Taking Stock and Moving Forward

This is traditionally the time of year for thinking about what has passed... drawing a line under it and beginning anew.  I have never really been much of a one for doing that.  I never needed a special time of year to take stock.  And I have often made major changes and 'resolutions' at any time of year.  However, we have been so busy here that I think a specific time to take stock and evaluate what we are doing and where we are going is a very good idea.

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.


  1. Hi. It takes a lot of courage to do what you have done, I admire you for that. Reading through this post I thought you were going to say you are booked on the next flight home, but hey, you aint giving up yet. You have a good plan, I hope things start getting better. Best wishes.

    1. Hi Ilona, yes I was feeling a bit down when I posted this.... life throws things at you sometimes and often all at once... but these things just have to be weathered... it will all pick up again soon I am sure and we will be back on track. And hey... at least in another month we shall be in shirt sleeves... don't envy you the weather over there at the moment.


Post a comment

You must register to comment - anonymous comments are no longer accepted on this site - sorry I know it's a pain to register for yet another account and remember yet another password but I just got too much spam mail ... I do love to hear from people who read my blog so a big thank you to those who make the effort.

Popular posts from this blog

There's always a downside - cautionary tale

Chicken Politics