2012 advice for new farmers and DIY “drunken goat”

wanna farm?

Seems to me that there are a lot of people who want to start farming. I think this is absolutely AWESOME! However, there is no one who can lay out a masterplan for someone else, whether it is for starting a farm, or becoming a basketball player. If it is in your heart, if it’s your calling, you will find a way, and you will do it.

Open your mind through education. Look locally for educational opportunities, open houses & field days on farms, internship or volunteer day possibilities, Ag Extension office programs and presentations. Read, read, read books from the library, buy the ones you love, and dive into anything farmy on the internet. Take notes and begin a farm-to-be journal.

Start something. Don’t be afraid! I call it “homesteading homeschooling.” Because in my mind, a homestead often can lead to a farmstead. I did this for 7 years before making the leap to fulltime farming!! It does take time. Be patient while you figure out what your likes are in life and in each day, and grow from there. This can be really hard when the golden light at the end of the tunnel beckons you, but you have practicing to do! Plant a garden, start canning, dig out some heirloom family recipes, or get some rabbits or chickens, teach community ed classes, take photographs, order half a hog from a small farm and butcher up the meat yourself, begin writing, begin making your own recipes. You don’t need the stress of a burgeoning farmstead to do any of these things. While you are playing around finding your niche and your passion, you can support those who have made the farming leap by purchasing goods they grew. It’s good karma.

Business & Money has to be addressed for any newbie farmer. Money is not evil- we all need it to pay bills and buy essentials. Look at how much money you need to live. Seriously, I cannot over emphasize this enough. When I was lusting after fulltime farming, a farmer friend gave me this advice, and it is so true. How little money can you live on, or how much would you need to produce on your farm to make what you think is a reasonable living? And how much do you think it will take to care for your crops, animals, etc on the farm? Start messing around with a business plan of some sort, put the date on it, and keep it for some good chuckles later on. The thing is, when you are selling your time for money at a day job, you don’t know yet how hard it is to earn every dollar when you are farming. Unless you get big and you get big fast, which is not the goal I think most have in mind. Successful small-scale farming takes some major creativity, and laying a solid base of practicing first will give you some idea of what you can do. While you are practicing, keep tabs on the ins and outs financially. Selling eggs from your backyard flock is great, but what did it cost you to raise them? And if you scale it up, what might that look like?

I have lots of advice, which will no doubt continue to be spewed forth here!

 

drunken goat

Start with some of this:

Make some of this:

Press it into a wheel, air dry for a week, then soak in it red wine in a bag, flipping over every 12 hours so the wheel soaks it in evenly:

After 3 days:

Yum! Then back out it comes to air dry for several days:

I saved the red wine infiltrated with cheese aroma to marinate a goat shoulder from last fall. The goat, despite being a buck, was tender and luscious after a low and slow session in the crockpot.

We had it for lunch with a cucumber, green pepper & garlic salad, over white rice.

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