Thursday, December 13, 2012

Focus: Dairy


Did I say I was going to start blogging more?
A month ago?

Hmmm. Today, I was thinking through what to write about and was getting overwhelmed by all that goes into our every day and how to put that all in words (and have a picture to include!)

Like every year, there's stress around Christmas. There's the ambivalence too. And the determination to make gifts, but not the motivation.

But thinking through what to write ... what's the biggest, overarching, stay-up-late, big project currently?
The dairy.
Hands down.
We're planning to put a dairy in to make and sell cheese.
Super exciting.
And more importantly, super yummy.
Our hard drive is filling up with plans and copies of the state regulations.
Our book shelves are filling up with dairy and cheese related material.

Rant-y Part
And it's overwhelming.
All of it!
Mostly because it's so frustrating to me that we can't sell farm grown/made products but it's perfectly legal for monsanto to copyright seeds, parents to smoke in front of their children, and forests to be clear cut. But a person can't make an informed decision, as a consumer, about where and when they buy their food.
The rules seem so backward to me!

Rant Over
So ... this is really Ren Man's thing. I totally support cheese making (mostly because I love cheese) but have little interest in cheese making (soap making, agritourism, animal chores, blogging, marketing ... sign me up!).

We started with the idea of retro-fitting a detached garage but after consulting with a contractor realized it would cost more to retrofit the garage (which I'm now crossing my fingers to convert to a custom slaughter house one day ... but the dairy first). So Ren Man is sketching out plans (not with paper and pencil - with sketchup). He's been in brief discussion via email with the inspector's supervisor and plans to submit tentative dairy plans before the end of the year.

When the plans are approved we then have to come up with the funding (hoping to get most of our funding from customers signing up for our farm-credit/CSA option, but anticipate needing to get a loan).

And then we will build.

So the biggest issue of the biggest issue is .... funding. But that's normal, and doable, and we're very very excited about this project. Our enthusiasm continues to strengthen as our community grows with increasing support. We are regularly having people approach us to tell us that they love seeing active farming happen at our place again. We've had several relatives of the original farmers of this property glow with stories of their past with this place and with the anticipation of what the future of farming will be on this property. We're thrilled to be the stewards of this land and honored to be part of its woven story.

Any ideas around any of this (building design, the actual building, funding, cheese making, etc!) welcome!!

PS The picture above was taken last spring ... we're no longer hand-milking for several reasons. There are pros and cons to hand-milking vs. machine milking and somewhat sadly we realized that machine milking was the best option for us.


tiffany doran said...

aaah.  i just wanted to tell you that it makes me so happy to read your blog.  i don't even really know you and your family, but every time i read about what you are doing and what you are trying to do, i think about how fearless and brave you are, how hard you work, and what awesome role models you and your husband are for your kids.   i hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a new year full of blessings and wonder and laughter and love. 

lovermont said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement! I think that it shouldn't matter what other people think, right? But it does, and your words are so uplifting! I'll keep (trying to) blog!! It's hard sometimes when my head is SO in photography or farming that those blogs get more attention.

And now that we're in the same state again ... it doesn't quite work like RI, huh? lol.

Thanks for the holiday wishes. I hope yours is full of joy with kids that "get it" more and more. Noah is SOOO excited this year ;)

Lppick said...

Your plans sound so exciting! I have no doubt you can accomplish anything you set your heart on!