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A 12-day permie challenge  RSS feed

 
master steward
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This year we are trying something fun:  A 12-day permie challenge where each participant challenges themselves to do something out of the norm during the 12 Days of Christmas.  It can be something as simple as giving the house a good spring clean (with homemade eco-friendly cleaning products), writing that e-book you always wanted to write, spend 12 days without spending a dime, or something even more exciting like finally building that youtube channel you've been itching to make.  It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it's challenging to you. 



Everyone's welcome to join.  We each work together on our individual challenges, posting updates to this thread, encouraging, commiserating, and cheering each other on. 

(It would be great if we could give out a prize to all who make it through to the end. Maybe it will be PIE, maybe apples, maybe something more!)

The traditional Twelve Days are 25 December – 5 January, inclusive.  However, many of us have things to do on Christmas day, so I was thinking we could make it Boxing Day through Distaff Day (Jan 6th) inclusive.

Speaking of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas, in medieval times, Christmas was a 12-day long holiday.  This made loads of sense because for these 12 darkest days of the year, it's pretty darn difficult to get things done.  Indoor lighting was expensive, so why not make this the annual holiday?

For me, at this time in history, it seems like the months leading up to the Holidays are filled with things for other people.  Start shopping or making gifts as soon as the first leaf falls off the tree, then every day after becomes more and more intensely focused on doing things for others.  Then Christmas is over and there's this empty space between what I've been doing and when work begins again.  So that's why I decided to set myself a challenge.  I would create something special, and more importantly, it would be a treat for myself.

What would be a treat and a challenge for you?

 
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Greetings, I will be teaching my city sisters how to make cheese, both vegan and regular, from local nuts and beans and milk. My hope is that through the process, they will come to understand more directly the permaculture philosophy, and see how it can apply to their urban life. Making life easier for me! And, I will have a nice big jar of vegan rennet for cheesemaking myself!

BTW, the 12 days of Christmas refer to Dec. 26 through Jan 6, when Epiphany is celebrated.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Peaceful Solstice to all!
 
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Great idea. I am going to make beer for the first time. I am also going to try to make cheese.

-CK
 
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I like this idea of setting a specific goal for the "after Christmas rush" (although I admit we don't do much celebrating for Christmas).

Sooo... my goal: I've had some self-seeded asparagus babies show up where I don't want them, although it seems to be a fine nursery bed.  My goal is to build them a new home (some preliminary research suggests they'd enjoy a raised bed), get them transplanted, and get some soil rehab done for the place I'm removing them from (since it will involve digging, it's a good time for some greensand and crushed bones and organic matter to go in for the worms.) I already know it's not the best time for planting asparagus, but it is a good time to get them out of where they are, so compromises have to be made.

It might seem to real farmers that this project shouldn't take 12 days, but that will be on top of all the usual daily chores, and I'd rather set a goal I really think it is possible to accomplish, than feel badly when "s..." happens and things go off the rails, and nothing gets finished. (Not that "s..." won't be an important component of the soil rehabilitation so long as it's well rotted and from a reliable source.)

 
raven ranson
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I dug through my archives and found my first ever 12-day Challenge.  It was 2013 and I was seriously taken ill with flu. 

This sheep is Duna and she was staying at our farm at the time.



This alpaca (sadly no longer with us) is Hermin.



Using hand cards, I first carded each fleece and then blended them together.



By then, I had used up over half my time, so I spun like the wind on my Ashford Traditional (my first and favourite spinning wheel). 



I was done in 10 days!  2 days left over ... which I don't remember due to the flu. 

To do this in regular time, would be about a month to 6 weeks.  So 10 days, is pretty impressive.  

Such a fun little challenge to keep my mind off being ill got me hooked.  Since then, I set myself a 12-day challenge ever year to finish off the holiday season. 
 
