Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Retrospectives and Resolutions

Thursday, January 03, 2013

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I'm really not one for resolutions.  Past history shows that I'm in that 83% category of people that have broken their resolutions by the end of January.  What I do believe in, however, is having goals to shoot for.  So I thought it might be fun to take a look back at last year and see how we did on our goals for 2012.

This year was really difficult where the garden was concerned.  The heat was overly oppressive and, coupled with a moderate to severe drought, the plants really suffered.  We essentially abandoned the garden and any project that involved working outside and focused instead on getting the 1891 Victorian ready for sale.

We did a ton of work and I'm really proud of what J. and I accomplished.  Unfortunately, there are some projects that will have to be rolled over to 2013.  But we should have more time to work on these this year!

 So, without further adieu, here's my VERY ambitious list of goals for 2013.

  • Close on the sale of the 1893 Victorian and help our new neighbors get settled in February.  They need help with building a fence to keep their dogs in, and we’ve promised to help with moving the laundry taps from the basement to the first floor.  Stay tuned – I’m going to introduce you to them this weekend!
  • Replace the roof on the addition on the back of our house.  I think J.’s getting tired of crawling out there with bubble gum every time it leaks.
  • Help our other neighbors add a railing to their treacherous concrete front steps.  They are retired and getting older themselves, and her elderly mom has a hard time getting up the stairs. It would really help for them to have a railing to hold onto and we promised we would build it for them as soon as the ground warms.
  • Increase the size of the garden.  I had a hard time trying to fit everything into the raised beds last year, so I think it’s time to scrap them and go whole hog with a big garden.  J. better stop me before the whole yard turns into a garden!
  • Successfully grow tomato from seed.  Last year’s try was pretty pitiful and the seedlings ended up VERY leggy.  I’d really love to experiment with soil blocking and grafting.
  • Plant more blackberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes and at least 3 more dwarf fruit trees. 
  • Grow corn and\or other edibles specifically for the chickens.  I’d like to see if I can cut down on the amount of chicken feed that we’re buying.
  • Finish the rain barrel project and add drip irrigation to the garden.  This is a holdover from 2012.  We could just never find the time to finish!
  • Plant sunflowers somewhere in the yard.  I ordered the seeds this year, but never got them planted.
  • Severely cut down on all the crappy processed foods that we eat.  I don’t know that we can completely go cold turkey but we can certainly shoot for filling the freezer with grass-fed beef and canning\dehydrating\freezing more fresh food from our garden and the local farmer’s market.
  • Butcher a chicken.  The new neighbors are riding to the rescue on this one as well – they have 25 meat birds that they’ll be butchering in late January and I’m hoping to participate in the process.
  • Explore the possibility of solar panels on the garage roof.
  • Build at least one compost bin.  The upside down trash cans just aren’t working well.
  • Learn beekeeping – I would love to have a hive in an effort to replace processed sugar with my own homegrown honey, but I need to do a lot of learning before I .  I’ve discovered that the public library has a ton of books on the subject, plus our new neighbors have bees.  I’m kind of hoping they will let me be an intern.
  • Finish the renovations on the travel trailer and get it moved to the farm (a carryover gorl from 2012.)
  • Become proficient in playing the 5-string banjo.
  • Learn how to knit.
  • Start an herb garden and learn how to dry and store them.  And, while I’m at it, learn how they can be used in herbal remedies and medicines.
  • Payoff the mortgage on either the farm or the house.  The ultimate goal:  completely debt free in 3 years!
  • Enjoy every minute.  We've worked hard for the past 4 years and, while this list is long, it's all fun stuff.  I don't see any of it as work.

Whew!  I think that’s a pretty good list, don’t you? I've already gotten started on some of these and am already anxious to give you an update in the next couple of days. 

How about you?  What’s on your project list for 2013?


  1. That is an AWESOME list! I'm hoping to get a greywater system going in the new house - perhaps we can collaborate and help with one for you as well!

    Plant kale - it's a biennial (two year plant) and chickens LOVE it, plus you can make kale chips out of it.

    I can definitely help with mentoring on bees and herbs!

    I am sooooo excited about moving to the neighborhood!

  2. Great list - yes very ambitious but I have faith in you! :) Enjoy every minute is the best one :)

  3. That's a great list & it inspired me to actually write down a couple of goals myself. 90% related to the garden.

  4. Whew, I'm tired already and I just READ the goals. Are you sure your neighbors wouldn't like to butcher six bantam roosters too?????

    And on second thought, how many chickens can you keep in your yards over there???

  5. wow what a great list! lemme know how that chicken thing goes - i just know you are gonna do GREAT! switching from processed foods is pretty easy once you get your garden really going.


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