Adventures in Homesteading: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Well, it’s that time of year when you either have already taken down the tree or you’re kicking yourself for not using one of those pop up Christmas trees this year.

Our tree is staying up until my new storage totes I ordered get here so I can put everything away properly. They won’t be delivered for a few days so that gives me an excuse to leave everything alone a little while longer. In the meantime, I’ve been thinking back over the last year.

Unless you aren’t into growing your own food or were just living under a rock, you’ll remember that it was exceedingly hot last summer!!

Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve tried to blot it out of your memory completely because it was one of the worst gardening years ever!

Despite it all we did have a good harvest and we’re still eating the potatoes, corn, pumpkins, onions and other things we grew and saved.

We had minimal losses, mostly the cucumbers, and we came out better than most probably thanks to strategic planting, almost constant watering and a whole lot of luck.

Isn’t gardening and homesteading in general reliant on luck for success, though? Not entirely, of course. There is a lot of work that goes into it and that takes planning, motivation, money and the wearwithall to keep at it even when things look grim.

Most homesteader types are always looking back and analyzing our last year’s failures and successes in order to apply what we’ve learned to the coming year. As the years pass you gather enough wisdom to make all the work worth it in the end, hopefully.

So what did we learn here? A few things, actually. For one, we learned that even plants that say should be in the “full sun” still may need some help when it gets up in the 90s for days on end. Shade cloth is definitely something we’ll be using this next year. Especially on the tomatoes.

We also learned that while we enjoy raising the poultry, the costs have sky rocketed so we have to reassess just what we’re going to do this year as far as what to do with sourcing organic, fresh meat. We’ve already finished up with the Muscovies and the quail completely and scaled down the pheasants to just one male and three females.

We still have a nice sized flock of buff orpingtons which we’ll keep for chicks and eggs and the soup pot when they’re done with laying, but we may do better to buy local this year rather than raise any of the meat birds again.

We’ll see.

So there’s that, and there’s just the general wondering what we can do to continue to live the homesteader lifestyle even if it changes and morphs over the years depending on varying factors (like costs).

Will we still collect antiques? Definitely.

Will we still grow a garden and try to put back enough food for a year? Of course.

Will we expand into other areas and explore different things? I’m fairly certain that’s a yes, too.

That’s the beauty of this stage of life, to me at least. We’re not only homesteaders but we are empty nesters so we are more stable and more free to do what we want to do now. So that’s exactly what we’re doing. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as we can! 🙂

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