Ah, another year. I must be getting old because they fly by way to fast. Now, let's get one thing taken care of... I don't do resolutions. Many do and feel it is a meaningful part of life. Personally I find them a complete waste of time. I am always trying to save more and spend less, lose weight and attain rapidly evolving goals. I do not need a date on the calendar to signify I have begun or failed (cause lets face it, we all fail one or more of those resolutions). Nope, I just don't need that kind of pressure! But, I do enjoy and encourage making both a mindful and realistic picture of your coming year in your minds eye. This year a certain word comes to me when I think on it. Surrender. Oh, what a loaded word and one I struggle with so much. Surrendering to God and his will for our life as a family. Surrender to unknowns. Surrender to situations not in our control. Just surrender!
With this concept in mind, I will share some projects I am planning to work on this year. Notice I said work on not accomplish! If I accomplish them then I can grab a hard cider and kick my feet up in celebration. If not... eh.
Housing for all animals. Ok... this might be a must. By next fall we would like to have the barn up and operational although that really depends on the progress of the house. By April we need to have shelter for the dairy goats which doesn't need to be fancy or large by any means so that is easily do able. We will build a good sized chicken coop so we can increase our flock and our horse will be using his trailer as a run in once again until he has a stall in the barn.
Increasing the chicken flock. Now that we have had chickens for the better part of a year now, I have learned a bit and think I can confidently say chicken do not come naturally to me as well as I do not enjoy them! Nevertheless I find them extremely useful and productive. After some more research I have decided on trying out a few different heavy breeds that have certain characteristics of broodiness, meat production, egg production and winter hardiness. Basically I want as much bang for my buck and not much to fuss with. My plan is to place an order with a couple of people who also want to order (so to split our shipping costs) and also get a large number in a straight run. This will allow me to add layers but have roosters to slaughter for meat in the fall. Then the following spring I can allow a few hens to brood the next generation and start all over again.
Learn to make cheese, yogurt and butter. As of April I will be milking one Nigerian Dwarf, two the following spring. Although we will be drinking most of what she gives us I would love to try my hand at making some cheeses and yogurt. I may wait on the butter given I need a cream separator to get a good yield. I will breed them both in November/December for spring kids!
Continue to increase our pantry stock. Currently we could comfortably live a month or two with what is in our pantry and not suffer nutritionally. I would be much more comfortable at a years worth or more. So, canning our garden's and local produce, raising chickens and pigs for meat, hunting, stocking grains and other dried goods and maybe? making a root cellar. The fun part about this is that I get to design and build a pantry in the basement to fit our needs and keep our stock safe from spoilage and theft.
Get my hunter safety certification. I have put this off for years and this year I am GOING to do it! One more odd to getting free meat. We as a family appreciate venison and pray every year someone will get a moose tag! The men may make a trip out to Montana to hunt in the fall. I hope they do! I would love a elk or caribou as well.
I could go on and on about the things I'd like to do. Again, though, I need to pace myself and stay within the realities of my season. Sure, I could bang out a bunch of stuff this year and I probably will! But, I will not let it get me down if I don't do everything right now. I am looking forward to this year!
Any of you care to share your hopes for your homes, lives, homesteads this year?
Til next time!