Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Resolutions in the Almost Average household

Good day to all you great people out there! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have your sleeves rolled up ready to tackle 2009 because today is New Year's Day and it's time to get cracking and get prepared for the year ahead, no matter what it will bring!

I love this time of year and New Year's Day is my favourite of all. For me, it's a special day that always brings new hope, carrying a certain freshness coated with positivity and good intentions that beats Christmas Day, anniversaries and even birthdays hands down. After all, the feeling of hopefulness is one of the greatest possessions with which a person can be blessed and with hope comes new opportunities.

I never used to believe in resolutions and my track record was always appalling. Giving up wine never lasted more than a few weeks and as for ditching chocolate, after just a few days my willpower would always crack at the sight of Cadbury's creme eggs on sale in preparation for Easter, thanks to those naughty merchandisers and marketeers who push them into the shops in January.

However as I reminisce over the adventures of 2008, I realise how far my family has travelled in just 12 months, with new challenges and friendships, all of which started with just one new year's resolution this time last year - to reduce our household waste. Well it was actually one of twenty good intentions, but there'll be more on that later in the month when I celebrate the blog's first birthday and enjoy the highlights of the year.

So as I write my first blog post of 2009, it's time for the Almost Average Household to reveal our resolutions for the new year, and it will be no surprise that we have even more rubbish reducing plans.

But we won't be just sat indoors sorting out our recycling.

Nor will we be simply hanging out at the recycling centre more regularly.

What we've got planned is much dirtier indeed.

Yep, this year we're going to get digging and bring life to the garden in a way it's never seen before. If 2008 was the year of the bins, you could say 2009 will be the year of the backyard.

We've already got a lovely little snacking garden with berries, rhubarb, herbs as well as tomatoes grown in pots, which has taken very little effort but this year we're going to rev it up a bit.

We want to plant more berries, more greens and more root vegetables and we want to be able to feed ourselves as well as the birds that have begun to hang around in recent years. It'll be a great way of reducing even more packaging as well as food miles and will give us the practice we need for when we eventually get a bigger garden or hopefully an allotment in a few years time.

But it's not going to be easy because even though our plans are still small-scale, there will be many challenges along the way:

  1. I'm neither green fingered or organised - so to make this work I really am going to have to change my ways.
  2. Our garden is fairly small, a typical postage stamp on a new development - so we're going to have to work hard to fit a planting scheme into our current set up.
  3. We've also decided to get chickens - yes, you heard correctly - chickens in our teeny tiny plot! As well as changing my routines to care for them, we're also going to have to be especially inventive to ensure those clucking hens won't destroy our hard work.

So the deed is done! I've revealed our plans for the new year. Oh my word, what have I gone and done?

What have I done indeed! It's rather scary actually, putting my lack of horticultural skills under the spotlight for all to see. Oh well, as they say, the world never stands still.

So as we're all set for yet another amazing adventure in the Almost Average Household, one thing's for sure...I know we won't be able to do it without your support. So please continue to chip in with your words of wisdom to help us on our way. I can be a really lazy booger when it comes to the garden and will need all the help I can get. So if you see me hanging around the blog a bit too often....please encourage me to get back outside! After all Rome would never have been built if all the Romans spent all their time blogging about it!

But what else will this year bring for The Rubbish Diet blog? As well as my cries for help and updates on our progress I will also continue to feature those amazing people who are helping us to slim our bins and reduce our reliance on landfill. So keep popping by for some fresh ideas that you can try at home, take to work or introduce into your community.

I've got a funny feeling that 2009 will be another trashtastic year when it comes to reducing waste and I'd love to know what you've got planned. If you've got some bin-busting resolutions and have blogged about it, why not share your ideas and join in this month's Carnival of Trash, which will be published here on 7th January. You can submit your post here.

So all that's left for me to do is grab my spade and get digging.

But before that, I'd like to thank you all so much for your visits, support and contributions in 2008. I couldn't keep up this blog without you and would like to wish you a very happy new year for 2009 and beyond.

