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Farm Goals '09

Burying the water lineJust keeping the farm going uses most of our energy, but we like to end each year a little better off than the last.  I get easily frustrated, though, when the big projects have to get pushed to the back burner to accomodate planting, weeding, and the usual cycle of farm chores.  The solution?  Take the dozens of big projects we'd like to complete and narrow them down to the top ten to be completed each year.

I thought you might enjoy seeing last year's top ten goals (and our status on each project).  This is my version of New Year's resolutions --- why make a resolution when you can instead make a plan?

  1. Honey bee hiveBetter steps to the house.  We shored up the existing steps and they work fine.
  2. Fence deer out of the full perimeter.  After some fencing, Mark invented our deer deterrent, which solved the same problem for vastly smaller amounts of time and money.
  3. Start saving for retirement (again.)  This goal fell by the wayside for a few years as we poured our finances into the farm's startup costs.  Luckily, this year we got back on track and started putting money away again.  (Check out our ebook for information about becoming fiscally solvent on the farm.)
  4. Running water in the trailer.  We came close to reaching this goal, burying about 75% of the water line from the thousand gallon tank to the trailer.  We've still got a bit more to go, though, which is why our lines froze up and we went back to carrying water.
  5. Innoculating mushroom logsBees.  We started our bees!
  6. Irrigation to all plants.  Due to an extremely wet summer, we didn't water much at all.  But we did put in most of the irrigation infrastructure we'll need.  We'll test it out during the next drought.
  7. Expand the shiitakes.  We not only added a few more shiitake logs, we even started oyster mushrooms (which fruited already!)
  8. Fridge root cellarRoot cellar.  After embarking on a huge root cellar project, we changed directions and decided to work on making a root cellar out of a fridge.  We completed it, but the dirt slumped in a rain and pushed the fridge over.  We need to dig it out and add a roof.
  9. Fix the barn roof.  We didn't get to this....
  10. Build a wider, higher footbridge.  We shored up the existing bridge instead, but it gave out in early winter.
  11. Build a woodshed.  Done!
  12. Build Mark a loft/office space.  We built him a loft inside the trailer, then made a good start on our new building.

Firewood shed
As you can see, we didn't manage to narrow our goals down to ten, but we did complete seven and make good progress on another four.  Not too bad for working around all of the little things that inevitably come up on a farm!  Stay tuned for this year's overly ambitious goals in a later post.



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How do yall keep your water tank clean and free of insect larvae. Would this work for a rain collection system? Any screen I have found small enough to keep them out seems to clog up by airborne "rain trapped" dust and pollen.

Any thoughts?

Comment by Erich Wed Jan 20 12:22:43 2010

You would think we'd get lots of insects in our tank, but we don't. I'm not actually quite sure why... :-) My best guess is that it's pretty much sealed --- there's only a very small gap around where the intake hose enters the tank. Alternatively, we might just run through the water fast enough that mosquitoes don't have time to reproduce --- in the summer, we tend to water enough that we have to fill up the tank every couple of weeks.

I'll bet it would make a great rain collection tank, especially if you just ran the gutter line directly into the top of it and sealed around the intake so that no bugs could enter. We got our tank cheap on ebay, but I've seen similar ones for sale at the feed store (though didn't check on the price.)

Of course, the great part about our tank is that it's uphill from the house so we can gravity feed the water from it. That'd be harder to manage with a rain collection system.

Comment by anna Wed Jan 20 13:35:39 2010
Good list and a helpful idea to summarize the jobs at year end. There are always so many jobs to do but it sure beats sitting in traffic in the morning (as I did yesterday). I look forward to the new list. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Anonymous Wed Jan 20 14:53:00 2010
I'm glad you enjoyed the list --- I was on the fence about whether to post it. I'm a list-aholic and I know that other people may not find them as riveting as I do. :-)
Comment by anna Wed Jan 20 15:40:27 2010

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime