gardening, Home Projects, Suburban Homestead

Suburban Homestead Diaries: Home/Yard Plans for 2020

Pic from last August (2019)

Last year, I compiled a list of home and garden projects we hoped to complete by the end of 2019, which helped to keep us on track with our goals as we had a “big picture” to look at.

However, if you actually look at what we were able to accomplish on that list, we fell far short of what we really wanted to do, mostly due to budgetary constraints and the fact that I got pregnant and then had a baby at the end of the year, which tied up a lot of our money and my energy.

This year, we’re keeping things a bit simpler. Although there are multiple indoor house projects I’d *like* to accomplish, there’s really only one that I’m setting up as our Ultimate Goal for the year:

The Built-In Bookshelves.

When we first bought the house, the bookshelves were the top of my priority list. I was so confident, in fact, that we’d get them done ASAP that I sold almost all of our bookcases but one, convinced that I’d soon be able to unpack all our beloved books out of storage before we knew it.

But here we are, two and a half years into living here, and they still sit in their boxes, largely inaccessible without a bunch of moving and grunting.

We originally were going to put the shelves into one of the bedrooms, but after more thought, we decided to put them out in the basement family room, mostly because, down the line, it would be awkward trying to fit a bed into that room if we put shelves all along the wall where we were originally thinking of doing them.

We’re planning on Matt building the shelves for us, a feat which will be a lot easier since he took a cabinet-making class last year that taught him a lot of the skills he’ll need. Right now, we think the project will cost around $500, but since we always tend to underbudget things like this, I’m counting on it costing us more like $750.

***If you look back at last year’s list of projects, you’ll notice that the built-ins were on that list, too. I figure that if we make them our ONLY indoor goal, they’ll be more likely to happen, right?! But, if you want to see the gigantic blue wall where they will be going, you can check out that post.

The garden beds in September 2019

More Raised Garden Beds? Really?

On the outside front, we’ve been getting excited about the prospect of the cutting garden idea that we started last year. Originally, we designated one of the two new raised garden beds Matt bought me last year just for that purpose. However, with our goal to raise dahlias this year (which require quite a bit of special upkeep), it makes more sense to put those in a bed of their own.

So, uh, we’re planning on building two more garden beds along our backyard fence, which will mean that we’re up to six total. These beds will be narrower and longer than the others (as they’ll be hugging the fence), and they will be exclusively for flowers, the prospect of which makes me very excited indeed! I’ve been pinning things like crazy to a new board on Pinterest (Backyard Flower Farm, in case you’re interested in following), and I’m starting to put books on hold at the library that are all about cutting gardens and flower arranging and all sorts of fun stuff.

Never mind that my cutting garden last year was a total flop—THIS year is going to be different, if for no other reason than we’ve actually done some research this time around and we’ve learned from our mistakes last year.

Meet Bingo

Chick Picks

Last year was our first year having chickens, and we definitely had some bumps along the way—the coop taking three times as long (and costing three times as much) as we thought it would to build, one of our chicks dying on us, one of our chicks actually being a rooster that we had to give away, our hens not laying until winter was almost upon us…

But you live and you learn, and this year we’re excited to add a few more chicks to our flock. One of the reasons why we want to add more chicks is to get more eggs so that we not only have more for our own use, but also so that our oldest daughter Raven (who’s almost 5) can start a small little egg “business” that will help her to learn about managing money and having more responsibilities. We’ll probably just sell eggs to neighbors and family members, but we’re hoping that this can be a more hands-on way for her to visualize the financial habits we’ve been trying to talk to her about already.

We’re looking for three main things with the chicks we’re going to pick out this year: 1) prolific egg layers (ideally producing 4-5 eggs a week), 2) very winter hardy, and 3) varied egg colors from what we already have. (We also wouldn’t mind a “funny-looking” hen or two, just because we think they’re hilarious and adorable.)

In other chicken news, we just purchased this portable poultry fence to keep our current flock from destroying my flower beds, as they went a little crazy once we started letting them free range late last summer and fall (Cost: $98).

As of now, those are the only home and yard projects we’re for sure planning on tackling this year, though I still want to try and update our upstairs bathroom light fixture before the end of the year and maybe do a mini makeover of the office.

We shall see.

Now, send me all your Pinterest ideas and best tips for doing built-ins! We’re all ears 🙂

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