Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

I love our Christmas and New Year's break because it gives us time to celebrate, time to relax, and time to take inventory of life - the past, the present, and the future, or at least hopes and direction on what we want our future to be. I feel like this past year was a deep breath to prepare for our future home...we had our share of projects, but there is so much to do to make our home what we want it to be. Things that did happen in 2014:

We bought our pellet stove and had it installed! This old house is drafty and cold, but our stove keeps our parlor and living room the warmest, and gives us a toasty place to warm up in when winter is its coldest. This is now our primary heat source and, so far this year, our only heat source.

We've had some animals give birth and some animals pass. We lost Steve our sheep and Josie our alpaca, and Ollie the fall prior. We sold some of our non-producing goats to a land owner for clearing brush, a life I'm sure they will enjoy. So we currently have Jester (sheep), Blossom (alpaca), Mabel, Flora, and Apple (dairy goats); Itty and Frankie (angora goats), as well as our chickens and turkeys. Our plans are to add a sheep and hopefully have a better year with dairy so we can milk again and produce milk products. We also want to add layer chicks and, of course, meat birds.

We worked four new hives last year to replace our lost hives of 2013, which turned into 3 hives at the end of summer, and finally down to one hopefully healthy hive as of this writing (knock on wood) due to two freak die offs. We did get more honey in 2014, enough to sell a few jars! We'd be extremely happy to have a hive make it through the winter, and our plans are to add hives and hopefully catch a few swarms!

We started some remodel work on our house: ripped out carpet, removed some wallpaper, and sanded down some woodwork. There is so much to do - work that gets done when we have time and money to do so. We plan to refinish the living room and parlor woodwork, and then we can paint and refinish the floors before (or maybe during) starting on the rest of the house!

We placed some raised beds with terraces along the driveway in the front. Our gardens did alright but the weeds were a constant battle. Every year our gardening footprint grows and we get a little bit better :)

And now on to our/my hopes for 2015!
Finish the barn! Finish the siding, paint, and fix up the inside pen walls, feeders, and doors.
Redo the coop! Remodel or rebuilt our coop to house turkeys, layers, meat chickens, and baby chicks. We need easy access, higher fences, and windows...
House...clean up the basement, remove unused wiring, fix old wiring, remodel rooms, anything and everything we can do to make our house more of a home!

Professionally, I hope to keep working on being a better teacher, and build up theme and project-based learning for the classroom and eventually maybe our farm school!


  1. I almost fell out of bed Mark. A Post from the man himself. You do know you are averaging one a year which is just not good enough. Telling you off i guess is not very encouraging so I will thank you for the update and photos. Your list of jobs seems to be growing, not getting smaller but such as it is. We are never satisfied. So great to get a blog post, im not a fan of flash news on facebook. Cheers from down under (42 degrees today with a gale of north wind).

  2. Yes! As usual I love hearing about this place from your point of view. You do know this means I need to post on FEF blog....Right?

  3. Thanks for the comments! I know, it's been too long since my last post...too long to make excuses. I need to make time for the things that I haven't, including this blog. Cheers to you, also, Lynda - it's 37°F and rainy here(great weather for snuggling in). Shelby, I love your writing - you are so talented and amazing at so many things! I love you!