December 21, 2011

Evaluating Our 2011 Homestead Goals

The calendar is on the past page. That means it's a good time to start reflecting on what we're trying to do, and how well we're doing it; to evaluate the progress we've made on this year's goals. This year's list was shorter than last year's. This wasn't because we had less to do, it was because the goals we did have were for bigger projects. Our first year saw the need for a lot of little steps to get organized. This year we've been able to start building on that. As I look back over our 2011 goals, here's what I see:

House - we got a lot done on the house

Goals accomplished:
Goals not:
  • install new front door (which has been residing in the hallway for almost 2 years now).
Goals in progress:

Garden - 50/50 on garden goals.

Goals accomplished:
Goals not:
  • win the battle against that nasty wire grass in the strawberries and comfrey - not only did I not win this battle, but the wire grass took over my new strawberry beds as well, and presses in to new territory in the garden
  • hoop houses or row covers - the only progress I made on this was looking for supplies to do it. I couldn't find the right size PVC pipe, so didn't pursue it. This is the 2nd year in a row I haven't met this goal! Do I dare include it in next year's?
In addition are the goals listed in my 2010 garden analysis. I:
  • got my mulching done earlier
  • planted new things like asparagus, Egyptian walking onions, multiplier onions
  • tried new varieties of melons, cucumbers, popcorn, lettuce, sweet potatoes
  • and expanded companion planting into a group system


Goals accomplished:
Goals not:
  • raise meat chickens - after much discussion, we dropped this one. Not the raising part, but the part about specific meat breed chickens. We decided to stick with a heavier dual purpose heritage breed. They don't dress out like grocery store chickens, but that's just something we'll have to accept. Dan does not like the idea of hybridizing chickens for specific purposes like meat & eggs
Goals in progress:
  • improve existing pasture/hay - we have the seed for this and are preparing to plant it this winter

Water conservation systems - only small steps taken here

Goals accomplished:
  • none
Goals not accomplished:
  • greywater recycling 
  • rainwater collection
Steps taken toward these goals:

The nice thing about goals, is that there isn't the same pressure to achieve them as resolutions. They are very useful for project planning and figuring out what to do next. They can be adjusted or changed as needed. They are also useful for evaluating one's progress, and setting the next year's goals.

If you had goals for the year, I'd love to hear about them, along with how well you've been able to meet them and which ones you had to change. I can't say this enough, but we really can learn a lot from one another. 


Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I think you all have done a wonderful job with all your renovations and I love that Summer kitchen :o) ..I got so tired thinking of how hard you all worked , I have to go take a nap I know your tired ..beautiful job. I love your ambition.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I guess it is that time of year again. It makes all that hard work feel not so bad when you can look back and see all you accomplished. And it is amazing how fast a year just flies by. Better get off to making my list :)

Renee Nefe said...

Like everyone has said, your done list makes me tired. You and Dan have gotten a lot accomplished and the results are fantastic! I hope that 2012 is equally productive for you.
We all know and understand that while you have many goals sometimes other things get in the way of them.

This year we wanted to get our front porch replaced (done) and our roof replaced (still undone!) I think part of our problem is that hubby is trying to get the lowest price possible. Well we had leaking in the garage again so I just want the roof FIXED! I don't really care what it costs. Both estimates are below what the insurance paid us to get it done. :p (sorry, sore issue!) But now of course we have to wait until spring so the shingles will set.

For next year I'm adding my kitchen to the list. While I'm not thrilled with granite, we can get it for less than other options and it is what everyone else is doing. sigh!

For the following year I want my master bath done!

Tom Stewart said...

I need a list like that! Working by myself, Projects seem to take forever to get done and I have to admit that I put things off. But you have inspired me to at least get a "LIST OF GOALS" done and see what I can get crossed off that list this time next year!
First thing on that list "Hoop House" Went out this morning and priced the materials I will need to get it up!

Jocelyn said...

Good for you! I am about to embark on a list like this myself. I usually do it on my birthday, but this year it passed and I didn't have time. So, I'll do it for the new year.

Just sitting down today to catalog seeds. Did you ever do that? It helps me know what I need to get, and what I have too much of already!

Betty Bohemian said...

We just purchased our home and 5 acres in October so our list was simple: get the house in bare minimum livable condition. Our place is little,800sf. We installed all the insulation, we plumbed the whole house, installed tub, toilet, kitchen sink ( bathroom sink isn't in yet). I wanted to have a new goat house built but that did not happen. I also wanted a chicken coop ( my chickens were free range before we moved here but our. Property isn't fenced yet).

