At times, when I’m feeling less sad about Sheba’s loss and the shrinking of the pet population in our household, (Where Do We Go from Here?) and more optimistic, I like to think and plan for the future. As I wrote in that previous post, I hope to now have more time to focus on Luke and Cricket, training and doing more with them.
We also have a lot more planned, and I am excited about it. Since we bought our new home close to a year ago, and I lost some bookkeeping work last summer, I’ve been scheming of new ways to make a little extra money as well as making some long-held dreams come true.
I always wanted to live on a farm, and as some of you know, the home we bought almost a year ago is an old farmhouse, with lots of land. There are many old barn foundations, and stone walls everywhere. Making this into a small farm will fit in perfectly. We’ll be far from a full scale farm, but I hope we can do enough to generate some additional income for our household, along with having fresh products for our own use. We may have even more need for that soon.
Remember I said just about a month ago, “when it rains, it pours”? Well, this was one of the things weighing on me; both my hubby and I are facing the possibility of being unemployed by this summer.
The small general store we work for may be sold, though it’s still unknown what that will mean for our future. Hubby and I are not spring chickens, but not quite old enough to retire either. When you work for a small family business, things like early retirement and pensions are probably not in the cards. The prospect of starting a new job after over 20 years at the same place is not appealing; and to say I’m worried and fretting is an understatement. However, I’m still going to try to focus on the happy things, the things I can control.
Getting chickens will be our first step towards starting our farm, and we plan to get “layers” so that we’ll hopefully be able to sell some fresh eggs. We’ll be starting my vegetable and herb gardens this spring, and if all goes well we’ll also have some fresh produce to sell.
My dream is to have a little farm stand where we will also sell other local products. A friend is working on some dog treat recipes, because we must sell some pet products as well! I have some other ideas of things to sell, and we’ll see how all of that goes.
The other possibility in the future is – goats! A friend of ours has goats and she loves them. I’ve read they make great pets, help keep your lawn mowed, and can provide milk to make even more products.
Since Luke may have issues with new animals, we must take things slowly. We can’t add a house cat at this time, since we just don’t know how he would be. I’d love to give Samantha a companion but we’re just not ready to take that on right now, and we’re not sure that’s what she would want anyway. Even when we had other cats she was always a loner, off on her own.
However, our local shelter has a “barn cat program” for feral cats that are unsuited to life inside a home for different reasons. We would provide safe shelter, food and water for them along with veterinary care, and they help keep down the rodent population. I think it could be a way to make me feel better about not having any new house cats for a while. We haven’t really looked into the details yet, but I plan to at some point. These are cats that really have no other options, and it’s something I would feel really good about doing.
Guess what we are going to name the farm? “Barking Dog Farm”! I did some research to decide how to name it and found an article that gave this formula: participle + animal + “farm” OR “ranch”. Going from there, I had so many ideas for names, and one evening I discussed them with my hubby. Later on, we were trying to talk and the dogs started barking at something. I jokingly said, “Maybe we should call it Barking Dog Farm.” I was kidding, but that stuck with me, and it took some work, but I talked him into it. Anyone who comes to our house completely understands!
I’m working on my new tagline for the blog now as well, we’ll be getting a new logo, and that’s all going to tie in with the farm name as well. I’ll be sharing more about all that when the details get worked out.
We’ll be taking all this slowly and it may not all pan out. For now, it will give me something positive to focus on and plan for, keeping my mind off the other stresses in our lives.
How do you like my farm name, and what do you think – are these good ideas? I know some of you out there have chickens, does anyone have any other farm animals? How is it working out?
Jodi Stone says
I love every single one of those ideas! They are all things I’ve wanted to do for some time, but the Hubs says no.
One thing to sell at your farm stand would be homemade jams/jellies/relishes. Jams and relish are pretty simple to make, and I can give you a couple of easy and good jam recipes. Also, jams do not need a pressure cooker, you can use a hot bath or sometimes I use the dishwasher to process them.
The prospect of losing your job can be scary. I had some hairy stuff go on at work in July and they reduced my hours to 20. It has been a huge struggle, but finally, I’ve been offered a full-time job with another firm. It will be tough going back to work full-time in April. I bet there are some writing gigs you could do too. I guess my point is, don’t worry too much, it will work out the way it is supposed to. 🙂
Thank you, Jodi! I’ve been bugging my hubby about chickens for years now, but it really took moving to the new home with more land to finally talk him into it.
That is a great idea about the jams and relishes, that’s something I’ve never tried. I know it would do well though! I’d love it if you could share the recipes with me.
