So, we’re just past the middle of 2017 and it’s time to report on our progress. In keeping with our Super-Ambitious 2017 Goals Post, which was a few months late, this mid-year check-in isn’t perfectly on time either. However, it has given us a few extra weeks to settle into our summer garden, as you saw last month.
2017 Super-Ambitious Goals Update:
Earlier this year, I showed you my goals for achieving a “Level 10” year on Burton Farm. In each of ten areas in the bullet journal I keep, I listed about ten smaller goals that I wanted to achieve for the year. Some of these were goals I expected to achieve, some were stretch goals that could be achieved, but would require some real effort (and maybe some luck), and some of them, truthfully, were for my husband to do this year.
I’m just going to do a quick run-through of each of the ten goals I had set and let you know how we’re doing…
Goats – 100%
Originally, I really wanted to milk the goats and make cheese and soap. But I found that with two small kids, a blog, a huge garden, and a full time job, I just couldn’t make the time to sit with them so they’d be comfortable letting me handle them. We also didn’t make the milking stand that would have made that easier. Also, they stink. And there are mosquitoes & flies everywhere. So, we made the tough decision to sell the goats. Noel went to be a stud for a bunch of lady goats and the rest of the goat family went to a kind man who needed them to clear off some of his land, which they happily will do very well. Burton Farm is officially out of the goat business.
Farm – 50%
Most of this is the Honey-Do list for Clint. He replaced our mailbox early this year after I painted it, so now it’s not an embarrassment. Then he pulled up the bushes to the side of the house and reconstructed the raised bed he originally built for me when we were dating. He has even planted the beginnings of a huge pumpkin patch. Some of it was planted twice, after he caught the ducks eating the seedlings. We still have some work to do which includes painting the shutters on the side of the house, re-establishing the compost operation, building the greenhouse and saving the peach trees–they have some funk on them.
Pinterest – 20%
I haven’t been growing on Pinterest as much as I’d like to–it used to be a 1-2 hour nightly habit, for pure decompression before bed. But the trial use of Board Booster made me lazy. Obviously, I have some goals of increasing my re-pins & followers, but additionally, I’d like toOwning Burton Farm to be featured in a round-up somewhere on the internet. A goal within my immediate control is my commitment to create a minimum of three pinnable images per post. I can also take charge of properly pinning my own images and pin them to my group boards for additional exposure. Re-working a few of my lists into infographics is also on my When-I-Get-A-Minute list. At least I have the game plan worked out. Pretty much.
Income – 70%
This is strictly numbers, but seeing as how we’ve almost reached our goal, I’m wondering if maybe I set the bar too low. We sold Noel as a stud for a yard-full of lady goats, so he’s gotta believe he’s living the dream. We sold the rest of the goats to a nice guy who wanted them to clear his property (they’re really good at that!). Then my husband sold SEVEN roosters at our local trade market (Lacon, for those interested) before he even got the truck parked! He also sold a dozen of our pretty brown eggs. Eventually, we expect the chickens to pay for their own feed with the sales of their eggs and chicks.
Facebook – 20%
Boy, I set some nutty goals for Facebook, and then just sat on my haunches there. I’ve got to get back to that social media thing. (What do you like to do best on Facebook? Quizzes? Videos? Polls?) The idea here is to post more to-the-minute photos and videos to increase engagement on our Facebook page. We want to connect with fans and friends more often, and share the day-to-day things that happen—how excited the ducks get when they head for the water, chickens dancing, pigs squealing in excitement. For me, there are some dates and events I don’t want us to miss, so my goal is to go ahead and schedule some posts to stay on top of things.
Ducks – 34%
I love these ducks. I know Clint fusses and stomps about them (especially after they feasted on his tiny delicious pumpkin seedlings!), but I just love seeing them waddle and quack amongst themselves. Truthfully, we should only be about 20% on the ducks, but they get bonuses just because I love them. We have four ducks that have survived to adulthood. I think two of them are male; Clint said he thinks they’re all male. I keep thinking any day now we’re going to find eggs, but they can’t possibly be 20-24 weeks old yet. It may be September…or next spring, or not at all, if Clint’s right. I want Clint to move the duck house to the pond, and it would be hilarious to teach the ducks some tricks, but they imprinted on the hubs. We’d also like to sell duck eggs, as they command a higher price than chicken eggs at market. They need to be let loose in my garden to eat bugs, but I just haven’t done it yet.
