2018 was one of those years that you hope doesn't repeat itself...and while we had our own challenges, I know we were far from alone. So here's to a healthier, happier 2019 for each and every one of us!
In late July, Rob fell out of an attic crawlspace while trying to fix a drain pipe that some idiot (note: not us) duct-taped together in a half-hearted (or more appropriately, half-assed) effort at an earlier repair. The result? A fractured L-5 vertebrae and two surgeries, with nerve damage that will take the better part of 2019 to heal fully. The good news is that he's getting back into the swing of things, including evening barn chores, and he's been able to use some of his unexpected "down time" to plan for a more productive 2019.
We would have been in real trouble without the amazing assistance of our two farm helpers, who stepped up to take on morning chores and the milking of our 20+ girls. (Kathryn was fortunate to be able to stay home in the first month following the accident, but she returned to road-warrior status in September, so the extra hands were critical.) It's not easy to find people who care about your animals like they are their own, but we've always been lucky in this department...and never more so than in the second half of 2018. Even better, one of our helpers filled in for us at the Houlton Community Market most Saturdays, ensuring that we were able to continue selling cheese to all of our local "fans".
Our planning for 2019 is well underway, with our breeding activities complete and our kidding schedule posted. The early spring promises to be busy, but it will be good to (mostly -- dang it, Standing O!) wrap up the new baby business a little earlier than in the past few years and focus on cheesemaking, lotion-and-potion producing, and marketing. For 2019, we're hoping to get back to a more complete line of bath and body products, and we're considering adding an additional market or two to our repertoire. Linear appraisal (our first since 2015) and getting on DHIR milk test (a long-standing goal) are also on the agenda -- since we don't show, both are great ways to demonstrate the quality of our goats.
Life on the farm - heck, life in general - sometimes hands you lemons, and 2018 was epic in that regard. But we're grateful to turn the page to a new year full of promise and opportunity. And when lemons come along, we'll keep making lemonade!
All the best,
Kathryn & Rob