Best Wishes for the Year of the Pig!

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 – 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 – 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 – 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 “bushman’s toilet paper.” 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.

There might as well be no fence on this goat paddock

The milking shed will go somewhere around here

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!

3 Responses to “Best Wishes for the Year of the Pig!”

  1. Rebecca KS says:

    Wow! Lofty ambitions for the year–I was intimidated by the idea of just #1 and #2 before July… but if you can do those, you’ll be in great shape.

    The record-keeper and penny-pincher in me likes #13, too. Best of luck in the New Year!

  2. Eileen says:

    Ambitious list!
    May your year on the Farmlet be blessed with the energy of the “Golden Pig.”
    Some ideas I thought you might consider below.
    I particularly like your idea of gravity fed water. My sister P has land in Colorado – La Veta – long sloping 33 acre site (only about one or two currently are arable).
    P had a well dug (she’s a hydrologist with the USGS) and has a solar panel that powers the solar water pump. Not fancy at all. The water line runs up the hill to a storage tank with a float valve that cuts off pumping when the tank is full. They have a drip system that irrigates the trees (lilacs and pines) planted as a wind break. The same system is used to “power” an outdoor kitchen sink, and a propane heated shower. It’s totally outdoor living with no house!
    If you need help with design I could put you in contact with her – she is of a kind that would help you with design gratis. The pictures of your land are lovely.
    Also, there are portable “electric fences” run by battery and solar charge. Dunno if they are still available, but I bought mine through Gardener’s Supply (US) several years ago (5 or 6). The fence works – I “tested” it (duh) and felt the jolt throughout my entire body. It also burned the plants that it touched. It uses light weight poles and wires that are moveable as you see fit. I think it would be a good way to pen your goats and at the same time use them to graze down areas that need it.
    Blessings, Eileen

  3. […] as per one of our goals for the Year of the Pig, we have tried a number of new sourdough recipes — trying to expand our repertoire beyond the […]