As I walk through the every day, every hour, every minute, demands of being a mother to lots of kids, a nurse, and a small scale farmer, my mind is a slave to all that I still want to do. I have a great life. I have a hard-working husband who is strong in faith and character. I have 7 lovely children who challenge me daily with their health of mind and body, I live in an old, drafty, perfect farmhouse on a quaint little farm I've dreamed of since childhood. I have a small circle of friends and family who love, encourage, and accept me. I have little money, but learned long ago to be happy with that. And I have big plans and a sometimes grandiose imagination.
So with that, I give you my 2015 goals for Dandelion's Acre Farm:
1. Successfully raise 300 Cornish Rocks and 60 Freedom Ranger chickens on pasture, GMO-free feed, and old fashioned sunshine without going broke. Process these birds as a family while not damaging my children's psyche or my husband's sanity, and sell approximately 300 of them to happy customers.
2.Watch, and participate if needed, in the birth of bleating baby goats. Kids are due in January and March, and possibly June. Maintain herd health.
3.Happily begin and end my first season in the practice of goat "sharing". I vow to keep my customers happy with clean, fresh, wonderful milk, home-crafted soap, and a smile.
4. Bottle-raise the kids, disbud, wether, and vaccinate, and sell most at approximately 3 weeks old as bottle babies (aka, before the two legged kids get too attached). Retain possibly one or two doelings.
5. Pastured Pigs. (that is all.) Quantity to be decided. And pasture space and fencing and pen to be decided as well. Oh dear. Pigs may be skipped this year. Or maybe just one or two for the family. They EAT (the family and the pigs).
6. Research a cold-hardy breed of laying hen and acquire approximately 20 more. We have 17. Seventeen beautiful, healthy, young, and worthless laying hens (the variety pack, they said) who apparently stop laying between the months of September and... well, still not laying. Yes, they have light, and food, and water, and shelter, and nesting boxes, and roosting bars... oh, these chickens have frustrated me. Plan to forgo beauty and go for productive. Because man, we go through a LOT of eggs.
7. The garden. The GARDEN. We planted last Spring where the pigs had been over the winter, and man, was it beautiful. Loamy, thick, rich soil it was. But we soon learned this gorgeous earth was also full of weed seeds that the pig snouts had dug under and rooted to the surface. Because Wow. Now admittedly, I had a baby in June. So, ya know, it just didn't get the attention it should have. But we mulched the rows heavily, knowing I wouldn't be so diligent in the garden with a newborn to fatten. 18-24 inches of mulch (that's many, many hours of mulching btw) and still, weeds sprang and grew overnight taller than me.
My garden has been a discouragement ever since we moved to this here weedy farm. Perhaps it be time for raised beds. So, raised beds (in bold).
8. Bees! Order them for May. Learn all you can before that. Keep them alive long enough to enjoy their honey. Harvest beeswax for Dandelion's Acre salves.
9. This blog. C'mon. It's been trying to come back to life for a few years now. Just like this old farm. They'll come together, I think. And beginning this year.