I’ve never been told I lacked ambition. I HAVE been told I’m just like my mother (hence the timing of this post). My list of goals for Burton Farm is long and ambitious.
But you know what they say, wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction. In this post, I’ll tell you what we’ll be working on in 2017 on Burton Farm. I’m also going to spill an exciting secret I’ve been keeping for a little while!
I’ll give you a hint, though: All the biggest music stars are doing it!
As required by my obsessive list-making compulsion, I have written this list a hundred times in notebooks, scratch paper, day-planners, backs of envelopes until it’s almost memorized, but that’s not enough for me. Some of you know I have also started bullet journaling and naturally, I have a page dedicated to tracking how successful we are accomplishing of this year’s goals.
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I give you, Owning Burton Farm’s Level Ten Year Tracker!
For each category, I have a list of about ten mini-goals that will help me determine just how successful we are in achieving the ten big goals when I review these throughout the year. I even have it rated from level 1 to 10 for each of ten different color-coded goals.
Ambitious, right? I hope to color it all in by the end of the year.
I am having thoughts that maybe I should have divided it into thirds: Farm, Interweb, and Livestock. But life’s not perfect either, so I’m just going to embrace it as it is in my first bullet journal.
~ 2017 Burton Farm Goals ~
So, recently, we achieved one of our mini-goals already, and that was to raise chicks hatched from the incubator. We have five mixed-breed chicks that made the move from the bathroom in the garage to the big barn out back. They moved in with eighteen meat chicks we picked up for seventy five cents each at Tractor Supply. This is our first year to try raising birds to eat.
We also have plans to start selling our farm eggs again. For us to be at level 10 by the end of the year, we should be selling our Dominicker and Copper Maran eggs and chicks, processing our own birds for meat, and preventing any large kill-offs by predators.
Make the decision and COMMIT, one way or another, to either keep the goats and make them earn their keep, or get out of the goat business entirely. While they frequently hop their fence and roam the pasture, munching on whatever tastes good, they’ve started visiting the neighbors across the street, who do not have a fenced in garden, which we will make us quite unpopular this summer if we don’t get control.
I’m also not happy about all the goat droppings where my kids play in the grass all over the yard. Yuck.
We had several options in mind, including studding Noel (our big billy) out. We even looked into using the herd to clear land. I had kind of settled on a plan to begin milking the nanny goats after the babies were weaned. I planned to make goat cheese and goat milk soap to sell at the farmer’s market, and maybe even goat milk butter, but I haven’t been able to spend time with the goats to get them comfortable around me. They won’t let me near them. We also haven’t gotten around to building the milking stand.
After Noel rammed my husband against the barn right after the goat kids were born in January, it wasn’t hard to make the decision that the goats just can’t stay. Besides, they’ve done their job and cleared the pasture. So we committed to moving the goats off our farm and he began looking for new homes for them shortly afterward.
A couple of weeks ago, we sold Noel to a goat herder who said the goats in his area were only three-quarters of Noel’s size, and is excited to use Noel to stud his lady goats. We’re pretty sure Noel is okay with this move, too! Ha!
We will reach level ten on goats by April.
I can still see and hear the fat black and white ducks we had last year quacking loudly and waddling on their missions across the pasture. It was so fun to watch them get that first drink of water in the pond in the mornings and how they obediently went back to the coop in the evenings.
And those eggs…those huge green Easter eggs they’d just lay here, there, and anywhere! They were beautiful and entertaining! I was heartbroken when we discovered they were massacred last September. And especially horrified that it may have been at the hands of our pigs.
This year, we will be improving our duck security measures and growing a new flock. The hubs is going to move an old chicken coop down toward the pond and we’ll make any necessary duck comfort conversions. I hope to be able to incubate a few of their eggs and grow their numbers. I’d also like to sell their eggs, as they command a higher price than even the chicken eggs!
We picked up five baby ducks a few weeks ago! Cross your fingers we got some ladies and one dude.
A level ten rating this year for ducks would be achieving all of these things: raising ducks, hatching eggs, selling eggs, converting the old chicken coop and moving it to the pond.
This pig operation has taken an unexpected turn. Last year, we just wanted to raise our own hogs in our pasture for ourselves, which we did. We even sold one of them to offset the cumulative cost of feed and processing.
While we were raising those pigs, we were gifted a young mixed heritage breed pig. My husband decided to pick him up a girlfriend so he wouldn’t be lonely. While she’s only about 1/6th his size right now, later on this year, we hope they breed and we can sell the piglets to help pay for their feed. Level 10 is to make a profit, even if it’s just a dollar, on the pig operation through selling pigs.
Currently, since Notorious P.I.G. and Piggy Smalls are master escape artists, we’ve been spending extra time and money shoring up our fencing security. A few weeks ago, we expanded our fences across the pasture so we could move them to a bigger enclosure which also includes the muddy overflow stream from the pond.
This is more of a general household goal setting, and even though we’ve already crossed some items off, some of the mini-goals may be the most lofty of my aspirations.
Last year, I painted the shutters and the front door a different color than the original owners had (from faded old hunter green to this periwinkle knockout!). This year, we finally replaced our bum mailbox with a much larger model that I painted to match the shutters.
It would be nice if maybe the shutters on the side of the house matched. #goals
Also on the general farm list is to host some sort of Fall Farm Event with a hayride, pumpkin patch, and maybe a photo opportunity spot, even if it’s just for family and friends. A petting zoo may be stretching it, since chickens are skittish and the goats will be gone by then. But we can always feed the pigs and watch ducks.
I’m still salivating over having a green house of some kind, and we have a fair amount of materials from which to build it, but I can’t decide where I want it or how I want it to look. My Pinterest board is packed with pins that keep me dreaming.
