It’s that time of year! Time to look over our goals for the past year, see what got done, and reset new goals for 2023.
One major goal we had was to get the branch piles chipped. We got an estimate and planned on getting it done slowly over the year, as we could afford it.
With that in mind, I contacted the tree company and asked for an estimate to get all the dead trees cut down, but left as whole as possible, so we could salvage the wood for lumber. It would simply be faster and safer to hire someone. Unfortunately, to get them all done, it would take a 4 man crew and the estimate was $4000. Not something we could afford. Even just doing 5 trees closest to the house was beyond budget. It took until August before we could do it, and we just booked them for 3 hours (what we had a budget for) to do the big branch pile.
Well, that didn’t quite happen. Instead, they came and stayed all day. It took 8 1/2 hours, but they did the big branch pile in the outer yard, two in the maple grove, and one at the far end of the main garden area. We paid what we had cash for, and were told we could pay the rest off as we are able. We’ve got one more payment left! We also now have a lovely large pile of wood chips for the garden and tree plantings.
There is still one large branch pile in another area, but that one is getting so old and broken down, they might not be able to chip much of it. We are still clearing things in the spruce grove – something that we will slowly continue working on, probably for several more years. With the wood chipper we have, we should be able to clean up a decent amount of it ourselves, but will probably be calling them in, with their huge, industrial sized chipper, again.
Meanwhile, they left us with neatly stacked logs, cut to about 4 ft lengths, some of which we could salvage for other things, like this small garden bed, and some temporary barriers.
Eventually, the logs along the perimeter will be replaces with a low rock wall.
So getting one goal accomplished – getting the branch piles chipped – has helped us accomplish other goals, like build up some garden areas, and get some much needed mulching done.
There were several other gardening goals we worked towards, with some met, some partially met, and some delayed. As you saw in the chipping video, we got berry producing shrubs planted. Three of the five sea buckthorn didn’t make it and will need to be replaced, and I’m not sure if the one deer damaged highbush cranberry will make it, but the silver buffalo berry did quite well – which is surprising, since at one end, they all ended up under water! The Korean Pine was planted, with four out of six surviving the year.
We will be getting an apple tree and a new, cold hardy variety of mulberry in the spring. The diseased and dying crab apples still need to be taken down. We are looking to get three different colours of raspberries as well, each maturing at different times.
Our goal to expand the gardens and increase our food self sufficiency progressed, but didn’t succeed very well, due to flooding and a really bad growing year. Which means that this year, we’ll be working to improve things more, taking into account what areas saw the most flooding damage. Building up high and middle height raised beds will be a big part of that, as well as permanent trellis tunnels with middle height raised beds at their bases.
We didn’t accomplish more clean up in the spruce grove, mostly due to flooding issues and then never being able to get back to it once the flooding was done. So that goal continues. We’ll just have to slowly keep taking down those dead spruces ourselves, so we can use the wood to build raised beds with.
Speaking of wood to salvage…
One of the shed roofs finally collapsed with the heavy spring snows. I started to do some clean up of the collapsed roof and discovered much of the roof had forged nails in it!
As we continue to clean up and dismantle the shed, we plan to salvage the forged nails. We should be able to salvage a decent amount of useable wood that can be used to build something else.
Getting chicks in the spring of 2022 was a goal that was not met, nor were we able to build a chicken coop. I want to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop. This past summer, I took a look at an old wagon in the car graveyard that has a chassis that looks like it can be salvaged, though the wooden walls are quite rotted. I’ve since learned from my brother that this wagon is close to 100 years old, and he was quite pleased that we are interested in finding a way to save it and use it. I’m hoping we can use some of the salvaged wood from the shed and be able to build a chicken coop on the wagon base, but I’ll have to empty it and drag it out, before we can see for sure what we have to work with.
