It is hard to believe that I am now less than 3 weeks away from signing out of a military installation for the last time and going to the farm live full time. Things have been pretty busy since the last post, I did make it home for a weekend, but the weather was still to bad to do much outside with too much snow on the ground. On a good note I did got a lot of my woodworking and pen supplies organized and set up while I was home and we got the Saltwater Aquarium stocked with some fish and invertebrates, still 6 months to a year out from coral however but after it being in storage for over 6 years it was nice to have it running again.
Most of the work on the farm lately has been behind the screens, working on a business plan and financials in order to apply for a grant from the Farmers Veteran Coalition (https://www.farmvetco.org/). We are applying for the grant to help pay for running electricity to the farm property, the cost of which will be about $4200. We need to get the electric out there to power the water well that we are putting in later in the year. The well will provide water to the different pastures that are a part of the rotational grazing plan. I tell you what, planning for a farm in terms in generalities is easy, when you have to plan the details for a business plan, that crap turns difficult in a hurry, especially when you do not have a personal frame of reference to base it off of. It was a matter of figuring out exactly how much materials you would need for the fencing and livestock pipelines, how much it would cost, how much feed you project each animal to consume vs expected yield from each crop being producing by a rookie know nothing farmer using low input, sustainable practices. While all the time trying to project month by month incomes for the next two years without a historical pattern to build on. Yea, it made my head hurt. The good news is UMN has an app specifically for farmers to do their business plans, to include a spread sheet for the financials. While their examples leave something to be desired, it did make it much easier then it would have been otherwise. The link for the ag plan is https://agplan.umn.edu/ if you are interested.
The thing is, business plans are a lot like battle plans, they never survive first contact with the enemy. That is not to mean they do not have a lot of value to a beginning farmer, quite the opposite in fact, the catch is the value is not in the plan itself, it is in the preparation of the plan where the real value lies. The value is in the planning rather than the plan. In the process you have to think of all the options and it helps you more completely think through what you want to do, piece by piece. I can tell you this much, while there is many similarities between my business plan and my initial postings in this blog about what I was going to do, there are a lot of differences as well, not in the principles, but in the details and the execution.
The other major outcome since the last posting was the creating of our own business website. I ended up using WIX for it because it allowed me to do it all on my own. There are some drawbacks to wix in that you have to work within their template system but all in all I was pretty happy with the professional appearance of the web site. In addition, it will allow me to sell the pens from the woodworking directly through the website rather then having to go through ebay or etsy and it will allow people to preorder things from the farm for pick up at the farmers market. I still have some bugs to work out but will work on that over the time so I have left before I get to the farm. The website addresses is https://www.thebar1farms.com/ Please come by it and let me know what you think.
Well as of this past week the bees are still surviving this MN winter, we witnessed a nice yellow stain on the snow outside the hived from where the bees came out to do their business earlier in the week. Starting next week, we should have temperatures in the mid-40s for a couple days so the bees should be out and about some by mid-week, hopefully get a better idea of the status of the hive then. Still amazing how excited I got over seeing bee poop.
|The yellow is melted bee poop, they are ALIVE!|
We have officially made plans to pick up three goats on our way back from DC Easter weekend. They are three one year old Kinder does, just we will only have to go about 2 miles out of our way to get them (picking them up in Wisconsin). Can not wait, but at the same time, means there really will be no break or down time from ending military life and starting the farm life! Here is a picture of one of the new fur babies, Petunia’s Curly.
|Petunia's Curly, one of the does we are picking up Easter Weekend|
Well this is it for this week! Please let me know your thoughts!