What We’re Adding to the Homestead This Year

I’m not much for new year’s resolutions. But I am big on having goals and doing new things each year.

I think it’s important to have something to look forward to in a new year. It feels like we’re sorely low on hope in our society today, so make plans, I say. Have something to work toward that makes you excited. Even if those plans need to change or get canceled down the road, make them anyway and be flexible.

One of the dangers of homesteading is getting burned out from trying to do too much without proper expectations.

I keep a long list of things that need to be done on the homestead or things I want to learn. It’ll take me many years to get them all done, if I ever do, but that’s the point. There’s always something to do. Always something to work towards.

Every year, I’ll pick a few items off the list that help move us forward in some way. It’s not a reset, meaning we’re not ever starting from scratch on January first.

We’re already busy with the market garden, preserving food, raising pigs and chickens and free range children – we can only handle so much before putting ourselves at risk of burn out. But each year we try to add a few things that improve our homestead or help us become more efficient. With the proper expectations that things may change and we may need to adapt.

What we added to the homestead in 2020

Our normal flow of life goes something like this – Seeding transplants in the winter, prepping beds in the early spring, planting out our 2 acre market garden, succession planting different varieties of crops, applying healthy doses of compost, tending to the daily chores of our animals who contribute to the said compost, harvesting through spring, summer and early fall, preserving food, selling food, sharing food, enjoying food, entertaining & instructing 4 wild children and working a full time “day” job.

There is a rhythm to it all that makes life full but possible to embrace more with intention.

Looking back over 2020, I’m happy with the things we were able to accomplish. Here are the top new things we did last year:

  1. We successfully raised a total of 210 meat chickens on pasture for the first time.
  2. I learned how to make mead – something I’ve wanted to do and have found to be gratifying. Go here to learn more!
  3. We tore down a medium sized old pig barn on the property to make room for something else. Check out the before and after pics.
  4. We increased our pig herd to a total 5 sows, 2 boars and 19 feeders.
  5. We cleared and made useful a large section of the back acreage that was seriously overgrown. This was a big deal for us ya’ll!
  6. I built a mobile chicken tractor that will allow us to put a small flock on the garden plots.

While the list of accomplishments may not seem at all impressive to others, I feel very satisfied with what we were able to make happen in 2020.

What we’ll add to the homestead in 2021

This year our focus will be in enhancing storage functionality and learning new techniques that will make us more productive and efficient.

Here’s our list:

  1. Build a greenhouse where the old pig building was.
  2. Create a food storage pantry in the basement.
  3. Experiment with Back to Eden in the market garden.
  4. Rotate our small flock of chickens on the garden plots – bug control and hands free fertilizing!
  5. Build a mobile pig shelter and rotate feeder pigs on pasture.
  6. Save our own seeds.

How about you? What plans have you made for 2021? What new thing will you seek to learn, build or add to the homestead?

No matter the size of your list or how limited your resources, always keep moving forward. Even if it means taking small steps to achieve your goals and dreams. Life was never meant to be stagnate.

And neither were we.

  1. Great post! What is ‘Back to Eden’? I’m also focused on the seed saving in coming years, as well as much more observation and study in permaculture perennials for our area and maybe even a wee water garden. And, I want to give you some more kudos too, b/c thanks to you we’re loving the ‘ginger bug’! Do you have more ideas of what beverage flavors can be created with it? I’d love to be able to make a homemade ginger ale that really tastes like it. Also experimenting a lot with kombucha, trying now to make real root beer with it using our own foraged ingredients.

    1. Back to Eden is essentially rooted in no till farming, but using wood chips for weed suppression and soil regeneration. I’m going to try it with one plot in the garden and see what I can learn. And great to hear about the ginger bug! I’ve got lots of ideas how to utilize it but still working on some recipes. Root beer, ginger beer and ginger ale are all at the top of my list.

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