December 28, 2021

A Look Back at 2021

December, January, and February are the winter months of my agrarian year. Winter is a good time for analyzing our goals, reflection, research, and then listing and prioritizing the upcoming year's plans and projects. A look back at what we've accomplished in the last annual cycle is the foundation for looking ahead and planning for the upcoming one.


The '20-'21 winter project was building a new buck barn. By January, Dan was working on the roof and walls. My projects were indoor types, as I focused on mending socks and gloves, and learning about haybox cooking.


Kidding commenced in February. First, Miracle had twin does, then River had a baby boy. We were fortunate to get mild days, but I also decided that the weather is too iffy in February. This fall I postponed breeding to have due dates during warmer weather. The other thing that kept me busy was spring cleaning.


March is the beginning of spring and also my get-busy-with-the-garden month. My fall and winter plantings kicked into growing gear with the longer days and warmer temperatures. Between that and spring foraging, we ate well. In preparation for summer, I got my tomatoes started. Dan made progress on the buck barn by getting rain catchment installed.


This is the month I start to plant warm weather veggies. In preparation, I added several more ollas to various garden beds and containers and then got busy planting. My two biggest problems in April were slugs and a late frost!


In May, we finally put our chicken tractor to use. We used it to house our two remaining Dominique hens while we raised six Speckled Sussex chicks in the chicken coop. We started on plans to build a summer kitchen in the carport.


June was the month of garden experiments. One was wicking pots. These seemed like a great way to beat our hot, dry spells, so I was anxious to give it a try. The other was learning about landrace seeds. I decided to experiment and started with cucumbers. Click here, for how I'm doing it.


July is the month of blazing sun here, so shade is on our minds. One project Dan completed in July, was the first of two pergolas to shade the afternoon sun facing windows on the house. My shade project, was to experiment with living shade on my hoop house. To keep cool, we worked in the shade as much as possible threashing and winnowing our winter wheat harvest.


We finally got a driveway gate installed! It was accompanied by a huge sense of relief. I tied a small piece of cattle panel to the bottom of the trellis next to it, so our yard is no longer accessible by dogs. There's a small gap on top of the railroad ties that the cats use. After that, Dan got started on a cookstove for our outdoor kitchen, and I researched forest gardens.


September was the month we finally got a new rooster. As you can see from the above photo, he's grown into quite a handsome fellow. Dan made progress on the outdoor cookstove, and we started putting some of the things we were learning from our permaculture videos into practice.


Dan got a lot done on the outdoor kitchen cookstove, He finished the firebox and installed the tops, while I started assessing for our first forest garden.


A busy month. Dan installed three more 300-gallon totes behind the carport to catch rainwater from the carport roof. We learned how to make biochar, we got Muscovy ducks, and had our first fall kids. Dan finished the outdoor cookstove and we tested it out.


Dan worked on fence repair throughout autumn and finished it in December. It had been trashed by falling trees and needed major repair and a new gates.

After that, we started working on our first swale, which I'll share more about in an upcoming post. Also notable, we finally won a battle we have every year with mice! And without the help of the cats. Speaking of cats . . .

Parting Shot


How about you? Are you preparing for another new year?

A Look Back at 2021 © December 2021


Bag End Gardener said...

With all the worldwide turmoil and strangeness it is so heartening to see how much you have achieved. Blessings for the coming year.

daisy g said...

Quite a year of accomplishment! New Year's is my second fav holiday (after Thanksgiving), and I look forward to new beginnings, new challenges, and new experiences.

Be Blissed!

Leigh said...

Jayne, thank you! I think I'd have to credit choice of lifestyle. We've worked hard to become more self-reliant, and I think that made a big difference in how current events impact us.

Daisy, I have to admit that new year's day is something of a non-holiday to me. I appreciate the day off for folks, but the new year starting in the middle of winter never made sense to me, lol.

Boud said...

I think the new year used to be around March, which is more logical in a northern climate from the viewpoint of planting. I think January, winter, time for slowing down, going dormant, is no time for leaping in to new projects. This year I'm deliberately not starting anything new in January. I'll see how long it lasts!

Leigh said...

Boud, winter should definitely be a slower pace for projects! I especially like that the projects we work on aren't rushed or time-challenged because of seasonal things that require immediate attention. It's also the best time for planning and list making!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, thank you for the retrospective. You made so much progress this year - I have seen all of it via the blog, but seeing it laid out like this in a single narrative makes it seem all the more amazing! Looking forward to 2022 (if for no other reason than I can live vicariously through you.)!

Nancy In Boise said...

You guys are such great at planning! You really do it the right way. Congrats on all your great projects you got completed and a Happy New Year!

Hill Top Post said...

I have enjoyed looking back with you as you assess and look forward to a new year. It really seems that 2021 was a good year for you.

Lady Locust said...

Aaaand, you plugged the mouse hole :-) I think I've said it before, I am always in awe at what you two accomplish! Looking forward to another productive year. May your blessings be many and troubles be few.

Leigh said...

TB, we refer back to this review posts often, when we're trying to remember when and how we did something. They're useful that way!

Nancy, thanks! Happy New Year to you too!

Mary, thank you! Here's hoping the new year will be better for all of us. :)

Lady Locust, that was definitely noteworthy! lol

Nina said...

January and February are definitely slower times around here. With snow and ice, and keeping two woodstoves burning, we tend to do a lot of planning. I'll be thinking about next spring's garden, experimenting with some new recipes, and of course weaving and spinning. I'd love to think about an outdoor stove or oven, but so much on the to do list first.

May next your next year be fruitful, full of music and joy.

Leigh said...

Nina, it's a wonderful time of year for keeping woodstoves burning, planning, weaving, and spinning. :)

Fiona said...

I have always loved your approach to all you do. Ralph is working on more perennial crops and our milk system with the cows is going well. The sheep are more than paying their way as we have sold Rams to commercial sheep men. The world seems to be in such turmoil we work harder than ever to raise everything we can. God bless you both

Leigh said...

Fiona, good to hear from you. You aren't updating your blog as often as you used to! But, that's life, isn't it?

M.K. said...

The recap of your year was very enjoyable to read! That outdoor oven looks so interesting. We need one of those.

Leigh said...

M.K., good to hear from you! I've fallen way behind in blog visiting, so I'm glad for a nudge in your direction. :)

Chris said...

Just catching up on your blog, after a (far too long) hiatus! I was impressed with all that's been achieved together. Your place is a testimony to both your dedication and love of experimentation! As you know, I had a bit of a surprise at the end of last year, so the beginning of this one, was all about making peace with that.

I'm happy to say, I've had some wonderful personal growth, as a result. None of the experience was wasted. Gotta turn that decaying residue into fertile compost. The story of my life, lol. But what a great one it's been too. I hope you have another successful year on the land, together. 🙂