One of the biggest decisions I'll have to make at some point is whether Butterscotch Farm will be merely for my own pleasure (thus requiring me to have at least a part-time job outside the home), or whether it will be an actual business.
A personal "farm" would probably mean that I could get by with quite a bit less acreage - I'd just need enough space to grow a decent-sized garden and raise a few animals for meat and eggs. This would certainly be the simplest option. (This is my "Small Dream.")
But I really like the idea of working from home, especially now that I've seen how much work goes into raising a puppy. If I plan to breed Scotch Collies eventually (even though it would only probably be a litter every year or two), I'd like to have the option to stay home and keep an eye on the puppies.
|See the mischief in those eyes? Puppies are SO much work!!|
Ultimately, I'd like to become virtually self-sustaining...but I know I'll need money for things like vet bills, groceries I can't grow, Internet, etc., etc., etc.!
My "Medium Dream" is to have a few acres. I'd grow/raise a lot of my own food, have my dogs, and my income would probably be a combination of selling goat milk soap (or other handmade products) and maybe working a part-time job outside the home.
And here's my "BIG Dream":
Get a pretty decent chunk of land - probably 20+ acres.
Grow self-pick berries; also sell the berries at a farm stand/farmers' market. Get into canning and sell jams and jellies.
Grow an apple orchard, and offer self-picking in the fall, as well as selling some picked fruit at the farmers' market. Maybe have cider and apple-sauce making events.
I might try growing some nut trees (need to research what does well in New Hampshire). Long-term, this could potentially provide valuable lumber to sell as well.
Grow lots of veggies to sell at the farmers' market; possibly do a veggie delivery service (customers would select their veggies and delivery days online; they could also order other products such as my jams and jellies, canned applesauce, eggs, etc.).
Raise chickens, sell eggs at the farm stand, farmers' market, and include in the veggie delivery service.
Raise cattle and pigs for meat.
Raise goats for milk and/or for fiber (yarn). (Did you know that there's a breed that does both? It's called the Nigora.) Use the goats' milk to make goats' milk soap.
If I need more milk than the Nigora can produce for my soap (haven't gotten that far in my research yet...), I could raise a pure dairy goat, and raise sheep for their fiber instead of goats.
Grow a Christmas tree farm, and get DRAFT HORSES (!!!) to give people sleigh/wagon rides to pick out their trees. (Have a nice cozy stand with lots of my products for people to buy while they're there.)
And with all this livestock around, it might be beneficial to have a Livestock Guardian Dog or two, although the Scotch Collies may be able to fill that role, as I'd be surprised if we have predators in this part of NH that would bother anything bigger than a chicken.
So...the next couple of years will be a time of much researching, of deciding where my passions truly lie, and of saving money. I'm definitely more of a dreamer than a doer, so to achieve any of these goals is going to take a lot of gumption on my part! But I'm excited, and I'm learning, so that's a good start, in my humble opinion. :)