Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My 2014

Sorry not many post over the last week or so - We've been busy with family and I've even managed to get some work in.

It's the last day of the year so I guess it's traditional to look back at the last year and see what we've achieved.

Children and family
The first major positive for this year was me taking over the full time childcare. I wasn't sure what to expect or even if I'd cope with it.
Making bread
 It's been amazing and I've loved the opportunity to spend more time with my children than I ever thought I would. We've done loads of things together, from days out, lot of baking (which has become a new hobby of mine), loads of time in the garden and visiting playgroups. Playgroups were tricky at the start as I was just the token dad in a room full of mums, but I've made some amazing friends with like minded people.
the children seem to have enjoyed the time with me as well (or at least I hope they have!) and this summer they were both sun kissed youngsters from spending so much time with me!
Lots of time spent messing around
We've also managed to spend time together as a family which is really important to us, having a great holiday in the summer and still managing to find time to do other things together like swimming and going to friends houses.


Work
I've done the least amount of paid work since leaving school this year but luckily interesting and varied work has come my way to fill up my weekends and school holidays. Only working part time can be tricky for customers to understand but luckily I've got a few good ones that keep putting work my way and are willing to work around the limited time that I can give them.



I've already got a lot of work booked in for the new year to keep me out of trouble and to bring extra money in. It seems that work comes my way a bit easier now so hopefully it will keep coming in.

Homemaking
This has been my best year ever for learning and using homesteading skills. I've had to get to grips with doing the housework and trying to keep on top of washing clothes and cooking dinner every night (and not messing around and ruining it). I've preserved lots of food, experimented with new ingredients and cut right back on the amount of meat we eat, increasing the number of vegetarian meals to make the most of the veg that we grow. I've also got into the habit of baking with the children a couple of times a week and that's something we all enjoy (plus I love cake).


Garden
This has been my best gardening year as well. Not only have we had a great summer but I've also been in it a lot more than usual to take advantage of all that good weather. 
We've grown the majority of our own veg and I've started to experiment with new and usual fruit and veg. I managed to get the new greenhouse up just at the right time so we had a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cucamelons and chillies, I also managed to divide the garden up making planning, rotating and managing the veg garden much easier and making it look much smarter. We control was pretty good as well, next year I need to gain better control of the weeds around the fruit bushes and increase my growing area for unusal crops.





Animals
Well we didn't increase much on this front. I didn't manage to finish the fencing early enough so we've just stuck with chickens this year but I've been told by one little girls that she wants piggies next year so I'll have to try hard on that one! The chickens have been great though and except for a fox attack we managed to keep the numbers fairly constant, although eggs haven't been produced much this autumn. We hatched out five chicks in the summer which is a great thing for the girls to be a part of and keeps steadily replacing our stock.
Fields and trees
I managed to plant a lot of trees this last year, with a new 42m hedge being planted on one of the first days of the year. I also started a willow coppice (although growth hasn't been great) and grafted over a hundred apple, pear and stone fruit trees to either be planted here or sold to help cover the costs of my hobby.
I've managed to get all the fencing up (although I've still got quite few gates to hang) and we made some nice hay in the summer, as well as keeping the grass in good condition. Hopefully we'll get some stock next year to help with this.




Major projects
Well in short the one we need the most didn't happen - the extension! By doing private work this year instead means that we should be able to better fund it but it hasn't pushed the project on. I'm hoping that we'll start in the spring once the ground dries up a bit, getting the porch built and then starting the main extension, plus we've got many drainage issues to deal with as well!
I did do a few minor project to the house that I'm really happy with, I finished the living room by putting up shelves and a mantle piece and I did a few projects to increase our amount of storage in the house.



Summary
It's been a brilliant year and I've really enjoyed having this blog to document it, the good and the bad, and all your (the readers) input as well, plus I've loved reading everyone else's blogs. The comments never disappoint me, when I have a question or want advice I get just what I was looking for and normally a new avenue to explore, plus reading other blogs gives me new ideas and things to try and it's nice to know that all over the world there are people out there who are just as bonkers as me!

Thank you all for reading and I hope you continue to do so in the new year! 

Happy New Year!



32 comments:

  1. It looks to me like a good year for you, overall. I hope the next one is even better.

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  2. Happy New Year to you all. Iv'e enjoyed popping over in 2014 and look forward to seeing you in 2015 x

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    1. Cheers julee, ive enjoyed your blog as well.

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  3. What a year Kev, 2015 will be intersting as a lot of the backbone is now in place, looking forward to seeing what you get up to and how things progress with your family.
    Wishing you all the best for 2015

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    1. Cheers dawn-still loads to do though!

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  4. You really made some progress that's for sure. Looking forward to 2015 reading about your progress then too!!

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    1. I've got lots I want to do this year and a few projects you might enjoy as well!

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  5. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to seeing what you and your family get up to during 2015. Vx

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    1. Cheers vera, I'll keep looking longingly at your pantry shelves through 2015!

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  6. I look forward to reading about your pigs and extension next year! Hope all goes well for you and your family in 2015

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    1. I hope you get to read about both as that means I made a start!

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  7. Happy New Year Kev and Family!

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  8. Seems like to me you have done well for yourself and your family. I hope 2015 is a good year for you folks over there.

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    1. Cheers Harry. I couldn't do any of it without my wife though. Family is the most Important thing of all.

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  9. Great year end overview, what a busy 2014. Sometimes we ask ourselves "now what did I do all year?" Seems little until we add it up. My husband also stayed home on the farm with all our kids (4) while I worked as RN. It worked so well, as they always came home to a parent and they learned how to work in the shop, in the garden with the animals. They are all grown now but each feel those years were extremely valuable to them. Keep up the good work.!

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    1. It always feels like we're doing the right thing and it seems to be working at the moment. I'm sure I'll get them working soon as well!

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  10. You really have had a good year, but this hasn't been chance, it has been of your making.
    All the very best fro 2015
    Gill

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  11. A very happy New Year to you and yours. I've enjoyed reading the blog and look forward to more good reads in 2015. x

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    1. Thank you and happy new year to you as well.

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  12. Happy New Year Kev. It’s been great reading your blog this year – keep up the good work in 2015!

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  13. Wonderful tecord of all you've achieved - congrats.

    Happy New Year from SA to the UK :)

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    1. Cheers dani and thanks for yours. Glad I found that pepper recipe. We had some with cheese and biscuits the other night, delicious!

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  14. I do like your blog :) Have a great year 2015.

    We are still trying to get through a close encounter with a cowboy builder so I am pleased to see the back of 2014.

    viv

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    1. I hope you guys have a better 2015 and things sort themselves out for you. X

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  15. You have had a spectacular year in my book! If you lived local we would so hire you to do our staircase! Its covered in laminate now, we want it redone in knotty pine wood top to bottom! Its going to be a BUSY year I think sounds like for you and for me! But all good stuff right. So busy is good in that case! I am soaking my artichoke seeds as of right now. Will plant them in starter pots tomorrow. Looks like I am going to have to learn grafting on my own, Will do my best for follow the instructions!

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    1. All good stuff that's for sure! Any problems or questions with the grafting just drop me an email. I'll do a little video if you want when it's time but you might hqve to do yours earlier as I'm guess the sap will be rising sooner with you than me.

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  16. Looks like you have had a very productive 2014. Really enjoyed looking through your previous posts too. Wishing you a great 2015

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    1. Thanks suzie, glad you like it. We try to be productive but there's always so much more I want to do!

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