Now before I get all slushy, where did I put those chocolates?..........I'm not giving up those in a hurry. Remember, that particular new year's resolution never worked for me, so I'm not even going to try....ahhh there they box of Quality Street complete with their little recycling instructions to separate the foil from the plastic....That will most definitely keep me busy......................Happy new year everyone....see you soon!



Unknown said...

Good luck with the garden!

Almost Mrs Average said...

LOL Muppet - I think I will need all the luck I can get...the bins seem easy compared to this :-D

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs A,

A very Happy New Year to yourself and family.

Your backyard resolution(s) are a good choice for 2009, with many people likely to follow suit. I also intend to improve gardening techniques for food and wildlife (especially beneficial insects).

Unknown said...

Happy New Year to the Averages!

I tell you what, I'll let you do all the hard work this year while I just read about it. Deal?

Almost Mrs Average said...

Happy New Year John - I can't wait to get going on this challenge. We've got a lovely garden where we already plant a few bits and bobs, but normally stuff that can look after itself. Watch this space :-D

Hi Despairing - Happy New Year to you too. LOL - I think we've got a deal...perhaps I should install a GardenCam too. That'll probably show Mr A giving the garden some welly - although, he has told me that it's all down to me....scary :-D

Mel said...

How exciting! Having re-started productive gardening myself in the year just gone, I can vouch for the satisfaction of growing your own, and the restorative effect of fresh air & physical work. And I've had something to eat and a bunch of flowers pretty much every week between June and November, all without any packaging beyond seed packets!

A very happy - and productive - new year to you!

Mel x

Anonymous said...

This is another of our resolutions too! We want a productive garden this year - last years was productive in horsetail and bindweed.

We can cheer one another on; it does feel like a HUGE task, but I know you'll succeed.

Good luck and happy new year to the Average household :)

Mrs g x

Sam said...

Good luck with your latest challenge. You mastered rubbish reduction, gardening's got to be easier, hasn't it?

I shall be following closely, because I'd like to work on our garden this year, but I don't know where to start.

Happy New Year!

Christina S said...

Yay! I shall look forward to reading about this! I love growing stuff too and am sorely tempted to put my name down for an allotment in York - but too realistic to actually do it just yet, unless it was a very very small one!! Good luck - look out for bargains on BSE market!

Margaret's Ramblings said...

I look forward to reading of your adventures in the vege patch. Watch out though. It can be addictive and these winter months are like going cold turkey. "Giving up chocolate". Wash your mouth out. That is one goal I will never achieve. Margaret

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Mel - Great to see you again and wow, you've done well. Not sure with our space we'll be able to manage as much as that, but who knows what'll happen. At the moment I'm feeling daunted by it all. As I write, Mr A is digging up a very small patch of the garden. But I know what you mean about the satisfaction of growing your own. I've just harvested the leeks that Mr planted last year and they've been whizzed up into a soup. Keep your fingers crossed there will be more than leeks this year. Happy New Year :-D

Hi Mrs G - A Happy New Year to you too...and good luck in your ventures with your green-fingered antics. With your garden you could probably feed yourselves for the whole year and have produce to spare. But it really does feel like a huge challenge doesn't it and that's from the perspective of not having much growing space, so naturally there won't be as much to do. Mmmm LOL, maybe this will be the year I get a cleaner to look after the inside of the house while I concentrate on the outside. Glad you're there with me though :-D

Hi Sam - Great to see you here and thanks for the vote of confidence. I've got a feeling reducing rubbish is a hell of a lot easier than my next set of plans. I'm not a naturally organised person, which is why I maintain if I can slim my bin anyone can....LOL....however, I sense I'm going to have to learn how to be more organised for this next challenge. It will be great to have you in the wings flying the flag. And any tips you can share will be gratefully received. Happy new year and hope to see you soon :-D

Hi Rubes - Happy New Year to you up there in Old York. An allotment would be great, but I know what you mean about the time and the responsibilities. Why don't you see if you could do an allotment share. You could always advertise your interest at your local allotment and see if anyone wants any help. You never know what might happen.....and if anything does happen, keep us posted :-D

Hi Margaret - LOL....addictive, yikes. That'll compete with blogging then. Mmmmm I wonder if you can hire ghost bloggers...(now that would be truly naughty - I think I'll stick to the guest variety). And as for the chocolate - I've put a penny in the swear box - hee hee :-D

Anonymous said...

