Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Plans and Wishes for 2013

Because I am already squeezed by climbing food and feed prices, and because I expect that squeeze to get tighter when the payroll taxes go up and my pay doesn't, planning for 2013 is going to be extra tricky. 

I found some of my 2012 goals, and although some of the things on them got checked off - like learning to pressure can and some work and bill paying goals - the farm goals are going to be pretty much rolled over to 2013.  Only now, they feel urgent.  That big garden will come in handy - and a ram pen is necessary for our sanity.

I want to buy onion sets - since growing from seed hasn't been very successful - and seed potatoes, and possibly as many as 50 dual-purpose hens and a rooster or two. If I get the hens, I want a bigger enclosure for them and easier to clean housing.  We do still need a ram pen and to close up the windward wall of the sheep pen - it's just too wet and the rain blows right in, making the one side of their shelter quite muddy, even though we've fixed the ponding that goes on in the entire sheep pen.  2012 was a year of rain and it tested all our drainage tricks. 

I want to try determinate paste tomatoes in the small greenhouse.  It would be nice to be able to build the bigger greenhouse, but it might be beyond our budget. Knowing how little grew in the outside garden because of the rain makes me leery of growing anything but greens outside this year.  It might be a nicer year - but it might not.  The sweet potatoes I have in several piles are growing like gangbusters - I don't know if we'll get any tubers, but the leaves are wonderful stir-fried, but so far that's all I have growing outside.  In the current greenhouse, I have several varieties of tomatoes, a lonely cucumber (I pulled out all of the other cucurbits because of the powdery mildew),  various basil varieties, lettuce, some funky variety of bok choy (it looks like spinach), some coffee seedlings, papaya seedlings, lilikoi seedlings, and some ohelo berry seedlings. I just put some house plants I always forget to water out there, too. 

I'd like to improve the temporary fencing we have around the taro so it can double as a ewe and lamb place, and to build a small shelter in there - right now we have a jury-rigged rain cover made of feed bags and some 55 gallon drums. Honestly, I need to pull all the taro out of there and replant it. 

My big wish is for some dairy goats, but that won't happen this year - or anytime soon.  If we did have a good, solid and large area for the rams, then it wouldn't be that necessary to have separate pasture for the does, but the bucks would need their own pen and it would be a lot of management, I think.  When I am home on school break, I feel like I can do so much, but I have to remember that I am gone 12-13 hours a day during the school year, and milking and cheese-making would be a lot to add to my schedule.

We'd like to find something that we can grow or make for market, perhaps a variety of things, because the construction industry is down here (as it is most places) so there isn't a market for my husband's engineering business - ideally, it would be nice if it something that we can use/eat ourselves, so even if our lack of experience in selling or marketing, it's not wasted.  I must admit thinking of ways to market and grow and deliver things we grow or raise is a little daunting.  There are just so many laws and regulations!  On the other hand, just raising enough to feed ourselves and to make a little money to feed the chickens and supplement the sheep from egg sales would be its own victory.

So after all this rambling, and with the realization that so many of my 2012 farm wishes were left undone - I think my one big goal is to grow enough paste tomatoes to can many pints of tomato sauce and paste is my biggest goal.  That's big enough for now, I guess.  

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