Well guys, it is a new year. 2018 was a wonderful year for us! It was a year of holding our ground and of strengthening within our family. It was a year of spiritual growth for Josh and me, and of new experiences and learning for all of us. Despite almost 10 years in this lifestyle, for everything that I know or think I know I find there are another 20 things yet to learn.
Today in the spirit of the New Year, I wanted to take the time to talk about what has been, and the path we want to travel this year.
Last year was a year of many firsts for us. On the school front, we went from homeschooling to a charter school situation for the kids. I am so thankful for how our children are thriving in this new venue! We attended OSU’s Small Farm classes and learned a little about a lot of subjects related to farm management.
On the farm, we had our first goat babies. milked for the first time, learned about goat health and how to draw blood and drench goats. We sold and bought goats. We learned about conformation, pedigrees and registering animals. We learned about healthy diets for the different livestock on our property, and we worked to improve our own diets too. We joined 4H, had our first year of county fair and what a wonderful experience that was! We built fences and stored hay. We started planning our garden. We kept up (sorta) on the yard work and property maintenance. We learned a lot about husbanding our property and livestock.
Through this all we learned about the importance of being true to who we are without shame.
We bonded as a family, and we explored new avenues of growth as a family and individuals.
We did not focus nearly as much as other years on mushrooms, herbs, fishing and hunting. And that was OK. We gave energy to the things that were calling for it.
So what does the future hold?
I am hoping and praying that my work will go to 12 hr shifts, allowing me to go down to a 2 day a week work week. That would be such a huge blessing to all of us! Josh is continuing to explore options to get out of the drywall world. I am hoping for the kids to finish the school year strong. They go to a wonderful school with involved families and dedicated teachers. In the tail end of 2018, I was not as involved with the PTC activities as I wish I would have been, so I plan to improve that in 2019. I would love to attend some continuing education in essential oils and herbs, and then hold some classes for my doTerra team.
We should have goat babies on the ground starting in March. I plan to sell most of our 2019 goat babies. We will milk and do at least a one day milk test. This year I am hoping we have enough milk for it to continue to be worth milking the full 10 months. I know it is cliché, but I want to learn to do things like make soap and lotion with our milk. Wyatt is emotionally so strong and is planning to do a meat goat for 4H this year. I am sad about it already. It is hard to imagine raising such beautiful intelligent animals to butcher, but such is the life of a farmer. The chickens have got to be corralled or go! In 2019 we will either get rid of all our chickens or build them a much more stout coop and run. They are making a mess!
We are planning to put in at least a small garden this year, and I want to continue improving my herbs and flowers in my flower beds. We have a big list of things to do to catch up maintenance. I have once again updated our “never-ending list”. I crossed a few things off, and added a few things. Most urgently, the hot water heater started leaking and the barn door is breaking. There is just so much to do!
We continue to explore the idea of raising some carefully selected litters of dogs for pets and as bird retrieval dogs. It is still a little bit of a moving target because our plan is evolving as we learn more about hobby breeding and what it entails. We do plan to get at least one dog in 2019 that has potential as a bird dog and a breeding animal. Although I have spent a large chunk of my free time the last 6 months researching what it takes to be a wise, reputable hobby breeder, we are still a way off from pulling the trigger on this plan. We are working on a timeline. Aspects of the preparation will definitely happen in 2019, whether or not we will have a breeding program off the ground in 2019 is still questionable.
Lastly, but most importantly, both Josh and I feel strongly that it is so important to continue to grow our relationship with our children and one another, to foster spirituality, health, independence, and interdependence. We are working towards new family ground rules more appropriate to the current ages and stages of our children, and encouraging them to try new experiences. We have a few great books on our read list for this year. We plan to continue to work towards healthier living.
My hope is that all of these things will foster and lead up to a greater ability for flexibility for us financially as well as with scheduling. By the end of this year we want to have a solid plan and have made beginning steps to pay off the house within 5-10 years. I am so excited to see what the new year holds. If our experience has taught us anything, it is that we will only achieve part of what we set out to do, but will achieve many other things we had no idea were in store for us yet. I am excited to see what this new year brings!
I would love to hear what the New Year has in store for you!!! Please comment below!