February 14th marked the 4th year on our homestead and, rightfully so, I’ve decided our word for the year (and every year) is GROWTH. It’s so nice to look back at these posts and see where we started and how far we’ve come. See? I told you – GROWTH.
All about my 4th year on the homestead and how I plan to move forward.
We aren’t right where we want to be but we are well on our way. I like to recap our year not only for you (in case you’re interested) but especially for myself.
What took place in 2019 on my homestead:
- Successfully raised my first flock of Dixie Rainbows
- Raised the most wonderful meat rabbits.
- Butchered our first pig.
- Stocked our freezer with meat ^^^
- Built an awesome shoe rack
- Raised ducklings again for the first time in a while!
- Took a break from homesteading to go on a cruise to get a break (yes, this was crucial to my life on the homestead)
- Added a few more fruit trees!
- Harvested our first blackberries.
- Successfully prunes our grapevines for the first year ever.
- Grew romaine lettuce successfully for the first time.
- Grew bloomsdale spinach for the first time!
- Downsized (best decision ever! read about it here)
Growth in the Garden
I’m going to be completely honest with you (when am I not?). I tried HARD at the beginning of the year to grow the most beautiful gardens. I’m not saying I failed…but it surely didn’t work that well. The last season, the Fall/Winter season, was a beautiful garden. Why? My dear husband who has the greenest thumb of all.
We grew beautiful peas, carrots, kale, collards, etc. It was truly magical. Moving forward for this year’s gardens, we’re rebuilding the whole lot and putting up beautiful cattle panel trellises. My inspiration is Roots and Refuge‘s beautiful garden space. It’s been my dream to replicate it (but smaller) on my farm and I’m finally getting to it! Check out their Youtube page and you’ll see what I mean.
I plan to plant more luffa sponges this year (I skipped last year because of other endeavors) so the cattle panel trellises are going to be great. I also plan to plant more cabbage, try pumpkin for the first time and FINALLY get potatoes right!
Growth in Animal Husbandry
We’ve been on a slight slow-down on our homestead. I needed a break for a few things so I decided to scale it back (you can read about that here). Right now we have 4 ducks, 9 chickens, and 7 rabbits. Since we butchered our first pig, our freezer is stocked full of happy, healthy meat so taking a break from butchering was easy to do.
We’ll continue mating rabbits this year once we put a dent in our recent harvests and also start raising chicks again for meat chickens. I’ve absolutely loved our Dixie Rainbows. They’re great egg layers AND meat chickens – making them the best dual chicken around, really. I think it’ll be a while before we do anymore larger animals but goats are still on my bucket list!
Growth in the Orchard
I believe this year we added three more peach trees, a pear and nectarine tree, and a fig tree. I need to get on a better fertilizing and watering schedule so that’s a huge goal for this year. We plan to add blueberry bushes, plant beds of strawberries, blackberry bushes and of course more fruit trees this year. We always head over to Tractor Supply when the seasons change because they often have great sales!
Check out your local flea markets, nursery sales, and farm stores for great sales on fruit trees. We love harvesting fresh loquats, blueberries and blackberries! I can’t wait until all our trees start blooming and growing yummy, juicy fruit.
Our homestead is growing each year in different ways and we’re growing with it. Some things progress while others take a few steps back. Our visions evolve and change and that’s completely fine! That’s what this life is all about, y’all – GROWTH.
As Spring approaches, I find myself looking forward to this next year with a renewed sense of optimism that I’ve honestly never had. It feels weird but it also feels awesome. My husband has taught me to be a better gardener, a great friend taught me to be a better farmer, my fruit trees have taught me patience and my animals have taught me to keep my chin up and always be ready for the next big thing.
As we glide through 2020, I look forward to planting more fruit trees and cover crops for the first time. I plan to rebuild our asparagus beds, finally finish our new garden beds and make our yard more home-y! I’m going to practice growth in a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state as well as in my animal husbandry and gardening. Drop a comment below and let me know what you’re up to!