The Year of the Pig has now begun. Happy New Year to all!
To mark the Chinese New Year, I thought I’d write a list stating some of our goals for the Farmlet during the year ahead.
1) Have some earthworks done in the middle cow paddock, in order to create an irrigation dam and level a site for a barn. The cows will be fenced out of the dam area. (The area in question is already swampy and damp â€“ not especially good grazing, but an excellent dam site. The elevation of the site will allow us to gravity-feed water to gardens and stock. We plan eventually to plant the area around the dam with trees, creating a special dam-microclimate.)
2) Build a barn/shed in the cow paddock for milking, storage, and keeping calves. We need to have this in place by July, when the cows are due to calve. (In due course, we plan to collect rain water off the roof of the barn. We will install a water tank next to the barn, from which water can be gravity-fed down to to house.)
3) Fix the fences around the goat paddocks. We need to reinforce the fences and put in more electric wires, so that the goats can be kept in the paddocks without their A-frame collars on.
4) Extend the goat houses to give the goats more space, and better access to dry feed during the winter.
5) Build a chook house, and get some chickens. We plan to start with a small movable chook house in the house paddock. This way, the chooks can help us to clear kikuyu and create new garden areas. (Eventually, we would like to have a larger number of chickens ranging on the pasture up the hill.)
6) Plant fruit trees. Build supports for passion fruit and kiwifruit vines.
7) Continue to expand and develop gardens in the house paddock â€“ including barrier plantings to keep out kikuyu.
8) Experiment with making kefir, quark, and various cheeses. (This will be happening after our cows have calved and we have a good supply of fresh milk. We also hope to continue making yoghurt and butter.)
9) Experiment with making assorted fermented beverages â€“ perhaps using herbs from the garden.
10) Grinding flour and making sourdough bread has become part of our routine by now. I’d like to get into the habit of using the sourdough in some other creative and delicious ways.
11) Start growing some â€œbushman’s toilet paper.â€ We plan to start seedlings and plant them out in the garden when they are big enough.
12) Install a solar hot water heater to cut our power bill and increase our energy self-sufficiency.
13) Keep a more systematic record of income and expenditure. In particular, I think it will be satisfying to have records that clearly document the changes in our grocery bills as we produce more and more of our own food.
Thirteen is a lucky number, so I’ll stop there. Of course, there are lots of other projects on the horizon, big and small, but I feel as if this is a good enough list for now. It will be interesting to look back at the end of the Year of the Pig to see how many of these goals we have accomplished!