A college friend of mine used to keep a list to remind himself of all the habits he wanted to cultivate (and the ones he didn’t.) It was tacked to the post of the bunk bed near his desk. On it were firm directives like “DRINK LESS SODA, DRINK MORE WATER.” I’ve actually forgotten most of what was on the list specifically, though, in my mind, I can still see vividly the purple marker writing and large no-nonsense letters he used to make it. And I remember being struck by it at the time, appreciating his will to change his habits and live better. Of course, it’s one thing to put it on paper and another thing to put it into practice.

Still, I think of that list often, and lately I’ve drawn up a self-improvement list of my own. It goes like this: Use time to read more books, be on the computer less (and take more short breaks during computer work), be outside more, backpack at every opportunity, be in the garden more, be with people more, move my body more, consume sugar less, find ways to continue speaking Spanish and supporting good causes in Latin America, buy less, learn more, stay in better touch with old friends, put up with bullshit less, keep writing.

My house is crammed with books. My garden is full of weeds to pull, blackberries to scare, and soil to enrich and till. The place where I live is brimming with unexplored riverbends, glacial lakes, spacious meadows, biodiverse forests, fascinating people and engaging community. It would be a shame to live here without making the most of those circumstances.

I have started two other blogs, which I plan to write periodically: one is an outlet for my daily observations from my time outside in this place, and the other is intended as a digital version of the inter-generational clipboard about what a person might want or need to know about homesteading in a place like this. I encourage you to subscribe to both as you wish, so you can receive notice when there’s a new post.