Thinning the Herd

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Well.  We’ve officially done gotten ourselves in over our heads.  These city slickers went plum crazy and purchased too many animals and now we are in the business of thinning the herd.  Actually thinning the herds….plural.

When we left for an extended summer vacation to Yellowstone National Park this year, we had to hire someone to come take care of everything and, as I was typing out detailed instructions for 80+ animals, I decided we were in too deep.  We had donkeys that were chasing our new calves and trying to run down our puppies.  Dogs that were chasing and catching chickens and ducks. Pigs on the loose going from pen to pen.  You get the idea.  Things were getting a little out of hand on the farm.

When we got back from our trip, we decided we had to do something about the state of things on the farm.  I started taking pictures of animals.  Every animal was fair game.  No one animal should have felt immune to becoming an ad on Craigslist.  It was a day-to-day decision depending on who was cooperating.  I only wish I was exaggerating.  Our youngest daughter, The Trooper, was pleading cases for each dog and why we needed to keep all of her favorites.  We thought we had done our part and gotten our two male dogs neutered, but a neighbor dog had somehow managed to visit our female dog and voila!  Eight more puppies!! Even though the puppies were adorable, that single event pretty much pushed me over the edge.  Every evening at around sunset, I walk around Green Acres with our dogs.  Taking a walk with fourteen dogs feels a lot like volunteering for a Kindergarten field trip to the zoo.  You never know what’s gonna go down.  Who’s gonna get lost.  Who’s gonna start picking on the others.  Who’s gonna stray away from the group or, possibly, get hurt.  It’s just above the level of slightly organized chaos as we walk the pastures on Green Acres.

It’s been about three weeks since the big Craigslist Extravaganza and, I will have to admit, I do miss the puppies, the craziness, and the chaos a little, but I am really happy with the sweet families who came to pick up the puppies and two of our piglets that we sold that weekend as well.  I know that they are all getting the individual attention that they deserve at their new homes and have no doubt they are thriving with their excited, new owners.

Over the next couple of months, we will be selling some of our cows and some more pigs and, hopefully, we will soon return to the status of peaceful co-existence with our animals instead of feeling like the unsuspecting humans in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Believe me, there were moments when I was pretty certain that our animals were plotting an overthrow.  They had somehow gained the upper hand on Green Acres.  I was waiting to catch one of them speaking when they thought I wasn’t paying attention.    (Of course, I am writing this all tongue-in-cheek, but it was beginning to feel a little unsettling for me!)

During the past month, The Outdoorsman and I, The Head Hen, have each ventured into the arena of small business ownership.  I have always dreamed of opening my own home decor and gift shop and The Outdoorsman has always spoken of running a cattle business after he retires.  We stepped into an opportunity to begin our cattle business early so that it can be established years before The Outdoorsman retires.  As for me, I have officially ended the planning stage of my dream and entered into the preparation stage for my gift shop.  We already have the building on our land and are about to begin finishing out the inside to transform it into a quaint, country home decor shop.   Concurrently,  The Outdoorsman has already started taking steps to register our three new calves and enter into the arena of raising and selling registered Miniature Herefords.  We are both extremely excited about our new business ventures and can’t wait to get them both up and running later this fall.

With all of the hubbub surrounding the start up of two small businesses, we have tried to keep our focus keen and cut out any unwanted competitors for our already-divided-and-stretched-to-the-limit attention.  Hopefully, heading to the local auction barn with some of our cows and planning the next Craigslist Extravaganza for some of our piglets will help us thin the herds on the farm and give us some extra funds to funnel into our businesses. We are hoping that difficult choices concerning our animals will help us concentrate more attention on our children, family, friends, jobs, and businesses this year.  It’s going to be a very busy year, but we are excited to see what happens when years of planning turn into something tangible and rewarding for our family.

Stay tuned for the upcoming adventures on Green Acres as we “expand our territories” and venture beyond the capacity of our farm.  God has led us to this place, given us the desire, and provided the means to make all of this happen.  We are thrilled to begin our adventure and excited to share it with you as well.  Saddle up and join us as we blaze a new trail.

 

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