January 1, 2019

Project Plans for the New Year

Every January 1st Dan and I set goals for the upcoming year. In the beginning, this was because we had so much to do that we had to prioritize and choose. Now, there is still a lot to do, but our longterm project list isn't so long and overwhelming. Much of what we do are routine seasonal activities: planting, harvesting, firewood, etc. Some of it is maintenance and repair. Those kinds of things don't make it to our annual goal list. What does, are major building projects, repairs, upgrades, and other improvements that will help us toward our goal of greater self-reliance. Here's our list for 2019.

1. Carport.


The carport has been a multipurpose building since we bought the place. It's been used for my car, storage, tool shed, and Dan's workshop. Once the barn was finished, it became our firewood storage. Unfortunately, the poor thing has been on the verge of falling down for a while now; the roof is pretty much shot and the girders need fixing. So this is project number one, with the first step being to decide whether it's repairable or needs to be torn down. It's definitely useful for firewood storage, plus it would be nice if we could create a small outdoor kitchen there.

2. Drainage. Rain runoff from our houses' largest roof surface drains into the driveway, runs down the driveway, and creates one huge puddle between the house and the barn.


The carport question is bringing it to the forefront because the water drains into the carport! Dan's previous fixes have only temporarily resolved it, and since we've had an exceptionally rainy winter so far the problem is continually before us. We're working on a more permanent solution to the problem, so expect more on that soon.

While the ducks love the big puddles, it's a nuisance for everyone else.

Those are the projects we'll address first. Two other things we'd like to make a reality are:

Poultry yard. Dan's not been happy with the chicken yard for a while, especially since we've had to keep them off pasture while we are planting and soil building. So we've been discussing options. Besides building more grazing beds, he'd like to build a house with a permanent "pond" for our Muscovies.

Solar project. We've dabbled some with solar projects, all useful, but small. My next project is a bit more ambitious, but one that I think is important. I want a solar back-up for an extra fridge and the freezer. If we lose the grid for even a couple of days in the heat of summer, there is the potential to lose a lot of food. We try to eat mostly fresh and I can a lot, but I usually have a surplus of milk and eggs in summer that I wouldn't want to lose. The freezer is important for quite a bit of our meat, also extra produce for winter freezer canning. Protecting these perishables during a power outage is important. I should have more on this project sometime later this year.

Between these and our seasonal projects, we are looking forward to a busy but productive year. So how about you? Do you have a list of goals for 2019?

23 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Sounds like a busy year coming up! Hope you and yours have a great one!

wyomingheart said...

Great steps toward more self reliance. I think the solar project is very critical, as even one freezer can supply ice for a cooler, and keep all that you can't eat today, preserved for tomorrow. We have a couple of things on our list for this year, but we are looking to bump the solar (next year's project) to the 2019 list. Sounds like your list is going to keep you and Dan on the move! Happy 2019!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh, you and Dan are so darned organized! (Yes, I'm envious of how organized you are!) You present such a good example. Working toward self-responsibility and sustainability and making everything EASIER in our day to day lives . . . what more could we wish for?? Best wishes to you both for a wonderful New Year!

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

That's a lot of improvements on your list for 2019, Leigh! For me, I'm just trying to cut more costs and build my emergency fund up....and praying for no more major repairs for a while. It seems there's always something....most recently my well pump died, which cost me over $2000, sigh. Happy New Year to you and Dan!

tpals said...

Given Dan's ingenuity, will he be able to combine the drainage issue into the future duck pond?

jan said...

I always enjoy reading what you are up to and all you accomplish! When you mentioned solar I wondered if you follow Jackie Clay on Backwoods Home. Her husband is as talented as yours and they are just completely a really enviable solar array. It seems like Dan could easily do one too! Meanwhile I will stay a little jealous that I'm not able to complete things ya'll do but I enjoy reading about them so that is ok.

Leigh said...

Gorges, hopefully, the weather will cooperate!

Wyomingheart, that's a good idea about making ice for coolers! Yes, at least some solar energy for crucial systems is important. I'll be relieved to get it done.

Mama Pea! I'm so glad to hear from you! Sending good new year wishes right back to you. :)

Debbie, oh my, things like replacing well pumps are a terrible blow! It's important to keep the emergency fund well stocked. Hopefully your 2019 won't be so "eventful."

