Reviewing and Planning
2017 was a busy year for us. Believe it or not I actually look back at the year's accomplishments and wish I had done even more! But if I stop and think about where our little farm was at this time a year ago and how much has happened, I realize that it was actually a whirlwind of a year.
We started off with breeding Sweet Pea and Tater for the first time. Before they kidded we also brought home Ginger, our first Nubian goat, an eight week old weanling back in April. Sweet Pea's triplets were born on June 9, 2018, though sadly little Sambucus never thrived and would pass away a week later. Her other two babies, Whitaker and Maude, grew fast and huge. In fact, they grew so fast that they had to be separated from their mom who couldn't keep up with how much milk they were drinking. They're still our largest Nigerian goats under a year old, and full of sass.
Almost exactly a month later Tater had triplets also. One of her kids was just over a pound, tiny and weak, and after 24 hours she rejected him. This lead to the greatest gift of the year, our little Lucky. We bottle fed him for eight weeks until he was big enough to rejoin the herd, and he remains a great friend and personality that I cannot imagine farm life without. Meanwhile, Tater's two girls Bliss and Mary Jane are adorable and sweet, and Bliss is a perfect carbon copy of her mom.
While all of that was happening we were also maintaining a huge almost quarter acre vegetable garden. We overflowed with zucchinis and squashes, radishes and turnips. We made fresh sauerkraut and put buckets of potatoes away for winter, carved up our own pumpkins and had garden fresh stir fries every night.
We welcomed three new goslings to our ever-expanding gaggle of now thirteen geese, including one gosling hatched and raised by our own birds. We continued to clear around the edges of our fields and chopped back more vegetation so that the stone walls surrounding us were all clear. With a few extra rounds of mowing the fields we were able to return our pasture space to just that, pasture.
While we expanded and kept up with a lot around the farm (and Lucky took up plenty of time), I wish I had been more disciplined about canning and preserving our harvest. We did enjoy much of what our garden produced, and none of it was wasted as the excess went to friends and family. But we ran out of what we'd saved by December, and I know if I had stayed more energized into the harvest months of September and October we would be enjoying more.
The reason to reflect is to plan for the future, especially when the future looks as busy as 2018 does. The New Year marks the beginning of our house build. By this time next year we should be out of our barn kitchen (though it will still be used for fresh harvests) and able to enjoy luxuries like an indoor shower and a flush toilet once again. The prospect is exciting, but I must admit I've come to barely miss those things.
Because we will be doing the majority of the house build by ourselves, it's going to be even more stressful than building a home already is. All day, every day will be dedicated to construction and every space second will be busy.
Since we'll be busy with that project we did decide, regretfully, to not breed the goats in 2018. We will be bringing in a buck in the late fall, so by spring of next year (2019) we should have up to six pregnant girls.
To make up for no goat kids, I am still planning on more goslings (at this point, I cannot imagine a spring without goslings) as well as twenty Guinea Fowl to make up for the dozen that we lost as chicks last year. And I still have a huge garden in mind, and I'm hoping that without the added stress of goat kids (and possibly a new kitchen) I will be canning up a storm.
I look forward to sharing our next year in Liberty with all of you! Thank you for following along.
Several photos credit to The Modern Day Settler.