I’m trying not to worry about the job too much…..it may never even happen. Our boss has owned the store for 40 years, and we really can’t picture him retiring (his wife is pushing for it). But I still want to at least be mentally prepared if it actually does, and have some idea of what I might do.
Good luck with your new job! I can imagine how tough it will be to go back to full time work for you. I think that’s my biggest fear…..the thought of having to go back to full time work in order to make ends meet! 🙂
Oh, your farm plans sound so exciting. I would have been ecstatic to find the old wheel too. I think everyone is going to be needing local sources for food soon. I am concerned that the prices of fruit and vegetables are going to skyrocket due to political reasons.
Barking Dog Farm has a nice ring to it! If you start selling and shipping dog treats, you have a great community to help spread the word!
Thank you, Beth! The prices on good quality organic foods already seem too high to me. I have to travel 40 minutes in the summer to get to my closest farm stand with organic options (and I’ll buy non-organic too, knowing how fresh it is). Ironically, there’s a big organic farm in the town I work in, but they only sell to the grocery stores, who jack up the prices! I also am frequently disappointed with the quality of produce found at the grocery stores too, especially this time of year.
I love the name! I’ve always dreamed of having a farm so I love your idea and there are so many things you could do to earn income. I’m sure you’ll have a blast planning.
Thanks for sharing for the Pet Blogger Showcase!
The planning is half the fun, right? I have a lot of ideas, and can’t wait to start putting them into action.
I’m so glad you love the name too! I think my hubby thought I was crazy at first. Then again, he’s used to that by now. 🙂
Christine Caplan says
Barking Dog Farm is SUCH a great name and I think having a farm stand is such a great idea. Your property is beautiful and it looks like you have a lot of space for these additions. Wait – you could start a whole new blog just focused on this farm coming together. In PDX, folks are doing this and they are generating revenue. I am sorry to hear about your job though – I’ve been there and it’s really hard especially when you enjoy what you’re doing – the of change is overwhelming. I love where you’re going with this! When do you get thee chics?
I’m not sure I’ll have time for a whole new blog! LOL. I hope to tie in some farm stories to this blog, to start with anyway. Then again, if I’m out of work, maybe I would have time!
I’m so glad you like the farm name! I found out there’s another farm with that name in our state, but it’s nowhere around here so that shouldn’t matter (I researched ahead of time and didn’t find any, but apparently I missed one).
The chicks will be coming early April (around the 11th I think). We are going tomorrow night to take a seminar on chickens at our local feed & supply store – should be fun!
Wow! So many changes! I bet it’s as exciting as it is scary. Who could see that picture of chicks and NOT want a couple?!?! I love barn cat programs … they are the perfect way to ensure ferals are cared for – while giving them the space they need. We’re sending our love as you embark on your new journey 🙂 Thanks for linking up to the Showcase.
Thank you so much!! You are right, I am excited, but scared too, I want to be sure we do everything right!
I’m also glad to hear you approve of the barn cat program. I wasn’t too sure about it at first.
We always had indoor/outdoor cats up until Sam and her sister. I had to reset my thinking to indoor only cats with them, now I’ll need to go back the other way….and get used to having them outside only! I think it will be fun though.
kristen m says
I’m going though some similar issues too, regarding both spouses and job instability, so I completely understand that side of things. I LOVE your farm plan and name, it sounds like heaven to sell what you generate yourself, and eat your own eggs etc. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but it really does sound like a dream.
Sorry to hear you are having issues as well, it’s especially tough when everything is in flux, isn’t it? I hope you have some positive things to focus on too, it really does help.
I can’t wait to be using my own eggs for cooking! I think that will be a cool experience (though I have to remind myself it’s going to be a few months before the chickens actually start laying eggs).
Thanks for coming by!
Rugby James says
I completely relate to the worries about the future! I really love your plans, and the name of your farm is perfect!! It made me smile as I read it, and that’s all good! All goals get reached by taking one step at a time, and I’m so proud of you for dreaming big and doing research for ways to make those dreams become the reality you want!
Thank you, Sally! I’m unsure about a lot of it, how well it will work out, but we never know until we try, right? It was good to hear from you, and hope all is well with you and Rugby!
2 Brown Dawgs says
Ou have some great plans. I love the name. So how heavily does your state or municipality regulate the sale of eggs and other produce? Hopefully not much.
Thank you! The regulations don’t see too bad, we are the “Live Free or Die” state, after all. 🙂 We have a great cooperative extension at the University of NH that has a ton of information about all that, and I do still need to do a bit more research.
Great plans! I think that you are going to have tons of fun. I read a blog called “Comptonia” which talks about life raising goats for wool. You might enjoy it.
I love the name!