For me, building a chicken coop and having chickens is a priority, but my daughters are not on board. They are convinced having chickens will be far more expensive – particularly in vet bills – than we can afford. There is another priority that we can all agree on, though, and that is the outdoor kitchen. It will be built about where the collapsed shed is; in front of it or, if we can get it dismantled fast enough, in the same spot as the shed. It will be built mostly of whatever material we can scrounge up, but there are some things we will need to buy for it. If we can arrange a trip to a salvage yard, we should be able to get most of what we need – if budget allows.
Another ongoing goal is cleaning up that horrid junk pile. We still need to hire someone to haul it away, but it’s jut not working out. It is, however, getting slightly smaller.
We finally got this pile of unsalvageable logs from the branch pile, built up over burnable garbage too large for the burn barrel, burned. In the process, I started burning the old, rotten pallets I’d cleared from where there used to be a wood pile for the furnace. We were going to have those hauled to the dump, too, but we may was well burn them as we can, rather than pay someone to haul it away. If we only burn them in the one spot, when they’re done we can clean up the nails and stuff out of the ashes, later.
So… goals for 2023.
Continue to expand the garden, with permanent structures. That will require cutting down more dead spruce trees for the wood to build high raised beds like the one we’ve got so far (which did very well in its first growing year). We will also need to build permanent trellis tunnels, plus portable trellises that can be used in different beds, year after year.
We need to add to our food forest, with fruit trees and berry bushes. We really should be planting more nut trees, too, since they take so long before producing, but that will depend on the budget.
We need to dig up the buried hose that stretches from the house to the tap in the old garden area and replace it, now that the branch pile that was in the way is gone. What I would like to do is get a heavy duty hose and run it through a buried pipe. If we do it right, we’d be able to replace the hose, as needed, without having to dig a trench again. I suspect there will be issues with very large tree roots as we dig up the old hose, though. Some of them were not there when the tap was originally installed. Still, having that tap would make watering the garden much handier, plus it would allow us to set up a vegetable washing station, if we want.
We need to dismantle the collapsed shed, salvaging what we can in the process.
We need to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop.
We need to start on our outdoor kitchen, even if it’s just to build a timber frame and a roof.
Oh, my younger daughter has a goal of building a forge so she can start working on blacksmithing.
The cordwood outdoor bathroom is still a goal, but we need to get a certain group of dead spruce trees cleared first, since they will be felled and hauled out through the area we plan to build it. Until then, the old outhouse will have to do! It still needs its roof repaired and the outside painted, but it was surrounded by water for a long time, and we never got to it when the water receded. With the flooding we got, we now know we’ll have to build up the base for the cordwood building higher than the current ground level than I’d originally thought. It didn’t quite have standing water there, but it sure was close!
It will be at least a year before we can start on the cordwood outdoor bathroom. Perhaps we’ll be able to do a smaller cordwood practise building somewhere else, in the mean time. A replacement garden shed, maybe.
We really need more storage sheds. The ones we’ve got are mostly collapsing and falling apart, and the one that isn’t, is full of my parent’s stuff, that we’re basically not allowed to get rid of. There’s lots of useable stuff in there. We just can’t get at it! That will be a multi-year project. Among the limitations is the cost of lumber, and having to keep them small enough that we don’t need building permits for them. Nothing exceeding 100 sq ft, and nothing wired for electricity or plumbed. Anything that’s open ended, like hay or animal shelters, or things that can be moved, don’t need a permit and can be much larger.
Hhmm… I’m glad I looked that up. Our outdoor kitchen plan is open ended. That means, no permit needed, even if it goes over 100 sq ft. Good to know!
I would really, really like to have the well in the old pump shack checked and see if it can be activated again. At the very least, the pump itself needs new leather gaskets. It’s entirely possible that it’s the only thing that needs to be done, though I suspect work will need to be done in the pipes. Water is our major weak spot. If we lose electricity, we have no pumps. No pumps means no water. Having the outhouse and being able to cook on the BBQ or the fire pit is great, but not having access to water is a much bigger deal.
I think those are our primary goals for 2023. I’m sure some will change and new ones will be added, as circumstances dictate.
Hopefully, 2023 will be a much more productive year than 2022 was!