Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 / 2019

In that hubby and I survived 2018 and are still basically functional, I'd say that we had a decent year. We've survived ok, even surviving an incoming ballistic missile alert. Yes, we discovered what we would do if we learned we only had 12 minutes to live --- we'd finish enjoying our hot breakfast before it got cold. For real. That's exactly what we did. No cursing. Not screaming. No running around. Simply enjoy our last good meal before disaster struck and made life very, very different. 

But how did the homestead farm do? 

... Number 1 miss -- we didn't get the house completed. The bathroom still isn't finished. We got sidetracked by finishing up trim work, adding a hot tub deck, doing maintenance work, and a multitude of small projects. So we still need to tackle that bathroom tiling, create the new shower, remove the old shower and install storage shelves. Then next, tile the rest of the little porches that are at the various entranceways to the house. The final task will be putting on a new roof, which hopefully will last the rest of the time that we are living on this farm. But we're going to need dry weather to do that. 
... Some new livestock arrived this year, others left by various means. Lambs, kids, and chicks were born. Piglets were brought in. At the end of 2018 we have 22 sheep, 4 goats, 1 donkey, 2 pigs, about 60 chickens, numerous farm cats & dogs. Too many sheep. That will need to be addressed in 2019. 
... We learned how to cope with an erupting volcano as it affected the farm. Acid rain. SO2 vog. Ash fall. Impaired sunlight. 
... We got hit by a new pest, the sweet potato whitefly. And we saw early blight visit our cherry tomatoes and potatoes. 
... The frequent rains and constant wet kept us from growing much in the way of food other than perennials. Harvested some onions, beans, peas, and tomatoes. In place of growing veggies, I spent my time focusing upon expanding the growing spaces, adding cross fencing to the pastures, improving the pastures, expanding my plantings of perennials, making compost, filling in hugelpits.
... Got a lot more rock wall built along the driveway. 
... Explored and expanded my options for livestock feed, focusing on feed that the farm produces for itself.
... Planted a lot of perennials -- bananas, pineapples, taro, chaya, cholesterol spinach, sweet potatoes
... Planted a lot of turmeric and harvested it. Had plenty of extra for trading, selling, and gifting.
... The previous year, Noodles arrived, but 2018 saw him growing up. He has proved to be a winner! Now I wonder, could he be trained to help handle the sheep? He's a retriever by instinct, so could he be conditioned to "retrieve" sheep? Should be an interesting future project. 
... My addition of a wwoofer hasn't proven to be as beneficial as I thought it might become. But then, that wasn't my original intention. Not that I'm unhappy with Adam living on the farm. Not at all. It's just that it would be nicer if he had better self-preservation instincts. And nicer if he was actually interested in farming. Adam is what and who he is. And for now I accept that. 

Now that the weather pattern is suppose to change, I'm eagerly looking forward to the 2019 growing season. I feel like spring has just arrived and I want to be out there tilling and planting. I have a feeling that the coming year will be very productive, foodwise. 

What am I hoping to tackle this coming year? 
... Finishing the house, for sure. 
... Whipping the annual gardens back into production. 
... Getting the greenhouses back into action. 
... Getting more of the pastures improved so that I won't have to buy haycubes ever again. Well, at least not until the next year-long drought comes around. 
... Adding more banana trees. They are becoming an important livestock feed staple. 
... Propagating sugar cane to expand my production, again for livestock feed primarily. 
... Building a couple of chicken pens so that I can move my chickens into new digs, freeing up the old pen so that it can be rebuilt. 
... Creating a one acre paddock for the pigs, complete with shelter, feeders, a wallow. 
... Continue improving the back pastures. 

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