The goal was always a little loose. A vague idea of being self sufficient and of enjoying ourselves doing stuff that doesn't cost any money. A healthy lifestyle with goals and challenges to keep us busy and productive. Our retirement was never about resting...
This past year we have in many ways not achieved as much as we had hoped. I used the phrase 'learning curve' a lot. Just as we feel we are getting on top of things something breaks, or breaks down and we have a new challenge to cope with. When things don't go according to plan it can really make you feel down. Your goals appear to be getting farther away from you instead of getting closer. But this is an illusion. You need to look more closely.
Good things that we did in 2014:
We rescued the baby bee eaters.
We made a veggie patch and grew our first vegetables.
We filled our freezer full of 'happy meat'.
We were self sufficient in eggs. We painted the inside of the house. We harvested all the figs ourselves. We harvested all the olives ourselves. We planted fruit trees. We had a total of 5 volunteers - they did really good work for us and they had a fab time. We had visits from 12 family and friends who stayed at least one night and some a lot more. We went on holiday. And we had parties..... several.
The most annoying things that we did not do!
We did not learn Spanish. In fact our Spanish did not improve much at all. Perhaps our understanding of it has increased but our ability to talk has not.
We did not get the outside of the house painted.
We did not get any citrus trees established and many of our new plants have not survived the year (for various reasons).
We did not realise that the yurt and the tippee are really not suitable for the climate here. The yurt suffered badly from the sun and the tippee was never rain proof due to our inability to get the proper poles here. We also suspect that the canvas, like the yurt canvas, is not going to survive the summer sun.
So.... what are we going to do about it in 2015?
Well now that we have written it down, its easy to see the way forward. We have already booked Spanish classes with a local teacher - they are quite expensive but we are budgeting for six months of lessons with the goal being to be able to continue ourselves from that point forward.
We need to buy a ladder in order to paint the outside of the house. A ladder is now on the list. It may be some time before we can afford one but if push comes to shove the house can probably survive another summer without painting so long as we get it done for the autumn.
The planting time for trees here is right now... but we are not sure that we have enough spare money for more trees, but we have been offered the suckers from mimosa, walnut and willow that is growing in the gardens of some of our friends and we shall plant those. One of the main reasons for the several plant failures that we had was the paucity of the soil. We have already obtained a large pile of sheep manure which is being spread about the veggie patch - it may take another year or more in order to actually grow enough veggies to feed ourselves but we are heading in the right direction.
The yurt and tippee were expensive mistakes but there was no way of knowing before hand that they would not work here. This one we shall have to mark up to experience. And sometimes you just have to own a mistake, feel foolish, get over it and then move on. Onward and upward as the saying goes...We have, after all, the most important thing - each other.
Happy 2015 everyone.