I’ve not done an update on my goals for ages so thought it would be nice to do a quick one with some time still to go before the end of the year.

1. To make a meal using only ingredients I’ve grown, raised, caught or killed myself.
I completed this in July but as I mentioned in August, it wasn’t really about one meal – it was about learning, growing and cooking.

The garden continued to produce courgettes/marrows all summer, and later on we got tomatoes, chillis, beans and potatoes. There are still leeks & brassicas in the ground for overwintering and harvesting early next year. Some things were a bit of a failure, other things a roaring success. I’ve learnt a lot from doing it.

Because of gluts of output and because of wild food (particularly fruit – plums & blackberries) finds, I’ve learned quite a lot about preserving over the last few months – we have a cupboard full of jams, chutneys and pickled eggs. Speaking of eggs, the girls are still producing like crazy – averaging about 3.8 a day (ie, mostly 4 a day but occasionally just 3). We’ve learned new ways of using up these eggs so we’re not always having omelette and scrambled eggs – for example, we made fresh egg pasta recently – fun and yum!

Other learnings: I’ve been grinding more baking and I also went on a course to learn how to make cheese at the start of September. It was with LILI in Gateshead and combining it with seeing some ace old friends, it was one of my best weekends ever. I haven’t made any hard or even soft-but-with-rennet cheeses at home yet but that’s been a question of time, space and equipment more than desire. John’s also been learning about homebrewing – we’ve got 2 gallons of cider, a gallon of wild plum wine & some ginger beer from James’ ginger beer plant on the go at the moment – so I’ve been learning about that by osmosis.

On the wild fruit, I’ve been picking and identifying mushrooms all year and the weekend before last, we went on an organised fungi forage – very interesting and heightened our interest in the activity further. As I said in my blog post on The Really Good Life, it’s slow going though, learning about mushrooms and wild food in general, but that’s possibly not a bad thing.

Speaking of The Really Good Life – that’s my new more focused blog which documents all my eating, making and doing activities — more interesting content, less silly pictures of cats. If you read these blog, you should definitely read that one too!

2. To travel to a place on my “top ten places to go before I die” list.
As I said last time I did an update, this year has been very home-focused so we’ve not travelled and I’ve not minded that at all. I wrote up my top ten list as a blog post – because I first wrote the list on a little notepad about six years ago, and I have no idea where the original is now – but I decided not to post it because I’m having hippy issues with the whole idea. The way we’d have to do it feels too much like consumerism, to have not to be. It requires further thought and revision.

3. Finish writing my second novel.
Yeah, no. Still nothing here. But I have been writing – actual pen on paper, or fingers on keys writing – more lately. Due to my involvement with Bingley Little Theatre, I’ve been thinking that sort of thing than novels but it all stems from the same writing lobe and I’m just happy to be writing more again.

4. Make some sausages at home – wet English style ones and cured ones too
Still not done this but still really want to.

5. Spend at least a day fishing out on the North Sea.
I organised this really badly. Or rather didn’t organise it, that was the problem. Eventually though, I decided to set a date for it – but then there were dog sitting issues and John-being-busy issues and we bumped it a week – and by then the fishing excursions had finished for the year. Doh. Definitely for the list next year though.

6. Finally finish learning how to drive.
We bought new L plates. That’s as far as I’ve got on this one.

7. Make a full outfit’s worth of clothing for myself – including spinning any wool used.
I had a plan for this during my week off recently – my first full week off in five years! But either my sewing pattern reading skills or the pattern itself (or a combination of the two), let me down. The pyjama pants I made looked like they belonged to the clown version of MC Hammer. However, the year isn’t over yet and I’m going to try again. I’m also going to look out for a course/person to mentor me in making a few items, so I can get into the swing of things.

8. Learn how to program and make a mini-game/application using Ruby
Still stuck on my hashes issue. Given winter is approaching though, I might get back into it.

9. Climb a mountain or at least a jolly big hill.
Like the fishing, another failure to organise and now it’s a bit too wintery. However, as I’ve said before, we’re walking every day with Lily and that’s a good thing. Most weekends, we go somewhere slightly further afield than our woods, just for a change of scene, so we’re getting about a bit – but just a few miles at a time as she’s made it clear (emergency trip to the vets clear) that she’s not up for super long hikes at her age.

10. Participate more in the real world – plan/run a real life green event or scheme.
While none of my green plans have come about, and are unlikely to at this time of the year, I’m definitely participating more getting out and about more in the non-internet world because of my involvement at Bingley Little Theatre. As well as the two classes I help teach, I’ve been involved with three productions there this year (two with the kids, one with adults) and am lined up to help with another in January. The last production, the adults one in October, involved me GALLOPING ACROSS THE STAGE CLACKING TOGETHER COCONUTS. If that isn’t involvement in the real world, I don’t know what is.