Still, it's a useful time of year for goal setting. For us that means taking time to evaluate what we did the previous year, and then looking to what we hope to accomplish next. Keeping our primary goal of self-sufficiency in mind, we write a list of various subgoals, mostly what we see as the next logical steps. Not all of these are actual projects. Some goals are simply decisions that have to be made, others are reminders of the direction we've chosen to go. There is no specific time table, we just keep a steady pace as time and money allow. What we don't finish this year will find its way onto next year's goals.
- finish the master bedroom (all that's left is the floor)
- replace windows in corner bedroom (purchased last August)
- finish installing new siding on that side of the house (after the windows are in)
- finish chicken coop -That's the easy part. Convincing the chickens to use it is another matter.
- finish emptying out the coal barn - that means finding new homes for hay storage, Dan's workshop, and our garden tools and equipment
- tear down coal barn - hoo boy
- build new goat barn in coal barn footprint - progress on this will depend mostly on finances, also on home-time for Dan. (This is one I don't anticipate finishing this year.)
- finish doe browse in the woods
- Goats - continue working on my goal of developing a dual-purpose homestead breed (or cross breed as the case may be.) So far, I'm very encouraged with the addition of Kiko genetics to my dairy breeds.
- Chickens - focus on Silver Laced Wyandottes. We like them so far (good personality, intelligent for a chicken, good eggs and meat, good rooster, and beautiful). If I get a broody hen this summer, I'll just give her SLW eggs to hatch.
- Dog - now that coyotes have returned to our area, we're seriously discussing getting another dog. Dan was devastated by Kris's death and hasn't wanted another dog. No decisions but it's on the table. Finding the "right" dog would be key.
- Other - pigs (but then, we've said this for several years now)
Food Self-Sufficiency - This is not so much an annual goal as an ongoing goal. Since each growing season presents it own problems and challenges, specific sub-goals change from week to week and month to month. I always learn something each year, and every year I hope to do better. Specific areas I need to do better in include:
- Mulch - my ongoing challenge. If I can get the garden well mulched during winter, I'm saved a lot of weed grief and dry soil during the summer.
- Winter gardening - this year's winter garden is small, partly because of October's dry spell, which mean a delay in germination. Deer have demolished things like my beets, so deterring these is on my list. Maybe row covers(?) Overall, I need a better plan here.
- Indoor seed starts - have always been a challenge for two reasons, 1) room and 2) sun. My plan is to turn my defunct compost worm bin (insects and rodents took over), into a cold frame this spring. I can use some of our old windows for that.
- Irrigation - the rainwater tanks are a blessing, but it's awkward to wrestle with the hoses and sprinkler. We have some ideas to help with that, and maybe we can experiment this summer.
- Preservation - Seasonal eating has meant I need to preserve less.
- Tattler reusable canning lids. I'm gradually buying more as funds allow.
- Refrigerators and freezer. Since at this time we are unable to make our own electricity, losing it would cause problems. A temporary outage would be inconvenient. A permanent outage would be difficult because our Southern heat and humidity are huge detriments to food storage. At the very least I need to be mentally prepared to deal with problems.
- Homegrown goat vitamins and minerals - I need to make it a daily habit during summer to gather and dry something every day. Last summer's challenge was all the rain, making dehydrating bulk items especially difficult. Air drying on screens still sometimes resulted in mold, but my electric dehydrator can't hold much. Not sure of the solution yet.
- Field crops - due to circumstances we will likely not be planting a large area of field crops (by large I mean a quarter acre. )
- I still plan to plant beds in the garden, because I believe that something is better than nothing.
Well, written out like that it seems a long list. Fortunately not everything is a a "to do" project.
How about you? What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Homestead Goals for the New Year © January 2014