A Year in Review

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by romancemelisa, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. romancemelisa

    romancemelisa Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2004
    Sometimes I get so discouraged around here, that not enough is getting done or everything takes so long, so I'm going to sit down with paper and pen and go through it and get it down right and then I'll post it. How about you? what did you get done? and what do you want to get done in the coming year?
  2. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 14, 2003
    Western WA
    We have made a to do list every Jan since we moved in here in 1979. Sometimes the things on the lists show up for several years running, but eventually they get marked off. I've always kept the lists, its fun to look back and see progress, no matter how slow. Some of our , at the time, big accomplishments we've forgotten about until we read the lists. This last year we put up a greenhouse out of recycled material, added some more veg. beds, got more bees and did some work in the woods. Next year, new chicken pen, move the compost pile, replace a couple of fruit trees and redo one of the flower beds. I want to do some inside painting and its the time to get the septic pumped. We'll see how far we get!

  3. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    SC Kansas
    This seemed like a bad year for us. I broke my collar bone in May, and that put me behind in everything. No garden this year. I could not tend it, and my wife could not very well, as she had to take up the slack in my chores (she's awesome). We did however get started finally on the addition to the house this fall, which we have been planning for 3 years. Of course, that means that I have to put other things aside to work on the house, so other things (greenhouse) did not get done this fall. In spite of all the setbacks this year, it still has been a good year. We butchered plenty of chickens, got the pigs mostly done now, and the goats are doing great. I am learning to let things happen as they do, and remember that we moved here to slow down a little. If it doesn't get done this year, it will next, or the next.
  4. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Feb 23, 2005
    Southwestern PA
    This is a great idea. I'm very impatient when it comes to completing personal goals, so I also tend to get discouraged that I can't do everything at once. I think writing everything down can help us to be proud of our accomplishments instead of being frustrated by the pace of things.

    So, here goes. In 2005, I:
    * planted my first real garden and provided almost all the veggies and herbs for the summer
    * learned to make cheese/yogurt/etc.
    * learned to knit (well, just scarves so far)
    * worked on improving previously non-existant cooking/baking skills, started baking all our own bread, and making more than 95% of our meals at home
    * started stocking the pantry for preparedness
    * got a new basement freezer
    * built a big wooden box to increase container garden space next year
    * insulated the attic
    * replace broken boiler with new efficient model (ARRRGH, will be done tomorrow, and cost an arm and a leg)
    * read tons of stuff to prepare for more elaborate homesteading ASAP
    * graduated school
    * moved from IL to PA and unpacked all my massive amounts of stuff (and gave lots away)
    * started new job and started saving like crazy for financial freedom

    In 2006, my main plans are:
    * keep saving money, and keep my eye on local real estate for future homestead! Set aside enough to pay off school loans! :dance:
    * increase the size of the garden so we have more variety and more left to store for the winter
    * convince my fiancee that we really could have a few hens on our city lot (this one's a long shot)
    * make window quilts to help insulate the house
    * paint kitchen, bathroom, and moulding in bedroom
    * keep improving knitting/quilting/cooking skills
    * try making hard cheeses (need a cheese press and fridge for this)
    * help train my friend's shetland pony to pull a cart/sleigh
    * keep reading and learning! :nerd:
    * ?? I want to do so much more, but I feel limited by our lack of land. It's wonderful to be paying off loans, etc., but it sure isn't as exciting/fun as, say, getting a milk goat. Oh well. Nobody said every step was going to be fun, right? The important thing is that we're on the right track.

    Can't wait to hear all your plans!
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    We went debt free.We looked for property

    Didnt save as much as I wanted and didnt find the property either.

    I would say it was a 50/50 year.

  6. romancemelisa

    romancemelisa Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2004
    O.K., here goes, we moved here to east T.X. on Nov.1st,2004. We were in
    Vicksburg, M.S. The ideal was me and the kids would be here and dh would comute back and forth on the weekends, he is a contractor, and designs off-shore oil rigs, he had been unemployed for a few months and we lost everything, house, car and had numerous garage sales trying to stay afloat.

    I traded a year worth of child-suport for x's conversion van, Jerry was to stay in it, while in M.S., well we were here for 5 day's when Jerry was offered a job in W.A., he took it, big increase in pay. We pulled the car there and I drove back alone.

    Got everything unbacked here, and ready for turkey day, then I got sick I mean really sick, for 8 months, I went through 6 rounds of antibiotics, steroids, cough medicine, throat lozenger, nothing helped, then in Feb. I lost my voice that lasted almost another 2 mo. they were starting to think I had cancer. (no cancer) during this time I did manage to get a pig pen built and 2 piglets to occupy it, picked out my 2 acres out of the 12, where I wanted the house, ds and i built a 10x12 chicken house, and got 10 chicks and 2 quieneas, and then we added 2 goats. had the road to our part built, culvert installed and the land cleared twice, (first guy did horrible job), next I found a $500.00 trailer very cute, thought the ceiling was caved in turned out to be the whole roof, so had a new green metal roof installed over trailer (it sure is pretty), bought a horse, then put up a run for her,then bought her colt, then built a shelter for them. (i know that was backwards, but we were saving them), goats wouldn't stay in chicken run so had to build them a fenced off place and a shelter. Oh! also had a garden.

