2009 Goal Update

It is that time again to give everyone an update as to whether I met any of the goals I set out to achieve this year.  Here is a recap of the three goals I set myself and a description on whether I achieved or got sidetracked;
  1. Our first goal is to find a substitute for our fortnightly take-away meal
  2. Our second goal is to build a backyard oven
  3. Our third goal is to join/start a local sustainable living group
Takeaway:  We managed to get into February with the first goal, which in hindsight was a good effort do to the extreme heat we were experiencing over summer.  The hottest day on record (48C) occurred on the 9th February, which is now known in Victoria as Black Saturday due to the massive bushfires that burnt out of control for many days, with a large loss of life and property.  My heart goes out to all of those who suffered during that dark period of the year.
Fires aside, it was bloody hot with 3 days in a row of 45C!  You couldn’t cook in the kitchen because it felt like it was hotter in the room than in the oven.  So, we relented and got takeaway, and changed our goal to once a month instead, which has worked out fine for us.  During a month worth of home cooked meals, you occasionally need a break from the kitchen, and even though Kim and I take turns at cooking during the week, it gets a bit monotonous.  So we are very happy with this arrangement because it is still saving us swags of money.

Backyard Oven:  No movement whatsoever on this one.  I set a start date of April for this one, but unfortunately Kim got very ill and had to go into hospital for 20 days.  She was out of action for at least 4 months after her release until she was back on her feet again. It was a really emotionally charged time of the year for all of our family, and we just wanted to see her well again.  Wouldn’t you believe that just as she was recovering, I had a back injury relapse in August and only just came good again in early November.  So, the year went by, and no backyard oven.  I will put it down as a project for the new year (again).

Melton Sustainable Living Group:  Well this goal was achieved well beyond my wildest dreams!  I managed to gather 5 concerned individuals to start the group, and the first meeting was held on the 28th March.  From there we incorporated as a non-profit community group on the 7th May where I was elected/nominated President of the group, and started up our own website.  This gave us access to community grants from our local council and we have spent the initial $2500 establishment grant on getting ourselves up and running.  We have held the following workshops and events;

  • Energy Efficency in the home demonstration
  • Organic gardening demonstration
  • Visit to CERES Community Evironment Park
  • Presentation by ecoMaster, Gisborne
  • Presentation by myself titled “Saving money with Energy Efficiency”
  • Presentation to the Caroline Springs Lions Club about Sustainable Living.
  • A stand at the Environment Hub during the Djerrawarrah Festival to promote the group.

We have also appeared quite a few times in the local press many times now and have found this a good avenue to promote our activities and raise community awareness about the issues of climate change and peak oil.  Have a read of the articles below if you like;

The Melton Shire Council also gave us other support, for instance, 3 free community room hires so that we could hold “awareness meeting” to get the word out that we existed.  We have 15 keen members, a marquee, display boards for photos of sustainable living stuff and have an alliance with the Australian Conservation Foundation Greenhome program, and I will be attending Climate Champion training in February 2010.  All in all, a fantastic and well achieved goal for 2009, and one of the proudest moments in my life.  All thanks to Kim’s support during the year, who kept me going when times were tough.

Other than the three main goals, we have achieved many, many things around our home, and strive to further live my life in a more sustainable way and lead by example.  Other highlights were lots of cheese making, a new chicken yard, a low pressure drip irrigation system for the veggie patch, a few new vegetable beds, fruit trees in the front yard which is now known as ‘the orchard’, made beer, and paid cash for my ex-lease Honda Civic Hybrid.

I am looking forward to a productive 2010, and sharing it all with you whether it is the good, the bad, or the ugly.  Warts and all!  Tomorrow, I will be posting my new goals for the new year, and leave 2009 feeling like I have really accomplished something good and meaningful.


  1. says

    Thanks for all the great posts in 2009, I look forward to hearing what you have to say in 2010.
    A small suggestion on the takeaway food & cooking during the week: I felt the same way. I’ve learned to cook double on some nights of the week and I’m pretty fussy about what I cook — fresh ingredients etc. There is no way I’d do once a month cooking but I’ve learned to give myself a buffer in the freezer. I’m happy to send through ideas if you like.
    Best wishes to you and Kim for the year ahead.

  2. says

    This is something which most of the people does not do. Setting goals at the beginning of the year and reviewing it at the end. Way to go Mr.Gavin.

  3. says

    I toyed with the idea of building a wood fired oven for summer cooking but chickened out and brought this little beauty, haven’t looked back since. I bake bread at least twice a week and pizza every so often. It’s a bit heavy duty for cakes and such but will handle meat ok. I use a bottle of gas about every 9 -10 months, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

    Good going on the rest of it especially the Sustainable Living Group and best wishes for a bigger and better 2010.

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