December 29, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011

One of my favorite sayings is our farm is a work in progress, always something to do and something always needing done. Each year we plan for improvement. Looking back 2011 brought very few changes to the farm, there were no great accomplishments or significant improvements. Finances were tight and we struggled along just like everyone else.


What Worked & What Didn't

The garden didn't produce as well as we had hoped due to the heavy rains in spring, then the extreme heat of summer and of course the poultry and peafowl were of no help. There were no bumper crops, though we did manage to can, freeze and dehydrate a decent supply of veggies for winter.


We retired Sarah Beth our 2 gallon a day Saanen milker due to old age. We replaced her with Barb our purebred LaMancha and Maybelle a LaMancha cross (Barb's granddaughter). The two girls together produce 2 gallons of milk a day. Maybelle was a bit of a drama queen when I broke her to milk. She is the first goat in all my years of being owned by goats I have found to be a biter. Instead of kicking and river dancing on the milk stand to avoid being milked she would bite me. Believe you me that came to an abrupt halt!

As hard as it was for me to part with them, we downsized the Angora herd. We kept our foundation girls and sold all that were 2 years old or younger. After careful consideration we decided to breed Jacob (white Angora buck) to the 4 foundation girls one last time before we sell him. This will give us another small group of kids to sell in spring as well as possibly keep another white color carrier doeling. We have decided to stop breeding all goats other than the dairy girls from here on out.



The sheep were a definite upside to the farm this year. We had a small but oh so beautiful lamb crop in 2011 and added a BFL wether, Sherlock, who we adore. Our fleece and fiber sold well at the craft/fiber events we attended during 2011. Vending at the fiber events, visiting with new and old fiber friends, seeing other people's creativity at work has inspired me to retreat into my craft room and get seriously busy again with our fiber biz.

Sherlock



If you want to follow our fiber biz...visit us at our new and separate fiber blog http://blessewefiberandyarn.blogspot.com/



There were no vacations or weekend trips away from the farm. Though my parents went on a once in a life time trip to Scotland to visit my brother who recently moved to Scotland to teach.



We had to say good bye to Indie our son's Great Dane. She developed bone cancer in her elderly years. RIP Indie we miss you.



Indie



Our guardian dogs are also aging. They will be 8 years old in 2012. Their life expectancy is about 10-12 years. We decided to keep a pup from last years litter as a replacement...just in case. Tootie is a handful as a pup. Though she shows promise and I am sure her mother and aunt will train her well.


Tootie





2012 New Years Resolutions


Every year I make them...


1 - What we can't grow on our farm we resolve to buy local products and to reduce “food miles” (the distance food travels from production to plate). Attending the local farmers market each week will not only reduce food miles, it will keep our purchases local. I read somewhere that if each household in your state would purchase $10.00 of local or farm products weekly it would generate $1.65 billion in your states economy. No more purchases from chain stores.


2 – Do More With Less.


I know that sounds like a broad statement, but for us it isn't. When we moved to the farm 13 years ago our goal was to be as self-sufficient as possible. Over the years we have stayed our course, though need to re-evaluate and improve in some areas.


We raise our own meat though we need to resolve to raise a larger variety.


We have our garden each year, home can and preserve what we grow, though here again, we need to consider gardening with a larger variety of produce.


We need to grow a more diverse flock of sheep. Our fiber animals are my passion, I love the Shetland breed of sheep, however we need to add one or two more versatile breeds for a variety of wool, plus meat and milk production.


We will never be totally self-sufficient, we like our electricity, computer, satellite TV and such far too much to go totally off grid, though I need to concentrate on cutting those expenses a bit more also.


We plan on spending a quiet New Years here at the farm. To bring the new year in right, we will be cooking up black-eyed peas, ham and cabbage. The peas are a symbol of luck, the ham a symbol of wealth, and the cabbage a symbol of money.
I am placing a coin out on the porch on New Years eve. I have heard if you retrieve the dime on New Year's day before the dew has dried, it means we should have no problem waking early throughout the rest of the year in order to get an early start on the farm work.
Hey, every little bit helps :-)




Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I knew about the black-eyed peas, but fun to learn about some other "superstitions."