Happy New Year! Some smart person once said that if you don't know where you're going, you'll probably wind up somewhere else. So, it is important to know your goals. After I write down my goals, I start figuring out how to make things happen, which means I make a list of all the things I need to do to reach the goal.
Although we've already done a lot on our homestead, there is more that I want to do. I think there may always be more because just think all of this stuff is fun! I can't think of anything we tried in 2011 that was completely new, but I did get a book published, so that counts for something. We did work on improving a lot of the things we already do, such as improving the flavor of our cheddar cheese.
Now that 2012 is here though, my goals for the new year are --
1) Start producing our own honey. Bees have been on the to-do list for several years. Although I tend to be the person in charge of the livestock on our homestead, I wanted my husband to take care of the bees. I used to be pretty frightened by bees, even though I really wanted their honey. I figured I'd have Mike put the bees way out in the woods somewhere, and he could deal with them. You see, bees really like me. I've been stung three times, which somehow made me think that I should not have to work with them. But as each year passes, and the bees don't magically show up on the homestead, I've realized I need to take a more active role in making it happen. I've started to learn more about beekeeping and become less afraid of them. Now my attitude about bees is that I've survived three stings, so I know I'm not allergic to them!
To meet the bee goal, I need to get another book on bees and buy hives and equipment. That should not take more than a few hours online some afternoon later in January after I've sent the Ecofrugal manuscript to my publisher.
2) Start making our own wine. For Christmas, I gave Mike all of the wine making equipment and a kit. I've been procrastinating on this one because we've planted grapes a few times, and they've always died. In the meantime, I feel guilty about all of the wine bottles we send to recycling, so I figured that even if we are not completely self sufficient with wine, we can at least learn the basics and start re-using wine bottles by making wine from concentrated juice, which ultimately cuts down a lot on packaging and transportation costs.
To meet the wine goal, we just need to start making the wine since I've bought everything we need. We've already watched the video that came with the equipment, and we've started reading.
3) Build a garden shed! We came so close to getting it done this year. Mike bought all of the supplies, but we ran out of time before the weather got unpleasant. I've been practicing having a garden shed, and anytime someone asks me where something belongs, such as pruning shears, I say, "the garden shed," and they just give me this look, and then I say, "but that is where it belongs!" Hopefully everyone will be motivated to get 'er done this year!
And of course, I want to improve a few things. Katherine wants to grow more tomatoes. Last year, we had enough frozen tomatoes to last all year, but we didn't have enough pizza sauce. This year we kind of went crazy with the pizza sauce and pasta sauce, so we have enough to last a year, but we don't have a lot of frozen tomatoes left, so we're rationing the tomato soup this winter. I always want to improve the garden in one way or another, but that's a post for another day.
I will probably also need to look at reducing the livestock on the farm because we may be officially childless by fall. That will be a tough adjustment on several levels, but it's unavoidable at some point, so I need to think about how we're going to handle that.
What are your self-reliance or homesteading goals for 2012?