Hello all you great folk!
Welcome to another overdue EB Ranch Blog. Of course, summer is busy for all of us and I am no exception. It's been another fantastic summer of working on my own farm and business, but also having my second year working at another veggie CSA farm called Spring Hill Community Farm. It's been a great fit to work just 7 miles down the road with great people doing what I enjoy.
A really exciting announcement is that EB Ranch was awarded a farm grant through the Menomonie Market Food Co-op. This is called Fund Our Food Shed. I used the grant to expand living areas for the San Clemente Island Goats I raise. The hoop house is getting converted into living quarters, and part of that is getting new livestock appropriate plastic and using cattle panels to create birthing stalls, corridors and a community pen inside the hoop house. This grant also went toward permanent fencing around all the goat structures with a hot or electric line on top of the fence. This hot line will allow me to run electric net fence from it and create paddocks around these permanent fenced in areas. I am also getting expandable water hose for the winter. Bob and I put in a new frost free hydrant. I will use the expandable hose to run water out to the animals in the winter. I can then coil up the hose and bring it in the house to keep from freezing. I have been carrying buckets from the kitchen sink all the way out to the animals for the past 8 years, it's time to finally be a bit more efficient in that arena!
There was a lot of thought that went into this expansion process. All of this will help me grow the population of these critically endangered goats. Thus making more breeding stock available and being able to move forward with my goat meat CSA business plan. Not to mention growing my goat milk soap business.
There are SO MANY other plans that needed to be made and acted out to make this expansion happen. We received a new/used garden shed from my parents. It was quite the undertaking to get it here on a trailer, move the trailer to put it into place. THEN, have our neighbor come over with a crane to drop the shed onto a foundation. The garden shed is much closer to all of the livestock areas. I plan on storing even more hay in that shed as well as feed. All of this had to be done before we started working on fencing for the bigger paddock. Before all of this I worked hard on possible set ups for the paddocks, what made sense? I had my friends Lauren and Caleb from Blue Ox help me figure this out. The gave me a book by Temple Grandin called Humane Livestock Handling. This book came in very handy, thank you to these two folks!
My field fence was bought used from my friend Khaiti at LTD Farm. All of my other supplies where bought from my local cooperative hardware store. I tried hard to keep this money flowing in the local economy.
Bob and I are in the middle of fencing as we speak. The plastic for the hoop house still hasn't been shipped out yet, but we can't put it up anyway until we harvest all of our tomatoes and peppers from the hoop house. The buck pen has been expanded, and boy where they kicking up the heels in excitement!
I'm also in the process of buying a new computer with the latestes microsoft business program. It's time to up my game in this realm, it's time to tackle that social media, get my website up to date and beautiful, and not be frustrated by a slooooowwww computer. There was also an investment into a nice microscope so I can take fecal samples from my goat. One very important thing in keeping goats is checking for parasites. Some parasites are sneaky and the goat only shows signs of illness until it's almost too late. I hope to get on a monthly fecal check schedule and stay on top of the health of this herd.
There is a great feeling of life events lining up nicely. It is all due to hard work, level headed planning, and SO MUCH HELP from my friends, family and community. This is heartening and another great example of working together to make ideas happen. I have really want to emphisize this in light of an underlining feeling of general unrest and uncertainty. Farmers are in crisis mode, folks are feeling frustrated and split after the 2016 election. Now more than ever we need to find commonality and practice civil discussion. We can work together, we can find common grounds, we are neighbors, friends, family and community.
Thank you 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.