|We ended 2015 with this beautiful snow. Hope you enjoy the pics.|
There are so many aspects of our lives it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to focus your energies. I know in my life that my priorities are faith, family, friends, and freedom. When I pay proper attention to them the important things fall into place and the unnecessary falls by the wayside. I never regret the time I focus in these areas.
I also enjoy working with my husband on improving and taking care of our 5 acres which includes gardens, orchard, berries, herbs, dairy goats, chickens, ducks, and seasonal pigs. All these provide food for our family as well and enjoyment. We believe in being as self reliant as possible.
Our family approaches self reliance as a life style choice. I believe it is our responsibility to provide and care for our families and to manage the resources the Lord blesses us with wisely so that we can be prepared to serve and help others. It's about being a wise steward.
It's not so much the projects but the process of what you become while learning to live providently that is so satisfying. I value the intangible aspects of being a homesteader.....satisfaction of work, the knowledge you gain and can share, the peace of being prepared, the security of knowing how to do it yourself, and a deeper appreciation for the blessings the earth offers.
"To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch their renewal of life. This is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do."
I spent the last day of 2015 with family. What better way to end the year. We also picked up the pork from our pigs we had butchered and packed it away in the freezer. It was so satisfying to fill the freezers with home grown pork. While making room we had to make elderberry juice from last years harvest and reorganize the remaining berries and fruit from the last season. With winter, comes a renewed dedication to my garden and farm. Every time I open a jar of almond pears or spicy peaches I'm grateful I took the time to grow and preserve my own food.
So What Now?
New year, new goals and a look back at what went well and where we can improve. With the new year is always new ideas I want to try and of course the new ideas from years past that never came to fruition. Sometimes my new ideas and my husbands aren't exactly the same so time is spent prioritizing our goals.
I thought I would share how I set goals for our homestead. I like to evaluate things in three areas:
2. New Improvements
3. Expanding or reducing the farm
I do this in each homesteading area. Here's some ideas
This includes repairs and general maintenance of what we already have in place. Replacing aged garden boxes, maintaining water systems, replacing weed block in garden paths, adding mulch, sharpening repair tools, painting barns and coops, fixing rain gutter, repairing fences. etc.
This includes any new projects. This is the fun part. These can be practical or fun. Ideas can be a herb garden, BBQ pit, play area for grand kids, milking equipment, adding beehives, a new breeding buck, root cellar, or greenhouse.
Expansion or Reduction:
OK this is the hard part. Is it practical to expand the farm or do I need to simplify and eliminate some areas? Sometimes we simply bite off more than we can chew or health or current circumstances make it necessary to cut back. It's important to consider finances. You can't be self reliant if you have to go into debt to maintain what you have. The family dynamics change. When the kids leave home you have less help but also fewer people to feed. Determine if you enjoy what you are doing and the time it requires. Perhaps you do not like milking goats or pruning an orchard. Be honest and don't feel guilty about your decisions.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."
Take time to find joy in the journey. Find pleasure in the task you are engaged in. I've learned that there is always tomorrow. Be content and happy with what you accomplish. After all "gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and refined character." Part of gratitude is believing you are enough, you have enough, and you do enough.