If there is one point in time that sets the tone for the year to come, it’s probably this one…
The one hour a year I sit down– with a bottle of wine and a fresh piece of chalk– and plan out what the next 12 months will hold. Projects. Chores. Maintenance. Things I’ll plant. Things I’ll build. Things I inevitably won’t get done (which never stops me from putting them on the list.)
Building this bigass chalkboard and using it to track my progress for the year has been one of my best ideas to date. I started my big yearly list back in 2014, and it’s been going strong ever since. (See also: 2015, 2016)
I already recapped how last year went and here’s how my list looked at the end of the year…
I haven’t had a year yet where I managed to plant (and harvest) everything I hoped in the garden, but with the greenhouse up and ready to start seedlings in February, I’m feeling more optimistic about the garden in 2017 than I have past years.
Getting shelves and heat set up in the greenhouse will be one of my first “outdoor” projects for the year, in fact.
I’ll also be finishing up some of the things I didn’t manage to cross off my list in 2016:
The kitchen (cabinets and counters) are at the top of that list, along with the upstairs bathroom. Both of those rooms are close enough to being “finished” that I should be able to get them done this spring. (Famous last words.)
And, I’ve refrained from adding anything “new” to the farm this year. I’ll replace the grapevines that don’t make it through the summer, but no new structures, no new fruit trees in the orchard, no new animals that would require building coops or fences (although I am planning to add to my chicken flock in spring, but that doesn’t really require new equipment.)
There’s ongoing maintenance to all of the structures on the farm, maybe a few more fun spaces (and an upgrade to my swings) out in the field, but I’d really just like to spend 2017 giving everything on the farm the attention it deserves.
With, of course, the addition of one pretty substantial project: Farm Camp for Girls.
This idea is still in its early stages. I’ve been researching a lot about programs around the country that introduce junior-high age girls to science, math, and trade skills (like using power tools to build awesome things), and I realized they’re a very impactful way to drive home the same message I’ve spent thirteen years sharing on this website, namely: Hell yes you can do amazing things.
Farm Camp would be a side-project in addition to all of my other work and farm responsibilities, and there are a ton of logistics (and legalities) involved in this kind of thing which may take a year or two to sort through, but I’ve got the means and the space to provide a really awesome experience for girls to come and explore things they might never have guessed they could be passionate about, like puzzling out a mechanical problem, or making sawdust, or growing their own food. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to create something here that will be meaningful to my community (and, you know, logistically possible given all of my current responsibilities.)
So, I have no idea how this year will play out, but I’ve got high hopes for really amazing things in 2017.