January 1, 2013

Homestead Goals For 2013

I think I say this every year, but every year it's no less true - I prefer goals to resolutions. Resolutions seem too set in stone, and to not keep them is seen as a failure. Goals on the other hand, are flexible and adaptable. They can be evaluated and changed if need be. They allow for the unexpected, and for changing one's mind.

Our goals for 2013 seemed easier to write than in years past. Initially there was so much to do here that we needed them for direction. Now things seem clearer as to what's next. They are still a good reference however, and it's especially helpful to make such a list in the first place.

Here is what we hope to be working on in 2013:

House: House projects pretty much have a work flow at this point. As we complete one, we will move on the the next and will continue down the list. How much we'll accomplish in 2013 remains to be seen and depends on how many unexpected problems we run into! Here are the next steps:
  • Finish the hall bathroom. This is the current project.
  • Move on to the middle bedroom. This room is actually the second step in creating a master suite; the bathroom is the first step. The suite will include both of these, as well as a study for Dan, which we'll make from part of the 5 foot wide hallway. (Original floor plan here, proposed floor plan here.)
  • Ideally we'll finish all that this winter (ha!). This summer, we'd like to start on the front porch before it falls down. It will have to be completely rebuilt due to foundation and structural problems. This must be done before we can continue replacing the old siding for the house (a project first started October of 2011).

Fencing: This is next on the list. It will be ongoing it seems, until the entire property is fenced! Like the house, we will keep working on it until we finish, whether this year or beyond. For sure this year:
  • Fence the browse area in the woods for the does. We plan to work on this after we finish the bathroom.
  • After that we have a couple of choices:
    • Privacy fence on the rental house side. Renters come and go and we feel this is a necessity because the goats are too attractive to their dogs and children. Our experience has not been good with either one.
    • Finish fencing the yard around the house. At first this was just a privacy fence which doubles as a place to store firewood. However, roaming dogs are motivating us to fence in the entire yard. We seem to be a dog magnet! I can't tell you how many times stray dogs have come and upset the chickens and the goats. 

Rain Catchment: we want to at least get a start on this. We have all the materials for one corner of the house, and just need to set aside some time to put it together. That will probably be after we finish the bathroom.

  • No specific goal here except to make it a primary focus again. Last year the garden was put somewhat on the back burner because of the kitchen remodel. There were many days I had to press on with kitchen projects and neglect the garden. Now that the kitchen is done, I can get back to full time gardening.
  • I did however, decide to challenge myself, in what is probably the closest I'll come to a resolution. Based on Carla Emery's concept of 365 days of independent eating, I decided to resurrect my garden journal to try to record at least something everyday toward that concept. Details on "Day 1" of my garden journal. 

Pasture Improvement: This year we'll focus on the buck pasture. I'll have the soil tested soon and start getting soil amendments. The plan is to plant it in corn and cowpeas this summer, and pasture in the fall.

Animal Shelters: Eventually we'd like to have a rain, sun, & wind shelter in each fenced area. At the start, we're considering temporary hoop shelters made from cattle panels and tarps. That will make them inexpensive to make and easy to move. We'll need two this summer.
  • One for the bucks, because of the soil improvement project. They will have to spend the summer in the front pasture and will need rain shelter.
  • The other for pigs, which we plan only to have over the summer. They will live in last year's grain field.  

Outbuildings: a real barn would be too expensive to build, so we're going to make do with what we already have, insofar as they are structurally sound. It took awhile to come to that decision, and was based in part by being able to visualize our outbuildings and barnyard as a whole. We have a general plan in mind now, so this year, the goal will be:
  • Build a new chicken coop. The exsisting shed can then be used just for goats.
  • Guinea house - in the buck browse because that's where all the ticks are
  • Turkey house - we only plan to keep a few turkeys. Perhaps a portable house for them? According to Joel Salatin, turkeys are excellent at weeding corn (once it gets too tall for them to eat).

I know the list seems long but fortunately, it's not a checklist where we start at the top and work our way to the bottom. We like to have both indoor and outdoor projects because of the weather. Some of these projects that will take only a few days to complete, or at most a week or two: the rain catchment project, pasture improvement, and the shelters. Others are larger projects and will take weeks to months to complete, such as the master suite, fencing, and possibly the chicken coop. And as I mentioned, some are just the next step, whether this year or next.

It seems that when I share my goal lists every January 1st, many folks comment how ambitious our lists are. At the end of the year, comments for my "year in review" posts focus on how much we've accomplished. As an encouragement to others, I'd like to say that the key to success is to not look at the list in its entirety and think, "that's impossibly long!" Rather, we just take it a day at a time, a project at a time. Some days we work on indoor projects, some days outdoor projects. "By the inch it's a cinch, by the yard it's hard" as the saying goes. Before you know it, all those inches add up to a project complete. :)

Homestead Goals For 2013  © January 2013 


McKenna said...

Happy New Year, Dear! Press on and make it the best year ever!

Grish said...

Happy New Year.

I'm needing to fence on my place. Interested to see what you come up with. Maybe it'll motivate me.

The Cranky said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your progress; your posts never fail to educate or motivate me.

My two main goals this year are expanding our container gardening (much easier for me to do than traditional gardening) and re-working our tiny kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you and Dan :) You are such an inspiration to me.

Leigh said...

Happy New Year to you too!

Carolyn said...

Happy New Year!
Looks like you've got a busy year ahead of you :)

Rosalyn said...

Good luck with that list! Every time I visit your blog I am blown away with what you are doing together. It's amazing!

