Goals for 2015

It may seem like it’s a bit early to set homesteading goals for the following year. After all, it’s “only” November! Don’t we have at least another 6 weeks or so before we need to start thinking of goals for the upcoming year?

Not in my mind, I don’t. I get some of my best ideas while I am out weeding and digging in the heat of the summer. I might be working on something and think, there has to be an easier way to do this. Whether it’s splitting firewood, weeding the garden, cleaning the coop….I find my mind wandering on how to make things more efficient and easier for us.

In the last few years, I have really started thinking about efficiency. It seems when we first moved here in 2006, I simply loved being active all day. No matter what I was doing, I was moving all the time and enjoying it. Now, I find my mind starting to really turn on how to make things easier for Graham and I. Fewer steps, better setups…these things can result in less time spent on working and maybe, just maybe, more time fishing and hunting!

So, I am starting to work on my list of goals for next year. I keep a rough draft going, where I can jot things down as I think of them. Over time, I add to it, cross some things off, make some changes and in the end, I hope to have a short (attainable) list of things to do for the following year.

Although I have quite a few things on the list, there are only two (at this point) that are standing out to me for next year.

1)  Adding covered storage to one side of the shop.

Building Graham's Shop


This is Graham’s shop. It’s big and we built it ourselves, with help from both of my sons. My oldest works in construction and he came for a visit and helped with all the trusses. My youngest is a network engineer, but he also enjoys building and between the two of them, the trusses were put up in only a couple of days.  If you want to read about how we built the shop, most of it is documented on this site.

Next year, we want to add covered storage on one side of the shop. Then, come late Fall, Graham can move the boat and the John Deere under there for the winter. Graham can also store some firewood there for his shop woodstove.  Right now, he builds A frames and puts tarps on them (so the snow will slide off without crushing the boat). Adding the covered area won’t be a huge job. We are budgeting $1000 for the job. It will be worth it, as it will save time and a lot of work. This job is definitely on the list for 2015.


2) Garlic cleaning station.

Garlic Sales

With more than 4000 garlic plants in the ground, I need a better setup for drying, cleaning and sorting. I’m hoping that next year, I will be able to sell most of this garlic, after holding some back for seed for the following year. I’m quite excited about this new venture. The most important thing for me is to keep costs down, at least until I get the garlic off the ground (and out of the ground!)

I’ve got a few ideas in mind for the setup. I’m thinking of having it down at the barn, where it will be nice and cool. It should be easy for the curing part; just hammer in more nails for the garlic bunches to hang from. As it is now, I can cure about 1000 bulbs at a time, but there is room there for more to hang.

The actual cleaning and sorting station will take more thought. I’ll have plenty of time to think it through and draw up some plans. I don’t need anything too high tech and will likely use wire baskets. I don’t want to use plastic at all and shouldn’t have to. Just need to keep thinking it over and see what I can come up with. Graham will help build what I need. Since we already have extension cords running to the barn (to provide power for the chicken coop) I can easily have a little coffeemaker and radio down there while I am working. Hmmm, maybe a little bar fridge for water and juice?

I’m sure I’ll be adding to my goal list as I go along. My biggest concern is getting too long of a list. That’s no fun and it’s not attainable. I want to stick with the most important things and leave it at that. I want to be sure we are going to have more free time for fishing and maybe even a couple overnight camping trips.


Raising Pigs

As it is, we are going to be getting weaner pigs in late March.  We want to get 3 of them; pigs are social animals and it’s really not fair to have just one pig on its own. We also are going to be raising some meat birds again, as we are running low on homegrown chicken for our freezer.

Also, we will have the laying hens. Graham is beginning to talk about getting another dog; if that happens, we will be even busier. Either way, between raising veggies, garlic and animals, our plates are going to be pretty full. I’m looking forward to another year of growing and eating good food and enjoying life in our Valley.

Finishing the Gable Ends at the Shop

It seems amazing to us, but the exterior of Graham’s shop is almost finished. The end is close at hand and we’re really happy about that. It’s been a multiyear project, but one that will pay off for the rest of our lives here in the Valley. Eventually, Graham wants to run a hydraulic business from this shop.

brad nailer, compressor, build your own garage


This is the side that faces the road. Graham has built scaffolding from wood in order to get up there to get the gable end finished. He uses a brad nailer to put the shingles on and that nailer has seen a lot of work. They are fantastic for making a big job much easier!

Those doors slide open and closed. Right now, they are made from OSB, but eventually Graham would like to change that and have something better looking in it’s place. The doors are really easy to slide open, I have no problem getting them to move along that track.



Use a Brad Nailer to put the Shingles on


The other gable end was finished last year and finally Graham has been able to get this gable end taken care of. As we all know, it’s hard to work at work and work on the homestead at the same time! We’re just taking a bite out of several projects and being satisfied by how far we can get.


Vent at the Peak

I took these pictures while he was still working on the gable, but now he has the trim boards, fascia, soffits and the shingles done.


Graham's Shop

This is a picture of the back side. The side wall soffits still need to be boxed in and finished and you can see that in the picture above.  But we are getting very close to having the whole exterior done and that will be fantastic to have that part of the project off the list!

Almost done!


The builder – he looks happy, doesn’t he?


Annie's shingle line

Me? I’m so glad to take down my “shingle line”! If I don’t see another unstained shingle until next year, that will be fine by me!