Most people start off the New Year with a lot of resolutions. We start off the New Year with a To-Do list. Typical of any homestead, there is a long line of projects that we want to check off the list this year, and we have high hopes for how many we will achieve.
A glimpse of last year:
The Pedernales Fire, seen from our front pasture. This fire came half mile from our home.
For many farmers and ranchers in Texas, the marking factor of 2011 was the extreme drought, heat, and fire that we endured. For many it meant the end of farming and ranching forever. For us, it was a huge learning year. It was a horrible thing to watch the land whither away. There was no grass and hundreds of trees turned brown and died. It was a scary thing to watch wild fires engulf land all around and wonder if your place was next to burn. It is a helpless feeling as a farmer to watch this happen. It is also a strain that tests you and your animals to the limit. We had to supplement hay 100% all throughout the year. Even feeding extravagant amounts of hay, we watched the animals suffer through the heat and drought the summer brought. Financially, it was an huge strain to keep ahead of the costs that we were being faced with. Our daily cost of keeping our animals more than quadrupled. We were one of the fortunate farmers to come through the year without having to destock or go into dept to keep our herd intact. For this we are extremely grateful.
Our youngest “helping”
Putting the drought aside, last year felt like a leap forward in the right direction. The biggest for me, being the Mommy of the family, is that all of our children graduated out of diapers! That sounds funny being linked to a homestead, but as any homesteading mother can tell you, there is countless time lost changing diapers! Also, there seems to be a maturity level that comes about the same time as potty training. It seemed like I went from doing everything with a baby on my hip, to being able to work for hours while all three children worked/played besides me without crying or fussing! What a break through!
We got a lot of projects done last year.
The Tree House
We fenced in a new pasture; finished completing the structure of the barn, and Dad and the boys built a gorgeous tree house.
A Days Harvest!
We completed the most successful garden up to this time, and I canned a ton of things to enjoy all year long.
My Leah Giving Kisses
I started teaching milking classes, which have been such a joy! We bought some new stock, sold some wonderful does and cows to great new homes.
Star Creek Zo’e, one of this years heifers
Our Dexters gave us two beautiful heifers, which will be spending the rest of their lives on our farm.
Whew! I’m tired just typing that, and it was only a glimpse! So many memories made, so many good times. There were some hard parts to 2011, but the good far out numbered the bad.
2012 is starting off full of anticipation! Some of the projects we will be working on are clearing out 20 acres of cedar and turning it into many more rotational pastures; logging in our barn, building a new shop and training 3 Dexter milk cows and 4 Alpine does to be great milkers. I look forward to sharing these experiences with you as we endeavor into more new things.
My husband has a saying that applies to everyone in life, but we say it to ourselves and our children frequently here on our homestead.
You can either work hard or you can struggle.
Many days we come in wiped out, dirty, and sweaty, but there is no greater feeling than laying down to bed at night and knowing that you gave something of yourself to your land that day, and one day soon, it will be giving back to you.
The longer we live off the grid, the more self sustained we become, the more fulfilled and joyous our life becomes! What an incredible blessing it is to live this life, this glimpse of time that has been granted to us! What a blessing it is to pass down to our children a rich and overflowing inheritance! We are so very thankful!