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2014 Farm Goals.

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I know, I know, I’m really late getting this up. But better late than never, right? If you know me in real life, then you know that’s one of my personal mantras So, I’m a procrastinator, but I come by it honest. It’s totally in my genes – if only teachers during my schooldays would have taken that as an excuse. . .but alas they didn’t. Darn it.

So, here we go, since I’m finally getting around to it, here are the farm goals for 2014, and there are some big ones on here. Huge. Also, a couple of repeats from last year (you can see 2013’s goals here). . . hopefully old procrastinating me will actually get to them this year.

1) This is the big one. The Big Kahuna and Moondoggie all rolled in to one (have I mentioned that I was obsessed with 60s surfer movies growing up) and quite honestly a goal that I don’t expect to reach this year or even the next one. But it’s the most important one. . . . LAND.

That’s right, I want land. Lots of land (I totally feel like Bing Crosby right now, singing, “Oh give me land, lots of land. . . “. Also, a big fan of 40s crooners (Yep, I was an interesting kid).

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve outgrown our six acres. What used to seem like plenty of room to spread out and grow, is now creating problems. Don’t get me wrong, I love this land. I picked this property out at 17 years old, my grandfather bought it, and dreamed of us all living on it together with a our own farm animal menagerie. Granddad has been gone for five years, but he did get to realize his dream of moving to the country with us by his side (along with a very cantankerous goose named Liza Jane, who also sadly passed a few years ago – although, if you ask Hunter, he’s not sad about it.).

Back to the land issue. Our property consists of a narrow hilltop that stretches along one whole side, a (in certain places) fairly steep hillside, and of course, the flat land at the bottom of the hill. It’s located on the outskirts of Elba, AL. Now, if you don’t know anything about Elba (and let’s face it, if you’re not from here, you probably don’t), it’s official nickname is, “The City of Flowing Wells”. Unofficial nickname, that would probably be “Flood Town”. But I digress. Back to “The City of Flowing Wells.” And it is.

There are thousands of natural springs throughout the area, and I’ve decided that at least half of them must be located on our land. Not good. Along with those springs and our hillside, comes ongoing major erosion issues.

This is the latest spring to make its self known. It’s pouring from the newly caved in area pictured below.

The picture above was taken four days ago. It’s stormed since then, and I think you can guess what’s happened. It’s much, much larger.

And if you’re wondering, yep, I have my eye on three different properties that would be a dream come true. All with at least 100 acres (I’m practically salivating thinking about what we could do with that much land). Unfortunately, they’re all well out of our budget. But I can still dream, can’t I?

2) More fencing. Something that I’ve learned is always a necessity with farm animals of any type, and holds a permanent spot on all of our future Farm Goals lists.

3) Expand our garden more. This is an iffy one. Mostly because of my complete lack of a green thumb, but I’m getting there. Every year is an improvement. This year, along with the usual run-of-the-mill okra, peppers, tomatoes, corn, etc, there’s also a little packet of kohlrabi seeds. Still not exactly sure what it is, but I can google it.

4) Add more fruit and citrus trees. Last year, we added pomegranate, limequat, banana, kiwifruit, another variety of satsuma, a new variety of fig, and two new blueberry bushes. This year has started off great with the addition of three different kinds of pecan trees (finally!). I also want to add more blueberries, a lime tree, and a white peach tree. Not to mention, I still really, really want an olive grove. One day.

5) Add new breeds and/or colors. This is a complete repeat of last year. I still want to add Cotton Patch Geese to our flock one day. They’re a wonderful variety of geese that is currently listed Critical on the ALBC’s Conservation Priority List. Plus, they’re a breed that was developed in the South, and just like our Pilgrim geese, Rhodebars, and Legbars, they’re auto sexed. And you know how much I love auto sexing breeds! Also on the list of future additions is a new color of peafowl and guinea fowl. And for my mom, Tolbunt Polish.

6) More registered goats. Last year we were excited about the addition of Sammy, our Miniature Nubian buckling. Then, we added Brownie (a standard-sized Nubian), and she had our two girls, Luna and Clara. You might say, I’ve gone Nubian crazy. That’s in addition to regular old goat crazy and chicken crazy. They’ve become my favorite breed (whether they’re full-sized or in miniature form) with their talkative, sweet personalities, and their milk is the best. I definitely want to add more registered Nubians to our herd. 
7) Bees. Yep, bees are still on the list. But I’ll get to them one day. Eventually. As soon as I get over one pesky little problem. . . I’m a little scared of them.
8) A cow. Still on the lookout for the perfect dairy cow for us. Later on, (you know, when we have more land, that is) I also want to add a herd of beef cattle. Belted Galloways are at the top of our list, followed very closely by Scottish Highland cattle.  
9) Learn to make liquid goat milk soap. This one scares me a little bit because from what I’ve read it involves more calculations. Then again, cold process soap making was also a little scary before I tried it. 
Now, for a more personal goal. . . one that’s not at all related to the farm, other than the fact that the animals would miss us. At least, I think they would. 
10) A vacation. It’s been over a decade since I spent a night away from home at any place other than a hospital, and the same goes for my mother. So, I’m thinking a mother/daughter trip somewhere. How about London? Or Ireland? Maybe Edinburgh? Wherever we go, I think it’s a fantastic and very long overdue addition to this list. One that I’ve already started saving for.

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