How did you do over the past year and what are your dreams and goals for the coming year? My wife and I ask ourselves this each year. We live in north central Michigan zone 5, just barely. We have a 50' x 50' garden, fruittrees, chickens, and a pond stocked with fish. We heat with wood in the winter and have plenty of that as I continue to clear land to expand for apple trees. We have two bee hives and plan to add four more this coming year and hopefully with a few splits I can increase it even more. I ordered 30 new apple trees to start an orchard. They are all different types and my hope is to purchase rootstock in future years and graft new trees. We have this dream of producing abundance. Food to share with friends and family. Gift homemade jam and jars of honey over the holidays. In reality we have a ways to go yet for that to happen. Yes we get a little honey, a few apples and vegetables from the garden, but usually everything grown is eaten up by late fall. Its easy to dream big, to make big plans but the truth is making progress and showing results is hard work and everything in nature takes time. The big constraints for us are probably the same for most people, time and money. What I like about permies are all the tip and tricks people come up with to make things happen without investing big money. We are all on this journey but at different stages and levels. We continue to work hard to make our dreams a reality. I could go on and on with our plans and goals involving chickens, pigs, berries, and trout, but I thought it might be interesting to hear what other have to say about their plans. Happy New Year in 2022 everyone. I hope you all have an abundant year and move much closer in making your dreams a reality.
Here in southern Mexico, we planted 3000 trees, cactus, and magueys in 2021 as part of a government program called "Sembrando vida" (planting life) our goal for 2022 is to keep them alive through the dry season, our rainy season should start in May or June. Any that don't make it till then will need to be replanted next summer.
My goals list hasn't changed much since I started here 2 years ago. Though I've checked off a few milestones for each goal, none of the "short-term goals" I set in Dec 2019 for 2020 have been completed yet. Almost nothing has gone as planned or as I envisioned. Everything has taken more time and more money than I had budgeted. Just when I'm getting going on one project, something goes haywire on another, or something breaks down and I have to spend the money I'd planned on using for the new project on something I hadn't intended to spend it on, such as a well pump, new electrical panel, or tractor repairs.
By October 2021, when I finally bought out and got rid of my former homesteading partner and his family, I was so broke I couldn't even afford to buy the sheetrock I needed to finish rehabbing the trailer as planned once they moved out, let alone install new windows or go ahead with several other building projects. So, I went into hibernation over the winter. I hardly left the farm for four months to avoid spending money on gasoline, hardware, or even to restock fresh food.
I think I went to town 3 times for animal feed or repair parts and picked up a few groceries each trip. I've been eating up my food storage (canned and frozen), repairing worn out clothes to make them last another few months (this was the last winter for some of them--too beat up even to donate), and staying away from Amazon and other websites where I might spend a few dollars on stuff I could live without. I've always lived frugally, but this winter has been especially austere. All I've used my retirement income for has been to pay bills and whittle down some of the credit card debt I'd run up on previous projects. I've filled my time with housecleaning, cooking, jigsaw puzzles I'd brought with me when I moved here, old DVD's, books, and watching YouTube videos on Permaculture and the like.
I still haven't gotten back on my feet, though my tenant has finally caught up on her back rent, so I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and looking forward to a productive spring and summer. Now that winter is just about over, I'm going through my seeds and planning my 2022 garden. Not as many varieties this year as last, but more of the things I ate up the quickest. Planning on more storage options for this year's harvest, probably pick up a chest freezer sometime between now and then, and put shelves and raised storage boxes in my well house for root crops, squashes and pumpkins.
I'm planning on a greenhouse this year (maybe this month) to extend the growing season on both ends and to winter my chickens who spent this winter in a too dark barn. They were rotationally pastured from spring to fall, but switched from their mobile Chickshaw to their coop inside the barn when temps dropped into the teens in Nov. I hiked up to the barn every morning to feed and water them, let them out out of the coop, and leave the barn doors open during the day so they could free range, and back every evening to lock them back up for protection. On sub-freezing days, I'd go up to four times a day with a jug of warm water to replace the ice in their waterers. They seldom ventured far from the barn, especially on rainy or snowy days. I hope to build a new insulated coop for them between the house and the garden this year, so I can keep my eye on them next winter. I lost my two favorites to a hawk recently that flew right into the barn after them two days in a row. I think he was one of a pair that nests every spring at the top of a ruined log barn on the property that I was going to tear down the first year I was here but decided to leave after I spotted their nest. Figured they'd keep the rodent population under control. They never bothered the chickens before. Guess the rodents have been hiding better this year.
Joy and abundance, Cory
If you are looking for long-term residual income to support your farm or projects, check out https://trimurl.co/TWs8OCl