    We went through 2 trucks and ds went through 1 car, we are now having someone raise the ceiling in trailer up to new roof and extending walls up to it. I'am so ready to be out of this small trailer, I now sleep in the conversion van, it has a queen size bed a porta potty,2 burner stove, a small refrigerater, and my t.v. and dvd player, much better than sleeping on the couch.

    Dh is now working in Houston and is home most weekends, and I got a new lap top and am able to get back here to ht.

    Year ahead, get in our trailer, move all the animals up there, dig a pond, and start knocking out walls to widen the trailer, and I'am thinking about homeschooling.

    O.K. now I feel like something got accomlished.
  7. coventry49

    coventry49 Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    South Central Montana, foothills of the Beartooth
    Let's see...
    Last year, I purchased 5 acres, had a house put on it (along with well, septic, driveway, etc.), fenced a acre, and built my chicken and goose coops. Put in a garden, but it failed due to location. Did a little landscaping and put in a walkway from the front door around to the back of the house. Learned how to make bread and soap. Raised more baby chicks. Started selling eggs. Also started stocking my pantry, just like hisenthlay did. Paid off some bills. Only one left (beside the mortgage) :dance:

    Move garden, and increase its size. Build supports for tomatoes and climbing veggies. Build a portable cold frame. Put in irigation lines for the garden. Start my orchard and vinyard. Pay off last outstanding bill. Increase my monthly savings. Continue to stock up my newly created pantry. Re-roof my chicken coop. Fence off the back acre so I can "rent-a-sheep" for the summer to keep the grass eaten down (too steep to mow, and there be rattlers down there in the tall grass) :p Am quite anxious to can my garden's produce this summer! (already picked up 2 pressure canners).

    There'll be more stuff, but that should certainly get me started.

    -Barb in Montana
  8. cpeyus

    cpeyus Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Sierra Nevada foothills, CA
    hmmm...Good idea...

    2005 -

    *traded in our small pickup for a full size (fits our long-legged family better!) & only had to add $500 to buy it free n clear
    *started the compost bins
    *oldest DS got drivers license, so I'm making fewer trips to town, as he runs the small errands for me
    *got rid of the old freezer in the laundry room!
    *made (still making) plans for next year's garden (our first at this property) & mini-orchard
    *I'm sure we accomplished more, & I'll keep thinking about it so I can keep a notebook!
    *got about 12 dozen canning jars FREE


    *put in garden & start putting in fruit trees
    *finish shelves in basement storage room
    *finish window quilts (if I don't have them done by 12/31/05)
    *change car insurance company's (combine with house insurance for discounts on both!)
    *finish the afghan I started for my mom last year!!!!
    *PAINT THE HOUSE in & out
    *cut the bank along the driveway back 4' or so...
    *grade & gravel "our part" of the road (We're the last house, so we're the only ones who use this part...and it's gotta be the worst, argh)
    *pay off the 3 small credit cards & cancel them
    * learn to knit (at least simple patterns)
    *talk DH into getting chickens (layers at least)
    *build portable cold frame
    *build garbage bin (we haul our own trash, need bin to hold truckload)
    *use the jeans I've got stockpiled & make quilts
    *CLEAN OUT THE GARAGE (ick) so we can get the boat back in! (maybe if I do this myself, DH will agree to getting chickens....hmmmmm)

    and there are about a million other things I know I want to do...
  9. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Apr 25, 2005
    I wrote this a couple of weeks ago for a local homesteading group. I meant to share it here as well, but never got around to it.

    December 4th marked our first anniversary on the homestead. I
    can't believe it's been a year. There are a few boxes that aren't
    unpacked yet!!!

    We have done a lot of work and transformed our lives. I grew up in
    Shawnee and then moved to NW OKC, so basically, I've been a town/city
    girl all my life. DH was a military brat so most of his live has been
    in metropolitan areas as well. Farm life really wasn't part of our
    background. Both sets of parents had some farming in their
    background, but we had never been exposed to much of it. I felt a
    little intimidated when the group was discussing a skills inventory.
    I felt so new and ignorant about all of it. But, looking back on this
    year, I have learned alot.

    In the past year we have learned about chickens, built a coop
    (converted a barn stall)and raised some chickens. I learned about
    guineas, got some guineas. Turkeys? Those sound neat, how bout some
    of those.

