Monday, February 11, 2013

Draft Class #2

Yesterday we spent most of the day about an hour and a half away from R'Eisen Shine attending the Hudson Valley Draft Associations second teamster training class. We signed up for 5 sessions, one Sunday a month from 1-5. So we left here about 11:30 yesterday after getting the animals set for the day and got back about 6:30 after picking up a pizza en route home. That's a long time for us to be off farm in the winter. It gives me jitters to be away from the animals that long, it's enough time for the goats to break out, the sheep to get stuck in the fence and a predator to attack the chickens. Luckily, this wasn't the case yesterday, everyone seemed to weather our absence just fine.

I think the big take-away from yesterday's class is that it's time for us to harness up the girls and start ground driving. We've been relationship building with them over the last month, working them through grooming and hoof tending. We've paraded them around on lead ropes, there's not more shuffling. We've read the books. We've cleaned the gear. We've read blogs. We've practiced. There is no magic secret, now it's just time to start working them. So when the weather clears up a bit, that's what we'll do. And I'm certain it will be an adventure, more for us then our well trained horses. They know a lot more about this horse farming business then we do.

The snow storm here dropped a decent amount and the winds certainly were fierce. But, we were spared the worst of it. My parents in Connecticut got nearly 30 inches, that's a lot of snow. We live on the Connecticut/Mass/NY border, so we did end up with more weather then our Albany CSA members. Today we're getting a slick coating of ice.

It's getting down to the wire with our CSA deposits. In order for us to have an on-time season, we really need to push through and get the rest of them in for the year. This is the less fun part of farming, for me at least. The marketing. I like the part where I post pictures of all of the beautiful products we grow, I just don't like the part where I negotiate ad prices, make sponsorship deals, post 100 times about signing up on facebook. But, that's what allows us to keep farming. Without customers, it's a hobby, not a business. And in order for us to be successful, we've got to get those sales nailed down now. We're working on a partnership with some other farms that may end up giving us a good bump, more details to follow when we have them. And there's been a lot of interest in pork too, which is very exciting. We really love to grow good food for people. Now let's just hope people really love to eat that good food.

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