December 30, 2015

A Look Back at 2015

Once a year we look back at what the past year has brought us, both ups and downs. We usually discover we've accomplished a whole lot more than we thought. That helps us make plans for the future.


The living room was warmer and lighter after the bay window was built.

Our winter house project was the front porch, which by January meant replacing the old living room windows. In their place, Dan built a bay window. It was the month we lost Gruffy, and it was the month I started planning our first forest garden hedgerow.


The hedgerow now divides our front one acre pasture into two sections.

In February we got to work on that hedgerow. It was also the month we chose to be roosterless for awhile, never suspecting we'd have a volunteer day rooster ready to take over the job.


Helen and three of her quads

In March my first Kinder kids were born - quadruplets. We got the hedgerow fenced and gated, and planted. Our indoor project of the month was finishing the window seat for the bay window.


Our first hive of bees.

This was bee month. We assembled our hive kit, painted and named it, set it up, and installed a 3# package of honeybees. We also had our year's second goat kidding - a pair of twin doelings.


Black Australorp chicks

In May one of my Buff Orpington hens went broody. Dan and I were wanting to try something new, so I ordered 16 Black Australorp chicks for my broody to adopt. Mrs. Broody and I had a battle of the wills in regards to her nest location, until she finally said, "Forget it." That meant hand raising the new chicks with no mama. Subject to much speculation was whether or not Polly Pig was pregnant. It was also the month our walk-behind tractor died.


Two of my new doelings with one of my home-born girls.

June brought a hot start to summer. I worked in the garden and fussed with my bees. The big news was expanding my little Kinder herd with three new doelings from Illinois. I had plenty of milk coming in and resumed mozzarella making.


Six newborn American Guinea Hogs

Polly surprised us with six piglets in July. I hadn't even been sure she was pregnant. We worked on the house some, getting another new window installed plus trimming out the new front door. The big news was that we bought a farm tractor!


Prototype goat chow maker

Dan's big project in August was making a goat feed chopper out of our old yard mulcher. He also finished the living room so that we could use it again. In critter news it was the month Valentine (aka Meowy) came to live with us, and I traded one of Polly's piglets for six Muscovy ducks.


Ozark Razorback Cowpeas

It was a busy month in the garden: summer garden harvest, planting the fall garden, and starting on a hoop house. In all his spare time, Dan also made a little progress on the front porch.


Our pullets started laying just in time for a winter egg supply.

October is the month we get ready for winter. Firsts included Australorp eggs, raccoon stew, and a new method for planting winter pasture. I had just read Masanobu Fukuoka's The One-Straw Revolution was able to modify one of his techniques.


Hoop house under construction

First frost came in November so it was the month of finishing the summer harvest. It was a very rainy month so little got done outside. I spent my days trying to get Critter Tales ready for print, so I didn't do much blogging.


Dining room windows are in and needing trim (both inside and out).

In early December I was finally able to announce the release of Critter Tales and hold a giveaway to celebrate. During the month's first cold rainy days I cleaned out the freezer and worked on jams, jellies, and pizza sauce. Warm days followed, and when it wasn't raining we were able to make much progress on replacing our dining room windows.

And that's been our year! How about you?


Theresa said...

Did the dog ever make it home Leigh? Was that 2015 or earlier? Time does fly... Happy New Year to you and Dan.

Leigh said...

Theresa, we never did find that dog. That was back in August of 2014, and is probably one of my top homesteading regrets.

Izzy said...

Holy Smokes that was a lot of work! I'm breathless reading all your accomplishments. What could possibly be left for 2016?! :)

Seeking Serenity said...

Whew! busy busy! I love that bay window- and your photos

PioneerPreppy said...

Looking Good!!!

Renee Nefe said...

Okay, I "might" be motivated enough to make a plan for this year. ;) I was looking out my back window and imagining the hoop house that I've been longing for in the back corner...I just worry that our HOA will not approve it. Maybe I should check with our neighbor and see how much he is getting charged for all of his violations and see if it might be worth it to just do it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Oh Leigh & Dan, everything is coming along so nicely, even though our journey as it's ups & down's....we are always learning, aren't we. :) p.s. aren't your goaties just the cutest! ;)

kymber said...

you and Dan had a fantastic year and i am looking forward to all of the stuff you will do in the upcoming year! we had a great year too...and 2016 is looking so bright "i gotta wear shades" (ya, i'm dating myself - bahahahah!)!!! congratulations on all of your accomplishments in 2015!

your friend,

Leigh said...

Izzy, what's left? Everything we didn't finish this year!

Leigh said...

Thanks! I've been really pleased with that window. It lets a lot of light in and makes the room seem bigger. :)

Leigh said...


Leigh said...

Renee, maybe it's time to get those HOA rules changed. The times are changing and homes need to be more environmentally friendly, not bound by rules.

Pam, thanks! So true about the ups and downs, but you know what? We learn something valuable every time.

Expecting our first goat kids in about 2 months!

Anonymous said...

Aww...looking forward to seeing those babies! Just went an visited some friends of ours tonight...they have Boer goats....13 babies running around....heaven....LOL! Good Luck and so true....very valuable! :)

Lady Locust said...

You two are an amazing team and accomplish so much. Wishing you every blessing for the upcoming year.

Chris said...

I remember most of those accomplishments, that I'm surprised it took a year to do it all in. Not that it shouldn't take that long, it just felt like yesterday, I remember you writing about it. How quickly time flies!

I hope 2016 is just as productive for you both. :)

Leigh said...

Kymber, thanks! Wishing the best to you and Jambalony in the upcoming year. I'm delighted to hear things are looking good!

Leigh said...

I have to admit that it takes a post like this to see it that way rather than only seeing what remains undone. Wishing you the blessings of a successful new year as well. :)

Leigh said...

It does indeed! We sometimes lament that we can't get more done due to Dan's work schedule. But on the other hand, we have to be thankful we are able to do it at all. Hoping 2016 will be our finishing up year! All the best to you Chris!

Chris said...

Wow, finishing up! Do you mean just for the house, or for the goat shed too? I guess you'll try to do as much as you both can. :)

Leigh said...

We have three major projects: the house, barn, and fencing. I'm just hoping we can make a lot of progress on all three next year (although realistically, I doubt we will. :)

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Thanks for sharing your year! It looks like you had a great one and managed to accomplish a lot. Nancy

Mark said...

You've had a productive year! I remember seeing all that go by during the year, but I must say it looks very impressive all laid out in one place. You should look back and feel pretty good about your accomplishments!

Leigh said...

Nancy there were times when it seemed like everything had come to a stand-still. Looking at it like this, though, is a good feeling.

Leigh said...

It's really encouraging to do these end of the year posts. Too often we only see what isn't done and get discouraged. This helps keep it in perspective. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Unknown said...

We had lots of projects too, I just finished my post!