|I love my pillow. It as a gift from here.|
April marks an anniversary for us; eight years ago we bought an old house on the five acres that has become our homestead. I know that ten years is usually considered more of a landmark, but Dan and I have been discussing our progress and goals, and it seems that at eight years we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The tunnel I'm referring to is what I called "The Establishment Phase" in 5 Acres & A Dream The Book. We started with a period of assessment, planning, goal setting, and prioritizing, all with a view toward becoming as self-sufficient as we can: food production (for both us and our critters), energy, and water. This has required planning, research, and experimentation, along with all the ups and downs that come with it.
The largest part of establishing our homestead has revolved around building. Repairs and energy upgrades on the house were important, and so was fencing and housing for our animals. Our old outbuildings were in bad repair, and then there's food growing. It's one thing to grow a year's worth of food, but how and where does one store it? We actually don't need much space to live it, but where do we store a year's worth of food for us, or a year's worth of grain and hay for the critters, or a winter's worth of firewood, or a summer's worth of rainwater? Then there are the tools, equipment, and implements to accomplish all of that. Everything needs a home.
It was our discovery and discussion of the sad state of the carport that got us talking about our goals. As Dan often says, we aren't getting any younger and eventually, we want to be able to get on with simply living. We'd like to have all the projects behind us and develop a seasonal rhythm for our lives. The problem with projects is, there's always another great idea on the horizon, something else to build, another way to expand our homestead. We could probably go on forever with projects, but soon Dan will retire and our income will drop drastically. It was time to decide if and when we could finish our projects, declare ourselves established, and get on with the next phase of our homesteading - a simple seasonal routine.
Of what we need (versus what we'd like), well, since the carport is in dubious condition, Dan needs a workshop. After that we'd like to get our equipment undercover; under an overhang at least. The house is close to being done, so the only other major building project would be a small greenhouse. With all that in mind, I said, "You know, the Little Barn is serving very well for the goats, milking, and hay and feed storage. My dream barn would be nice, but it makes more sense to go with what we've got, simplify the barn plan, and build a workshop with storage." So that's what we're going to do.
Dan's actually got a start on it, so as soon as I get my photos organized and a blog post written, I'll show you what's up.