DFW said...


I'm looking forward to following your progress & learning as much as I can along the way.

Happy New Year!

Clint Baker said...

Happy New Year to you Leigh!

Sue said...

Ambitious goals, as always, but no doubt you will continue to check things off the list at a steady pace.

The cattle panel/tarp shelters work well (if properly braced), but they tend to eat tarps. I'm experimenting with using foam pipe wrap on the panel edges to save some of the wear and tear on the tarp to see if that helps.

Happy New Year!

Renee Nefe said...

I think that your list is inspiring me to come up with a similar plan.

Hubby and I need to agree on counter tops for the kitchen which really needs to be done as the dishwasher is tearing our particle board counter top apart. And then I would like to come up with a plan for our master bathroom as our shower is pretty much rigged together right now.
Just have to get hubby to stop looking at ideas for finishing our basement. While a finished basement would be nice, it isn't something that we really need done right now...or ever really.

badgerpendous said...

Happy New Year! I'm really looking forward to reading along, and using your progress (and measured approach) as a great motivational tool for my own goals this year.

I'm looking forward to reading along with your gardening journal as that's one area that I've neglected myself.

Just a quick side note, I tried to right-click on the link to your day one garden journal and I got a note about respecting copyright. I was only trying to open that link in another browser tab. But I understand!

Here's to a great 2013!

Sandy Livesay said...

Here's to a 2013 and completing your projected goals. Happy New Year My Friend.

Leigh said...

Carolyn, I hope so. :)

Rosalyn, thanks! All I can say is it's great to have a work partner like Dan. :)

Debbie, I appreciate that! I hope we do things worthy of passing on. :)

Clint, thank you and happy new year to you too!

Sue, the nice thing about goals is that there is no pressure to actually accomplish them! We have a couple of goats (the minis) who love to chew on things so we've wondered about the tarps. I Like your idea of the foam pipe wrap. We'll have to see about something like that too. Thanks!

Renee, those are excellent goals right there! And the nice thing about writing goals down, is that when you complete projects and cross them off the list, it really feels good!

Badgerpendous, sorry! I'm a prolific right-clicker myself, so I find it inconvenient as well. I've had so many folks just help themselves to my photos though, that I was getting frustrated and so added the script. Thanks to your feedback though, I did make the links so they open in a new window. Maybe that will help. :)

Sandy, I wish the same to you!

Bridget said...

Wow! A busy year ahead for you. Wishing you all the best for 2013.
Bridget x

Cat Eye Cottage said...

I love how methodical you are about things. Goals are great because they give you a framework for planning.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I love your "By an inch it's a cinch . . ." slogan, one day at a time your goals will be accomplished. It seems like a do-able list and you have a whole year to shoot for your goals. May 2013 bring you good health and prosperity!

Leigh said...

Bridget, we're just busy people. :) And I wish the very same to you.

Candace, it wasn't always methodical! At least now we can see the next steps. And you are so right about goals creating a framework for planning. We'd be spinning our wheels otherwise.

Janice, I don't know where that saying came from, but it's so appropriate! Hopefully it's doable, though some of those goals will be ongoing for the next several years I think. :)

mail4rosey said...

It sounds like a lot of hard but rewarding work!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I'm not even sure what resolutions are; Michelle! Like you, I write goals, plans and dream large.

Anonymous said...

Leigh, I got a question for you! How does goats milk taste? I've googled it and see all kinds of different answers! Do you think it is gamey or have a weird after taste? I tried goat meat last year while pregnant and did not enjoy it, mostly the smell of it cooking just made me sick and it tasted really gamey! I would love to raise goats for milk, because it is so much easier than a cow! :) I guess I will have to find some to try first! Thanks Leigh! And happy new year to you and Dan!


Leigh said...

Mail4rosey welcome and thank you for the comment! Actually, I can't imagine doing anything else. :)

Sandra, resolutions do seem kind of pointless. Love goals though. :)

Amber, good question. Our goats' milk tastes sweeter and creamier than cows milk. In fact, I don't really like cows' milk anymore. Off flavored milk does happen, in both goats and cows(!) Common causes include less than scrupulous cleanliness in regards to milk handling, the animal's diet, or nutritional deficiencies. On occasion, an individual simply produces off flavored milk. These are best culled.

In regards to the flavor of goat meat, that depends on several things too. It's more likely to be strong with a buck, though it doesn't have to be. Removing the testicles immediately after slaughtering is said to help. So is not allowing any of the goat hair to touch to meat. We butchered two goats last summer, a year old whether and a 4 year old doe with a broken leg. Their meat is excellent!

Gill - That British Woman said...

I am your newest follower and we bought an old farmhouse on 5 acres in 2009 as well.


Leigh said...

Gill, welcome and thank you for the follow! I'm on my way over to visit your blog. :)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Happy New Year, there is always something that needs to be done but beats living in a Condo. If you are going to build a pig shelter think about making one out of wood and on skids. If you are only going to have one or two that should be sufficent. My pigs are going to Freezer land this morning. Their pen is cattle panels, one of them pulled a t-post right our of the ground and has a nice whole dug under the panel. I think they might destroy a hoop house.

Leigh said...

TL, I appreciate your feedback. Experience is an excellent source of information. Dan and I discuss this from time to time. We didn't entertain skids because we don't have a tractor. Another idea is a straw bale shelter with tarp roof. I saw that on a blog that seemed to work quite well for pigs.

Julene said...

List making does help in bringing about a year well used and well lived! Your focus is the most admirable!