December 30, 2010

Evaluating Our 2010 Homestead Goals

In my last post, I took a look back over 2010 and hit the highlights. We accomplished a lot, but really, that was due to the goals we set last year. Recently, Dan and I spent some time evaluating those goals, in preparation for 2011. This post shares that evaluation.

We met many of our 2010 goals, but some we didn't. Some are still in progress, and some we realized are part of a bigger picture which needs to be addressed as such, rather than as random projects.

Goals we accomplished:

~ Find septic tank. Check. That adventure here.

~ Investigate the water heater. Check. It needs to be replaced, which we will do as soon as we finish the bathroom. New one will go in the new utility room, which will require some plumbing work too. (Old one is in crawl space).

~ Make a decision about our HVAC system. Check. Completion post here.

~ Evaluate our home and energy usage in terms of sub-systems, exploring possible energy alternatives for each of these. Check. This was mostly observation of sun and wind patterns, and research on what's feasible for our area. Use of solar or wind power would be limited, not justifying the cost of putting such systems in. That doesn't mean we might not eventually use these in some smaller subsystems, but we realize they will only be functional at certain times of the year.

~ Finish the goat fence and shed and get goats. Check.

~ Likewise chicken house, yard and chickens. Check.

~ Experiment growing some small patches of grains. Check: amaranth and wheat.

~ Prepare for & experiment with overwintering root crops in the garden. Check. Well, I didn't really experiment, I just did what I did last year, mulched them. The experiment is in the amount and types of root crops I planted.

~ Preserve all our vegetable needs for next winter and spring from the garden. Time will tell. Click here for a tour of my pantry.

Goals we didn't accomplish:

~ A solar water heating system Contingent on the new water heater mentioned above, which requires relocating when installed

~ Pointing (where needed) & sealing the home's brick foundation.

~ Start insulating the floor. So far nothing has been done with this one. However, the bathroom floor will be the first. That coming up soon. What Dan did do however, was to cover gaps in the foundation at the front of the house. These allowed cold north winds and drafts to blow in and around under the house. Some of these found their way up between the inner and outer walls, which noticeably chilled rooms on the northwest side of the house. We've noticed a definite difference from blocking off those gaps.

~ Put in electrical add outlets on the front and back porches, and fix one in our bedroom. DH decided to do these when the individual rooms are remodeled, rather than as one big separate electrical project. The back porch will be first, because it needs some work before we can remodel the kitchen. The front porch will wait until warmer weather when we replace the front door. Likewise the bedroom outlet, which will be part of the master suite project we're contemplating.

~ Cold frames &/or hoop houses

Goals in progress:

~ Remodel the back bathroom. Progress report here.

~ Finish planting perennial fruits. Does one ever finish planting? LOL

~ Plant only open pollinated seed and save all seed for 2011. Check on part one. I want to experiment with some other varieties and veggies next year, so eventually I won't be buying any more seeds for that. Here's a list of the seeds I did save for next year.

Goals we've re-evaluated & re-assigned:

~ Improve drainage around the house 

~ Rain catchment 1 - as an extension of improving drainage by channeling rain runoff into a collection area behind the house

~ Rain catchment 2 - utilize rain barrels. 

~ Shade for setting sun side of house. 

All of these will be implemented as part of the water conservation plan we're working on, even shade for the northwest side of the house. I'll have details on all of that in a couple of days.

I admit that it was an overly ambitious list and it's amazing that we got as much accomplished as we did. Almost all the credit for that goes to my husband. He's a motivated, hands-on kind of guy. His job cooperates too. As a dedicated product over the road truck driver, he has good chunks of time off, enabling us to work on projects for several days at a time.

I think too, we have somewhat of a sense of urgency in getting our homestead in order. Had we started 20 or 30 years ago, when our family was young, we would have long since been established by now. So our age is one factor. On top of that is an uncertain future for our nation and the world. What goes up, must eventually come down, so the things we're doing only make sense to us.

All in all, I'm extremely happy with the progress we've made and the goals we met. I have to say that next year's list of goals won't be quite so lengthy. We're putting the finishing touches on that, so I'll have that posted soon.

Evaluating Our 2010 Homestead Goals © December 2010 by Leigh at


Laura @ Getting There said...

You and your husband certainly have accomplished a great deal in the past year, Leigh. I look forward to seeing what you guys do in 2011.

Renee Nefe said...

You've done so much! Can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for you.

Theresa said...

You both accomplished an enormous amount in 2010!
Please do sit back and reflect on all your wonderful accomplishments. Congratulations on a truly productive 2010 and best wishes that every project in 2011 and beyond be nothing but smooth sailing!

Heather said...

Leigh, Congratulations on so many completed goals! I have enjoyed reading your journey over the past few months, you are quite inspiring. Keep on motivating us with the chronicles of your accomplishments! (and all the stories about the motley crew you've assembled in the barnyard:)

Leigh said...

Laura, I'm looking forward to it too, LOL.

Renee, it's pretty neat to write it all out like this. I just hope we start to get a sense of routine next year.

Theresa, we do take breaks and time to reflect. I truly hope 2011 is a smooth going as you say!

Heather, thank you! Yes, the critters certainly do keep us entertained. :) Never a dull moment.

Woolly Bits said...

Leigh - I was so happy when we finally finished renovating all the corners of our old cottage. I thought that'll be it - but it didn't take long and other jobs crept up again; repairs (some of them big and rather unexpected), replacements etc... it's not only the garden that is never really finished - when you have a house there's always something to do as well. but I think you did a good job last year in finishing all those projects! there's only so much you can do without outside help (unless you have a bottomless purse:))... I hope your next year will be just as successful - happy year year!

Benita said...

Of course, you know you and your husband are a tremendous influence on my family. We aren't keeping with the with Jones - trying to keep up with you guys is hard enough work. :)

Here's to a fun and productive 2011!

Leigh said...

Bettina, that's a fact. Especially with an older home!

Benita, well, if you were starting with what we've got, you'd be motivated too! LOL

Cathy said...

You know, my ex and I moved to the (rented out for 30 yrs - built at the turn of last century on Civil War era foundation) family farm in 86 with a long list of to-dos. By the time we finished he had found his 2nd wife and now me and my 2nd are in midst of our to-do list. You and Dan have my envy for your goals with your dream.

Leigh said...

Cathy, it's been a long time coming. Even though life brings changes though, isn't there a sense of accomplishment from completing those goals? They are the best way for us to keep on track.