Saturday 31 December 2022

Review Of My 2022!

This post is a quick look back at the year. I'm sure I've missed loads, but I just went back and looked at a few of the pictures and my thoughts on a few key subjects. 

Children And Family

I mean if you read this blog it should be fairly obvious that I try to put the family first (hopefully it is). They all seem to be growing up so fast, but I'm so happy I get to spend so much time with them and I love the people they've become. 

They all have such strong personalities, get on well and don't fight very often. I try to teach them that they're a pack and need to look out for each other and they make me proud in that respect. 

The children and I spend far too much time scouting, and the girls have done me proud by helping at every beaver session even though it's no longer their scout group. Both have earnt their volunteering badges easily! 

They all take a huge interest in the passions that either I have or my wife. They love to sew, bake, cook, eat, read, make things. The boy has been very keen to spend lots of time in the workshop and often comes in with wide eyes and a drawing of something he wants to create! I've really loved our workshop time this year and wonder if any of them will go into practical trades when they're older. 


My working week is almost unrecognisable from what it was a few years ago. It's varied, easy to adapt and works well around the children and my wife. I've taken more random days or bits of time off to do things as a family (even though I'm sure my wife would tell you I still work too much!). 

My wife works long hours as a deputy head mistress at a large school and I often say I'm support crew for her (although not very good support crew), I try to make sure running about around the children is in hand and that tea is on the table when she gets home. I could do with keeping the house a bit cleaner and more organised though! 

I've had an interesting year of work, making my income in a few different ways. I've kept my hand in with plenty of "normal" carpentry. I took on a big roofing job in April with a couple of friends and felt happy that I could still do the job well and quickly. I also tackled kitchens, floors and other routine jobs (fixing windows, etc).

I balance this work with my workshop stuff, making garden and homestead related items and selling them on Etsy. I've done this for a few years now and this one has been the best yet. I'm never going to be rich, but it pays me to stay at home rather than be out on site working. I have a good range of products and I'm proud of what I make. People seem to love them and I won't sell anything I'm not happy with. 

The magazine work has been quite good as well. It doesn't pay that well for the effort I put in, but what it does do is encourage me to look at different areas of woodworking. I've got really back into woodturning, my wood carving continues to improve and I've given myself time to experiment more with greenwood work, making gates and arches. All this improves my skills and helps me work towards becoming a master craftsman. 
I seem to have stopped writing for Country smallholding lately though, but to be honest I was struggling to find people to talk to about vintage machinery. It did make me learn so much more on that subject and was a nice thing I could chat to my father about, I find the old machines and their history fascinating. 

Writing for the magazines is a real passion and it was incredible to find myself on the cover of two of the three I write regularly for.

I have 73 articles currently published over a range of magazines (with more in the works) and I'd love to work towards having a book published in a year or three and getting over the 100 mark would be pretty amazing! 

I've also continued with my garden club talks. These are such good fun, I normally leave them buzzing, it was great to be on a panel with Terry Walton earlier in the year and do the dozens of others in the last 12 months. They're always different with interesting people to talk to and lots of questions to answer and ponder on. I feel I learn as much from the people there as I share with them. 

I have loads more booked in for 2023 and will publish a list of them on here in the next few weeks so people can see where I'm speaking if they want to join us in these three counties. 

I'm not very good at downtime unless it's reading or just mindless scrolling on my phone (which I'm really trying to do less). I have read far more this year than the last few and also listened to more books than I'd care to admit. I've also written a lot more for pleasure. I've managed to write a few short stories and I'm 75,000 words into a fantasy novel. 

I've managed to swim on average about 3 times a week. One session is a lesson to improve technique and encourage us to learn to train in other ways, the other two I go to swim and exercise. I figure it's the easiest way for me too keep my fitness up, I always feel plenty strong enough, but swimming gets me out of breath and my heart rate up. I try to swim 40 - 60 lengths in 30 to 45 minutes depending on how much time I give myself. I've made a few friends along the way and it's enjoyable, I feel so much better for it. 

We've played a fair amount of board games over the year and it's something we like to do together. 

Homemaking & Preserving

I wish I was better at the cleaning side of home making! Both my wife and I are messy people and I'd rather bake a cake with my kids than hoover the floor! So I don't make too many apologies about it. 

The children have all become very accomplished cooks and bakers, all run to help in the kitchen if I ask for it. Our Middlest even gets up and does the dishwasher without being asked each morning. 

I've continued with the preserving, and I'd say this is one year I've preserved more than I have for a long time. The pantry is full of dried and canned produce. Although I still need to get more into pressure canning rather than sticking with the high acid food and water bath canning it all! 

The kids are only too happy to try everything I make! 

Gardening, Fruit, Animals & Trees

The animals have stayed much the same, we hatched out some birds, but didn't do much else other than that, I did make a new avian flu pen for the ducks which has been great. They're all healthy and as happy as a bird gets during lockdown, but they had a good summer! 

The soft fruit garden I planted in 2020 is coming on leaps and bounds, we had a good 10kg plus of blackcurrants and gooseberries without netting them. 

The veg was good as well this year. I felt like I only lost control towards the end of summer, instead of in the middle. We lost more crops to pests than to weeds, so I'll take that as a win, but something to improve on. 

The orchard feels really established now, in it's tenth year. When you stand down there it feels like a "proper" smallholders orchard. I just love it, scything the grass in the spring, seeing the chickens enjoy it all summer, harvesting huge amounts of fruit in the autumn. It's a lovely place to be and I'm so glad I did that as one of the first acts of moving here over a decade ago! 


2022 has been a good year for us. We love spending time with each other and I think we've created a home we all enjoy living in. 

I always have big goals and ideas for the next year, but so long as we're happy and healthy I don't worry too much if they don't get done. After all there's always next year! 

Hope you all managed to have a good 2022 and I wish you health and happiness as we move into 2023. 


  1. Sounds perfection Kev, your children are having the best upbringing. When you finish your fantasy book, send it our way, hubby loves reading fantasy.

    1. Ohh, that's great - I'm going to be in need of some beta readers!

  2. Oh my goodness Kev, you've done fantastically well this year with everything, but most of all your family, those kids can do just about anything, that's so good and they'll grow up to be such a useful contribution to society and of course they are well-rounded people who will never get bored with nothing to do. I'm glad you are not fussed about keeping stuff tidy, it really doesn't matter as long as you know where everything is - nobody ever died of an untidy house! I have followed you from virtually the beginning and it's been absolutely wonderful to see you develop over the years. I remember when you were due to do your first garden club talk and how nervous and worried about it you were...and now look at you! Just brilliant Kev, keep doing what you're doing, it's just great and I do so admire everything you do!

    1. Thank you Sue, you wouldn't believe how much it means to me to have so many people still read and be interested in what I do. I started this blog when I was in my twenties and this year i shall be entering my forties! really hard to believe how fast it has gone but I've loved the journey.

  3. Any single one of these categories would be an accomplishment in itself! You have done so much and done it so well. The amount of time you spend teaching and being with your children is my favorite thing! So glad I found your blog.
    May God bless you and yours in the new year! Cheers!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! I try to put family first, but it's still something I really have to work at. The children are great company though so it's very easy to spend time with them!

  4. Kev - Love seeing your accomplishments for the year. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you, and thank you for commenting when you do, it really makes the blog worth while and I love having it as a record to look back on.

  5. Great post, Kev. Here's hoping 2023 will be a good one for all of us.

    1. Thanks Leigh, I certainly hope it will be! Big changes for us as our eldest moves up to secondary school!


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