I returned to annual home goals last year after a four-year break. It felt good to be focused and have some projects to work on through the year. And I feel like I did pretty well at accomplishing my goals.
Here’s a look back at what happened around the farm in 2021.
Our biggest project last year (biggest home project so far) was the garage and mudroom. These spaces have made such a difference for our home and how we use it. There are a few things to work on still (Home Goals 2022 coming soon!), but I am so happy we did this renovation.
The treehouse playground was a highlight of last year. Both for the actual building and for the fun Ellie has playing on it.
The pond shore is my perennial home goal. Last year, we cleared a little more of the shore, though I didn’t do as much as I hoped and I didn’t build a little bridge across the creek. What is clear, we enjoyed, though. I had bonfires almost every week with my friends over the summer, and Ellie and I make regular visits to the little waterfall.
I would classify the garden as a fail last year. I tried mulch, but didn’t build proper raised rows. And I didn’t spend enough time in the garden to maintain it. We did grow a few things, and I feel like I keep learning every year.
The last big junk pile
The last big junk pile is pretty much gone and our new compost area is built. I have a bit more to tidy this spring, but the view out the dining room window is vastly improved.
I thought my new duvet cover might inspire other changes in our bedroom. That didn’t happen. (My Mom did gift me with new pillows for Christmas.) The space is working well enough. Though I still think a closet reorganization would be lovely.
I was able to keep in touch with the woman who’s family first owned this farm over the last year. In fact, I have a story of a special tree planting to share soon.
The garage, mudroom and treehouse are the big wins of last year. The garden is the big fail. But overall I am really happy with what we accomplished. I work best when I have specific projects to focus on, and I’m looking forward to setting new goals for 2022.
What was your biggest accomplishment at your house last year? Did you have any fails? Did you set any home goals?
I really like setting goals for the farm every year. With a large property, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. Or pulled in a million different directions working on a million different projects.
This year has been feeling really good. I love being productive and making progress, and that’s what’s been happening so far.
At the start of the year, I identified seven projects or goals that I wanted to work on. (The original post has six because I wasn’t ready to talk about the garage yet, but it was definitely on my mind when I wrote the list.)
The goals were garage addition, playground expansion, pond shore clean-up, vegetable garden, the last big junk pile, bedroom refresh, and farm history.
Some of these goals are interconnected. The garage addition led to the playground expansion, as we used the wood from the old pool deck for the treehouse. The junk pile started to get organized (and downsized) because I needed a spot to stash the brick that were removed from the pool exterior. Part of organizing the junk pile involved tossing two old bales of hay into the garden for mulch.
With any home project, dominoes can happen really easily and it’s nice to be able to line them up intentionally. Here are some more details on how we’ve been doing with each goal.
The garage and mudroom are turning out so, so well. After thinking about this renovation for so long, I’m really pleased with the result. We are also so close to being done. (I owe you a look at the panelled and tiled mudroom.) We are waiting on doors. Person doors. Garage doors. We need doors. Once doors go in, trim can be finished and we can move in.
I am almost as excited for Ellie’s treehouse/playground as I am for the garage. It’s big. It’s fun. And it’s something that I’ve done mostly by myself. It’s been a long time since I’ve built like this. I’d like things to be going a little faster, but bit by bit I keep making progress.
The barometer for the pond shore is can I mow it? Well, I’ve been mowing a little bit more shore this year. I clipped back brush and tiny trees. Matt’s Dad cut some more trees that had sprouted out of an old stump. Ellie and I carried everything to the firepit and had an epic blaze. We’re not ready to build our new bridge yet, but we have the beginning of a little path between two pines as I’ve always envisioned and we can access the waterfall more easily.
Ellie and I finally unrolled two old bales of hay and spread them over one quadrant of the garden. The hay (along with the cardboard I put underneath it) is doing a good job of keeping the weeds down for us. (Though everywhere else they’re as prolific as ever.) I haven’t managed to build any raised rows, but we have planted some tomatoes and a few other seeds. We were late and the seeds were old, but we have a few things growing in the garden for the first time in several years.
The last big junk pile
We’ve done dump runs, dragged brush to the burn pile, dug things out of the ground, picked glass out of the dirt and finally started mowing a little bit of the area beside the garden. In addition to being the dumping ground for who knows what, this spot is also my compost pile for weeds and other cuttings from the gardens. I’ve dealt with most of the who knows what. What’s left is piles of brush and leaves and weeds. Then the plan is to build a new compost bin that will contain the mess.
The inspiration to refresh our bedroom was the new TRUBBTÅG duvet cover from Ikea. Which appeared to be out of stock for the first half of this year. It’s finally here, and now I’m wondering what else I want to do for this room?
Connecting with the woman whose family first owned this farm was a very meaningful experience last year for me. Due to lockdowns, we’ve not seen each other very much, and she’s not been out to the farm yet this year. We have kept in touch and I am looking forward to learning more about this special place.
Progress is the theme for our Home Goals so far. Nothing is done yet. I’m not sure we’ll be completely finished any of them by the end of the year. But we’re making progress, and that makes me very happy.
It felt good to set goals at the beginning of the year. It felt like I was coming back into this part of myself that has been pushed to the background since I got pregnant, since Ellie was born, since Matt was sick.
It’s also felt good to work on these goals this year. Every day is a juggle of Ellie, work, farm, life. But the juggle has felt like a balance–of sorts–so far. I feel like I’ve made more progress this year than we have in a long time, and I’m excited to see what we accomplish over the rest of the year.
What have you been up to this year? How to you prioritize projects at your house? Are you feeling in balance? Productive? Motivated?
Thank you very much for your kindness after my last post. I appreciate all of the thoughts, prayers and support that have been sent our way over the last several years. They mean a lot.
Last weekend, on the anniversary of the day Matt came home, I felt like he sent a special gift for us.
A woman came to the farm who had been born here in 1936.
I have always wondered about the history of this property. Who lived here? What were their names? What happened to them? Where was the original house?
Well, now I know… at least a little bit.
The woman’s name is Lorraine. Her grandparents were the original owners of the property.
Eventually her father and mother took over the farm, and this is where she spent the first six years of her life.
She talked about riding her tricycle down the barn ramp (just like Ellie likes to do in her little car), climbing trees and trying to keep up with her older brother.
Her father worked the farm for awhile before he took a job in the city.
The driving shed (I always call it the drive shed, but she says “driving”) and the barn are the same as she recalls. She said that the original barn burned down when her father was young and was rebuilt.
The pond was not here when she was a child. It was just a stream that they crossed every day on their walk to and from school.
She says that the house burned down sometime in the 1950s. The property was always 129 acres.
Lorraine left the farm in 1942. She has returned few times since then, though the last time was about 20 years ago. Last weekend (with, I feel, a nudge from Matt), she got up her courage to come again and see who was living there now. I am so glad that she did. I feel like we connected right away.
Lorraine and I have talked on the phone several times and met twice more already. She came out to the farm again on Saturday and walked around a bit and shared more memories. She has given me so many stories and obviously some very special photos. I have so many more questions, but what I’ve learned already has meant so much.
The experience of connecting with the people and history of this special place is very precious.