2018 was the year of learning to balance projects and tasks with people time and rest time. I started the year with a long list of things that I wanted to achieve on the homestead. I didn’t get the memo that a small child’s first year at kindy is characterised by much sickness. The Little Fulla was sick a lot through the first 3/4 of the year, then my body caved to a lengthy bought of bronchitis just in time for spring. It isn’t nice to dwell on these things, but they had a very big effect on how much got done through the year. The Husband also worked most Saturdays, so a lot of the hefty projects had to be put to the side and I took on more maintenance tasks like lawn mowing.

The biggest and most multi-faceted project we undertook was the demolition/ reconfiguration/ rebuild of the chicken coop and firewood storage spaces. This was a great achievement in terms of getting rid of structures that were decaying and not functioning efficiently.

The crops of last year served us very well. We made enough tomato soup to last through to the next season and we also had plenty of chopped frozen beans and capsicums, which we’re still using. Other things still in use are frozen kale flakes, dried, ground cayenne pepper, dried herbs, plum chutney and fig chutney.

It has been a pretty good year with the chickens. Despite losing my beloved young Mr Darcy, his genes were carried on, just, and my genetic base of good Australorps is coming along nicely. Getting an incubator and brooder set-up was a game changer. We started the year with 20 chickens: 4 hens, 7 pullets and 9 cockerels. We finished the year with 14 chickens: 8 hens, 1 rooster and 5 chicks.

The house itself wasn’t left with much attention, but the best achievement was replacing the front door with a lovely refurbished red door.

Knitting took a little bit of a backseat in 2018 as I focused more of my time on other things, but I did get a few projects done. I got into some good Christmas tree decoration-making.

I started to put in some time and effort growing plants to sell at a local monthly market and also set up a TWIGLET HOMESTEAD Facebook page . I will continue to expand these in 2019, selling plants, crafts and chickens/ fertile eggs in my three-pronged small business venture.

Here’s what went down in 2018. The points in bold are goals or aims that were achieved. Points not in bold are things achieved that weren’t in the list of goals and aims. Goals or aims not achieved are in red and those crossed out were deemed unnecessary.

Garden/Outdoors

  • Based vege crop planning more strictly on considerations of what crops do well here, what we use a lot of, what is expensive to buy and how much time and effort is required to grow them.
    • Common garlic banished from Vege Garden.
    • Didn’t grow bush beans in favour of growing more brassicas.
    • Didn’t grow kumara since it didn’t yield a good harvest last time and took up a lot of space.
    • Grew more salad greens.
  • Grew and harvested runner beans, bush beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, capsicums, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, chillies, cucumbers, garlic, elephant garlic, leeks, lettuces, kale, kumara, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, other salad greens, silverbeet, spinach and tomatoes.
  • Grew and entered a number of pumpkins, including a giant pumpkin, at The Great Pumpkin Carnival, plus a pumpkin racer, pumpkin cake and pumpkin scones. Won 2nd place for Best Mature Miniature Pumpkin, Open Class, and 2nd place for Most Perfect Pumpkin, Open Class.
  • Harvested strawberries, boysenberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, apples, feijoas, figs, lemons, loquats, peaches, pears, plums and tangelos (tangerines).
  • Harvested walnuts.
  • Bought and planted a peach tree, a nectarine tree and a fejoa tree. Bought a grapevine, yet to be planted. Planted a potted lemon tree.
  • Planted a number of ornamental plants.
  • Processed huge Pruning Mountain, plus numerous other pruning mountains, turning them into firewood or mulch.
  • Built a raised vege garden for The Little Fulla.
  • Built the Raspberry Bed alongside the back carport.
  • Acquired two more blueberry plants.
  • Pruned all fruit trees except big feijoa tree.
  • Acquired a mulcher.
  • Did ‘some’ tidying in the garage.
  • Removed black rain barrel and guttering from back carport.
  • Improved systems for rainwater collection and use.
    • Bought submersible pump to extract water from rain barrels and garage rain tank.
    • Used tap or hoses on these for most garden watering instead of using house tank.
  • Begun work on parking areas out front – sold the Stone Pile that was in the way and started digging out some stumps.
  • Bought two wood racks for firewood and positioned them closer to house, then moved all firewood.
  • Demolished old wood shed.
  • Demolished main section of wooden fence that backed onto old coop and woodshed.
  • Demolished raised garden in Cedar Pen in front of that fence, including digging out two stumps.
  • Demolished old fort shelter.
  • Cut up demolition wood and old pallets sitting around for the fire or disposal.
  • Hired a stump grinder and removed about 14 stumps around the property.
  • Grew foliage and edible plants to sell at a local market and by word of mouth.

