Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Planning for 2019: Too Early? How About the Next Five Years?

First, it's never too late or too early. I've been looking over my five-year homestead/ self sufficiency plan a pseudo business plan. I've done it every year for the past two years. I allowed for wiggle room in my plans, but I'm a year to two years behind. I tend to do this periodically. But as the growing season winds down, I look and start planning for the next year's goals. A where-do-we-go-next strategy building exercise essential for any operation be it homesteading or anything else while fulfilling your dreams.

What can I say, two Masters degrees in business and marketing are still useful even if it's used only in homesteading. My Momma used to say, "Knowledge gained is never wasted. It's something no one can take away from you."  I'm a firm believer in Plan A, Plan B, and even Plan C with adjustments along the way. I'm a Murphey too, so Murphy's Law is also set in stone.

My "business plan" includes:
  • When a project has started, estimated cost, when project is finished, and final cost breakdown on all levels. No one likes surprises when it comes to money especially on a fixed income.
  • Black Infrastructure improvements like roadways, bush hogging, transforming the property into usable space, alternative energy, and major building projects. This is my permanent changes for the homestead. Estimated cost breakdowns for each is in here too.
  • Green Infrastructure pertains to the gardens, orchard, rabbitry, and chickens (other livestock). They change from season or year. Estimated costs, maintenance, profit and loss are also included here.
  • I've also got a separate area that I call my Grey Infrastructure. These include improvements/repair/replacement of things we already have or would like to have that are under $250. Examples of this are the chicken coop and run, revamping the barn/workshop areas, an electrician to hard wire the barn, etc.
According to my initial five-year plan before I moved here, I should well be on my way to being self sufficient (75%) in groceries two years in. In reality, I've just reached 25%. We've had a rough three springs and growing seasons setting up our small, organic vegetable patch.

In fact, it wasn't until this year that we got it fully outlined and fenced the garden patch, and grown our own needs in tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers for a year. The goats for milk and cheese, supplying our own poultry, and other sources of protein needs have slipped into future plans.   We will always be dependent on outside resources for beef. Sheep and pork may be in our future. Mel's gotta have her beef. It's looking more like 2019-20 to reach this initial goal. This will bring us up to 75%.

Terracing the orchard last year was only a year behind schedule. I grossly underestimated the manpower and time for this, and there's a little thing like money that's necessary.

Speaking of money. This, in a way,  has been our biggest delayer. First, Mel lost her job and still unable to find another one. That's a long story that I won't go into here, but it cut our income by almost half.

Then my daughter who moved into my south Georgia property had financial troubles. I ended up selling the property well below  value (almost $50K less- A Big Ouch!) just to get out from under the mortgage.

That short fall put a halt to any additional black infrastructure plans I made for two years. It slowed any future black infrastructure plans to a trickle which in turn impacted my green infrastructure plans too. I did manage to get the main driveway, the food storage building, the orchard terraced, a new deck and access ramps and a very few other things in the black and green infrastructure accomplished, but not near of what I wanted to accomplish.

There's no use crying over spilled milk. So instead of getting the major black list accomplished in two years, it will now be budgeted over ten years. You gotta roll with the punches and just keeping on.

Best laid plans and all that aside. We are still operating and building the ground work after almost three years here. We are making farther strides to being self sufficient just not as fast as I planned.Well, if it were easy, it wouldn't be cherished as much. For now, going totally off grid is pushed back until 2029, or there about.

You can only do what you can do. At least there is no mortgage here. We have had all our needs met. We are blessed.

We've had some really hard knocks and false starts where our chickens and rabbits go over the past two years. So instead of showing a profit, we are eeking by. They are still taking care of their expenses. That should change in the next six months with babies being born and more wool. The rabbitry has been more of a false start than a failure with the loss of our nonrelated breeding stock, now rectified with the addition of new breeding stock (Lil Albert and Cara), we start again. We aren't as flushed with nonrelated stock as we were two years ago, but it's a start.

We've got the chickens under control again. They aren't destroying the garden too. A repeat of losing 3/4 of the flock shouldn't happen again this winter. We might even start hatching eggs and meet our own poultry needs in Spring of 2019. I've downloaded plans for a grow out pen for the butchering chickens. That's a grey infrastructure deal. That would be another step big forward. I've been in contact with local, no chemical producers of lamb, pork, and beef so that will be another check mark towards being psuedo self sufficient in a protein source since Zaycon went belly up this year.

We'll be planting wheat, barley, and oats again in the orchard next spring. We'll replace the area with fruit trees and bushes as we go. It will go a long way in cutting our feed bills for our small livestock. I'm finally done with the research portion of us acquiring some pygora goats. We'll be starting on the goat pen in mid 2019. Whether we actually get the goats in 2019 or 2020 is still up for discussion. It's a fairly Green/Grey infrastructure expense of between $500-$1500. We'll have to see where we stand before deciding.

In 2020, we'll be clearing and terracing another 1/4 of an acre earmarked for two tiny houses and a grain/straw/hay area. Hopefully, we can entice a couple of folks to come onboard with us in our cockeyed community adventure. We could honestly use the manpower. We ain't getting any younger. Plus, the added income couldn't hurt either. We are still leaning towards widows and single females in our vision quest.

It seems like everything we want to do is costing us $1500 or more. That takes some planning.  Not to mention my daughter's wedding in Tuscon next summer. It only takes money, right? But that which does not grow- dies.

Y'all have a blessed day.
Jo

2 comments:

  1. You know, we've never had things go the way we first planned them, so I think taking the time to re-evaluate and revise is so wise. There are so many things we can't control (like weather!) so it only makes sense to adapt with a commitment to forward motion.

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