2017 the Year in Review

A Dahlia at the National Heirloom Exposition in September.

This was not an easy year. Just months after Kelly’s Thanksgiving of 2016 aortic dissection and open heart surgery, my mom fell ill. After a painful struggle my mom passed in April.

These reminders of our mortality inspired the most prevalent theme themes on the blog this year: impermanence, the nature of stuff and the need to declutter. I reread Marie Kondo and fell deep into the words of Arts and Crafts movement luminaries John Ruskin, William Morris and Gustav Stickley. These folks had a lot to say about consumer culture, beauty and utility and they have inspired a top to bottom remodeling of our old house and garden that will continue into the coming year.

As to the garden, it fell into such a state of disrepair that we’ve decided to hire someone to help us clean things up and come up with plan. We’ll blog about the process and, if all goes well, have some before and after photos to share.

On a lighter note, we added a dog, Ivan, to our menagerie of household critters. A friend of ours, April, noted that he looks a lot like 70s prog-rocker Todd Rundgren.

In the fall I took some woodworking classes and created a workshop in one half of our garage. My workshop has become a sort of analog safe space, a place to escape the technological claws of the Silicon Valley tech bros who rob our time and track our every movement.

Lastly, some well deserved thanks go out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for successfully cancelling the urban homestead trademark this year and freeing that phrase for all to use. I’d also like to thank Eric Rochow of Garden Fork for his ongoing support for our blog and podcast. There were many times this year when I did not feel like writing or putting together the podcast. Eric served both as an emergency guest and as an encouraging voice. And, of course, thank you all for reading our blog and listening to our podcast and for your many kind comments and emails.

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  1. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over… it became a butterfly”

    This year definitely sounded tough, but you have brought love, learnings, and beauty to the world around you throughout it. Thank you for all your writings! May 2018 bring you more light, more laughter.

  2. So happy to see your new family member, and a handsome one he is!

    As for the Todd Rundgren album cover, how did I manage to live through that era and not notice how garish ’70’s trendiness was? Maybe children don’t notice tacky tastlessness?

    I’ll be glad to see the remodeling of your house as it progresses and I have confidence it will be done with taste and restraint, two things that seem to be in short supply in home improvement circles these days.

  3. For me, your blog is an important part of each week–as is your podcast.
    Best wishes for 2018.

    I do think that Ivan is much better looking than that 70s rocker!

  4. I so enjoy reading your blog and especially appreciate the podcast, which I listen to when I am doing my cleaning job, the hour just flies and I always feel enlightened and inspired – a good antidote to the tedium and monotony of a job that requires very little thought.
    I stumbled across the doco that Kirsten Dirksten did of your homestead, 483k views! ( have you read the comments on it) so you know you have a very good record of the ‘before’ to refer to when you start making the changes.
    best wishes for the New Year.

  5. Your blog has been part of my life since those days of Urban Homestead and reading your first book. So much has evolved since then and ‘life happened’. Congrats on your new doggie. I hope you will post more pictures of him. (and kitty too) And I just want to say that you are such a part of my daily read that I get concerned when you don’t post. I appreciate all the work you and Kelly have done to keep the wheels turning. You are both an inspiration to me and I am sending you the best of wishes for a GOOD 2018. And Kelly, stay strong!
    Love from the High Desert

  6. Best wishes for a happy 2018! Your books, website, podcasts and other musings are so inspirational to me! I save the podcasts for a special time, as a special treat!

    I learn so much from you guys!

    Looking forward to what comes next from you two!

    PS The dogsport podcast was terrific!

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