We have learned so much over the last year. We have learned that farming is hard. You never get a vacation day. Most people around you doubt that you know what you are doing. Other's see you as a threat. And other's still, just don't think you have what it takes. We've had to persevere some things that we never thought we'd experience. Generally speaking, farmers don't want to help other farmers. And that was a discouraging reality.
We have sworn to be different. If we can help another farmer learn something that we had to learn the hard way, we will. If we are asked to expand our herd or flock based on what someone says they would like to have, we won't (another story for another day).
As we wind down our busy season, we now personally look toward the holidays. A time (for us) when we slow down and do less on the farm. The cows and goats will be dry until February (goats) and April (cows), meaning we can turn our 1.5 - 2 hour morning routine at the barn into 15 minutes or less. No milking means no milk to bottle, no equipment to clean, along with no animals to milk. Once dry, we can simply feed goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens (the turkeys will be gone and the cows are hay and grass strictly while dry - no grain whatsoever) and check water for everyone and we're done.
It's bitter sweet, for sure. While we miss the morning milking of the animals (we're much more connected to the animals during that time), we sure do enjoy not having to worry about baking that time into our day when we have to be somewhere early. And it makes taking a trip somewhere a little more possible.
So as we close this chapter of our farming year, we look toward 2020, and new things that we hope to see come to fruition. We hope the pigs will be at the processor by year end, but that may not happen until spring. We hope to have another steer ready for the processor by March, but we may not need the meat that soon. We hope to get into veal next year (because it would provide us some separation from other small farmers - no one is selling veal at local markets), and we are working on having Chad's grandfather's sausage recipe available in our line of pork products.
We are considering if we should add another cow to the mix, or any other goats. We do expect to have some doe kids in the spring, but it will be a year before they are bred. We are considering adding on to the barn (a little at a time - as we can afford it) to provide an isolated feed room and milking room, as well as to give our chickens a larger place to roost.So we have a lot to consider over the coming months. But for now, we rest. On November 16th, we will milk the animals for the last time until freshening. At that time, we will turn our focus to the Farmer's Christmas at the Old Cotton Gin in Warrenton, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then we will begin to throw some of these ideas around.
Until then, we remain thankful. Grateful. For all of you that have allowed us into your homes over the last 9 months. We've worked hard to learn all we can to make sure we provide you with the best products we can possibly provide. We've made mistakes, but we are striving for excellence. We pray you will consider us again in 2020.
Thank you. We simply cannot say that enough.
Chad and Chrissy