New Year Goals

We are already a few days into 2015 but I would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year and the one that is upcoming over the last few days, trying to figure out my goals for the upcoming year. Looking back at my 2014 Goals, I didn’t accomplish any of the things I had written. There are reasons for each with money and time spent elsewhere being the two biggest factors. Another reason I have been stuck in a rut with some of the projects is because I didn’t know if I would be staying here at all. Up until I moved back for my new job, I was thinking about selling the place to focus on getting out of debt. Now, I think I will be around for a while, but the thought of selling the place hasn’t left.

So, big projects like a new greenhouse, permanent chicken coop and a nice dock for the pond, are not on my priority list. Yes, we could really use a new coop, especially since Heather bought a bunch of new chickens a couple weeks ago to produce more eggs and hopefully keep up with the demand she has had at work. We have only gotten two eggs so far out of 8 new hens that are supposed to be laying, but I think the stress of the move and weather are a big factor in that. By springtime the other 5 (hopefully) hens she got should be laying as well so we should have more than enough eggs then.

As for my 2015 goals, I’m trying to stay simple this year. And simple is one of my goals. Simplifying my life that is. Easy as it sounds, it may be difficult to do.  A tiny house has been on my mind lately, with part of the thought being that I have too much stuff if I ever wanted to live in one.  I’ve started to downsize the amount of stuff that I have by listing things I don’t need or want on Craigslist. It will be an ongoing process but will hopefully bring in a few extra dollars towards my next goal, paying down debt. Between school loans, credit cards and my truck, my life would be a lot simpler with a few less creditors. I’m still listening to Dave Ramsey and have already started (or attempting anyways) to use cash only as part of my monthly budget. The next step is to save my $1000 emergency fund, followed by paying whatever extra I have every month towards the lowest balance loan. I’m hoping to get rid of my credit cards and maybe my smallest school loan this year. The truck doesn’t have a sign in the window yet, but it will be for sale as soon as I can get a cheap car or truck.

I would also like to clean up and fix up the property as much as I can on a limited budget. Cleaning the pond is something I can do by hand, even though it isn’t much fun. The muck, which is made up of all the dead leaves, algae and whatever else has fallen into the pond over the years, should make a good fertilizer for my garden. Continuing to build the garden soil, build raised beds from materials I have laying around and maybe try a hugelkultur type bed or two with the sticks and branches laying around are also inexpensive tasks I hope to accomplish this year.

In list form, here are my goals for 2015, which includes a few that I haven’t talked about yet, but shouldn’t need much explanation.

  1. Simplify life
  2. Save $1000 emergency fund
  3. Pay off debt
  4. Lose 40 pounds
  5. Sell/donate  unneeded/unwanted things
  6. Cycle instead of drive
  7. Buy cheaper vehicle/ sell truck
  8. Volunteer
  9. Clean pond
  10. Build raised beds/ build garden soil
  11. Cook more/ stop eating out
  12. Take a multi day hiking camping and/or canoeing trip
  13. Sell more eggs

And one from last year that I want to work harder towards…

14.  Produce at least 25% of food requirements here.  I don’t think I quite met this goal last year, even though I was able to put up more food than I expected from the garden, especially with not being here a good portion of the summer.  I also had the 15 meat birds, some of which are still in the freezer, along with some frozen corn and green beans (soon to be dinner).  Meat chickens and rabbits will contribute towards my protein needs this year and with any luck I’ll have a bountiful harvest with enough to can for the winter.

Wednesday Update

Just a quick update on the goings on around the ‘stead.  I’ve been busy doing spring cleaning around the property.  The trees I cut down over the winter left a lot of branches that need hauled away or burned.  I prefer hauling them away but some junk wood needed burned, so I burned some branches as well.  Mowing is a never ending chore that I continually put off.  Some of my grass is waist high because I put it off so long.  I could bale it if I had a tractor and baler!  But I only have a push mower, so that makes it more fun…

About half of the garden is in.  I’m falling behind in my schedule because of rainy days and other chores.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, were some of the latest plantings.  They all seem to be going through a bit of transplant shock or I didn’t harden them off enough before planting.  Some tomatoes had new growth so I think they will pull through.  I need to plant beans, pumpkins, corn, popcorn, whatever other seeds I have at the house, along with a second round of greens and radishes for staggered harvests.  I did finally get new cherry trees and grape vines from Lowes after losing some over the winter.  They still need to go in the ground, though.  Potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and the seeds I planted a couple weeks ago all seem to be doing good.

This past weekend I traded the black rabbit buck I got as part of the three “does” I bought for a New Zealand white doe and bought one of her sisters as well.  They are only about two months old so it will be a few months before they can be bred.  When they are ready I will breed them to the red NZ buck.  I still haven’t decided what to do with the only doe of the three.  Maybe I should ask the person I got the two new does from if we can breed her to one of their bucks?  They live close so it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

A busy week and weekend lie ahead…  Work at the CSA tonight and Thursday.  Friday will be a travel evening after work back to my parent’s house in NW Ohio.  Saturday is a good friend’s wedding.  Sunday I will be coming back to the Rural Side, hopefully getting some work done around the house.  Monday is Memorial Day so I don’t have to work, which as a contractor means I won’t be getting paid at all, but the day will most likely be spent working around the house again.

In other news, I have launched my first business.  Still working on getting the name out and getting my first customer.  I’ll post more about it soon.  For now, check out the website for Cincinnati Backyard Farms (still a work in progress)

2014 Goals

As we ring in the new year it is time to start thinking ahead to what I will be doing around the homestead in the coming year.  This has actually been on my mind since it got too cold to do much outside, but I had not sat down to write out my to-do list until today.  I actually made two lists, one titled “Personal Goals” which includes a bunch of things I want to do to make myself a better person and to help me get to where I want to be in the future.  For example, “Eliminate as Much Debt as Possible” is near the top of my list.  Since I first heard Dave Ramsey on the radio this topic has been on my mind.  This is the year I start in earnest on that goal, with one of the first steps being a comprehensive budget and Dave’s “Baby Steps”.  If this is one of your goals I suggest his website and radio program as a starter.

The second list is the one I will share here- Homestead Goals.  This list is comprised of many things that I want to do around house and property.  Some are necessities while others are things that would be nice to do.  Some will require budgeting and planning to accomplish while others are free or cheap to do and only require time and effort to do them.

Here is the list:

  1. Expand Greenhouse
  2. New Chicken Coop
  3. Fix Drainage
  4. Clean Pond Muck
  5. Build a Dock
  6. Build a Woodshed
  7. Split 3+ Cords of Firewood
  8. Remodel Bathroom
  9. Remodel Mud Room
  10. and finally…  25-50% of Food Requirements

Number one I have already been planning and got a bunch of free tempered glass to build the expansion with last year.  Two would be nice to do so that the coop is better and will not be in an area that floods when we get a bunch of rain.  Three should help to get the rain water from flooding my plants and yard every time we do get a bunch of rain.  Four is one I want to do a lot more work on than I have so far with the plan being to drain the pond (which doesn’t have any fish in it right now) and shovel out the muck and debris that has collected in there.  While the pond is drained I hope to do number five.  A woodshed that will keep our wood dry I view as a necessity- tarps just aren’t cutting it.  Seven, eight and nine are pretty much self explanatory.  Ten will be the focus of a longer post with how I plan to grow the majority of my food on the property but 25-50% should be a manageable goal, especially if I am able to get some meat chickens this year.