We also want to make and use our compost more efficiently. This might just require some effort, like turning it, or paying attention to the ratios of green/dry/organic matter we stack in there. But also, I’ve seen where folks put the compost pile in the greenhouse. It generates heat as it’s converting into compost, which would help keep the plants from freezing at night.
Managing the compost inside a greenhouse would explode me to level ten for sure.
I know. I know. Last year, my summer goal was to grow the best tomatoes we’d ever eaten, and I only got my tomatoes up about 18” before they fried in the summer sunshine. Before that, we had the massive hardening-off catastrophe which set us back two months on our started seeds. And never mind the drought we suffered all summer.
This year, I will be keeping up with my tasks in my bullet journal, so I can see at a glance if I missed a daily watering, weeding, what-have-you. I think this will hold me accountable for the work that has to be put in to make our garden successful, instead of assuming my husband did the work.
In addition to simply growing all the heirloom varieties we picked for our garden, I expect to have extra produce to bring to the farmer’s market and to supplement our livestock’s food supply. With the addition of our reclaimed wood cold frame, I hope to extend our growing season just a bit longer. It’s still in-process, but coming along nicely.
We also are growing extra produce to try freezing, drying, and canning different recipes. I say that because every time I look at our stockpile downstairs, I see these jars of pickles that we canned from 2013 or so and I am determined to make things that we will actually eat. Also…critters. The usual suspects, rabbits, deer and raccoons, will likely consume some of our food despite our best efforts.
A level 10 garden for me depends on producing a large amount of produce and being more resistant to typical challenges we encounter, like bugs, critters, water and weeds. Once that part is achieved, then we will be not only selling the produce at farmer’s markets, but preserving the harvest as well.
This one’s simple. I want to make at least $1,000.00 on the farm this year. I’m just tracking $100 per level. If we make more, I’ll be super-pumped and maybe will put glitter on my Level 10 tracker. But right now, it’s more important to me to build the foundation for a strong farm.
This will be our second year claiming as a farm on taxes, and you get three years before they really expect you to turn a profit. Ideally, we would bring in enough money to cover the cost of feed, fencing and supplies for our animals, so it doesn’t just look like we have an expensive farm hobby to the IRS. We are serious about our homesteading.
I want to grow the blog’s Pinterest presence, so I have some increasing levels of re-pins, followers, and link backs that I’d like to hit for the year. I’ve set some goals for creating consistency in my pins and will be tracking them to see what results my efforts drive.
I have similar goals for Facebook, including more regular day-to-day posts and learning how to use Facebook Live to share more with our fans. I’d also like to participate in some Throwback Thursdays or Flashback Fridays because it’s always fun to look back and see how far we’ve come. Sometimes we forget. Growing our Facebook likes and visitors will be a measuring point for getting to level 10 this year.
Owning Burton Farm Website
I really have to reel this goal in, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed by comparing our site to other homesteading sites who’ve been around for years, as well as trying to do everything and be everywhere. I would like to grow my subscriber base and send out emails at least once a month. Subscribe on this weird form below. Or keep reading to think about it some more.
My goal for Owning Burton Farm 2017 is to re-vamp the site by finding a more flexible theme, and design a custom logo and hero banner. I also plan to post at least three times per month and collaborate with another blogger on a writing project. What would put me at level ten this year would be to be featured by another blogger (internet) as well as to have our homesteading efforts featured by local news (television or newspaper).
So there you have our ten goals for the year…
but wait, there’s more!
~ Super Exciting Announcement! ~
Speaking of goals, I have an exciting announcement! I’m actually achieving one of my website goals already this spring: collaboration!
I’m partnering with Emma from Misfit Gardening on a new series on frugal gardening. Not only will we be talking about starting gardens inexpensively and frugal ways to improve your garden (like compost!), we also will be discussing ways to beautify your gardens on a budget.
I’ve gotta tell you, when she first approached me about the series, I could feel my head already exploding with all kinds of ideas to share with both our readers. I’m so passionate about doing what we love, and doing it inexpensively, that this series felt like it was right up my alley. Y’all know me–it’s really been a challenge for me to dial it back a notch so it doesn’t just look like word explosions on the page.
In case you haven’t visited Misfit Gardening before, I’ll let Emma introduce herself:
Hi Everyone, I’m Emma from Misfit Gardening and I’m stoked to be working with Erica in bringing you a great series to encourage you to get stuck in and get growing without breaking the bank or blowing your budget. I love gardening and learning new skills, new environments and new challenges. I’m passionate about growing organically, saving water, composting, raising chickens and brewing beer. So stick around and let’s get cracking on growing your best garden yet!
AAAAAH! Couldn’t you just lose it? I’m pumped about this year’s garden! While Emma and I get busy bringing the awesome, you could start checking out some of our previous posts on frugal gardening below:
Emma does weekly Down the Garden Path videos to give you a peek behind the scenes at Misfit Gardening. When I grow up, I want to be like Emma and do videos at Owning Burton Farm!
Sign up so you don’t miss anything!
Here are some more links to get you in the mood to start your garden!
How To Overcome The Excuse: It Costs Too Much To Homestead – Owning Burton Farm What you spend is totally up to you. It doesn’t have to cost much at all!
Trying to get away from chemicals? Frugal Organic Gardening – Misfit Gardening
Remember this gem? How To Delight Your Chickens By Repurposing Junk – Owning Burton Farm
How To Make Easy Raised Beds Using Cardboard – Misfit Gardening Maybe if I had shown this to my husband last fall, he wouldn’t have taken up all my cardboard boxes! HA!
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Easy! Sign up HERE!
As always, comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come find us on Facebook, too. I read everything you send me and love to hear from you! Weigh in your opinion and get dirty with us!
PS: Seriously, this bullet journaling thing has me all kinds of inspired to greatness.