2015 Reflections/2016 Goals

Each year about this time I reflect on the past year’s successes and failures. Doing this helps me be in tune with myself for a moment. Time goes by so fast and days blur into weeks. It’s important to take a step back from time to time and reflect; to see what worked well and what didn’t.

We resolved to build our farm in 2015 and that we did! We added three sheep and five goats along with nine chickens. Our ram will be going in the freezer soon and we’re going halves with friends on a pig, which is being raised up the road. We built a nice coop and added a room for the goats on the back. Eventually the boys will head out there permanently, but for now everyone lives happily in the barn.

We expanded our garden and are still enjoying the bounty. We love to cook and try new recipes and 2015 was a banner year for that. We made all kinds of new things, tried all types of new recipes and canned, jammed and froze a bunch of yummy stuff.

I wanted to be published by now, but quite frankly growing and maintaining a farm was a lot more work than I had anticipated. I am working on my second manuscript but it isn’t even close to being complete. I’m okay with this. I have been writing for our local paper on behalf of the Agriculture Commission, which has been fun. I’ve stepped down as president so I can focus more on my writing and farming, but I am still active in the organization.

I’m now blogging on our new farm website along with this blog and I’m finding that while I am writing, I’m not writing my novel.

What I did accomplish was having fun. The whole year of 2015 was magical. We brought home two two-week old baby goats in April and had the best time of our lives. They are amazing and even though they have grown up so fast, they will always remain our little ones. They were so much fun we had to add more.

We raised our chicks and now get tasty eggs every day and sell enough eggs to pay for their food and upkeep.

The ewes we bought in March should be pregnant now and we are expecting babies this spring. That is if the ram did his job. Apparently, it’s hard to tell when a ewe is pregnant until they are almost ready to give birth.

We also met new people and made new friends. Our neighbor who helped us with Jack this year has become a good friend. We met many farmers in the area who we have started doing business with. We met another goat farm just five miles down the road and we hope that we will be fast friends with them, too. We met many people who we purchased animals from and who we would be willing to buy from again. Let’s just say our social circle has widened.

For 2016, our big goal will be to build a barn. Using the barn attached to the house to keep the animals isn’t working for me. Every time we open the door I can smell the barn. We also track in a lot of hay and dirt. While it does allow us to check on the animals without having to trudge out in inclement weather, a detached barn out in the field will be much better. It won’t be big, but it will be practical.

I may put this blog on hold for a while and focus on our farm blog and my writing. There is only so much time in the day. This blog has really helped me work on my writing skills and has allowed me to try new things. I love it. But a girl can only do so much.

I am very much looking forward to 2016. I am hoping it will be just as good as 2015 with lots of fun, food and baby animals! At the very least, it should be interesting. With all the plans we have already have scheduled I can tell you 2016 is going to go by too fast. January brings the farm expo and February there is a goat breeding and birthing class we want to attend and I would love to go to the beekeeping classes and start a beehive. Late March should bring the baby lambs, June and July should bring baby goats and learning how to milk. And let’s not forget the garden. We will definitely be expanding that again.

We are planning on taking cheese and soap making classes this spring. The AG Commission will be hosting a hands-on chicken-processing clinic in June, which we will also participate in. We have also become members of the Small and Beginner Farmers organization in our state.

On top of all this we both still have our “full-time” off the farm jobs. Phew!

So, yes, 2016 will be busy, but very very fun!

 

 

 

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Another Christmas

I’m stressed…the holidays do that to me. Every year I tell myself this is the year I will get excited. This is the year that will be magical. This is the year I will enjoy my friends and family. That we will get out and enjoy all the fun things going on.

This year I had to really push myself to even put out decorations, but I knew if I did not, then I would never get in the spirit.

Perhaps it is because no matter what relationship I’m in (or not in), the whole process falls on my shoulders. Would we even have Christmas if it wasn’t for women?

I finally got my better half to bring down the tree from the loft. Yes, a fake tree on a farm. But with everything going on it is just easier and I don’t have to worry as much about the cats knocking it down.

In addition to being in charge of decorating the house, I am the one who sends out Christmas cards, shops for gifts, wraps and bakes and who ensures that everyone gets the same amount.

There are so many things going on this year, and many that I typically attend. My better half is a bit of a home body and trying to get him out lately is a chore, so I’ve missed a lot of the fun.

Each year, the city of Concord hosts a Midnight Merriment where the stores on Main Street stay open until Midnight and there are lots of sales. It’s a lot of fun and even somewhat romantic with the lights and music and party atmosphere. But we didn’t make it this year.

I did get to have dinner and drinks with a couple of friends. That was nice and I would like to do more of that. Staying in touch with friends is hard under the best of circumstances.

The warm weather and lack of snow isn’t helping much either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; but, well, what’s a New Hampshire Christmas without a little of the white stuff?

We are still working out the details of Christmas, but it looks like we’ll be spending the better part of the day at home. We plan to cook a nice roast, which I’ve already ordered from the local beef farm down the road. It should be very romantic with Christmas music, good wine and the fun of cooking together.

Once the holidays are over, I’ll feel better. The New Year always brings with it a sense of reflection and renewal and that is what I need most of all.