Well, clearly Time Gets Away from us here on the farm. So many things happening at once that we have all been spinning. I definitely THOUGHT about writing for the blog, I really did. But time gets away from me faster than I can catch it; faster than the two grandkids now that they are both up and running around on their own. Still, we have managed to get things done, so let's see if I can at least run THAT down for you.
I hope everyone knows that most Small Family Farms actually rely in large part on income OFF the farm to support the Family part. Some farms make money, but my bet is that most don't in their first 8 years. Farmers aren't stupid and understand that a bad season can wipe you out if you don't have a backup plan. Where we are hedging our farm bet is with Maddrey busting her tail to get through nursing school - no small feat - AND she's doing great. It does mean some farm projects will take longer to develop and complete, but it also means we will be able to pay our bills more easily once she graduates. But she is ALSO getting our horses back to work and you could probably schedule a horsemanship/riding lesson if you tried. She's worth it. AND she will be producing some 100%-from-our-own-sheep roving for sale at some point soon.
Frank is developing a nice equine dentistry clientele with wildly satisfied customers. (You can message him on Facebook for an appointment). But he is also looking at another long summer of haying, which provides food for our animals through the year and some extra to sell when we're lucky - so there's a third hedge to our farm bet. He's expanded that business every year and we are always looking for new fields, if you're within tractor-roading range.
On my end, I'm looking at a collection of Cottage Industry efforts. First, I was invited to contribute to a lovely book, recently published - actually, it's a TERRIFIC book.
Titled SisterWriterEaters, it is a collection of very personal essays and recipes, told by an amazing cast of talented women, edited by a pair of even more amazingly talented (and funny) women. Worth the bother to buy it and read it, in my humble opinion, and not just because I have an essay included in it with my mother's incredibly fabulous chocolate cake recipe.
My second industry continues to be TetherMade baskets.
Through the hard work of my NEW son-in-law and my daughter, we are now in about eight stores across the country, plus a few great local stores in Maine. I'll write about them in upcoming blog posts because they are really great and interesting people with adventure in their hearts!
As of yesterday, I officially have a THIRD cottage industry - I'm designing repeating prints for fabric, wallpaper, giftwrap - basically Surface Pattern Design. The likelihood of my work getting licensed by any actual company is slim to none, HOWEVER with the vast powers of the Series of Tubes we call the Internet, I am able to have my designs digitally printed onto gorgeous fabric and wallpaper and sell it myself! Amazing. What a world, right? My focus is Chickens right now, because... farm with chickens made sense to me.
And here is my first "Chicken Happy" offering - a gorgeous little tea towel built from my little watercolor paintings.
It can either be purchased as a Fat Quarter (in their gorgeous linen/cotton canvas from Spoonflower and finish the raw edges yourself OR Buy a FINISHED tea towel directly from me (I'll pre-wash the fabric, hem the edges and tie it in a pretty bow, shipping included) for $25.
So, that's it - basically a giant sales pitch, but hey, we're farmers... always growing, building, making and selling something. And with any luck, this will be me Trying Yet Again to get a good run of blog posts going. We'll see, but Hope is a Thing With Feathers... right? Thanks for listening.