It's not that life has been uncontrollable, but it was time to sit and decided what I want this upcoming year to encompass.
Farming has taken a new level, with 15 cows, and I have found myself to be consumed with ways to make it all function more smoothly and with more self sustaining qualities.
My beef cow operation is starting to grow, albeit slowly, but that is not a bad thing. I have 3 heifers now that will one day make great beef cow mamas. Slow can be good, especially since grass based farming requires lots of grass. I hope to start leasing nearby land for my cattle this year.
Egg production was very low last year, so I am raising 80 pullets in anticipation of being overwhelmed with eggs come spring. If I need to sell off some of the hens I will, but I am hoping to cover my feed costs with egg sales.
I have yet to decide how many pastured chickens to run this year. I am still feeling the exhaustion from raising 3 batches last year, and it might take a longer break for me to feel the enthusiasm of raising more birds. If you have raised pastured poultry, you know what I am feeling.
I will never be without a few pigs in the forest. They are extremely easy, profitable, and nice for my own freezer. Expanding the fence line through the woods will happen as soon as the weather plays nicely.
As my milking cow numbers increase I am finding ways to manage the lactation and pregnancy schedules a little better. It would be, of course, more simple if I could AI the cows myself, so that could be a potential skill to learn this year. I am hoping to get a few farmers together and have a class taught. Details, details.
Cheese, cheese, cheese! My cave was nearly wiped clean through the holidays, so I am currently crafting cheeses to fill it back up full. Looking for new flavors, I have been inspired by some of the larger creameries and hope to have a few fabulous wheels ready this spring. I have also come to rely on a couple of simple, yet delicious wheels to always stock my personal refrigerator. Ricotta Silata and Queso Fresco have quickly become staples in my kitchen, as they are delicious, versatile and simple to make.
School never really stops. Sure we have days where we sit down with books more than other days, but in reality it never does stop. My goal and hope for this year is to find what they are most passionate to learn and focus heavily in those areas.
I have a fiber studio full of unfinished projects that I am determined to finish this year. That sentence almost made me laugh out loud. :-)
The break from the web was a much deserved and needed rest so that I could spend some time analyzing what I hope for 2016. Farming and family top my list, as they should. Now I only need get through the cold, dull and lifeless days of winter. I much prefer the days of spring, when trees bud out and the landscape turns green. Green is my favorite color. It always has been.
Happy 2016 Ya'll!