Snow Day and Homestead Binder

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This picture received the most ‘likes’ on Instagram of any of my previous pictures. It’s funny how that works. I wouldn’t have predicted it at all!

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We had our first real snow fall this past week. It snowed for something like 24 hours but we only ended up with about 8 inches which is really weird. We enjoyed our snow day. It was so quiet here on the homestead. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the snow and also work on my homesteading binder. Let me be completely honest here. The past week or so since Pecky’s death has been hard. I’ve considered giving up animal husbandry. I felt so guilty. And felt that Pecky’s death was so in-vain and senseless. I pretty much gave up on the homesteading life. But then the Mister and I talked about it. He’s so helpful. If you ever need true, honest advice, you should ask him. He doesn’t hold back! That can be a good thing (sometimes it’s not if you don’t really want to hear the truth!). But as usual he set me straight. So back to homesteading we go. So on that snow day I set up my homesteading binder. I had been kind of dreading it since it seemed like such a monumental task! But once I got everything printed and laid out on the table it didn’t seem so bad. I fixed a smoothie, put on an audiobook, and got to work. I’m not finished yet (I ran out of dividers) but I feel good about the progress.

Here are the sections that I included in my binder:

  1. Overview: this section includes yearly overviews of what I hope to accomplish and a timeline for doing so
  2. Calendar: pretty self-explanatory. A year of monthly calendars to keep track of important dates. This section also includes a notes page for each month to keep track of any pertinent details plus the weather (I love this feature!). And then a month-at-a-glance page for each month where I can keep track of things such as sowing, preserving, household, and harvesting items. I think I would like to have enough dividers to break this section into months. Right now it is all lumped together under the main “Calendar” section.
  3. General Info: I’m not completely satisfied with this section. I don’t know what to name it or if the information found here should be under a different section. Right now it houses the “General Farm Expenses”, “Year End Cost Analysis”, “Homestead Yields”, “Homestead Earnings”, and “Homestead Expansion”.
  4. Garden: this section is broken down into the following subcategories: Vegetables, Orchard, and Flowers.
  5. Chickens: this section houses all things chicken related. I even put all the information from my past flocks in here so I will have it as a resource. The subcategories for the chickens includes: medical, egg count, current flock, education, old flocks. I will add a section for incubation and meat birds so it will be ready for the future should I decide to undertake either or both of these skills.
  6. Bees: pretty self explanatory too. I do not currently have bees but am hoping to add them this year. I am currently trying to find a beekeeping class. There are several in my area but they are either full or on a date that I can’t attend. I’m trying not to panic about this.
  7. Homestead: this section is broken down into the following subcategories:
    1. Yarn: a place to keep track of my stash, projects, etc. I also use ravelry but I love the idea of having a place in this binder to keep project notes, etc. of current year projects.
    2. Brewing: the Mister makes his own beer but I added a section here in case we want to keep track of those projects. I would also like to make my own wine this year. Those projects and notes would be found under this section.
    3. Inventory: this section will house the freezer inventories, food preservation worksheets, and pantry inventory, along with any other pertinent notes. I might use dividers in this category as well to further break it down according to the above named sections.
    4. Make Your Own: this section will be divided into such categories as soap making, product making (not sure what to call it yet, but it will be where my notes and recipes for laundry detergent, hand soap, lotion, chap stick, etc. are kept), crafts (again, not sure what to call it but it will be where my notes and recipes/instructions for making crafting items will be kept), canning, and pantry.
    5. Goals: my list of goals for the homestead, my life, financially, etc.
    6. Misc: I’m not sure this section will remain as miscellaneous or not, but right now I have the maple sugaring information and the curing section located here. They might end up being their own section should I decide to implement both these skills. I have cured my own bacon but I’m not sure that will be a regular thing for the homestead at the moment.

So that’s the binder overview. I will finish setting it up and start filling in all the information this weekend. I need more dividers which I’ll order on Amazon and hopefully they’ll get here early next week. I also need to pick up my Master Gardener notebook and get started on that. Our first meeting is next Saturday. I can’t wait.

And if you are still reading this I would like to share my goals for the homestead for 2018. We have been living in a temporary housing situation but we recently decided to make it a permanent one for 2018. This is not ideal for us but I think financially it makes a lot of sense. We had started really buckling down in 2017 and getting our finances in order so we could buy a house. But then I lost my job. So we moved to our temporary house. I’m excited about the possibilities this will bring for us financially, and for my own peace-of-mind. I can focus on the homestead and work at a fun, part-time job without feeling guilty or taking on a job that I don’t want. So here are my goals for 2018:

  1. Garden: I haven’t had a proper garden since 2009. I am really looking forward to getting my hands dirty again. I will do vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit.
  2. Chickens: I am adding to the flock. I will place an order at My Pet Chicken today for 3 more hens and 1 rooster. I’ve order from them before and I really like them. Their minimum order is 4 chicks which is perfect. I will also add a ‘buffer zone’ fence around the coop and run so no dogs or other critters will be able to harass them. Plus it will give them a more contained “free range” area. While it won’t protect them from birds of prey, it will help keep them to a confined area so I can keep a better eye on them.
  3. Bees: I would like to add bees this year. See above for more information on that.
  4. Homesteading: in general I would like to make more, produce and preserve more, and keep learning new skills. I would like to figure out what I like to do and what I could actually purchase or barter for.
  5. Financially: I have 2 bills that I would like to pay off or get as close as possible to paying off. If we paid them off we would be debt free and that would open up all kinds of possibilities for us.

Okay. Thank you for reading this far. I’m sorry that I included so much information here. I have been working on this for a long time and wanted to get it all on ‘paper’ so-to-speak. Now I have to look through my seed catalogs, order some chicks, and start reading my book for the Homesteading Book Group over on Facebook. And finish the homestead binder. In case you are interested, you can find the printables here. And I am not receiving any money for any of these items. I just want to share with you what I found works for me. Happy Homesteading!

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