December 29, 2012

2012: Year In Review

This year has flown by. If I had to describe it in a short phrase, I'd say it was our year of ups and downs. Here's a look back .....


view of a warming fire in the firebox of my wood cookstove
January was the month we got my wood cookstove going. 

We spent most of the January on the kitchen remodel. While waiting on the new plank flooring to be delivered, we accomplished a lot of little things. We installed the tin ceiling in the dining nook, and modified our hodge-podge floor cabinets. We got the wood cookstove going! I harvested my homegrown ginger for the first time. January was also the month we had to make a difficult decision about our rooster situation.


The goats were totally suspicious of the new critter

The big news for February was that we got a puppy. After the next door neighbor's dog climbed our fence and chased our goats and chickens, we decided we needed a livestock guardian dog. Kris was a Bernese Mountain, Anatolian Shepherd, Pyrenees mix. The long awaited kitchen floor finally arrived. In the meantime we started to make plans for the hall bathroom. We also used our leftover tin ceiling panels to make cabinet doors for the kitchen.


Cutting boards to fit around the wood cookstove hearth

Our old kitchen floor had a lot of problems, but after much preparation, we installed our new wide plank kitchen floor. We got started on our pasture improvement program, and I prepared for compost worms. In puppy news, Kris developed "Kennel Cough." I also discovered he was allergic to corn (a common ingredient in commercial dogfood).


Riley's April Wordless Wednesday

In April we stained and polyed the new kitchen floor. We installed the base cabinets and finished the compost worm bed, ready for the arrival of the worms. Kris's hind leg became swollen from (we think) bug bites. A prescription for antihistamines took care of that.


Kris, 5 months, & Kody, 4 months

In May, we took in a Great Pyrenees puppy, Kody, becoming a two dog homestead. Kris developed elbow dysplasia, which was worrisome, but we discovered gelatin as a treatment for arthritis pain. We had goat problems too, when Jasmine broke her leg. In the kitchen, we installed the sink and finished the plumbing, I lined the cabinet shelves with vinyl floor tiles, we got the wall cabinets up, also wall shelves, and Dan built the peninsula.


my 2012 peach crop
In June, we harvested peaches & dealt with peach problems

In June we made more progress on the kitchen remodel: a problem led to a pull-out spice rack, Dan trimmed out the sink window, made a utensil rack, and accomplished numerous little things. We had a difficult decision to make about Jasmine when her leg didn't heal properly. I also tried to break a broody hen for the first time.


Mama Chicken & Chicken Little

In July, my persistent broody hen hatched one egg. It was the month Kody killed one of my chickens and had to be returned to his former owner. I also bought my 1st two Nigerian Dwarf goats. We faced a test in true preparedness when Dan lost his job. Since we had no money to work on the kitchen remodel, we started gutting the bathroom instead. In July I also lost my computer from a lightning strike.


2 Nigerian Dwarf does
Edy & Nessie, my new Nigerian Dwarf does

August was definitely a better month, except for losing Kris. That was devistating. On top of his other problems, Kris contracted Lymes Disease. This was compounded by severe anemia, for which the vet could not find a cause. Later, as I tried to piece together all the clues, my suspicions leaned toward some sort of auto-immune disease. In better news, Dan got his old job back and was compensated for all the money we thought we lost. I also received a new computer. In goat news, I bought two more Nigerian Dwarf does. In the kitchen, Dan made a new dish rack. Outside, we had the dead limbs cut back from one of our two ancient oaks and made plans for a new place to store firewood.


A privacy fence is the perfect place to stack firewood

September, we pronounced firewood month. We finished our new privacy fence / firewood storage, as well as cutting, chopping, and stacking the coming winter's firewood. We also revised our homestead master plan.


Remineralizing the soil is part of our land stewardship

We finally got back to the kitchen remodel in October and tackled the last two projects. When Kinder goat breeding was looking unsuccessful for the second year in a row, I sold my Nigerian Dwarfs except Ziggy, and purchased a Kiko buck and another Nubian doe. In October, we finally got the last of the soil amendments to remineralize our pasture, tilled them in, and planted it. In October I discovered kefir.


I love my new kitchen, but admit it was a huge project.

In November our kitchen remodel was finally done. Dan didn't miss a beat but started preparing to work on the bathroom shortly after that. He added a girder to support the bathroom and bedroom floors, and repaired the water damage to the bathroom floor itself.


