Friday, January 15, 2010

Dreams and Schemes

This year is zipping past-it's already the middle of January. It's a bit late to write about New Years resolutions and dreams, but I want to document them so next winter we can look back and see which dreams materialized.

All of our future plans hinge upon whether our daughters will be around (no guarantee they will) and upon one key decision: whether or not we start a pizza farm this year. If so, we have to get loans and permits and start construction now so we are ready to launch the business and begin making income early this summer. After a soul-searching family meeting, we decided not to pursue the pizza farm this year, but to continue gradually transforming our barn shop into a commercial kitchen. With that decision finally made, we are dreaming about these 2010 projects:

Poultry: We will not raise 200 broilers this year. That was a few too many free-range roosters trampling and devouring the gardens, roosting on the patio and worrying us about becoming owl snacks. We will keep our 20 laying hens and allow them to hatch out some eggs, if inclined. We will order about 50 chicks to raise for meat. We may get a few more ducklings and goslings because they are so much fun. We hope to acquire a couple of guinea hens.

Cows: We are contemplating selling Reuben, our Jersey steer because he is 650 lbs. of friendly rambunctiousness - it makes us nervous to work around him because he has scary horns now and we have to be on the alert in case he unexpectedly comes up to playfully butt us. We would love to have a gentle family milk cow...but are not sure yet if we want to commit to the milking schedule demands.
Apiary: Add a second beehive. Harvest our first honey.

Veggie Garden: Our vegetable garden was a stupendous success last year. We will do the same no-till, deep mulching method next summer, but grow more potatoes and onions and slightly fewer tomatoes and summer squash. We will plant more blueberries and rhubarb, add grapes. We will experiment with growing shitake and oyster mushrooms.

Orchard:In addition to replacing any fruit trees that do not make it due to harsh winter or cow damage, we want to plant a small hazelnut orchard with a few chestnuts, pine nuts, and hickories.

Flowers: This year, with fewer destructive chickens, I want to tackle some flower garden dreams: a large perennial garden on the east side of the house with an arched entrance, work on the shady wildflower garden by the big rock, create a hidden fairy garden in the woods, plant hostas in the foundation of the silo and exuberant flowers lining both sides of the driveway. Prune the overgrown lilac hedge. Sunflowers in front of the barn. Build an herb spiral. Protect the daylilies along the chicken coop from the chickens. Seed bee-attracting native perennials in the prairie. Roses clambering over an arbor.

Willys: Get this truck on the road! We are almost there--just brakework to go...

Commercial Kitchen and Pizza Oven: Complete the transformation of the barn shop into a commercial kitchen--need heat, windows, water, septic and electricity. Find good used NSF range, hood, and dishwasher. BUILD WOOD-FIRED BRICK OVEN! We will use this kitchen to expand our baking for the Farmers Market, possibly sell bread to retail outlets, and host occasional events on the farm.

Granary: Finish tranforming the granary into a cabin. Install recycled wood flooring, wire for electricity, install a composting toilet and plumb for water. Solar panels...? (If we win the lottery!)

Pond. Create a small pond by the big rock. The water table is very high and the area is full of canary reed grass, indicating it would work well. This is probably the biggest 2010 pipedream of all. But what could be finer at the close of a day than watching the sunset over the pond, sitting atop the big rock, glass of wine in hand, surrounded by wildflowers?

2010 is going to be a busy year!

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