It’s a brand-new year with brand new goals, projects, and ideas. This year I feel like we have fewer big projects lined up – which is just fine with me. I’m excited to have more time for gardening, and just having the normal ranch stuff to contend with.
However, we do have 3 major projects that we’re hoping to finish this year. It’s likely only two of them will be completed though.
Build a lean-to shed next to the house.
Buy a new tractor.
Build a barn with attached greenhouse.
The barn may take another year or two of saving up our nickels and dimes to truly make it a reality, but we’ll get there eventually.
We will also continue to improve the soil conditions in our fields and in our gardens. Now that we know what the problem is we’ve come up with a few things that will help. I’m going to be experimenting with compost tea to get the microbiome in the soil healthier and more active, and we’ll be adding compost and reseeding bare spots in the field as we’re able to.
Also this year we are officially launching our CSA (Community Support Agriculture)! Last year we had five families help us test a CSA, and this year we’re going all in! We’ve expanded our garden areas so we can grow more food. I’ve done an insane amount of research to grow as much food as possible in the space we have to accommodate as many families as possible. We are going to limit the number of families to 15 this year though, and hopefully be able to add more as we continue to expand.
After last year’s weird growing season, I’m a little worried about biting off more than I can chew. However, I’ve planned my garden this year, based on the harvest we got last year. I’m hoping that will result in far more than enough for us and 15 families so hopefully we can add more families throughout this growing season because of it. January and February I’ll be finalizing details for this so around March you can expect to see invitations to join our CSA which will run from June to September.
Another exciting and new thing happening this year is baby goats! We bred Honey and Reba a few weeks ago. It’s still too soon to do a blood test to confirm if they are actually pregnant, but we are hoping to have babies on the ground toward the middle or end of May.
Once we have baby goats, we’re going to be doing a slew of different testing on both babies and moms to see where we are with our burgeoning herd. We are going to be doing milk tests on both Honey & Reba to see how much milk they produce over the year and check the quality as well. We’re going to have a linear appraisal done on all the goats to see how their body composition holds up to the best Nigerian Dwarf goats out there. And once we’ve determined those things, registered the baby goats, and have them weaned, we will very likely be selling some of the babies.
I’ve been working on adding a whole bunch of goat stuff to our website, as well as figuring out how we’re going to do a reservation list! But one thing is certain - we want our baby goats to be friendly to people. So if you want to come cuddle cute baby goats, let me know and we'll work something out.
Along with baby goats, will be goat milk! We are planning on using the majority of the goat milk this year to use in our soap. All of our soaps will be converted to goat milk soap this year and will be even better because of it. You can expect changes on the soap side of things to begin around the end of June, or beginning of July depending on when babies drop.
We (well, I, Angela) also want to get our own breeding bucks this year and make our herd a closed herd, which keeps all the animals that much healthier. But that will mean another project to figure out shelter and enclosures and such.
We’ve been building our ranch from the ground up (literally) for three years now. 2023 feels like it’s going to be the first year where we do more ranching, than building, and I’m so grateful to all of you who have followed along with us as we build our forever dream home, supported us along the way with kind words, encouragement, and from supporting our soap business. Here’s to 2023 another year of growing, learning, firsts, lasts, endings, and new beginnings.