Thursday, November 12, 2015

Before we even had a place to call home, I had a long list of homesteading goals in mind. My brain is always ten steps ahead of my life, making lists and planning every detail of the future ten years before it's even a possibility. It's a blessing and a curse. I come into all projects (probably overly) prepared, but it leaves little brain space to actually 'live in the moment' - and I usually annoy Alex with my perfectionist habits and ability to shoot ideas out of my head like laser beams. When you spend years thinking through an idea, you have a pretty solid picture of what it's going to look like and that's hard for me to let go of. You can imagine what raising kids does to me and the level of stress that I'm at with this whole building a house ourselves journey that we've set out on. So far everything has gone smoothly - well except for we're out of money. . . and my shower drain is crooked! There, I said it! The guy who did our concrete did a fantastic job (seriously, I didn't know concrete could look so beautiful), but he didn't straighten up our square floor drains before he poured the concrete, so they're just in there all willy nilly like. I'm trying to embrace it as a quirk - you know, 'it gives it character' kind of thing, like the written temperature guess-timations on our oven dial in Brooklyn. It's one of life's cruel jokes that it's in a place I will undoubtably look at every day.

Anyway, my approach to farm life isn't any different, of course. Joel Salatin talks about the aesthetics of a farm and how they don't matter so long as things are functional. Blame it on me being a lady or whatever, but I have to disagree. I'm fascinated by pretty much anything he writes, but I was an art major after all. I'm all about some aesthetics. I can't help myself. I feel like we aren't just creating a farm. It's not just about some animals and some food. We're creating a lifestyle, a community, our haven. I have big dreams for this overgrown piece of dirt of ours and it doesn't involve building things out of plywood (well, not too many things). When people come to visit, I want them to forget about the world for awhile. I want them to come in search of a pumpkin with their family, savor their time here, and leave with peaceful memories, like they just returned from a mini vacation. So I'm all about doing things right (and beautifully) the first time around. My mind has been racing and it's all swimming around in there with no place to land, so I put pen to paper and came up with some basic plans. Gathering inspiration is probably my favorite part of any project, so of course I have way too many unrealistic ideas you can sort through here, if you're interested in getting lost in the black whole of the internet (Pinterest). If I could spend my mornings making lists and sipping coffee, I'd be a happy woman. I'm already a pretty happy woman, but you get where I'm going.

- build a house, of course (a blog post is in the works, but if you don't want to wait you can see our progress at #thejacobshomestead on instagram)
- fence + establish a garden plot
- build some coops and raise some chicks for our egg + meat flocks
- clear some land for pastures
- put up a clothesline (because money saving goals are the best goals)
- build a patio + pergola

- start planting fruit trees in the orchard in the Fall
- fence in our pastures
- buy and breed milk goats
- buy and breed heritage breed pigs
build some pens and raise meat rabbits
- build a tool shed

- invest in beekeeping supplies + start our hives
- build a root cellar + greenhouse
- venture into the business world selling produce + eggs + other handmade goods at the farmer's market/online
- buy and breed sheep for wool
- finish planting fruit trees + berries in the orchard

- live debt free
- drill a well
- go off grid with solar panels
- buy pasture land nearby to raise cattle on
- build and rent out an AirBNB cabin
- offer farm tours + u-pick strawberry/watermelon/pumpkin patches + possibly CSA boxes

Our overall goal in homesteading is to become self-sufficient and a big part of that is learning new skills, so I have a long list of personal goals that includes things like canning, bread making, spinning wool into yarn, dying fabric with natural dyes, learning how to make pottery... but mostly turning my black thumb into a green one because no joke, I haven't been able to keep one single plant alive in the last six years that Alex and I have been married. Realistically, we might kill everything we lay hands on in the next three years, give up, and move back to the city. . . but let's hope not. That would make this the most expensive science project in history.

Right now, all this just seems like a pipe dream, which is kind of why I sat down to make this list in the first place. Instead of this cluster of overwhelming ideas floating around in your head, you have a physical breakdown of all that you need to accomplish. Plus, I'm a believer in putting your dreams out there - not in a kooky, 'the universe will reward you' way, but more as an act of bravery, a flag flying high saying, 'this is what I'm fighting for.'

What is your family fighting for? What goals are you trying to accomplish, homesteading-related or not? I can't wait to say your flags raised in the comments!


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