2023 is now here, but we are still very ‘early’ in the new year and what happened in 2022 is still very much impacting us. Aside from the business of trying to run a farm, the biggest impact to me was the building of Gwendolyn and Brody’s house here on the property. Gwendolyn came to me and asked me to take the role off the general contractor. It wasn’t the first house build for me and I knew it would be very demanding time-wise. Obviously, my memory is failing because it has taken far more time/energy than I remembered! The bad news is that it isn’t as finished as we would like but the really good news is that they should be able to ‘move in’ by the end of this month or early February.
This leads me to talk about the wool mill where Gwendolyn and Brody currently reside. The major equipment is still scheduled to arrive May/June this year. Beverly and I have been in contact with the supplier regularly and, in fact, some of the equipment is now “pre-bought’. Also, additional equipment from other suppliers has been acquired and once Gwendolyn and Brody move out, we will ‘move in’ this equipment. The Wool Mill and its startup will become a central focus in 2023.
The farm may not have been the main emphasis in some ways, but it didn’t escape changes! I had to move and re-do fencing of some sheep pasture to accommodate the house; there was also a significant expansion of our gardens for both garlic and cut flowers. We also had to build more pens in our pole barn which in turn meant I had to add waterers to each of the new pens. That has all happened with the exception of one piece of fencing/gates needed on one side of the north pen and I hope to have that done very soon. Part of the reason for the latter is that some new (to us) rams and young breeding ewes are arriving very shortly and while we have pens ready for them, we need to make some group changes which requires more pens.
With the expansion of pens, we have less capability to store equipment and/or straw. I solved the straw storage for at least this winter by finding a place to store it outside but under tarp. I think in a previous blog I had talked about an equipment shed as part of our plan. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet – with the house build I didn’t have time to do much about it. I hope something can happen this year, but the wool mill finishing/setup/startup is going to occupy all of us in different ways I expect. Hopefully, we will be able to add fencing to the list of accomplishments in 2023. Almost all the fencing I bought in late 2021 wasn’t available for pickup until last spring and, outside of the fencing I mentioned previously, none of the rest happened in 2022– with our flock growth, we need more properly fenced pasture.
2022 was a very busy year for all of us, but especially for me with the increased workload that came with the role of the general contractor. As Brody and Gwendolyn are now well past their first anniversary here on the farm, they are getting more and more involved which is fantastic! If their joining us had not happened, I doubt very much that Beverly and I would have even entertained the idea of the wool mill nor the expansion in herd size and operations. You certainly wouldn’t have been reading about it as all this internet/social media stuff is all Gwendolyn’s doing.
Picture 1: Bryan in front of the new build.
Picture 2: Bryan with the fencing he is using to create a new pen in the pole barn.