Tuesday, December 27, 2011

our homestead: goals and non-goals

Here are a few small scenes from our garden this year:
Our garlic patch 
Celery growing in the greenhouse
Sugar snap pea blossoms
Potato blossoms
One of our many sunflowers
With 2012 just around the bend I thought I'd take the time to write about some of my "homestead" non-goals from 2011 and some of my goals for 2012. I borrowed the idea of non-goals from my sister-in-law, Rachel. You can read her post from her blog here: Nickel Images goals and non-goals. Non-goals are things you might have accomplished or enjoyed or are motivated to continue. Here are my non-goals from 2011:

1) I started my own tomato plants on my windowsills in the wintertime and saw them through harvest.

2) I had a hoophouse built and was able to grow lots of tomatoes, celery and cucumbers in it.

3) I learned how to brew nettle tea for my tomato plants.

4) I completed another farmers market season selling produce for Frog's Song Farm. Every year I learn more and more from the markets in regards to the business of farming. This year I was also able to sell a lot of my farmers' produce at our local co-op, granting them another outlet for their labors.

5) I grew so much this year! Peas, potatoes, turnips, spinach, beets, kale, garlic, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, brussel sprouts, sunflowers, marigolds, sunchokes, corn, pumpkins, winter squash and more.

6) I canned jams and fruit butters and made lots of pickles, using homegrown or market procured ingredients.

7) I saved lots of seeds from my garden for next year's garden, acclimating these plant varieties to our area.

8) I established more planting beds in my yard.

9) My husband and I finally brought home the second dog we'd been talking about getting forever. We love our little Banjo and Oswald's quality of life has increased now that he has a playmate and snuggle buddy.

10) I ground my own cornmeal from corn I'd grown and dried myself.

11) I learned how to make soap with my mom. The old-fashioned, saponification-of-oils-with-lye-and-six-week-curing-process-style.

And on to the fun part! My homesteading goals for 2012:

1) To establish rows of interesting berry plants including: goji berries, honeyberries, gooseberries, lingonberries and hardy kiwis. We have already pre-orded three goji plants, due to arrive in April. We'll probably have to build some sort of trellis...but that means I can also throw a few more hops into the yard.

 2) To raise a small flock of chickens, perhaps a duck or three, in the spring. I grew up on fresh-from-the-backyard eggs and nothing beats the flavor. I'm still lucky enough to be able to bring home eggs from my mom's house, but I'd like to learn how to take care of my own hens.

3) To grow even more than 2011! This year I really want to learn how to grow broccoli, cauliflower, fennel and leeks, and  melons in the greenhouse. I've also already ordered red brussel sprout seeds...it'll be fun to see how these turn out. Joe has his heart set on doing a giant lacinato kale patch too. I'm also looking forward to seeing how my saved tomato seeds fare.

4) To grow a massive sunflower patch. Why not? I saved so many sunflower seeds this year that I just might have to grow a big plot of sunflowers to nap underneath. I want it to be so big that you can see it from the road below my hill.

5) To make more soap!


  1. I love that you did your non-goals! I totally forgot about that, but I'm going to go back and read them!!!!

    P.S. One of my goals for next year is to have a sustainable garden. You must come and help me plant it. MY thumbs are not yet green!

  2. There's this awesome book called Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots all about gardening for kids. One of the things to do is grow giant sunflowers in a rectangle shape with a small space in the middle of one side for a late summer "play house" for the kids--the space is for a doorway. I thought that sounded so fun, even for grown-ups!

  3. That is a fun idea Kimberly!