Lots of Projects for 2017 big and small, which will be expounded upon in further posts:
1. Barn renovation
So we have this 1917 barn, or what´s left of it. The roof had a gaping hole when we bought the place, and based on the builder´s recommendation, had the roof taken off and the rotten elements removed. In retrospect, it might have been wiser to patch the roof, though the builder insists that the weight wasn´t good for the structure. In any event, as a first phase we´d like to get it covered, install a floor, and fill in the openings so we´d have a dry place for storage. Eventually, I want a studio workshop and a dry, secure place for storing feed/bedding/firewood/tools. V wants a mancave.
The veg area will be expanded, but is limited by tree roots and the zone around the barn which will be churned up by workers and vehicles. Closer to the house, I´ll creating an area for flowers, culinary and medicinal herbs and dye plants.
3. Assorted Interior projects: backsplash, range hood, laundry sink
While livable, there are a few elements still missing from the house. This year we´d like to get those finished, along with buying the last furniture items. We´re still sitting on patio chairs at the kitchen table. The laundry room needs a complete makeover, but depends on what kind of laundry sink we get. A bigger, longer term project still pending is solar thermal hot water. I wasn´t really convinced that Galicia had a climate for solar anything, but with summers getting hotter and drier, it´s probably time to investigate this more thoroughly. We simply can´t afford a solar electricity set up, and the government is now taxing those who do, even if they´re off grid.
4. Experimenting with natural dyes/cheesemaking/brewing
I miss doing creative stuff, even though I don´t seem to have time to do what I should on any given day. Lately, I´ve been really intrigued by eco-printing and botanical dying, which uses plant material and found objects to print patterns and colors on fabric. I got a copy of India Flint´s Eco Colour, who´s an Australian fibre artist and does very interesting work, and have a couple of books on dye plants and dyeing to put to use. I got some cheesemaking supplies while I was in the States and will have to look into finding a supply of raw milk and maybe a local mentor to show me the ropes on producing cheese. Another goal is to renew our brewing hobby, now that our bottle collection is out of basement storage in Madrid and here in Galicia. Another reason to organize the laundry room space - storage for bulky brewing stuff.
This winter is shaping up to be very dry. I´ve been busily building raised beds since historically Galicia is quite wet. But this winter the weather is wierdly dry, warm and sunny and we´ll be needing to take advantage of all new roof surfaces to store water, especially at higher elevations. I´d also like to refurbish the defunct well by the barn for watering the garden, and there needs to be some form of irrigation put into place. We´ll see.
Still need to decide on a place to put a coop. Disruption from work on the barn could be an issue here, also. I´d just like to get started with a half dozen hens and start producing some fertilizer for the gardens. Always good to have the ingredients for a tortilla española around the place.
7. Integrate into the community
We´re really, really bad at socializing. V has the excuse that he´s gone a lot, but I´m just anti-social. We know our immediate neighbors and have met a few locals, but haven´t done a lot to participate in local functions or anything. However, just before Christmas, we started hosting a lovely young woman for an English conversation practice once a week, and are planning to meet her family soon. Turns out, she plays the gaita/pipes and is a member of the local folk band, so we hope to be more informed as to local festivities this year.
So those are the plans. We´ll revisit to see how well we´ve done at the end of the year. And now I must go get in another couple of loads of firewood as they´re predicting a siberian cold wave for the end of this week.