Thank you! I am going to check that blog out.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Some great dreams, you will enjoy tending to your farm. I have chickens and like them. I need to get some new ones thou mine are all very old. That is a great picture of luke and I love old wagon wheels too.
We’re going to get a metal detector and search the property for more cool finds. We did find another wagon wheel but it was all rotted out. We also have an old sled and Radio Flyer wagon which we’re going to put to use too!
The Island Cats says
We love your positive thinking…and your plans for the future! We hope to see Barking Dog Farm become a reality soon.
Barbara Rivers says
Good job staying positive – I believe in the law of attraction. I’m keeping our paws and fingers crossed that you two won’t lose your jobs. One thing to look into might be a pet sitting/dog walking career should the store get sold after all. It’s what I’ve been doing for 5 years now and it provides a decent income.
Barbara Rivers says
P.S. Love the name!
Thank you! I did try the pet sitting thing once, but it just wasn’t for me. The odd hours just didn’t work. I’m more of a get up in the morning early, and get my work done and be done with it type of person. Plus we’re in such a rural area everyone is too spread out so there’s just too much commuting involved. That’s so great it’s worked out well for you though!
I LOVE that name! I can’t wait to “meet” the new animals–have you ever read any of Jon Katz’s books? I found him after I saw the movie version of one and I felt like I could relate to his ideas on bringing this crazy dog into my life. He has some kind of controversial ideas on how he dealt with his super reactive border collie, but part of their journey was getting a farm in NY and he got sheep for herding because he’d always wanted to do it with his dog. Then he got expanded to other animals and more dogs and I love reading about the dogs and the farm!
Thank you! I’m so glad you like the name. I will definitely check out Jon Katz’s books!
Edie Chase says
I love the name of the farm. When you build your coop, make it bigger so you can add more chickens when you want. They’re addictive. Definitely check online for coop building ideas. Backyard Chickens and Fresh Eggs Daily are good places to start. Make sure you can get to the coop in winter, because you need to change their water at least twice a day. You can use a cart or sled to carry the full water containers. Also plan for waste management. There is so much information, good luck with everything.
Thank you so much for all the tips, Edie! I will definitely check those places out. I knew that old sled and wagon we found on the property would come in handy some day. 🙂
Can’t wait to meet those baby chicks!!!! Whatever you & Tom do, it will be great, I’m sure. 🙂
M. K. Clinton says
I think your farm will be wonderful! I recently reviewed some amazing goat milk soap. I love it ♥ We also reported on the Barn Cat program on our news. All great ideas. Hopefully, the store will keep you on since you have so many years there. ☺
That is one problem of working for a small business and when both of you work for the same business. Sorry to hear it may be sold, that is tough! It sounds like you are excited about the farm idea, so good luck! If it is your dream, go for it!
Thank you for the encouragement! Sometimes I think we’re too old to start new things like this, but then again, why not? I’ve seen elderly ladies going to college, and we’re not even close to that yet! 🙂
Brian Frum says
That farm name is super cool and so is following your dreams, at any age. We would all love to have a farm here…filled with barn cats, of course!
I think you already have a cat farm there, it just happens to be inside your house. 😉
Ellen Pilch says
I am sorry about your jobs. I do like your plans though, especially the barn cats 🙂
Thank you! I think we’ll start out with two barn cats, but if it goes well, we might just expand, especially if there is a big need for homes for some.
Mrs Lorna J Griffith says
I always go up the road to farm shops. I can get garden plants as well as food. I love homemade jam and honey. Farm shops do well in the UK. Sorry to hear about your jobs. It makes life uncertain. Have you thought about agility for Luke? You can make jumps and weaves quite cheaply. I think he might be good at it. BIg HUgs xx Lorna and Tu-Lei
Those are some other good ideas for farm products too. I have thought about agility for Luke, but he has bad knees so I don’t think jumps would be an option (though maybe low ones). I tried weaves with him once (I won a free kit) but didn’t stick with it. I might have to get those out again this spring/summer!
Dolly the Doxie says
OMG so much is happening! Did you lock in the URL for your farm name? You might want to read more about goats they can be a bit of a problem and don’t forget culling. So, I’m sorry to hear about your uncertain future. From someone who lost a high-paying job in 2008 and never worked full-time again, I can certainly understand. I think your plans sound exciting, for us city slickers I am coming to terms with the fact that we really can’t afford where we live anymore, but hubby is in denial, yet we are stuck here for a bit more until he retires. We are lucky as we do have pensions, etc. and I’m eligible for early SSA soon so if we can make it until then I’ll rest easy finally. I have no doubt that you will be just fine as two people who aren’t afraid of hard work with positive attitudes.
