15 Month Check-in
It might seem strange to do a 15 month check-in...but its really not that strange. Here's why. When we moved to our acreage it had recently been re-assessed by the county and was determined to be "residential" not "agricultural." This meant that our taxes went up about 15% per month. PER MONTH!!!!!! The solution was to prove that we are trying to make money doing agricultural things. Meaning we had to jump into making money via agriculture ASAP. We chose the farmer's market...May 7-October 29...26 weeks. We missed 3 of those, one for a funeral, another when we got our new calves, and for our annual apple butter stir. This was the first weekend since May that we have not had a commitment, which is why we are doing a 15 month check-in.
At 15 months, we have learned a TON.
Lesson #1: Do your research and talk to people. We talked to our County auditor and did lots of research. One thing we learned was that our livestock trailer didn't need to be registered if it was only used for agricultural purposes. When we went to the County they told us that our purposes were not agricultural (ie hauling livestock to the processor. We were told that livestock is not agricultural...WTH Right?). A call to the highway patrol confirmed it. Long story short...if we hadn't talked to people and done our research, we wouldn't have known the steps to take to get our property reclassified.
Lesson #2: Time is finite. So this one is one that we always knew, technically, but our first 15 months have challenged this concept. We read a ton and tried to prepare ourselves as much as possible. But experience is really the best teacher. We bit off more than we could chew in several areas. Even though we had a mixture of things that succeeded and failed...we learned how to be more efficient as well as what things just aren't worth the time.
Lesson #3: If you like spending your free times at the movies, bar, hanging with friends, etc. then this isn't the life for you. And if this is the life for you, be prepared for LOTS of unadulterated feedback. Between farm responsibilities and regular house chores, there is very little time to do much of anything else. Thankfully we were mostly home bodies to begin with, so we just shifted from the house to the yard. For the past 26 weeks Mon-Fri was work, Sat 6am-2pm was Farmer's Market (including set up and tear down), which left Saturday afternoon and Sunday for kid things, meal planning, shopping, and any family gatherings. We had to tell a lot of people, a lot of times, "sorry we can't." People made lots of comments. Rather than saying things like "I don't think I could do that" the comments are "that's nuts, why would you ever do that" or even better "that's stupid."
We keep learning and loving this life! We hope you'll keep following along.