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  :)


Anonymous said...

You really have been busy! It all sounds exciting.
I know what you mean about cutting back. We are thinking about the same things here.

The stone mansion school sounds very interesting! I imagine it is beautiful.

Good luck with all you and your family choose to do.
Now... get rested up!


lisa said...

I know what you mean, we have just 5 steers, 2 for meat this winter and 3 others started for next year. We only have the two horses and the chickens, we have three gardens and way too much to put up! I sure know where you are coming from. I actually want to be able to stay home and enjoy the animals and my weaving but just feasible at this time. The hubby is still gone most weeks and now he is on a job that is actually keeping him away now for 5 weeks, we thought he would get home for the labor day weekend but looks like that might not happen! I will go down for the weekends to see him and come home during the week. (keeps him a little more happy if he can see me. Even though it worries him not to be able to get work done at home for the winter that is on its way!) Glad to see your post! Small is still good!

Robin said...

Change is good. I miss my last two goats but I don't miss having goats. Someone else raises my pork, we seldom eat beef and most of the poultry is temporary because they're raised for the freezer. Winter is much easier. Change is good, and so is freedom to do new things. Good luck!

threecollie said...

Best wishes for all your new and old endeavors and thanks for sharing with us the things that are happening in your world.

kristi said...

It is good and refreshing to see a post from you Deb! I hope that this new direction renews your heart in all that you love to do! New directions, new beginnings are good for the soul and mind. After my trip to Vermont, I have many decisions to make for myself. Take Care:)

SheepMama said...

I wish you all best for the new start. Sometimes you have to start something new.

Good luck.

Gayle said...

I hope your new-found freedom opens exciting doors for you. Rest and relaxation are in order!

Christy said...

Deb, thank you for your comment on my blog. It does sound like we are in similar places although I've only been on the farm 2 years. I'm finding it to not be enough. I hope we both find exciting new directions to go in!

DayPhoto said...

I have missed you, Deb. But oh how I understand. I so remember those days when I got to the point I too needed a little more in the way of money, outside challenges and having more time at home.

I will be back to check on you as coming here is very enjoyable.


Anita said...

David and I are so sad to hear that your farm store is closing. We have enjoyed our visits with you. Please keep us informed as to your changes and maybe I can take a class with you. Best of luck to you in whatever direction you take.
David & Anita

Amy said...

Deb, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Making changes takes a lot of strength. I wish you the best in the months to come!


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I always enjoy your posts about your farmlife in Maine. Now if you have time to post they will be a little different perhaps - but still very interesting because you're writing them!

Best of luck to you on your new choices and hopefully a more restful winter ahead :)

Callie said...

You have had to make some hard choices, but they sound like they are very good ones for you and your family.