Happy 2023 friends! We hope that your year has started out wonderfully and that you are busily planning your kidding, lambing, or whatever spring adventures await you.
It has been a very long time since I have taken the opportunity to give an update on the farm and (once again) I have made a resolve to try to get an update out once a month. New Years Resolutions can be so motivating (and demoralizing when you fail), so I am hoping I can make it happen this year. Trust me, it is not for lack of want—there is nothing I love more than sharing our farm with others, but time is always the challenge.
As some may know, we were blessed to be part of the WSDA Infrastructure Grant program last fall. This program has allowed us the opportunity to do some (really unsexy, but much wanted and needed) improvements to the farm. Everyone has said they are excited to see what we are going to do, but sadly most of it won’t be visible to our visitors (except for maybe the mess we have made of the farm) and isn’t really exciting for the average person, but regardless, we wanted to share some of what we have going on with you.
The first thing we were able to do with the grant was increase the electrical panel box to the main barn and processing room from a 100 amp service panel to a 200 amp service panel. We have had a special way of using certain outlets and running only part of our equipment at the same time to avoid blowing breakers, but this will allow us so much juice! I will admit to feeling very clever when I remembered exactly what order to do things so that I could run the microwave to sterilize my cheesecloth while making cheese, but honestly, not going to miss that puzzle! SO MUCH JUICE!!! We can (in theory) make ice cream at the same time as we are making cheese! In addition we were able to actually run 100 amp service to the farm stand. This is where I tell you that for years, the farm stand ran off an extension cord. You make do, right?
Right now, we are working on remodeling our bulk tank room, installing some space saving equipment (tankless water heater and corner three compartment sink), and we also have a farm stand remodel in process. Our little farm stand is getting insulation, finished walls and ceiling, new lighting, some new display equipment and a little mini-split climate control system for product stability—and your comfort when you come visit of course. We also are installing a mini-split system in the processing room for MY comfort when I am making cheese—not even joking when I say that some of those summer mornings that room gets up to 100 degrees when I am cheesemaking, so I am really looking forward to some climate control so I don’t melt into the cheese vat!
We are adding some processing equipment (a blast freezer to improve the quality of our ice cream, an additional bulk tank and a second processing pasteurizer vat for ice cream. As I said, it doesn’t really seem exciting to normal people, but for us, it has been so exciting! Some of these things we have only dreamed of doing, so this has been such a blessing…and also a curse…because, of course, we aren’t hiring anyone to do the work and it all needs to be completed by June 30, 2023, so nothing like a little fire under our pants! And this is where I add, that our normal MO is to do home improvement projects during the winter, so we are trying to balance these exciting farm projects with a laundry room update and finishing up replacing the carpet with pine floors in the last rooms of the house. Dare I say, weekends are not long enough!
In the meantime, in the barn, we have a bevy of lovely does that are getting plump and moody as they are getting closer to kidding time. We had hoped to winnow down our yearlings before breeding season, but then that whole evacuation thing happened and well, basically they are all beautiful, so we bred them all—all 7 of them! **Sigh** I really prefer only having 3-4 first fresheners because, as my good friend says, ‘that is a lot of training’, but here we are and I am already starting to see nice little udders and I am almost giddy with anticipation of what these girls will look like in milk. Shaun keeps prodding me that the National Show is in Redmond this year….
So that is the update for January. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know how you are doing. Hoping my February update can give some news on completed projects! Stay-tuned!
S & L
P.S–I did link sources to the pictures if you are wondering where we sourced things. We are not being compensated for these links. They are for your information only.