Last night I got to celebrate my birthday with my friends in Menomonie. I went out to some bars, drank some whiskey and crashed at a friends house. My friend Khaiti was with so we had to leave early in the morning for her to be back to do her duck chores and for me to do my chores. Our conversation lead us to her realizing she can't be such a free bird anymore because she was encouraging her ducks to start producing eggs early, which means a lot of egg gathering, washing, packing, and delivering. We both admitted we liked having a scheduled routine and it made me realize that I would soon be back to that more strict routine as well.
Perhaps I have been avoiding doing as much work as I should over the past couple of months. I was still mentally exhausted from moving this summer along with working two jobs plus taking care of my own farm. So I suppose it was o.k to let loose a little more over the winter months than I usually do!
It's time for me to buckle down and really start trying to obtain personal goals. I need to promote my CSA a lot more and put plans in order. Make those to-do lists and start crossing stuff off. Hunkering down and researching pasture/livestock management. I have all these questions plus so much more to filter through. Thinking about where I want fencing and how much will be permanent vs. electric. Do I want pigs this year? How do I want my gardens to work? Will I be able to cut hay from my own field? Do I really want to pursue growing more mushrooms? How can I utilize the 35 acres of woods that surround us? How many chicks, poults and goslings do I need to order? Where will I set up the milking area after the goats kid? How am I going to make portable shelters for everyone?!! Gahhhh!! There is so much more. Not to mention getting my financial side of things way more organized. After doing my own taxes it made me realize I could have been much better prepared!!
I am proud to say I have been keeping up with making goat milk soap! I have totally destroyed a few electric handheld stir sticks, but there has to be some casualties sometimes. If your looking to keep clean, smell good and support a small local business sign up for my goat milk soap shares. I am also taking orders for my meat CSA shares. Sign up while there is still availability!
In the meantime, enjoy looking at my paper mess, EB Ranch out the back door, and my beautiful bars of eucalyptus goat milk soap!
Hello everyone! I want to share some more information about my Meat CSA and Soap Share, both of which are available right now! Though I think it's important to give a quick definition of a CSA.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community. It is basically a farm share. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Local consumers buy a share into the farm – they support this year’s crop with money up front for a membership, and in exchange, each week during the growing season, they will receive a box of local, fresh, and seasonal produce directly from the farm.
Now why would you want to support a CSA? Well here is a good answer.
Local farmers are small business owners. Spending money with a local business instead of at a big box retailer or chain keeps more of those dollars in your own community. Supporting local business does really matter. It is a way of living mindfully, supporting sustainable businesses, voting with your dollars, being an active participant in your own life.
CSAs are also a great way to foster local community. On your pickup days, you get to interact with the farmer that grew the food you’ll be eating that night. Learning more about their business, building these relationships, and finding out more about where food comes from: these are all good things.
So I offer a meat share where you can choose from chicken, turkey, or goose. The deposit put down on your "share" helps me pay for the initial costs of the birds along with the feed. Some of it may also be invested in fencing, housing and other items necessary for raising birds in a healthy way.
The Soap Share works the same way. When you give me the payment up front it helps pay for the materials necessary to make the soap, it will also help me purchase better soap making equipment. Eventually when I have enough soap back stock I will be able to send the soap shares out immediately. I will also be able to offer individual soap bars on a more regular basis.
Right now I have a goal of raising $3000 by the end of April. I'm really hoping to make that happen and this will give my small business the boost it needs. I also offer something very unique with my Meat CSA and Soap Share. With my Meat CSA I am offering heritage breeds along with some of your more typically raised birds. Heritage breed birds tend to be more hearty and self reliant, and many breeds are also critically endangered because of big Ag only using usually only one particular breed that grows meat the fastest.
With my Soap Shares I use milk from my San Clemente Island goats. These goats are also critically endangered as there are only about 600 left in the whole world. They are fantastic, beautiful goats and deserve some attention! As of right now I am the only person in Wisconsin that owns these goats, so I would love word to spread about them.
Well, I'll wrap things up for now. I'm typing in between making batches of soap and I'm getting my computer kind of oily....opps!
Thank you for your support!
This is an important and kind of touchy hot topic I have been finding myself being involved in. EB Ranch website has been up for almost a year, it was my first time blogging. It's exciting for me to share my stories with other people. I get SO MANY PEOPLE thanking me in person for sharing these things.
