Things on the farm are going well. Well, they are growing.  Vegetables grew, livestock grew and so have sales.  Pickles sell, a lot.  And that is a good thing.

It is hard to believe that I started out with a traditional canner. One that holds 7 jars.  I started selling to family and friends. So a batch of 14 dill pickles was good.  Then I moved into a few stores and this spring updated to a bigger canner. It held fourteen jars.  Twice as many, twice as fast.  I now own an Amish canner that holds 30 jars and may need to get another one to keep things going.  Over 3,500 jars so far this year and things aren’t slowing.

 

These are small things that matter when you are growing a business.  Small things that save time and resources.  Small things that all of you have helped to purchase through your support of the farm.  So thank you for buying pickles, jams and pies.  You can actually see where your purchases go, we don’t own a yacht or even a dinghy but you are keeping this farm afloat and it is appreciated!!

Advertisements

Phew, has it been busy around here.  A good problem to have. Pickles and products are flying.  We are truly ball jars to the wall…

images

The shop kitchen, as I call it, has been improved thanks to everyone so eagerly buying our stuff.  There is a new freezer, refrigerator, and stove.  As well as a new hand wash sink and a set of swinging doors to make the space meet criteria.  The commercial kitchen paper work has been sent and we are now awaiting the inspection.  If all goes right, we will be offering meat pies and baked beans along with our other pies, pickles and preserves.

Pickles and preserves, holy pickles and preserves.  We are over 2,500 jars for this year, already.  They are going out quickly but they take up space so the upstairs spare bedroom has been allocated as the warehouse. Imagine carrying cases of jars up a set of stairs to store and then 2 days later carrying other cases back down to fill orders.

Soap had taken a back burner for a while but sales have dramatically increased.  So multiple batches have been made and are currently drying on a table in the dining room.  Deodorant, moisturizer and such are all stored in the old craft room. Along with all the ingredients needed for such things.

The old craft room has also become home to the farm “office”.  Printer, labels, cutters, and piles of receipts are all on shelves.  The sewing machine is also sitting on a table awaiting the day when someone will have some spare time to use it.  There might be a couple batches of wine brewing in there as well.

The “shed”, our old entrance area, in now storage for cases and cases of jars, water and vinegar.

We live in a big, old house but this little business is taking over. Thank you all for keeping us, literally ball jars to the wall!

 

 

 

 

 

My Happy Dance

As you know we are a small, I mean small business.  Actually, we have not even qualified as a business yet.  To date we are still a “hobby business”.  I think, if I remember my amazing tax person’s definition (mind you I was like wtf…I can’t write that off because I don’t make enough because I spend too much of my “real” job money in an effort to make this work…)Oh, wait that was the definition that I was fuming about in my head.  Yeah, I don’t have a real business yet, it is just a hobby.

Anyway, I have learned to overcome that definition and work my freaking ass off in an effort to make enough money to prove that this is a business.  Be it small, but still.

I digress, my point of this post was to let everyone know where their hard earned dollars go when they support us.  Everyone has seen a post about support local it helps someone send their daughter to dance lessons and their son to some sport.  I believe I have posted that at least once over the years.  Beyond the gender bias in that, maybe another post another time, in reality I think most of us “small” small businesses use your money to grow our business.  We turn around and purchase something that will allow us to serve you, our valued people, better.

So after this year’s Crafters on the Farm Open House I used the money that you spent supporting us on:

stove

A new stove for our soon to be commercial kitchen and….

 

 

gert

meet Miss Gertrude. She is a sweet girl to add to our milking line.

Oh, and I might have bought a six pack and a few cigars to celebrate the success of the shows, too.

So thank you, thank you, thank you.  Without you we would not be the hobby business reaching for big time status of small business that we are.  You all rock!!

dance

You truly don’t want to see my happy dance, it is embarrassing but heartfelt.

