Casaubon's Book

The New Rez, 2010 Edition

In the comments thread to my previous post, Greenpa, who apparently gets a kick from watching She Who Cruncheth over at The Crunchy Chicken and me competing, suggested that I ought to try to top her “latest post.” In the interim, La Crunch put up a fascinating post about bull semen and the genetic diversity of dairy cows, which left me deeply, deeply confused. Was I supposed to top her by talking about some other crisis in genetic diversity? Spotlight some other species’ semen? Or was I supposed to put my own contributions to species diversity up for scrutiny? (Sadly, we don’t pass muster, all of the spawn were fathered by the same stud, I fear. Were I truly committed to genetic diversity, I guess I’d have tried harder on that front, but I’m a lazy, lazy woman and ridiculously fond of Eric.)

Once we cleared up that Greenpa was talking about previous post, which was about Crunch’s new year’s resolutions (something of a relief, I must admit), I was happy to comply. I don’t feel any need to compete with her – I think her goals are awesome, and she’s totally awesome, plus we have a secret plan to take over the world which will be revealed later in the year – but I should post up my resolutions, in the hope that again, posting them here means I’ll be more accountable for breaking them. So here are my goals, none of which involve semen of any kind.

1. Spend less time in front of the computer and more time on the farm. This is the most important to me. In order to do this, I have to finish my latest book, at the end of March, but then I’m going to take an extended hiatus from books and other major writing projects, running only periodic classes and the blog – and maybe scale the blogging back a little too. I started seriously writing _A Nation of Farmers_ in the winter of 2006, and four years later, I’ve been writing, editing or publicizing a book now constantly for four years. By the time that the AIP book comes out next winter, I’ll have written four books in five years – and I’m done for a while.

As I wrote here, I’m so frustrated by the things that we’ve let slide in order to have me do as much writing as I have been, and I admit, I want to be back – I need to use my body more (I’ve gotten stiffer and fatter over the last few years, more than I think can be accounted for by the mere transition from 34 to 37), and more importantly, I need to be outside more. I want my farm to be my primary work and the writing to be secondary, so my primary goal this year (and once the book is finally done) is to focus on that – get the new projects up and running and spend less time alone in a room and more time working alongside my family.

2. Get my body back. There are two strains of physiology in my family – the lean, angular native American side on my Mom’s end, and the tall, large Polish peasant side on my Dad’s. I fall firmly and naturally in the peasant side, what someone once said was “built to pull the plow when the mule falls down.” This doesn’t bother me, but four years of heavy writing following five years of near constant pregnancy and nursing means that I’m just a lot less physically apt than I once was. I don’t think “thin” is ever going to happen for me, and I don’t care about that – but I don’t want to deal with creeping weight gain or loss of strength and flexibility. My great-aunt Emily who was gardening well into her 90s is living proof you can have the Polish peasant genes and remain strong and healthy – my goal is to follow her example. I suspect that more farmwork, along with more stretching, will take care of it.

3. Try and keep the house a little nicer. This is tough here, and I don’t want to devote tons of energy to housekeeping, but it bugs me to be embarassed to show people certains parts of the house. Ideally, I’d like to get to the point where at least everything that shows is pretty much always passable.

4. Our expenditures on little things like eating out and small luxuries have gone up, and this worries me because Eric is not tenured, and the New York State budget is a disaster. It would be incredibly stupid for them to get rid of him, since they pay him less than many comparable faculty, and get more out of him, but if an across the board “get rid of non-tenured faculty” order ever comes out, he’ll be out of a job. I want to be spending less and saving more.

5.Finally get the front garden all converted to raised beds. The 37 inches of rain we had just over the summer have pointed out that I can’t get away with my existing drainage, even partly. So just do the work.

6. Get bees. Yay!

7. Be a little nicer to the spouse and the kids. Try not to snap so much. Be a little more patient.

8. Finally either find housemates or shut up about it ;-).

9. Learn to chant Haftorah.

10. Reduce the sheer number of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and other bits in my writing.

How about you? Happy New Decade Everyone!



  1. #1 Bill the Galactic Hero
    January 1, 2010

    For ’10 I resolve to worry less and do more about Peak Oil/Peak Money/Peak Everything!

  2. #2 abbie
    January 1, 2010

    I hear you about the body type. My mutt genes have given me a big frame. As my sister in law happily pointed out, I was “built for birthing.” Oh what a compliment.

