It's 2019, and since we took a small hiatus for the holidays, I figured it was time for the obligatory New Year's Goal post. It's not hard for us to have big goals and dreams for this year, considering we just started our homestead journey last January, and we had a few set backs and extra servings on our plate last year that diverted some of our attention. However, 2018 was still a really big year for us, moving, acquiring around 35 more animals, registering our business name, and not to mention, getting married. But, as you know with any homestead, there is still so much more to do.
Our top goal for this year is to get our water catchment system up, it was our top goal for last year too, but in May Kyle fell off of an 18 ft extension ladder, which severely crippled our summer plans (pun intended). We were unable to even get our garden started. So this year we have 3 different barrels that are intended as water catchment barrels, and if the rain this year is anything like 2018, those will come in very handy.
Our second goal, and possible our biggest is starting our own aquaponics system. Our homestead is our dream for many reasons, we love the animals, we love the country, but we also want to be as self-sufficient and prepared as possible. As you may know, an aquaponics system has many benefits, not limited to fresh vegetables, and fish. We could have leafy greens far past our normal growing season, and a freezer stocked with farm raised tilapia. We are even debating growing some citrus trees in the greenhouse. I know what you may be thinking, an aquaponics system is a huge, and marginally expensive undertaking, and you are right. I am not under any delusions that we will have it up and running by this summer, but at least we will have started building it, and be one step closer to that dream.
On the business side of things, we will be drying and marketing paca poo this spring, it is a fantastic fertilizer for the garden, and alpaca poo is considered a "cool" manure, which means you can put it directly on your plants without composting it first. You can also soak the alpaca "beans" and make a compost tea to pour directly on your garden. We will not become millionaires from this, but a little extra income and a little less poo is always welcome on the farm.
Goat Tote will be launching this February, which, if you don't know, is a monthly subscription box for goats and their keepers. It will include care items for goats and gifts for the humans who love them. I am really excited about this, as I don't think there is currently a subscription box out there for goat people. I am hoping it finds its audience and its groove and takes off enough for us to build a fun goat community around it. Plus, I love subscription boxes, so being able to launch my own is just a really exciting idea.
We will also be starting an Etsy, and possibly a FiberCrafty shop for my handspun yarns and hand woven items. I am starting to build an inventory of yarn, and I am delving into making different types and learning about weights, ply, yardage, and all the other details that go into making a good yarn. I love spinning, but as it is a new hobby for me, I want to make sure that I offer the very best product that I am able to when I do finally start to sell my wares. All of this means I will need to hone my marketing skills a lot more than they currently are.
I should also be finishing my aromatherapy certification this year, and I hope to be able to advise and help people along their healing journey. This is also an exciting endeavor, and I'm thrilled to learn how to formulate oil blends and bath and body products.
I'm sure as the year progresses, smaller projects will pop up, new ideas will churn in our heads, or perhaps we will remember old ideas and start working on them. Of course we will have animals that need tending to, and if I know anything about us, we will acquire new animals on the farm. We have been really drawn to helping out rescue animals and other animals in need, we have signed up with the South East LLama Rescue to be foster parents to alpacas and llamas in need, and we already have 2 alpacas that we have adopted from them. We have a couple other animals that have come to us when people were no longer able to care for them, and we hope to be able to help more animals in the coming year. We are expanding our apiary as well, and we are going to try our hand at catching swarms, this means we will be planting more flowers, trees and other plants that the bees enjoy.
The beginning of the year and the coming of spring is always an exciting time, but especially so on the farm. I am busier this winter than I have ever been, and yet I know that this summer will be a whirlwind of activity that makes the winter look downright lazy. Spring and summer on the farm bring farm babies, gardens, and all sorts of new activity and promise. I can't wait to see what year two brings to Ironhorse Homestead.