2019 Goals Updated

Here it is, February of 2020 and I am just now sitting down to assess how well we reached our goals for 2019.

It was an interesting year- chock full of completed projects that we planned on- others we had no idea we’d be undertaking and also a huge setback in the ever evolving Shed Project.

So, without further ado- our goals: good, bad or otherwise.

1. Success! We most certainly did Become Beekeepers. It’s been a wild ride and I am terrified of them still, but as of this month, we still have one very healthy hive and well, the other is silent.. or at least to quiet to hear with just the ear test. But we will see in a few more months when it’s safe to open the boxes.

I also must note, we had two hives and they were different on purpose – vented board vs solid, telescoping top vs flat- tilted high vs tilted low. It was an experiment year and I’ll be sad if we did indeed lose a hive but it will be a whole host of lessons learnt as well. I just hope at least one hive makes it. As scared as I am of them I do love having them around. Out of the hive they’re very gentle bees and they seem to attract other beneficial insects to the area.

2. Success! We had a fantastic syrup run and we are looking forward to another good year. We had two boil overs unfortunately, but we made over 12 finished gallons. This year we are investing in some new finishing equipment- like a new hydrometer.

3. Depends on your definition of success… we actually decided to not clear the rest of our land via traditional methods- more on this decision and the resulting plans in another blog- but say it with me folks… permaculture and biodiversity. Those are the hints.

4. Fail- we didn’t separate the male and female alpacas this year again. I suck. I have no excuse, we just didn’t get around to building the boys their own barn and we used the pen for our meat birds this year to let them be pasture raised. Then snow hit early and we were kinda stuck again. Also I think MrGillis is a little leery of giving them their own space because I mentioned maybepossibly rescuing some more gelded boys….

5. Success! We raised our own chickens (150) and our own pigs (4).

The fail is that this winter we got word from BOTH of our butchers that they were getting done for various reasons. We also have decided to not keep pigs over winter to raise our own piglets for a few reasons. More on that some other time.

6. A mixed bag on this one- I did get more egg layers. But we lost two different mail orders (devastating to me) and when we decided to bring some home from Tractor Supply, we lost one within a day and then another turned out to be a rooster. So I had to give him away which just broke my heart. So no more egg layers by mail and honestly, no more egg layers this year. Our coop is maxed out.

7. Success! Mrgillis put in over 2 dozen raised beds! And we have plans for even more this year, but I’ll get into that later.

8. Fail- we didn’t touch a single thing around the ponds. They kinda look like hell if hell was a pond surrounded by red alders and various saplings. But I will not give up on this- it’s literally just gonna be on 2020 goal list.

9. Success! Not only did I learn how to dye using natural methods(cold water being my favorite) I made lots of progress on inventory and even had a few stellar festivals for sales! I am currently in the process of signing up for this years events but I plan on going to at least a dozen.

10. Wah wah wah- this was the big fail this year. I mentioned in an earlier blog that we had officially called a cease and desist on the shed for the time being, due to a huge leak that basically destroyed a good portion of the work we’ve already done in the future kitchen area. So this years goal is to replace said leaky demon roof with a real nice tin roof – thankfully we’ve already done our taxes and we will be getting back enough to fund this project which we’ve estimated just materials to over $1200. Yea!

But this leads me to

11. Huge… something. We had our yard sale which was a bust. I sold more on Facebook marketplace over the following weeks then I did at the sale itself. So never again.

We sold some stuff but honestly ended up donating a huge truckload of it to a church up in Houlton that has a charity shop next door. Best decision- it freed up so much space and so many totes. The shed might be in limbo but it definitely got cleaned and organized: now just to get the last two years worth of fiber spun so we can have that space back…

12. A continued success as Izzy is loving school! And I did ok- I didn’t cry that much at the first days- it’s been more those bittersweet moments of how much she is learning, growing, maturing over these few months. But it’s been amazing, all of it.

13.hahahha – we didn’t not build a smokehouse. We just bought one of Tractor supply while they were on sale in September but holy smokes it was worth it. We love brining and smoking our own pork and to be honest we’ve done chicken thighs too. It’s been so fun. 10/10 recommend.

14. I would call this a success – Issac is now just shy of 16 months old- he’s walking(running and climbing too), wants to mimic everything we do, is learning to talk… he’s such a little devil too but in such a charming way with his little eyebrow quirk and half smile that it’s hard to not just smother him in kisses. But he’s learning the meaning of “no” too.

15. Success! We didn’t get blueberries, but I put in roses, asparagus(4 boxes!), grapes and a whole bunch of herbs! This year, I asked for a witch hazel tree for my birthday, so that means we’re putting in a witch hazel tree and some other stuff I’ll detail in the 2020 goal update.

16. Ummm…. I would say that my final goal, to blog more, started out really strong, but my goal was to do well thru the entire year and I didn’t so fail.

Well thanks for reading kind peoples out in the webiverse.

Until next time, have a wicked good day!


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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