The end of the old year and the beginning of a new year, is a time of retrospection for many of us. I like to take the time every year to sit down and really evaluate the current path the homestead is traveling and try to map out the next years progress towards the ultimate goal of a self sustaining homestead. This year is no different.
So in that vein of thought, here we go-
- Become beekeepers- this has been a dream of ours for a decade. When we first started our garden, we noticed dozens of bees of all different colors and sizes, happily buzzing from plant to plant, doing nature’s works. Over the years, we have noticed a startling decline in both variety and volume of these little guys flying thru our fields. So we decided to take the dive finally and after years of research and planning, we will be investing in 2 hives for honey bees and hopefully building a large “insect hotel” for mason bees and the like this spring.
- Have a banner maple syrup season- we have always gotten a couple finished gallons a year- this year we are shooting for over ten. Weather and trees willing, of course.
- Finish clearing the back acreage- this really depends mostly on Mike, the guy we hired to clear the bulk of the wood, but come this spring we are hiring someone to come in with some heavy equipment to tear out the stumps. After that is soil testing.
- Separate the boys and girls of the alpaca herd- this means a new building big enough for 3-4 gelded guys with electricity for a fan in the summer and heated water in the winter, more pasture and the third (or fourth) gelded male(s) to complete the herd.
- Raise pigs and chickens for meat again- this is a no brainer. We loved the experience (other then how smelly it got after rain) and the meat is amazing in comparison to what you buy in store. This year we are taking on more of each tho, possibly keeping a couple sows over winter so we can start our own piglets in 2020.
- Raise more egg layers- this is a necessity. Our youngest girls are going to be over 2 come spring. They’ll lay well this year but some spring of 2020 we won’t have eggs unless we start chicks this year. So yea! I get more chickens! This will inevitably lead me down a hole of internet shopping that may take an entire evening. Choosing breeds is hard!
- Put in raised garden beds- there are a lot of advantages to raised garden beds- less weeding being chief among them. With our crazy abundance of alpaca poop, compost and being Coast of Maine dealers, we figure we can install a couple this year and see if it’s worth it to expand in 2020
- Landscape the ponds- this isn’t even complicated. We have some trees to cut down and remove because they are dead. Other then that, it’s keep it mowed down and picked up over the summer and fall.
- Expand sellable goods- so we have the yarn for sale, but I have so many ideas for other things to sell. First I’d like to teach myself natural dying techniques and have more colors to sell then brown and white. Second we are investing in a knitting machine so I can produce hats, scarves and so on quickly and efficiently as to best make a profit. There’s a couple other things we’d like to get into but for now that’s top secret. SorryNotSorry.
- Finish the shed project once and for all- we have a kitchen to finish, a bathroom to remodel, one last area to level and put in a new floor, shelves to hang, a washer to install for one of our other projects… and a whole bunch of sorting and organizing to do before our yard sale which leads me to number 11.
- Have a huge yard sale- we have tons of baby clothes from izzy to sell along with just an amazing amount of stuff. Whatever we don’t sell is going to goodwill. Then room we’ve been using for storage of random junk can be turned into a work space and tool storage.
- Get izzy ready for school – this is going to be hardest for me really. I mean the kid can talk, she’s been potty trained for a year, she feeds herself, can almost dress herself…. I’m going to be a wreck sending her to school. It’s literally 9 months away and I’m already dreading it.
- Build a smokehouse- would have come in handy when we got back all our hamsteaks. We’ve got a couple designs we are toying with, but then we have to experiment with flavor. It’s going to be fun and exciting.
- Give Issac an amazing first year- I so badly want issacs first year to mirror izzys. I have his baby book as updated as possible, take his weekly pictures, always find time for tummy and sensory play, have him breast feeding and in cloth diapers. I’m actually going to get to stay home with him much longer then I did with izzy.
- Expand on perennials- last year we put in strawberries and rhubarb. This year we are putting in asparagus and high bush blueberries. If I have it my way we’ll be putting in some other stuff but for now we’ll start with those two.
- Blog more! This is all on me and I promise I will do my best to keep fresh new content coming at ya as often as possible. For more insight into our homesead, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter.
Until next time, have a wicked good day!