Goals for the Year of the Rat

1. Do “baby yoga” with Owen and have lots of fun. Any goal that relates to our precious baby would have to top the list, of course! I have a couple of neat books, Itsy Bitsy Yoga and Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby, which are helping us get started.

2. Build a chook house and chook run. We have had this on our “to do” list ever since we arrived on the Farmlet. Can’t believe we still haven’t done it. Disgraceful! Still, the extra time has allowed us to understand more about our land and our needs. Our chook run plans have changed and developed a lot over the past two years. It is now high time to put plans into action!

3. Install a solar water heater. Kevin has been doing the research, and has finally found what he thinks may be the right system for us. This will be a big step towards reducing our energy bills.

4. We plan that calves and goat kids will be born on the Farmlet this coming spring. This means we have to hook our cows and goats up with bull/buck, of course. I’ll be writing more on this matter very soon! Calves and kids mean fresh cow and goat milk. Yum! This year we hope to milk Daphne and Lulu (the goats) for the first time.

5. Carrying on from #4: Extend the small goat house and build a milking stand for the goats. The small goat house is all very well for two does, but certainly wouldn’t fit their kids as well. Something needs to be done about this.

6. Undertake some cool cheese projects using fresh cow and goat milk.

7. Make delicious meals using meat raised on the Farmlet. Yes, we have exciting plans for Herman Beefsteak when he reaches “the beefsteak phase of his career”! I’m looking forward to sharing some recipes. It’s especially nice to think that the first meat Owen will ever eat will have been raised kindly and cleanly here on the Farmlet.

Herman Beefsteak

8. Experiment with grinding and cooking cornmeal, including some from our own corn.

9. Save seeds from more of our vegetables, herbs, and flowers. As our garden matures and we discover which varieties of vegetables do best for us, we are committed to saving more and more of our own seed.

10. Continue to battle kikuyu and work on “taming” the house paddock. We hope to work on weed barriers this year, with the aim of reducing the ongoing effort.

11. Attempt to make some more crusty fermented beverages. In particular, we’d like to try making wine from our own grapes. We’d better hurry up with this project, since it’s already grape season!

12. Raise some seedlings of “bushman’s toilet paper” to plant out in the garden. This project was on our list last year, and I can’t believe we forgot all about it. I’m really keen to do this!

13. Last but not least: I want to write at least one update per week for the Farmlet website!

Best wishes to all for the Year of the Rat! It looks sure to be a busy and exciting one on the Farmlet.

6 Responses to “Goals for the Year of the Rat”

  1. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the Herman pic. He’s quite the
    handsome fellow.

  2. Simon Tzu says:

    Herman is looking beautiful – what a strong young bull. Slaughtering him is going to be pretty intense I’m sure. Doubt I could do it (I am all for killing your own food…one reason I very seldom eat meat. I have killed chickens and birds before but never a large mammal.)

    I am very curious how about the emotional journey you guys go through when you kill him and eat him – please blog about it! In a similar vein I am keenly anticipating the second part of the pig story.


  3. Rebecca says:

    Hi Simon and Michelle,
    Thanks for your complimentary comments on our fine young Herman Beefsteak!
    @Simon: You are right: Slaughtering Herman will be an intense experience for us. Not easy, but an important journey for those of us who want a humane relationship with our food. We’ll certainly be blogging about it. Since it is quite heavy work slaughtering and dealing with such a large animal, we will have the “home kill” man come out and do that for us. We will still be there, of course, but this way we can be sure the job will be done cleanly and well with the right equipment for handling the heavy carcass. Anyway. . . more about that when the time comes!
    I am also keen to see the second part of the pig story. Don’t worry, I’m badgering my poor husband about it, so you can be sure he will not forget!

  4. Rebecca KS says:

    I’m curious also about Herman reaching his final purpose, but would definitely appreciate the kind of warning that you put up for the pig post… I do think it’s good that you’ll be eating meat that was raised and slaughtered humanely, but don’t think that I’d want to do that myself (hence, vegetarian), and am not quite sure yet that I’d want to see it either. Can you put posts under folds or cuts?

    Hope the baby yoga is off to a good start!

  5. fansma says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Do you know the Latin name, or any variations on the common name, for Bushman’s Toilet Paper? I’d be interested in trying to grow some myself. Here in Northwestern US, we grow a plant called Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) which makes great toilet paper, but I’m always interested in expanding our options. Many thanks, and best to all the family.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hi There,

    @Rebecca: Kevin’s trying to think of a way to let readers avoid the gory bits if they choose. At the very least, we’ll try to put a warning or suitably descriptive title at the top of the post. That way you could choose not to scroll down the page. Oh, and the baby yoga is going really well, thanks. Owen loves it!

    @fansma: I’m pretty sure that “Bushman’s Toilet is a New Zealand native, but I don’t know the Maori name or the Latin name for it. I’ll see what I can do about finding out. Please stay tuned! Thanks for telling us about the “Lamb’s Ears.” I wonder if we can find some to plant. Like you, I would be keen to diversify our toilet paper options!