I tend to stay pretty farm oriented when I write, though I do throw in some personal details. As of right now I'm planning on changing that, I want to be able to share more personal experiences though it will still remain very farm oriented. I want to emphasise more on my trials and tribulations. Life isn't a piece of cake, and we all know that, yet it's hard for people to share their personal struggles.
Don't get me wrong, I completely respect that people want to keep things to themselves. But to share your grief, confusion, along with your good times can be so helpful to others that might run across your writing. You could be that person that helps them get through a family tragedy or an abusive relationship. I do know there can be gray areas that sink into the pit of gossip and slander. But it's good to look into yourself and free things up that you were always told where taboos, especially here in the midwest where we are always so dang dodgey about being honest with each other.
With all of this I have to say right now, I do have the winter blues. I miss people that are no longer in my life for multiple reasons. I get confused and sad by how people treat each other, people are complex critters!
I do love the winter, don't get me wrong. There is just a lot of time for introspection while working on indoor projects. Right now I'm getting excited about getting members for my 2016 CSA. I'm looking through poultry catalogs and figuring out what I'm going to be raising this year! I'm making soap every week, working on multiple art projects, plus being involved in music. I have amazing supportive people around me that I can talk to! So thanks everyone.
I guess, just remember to be thoughtful before you rip apart someone for sharing personal stories online as it could really be helping others through their own dark days.
Ambition is gushing all over in this lady's world. I am taking the year of 2016 to boost up my small farm business. I feel there is a real need for more food choices for people in my small community as well as for people in further cities. To get this all going I need to raise some money, and I decided to go head first into a goat milk soap share fundraiser. Buying a share will give me the funds I need to purchase raw materials and you in turn get soap. I have a goal of raising $3,000.00 over the next three month period. I will always offer soap shares but just really want to focus over the three month time period. You can get more information on my fundraiser page.
To purchase a soap share immediately you can go to my goat milk soap share store page.
Meat CSA shares are now available in addition to soap shares. I have turkey, goose, chicken, and heritage chicken shares now available. I'm especially excited about raising birds this year as I'm going to try some different breeds along with my standard breeds.
For turkeys I was able to obtain a trio of Chocolate Turkeys. There is a terrific story behind this that I'll tell another day. These turkeys are a heritage breed that are also critically endangered. I have high hopes of them laying eggs this spring and see if they can hatch some and and I'll see if I can hatch some out in the incubator. I also plan on raising some of bronze turkeys as I did last year.
For geese I still have my breeding trio of one toulouse male and two pilgrim females. I have had good luck in the past of hatching their eggs out myself. Though if I have enough interest I plan on ordering some through a supplier. I may end up getting some more toulouse and embden geese. Geese are AMAZING grazers and I plan to have them fenced up around our small orchard to keep the grass down and fertilize the trees at the same time. Plus I have a confession to make, I ate goose for the first time right after Christmas a few weeks ago. I grilled it and it was so DELICIOUS!! I had family over and some of the grown ups were afraid to try it. But the little kids couldn't stop eating it, seriously! The goose had to be put up and away from a little boys reach as he just wouldn't stop eating it! It has it's own flavor and texture, It really is kind of like steak but with a milder flavor.
For chickens I will be raising my cornish cross as I have for a few years. I also plan on raising some slower growing and or heritage breed birds. My first year raising chickens for meat I raised buff orpington and barred rock roosters. They take much longer to grow, but my members LOVED the flavor and the fact they were a bit on the smaller side. The smaller chickens are great for a single person or a couple as they aren't overwhelmed with all the meat. I am charging more for the slower growing birds because well, they grow more slowly and eat more grain. I have also raised sagitta chickens which are a bit like freedom ranger chickens. I guess I'm not sure what I'll raise this year, it depends on what kind of feedback I get from members or potential members.
I may start growing more mushrooms this summer in addition to everything else. I might start up a mushroom CSA in the future, but I'll let people know when I have extra available. Last summer I raised a couple different oyster mushrooms and got some shiitake going.
That pretty much wraps things up. With your support I can make this small farm work.
Thanks so much!
-I would like to thank Chris for helping me edit this site and showing me a few tricks.
-Always a big thanks to Bob and all of my family and friends for your support and encouragement.
-Enjoy the pile of pictures from the new EB Ranch locations!!
Born and raised in a small town, then moved back to the same small town. Jill of many trades and happy to be so.