Homestead Resolutions


I expect when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions I am not much different than most people. As I sit down and ponder them I’m conflicted because I’m aware that I won’t keep most or maybe any of them as I’m truly a creature of habit. Therefore if I didn’t keep them in past years I probably won’t keep them this year. My solution is to make a project list instead of a resolutions list. It may seem like semantics or psychological, but I manage to keep a project list when I know I won't keep a list of resolutions!

Our homestead has numerous difficult tasks that must be done for us to survive and be safe. At the top of my “project” list is getting in our firewood for next winter. When we cut, haul, split and stack 9 to 11 cords of firewood I head immediately for my project list and cross it off…project completed for another year. Then I move on to my next project. I have made so many resolutions over the years and failed to follow through with them that I have lost count. Not so with a project list because I need that list to insure all prospective tasks are accomplished in a timely fashion.

On my past resolution list I would have put down to lose weight and that would last until the first sweet temptation came along. My good intentions would totally dissolve and I would justify more sweets with a litany of excuses to myself. As most people who have chosen to live on a remote homestead are aware of the physical effort is endless. That substitutes for going to a gym to work out or jogging to stay fit. A resolution excuse for me would therefore be “since I’m saving money by not having a gym membership I’ll buy ice cream and snacks.” My project list would instead read "avoid sweets and snacks.” Staying fit is not even an issue if I continue to make headway on a project list; instead it is a given due to the strenuous daily activity. I look at that project list often as a constant reminder to keep my focus on progressing and not missing or overlooking needed jobs. For some reason I manage to keep the project list but not when it’s a resolution! Perhaps because I can cross specific tasks off the list because I review that project list frequently and the resolution list is rarely reviewed. To me my project list is a check off list and my resolution list is a “suggestion” list as I perceive it.

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Then there is the item on the project list to “clean the wood stove and chimney." This is a dreaded project due to the height of the chimney and it is the dirtiest of all the projects I do. Putting it on a resolution list would probably be reason for me to not do the job. As a resolution I could rationalize doing it next year. When it is on the project list I take it in order and like it or not it gets done. Having a project list for me is a serious proposition. The resolution list would probably have another item like “be a better person.” I’m not sure why I ever put that down anyway because I try to be a good person so where is the challenge and what is the end goal? By whose standard do I measure anyway? If I look around I can always find a less than nice person so as long as I consider myself better than that person is that really a success? That standard just may take me in the wrong direction. That used to be a subjective item on my resolution list and did not require any effort. Instead I’ll just clean the chimney because I can then cross that task off the project list.

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