“Small is beautiful and productive!”
Year In Review
This year was one of the most challenging ones yet. It was one of deep frustrations and small but exhilarating triumphs. On this sustainable journey one learns that progress doesn’t come easy or swift. It’s slow, deliberate steps and when one looks back at the end of the year one can finally see how far one has traveled.
I’ve quickly compiled a list of highlights from 2007 here on the urban homestead. Our family, myself included are list makers and every year, month and week we write lists to ourselves to help keep our focus on what needs to be accomplished. At times the lists can be daunting, even intimidating if it’s ones personal list but it’s truly gratifying to pick up that pen and scratch something off the list.
This year’s significant accomplishments:
The preliminary harvest tally is in (we’ll be double checking the results)…… drum roll please…..
Harvested approx. 5,500 lbs of produce from our 1/10 acre garden — even with the devastating deep freeze in January plus disruptive 5 months (Jan-May) of construction work plus zero NPK fertilizers applied in the past 8 months.
Raised/hatched another bunch of assorted chickens to replace older hens from our 2002 batch
Raised another bunch of khaki campbell ducks to replace older hens from our 2003 batch
Keeping bees (again) using top bar hive method
Remove old asphalt shingles and replaced with a more sustainable metal roofing material (drinking water safe)
Built a new chicken, duck and goat house
Put in a permeable style driveway
Painted house (removed old/lead paint)Built new raised garden beds where slab or concrete use to be (depaved by hand in 2005)
Zero applied npk organic fertilizers in 8+ months
Received 3 Rainwater HOGS from Australia… hopefully more to come!
of course we continued to …
eat homegrown. most of our vegetables and fruit come entirely from our garden ( 95% homegrown fruits, vegetables; 5% exception organic local onions and organic potatoes)power down, conserve and living a low impact life (shown by the steps listed on the right hand side of the journal page)
Dervaes Family (of 4) Average Monthly Expenses
I quickly did an estimation of household expenses. For some expenses (like water) I made an approximation because the figures can flux drastically depending on the month.
Grocery (staples: flour, rice, oil, dairy) $300-$400Urban Homestead Supplies (animal feed, seeds, etc) $50-$75Utilities : 2 Phones ( 1 business 1 home/DSL Internet ($100) Water ($30) Power ($7) Gas-cooking and hot water ($15) – $150Insurance: $20 (car)Other Expenditures (personal items, netflix ) $50- $75
Totaling (less than) ~$1,000 a month (More accurate figures as our new website evolves)
I really don’t know how our expenses compare with other families, even though we live simply we still need to aspire to live more frugally. As a family and individually we each can make improvements in certain areas. In 2008 we plan to keep better records and publish stats on the new website for all to see and track our progress.
Even though we do have a car, a diesel car that runs on used veg oil we still make a conscious choice how often we use the car. Justin informed us the other day that we’ve driven ~13,000 miles since March 1, 2004 (when we bought the truck)
The Year Ahead
Ok, enough of reminiscing of things passed. What about the future? Theoretically we aren’t supposed to plan for tomorrow and instead live day by day. And it’s good sound advice, especially when we think we are in charge. But we do have dreams which, God willing, will perhaps come true.
For one PTF is planning to launch a new site complete with a upgraded and improved journal, photo gallery and much more. Not only are we concerning ourselves with the new website but we are formulating new projects and challenges. So stay tuned for all the juicy details. We especially thank all those who generously supported the PTF work this year. We are extremely grateful and wish our few supporters, “field hands” we like to say, a blessed and bountiful new year.
Also, we know that a few of our friends and loyal PTF reader’s have undergone some changes themselves this past year – our thoughts and prayers are with you.
And now, I’ll turn this post over to our readers. Tell us what you like, dislike, what we can do better to improve what news we bring you from the urban homestead or what inspired you the most this year.
Preliminary 2008 To Do List
tankless water heater/or solar water heater
rainwater hog installation
make the urban homestead run more efficiently
be less wasteful
depave the last piece of concrete near the garage
expand PTF outreach (lots of options open for us to consider)
and more to come…. stay tuned!
Grow the Future™
Enjoy this post and find the site helpful towards taking steps towards a sustainable life? Support our ongoing efforts to share and inspire by making a purchase from our online store or a timely, tax deductible donation.– ad sponsored by PathtoFreedom.com & affiliates DervaesInstitute.org / UrbanHomestead.org / HomegrownRevolution.com / PeddlersWagon.com