Some people make goals for the new year, only to forget about them after the first month or two into the new year. Not me! I’m one of those people that loves to set goals for myself and actually work hard to accomplish them. We had a list of 10 goals for our new homestead last year. We reviewed the list a couple times throughout the year to see the progress we had made. We also had to make a few adjustments to our goals since life didn’t go as planned!
Before we jump into our homestead goals for the new year, I thought I’d do a quick review of last year’s goals to highlight what we did (and didn’t) accomplish in 2014:
- Create a new vegetable garden. Yes, we did this! We actually created my dream garden. It is a fully fenced 7,000 square foot garden complete with an amazing drip irritation system my husband installed.
- Shore up the barns. Nope, this one we never got around to this year. The barns are still standing, or should I say leaning, but this one ended up being pretty low on the priority list compared to other more urgent projects
- Fix the irrigation well: Yes, another big accomplishment for us! My talented and handy husband was able to figure out how to install a big pressure tank. He then ran a water line out to the garden for the drip irrigation system and another line to the orchard and perennial herb gardens.
- Plant more fruit trees. Another project completed! We planted a bunch of plum trees and two apple trees.
- Build a chicken tractor. We didn’t end up building a chicken tractor because the flock of chickens we bought earlier this month came with their own large chicken coop on wheels!
- Learn the art of beekeeping. Yup, we did this one too! We have two bee hives sitting out by the back pasture and we’re hoping to add more beehives in the spring. We’re loving all the honey we harvested this fall!
- Raise meat chickens. This one didn’t happen this year thanks to all the crazy stuff that happened to us that sucked up our money and resources. We’re still hoping to do this one this coming year!
- Install solar panels. This is another one that didn’t happen this year. I mentioned before that our electrical service was a mess and needed an upgrade before we could install solar panels. We’re still working on this but it isn’t quite done yet.
- Plant more berry bushes. Yes, we did this one! We bought quite a few more strawberry and raspberry plants from a local farm and expanded the berry patch in our garden. I scored a couple elderberry bushes and a black currant bush on the clearance table at the greenhouse in town.
- Trim the existing shrubs and trees. We also tackled this project, although I think this is one we’ll likely have to do every year! We ended up having to hire some professional tree trimmers to trim the dead branches out of the huge elm tree right next to the house. (I highly recommend these guys at Headwaters Tree Care if you live in western MT)
Our homestead goals for this next year aren’t quite as ambitious as last year. Why? Well, there are a couple reasons. First off, we did a ton of work on our homestead this last year. Since this place was a neglected bank repo, it needed a lot of work. They call it sweat equity for a reason!! While there is still work to be done, there isn’t nearly as much as last year. Another reason our list of goals this year isn’t as lengthy is that after sharing this post, we recognized that homesteading takes a lot more time and effort than we realized. More than that, it takes a lot of money to get started when you don’t have the infrastructure in place already.
This year, we’re more realistic about what projects we know we can tackle and accomplish. Here are our homestead goals for 2015:
- Add to our flock of birds. Our hens will be two years old in the spring so we plan to get some chicks to add to our flock of egg layers. We would like to raise several turkeys and plan to get some chicks in the spring. We also still want to raise some meat chickens and plan to get these chicks in the spring too.
- Build low tunnels for our garden. We want to extend our short gardening season in the spring and fall by building low tunnels over our garden beds. I’ve been so inspired by the winter gardening over at Mother of a Hubbard blog that we’ve been gathering the materials we need to build our own low tunnels once the snow melts.
- Add more beehives. We would like to get at least two more bee hives to add to the current two we have. We’re hoping our current colonies live through the winter!
- Eradicate the weeds in the back pasture. Our back pasture is a little over an acre and used to be an overgrazed horse pasture. Now it is filled with a variety of noxious weeds that most animals won’t eat. We aren’t quite sure what to do with this pasture. We’ve thrown around the idea of getting some goats or trying to reseed it with native grasses or a cover crop like buckwheat.
- Plant more fruit trees. We plan to expand our orchard each year. This year we want to add a cherry tree and a peach tree.
I’m looking forward to this next year on our homestead. Now that we already spent so much time, effort and money last year (our first year on our homestead) fixing the place up and putting in a lot of infrastructure this year we can put more effort into actually homesteading!
What about you, what are your goals or plans for the new year?