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r ranson wrote:This year we are trying something fun:  A 12-day permie challenge where each participant challenges themselves to do something out of the norm during the 12 Days of Christmas.  It can be something as simple as giving the house a good spring clean (with homemade eco-friendly cleaning products), writing that e-book you always wanted to write, spend 12 days without spending a dime, or something even more exciting like finally building that youtube channel you've been itching to make.  It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it's challenging to you.  ... 

We each work together on our individual challenges, posting updates to this thread, encouraging, commiserating, and cheering each other on.

What would be a treat and a challenge for you?




When will we know what day the 12 day permies challenge begins?


I am planning to learn more about baking from scratch.  I want to learn the difference between how dough reacts when using baking soda, baking powder, yeast and sour dough. And I have found several recipes to try to see how this affects baked goods.

I found out that our Christmas will be on Dec. 16th so that will be when I have to do my first project since I couldn't buy brown and serve rolls at the groceries and will have to make them from scratch.

My treat will be getting to try all these bake goods, apples and pie might be nice too.

 
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The challenge begins December 26th and ends January 6th. I put the dates in the little graphic, too, for easy reference. We announced it now to give people time to think about and plan their challenge :D.

I'm still thinking about mine. Having a 1 year old and a 4 year old, I don't really have a vacation. But, something I've wanted for YEARS to do is make a big family chrest, all painted and weather proof. I have the design all figured out--but when will I find time to paint it without the kids getting acrylic everywhere???
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It sounds a nice idea but not sure what to do, won't be able to do much if anything outside, ground will be frozen or it will rain that's the two possibilities in December. hmms
 
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l'll speed-up my to-do list then:

1. Properly clean some castiron skillets I recently bought. First time owning some that aren't brand new. 
2. Once that's done, bake bread in them.
3. Make an informative topic for permies.com 
4. Start my first indoor mushroom grow with rye grain as a medium, I've only used brown rice previously which is easier but more tedious.
5. Another mushroomy one - Trying to make liquid culture from honey water. I've always been worried about contamination ruining the entire culture, but we'll see how it goes.

I think that'll be tough enough to complete while turkey and goodies are putting me into a comatose for days at a time.
 
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IF we get our water back (going on three weeks without it -- may have to replace the well pump), my challenge will be to do a thorough house-cleaning, and pack up everything we won't need before we move near the end of March. 

If we don't have the water back on by then (what a pain, though I'm thankful we are able to take showers and do laundry and fill water containers at my mom's house) I can still do some packing.

Kathleen
 
raven ranson
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This is going to be delicious.

Beer and cheese, delicious!
asparagus babies, so cute!  I would love to see your baby pictures ;)
baking from scratch, love it!  Can't wait to hear your reports. 
a big family crest - wonderful! 

Skandi Rogers wrote:It sounds a nice idea but not sure what to do, won't be able to do much if anything outside, ground will be frozen or it will rain that's the two possibilities in December. hmms



Anything inside catches your fancy?  Sorting through old seeds?  Trying a new recipe?  Writing that ebook you always wanted to? 

l'll speed-up my to-do list then:

1. Properly clean some castiron skillets I recently bought. First time owning some that aren't brand new. 
2. Once that's done, bake bread in them.
3. Make an informative topic for permies.com 
4. Start my first indoor mushroom grow with rye grain as a medium, I've only used brown rice previously which is easier but more tedious.
5. Another mushroomy one - Trying to make liquid culture from honey water. I've always been worried about contamination ruining the entire culture, but we'll see how it goes.




Looks like you've got a lot of goodies to do.  You're going to need energy.  Sending you pie and apples!

And cleaning house and packing.  Daunting.  We're here to cheer you on.  (hope your well gets better soon.  Being well-less sucks!)
 
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I typically fast between Christmas and New Year. It's a great way to get some autophagy going. First time I did a long fast, my blood pressure plummeted from unhealthy to normal. Since then, I've made it a yearly tradition.
 