Hi you! Fab ideas all the way! Pity we don't live closer - I could use your ingredients to make some chutneys and jams......Do let us know if you want any advice about birds or other garden wildlife - we've got loads of knowledge and info so would be thrilled to help out! We've even got an insect theatre - they can be made quite easily and would be great for the boys! LOL and Happy New Year ;) XXXX

Karin said...

This will be interesting. I also hope to grow more veg this year and we also plan to get chickens. We could have ordered the house and run by now but the company were closed for the new year. I think they open on Monday.

It sounds like our garden might be a bit bigger than yours. It's not enourmous, but not a pocket handkirchief, either. I planted my first broad beans last week. What about you?

I shall be very interested in how you progress, and be looking out for any useful tips as you seem to do your homework quite well.

Anonymous said...

How exciting to start a new garden, you wait you will be so addicted, I know we are. love the idea of chickens. take care fiona

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

A very Happy New Year Mrs A. You have made great plans already and I'm still taking the Christmas decorations down! Will be recycling my Christmas cards though, gift tags to begin with but if you look at Gill - That British Woman's blog she has other ideas and links.

I will certainly be keeping an eye on your garden progress this year - good luck with it all.

A x

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, I'm excited about the chickens! I'd love to try some of my own, but the by-laws here won't allow it.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Baba - your advice would be most welcome thank you. Indeed, I am now looking forward to you doing a guest post in the Spring so other readers can indulge too :-D

Hi Karin - Looks like we're in this together. And I can't wait to see how you get on too. Haven't planted anything yet. Have been too busy watching Mr A dig and making soup. Plan to get started this week though :-D

Hi Fiona - aaahh. The chickens. They will be an adventure and a half. Just watch this space, as I am sure there will be tales. And I'm even contemplating a HenCam. :-D

Hi Anne - and a Happy New Year to you. Our tree and decs came down on 1st Jan. It's always part of our traditional New Year's Day shake-up. The children made good use of the cards as they came in this year, with some lovely pictures that have now been too been recycled. Thanks for the tip-off about Gill's blog. I'm looking forward to having a good old browse :-D

Hi Jen - what a shame about the by-laws...well if you ever fancy a holiday in the UK sometime, you could always come spend some time with ours LOL :-D

Anonymous said...

Dear A Mrs A!

I've been a bit fan for a while, apologies that this is my first comment!

I've been attempting a successful garden for the past few years, and this is the first summer I've have some success (I live in South Africa, so its mid summer now!). I have two things to suggest which have helped me this year:

1. Fence the chickens in! Mine have reaked havoc in my garden for years, there is nothing they love more than eating fresh seedlings, or digging a dust bath in your favourite bed! Give them a couple of square metres each and they'll be happy. You can rotate their pen so that you can take advantage of the fertile mess they leave! (though I never bother with this, it's such an effort to build the thing in the first place!)

2. Deep beds. They're great. You completely control the soil quality, they retain the water better, you can plant things closer together which saves space. I plant herbs around the edge of mine to cover the wood up a bit.

Hope this is helpful! My New Year's resolution is to take a leaf out of your book and become a lot less wasteful. Here's hoping, and thanks for the inspiration.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Anna - how lovely to hear from you and thanks so much for taking time to comment. For me, that's the best part of blogging. It's brilliant to hear from blog visitors and I am grateful for your suggestions. You've definitely made me think twice about fencing in the hens. I hadn't thought about doing this initially but that does sound very appealing. I think we might need a fair supply of chicken wire. On a snowy day like today, I can feel the warmth coming in from South Africa :-D

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