How Do You Eat an Elephant?

2013 is 55 days old so far.   The year is 15% gone.   We set some ambitious goals for 2013, so I thought I’d briefly update on our progress so far.

Just one of our goals for the year is completely done:


15. Get some outdoor cats

We adopted four feral cats in mid January, and they’re currently living in our shed,getting acclimated to us and waiting to prowl the outdoors.

One more is really, really close to being done:

11. Convert the upper level sunroom into a dining room

IMG_2991The biggest piece of this, by far, was removing the hot tub.  If it were just me, I’d call this one done, but Amy would argue, since we still have yet to actually attach and grout the tile we replaced, and there is still a rust stain where the edge of the tub was.  Now the trick will be actually finishing this, rather than leaving it at 98% until next winter.  🙂

We put a couple of matching ceiling fans found (for a steal!) on craigslist in the lower level sunroom, which counts as real progress toward:

12. Make the lower level sunroom basically usable

So we’ve got lights there now, which goes a long way toward making the room usable.  However, we then turned the room into an indoor greenhouse, which probably needs to count as a step backward.

With spring on its way (at least in our minds), we’re actively working on a few others.  I’m making good progress on the design and prototyping of the chicken shelter we’ll use on pasture once the snow melts, which is relevant for both:

2. Raise and process meat chickens
3. Move the laying flock to pasture

We’ve also placed our first order for meat birds: 25 day-old Freedom Rangers will show up sometime in the second week of April.  We’ve also identified some more layers we’ll add to the laying flock; they’ll arrive in early June.


We have herb seedlings started, vegetable seeds ordered, and a draft garden layout (thanks to!) done, which counts for both:

6. Start a perennial herb garden
8. Start a vegetable garden

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We have also sorted out the broad strokes of the deer and other munchy mammal defense plan that we’ll try this year.

While no action has yet been taken, we’re actively researching in support of:

9. Get goats

We’re both a bit daunted by the goats, but see this year as a test that we really need to conduct.  Our hope is that goats will eat the majority of the brushy ground cover we have in the woods; finding out if that’s true or not will have a significant bearing on plans for subsequent years.  So we’re pressing on.  We’ve read a few books, have started looking in detail at fencing and other supplies, and have a basic plan for how the shed gets converted for winter goat shelter.

So that leaves the rest yet more or less un-started, in many cases because these are fundamentally seasonal things:

1. Make the studio usable
4. Establish some outdoor shoot spaces
5. Grade and cover crop the front garden
7. Define new paths and maintain current paths in the woods
10. Replace the floor in the main level guest room, furnish the lower level guest room
13. Get to know the orchard, prune some trees, and hopefully get some fruit
14. Raise turkeys for Thanksgiving
16. Split and cure firewood for next winter
17. Clear trees and shrubs around the house
18. Plant future christmas trees
19. Start perennial berries
20. Preserve surplus harvest

Are we 15% done? I don’t know; maybe. In any case, I’m pretty happy with our progress so far, and am really looking forward to getting outside without my hat and gloves and winter coat.

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