Happy new year! Another year has flown by! On this first day of the year, I will be telling you about our 2018 goals. The end of a year/the beginning of a new year is always a great opportunity to reflect on what happened in the last year and set goals for the new year.
Reflection on 2017
All in all 2017 was a good year. I feel like we learned a lot and really got our homestead up and running. Our animals are doing great and we got to enjoy some great homegrown meals. The garden turned out pretty good for what we had, it was by no means enough to get us through the winter but we harvested a lot of food. We also harvested some animals, and ate a pasture raised chicken for Christmas!
We didn’t end up building a chickshaw (see homesteading goals 2017) because according to German regulation we need more inside space for chickens. We did, however, buy and fix up a mobile chicken coop that we should be able to house 54 chickens in. Pretty soon I will be publishing a blog post about German regulations and some of the challenges we are facing due to the regulations.
Due to these regulations, we have also not gotten into making a lot of money from our homestead. We did sell some eggs and produce to our neighbors, but barely enough to cover some of the costs. We also sold a few Brahma chicks that we hatched from our flock. Finally, we put a room on AirBnB to generate some extra income, we have been running the AirBnB for two months now and it is doing pretty well considering it is winter. We are planning on adding a second room, and are anxious to see how it will do in the summer.
I started 2017 with keeping track of everything in my homestead binder, but as the year went on I stopped doing that. So much for being more organized and keeping records.
We did a lot of projects to make our homestead more efficient and self-sustainable. We installed a rain water collection system and we got the water well up and running, this resulted in our city water bill being cut in half in 2017! We turned the old pig pens into chick brooders (one of them is housing our son’s quail right now). We fixed up the sheep shed so it would be easier to access for us. We did a lot of repairs and cleaning up around the homestead.
We visited some small farms that sell farm products straight from the farm, it was great to see what is possible in a small setting. And we bought some awesome products from these farms that put products at the grocery store to shame.
Plans and goals for 2018
Produce a 1000 kg of food on the homestead: this will include fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, and meat. I think this should be doable in a year, and it will force me to keep track of what we produce. We have plans to expand our vegetable garden this year, we feel like we just got our toes wet last year.
Use our pasture more efficiently: right now we have 6 sheep (4 adults and 2 lambs from August) and they have access to the whole pasture. We plan to apply rotational grazing and have the mobile chicken coop follow the sheep. Our hope is that this will improve the quality of the pasture and reduce the number of undesirable plants in our pasture.
Raise meat chickens: this year we only had egg layers and our Brahma breeding flock. We ended up slaughtering some of our Brahma roosters that we hatched this year. We would really like some meat birds though, so we can fill our freezer. Meat birds are also more efficient and have more usable meat on them.
Talk to the agriculture department: I want to start a small farm business selling eggs, meat products and vegetables and fruit that we produce on our farm. I need some guidance on how to get started and what rules to follow. I will be making an appointment with the agriculture department to get some clarifications on these issues.
Raising pigs: we are also looking into getting two pigs to raise on pasture. We are not sure about the breed yet and how we are going to house them. We are thinking about also rotationally grazing them, but we don’t have the infrastructure to do that yet, so this will still require some planning.
Add more fruit trees: we have a few fruit trees already, but would really like to add some more. Some of the older apple trees have not been maintained and are rotting, so they will need to be replaced. We would like to diversify the fruit we get from our homestead and have fruit from spring until fall by getting some early, middle and late trees.
I also have a goal for my blog, I started out with my blog producing weekly blog posts, however, that turned out to be a lot of work. I am aiming to write biweekly blog posts in 2018. I have some great ideas and stuff lined up, so stay tuned!
Those are our biggest goals and plans for 2018, we also need to do more repairs and the house and the barn and we would really like to fix up the inside of the house a bit, but I guess we will have to see how much we can get done. I know it’s really easy to make lots of plans, but they have to be attainable.
How did you do in 2017? What are some of your goals and plans for 2018?