Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year-end wrap up post

It's been a very lively year here. Last January first I had six rabbits - four Cinnamons and two little mutts. Now I have... how many DO I have? 5 Cinnamons, 5 American Blues, 3 Thriantas, 3 adult Cremes d'Argent, plus two litters totalling 11 kits, 4 adult Californians and 12 juveniles in growout, the same two little mutts, and one mutt kit who should be opening its eyes here any time now. I also have some 42 laying hens - 28 in their first year of laying, 8 not yet laying, and 8 older birds. (these last two groups of 8 were given to me... yea!) I've lost a bunch of kits this winter... I won't breed after October 1st again. I lost one bantam hen to a hawk. But all in all, the farm has, well, become a farm! I have business cards with a custom-designed logo, this blog, lots of folks who come to us for fresh eggs, and I had a sign made for the front porch at the Big E, proudly proclaiming "Blessed Acre Farm and Rabbits".

The gardens did incredibly poorly this year. It was just dreadful. I didn't can ANYTHING except for some strawberry jam. However, the rabbit hutches are overwintering in the main garden bed, so the soil there should have no excuses as far as fertility come spring. I kept 5 gallon buckets under the hutches before they were moved into the garden, and spread that over the other garden beds, around the new blueberry bushes, the apple and peach trees. I planted loads of bulbs last summer, after the foundation work was completed, so next spring should blossom beautifully. I've overseeded the front lawn with new grass seed and clover, and have thoughts of tractoring either rabbits in growout or chickens, or possibly both. I have approval to put up a shed on the edge of my yard, leading out into the woods down to the creek. I ran out of fall this year to get that put up, but it'll go up in the spring. Then I'll add a couple of goats and a beef cow to enjoy the undergrowth and the pasture on the other side of the creek. I have designs on more chickens next spring... Cuckoo Marans... more Araucanas... Rhode Island or New Hampshire Reds... I must be certain not to get carried (too far) away.

And, amid all this, I am now one semester away from completing my MA in English Literature! I hope to be teaching at one (or more) of the local community colleges in September. My children are growing and thriving. My Mom is in good health, and we see a lot of her, especially when I have late classes. We see my brother who lives locally fairly regularly, and we got to visit with my Chicago brother and his family last summer at Cape Cod. All three dogs are still with us here - Sheba is 13 1/2, Decker is 13, and Lily is 5. Sheba's back right leg doesn't work as well as she'd like; Decker is mostly deaf, and Lily is maybe finally settling into being an adult, rather than a puppy. She's a great defender, though - chases off that hawk pretty regularly.

My goals for 2010? I'm still formulating them. Indoors, I want to finish my Masters. I'd like to get my wood stove installed and working. I'd like to get rid of about 20% of the stuff in my house - yard sale, Craigslist, consignment, Salvation Army, etc. I want to keep singing. I want to get all the moving parts of my body working properly again, and keep them that way. I want to work out in the gym at least three times every week, and continue with Weight Watchers, such that I reach my goal weight (between 142-148). I'm not sure where I am presently, but it's slightly north of 170. I think that asking my body to carry around less excess weight will facilitate getting and keeping all the moving parts working properly, too. Outdoors, I'd like to get five litters from each of my 15 does in 2010. I'd like to get to more rabbit shows this year - not a huge goal, since we only showed in one fair last year. I want to get the shed built, the fencing up, and add the goats and the beefer cow. I'd like to get my winter garden cover constructed for next fall; I planted winter crops this year, which did... ok... despite the chickens, but they never got covered. And always and everywhere, I want to spend time with my children, helping them grow into the kind of people they can be proud to be. I want to shower them with love and affection. I want to protect them harm, in whatever ways I can. I want to share with them my beliefs and values, and encourage them to define and stand by their own.

Should be a nice, quiet, simple, easy year... right?