On this last day of The Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Twenty Two, it is once again time to post a review of the year we just spent together.
The greatest achievement of 2022 was that we – quite unexpectedly – ended up buying a new homestead with plenty of space for our family and our gardens.
After years of moving from place to place, we finally have an anchor again. The four years we spent overseas and the time we spent renting here have finally given way to a house we can call home – and it even has good dirt!
It’s a wonderful thing. God is good. We feel so much more at peace now.
Now let’s see how we did on the goals we set out at the beginning of this year.
I. Create A New Weighing Station and Start Logging Yields Again
We finished building the produce weighing station in the first month of the year and commenced tracking yields directly after.
The year’s total?
That’s 458.5 lbs from the gardens.
The yields would have been much better had we not moved mid-year, but we still did well enough to take some pressure off the grocery budget.
We also got roughly 210 gallons of milk from the two cows we purchased mid-year, along with roughly 3,000 eggs from our flock of chickens. We also butchered roughly 30 chickens and a duck.
We also got about 25 lbs of black walnuts and 20 lbs of pecans which were not counted, and probably another 50-100 lbs of various greens and tomatoes and berries and such harvested piecemeal from the gardens.
The 2023 yields should be really incredible in our new soil, by God’s grace.
II. Plant Two Acres of Pumpkins to Breed a Landrace
We did this, but all the pumpkins failed. A combination of a late frost, then drought, then flooding, then extreme heat devastated both our pumpkin and melons, leaving us with nothing to show for our efforts. We hope to see much better results in the greatly improved soil on our new homestead.
III. Start a Corn Landrace
We planted a great mix, but in the weird weather and awful soil our corn did quite poorly. Much of it rotted in the ear or was eaten by worms. In the move, the seeds we saved were further destroyed by weevils. No luck this year. We’ll try again this year.
IV. Make a Second Chicken Coop in the Garden
This happened, though not how we thought it would. We simply set up our cattle panel chicken coop in the garden area and we drag it around as needed.
It’s strong, but way too heavy.
Predators are much less of an issue here and it’s worked well as a mostly stationary coop. We only have a dozen chickens now and that’s been almost enough to keep us in eggs.
V. Hit 250,000 Subscribers on YouTube
We hit this goal in November. We started the year at 153,832 subscribers and are ending the year with 254,402 subscribers – over 100k more. 98 videos were posted in 2022 (including livestreams). Thank you for tuning in!
VI: Release Four New Books
My writing for the year was massively derailed by our move. I wrote quite a bit on a tobacco book I’m planning out, as well as on Minimalist Gardening, and I planned out another book and a Kickstarter campaign for that, but they didn’t get finished.
However, this year saw the release of the massively expanded and revised second edition of Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, as well as The South Florida Gardening Survival Guide.
We also released Steve Solomon’s books Water-Wise Gardening and Easy Composting for Organic Gardeners from Good Books Publishing. I wanted to finish four books of my own, but I’m taking this as a win.
VII: Put in (at least) Two More Grocery Row Gardens
We blew this one away, though not how we expected In the late summer and fall we re-built the entire Grocery Row Garden at the new property. We’ve also begun a new food forest and have an orchard planned as well.
VIII: Post Every Weekday on This Blog
FAILED (BUT NOT BY MUCH)
Yet we did pretty good here. There were 260 weekdays in 2022 and there were 224 posts.
The stats are:
We had some crazy days this year and couldn’t quite hit it, but we did manage to easily beat 2021’s sad year of only 156 posts. It’s not technically an “achieved,” but it feels like one.
And 4.5 out of 8 goals isn’t bad.
The 2022 Reading List
2022 was the year I got rid of my smart phone and replaced it with a Light Phone II. Then, in November, I took the SIM card out of that phone in order to fix my modem, so I’m operating without any phone at all.
It’s amazing. I highly recommend it.
Not having a smart phone meant that I had much more time to read, as I was no longer distracting myself with checking YouTube stats and reading headlines or scanning social media.
I started posting my reading list in the sidebar here for my own records and so you all can see what I’m reading.
As of today, this is how the list stands.
