Thinking about 2011 has me thinking about 2012, 2013, etc. because I’m a compulsive planner, even if I rarely stick to those plans. The day I found out I was pregnant with Alston I made a spreadsheet to figure out how old I’d be when he graduated high school. It’s like being OCD and simultaneously lacking any motivation for follow through. But it does mean I’m a sucker for a good list.
In that spirit, here’s a list of things we’d like to tackle in the not too distant future, but that I suspect are already off the docket for 2011.
Animals: We definitely want to get bees, but we’ll probably wait until the apple trees and soon to be planted berry bushes are more established so they have plenty of flowers to pollinate. I’m thinking 2012. At some point, we may also get into rabbits (for meat, of course), although that may necessitate building a different, larger chicken coop, making this a longer term endeavor. I’ve been told rabbits smell pretty awful, but that if you keep their cages on shelves in your coop, the chickens will scratch their poop into the straw bedding, breaking down the ammonia more quickly and resulting in some pretty rock star fertilizer for the garden. If we had more land, we might talk goats or even a dairy cow, but shy of a winning lottery ticket, I think our 5 acres are maxed out when it comes to ruminants.
Fruit trees: I would love to add a plum, peach and cherry tree to the mix. The biggest delay is not knowing where to put them. We can’t put the cherry in the pasture, as cherry wood can be toxic to sheep, but I can’t figure out where else is sunny enough to ripen fruit while avoiding adding a shade tree to places where we plan to grow vegetables. I think after another year of living on the farm I’ll have a better sense of the sun patterns.
Grain: We are leasing an acre across the street, and we don’t yet know what to plant there. For the sake of 2011, we’re more concerned that our own 1/3 acre garden may be more than we can handle, but thinking longer term it would be pretty cool to start to grow some of our own animal feed. Unfortunately, most things involving grain seem to be more tractor dependent than potatoes and tomatoes, so this may stay on the back burner until Craig’s List decides to offer up a reasonably priced, well loved John Deere. Until then, it looks like we’ll continue to purchase our corn, barley, field peas, etc.
Grapes: My husband is quite the wine guy, which is why most people ask us where we’re putting in vines. However, our real interest in growing grapes isn’t fermentation, it’s a source of sugar. I’d love to be able to press our own grape juice and use it to sweeten jam in lieu of cane sugar. The grapes suffer from the same lack of a clear home as the fruit trees, but I suspect when we clear out some more brush between our yard and the neighbors, a trellis will make the perfect property line.
Solar power: Wouldn’t it be nice to be energy independent? Or at least have solar panels as back up instead of buying a generator? These are cost prohibitive right now, but a girl can dream…
Cutting garden: I love having fresh flowers in the house, and I’d love to grow my own. However, I should probably make sure the veggie garden is fully functional before I spend time cultivating cosmos and sunflowers. It took all of my willpower to avoid ordering spring bulbs by the score this fall, but I should wait and see what’s already in the ground around here.
So what’s on your wish list?