January 13, 2012

Home and Garden Goals for 2012

Things are pretty up in the air for me at the moment. I've decided to finish grad school early with a Master's Degree instead of continuing on for the PhD.  I'm actually really excited about moving forward with my life, and I hope by this summer I'll be settled into my first "grown-up job". Who will I be working for? What city will I be living in? I have no clue, and it's very exciting.

I would like to stay in Lansing for a while longer, so hopefully I can find a decent job in the area. I own a home and I'm not ready to pick up and move yet. If I had to move (say, for an awesome job opportunity) I could do it, but I would also be displacing my boyfriend from his job. I have my mortgage paid off and finally have a chance to build up some savings. I put a lot of work in my house (built in 1920) when I moved in (re-finished hard wood floors, new carpet, new windows, new paint, new linoleum, etc). There's still a lot more to fix-up, and I'd like the chance to finish giving the house the attention it needs.

I put a lot of love into my house when I moved in.

 I have my vegetable garden, which I'm not ready to leave. I have my chickens, which probably couldn't come with me if I move out of town. I have the prospect of legalizing goats in my city, which I'm really excited about. I'm in a good centralized location in Michigan to visit a number of friends and family. I have a lot going on here in Lansing, so the prospect of going back to apartment living (while testing the waters at a new job out of town) isn't very appealing.

When I moved in, the huge and sunny backyard was a great "blank canvas" for a garden.

Building raised beds the first spring at my new house, 2009.

That said, I'm hesitant to plan much for my 2012 garden. Come summer, I don't even know if I'll be living here.  Assuming I stay here for at least a couple more years, here are my garden goals for 2012:

  1. Finish legalizing dairy goats in Ingham county- the wheels are already set in motion and I'm confident that this is going to happen!
  2. Assuming #1 happens, convert shed into a goat house, fence off back part of yard, and purchase two dairy goats.
  3. Build a top-bar bee hive and start beekeeping
  4. Raise meat rabbits (I will probably do either #3 or #4, but not both in the same year)
  5. Build a mini-hoophouse for season extension
  6. Finally get my raspberry patch under control
  7. Continue to learn more about breeding my own vegetables (I have a friend with a cool blog who's currently writing a book called 'Creating New Heirlooms')
  8. Defeat the mealy bug on my cactus and succulent collection
  9. Take regular "aerial panorama" photos of my garden this year. The ones I took last year were pretty cool...I'd love to track how things change from month to month.
  10. Can some pickles (the meager cucumber harvest in 2011 prevented this from happening)
  11. Can some whole tomatoes (for some reason I tend to turn my entire tomato harvest straight into spaghetti sauce)
  12. Plant some fruit trees (I should have done this the first year I loved into the house). I would love pear, apple, cherry, peach, nectarine, and apricot.
  13. Buy a meyer lemon tree
  14. Grow corn, winter squash, and leeks for the first time
  15. Start onions from seed (I've always grown them from sets)
  16. Learn how to make cheese (I've already experimented with butter and yogurt)
  17. Improve my basement seed starting setup (new lamps, new bulbs, more space, etc)
  18. Experiment with soil blocks for seed starting (I have accumulated so many plastic trays and liners, I'd love to get rid of them all and replace everything with soil blocks).
And here are a few house-related goals:
  1. Work on the half bathroom (new linoleum, new paint, new cabinetry)
  2. Finish cutting and laying quarter-round in all the rooms that got new flooring
  3. Get new kitchen countertops and possibly gut the entire kitchen and get new cabinetry (I like the free-standing modular Ikea cabinets, but I'm worried they'll look too modern in my ancient house). Possibly extend the cabinetry to create an island, or create space for a dishwasher (I would really really love a dishwasher). 
  4. Clean up the basement, which has become a giant scary storage dump
  5. Buy more shelving for the basement
  6. De-clutter, get rid of knick knacks, have a garage sale
  7. Buy one or two dressers. We've been storing all of our clothes on shelves, and it is not working.
  8. Figure out some sort of storage system for my recyclables, which are currently heaped into piles in the basement


  1. Lansing allows you to recycle as much if not more than MSU right now and they pick it up: http://www.lansingmi.gov/Lansing/pubserv/wastereduction/Zero_Sort_Guide___Lansing_MI_MIXEDFINAL2.pdf

  2. Oh believe me, I know all about the recycling system in Lansing. It's Great! You don't even have to sort your recyclables anymore for curbside pickup...you can just throw them all in together and they'll still pick them up for you.

    Not too long ago though, they didn't accept cardboard or white paper (or maybe it was color paper) curbside. That was a pain.

    I have a back-log of recyclables from back before you didn't have to sort them (I was trying to save up enough for an entire bin of each type of recyclable), so I've been slowly trying to get them put out on the curb week by week. It's a slow process.


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