Homestead Update: January 2014, Our first year in review

So many project in just one year! I can’t possibly recall them all or bore you with them in one post, but here’s a year in photos and a few thoughts on the highlights. My first ‘homestead update’ photo was actually in February, so starting next month i’ll be posting side by side before and after photos from 2013 and 2014. I can’t wait!

January 1, 2014:

2013, February 1st – December 1st:

As shown above:
February/March: New downstairs windows, a massive tree felled, well filtered, heat ducts reconnected, a new woodstove installed, septic system overflowed and repaired, rabbits added to the farm and planted my very first plants: coyote brush.
April/May: Chickens added to the farm, erected yard fencing, got a new roof (wow, April was kind of a big month!),  Pocket turned 3 years old and raised some money for CorgiPals, new chicks arrived, we built our new pasture coop (put together with 90% recycled materials from around the property) which is awesome.
June/July: I finally got to some aesthetic projects and created a lovely pathway from our gate (that Andy designed and built a month earlier), Ebenezer joined the family, Andy fixed the yard hydrant in the front yard, my step-daddy got our tractor to run (huge development!), we welcomed a trio of ducks to our flock, we tore out the carpet in the guest room and replaced it with lovely new carpeting and coined the room the “guest nest” just in time for the in-laws to visit.
August/September:  The big project in August was new flooring. In anticipation of our Equinox housewarming party we tore out the rank carpeting in the ‘lounge room‘ and began/finished laying the downstairs floors, which truly transformed the place into “our home” vs a scary house we moved into recently.
October/November: Things began to slow down around most of the farm except for the barn, which we tackled with gusto and de-rotted and added doors to keep my rabbit safe and sound in their new hanging cages (more posts to come on both those topics). Andy’s tractor maintenance skills improved leaps and bounds and he actually got the whole pasture mowed! We celebrated our first few holidays with Halloween and hosting Thanksgiving and i toyed with pasturing rabbits in a jerry rigged ‘tractor‘ pen, that i may or may not enjoy using in the actual lawn. I have big plans for incorporating those rabbits into our future gardens, though!
Phew!
Tons of projects completed and tons more on the docket for 2014 and beyond. I’d LIKE to start working on my closets,  the master bathroom and other daily ‘luxuries’ and also have some big project on the horizon, like breaking ground on the garden and developing a master conservation plan for the farm. I’ll be honest: i’m getting a little overwhelmed with running 2 businesses, the family and the farm so i’m being honest with myself during the planning phase for hte next year. Yes, we’d love to get a flock of Jacob Sheep on the pasture as soon as possible, but no i cannot fit space in my brain for learning another species.
So 2014 will be the year of:
  • Brooding chicks and ducks, adding meat chickens to the pasture
  • Breaking ground on the garden, fixing the hoop house and fencing out the deer so we can feed ourselves more than just protein
  • Getting over the learning curve of rabbits and really hit my stride/ develop my long term breeding goals
  • Work on some farm infrastructure such as cross fencing, conservation plans, rain catchment and planting for pollinators
  • Homework: build closet shelves, paint some rooms, paint the window trim, price out siding, install ductless heat pumps, insulate the floors, etc
Life is a work in progress and even more so when you live on such a blank slate of a property. Despite being a little overwhelmed, i’m falling more and more deeply in love with this little patch of soil we call home. We’re already seeing improvement made to the pasture via chicken activities and can’t wait to look back in 5, 10, 20 years and see the transformation we’re helping to unfold.
Here’s to a great 2014 to all of you, from all of us on Birdsong Farm!

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