Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farm Goals for 2014

It's list making time, hooray! It's New Year's Eve, I will be making many lists today. And this thrills me so much more than it should. Anyway, on to the list. In no particular order; because I can't seem to figure out how to make a descending ordered, numbered list, these are my goals for Serendipity Farm this year.

  1. Find a local, affordable source of raw milk. This may involve buying a cow, I'm OK with that.
  2. Successfully hatch out goslings 
  3. Ditto for turkeys 
  4. Add flocks of quail, guineas and/or ducks
  5. Pigs. I suppose right about now I have officially gotten over my head. A cow, more geese & turkeys, quail, guineas, ducks, a pig and we haven't even started talking about gardens yet! These first 5 goals though are more like options than goals. A cow or a pig is probably more likely. Ducks or guineas. Ya, that's my story & I'm sticking to it when my partner challenges this list :) 
  6. Name & launch our birthdays on the farm idea 
  7. Host 2 swap meets & craft fairs- note to self: let's try not to schedule either for the same week as the State's Fair. Turns out those are kind of big deals to farming folks, who knew?
  8. Investigate the local Farmer's Market. Before I lose real food street cred, I do shop at a Farmer's Market of sorts. I love Farm 2 Family. I make a pilgrimage back to Richmond regularly to shop there & of course plan to continue. I just haven't done any exploring in Caroline County yet. 
  9. Plant (& more importantly maintain) gardens that will insure that ALL of the animal feed is coming from the farm. There just isn't another viable option. It's terribly important to us that our animals are GMO-free. It is terribly important to us that the farm is cost-effective. And it's terribly important to us that our products are reasonably priced. Charging $7 for a dozen eggs just wouldn't be OK with me and that's about what the numbers work out to when buying organic feed in the winter. 
  10. Plant, maintain and preserve a harvest that insures around 50% of our food comes from our farm. Does that seem too low or too high to my readers? I've had friends respond in both directions. Those that think it is a high goal recognize that it is a lot of work. Those who think it is low wonder why the goal isn't 100% or at least close to it. The goal is 50% and I imagine it always will be. We are a large family, and we like variety in our meals. Permaculture, sustainable farming means working with the unique micro-environments of your farm. This year will be about learning those characteristics. Do tomatoes do well in our soil without heavy supplementation? Will I ever successfully keep the geese off of our greens? I learned last year that corn is going to be challenging here. My neighbor is a giant GMO corn grower. This year I am going to try growing corn behind a wind block & hope that cuts down or eliminates cross pollination. If it doesn't, I'll skip corn the following year and find a local grower I can trade with or buy from.  I don't have a moving body of water on the property, rice would never grow here- but I'm going to give quinoa a try. I don't expect it to do well, but who knows maybe it will. That's why the goal will always be about 50%. When we find what does best here, we'll plan crop rotations to insure we don't exhaust our soil and let those crops be our focus. 
So the first list for 2014 has been written. If you're making any farming, homesteading, or gardening goals for 2014 please share them in the comments. 

1 comment:

Brandie Zelaya said...

(Hi this is Brandie) Actually you could grow rice, I'm not sure its your best bet, although if you do build a rice paddy and grow it with - I can't remember if it's azolla or duckweed - it gives you a double crop? I would look into grain sorghum for animal feed (I have some seed if you want some). Do you have comfrey yet? I can give you roots to start it - its a great animal feed, soil nutrient builder, and medicine. I think your 50% goal is very reasonable, having gardened a large plot (1/2 acre more or less) for several years and raised chickens, I don't think we ever got that high, and the work is overwhelming. You need years to build up your site to full productivity. We need to convo more often, I wish you guys were closer!