Below are our original, first year goals, from our first year with the property. Included is also the summary of how we did on those goals, which ones were unrealistic, etc.. I have included the original text from our goals, and also included how we did, in bold.
Late in 2017 we bought the first parcel for the land and we started clearing access from the service road to the lower and then upper pastures. Very early in 2018, we installed our first livestock gate.
Below are our (mostly modest and achievable) goals for the remainder of 2018.
- Complete the purchase of the additional 6 acres to the north of our original 20 acres. COMPLETED!
- Establish the legal and financial entities for our farm land and operations. COMPLETED!
- Remove the large pine trees that line the service road, breaking line of sight between the upper and lower pastures. COMPLETED! In addition to removing the large pine trees which lined one side of the service road, we spent much of the year clearing the other side of the service road, leaving several trees with more room to grow and an excellent line of site between the two pastures.
- Widen and pave a portion of the service road, to allow trucks with trailers to navigate the road more easily and allow our neighbors easier access through our service road. NOT STARTED. We did not accomplish this in 2018, but rolled it over into 2019 where is should be accomplished early in the year.
- Plant orchard and shade trees throughout the two pastures, per our evolving land use planning. NOT STARTED. Partly due to not completing #7 below.
- Build an onsite tool shed to hold our tools on the farm (and allow for a temporary composting toilet) INCOMPLETE. We actually pulled a permit for this, but then took more time and determined we wanted to change the original plan for the property. The original tool shed location was deemed incorrect. This was rolled over to 2019.
- Protect the young orchard trees, by either fencing in the entire upper pasture with deer fence, or through a smaller fence around the orchard area. NOT STARTED. This is one of the main goals for 2019 now.. to finish fencing around the property.
- Complete initial planning for the houses on the parcels and get general pricing for construction. INCOMPLETE. Although we started the planning for the large barn/workshop/garage/cool room structure in April of 2018, design for it stretched into 2019.
- Pay off as much of the primary mortgage as possible, hopefully at least 50% of the outstanding balance. NO. This might have been a little bit aggressive in planning, considering how many other expenses were brought with the farm.
- Continue to build our homesteading skills, through practice and classes. YES! We did go to some organic conferences and attended some courses, such as a small ruminant workshop and a beekeeping class.
In addition, we will continue to purchase tools as necessary and will likely either get the walk-behind tractor or lawn mower this year to give us some ability to control the encroachment of wild nature, bushes, etc..
How did we do?
In many ways, the goal setting this first year was done in a vaccuum, not knowing how long things would take or how we would accomplish some of the tasks. And considering we were mainly getting this work done on occasionaly weekends, I think we actually did quite well!
In addition to the goals above, we also accomplished:
- Purchasing a new full-size 70hp tractor, and learned how to use it, which will greatly help us accomplish our goals in the coming year
- Bought lots of tools and learned how to use them, such as a chain-saw, gas-powered hedge trimmer, etc..
- Built some infrastructure starting a lime road, and installing a gate and a couple other posts
- Started to build relationships with other farmers in the area and started working with Derek on our farm, who we hope will help manage the farm with us going forward.