House - finish the front porch. We accomplished quite a bit last year but still have a way to go. Up next will be replacing all the old windows with energy efficient ones; both those in the living room and the front bedroom. Then we can put up the new siding. Still under contemplation is replacing the porch ceiling. Finishing touches will be staining the decking and painting exterior, door, and trim.
Barn - the new goat barn still seems impossibly unattainable, but if we take it one step at a time we may eventually get there. The one thing we have definite plans to do is the branch removal I mentioned. Anything more depends on how far we get with the front porch.
Fences - this one makes the goal list every year because there is always something to fence, or there are fencing repairs to be made! There are several things we are hoping to focus on this year.
- Gates - we have three gates needing to be installed: two in for the garden and one at the bottom of the doe browse.
- Doubled fences for protected diversity - the idea here is to run a second fence about 4 to 6 feet parallel to existing fences. In between I plan to plant a perennial forest garden of fruit trees, shrubs, herbs, perennials, etc., that will help feed the chickens, pigs, and goats. Goats in particular will demolish things they like, but this way I hope they can gain nutritional benefit without destroying what I've planted. More on this soon.
- We'd like for the goats and pigs to forage more in our wooded area. There are so many downed trees back there, however, that fencing would be difficult. We're considering setting up cattle panels to let them into the most accessible areas. The beauty of cattle panels is that they can be tied to trees for a temporary fence, but moved easily as required.
Goats - Kinders only. Our days of different breeds and different sizes are about over. I tolerated the Nubians while trying to make Kikobians and Kinders, but they really aren't for us. Both Dan and I prefer the Kinder personality so much more. This also means Gruffy will need a new home, but I honestly think he'd be happier with goats his own Pygmy size. I know he gets tired of being picked on by all the bigger bucks.
Pigs - 2014 was our learning year for pigs. Not that we have it all figured out, but we've seen how useful they can be in preparing the soil. It confirms my original plan of rotating pigs, field crops, and pasture as part of our land stewardship cycle. Also, we should get baby pigs this year, which makes Dan happy 'cuz he loves his bacon and sausage.
Field Crops - Now that we have the pigs to help, we're hopefully looking at not having to plow anymore. At the most, the clay clods may need to be disced and the area dragged to make it smooth enough for the scythe or sickle mower. In addition to wheat and corn, I want to add root crops for field growing. Turnips and mangels or sugar beets in particular for the livestock, especially as I get away from grain for the goats.
Chickens - the chickens should really be able follow the pigs around. The pigs turn the soil, through which chickens love to scratch. Plus, they both need to be kept out of areas that are newly planted. We need a better gating system for this, however, so that we can direct the chickens to wherever the pigs are. For this we plan to expand the chicken yard, which will also facilitate expanding our chicken aided composting, another experiment we are pleased with.
Honeybees - I have my first hive and bees are ordered! More on that soon.
How about you? What plans do you have for the upcoming year?