Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hobby Farming 101 at Harvest Thyme

When I bought my first 3 Nigerian Dwarf wethers 9 years ago I remember how excited I was to get my first 10 bales of hay to put in the 10x16 barn that I had built by the Amish. The Hobby Farming bug had bitten me. A lot has evolved over the past 9 years: I have learned a lot through trial and error, add animals, lost animals, started gardening BUT the one most important thing I have learned is this:
Find a reliable hay man with good hay & who can deliver it!

Last year was the worst year for me & hay. To say I was stressed was an understatement. The guys who I had been buying it from went off to college, got married etc and their Dad decided to cut only for their farm. That was in July and I could not find a replacement at a price I could afford. It was just awful. I finally found a man at the end of March who was selling 1st cutting timothy/orchard. It was $3.50 a bale & he had 80 bales. That helped me out a bit and it turns out I knew his sister-n-law from working at the vet. Anyways, he is now my official hay man. He brought me over 120 1st cutting timothy/orchard hay this weekend. He is going to bring over another 150 in the next week as he is busy cutting & baling more, lots more. Two best things about this......I will have a stocked barn come October and he is only charging in $3.00 a bale!!!!!!! And they are nice, big bales!! I am so happy!! I was so excited I hugged him.....I think he thinks I am slightly "strange":)

The LaManchas Liberty & Sweet Pea have approved the hay.............

........and sheep have approved the hay also!! Life is good in the barnyard:)

As I mentioned previously, gardening was a smaller factor when I started "Hobby Farming" 9 years ago. This is the first year I seriously planted a large garden. I was very concerned about the tomatoes as I planted the garden like the 3rd week of May. I think because it was so cool the tomatoes did not take off right away. But this past week & half I have seen much improvement.

Now I think the cooler weather benefited the broccoli & cauliflower as they are doing great!! Last year they never looked like this 'till the end of July!!

Last year I planted cucumbers and got ZERO. This year I almost fell over when I saw this.......there is hope in the cucumber dept. & there are about 8 others starting to grow.

Early cabbage is looking good too. The late cabbage is coming along to. Notice the leaves on the cabbages in the first row.........they were violated by a goat named Cubbie: a 9 yr. old Nigerian wether who often follows me around the yard. He also sampled the brussel sprouts.

I just love this little ram lamb.......every time I look at him he looks like he is smiling:)
Hobby Farming also brings issues of trying to sell animals, who to keep, who is worthy of breeding. Next year I will be concentrating on the LaManchas as I have my foundation buck now and will be breeding 4 does. I will only breed a very small, select group of ewes ,perhaps 3 or 4 girls. I am very concerned about having too many sheep.

And of course when it comes to Hobby Farming, I have found having a wonderful companion dog to be your barn buddy and helper like my Dixie, makes it that much better.
Sometimes I think too much and sometimes it gets to be a lot but it is my choice and its a choice that brings me happiness and satisfaction. I have made mistakes, I have learned, I have changed my mind a lot, but it seems to be getting there slowly. Being home this summer is going to really help get things taken care of and give direction to things I want to do.
But today its hot and I just bought this cotton candy ice cream & I have a new issue of Hobby Farm Home so that screened in patio & deck is looking good right now:)


Mim said...

Bales of hay for $3.00 amazing! I just paid $12.00 for a bale of alfalfa, three wire, big bales but $3.00! I'm just starting to look for grass hay now. Nothing better than a full barn.
Great garden and does Dixie help you with the sheep? My next dog will be a Corgi.

Tracey said...

I think you are the bomb! If I vere get my farm, I know who I am gonna be bugging for advise!

Tracey said...

oops...I meant ever not vere

Susan said...

Sounds like Dixie is saying "look at me Mom, can I do herding at last years nationals?" We just put in 100 bales this evening. So glad to have that done and over with till fall. It's the last of the hay I painted the mural for. Give Ms. Dix a hug.

Nancy K. said...

Oh, my! I haven't even thought about getting hay yet!

I admire your gardens! I like how you made them 'in boxes' so that they have defined areas. The only thing I've planted is pumpkins. They're for the sheep. I don't eat vegetables so don't bother with a vegetable garden. I am finally starting to plant a few perennials though....

kristi said...

Wow! $12 is a lot of money!! Dixie is learning slowly but that is because her owner is slow too but if I tell her to go herd 'em up, she is off & running:)

the lamb deal is still out there:)

Dixie had me post her pic for you:) And yes, you should make cardi jackets!!!!

Thank you for admiring my gardens! I planted the veggies that I eat as I am not a huge veggie person either but I hear they are suppose to be good for you:)

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