December 9, 2017

2017 Homestead Goals: So How'd We Do?

It's that time of year when Dan and I take some time to analyze our plans and goals for our homestead. We start by taking a look our current list of goals: what we accomplished, what we didn't, and what caused alterations in course: weather, vehicle or equipment break-downs, trees falling on the fence, or tearing into a project to discover that a whole lot of preliminary work needed to be done first, etc.

Many of our goals are long term, so these we break down into manageable chunks. We had two major projects for 2017.

1. Finish the exterior of the house
  • front end gables
  • front window in sun room
  • front porch ceiling
  • last two windows in front bedroom
  • back end gable

Finishing the outside of the house is a carry-over goal from 2016 (longer actually!) We didn't get it all done, but we crossed off two of the five sub-goals, as you can see in these two photos.

December 2016

February 2017

Will we resume work on the house in 2018? I suppose most folks would consider the house a top priority, but our primary goal of self-reliance often pulls other things to the top of the homestead to-do list. What we can get to next year remains to be seen.

NOTE: For those of you interested in remodeling old houses, take a look at my Our Old House blog here. I haven't updated it in awhile, but there are lots of links to step-by-step and before-and-after blog posts and photos.

2. Build the barn

We've been talking about building a barn since 2013. We've gone through half-a-dozen plans at least, but it wasn't until last year that things finally seemed to fall in place. It started with Dan getting the sawmill. He went to work milling beams and posts, and we were ready to get started.

We probably would have the barn by now, except we were faced with a problem: roof rot in the current goat shed. If we did nothing, we would lose the building. After a long discussion we decided to save the building by re-roofing it. And since we were doing that, we enlarged it as well! So no barn for 2016. Finally, this year, we got to it.

April 2017

December 2017

Finishing the barn will be the number one project for 2018. As we contemplate other projects we're taking a look at our Master Plan with a few revisions in mind. More on all that soon.

How did you do on your 2017 goals? Any carry overs for next year? Or are you getting ready to make new ones for 2018? Do you have an evaluation process to help you prioritize them? It's not always possible to stay on track, but I find having a plan in place really helps.


Gorges Smythe said...

I think you're doing well. Plans are plans, but they're always subject to realities we hadn't counted on.

Leigh said...

Gorges, agreed. That's why I prefer to set new year goals rather than make resolutions! :)

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Good morning! It is so neat how you and Dan set goals and work away at them. I guess I am past the real goal setting times but I still like to have lists and make little goals although I have not done them for a year at a time. Food for thought on growing as much as possible in our little courtyard! Although most of it does not apply to me I enjoy reading about what you do and are doing to become self sufficient. Nancy

Lady Locust said...

You two do great work. Keeping it realistic is what helps you be successful. The difference in the front of the house is sure drastic isn't it? Looking good!

Meanie said...

You and Dan have made tremendous progress!
My husband purchased a mill after I showed him what Dan made for your barn...out of a ol' tree!
We are always looking forward to the next project (you too belong to the "project people tribe"? ;-) ), and it helps to look back at all the gains...feels downright awesome sometimes!
Keep up the good work!

Leigh said...

Nancy, out ultimate goal is to have only small goals, LOL. Eventually all of a large one-time projects should be done which will make life much easier! There will still be plenty to do, but it will be nice to have the big stuff out of the way. :)

Lady Locust, thanks! It's so easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of stuff there is to do. Manageable chunks really help there.

Meanie, thanks! Don't you love having a sawmill? With our barn alone, it has paid for itself many time over. We definitely belong to the project people tribe. I told Nancy (above) that our goal was to eventually have no more big projects, but we'll always have a list of things to do!

Chris said...

Your strategic planning is coming together, even if it pushes the goal posts further away, sometimes. But you're still making progress. It's all there in black and white - or more like technicolor, via your blog. I love before and after pictures, to get a sense of what was accomplished.

I have mental goals, meaning, I put them in my head - so they're often forgotten as a goal, but remarkably, I still make progress on them. I just don't remember when exactly I set it as a goal, or when it stops being one. Because even when I meet a goal, I find I need to tweak it (ie: the chicken coop, is better as a plant nursery, etc). I tend to remodel old structures, when my needs change.

