Thoreau had it easy. All he had to do was find a bit of land to squat on and build a cabin. I bought a house 8 months ago. If Henry had had to get a mortgage, he'd have couchsurfing at Emerson's place. Lucky I saved. They take a dim view of that squatting thing nowadays. I did build a
One of my goals for my jubilación is to develop new skills. Admittedly, I did have a contractor do the renovation on the bathroom. My criterion for making the effort to acquire a new ability is whether I'll use it on a regular basis. I don't plan on doing a lot of plumbing, so why learn it? Seeing a need for curtains in my new house led me to purchase a sewing machine, though. I have finished window treatments (as we pros say) for my bedroom and living room so far. It may have been more economical to have bought them, but I want slipcovers once my sewing proficiency improves. Furniture from the Salvation Army is comfortable enough, but not always attractive.
This year I learn to garden, as well. Got a late start in 2013. At the end of the summer, I did get several frames built for raised beds and a few cold frames. Have amassed a huge pile of leaves for compost. What I've noticed is that during the Summer there's a lot of grass trimmings, but no leaves to combine for good decomposition. In the Autumn, there are leaves and no grass. This year it's all coming together and I put Thoreau's beans to shame.
Like most people affected by the winter, I'm hunkering down and waiting for Persephone to come and bring Spring (and farmer's markets) back to us mortals. Enjoy the rhythm of the Winter while it's still around and try to avoid quiet desperation. Be well.