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My Mission through this holiday season..is,to get my garden club up and going! Get everything ready and become a part of the State/National Garden Clubs of Idaho! I would like to complete this project..well..in the membership with the State Clubs, during this 12 days of Christmas!
Our Group is called: For the Love of Growing!
 
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I had a giant oak tree blow over in a storm and I want to cut logs from some limbs to inoculate and try growing mushrooms as well.

Chris- I spent twenty years making beer and went to brewing school. If you have any brewing questions, I'm a PM away.
 
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I like this idea! After the xmas family and work madness.
I will sort out next years mushrooms- includes cutting down the willow and chipping it, sorting out the spawn (oyster)- though I'll need more than 12 days to rest the fresh wood chip.
Making cheese- I have a really good source for milk to try out, can I manage a soft cheese and a hard cheese attempt?
Write an article, ebook is a bit too much- but an article I can probably manage. And it would be a start! Something I would love to do- I have lots of ideas and projects to write about!

Thats probably enough for 12 days- I will be at work and doing all the things my injured partner can't do as well!
 
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I would like to stick to a (reasonable) diet for all twelve days, including cutting or eliminating sugar.  I know better, but I haven't been doing great about sugar lately!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I typically fast between Christmas and New Year. It's a great way to get some autophagy going. First time I did a long fast, my blood pressure plummeted from unhealthy to normal. Since then, I've made it a yearly tradition.



I'm doing intermittent fasting, basically eating one meal a day, so fasting anywhere from 18 to 23 hours every day.  It has become easy, I feel better, am slowly losing weight and inches, and autophagy happens.  I might try a longer fast one of these days.

As far as being without water, I'm probably better prepared for it than most, since I've lived a good chunk of my life with no electricity or running water.  It's a pain, I really LIKE having running water (that we don't have to run down the road to get), but we are managing.  Right now the real nuisance is that I had my granddaughter go up on the roof with the chimney brush to clean out the stove pipe, and she got it stuck and couldn't get it out.  I am afraid of heights, so until I can get someone else over here to get it loose, we can't use the wood stove, so we are heating the house with a couple of little electric heaters, which is okay (the house is chilly, but bearable) as long as we don't lose power.  We are quite a ways out, and frequently lose power, usually only for short periods of time, but still, it's been getting into the single digits at night (F, not C). 

Kathleen

ETA:  The other thing I'm working on is making plans for our new property.  The house will need some immediate work when we get there in late March (flooring to put down before we do anything else, so the sub-floor doesn't get damaged, then the bathroom has to be gutted and re-done quickly as it isn't usable as-is).  And the kitchen is a bare room -- the house is basically a small, square, old farmhouse, divided into four rooms of mostly equal size (the one downstairs bedroom has space taken out for the stairs).  I'm hoping that the wall dividing the kitchen and living room can be removed -- I think the wall running the other way is the bearing wall, but need to verify that -- so we can put those two rooms together.  Then I want to build one of the tiny house rocket stove cook stoves with a heating bench that was recently mentioned here, which will involve probably cutting out some floor and building a foundation for the stove, or at least providing extra support under the floor.  Then I will be able to start thinking about planting a garden and fruit and nut trees, getting some more chickens and goats, etc.
 
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This is a lovely challenge idea.  I will be traveling for most of this window and thought I wouldn't be able to participate until the end. After a bit more thought, there are a couple things I can do even while traveling. The first will be to maintain an alcohol-free holiday which I started in November, the second, to meditate daily. When I get back to my modest apartment I call home, I plan to tackle the corner full of nettle stalks and see how much progress I can make in turning the fibers into something that can be knitted.  This has been my first attempt at retting but I am hoping it continues to go well so I can teach a small group the process next harvest.  With a love for local medicinal plants, passing along lost knowledge such as this is important to me but I struggle with anxiety and am yet to teach my first official class.  Goals for 2018. I'm in! Thanks for the inspiration.
 
