December 28, 2013

Year In Review: 2013


Our rainwater catchment system

Our two big projects for January were the hallway bathroom and our first rainwater catchment system. The hall bath was actually on it's way to becoming a master suite bath: we insulated and paneled the walls, dropped the ceiling, and trimmed out my pretty stained glass bathroom window.


Laying a new tile bathroom floor

The hall bathroom remodel continued as we worked on the floor and began refurbishing the old clawfoot tub.


Newborn Alphie

In March my first Kikobian kid was born! Not a true breed, this little guy is the first of what I hope will be a line of Kiko/Nubian cross homestead goats. His birth was a difficult one but thankfully both he and his mom made it.  This was the month we let the goats on to our new pasture. Progress on the bathroom (the tub) was slow because of cold temperatures.


Ziggy, taking a breather from carrying around her yet-to-be-born quads.

April seemed a slow month while we waited for Ziggy to kid. Dan built a new shelter for the goats in the front pasture so we could prepare the buck pasture for planting field corn. In the bathroom, the clawfoot tub was finished at last and installed.


Lily and her 2 day old twins, Daisy and Rosie

In May, our goat population exploded. Lily gave birth to twin Kikobian doelings, and at long last, Ziggy had quadruplets. Sadly, only three survived, but what cuties they were. These were a Kiko/Nigerian cross, which proved to be very nice little goats. Also in May we bought Hooper, our second Kiko (future) stud.


Mama Buff and a few of her new brood.

In June, one of my Buff Orpington hens hatched 8 eggs and happily adopted 16 mail order chicks. We got our field corn planted (in between rain drops) and had our first experience killing and butchering a goat. In the bathroom remodel, Dan built a gorgeous sink cabinet and installed a vessel sink.


Our field corn was sock high by the 4th of July

July was a difficult month as our baby chicks began to disappear during the night. We eventually caught the killer, a rat. About the same time there was a coyote sighting in the area, the first in a long time. On a happier note, it was the month we got our guinea keets and finished the bathroom.


Katy and Sam.

After losing 6 chicks to that rat, we decided to expand our rodent control department. As part of our master suite remodel, we used found space to make a study for Dan. When the rain wouldn't let up, we also got to work on the new bedroom by replacing the old drafty windows with new energy efficient ones.


Progress on the exterior of the house. We're gradually replacing the vinyl
covered original siding with a barn board look panel and new color.

Our beautiful September weather was timely. Once the new bedroom windows were installed, we needed to get them trimmed on the outside of the house. We made progress with the siding, trim, and painting. We cut down one of our old (but mostly dead) shade oaks for firewood. It was sad to lose it but worse, was losing two more chickens to an unknown predator.


Our guineas

October was a harvest month: field corn, cushaw, muscadines, popcorn, and what turned out not to be pumpkins. I planted winter pasture. To keep things fun, our guinea fowl were a source of never ending entertainment. 


His & hers closets were made by tearing out a wall hiding closets for
the adjacent bedrooms. Tall ceilings enabled the storage space above.

November saw progress on the bedroom closets (phase 1 and phase 2). Other good news, my pullets began to lay.


Of course the big news in December was the publication of my book, 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead. Sadly, it was the month we lost our guinea fowl. Being a mild month, we were able to make progress on fencing and a new chicken coop, as well as work on the bedroom. I'll have photos and details on all of those soon.

Year In Review: 2013 © December 2013 


Quinn said...

So many projects and so much accomplished, Leigh! Congrats to you and Dan!
That said, the picture that made me smile the widest is the one of Katy and Sam :)

Kris said...

It's sure been a big year for you all and I've sure enjoyed following along! Here's hoping that 2014 brings you new opportunities and accomplishments. Happy New Year.

DFW said...

What a productive year, congratulations on all you got done!

Woolly Bits said...

only a review like that shows you how much you really have achieved in just one year! though I've been wondering (thinking about the guineas on and off:): why did you give them away instead of, ehm, eating (freezing?) them??? where they just too young/small? over here they are rarely offered, but if you can find them they are quite expensive (usually sold around christmas)!

Sherri B. said...

It doesn't seem possible that it has been a year. I remember most of these posts, how time flies!
It is exciting to see how much you have achieved this year, especially your book, congratulations again.

Farmer Barb said...

It is was a fruitful year for you. Congratulations to you both!

Happy and healthy for 2014!

Mama Pea said...

You can really see all your accomplishments when laid out like this. You should feel very proud of how much you've done and the rate at which your homestead is progressing. Little ones (goats and kitties) sure do grow up fast!

Sandy Livesay said...

Wow.....what a year my friend!!!!
You and Dan have done wonderful things in 2013. I can only hope 2014 brings a positively fulfilling year.

Happy New Year Leigh and Dan!

Leigh said...

Quinn, I love that photo of Sam and Katy too. :)

Kris, thank you! And happy new year to you as well.

DFW, thanks!

Bettina, we would have done that if Dan had been home. That last day was just too much and I had to do something immediately. We had just finished half a dozen chickens a few days before and thought about some of the guineas then but 6 is plenty for a batch for us. He went out on the road then so we never got to try guinea meat.

Sherri, time does indeed fly! These posts really help us see how much we've actually done.

Barb, thanks and same to you!

Mama Pea, most of the time we focus more on what we haven't done, so these posts are a good reminder that we have indeed accomplished a lot. :)

Sandy, thank you so much! Wishing the same to you and Bulldog Man.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Love your socks in July ;) A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Dan. I tried your goat's milk mozzarella recipe, and oh my, it's fabulous! New year's eve pizza for us this week - hooray!

Unknown said...

What a busy and productive year you two had!

esther stone said...

Your book arrived today. I read it into the new year! I love it!