Only one chicken died last month, probably of old age. Egg production is down from 6-9 eggs to 5-7 eggs at this point. Raccoon season is pretty much over (I think), so we aren't closing up the coop at night. While this might be taking a risk, it eliminates the need to do chores twice a day. It also eliminates the chance of me forgetting to let the chickens out in the morning (their water is outside, so they NEED to be let out).
Our big August event was to dry off Adi. "Drying off" is a fancy term for "stop milking". While it means that I don't get any more free milk, it also means we only have to do chores once a day, and I don't have to wash hideous amounts of mason jars anymore, nor is there a race to use up milk before it goes sour. Not much to report other than that in the goat department.
We continued to til, weed and water the strawberries as usual.
The garden produced mainly cucumbers and herbs for the month of August. You can see a bit of a garden update in my video (above). I have a feeling that September is going to be my big garden month. In this month's newsletter I gave an estimate of how much money I saved this year by gardening (and also how I'm going to squeeze another $20+ out of my plants before frost). Growing your own vegetables is a great way to save money, but when you factor in savings from fruit, herbs, and flowers as well, it really adds up. In fact, you get the most savings per hour of work by growing fresh produce, herbs and produce. If you're going to preserve anything, fruit should be the first priority, then vegetables and then most herbs.
Goat's Milk Soap
In August I also dried some different things with goat's milk soap. One project was French milling- that is, essentially grating and remelting an old soap into a new soap. I really liked this process because it allowed me to use up bits and pieces of my old batches. French milling also allows you to add essential oils and fragrances that would not survive the lye chemical reaction of the regular soap making process.
Profit & Loss
Book royalties- $3.32
Total income: $38.32
Soap making supplies- $27.45
Net Profit: $10.87
Year-to-date Profit: $129.76
Yay for a net profit this month! I sold eggs to an additional two customers last month, and my wonderful SIL also offered to take my soap to a farmers market she was going to. That made up the bulk of my income, plus I sold a book* last month. Every little bit helps. :) We didn't have any feed costs this month, which is why I was able to spend so much money on soap supplies without going in the hole.
Future Income... Will There Be Any?
It's the time of year again when I wonder if my $129.00 is going to stretch through March. Not only are my farmers market days done for the year, but egg production will probably come to a screeching halt in November. That will eliminate my main and secondary sources of income for the hobby farm.
Starting in November (hopefully), I would like to start listing soaps on Etsy again. I tried this before, but there was just not enough interest to make it worth doing. Now that I have a Youtube channel, I have a better chance of selling both Etsy products AND books for a source of winter income.
Spring will bring baby goat kids to sell, of course, but June and July will also bring strawberry sales. The goat kids will pay for Adi & Barry's keep, but the strawberry income has already been earmarked to subsidize a new project- honey bees!! I've wanted to do bees for years now, and I think 2018 will finally be the year. Initial costs are estimated to be around $500.00. I estimate that 2018 strawberry sales will be enough to cover the bees and initial strawberry investment from this year, but not much more. So if the farm is to stay afloat, I will need to keep plugging away at some of my other sources of income.
So those are my plans looking into 2018. October has been set aside for BABY bonding time (!!) but after everything settles down I might find myself itching to do something more hobby-like. November will be a great time to start selling soaps for the Christmas season, and after that I will probably resume working on book projects.
Til next time,
*I only count royalties from my hobby-farm related books. I would already have my bees if I'd been counting the sales from my other two books! At this point I only have one hobby farm book for sale: One Season of Farmers Market, available on Amazon.