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One Piece At A Time – Growing SlowMoneyFarm

October 17, 2011

Years ago Johnny Cash had a song about “One Piece At A Time” about patching together a car for low cost and ingenuity. In business they refer to it as bootstrapping. Others just call it farming.

Recently we posted a Visual Thinking post and another of 12 Ways You Can Help SlowMoneyFarm. Many question whether these small increments get anywhere. The answer is yes! It takes time but yes! How do we know this – it already has!

You see, without bank financing it means planning in a whole new way. There isn’t $100,000 to put down on a plot of land and get through the first year’s crop with. But there is something else – what animals we’ve raised and purchased are owned. With a small flock of birds integrated (raised here) for someone else, we have our own animals owned free and clear. That means when there’s income it goes to projects, feed and more. Often this has meant working at $500 or $100 at a time…so not coincidentally many of our goals are in that ‘level’ of thinking.

Some of our $100 at a time thinking – each hoop house shelter. It’s allowed for the addition of two very nice bucks that is taking the program forward. It’s added buckeyes to the breeds of heritage chickens kept. Yes it’s slow going but there are several of those $100 and $200 projects/goals pending, some coming up very shortly.

A few of these include:

Storing up hay for the winter. Now that we have a place to keep it under shelter, dry and stored well we can do that rather than rely on bags. This also decreases the amount of expensive pellets needed if we can get the 19% hay before it’s gone. (cost $110/130 for large 900 pound bale, $10 each for small bales)

Addition of several market rabbit does to produce consistently meat rabbits – these would be purchased at the ARBA convention sale, to be held later this month.

The addition of some key birds – a trio of Rhode Island Whites, some Cornish, Connor’s blue silkies.

The addition of a Silver Fox buck to go with the does Connor has purchased and will be picking up at convention.

Two additional Giant Chinchilla does, taking our program to another step with some unrelated lines. This is needed in any program but especially in rare breeds. The best place to do this is where there is opportunity and that is Convention.

A wish list – a trio of Champagne D’argents (Connor) and Sables.

We have arranged to purchase a very nice chinchilla (what else?!) Satin buck – and will be seeking to get a few does to go with him. Satins aren’t as rare as our other breeds, but add a new development to the meat/fur function.

Cages! We’ll need to continue creating cage space, hutches.

LED lights for the breeder does and hens. Light affects breeding and laying – so with some LED lights on a timer we can keep those light hours until 830 or so at night then it switches off. Best thing – with the low power needed we can hook it to a solar charged system – all within project budget.

Insulated coop for the Seabrights and Silkies – the bantams are already huddling and it hasn’t gotten cold yet. A solid insulated coop is slated to help them be comfortable through the winter.

Improved coop for Rhode Island Reds and Dominiques.

Large load of shavings for bedding. This is more economical in the long run than bagged shavings. It allows for a better overall environment, provides more compost material for the raised beds and lowers the ongoing cost.

Wish list – portable feed room – we’ve found them for $400-500 and one for $200 – but like most things it’s something that we need to be ready to move on *now*.

Along with these small projects is a couple larger ticket items – a stock trailer is one. Something like this will allow a safe way to move animals when the time comes. Looking ahead – as always – land which allows raising our own feed to a much larger degree, as well as the ability to raise some pigs. By doing smaller batches of 10-20 pigs we not only can sustain and grow the farm, but can better serve those interested in more than just poultry and rabbit. It also allows a more competitive edge to producing rabbit meat, bringing our costs down while not reducing quality. That’s a win for customer and us!

While we certainly need and appreciate all sales – which go towards those small short term projects – we’re also on the hunt for those interested in investing in the larger ones. We’ve found a possibility of a 22 acre spot of land partially fenced with high tensile fencing (that’s good!) in our target area. We don’t presume to have $100k fall from the sky to enable purchase and construction of a barn and office on it, but with several slow money style interested parties it can be a reality.

Security is more than financial. Security is also knowing you have enough food, that you have a safe place to live and health to enjoy life. Your bank statement isn’t printed on the tombstone. Like most statistics the tombstone records basics – name and two dates. Your birth date and the date you left this world. That dash in between – THAT is the story. THAT is what we’re writing now to leave to Connor when we’re gone. THAT is the future that feeds the kids and grandkids, while allowing food choices for all of us now. Is there a better way to link from past to future? I don’t think so!

But then too we’re a little bit different!

We’re writing that dash now – and appreciate your support! Spread the word – order today!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 4:35 PM

    Little steps, they do work! c

    • October 17, 2011 8:54 PM

      Yes they do! It’s frustrating slow sometimes but if it won’t work small scale it probably won’t work with more volume! Good basics, good habits, forward progress is good!

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