    I have very similar goals. I’m tired of having “Can’t have anyone over” syndrome in my house, but I hate doing the work to keep it orderly. But with the baby coming in March, I suspect this will be a goal for 2011, not 2010.

  3. #3 alexa kelly
    January 1, 2010

    I’m not usually one for resolutions. and yet, somehow, I feel like I ought to write some this year. Why is that?

    I resolve to grow, store, and eat more of my own food.

    Is that generic enough, or too generic? [grin]

  4. #4 barry
    January 1, 2010

    This year I want to worry less and do more-my genetic background is Scottish and Swiss French, all rather dour Calvinists but they did have the starch to get things done!Rather than starting the day fretting I need to check the lectionary for the Psalm for that morning, read it aloud, pray then get busy.
    And, like Alexa, resolve to grow, store, and eat more of my own food-that should keep me busy enough that there is less time for fretting, lamenting, etc. My garden plots are rotated around the 3 acre field behind the house, for which I am very thankful. And now, even though the day is cold the sun is shinning and there is no wind I going for a walk around that field, pond and into the pasture.

    All the Best to you in this New Year.

  5. #5 vera
    January 1, 2010

    Sharon, check out top bar beekeeping. Fabulous stuff. Keeping bees while paying attention to the way they like to do things! What an idea! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy new year to y’all!

  6. #6 Crunchy Chicken
    January 1, 2010

    I believe Greenpa is trying to goad you into doing a skimpy pinup poster, although you’ll totally blow me out of the water given your, um, attributes.

    And, I come from Polish peasant stock, too! No wonder we get along ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the world takeover, let me know when you are ready. I just need to clean my weapons and then I’ll be all set.

    Finally, I’m sure that Eric was disappointed to read that none of your New Year’s resolutions included semen. I hear it makes for a great moisturizer – maybe I need to do a post on making your own semen face mask.

  7. #7 aimee
    January 1, 2010

    Ah, the peasant genes! I’m your neighbor to the east – the Russian peasant. I decided long ago I don’t want to spend my life fighting my genetic legacy, so I’ve embraced the fact that I look like a knish. Hey, comfort food is good! However, we can’t let the genes take over! I figure if I complete all my gardening and fencing goals I’ll be doing enough manual labor to keep my from completely becoming a potato.

  8. #8 anita
    January 1, 2010

    So, let’s hear it for peasant genes! Mine are Swedish and Scots-Irish . . . I am, unfortunately, built to ‘drop ’em in the furrow and keep plowing’; maybe if I resolve to get out and work more (in spite of the arthritis and the trick knee) I can whittle myself down just a bit. I’d love to say I’m going to be more organized, but I know myself all too well, so I’m going to try a small bit of organization: getting all the recipes we use frequently into one place so I’m not always looking frantically through seventeen cookbooks to find just *where* I saw it last . . .

  9. #9 TheNormalMiddle
    January 1, 2010

    Be nicer. Judge less. Love more. Read more books. Boost my freelancing biz. Go to Disney with the kids. Save more money. (yeah, I realize those last two compete with one another fiercely)

    Perhaps lose a pound or two and learn to love myself more.

  10. #10 Cecelia
    January 1, 2010

    peasant genes – Irish, Scots and English. What a combo! I am so impressed by all these resolutions – I too am resolved to 1) spend less save more 2) get in better shape and 3) grow more! I’d like to think all three goals support each other.

  11. #11 Deb
    January 1, 2010

    Peasant genes combined with the menopause middle are a killer!

    Resolutions–lose the f bomb from my speech, knit a pair of socks a week for a year, keep my house tidier and take off at least 20 lbs.

    the first two are probable, the last two are dream goals.

  12. #12 Christine
    January 1, 2010

    First time commenter…

    Can I please be part of your plan to take over the world? I have long thought that men have had their turn long enough and now it’s time for women. I already have my own weapons of several types if that helps.

    I would like to use this new year to become stronger, so at least some of the peasant genes will prove helpful. Also allow less clutter in the house.

  13. #13 Dan
    January 1, 2010

    I won’t bother with all my resolutions but one is to improve my Buddhist practice. Growing your own food and re-localising and all the rest is fantastic and it’s all good both as a preparation for peak oil/ecological problems and as a way of heading them off, albeit perhaps only in a small way, but I think it’s important to deal with these two aspects – preparation and prevention – from a psychological standpoint and Buddhism provides a way of doing this. This isn’t – by a long shot – my only reason for developing my practice but it plays a part.

