With only a few more days until the new year, I’ve been making a mental list of all of the things I wish to accomplish in 2016. As always, my goals are a bit ambitious. But I like a challenge! I don’t expect to get every single thing done in the next 12 months, but it definitely helps to set goals to work toward. And if I don’t get them done this coming year, then maybe the next!
Here is a quick list of some things I’d like to work toward making happen around the homestead in 2016…
- Start a flock of chickens from scratch with non-GMO chicks. I found a hatchery that ships day-old chicks hatched from a parent flock that has been fed a strict diet of non-GMO feed. Since we want to avoid GMOs as much as possible it’s important to us that our chickens aren’t genetically modified and that we feed them non-genetically modified feed. I’ve been researching a method of raising chickens on compost only (garden and organic kitchen scraps, weed seeds, bug and earthworms, forage, etc.), which I’d love to try implementing on our homestead.
- Bring goats back onto the homestead. We cleared an immature wooded area of our property this year and allowed it to begin growing back up with shrubs and roughage that’ll be perfect to fence in and provide forage for a couple of goats. I really want a milk goat again, but I’d also like to raise meat goats. Maybe breed a Saanen or Nubian (milk goats) with a Boer (meat goat)?
- Create a hugelkultur bed on the bank behind our house to stop erosion. We’ve actually begun this much-needed project already with the help of some friends (more on that to come!).
- Turn the front yard into a food forest. This is probably the most ambitious project I want to begin (seeing as it’s so barren at the moment), and will definitely take several years of preparation and planting. But I really want to make headway on the front yard this year.
- Build an outdoor (off grid, of course) wash room for laundry. I envision an open structure over a concrete slab with 4 corner posts and a corrugated plastic roof slanted toward the back to catch rain in a gutter which feeds to a chain of raised, connected rain barrels. Washtubs or large laundry sinks could be filled with this rain water, or heated over a small wood burning stove, and used to wash and rinse the laundry. Several clotheslines would be strung next to the washing area. This outdoor room could be used for at least half the year.
- Tear down the greenhouse and rebuild it as a lean-to. The way it’s built, elevated off the ground, makes it difficult to plant anything in without worry of the floor getting wet and rotting. It would be nice to be able to plant directly in the ground in the greenhouse. We might not even rebuild the structure at all, but instead replace it with cold frames. Either way, what we have now isn’t functioning so it’s gotta be re-worked. It might benefit us to line that side of the house with deciduous trees (short enough that they wouldn’t block the solar panels on the roof) to keep the house cooler during the hot summer months, since it’s the south side of the house.
- Raise ducks and turkeys for meat. Possibly other fowl as well. I’m intrigued by the idea of being able to raise ducks for fat, since we don’t have anything producing fat for us on the homestead. And turkeys give so much more meat than chickens.
- Insulate the well house and hand pump. Currently we are only using the hand pump on the well during warm months because the pressure tank and all of the plumbing connecting it to the well is above ground and completely exposed unless we cover the well back over with the giant insulated fake rock thingy that keeps it all from freezing during the winter. We need to build an insulated box around all of the plumbing, with a hole in the top for the hand pump handle to come through, and an access door to the shut off valves, so we can hand pump year round.
- I’m still dreaming of a root cellar… though I’m not sure it’ll be in our budget this year. (Anyone have a bunch of cinder blocks they wanna get rid of??)
- Try growing jicama. We love jicama… it would be awesome if we could grow it in our garden here at home instead of eating it imported, waxed, and probably several weeks old. I’d be so excited!
Of course I have many personal goals as a mom and entrepreneur. I also want to move to Ecuador. But that’s a whole other topic, lol!
I hope you’ll bookmark my site and visit us often as I continue sharing our lives and adventures in the coming year.
I’d love to hear your homesteading goals for 2016!