I am such a planner. I love calendars, lists, spreadsheets, and everything like that. I love to make goals and plans and then go for them and tweak things along the way and really it doesn’t matter as much whether it was a success or failure but that I enjoyed the planning of it. So the start of a new year, and the beginning of winter, is always a fun time for me because it is a great excuse to do all sorts of planning!
I pulled out the colorful seed catalogs, and my garden binder, and started the garden planning for this next season. We are trying some new stuff, sticking with old reliable stuff, and everything in between. One of the things I am most excited about will be the addition of the two apple trees. We have been tweaking, rebuilding, and preparing the Onion/Garlic patch for a few years now, and last fall we removed the pine trees there that were causing too much shade and way too many pine needles and cones on the gardens. We will be replacing them with apple trees that will provide leaf mulch for the gardens, apples for us, and just the right amount of shade on certain parts of the gardens.
I am bummed we didn’t get to plant garlic last fall in the newly fixed Onion/Garlic patch, but we will fill it with onions this season, and get the garlic in next fall. The deeper soil, awesome compost from the barnyard, and lack of pine trees should really make this area super-productive this year.
Not much will change in the main veggie garden, except we will be making a few boxes deeper and adding some compost because of our “miracle box” situation last year. I have planned out the crop rotation for this year, as well as the varieties we will be planting. We are also going to build another bean trellis archway, like the one we made last year from a cattle panel. It worked great and looked nice too, so I want another one.
Last year we got our rain barrels set up with hoses that I could easily run to the berry bushes. This year we will get a drip system hooked up to the berry bushes, the strawberry patch, and the container herb garden that will be fed from the rain barrels. This will make for less work and more thorough watering of those areas, and we wont be using purchased water, which is awesome.
Lastly, with no sheep in the barnyard this year, we are planning to fence off the bottom half and plant a corn “field” again. We tried this two years ago and it was mildly successful, but because we didn’t irrigate it well enough, and because the sheep broke into the area and destroyed everything, it didn’t really work. We would like to run water from one of the rain barrels down there and without the sheep breaking in maybe we can grow some grains on our little farm!
School Curriculum Plans
This is also the time of year I sit down and work on our school curriculum plans for next year. Summer is way too busy for me to do any school planning, and by January we have done enough of the current year for me to be able to see where we will end up, what is working, and what is not working. So I sit down and plan out curriculum for each kid and then we usually purchase it in the spring. Then it only takes me a week or so at the end of the summer to go through everything that I already planned and get us up and going for a new year.
Going along with our plans of simplifying our life for 2018, I am switching curriculum for next year. We have used the same one for 5 years now, and we love it, but it is definitely more time consuming and teaching intense than some of the other ones. With 4 kids in school, plus a special needs toddler, we all need something a little simpler that requires less time and intensity. So I have found what I will be using with each of the kids, and we are all looking forward to a bit of a change and a simplified school year.
I have also made some changes and tweaks to this year to make the second half more simple and fun than the first half has been. We have already implemented it and it is going well.
Chicken Breeding Plans
The kids have completely taken over the care of the chickens now, so I decided that it is their choice if, when, and how they want to breed them. They are working together to formulate a breeding plan for the year and they will get to keep all the money they make from any sales of chicks and pullets. I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
It is fun to look ahead at a fresh new year and make some goals and plans for what we hope to accomplish!