It's a new year and so much is happening but mostly because I haven't written in many many months...almost a year. So, part of my personal goals for 2014 is to be more organized in my own life. This includes the home, finances, and of course my business which has grown and grown.
Just in case you aren't interested in the history and just want to look at pictures, I'm including the days fun here at the beginning and you can read the rest if you want.
As of 1pm, we had 8 inches of snow and it's still coming down hard!
Cowbella and the rams, eating breakfast in the snow
Our girl, Cowbella.
Introduced the mini horse to the rams and Cowbella this morning and they keep running laps but not too stressed out. In between laps they grab a mouthful of hay.
Gabby's mini horse, Minnie or Louie
Norman, the bull calf, enjoying the indoor breakfast
Tweed is still up for moving sheep, just open the gate
Now for all the details!
House and Home
and now will be expecting our second child March 31. Therefore, I felt the nesting instinct kick in and got to organizing. I cleaned out Gabby's closet and boxed up outgrown clothes, newborn items, and moved furniture around. The new one will stay in our master bedroom for as long as possible but then the two kids will have to share a room for a while. We do have another bedroom but I feel it's very important to keep a guest room available for family and friends. When people come to stay I want them to have a nice room with a huge comfy bed and their own bathroom. Maybe they will come back and help with the kids more often; hidden agenda on my part.
I then attacked the guest room closet and room. The hallway to the guest area including the guest room itself had become the catch all space for our many many started and not finished home improvement projects. All the work tools and items for those projects are now organized neatly into the hall closet and the guest room and bathroom has become exactly what it was intended to be, the guest area. It's complete with king size bed, closet space, and linen closet and shelves empty in the bathroom.
I am also working on helping my husband get the home projects done that were started 6 months -1 year ago. We are putting up new drywall to replace the bad patch jobs done by the previous owner and finishing the counters in the kitchen that were made from scratch. It's getting there even if slow going.
Three things I don't usually discuss with too many people are religion, politics, and personal finances. I feel these are areas that most people have strong feelings and opinions about and can easily destroy relationships so I usually just talk to a few people and usually when I need help. But, I have decided I am proud of my financial changes and feel like I'm finally taking charge so I want to brag! With the introduction of debit cards, autopay, and the ease of buying on credit, checkbook balancing had become a thing of my past. My shopping usually began with me standing in the store, checking my apps to see what account had what balance to then buy what I needed for the trip. Now, I know this is not a great way to go but I also know, I am not in the minority of this practice. So, I decided to sit down every night and get online and balance my checkbook, do the books for the business, and plan ahead for the upcoming shopping necessities. So far, it's working and I'm very happy about this. I have always planned for retirement and follow the pay yourself first adage but didn't work on the present. My business has expanded into a number of animals and lessons have taken off and therefore, I want to make sure Borderhauss Kennels at least pays for itself and hopefully pays for the farm. I know it's not costing me money but it'd be nice to make some.
Farm and Business
I would never be able to live here on this farm let alone keep it running if not for my husband. He tirelessly works everyday to keep it going. After working his own business all day, he comes home and splits wood for the stove or moves a big load to the deck for me to use in the wood stove. He plows the snow out of the way, fixes electrical, hangs stall doors, catches sheep, fixes fencing, replaces well pumps for water in the barns, adds hydrants out in pastures, cuts and bales hay, repairs vehicles, tills the garden, and all with a smile and usually before I even know it needs to be fixed. There is so much more he does and I try to appreciate it every day. He probably won't read this but I will make sure to tell him each night, thank you.
My dog classes are booming, I've added 20 new students that keep returning so I must be doing something right for them. They are fun, positive, and love to learn. So, really I'm the lucky one in this situation. Without them, I would never be able to stay home and be with Gabby all day and do what I love, thank you, my students.
The part of the business that is also growing is the number of animals we have and the new property we acquired adjacent to our land. My mother and stepfather were kind enough and so helpful to purchase the 10 acres with barn next door and draw up a contract to purchase from them. So, our little farm has doubled in land to 20 acres and 5 big barns. It's really limitless to what we can do if we organize and be business savy. I try to only keep animals that offer an income or a benefit to us. That being said, I do have my favorites and a few are definitely pets at they have no job. I need to talk to them about getting out and getting jobs.
The flock of sheep is around 20, and I do admit to not knowing the exact number out there. I know when someone is missing but just don't count all the time. They come and go so fast sometimes and I tend to look at them from a business stand point. This means, when I look at a sheep, it is in my mind staying because of good quality breeding traits, staying because they might become good school sheep for herding lessons, or not staying and waiting to sell. So, it's not a head count but more of a money making perspective. We were lucky enough (again, my husband) to turn the new 10 acres into hay and therefore, food is not a problem this winter. The llamas go with the sheep and keep them safe from coyotes so in that sense they save us money of loosing lambs and expensive sheep to predators. Due to our new human baby coming I planned for late April/May lambs this season.
We have some animals here that are going to feed us. It isn't an easy thing to do, raise an animal, watch them grow, become attached, and know their fate. However, with all the additives and unknown products being injected into commerical meat, I feel much more comfortable knowing exactly where our meat starts, eats, and ends up. We have control over the whole process. We have four pigs that my husband purchased. Every summer we have a pig roast party and we just plain like pork. We have two cows, one heifer and one bull. The bull, Norman, will grow up and breed our heifer before going to the freezer but again, beef is a huge bill in our house at the grocery and we will have our own grass fed, no hormones or antibiotics in our beef. Cowbella, our heifer will stay here to produce the calves and possible provide milk for us. I will have to see how far I get into making cheese, butter, yogurt, and milking in general.
We have a pair of turkeys we kept back this winter. Normally, I buy the chicks, raise them, and butcher for the holidays usually giving away the birds to family and friends but this year, we kept two for breeding. I know it might be another summer before they start laying as turkeys need to grow up a lot before laying eggs but the plan is to incubate our own baby turkeys.
We also have the runner ducks. These ducks are great for herding dogs at they flock together and I have had them for years. They are funny, eat lots of bugs, and are fairly easy keepers. I have one hen that sits on a nest and hatches her own babies so that also makes things easier for me. We use the eggs for eating and giving to my in-laws. I keep a rare color and any extra babies born that I don't need for the flock are usually sold within a week of hatching. That's their job here on the farm. I have also used them for herding demonstration with a good friend of mine and they bring in a little cash that way.
We have three horses. They are pets and only cost us money, haha. Our most recent addition is Minni, or Louie, as my husband calls her. She is a two year 36 inch mini that will hopefully become Gabby's first pony. She is doing well living with all the strange animals but is friendly and sweet. Currently, in this snow, Minnie and Cowbella and running around the pasture. They will get really tired in all this snow.
Now that everyone is all caught, my goal is to keep this blog updated more often rather than a once every 6 months review. It's still snowing as we are expected to get around 12 inches but I think it will be more.
Laura, Paul, Gabby and unborn baby.