Monday, December 15, 2014
Kinda at a Crossroad
This change in my Mother's marital status has kinda put me in a bit of pickle as to which way I need to go now. Long term it really changes nothing as I had never planned on using their property or possessions in any of my final goals but they did play heavily in the short term.
For instance the Summer pasture and more importantly hay baling. I am not currently in a position to cut, rake and bale my fields on my own because I haven't been able to find and/or afford the small tractor equipment to do so. The original agreement I made was that we would pay off the place and allow my Mother's worthless old nags to live here and give her control of the pasture and hay field for the nags and sheep use. Our sheep would be run with her's and taken care of by the same pasture and field while they took care of the hay baling and would pay for barn maintenance while we paid for liability/accident insurance on the stock and full insurance on the buildings etc.
My original plan was to then focus on getting the planting and ground maintenance side of small tractor implements in place. Hence I bought a blade, post hole digger, brush hog, wagon and am currently restoring a one bottom plow with a manure spreader waiting it's turn.
I could switch gears at this point and attempt to find an old sickle mower, rake and baler and focus more heavily on hay production or look for a disc and focus on crop production like pumpkins and such. The plus side is the neighbors would be more than happy to take care of the baling for us (with a small fee of course) especially if I let em bale and leave em to pick up myself. Technically that cost would then have to be shouldered by my Mother under our agreement especially if she wants to feed her useless nags. However if I managed to find a suitable sickle mower and rake I could drastically cut the small fee down too by doing that part myself.
Keep in mind the final plan is to be able to do both. Once the horses are out of the picture the hay field provides a fairly nice surplus that I eventually plan to add to the production budget. As it stands now I could easily sell hay right out of my loft all year long and I eventually want that income to help make this adventure as profitable as possible. So switching gears at this point does not jeopardize or deviate from the final goal.
At this point I am leaning more towards continuing on with the planting and land maintenance rout and letting my Mother sort out the hay situation until I can finally move those horses off the place. Or more probably finally add them to the soil down in the pasture. Then taking the proceeds from sheep sales and sinking that money into hay equipment and perhaps another small tractor down the road a few years. I am thinking I need a small Farmall series or maybe another old Ford with a front bucket to go with the 8N.
Either road has it's advantages but the disc avenue will be much cheaper right now and the hay proceeds are not currently on my balance sheet anyway nor will they be in the next few years.
The last problem is that this agreement goes out the window if the decline/collapse pace quickens. From a sustainable standpoint if we have to swing the entire Small-Hold into full production and sustainable survival mode those horses become either food, trade goods or transportation and I don't need all four of em for either. One might make the transition to a useful member of the place but only one. The donkey at least is useful as she sits and I doubt she makes it more than another year or so anyway, of course I been saying that for five years now.
So there are advantages and disadvantages to each avenue. As I said I am leaning towards continuing on and getting a small disc while seeing how the hay situation manages itself at least for a year or so. If the collapse happens sooner rather than later well I suppose I can cross that bridge when I get to it. I imagine the crop production would be more of a priority then anyway.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!