Sometimes putting all that effort into planning ahead makes life easier. Though, even the best laid plans can crumble.
This spring of 2020 my best laid plans of breeding the goats for later kidding dates has been a HUGE success. There is always a bit of an unknown factor when livestock gives birth, and if I can take one less unknown factor out of the equation it let's me focus on other, more important things. With later kidding season that means I'm not worried about really cold temps and kids getting chilled, and then I can focus on taking good records and just getting other important things done around the farm in the spring.
So far, one san clemente island goat name Atla had two kids, one male and one female. Fingers crossed Colores will be kidding pretty soon.. I'm hoping for at least 2-5 more goats to kid, but we'll see!
Of course the wild card in everyone's lives right now is covid-19. Many of us are staying home and still many people are out working jobs. Folks are quickly establishing new protocols for their businesses that seem to revolve around more online ordering and curbside pickups.
One major change I saw with the farm is a lot more chicken meat shares. I'm excited to announce that I applied for a very small grant from FACT / Food Animal Concerns Trust. I received an email a few days ago saying that my grant request was accepted. This money will go toward focusing on more online and local paper advertising AND investing in heat shrink wrap bags and nice freezer stickers for the birds after they are processed. Since I have more customers for these meat birds, I want to present them in nicer packaging. All I have to do is put a bird in a bag and quickly dip it in hot water. The bag will shrink around the bird and I can put a custom made sticker on it. Plus I already requested the use of a country neighbor/friends big chicken plucker! These chickens will not only be raised on amazing pasture, but will be more professionally wrapped. Hooray!
This wraps up my quick blog. I'll be posting more goat kid pictures as they are born. I'm going to work on finishing up tanning some goat hides, getting my chick brooder set up and enjoy a nice rain shower that should be moving by later on today.
Take care everyone, thanks for the continued support. It's nice to see goat milk soap orders still rolling in!!!
As if I haven't mentioned the fun chaos of Wisconsin weather before. Today we may be getting an accumulation of snow, up to 6 inches or more, or less, who knows? I did a frantic yard clean up this morning, just putting garden tools away. I left them out on purpose yesterday thinking they would cast some magical spell to keep the snow at bay. No such luck.
I spent the whole day in the garden yesterday. Raking out clumps of sod, pulling out loooong quack grass roots and smoothing out bumps. I'm also preparing the garden to plant some willow cane cuttings from my neighbors and fellow farmers Maggie and Ben at Green Light Farm. I want to start making a "fedge" or a living willow hedge/fence around my garden. It's been on my to-do list for years and I'm very excited to finally follow through with this.
Some of my san clemente island goats due dates to kid are in a few days. Colores especially has been getting huge. Her hip ligaments are starting to soften and her udder started filling in. I'll be keeping a close eye on her as barometric pressure changes can sometimes entice animals to give birth with those changes. And it's supposed to be a chilly week so I'll be making many more trips to check on the progress of any labor signs, I don't want chilled baby goats!
Also, I want and need to address covid-19 and how this changes things on the farm. For the most part, life in general hasn't changed. I got panicky and am still a little concerned about feed and pet food hoarding and even price fluctuation. I don't know what the price of hay will be this year, will it go up even more? Besides a few worries, I'm pleased to say my chicken meat share subscriptions doubled from previous years. There has been an uptick in interest for whole goat meat shares as well. As for goat milk soap, things are at a bit of a standstill.
I want to discuss how things have changed with ordering goat milk soap. I'm taking even more precautions packaging soap by wearing gloves. If myself or Bob got sick, I would no longer sell soap for an appropriate amount of time and contact people that did previously order soap to let them know. I also encourage safe package receiving procedures just click and you will be taken to that web page. Here is another link discussing how washing your hands with good old soap and water help with covid-19. Also, Bob and I are taking quarantine and social distancing seriously. We are thoughtful about when we leave the farm and for what purposes and try to cram all necessary errand running all together.
Covid-19 has also affected parts of my 2020 business plan, and that was to attend farmers markets and related expos at least once a month through the summer. While farmers markets are still happening, many are just having essential food producers and growers participate. I fall in the the crafting or art category and cannot attend. Which is fine, and I agree with this decision. I just really encourage people to not only support my online sales but also online sales of other farm, craft and art businesses.
The pick-up date for my chicks and turkey poults was delayed, and I'll be getting them on the 22nd. Toward the end of the month I'll also be starting up my 4th year working at Spring Hill Community Farm, which is a veggie CSA. I had a wonderful zoom conference with Patty and Mike and we discussed all the possible unknowns and scenarios regarding covid-19. But I'm pumped to get back to work and start a new season with them!
Exciting news, I'm moving forward with the prescribed grazing plan that was written for me last year and just got lime spread on our pastures. This ties in with the EQIP/Environmental Quality Incentives Program cost sharing grant I applied for through the NRCS/Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NRCS will help pay for the suggested land management plan. I am currently getting quotes for prescribed seed mixes and the rental of a no-till drill to inter-seed pastures. This will help improve pasture quality for the goats and create a possibly more drought resistant pasture with more diversified plant life. It will be exciting to see the ripple effects of these improvements, from higher milk and meat production from the goats to more diversified wildlife, specifically birds. After pasture seeding I will be delving into perimeter fencing and then possibly water lines.
In other exciting news, if I'm able to get a microloan I may also be bringing in some new san clemente island goat breeding stock. These goats vary A LOT in size, and there are some farms that have some pretty big goats. With males averaging 160 pounds and females at 100 pounds. Versus my biggest buck at 100 pounds and does weighing on average between 50-90 pounds.
Well, the goats, geese and ducks are tucked in. It's snowing pretty good right now. Bob just got back from a walk with Anders. I made a breakfast of udon noodles with chicken broth and veggies. Bring on the coffee and then the naps.
I hope folks are doing o.k out there. As a farmer, I'm happy to be a part of your food and farm product system, be it just a small drop in the bucket.
Thank you for the support!
***For whatever reason, I'm not able to upload pictures. I'll come back and put pictures up eventually***
Born and raised in a small town, then moved back to the same small town. Jill of many trades and happy to be so.