Our plan when we moved to the farm was to start construction on a licensed creamery for making cheese. We postponed those plans as we settled in. It was clear that we needed a full season to focus on growing our herd and continuing to develop our cheesemaking and animal husbandry skills. Given that I was working remotely there wasn’t as much of a rush.
A big hurdle has been getting our goats adapted to our grazing system and living in the outdoors again. Goats’ adaptation into our grazing system took longer than originally anticipated. We've found that it takes about 2-4 months before a goat adapts and their milk “gets better”. We judge the goat’s health based on body condition and the quality of their milk (SCC counts, Fecals, FAMACHA, and other stats). It takes 2-4 months for a newly introduced animal to achieve our existing herd’s levels (an attribution to pasturing animals instead of keeping them in a barn). It’s also strangely consistent with their smell. Goats smell different when they live in a barn. It literally takes months before that smell goes away, and it happens to coincide with when the milk gets better too.
Anyway, I had been working with this company for the past 4 years. When we first made an offer on the farm last October it seemed that the firm I worked for was going to be in operation for a long time to come. As we moved to the farm the following March the future of my employer came into question. So we delayed investing our life-savings in a licensed creamery. It was a 50/50 proposition that I’d still have a job by the end of 2012. Hanging on to some savings in the event that we were both unemployed turned out to be a smart move.
Since the end of September I’ve officially been a “full-time farmer”, for lack of a better term.
I thought about getting another job.
But we’re gonna give farming a shot and see if it can work.
We think it can.
It’s a big risk.
We have some ideas for farm-made products, and hopefully we’ll launch on November 1st. That’s the goal.
Holiday 2012, oh yeah.