January- A Season of waiting…

Here at Splitrock January is for lack of better words stale, it is the month we hunker down to stay warm, the month we plan and reflect on the year before but mostly it’s the month of waiting.


January can get cold here, frigid cold in our little valley in the highlands. We have seen -45 this January, school cancelled do to extreme cold. It is the month we keep the fires roaring, drink hot tea and get lost in good books, great conversations and our thoughts…mostly our thoughts.received_477177792792977.jpeg

January allows us time to reflect on the past year. Things we changed like the layout of the barn or the pig pen 3 times and not yet satisfactorily permanent. Things we did well milking our first time around, square-foot gardening and it’s abundant harvest. Things we royally failed at moving the chicken coop so it didn’t flood for the 3rd spring in a row ( which it will), doing the grand barn addition we planned and planned and planned….and put off save for a lean to off one side.Things we added Solar on the house only 10 days of generator power all month! A beautiful well natured cow, 2 horses a baby ( a human one). You win some you lose some you try again.20190202_174338.jpg

January is the month we make plans of the things we hope to do for this new year, Move the chicken coop!, add to the garden, fence the cow some good pasture. Dare I say a pumpkin patch is in the dream works. Raise some chicks and some ducklings, make more syrup. Dream realistically instead of outrageously ( at least out loud).Work out budgets and cash flow and time lines, scratch half the list and try again.20190113_150744~2.jpg

Mostly though I find we are stuck in waiting…. waiting for the goat to kid, waiting for the sow to farrow. Waiting at the window for the sun to peek out, for the temperature to rise. Waiting for there to be some color at the bird feeder, don’t get me wrong I love the chickadees ( we should have called this place chickadee ranch) but a little red or even a little blue  to stir up all the grey would be awfully nice right about now. We wait for the seed order to arrive, for the chicks to start hatching for the pantry to be stacked again. We wait for ours plans to unfold, for the windows to be open and the days to get longer, the hens to lay again. Waiting to start the work in February milking, pruning, wood stacking….A time to sit in the waiting and reflect, to remember we are blessed.

It’s good to have goals.

We are different Shane and I, in one very simple fact that largely impacts the way our life goes awesomely enough we manage to laugh through this difference often….

  Shane has this mind this crazy whirling mind full to the brim with thoughts, ideas,revelations, betterment of things, dreams.

 Shane is a dreamer.

I on the other hand tend to be very practical, with practicality comes doing, this is what we want it is logical and it makes sense. Do it.

I am a do-er 

And that is where it all comes apart Shane dreams, I do. We had big dreams once of completely downsizing and living in a camper our family of 5, I sold everything furniture, extra clothes, kitchen stuff, even our matteress ( it was a queen we only had room for a double) deciding what we really needed and what would really fit. Needless to say we never moved into that camper and we needed a new bed.

I spend a lot of time encouraging Shane to dream out loud. I love his dreams and his excitments. I also spend a lot of time reminding myself they are just dreams some forgotten by the next day, most will never come to fruition.

So naturally when we signed those first set of papers for Splitrock he dreamed, 33 properties we walked together, dreamed about until we settled here with this one…there we a lot of dreams.

There continues to be a lot of dreams and we get off track. So before we moved in, before we started doing, we set some goals, a 3 year plan of what we hope and dream to see happen and done here at Splitrock….. And in 3 weeks of being on the farm Shane has  dreamed and I have answered ” ok let’s do it!” ( for the record I think that makes me an awesome wife 😉).

So I  am going to publish our 3 year plan here in print for the world ( hopefully that will hold us to it and ground us some) dreams take money and time, sometimes we forget those parts until we are half way through the doing. Also to give you some insight to what we hope to do in the future.

Year 1 2017

  • Solar ( this has down graded based on pricing to battery back-up hopefully installed early spring)
  • To till, plant establish the exsisting garden ( 3600 square feet, seeds are here!)
  • Chickens ( we have ordered 25 silver laced wyndottes being picked up in April, we are realizing greatly impart to your interest in eggs we are going to need more this year)
  • Do 10 litres of sap by buckets for our personal use 
  • Build/ finish 3 bedrooms for the kids ( as of writing all walls are up drywalling is in process, thanks largely inpart to our great friend Jamie)
  • Start stage 1 of a tree house for the kids ( they are building themselves with guidance)
  • Shane take his hunters course and get his licencing for the fall hunt
  • Cut split and stack enough fire wood to get us through the winter ( I am hoping for 22 face cords, this is also an added bonus of clearing valuable pasture land, and maintaining our up and coming sugar bush.

Our ” if we get to it 2017 list” includes

  • Building a cord wood garden shed out of some trees we need to take down to clear future pasture approx 10 x10
  • Put up some fencing ( mainly stand back up exstiting perimeter fence)
  • Buy some pigs ( which we jumped the gun on and we should have 3 berkshire piglets here by mid Febuary.

    Year 2 2018 

    We need to maintain what we started in 2017 mainly garden, chickens and pigs winter wood for us plus: 

    • We need to purchase our second battery bank – 8 batteries ( we have about 18 months from the install of our first battery bank to add these or the life of all our batteries will be compromised)
    • We would like to produce family and friend maple syrup this year approx 20-50 litres.
    • Start the construction of the sugar shack in hopes of future production growth, this includes maintaining good tree growth and  opening up crown spacing to allow for higher sugar content.
    • Build a lean to with fenced in paddock
    • Build a hay  barn ( Shane would love a new shop and the existing drive shed would then convert to barn  and hay storage)
    • Cut access wood to sell, to off set cost of putting up a lean to and a hay barn or new workshop.
    • Purchase a small draft horse ( Canadian) to log with, and keep trails cleared ( also for Shane’s sanity)
    • Start 2 bee hives this includes making sure there is enough polinator friendly  plants near by and good fencing.
    • Hopefully in 2017 the pigs have cleared, tilled and fertilized my future fruit garden location and this year we can add some fruit trees, berry patch and melons.

    If we ” get to ” 2018 list

    • Add a greenhouse partition to the front of the garden shed
    • Add goats to the livestock list ( they will be great for clearing out some underbrush )

    Year 3 2019 

    Along with maintaining and growing above , pig breeding, more chickens, larger gardens, wood for personal and sale we hope to see 2019 include

    • Add solar panels use less generator!!
    • An evaporator added to the sugar shack and hopefully a gravity feed line system. No more buckets!
    • A second horse hopefully another Canadian to make a team
    • Some cows ( we are still disagreeing as to which ones so stay tuned)
    • Possibly some sheep ( which then would include a donkey)
    • Ducks

    Hopefully by this time its working kind well and it’s more maintaining then anything. If so maybe I can get a new kitchen put on the list!.

    This is the list we dreamed before we got here, before we settled in, before we even ever seen it without snow before there was opportunity for more dreams and more doing. Stay tuned let’s see if we stay on track!