My goal for next year though (another mental one) is to finish the retaining walls behind the house, and rebuild some timber steps to the lower sections of the garden. They have finally done their dash with the termites, and gravity. Time for some brick ones, I think?

But I have a long list of other goals too. Which I hope to make progress on next year as well.

Ed said...

I have a long list of projects and goals that I keep tucked into my journal. However, I don't do something as narrow minded as try to assign years to them! ;)

Leigh said...

Chris, I'd like to think that we're on the verge of transitioning from establishing our homestead, to just living the life. There are still plenty of projects to be done, but this structure is key in terms of everything finally having a proper home - from critters to equipment! I think eventually, the goals pretty much present themselves in a logical order, like your retaining walls. I still write mine down because they make for a good blog post, plus it's fun to compare before and after the progress!

Ed, a journal is a good idea. And yes, assigning them years often means they aren't met! I should go back through all of my new year's goals posts and yearly wrap-ups and see how many we actually have accomplished. And how many were ditched by the wayside. ;)

Goatldi said...

Whether ditched by the wayside or checked off as finished it always gives one a lesson doesn't it?

Even though a good deal of potential plans have been shelved due to Geoffrey's health there are some that become reality. Which is good especially for morale. The green house has been one of those for me which is long over due for a post. For Geoffrey it is smaller things such as shelving or even gutter cleaning in small doses.

So for us I am going to work on the lessons learned with my sweet little green house and Geoffrey is still plotting next years garden while doing battle with gophers in the here and now. Aging on the homestead presents many changes the best of which is you may have to look at a potential project from a different view and adjust the way one accomplishes it but it can still become reality.

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

You have made some major progress in the space of a year, no doubt! There are always things to be done around the home, and we must always prioritize based on what comes up. Last year I had to replace all the floors downstairs due to moisture issues, which ate up a ton of $$$ and prevented me from fixing the driveway, which was washing away more with each storm. I just bit the bullet and had some work done on the driveway, and also had a new storm door installed before the real cold sets in as the glass on the other was a goner....and who knows what will be next? I hope you have a wonderful holiday in your sweet home!

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) I think you guy did so well with that barn! And the house looks really great too. Gosh, I had goals, plans...I don't have any kind of evaluation system, which is a heck of a good idea. I think that my goal of starting the container garden worked well. It started as a goal to grow pumpkins for Halloween then kind of expanded into "let's see what grows here" type of thing! I learned a lot. I can't say the winter garden is flourishing, it's basically at a halt, but maybe it'll be good for early spring harvesting? We'll see! My goal of not heading to the loony bin in a straight jacket was accomplished lol...dealing with 8 pets! :)

M.K. said...

Sounds like you made major progress on two big items. The front of your house is looking so pretty! And having that barn is a huge, huge bonus for a farm.
Adam is more "in charge" of the plans for our little farm, and I think our ideas are still in flux. Plus, we have almost no money to put into it, so he is left with struggling along as much as he can, doing repairs himself. Our garden improvements were substantial this year.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, you and Geoffrey have had a lot on your plate this year! I'm glad to see you are still finding ways to be realistically productive. I'd love a post on your greenhouse! We need one too, but right now it's all about the barn.

Very true about getting older. We find we have to accept less robust energy than we used to have, and slower progress. But at least we can still do it! Very thankful for that.

Debbie, oh gosh, but keeping the home in good repair always takes a higher priority than almost anything else. Sounds like you got a lot done though. At least they were one time projects that are taken care of for a long while!

Rain, I think you had a fantastic garden this year. The "what grows here" experiments are so important! I do a lot of small plantings of things just to see. I have more for next year! Our evaluation system isn't much, really. Just make a list at the beginning of the year and read it over at the end of the year. Mark off what's done and the rest in next year's list!

M.K. I hear you about financial restrictions. If it wasn't for Dan's sawmill, we would be no where near as far along on the barn! Very thankful we've made as much progress as we have. Garden should be number 1! Around here we say "food first." Those projects always get tended to first.