2017 had its high points and its very low points.
I was flying on my writing and projects until mid-year when Dad was taken from us in an accident, then the rest of the year just didn’t hold together like the first part of it did. Rachel also recently lost her youngest brother in an accident which is very hard on her. He was only 23. Because William is so young, she can’t travel to the memorial service, but my brother and much of my family will be going.
On to the homestead…
I started weighing produce in April, setting a 2000lb goal I hoped to hit by the following April. Instead, we hit it right at the end of this month. Check this out:
2008.5 lbs (recorded)
I should type up the whole breakdown by crop but I don’t want to as there’s champagne to drink.
It’s almost all here, with the exception of about 50lbs of bananas:
There’s probably a couple hundred pounds of yams left in the ground we haven’t dug yet, along with tannia and dasheen. The pumpkins did much worse than expected this year but I’m hoping to try again on a new plot of ground in 2018.
I had a goal at the beginning of the year to get three books published. I only managed to publish one, though it was a good one.
We also fought with our internet company all through the year, trying to get them to run a new line up to the house. We even offered to pay for the wire and the crew to run it, but no luck. They are abysmal. I would have gotten more videos up and written a lot more newsletters if we weren’t always fighting to stay online. Finally, we gave up and rented a new house on December 15th.
Renegade Animals Eating My Crops and Livestock
A bull ate the pigeon peas, rats ate our baby chicks and sheep ate my red sweet corn.
And vine borers destroyed a lot of my pumpkin vines. Which leads me to the fact that we had
Terrible Luck Gardening in General
Yeah, just not an impressive year. We should have hit twice what we got on yields. And the chickens ended up getting a new home as they just weren’t worth the trouble anymore.
The rains were very heavy, the insects were bad, the soil just wasn’t good enough, there was too much shade, accessing the beds down the hill was a pain in the neck and the weeds were intense. It made it easy to leave the old place, honestly. I was fed up.
A Car Wreck
After getting a car in 2016 which ended up having a ruined engine, we bought a new engine and had it installed – and then very shortly after, I was driving with the entire family in the car and we were hit head-on by a speeding driver in a Hyundai.
It’s only the grace of God that everyone survived that wreck. But it meant a lot more time riding the bus while we searched for a new car.
Thanks to the help of our pastor here, we found a good one and we’re back on the road.
My book Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics was published by Castalia House and the good reviews keep coming in.
Though I didn’t manage to get Push the Zone recorded as an audiobook, I did get Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening recorded for Audible in 2017.
YouTube Kept Climbing
Last year I hit almost 12,000 YouTube subscribers. My goal for 2017 was to hit 30,000.
Well, lo and behold, I almost made it:
I posted 192 videos on YouTube this year. You can subscribe here if you haven’t already.
Speaking of videos…
I was involved in two online summit events, The 2017 Home Grown Food Summit and the Prepper World Summit. My hour-long presentations were well-received at both. Which reminds me, now that I have internet again, I should post them for sale as downloads.
At the end of 2016, I had 4900 subscribers to The Survival Gardener newsletter. Now I’m nearing 10,000.
I enjoy writing the newsletter but haven’t sent many in the second half of this year. It’s a little more behind-the-scenes, plus I promote my favorite stuff.
I wrote 359 posts for this site in 2017. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for six years now. We’re up to 1,586 posts total!
Survival Gardener T-Shirts
Oh yes, thanks to Aardvark Screenprinting, I got my own collection of T-shirts.
My Mom hates the Compost Your Enemies shirt because WWJD. She’s also nicer than me.
But I don’t care. It SELLS! Mwahahahaha!
The greatest success of the year – other than baby William’s arrival – was the release of BAHFEEMUS II.
I put it together over the course of a month, then realized it was probably too scary for some of the children who might be watching my YouTube channel.
So I edited it out for the YouTube version, sadly. Beet juice is terrifying.
You can see the unedited cut here.
It was cool that Mom joined me in a cameo, though.
Over the course of the year, I had articles published in Self-Reliance Magazine, Heirloom Gardener and Permaculture Magazine North America.
I also published quite a few posts at The Grow Network, plus showed up as a guest on multiple radio shows and podcasts.
This site also got a much-needed update and redesign.
We also found a new place to rent with better internet and an extra room I can use as an office.
Thank you all for sticking with me through 2017. Though I dropped off in my posting for a while after Dad died, plus had some struggles with YouTube and internet, we still managed to keep things moving along.
Many of you sent cards and best wishes, plus cheered on the arrival of Good Baby #8. Thank you! You are loved and appreciated.
See you tomorrow – and Happy New Year’s!
David The Good