Saturday, January 3, 2009

Celebrate the new year with challenges!

Looking to a fresh new year means setting up new challenges for myself. While I am not ready to tackle a No Plastics Month, there are a few things I am going to try this year.

Buy Nothing Month
While there is no such thing as buying nothing, I plan to tackle February 2009 as no frivolous spending month. That means groceries and other necessities are allowed, but that cute sweater at the thrift store is not. While I may be selecting the shortest month of the year to do this, I am considering a second month this year to buy nothing. However, I will have to see how successful I am at saving money and keeping my spending to a minimum. I am not sure I can ignore craigslist and the thrift store for an entire month. Oh dear, I do have that hair appointment scheduled for February...

How Does Your Garden Grow?
I will be the first to admit my inherent laziness. In fact, I tend to work in bursts of activity, usually when the situation is so bad I have to do something or the thought of someone else seeing the messiness of my house spurs me to action. However, I want to keep track of the foodstuffs I grow and use in 2009. For example, I will note I planted five potato plants, three made it to maturity and I harvested five pounds of potatoes at the end of the season. I also plan on visiting the u-pick farm for strawberries and red raspberries as I did in 2008. Keeping track of how many quarts of berries I pick and how many jars of jam I make (and how long they last) will help me figure out if I need more or less, especially since I plan on giving away more jars of freezer jam. So, at least once a month during the growing season, I will be tallying what is growing, what I harvested and how it was stored.

Keep the Furnace Off
In 2008, my goal was to keep the furnace off until November 1. Due to a warm weather spell, I was able to hold off turning on the furnace until November 7 even if I had to suffer through 53 degrees Fahrenheit while showering in late October 2008. My new goal will be to beat that date and not turn on the furnace until November 8, 2009. Depending on how the autumn shapes up, this could be easy or difficult. It is hard to tell in the upper Midwest what type of weather to which we will be subjected since rain, snow, ice and flooding all occurred around Christmas 2008.

The reverse challenge, when to shut off the furnace, will come when I note the last time I use the furnace this spring. I assume that will be by April 1, 2009 but who knows what the weather will be like. By the time March comes around, I will pay closer attention to my furnace usage.

Are there any self-imposed challenges you are contemplating this year?

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