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Christmas season around here is as exciting as watching the cobwebs form. But after reading everyone's ideas I got the spark in my pants. Time to take a break free from the old routine. I'm spending a lot of time at my "permie-friendly" family's farmhouse, cooking, and enjoying fresh eggs while dreaming about being on the Picanoc River on my 6 acres of recently acquired bush. I call it heaven - where I plan to live out the rest of my days, self-sufficiently and off grid. I won't be getting back there to do much building now that the snow is here or until my partner's back heals from a fall on a chunk of ice. Poor guy. Buts when I'm here, I want to be there. On one hand it's good to keep myself preoccupied with preparation for all of the things that I want to do once I live at my own place. That's all good, however, doing so fails to allow me to live in the moment. Time to break out and do something fun. For my 12 days of Christmas I will teach myself to knit a toque and try making cheese.
Thank you. Permies just made my day!
P.S. This is my "Toilet Mushroom". I've tried growing mushrooms. Never with any luck. I'd never have bet this was possible. A wild mushroom decided to make our bathroom home this summer.
 
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I'm going to use the 12 days to tame my first calf 'Ruby' who will be about a month old on Christmas. I'd also like to train my dogs to herd the cows *calmly*. Hell, maybe I'll even try to halter train Ruby's mama.
 
raven ranson
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My challenge 2017 will be two things.

1. Sort through the seeds we have and make a feasible plan for the garden with wider spaced rows.  Make it a plan we can stick to.
2. Weave 4 towels from handspun cotton yarn weft.  Much of the yarn is yet to be spun, so spinning it will be part of the challenge.  About half the fibre is grown organically in my greenhouse, and the other half is from various commercial sources.  I think it's going to be great.

Here's a picture of a sample.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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r ranson wrote:My challenge 2017 will be two things.

1. Sort through the seeds we have and make a feasible plan for the garden with wider spaced rows.  Make it a plan we can stick to.
2. Weave 4 towels from handspun cotton yarn weft.  Much of the yarn is yet to be spun, so spinning it will be part of the challenge.  About half the fibre is grown organically in my greenhouse, and the other half is from various commercial sources.  I think it's going to be great.

Here's a picture of a sample.



Do you grow cotton?  One thing I want to try in Kentucky is growing our own cotton -- I've been looking at the small-scale equipment needed to process the fiber (I've worked some with wool, but never with cotton fiber before).

Kathleen
 
raven ranson
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

Do you grow cotton?  One thing I want to try in Kentucky is growing our own cotton -- I've been looking at the small-scale equipment needed to process the fiber (I've worked some with wool, but never with cotton fiber before).

Kathleen



Cotton is lovely to grow and work with.  Much easier to grow than I expected especially since everything I ever read tells me it's impossible to get a harvest this far north because it's too daylight sensitive.  I've been very abusive towards my cotton plants (growing them in spent soil in strong drought conditions) and I've had 3 years worth of harvest so far.  I think it will be much easier to grow cotton in Kentucky than Canada.  Definitely, go for it.  I just got my cotton seeds from baker creak and I'm really excited to try it.  If I was only growing one kind, I would go with the brown because it's naked seeds which take about 1/4 the amount of time to process than fluffy seed cotton.  But I like the different colours, so I got a mixture.

the thread where I learn about growing cotton which started a conversation about it having the reputation of being a 'difficult' fibre to process.  so I started a thread on what it's like to process cotton and hemp on a small scale.  Basic conclusion: it's way easier than its reputation.  All you really need are some cotton seeds, hand cards (finner tooth the better), and something to spin on like a support spindle. 



The technique is different than spinning wool, so it may take a bit of getting used to.  But once you get it, it's faster than wool and so easy. 

For my challenge, I'll probably be spinning on my great wheel as it's easiest on my body and fastest.  Without a time limit, I would probably do most of it on the spindle pictured above because it's so relaxing. 

