Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Purpose of the Farm

Missy enjoyed our walk so much yesterday that we thought we would do it again today...

Here is a picture of Lilly's twin. She is much bigger than Lilly, but she is cute as a button.

The little lamb you see in this picture is Lilly Bit. She spends her days in the sheep pasture with all the other sheep. We carry her bottles out to her so she can get her milk. She loves playing with her twin. She does come into the shop to sleep at night. It won't be long and she will be big enough to sleep outside, but for now she is still just a little thing.
In just a few short weeks, we will be selling some of our sheep to thin out the flock. Some of the older lambs will be sold for meat, and others will be put in our own freezer. (I am still a little unsure about all that. How am I suppose to eat something so cute???) We are looking to sell some of our 2 year old ewes, but I am not sure Michael has made up his mind about that. We have spent $3500 this year on hay alone. That doesn't even take into consideration the money spent on corn or other feed. We most certainly won't be making that much money on selling the sheep so we are thinking about our next move. We could keep enough sheep for our own meat production, and sell the rest of the flock. We may try to just keep our flock the size it is now and work on sowing our pastures in grasses that will produce longer so that we wouldn't have to buy so much hay. We are looking to give away our horses because they are the huge consumers of that $3500 of hay.
As homesteaders or hobby farmers or whatever you want to call people like us, we have to be realistic. As much as we would like this farm to produce enough money to keep my husband working at home in full time farming, we are not even close to that. He spends much of his time at work making the money to pay the bills. Time to work on the farm is sporadic at best. We do what we can, but there is only so much that can be done in a few short hours in the evenings. We love the farm lifestyle, and we are not willing to abandon it especially in the economic times that we live. We vacillate between making money on the farm or just raising enough for our own family consumption and blessing others. I like the idea of just raising for our family and friends. It seems to make for an easier balance in our life. Do any of y'all struggle with this dilemma??
grace and peace,


Andrea Cherie said...

The little twins are adorable!

Trixi said...

They are adorable. We too struggle with this. I would love to raise something that would be a money maker but have no idea what. We do not want to do cattle. So for now we are just raising our own needs. We raised 2 pigs over the fall and that went well. We also do a huge garden and have more than enough laying hens. I would love to add a Jersey cow into the equation but then I would be getting into more of an expense.

Marci said...

I was having a hard time leaving a comment on here. I hope it works this time. We try not to have anything on the farm that does not at the least pay for itself. I think the only thing that falls outside this is the dogs. :) They are watch dogs, but that is all. Our sheep are grass/hay fed. We give them grain occasionally to catch them or right before and after they lamb. Although they don't always get grain then. If we have really good hay, they don't get any grain. We sell all the ram lambs as meat. We have sold some ewes and we also try to use or sell their fleeces. We got rid of our goats because they were a feed bill and we were not getting as much out of them as we put into them. Our jersey and beef cows when we have them are all grass/hay fed. I cried when the goats went. I cried this last time when I got rid of sheep, but it needed to happen.

MyBulletinBoard said...

We want to keep chickens to eat the nasty ticks, but we haven't figured out a good way to protect them from the local gray cat. No room for larger animals. As for the garden, we are trying to break even at the very least. I feel like fresh food is so much better than the treated stuff from the store. That is worth something. I love fresh pintos, but watering them is too costly when I can buy the giant-size bag of Casseroles at WalMart for less than $10. If the economy goes any further south, we know we CAN grow more food if we have to. Big or small, it's a balancing act.

TnFullQuiver said...

I want to talk more about this "issue" next week with y'all. Thanks so much for taking the time to help me realize that we aren't the only ones with this dilema. We think we break free from the mindset of "making money" from the farm and then before you know it, it creeps back up on us without us even realizing. Thanks to all who commented and emailed me!!!
grace and peace,

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