December 26, 2022

2022 Year in Review

A look back at the projects we've worked on and other memorable events this year. The links will take you to the original blog posts.


In January, we started working on swales.

Beginnings of our first swale at the top of the garden.

We have a long hot, dry spell every summer, which takes its toll on plants. In the past, we've relied on rainwater collection and irrigation, but the better plan is to hydrate the ground so thoroughly that not as much watering is needed. The garden swale pictured above was the first in an ongoing swale project.


Planting hostas in my forest garden

Indoor projects included a lot of canning.


We made our spring project list and Dan converted an old piano into a desk.

Eventually, this will become a communication station.


Kidding commenced in April with twins born on the 21st and Caroline's single on the 23rd.

One of twin bucklings.

We also started on another swale for the pasture.

The preliminary step was to move that big pile of dirt!


Our last kid of the season was born on May 9th.

We made a little progress on the pasture swale before the tractor conked out.

And we upgraded our solar with higher amp-hour batteries.


We added four turkey poults to the homestead. Initially, they resided in the chicken tractor.

Jersey Buff turkey poults

Then a skunk dug its way in and killed three of them. We had trouble replacing them with that particular breed, and so got two Spanish Blacks to replace them.

It was definitely a poultry month because we also bought a replacement for the Muscovy drake that had previous disappeared.


We built our first hugelkultur below the garden.

Close-up of our first hugelkultur build.

And we built a greywater filtration bed as an experiment.

It drains into the pasture swale.


Picking and preserving dominated my to-do list.

Cherry tomatoes, okra, and bell pepper.

It was a hot and humid month, so the outdoor project pace slowed down to suit. We did some research and discussion towards replacing our wood heat stove with a masonry stove.

Experimenting with the placement of a batch box firebox.

The appeal of rocket mass heaters is that because they have a built-in thermal mass, they use a lot less wood! (The fire heats the thermal mass, and the thermal mass heats the house.)

In the barnyard, ducklings!

We had 17 ducklings this year.


I made ketchup and tomato powder with our surplus cherry tomatoes.


The big project this month was planning and making a start on a greenhouse.

A greenhouse has been on the potential project list for years.


Home milled lumber and some of the windows for the greenhouse.

I continued my experiments in food dehydration, focusing on food powders. 

Instant mashed potato powder.


Cold, rainy weather early in the month slowed our outdoor work pace, but Dan managed to make some progress on the greenhouse.

First windows in.

Then, the frigid front moved in. I haven't been especially consistent at recording our daily highs and lows in the past, but I believe our 7°F (-14°C) low on Christmas Eve tops (bottoms?) our previous record of 10°F (-12°C) in February 2015. Our first winter here (2009) was extremely cold and the kitchen would be in the mid-40s F when we got up in the morning. But then, my perception is tinted by the fact that we hadn't yet upgraded our old windows and insulation. Replacing them with energy efficient windows and adding insulation helped a lot!

Anyway, "real" winter arrived, just in time for the holidays. Which was pretty good timing, I think, because it meant we could enjoy a relaxed Christmas weekend without feeling guilty for taking the time off!


Ed said...

I must have been gone because I didn't remember the piano/desk post at all. But with an old upright piano in our basement that I wasn't sure what to do with once the kids are gone, I think I now know it's future!

Leigh said...

Ed, I don't remember how we came up with the piano/desk idea, but if you do an image search, you'll find all sorts of neat things people have done with old pianos. Considering how cheap and easy they are to come by, the are a great source for creativity. The biggest problem is moving them!

daisy g said...

What a year! Looking forward to seeing what's on your next to-do list!

Leigh said...

Daisy, I reckon we'll start on our spring project list one of these days. Potentially, winter can be a productive project time if we have good weather! But that's always iffy. Maybe after this cold spell we can get back to some of our outdoor winter projects.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I apparently missed the piano/desk project - but that looks like a wonderful idea!

It is funny how we often do not feel we are making progress over the year, until we look back and see how much we accomplished.

And, it is always nice when the weather "co-operates" to assuage any sense of guilt I might feel about taking some down time during Christmas...

Leigh said...

TB, the primary reason I make these posts is for that very reason, as a reminder of the progress we've made. They are especially helpful when things seem to be going nowhere and little seems to be getting done. It's nice to look back and seen that we really are making progress. Maybe not as quickly as we wish, but slowly we're getting there.

PioneerPreppy said...

All those baby Goats!! I love baby goats I think they are the funniest and most personable Ruminant around. I think I could maybe mill a few 2x4's with all the trees I have around here. I got more hay than I ever know what to do with but trees in two varieties: Ancient old ones the size of a Volkswagen brittle limb covered ones that die when they get kinda big. I guess a few mulberries but they grow so slow and only where ya don't want em!! That Greenhouse is going to rock!!!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Leigh, you and Dan need a few days to just chill. You both are so busy all the time. You always accomplish so much over the year.

Leigh said...

PP, I so agree with you about baby goats. They are the best thing ever! Interesting about your trees. But we get what we get from nature.

Sue, it really was pleasant to be compelled to stay indoors. Today it got above freezing and we spent the afternoon outside. It was great!

DFW said...

I too must have missed the piano/desk post. Love how you keep good notes & have this condensed list to look back on & say "2022 was a productive year". Hope your weather continues on the 'milder' side so you can get as much done in the 2023 winter as last year.

Leigh said...

Deb, it's hard to keep up with other peoples' adventures, lol. I refer back to my year-in-review posts a lot, so they are very helpful.

It's finally warming up during the day here, and we're happy about that!

Nancy In Boise said...

Love all your Permie improvement! Cold here too, 7 a week or so ago, happy new year!

Leigh said...

Nancy, thanks! We're warming up and I hope you are too. Happy new year to you too!