Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.Seneca
Happy New Year!
It’s hard to believe that it is 2023.
When we were younger time seemed to move so much slower. We waited for time to pass, wanting for things in our future to come to us quicker. But as we’ve aged it seems that time goes faster and faster. We all too often seem to let time outpace ourselves while just trying to keep up. We want more time.
Perhaps it is the understanding of our mortality that speeds up the passage of time. Knowing that our time itself is limited, we now want more time. We try to pack more experiences into the time we think we have left.
Ironically, it is the same time we once wished would just hurry up and pass. That is the time we now desperately want in our lives.
Last year was a hard year. A hard year for a variety of reasons. But there was a lot of good that came out of last year as well. And while we are all too often programmed to remember and dwell on the bad things in life, we need to remember to acknowledge and celebrate the good things in our life.
So with that in mind, here goes…
In 2022, we:
We launched into chickens. This was a first for the both of us. Our flock numbers 17 in total, all of which we raised from day old chicks. We expected all to be hens, but somehow ended up with three roosters in the mix. Roosters or hens, we’ve kept them all alive and now enjoy the boons of our own laying flock!
Incredible eggs! Yes, along with the laying flock comes the joy of our own farm-fresh eggs. We saw our first egg at the end of August. Ever since the ladies have kept us in more eggs than we know what to do with at times. We’ve experimented with ways to preserve the eggs; finding waterglassing them to be an effective way to extend their shelf life. We’ve also explored the potential for egg sales from our flock to be a supplemental form of income here on the homestead.
We got goats! John and Lenny were our first foray into pasture animals and they’ve been amazing. We’re learning as we go with them and having a wonderful time of it. With their first pasture set and an adequate shelter thankfully completed prior to the big winter storm of 2022, they’re on their way to helping us build up our little farm.
We grew a lot of vegetables. A lot. While there were some returning favorites, we also introduced many new varieties in 2022. Newcomers included potatoes and sweet potatoes, noodle beans, Malabar spinach, sweet baby watermelons, pumpkins, asparagus, carrots, sugar snap peas, and several new varieties of peppers. We found success with crops of brassicas, spinach, various squashes, and, of course, tomatoes! Building a few new beds helped increase our growing footprint in 2022, and move closer to our vision for our garden spaces.
We grew so many flowers! Varieties of zinnias, dahlias, marigolds, and nasturtium added bright colors and a veritable feast for pollinators all around our homestead. We installed an additional memorial flowerbed, planted in purples and yellows, to remember friends and family no longer with us. We also grew a lot more herbs in 2002. And, let us not forget the incredible sunflowers we grew in 2022. One of our Russian Mammoth varieties grew to an astounding 12 feet 4 inches in height!
The year saw us really increase our food preservation game. We canned so much food! Far more than the year before. We also saw a much better return on our tomato saucing efforts. This was the first year we began canning our own stock (beef and turkey) as well. But we expanded well beyond simply canning in 2022. This year saw us begin to experiment with both fermentation and dehydration as a means to preserve our harvest.
Making more of our own food at home was something else we expanded in 2022. Buying half a cow from our neighbor really stocked our fridge and cut down on trips to the grocer for beef. We experimented with sour dough starters and really refined our bread making on the homestead. We also mastered the art of making our own butter, providing a delicious topping for our homemade breads and making use of excess milk or cream in the process! We also expanded into herbal remedies; elderberry syrups, lemon balm teas, and fire cider being some of our favorite discoveries!
A big part of the year was learning from experiences and people. We shared amazing experiences and met so many people in 2022! Notable favorites were meeting Joel Salatin and Jessica Sowards in person at The Homestead Festival. Speaking of The Homestead Festival (another first and we’ll be returning in 2023!), that was only one of a few group outings and events that we participated in last year. We were fortunate to spend our first anniversary on PolyFace Farm, seeing Joel Salatin’s methods up close and personal for ourselves. Christine returned to PolyFace later in the year for the Homestead Women’s Retreat hosted by Homesteaders of America. We also met many of our own local farmers and homesteaders during the course of the year. Local farmers and homesteaders we now support!
And last, but certainly not least, there are the people we’ve met on-line through this blog and our other social media efforts. Thank you for reading along with us. All of you are truly amazing and we thank you for letting us into your lives and sharing your experiences with us. That’s one of the most beautiful takeaways from the homesteading experience. The amazing and generous people that are attracted to this way of life!
We’re blessed by all the good we experienced in 2022. Our past experiences will definitely shape our plans through all of 2023 and beyond. This year has taught us so much. Lessons we’ll apply as we move forward in 2023. Christine and I are both chomping at the bit to get started with everything we want to do for 2023, but for now we’re focused on prioritizing and planning our homestead’s future.
What are your big plans for 2023? Leave a comment below so we can follow along with your homesteading adventures too!
Happy New Year!
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