Happy New Year, everyone! Like it or not, we must say goodbye to 2016 and put it behind us. Whether it was a great year or pretty rotten, its time has come and gone. On New Years Day, I contemplating the following questions:
- What have we learned?
- How have we improved?
- What did and didn’t work?
- What will be different in 2017?
To frame my thoughts about the past year, I will focus on the three elements of the Small Scale Life motto: Learn, Do and Grow.
In 2016, I have learned a lot here at Small Scale Life. Think about it: last year at this time, I had a lot of ambition to keep a lot of plates in the air and keep everything spinning. It just isn’t possible to spread yourself too thin because you do not accomplish anything successfully. In addition, I learned the following things:
- I had to focus blogging efforts on Small Scale Life (and consequently left the Small Scale Gardening platform)
- How to use equipment and software to create and record podcasts
- Wicking beds and designed/built a simple system that could be used anywhere (even on my driveway)
- Vertical gardens and built a system on Beds 4 and 5
- Zucchinis do not like too much shade will not produce fruit
- Squash borers can wipe out zucchini, squash and other similar plants
- I have the content; I need to devote the time to put it on this site!
2016 was a great year of doing new things. I created a short list of some of the experiences I had over the past year including:
- Purchased new equipment (computer, mixer board, mics and other tools) to produce better content
- Interviewed some great people and made some new friends including Charles Hugh Smith, Bren Haas, Drew Sample, Scott Hebert, Kevin Geary, Jay Dolan and The Plant Charmer
- Built a vertical garden and successfully grew a basil food forest
- Built a wicking garden and successfully grew cucumbers and peppers on my driveway
- Visited some truly interesting places in Wisconsin and Minnesota that caught my imagination and my camera lense
- Kayaked more on Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake in Minneapolis
- Started reorganizing the Small Scale Life blog to align with the core values and topics of the mission statement
- Went to more basketball games this year than ever…..but that is coming to an end
I did pretty well this year personally and in the garden. Here are some examples of how I grew this year:
- Successfully got through my year-long probation at work
- Worked out most of the year and actually did lose almost 25 pounds (time to Reboot this Body in the New Year!)
- Started the Small Scale Life Podcast and Healthy Lifestyle Podcast (and we have had over 5200 downloads in 2016; I can’t wait for the New Year!)
- Expanded the Small Scale Life brand (blog, iTunes, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook)
- Started tons of seedlings in my basement, and even though some died from molds and dampening, I had more than enough seedlings to start my garden, my in-laws’ garden and my mom’s garden
- Grew a lot of tomatoes, green beans, basil, peppers, dill and parsley this year
- Grew some potatoes, onions and oregano this year too
- Successfully grew garlic in my garden for the first time
What’s Next in the New Year
As we hurtle into the great unknown of the New Year, it is hard to say what is going to happen in our lives. I know that for the first time, Danny and Ryan will be in college. Julie and I will technically be “empty nesters” for the first time since 1994. That is really hard to get your mind around, especially after the past few years with all the ups and downs of our lives.
Like Magellen, Columbus or Captain Kirk, we are embarking on a new, unknown journey and a new phase of our lives. We have a general idea about where we want to go and what we want to do, but we are still nervously sorting out the details. We are working through it, and we will be talking about it in 2017.
As I have mentioned in my YouTube videos, the garden as it exists today is going away. My three main beds will be taken down and moved to my mom’s place in Northwestern Wisconsin. It will be better for her to manage raised beds than her current plot-style garden. It will also allow me to experiment with some watering systems there and some wicking systems here. Everything is going to change in 2017, and everything will go back to its Small Scale Gardening roots.
I started reorganizing the blog, and I will complete that effort in January. I’m planning on adding interviews, recipes and more photos from my various adventures to the blog and YouTube channel as well.
The future is bright. We are ready to move forward and meet the next set of challenges. We will continue to Learn, Do and Grow. Won’t you join us on this journey?