Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Expansion ...

When I first had the farming dream I began the best way that I knew how ... by reading! And I tried to read as much as I could ... books, magazines, online articles, research papers, and internet forums. I tried to gather as much information as I could and I started to plan and dream and dream and plan! As I look back on this farming adventure I realize that was an important step ... not only to help me gain a little bit of "book knowledge", but also to help give me the courage to jump in. Eventually though I just needed to jump in and start instead of talking about it and writing about it ... that is how I ended up on the farm. I just jumped in!

Now, I feel like I'm getting to the point where I need to jump again. I pleased with the progress that I've made and I like the direction the farm is going, but I'm beginning to feel that I'm at a place where I just need to jump again. Either jump back from the farm a little bit (do more homesteading rather than "for sale" farming) or jump a little deeper in and up the ante. I've spent much of the past year or two writing about and thinking about the "next thing" for the farm and now might be the time to take those steps ... to jump in like I did a few years ago.

With that in mind I'm looking at expanding the livestock operation on the farm by adding more pigs and hopefully hair sheep in the very near future. I would like to stick with the Hereford pigs for the most part so I'm looking along those lines, but with the sheep I'm going to have to really look and see what is available (Katahdin, St. Croix, etc.). More livestock will also mean that I will need to make more sales, so I'm beginning to plan for that as well.

Just as there was a lot of work to do when I jumped in there is a lot of work to do if I want to take the next step. I'm in the process of putting together my new work list and getting the farm ready for an infusion of more ... more everything! I'll take some time over the next few weeks (as time allows) to detail some of those steps that I'm working on. One thing is for sure though ... I'm not going to bring anything to the farm unless I'm ready to have it at the farm! That is one lesson that has come through loud and clear.

Okay, I'm sort of back to blogging again (on an "as possible" basis), but if you would like to keep up-to-date on the farm and my farming misadventures be sure to follow me on Twitter @crookedgapfarm. As for the blog ... make sure to subscribe on the right to receive the latest post in your e-mail inbox.


cd0103 said...

I am just curious if you have read this farm's archives.
They are very interesting. I know they are in a totally different locale, but they seem to have had some success.


Mike W. said...

If you are looking to expand, may I recommend a book? It's called No Risk Ranching by Greg Judy.

Emily said...

How exciting! I look forward to hearing more.
How much do you think you are going to increase the herds?

Teresa said...

I too am currently expanding from hobby (7 acres) to real farm (75 acres). It does take a lot of work and commitment, and it isn't easy to support the farm while it becomes established and can in turn support you. Good luck with your endeavors.

Ethan Book said...

cd0103 - Yes ... I'm very aware of Nature's Harmony. If You look back through the archives of my blog I did a question/answer interview with them that was fun. If I get a chance I'll see if I can dig up the link.

Mike W. - I know that's one that I need to read! I have read Comeback Farm's by Greg Judy though ... it's one of the main reasons that I'm very interested in hair sheep.

Emily - That's a good question ;) I'm not real sure on that, but I did already add a few more Dexters a few weeks ago ... pigs are probably the area where I'll expand the most though because I'm figuring them out the best.

Teresa - Thanks! And good luck with yours!

Coop said...

Reading your blog was like looking in the mirror! I am immersed in reading about farming, blogs about farming, forums, farm bureaus, volunteering on farms. I have a long way to go but feel I'm getting the book smarts and some practical knowledge. We're following a lot of Joel Salatin's advice and are looking at moving out to Knoxville, TN in the next year. We'll look around at the market for awhile and finish up our business plan before we buy but I really want to "jump" now.

Any pearls of wisdom for somebody in the beginning stages?

gardenfreshtomatoes said...

Ethan, Have you read Walt Jeffries blog? He's doing a lot of the things you are, and has been for some 20 years. Might be some useful info for you... He's (currently) at flashweb.com.

Best of luck to you and Becca... Marie

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