I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, probably because I see life as one long self-improvement project. I periodically get slapped in the face with the realization that there’s something I should learn to do (or unlearn to do) or something I should change/improve. Those slaps — I call them cosmic nudges — never seem to show up at the appropriate time for a New Year’s resolution. However, cosmic nudging does tend to make you update your skill set and the homestead on a fairly regular basis, so I guess that’s just as good. My current list includes the following:
1. Master the art of making raw milk mozzarella cheese. I don’t have enough refrigerators to dedicate one as a cheese cave, which is what I would need to make cheeses like cheddar or Parmesan. Our weather is too fickle to do it without a dedicated appliance. Mozzarella doesn’t need to be aged. It can be sliced and grated, however, for things like grilled cheese sandwiches or lasagna, which softer cheeses can’t. And it’s ‘absolutely mahvelous, dahling’ in Caprese salad when the tomatoes are ripe.
2. Do some more research on the various medicinal herbs that grow here on the ranch so I can harvest them at peak. I tend to grab some when I think of it or have a few free minutes, which is not ideal to capture them for maximum potency.
3. Figure out a better way to use the chicken tractor. In dry weather, it’s movable, but once we start having mud, moving it tears up the pasture. We moved it to higher ground some time back, in a spot that’s out of the mud but not ideal. The new location happened to be right on the path of a hungry bear, who trashed the chicken tractor and ate half the chickens in it, including the cross-bred rooster I was using for a breeding experiment. The other possibility is to make it a fixed rather than a movable pen. I suppose we could have a two-party system of moving during the summer and putting in on high ground during the winter — decisions, decisions.
4. Learn to make soap. I know the basic principles and I have the raw ingredients. I just need to carve out the time.
5. Read the instruction manual to learn how to best use my new digital camera, instead of just jumping in with both feet as I usually do. The old camera wasn’t very good at close-ups, and this one is supposed to be much better, but I really should learn how to use it right. (I’ve actually started on this one, and discovered that the manufacturers didn’t seem to think it was necessary to include a key to identify the various buttons and their functions. The symbols were no help, either. Luckily I found a users manual online…)
What about the rest of you? Are you making resolutions this year?