It's only the second week of February and I'm already working on a long list of projects to kick off the new year. These are related to my business, my home, and my garden. All of these tasks will be completed, of moved into a maintenance routine, by the middle of April.
The new website for OptSus was launched a few weeks ago and there were some bugs that had to be worked out. Now, my focus has shifted to onboarding new clients and integrating a new scheduling plugin into the website. As 2020 pushed more people to work and shop online, digital marketing services have seen an increase in demand. Many of the other marketing agency owners I talk with have seen their businesses continue to grow.
Another major shift in my business has been the move to a new bookkeeping system. Since the first of the year, I have been migrating to a new bookkeeping software platform and introducing ACH payments in place of credit card processing. Now, I'm interviewing bookkeeping services which will help me remain focused on growing my business and serving my clients.
While these other projects are underway, I'm working with my project manager to develop better processes for the business. These standard operating procedures will help my project managers execute on the tasks they are assigned while producing similar results. For my team to deliver the same results I can for my clients, I need to document the steps and expected outcomes. These documents will also help me train the next project manager coming onto the team.
One of the things that comes with living in eastern North Carolina is mildew on the shaded side of the house. Each year, we have to clean the siding and spring or fall are the best time to do this. Summers are far too hot for this amount of manual labor outdoors.
While we're doing maintenance projects around the house, I am also installing dual-flush toilets and exterior lighting. The flush valve has a slow lead and needs to be replaced, so I'm also upgrading it to dual-flush so we can save some water. Similarly, the exterior light fixtures are falling apart and I'm replacing them with LED lights to conserve energy.
Before the summer heat arrives, I also have some small repairs that need to be addressed with the outdoor furniture. There are chairs that need to be cleaned and loose bolts on some of the tables. All of these repairs will make summer cookouts more fun - depending on how the vaccine rollout goes and future pandemic restrictions.
Around six months ago, I had the property surveyed to mark the boundaries so I can install a fence. This fence will be used to support grape vines and enclose the garden. While getting estimates for this project, I learned about living fences and their many benefits. Now, I'm planning to grow a living fence along the property and around the garden.
While I'm rooting these plants, I also picked up some rhizomes to establish ginger and turmeric in the garden. The garden stores had these priced at roughly 3X the grocery store price, and they were completely sold out of turmeric in every garden store I looked. So, I'm trying to use the grocery store ginger and turmeric.
In my previous post about pandemic gardening, I listed all the plants I have arriving in March. Many of these will be used to establish a perennial row garden along the north side of my vegetable garden. This will include a fig tree and multiple berry bushes.
Last week, I setup my grow lights and started the first batch of seeds for the garden. Brassicas and butterfly bushes are germinating and will be ready to transplant in March. In the weeks ahead, I have additional batches of seeds to start for the spring garden.
Last year, I stocked the pond and built a pond aeration system using a Venturi fitting. Unfortunately, that aerator didn't hold up very well over the past year and now I have another algae bloom to deal with. Getting a better pond aeration system will help the fish grow larger and suppress the algae.
I have been learning about the value of biochar in the garden and I have a pile of brush that needs to be addressed. My original plan was to run this through the wood chipper and put it into the compost bin. Now, I'm adjusting that plan to try adding biochar to the garden this spring.
Another project that was mentioned in the pandemic gardening article was my chicken tractor. The chickens will provide eggs for my kitchen and I prefer to get the highest quality eggs available. Therefore, these chickens are pasture raised with organic feed. Similar eggs sold in the grocery store cost around $7 - $8 per dozen. While the chickens are enjoying the fresh grass and bugs from the pasture in their chicken tractor, they will also be depositing fertilizer throughout the garden.