I'm going to keep on the same theme here and write down some goals for 2018, not just self sufficiency ones though, ones for me!
I'm quite involved with my community here and I want to see that continuing. For the last year I've been helping to run the village playgroup and really enjoy this. One of my friends that I do this with is leaving, so two of us are going to carry it on. I think it's really important for a village to have a fun and friendly playgroup, it's how I've made many friends, although I have to admit it's not a role I ever saw myself in!
I'm hoping to start to do a few things for my daughters school as well, I'm keen to start some sort of gardening club but not sure how things like this will work.
Children and Family
I spend a lot of time with the kids but sometimes it really feels like a roundabout of pickups and drop offs and when I get home I tend to be cooking or doing something. I want to try and set a little time each week to do something together after school, maybe doing more outdoor cooking, foraging and learning about all the wild edibles under our feet or something along that line. I'm going to dramatically reduce my phone usage around them as well.
I've also loved the few evenings and weekends my wife and I have had together without children over this last year. I want to make sure that we get a few of those in the next 12 months, time together without distractions is really important.
Not even sure I need to write this one down as you can probably all guess what it is.
I want to finish the extension. I am determined that we'll be eating Christmas dinner in our new kitchen next year. I'm going to have a couple of mornings a week without children as my youngest is starting nursery so I'm hoping this will give me the time I need to get it done. It's a huge project and hangs above my head the whole time. There's so much of our saving invested in it and we still can't use it!
I want to get upstairs usable and knock through, the kitchen sorted as well as the pantry and utility room.
Once it's finished I can then concentrate on other things, there is still some patio and slabbing that needs doing outside as well. I'd also love to build a butchery area that I can easily hose down, but after the extension...
I'd love for us to be more off grid. I'm very aware that as it stands we're very dependant on everything either coming in via the wires or the pipes.
Our budget won't stretch to moving much towards an off grid lifestyle at the moment. Things like solar panels are way out of our budget whilst we're still building the extension.
But there are a few things that I can look at doing that won't cost too much.
One is water storage, I'd like to store more water here, both drinkable and for the garden and animals. If our budget will stretch to it or I find any containers at the right price then this is something I'll be thinking about.
A compost toilet is something I talk about every year and never get round to. Even if it's just one I can use in the summer it would be a start! A bucket and a screen would do for a start!
Cooking - I'd love a few extra off grid cooking options here, maybe a simple brick oven outside, a proper wood burning one inside when I do the extension or a permanent rocket stove on the patio. I really want to work on this area in the summer.
I want to make sure that I put the building work here as my main priority, last year I put off working here as I had the offer of other carpentry work. In hindsight I should have turned it down and cracked on with the extension.
I also want to push more with the blog and with doing talks at garden clubs and WI's, other forms of income are something that I'm really keen to explore.
Well I always have big plans for the garden, but not so much this year.
To be honest I was going to increase it massively, up to about half an acre of veg, but I've decided that I need to finish the house first, the garden can just stay the same size. I am going to start a new soft fruit area and plant a few more perennial edibles, hopefully transforming the front garden from somewhere that doesn't get mown to somewhere that grows a bit off veg and herbs.
I am going to get the edges under control this year though, not sure how I'm going to do it yet but I'll figure something out!
I've reduced the flock of sheep to 25 as I think my land will cope with it better. Hopefully lambing will be as good as 2017!
The laying chickens will stay at the same number (around 20) and I'm planning on doing a few batches of 25-30 meat chickens throughout the year. I may even try and hatch a batch of quails this winter if I get chance.
I'd also like to start a small flock of pure breed chickens to sell fertile eggs from and to learn how to be better at selecting certain traits with animals. Currently I'm thinking of a meat bird so I wouldn't have to buy in day old chicks in the future. I also think Silkies would be great for the kids and the birds seem to sell well as well as being great broody birds. This might get put on hold until 2019 though!
Oh and pigs, the girls talk about nothing other than getting pigs! So maybe I can put them off for another year, maybe I can't!
I think I have a good level of strength and fitness just from what living this type of lifestyle entails. But I'd like to work more on making my back stronger, as I have started to feel it a bit as I've got a little older, maybe walking more around this beautiful area that I live.
My daughters school has just moved ever so slightly closer and although we'd have to walk over fields it's something I'd like to do when its dry or frozen. I do worry it would be like something out of an Enid Blyton novel and I'd end up buying the kids a donkey to take them instead...
I also want to keep reading what interests me and develop and practice my skills with anything related to homesteading, smallholding, prepping, gardening, farming, bushcraft, camping, self reliance and self sufficiency!
So that's some of my aims and ambitions for 2018, not sure how far I'll get with them but better to aim high!
Make sure you share with me some of your aims for 2018, I love to read what you're up to and which direction you're going.