Next years list Isaac doozy!

Unknown said...

Hi Leigh...

I personally think that u're doing quite well with those goals...that's sure a lot of achievement for 1 year...good luck & all the best for next year..:)

Crustyrusty said...

Got to get the food storage in the garage organized. I've been putting it off in favor of working 10 hour days and cutting firewood.

Next year is laying out the garden and getting a coop built for the chickies. If we can get that far I'll be happy.

EverStuff Shrimp said...

I love you idea of having a set of goals and looking over what you did and didn't get to through the year. I want to do something like this, and had no idea where to start. Thank you for the great idea. It's nice to see what other people have accomplished against what I wanted to get done for the year.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'd chalk this up to a great year! So what if you didn't make all your goals, now you have an easier time setting next year's goals.

Leigh said...

Ginny, thanks! Fortunately our projects are spread out! Plus, seeing things in disrepair or needing to be done bothers Dan. When he's home, he's on a project.

Jane, it's true, It really helps keep things in perspective. :)

Renee, aw. I think it only seems like a lot because I made a list and it's a years worth! Sounds like you did really well on your goals too. Kitchen is always a big one!

Tom, it does help to have a goal list! In between projects we re-evaluate it, and sometimes change it, but it definitely keeps us going and helps us keep productive.

Jocelyn, love those seed catalog! I need to be thinking about gardening goals soon too. Do post your list on your blog.

Betty, actually I think you approached it correctly, house first. And gosh but you've gotten a lot accomplished since October! I have to warn you, fencing is one heck of a big job.

HangKebon, thanks! Writing it all down like this helps us realize how much we actually are achieving. A very encouraging feeling.

Crustyrusty, that's a biggy and important. But with 12 hour work days it's hard to get much else done. If you add chickens and a garden next year, you'll have accomplished a lot.

Everstuff, glad to have helped! We pretty much tend to think of inside (house, though the outside of the house needs work too) and outside (animals, garden, fencing, etc.) The hard part is prioritizing and keeping it a manageable year's worth. :)

CaliforniaGrammy, that's why I like goals better than resolutions! No real pressure to get everything done! Plus I'm married to a go-getter. He loves his projects. :) said...

Great job! Every little effort adds up!!!


Cat Eye Cottage said...

The important thing is you made progress!

Mama Pea said...

I think you and Dan have made fantastic progress and had a great year. Your "record keeping" is enviable.

I know we accomplished huge amounts starting in January with a humongous rewiring job . . . that took soooo long! We did completely remodel the small kitchen/living room into a beautiful, big kitchen that is all I wanted it to be and built a large pantry. Our NE MN weather was the biggest factor in calling a halt to the living room progress (about half done) until spring so that was a bit of a disappointment as I thought we would be done by Christmas. If I had been the efficient record keeper you are, I'd probably see everything else we got done . . . a lesson I need to take to heart and improve on!

trump said...

Leigh you sure have accomplished a lot and the fruits of your hard labor are showing. Id like to wish you and all of your readers a merry Christmas and happy holidays. I have just posted the last post of the year on my own blog and wanted to stop over here before Christmas. Richard

~mel said...

I would say that's a very productive list! I think it's fun to do a list like that and actually see your accomplishments in writing.
Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Leigh said...

Lana, you don't realize it at the time, but when you look back, that is so true!

Candace, we're pleased. :)

Mama Pea, that's why I blog, to keep a record, LOL. I think you've made fantastic progress on your remodeling too. You've inspired me more than once.

Richard, thank you! A very merry Christmas to you as well.

Mel, thanks! It's a good feeling to get it all down like this. Encouraging actually. :)

Laureli said...

Loved reading your goal list! I'm coming to the realization that our goals toward more self-sufficiency are really homesteading goals (permaculture in nature), and I'm happy to have found your site and follow along.
So far we converted a really nice shed that came with the house and was FULL of junk/tools into a coop for 7 hens and a Roo- and that's been one heck of a learning experience just over the past 3 months! (I didn't even know what 'molting' was, lol).
Goals are easy, it's prioritizing them that's hard. So much to do...where to start, and how to finagle the finances and all that.

Leigh said...

Illoura, that's a good point, that self-sufficiency and homesteading goals are pretty much one and the same. And I agree about prioritizing, it's the hardest. And with money the way it is, I more and more find myself asking how well a particular purchase will help us achieve our goals. Sometimes even good things don't seem to matter in the greater context.