Things that are going really good:
We'll start with the positive and see what good progress we have been making as a family.
1. We are living pretty simply. We have one TV in the house and only have Netflix. We watch on average less than one hour a day of TV and go many days without turning the sucker on. Since before we had kids my husband and I had a super expensive cable package and it seemed all we did was watch TV, I would say this is a definite plus in our home.
2. I've gotten really good at meal planning and keeping our groceries under control. I've been making our own bread, rolls and pizza crusts and planning accordingly for the things we need at the store. I know what I'm harvesting for the week and what I have canned or frozen so I can make a pretty good list. There are many weeks where we don't go to the store at all, and even more weeks where the only place I go is the Farmer's Market.
3. We love our chickens. The kids love 'em, my husband and I love 'em and they are keeping us stocked with eggs. They are fun, not too much trouble and we enjoy the eggs.
4. I've gotten good at canning!! That doesn't mean that I've canned all we needed for a year or anything like that, but I've gotten good at it. I know what to do and how to do it.
5. There are some things in the garden that we grow plenty of, at least for the last few years. Those items are muscadines, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I've got all of those that I want.....
There are also some things that are going good, not amazingly well, but I'm still pretty proud of.
Things that are going okay:
1. Our gardens in general are doing well. Above I listed the things that we really have way too much of, enough to share, and even sell a bit. There are some other things though that we have just enough of. A little bit to share, and can even. Those items are squash, zucchinni, okra, cabbages, kale, lettuces, broccoli. corn and potatoes ( both sweet and white). We also normally ( some years are better than others) get enough pecans from our trees.
2. We ( as a family) are reading a lot and that makes me happy. Every Tuesday we head to the library for books. Even my husband is in on the action when he has time. All three of my children really enjoy reading and I of course do myself. I'm pleased with this aspect of our homesteading quest.
3. Our diets are good. You may recall that my profession is a Registered Dietitian and I am working on my PhD and even though we have always eaten pretty well, I can say that I'm pleased with the way we eat. We have lots of water bottles, we pack lunches and snacks when we travel, and I cook a lot. Are we 100% organic? No. I don't have a desire to be honestly. We aren't vegetarians or paleo or anything like that, but I am impressed with myself when I open up our pantries or the fridge or freezers. My kids aren't picky and we eat a variety of really delicious food.
4. We are watching our trash production. We use reusable items like dish clothes, napkins, even feminine items, as well as reusing what we can, recycling and donating or consigning items that no longer fit us.
5.We are composting! Not only do we have rabbit manure and grass clippings and leaves, but we compost our broccoli stems and apple cores and just all those little knick knacks from the kitchen. Our composting is coming in handy.
6. We have one bee hive and have done well with them I think. We should be ready to harvest our honey here in a few months.
Things that I'd like to work on:
1. We have plenty of pears and muscadines, but I'd like more fruit!! I always have enough blueberries, blackberries and strawberries for a few desserts a year and for us to snack on, and occasionally enough to freeze a bit or make some jam, but right now I'm getting our berries, apples and peaches from the farmer's markets or pick your own type places. I'd like to add more fruit to our homestead.
2. I'd also like more corn and peas to add to our pantry and freezers. We eat a lot of corn, and I do put up quite a bit, but I think adding a few more rows of each would be helpful.
3. I'd like to start making soap. I have plenty of herbs that I could dry and I bought a book off of Amazon about how to make cold press soap, but that's been it. I'd like to start experimenting with making our own soap.
4. Last year I put up a ton of delicious pizza sauce, pasta sauce and salsa, this year I'd like to try my hand at vegetable soup. Last year I would just get a jar of stewed tomatoes and add frozen veggies and stuff to it, but those big quart jars of veggie soup I remember from my childhood are just calling my name.
5. I'd like to try cheese making. I don't have a place to get good fresh milk right now, but I'm sure if I looked a little harder I could find someone local to get some milk from. I know you can make cheese from grocery store milk, but I would like some from a local farmer.
If you've read this far. Bless you :).
What are some things you are doing super well with on your homestead? What are some things you could work on?