I don’t think I’m going to do a separate URL for the farm, my plan is to just add a page to the blog for it. I think there’s going to be a class at the BlogPaws conference for selling products from your blog.
Thank you for your encouragement; and I hope things work out for you and hubby as well, especially if you end up having to move. I’m sure losing your full-time job must have been a huge adjustment.
I will definitely look into the goats more, I haven’t really done any research on them yet, so I will keep those things in mind.
Monika & Sam says
I absolutely love the farm name! All the very best as you begin new chapters. I had a small fledging pet treat business so if you need recipes, let me know. I’m very happy to share. Congrats on looking forward to new horizons. ~ ღonika, Sam, & Elsa ????
We might take you up on those recipes, thanks for the offer!
As much as I hate the idea of losing my job after so long, in some ways I wonder if maybe after 20+ years it isn’t time for a change anyway? We’ll see what happens, and try to go with the flow, whatever it is.
Monika & Sam says
Change can be scary, but I’m sure everything will turn out for the best. Happy to share recipes if and when you need them. Sending ‘pawsitive’ thoughts our way.
ღonika and her two taste testing helpers, Sam, & Elsa ????
Two French Bulldogs says
Losing a job is so scary but it looks like you have a lot of good plans. You can also make some money by dog sitting in your house or a doggy day care when people are out of town
Lily & Edward
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Barking Dog Farm. I LOVE it! It fits perfectly! Maybe I should send Ducky up there for summer vacations. Lol.
All the ideas sound great! Our neighbors had chickens for a while, but they got tired of the work involved. Callie & Shadow used to love watching the chickens run around the yard with their dog.
I know how stressful the prospect of losing your job can be, especially when you’re too young to retire but corporations think you’re too old to start a new job. I’ve been there. But working on making your dreams come true will definitely help. And I’ll be happy to buy some of those dog treats!
Our first customer – yay! 🙂
My hubby said having chickens would be easy (he had some many, many years ago). I’m not sure I believe him or not though, so I am prepared that it might be a lot of work!
I hope no bad news will come to you when the business your work for gets a new owner… our paws are crossed. It’s great that your dream comes true bit by bit… and the chicken are a good step in the right direction to get a farm ;o)
I always wanted to be like pippi longstocking, a house and monkey and a horse… I’ve got the old house, replaced the horse with a weimaraner and because it is not allowed to deal with exotic animals I married me a monkey . mission completed…
You have proven that all you have to do is be a little flexible in your dreams, and you can make them come true! LOL
I love the name, and it all sounds so exciting. I know a woman that started out with a few chickens, selling a dozen here or there. Then she got connected with some restaurants and sells them her free range, organic eggs. She had to expand to get more chickens. So that might be a thought for you too. Farmers markets are always good too. People make a point of going to those to get their fresh produce, although I’m sure you know that already. We had chickens when we had the house, they were a hoot. But we only had 8. Best of luck in this, we all need to be more self reliant.
Thank you! I agree we need to be more self reliant. My true dream would be to be a “homesteader”, but I don’t think we’re up to going quite that far at this point in our lives.
I had thought of Farmer’s markets, but not restaurants, so thank you for that idea! If we keep our jobs at the store, we should be able to sell there too, and maybe I’ll look into other local stores as well. I am always on the search for fresh eggs, and other than the farmer’s markets it can be hard to find them.
We weren’t really sure on the numbers, but we are getting a dozen chickens to start, and we’ll see how that goes.
This is so exciting! What a wonderful new venture for you. I’m really sorry to hear you may both lose your jobs, and I can totally relate to your stress there – my husband’s job was eliminated 4 months ago, and he’s still looking. The year before the entire department he worked for was eliminated and it took him 8 months to find another job – we still hadn’t recouped our losses from that period when this one hit. So I can totally understand how you feel. But the prospect of farming is so exciting – have you considered raising organic herbs or produce? So many farms are moving in that direction now.
I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s job too. That must be so frustrating to have it happen twice, and so close together. Good luck to him in finding something new, hope it happens soon.
I will absolutely be doing organic herbs and produce, and we’ll use only organic products for the chickens too, so that the eggs will also be organic (and free range). I’ve done the organic before, and it can be really challenging, especially when it comes to insects and stuff, but I’m determined to keep things healthy and chemical free for all of us!
I’m so happy to hear you’re going organic in your farming! I wish we lived near you, I only buy organic but I’d prefer to buy direct from a local farm rather than from a store. We have lots of farms and farm stands nearby, but none are organic, which is so frustrating for me. I have to drive about an hour to get to an organic farm or CSA, which is too much on a weekly basis. I’ll be interested to hear how things progress for you!