Saturday, January 3, 2015

Splitting the Difference, and preparing for a New Year (with resolutions like a nitwit)

What with Hippo back at his blog (warning: graphic content), and with even Holly Heyser posting for the first time in years, I've decided to give this writing baloney another go.

A new year...

I hope everyone has a great one, though if history is an indicator of future results, don't bet on it.  I feel a bit bad knowing that my 2014 was darned good, while many I know had a pretty, or a very, rough year. Professionally, I'm still wildly stressed out, but personally, I was blessed to get to watch a four and a seven-year old. Seeing the world through their eyes and their perspectives expands my own experiences of this great, big World. I remain married to an amazing woman who took a full-time lecturing position at UC, Davis. I got certified to teach archery, and also began leather work (armguards, belt pouches and the like), which I find very rewarding.

The final week of this great year summed my year up nicely: We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which is nice, but not as nice as they charge you for, so no link here), and the next day, spent a morning watching big surf.  We then visited my old workplace at Seacliff State Beach, where I learned (yet another) revolutionary surf fishing technique and caught a surfperch for the first time in years and years. The next day, I hunted with my brother in-law, and my rescue dog of unknown bloodlines found every bird in such short time and with such efficiency as to put our shotgunning to shame.  She still runs a bit far in open country (she works amazingly tight in thick brush), and she doesn't retrieve, but her nose is impeccable.

I am truly blessed and try real hard to be thankful.

But while I was enjoying a great year, others were struggling with leukemia, nearly losing a toe (or a life) to venomous snakes, putting down family pets, losing loved ones.  My heart and prayers go out to those who had a rough year. 

This year is prepped to be another good 'un, but requires some effort on my part.  My archery business needs tending including a website, as well as advertising and such.  I couldn't decided on a name, so I picked two:  Wild Spirit/Old Soul.  I figured I could capture the increased interest in archery by the young and hip with the "Wild Spirit", and perhaps get a curmudgeon or two to buy a leather armguard or possibles bag with the "Old Soul" moniker. 

I also need to step up my archery practice, which has suffered in recent weeks.  I'd like to try one of those friendly traditional archery competitions I run across from time to time, but have been too scared to give a shot.

So, like millions of other morons, I've made a list of New Year's resolutions.  I've even put my resolutions up on a handy-dandy, shame-inducing calendar posted to the refrigerator, so I can consciously ignore them by actually looking down in disgrace on a regular basis.

There are no diet goals, nor goals to be a "better person".  Rather, these are concrete objectives, weekly increases in hours spent on my business, archery, art, or gardening, along with some monthly goals, in check-off fashion -- perfect for failing on paper.

As this is my Agrarianista blog, I suppose a garden and field update is in order.  We picked our oranges yesterday, after a fourth day of below-freezing temps, and they look great!  We saw a five-and-one-half fold increase in yield over last year's harvest: eleven oranges off our three-foot dwarf orange tree (thankfully, the oranges aren't dwarfed).  Our rose also has a load of rose-hips in need of harvest.

We lost the flowers off our pineapple sage, which doesn't help our resident hummingbirds, so I'll be putting out a feeder today.  And speaking of feeders, the bird feeder that RubĂ©n and I built this Summer has been getting visitors -- mourning doves, scrub jays, white-crowned sparrows.  Our giant trees also hold some overwintering Sierra birds.  Pacific-slope flycatchers and chestnut-backed chickadees take refuge here, among others.  Of course, the yellow-rumped warblers are back, too.

The walnut has done its job, providing leaves for cover and conversion to soil in our raised beds.  The boysenberry was pruned far back last Fall, and the pomegranate has gotten a first pruning, too.

We are filling in the pond, which has become more trouble than it's worth, and may put in a hill with a sizeable rock or two.  We may also add a small stream, since we already have all the materials (pump, liner, and water).

In the field, we had a First Annual Kilted Snipe hunt at a friend's property, and had a great time!  We got three fools to show up in kilts (including myself), and one "liberated woman", my cousin Kevin.  J.R. Young, kilted, was the only one of us to get birds -- two snipe -- although there were quite a few.

God bless, and may you all have a great 2015.

Maybe my best work so far -- a deerskin and veg-tanned leather belt pouch for Holly.


Hippo said...

Quite a list of birds visiting your garden! I am ashamed to say I haven't a clue what most of the birds are that flit through the trees in my garden. I find LBJ is a good name for most of them, Little Brown Job or Little Black Job...

You have a good year as well.

Josh said...

Hey, Hippo! In my dealings with you over the years, I came across a decent Angolan bird resource:

For when you have free time...

Hippo said...

God grief, over a 1000 confirmed species in Angola! I never knew there were that many different types of birds in the world!

Interesting that there is no one publication with the full list of Angolan birds AND pictures of them.

This could turn into a useful pastime, creating a searchable database of all Angolan birds and finding pictures to match.

Thanks for this link, Josh!

Josh said...

You are quite welcome, Tom. I just wish I could come out and look for some of them with you.

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