Accomplishments for the Fourth year on the homestead (2016):
Installed fire wood loading window. This has made a huge difference in the amount of effort required to bring the fire wood inside and to beside the wood stove. Now the window beside the wood stove is opened and one person outside pulls the wood off the wood rack and hands it to a person inside who puts it on the small rack beside the wood stove. This is done once or twice a week. It looks like we'll be able to get by this winter with the left over firewood from the previous year plus the firewood we cut from our own property in the summer.
Built larger chicken coop. Five hens were raised from chicks this summer and were integrated with the existing hens. The new coop has plenty of room for all the ladies. This winter poly panels were added to two sides of the coop and the roof to keep the snow out. The other two sides are sheltered by the deck. The coop is no longer easily mobile and is tucked in beside the back deck. I found that it isn't necessary for the coop to be mobile because they free range every day. Also, It's really nice to have the coop close during the cold winter days to easily collect eggs.
Planted fruit trees. Two plum trees and two dwarf cherry bushes were planted in the spring. In the fall, when nursery stock was on sale, a third plum tree, service berry bush, a mini kiwi vine and a willow, were planted. Digging the holes took several days because the ground is about 2 inches of topsoil and then rocks and clay. Also, some plant guilds were added at the base of the fruit trees.
Expanded the veggie garden to more than twice the original size by a combination of no dig and lasagna gardening over a patch of front lawn. Also a fence about four foot high was added around the perimeter with a gate.
After three years of making our home a homestead, the garden areas are well established and we no longer need to do any project related to the wood stove, except cut or order more wood. Our plans this year, 2017 are to:
1. Make and install wooden shutters to the front windows to match the roof colour.
2. Improve garden beds for carrots.
3. Plant apple trees.