  • Build a double-barrel tumbling composter.
  • Build a 3-bay 2-bay compost bin in the Orchard Pen.
  • Build another bay for the compost bin in the Cedar Pen.
  • Dismantle the back carport.
  • Build the little corner vege bed next to the Raspberry Bed (plan changed but not done yet).
  • Re-locate blueberry bush (it’s too old and unproductive so will be removed).
  • Build a raised bed for olive trees along east (paddock) fence of Vege Garden.
  • Prune big feijoa tree.
  • Build a smaller roofed shelter in front of the garage.
  • Organise and tidy the garage.
  • Prep and pave the patio beside the deck.
  • Install roofing over patio area.
  • Build mini greenhouse near house.
  • Build/install fence and big wooden gate across side of house. And small pedestrian gate for path.
  • Demolish rest of wooden fence behind cedar tree but keeping low fence around cedar tree and build retaining wall.

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Food

  • Made multiple kinds of chutney again – plum and fig.
  • Made lots of tomato soup and some homegrown chicken soup.
  • Pickled gherkins.
  • Got better at preserving produce, by freezer, dehydrator or other methods.
    • Chopped and froze heaps of capsicums, runner beans and strawberries.
    • Froze whole tomatoes figs, and plums.
    • Dehydrated cayenne chillies, paprika capsicums, figs and banana slices.
    • Ground chillies into cayenne pepper and capsicums into paprika.
  • Dried more herbs – lemon balm, oregano, rosemary, thyme and others.
  • Made more gluten-free baking recipes, especially things that could be frozen – mostly blueberry muffins, cakes and energy balls.
  • Got back to making more of our own things like almond milk, coconut milk, mayo and peanut butter.
    • Interchanging between store-bought almond milk and homemade coconut milk or almond milk
    • Made mayo once.
  • Made some pumpkin food entries for The Great Pumpkin Carnival (cake and scones), in addition to entering pumpkins.
  • Organised the recipe book so that it doesn’t explode in a fit of paper pieces.
  • Make tomato paste. (We just use concentrated tomato soup now.)
  • Acquired a SCOBY and made kombucha continuously from then.

Chickens

  • Hatched three lots of chicks, in May, October and November.
  • Butchered or culled 10 chickens.
  • Sold 4 cockerels.
  • Bought an auto-feeder, which has greatly reduced food wastage and the potential for contamination.
  • Made a bucket waterer, which keeps water much cleaner and reduces chore time.
  • Dismantled old chicken coop.
  • Acquired, assembled and painted new chicken coop.
  • Made roost holders for the chicken coop roost.
  • Reconfigured fencing and gates, making two large pens and two small pens.
  • Built up a small flock of purebred Australorps to breed from.
  • Kept enough hens renewing to be self-sufficient in eggs and able to sell eggs too.
    • Bought eggs only once, early in the year.
    • Sold a small volume of eggs in autumn and spring.
  • Acquired a small incubator.
  • Bought a brooder.
  • Bought and set up a brooder box.
  • Bought two large storage containers for chicken food.

  • Be able to sell some purebred Australorps.

House

  • Prepped, painted and installed new front door.
  • Unscrewed old wooden window flyscreen frames from all house windows.
  • The Storage Improvement Plan: improve storage systems throughout house, especially in kitchen and bedrooms.
    • Got underbed storage bins for master bedroom, things nicely organised.
    • Started clearing clutter in guest room by selling or giving away some items.
    • Reorganised pantry and got storage bins and shelving to improve storage space.
  • Reduced plastic usage by getting ceramic plates and small glasses for The Little Fulla from a second-hand shop and trying to store more things in glass or ceramic vessels.
  • Sold a number of unwanted items through Trade Me.

  • Build a spice shelf. (I cut all the pieces of wood but didn’t get any further.)
  • Replace the laundry door with a better one. (Started prepping door.)
  • Get all household lighting installed by an electrician.
  • Sort out window stays.
  • The Storage Improvement Plan: improve storage systems throughout house, especially in kitchen and bedrooms – still need organisation in wardrobes, hall cupboards and further work in guest room.
  • Finish restoring four dining chairs that are languishing in garage.

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Crafts

  • Finished knitting my Chirstmas stocking.
  • The Husband fixed hole in The Little Fulla’s sock.
  • Knitted wrist warmers for myself.
  • Made two buntings for The Little Fulla’s birthday.
  • Knitted four baby hats.
  • Started knitting a dish cloth.
  • Made lots of Christmas tree decorations.

  • Knit a cardigan for myself.
  • Fix holes in my slipper.
  • Sew a cover for a breakfast pillow for our bed.
  • Knit some boot cuffs for myself.
  • Get back to knitting the log cabin rug.

 

Well, I’m glad I look back at what we’ve achieved in this way, because I felt like there was a lot that didn’t get achieved last year. There was, but a lot of it was outdoor things. I was heartened to see that we achieved just about all the chicken and food goals, so that’s something. We got a lot of stuff tidied up outside and finished the year with The Great Vege Garden Expansion Plan properly planned out on my spreadsheet. There are plenty of projects left for 2019, so stay tuned…

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5 thoughts on “2018 Homestead Report

          1. I had a feeling that’s what you meant, but I didn’t want to insult your eyesight! At a glance they do look like some kind of fruit, when you’re not used to looking at mini pumpkins.

            Liked by 1 person

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