spring fever

I'm writing this from my kitchen counter on a rainy (again) afternoon feeling the restless tension of a Spring that is coming, but has not yet come. Daffodils are pushing up, the grass is growing; I walk the pastures and see lush, vivid patches of clover just waiting to be munched by our sheep; our sheep, which, like Spring, are not quite here yet. We anticipated their arrival in March, but the ewes dropped a little late and so our lambs are still too young to come to their new home.

We've started rotating our seven borrowed sheep through one of the pastures. It's sort of nice to get to practice some of our systems on a small group before our large group of permanent sheep arrive, and while Franklin appriciastes that he has a job to do while we're waiting, I am experiencing a kind of anxious listlessness: I am chomping at the bit, rearin' to go!

Amidst this lull in farm activity, I feel the need to give myself a moment to reflect on everything that has happened since January and to take stock of where we've been. I've compiled a list:

  • arranged for acquiring 15 ewe lambs and 1 ram lamb of dairy genetics
  • researched and contacted farms selling lambs with meat genetics
  • purchased 160 baby chickens and raise them
  • designed logotype and print business cards
  • designed fencing system, hired crew, and got fences built and electrified
  • moved a telephone pole/ fought with the power company
  • demolished a house (after removing the more useful items and the rest of Chattahoochee Hills removing the less useful ones)
  • learned how to use a generator and that corn-subsidized ethanol in gasoline destroys small engines
  • purchased a truck
  • purchased a livestock trailer
  • purchased a flatbed trailer
  • purchased a tractor
  • clean out barn (12 ft dumpster's worth of crap!)
  • hauled over a ton of old metal to recycler
  • built a portable chicken house
  • wired the red barn for electricity
  • acquired two livestock guardian dogs, one via airport, one via 6-hour drive
  • lost and retrieved two livestock guardian dogs
  • begun working with an architect for the creamery
  • had one big face-to-face meeting w/ dairy consultant plus lots of phone calls and emails
  • solidified cheese types and initial make procedures
  • made our first sales commitment for eggs
  • attended the Georgia Organics Annual Conference
  • registered with USDA/FSA for grants
  • hosted two farm volunteer days
  • acquired a business license
  • repiped the spigot on the well
  • been to home depot about a bazillion times
  • re-roofed and replaced rotted wood on red barn and hey barn (as of today!)

I know there's a load of stuff I'm forgetting, not to mention the minutia involved in every one of these activites, plus daily chores and other "life activites" such as eating, sleeping, and doing laundry, but it's all been seriously, seriously awesome. I really, honestly can't wait for it to get busier! Bring on the Spring!