nose to the grind stone

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Winter has been fairly kind to me this year. It’s not been as snowy or horribly cold as usual, and we have this very cozy and sunny Farmer Barn to live in now. Wow, what a difference this has made! I’ve had plenty of time to work on my writing, do my chores and get other projects on my list actually started and finished, a pretty perfect “farmer winter.”

But I know winter won’t last forever and I have a trip to Canada coming up in 3 weeks, so it’s time to really push myself to finalize my manuscript. Stop looking for Highlands on craigslist (and other cows, but wait— what’s listed under steers…,) stop playing solitaire, stop cruising pinterest, stop incessantly checking emails. Drink a bunch of coffee and get ‘er DONE! I tend to be most creative and prolific in the mornings, with that fresh surge of caffeine. But that brings me to another distraction- my husband.

He and I run this business together, and so this means we tend to discuss business stuff constantly. It can start innocently enough, like the other morning I said you know we need to touch base on the 4 big expenses/purchases coming up (his wisdom teeth, a 6 ton grain bin, cattle and a delivery van) and talk about the timeline versus what remains in the bank account. He’s like well, do you want to talk about money right now? This is how it often happens. I like it actually, I could talk business with him all day. And I always have ideas, much to his chagrin. But hey, that’s how things happen!

Nearly that whole day was spent on making a new budget for ourselves, so we are both on the same page and understand how close we are cutting it before the cash flow begins again. We have investments in the farm that we paid for last year that should start giving back this year. But then we are always investing in the next thing and so on. Right now we are investing in growing our female piglets up to be mommas, not meat. We won’t have a return on the investment we are making in them until we harvest their offspring NEXT FALL. That’s a long time to cash flow on a very tight budget! Breeding our own pigs, starting with piglets who need to grow up first, is a long process, but one we feel is very important for the sustainability of our farm. We can selectively breed over the years to get pigs who really thrive on a more forage-based diet and less inputs (grain.) Andrew’s taking charge of the whole pastured pig project and I’ll mostly be the duck lady.

Anyways- back to writing. Andrew’s going to head down to visit our dear friend in Iowa for about a week, and I’m looking forward to it. I will get to be “queen of the castle,” take care of everything and everyone, and then just focus, really FOCUS on my book. In a tiny house without rooms, aside from the bathroom, it is impossible to have zero distractions. Even with headphones on, I can feel the vibrations as he walks around upstairs or walks towards my little desk facing the corner in the livingroom. (It’s a lovely corner with windows on each side of the desk.) I use this as an excuse for why I haven’t been able to really focus, but I also know it’s me hitting that wall. You know the one, where you just can’t really see what you wrote anymore, you’re too invested and familiar with it. So today I take a break from that to write a post.

A bit of good writing news, The Small Farmer’s Journal is publishing my story of the day I went to go pick up our Large Black Hog Piglets in the next issue. This quarterly is a huge, fascinating and gorgeous magazine, loaded with old-timey illustrations and heavy on small scale, sustainable and draft powered farming information.

I’m also proud to share that my sister Melanie’s article on WWOOFing just came out in the February issue of Acres USA! She’s still working on farms down in South America and will be coming back up north for our Canada trip. Way to go Melski! Mom would be so proud and excited for you!!!

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8 thoughts on “nose to the grind stone

  1. Very exciting! What is your book about? Your pictures are great. Do you guys sell stuff? Accept visitors in spring time? Where in WI are you? Sorry, I have many questions, need to browse your blog more, and want to find out more about “new farmers” experience and I myself am entertaining idea of a homestead in WI potentially or some place else. .

    1. How cool! My book is for aspiring new farmers, I’m super excited to empower people who are interested in doing this, and sharing the things I have learned as we started. We’d love to have you come visit and do have products for sale, although much of it we do CSA style. We are in western Wisconsin, about an hour and half from Minneapolis.

  2. Git ‘er done. That’s my buddy Bryce’s motto – he has a hat with it, a sign in his farm office, and I think someone gave him a cake with it once. He’s said it to me a few times too – making me focus, and bore in on what needs to be finished instead of starting yet another thing.

    How thrilling to have another article in print! And Melanie too! I got a subscription to Acres USA for Christmas but haven’t seen it yet. Maybe I’ll get the issue with Melanie in it. I visit the Small Farmer’s Journal website from time to time, but I don’t know if I’ll get to see your article there. Their website is awesome – I wish I could subscribe to dozens of periodicals at once!

    Wisdom teeth – Andrew has my sympathy – but it will be great to have them gone, once he’s over the recovery period.

    Three weeks! wow, that is coming up fast – sure hope our weather clears up – or it’s going to be a foggy wedding!

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