    After getting our feet wet with the chickens we decided that the idea
    of raising our own food sounded good. So we read up about bottle
    calves and raising beef cattle. Not knowing any beef or dairy farmers
    we bought an auction calf and got very lucky and ended with a healthy
    little guy. But in the process I've learned tons about scours and
    shipping fever and not to overfeed a bottle calf, etc. The children
    got the opportunity to bottle raise an animal that would someday grow
    larger than themselves, and introduced to the idea that food doesn't
    grow on shelves wrapped in plastic. It is born, cute and fuzzy,
    raised with TLC (or should be anyway) and then respectfully and
    humanely slaughtered. Food should not be taken for granted or wasted,
    because a creature died for us to eat. We haven't come full circle
    yet and won't until next fall, but they have been introduced to the

    DD wanted horses. After much reading and studying and such we brought
    home a couple of horses that belong to the girl scouts. We have
    learned what it takes to feed and care for them. We have learned much
    about the social behavior of horses. We have learned about farriers
    and vet bills. DH learned that he likes horses.

    Along the lines of growing our own food, came the idea of a milk cow.
    After much research we learned about Dexter's and found and purchased
    a bred Dexter cow. Milking will be one of next year's lessons, as
    well as learning all about birthing a calf. I have learned to make
    butter this year from homebought cream. Next year I hope to learn to
    make cheese and yougurt.

    There wasn't a garden this year. Just a few tomato plants plopped
    down way too late in the year into an old overgrown flowerbed. They
    were purchased before the not so well planned garden got tilled, with
    a tiller that wasn't operational. (i.e. that first garden never
    happened.) Despite their late start those tomatoes produced well. I
    learned to make salsa and to can, both in a water bath and with a
    pressure canner. I and learned new and exciting things to do with
    green tomatoes. I made green tomato pickles(Didn't turn out so great)
    and green tomatoe cake (fabulous!) I have read and learned about
    lasagna gardening, and have next year's garden layed out with
    cardboard and covered in mulch and compost.

    Inside we painted (some of the house anyway)and layed down new
    flooring in much of the house. We installed french doors. We learned
    about heating with wood and are in the process of refurbishing a used
    wood stove and installing it.

    While there is still much to learn and do, and sometimes it feels
    like we haven't accomplished much, we have made great strides and
    learned much about homesteading. I dont' think I could ever be a true
    homesteader. I'm too much of a technophile, but I enjoy mixing the
    old with the new. I get a kick out of knowing that I can learn the
    ancient arts of livestock rearing, or spinning, or food preservation
    on a state of the art computer connected to a mind boggling world
    wide network of technology. While like minded people are few and far
    between they can connect with each other using that technology.

    We have learned what the stars really look like. We learned about
    frost flowers. I've learned that nothing is as soft and wonderful on
    a cold fall morning than srcunching your hands into the soft fuzzy
    winter coat of a big angus calf. There is nothing as wonderful as a
    flock of chickens crowding around you for their plate full of
    goodies, and the bounty of thier eggs, scrabbled up for breakfast. We
    learned alot this year.
  10. wildwestwoman

    wildwestwoman Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Ash Fork, AZ
    I need time to make that list...accomplishments and goals. I really wanted to thank you for starting this thread though. You're so right. Sometimes it gets depressing because things don't move quickly enough. What a wonderful way to look back and see what we've really accomplished.

    Thanks again and happy holidays whatever your tradition.

  11. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2002
    We survived 2005 hope to do more than just survive 2006.

    Kenneth in NC
  12. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ooooh, good idea.

    Let's see, in 2005 we:
    - Added more chickens to our laying flock and built up a small customer base for eggs.
    - Added some "fancy" chickens, easter eggers and marans, to have some speciality eggs.
    - Fenced in three new pastures.
    - Built a goat barn.
    - Purchased fainting goats.
    - Sold first fainting kids for a nice profit.
    - Purchased two dairy goats.
    - Learned how to milk, make cheese, make yogurt, etc.
    - Planted a decent garden for year #1.
    - Added a new pasture and got a fainting goat buck.
    - Raised some turkeys for sale. Sold out 2 months before Thanksgiving!
    - Raised more broilers. Sold out every batch ahead of time.

    Next year:
    - Pigs
    - Try some "lable rouge" chickens for sale
    - Bigger garden. Maybe terraced, raised beds.
    - Add some more fruit trees and bushes.
    - Really, honestly, start the d@#% addition we were supposed to do when we first moved in. Really.
  13. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 26, 2003
    New York
    When I looked at my list for this year it provided me with a good laugh! Sometimes things don't go as planned.

    The three main projects on the list never even got started (pond, woodstove and generator), although the big one slated for 2006 began a year early (market garden).

    I was planning on getting a pony for my neice and nephews but somehow ended up with two draft horses :stars: ....... I set up a huge pantry, canned loads of vegetables, and even managed to grow extra for the chickens. Got the bees up and running, and extracted plenty of honey considering it's their first year. Got more egg customers than I can provide for! Doubled the size of the chicken coop, enclosed the horses shed and built a lean-to addition on the big shed, to use as an equipment shelter. Got almost all the perimeter fence up, and learned all about solar and regular fence chargers. All in all it was an excellent year.