Lessons Learned and Reflecting on 1,200 posts

Today marks a milestone for me; 1,200 posts written since December 27, 2008.  There are more posts than that here but this number seems somehow magical to me.  Perhaps it’s the first time I feel like we’ve hit any sort of milestone since our 1,000 consecutive days (a streak that continues through today) or perhaps it’s because I didn’t expect to feel that there were more milestones left.  At any case, it feels worth mentioning – and it feels good, if not surprising.

A really giant thank you and hug to those of you who read and follow this project.  Your support has inspired us – and others – as we’ve stumbled and fumbled our way along.  An even bigger thanks to those of you who comment, share and attend events and say hi.  I wish there was more time in a day to interact with the comments we get and if I had a magic wand that’s the one wish I’d be gunning for.  Thanks as well to our members on Facebook and Twitter; it’s been a lot of fun to hang out with you there and thank you for sharing all that you do (of ours and others that inspire us) as well!

Bigger hair and beard than normal:

Lessons Learned and Reflecting on 1,200 posts

This post isn’t so much about patting myself on the back though (I’m an awful self-promoter who is guilty of sometimes forgetting to promote myself while others times accidentally over-promoting and not even knowing I’m doing so).  It is about sharing some of the things I’ve learned the hard way that might save others some steps along the way.  These are the types of posts formed of good intent that I often cringe at years later realizing how much more there was to learn and if there’s one thing I know more than ever, that’s it.

Here’s a few other lessons learned on the way (completely subjective based only on my opinion):

About Food

  • Eating real food, slow food, locally and seasonally is not nearly as difficult, expensive or time-consuming as I once feared.  It’s a natural progression and something that gets easier every year.
  • Meeting others and sharing experiences is the quickest accelerator in learning to eat more like our foreparents did.
  • Our food system is in trouble.  It’s important to know what’s happening within it and within your food supply.
  • Eating is political and each meal is a vote.  Many of my votes are aligned with my beliefs and ethics but I still make missteps.  A 5% shift from large agriculture to small farming would force radical change.  Every meal you make is a vote.
  • Don’t trust labels.  Better yet, try to buy food without them.
  • There are so many resources, people, blogs and groups who can help you learn more.
  • We need to encourage the changes we want to see.

About Blogging

  • Writing daily forces me to learn something every day.  That’s the magical reason ‘why’ I blog.  Know why you’re writing or the motivation will be lost quickly.
  • Know your audience.  I still feel guilty when I admit that the main person I write for is me.  I have no doubt that I search WellPreserved more than anyone else – just to find out how to do stuff I already did and forgot how to.
  • Put yourself out there; fight against trying to make it perfect.  I’m partially dyslexic and struggle with reading and writing.  I’m far better at speaking than writing (and adore public speaking).
  • You can’t please everybody.  We’ve received a few tough comments this year and I’ve learned that I can’t possibly please everyone.  Heck, I look back at some of the thoughts I had on food 3 years ago and am not exactly pleased with myself!
  • The format is going to be challenging in the next little while.  As blogging matures and becomes read by larger audiences, the pressures and temptations to bend ethics are mounting.  There’s no single code of conduct and there’s more opportunity than ever for websites like this one to do things that traditional media would have considered unethical.  As a writer, the only thing I have to offer is my integrity; but that’s just my view.  Offers for secret payments or other ‘hidden’ incentives in exchange for posts are becoming more frequent in the blogosphere.  I’m hopeful transparency will be the norm; for now there’s room for improvement.  This could be an entire series of posts and perhaps it will be one day soon!
  • Have friends that do it, share with them and learn from each other.  There are many who are in this category formally and informally and I have learned a pile from each of them.
  • Have fun.  If it ain’t worth doing, it ain’t worth doing.

What would you add to the list?


  1. Can I just say how cute you are? (I’m married by the way. :) ) I just love your heart, transparency and ferver for a future of enriching interaction with our local food sources. In the midst of peak oil drama and depressing options in our lifetime for real meaning, and satisfaction, I love that you revel in the small nuances and value true connectedness in our communitites.
    By the way, in being more conscious of consuming the whole animal, I ordered the heart with our beef order in Decemebr and we worked up our courage to cook it last weekend. We marinated it and barbecued it, then served over a salad. Any unusual meat, we just call “meat” to our boys, incase someone else poisons their mind about the taste. They are 4 and 6. It was very tender and they liked it. My co-workers were shocked that we even bothered. I felt a sense of pride that we were challenged and rose up to it!

    • Jo-Anne,

      Thank you for your kind words (and making me blush slightly)!

      I really, really love reading a comment like yours and am so excited to see what you and your family is doing! I love that you are experimenting and expanding your own comfort zones and that of your family as well! I also love your ‘meat’ strategy and really think what you are doing is so absolutely amazing with them!

      I love that you did that!


  2. I really admire that even while you struggle with the writing, you have persevered. I’ve only been blogging a year and it’s a struggle to come up with two posts a week let alone the substantial ones you pull from the air every day! Plus the events! Plus the art! Plus the jobs!

    I agree with Jo-Anne that the heart, enthusiasm and transparency you two put into this are so appreciated. I suppose you almost have to look at a lack of scathing critics as a sign that you’re not pushing yourself hard enough : )

    • Auburn,

      thank you – I always smile when I see a post from you and appreciate your consistent feedback and encouragement. I’m logging in to share another poster in the next few minutes; we’ve talked about the critics and agree. Perhaps it’s time to push the needle a little further… :)

  3. Oops – almost forgot! High five to Jo-Ann for giving that heart a try! I wish I could say I enjoyed the flavor more, but I keep trying new ways. So far, mincing and making fillings for ravioli and adding to sauces seems to be the ticket, plus there’s always the dog….

  4. Congratulations and here’s to hoping for another 1,200 posts! I may not comment often, but know that I’m a huge fan of your site and of what you do. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

    • Smedette, thank you so much for your kind words and I’ll know that you’re there! Love to see you pop up! Thank you for supporting the project! :)

  5. baconismagic says:

    I don’t know how you do it. I could just not give enough of myself to write daily, but maybe that is what makes your blog so special.

    I’m so happy I’ve been around for most of these posts and excited to see where you go. Also kudos for photo of you. Now just get Dana in there!

    • You are super sweet – thank you Ayngelina. Yes the photo was your prompting – we’ll get her there too. :) I’m learning from some of the best, yourself included. :)

  6. Dear Joel, I came across you website a few months ago. I am a huge fun of everything preserved, fermented or pickled. It runs in the family, I think. My father used to pickle all his produce for winter, so we always had sour cabbage, stuffed eggplants and peppers, green tomatoes, beetroots, you name it we had it! Unfortunately I’ve found out that I have a big yeast intolerance (very bad for a sommelier like me), however, I keep following your posts Your advise is invaluable and your ideas really inspiring! I cannot eat them any more but I can certainly keep making them and give them to friends as gifts.
    I recently started my own blog, more as a self therapy project (I am also dyslexic and English is not my first language) than anything else. There are so many amazing blogs on everything about food, photography, books all over the internet. I can not possibly compete with them. Reading your post gave me strength to continue writing and expressing myself in this way. Thank you very much.
    PS. Congratulations to Jo-Anne for trying the heart of the animal! Being from Greece, I’m so used to eating the whole animal (heart, head, lungs etc) that sometimes I forget how difficult it is for people from other countries to venture into this culinary adventure. I can assure you that if you keep an open mind and just concentrate on the flavor you are in for a big pleasant surprise!

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