Friday, December 31, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond - or at least 2011

OK - so far so good. Goals and plans for 2011.

Our objective is to move to Galicia as soon as possible. Whether or not it´s possible to have the house habitable, or partly habitable, is a good question. There is always the option of renting a cheap apartment for a few months to facilitate the process, but that means big changes in our lives that require a lot of thought.

1. The house - We will need to meet with an architect to develop a work plan which will have to be approved by the City. Then we´ll need: a septic system, plumbing, electricity, and a new roof, windows and doors, not necessarily in that order. Our plan includes as much insulation as possible in the roof and floor and double glazed wooden doors and windows. We´d like to heat with a wood stove and a wood cooker in the kitchen. Ideally, I´d like thermal solar for domestic hot water in the spring, summer and fall and a back boiler on the wood stove for the winter months. The possibility exists for under floor radiant heat or radiators, but I´m hoping the house is small enough not to require them (120 m). I anticipate a lot of resistance from the family and Jose to these plans, since none of them are thinking in terms of the resource scarce future I foresee.

I have been reading the Green Building Forum and Eco Habitar. But if there are other sources I should be looking at, please feel free to let me know.

2. Our domestic economy - I have to investigate setting myself up as an independent contractor (autónomo) and develop a free-lance translation business. In addition, I need to research the bureacracy involved in agricultural/craft production for a future business selling products. That could be as simple as a stand at the local farmers market on Sundays or a full commercial internet/mailing set up.

V will need to leave his job. Quitting isn´t a problem since he hates it. The major stumbling block there is if he can somehow arrange it so as to receive unemployment afterwards, which would give us some much needed breathing room. But even if he can´t, I want him out of there for health reasons if nothing else. The stress is seriously affecting him.

I´ve been laid off - so I can leave whenever it´s convenient. My unemployement runs out in May, which seems like a good date to loosely plan the physical move up there.

Personal goals:

1. Bread making - a dear friend (waving at Whitney) brought me scads of yeast from the US (another one of those things I can´t locate at a market here). So I need to try out some different types of bread. Now bread here seems pretty cheap to me (.50 per loaf for a good baguette) but I´m told it´s full of chemicals so it´s worth trying, and I´ve never seen any advertised as ¨organic¨. Certainly at least for pizza, which is one of the things we do buy frozen. I haven´t had a decent pizza since coming over. But I don´t have a pizza stone and haven´t ever seen one. Not one of those things you really want to pay shipping for.

2. Cheese making - I found rennet at a pharmacy here in Madrid, but no luck on the cultures - so I ordered some from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. I got mesophilic, thermophilic and some calcium chloride to try. I was going to get cheese wax, but it weighed too much to be worth the shipping. There must be some place in Galicia (or Madrid) you can buy cheesemaking stuff, but it´s one of those things someone has to tell you, I guess.

3. Garden planning - In case the financial situation blows up and interrupts international shipping/ordering, I´ve ordered some seeds from the US for things I thought might be difficult to get over here - OP/heritage sweet corn, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes. But I´d like to do some more ordering, even though we probably won´t be able to get a garden in until 2012. I´m now looking at the Real Seed Catalogue, but if anyone has any suggestions, let me know. This will be another future post.

4. Keep soap making - I´d like to come up with a good shaving soap. And I´d like to try some lotions and salves. I´m addicted to Nivea body milk, especially in winter, but at 5€ a bottle - that needs some re-thinking. I also think there might be a market for a heavy-duty hand salve up in Galicia, sort of like bag-balm, which a lot of people use for their hands, made with locally available ingredients.

5. Start embroidering again - I can´t knit, but my Mother taught me how to embroider when I was about 10, and that I did manage. Lately, I´ve happened on several websites that have inspired me to take it up again. A subject for a future post.

6. Revisit oil painting. The problem here is having to get out all the stuff and then put it all away again - there´s no space here to leave up a studio. But I haven´t done any painting or drawing in over a year, and I should do a portrait of one of the nieces to accompany one I did of her older brother.

7. Once again - resolve to watch what I eat (did you see the first 2 entries??) and work out 3 times a week.

8. Keep up with the knitting - sigh.

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy 2011!!

1 comment:

  1. That's a pretty impressive list.
    when I was in Galicia earlier this year I was impressed by all the people growing their own food everywhere. and in each garden some plants were saved for seed. maybe make some local friends and beg/trade for local saved seeds - that way you'll guarantee the veg will be suited to local conditions and it certainly beats importing from the US!
    good luck with all this - we're all watching with bated breath!