Friday, November 25, 2011

A year in review - 2011

I realize this isn't yet the end of the year but since we are already planning for next year, this feels like the time to review this year.

This year has been a whirlwind.  I'll start by bragging about my son, which is way too easy.  So this year M turned 2 and since his birthday he's just exploded in words and now even has short sentences.  He's learned the alphabet; he can't read it in order completely yet but he can identify the letters and for most of them he knows what sound they make.  He also recognizes his numbers, but he gets a little hung up on counting.  He's picked up some really good manners, by osmosis....he's just seen us do it and followed suit.  That makes me so proud of him when he says "excuse me", "please", "thank you" and "bless you" (for sneezes).  He's getting easier to understand all the time and that makes caring for him both easier and harder.  He's now always telling me he's hungry but if I put food in front if him he refuses it.  Frustrating!  For all the frustration though, he's totally worth it.  He's such a good boy for us and while I think he's probably in his terrible twos, this really isn't too terrible. 

Now about the farm-y stuff.  Our chickens are doing so well.  Last night I picked up 14 eggs out of 17 layers and its nearly December so I'm wondering if I'm freezing all these eggs in vain.  Of the September/October chicks, 7 are still around- growing very well and the flock has accepted them without any problems.  They don't need their mamas any longer so I can't even tell who the mama hens are any longer (we have 4 nearly identical black ones).  As a recap though, we began the year with an order of 25 roosters (+5 free), 6 buff orphingtons, 3 blue Andalusian (+1 free) and 2 Americaunas- plus we were gifted 7 mixed breed laying hens and we end the year with 5 buffs, 4 blues, 2 americaunas, 5 mixed breed laying hens, 5 mixed breed pullet chicks and 2 mixed breed cockerel chicks.  Plus about 27 roosters for our freezer.  I'll sum that up as a successful year.  We lost 4 chickens to injury and natural illness. 

If you recall we started with 7 turkeys and 6 of those thrived and ended up in our freezer.  One I'm cooking today.  Their weights ranged from about 18lbs to about 30 some odd pounds dressed weight.  Of our ducks, we started with 7, we kept 3 for entertainment/breeding/eggs and 4 went to our freezer.  One of those are left in the freezer and I think it might be Christmas dinner.  We had 2 geese, one died at about 5 weeks-ish and the other, Bruce, is still going strong.  I think he's a bit lonely though.  We're working on that.
 The goats have been a sharp learning curve.  From them getting out and into the feed (and having a near emergency result from that) to learning to milk the goat once we brought her home- they've been by far our biggest challenge.  We still are learning as they continue to break out of fences and find new trouble all the time.  We've also become extremely attached to their sweet faces and personalities and I see how easily I could become the "crazy goat lady".  We took Kissee to the breeder this fall, nearly ruined the interior of my Trailblazer trying to get her there and back and now we aren't really sure if she took.  I really hope so but we won't likely find out until sometime next month when we get blood sent in for her pregnancy test.  

I stopped calculating the garden yields (hanging head in shame) but it did really well for the lack of planning.  Next year we are already planning and the garden will be expanded.  We really want to move the garden into a 4 season garden with the use of row covers and hoop structures to extend our seasons.  We've found that storage space is really one of our biggest obstacles.  We did move the orchard from our 9 acre lot to here so its the beginning of what I hope will be a very productive orchard.  We moved also 4 blueberries and about 5 raspberry plants.  There are a few more perennials to move but most of our big investments are now here. 

We've been pretty fortunate overall.   Its been hard and we've learned so much in a very short period of time.  I'm both busier than I used to be but I find myself in a position where I really like being home doing the things that this home needs.  I get burned out a bit on redundant work like cleaning house, dishes and stuff but fortunately there are plenty of things I'm learning that break up the boring stuff to keep me moving forward. 


  1. Wow - this was all in your first year? You've managed to make huge headway toward living more sustainably! Congrats.

  2. Thanks, and yeah this time last year we lived in a teeny apartment and were talking to a bank and builder.