The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
Practical Religion by J.C. Ryle
Pasture Perfect: How You Can Benefit from Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-Fed Animals by Jo Robinson
Born Again Dirt by Noah Sanders
An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard
Landrace Gardening by Joseph Lofthouse
The Contagion Myth by Thomas S. Cowan and Sally Fallon Morrell
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Book 1 of 8) by Edward Gibbon
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Book 2 of 8) by Edward Gibbon
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Book 3 of 8) by Edward Gibbon
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Book 4 of 8) by Edward Gibbon
A Soil Owner’s Manual by Jon Stika
Comeback Farms by Greg Judy
Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown
Keeping Bees with a Smile by Fedor Lazutin and Leo Sharashkin
Balanced Beekeeping I: Building a Top Bar Hive by Philip Chandler
Balanced Beekeeping II: Managing the Top Bar Hive by Philip Chandler
Handling Sin by Michael Malone
The Rooted Life by Justin Rhodes
The Complete Guide to Restoring Your Soil by Dale Strickler
Soil Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis
The Wheel of Health: The Sources of Long Life and Health Among the Hunza by Dr. G. T. Wrench
For the Love of the Soil by Nicole Masters
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Book 5 of 8) by Edward Gibbon
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
Metabolical by Dr. Robert Lustig
Satyricon by Gaius Petronius
Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb
The History of Early Rome by Livy
Dissolving Illusions by Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
Less: A Visual Guide to Minimalism by Rachel Aust
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus
De Agricultura by Cato
Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Coppice Agroforestry by Mark Krawczyk
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson
Aeneid by Virgil
Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines by Tim Staples
The Holy Bible (New King James Version) by God
Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gilquist
Started then Ditched
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Barefoot Beekeeper by Philip Chandler
Holistic Management, Third Edition: A Commonsense Revolution to Restore Our Environment by Allan Savory
41 books is much better than I was doing when I had that stupid phone. To also manage reading the entire Bible in the year along with 39 other books really wasn’t too bad.
I hope to post my thoughts on the various books soon.
10 Years of Blogging
This is also my TENTH year of writing this site, and we now have over 2600 posts. I started this site in order to launch my garden writing career and to force myself to be consistently creative on a schedule. It worked.
In 2022 we attended the Keepers of the Old Ways event in Blountstown, Florida, plus did a tour down through the state, stopping at the Snyder Park Food Forest and ECHO.
Later I got to speak at the very good Homesteading Life Conference with Doug and Stacy in Hannibal, Missouri, then at SCRUBFEST in North Florida, followed by the 2nd Annual Gulf Coast Homesteader’s Meetup in Milton, Florida.
All great events with great people, but SCRUBFEST was our best event – the energy was amazing, and we got to meet lots of other Good Gardeners. We hope to do that again in 2023.
We bought a new homestead with two pastures and a pond and have been learning how to manage our own grass for the cows.
We created two milking areas and over-planted the larger pasture with winter cover crops
We created a big new garden area with an extra-tall deer fence around it
We installed The International Shedquarters (my 8 x 10 office shed) at the new homestead and hired a friend to help us run electric to it
We put up a privacy fence to shield the view of the gardens from the road
We put up a gate and a fence at the front of the property
A new food forest was planted, sprawling over about a third of an acre
We bought a used zero-turn mower
We bought a new Troybilt tiller
We bought a high-quality scythe for making hay
We built a corridor through the woods connecting two pastures
…and quite a bit more, really. Moving to a new homestead means we had lots of changes to make
We started 2022 living in a rental house with a brand-new baby and ended the year with a new homestead and gardens in a different town. It was a year of massive changes and blessings, struggles and conquests.
If I shared the complete story of our rental situation and how it ended, you would really see the stress we were under – yet God pulled us through, as He always does.
Thank you for joining us this year. We’ve appreciated the kind comments, seeds in the mail, photos of gardens and those of you we got to meet in person.
May God bless and keep you in 2023.
…and until then, may your thumbs always be green.
Inspired by your goals and successes. I need to do a better job of specifying and writing out goals and tracking achievements.
This blog has been useful for me – the discipline of “keeping to it” makes it a resource I can re-check.
What a great year! I’m happy for all of you having the new homestead. I read a whopping 4 of thosebooks! Happy New Year and may God bless you all.
I love the diversity of your reading list. It’s inspiring. Moreover, I greatly appreciated your “started than ditched” list. Isn’t that just life: not every book works out at that moment, for whatever reason, and that’s ok! Thanks for keeping it real.
