In 2011 the pace of construction at Bonafide Farm slowed a bit—but of course when compared to building an entire house in 2010 that doesn’t mean much. But thanks to some pretty vigorous goal setting and the sweat of myself and others we accomplished a lot. All items in bold are linked to their original posts if you want to read more.
And so, in 2011, I:
Created a garden from scratch, and fed myself and others from it
Carving a garden space out of a field was a major undertaking, and fencing and tilling and adding soil amendments and lining paths with landscape cloth took much of the fun out of the early garden season. But even with a late start I harvested my own food from May to late December, and for much of the summer ate only produce I grew. Plus, I gave bags of vegetables to coworkers, friends and family. Not bad for the first year out.
Completed the crawl space pit
Several summer weekends, including a historically hot Independence Day weekend, were devoted to mixing and pouring concrete to make the walls of my crawl space entry. This project was started in 2010, and I rest easier knowing my crawlspace is sealed off from, well, the creepy crawlies. The finished product is awesome and will be here long after I am dead and gone, but remind me next time to do concrete work when it’s not 100 degrees outside.
Designed and manufactured garden row covers to fight insects
Sweat + seed ticks is all I will say about this August project. But the infrastructure is in place for 2012’s covered rows.
Installed new forest
A couple of backbreaking weekends in September and I have a new mower slalom course in my back yard. Which, someday, I hope will be a living screen between my neighbors, the road, and my house.
Installed porch ceiling
Dear starlings and mice: Consider yourselves evicted. Now to pick a cool fan for the box up there, install some rope lighting, and reinstall my outdoor speakers…
More than a year after the guineas first moved in, their little house is finally looking finished. I just need to hang a window box to pretty it up!
Repaired the garage and installed new doors and openers
This is the post I teased a while back but never got around to writing even though it was the single largest structural and cosmetic undertaking of the year. Much of October and November was spent supervising the repair of this:
And when I come in the driveway after work, it’s such a luxury to push a button and have a garage door open—instead of parking and staring at a depressingly decrepit duct-taped mess.
This fall, the completed porch ceiling, repaired garage and newly trimmed coop all got painted to match the house. I am trying to tie all my buildings together and the paint goes a long way toward that goal. As a bonus, I also had the front porch ceiling sealed and both porch floors repainted.
Though all of the above could fall under the personal goal of creating a farmish home, I also got to check off two major life list items.
I learned how to homebrew
For this goal I am grateful to Brad, who set me down the path of true beer appreciation and shared his expertise over a very hoppy early November weekend. I raise a glass of my first IPA to you.
And, I raised a puppy
Wow, what an experience that was—and, as he nears his first birthday, continues to be! To say he turned my views of both dogs and relationships on their head doesn’t even touch it: all the things I worried about were nonissues and the parts I thought would be easy turned out to be the most challenging. I wouldn’t call much of it fun, but I am incredibly pleased with how Tuck is turning out, and grateful to him that he’s still willing to hang out with me—sleeping at my feet as I type this. I can’t wait to see how he matures.
So those were the highlights of 2011. I think it’s a fair amount accomplished, particularly in addition to living alone and working a full-time job. I am aware, however, of how none of it could have been done on my own. The two people who made most of it possible are my dad, who possesses the magical combination of neverending creativity, intelligence and energy, and who worked next to me through all these construction projects in addition to having his own full-time job and farm, and my mom, under whose loving attention Tucker has thrived and without whom I would never have been able to cross “raise a puppy” off my life list. Thank you both for being totally awesome.
And I would be remiss if I did not mention the cast of characters who move through this place, lending their skills and friendship to this dream. I am a very blessed girl. Thank you all, and we’ll reconvene soon to talk about plans for 2012.