Friday, January 1, 2016

The Year Ahead...Lots to Do!

Yes its the time of resolutions. Most are unrealistic to attempt and most get lost as the year goes on and things change so Ralph and I have laid out plans. We have allowed ourselves flexibility within the plans to encompass weather, economic feasibility and of course Murphy's Law.

Then we have divided them into categories.
So here goes. The Lots to do in 2016 List.


1- Finish the wiring reconstruction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2- Finish Painting
3- Furnish the living room with eclectic pieces...garage sale, thrift shop and antique store.
* again this list is flexible, we know the deck needs some work and there are still a few windows with issues. Oh yes there is the hole in the living room ceiling where the roofers took out a vent to no where and the drywall fell out onto our new floor...quite a surprise! The roofer is taking care of it but he needs the house warm and time from his busy schedule.

Utility Building/ Poultry Palace:

This is the building that is going to be my laundry room, and come summer the vegetable prep area. One end [the Poultry palace] is what we have been using for the poultry. It is draft free and had power right from the start, perfect for chicks but it is too valuable to be a chicken house. We can do a lot with this building and we have put in new Windows.
1- Sort the crates and boxes from the move.
2- Check and clear the drain.
3- Repair the lights that need it.
4- Clean and resurface the work bench and fix sagging doors under the same bench.
5- Paint? It is in good condition  but is wooden walled. Paint would brighten the room considerably but is it really needed?
6- Replace the roof. The roofer said it has at least three good years left but it has three layers of shingles on it and that is  heavy. We will keep this task on our minds.

The workshop {formerly the carriage House]
This is the  newest building we have and has now been converted into a well equipped shop and workroom.

This building does not need much now but.....
1- Put up pegboard and hang tools
2- Decide which area will be for the Grillo and its attachments.
3- Set up work benches and desk.
4- Unpack and inventory tools.
5- Install a small wood stove or heater. {This is a maybe to do item but one we want to think about, we have some good electric space heater's so we hope they will do but electric may be too expensive, we will see.}

Tobacco Barn:

Ahh the Tobacco barn. I love this old barn and I  know Ralph does too but it is the most needy of all the buildings. It is an old barn, built before farmers leveled the ground then built the barn. This old girl is built on a slope and there is nothing level or straight about it any where! However it is huge and has so much space for any livestock endeavors we are brave enough or crazy enough to try!

1- Move the poultry to the new chicken house in  Bay 2.
2- Level and put down the stall matting in the duck pen in Bay 2
3- Side and repair the box stall in Bay 2 for the turkey pen.
4- Evaluate and clean the three box stalls along the west side of Bay 2 or Bay 2.5 as we refer to them.
5- Rehang the gate between Bay 2 and the back alleyway beside the sheep area.
6- Get Barn Jacks and lift the Huge Front Pole that the east door hangs on at the front of Bay 2. {This is going to be an enormous job, Dan at our feed mill has the barn jacks to lift the pole and his sons are experienced at this kind of work so we hope to arrange a barn repair day to do this.}
7- Repair the roof and the SW corner of the barn.
8- Build new walls to replace the doors on the SE corner where the sheep fold is going to be.
9- Decide whether to hand wooden doors or use heavy tarp to close in the West Door to the hayfield and pasture.
10- Clear the drainage area in front of the barn so the water goes straight past not into the front of Bay 3.
11- Clean the loft.

*** As you can tell this list is actually intimidating! The barn is still solid enough though, to be worth the effort. Other than the tin on the roof on the bad corner [SW] there is not a creak or groan in the highest of winds and the floor is good clay, excellent for healthy critters!

The Livestock: #1 Poultry
This is our great happiness right now, watching and caring for our poultry. They are very important to our future and there is lots to do with them.
1- Start butchering roosters.
2- Start evaluating Rooster's to keep.
       [a] Disposition
       [b] Size
       [c] Breed quality's
       [d] Conformation and structure

3-Evaluate if we need to fence the front yard to keep them off the road.
4- Decide on final flock numbers.
5- Decide if we want to breed pure of develop our own flock of chickens.
6- Build nesting boxes.
7- Figure out if it is feasible to sell eggs.
8- Set up areas for the turkeys to be, for nesting. We are hoping to breed the Slate and Chocolate Turkeys.
9- Set up nesting boxes for the Ducks.

