The Year in Review

I don't know that I have a whole lot to report. It's been a year. I don't do resolutions, so there won't be any here.

Job and House Update

I'm in the same job, still hoping I'll get to use my training on a more regular basis. (On the other hand, I'm honing my data management and cleaning skills. Just need to work on my motivation to keep going.) I am continuing to pursue other employment though, so perhaps by the end of 2008 I'll be doing something else.

I'm in the same house. Said house now has three new ceiling fans (thanks for the assistance Mom!) and extra insulation in the attic. In the next year I hope to fix some grade/drainage issues at the front of the house so water doesn't pool at the base of the foundation and to replace a couple of torn window screens. I did get the pool open though it continued to torment me all year long and was the source of LARGE water bills due to inadvertent siphoning. Closing the pool seemed to go well, though I won't now for certain until I go to open it in the spring.

Garden Updates
The veggie garden was new this year. I didn't keep up with the weeding as much as I should have, to the extent that I took the weed whacker to it at one point and never did find the pea or bean plants once the peas and beans ripened. Oops. Perhaps I'll track down a source for wheat or oat straw and just mulch heavily next year or I could just do some regular weeding. I didn't get a cover crop planted for the winter, but I do have 1/4 to 1/3 of the garden in lettuce at the moment so that's kind of a cover crop. I also need to track down a manure source for the compost pile. Next year I will plant tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, radishes, green beans, sweet peas, cucumbers, winter squash, summer squash, eggplant and probably kale and chard. I planted most of that this year, but ended up not harvesting much of it due to poor planning and bad timing. For herbs I'll plant basil, oregano, chives, marjoram, tarragon, thyme and dill. The dill and basil will be easy. The rest may give me trouble. I am considering adding another chunk of area to the garden to give me a bit more room with which to work, but that also means more area to weed.

This was the first full growing season for the flowers/landscaping. A late frost killed off the fruit buds for all three fruit trees. The rose bushes on the north side of the house are still there and I still haven't removed the grass from that bed, nor have I moved the hostas to a better location. The front flower beds were better maintained. The existing bed was nearly taken over by coreopsis most of the summer and by daisies at the end of the season. The new bed is still in progress. I kept up with most of the weeding, though the evil Bermuda/zoysia grass did make a big push at the end of the year. There isn't a good plan for the new bed. Some of the plants I put in died. Others didn't perform as expected. The far end of the front flower bed is still nearly all grass, even the part that I de-grassed early in the spring.

The south and west sides of the house remain unchanged. There are iris on the south side of the house and the rose of Sharon plants I brought with me. These are not in formal beds, but just planted next to the house. It would be good to dig out actual beds so as to keep the grass out of it a bit better. I planted some cannas on the west side of the house. They did very well, though again they aren't in a real bed.

At the beginning of the spring, I put holly bushes around the perimeter of the deck. They are mostly doing just fine. I had one die and I hit another couple with the weed whacker, though they didn't actually die. I need to re-grade the lawn on the south side of the deck so the holly bushes don't stay wet all the time. I also need to rake up the sunflower seed hulls from under the birdfeeder.

The reseeding/overseeding of the lawn with bluegrass/fescue continued. I had limited success in killing off the creeping charlie, dandelions and other weeds in the grass. Two applications of non-grass weedkiller didn't seem to make much of a dent. I don't know if I applied the herbicide too lightly or if the weeds just laughed at the "cocktail" I served them.

The poison ivy corner is mostly under control, though it took the application of undiluted RoundUp concentrate to kill it off. There was some diesel fuel/hydralic fluid run-off from the property next door which also helped kill the poison ivy in the lawn. I have planted a couple of daisy plants back there, as well as a few nandinas and some volunteer evergreens. In the spring, I'll add a liberal dusting of coreopsis and daisy seeds. The neighbors with the trenching company have put in a good drainage ditch along the west end of my yard so that runoff from their lot doesn't run through the poison ivy corner any more. I really appreciate that a lot since the erosion was getting pretty bad during heavy rainfall. I thought about planting river cane or some shrubby willows in there, but I don't know if I will get to that.

On the bramble front, the blackberry bush(es) that came with the house is doing well, though will need some containment soon. The garden should probably be moved further away from it so weeding the garden and trimming the grass will be less hazardous. The raspberry starts I brought with me didn't do as well. They're growing, but not terribly fast. That might have been due to the heat and drought this summer or they don't like the soil here, which is also possible.

The acorns I picked up this fall are still hanging out in the garage. I need to put a bunch of them in the ground and make me a bunch of baby oak trees. It would be good to add some trees to the property. The big oak tree out by the garden shed is actually failing. It's developing heart rot and will eventually fall over. It'll take about 20 years before a seedling is even half the size of that tree, but it wouldn't hurt to get a start on the new trees now.

Health/Exercise Stuff
My training for the 2007 marathon never really got off the ground. I'm still struggling with daily exercise. I am doing a lot better at eating well, however. I should be able to keep that up since I've figured out how to keep it simple and yummy. I also learned to limit the size of things I cook so that I don't have too many leftover servings that I lose interest before the food is gone. Now that I've got the food part of things managed, I ought to be able to figure out the exercise end of things. I turn 40 in a year. I would like to be a fit 40 year old, not the same old (lack of) fitness level I've had since I was in high school. Now I just need to get out of my chair on a regular basis and keep moving toward that goal.

Other Stuff
I didn't actually complete the NaNoWriMo goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I did, however, start a completely different book, though I haven't really worked on it since. I would like to spend a little bit of time each week on this book, but so far I haven't managed that on a regular basis.

Website work is at the same level it was at the beginning of the year with my managing or updating two commercial sites, though I switched out one site for another partway through the year. I still need to develop my own sites more fully and learn CSS. I have set myself a list of goals with respect to websites and computer stuff, with the intention to work on those goals a little each week.

I have figured out that little bits of work done regularly add up to getting a lot of work done over time. My previous method of approach was to attack something hard for as long as I could stand it until I got burned out or stuck, then I'd sort of half-heartedly work at said project until I gave up making progress. This rarely resulted in a completed project, but did result in frying myself mentally and sometimes physically. I seem to make much more progress with the smaller step approach. I'll work on applying it more broadly and see how far I get with various goals.


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