I have a lot of things going on and coming up in my life and need to formulate some direction, if possible. I've decided to consider them as challenges to aspire to.
For one thing, I've been looking into soap-making. It's something I've been interested in for quite some time, but now I have the added incentive of some frozen goat milk to use for that. The challenge? I've never made soap. I have a couple of books on it, both hard copy and digital, with a lot of helpful information. I've also checked out tutorials online. I got a chance to speak to a woman who likes to make soap, and asked her a few of my questions. She told me what she does, and recommended watching some Youtube videos so I could see what it looks like at the various stages. I'm planning to bring up some videos this week on making soap using the "hot process" with a crock pot. "Cold process" makes finer soaps, I'm told, but the hot process is quicker and a bit easier. Simple sounds like a good place for me to start. And my first batch will not be with milk. I just want to try it out first and see what's what. For the short term, I want to make soap for my own use. For the long term, I'd like to make some as gifts for family and friends, and eventually perhaps sell my hand-made soaps.
Then there is the whole gardening thing. I love the idea of building up soil health and tilth, and of growing nourishing food and herbs for our own use. We are preparing to move in a few months, so that adds to the challenge. Perhaps we can get in a few early crops here beforehand: some greens and peas anyway? We have a small greenhouse, so we'd like to start some plants to take with us. How much work will it take to get in some garden beds at the new place and what will the soil be like? We don't really know. And what to plant this first year, getting a late start? And how much can we preserve? A number of challenges here. Again, for the long-term we are looking at preserving much of our own food, and hopefully having some to share and to sell.
Along with that idea, since there are already a lot of trees on the property, I'm hoping to begin experimenting with the idea of a "food forest." Oh, we may not get very far with that this first year, but I want to learn more and am hoping to at least get a few plants in.
Besides those things, we have the goats, chickens, and ducks to care for. Several goats are bred, so there will be kidding happening in a few months. Then the milking will pick up again. At least we have friends interested in buying our milk when we have enough to sell. We also need to expand our cheese-making skills. I only know how to make what is often called "farm cheese." It is very quick and simple, requiring no culturing, etc. I have more to learn. Oh, and while my daughter prefers to milk by hand, we will probably buy a basic milking machine, as my hands and arms don't seem to be up to the constant milking of the goats. (Should have taken it up when I was younger, I suppose.)
We want to raise more chickens and ducks for their eggs. And we are talking about raising some chickens, and possibly rabbits, for meat as well. That will definitely require a bit of a learning curve, but we want to know what is--and is not--in our meat, so there is a further set of challenges to meet this year.
And of course there's the whole packing and moving thing. OK. Right now I've got to get busy. But if I am scarce on the vine at times, please remember that I'm aspiring to a lot of challenges. I'll try to share some of my successes over the coming weeks and months. :-)