Without further ado, here’s the list of 20 goals we established in early January (in the order we originally used), with a basic outline of what progress we’ve made on each:
1. Make the studio usable. (Won’t finish in 2013.)
We’ve made some limited progress, but have done little actual work on this since spring. Amy’s done some groundwork on the administrative side of this with the town and county, and I’m hopeful we’ll use some of winter to move this along. If anything, the goats’ little adventure last week may have set us back a bit on this one.
2. Raise and process meat chickens. (Done.)
This one went more-or-less according to plan. We got 26 chicks, finished building their mobile coop, moved them out to pasture, processed them (in stages), and got them into the freezer. Also, they’re delicious.
3. Move the laying flock to pasture. (Modified goal, but done in spirit.)
We had originally imagined moving the laying flock out to the area we call the “pasture” (it’s really a weedy field now, but we speak aspirationally :)). As the year went on, that seemed unnecessary, and instead we re-arranged the area around their coop so it offers ample foraging ground, and leaves the birds free to roam amongst the orchard, which I think is helping the chickens, the trees, and the compost pile in the corner of the orchard, which gets frequently turned by curious poultry. We haven’t written much about any of this, but there are some pictures here.
5. Grade and cover crop the front garden. (Done.)
We planted annual rye-grass to cover the parts of the general garden/orchard area that we’re not growing vegetables in this year. Apart from hopefully helping to build organic matter, it gives the birds a place to play and hunt bugs.
6. Start a perennial herb garden. (Done.)
I’m not sure we have any pictures, but the front portion of the garden has parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and scallions. We’ve got some mint in pots, so we can move it in for winter use and to limit its spread.
7. Define new paths and maintain current paths in the woods. (Done.)
We spent two weekends behind a rented a walk-behind Billy Goat brush mower clearing paths through the woods. We’ve apparently completely failed to blog about it, and it’s really hard to get a coherent picture of path clearing. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
8. Start a vegetable garden. (Done.)
While not everything went perfectly with our garden, for our first year it was definitely a success overall. We harvested a massive volume of tomatoes, some beans, a good bunch of potatoes, tons of cucumber and hot peppers, various melons, and a bunch of squash. The kale for our breakfast smoothies has been home grown since May, and we still have pumpkins and sweet potatoes to go.
9. Get goats. (Done.)
The four little goats who joined us in March have become a part of the homestead. They’re growing up now, and are able to take out brushy woods about as fast as we can fence it in. More goat adventures here.
10. Replace the floor in the main level guest room, furnish the lower level guest room. (Partially complete.)
We’ve furnished the lower level guest room with some craiglist finds (not ideal, but serviceable), but haven’t done anything with the main level guest room yet.
11. Convert the upper level sunroom into a dining room. (Done. Sorta.)
Amy will probably take issue with me calling this “done”, but it’s as done as it’ll be for 2013. Someday we’ll build a proper wet bar around the oddly-placed sink in the corner, but the hot tub removal was the bulk of what we wanted to do for this year.
12. Make the lower level sunroom basically usable. (Small progress; not done.)
We didn’t have a lot of detail in mind when we set this goal – it was more of a goal placeholder. We didn’t really know what we wanted this room to look like at the start of the year, and we still really don’t know. We did add a few Craigslisted ceiling fans which were a big upgrade from the bare bulbs, but it’s still an empty unpainted room with a concrete floor, so we really can’t call this done. 😉
13. Get to know the orchard, prune some trees, and hopefully get some fruit. (Done.)
We were only able to prune five or six trees before spring came, but we definitely have a much better understanding of what we have to work with in the orchard. Fundamentally that was this year’s goal. We have picked some fruit, and have some more to pick in coming weeks (or days). The ongoing saga of the restored root cellar is an added bonus.
14. Raise turkeys for Thanksgiving. (In progress; looking good.)
Three of the turkeys we got in May are still with us, foraging around the orchard with the chickens and getting bigger by the day. We built the chicken scalder to be big enough for turkey, so everything should be tracking toward a mid-November turkey processing day.
16. Split and cure firewood for next winter. (Small progress; relatively low priority.)
We quickly learned that a good chainsaw is a basic necessity, and Amy got me a great one for Father’s Day. We’ve cleared and cut some wood, though I’ve yet to split any. We’ll probably end up with enough for our use this winter, but our use this winter will be minimal (it’s a long story – the current fireplace situation needs some work). For now, our main driver for firewood is really just dealing with wood that is otherwise in our way.
17. Clear trees and shrubs around the house. (Done.)
Until we do some real landscaping, this one is probably going to be a perennial task, but we’ve cleared a lot of brush, weeds, and small trees from the area immediately around the house. This isn’t a very photogenic task.
18. Plant future christmas trees. (Done.)
Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors at Cedar Creek Tree Farm, we’ve got trees in the ground, hopefully working toward a starring role in christmases 2020-2026 or so.
19. Start perennial berries. (Done. A little bit.)
We planted a few canes of raspberries this year in a sunny corner of the garden. We’ll likely plant more in coming years. On the berry front, we also discovered the wealth of mulberries that came with the place.
20. Preserve surplus harvest. (Done.)
We maybe didn’t preserve everything we could possibly have preserved, but I think we did pretty well. We’ve made gallons of pickles, lots of jam, have frozen many batches of roasted tomatoes and peppers, have canned a ton of hot peppers, and have a substantial volume of canned tomatoes. The root cellar is definitely still a work in progress, but is further along than we’d expected at the start of the year. The canning storage area looks somewhat respectable, IMO:
Overall, I count 14.5 of 20 original goals that are done, with another 2 or 3 that should finish before 2013 does. Not bad.