 
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What a great idea, I have made my first bowl of yogurt today, and my kim chi is well on the way, today I moved the hens which is hardly a new project, oh yes I have to take up a good neighbours offer of some well rotted manure, go fill the trailer by hand then bring it back to the new permie vegetable garden and food forest.
Try not to fall asleep in the recliner as often and keep the house under control. Have a great New Year in 2018, 2017 has been a hard year my wife and elder brother died in April followed by two close friends, and to top out the year one of my Dalmatians went to the vet on a one way journey yesterday.  
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North Herefordshire UK
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Dalmatians in the Snow
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winter view
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new wood chip beds
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Hens by the mulch beds
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the new polytunnel
 
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This challenge is new to me...but I've got a perfect challenge to take on.  I'm going to launch a new product using our Holland Beater from Mark Lander in New Zealand. The product will be a paper product from the pulp of milkweed pods.  We have been using milkweed pod collection as a cash source for people in our community for the last three years. Last year we obtained the "Holland Beater" to utilize the raw materials (free for the gathering) in a product that originates with us. The product? A card (greeting card) that looks exactly like a folded piece of "lefse", a local iconic food tradition. No, I am not going to say, "Uffdah!"
 
raven ranson
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During the mad wild rush of getting ready for the Holiday Feast, I've also been getting ready for my 12-day challenge. 

My loom is empty (the technical weaving term is 'naked') and waiting to receive my warp.  I'm getting really excited about this project!
 
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Adick Songab wrote:This challenge is new to me...but I've got a perfect challenge to take on.  I'm going to launch a new product using our Holland Beater from Mark Lander in New Zealand. The product will be a paper product from the pulp of milkweed pods.  We have been using milkweed pod collection as a cash source for people in our community for the last three years. Last year we obtained the "Holland Beater" to utilize the raw materials (free for the gathering) in a product that originates with us. The product? A card (greeting card) that looks exactly like a folded piece of "lefse", a local iconic food tradition. No, I am not going to say, "Uffdah!"



I'm in total envy...did you get one of his 'critters'?   http://marklander.org/hollander-beaters/ ; and how large?  Maybe you could begin a project thread here when you get started?
I think I've let it go far too late for myself but I have always wanted a Hollander beater to recycle waste cloth....not rising to the 12 day challenge myself.  I'm perfectly happy any more to follow along someone elses projects though.

and I love the idea of milk weed pods
 
Chris Kott
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So as it turns out, I will be 8 hours north of home for most of the challenge, and in a household that doesn't allow alcohol.

If I can gather the ingredients, I will try to make cheese, which they do allow, but the beer will have to wait until the 2nd at the earliest.

Good luck to everyone in any case, and be well this holiday season.

-CK
 
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Brian Gable wrote:What a great idea, I have made my first bowl of yogurt today, and my kim chi is well on the way, today I moved the hens which is hardly a new project, oh yes I have to take up a good neighbours offer of some well rotted manure, go fill the trailer by hand then bring it back to the new permie vegetable garden and food forest.
Try not to fall asleep in the recliner as often and keep the house under control. Have a great New Year in 2018, 2017 has been a hard year my wife and elder brother died in April followed by two close friends, and to top out the year one of my Dalmatians went to the vet on a one way journey yesterday.  



Brian, I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear what you've gone thru. I hope this year is easier for you.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:IF we get our water back (going on three weeks without it -- may have to replace the well pump), my challenge will be to do a thorough house-cleaning, and pack up everything we won't need before we move near the end of March. 

If we don't have the water back on by then (what a pain, though I'm thankful we are able to take showers and do laundry and fill water containers at my mom's house) I can still do some packing.

Kathleen



I'm hoping to get the water problem fixed later this week, after Christmas.  I had to wait until the new place we are buying in Kentucky had closed, so I would know how much money I had left to work on the well problems -- the uncertainty was because I wasn't sure exactly how big of a check I'd get from my neighbor, who is buying this place.  A friend suggested that the steel well casing might have developed a hole below the water line, and is now leaking water faster than it can refill.  I'm pretty sure the well pump has burned out and will need to be replaced; hopefully the well itself can be fixed without having to drill a new well. 