My Alter Ego

For years people have asked me, “Why do you have goats?” Mind you this question started long before goats in pajamas inundated your Facebook feed.  I always replied with a simple, “Well, I like goats.”

In reality, I have loved goats since I was a child.  Well, I loved them until my dad brought one home from the auction.  His name was Billy.  Of course, it was. He was a male and  back then no one knew that a male goat is a buck and a female a doe.  They were billies and nannies. But  I digress, Billy was an asshole.  Billy was the epitome of the reason why no one thinks anyone with a brain or a new car should own a goat.  He climbed everything in sight and if he could not climb it he rammed it.  He could not climb children and he rammed us…hard.  Billy lasted two weeks and then made a trip back to the auction. Not a tear was shed.

In my twenties, my friend Rhonda had a horse and two  pygmy goats to keep it company.  Their names were Hans and Ivy.  My love was renewed.  These two were freaking adorable and friendly.

Years passed, I am try to be a sensible person and can only have things that have a purpose on this farm.  Goats give milk, we drink milk, a sensible purpose. So I convinced Rod into getting two Nigerian Dwarf goats.  But they were just kids and would need a year to be productive so I found another goat.  One in milk that we could use and the Nigerians would have time to grow.  Milk is good.  Well, not true, completely.  Our first milking goat , Matilda, gave the worst tasting milk I have ever had.  I thought it tasted like I was licking a stall floor.

 

Junie B. Jones and Amelia Bedelia as kids

So we continued to buy milk at the store, good tasting milk and gave the Nigerians time to produce.  Junie B. and  Amelia Bedelia did eventually give good tasting milk but it was such a small amount that I decided that I wanted to try another breed. A standard breed goat, a large goat. Larger goats have larger teats…easier to milk and more of it.  Matilda was sold and Olive and her kids, Skippy Jon Jones and Lilly  were purchased.

                                                                3 2013 butting heads farm Painting-9637Olive and friend

So then I had two Nigerian Dwarfs and two Nubian does to milk.  And I did not need all that milk.  And to be honest the Nigerians, the ones you all know as the goats in pajamas, are drama queens in my opinion.  They bitch  yell if they are in heat, want food or just feel like it.  The Nubians, Olive and Lilly yell when in heat and you can hear them from a mile away as they are the loudest breed of all goats but it is a deep resonate sound not a whiny bitchy sound. Drama queens and whiners suck no matter how cute they are or how much you love them.

You are right the sound of an animal should not be the deciding factor of a preference and it is not. I have had Olive for 5 years now and she is truly my hero.  She is who I want to be.  She loves her cookies after milking, I prefer mine at midnight with milk. She always believes in letting her wind blow freely from any end she chooses. She loves the smoke of a cigar, especially mine. And maybe my favorite thing about her…if she doesn’t like someone she simply slams them in the head.  I love this goat!

 

So it is finally here.  The last son is graduating.  The nest is emptying….

I pride myself on being this tough old broad that is hard and realistic or at least I think I thought I was.  Then this happens.

Don’t get me wrong it was hard when the last two completed school and moved on to their futures.  But this is the last one, there will be no one to wake up 47 times to ensure timeliness, there will be no more dirty dishes or socks in the mostly unlikely of places. No more permission slips to sign in my last minute dash to work. No more lunch money.

I have been a bag of emotions today.  I felt like I have been fired from a start up business that I had birthed and grown into a fantastic, thriving successful thing.  I felt unemployed, my job is no longer necessary.  I will be kept on as an adviser but I am not  in charge of it.  I had contemplated selling the goats because why not.  I was rethinking every life decision I have made.

18836001_10209364424978727_6389652983530983992_n

Youngest and his girl

 

As I was explaining  the jangle of shit that was going through my heart and head to my husband, the goat guy shows up.  “Hey, I have a proposition for you….”

I have two new goat kids coming Tuesday.  They are bottle babies.  They will need nurturing and I won’t have to wake them or find their socks but something wants me to keep doing what I am doing, so I will.  Even if it is with tears in my eyes.

