Sunday, April 7, 2013

Great Expectations

Each year, shortly after New Years, Larry and I write up a list of what we want to accomplish on the homestead in the coming year.  They have taken many forms over the years - from formal typewritten lists to something scratched out on a napkin in Flanagans.  The new list gets pinned to the kitchen bulletin board on top of the prior years' lists.  A planner at heart, I love seeing hopeful To Dos in writing, and at the end of the year when we scratch off our accomplishments, well, it doesn't get better than that.

Is he sticking his tongue
out at us?
Our homestead goals range from practical (fix cellar doors, paint upstairs hallway) to optimistic (get riding ring done, get horse trailer).  Some are carried over from year to year to year (Larry's "get a deer this hunting season").  But they do happen (I have faith in my husband), and seeing past accomplishments helps us keep our eye on next year's prizes.

The past couple of years we have been selling eggs and getting more out of our garden.  Ever the entrepreneur, I'm trying to find ways of generating a little income from the homestead.  Larry's been encouraging this plan all along, but I've been poo-pooing it due to lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of fill-in-the-blank.  But getting involved with the Farm Bureau, and getting to know other people who are making things happen, has been a steady source of encouragement. 

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a small farm business plan workshop sponsored by Saratoga County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Well, talk about lighting a fire under my butt!  Not only
was it an education learning how to tailor a business plan to a small farming enterprise, it was cool meeting and talking with other people doing similar things.   Although everyone's business had a slightly different focus, our goals were all the same - to establish/expand what we've got to make it better, and make it a viable business.  There's nothing like being in a room with like-minded individuals to get you inspired.

I have been working out my business plan since then, and in mapping it out in my mind and on paper, I've seen some areas that, theoretically, should work better than others.  There's nothing like the nitty-gritty of actual numbers to see if something is realistic or not.  Layers will take a little time to turn a profit, where broilers are a relatively quick turnaround.  I've been amazed at the response I've gotten from people interested in my soft cheeses, and I think there would be a market for my onion braids. 

I can dream, can't I?

In following our business plan guru's suggestions, I applied for our DBA and opened a separate checking account for The 30 Acre Wood.  Larry and I are mapping out an expansion of the chicken  coop for a new batch of chicks.  I'm hoping the weather gods cooperate and we have a good garden this year.  We'll start small, see what works and what doesn't, see what people want, and see what happens.   

We're looking forward to crossing more off our list at the end of 2013, including "get a deer this hunting season."

No comments:

Post a Comment