Lisa and her husband are raising their babies, and growing their little homestead in rural Alberta, Canada. They are pursuing more sustainable and self-sufficent living through gardening, beekeeping, chickens and other old-world skills learned along the way.
The New Year has arrived and for me that means it’s time to buckle down and solidify the goals that I have for our Homestead for the year, as well as the upcoming growing Season. These are plans that have been swirling around my mind since the end of last Summer, because let’s be
honest, the plans and dreams for ‘what’s next’ are a constant in most of our minds! But, now that the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season has passed, my mind is consumed by garden plans, animal housing, getting to all of the smaller goals I have set (like finally making a successful sourdough starter), and of course, continued renovations on our Home.
While we settle into what are typically the two coldest months here in Alberta, I am making the most of the increased time spent indoors by learning some new skills to add to my repertoire. Currently, I am tending to a Sourdough Starter that I have lovingly named ‘Frodough’, which is just about ready to be turned into what I hope are beautiful loaves of bread, worthy of the Shire.
In continued Hobbit-like fashion, I have also ventured into the world of making homemade cheese, so far, I have successfully made Ricotta, which was then added into a Pasta dish, and promptly devoured.
Between tackling these new skills, and trying to keep my children entertained while trapped indoors (hello, cabin fever), I am also planning out our Garden for the upcoming growing Season, which is actually one of my favourite things to do!
Last year we did a complete overhaul of our Garden, moving it into a bigger space which required a lot of work; removing overgrowth, tilling and leveling the ground, moving the greenhouse and existing beds into the space, plus building new beds to add, then filling all of those beds with soil, and trenching in a water line to our pump.
A lot of this heavy lifting work was done by my wonderful Husband, and thanks to him the start of Gardening Season this year will be much easier and straightforward. Of course though, as I plan out this year’s Garden, I can’t help but add in a couple of additional ‘patches’.
This year, my goal is to add in a Pumpkin patch, a herb patch, a more diversified flower patch, and then because I discovered a dreamy Pink Popcorn variety, I figured I needed to add that, as well. I’ve mapped out the new spaces in my mind, now I just need to transfer my plans to paper, do a final inventory of the seeds I already have, order the remaining ones that I need, and then before you know it, it will be time to start some of those seeds indoors.
While last year’s big goal was expanding the Garden, this year’s main goal is to expand the Chicken run. That’s right, our Chickens are not free-ranging! As wonderful as it would be to have free-ranging Chickens, in our situation it is safer for our Chickens to stay within an
enclosed run. But as our Chicken numbers increase, we have decided that it is also time to increase the space for them to roam, and graze so that they can remain happy and healthy.
Thankfully, their current location can be easily expanded, which means we won’t have the hassle of moving their coop, we will just have to put in the hard work of fencing off their expanded area. I am being very mindful about how we will be fencing in the new area as this expanded space is actually a multi-purpose goal, serving the immediate goal of giving our Chickens more space, and eventually serving as a space for a big future goal, of also housing a couple of Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
Owning a couple of Dairy Goats so that we can have a source of fresh milk (for more cheese!) is
a goal of mine that I am very excited about, and while I would love to see them on our Homestead this year, I know realistically, that most likely won’t happen. I am currently in the beginning stages of doing my research on Goats, and all that goes into keeping them. I want to
be as prepared as I can be before we introduce Goats onto our Homestead, and a big part of that is ensuring that they will have secure and adequate housing already in place.
Last, but not least, the final months of Winter are also the final months of home renovations for the year. So far this Winter we have been focusing on a lot of finishing touches in our Living Area and we nearly have a fully completed space, so naturally we decided to knock down a wall in said space, and increase our renovation list. While this was somewhat of a last-minute decision, it’s being done so that we can add something into our Home that we have long wanted, a wood burning stove! We are beyond excited to be adding in a wood burning stove that can heat our Home.
Not only is the heat generated by one warm and cozy, but it is also important to us to make our home more sustainable and self-sufficient. Plus, we do live in an old building that has a very old furnace that could stop working at any moment, and when you live somewhere that lately has been making the lists of the coldest places on Earth, having a backup source of heat helps put the mind at ease.
So, that wraps up the majority of the goals we have set for our Home and Homestead for the year. I’m sure as we move through the year new things will pop up that will either get added to the list, or that may knock some things off, but that’s okay! I encourage everyone to make a list of goals they want to accomplish, but I also encourage everyone to go with the flow and live in the moment; find the balance between working for what you want, but appreciating all that you already have!