…And a planning resource to help you tackle your own small farm projects.
Happy New Year! Don’t you just love the new year? A chance to start fresh, clean out the old and a whole year ahead of you to get all those small farm diy projects done.
Every year, during the first week of the New Year, I like to sit down and think through my plans for the year. Not just resolutions or goals. Because I have those too.
Well to be completely honest, I have quit resolutions. They never work for me. Years past I would decide to “Be more Organized” or “Get more Done” or “Lose Weight” (pretty sure we all have one or two of those). But 99.9% of the time I have completely lost track of those resolutions by the end of January. So, no more resolutions for this girl.
Instead, for the last couple of years I have begun setting Goals. Why goals? Because, unlike the ye old resolution, goals are actionable and measurable. Goals are improvements I can actually get done and then see that I got them done. For instance, one of my goals this year is to write 50 posts for this site by the end of year. Most people would break that into 1 per week, but I tend to work in bouts of mad ‘genius’. So my schedule will probably wind up more like 10 one week, two the next, 5, 1, you get the idea. Scheduling is not my strong suit.
So, at the beginning of each year, I like to come up with my goals. But even better (or at least more fun), I like to come up with my projects. Not going to lie, coming up with projects is MY FAVORITE PART OF THE NEW YEAR.
My project list is my wish list for the year of all the small farm projects I want to do or improve upon around here. And of course because we are farmers at heart, these are almost always DIY projects.
If you have spent any time at all reading on this site you probably realize by now that I have; what I like to call, Project ADD. I love projects and want to do ALL THE THINGS! But ALL THE THINGS gets overwhelming fast.
I have learned through trial and error (aka complete overwhelm) that it helps me, at the beginning of each year, to Brain Dump ALL THE THINGS and make that my project plan for the year.
If you aren’t sure what I mean by Brain Dump or you want to know more on how I plan for ALL THE THINGS, check out my post Get More Done! Avoid Project Paralysis. Bonus, it has links to my free project planner.
Or, keep reading and you can download it below.
And now, without further ado, The Big List of DIY Small Farm Projects we are Tackling this Year!
1 – New Siding for the Barn
this one has been on the list awhile but I am determined that this year it WILL happen. Just in case you are wondering why we might be residing the barn. Almost 15 years ago we sided the barn with 3/8″ plywood and some crappy paint. Temporarily.
Lesson 6 of 6 Life Lessons Learned on the Farm: Free is Great but Cheaper isn’t always better.
2 – Real Power for ALL THE THINGS
This one is a small farm diy project we should have tackled a long time ago. Like 9 or 10 years ago-ish. You see, almost 10 years ago we built our farmhouse, and in that process we moved the power supply underground because its prettier and you know, hurricanes. Doing so meant moving the power feed from one side of the farm to the other. And when we moved the power we cut off the barn and animal areas. So we, temporarily, (anyone else see a trend developing?) ran power to the barn with extension cords. Yep, extension cords, for 9 years. Now before anyone gets all judgey and calls the power police. They are large cords designed for outdoor use and they get checked and replaced as needed. But still, 9 years, extension cords. Enough said.
3 – Breeding pens for the Chickens
So, this one has only been on the list for about a year and we have actually started part of it. We cleared the area and put up new paneling on the wall they will be built against. But one of my small farm projects that is livestock related has been to breed and sell chicks from several rare breed chickens. Particularly the fancy English Orpingtons. But to do that, we need to finish the pens.
4 – Goat Houses
We have needed, for awhile now to add some additional shelter options to our goat pens. The temporary (Lord, I am beginning to hate that word) shelters that we have been using are falling apart. So I have on my list a new buck house* and a larger doe house.
*Update – Yay! we have completed the buck house. I will be posting photos and a tutorial of that in the coming weeks.
5 – The vertical garden
This one is a small farm project experiment. To explain, hub’s family is what I would consider a true blue farmer. Not a small farmer or hobby farmer like me, but someone who relies solely on the farm as their source of income. And one of the things they grow are strawberries. Ya’ll we are spoiled rotten around here when it comes to strawberries. The farm kid won’t even eat store bought strawberries, she turns her nose up at them like they were broccoli. Seriously though, the farm strawberries are AMAZING.
But, with farm labor rates skyrocketing in our area, it has become harder and harder to find pickers for the berry crop and still make a living from selling them. For awhile now the family has bridged the gap by doing a lot of the picking themselves. But if you have never picked a row crop like strawberries; it is brutal, back breaking work. So in the interest of preserving our berry supply and as an experiment to make harvesting easier for the family, we will be experimenting with vertical strawberry rows. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.
If you are interested in reading more about planting strawberries vertically, check out this post on Growing Strawberries in Gutters.
6 – The garden shed and greenhouse
You might be surprised to know that we don’t have a garden shed or a greenhouse. We do have a shed of ALL THE THINGS. That thing is seriously scary and considered to be a debris field by our hurricane insurance provider (true story). And because of our warm weather we don’t need a greenhouse all that often. But the farm kid has finally outgrown her playhouse and one of the things on my small farm diy projects wish list is converting that to a garden shed with attached greenhouse. I’m so excited!
7 – Beautification
This one is a two part (possibly more) project.
Maybe because I’m a type A personality, or maybe because I come from a design background or maybe, because I just don’t want our farm visitors to be completely appalled by the state of our farm. But keeping our home and our farm looking nice is important to me. It may not be critical to our operation or function and we may not need it to grow nice livestock or produce, but it is critical to my mental well-being. And that poor sucker is plenty stressed as it is. So, beautification is on the list.
This year I want to work on the landscaping at the back of the farmhouse. I want to install something easy and low maintenance that still actually looks like we care.
And I want to fence off the front of the barn area so that when visitors come to the farm they can interact with the animals without getting knee deep in the poo and mud. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to explain to kids that the little round pellets are not rocks.
So that’s it, the 7 (or 8-ish) Small Farm DIY Projects we are planning to tackle this year. It is a short list with some big projects and there is a possibility that we won’t make it through all of them this year. But, just like my goals give me actionable things to work towards, my project list gives me measurable targets to strive for.
What about you? What Small Farm DIY Projects do you want to tackle? Let me know in the comments or by email. I’m always looking for new projects to add to my list.
Want to know more about how I plan to get these projects done this year? My post, Get More Done! Avoid Project Paralysis has all the tips and tricks I use to tackle even the biggest projects.
Or you can download the free project planner below for all your small farm diy projects. This has space for that brain dump I mentioned, as well as actionable steps, material lists and cost planning to help you get more done!