There’s always so much work to do on a homestead that sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details and forget about the big picture. Setting clear goals for your homestead can help you stay focused on your long-term goals for your homesteading endeavors. Maybe you want to add more livestock someday, but you never seem to get around to building the barn you need. Maybe your goal is to open a farm stand and sell your extra produce and eggs. Or maybe you dream of starting a cottage goods business, but you always find yourself at the end of the year without having taken any steps to move you closer to this dream.
Taking some time at the beginning of the year (while there’s less work to do outside) to set some definite homesteading goals can help you stay on track throughout the year, so that you can take steps to actually achieving your goals! Once you have defined some of your larger goals, you can set some short-term milestones for yourself throughout the year that will help move you in the direction of your longer-term goals.
Planning/ordering new trees
…This can be a great time (in late winter/early spring) to put in new varieties of trees and shrubs or transplant some. Of course, if you have a couple feet of snow or the ground is frozen solid, that’s going to inhibit things for a while. But before trees break their dormancy and begin to leaf out, that is the time to plant and transplant them.
Also, if you need to order any, it’s a good time to do that when you’re planning. A lot of online nurseries, when you punch in your zip code, they won’t even ship the item if it’s a perennial until it’s time for it to be planted. But you can place those orders now while you’re thinking about it and get it done, then they will ship out when it’s the appropriate time.
If you had any crop issues, things like blossom end rot or things just weren’t growing very well, it’s a good idea to get your soil tested by a lab. It’s best to do it in the fall, but now is still a good time. And if you do it now, you still have time to amend the soil before planting time.
A lot of amendments take time to break down into the soil so that they’re actually available in the soil for the plants that you’re putting in to be able to absorb and use the nutrients you’ve added. I’ve got episode —–>number 135<——, how to test your soil Ph and mistakes to avoid when amending acidic or alkaline soil.
Let’s talk livestock. Some of you may only be doing fruit and vegetable and herb production and that’s fine, but I know there are others of you out there that are wanting to either expand the livestock that you have on your homestead or bring some in for the very first time.
My husband and I were just discussing last night how many meat chickens we need to bring in this year. We took this past year off of raising meat chicken, because we had such an abundance still in the deep freezer and we needed to go through what we already had.
So when you evaluate what you’ve currently got in your freezer, this also pertains to meat. Same with Pork.
I make sure I have:
- Contacted my breeder for an order of piglets.
- Put in my planner when to order meat chickens.
So if you’re looking into raising livestock and it’s something you need to order from somewhere else, now is the time to figure things out.
- Decide what you are raising this year
- Get in those appropriate calls or even find a local breeder (via contacts, social media, research, etc.)
Fencing & Building
This is also a good time to evaluate your fences, your pens, your structures, your feed, all of those things. Evaluate your fencing and pens. Maybe you fencing that has to be repaired, or you are looking to do improvements and changes.
Not just with livestock, but this could be a new building, a shed, a garden bed or even increasing the size of your garden plot. This is a great time to plan all of that out and plan when you’re going to be doing it. Then you can organize your plan around the seasons.
Yes, finances, because you are going to need money (unless you’re able to barter) to do the improvements on your homestead. Finances are going to dictate what we are going to be able to do improvement-wise and sometimes even purchasing-wise. Now, don’t worry, I’ve got quite a few different posts and articles for you when it comes to the financial part of your homestead.
Check out —->Episode number 116<—— for five tips on cutting your debt, making money off the homestead, and how to start homesteading when you don’t have the money to do it.
Evaluate your expenses and your investments. For us, our animals are something we consider an investment. Yes, they are also an expense, but we consider them an investment as well.
For you, it might be that you’re planning on doing pressure canning this year so your expense and investment is going to be that pressure canner. But you also might be planning on selling some of the things that you can and make at a farmer’s market.
Now is the time to plan all of that out. Brainstorm and then come up with your plan of action.