I have not been blogging much lately. I have LOTS and LOTS to blog about... wouldn't even know where to start! But, just as a heads up, when you don't hear from me, it's usually because I'm having a hard time.
I am having a hard time on the farm. My dog boarding biz has been slow, slow, slow since Feb. I keep thinking it will turn around, but so far it hasn't. I always ask myself if I should blog about the bad stuff, but really this blog is more for me than anyone, and writing things out helps me to purge and vent and then move on. So, here I go!! I emailed many of my regular clients, seeing what was going on. The big answer I got from most was 'we can't afford to travel this year'. So, the economy finally hit me. The sucky part is there is really nothing I can do about that! I am behind on my mortgage (BIG SCARY), behind on my bills. I decided months ago to put all my effort into the farm - growing veggies, raising chickens and turkeys, etc. Technically, that is going well, but everything takes SO LONG to grow so I can sell! If Mother Nature works with me a bit, I am hoping I can turn things around by the end of summer. I have been a planting demon. I planted about 200 tomatoes, 400 cuc's, squash, zucchini, carrots, beets, you name it. The hardest part I have is getting my mind around the shear volume of veggies you need to grow in order to sell enough to make a living. Holy crap, it's a LOT of veggies! I have run out of room, and work on making new beds each and every day, so I can plant more and more and more. It's never enough! I had such a hard time with slugs the last few years (especially last year) that I was extra careful with my crops this year. I still go out at least twice a day to go on a slug killing spree, but they just keep coming and coming! I didn't get ANY peas last year, as the slugs dug down in the soil and ate the seeds before they even sprouted. This year, I planted many of my first crops in seed trays in the greenhouse to get them started, then painstakingly planted them out one by one.... the good news is that it looks like it worked, as my peas should be ready in the next week or so. WHEW! It took about 10 x longer to plant this way, but at least I am getting a crop!
Star did finally have her baby, another doeling, and I think I have sold them both to a Boer goat breeder in Chilliwack. I am not counting it as a sure thing until that deposit cheque comes, though! Should be later this week. That will help.
The other thing that happened was, because I decided to start going to some farmers' markets, I needed a car that had better cargo space. So, I found a mini van for sale (EEEK, and I said I would never, ever get a mini van!!) for $800. Looked in decent shape, and I thought if I sell my cop car, it would all work out great. So, I bought the mini van. Literally three days later, it broke down. Cost me $400. I realize you take a chance when you buy an old, cheap assed car, but three days?? Honestly! I will tell you, it sent me OVER THE EDGE. I literally cried for three days straight. I was pretty close to calling a real estate agent and listing the farm. I just can't seem to catch a break lately! I couldn't move for those days - didn't plant, didn't do anything except cry and have a total spaz at the universe for treating me so shitty. Eventually, I got past it. I had a few people in my life who helped me through - I am very, very grateful for them! I am in a better frame of mind now, and working hard again. STILL haven't sold the damn cop car, it would help me so much! I am just taking each financial crunch one at a time as I can, until my veggies start bearing fruit, and I make more money. I have also put my utility trailer up for sale, but haven't had a bite on that, either. I don't want to spend the money getting a new hitch on the van, so selling it would help out a lot.
On a happier note, I bred my two dogs - Reckless and Kybosh. Ky had her puppies about 12 days ago. There was one stillborn, and I lost another a few days ago (very, very harsh, but that's another story). I have 5 beautiful little puppies left. 3 girls, 2 boys. They are named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy, Willow, Cordy, Oz and Spike. I have enough homes lined up for them all, plus I will be keeping one. Just waiting in anticipation for them to open their eyes... should be any minute now! Then, they will start crawling around and getting personalities.
Let's see.... what else? Oh, I started to go to a few markets. I tried a little market in Cobble Hill. Went twice made a whopping $60-$70 each time. Then, it closed down. So, I tried another market at a local garden center - really, really new market. I made a whopping $50 the first time, and $30 the second. I am counting these as my 'practice' markets. Not going to get rich that way!! Two weeks ago, I went to the market in the next little town, Chemainus. It is a long-established market with over 30 vendors. I didn't have much with me, but I sold almost everything and made $170 the first time, and $130 the second. I will continue to go to this one each week - can't wait until I have more ready, then I will be able to actually make it! My goal is to sell between $400 and $600 each week (that's a LOT of veggies, folks!). I won't be able to do that until the end of summer (Aug/Sept), but until then, I will work on building a name for myself, show people I have yummy, organic veggies. Even in my second week, I had a couple of people seek me out to buy greens and beans that they had the week earlier, 'cause they liked them so much. That gave me much hope! I have big plans for next year - I want to build a couple of hoop houses (if I can raise the funds) and grow more in cloches to extend my season - that way, I should have lots ready by April/May, and be able to sell veggies almost all year (except when it's freezing out). Anyone out there want to donate to local food security??!!! Actually, I read another farming blog a few months ago. These two guys wanted to get into farming, and asked for $17,000 in donations to get started. When I had read the blog, they had already been pledged over $11,000!!! I only need about $2000 to get what I need to basically double or triple my farming income - that way, I wouldn't have to worry about the dog boarding as much. Plus, food security has become a huge issue on the island here - all we need is an earthquake or a strike to knock out the ferry system and we are virtually cut off from food supplies. It is estimated that if this were to happen, there would only be enough food here to last about 3 days before people started to go hungry. Having lots more local farms would help the situation immensely! I have GOT to figure out how to put a donate button on here:-) People who understand this issue are quite good about supporting local farms.
Now, I've ranted and purged, and I actually feel better... things are not all doom and gloom - I have gone from feeling crappy, to feeling hopeful.
My next post will be about farming, and maybe even a funny story:)
Won’t give in to the cold
7 months ago