Before we bought this property in 2013 I did a lot of reading. I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do here. When you first start out, you have this grand plan of how everything is going to look and everything you are going to do. It’s a good thing! Plan, be hopeful and learn as much as you can. But, be open to that plan completely changing.
Here at Dinner Time Farm, I wanted to have dairy goats for milk, and Dexter cows for beef, and a batch of pigs every year, and meat chickens and this huge garden that just overflowed with produce. And so far, I’ve had one of those things. Does that disappoint me? A little, sure, but instead I need to focus on what I can still do and what I need to change.
Last year we raised five pigs. We provided pork for eight families! It turned out great. We made a small profit, we enjoyed having the pigs and the meat was amazing! It was such a success that we plan on raising eight or so pigs next year. That was the one thing that turned out like I had planned.
We also had dairy goats last year, and found out that I did not have the time or passion for them as I do the pigs. We also have (and at the time of this blog post, still have) two Dexter cows that we are trying to sell. We have yet to have a batch of meat chickens on the farm, and our garden has a few raised beds but very little was grown in them.
I am not discouraged however! This first property of ours has always been meant for us to experiment. To find the things we enjoy, the things we are good at and the things we just aren’t cut out for. Once the cows are sold, I plan on buying some weaned lambs to raise through the spring into the fall. I’m hoping I can have similar success with lambs like I experienced with the pigs. The next growing season we will dedicate ourselves to being more productive in the garden. We will actually plant things on time and we will take care of them as necessary. We will build a chicken tractor with the profits from the pigs and raise a batch of meat chickens next fall.
All of these things CAN happen. We just have to work at it and not give up hope. Maybe that is what living on a farm is all about. The year can be bad. The harvest can be bad, the plan can be changed and yet every winter there is time to reflect. There is time to look towards spring, when hope returns anew.