Thursday, November 5, 2015

How We Write Homestead Goals

Last week, I wrote about why we set our homestead goals for the next year in October.  It's a great time of year for us to do so, and it helps me to stay on top of what needs done, when.  But I didn't really delve much into the hows and whys of setting goals for your homestead or what our goals for the upcoming year are.  So here are a few ideas to get you started on your goal-setting, whether you are "farming" a window box in a New York apartment window sill or 1,000 acres in North Dakota.

The first thing I do is daydream.  Seriously.  I ask myself, "If money, time, and talent were no limits, what would I want to do or to have or to accomplish?"  I jot down some of these pie-in-the-sky ideas as they come to me and let them marinate for a while.  I also look to other homesteaders for inspiration by cruising Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs.  You can get great ideas and a feel for what others are doing by simply searching "Homesteading Goals."  A few great reads on this subject can be found here from Montana Homesteader, here from Whistle Pig Hollow, and here from Imperfectly Happy Homesteading.

Keep in mind that these blogs are only for inspiration and brainstorming, not for comparison and despair!  They may be years ahead of you in their gardening, animal husbandry, or building projects.  They may also have resources that are out of your reach or not relevant to your interests.  The point is just to get the ideas flowing.

We definitely want to grow more rainbow carrots next year!
Next, take the time to think about what you did this year.  Did it work?  Great! Maybe you'd like to expand those projects to produce more next year.  We had a great time with our rainbow carrot crop last year and I want to give them more space in the garden this year.  Was something a dismal failure?  Maybe you need to research and revise your approach for next year.  Our squash was on that list.  I plan to research squash bug control before trying again.  Could something be done more efficiently?  How so?  Add all of these notes to your list.

The last phase is taking a look at all of these items on your list and prioritizing them, then breaking them down into manageable bits.  Maybe some of your pie-in-the-sky dreams included producing all of your own food.  That is a huge goal that may take years to approach.  But, you could set a goal of producing all your own eggs this year.  That would add "building chicken coop" and "raising chicks" to your goal list for the next year.  You might also be able to grow your own herbs.  That would add "build herb bed" and "start herb seeds" to the goal list.  Think about each larger goal and break it into doable steps that are realistic with your property, your time limitations, your finances, and your personal and family values.  Don't sabotage yourself by making goals so big that your year will end in frustration, but don't sell yourself short either!  Just because something may not be completed this year doesn't mean you can't get a start on it, and that is a goal of it's own!

Also, eat lots of muffins while you make your list.  Trust me.

Our Goals
Here are our 2016 Homestead Goals to give you a little inspiration.
  • Plant more fruits (apple trees, bush cherries, raspberries, and blueberries)
  • Expand garden by at least two raised beds
  • Plantings or fence for privacy along front and west edge of property
  • Landscape around house
  • Buy solar lighting for indoor/outdoor use
  • Plant medicinal plants integrated into landscaping
  • Repaint chicken coop
  • Search for more second-hand canning equipment
  • Enclose back of carport for storage
  • Add film to girls' bedroom windows to increase energy efficiency
  • Create outdoor sitting area for family time
  • Build connections and community with neighbors
  • Figure out a somewhat elegant recycling storage solution
  • Make 3-unit pallet compost bin
  • Build a rocket stove
  • Grow greens indoors all winter
  • Try a chicken fodder system for the winter
  • Buy gardening books specific to our USDA zone
 Feel free to share you homesteading goals in the comments!  I'm always looking for new inspiration!

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