Well now, first I have to apologize for anyone who happened to check in here (though I can't imagine who that would be?!). I know it has been months since I wrote last, but I'm finding two things to be truth. One: farming is unpredictable and one task can devour a whole day and Two: I prefer to be outdoors and once inside I'm too tired to do much more than shower and eat. With that said, this is the life I chose and I have no regrets. I work from sun-up to sundown 365 and that is okay....in fact, it is better than okay. It is so much better than okay that we've decided to make a business of it!
We've decided to seek our dairy license in hopes of selling raw milk!!! I can't tell you how exciting this is (though three exclamation points should give you a hint!) This is the "retirement" scheme and something we have talked about again and again. We've talked about making cheese or soap too, but to date we can't consistently make cheese or soap...I've suffered a lot of failures in those arenas, but what I can do is milk. I figure that if I can provide the milk, then the consumer can make their own cheese, but that doesn't mean we are going to stop trying...we've just let go of the idea that we can sell cheese (at least for now).
We are also 100% sold on the benefits of drinking raw milk...you can Google raw milk and goats milk and find tons of info.
And of course, we love the fact that we can stay "close to our food," as I like to say. For me, that means that I know EXACTLY where it came from and that it has been handled (processed) minimally. We currently milk by hand, filter, then chill the milk. That's it. That is all we "do" to the milk, which is nothing really.
The idea is to keep the herd small, small enough that we can still talk to, coddle, pet, and call by name each and every girl twice a day. This is our habit...everyone is called by name and given attention and to be honest I think that is part of why the milk is so good. The girls know they are loved, so how could they not give beautiful milk?
The goal is to be licensed by the 2016 milking season. That goal means that we have A LOT of work ahead of us to get the barn ready. Add that to the day-to-day work of running a farm and the gardening work and we have many full days in our future. I'm already clearing fence and building raised beds/hugelkultur beds for next Spring's gardens...I expect I'll be sleeping really well for months and months!
The first thing we will do in the barn is to build a separate stall for my sweet boys, Luke and Han. Then we will dig in plumbing and pour concrete floors for the milk parlor and milk room. By next Spring we need to have finished clearing the last of the fence and be ready to erect portable electric fencing for browsing in the woods. Then more barn renovations! I get nervous thinking about all the work, but I know it will be worth it.
I promise now with the days getting shorter, I'll find more time to write. Please follow our journey here and via Facebook...you can find us there at Owl Tree Farm.