Progress, or not

I'll get there

Getting there

I’ve been working on improvements in several areas of life for a bit now, and I asked myself the other day – “Self, how’s it going?”  Here are the answers.
 
Power usage:  My last electric bill was $3.00 lower than the previous one.  Not a big drop, but still much better than an increase, and $95.00 is not bad for a month in the summer.  I did turn the thermostat up to 80, but had to set it back at 79 – Ralph woke me up panting hard one night, and I don’t want to put him in any danger to his health.  I’ve been vigilant about turning off lights and power strips, and we had a few cloudy days in there, which probably account for the drop.
 
Yard and garden:  The back patio is nearly finished, the edging along the city sidewalk is about 1/3 done, and I need to get more pea gravel to finish up the walk I created in the front yard.  I am firmly refusing to let myself start another landscaping project until those are all finished.  The patch of ground that I hope to garden in a couple of years from now is mostly cleared, and about half mulched with yard clippings.  That needs to finish as well.  The compost looks like it’s coming along.  I’ll think I have the bin full, then everything compacts and I can add more – so it must be compacting into something usable, right?
 
After all of the above are done, I’ll finish edging the walk up to the front door, then I’ll clear a ring around the tree and the oleander bush and plant some annuals under them.  I’ll also get the lettuce going as soon as I get back from Wales.  It will probably take me through the end of this semester (mid December) to get all that done; then over the holiday break I can start the next crop and the next landscaping project.  Once cooler weather gets here in another month or so I can get a lot more work done outside.
 
I’m drying some seeds I got from my last farmers’ market red peppers.  I know they are probably hybrids and won’t turn out like the parent peppers, but it doesn’t cost me anything to experiment.  If they turn out red and edible, that’ll be fine.
 
Weight:  I’ve given up until I get back from vacation.  I know me; I’ll want to eat well over there.  At least I’ll be doing a good bit of walking on the trip, so I’ll be in the habit when I get home.
 
Emergency preparation:  I assessed my stored food, and realized that I probably only had 2 or 3 days worth of food put away for hurricanes, etc.  If the power’s going to be out for 2 or 3 weeks, or more, then that’s totally inadequate.  My long term goal is 6 months’ worth of food stored.  I’m writing the expiration dates on the tops of the containers with a Sharpie, so they’re easily seen, and I’ll practice the FIFO inventory method (first in, first out) so things will get eaten before they expire.  My solar oven still hasn’t arrived; I hope it comes before I leave.
 
Budget:  I’ve been eating out about once or twice a month, which is down from once or twice a week.  I’m making much more of an effort to pack my lunch, even if it’s just peanut butter and jelly, but it’s working.  I was so pleased with the results of the quick breads I made over the summer that I intend to keep doing that forever!  Yummy for breakfast, and I know what the ingredients are because I made it myself.  Mmmmm.
 
So, I’d rate my progress as slow but mostly steady.  I’m trying to be the tortoise.
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