Anyway, that's our progress so far.

Kathleen
 
Adick Songab
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Not sure how this works...but.. to Judith, yes.  We got a "Critter". It is a phenomenon.  However, as a weaver myself I have oceans of cotton and denim scrap we thought we would be consuming only to find out that at 1 1/2 # s per batch cotton goes a loooooooong way. People are coming up with more material for us than is needed to replace what we've used.  The "Critter" is supposed to be able to support up to 10 paper artists...and I can believe it.  After the challenge, if I'm still postiing, papermaking might be a good thread to consider.  Good luck on dressing that "naked" loom.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Adick Songab wrote:Not sure how this works...but.. to Judith, yes.  We got a "Critter". It is a phenomenon.  However, as a weaver myself I have oceans of cotton and denim scrap we thought we would be consuming only to find out that at 1 1/2 # s per batch cotton goes a loooooooong way. People are coming up with more material for us than is needed to replace what we've used.  The "Critter" is supposed to be able to support up to 10 paper artists...and I can believe it.  After the challenge, if I'm still postiing, papermaking might be a good thread to consider.  Good luck on dressing that "naked" loom.



Papermaking would be a great topic for a future conversation.

Kathleen
 
raven ranson
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Maybe starting a thread about the papermaking could be part of your 12-day challenge.
 
Anne Miller
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After much research and consideration  ...

One the first day of Christmas (Permies Challenge 12/26) ...

I am making Blitz Puff Pastry.

 
raven ranson
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Day 1: dress the loom.



I wound 4 warp together at a time, 3 undyed, and one sort-of oatmeal/silver coloured cotton yarn.  When I thread the heddles, I did a pattern of 6 undyed, 2 grey.  I think it's going to be quite lovely.

What better Holiday treat than to see my cotton plants for next year are finally pushing through the soil.

 
                      
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I am new to this 12 days of Christmas but it sounds like a challenge
My son sent me a butter churn for Christmas, so far I have made two lots,  it is so very tasty especially on fresh bread straight from the oven yum!
My other project for the next week or so is a new Chook house and nursery yard, one of my hens has just started to sit on a dozen eggs so thought it was a good opportunity to build a new house and a fully enclosed yard.
 
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My challenge is a dump room that needs to be ready for a guest by 1/5. What's on the floor is not the biggest challenge. It's the boxes full of the remaining memorabilia from childhood and early adulthood. That takes time and emotional energy. I need the gift of throwing out and intend to start practicing it this week. When I've cleared the mind clutter that accompanies all this, then I'll have the space to put down on paper my permaculture design for our yard. Here's hoping....
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Sile Ellison-NiChionna I would recommend trying the konmari method.  It seems a bit kooky but somehow is highly effective for de-cluttering.  

My personal konmari protocol is as follows

1) empty the room - literally haul everything out down to the bare boards - as you do, put all the stuff in categories
2) sort into sub categories
3) start with the most stunningly obvious pile if you feel overwhelmed as it can take a while to get into the swing of things
4) clutch each item to your chest, consider if it brings you joy (or if you use it all the time)
5) if it sparks joy keep it
6) If it doesn't thank the item for its loyal service and put it in the discard or donate piles.  Try and think of how someone else will use and love it, or about how much freedom and space you gaining
7) bag the D+D piles up as fast as they come.  Actually take them to the thrift store or garbage dump ASAP.  DO NOT keep them around - the temptation to return things to your room will be strong.
Once you only have joyful items start putting them back in the room.  Try and ensure that every item is visible on first inspection and organized in an aesthetically pleasing manner.


I hope to re-de-clutter my entire house and hustle hard for a new/2nd job in the first part of January.
 
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