|January brought cold and snow.|
January was unusual because we experienced the coldest winter temperatures we've had since moving here; the lowest being 8° F (-13° C). Inside, we finished the ceiling on the master bedroom. Our outside project was to finish fencing an area of the woods for the doe browse.
2014 revised Master Plan
In February we revised our master plan and got started on a new chicken coop. The eventual goal was (and still is) to build a decent outbuilding for a goat barn. The first step was to get the chickens out of the old shed and into quarters of their own. Our inside project was supposed to be the bedroom floor, but this was temporarily postponed.
|We put a metal roof on the chicken coop.|
In March we got a roof on the chicken coop, found a great deal for the bedroom floor, and kidding commenced! Two sets of triplets, Ziggy's and Lily's, and a close call for Surprise and her miracle twins.
|Purple top turnips and Wando peas.|
Our last frost is in April so it was a busy planting time in the garden. We ate out of the spring garden and I tried my hand at violet jelly. We made a lot of progress on the chicken coop: walls, windows, and roost; then nest boxes and interior people door, and an entry door for the chickens.
|1967 Simplicity Model W Walking Tractor|
This was a big month in that we finally got some much needed equipment, a walk-behind tractor with numerous attachments. It was also the month we finished the chicken coop and moved the chickens in! Kidding season finished up with Zoey's twins, giving us a total of ten kids for the year, six does and four bucks.
|Caleb, treed by a baby pig.|
In June we got our first pig! We'd been wanting pigs for several years and finally did it. The breed? American Guinea Hog. Our house project was to finally finish the master bedroom floor. It was also the first year we had a second batch of home-hatched chicks.
|Our 2nd rainwater collection set-up.|
Summer was actually pretty pleasant this year, with temperatures cooler than in the past and with fairly good rainfall until July. That was when we installed a second rain collection tank. In thinking ahead toward building a goat barn, we developed a plan for a round barn that we really like. Toward that end we started tearing down the old outbuilding that stood where the new barn will go.
|August was for canning, freezing & dehydrating|
August was a busy month in the garden - picking and preserving. We got our second pig, a little female (Polly) to go with our male (Waldo). I got my first unofficial Kinder doeling and a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian. The dog promptly ran away and sadly, we never did find him.
|Chickens now help us with the compost.|
I started a new experiment this month and moved the compost piles into the chicken yard. We put the goat barn on hold and started working on repairing and renovating the front porch. Best of all, I bought my first two registered Kinder does.
|This field was once solid with ground ivy. The pigs have been rooting it up.|
In October we learned what a good job pigs can do on ground ivy. It had completely taken over and destroyed our back pasture. With the pigs help, we got most of it cleared out and replanted. We made a lot of progress on the front porch: we came up with a plan for it, got the old floor torn out, and the crawl space sealed off. Also I bought my first registered Kinder buck.
|Recycling the roof, posts, and wall really improved the old goat shed.|
In November I launched my eBook series, The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos. Outside, we finished tearing down the old "barn" and recycled its roof and walls to make an addition on the old goat shed. Next, we installed the new floor on the front porch. We also bought electric netting and a solar fence charger to see what the pigs (and goats) could do in the garden.
|New front door, installed at last|
Work resumed on the front porch. We installed the porch posts and a new front door! Also noteworthy was my Meyers lemon tree. December is our evaluation and goal setting month, a perfect activity for when the days are damp, dreary, and drizzly. More on our new goals soon.
How about you? When you look back over 2014, was it a productive year or full of ups and downs? Did you accomplish what you hoped or take unexpected detours due to circumstances?