Planning – Learn From Our Mistakes

Our first mistake was not having a master plan before we began. We started with 20 acres covered with Scotch and Red Pines and whittled out an area for a house. I had dreams of homesteading again, as I had in north Florida, but we were building the house ourselves and that would take time. We had only a vague concept of where livestock shelters, pastures and gardens would be located. Admittedly, it was hard to visualize with all the pine trees in the way.
When the barn was built, we did not give proper consideration to situating the doors. We found out that first winter that there was a serious design flaw. The snow slides off the metal roof and lands right in front of both the barn doors. Happy shoveling! Next year that will be changed, as I no longer have the stamina to dig walkways through massive piles of snow.

The cute little barn with the door in the wrong place

Once we had buildings and livestock panels for pens, we started adding different kinds of livestock. It would have been better adding one species per year and working out all the kinks before adding another. That would have given us time to evaluate what was working and what needed to be improved for one type of animal at a time. When shelter, fencing, gates, feeders and special handling equipment were optimal for one species, then another could be added. Because of our haste to be up and running,  we still have pastures without proper gates and have to build a temporary race each year when we shear and worm the sheep.
These are a few of the blunders we made. What would you do differently on your farmstead?


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