Sunday, August 22, 2010

Where to start?

This blog post has been a long time coming...........just haven't known where to jump in and begin.  I really don't believe in endings - simply new beginnings.   My life and life on the farm is changing in some big ways.  Good ways....exciting things to come for our entire family.

I've spent the last 14 months with my husband working on  an island off the coast of Maine renovating an old stone mansion school.  He was home on weekends, sometimes not even that.   While this was an interesting, once in a lifetime opportunity, it was extremely difficult for our family.  With the help of our two sons and family, we survived it although not unscathed by any means.  Separation is difficult no matter how prepared you think you are.  I've worked more hours per week than I care to count and have been doing that for a very long time.  The sacrifice was worth it......for my family but.........I'm tired. Plain and simple.  I overwintered 60 sheep last year along with a dozen head of cattle and a multitude of other farm animals. While I loved all the animals  and cherished all the joy they gave me,  I certainly do not want to spend another Maine winter like that.   This farm and what we have created here is amazing but we have come to realize it is simply too much work for one person and not only that, it's simply not necessary any more.

Our boys are busy - growing up and moving on.  The demand for fresh meats, milk & produce has diminished greatly here at home and certainly the demand is not there to warrant milking even one cow or having three gardens.  I had just one garden this year and while the harvest has been good, without rain for over a month now, it hasn't been fabulous and we STILL have more produce that we can eat, can, feed to the pigs, etc.  

So.........I am now down to just 12 sheep.  All of our pygora goats have gone to loving, new homes.  We are down to three head of cattle and a manageable amount of poultry.  Of course, the donkey is here :)  I plan to keep a half dozen finn ewes and one ram and allow them to cycle, breed and lamb on a natural schedule.  I plan to continue selling lovely finn roving and hand dyed yarns through an on-line Etsy shop along with my weaving, jewelry, etc.  We still have fresh meats in the shop as well as the above mentioned items but the shop will be closed by the end of September.  Unfortunately money is always a deciding factor in every situation.  Insurance prices keep rising and just to run the shop and liability on the farm, not animals or equipment, pricing is astronomical.  We are afraid to run the farm without it's a catch 22 situation.

The changes will make the farm  manageable for me  and also give me time to pursue a different part time career off the farm.  I've been on the farm for 20 years now and feel like I'd like a little "social" time doing something interesting and making a steady pay check other than my adult ed teaching.    Not sure what direction that will take me in but it's fun and exciting just thinking about it :)  It will also give me more time to  truly enjoy the animals that do live here and enjoy the things I love to do ie., gardening, spinning, knitting, reading., etc.

School is about to start, Hubby is home and starting a new project close to home and hopefully our life will settle into a comfortable routine.  I hope the blog will resume with new and interesting topics, farming and gardening included.  Tomorrow - the tomato harvest has begins.

For those of you that still come to visit, Thank You..........I look forward to catching up with all of you  :)