I was reading the Trace My Preps blog this morning and decided that I should also do a look back at what I have accomplished on the homestead over the past year.
I think that my first real accomplishment is that I was able to get my wife on board with building the homestead. Up until this year, she has just humored me with my homesteading aspirations. But in the Spring, she noticed how prices were steadily increasing. We also talked about the increase in salmonella outbreaks. She is now very supportive of my homesteading goals and will help me reach the goals.
Another big accomplishment is that in mid-September, I made my first post to my blog. By launching my blog, I feel that I was adding legitimacy to my homestead. I was finally sitting down and putting in print what I intended this homestead to become. It also makes me accountable for making or missing any goals that I set forth.
I think those are my 2 biggest accomplishments of the year. Without those two, there would probably not be any Homestead Fritz. Some of the other accomplishments are bigger and some smaller, but all have helped me build the homestead. Here are some of the other accomplishments in no particular order.
Started the asparagus bed by planting ~30 crowns. Asparagus is a very long-term crop. We may be able to harvest a couple of spears this Spring, but maybe not. But it will produce for 20 or 30 years.
Increased the garden area from 12 beds to 20 beds.
Paid off one of our vehicles. This frees up some money that we have been able to use for other expenses. I feel that moving towards being debt free is critical to any homestead.
Began making cheese. So far I have only made cheese curds, cottage cheese and yogurt successfully. But I have learned from my less successful cheese making experiments.
Harvested all the garlic that we will use for the entire year. This is in addition to the seed garlic that I planted. I also discovered that we will always plant hardneck garlic because it produces scapes.
Built up my seed stock of potato onions. Hopefully these will allow me to continue growing onions forever.
Harvested enough onions to last from August 1 until January. These were mostly yellow onions planted from sets.
Preserved enough green beans and pumpkins to last us the entire year.
Processed some black walnuts from the trees along homestead border. It was an experience and I discovered that they don’t taste good enough to make them worth while. But it gives us another fat and protein source if we would need to make use of them.
Identified several types of weeds in the yard. Some of these are edible. Next year some of them will find their way into our salads.
Built a 3 bin compost bin system.
Built a low tunnel over one of the garden beds. This allowed me to harvest salad greens until the end of the year. I also learned that while draping plastic over the hoops works okay, I need to develop a better way of attaching the plastic.
Saved seed from my garlic chives, French breakfast radish and from my okra. This allows me to save money on the seed. But it also helps to develop varieties of these plants that are acclimated to my micro-climate. It also helps me develop my knowledge of how to save seeds, and I believe it makes me a better gardener.
Began baking bread again. I used to do this fairly regularly, but I drifted away from it. After finding the bread in 5 minutes a day, this allows me to not use time as an excuse for not baking bread.
Finally, I have been able to make use of the produce that we produced on the homestead. We have made pumpkin rolls and pumpkin bread for dessert. I have made beer bread from the beer that I brewed myself. I have made use of the zucchini that I froze to make zucchini bread. I have even made use of scraps that I would normally throw away by roasting pumpkin seeds.
I wasn’t going to do this wrap up of the year post. But I’m certainly glad that I did. This really shows me how far we have gone with the homestead. We still have a long way to go, but by seeing these accomplishments, it will really help keep us motivated. I’m hoping to have an even more productive 2012.