This is the magical time of year when we get an opportunity to reflect on the year that is ending and plan for the year ahead. I love this time of year. I reflect on what we did right and what we didn't do so well. With all of the trouble in the world today ,both economically and socially, the time to be as self reliant as possible has arrived.
It astounds me how many people out there think everything is fine. Even our President has said that the economy is doing well. Really? All of the people that think everything is great are not paying attention. Vice President Biden said that when a friend or neighbor cannot find a job it is a recession, and when you cannot find a job it's a depression. Using this definition we are all in a recession and some are in a depression.
The way we calculate the unemployment numbers has not always been done the same way. Right now the official unemployment rate is over 7%. This number does not include all of the people who have stopped looking for work. Let me say that again -this number does not include those who have given up. If you include these people, the real unemployment rate is at least 15% and some sources say it could be as much as 22%. The highest unemployment during the Great Depression was 25%. So depending on the correct current rate ,we are nearly at the same level as the Great Depression. I for one believe that the worst is yet to come.
Ok, so now that all of the bad stuff is out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. I am beginning to get my gardening catalogs in the mail. It is great to look and make lists of all the things I want to plant next spring. I only plant heirloom varieties. This enables me to save seed from new things every year. Each year there are fewer things I have to buy so I am saving money each year. I also keep a garden log so I know what works and what doesn't.
I have made several goals for the coming year. 1) I am going to be expanding my garden and setting aside sections of the garden for my children. They can raise anything they want and after the family gets what it needs from their crops they can sell all of their excess. This will help teach them a work ethic and a lot of financial lessons as well.
2) Expand our compost pile. It doesn't matter if you want to be like me and do the whole organic thing or you just want to reduce the amount of fertilizer you have to buy. Composting is a good practice. All soil types benefit from compost. The best part about compost is you can do it to any scale. Just use the leftovers that you throw away. Do not use meat products in the compost mix.
3) Skill learning. I have quite a list of things I want to learn this year. I am making a carving set( knife making). A friend is going to teach my stepson and I how to make a bow. My wife and I are going to learn how to knit. A man I met at work is supposed to teach me how to make a wooden boat. I also want to learn more about canning, planting a fruit orchard, wine making, and even sling shot shooting. Some are just for fun,but most are for money savings. Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned and who knows? Some of these skills could turn into a business.
I would like to challenge all of you to set a goal of learning a new skill or two this next year. If knowledge is power,then skills would be assets. Join me in the learning.
Remember to Keep It Rural.