2018 is nearly upon us! Now that we’ve settled into our home and navigated the holiday season, our attention turns to the changes and improvements we want to make here in the coming months. (Note: My husband works in retail so this is a crazy busy season for him. I realize that we’re still a few days away from the end of the holidays, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!)
FIRST: We’re building an overflow pantry. Our current pantry is a tiny closet space that holds less than two weeks of food. We’re expanding into a space in the basement. This will require building shelving units. Jaime at Guildbrook Farm has a great video on setting up a pantry and her shelf design is exactly what I’m looking for. If you’d like to see what we have in mind, watch their video entitled Start a 3 Week Prepper Food Pantry. You don’t need to be a “prepper” to see the value in having at least three weeks of food on hand at any given time.
SECOND: I’m going to be calling area tree service operations to see if we can get wood chips delivered for free. We have plenty of space for them to be delivered and I noticed an operation just a mile or two from us. We plan to use a modified Back to Eden method, primarily using wood chips to build a good base in our new raised bed gardens. The wood chips will also be used as a base layer in the new chicken coop.
THIRD: Way back in 2010 we purchased some used cedar siding. We’re finally going to put it to use for our raised garden beds. Each siding panel is eight feet long and we intend to cut them in half so we’ll have 4’x4′ beds. We’ll use 4″x4″ posts, cut to the same height as the siding panels, for the corner bracing. We should have enough siding to build plenty of raised beds as well as to side the chicken coop. Doug and Stacy of Off Grid with Doug and Stacy have a good video on building raised beds here: How to Build a Raised Bed. You really should check out their fabulous Facebook group.
FOURTH: Chickens, chickens, chickens! When we knew we would be moving, we reduced our flock. We also chose not to replace any of the hens in our aging flock. It was hard to visit our local Tractor Supply and listen to those peeping cuties without scooping up a box of them to bring home! As soon as Spring arrives, we’ll start building our new chicken coop. Due to the number of predators in our area, we’ll need to have an enclosed coop and run to keep the ladies safe. We’ll start them out with a layer of wood chips to scratch through and we plan to toss our kitchen scraps in for them, as well. This reduces our need to set aside an area for a composting bin as the hens will do a good job of this on their own. Each Fall we’ll remove the material to top off our raised beds, and we’ll give the girls a new layer of wood chips to scratch in. As long as they have enough to choose from, we’ll go through Sand Hill Preservation of Iowa again. It seems predators wiped out quite a few of their breeds this past year.
I’m sure other projects will pop up, but for now these are the major steps that we’re taking.