January 1, 2016

2016: What's Ahead?

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your upcoming year will be blessed and bright. Did anyone else make a list of goals, plans, or resolutions? Here are mine - Dan's and my annual list of homestead goals. I have to confess that we aren't adding many new goals; mostly we are going to continue with last year's ambitious goals.

House - The priority projects for this year are to finish the dining room windows and then install our 1550-gallon rainwater tank. After that we need to finish the front porch if we aren't too busy with the next goal.

Goat Barn - We have another idea in the works, but I've lost track of which number plan this one is. I wonder if this goal will win a "most years running" award?

Fencing - Fencing the rest of our property is another carry-over goal. It's unlikely we can do both this, the barn, and finish the porch this year, so fencing will likely show up on next year's goal list  (along with either the barn or the porch!)

Honeybees - I plan to add two more hives.

Garden - I want to continue focusing on year-round gardening.

Writing - I've never actually considered this a specific goal, but I see it as how I encourage others in their own homesteading, so maybe it is a goal. Besides the blog, I plan to plug away at my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos.

Preparedness - You've probably noticed that I don't write much about preparedness, nor do I use the customary labels to describe Dan and myself. That's not because I don't believe it's important; I think it's extremely important and have written about it elsewhere. In 5 Acres & A Dream The Book I talk about food storage preparedness and how it was a life saver during an unexpectedly difficult time. In Critter Tales I go into detail on how we are working toward thoughtful sustainability in our critter keeping.

I don't write much about preparedness on this blog because for me, the key is lifestyle. I believe that as we increase our ability to meet more of our own basic needs, then the more prepared we are. Dan and I are striving to change our way of living to one that is less dependent on the things that have caused the need for preparedness in the first place. That's what I write about here.

Anyway, I do have two preparedness goals I'll share:
  1. Alternative tools - by this I mean human-powered tools, of which we already have a lot. While I do buy and appreciate time- and labor-saving tools, it seems prudent to think beyond stocking up on things that have a built-in shelf life: batteries (even rechargeables don't last forever), solar battery chargers, and fuel. These things are good short term, but I think true preparedness thinks long term as well. This year I'm planning to analyze and prioritize the things we do, decide what's okay to do by hand, and continue to invest in low-tech equipment and tools for the tasks we need help with.  
  2. Hard copy information - I like eBooks for light fiction and perusing non-fiction (although when I'm doing research or needing to know how to do something, I find indexes and physical pages more expedient than screens and memory cards.) In terms of preparedness, the ability to access eBooks requires energy plus those accouterments I mentioned that have a shelf-life. In addition, I have tons of wonderful information saved on my computer as either bookmarks or link lists. These are great as long as the websites are up and I can get online. But when those websites disappear, our internet goes down, we don't have electricity, or the computer dies, all of those links are useless. I'm not suggesting printing out all those web pages, but I do want to make sure that I have needful information available should the lights go out.

For a simplified list that still seems like a lot. How about you? Do you have goals, resolutions, or plans for the upcoming year? Does anyone else have contenders for "most years running?" I'd love to hear about them.

37 comments:

Ngo Family Farm said...

Happy New Year! I love your preparedness goal, and it's something I've been thinking a lot about, too. This past year I've realized there are many non-human powered things that I can do without! My goals this year are:
1. Dealing more effectively with our predator issues (we're seriously considering a livestock guardian dog)
2. Build up our flock of chickens for eggs and meat, potentially sell more eggs/cheese/other farm products
3. Finally learn to sew with the intention of making some clothes for the kids
3. Increase our food storage ability
4. Go through all the photos on my computer and print out favorites to store in actual albums (this might take the entire year LOL)
-Jaime

Mom at home said...

Most years running is 12 to finish our basement. Design plans keep changing thus it will never get finished! I want to work on myself this year. My health and finding a full time job is first on my list. I hope you have a great 2016!

Kev Alviti said...

Happy New year! like you I have self sufficiency goals (I'll post mine later this week) and preparedness does feature more and more, but that's kind of what self sufficiency is anyway really. I can get away with it without scaring the wife by calling it self sufficiency anyway!
I like you're goals. I want more paper based information and might start a scrap book or folder to keep some information in. As for hand power tool I'm going to make sure I have multiples of everything, having people help would probably be essential as we'd have to cultivate a much larger area, so having a good collection of spades and forks isn't a bad idea and doesn't cost much if you buy second hand.
I hope that your successes continue in 2016, I love your blog, sorry I haven't commented much lately but life has been so busy, hopefully things will be more normal soon!

