December 29, 2017

Year in Review: A Look Back at 2017

All in all I have to say is this year has been a good one.


Garlic in the snow.

January was cold and snowy. Dan worked on the front porch and I canned the year's supply of jams and jellies.


Jessie with her twins - Racer and Ellie.

February was kidding month, with seven Kinder kids born. While I played goat midwife, Dan finished the front of the house.


Fall planted wheat, peas, and oats growing.

March brought friendly weather, and it was a great month for working outdoors. Dan did some general clean-up while I planted pasture, made a second permaculture hedgerow, and redressed the hoop house in shade cloth in anticipation of a hot summer.


In April we had two things under discussion: the barn and a workshop. Dan had been making do with a temporary workshop in the carport for eight years, so it seemed time to do something about it. Our first thought was to enclose the carport and make it a proper workshop, but when it proved un-repairable, I said, "Let's make my temporary goat barn permanent and just build you a new workshop." So that's what we decided to do, and Dan made piers for the foundation.


Homegrown home-milled timbers became posts, beams, and bents.


Harvesting our winter wheat was the "must do" for June. In building, Dan framed out the concrete slab for what was then still the workshop.


In July I did my first little solar energy experiment, a 12-volt fan. We had another long discussion about whether the building Dan was working on should be a workshop or a goat barn. Goat barn won. It all boiled down to set-up, with the temporary "Little Barn" better suited to becoming a workshop and the building-in-progress better for the goats.


Tomatoes and cucumbers

I spent most of my August picking and preserving, while Dan made a little progress on the barn.


Dan got a start on the hay loft while I continued with the harvest.


Most of the summer produce was put up by October and I had plenty of milk, so I experimented with recipes from a new cheesemaking book. Dan framed out the walls and roof for the hayloft.


Autumn color got a slow start this year.

Dan finished framing the milking room and loafing overhang on the barn, then installed the milking room roof.


Winter started early, with December bringing cold and snow. While I contemplated a floor plan for the milking room and worked on my book, Dan built a cupola for the barn and worked on the roof.

We'll probably always think of 2017 as the year of the barn. Maybe 2018 too, because building it has been the biggest project we'll ever tackle on our homestead. But also, it seems like finishing it will be a turning point. Sure, there are other one-time projects we'd like to do, but the barn seems significant in terms of having our homestead infrastructure in place.


Goatldi said...

Nice recap! You two accomplished a lot this year. Can't wait to see what 2018 holds for all of our blogging friends. 😊

Michelle said...

There's nothing like reading a recap like this to make me realize how fast the year zoomed by! Thanks for all you and Dan do to inspire; many blessings to both of you in 2018!

Living Alone in Your 60's said...

Goodness you have done so well. Your dream is certainly coming true. I hope 2018 is a fruitful. Tx

Gorges Smythe said...

Ya'll done GOOD!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, have to say I'm really thankful for the ability to accomplish so much. :)

Michelle, thanks! I agree time seems to have flown! Here's hoping we all have a good new year.

Tania, just being able to do it is a blessing. :)

Gorges, thanks!

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

You've certainly had quite the year, Leigh! There's no shortage of things to be done around a homestead, I'm sure....even around my house there is no end to the things that need to be done! Happy New Year to you!

Rain said...

I love this post, I may just steal your idea Leigh! :) The highlight for me was definitely the cheese making! :) I love your goat photo in February, so sweet!!! :)

Leigh said...

Debbie, you are so right about that! I think creative people who enjoy working on their home and yard will always have something to do and never be bored!

Rain, thanks! Steal away, I love these kinds of posts myself. Plus they are a great way to remember, as well as keep a record. That's been useful on more levels than one.

M.K. said...

It's wonderful and satisfying to see all your work condensed and summarized in a post like that!! Wow - what a big year of hard work. You two are such a good team. While tending animals and building new structures, you also harvest and preserve and experiment. Good year!!!

Leigh said...

M.K., thanks! It's been a busy year for sure, and I hope that next year we can finish with the structures and focus more on gardening and food growing. But the buildings have to be done, and some repairs as well, so we just set aside other things to get them done.

Ed said...

Every year I write up a Christmas newsletter and send it out to friends and family to let them know what I accomplished. It never seems like much when I start but after combing through our pictures, I always see just how much progress was made. You and Dan have made a lot of progress. Can't wait to see the barn when it is completed.

Mark said...

Hi Leigh! What a wonderful year you and Dan have had! So full of accomplishments! Bravo! May God bless all your efforts in 2018!

Leigh said...

Ed, it's amazing how that happens, isn't it? I think that's what I like about the exercise. It helps me remember that the year was indeed productive. Nice to have a record of it too!

Mark, thanks! Most of the time we just feel like we're plugging along, so it's nice to take the time and remember exactly what we've done.

Hot guys said...

Love the January photo, all in all, great year review Leigh! :)

Happy New Year, dear!

tpals said...

Great recap, Leigh. Although the barn has consumed much of Dan's year, how ultimately rewarding as you know it will be standing and useful for decades.

Leigh said...

Hot Guys, thanks! Same to you!

Tpals, I think it will continue to be a huge project next year too! It will be worth it, though!