The kindest thing I can say about 2018 is that it was a challenge. So many things happened that by December, my head was spinning. I didn’t know what direction was up. But even in the darkest days, I knew there was a reason for all of it. Now? I don’t know for certain, but I have a good idea.
New Year – Different Challenges
As of January 31st, I will be completely unemployed off farm. I may pick up a short job here and there, but overall, I will no longer have to leave the farm to earn an income. At first, that was a very scary thought. But the more I prayed, the more my heart began to lift. During one tear-filled, shaky-breathed prayer, a tiny light of realization began to glow. I. Was. Out. Of. A. Job. And believe it or not, I finally figured out that was a good thing.
Is money still going to be tight? About as tight as a lariat rope wrapped around the feet of a calf. Was it going to be easy? About as easy as draining our pond with a teaspoon. But instead of being scared, I grabbed hold of the verse from Joshua, Chapter 1, Verse 9.
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And I realized that this wasn’t a bad thing. It was actually a perfect opportunity.
My biggest goal overall is being as self-reliant as possible. Although we do okay at it, I can now take it to the next level. The Country Boy and I discussed our plans at length and came up with a restructured set. The new ones follows along with all of our original plans, but a few will now be taken off the back burner. Here are some of the things you will find me working on in 2019:
- Adding to the garden: We will till up a bit more space to plant more of what we love – tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, okra, English peas, corn, green beans, purple hull peas, and lettuce. If there is enough space, I also want to add red beans, great northern beans and pintos. However, I don’t want it so big I cannot manage it comfortably. I will also have to do quite a bit of succession planting.
- Building up my bee hives: We currently have one successful hive, which will be split this Spring. I am also wanting to add more bee friendly plants that will bloom in fall and winter.
- Research hoop houses: Hoop houses are a great way to extend your garden season into the fall and winter. They can be small enough to cover a row or two of lettuce, or 100’ in length. From what I understand, they work best with greens and root crops, which will be perfect. I want to add garlic, onions and carrots to my list. If all goes well, I may have one by fall.
- Expanding my canning and preserving. With all that produce, I want to can and preserve enough to provide for my family and friends from harvest to harvest. I also want a wider variety so things don’t get boring at meal time.
- Improving my bread baking skills: Primarily this will be focused on sourdough breads. Right now, I have already gotten three starters going – Vlad (a rye starter); Olaf (a wheat starter); and Big Jeff (white flour with honey). Now, if I can just remember to feed these hungry mouths on time, I may have half the battle won.
- Raising pure bred chickens: We want to start small, with just three breeds – Barred Rock, Leghorns and Americaunas. These three breeds sell well in our area, so we decided to try those. If at all possible, I also want to figure out how to raise my own Cornish X for meat birds, but have already hit an obstacle. Finding Standard Cornish chickens is difficult. And that is just the starting point. But I am not deterred. I know I can figure this one out.
- Clean up/Rearrange/Rebuild/Repair: There is always plenty of normal, everyday chores to do on a farm, and I hope to get some of them done. Especially working on building a compost bin – I am going to need all I can get with the garden space I will have.
Plans for the Future
I also have a few plans for The Farm Wife. My goal is to build her up on line, but I also have some ideas for her offline.
- Improve readership: I have recently joined a couple of online groups – one of which is this Self Reliant Challenge – 2019. These are some fantastic people who are working towards many of the same self-reliant goals that I am. If I need help, all I have to do is head over to any number of websites. If I still can’t find it (which is doubtful – I cannot wait for you to see all the great information on these sites!), all I have to do is ask. The other group is strictly for bloggers, and they are available to help with the technical side as well as sharing of posts. It’s a win/win for all who are part of it. When you see a post from any of us in the Challenge, be sure to comment and share!
- Talks: I love to talk almost as much as I love to write. And if the subject is self-reliance, then I am overjoyed! My goal is to let folks know that I am available to speak to their groups on any subject that pertains to living a simple life on the farm – gardening, cooking/canning/preserving, living with livestock, mentoring, creating by hand, or just living a simple life in general.
- Classes: I often speak about being a mentor and teaching others. I want to put that into practice. I know I have to start slow, so I have decided to teach children the ages of 9 to 15 how to weave with a hula hoop or other small looms. Several women I have spoken to about this have shown interest in taking classes, so I will design a few for them. If these classes are popular, I will expand them to other things – like baking breads or canning.
There will be a few challenges, a few setbacks and a lot of work involved in achieving my goals, but I am definitely stubborn enough to push through. If I haven’t learned anything else, I have learned to take it one step at a time.
What are YOUR Goals?
Have you set your Self Reliance goals for 2019? I would love to hear what is on your list. Better still, there are 15 other bloggers involved in the Self Reliance Challenge 2019 who are eager to hear what you will be working on – and they are also on standby to help you over any hurdles you may have. Jump on over to the main Self Reliance Challenge – 2019 page and click on their links. Here are some of the things you can learn about:
- Raising herbs for culinary, creative and medicinal use
- Learn to make your own bath and beauty products
- How to raise livestock
- Cooking / Menus – and some great recipes!
- Canning & Preserving
- Handmade Crafts
And these are just the tip of the iceberg, so don’t hesitate. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, a glass of lemonade or some iced tea, and go for a nice visit. They are all eager to meet you. Just tell them Julie over at The Farm Wife sent you!!!