Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fantasy: Projects!

I must admit, I'm finally starting to get really excited about our move. Still terrified. Still uncertain where to land or what to do for income, but definitely getting excited for a change in scenery, routine and lifestyle. One of the reasons we're moving in the first place is to get started getting started. Although we don't plan on having children (at least any time soon) my husband and I are both getting anxious to start expanding our family and homestead. We have many goals, many projects in mind, and many dreams waiting to come true. They will all require hard work, focus, determination, and most importantly they all require that we are located where we want to be: our forever homestead. We may have to settle for a stepping stone for a few months or even years, but our ultimate goal is to rent for a few months to have time to look around, get our bearings and get employment - then pounce on the perfect farm or large lot residential property (appropriately zoned to bear livestock) and start our forever dream in becoming our reality.

Late 2007 - Many hours of digging and pulling bermuda grass and planting tiny little herbs that now tower over my little black car.
 Dreaming is great. Repeatedly saying "when we get there" or "in a few years" or "when we have more land" is fine. But it's really really dissatisfying. Austin has been great. Being close to old and new friends and family has been great. Being limited by a suburban yard was great at first and is now just darned frustrating. I will greatly miss the patch of land i've converted from average to outstanding, lifeless to ecologically diverse - but i'm so excited to start from square one again and go through all the struggles and hardships once again and be able to sit back in 4 years and pat myself and my husband on our backs in pride. It's going to be tough going, but the difficulty only makes it more satisfying. Hard work is hard and feels great, gardening is a never ending task, and animal husbandry is a lifelong learning experience. I'm ready for the future plans to be the present!

Pulling up nasty linoleum and carpet is not fun.
Admiring and sometimes break dancing on your newly laid-by-you bamboo floor is.

For today's Friday fantasy i'm going to make a bulleted list of some of the projects, large and small that are in our future. Some have a higher priority, some will be put off for a few years and some will be pounced upon as soon as the new keys are in my hands. Here goes:
  • Bees - for pollinating and eventually for honey
  • Goats - breeding Kinder goats from Nubian and Pygmy stock, or from established Kinders. Also seriously considering adding a Pygora wether to our flock... perhaps starting out with a pregnant Kinder and a Pygora whether: milk and fiber, the best of both worlds!
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Guineas
  • Chickens: I'd love to breed Wyandottes for rare colors
  • Cheese making - goat milk and cheese making go hand in hand! I might have to add a sheep to the flock on day, as sheep's milk cheese is soooo goooood
  • Farmer's Market - I already vend at some Austin markets with my soap. I'd like to expand the soap business as well as sell surplus veggies when we get them and cheese if i can figure out the permits required
  • Hootch: from beer to wine to hard spirits, i'd like to try my hand at providing us our guilty pleasures
  • Vinegar - what better and more healthful product can one make with the must leftover from wine making? I'd love to make all kinds of vinegars using different fruits on hand
  • Orchard - apples, pears, filberts, cherries - you name it!
  • Hops - hops are in high demand, a hop arbor is beautiful and perhaps one day lucrative
  • Mead - a combination of hootch and bees
  • All purpose herb beds - i dream of the day when i'll have large beds of herbs grouped by their functions: culinary, medicinal, first aid, cosmetic
  • Crop rotation - I think that i plan on building raised beds, drainage will be an issue in the valley and raised beds will help with that. By having my vegetable gardens in raised beds i can also start small and build on, adding a few new beds every year and allow the previous beds to lay fallow, host a chicken tractor for a season, get planted with a cover crop or plant with a different family of veggies. As the years go on I'll continue adding new beds until i feel we're sufficiently bedded... ha. Or i might just do traditional rows - this plan will depend largely on whatever property we find.
  • Living hedges - I read an amazing article a while back about planting certain shrubby, hardy, strong and nutritional hedges and honing them into living fence lines. Fascinating!
  • Spinning - I'd love to add alpacas to our farm one day, but they're super duper expensive. I might start with sheep, or i might start by purchasing raw wool from another local farmer. I'd love to learn to spin. The concept is just so other worldy and awesome - what cooler product to bring to market than home spun yarn?
  • Sewing: I already sew and make my own clothes on occasion, but i'd love to get even better at it.
  • Everything in it's place: and finally - the best goal is to have enough space, enough out buildings, well enough organized spaces to have workspace for each of us and each of our projects. A separate fridge for curing cheese (or a crawlspace), a separate sink area for soap making, a workshop for my husband and his allergy inducing gourds, housing for ducks, chickens and goats. Enough space for our tools, vehicles, feed storage and home goods. Preferably no sound of roads and no cars to threaten our short dog's life. Plenty of water storage, clothesline space, and pastures for rotating livestock. 
As you can see - i have a lot on my mind. Some of it will happen sooner than later, but these projects all wait for one thing: one heck of a big move.

Wish us luck, and as always thank you for reading with me, sharing with me your experiences and wisdom, and joining me on this wild ride!


This post is part of the barn hop!

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