Dawn McHugh said...

wishing you a wonderful 2016, today I am working on lists for the coming year.

Dani said...

Happy New Year, Leigh & Dan. It sounds like you have your year ahead already planned - don't know where you get the energy from... ;)

I agree. Hard copy info is far more reliable that electronic - and preferable too!

Leigh said...

Excellent goals, Jaime. Predator issues are definitely troublesome and I'm sorry to hear you're having them. A definite priority!

I love that you want to learn how to sew. Your knitting is so beautiful that I thought you already knew how. Sewing for Littles is so much fun!

Good idea about photos too. I love having instant access to newly snapped shots plus the ability to keep shooting till I get it just right, but without the computer they're as good as nonexistent unless they're printed out.

Leigh said...

Oh my, 12 years is a long time to have a goal! I think my goats will fire me if it takes us that long to get them a better barn, LOL

Leigh said...

Happy New Year Kev! It's always good to hear from you, but I do know how busy your life is. And with those beautiful girls, your time is best spent with them. They simply grow up too fast.

I definitely agree with you about self sufficiency. It's all about lifestyle. I like your idea of a scrap book or folder. I used to keep most of my information in a filing cabinet, but the more I got used to the computer, the less I used it. Now I've got so much stuff on my computer that I have trouble finding things!

Leigh said...

The same to you Dawn! I'll be by to see your lists. I've always enjoyed your blog and have learned quite a bit from you.

Leigh said...

Dani, I don't know where the energy comes from either, LOL. And the older I get the less I seem to have, although time and money are our biggest constraints. All in all, our life and homestead are things I'm very thankful for because they give me purpose and motivation. I feel like I'm a part of life rather than just sitting on the sidelines, watching the world go by.

Fiona said...

I like your comment about preparedness...it is a lifestyle decision for us, to have a more self sustaining farm, to have and grow our own food. Prepper is a trendy name for what should be normal, responsible and healthy behavior.

PioneerPreppy said...

This is the week I traditionally start setting some goals and writing about them myself but this year the flooding and being called into work so much kinda squashed that. Today I need to move the breeding ewes out of the ram paddocks and split a truckload of wood so I doubt I get much writing done now either.

As for preparedness, well anything you do towards sustainability is preparedness. Most blogs are content with talking about what they buy and calling it sustained living so I would argue you are miles ahead of and do write about prepping but that's just me I guess.

Jason and Michelle said...

My husband and I don't set goals at New Years. Our goals are based on our needs. We are always striving to be more self sufficient.

Leigh said...

Well said, Fiona. I think it's just a symptom of how far removed we are from the natural creation and how we fit into it. And sadly, too many folks do not see the correlation between lifestyle and the environment, lifestyle and economics, lifestyle and the ever-growing need for restrictions.

1st Man said...

Hello dear Leigh and Happy New Year! I too hope for peace and good health and prosperity for all of us. Once we get settled into the apartment, I will start on our list by reviewing last years list. I am sure there will be carryover, ha. Two more hives were on our list too but since we lost once, I figure I better keep two alive before we try some more. With our equity from the house sale, we hope to be able to tackle some of the major things at the farm. And without the responsibilities of another house and yard in town, good old sweat equity will be involved... :-)

Pam said...

Plan...what's a plan...I'm still learning to just flow...LOL! I love reading about your plans, Leigh and the progress Dan and you are achieving! The Best 2016 wishes to you!! :)

Leigh said...

That's the kind of prepping we did for Y2K - we worked out a budget, stocked up, and felt prepared. All we expected then was a temporary glitch, and I think that's what most folks assume would happen now, just a glitch. The goal then becomes to secure one's wealth and stock up on enough supplies to tide over until things go back to business as usual. I don't think some folks realize that the system they put their faith in is not sustainable.

Leigh said...

As an overlying goal, that is a great prime directive. :)

jrwhouston said...

I just recently stumbled across your blog and am startimg back at the beginning and readimg through all your posts. I really like how you said hard copy info. I believe in that also. I have also been lookimg at each book you reference on amazon amd determining if inwant to add to my library also. Thanks

Leigh said...

