Stop by & offer a few pointers, or point & laugh, as a few old farts figure out the fine art of living... Life on a Few Acres

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 1st brings our year to a close

So, I guess I can't put off a review of our first year much longer.  First, I should mention that blogging out the goals and directions we wished to take paid off.  Unlike plans scribbled on the back of envelopes, of which I have many, lol... the one I posted to the inter webs is just where I left it!  That in itself is progress : ).

Some of our plans worked out well.  Our planting goals were limited to getting in a chunk of our perennials.  Of the 14 trees, 13 are surviving.  The fig tree will be replaced down the road, in a better protected spot, tended by better educated people.
The asparagus and berries also made it through the year.
Overall evaluation is that our planting goals were reasonable for our situation, and were reasonably successful. 

Our animal plans  also seemed to go well, overall.  The goal was 8 layers & a rooster, and we've 7 gals and guy with us today.  The one death occurred early on, and was most likely a human caused accident.  Otherwise, the birds have appeared to thrive.  I think the temperature was too high at times, and I never added any medicine or prophylactics to their water.  There was no noticeable slowdowns in their laying during the winter, either.  Ultimately, the only problem with the chickens is:  we want more! and already have more eggs than we need!  Obviously there are many solutions to the situation and we will figure out which one(s) we wish to take soon.

I'm also ok with the progress we've made with the goats.  Last September, we bought a registered sibling pair of Nigerian dwarves.  The main objective was to field test our interest and ability for this livestock.  Fortunately, we discovered we were right about wanting goats.  There is a lot of flat rocks in the bloodlines, which is decent for milk and conformation.  I don't know if I'll breed the doe or not though, as she's 100 % line bred already.  That decision will require research and refinement of our goals.  So, at present we're a bit ahead on the goat goals.  I think the decision we wrestled with before has been made:  Nigerians or Kinders?  Yes, please!! BOTH! Lots! :) 
We have also succeeded in clearing out the guy goat barn itself, though not yet adapted it for livestock. 
Another area we set goals for is fencing:  We did get the dog fencing in, and about 300 foot of the garden fence, too.  We also have about 250 foot of wooden picket fence installed.  For now it's mostly just floating across the front of the property.  The eventual plan is all the disparate fences will actually meet up and fully enclose various areas. 

The last set of goals we had were for inside projects:  unpacking and setting up the sewing/craft/puzzle room, adding storage to the basement, and adding paint, flooring, and  the new toilet to the living room bath.  We worked long and hard, but made little progress.  One of the first and biggest stumbling blocks is that I had to break down and make a final floor plan for the basement, then finish painting it.  Then, before the pantry area can be established the area needed to be cleared.  Thus the whole work area needed to be set up etc etc etc.  Other slow downs included illnesses, injuries and ICU's for loved ones.  I'm very proud of my sprained wrist, btw LOL.
Any ways alls well that ends well, and we can resume our efforts indoors when the brunt of the summer hits, or next winter. 

An implicit goal of sticking to the budget was also only partially met.  That was in large part to having to unexpectedly having to replace a truck last year.  Yes, I was prepared to replace it with a car, and retire the truck to the farm.  Unfortunately, the truck was hit and totaled and thus ended up needing another truck, instead of a car.  Not a biggie, but it did alter the budget.

All in all, I'm giving us a 78% to 83%  rating for the first year here.  Work would undoubtedly go faster if we were younger, faster, didn't have day jobs etc, but it is, as they say, what it is.


  1. We find the blog helps in a lot of ways. It is a progress journal and shows us what we have done and how things are progressing. Our lists expand and contract as we get things done and of course add to it again. With planning even us less than youngsters can accomplish a lot! You just show that you do not need a huge amount of land to do a lot for yourselves. Your leading by example! Congratulations on the year.

  2. That is very true Fiona, blogs are progress, and process, journals. We here are all a few generations away from the land/farming; and this writing has helped me see/plug into those cycles of farm life. Not sure about leading, but definitely hope it encourages others that their piece of the dream is coming!

  3. Wow, I count your first year as a huge success. Have to agree about the blog for parking goals (and making notes and posting photos on project progress). You've accomplished a lot! I agree with Fiona that it will inspire others at least.

    So you've not had kids and milk yet? Very true about too much line breeding and the need for genetic diversity. I hope you find an appropriate buck (or another doe) soon. Hands-on with kidding, milking, and milk production will also help you evaluate the breed.

    Congratulations on all your hard work this past year. It will pay off hugely down the road!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Leigh. No, not breeding or milking yet; need more fencing and the bigger barn ready before we move into phase II. Excited to see we're 'bout ready for that phase, for sure!