Every January I make a fresh commitment to journal.
Each year this works out in varying degrees. I can look back to some years and see relative success and consistency
and then there are the years where there were only a couple of entries in January. . . oops!
Why do I continue to make these fresh commitments when I seem to struggle with it so much?
And how, you may ask, do I categorize it as a farm chore?
Each January, as I sit down with my new outlook, new hopes, and new journal I take a look at journals from previous years. As I read, a clear picture starts to form.
A picture of where I’ve been. This is true on a personal level and spiritual level also, but today we’re focusing on the farm. I keep all kinds of farm records and I keep a notebook of Bible Study notes, but I lump my whole life together in my journals – – – there is NO WAY I could ever keep up with a separate journal for each area of my life!
Besides, my whole life kinda runs together anyway
As I look back my hopes, struggles, plans, failures, and successes are right there in black and white. I read of struggles that I am still dealing with, but I also see how far I’ve come.
I might be sad today because our milk production is down with no hope of it picking up until May,
BUT, we have goats that can give us milk. With a possibility of kidding, and more milk in the spring – when on February 10, 2015 I was struggling to find a suitable goat to buy and scampering to find a source of raw milk for my family!
That is HUGE
I might be struggling with egg production during this gloomy winter, but on March 2, 2o14 , I was struggling to get enough material for my no-till garden beds because I had no deep litter from the chicken coop. . . BECAUSE I HAD NO CHICKENS!
Do you see where I am going here? The struggles of today are put into a different light when we look back and see we are making progress.
We moved onto our little property in October of 2013 with 2 dogs, 4 rabbits, and 6 laying hens. Our garden, summer of 2013 was 10 by 12 and the only thing that produced much was a volunteer winter squash (and boy, did it produce!)
We have had many
failures lessons along the way. Today, we are blessed with milk from our Nubian goat and, with 2 doelings; the prospect of 3 milking does in the spring (plus, all of their manure for the garden beds).
We have a flock of 22 laying hens who are busily turning their bedding/compost all winter long for me to put on garden beds in the spring – even if they aren’t laying very well at the moment :/
We have rabbits (9 at the moment – numbers vary widely and often with them) calmly producing meat as well as the all important fertilizer. And, of course, the dogs whom I am always grateful for when I find the random dead possum in the yard!
And the garden? All in all, we have 2400 square foot of highly mulched, no-till beds waiting for spring planting!
We just ate our last fresh tomato in December.
We ate greens from our garden all last winter, with the help from a few low tunnels. Alas, the chickens got to our greens this year 🙁 . . . but hey! were focusing on the positive here!
‘nother lesson learned
I have squash and pumpkin to feast on all winter this year, along with frozen and canned veggies, hot chili oils and homemade sriracha.
Plus, I know that in my little corner of the world it does no good to plant any seed outside before March 1! and a myriad of other helpful tidbits 🙂
Are we where I thought we would be by now?
But, we are WAY FARTHER along on this journey than we were –
and that, my friends, is progress.
This life is so full of the unknown, it is easy to get discouraged. . .
death of animals,
seeds just not sprouting up,
lack of rainfall
. . .too much rain,
hens that just stop laying
FOR. NO. APPARENT. REASON.
learning to figure out when your goat is in heat,
THEN learning about STANDING HEAT!
pulling up weeds that were actually holding up the snow peas, oops 🙁 !
misjudgment of the rabbits ability to dig out of the new run:
one night is a long enough time for a motivated doe, by the way
and on and on it goes.
A good reminder of how far you have come is a stout fortifier!
So, cozy up on the couch with your farm books and seed catalogs, graph paper and frost dates. Draw up those plans. Go crazy! But, don’t neglect your journal. One day, not too far from now, it may clear the air of that dark cloud of discouragement.
Update: Last year Farmstead Ed and I collaborated our efforts into one “Farm Book ” it was just a plain spiral bound, lined notebook that we left out on the counter. Each day we wrote the date and followed that with notes on what we did as well as a daily egg count and milk production. It worked really well. We will probably continue the same method this year, however, I’ve been trying my hand at Bullet Journaling: see tons of great ideas On my Pintrest board, and I am in love with these Moleskine notebooks. The grid or dot formats are so versatile for any kind of records or charts you may want to add!
I’ve been adding the records and journaling what we’re doing in my BULLET JOURNAL.