The farm is an expensive hobby. The costs are quite overwhelming and the income generated from it is not sufficient to cove those costs. Without the extra income from the bed and breakfast, I would not be able to continue to supplement my pensions and carry on. Well, with the oil crash, the ripple effect has also hit the bed and breakfast and I am now tossing around the idea of closing it for a few years, moving into the bed and breakfast house and renting my beloved farmhouse. With this change, I will have to continue my downsizing efforts.
I was reviewing the goat situation earlier this afternoon. I would like to keep the two Nubian milk goats, one Nigerian doe, one Cashmere doe, one Pygora doe, one Angora doe and one buck. The new babies and some of the mothers will have to be sold.
Last year's sheep cut was difficult, but the fewer numbers made winter feeding easier. Still, I do not need 4 Cotswold ewes. One is sufficient, or possibly two, one coloured and one white. I have only one Jacob and one Icelandic now. And so I will need to decide who gets to stay once again and who goes. Only this time, the sheep, who are not cull sheep, but unusual or rare breeds or crosses of rare breeds, will go to the Odd and Unusual sale in Westlock or Lloydminster, not the auction, where they do not know anything about rare sheep. I have had better luck selling individual lambs as pets too, so will continue to do that this year. Small starter flocks are also good sellers.
The cows will pay for themselves as the price of beef rises. I have a few large lambs and sheep to sell as meat lambs because no one here wants the smaller breeds, such as Icelandic. The key is the fleece, not the meat though, so perhaps those sheep would be best rehomed too. I cannot afford the thousands of dollars to buy feed in the fall for the animals. The chickens will have to be limited to twenty hens and two roosters, the ducks to four of a breed, no more than six geese, six guineas and six rabbits. And so it goes. Once again, the paring down of the animals to make survival possible, is necessary. The very hardest part will be to do something with the dogs. I just cannot seem to even think about parting with one of them. Their feed is currently the most expensive on the farm. I will have to find a different way to feed them. The Mongolians feed their dogs gruel from boiled barley and meaty bones. I can get meaty bones and barley, so maybe I can give that a try. It does mean cooking a large pot of the food every day the day before. Some vegetables can be added on occasion. I can add eggs to the gruel during the spring, summer and early fall, when there are plenty. It is time to rethink the farm once again, and reorganize to make it possible on a very limited budget. It can be done. It will.