I mean, I only missed writing in August by three days. Not that bad given it's such a busy month.
Recently I was teasing about some "life changes" on my EB Ranch page. I was planning on writing a blog later that day, but hey things happen. While it's nothing really THAT life changing, I am taking on more of an initiative to build the EB Ranch farm business. I have multiple enterprises that are strong and have what it takes to grow into ventures that will be profitable. This blog is mainly about those ventures and what I hope to do with them in the future. You may be surprised about some things EB Ranch offers!
#1-Goat milk soap!! This is currently my bread and butter. My big plan is to try and attend a lot more fall and winter craft shows and farmers markets. Even perhaps making it out to Minneapolis. But, did you know I offer monthly goat milk soap subscriptions, party favors, and wholesale prices? All of these can be wonderful gifts for other or just for yourself and family. In addition to online sales and farmers markets, I have a decent list of retail stores you can find EB Ranch goat milk soap from. I recently was asked by Grace Fitzpatrick to sell soap at a lovely hair salon called Touch Studio, located in Kentucky. So holy cats, EB Ranch will be in Kentucky really soon! I have goals of getting goat milk soap into at least 4 more retail locations in the next year.
#2-EB Ranch pasture raised meat. Well, a big new venture in the past month was finally selling san clemente island goat meat to retail stores. You can now find goat meat from EB Ranch at Just Local in Eau Claire and the Menomonie Market Food Co-op in Menomonie! As always, you can buy whole goat or chicken shares directly from EB Ranch. Another big change next year will that I will hopefully get back to raising turkeys. Wow your friends and family at your next cookout by roasting a whole goat, or having some delicious farm raised chickens. Nothing beats meat on the grill!!
#3-Garlic Gals, the garlic share. My friend Bretton and I launched are first garlic share last year. Sadly, a gopher(s) decimated well over 90% of the crop. You could find they where tunneling under each row and stealing garlic. My partner Bob later found some buried 20 feet away and 4 feet into the ground when he was digging trenches for his solar project. So we probably have garlic hidden in tunnels all over on EB Ranch. This year, Bretton and I will decide how to be proactive about varmints. We still want to offer garlic shares, but would also possibly include herbs and mushrooms. We grow a variety of shitakkes, as well as oyster, and lion's mane mushrooms. More will be decided about Garlic Gals in the near future.
#4-Two Farm Ladies Podcast-Khaiti and I have been recording a farming podcast for well over a year. After a hiatus, we decided to record once a month. The episodes have been a hoot to record, and we both feel that sharing our stories are not only entertaining but possibly helpful to people that can learn from our mistakes or successes. Khaiti and I are deciding to "polish" up the podcast, and the first step is taking some professional pictures. As events line up, I randomly received a message from a woman named Holly that wanted to take some farm pictures. It was for a photo project she was working on that including women in ag. So she popped over, and got to meet Holly and she took some wonderful pictures. She offered to come out for a photo shoot as a thank you. In two weeks Khaiti and I will get "glammed" up and put our best dirty feet forward for this photo shoot. I personally also hope to look into better ways to promote the podcast as well as dipping into some social networking. Check out her photography business, Blue Moon Studio LV.
#5-The San Clemente Island Goat Herd. I created a Meet the Herd and Sale page a while back. It still needs to be finished but it's a good start. I started offering breeding stock of these critically endangered goats. While this whole venture is going to take a while for it to be reliable, I'm glad to finally be able to offer goats that are for sale. I cannot and will not go into much detail, but it's been a struggle finding out the individual history or pedigree on many of these goats. Over the years some breeders stopped keeping good breeding or sales records. So there has been a lot of mystery solving put to the herd I have. Thankfully, many mysteries where solved, or at least partially. I have been working with and getting to know other breeders around the nation. We are all dedicated to these goats, and working together to problem solve is VERY important. These goats are unique and valuable, and the blood sweat and tears that have gone into them is well worth it.
The wrap up!! So really the HOPEFUL big change next year are these items. I have been working with the local NRCS to get cost sharing done on a grazing management plan, that if approved the NRCS will not only pay for that plan but also the implementation of that plan. This probably means perimeter fencing, above ground water lines for the summer, and an appropriate winter water set up. As well as more electric net fence to help keep animals OUT of areas but also for better and more rotational grazing. I want to keep ALL my poultry under the orchard. I want to keep my goats more safe and secure with perimeter fencing. I want to not have to worry about winter watering. If these systems are approved they will be implemented next year. I hope to get a head start on this and begin set up in early spring. Bob will be home to help, and I may hire a relative to help with fencing. Part of this plan will also involve seeding in a better variety of forbes and grasses for the goats. Plants with high tannins will help combat parasites and other plants will be more nutritious to goats.
Another piece of this is that I'm also going to be applying for grants left and right. There are many aspects of this farm that could use some financial help. The biggest part is buying in a used livestock trailer to use as my goat shelter in pasture rotation. I would find a decent trailer that has a closed off room at the front to put my milk stanchion. There I can have a covered area to milk and store supplies in. I can also more easily do on pasture health checks and hoof trimming. In the past I would always have to herd the group back to the winter shelters and do health checks. I usually do monthly health checks, bu this hot, wet, humid summer proved to me that I need to do weekly check ins starting in mid July. Parasites turned out to be a HUGE issue this year, and they came on fast and strong. I really need to reflect and change my management plan for next year. Other financial help mainly includes testing revolving around the San Clemente Island goats. Not a lot of data has been recorded or shared, so things like mundane milk tests and weights as well as other recorded observations are important to take and share.
Well, this is a long wrap up. To conclude, I'll be sharing through social media the line up of events EB Ranch will be attending. I hope to see you there. Plus one more little thing. I am also taking on the initiative to be more inclusive of members and people that support the farm. That will be through working with a small group of people to come up with ways to help engage the community, but also remind people that because of you this farm can exist. So thank you, and I'll keep everyone in the loop about this aspect of planning and organizing.
Off to make some goat milk soap. And I hope to stop telling everyone all the time that I'm trying to catch up on making soap. This is a part of the business I NEED to stay on top of, and I can do this by better prioritizing my life. So take that, soap!!
Thank you all for the support!
Born and raised in a small town, then moved back to the same small town. Jill of many trades and happy to be so.