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.
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.