Chickens – 40%
We succeeded in hatching our eggs in the incubator to chicks, and grew them to adulthood. Clint sold seven roosters at the local trade spot. He also sold some of our chicken eggs, which helps to pay for their feed. This year, we also tried growing meat birds and Clint learned how to process them, so our freezer is full of hormone-free pasture-raised chickens. We’re checking things off the list! I still want to put a couple of toys in the coop to help keep them entertained–have you seen where someone mounted the tiny xylophone on the wall where the chickens can peck at it? Hilarious! I also keep meaning to plant lemon balm to control mites naturally.
OBF Website – 20%
I’m so excited to have checked off two of the goals on this list–they were the stretch goals! The Frugal Gardening Series collaboration with Emma at Misfit Gardening has been so educational and fun for me. Additionally, we were special guests at a local Peinhardt Homesteaders meeting last month, and got to meet Constance with Cosmopolitan Cornbread.
Working on the website has been sort of pushed into tiny pockets of time here and there, but I’d still like to create a logo and a hero banner that is more custom. My goal is to post a minimum of three times monthly. It would also be fun to work with a product to help me create promotional materials—maybe a Cricut.
Garden – 25%
Most of the goals for the garden involve what’s happening to the produce after we harvest: freezing, drying, canning, and selling produce, seeds, & luffas at market (and/or online). We have checked off the tiller, starting the boys’ bean + sunflower teepee, and freezing butternut squash & corn. We have been harvesting cucumbers daily. This week, we harvested our first bell peppers, black beauty zucchini, and three types of squash!
Pigs – 50%
I’m going to say we’re at 50% on the Pigs. We’re pretty sure Piggy Smalls is pregnant. Today, I picked up a laundry basket almost full of pears that had fallen off the tree and felt her belly while she was snarfing them down. I’m not saying I’m an expert on prenatal pig care, but I sure hope she doesn’t
have gas rumbling that wildly in her gut. We would love to see a litter of baby pigs and sell them at the market. Of course, we’d grow one or two of those for meat for our family. Next year we may slaughter and process our own.
So, adding them all up, we’re at 44% achieved for the year.
I know it looks like we’re a little behind the 8-ball, seeing as how we’re in month eight, but when you consider when we posted the goals (late March), we’re actually four months out of the nine available when I posted, which is 44%…
2017 Net Worth & Debt Update:
Keeping on Keeping on
So far, so good–I’m still hanging with automatic withdrawals of 17% from my check into retirement. (This has been tough, but also rewarding–the last 12 months (data as of 6/30/17) have averaged over 20% returns!).
We are still putting away $100 a month per kid for college (and those portfolios, wow. Shout out to Schwab on those 529s!).
And we’re still sending those biweekly (with extra principal) payments to the good old mortgage company. (We are coming for you, mortgage!)
My vision board is stocked with pictures representing 2 debt-free college educations for the boys, my weight goals, income goals for the farm and the business, all debt paid in full by a certain deadline, early retirement, and it’s on my mind on the daily. Do you vision board? Does it work for you?
How do you motivate yourselves and stay focused on your goals?
August will mark another change in our finances
Our oldest child starts Pre-K, which means that daycare costs are going down (Thank you, Lord!) Ideally, we’ll send those saved funds to the mortgage, but we aren’t saving as much as I’d expected:
- Tuition costs roughly 40% of what daycare costs. I had expected a one-time out-of-district fee, not ongoing costs. But having him go to pre-K is one of those important things that will give him a boost in his education, and to me, it’s non-negotiable, like attending university.
- We have not procured after-school care, and those costs are unknown. We may have to consider adjustments to our own working schedules to accommodate new hours. Unfortunately, the alternative to that is that he will have to stay at daycare another year. Your suggestions are welcome!
- School breakfasts are $1.50 and lunches are $2.25 and we don’t qualify for assistance, so we will still be packing lunches (our cost hovers around $0.50 for breakfast and $1.20 for lunches).
Here are the numbers through 7/31/17:
Debt Payoff Percentage: 40.71%
|Emergency + Checking||$18,256.26||$0.00||$18,256.26|
|Total Debt Payoff Percentage:||40.71%|
How are you doing with your goals? Did you try something different? Tell me about it!
Until next time,
Update on the pool
We have enjoyed the snot out of the pool this summer. The boys have had a ball splashing and swimming, and it has been a real treat after hours of working in the hot garden and on the farm. The boys should enjoy our beach vacation so much more with the swim confidence they’ve gained.
Highly recommend, if you’re considering one. This has to be one of my top ten happy-with-purchase items. That link above is from Amazon, but it was cheaper at the Wal-Mart when we bought it. Your mileage may vary.