Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:11
When the day dawned on 2015, I gave our homesteading goals about 15 seconds of thought.
My solitary goal: Survive.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve felt like we barely kept our heads above water last year and it seems more than a little ambitious to hope for anything more than that again in 2015 until I’ve seen some improvement in our Homestead Management. I do have hope. (And a plan!)
It would seem that the spark of hope has turned into a little flame and I’m ready to contemplate what I’d like to see accomplished on our homestead over the course of the next year.
I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed though. I did say the flame was little so we’ve no plans for exciting additions. No bees, no rabbits, no fodder systems, no mixing up fancy custom feed mixes.
Our major project this year will be babies.
No, not mine. (Well maybe. Phoebe is a year old now so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.) But we’re hoping to close this year with 3 new calves, at least a bakers dozen of piglets, and anywhere from 4-8 lambs! Not to mention baby fowl! It’s incredibly exciting! Love me some babies! This is some uncharted waters for us so there will be some anxiousness over how it will all go.
Gardens & Orchard
-Finish fencing the Kitchen Garden
-Start perennial flower & herb beds around the Kitchen Garden to encourage pollinators and the ultimate all-natural insecticide.
-Soil test and amend the Kitchen Garden
-Source hay mulch… in advance of when we need it.
-Source wood chip mulch for the berries & grapes.
-Source some extra manure for composting. Can you ever have enough?
-Purchase & install greenhouse plastic and use it over the next winter.
-Prepare the new Pantry Garden for planting.
-Fence the new Pantry Garden with Inexpensive, Portable, Quick Garden Fencing then I’m thinking plant along the front with sweet peas for beauty and the bees.
-Make an awesome compost pile.
-Dig up black raspberries because the wild ones have infected them with a rust disease and they will never be productive.
-Replace them with red raspberries.
-Assess strawberries after harvest and make another purchase of plants if necessary.
-Prepare new orchard site for expansion by shifting the bacterially dominated soil to a fungally dominated soil through the use of ramial wood chips.
-Successfully breed our two Large Black gilts.
-Try to prevent as many piglet deaths as possible without strapping Big Mama & Tilly into a crate.
-Sell some feeder pigs and raise up the rest (3 for ourselves) in the overgrown area downhill from the Kitchen Garden & berries.
-Find someone who wants to buy the remainders and I’ve got to say that I think it would be really exciting to teach them how to butcher them too!
-Evaluate whether to keep both sows, sell one, or butcher one.
-Find a Great Pyrenees stud for Belle cause it’s the year of babies.
-Find a female cat for Snowflake so we can get some kittens up in here while we’re at it. She literally crawled out of the woodwork when cutting firewood a few days ago. An ash tree to be specific… her name is Ashley and she’s about the best and sweetest kitten ever and is very much in danger of becoming a house cat.
-Increase our number of shareholders… or consider… No. I can’t say it. At least there will be a lot of pigs to milk feed this year! That’s some consolation!
-Stockpile hay all year long, making careful purchases to get quality feed. (Look into silage.)
-Push back re-breeding a few months to work back towards a spring calving schedule.
-Test for A2 status.
-Test our feed for GMO’s (because the mill sells both… and if I’m paying extra for it, it better not be contaminated!)
-Raise another couple batches of Freedom Rangers… start the second batch mid-July instead of August.
-Plan, purchase, and plant perrenial fruiting shrubs for chicken shelter and forage.
-Learn to clean the wool and what to do with afterwards.
-Establish a better clipping schedule and rotation with the sheep (You know, so I don’t have to go out every night with the scythe to make up for their shortcomings.)
-Seed plant the area known as the “flag.”
-Repair the fence and paint the posts.
-Clean up the areas our “pastured” pigs tore up last year and re-seed them.
-Clean up the barn floor. We need a plan there and I don’t know what it’s going to be. The hydrant was leaking last year and we fixed that, but the whole floor of the barn is like a mixture of manure and mud and I don’t even know what. It’s gross.
-Evaluate the new chicken coop layout and make necessary changes.
-Replace broken or missing barn windows.
-Paint chicken coop and barn interior.
-Stockpile wood for heat all year long- perhaps on a consistent schedule (“Firewood Fridays”?) so we don’t have to do it when there are 3 logs left and it’s 8 degrees outside and then burn wet wood.
-Decorate. Seriously haven’t made this house a home and I’m feeling that both in my comfort and desire to keep it clean. Focus on the main level bathroom, living room/hallway, kitchen/dining/entry (they’re all the same space), the sewing room, and kids bedrooms. I’m talking curtains and paint mostly. I have it all purchased, it’s just about feeling like doing it.
-Finish remodeling project- our bedroom and bathroom open right up into the living room where we entertain guests which is just creepy. Basically we’re pulling in a hallway to block that off for privacy’s sake.
Of course, I have sundry other personal goals, but this is a good plan for our homestead.
I know that seems like a lot, but if you think about it, much is maintenance and planning. Wait. Is that called survival? And here we’ve come full circle.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:15
So what about you? Got any big plans for this year?