1st Man, if I'd had the same problems with my bees as you, I'd do the same thing. (Actually, I feel like it's a miracle that mine are still doing well!)

Having that equity to invest in your farm is fantastic. And sweat equity is nothing to sneeze at!

Pam, LOL. Sometimes my flow just wants to sit down with a good book, while the projects pile up. ;) I do like being able to chip away at things. Helps me feel productive. :)

Leigh said...

Well, hello and welcome! Thank you for taking the time to comment (that's what bloggers live for, LOL). Also, if your public library carries any of these books, check them out. I've been able to make the best determinations when I have the book in hand. Amazon's "Look inside" is pretty helpful too.

Mark said...

Happy New Year to you and Dan! I share your interest in print instead of ebooks for important info. I find myself having to be a bit selective. There is SO much good stuff out there, but not an unlimited amount of shelf space. I often get the ebook first then buy it in paper if I rises to the must-have level.

Farmer Barb said...

Happy New Year! The preparedness goal strikes me right now. This minute. I am preparing for heart surgery. I won't be able to work of FOUR MONTHS. I have to have my flock set for food and water until I can lift things again. We never know when something will happen that is out of our control. I was able to instal a permanent spring fed "water fountain" but I still don't have enough shed space to store hay for the winter. Hay is in short supply up here, too. Our dry summer did not make it easy. Oh, well. That is why it is a goal list.

Farmer Barb said...

that should have read install!

Leigh said...

Happy New Year Mark! I agree about selective and the use of eBooks in regards to that, even if it's just understanding the kind of writing and information to expect from a particular author. It's so easy to get caught up in buying without really knowing what you're getting (been there done that).

Leigh said...

Heart surgery! Barb, oh my! That's a huge way to start a new year. Sounds like you've done a lot of useful prepping for that. Those four months might be a good time to research and collect hard copy information. Do take care an let me know how it's going.

kymber said...

Leigh - i am looking forward to all of your goals being met! it's been fun following your journey and i hope that 2016 will be a wonderful year for you and all of yours!

sending much love! your friend,
kymber

kymber said...

oh one other thing based on your comment on our blog about broth - for years i made veg broth, chicken broth, beef broth, fish broth...then one day i had an "aha" moment - now i make "everything broth" using equal amounts of bone to veg. it is the tastiest broth and if you use it make soup, stew or gravy, it has a very nice flavour for just about anything.

Velva said...

Happy New Year! I look forward to following you on your journey this year.

velva

Chris said...

Those are some fine goals. I like the idea of preparedness, but having lived through a few natural disasters in my lifetime, I recognise many eventualities can go beyond what we imagine are our best plans too. So we plan, but we also try not to rely on these things as absolute.

The closer I get to nature, the more I recognise that everything is made to be turned over. Like a good compost. Everything goes into the ground eventually. Even all the labours of my plans, lol. I don't say that as discouragement, but rather to make the stress of becoming more responsible for living, less of a daunting task.

I've got a few plans I would like to do in 2016, but they're kind of floating at the moment because the beginning of our year, has a major interruption which I cannot write about until its done with. Nothing bad, its just sensible not to write about it until afterwards. It will make sense later, lol.

As nature waits in certain seasons, so must I. :)

Farmer Barb said...

Will do! Thanks:)

Sandy said...

Leigh,
Great goals for 2016! My husband and I are taking this year to look at where we want to live in the near future. We would like to buy land, so were going to do a bit of traveling to land shop. We also have planned on trying to pay off our debt this year. Two goals we will be working hard on for 2016. Happy New Year!

Leigh said...

And happy new year to you too Velva!

Leigh said...

Chris, sometimes I prefer to have a something complete before blogging about it too. Some things are good to have ongoing.

People often think of preparedness only in regards to end-of-the-world type scenarios. But it can be something as simple as a job loss or health issue that puts a huge strain on resources.

And I agree this life is temporal, along with everything in it. That used to temp me to not caring, but being a good steward means being diligent no matter the outcome.

Leigh said...

Thanks Sandy! Those are excellent goals! The best kind really, and well worth it once they're met.

CountyRoadCoOp said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I love your blog. So much so, I wrote about it on mine. You and Dan are living my dream! :)

Leigh said...

CountyRoadCoOp, hello, welcome, and thank you!. I'm so glad you took the time to comments. I'm on my way for a return blog visit.