New Beginnings

Happy 2015!

I’ve been scarce around here. I know. There’s plenty of reasons, not all of which I’ll share, but I’d like to talk about some of what’s been affecting my normally verbose activity, and what to expect moving forward.

If you’ve read this blog over the years, you know we started out farming after moving here from the city, and our vision was to be able to raise more of our own foods and have quality control over those. Talking about that stirred up interest from others, who expressed a desire for those same kinds of foods, but so many folks aren’t in a position to raise their own, so we expanded our farm so that we could also provide for others. Like so many small farms, we probably grew too quickly and without enough understanding of what we were getting ourselves into.

As we started getting a better grasp on our true costs – and particularly after a couple of years of drought and resulting significant price hikes on feed – we realized that we could not sustain our operation over time without raising prices. And that we did – with most folks being very understanding and continuing to support our efforts. But over time, your costs go beyond just the basic feed, bedding, electricity, and so on. You have structural maintenance to consider. And your own time. Spend a few years not getting paid for hard work, and see what that does to you, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. It’s no wonder that depression runs high amongst farmers. And we have not been immune to that ourselves.

The off-farm job George has been at since Spring 2012 places a high demand on his time and his mind. I have been facing my ongoing chronic health issues. Between everything we’ve been trying to juggle, we found ourselves all too frequently at the fast food drive-thru window for our meals. And that is so counter to our vision – our motive for starting to farm in the first place – that we have been doing a continuous re-evaluation of “What Now?” for the past year or so. We have gone from 52 goats down to 15. (I’ll address that in more detail in another post, another day.) We significantly reduced our egg laying poultry flocks. And while we have added pork to our operation, we are doing it on a small scale.

SproutingIdeasI’ve been making a concerted effort to make more meals at home, and it’s been a challenge in some ways. Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook. Absolutely adore it.

Cleaning? Eh. Not my bailiwick. And honestly, that has been one of our roadblocks – because I’d cook a meal, our little kitchen would get trashed in the process, and the next day, after trying to keep up with the farm – I’d run out of time and energy to get that done. We’d find ourselves coming in from working outside after George got home from his day job, and it was 8:00, 9:00, sometimes 10:00 pm, both of us descending into hypoglycemic attacks because we hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, and hence, McFood.

We’ve also found ourselves falling short of having our own adequate food budget because of the money we are spending to feed the animals.

Well, that all had to stop.

So, we have downsized a lot around here. Don’t get me wrong, we still have quite a bit to do here on the farm. Just less than before. And it’s meant that I have been back in the kitchen, and the premise of eating a home cooked meal helps me stay motivated to prioritize cleaning that kitchen.

I’ve come to remember how much I really enjoy not just cooking, but creating in the kitchen. I’ve missed it, and it’s been one of the things I’ve been doing to help keep myself to a schedule – an important aspect of dealing with major depressive disorder. It’s given me a renewed sense of purpose and joy. So much, in fact, that I’m starting a new blog project that will be focused on home cooking, and using the products you might be finding at your local farmers market. Grass-fed meats, for instance, can be a little intimidating at first, if you are unfamiliar with the differences between those and mass produced proteins. I’ll be announcing the new blog here soon – I’m getting it built up so that there’s stuff for you to read the moment I “open the doors” to the new place.

Meantime, this site isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been writing here for almost five years and will continue to do so. I am aiming for renewed energy to keep the farm updates coming as newsworthy happenings occur.

So, watch this space!

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