My dream was to build a new life, to design a permanent agriculture system, grow vegetables, harvest from the wild, raise animals for their gifts to us as humans, and return to the old ways, which were healthy and sacred. In order to manage all that, I needed a supplemental income. That is where the bed and breakfast came in - a business that was second nature to me, easy to run and manage and that would not only provide the income, but a system of meeting fascinating folks from around the globe, to serve and entertain them in my own home and to bid them adieu until the next time.
The bed and breakfast was very slow to start, however; once it was established and the reviews started to come, it grew from there. I did not need to have full bookings in order to meet the income necessary, only half time really, and that was finally achieved in the second year. I met some wonderful people, judges, doctors, engineers, medical professionals and such, and we shared tidbits of our lives over a good home cooked meal with farm fresh ingredients and meats raised naturally right here, on the Fat Ewe Farm. All was well.
The farm grew rapidly as well from nothing really, to a functioning, lovely little place where families often came to view the critters and speak to the farmer, aka, me! There were many unusual breeds of sheep to see, with tiny lambs and fuzzy wools, miniature goats, miniature cows, and a lot of birds, which is the strange part, because birds were never part of the original plan. I had a true traumatic experience as a very young child, which created a terrible bird phobia for the rest of my life. Upon starting the farm, I could not go near a bird, let alone handle even a baby chick all fuzzy and warm. It took some time, great determination and perseverance to overcome that phobia, which is now 99% cured, but I did it! So, then the birds came and they multiply faster than rabbits. Soon just a few chickens, ducks and geese gave me over a hundred birds.
At first, I was able to sell lambs to the locals who wanted to start breeding and caring for their own small flocks. The miniature goats were also very good sellers, with their adorable cuteness factor in the overwhelming category. They are still the number one animal that I can sell, but with the price of feed (hay) up more than triple, I bet people will not be buying little critters this year as pets for their acreages. They did not buy them last year when the prices skyrocketed, either.
I took the majority of the birds to the abattoir and they are in freezer camp now, but I can not eat that many birds in a year. I will gift some of them for Christmas, for sure. The Babydoll sheep are not currently being bred. I am debating whether to just breed a few or not to breed them at all. There is no market for them with the prices the way they are. People have to rethink what they can and cannot do and luxury pets are out of the question for the most part.
Now what? I have tried to sell soap and home made lotions and creams for 2 years now with absolute zero success. On that, I give up. The craft fair I just participated in brought a whole 30 dollars in, enough to cover the table and gas. I have tons of beautiful soap to sell now. Online is the only possibility and I am terrible at the getting to the post office part and invoicing, so I have resisted online sales all together. I need a partner for that, some one who is very good at the business side of things. I am in one more fair on the 10,11th of December, but with the economy the way it is, I somehow feel that it will also be poor.
Therefore, I have decisions to make, hard ones. I will have to move out at least 50% of the animals and birds still here, possibly concentrate on one breed of each only. No more hand made products either. The people in this area just do not value anything like that and they could care less about natural or organic, too. Wrong place for me, it is. The gardening and wild harvesting is still a possibility and something to spend more time on. I can harvest wild roses, but they too would have to be marketed online, again because people here do not value herbs or wild harvested plants. I can do a small market garden, though with just one person, that is tough. Slowly, over the next four years, liquidation will continue, and finally, I guess it will be time to say good bye to this dream and create a new one. Hope....there is always that.