We're actually getting close to finishing the house, at least on paper. The doing takes longer! This year we wanted to finish the dining room windows, finish the front porch, and install our 1550-gallon rainwater tank.
The dining room windows can be checked off the list.
|For some odd reason the window on the left looks narrower|
than the window on the right, but they are actually the same size!
I can't believe how much warmer the house stays now that these windows are done. Energy efficient windows and good insulation make all the difference in the world. Such energy upgrades are well worth the investment.
The front porch is almost done. Here's what it looked like before.
|We started on the front porch in Sept. 2014, floor first.|
|Dec. 2016. The wood box is still in the way, but you can see the difference.|
We want to replace the ceiling and then the remaining corner trims can be put up. Hopefully we'll do that next year and then the front porch will be done - an example of an annual goal staying on the list for several years.
Another example is installing our 1550-gallon rain tank. When we bought the tank we knew where we wanted it to go...
|How it used to be|
but the question was whether we wanted to install the tank first and then later go back to replace those windows and siding, or do the windows and siding first and then install the tank.
|January 2016. The dining room windows were part of this project's detour.|
Doing the windows and siding first won out. By the beginning of the year it was mostly done except for waiting on warmer weather to finish the caulking and painting. Finally Dan was able to level the ground and get it in place.
The only thing left to do is make a filter for it, then we can at last get it hooked up.
This was to be our big project for 2016.
|This was the original plan for my dream barn.|
We started with that floor plan and the purchase of a sawmill. About the time Dan got all his lumber cut, the roof on goat shed started to leak.
|The original old shed when we first bought the place. The roof was leaking|
then so we tarped it. When it started leaking again, we decided to re-roof.
Since we were going to put on a new roof, it made sense to enlarge. (In case you missed that series of posts, it starts here.)
|The old shed is still there, now the left side of the "Little Barn."|
So that was a necessary detour, but it allowed curing time for our home-cut lumber. Building the "big" barn will be the big project of 2017. The "little" barn will then become a better workshop for Dan.
Fencing our woods is an annual carry-over goal. It stays on the list because it's important, but it's not a straightforward project. There's no vehicle access along the property line and there are numerous fallen trees blocking even a footpath. With the barn taking priority this year, we weren't sure how far we could get. When our summer drought dried up our pastures, I started taking the does for daily walks in the woods. To pass the time while they forage, I've been working on finding and clearing the old fenceline.
|In some spots it's slow going. I follow the old fence.|
|I'm looking for the pins that mark the property line. When we 1st|
bought the place we paid a surveyor to find & mark all these.
I get so far and then Dan comes down with the chain saw and clears away the big stuff. We have two rolls of 330-foot goat fencing and a pile of t-posts, so we may actually be getting closer to making this a reality this winter. We would love to be better using all of our five acres.
My goal this year was to add two more hives for a total of three. Sadly I lost all three colonies and am now beeless. I haven't decided what to do. I definitely still want bees, but I don't want to go with package bees again. Folks seem to have a lot of trouble keeping package bees alive. I may try again to catch a swarm or find someone selling nucs.
|The garden started well, but once my rainwater collection|
tanks were empty, it succumbed to the drought and heat.
This year I wanted to focus on year-round gardening. Most folks think of that as expanding the harvest to the winter months. Me too and I'll blog about that soon. This past summer, however, has me revisiting thoughts I've had in the past - that my gardening break ought to be in July and August, not winter. Everything struggles so when we have our hot dry spell every year, whereas there are a lot of cool weather crops that do well for me all winter. I'm thinking I need to invest in a non-traditional gardening "hat" and plan a little differently for next year.
I never considered this a homestead goal before, but in a way it is. I love to share what we're learning, but also, it helps support the homestead. Not in a huge way, but we've been able to buy quite a few necessary and useful things for our lifestyle from book money. My goal this year was to work on more volumes for The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos, and I managed to publish seven new additions. Some folks ask where do I find that time. I find it in the pre-dawn hours, somewhere between letting the cats out and time to do chores.
All of my books are on sale through the end of the month. Click here for details.
This was another goal that was new to the list. I added it because I wanted to focus on two things: acquiring more alternative tools and getting hard copies of information that I consider a good resource.
I already mentioned Dan's sawmill.
It's not alternative in the sense of powering it (it has a gasoline engine) but it does increase our self-sufficiency in that we can cut our own lumber. Considering the number of mature pines falling down in our woods, this is a real win-win.
In terms of alternative energy we installed a solar attic fan.
And a solar barn light.
Also I bought was a wind-up clock.
It's pretty good at keeping good time, as long as I remember to wind it regularly. 😉
I'm still working on hard copy collections of notes and useful notes. Not the stuff I've learned from experience, but things that are occasionally useful. I have to say it's convenient to have the notebooks. It seems to take less time to flip to a page than to search through scores of computer folders, book marks, or websites. For me, anyway.
Whew, that was a lot, but all in all, we did pretty well at meeting our goals, with the Little Barn being our only major but necessary detour.
How about you? Was it a productive year or one filled with the unexpected?
2016 Homestead Goals: Time to Analyze © Dec 2016