Sometimes you have to look back to find inspiration for the next project or phase of your dreams and goals.  We get asked quite often to talk about what was the turning point for us in creating the farm and a more simple lifestyle. So for today’s Sunday update – we took a look back and tried to come up with the 5 most important projects that turned our little OWG dream into reality – we hope you enjoy.

1. The Garden

Fresh salads are one of the delicious benefits of growing your own food.
Fresh salads are one of the delicious benefits of growing your own food.

From an open field, to what has now become the most productive part of our little farm – the garden is far and away the single biggest contributing factor to providing a more simple and healthy lifestyle for our family. Using simple raised rows, compost, and heavy natural mulch, our little garden has grown to provide much of our family’s food the year round.

The garden has in effect changed our lifestyle from one that was dependent on grocery stores and not having a clue what was in and on our food – to now providing much of the food we consume each and every day using natural, organic, and chemical free methods.

See : How To Grow Simple

See : Growing a Garden For Canning, Plan to Can!

2. The Building of the Chicken Coop (s)

Our 2nd Chicken coop on the farm - built to match our barn
Our 2nd Chicken coop on the farm – built to match our barn

Our first coop was made almost entirely from pallets and scrap lumber, and helped launch us into the world of “chicken farmers.” We quickly fell in love with the chickens, the farm fresh eggs, and all of the benefits they bring to our farm so much – that we built a bigger coop in year 3 to allow us to enjoy them even more!

The chickens have not only provided a great amount of nutritious and delicious eggs for our family and many others – but they have helped keep our insect populations in check – and provide us with free fertilizer and excellent compost material.

See : Why a Great Garden and Raising Chickens Go Hand in Hand

See : How We Built Our New Coop And Security For Our Chickens

3. The Building of the Barn

The OWG Barn - built from the remains of two old turn-of-the-century barns.
The OWG Barn – built from the remains of two old turn-of-the-century barns.

The idea came with a simple pencil drawing over the winter of 2010-2011. Our original goal was to economically build a barn for our property using reclaimed lumber. What it became was a project of tearing down two barns and building a new one from the pieces. Looking back – the project was probably more than we should have ever thought to attempt – but we somehow muddled through and made it work.  Once complete, not only did it give us the foundation cornerstone to our little farm, but it also gave us the confidence to realize that with hard work and determination – any and everything became possible.

See: How to Build a Barn When You Don’t Have a Clue!

See : Our New Old Barn – Carrying On A Tradition

4. The Planting of the Mini Orchard, Vineyard and Perennial Crops

The apple and cherry trees, the grapes in teh small mini vineyard, and all of our other perennial crops have helped us to have additional food sources from more than our garden
The apple and cherry trees, the grapes in teh small mini vineyard, and all of our other perennial crops have helped us to have additional food sources from more than our garden

If the garden was the start of our self-sufficient food goals, then the planting of our fruit trees, grape vineyard and other perennial varieties such as asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and grapes have really helped us to really grow “full circle.”

Perennial crops are some of the easiest crops to store and preserve – and can really fill in the gaps to your food goals – not to mention add great tasting fruit and vegetables to your table the year around!

See: Establishing Perennial Food Sources

5. Creating Our Goals and 15 Minute – A – Day Approach

The 2015 Goal list - we create a list each year to help us stay on target.
The 2015 Goal list – we create a list each year to help us stay on target.

So of all the projects we have completed – none would have been possible without the simple act of doing.  From early on – we found that by creating a simple set of yearly goals and attacking them a little each day – we could accomplish things we never though we could.

We call it our “Fifteen Minutes-A-Day” philosophy. With each of us juggling the demands of our careers and our family – time is usually the one thing that is most difficult to come by.

Since full-time farm work isn’t always an option – we decided long ago to work at least 15 minutes at something for the farm every day.  It keeps things manageable, keeps them moving, and quite honestly – gets things done! If you are really honest with yourself – you can always squeeze in 15 minutes of your day to do something you love.

See: The 15 Minute A Day Approach

See: Creating The Goals List

No matter what your dreams are, no matter how long it takes you to get there – the key is to follow them with everything in you. The days may not always be easy, and set backs are bound to happen – but if you love what you do – it is worth doing over and over.

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