Now that 2017 is here, it’s time to think about farm plans for the year. They’re not resolutions, just things that we’d like to accomplish or to work toward. Some are things that we didn’t get done in the past year, and some are brand new.
This year I’d like to get the remaining old blog posts spiffed up to match the new look of the combined Better Hens and Gardens/Bramblestone Farm website, improve SEO, generate more ad income, and continue to put time into growing the blog (100,000 page views per month).
I definitely want to finish and publish at least the second book in the series on Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Nigerian Dwarf Goats 201: Does & Wethers is well underway, but it’s going to take some more work to get it done. I’d really like to finish the third book in the series in 2017 too!
Also, continue to write some well paid articles for national magazines on the topic of goats, chickens, honey bees, gardening or homesteading.
We raised day-old chicks and retained 16 Golden Buff hens last spring. They are laying well, but the Buckeye flock is getting old and we need to hatch eggs and raise chicks if we’re going to maintain the Buckeyes. So, getting an incubator and successfully hatching Buckeye chicks is definitely something we’d like to accomplish.
Better utilize the vegetables and fruit that we are producing on the farm – try to match what our needs are throughout the year with what we’re producing (seems we have too much of some things and not enough of others). I guess that’s better planning 🙂 Continue to work on adding perennial food-producing fruits and vegetables using permaculture techniques.
Get the raspberry canes cut and weed the asparagus bed before the thistle gets out of control. Investigate planting more raspberries as the original patch appears to be thinning out. Purchase a seeding attachment for the Hoss Wheel Hoe, and continue to experiment with using it to improve efficiencies for accomplishing garden chores.
The Fortex green bean, Caribe, Yukon Gold, & Yukon Gem potatoes, Sugar Snap pea, Rainbow Chard, Vegetable Spaghetti squash, Costato Romanesco zucchini, Black Beauty eggplant, and Sugar Baby watermelon all performed exceptionally in the garden and have become favorites so we’ll certainly grow those varieties again. Continue to test other open-pollinated varieties to find those that do well in our climate and soil.
Plant fewer tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and green beans so we’re not overwhelmed with them.
Build supports for the raspberries. Figure out how to prevent caterpillar worms on the brassicas using organic controls.
This year five of the seven goats that will be freshening in spring could earn their first or additional milk production stars if they produce enough – so go back on milk production testing and get those milking stars! Participate in linear appraisal and a several goat shows. Consider going to the ADGA National Show in Madison, WI. Earn more grand champion wins and championship legs!
Also, practice setting the goats up and get great photographs of all the goats after clipping. Continue working with them on leashes so they “behave” during goat shows. Take the bucks to a couple of buck shows.
Stay at around ten honey bee hives, but figure out how to better keep them alive through the winter – winter hive losses are a real problem in the area. Organize the honey bee equipment in the new barn addition.
Make lots more goat milk soap – we’re keep selling out. Produce enough honey to offer it throughout the year without selling out.
If we do all that, it should keep us busy and happy on the farm!