A Shit Sandwich

Sometimes farming is a Shit Sandwich.

Several years ago I was a speech therapy assistant and the amazing speech therapist who I worked under told me that when writing summaries of a student’s progress to always format it in a shit sandwich, the good, the bad and then more good.  The past two weeks in farming has been a shit sandwich.

The good layer: We were finally able to acquire our 5 piglets this past weekend.  With the extreme cold temps and much snow we were put on hold for two weeks. Two weeks does not sound like much but when you have the kill date all set two weeks are pounds lost and pounds are dollars. On Saturday, K. Bob, Patty, Stu, Barbie Q and Madam Curry joined the farm family.

The SHIT layer: A week ago this Sunday I went out to do chores and Lilly did not get up promptly and meet me by the gate with her girlfriends.  I looked in and beside her was a little white, furry mound.  Shit, F&*%, damn.  I hurried and moved the rest of the herd into a different pen and went to assist Lilly.  Shit, F&*%, damn this was not supposed to happen for about 23 more days… but it was happening.  She kidded out a set of triplets.  Beautiful triplets.  Large triplets.  But very flaccid triplets. Yet they were alive.  They were quickly brought inside and Lilly was administered to.  We lost the biggest of the three in the first hour.  The smaller two were fed every two hours and we eventually lost them as well.  Lilly was not doing well, the vet was summoned, many tests were run, many shots were given to whole herd to bar against any possible contagious diseases, worm medication was given, tums for calcium and Gatorade for electrolytes were doled out in massive quantities.  Life in the barn was a worry, a stress, a holy shit week.

The second good layer: All tests came back negative for any contagious diseases. Although many dollars were spent and we will never know what caused Lilly to prematurely kid,  knowing that none of the other girls should have this unfortunate situation happen is worth it. Olive is due the 4th of April…let’s hope the shit sandwich has been served and it is time for dessert.

 

Well, actually it is a Beau, Sam and Jerry but you will get the idea as this post goes on.

Last post I discussed the pros and cons of having a buck on the farm and that we had “agreed” not to have one and pay for stud service.  Well, my readers that was a big freaking screw up (pun intended).

Beau came (another pun, you may get used to these therefore I won’t point out any more) and serviced the does in November.  But due to circumstances beyond his or our control he missed his mark on two of the does. If you remember he slipped on the ice and damaged crucial parts to make another visit. So we hired Jerry to do the does.

Jerry left Sunday. Tilly seemed to truly enjoy Jerry’s company I believe that even when he was screwing around she took him seriously.  Stella….apparently needed a little more of a  Marvin Gaye style and less of the blubbering drunk  guy at last call style, because this morning,  Stella decided to announce to us, the neighbors and anyone else in a 5 mile radius that she was ready for love.  Who the hell was going to  was the hit a home run was the question…we had no batters, no hitters and unless she was going to immaculately conceive with no buck in sight we were screwed because she wasn’t going to be.

Enter in Salty Sam Elliot.  Sam is the buck of some good people who tried driveway breeding to no avail, (been there didn’t get it done either) and decided (much like us in the past and are going to again) to get their own buck.  Thank the goat breeding gods they did…one text message and Sam was here this afternoon.  Sam is a Nigerian and Stella is a Nubian but here is hoping that even though it is a tall order for him I think Sam may rise to the occasion.  Everyone cross their fingers and toes, because  I am truly so done with goat sex and sexual puns at this point……

Skincare, Soap, and Makeup

The Latest News For Every Beauty Junkie

Lovin Soap Studio

Soap Making Blog

In My Soap Pot

Learn how to make soap, bath fizzies, lotions, balms and more!

The Little Brown Cow

A little cow with a lot to say

sugarjunkieconfessions

Just another WordPress.com site

Happiness Happens

Musings on making the best of life.

Holiday places

Holiday destinations

Subsistence Suburb

Know where you Grow