All of the learned and scholarly bloggers out there will be making predictions for the coming year, and I couldn't miss out on the fun. The only problem is that, until it happens, I usually have no clue as to what is going to happen - other than some ambiguous and non-commital things are bad and will likely get worse (before it gets better) commentary. Even hypothetically, I can't completely commit.
But what I can do is predict how things might go for me, here at the Wyvern Heath, because I have more control over what we do here, and because I know the direction we're likely to go based on things that are happening right now.
I'm pretty sure that my family, like the rest of the world, will get poorer with regard to our disposable income. I think things will get more expensive, and that our dollars won't go as far. In particular, I think the price of gasoline and food will increase, but the changes will be so subtle that most of us won't even notice ... at first ... because we'll be so focused on something else (like the Health Care Reform, or the next season of Survivor). By the time tourist season comes around, with the usual increase in the cost of gasoline, we'll be wondering when the price per gallon got to $3 (and at $2.69 right now, it's not too far away).
I have some inside information about our future job status, and I think some big changes will be announced in the coming months with that regard. I believe that it will affect our overall income.
A big focus for us has been debt reduction and the adopting of a more frugal lifestyle. I believe we will be rewarded for our efforts, thus far, and that we will be able to pay off the most significant portion of our debt this year, which will enable to begin living the "possum life" or the "good life" or whatever euphemism one wishes to use that describes living self-sufficiently with only a small income.
Our living space will contract this year, probably in mid-winter or early spring. The overall square-foot-per-person will be significally reduced. The transition will be pretty rocky, as it was last time this sort of thing happened to us, but I think we'll adjust pretty quickly.
I predict that we will take some huge and more permanent steps to making our house more livable in a low-energy future. This will be the year that we move forward with adding some alternative energy generation equipment. We're looking at a few different options, and while our goal is not to generate all of the electricity that we are currently using, we do plan to continue powering down with the goal of having electricity only for those few things we feel are necessary, like the computers (for income potential), and a freezer for the meat.
In addition, this will be the year that we solve the water issue with something more than we'll fill buckets in the brook as our solution. Where I live the water table is close enough to the surface that it can be reached with a shovel. The goal is to dig a well with a simple hand-pump. The well water will be used to water the animals during the winter, and eventually, we will transition to using our well water for all of our drinking and cooking with the municipal water used solely for washing.
This will be the year that we focus more fully on wild foods. We, now, know where we can satisfy most of our dietary needs with locally produced food, but we still spend a great deal of money on the food we eat. We will continue to patronize our local farmers, grow a garden, and raise chickens, ducks and rabbits, but we will also collect and process more wild foods to increase our stored foods and expand our diet.
In addition, this will be the year that we (finally) break some deeply entrenched eating habits and reduce our dependence on the industrial food chain even further by breaking our addictions to certain food items, like cane sugar and wheat-based products.
Which brings us to the last prediction:
This will be the year that we add bees to our homestead. We will also begin harvesting mushrooms, and with the honey and the mushrooms as cash crops ... well, that will be for 2011 :).
Regardless of what happens, it's bound to be a fun ride in the next year, and my challenge will be to slow down and learn to enjoy the minute details of my life instead of hurrying to the next day so that I can evaluate what happened the day before.
Life is in the details, and no matter what happens, all I can really count on is today.