Sometimes in the middle of the night when all is quiet and I look out on the stars, I say thank you because I'm so grateful. I know that I'm living the life imagined by me for so many years, it's the one my husband and I have created and we love it. I also know that it all came from within first and began as a thought, then it was talked about, then it was written down, and then it was accomplished through time and labor. Some goals and thoughts are quick to accomplish, like saying you're going to get up at an hour earlier, but most often there is time and work invested to bring our dreams into reality.
A gift from my daughter for Christmas was a new journal. I like to start a new journal every year, in it I write down my overall goals, then break them down into the steps I need to take to bring each one into reality. I will then invest time each day or week to work on the goal. I have many different areas of interests and some take more or less time and some are seasonal. Most of my goals take money and it needs to first be earned, and then invested into materials. This year I want to be better organized with my time.
One of my biggest goals this year is to set up an art studio and begin painting again after many years. When I was young I remember whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd say, "an artist" meaning I wanted to paint pictures, I used to love to draw people and animals. I need to set aside 2 or 3 hours a couple days per week, and schedule the time in, so I actually sit down and do it. I have an upper loft in my bedroom that is going to be just for my paints, paper and artwork. It has plenty of light and will be perfect. I want to paint pictures of our farm life and capture these moments on canvas.
Another big goal is to set up a "creamery" in my kitchen for a while, and just learn everything I can about cheese making, I have visions of wheels of cheese aging in a root cellar. I want to make as much of my own butter, yogurt, and ice cream as I can this year too. Speaking of root cellars, we began digging into a North-east hill side by our house when we had a back hoe here last year. We moved some big rocks over to begin a staircase, someday this will be a stone entrance with an arched thick door, and will be an authentic root cellar. For now I have a large basement that is our storage area, and will cure aging cheese just fine.
Grafting and propagating fruit trees and edibles for Applegarth Nursery is going to be a big priority along with potting up native species for sale, and planting more rootstock. This year I want to get licensed through the state to be able to sell my nursery stock and farm products, like goats milk soap, and lotion. I also want to go to the Seattle fruit tree society scionwood sale in February and get more varieties of fruit trees and root stock to plant.
Soap making is going to be fun this year with goats milk. I still need to buy more supplies and also want to try my hand at making lotions. There are new essential oils I want to try as well as making some naturally scented bars. Plans are to turn the kitchen in the barn into my designated soap making area. I hope to be selling Applegarth soap and lotion on Etsy, and to be linked through this blog by next Fall.
Something I want to see happen this year is a farm sign at our front gate. I know I'll have to paint it myself to be happy with it, I'd love to carve it out of wood and then paint it. I want it to be oval shaped, and have some artwork depicting our farm, like a goat, an apple tree, and a rabbit perhaps. I need to play around with a design on paper first.
For years I've been wanting to learn how to make my own artisan beer. I've checked out every book our library has on it and read them all. I've talked to brewers and got catalogs from them of where they get their supplies. In the old days every good housewife knew how to make hard cider and homebrew, as well as how to make cheese, soap, sew, and cook. In our orchard we have apple trees planted that are specifically for hard cider and someday we'll have fall cider pressing. For this year though I just want to learn to make good artisan beer and bottle it. Not that we drink a lot of beer, it would just be fun to learn. Once you get into making your own good foods, I think good drinks are simply the next fun thing to try.
We are planning to build the goats their own goat barn this year, at least phase one of it. This will take the most time and money of all our projects. We'll hopefully begin this spring or early summer by pouring the foundation and beginning the framework and roof. It will have to be done when the days are longer for my husband to work on it after work. This will also be the year our perimeter fence will finally be finished, currently it's two thirds of the way around our 10 acres and we just got most of the remaining wire needed to complete it. For the last few years we have invested much time and labor into this fence. It will be so nice to have this huge goal accomplished. I am going to love being able to close our main gate and know all the animals and plants are safe and protected from the deer and predators. The chickens will have daily freedom and our goats will have plenty of room to run and have rotational pasture.
Each one of the children has goals they are working towards as well. Tessa is learning the guitar and we've been taking her to lessons once a week. She'll be doing Track in the Spring and Soccer in the Fall (both seasonal school sports), plus she'll begin high school. She has her goals of going to the University of Washington after two years of community college, and is talking about a career as an editor or publisher of books. Kaley is our runner, we are planning to enter her in various local running races as this is dream of hers. She has hopes of going to college on a running scholarship. Jason is getting a car soon and will be getting his first job this Spring. He's a Junior and is also enrolled in a technical school learning automotive repair. My daughters living on their own Christina and Heather, both have good jobs as barista's and goals they're working towards just as ambitiously. We like to help all our children plan and think about their futures by talking about college and what classes they need to take and talking about different careers with them.
In our big house this years goals are to finish the walls, taping, texturing and painting them. We are also planning to put down the tubing and pour the floor in the kitchen so when we lay our stone tile it's heated. I also want to put finish on all the interior wood.
I have plans for this blog, like having a section for the books I'm reading and the ones we have in our library. I want to take more pictures of the meals I make and the recipes and methods I use. Plus I'd like to connect and network with more local women that are interested in learning from each other. I want to be faithful to write regular posts and articles that are interesting and inspire you to learn and grow.
The vegetable garden will have some new things like jerusalem artichokes and globe artichokes, and I'm hoping for my greenhouse to get set up too, but may have to be happy with just a small hoop house to get starts going this year. The flower beds are getting an addition of trees and plants that we've been planting over the last couple months, and continue to plant even now. New beds are being dug and we're landscaping around our big house. We've been getting trees and shrubs through the nursery where I work and I'll share more about this whole landscape project in another post.
It sounds like a lot when I read it all. This year I'm going to continue learning all about gardening, goats, chickens, rabbits and honeybees. It will be the year our farm gets licensed to sell products and we'll go through our gate and see an Applegarth Farm sign hanging. It will be the year of the artist and a creamery and a brewery in the making, these are some of the good things in life to me.
Most of all I want this to be a year that I honor God in all that I do, and to daily thank Him and count my blessings. I hope this is a year full of health and prosperity for our family and yours!