm and energy! I am making your blog one of my favorites!

  34. Rhonda Jean,
    I just LOVE your attitude that says "Stand back and let me try it!" So many people just give up so easily and miss out on so much.

    I was saddened to hear about your little chicks. We have not had a successful hatching experience and have resorted to letting the hatcheries send us day old peeps. It is a little strange to go to the post office to pick them up but they are so dear!

    I know that you will find a way to hatch some little ones. It will be such a joy when you are successful.

    My hopes for this year are to take some time to enjoy my growing family. It is not long until they will be on their own and our home will be too quiet. While that sounds verrryyy appealing today, I know that I will miss them so much. So, I want to enjoy every minute with my 17, 15 and 12 year old this year.

    Becky K.

  35. Well, my plan for 2008 really started back in September 07 but was mostly put to one side during the hectic December (which has also included a bad cold and chest infection, always makes it more difficult to get up and do when you're sick). January will hopefully see me finish translating my CV into German and then starting to look for a job over there in earnest. I even signed up for XING this week, one of those networking websites but one aimed particularly at "business people".

    I also want to get back on track with eating properly and walking again. My foot is so much better that there's no excuse any more.

    When I move to Germany I hope to have my own place to live rather than sharing and so will be able to embrace my simple, greener life even more so than I can now.

  36. Hi Rhonda - Jewish new year was in September and I'm proud to tell I have been progressing in the goals I set for myself back then. Hope you succeed in yours. Crocheting is easy, if I can do it surely you can too. :)

  37. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    I love your comment about growing what folks say won't grow there. Here, Virginia USA, most folks think a garden should be planted about April/May only and then they're done by October or sooner. In reality, slad crops can grow year round, and many things needed to be planted as early as February. Not to mention succession planting throughout the year and fall crops too.

    One of my goals for the new year is to increase the amount of food we use/grow in the garden (not always the same thing). And to get my sewing/craft area whipped into shape and carve out more time to use it.

    I'm praying that 2008 will be different than 2007, which has been a year of too much grieving for me. I hope to be a blessing to more people, reduce our expenses and energy use,and of course, try ,to lose weight! :-}

  38. In 2008, I would like to learn more about gardening by taking an extension 4 week class. They also have one about flower gardening, but I'm not sure if I will do that.
    I would also like to explore possibilities of a business for myself. I'm not sure what that may be yet, but I am continually thinking about it.
    I would like to get chickens again this year and plant some fruit trees. I am always on the lookout for more ways to be self sufficient.

  39. The Warm Earth giveaway has closed now. I'll be posting to Lib and Ali. Would both those ladies please send me their postal address. Thank you. : )

    I intend to respond to everyone who has commented here and will come back to it later.

  40. I'm always full of good intentions each new year, unfortunatley I've not been so good at the follow-through. But this year I have inspirations that I've not had before (thank you Rhonda Jean!). So perhaps this year will be different. No, I mean to say this year *will* be different!!

    What do I want to work in?

    My weight is the ever present problem that I must try harder at this year.

    My housekeeping skills are not at the level a 52 year old woman should be at. There is really no excuse for this other than lack of energy (aka laziness?!). If I can eat better (see first item) maybe my energy level will increase a little.

    Tame the paper monster. DH and I are both horders (which is a problem in many areas). But we've just spent 4 hours working on putting the piling system of papers into files or the garbage. We're just taking a break. DH is watching the World Junior Hockey game.

    I want to learn to be more "green". Considering I'm the lightest shade of green at the moment there's a lot of room to grow in this area.

    There are a lot of other things ... but this is the start.

    Happy New Year to you and Hanno!!

  41. Myra,

    So sorry about your beloved pets. I have had some gut wrenching times with elderly dogs this year and need strength to face what comes. But only when it comes.

    Very best wishes,


  42. Rhonda,

    you barely look 50, let alone 60, never ever 70!!!

    This little(?) on-line community makes my heart sing when I read and am inspired by all the upbeat plans.

    I've had a stinker of a cold and feel in a loop about "carrying" my adult , shift working, midwife daughter. Her job is very tiring and she sleeps and works - not much else. I need to find better ways of sharing household tasks in 2008 to avoid arguments and fatigue.

    Very best for 2008 and more swaps,


  43. Hi again Rhonda,
    You know it's so nice reading everyone's comments. I think it is inspiring to see what others want to work on and it gives us ideas for ourselves too.

    I'll be in touch shortly and let you know about the volunteering. I would love your input too.

    God bless & Happy New Year, Lyn

  44. 2008 will be a huge year for our family...we are building our house which terrifies me at times.
    On a more personal note I want to make soap and have bookmarked your recipe/procedure.
    Love your blog and hope the wide QLD weather is not too severe.
    Kate -Ainslie ACT

  45. Greeting from New York!

    I enjoy this blog so much - with four young children at home, it provides me with a bit of calm and inspiration during my otherwise hectic day!

    My main goal/theme/mantra for 2008 has been echoed in many of the other posts - LESS! Less waste, less stuff, less debt, less consumption, less food (!) etc. In fact, I thought of this blog the other day when my parents gave me a very generous sum of money for my 39th birthday next week. They told me they wanted me to use it to "buy something nice" for myself." I thought about it a lot, about some lovely boots I'd been wanting and a beautiful cashmere sweater I'd seen - then I realized that the "nice" thing I truly wanted was a simple start to the New Year and a headstart in reducing our family's debt.

    So I polished off my old but perfectly good UGG's and put that money toward the credit cards. I felt a lot of peace - far more happiness than the "stuff" would have brought me. Thanks for the
    motivation, Rhonda Jean!

    Kate in NY

  46. Shell, that's a good focus to have. I hope your husband is feeling better now and recovering his health. Good luck with your tank and your other goals. : )

    Big changes for you Sharon! Good luck with what you hope to do and thank you very much for the help you've given and your friendship this year.

    Elizabeth, we started out with bad soil too - ours was clay. It took about two years to get it to the stage it is now. We still have a layer of clay underneath but we have a metre of excellent top soil now. I hope your garden is everything you want it to be.

    Hello Pura, that's good advice for your girls. Thank you for your kind words and good luck with your goals next year.

    Hi Lib, your plans are very similiar to mine. Good luck with all you do and thank you for visiting me for the past few months. I really enjoy your comments.

    Wow Belinda, you've set yourself some important goals. I wish you all the best and hope you succeed in your business.

  47. Re fruit fly and peaches - dont cut the trees down, just graze the chooks under the trees (when its fruiting till well after all fruit has fallen) the fruit fly cycle from ground to fruit will be destroyed in two years!!


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