Our new bathroom window

It didn't rain for weeks after we planted the pasture, but finally on December 1st, I had the first growth to show you. We mostly worked on the bathroom remodel this month: window, ceiling, ventilation, electrical, and plumbing. We also got the wall paneling installed (photos and details about that soon).

All in all it's been a busy, if not memorable year. In spite of problems, we have much to be thankful for, and that includes all of you. :)

2012: Year In Review © December  2012 


Michelle said...

You certainly had more newsworthy happenings than I did! I love reading all about it. :-)

Grish said...

Indeed it did fly. I remember reading these articles. Doesn't seem like it been months and months for some of them.

I still really like the looks of your stove. Btw

Anonymous said...

You got so much accomplished, although I am sure in your eyes you wish you could have gotten more done. :) That's always the way. I hope the new year blesses you and Dan!

Theresa said...

Well, that was an exhausting read! :) So much accomplished, so dang impressive what two people can do with a can do attitude. Hats off to you and hoping that all the projects in 2013 are easy, straightforward and cheap!

Farmer Barb said...

How nice to stop once in a while and take stock. You look back at the pictures and you think about what has transpired. I think my favorite picture has to be the one peeking into your kitchen. I am the kind of neighbor who stops by when I am around. I love a surprise visit! I feel like I could just tap on the glass.

I wish you healthy kids and hearty harvests this year. Maybe we will all feel a little less urgency and a little more sit-by-the-fire because of what we have accomplished.


Tami said...

After distilling all of the years activities into one post, isn't it amazing how short a year really is?

Time flies, doesn't it?

Woolly Bits said...

I had the same feeling that last year just flew by - but I have to admit that we had fewer "high waves" than you. not many great ups, but more importantly not as many downs, thinking mostly of Dan's work problems and esp. of all the animals you lost:( but I do hope for you that the coming year will have less of this as well!
all the best for 2013!
Bettina (from ireland, where we have had 3 storms in 3 days....)

DebbieB said...

Leigh, I love reading your year in review. It's great that you pour so much hard work into your home - an investment into your present and your future, and a firm foundation (literally!) for the rest of your lives together. I pray for abundant blessings in the new year, my faraway friend.

DFW said...

You did great! Especially with all the ups & downs that life threw at you. Glad to have 'met' you this year & looking forward to a busy 2013!

Renee Nefe said...

Thanks for posting this...especially the information about Kris. Since Lilly's injury and surgery I had been researching ways to help her. She is currently getting Adequan shots and Glucosamine supplements, but I wanted to add gelatine to her diet as well. I'm so glad that your post listed how many grams to give her as that was where I was stuck.
At first I was just going to try making my own bone broth, but seeing as my freezer is currently full (side by side frig) and I don't have a pressure canner yet, space is an issue.
While looking for a place to get the gelatine I found that Osteo-Biflex makes a combined glucosamine/gelatine powder. And since Lilly doesn't like just eating the glucosamine pills this worked out (though pricey) however, my store was running a buy one get one free deal, so that helped a lot.
Lilly's vet gave me some grief about using store bought glucosamine over the brand that they sell at her office. Saying some nonsense about how the supplements aren't regulated. :p I know that they are even LESS regulated for animals, so I wasn't worried about giving her something intended for humans. And after paying 3 times the going rate for her pain killers at the vets office I certainly wasn't going to pay whatever they were charging for an over the counter product.

Thanks again for your help.

Michelle said...

Whew!!! Y'all are a pair of busy bees! What a beautiful year in review. The progress you've made is amazing. :-)

MTWaggin said...

HOly cow (oh wait you didn't have any of those) my year was tame in comparison. Here's to a less dramatic but equally accomplished 2013.

Laura said...

I'm enjoying owning a place vicariously through you! When I left the Willamette valley, I sold my last place, and haven't the means to get another (took it in the shorts, but did sell it!).

Having supervised construction of and installed all the finish fixtures in a home, I know how much work you're putting in. The results are nothing short of spectacular!!

I look forward to the new year to see what's going to be next!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

An amazing year it's been for you and Dan. But, in my opinion, your new kitchen is the crowning jewel. The picture just invites the viewer in for a nice cup of tea!

Becky said...

Everything is looking great! What a busy year. Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the good work.

Tina T-P said...

Wow, what a ride - your place is really looking great - I love that new bathroom window that you put in. Happy New Year to you all. T.

Mama Pea said...

As Tami said, a year really is a short time in the grand scheme of things. And yet you and Dan accomplished a HUGE amount of progress on your homestead.

I wish I had your patience (and organizational abilities) to take a look back on our year in the same way you did. Wow! Very impressive.