  14. #14 Barn Owl
    January 1, 2010

    @ #11-

    A pair of socks each week? And here I thought I was doing well to aim for knitting a pair each month. *sigh* ๐Ÿ˜‰

    One of my resolutions is to do more charity knitting this year, and another is to get an earlier start on my backyard garden than I did last year. The extreme hot/dry weather and a late start conspired to destroy garden productivity for me in 2009.

  15. #15 Deb
    January 1, 2010

    #14–I’ve been making socks for 30 years. I’m a fast knitter and have the pattern down pat. The key is not to lose those moments when you are waiting for things–keep your sock handy and you can get a pair a week done too.

  16. #16 Sara: farming in northern rural Alabama
    January 1, 2010

    1) Nurture a growing, healthy connection with my family of origin.
    2) Demonstrate more, my love and appreciation for my beloved.
    3) Gently stretch my mind and body further and further.
    4) Recognize that my body is my temple and treat it thusly.
    5) Grow food and herbs everywhere.

  17. #17 John Andersen
    January 2, 2010

    Many employed people are watching their money closely. I know this because I have a long standing carpet cleaning business, and much of it has fallen off in the past year.

    The employed professionals are saving their money because they know if it comes to layoffs it will be the end of their careers.

    I get it.

    And that is why they are far more cautious with expenses.

  18. #18 Greenpa
    January 2, 2010

    I just don’t really understand how all you folks got so hybirdized, and wound up with pheasant genes. Is Crunchy Chicken a related phenomenon?

  19. #19 Barn Owl
    January 2, 2010

    Pursuant to one of my resolutions for 2010, I just planted a row of kale seeds, and raked up some leaves to add to the compost bin. Lest you think I’m foolish for doing the former in early January, I’ll point out that 1) the seeds are in a raised bed, and the ground does not freeze here anyway, and 2) seedlings can be covered readily for the freezing temperatures we’ll get here sporadically through March. It’s sunny and in the 50s here today, and will be so throughout the next week.

    I’ve also started trying to reduce my consumption of fossil fuels this year. A substantial proportion (but certainly not all) of our electricity is wind farm-generated, but I’ve turned down the thermostat, and plan to set it higher this summer (the most problematic season here). I’m also going to experiment with taking the bus to and from work a few days each month, and I hope to restrict myself to just two flights this year, one for work and one to visit grad school friends on the West Coast. We’ll see.

  20. #20 Claire
    January 2, 2010

    I’ve always called them goals, not resolutions. Back when I was in the corporate world, I (and the other professional and managerial folks) were supposed to write up a list of goals for the next year. Our supervisor would sign off on them. Then at the end of the year, we’d get rated on how well we did at accomplishing what we’d said we would do. Though I absolutely hated the rating part (it got reduced to an X on a line, and our salary increase for the next year depended on where on the line that X fell), I thought the setting-of-goals part of it was so valuable that I adopted the practice for my own projects after I quit that job.

    Anyway, my goals for this year include things like start more veggie beds, glass in the front porch, use the solar-powered food dryer that my DH made last year, use the solar oven more often, and several other things that came out of taking your AIP course last summer. Like Dan, I practice Buddhism (Zen in my case) and I also have a practice goal, to sit 30 minutes each day (the day-to-day consistency has been lacking in my practice). I have an exercise goal for winter, to do more of it more often; I get enough the rest of the year. And I have a goal to finish painting the hallway to the two back bedrooms and to finish the bathroom upgrading (add a subfloor and flooring, replace toilet with a lower water use model, and paint).

  21. #21 Keri Jo Rinke
    January 2, 2010

    Here is a gift to you from a mother of six (ages 9-27.) I wrote it at 1 a.m., as indicated, during a busy time of my life such as yours. I call it…

    Guilty Sleep

    I borrow time at one a.m.,
    Bad credit against the day ahead.
    The previous day too short, too gone,
    The list of things goes on and on.

    A break for sleep, a short relief,
    It steels productive time to keep,
    Your eyes both closed and members lame,
    It feels as if I lose a game.

    Opponent gains while I half-dead
    Am sleeping in my unmade bed.
    Opponent which, I do not know,
    The list, the house, the grass to mow?

    The thing I dread is metered time
    With limits for this life of mine.
    I hasten through as if a race
    And keep a motherโ€™s wicked pace.

    Sally forth…you are never alone.

  22. #22 Bess
    January 5, 2010

    Hey Sharon — give us 10 more years and we’d be happy to move in with you.

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