Slowly Moving into the New Year

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We’re a week into January and I’m finally starting to look to the new year and make some goals. This is pretty typical for me though. I have a January birthday, so I always give myself a little extra time to ‘debrief’ from the previous year before moving into the new one. Especially this year – 2016 was extra… eventful. I hadn’t planned it, but the themes of 2016 ended up being community, thankfulness, and family. My Bible verse for the year was Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the Plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you….'”

This year I am ready to get back to work. I’m ready to feel empowered again by my work on the farm and in the house. My goals have been floating around in my head for the past month, but they’re not real until I put them on paper. I have found myself this past week sitting around, not really knowing what to do next, because I haven’t had a good to do list, because I haven’t decided how to move forward with purpose. So yesterday I pulled out my journal and started writing.

This year’s scripture is looking like it will be 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. This was our wedding scripture and has recently taken on meaning for more than just the love of my spouse. I’ll share more in another post, which is about half-drafted. For now, let’s just focus on verse 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” In 2016 we had our baby Faith, and then our Hope baby, Skywalker. But greater than Faith and Hope is Love. And so 2017 I will focus on loving my family, my friends, and my God in a more intentional way.

For practical goals, I really want to improve my gardening skills. Especially to do a better job of harvesting and preserving our plunder. There always seems to be so much garden waste because I either don’t harvest in time, or I don’t do anything with the food I have harvested. It would be nice to freeze more foods, but we often times run out of room in the freezers. I hope to plan my time better to can more foods. Dehydrating would be a nice addition to our preserving methods as well. I would also like to maximize production in the garden. So often I end up with a full garden bed not in use. I want to plan better to plant by the moon, which means I should plant some root vegetables this week, I just need to get some more carrot seeds and hope for the best.

I also hope to maximize our meat production. This involves better planning with rabbit breeding. We will be building another grow-out pen soon, which will house as many as six more rabbits as they grow to harvest weight – a whole litter. This year we’ll be moving from a breeding plan with the pigs to simply raising meat pigs. Hopefully this will reduce overall costs. We’ll also be able to take a break from pigs when we want to. I would also like to add beef to the freezer somehow, probably by buying half a cow. If we can accomplish all these goals, we won’t need to buy any meat from the grocery store.

Other goals for the farm include getting poultry for egg production, preferably chickens, maybe quail or ducks again, I really miss the ducks; start rotational grazing for the goats on a small scale; and finish replacing the south fence line so we can make better use of the eight acres we currently have on a grazing lease (Hubby worked on this over the weekend).

My major skills goal is to learn more about herbal medicine. I have talked about it for years, but this will be the year that I get resources (books) to learn from and plants in the garden to actually be able to use what I learn. I already have a huge yarrow plant growing. I used it after Skywalker was born to help with swelling and I healed quickly where used. I have a small hyssop plant, but I have no idea what to do with it. All I know is that they use it for cleansing in Biblical times.

After a discussion with a friend this week, I have been inspired to reduce my kids’ TV time. I have used TV as a crutch in survival mode. But now it’s time to move on with our lives and teach them how to play with all their toys again. Part of this involves creating a better routine for our family. We had a great routine going for a while, and then 2016 happened. Now it’s time to figure out what works with three kids and all our obligations.

Although I made major improvements in our house last year, I want to continue my mission to purge, simplify, and organize our home. The kids’ clothes are spilling over again. My new craft room/spare room was close to becoming the Forbidden Room again – but I saved it before it got too bad. Our kitchen needs some help in this department too. There is just too much stuff everywhere.

I want to start playing my oboe again. I had finally picked it up after not playing for several years and then I stopped again last summer when we got busy again. But this will be the year that I make an effort to practice regularly (while the girls are in school), make my own reeds, and maybe even play at church again. I miss making music. I’d also like to get back to my other crafting hobbies – sewing, cross stitch, knitting. With my craft room almost set up the way I like it, I now have better access to all my supplies and my sewing machine. I even have floor space for cutting out patterns!

I’m thinking about writing book reviews here on the blog too. Would you be interested in reading these? I’ve been reading so much and I’d love to share my take-aways on these books. Some books are simply for pleasure, some are faith-building, and some are homestead-related. There may be a children’s book review from time to time as well.

So there you go. It looks like quite the list of goals for a year, but this is why I make goals and not resolutions. 😉 What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comments!