#2 The Sheep
1- Build the Sheep pen and set up feeders and watering fixtures.
2- Add additional wires to the perimeter and pasture fences.
3- Get a solar electric fencer.
4- Fence and cross fence the back  4 acres.
5 Get the Sheep [April]
6 Get a LGD for the farm when we get the Sheep.

** I know this list is short but it is the initial work to do.

#3 The Pigs
1- Make the final decision on the breed of pigs we want.
2- Designate a pig section in the Tobacco barn.
3- Decide where the pigs can roam and do the least damage.

This animal  list will be added to and deleted from as we go along. Some things will work some will not and until we get the sheep and  pigs we cannot be sure how its going to work for us.

I am not even going to start this list here, except to say our Garlic is in, the house garden is worked and we are amending it from the horse manure pile that was left here. The front flower bed is going to become a perennial herb bed. And we have our seed bank ready to go. Broad bean and Irish Potatoes will be going in in March as will carrots and peas.

I have plans for bucket tomatoes off the deck again, they look wonderful and it is so marvelous to get tomatoes just out the back door.

We will be planting asparagus, fruit bushes and Strawberries, Rhubarb will go into the raised bed at the North end of the Utility Building. For the first time since Ralph and I got together we have the room to plant to our hearts delight!

So many varieties and so much room! What could be better!

So there you have a very basic run down of our plans for the year. Some things will work, some will not. Some we will get done and I am afraid some will not. We think big and then do what we can, the big plans are so exciting but we have found small successes bring great joy too!

Now look around you, see what you have to do, evaluate what you can do and blend the two into something workable for you in your situation. Experiment with new ways of doing things and above all enjoy researching new projects. Most of all enjoy what your doing and be satisfied with all the gifts we are surrounded with.

Happy New Year and may success begin at your garden gate!


  1. That's a good list and I could see how it would be overwhelming, but you need to start with a couple of goats, like we did....LOL! One step and one day at a time and it will all be accomplish when it is suppose too....Ooo, I have to remind myself of this one all the time....LOL! Best wishes for 2016! :) p.s. love your place!

  2. We love it too! Finding this farm was such a gift, it amazes us everyday. As to goats...I am glad you mentioned them as they are on our want list. There is not much browse on this farm so sheep are more suitable, we do want a milk goat or two though!
    Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Oh, music to my ear'! You have to have two goats, as they like to have a buddy...LOL! We have four wethers, they are my little friends! If ya have any questions, when you get to that point of getting them I may be able to help or I know Leigh could too! :) I wish this would be the year we get our farm too. :)))

  4. Sounds like a fun year coming up for the two of you, Fiona. I have to agree with Pam, you need goats! (-: We'll be having baby goats next week and are really looking forward to the milk.


  5. Those projects seem endless, but you will scratch them off the list- only to add dozen more LOL. Looking fwd to watching you undertake them all.1

  6. go ahead and plant browse now using perennials and self sowing annuals. plant more than you think you need and leave them to themselves to sink or swim. whatever stock you get can eat at least some of it.
    also good are millet and other grazing for the poultry. some of it should self sow and you can get straw from it for bedding.
    it is stuff that can do some self care so there is always something for the critters to chomp on while you are electrifying and carpenting.
    all you need now is lots of $$ and lots of stamina.
    when you get done what you need you will be prepared to take it a bit easier as old age creeps in. you will have arranged for things to move smoothly in well planned buildings.
    God's blessings!

  7. Oh my goodness, what a list. But, you've finally got your farm and you know what you want, so go for it!

    Have to agree with Pam and Fern - you need goats, LOL. For the pigs, consider American Guinea Hogs (love this breed) or Red Wattles if you have the room (they're bigger). And consider adding "personality" to your rooster list! It's amazing how different they all can be.

    Looking forward to a lot of good blog reading here this year.

    1. The pigs we are considering are Mangalitsa...or Hereford. For us, ow living in a very GMO aware Amish community it may be more feasible to buy butchered pork Amish Raised. They are careful what they feed their pigs! As to Rooster Personality....the group we have are all characters!

    2. Wow, that is amazing about the Amish, I'm very happy to see this, we need more like them! :)

  8. WOW that is some long list and I do know you can do it. I remember when we started and all the goals and work. It was worth it. Happy New Year. Hugs B