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Winter is setting in and that means we can linger over that extra cup of coffee in the morning and just generally move at a slower place. After a few weeks of rest, our minds gradually start turning to the next year. Usually, that means beginning to set some goals for the year.
We’re big fans of planning yearly projects and we try hard to not “bite off more than we can chew”. We’re not always successful; some years we are pretty busy.
But, we like to spend some time over the winter thinking about the upcoming year and all the possibilities that exist. Setting goals for your homestead is a very important part of your planning.
Setting Goals for your homestead
Goal setting is something we should be doing all the time during the previous year, but it’s hard. We are often way too busy just trying to get the gardens harvested or trying to get animals finished and butchered.
Yet the very best time to be planning for the coming year is exactly at these times! We can come up with new ideas to be more efficient while we are carrying out these chores. Right?
It’s when I am harvesting the garden, digging out the bumper crop of potatoes that I tend to get some ideas. I think about the need to amend the soil or to get another bale of straw for mulching.
When I’m digging carrots, I realize that I really need to spend more time to keep the weeds out of the carrot bed. I make sure I carry my cell phone or a small notebook in my pocket when I am working outside.
Then, as I think of ideas or small projects that need to be finished, I can make a quick note. Later I can prioritize them or just start doing them and moving on. Or add them to the list of goals to get finished next year.
Our Goals for next year:
This is probably not a complete list and we reserve the right to not finish it all 🙂 In the end, it depends on free hours during the day and the amount of money in our jeans.
Raising Chickens for Meat
We will do meat birds again next year. We will probably get about 25 so we can grow some for our friends. Homegrown chicken is awesome and well worth the cost!
Home raised chicken is more expensive than grocery store chicken, but we know just what went into those birds. It takes 8 weeks from the time we get them (as day old chicks) to the time we can butcher them for our dinner table.
And we can get 8 pound meat birds after raising them for 8 weeks. It’s not a long term investment and if we’re going to be home anyway to tend gardens, then why not raise some?
Raising Pigs for Meat
We’d love to be raising pigs for meat again, but I’m not sure that this is the year for it. This is a goal that needs more thought.
I don’t think we need them for meat, as we still have some left in the freezer.
Raising Beef for Meat
So we are probably not doing pigs. However, we do have these guys! They arrived in the fall and are Black Angus steers.
We are feeding them hay from our own fields that Graham was able to cut last summer. One of our goals a couple years ago was to get this pasture area fully fenced – that part was easy as it was almost done.
Leave wiggle room for extra things that come up
Once we knew we were planning to get cows, we had to take a better look at our fencing needs. We would have to run fencing around our large Garlic field which is inside this pasture.
Because we planned ahead, we were able to take the time over the summer to get the work done. By the time the cattle arrived, we were ready for them. But had we thought of everything?
We really only found out after the fact. As in, after the cows get out of that small section of fencing way down in the pasture (that we didn’t see). But trying to plan ahead is so important. Still, you need to leave wiggle room for all the extra things that invariably will come up.
Keep your goals realistic
There’s nothing worse than setting too many goals for the year. That only leads to failure in one area or another. We are far better to plan small so we can successfully meet those goals.
Who wants to screw up their plans because they put far too much on their own plates?
Yet people do this…all the time.
This failure to succeed is one thing, if you’re talking vegetables or fruits. It’s totally another thing and much worse, if you’re talking about animals. Getting too many animals and failing to meet their needs is a terrible thing.
So take your time, set small goals for yourself and your homestead and ensure that you can carry out to succeed with those goals. When you succeed, you can add another goal to your list for the following year.
Planning a vegetable garden
A lot of thought goes into our food garden. How many beans do I need to grow? Do we have enough canned pickled beets still from last year? It takes me at least a week to figure out what I need to grow. Here’s how I am planning our food garden this year.
Because we are really busy all summer long working with garlic, I can’t spend hours on end in the vegetable garden. So, in busy years, we need to cut back on the garden size and all the canning we do.
What are the goals and plans you have for next year? Think them through to ensure your goals are attainable and then, carry them out!
Here’s a link to an article I wrote a few years ago about how to go about beginning to provide for your family on your homestead. It talks about the importance of starting small and then growing from there.
Plan for the needs of your own family before starting to sell goods to others. As long as you do that, you can reduce your own expenses.
Once you have that firmly in hand, take the next step (if you like) and start selling your produce or your products to others.
If you’re new to living in the country or buying property is on your list of goals, take a look at my eBook “15 Things to Know About Living in the Country“.
It’s a quick read, designed to get you thinking about what to look for when checking out country property. Add your own ideas to the list and start planning!
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
Grab the free download available only to subscribers!