I hope you all have enjoyed the holidays so far. Our family has agreed that this was ones of the best Christmases we’ve had in a long time. Health-wise, we are in a holding pattern and I’ll keep the blog updated if anything changes on that front. In the mean time…
The other night, my Hard-Working Hubster looked at me and said, we need to set some goals for the new year. Yeeah… I’m not so into New Years resolutions, and I sort of figured he was hinting at setting financial goals, which are my least favorite, so I was not really excited about what I figured he was about to say. But, it turns out that’s not what he meant at all. He was referring a bit to my 101 in 1001 list and some other personal goals, as well as to some things we’d like to do together.
Something that I’ve been working on in 2011 and really want to continue to work on in 2012 is building community. I loved that last year our next-door neighbor enlisted our help to put in a garden and then shared his harvest with us. He’s up for round two this year and I want to keep the momentum going on things like that. I’d really like to strengthen the community between our neighbors on our block. I also want to increase community between other friends that live nearby but are further out than our immediate neighborhood.
One thing I really want is to increase our self-sufficiency on the homestead. I want to grow more food and process our own chickens for meat. But by “self-sufficiency” I don’t mean by ourselves. I mean, “not relying on the grocery store.” And, I really want to make a fun special place for the kids in the garden… something they can look forward to, play in or around, and take care of.
So with those things in mind, here are my top five goals for the Schell Urban Homestead for 2012.
- Grow a giant pumpkin. The neighbor has already volunteered a spot in his yard for this. We’re scouring seed catalogs for the biggest one we can find. It’ll be a pet project, but out in his front yard for the whole neighborhood to see and monitor. And the kids can really get in on this one (I’m hoping). Maybe in the fall, when it’s time to harvest we can do something cool with the results!
- Grow enough in our own neighborhood gardens to feed ourselves for the summer. I’d like it to be our own garden in our own yard, but I’ve realized this just isn’t realistic. We eat a lot of veggies and have a lot of people to feed and not much garden space. So instead of setting our sights on the impossible, I’m hoping to make it possible between our place, the next-door neighbors and the neighbors across the street. I think they are all open to this.
- Process chickens. We wanted to do this last year – order meat birds or a straight run of chicks and then process them for the table. It didn’t work out in 2011, but I’m hoping we can work it out for 2012. This will include culling any hens that are eating eggs and getting egg production numbers to where they should be. Yay homegrown protein!
- Harvest Honey. Our bees are still here, doing well, and we’re hoping to get a good harvest this coming year. We even have a neighborhood contact to help us with the first go-round.
- Start a monthly potluck circle involving neighbors and homegrown or locally raised foods. I really, really want to do this. I’ve mentioned it to a few friends here and there, but gotten no real commitments. I might just have to jump in for it to take off. ??
What about you? Any gardening goals for the new year? Is community a part of the goals you are making? How do you plan to get others involved?
I think those all sound like great goals! I too want to do some community building. We tried with a holiday open house, but to no avail, only one neighbor came. A potluck is my next attempt, and a neighborhood yard sale in the spring.
We are looking into tackling urban homesteading further with chickens and/or bees. Hopefully it goes well. (Fingers crossed)
We’ve done the giant pumpkin. Lots of fun and good chicken feed for the winter. Do you have an Etsy shop? If so, where’s your button? It’s easy to make one and put it on your blog. That’s how I got my first sale.
I am inspired! I think I’ll plan for a game night next month, then a potluck in February! March… Perhaps a seed swap?
I bought a packet of Giant Max pumpkin seed and have picked out a spot in the front yard. I am not sure if they get truly over-large, but hope so! I’ve dreamed of setting it up like a Cinderella carriage or scratching our names in then when they are still small. Another idea I had was to make it look like a cottage for a mouse or a fairy.