First thank you for all your wisdom and knowledge. My wife and I live in North Georgia and are slowly transitioning our 1 acre property into an edible landscape that still keeps the HOA happy. As for your reading list, I would recommend adding any of the numerous books by Dr. John MacArthur to your reading list. His expository writing and preaching has been a revelation to us. Keep up the good work.
Jim and Lori
Thanks. John is a good man – I like his strength.
You inspire me to do more and more. Thanks
Thank you for all the teaching and tips. Thanks for answering my questions. Thanks for the advise. I’ve learned so much in the past 9 months about gardening and look forward to learning more. I’d still be stuck in the stone age if not for your information. Hope you had a grand Christmas and an even better new year in 2023.
Rock on. You too!
Happy new year, Dave. I loved Tristram Shandy—read it for grad school—but it’s a deep dive while pretending not to be, and just goes to prove post-modernism doesn’t know squat about meta-analysis. (Satyricon I liked a bit less.) My garden suffered from benign neglect this year—I put stuff out in March and April, but that hot snap in May just siphoned off my will to garden, and then I was behind all summer. Everglades tomatoes did nicely (thanks for the recc), as did mizuna, tangerines made their first showing, and I had 50 million kumquats until it froze last week. Porto Rico sweet potatoes were disappointing (many leaves, few potatoes), as were the lettuces and Uzbek carrots. Once I pick through everything that died in the cold, I’ll plan properly for next year, but I think I’m all in on Shin Kurodas and Japanese greens. Is your minimalism book out already?
Yeah, Satyricon was trash. My favorite of the novels I read was Tom Jones. Shandy has its moments. Minimalism book is still in progress.
Thank you for sharing this. I would love to keep track of books I finish reading this year as well. I’m glad everything is going well for you guys and am excited for you about your new property. God bless you and your family. I hope 2023 is a great year for you all.
Thank you. It’s rather interesting to see how much ended up getting done. Tracking books, yields, etc., lets the progress be seen.
David. Well done all things considered. 2022 was a challenging year. One thought on the chicken tractor involves moving it. We use a similar approach, sort of a wooden tank to protect the chickens and 4-5 improvised fence panels I can take down and move with them. It serves as a daytime exercise area and reduces the need to move them as often. When I do move them, I slide the “lip” of a hand truck under the middle of the front. It elevates the front about 4 inches and provides some useful wheels for the move. The downside is accumulating debris along the back wall that has to be dealt with on longer moves. The other downside is the chicken IQ deficiency where they huddle along the back wall and one periodically sticks a foot out under the back wall. No broken legs YET. A second person keeping an eye on the chickens from the back is a big help.
All that being said and done, YOU ROCKED 2022.
Thank you, Mark. Yeah – they really do hang out in the wrong place when I move it! No broken legs yet, but man…
Congratulations, David and family! It’s been quite a year and you continue to inspire my own family.
Happy New Year! I always enjoy your enlightened posts
What state are you living in now? Still the Southeast?
Best of luck for a fabulous & fruitful year!!
Lower Alabama for us, right near the Florida panhandle. Happy New Year.
May God continue to bless you and yours with an abundance of peace and joy in the new year! We are all very blessed to be apart of your journey. Happy new year.
So happy to hear of the wonderful changes in your life! Congrats on the growing family and your very own new place. For me the start of ’23 is something like crawling out of the ashes. Hurricane Ian and the storm surge she brought took pretty much everything from me. The cars, motorcycles, and the charter boat were all destroyed. The house is salvageable but in ruins. The sea water stood for three days which killed the garden, my fruit trees (except for the special one that author Randy wayne White gave me). That one is the original DNA of what the Spaniards were gorilla gardening as they plundered their way along in 1500. In any case, I wish is for all of us to have a better 2023.
Wow, what a wreck of a year. I am glad you are okay – and may your 2023 be MUCH better.
I have bought and read a lot of books that you’ve recommende in your youtube channel over the years, so I appreciate the reading list from last year. I’m going through and adding some of them to my amazon cart that look interesting. Any from that list that you particularly recommend (or don’t)?
I do not like Philip Chandler’s books. I will give proper reviews soon.