2020 Goals: Updated

Let me start this blog out with a long drawn out, slightly hysterical bout of laughter


2020 was NOTHING like what we expected it to be- so much so that the reverberations can still be felt.

So without further ado- our updated goal list for 2020- what the heck did we actually get done last year?

1. Save the strawberries – nope. Didn’t happen. Long story short- lumber was scarce and expensive and we couldn’t build as many beds as we wanted. However- we did transplant about a dozen into beds further back on the property and we’ll see if they’re happier there or if we need to figure out a different spot again.

2. More raised beds – yes, but not as many as we wanted or could have done because once again, the price of lumber, even raw cut, skyrocketed with demand. We did work on a sort if inverted huglekulture bed- MrGillis would dig out a large trench and we’re burn in a large pit fire for a couple days. Then we layered in logs, compost, hay, manure, dirt, etc until full. Then we put a box over that and fill accordingly. The ones we finished in time for planting worked beautifully last year- we can’t wait to do more.

3. Focus- laser focus- this one deserves another long drawn out laugh. Aaaahhahahahahah- no. We did stay home and attend no festivals and truth be told- I kinda enjoyed it. I’m just as characteristically unfocused as ever. But I have made great strides this year in focusing on my online presence as I will explain later..

4. Landscape the ponds- we made good headway on our side last year- we got rid of some of the alders and planted In elderberries and bayberries along with a couple Aronia bushes to try and Change the landscape- I bought another 15 elderberry starts for this year. We’ll see what else I find. As always, we didn’t get quite as much accomplished as we would have liked.

5. Have fiber spun into yarn- didn’t happen last year as we decided to invest out monies into something else (I will explain at the end I promise) but we are in the schedule for this year to drop off 15 or so fleeces in April so yea! Progress!

6. Start a new line of products- nope. Just never got motivated pass the flower pressing stage. Maybe this year. I’m not judging myself on this

7. Get a functioning online store- BOOM I actually hit this one out of the park – but not until this last three months soooo… hey I’ll take the win. So here’s a link to our etsy shop!

8. Butcher our meat chickens ourselves- yes. This was another out of the park success- I discuss it a little here in our third year review of raising meat birds.

9. start selectively clearing up back – a little. In order to really do it we need a way to bring the logs down. We’re working on that.

10. Get the new roof on the shed- yup. We got her done. It’s beautiful.

11. Get more comfortable with the bees- sorta? I still didn’t manage what other beekeepers would consider a proper inspection but I did catch and carry a swarm to its new home in a hive next to the originals. I also did spend time out there talking to them and looking inside the hives- And as far as I can tell, both hives have made it thru the winter this time. I haven’t dared to open them yet as the days have been very windy.

12. Expand our perennial gardens- not gonna lie we absolutely kicked ass on this one- we added a lot of different bushes and trees and we only lost the witch hazels and the grapes. Pretty sad about that but we’ll reassess in a few more seasons and possibly try those again. Witch hazel I’m m actually trying again this year. It’s grapes we’re going to research a bit more.

13. Pigs all year – nope. We decided to wait until we’ve winter reared piggies, and maybe even helped with a little before jumping into breeding headfirst. But winter rearing is happening this year.

14. Separate the alpacas – nope and I’m embarrassed but the lack of lumber again held us up here. We really thought we’d be able to get two flats of rough boards for a couple hundred each like years pasts – our sawmills around here wanted almost a thousand for even one flat. The demand was just so high that they could get away with it. Best intentions aside, Stormie also got very sick this last winter and I’m afraid that separating his from his herd would have killed him. I just barely got him thru. Worst of all, it appears to have been tapeworms. He was the only one who exhibited any symptoms at all- but more on that another time. That’s a whole series of blogs in itself.

15. Streamline our gardens- we really kicked this ones butt too- we grew a smaller amount of plants and we had an excellent harvest up until the early frost in September, and last fall put in and onion and a garlic bed to overwinter. We also used a a lot of containers for peppers and I will never do it any other way. holy we grew tons of peppers – and the containers were just so convenient. We bought a few greenhouse panels to turn our boxes into cold frames with and the experiment seems to have worked. The cold frame survived the snow and the dirt is thawing much faster then the ground. I have very highhopes for the yields in our future.

16. Start a mushroom farm – I started it. And killed it. I do have plans to start another one, but other projects came up. Maybe if I turn it into a blog?

17. Spend less time on internet (or be more mindful) – I feel like I did fits and bursts of this- I obviously didn’t spend enough time on here blogging- but I could sometimes go days without being online and just reading books or playing games with the kids or living life. Or other days I would get sucked into a Facebook hole of anxiety because social media is so much like school sometimes – so well call this a middling. Not a failure but not a success. Lessons still to be learned.

18. Learn new things – no I never did conquer the distillery… but I got pretty good at some other stuff. I’d call this a work in progress.

Because we had such a hard time reaching some goals- not thru a fault of own hard work or ability- but because demand had skyrocketed price of lumber-

We bought a sawmill.

Yeah. It’s a beaut isn’t it? It came in two big boxes and MrGillis had to build it himself. Funnily enough, the day ours was delivered, another couple had one delivered as well- they had to come pick it up at our delivery address because the truck driver couldn’t find them I guess.

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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