Saturday, December 31, 2011

Homesteading Goals for the New Year

Last year I made a list of homesteading goals for my family in order to make our home a healthier and more fulfilling place. Unfortunately as with a lot of yearly goals, not all of them were realized. Perhaps we bit off more than we could chew. One area of weakness in particular was the elimination of all processed foods and cutting out refined sugars (we will try harder next year!) On the other hand, we have made a lot of progress in building a "homestead" where we are living off our land by the fruits of our own labor.

This past year we sustained a more productive garden than in years past,

one of our raised vegetable beds

homegrown heirloom arugula

I learned the art of canning for the first time,

canned tomatoes

baked my own bread and dried my own herbs for bulk storage,

homegrown dried herbs

helped our chickens continue their lineage by hatching and raising baby chicks (ok, that was largely mama Rosemary's doing, not our own)

Rosemary showing the chicks how to take a dust bath

converted to green cleaning products and found ways to conserve energy,

and a whole lot more than we ever thought possible!

There are many more lifestyle changes we still need to make in order to simplify our home, live healthier, and deepen our relationship with God. In 2012, I hope to really implement the homesteading practices we tried last year so that they become ingrained into our regular routine. Additionally, I have some new goals:

1. In addition to individual daily prayer and Bible study, set aside a time weekly for devotions and prayer together as a family

2. Expand our flock of chickens and if we hatch any chicks in the spring, learn to cull and process the extra roosters for the fall

3. Make our own bread on a weekly basis instead of just for a special treat

4. Expand our garden by an additional couple of beds and grow more hierloom vegetables each season from the early spring to the late fall

5. Start seeds, plants, and grow small greens in our cold frame (we are already doing this!)

6. Find a raw milk source and try my hand at making our own dairy products including butter, cheese, cream, and even yogurt!

7. Begin to buy dry goods in bulk and from local sources (flours, grains, rice, pasta, etc.) and seek out ways for safe and long-term storage

8. Purchase a few turkey poults and learn to raise heritage Bourbon Red turkeys!! We would love to do this to butcher in time for Thanksgiving next year. Apparently the flavor and freshness of a heritage breed farm-raised turkey is unbeatable.

9. ...and FINALLY....a big goal for us in 2012: to expand our family either through natural conception or adoption! Although we have been TTC for quite some time now with male factor infertility, we are trusting God to provide us with a child and also opening our hearts up to adoption. We know we will be blessed either way with whatever He has in store for our future family.

Looking back, 2011 has been a long and difficult year for me, but at the same time I have so much to be thankful for. Blogging has granted me an incredible amount of insight and satisfaction.

May you be abundantly blessed in the New Year! 

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  1. I admire your ambition!! Thanks for visiting Real Foods Matter!!

  2. What lovely goals you have! We actually completed many of your goals this past year (bulk foods, garden), and they really are attainable! Best of luck with that whole "having a kid" thing, We'll be working on that this year also...

  3. You have a great list of goals! We are hoping to expand our garden this year to provide the majority of our food, at least during the summer. I also would like to get chickens, but not sure my husband is up for it yet :-) I have been baking bread for some time now, and now my oldest (3 1/2) refuses to eat store bought bread, so be careful on the bread front :-) We try to read a Bible story every evening during story time with our kids. It is a new addition to our regular story time. And good luck with expanding your family :-)

  4. You and your husband really accomplished quite a bit in 2011 with that retrospective! It's amazing how you don't necessarily realize how much you're doing/have done until you sit back and reflect on it...and then it's a "wow!" kind of moment!

    I can relate to many of your homesteading goals for this year, especially numbers 2, 3, 6 and 7.

    I've gotten a bit lazy with the breadmaking and have been purchasing organic, sprouted whole wheat bread (at $3.99 a loaf...eek) at Weaver Street Market in Hillsborough for at least 6 months now. I felt I could justify the expense because the flour comes from Lindley Mills in Alamance County, and for goodness sakes, it's sprouted and so healthy!

    But I made a batch of soaked whole wheat bread tonight (from organic wheatberries purchased in bulk at WSM) and I was reminded of the fact it's not hard to do, nor does it take as long as I remember (outside of the rise time), and it's quite enjoyable to smell the fresh-baked bread!

    As for the raw milk, I've yet to find anyone in northern Orange County who sells it. I wonder if you'll have better luck where you are? There is a woman in the White Cross area (west of Chapel Hill off 54) who sells raw milk and cream from her Jersey cow, and I bought from her for a little while in 2010. But I had to drive 50 miles round trip and couldn't justify the gas money expense for that after a couple months! But I did successfully make yogurt and butter from the raw milk. You'll have fun doing it!

    Good luck in reaching all your homesteading goals this year!

    Take care,

  5. So much you have accomplished! One step at a time sure does add up to worthwile changes. Best wishes on your new set of goals. I have no doubt that all can be accomplished. Many Prayers going your way for the greatest goal of all.