New Year’s Resolution: Be More Self-Reliant

I’m generally not a fan of vague New Year’s resolutions like lose weight, be more patient, love thy neighbors… I generally favor something more concrete, like training for a new race or making it to a new travel destination by summer. I like goals that I can write down on my calendar and put a big, fat check mark next to when they’re done.
This year, I’m trying something a little bit different. A bit more functional. My goal for 2011 is to be more self-reliant in general. My default setting for my entire life has been that if something is not perfect, either replace it or pay someone else to fix it. Well, now that we live one county over from the middle of nowhere, that isn’t always an option, so I’ve had to learn to adapt without every store in creation being a stone’s throw from my house. In adapting, I’ve learned that I’m way too reliant on services and modern technologies. I mean, heck, I couldn’t even build a proper fire until last year! For all intents and purposes, we need to live like we’re in the wilderness because when we’re snowed in, we’re often stuck at our house a week at a time and if we lose power, there isn’t a utility truck around that can make it up to us before the snow clears.
I’m sure that most of you think that we’re probably crazy for picking a house this inaccessible, but for us, it’s an adventure. I feel like I’m living in an 1800s historical novel at times (with a dishwasher and central heat, of course). Perhaps, that’s what has brought this on. The need to feel like I could survive with only my own manpower and the knowledge that I have. So, here are some concrete goals for 2011:
1. Make as many clothes for the baby girl as I can. It’s fun and it makes me feel useful. Plus, once I figure out making clothes on a smaller-scale, perhaps I can start designing stuff for myself. Who needs a mall when you can make whatever it is that you want? I’ll leave the big stuff like trousers and jeans to the pros, but I’m sure that I can handle dresses and tops with a bit of practice.
2. Take survival classes. Just up the road from us, a couple runs a business that teaches you about backpacking through the mountains and learning about the different plants and herbs in the region. This seems eminently practical when we live on 6 acres of steep mountain country.
3. Become more in tune with nature. We live in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful areas of the country and I have YET to break out my hiking boots. What gives? We need to hike, kayak and mountain bike our way through the mountains. The first purchase towards this goal will be a backpack for baby girl to ride in.
4. Get camping. This goes along with #3, but my husband used to go camping all the time as a kid and has wonderful, fond memories of roasting marshmallows and cooking breakfast over an open fire. Of course, we’ll pick campsites with hot showers to help me ease into the process of wilderness woman, but part of the reason that we moved here is so Parker didn’t have to grow up in an urban jungle like we did.
5. Plant a spring garden. We have perfect soil here for gardening and 1 acre of terraced land that was build with the sole purpose of harboring a vegetable garden. If I get with the program, we should be able grow all of the produce that we need for the summer months.
Well, I think that’s about it for concrete goals. Hopefully, I haven’t totally lost my mind, but if I have, that would be par for the course.

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