In  March of 2013 we found and purchased our 36 acres and moved into a tent on our property in April. We spent the next 3 1/2 years building a tiny house and putting up fencing to keep the free range cows from eating our crops and trees. Ready or not, this is the year we are going out on our own. We will have 6 months to get our home business up and running and supporting our family full time. Joseph is quitting his job and working full-time on getting our home business up and running. By the end of the 6 months we have to accomplish 2 goals.

The first goal is to bring in enough income to pay our bills, and the second goal is to produce enough food on our homestead to feed our family, our animals, and sell for extra income.

So this is the year. This is the year that we have been preparing for since we moved here. This leg of our journey begins in March. At that time we start our clock and we will have 6 months to get our home business up and running and our homestead self-reliant.

Self-reliant doesn’t mean that you do everything by yourself, but our goal is to have our homestead productive. On our homestead will be gardening, planting trees and other perennials, canning, and building. We are also going to start selling our produce and farm fresh products for the first time this year. Additionally we will be doing everything we can to build up our home business in order to generate enough cash flow to pay our monthly bills.

This is a list of the goals that we have set for this year for our homestead:

  • Continue to live without going into any new debt including cash flowing the kids college classes and the car repairs.
  • Make extra payments on our property.
  • Build up an emergency fund.
  • Launch our home business.
  • Finish fence for the goat paddock. We have more then enough food on our 36 acres to feed our goats. However in order to keep the goats from eating our shade trees and our gardens we have to either fence in all our plants or fence paddocks for them to graze in. On warm sunny days the children can watch the goats roam the property and keep them from eating the trees as they play outside, but having both options means that we can let our goats out to graze in a fenced in area when the weather isn’t ideal.
  • Add trees to our orchard. As of right now we have one apple tree in our orchard and one apple tree in the perennial garden we fenced in during 2016.
  • Fence in orchard.
  • Add ducks to the orchard.
  • Build Duck coop in the orchard area.
  • Add raspberries and strawberries to the perennial garden. We will also add comfrey and any other perennials that we can get our hands on that we think will benefit our homestead. We might add grapes to the perennial garden this year too.
  • Add pergola to the perennial garden. This addition is so that we can enjoy our perennial garden. In addition to adding the pergola we will also be adding shade to the garden as the summer months are brutal on the plants.
  • Add more shade trees to our homestead. (We added 3 shade trees to our homestead in 2016.) We love trees. Right now when you drive up to the property there is very little green. We want to create a self-sustaining oasis in the middle of the desert. We would like to add as many trees as we can but we hope to do this with free trees. In addition our homestead is located in an area where we can’t dig into the ground (because of rocks) to plant trees, but we will do everything we can to find places we can plant trees.
  • Build multiple cold frames to extend the growing season. We can only grown food for our family if we can manage to extend our growing season.
  • Work on our greenhouse. I would love to have tomatoes growing year round in our green house by the end of this season.
  • Paint our shed. Our poor shed has been neglected as we have rushed to build a home and fence in our garden and goat paddocks. However, the wood on our shed is now in desperate need of paint to protect it from the elements.
  • Paint the old chicken coop. I have no idea how old this chicken coop/wood shed is. However, a fresh coat of paint will make it cheerful and pleasant.
  • Paint the house so it is all the same color. Our house was constructed in 3 stages and all three stages have a different exterior. Ideally they would all be the same.
  • Build steps for the house using bricks we got for free in 2016. I also need to build some functioning shutters for the windows on the front of the house for the hot afternoon son.
  • Get a water tank. We actually need to get a filter system for our water and then a water tank. Although we would love to do this project this year, we can continue to run our water from the well into the house until we can afford to do this.
  • Hook up the water heater to the large propane tank.
  • Finish the bathroom. This is also a project that we would love to do this year, but finances will dictate if we accomplish this in 2017 or have to postpone it until 2018.
  • Skirt the house. This will make the house a lot warmer, and this step needs to be finished before we build the cold frames that will surround the house.
  • Put wood panels in the family room ceiling. This step needs to be done in order to install a fan in the ceiling this summer. If it isn’t finished before summer, than box fans it will be for another year.
  • Insulate and panel the library. Although I really want to do this project it will depend largely on free materials as this project is not currently in the budget.
  • Build bookshelves in the library. We have to build at least one bookshelf this year to get our books that are literally piled around our tiny house in a more protected space.
  • Add bees to our homestead. This is perhaps the project that I am most excited about and the most nervous about. I am worried that we won’t have enough flowering plants to keep our bees here and also that we will lose our bees to one of a dozen different issues. However we will go forward with this venture and hope that it works out.
  • Plant lots and lots of perennial flowering plants for our bees to enjoy.
  • Grow paddock for the chickens. Our goal has always been to grow enough food on our homestead to feed the animals that we raise on our homestead. Food for our goats grows naturally, but we will have to plant a variety of plants for our chickens.
  • Plant winter wheat. This will help feed the ducks, chickens, and goats.
  • Add worms to our homestead.  I have already made two unsuccessful attempts to raise worms on our homestead. I am going to make a third attempt this year. Worms are not only great for the gardens but they are also a secondary source of food for the chickens.