Howdy, y’all. This afternoon (yesterday afternoon) as I was driving my mom to her appointment I realized that tomorrow (today) is the winter solstice. The lowest the sun will go before starting its journey back, higher into the sky. In 3 months spring will be here once again to bring new life. As I noticed the winter solstice is one day away I also realized that my blog post for this month is due tomorrow (today). Honestly, I had no idea what my topic was going to be. Then it occurred to me that the other day I was writing in my journal about reflecting on the past year and also planning/making goals for the upcoming year. My journal is a private part of my life, but I think the reflecting part will make a nice post.
When I started in 2019, I had no idea what I was going to do. I only knew one thing and that was to experiment and experiment I did. The goals I set are always realistic for me. Realistic and achievable. This means to start small and to set a goal of what you want to accomplish. You will never know what you love to do if you do not ever experiment. Try everything. Do everything. This way you find what you love. No one knows what they love without doing it. Growing up I had dreams of becoming a firefighter. Then I wanted to be an attorney. Then I wanted to be a mechanic. Then I became an artist. A poet. A rapper. A DJ. A music producer. A web designer. A graphic designer. A soldier. A designer in a sign shop. Then back to being a graphic designer. Then a computer technician. Lastly, here I am a farmer. A homesteader, rancher whatever the appropriate title that fits me from your perspective.
My first goal with experimentation was to get chickens. I researched chickens for a year before I took the leap. I read 3 books on chickens and I followed Justin Rhodes’ YouTube channel. Studying how he implemented chickens into his homestead. That is where I got the idea that I could use chickens just like how he does. The chickens prep the garden areas and fertilize as well. No need for machines or exhaustive manual labor. All I had to do was broadfork. In March I bought 6 chicks from a local feed store. 3 Black Sexlinks and 3 Americaunas. Unfortunately, I lost 1 Americauna chick. The chickens have been amazing this past year. The fresh daily eggs are even more amazing. They are fun and easy to care for. Next year a goal of mine is to raise meat chickens. Which means I have to build another mobile coop.
My second goal was to try growing my watermelon, squash, and cantaloupe differently. This did not occur to me until I had planted half of my squash and watermelon. For this experiment, I laid down about 3 three inches of compost then covered that with about an inch of wood chips. You can read the post I did here. At the end of the season, I noticed that the nutrients from the compost did not feed into the soil enough. Some of the plants struggled to fruit. With that gained knowledge I set out last month to spread compost on the area that I will be using this coming season. I believe that will be plenty of time for the nutrients to feed into the soil. I also changed my garden rotation plan in October. My garden rotation plan was originally set in the beginning but as I continue to grow my plans had to be updated. This past year I realized that I had planted way too much and I was overworking myself. So that is what inspired the change in the rotation. A video will be up soon regarding this topic, stay tuned.
I had 2 goals set for 2019 and all the other projects and accomplishments I made came at a spur of the moment because of experimentation. I believe experimenting is a huge part of life. It helps us to understand what works and what does not. I know I will keep experimenting because that is the fun and joy in farming. It helps me to step away from the standards of modern agriculture. Taking these risks in the beginning while I am still a small farm is a low impact on my part. I don’t want to be a farmer that follows every other farmer and do what every other does because it’s always been done that way. No way, not me. I want to take care of my land. I want to enrich my soil. I want my animals to help me restore the land and to make my soil full of life that one day in the future my children will pass it on to their children. This is a foundation that is being built for the future to come.