Tpals, you're close! He's planning to use barn run-off for the ducks since it's so close. Then we can use their pond water for the compost bins. At least that's the plan!

Jan, thank you! I am familiar with Jackie Clay but haven't looked at her in a while. Now I'll have to to see how they set up their solar. :) We've been doing our planning from a book I reviewed a while back, Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook. That book helped break it down to understandable, doable steps. I'll blog more about it when we get to that project.

Mike Yukon said...

Sounds like Dan will be busy this year. Glad to hear your intentions with the solar. That will bring you true independence as well as being your homesteads crown jewel.

J.L. Murphey said...

We've decided to coast this year. We are trying to bring down some trees and build a goat area.Cockeyed Jo

Leigh said...

Mike, even some solar is better than none! We figure if we can cover key systems it will help a lot in case of an emergency.

Jo, goats are exciting news! But then, I really enjoy my goats. :)

Sandy Livesay said...

Leigh,

That's a nice goals list for 2019. Drainage issues outside seems to be a popular one for a few of us homesteaders. I like the idea of solar backup for your refrigerator and freezer. Looking forward to hearing more about your solar power backup in the future.

Happy New Year Leigh and Dan.

Sam I Am...... said...

Great list of goals for 2019! I'm still working on mine and although I need to 'touch' on all of them there is only so much time so it is a prioritizing and balancing act. I love doing it and it always gives renewed hope and inspiration! Happy New Year!

Henny Penny said...

I love to read your and Dan's goals for the new year. There is so much I want to do here. I dream of bigger and better things, but Poppy wants to simply maintain. :(

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Ambitious goals - which I am always a fan of if for no other reason that to fire the soul.

Mine are not fixed yet - I wallow between "too many" and "not enough".

M.K. said...

My husband keeps a list of his projects, but a yearly account is a great idea. I think we'll discuss this today :)

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I am certain your list of projects will keep you busy! I would love to have a back up for my freezers also. So far we have not lost electricity for that long. Keeping my fingers crossed! It is great how you keep working and planning for your self-sufficiency goals. Keeps me busy just planning and doing my courtyard garden! Nancy

Leigh said...

Sandy, drainage problems are always important! I know you and Bulldog man have been working on them too. We're still brainstorming about the backup fridge/freezer plan. The carport is in such bad shape it has to come first, but I'll feel better once we know we can keep from losing our food supply in an extended outage.

Sam, I agree, it's a balancing act! Like you, I love those goals give focus and direction to the year. Until the unexpected pops up! LOL

Henny, when we bought our place we discussed buying a fixer-upper with a low mortgage versus buying a place in good shape for a higher mortgage. The lower mortgage won out. If we didn't have such extensive repair to do, we likely wouldn't be doing half our projects. If we have to repair it, might as well customize it to suit the lifestyle we're aiming for!

TB, seems in the past I always camped on the "too many" side. We've made shorter lists these past several new years, which I suppose increases our success rate. So many unexpected things can rear their head and that's what usually gets us off track. But that's why we make goals instead of resolutions! Goals just seem more flexible somehow.

M.K. what's really helpful is that we always have a master project list to refer back to. But nothing is set in stone, so we're free to adapt and change it as needed. :)

Nancy, well, the opposite of busy is bored, and Dan and I both hate being bored! LOL You've made a lot of progress with your courtyard garden, and I know that's inspirational for a lot of people.

Ed said...

I think 2019 is finally going to be the year of redoing our kitchen and flooring.

Leigh said...

Ed, that's a very worthy goal! I know your wife will be delighted. :)

Chris said...

A few minor goals for us - fixing the chicken coop roof, so I can collect water, and maybe renovating another coop to become a small workshop. Absolutely nothing fancy. Just functional. I was also toying with expanding the kitchen pantry. We'll see though. Your list looks very achievable, and you have the experience now to make it happen at little quicker.

Leigh said...

Chris, those sound like excellent goals. Minor in one sense, but important in another. Keeping the goal list achievable is a major plus! So much nicer to accomplish the list and a few more than to have to carry a lot over next year. :)

Powell River Books said...

That's a lot of things to tackle even for a year! - Margy

Leigh said...

Margy, we'll see how far we get! ;)