Friday, November 16, 2012

Help wanted

You may remember that a few months ago, I said I was going to liquidate the Shetland sheep flock, and a couple months later, I admitted I had sold exactly one ewe lamb. I have since gone through a variety of decisions to sell different species ... and changed my mind more than once. The simple fact is that I don't want to get rid of any of them. But I can't deny that there are not enough hours in the day for us to continue doing everything that we did when our daughters were still living at home. So, if I don't cut back on something, that means I need help! But who to hire?

A few years ago, I read an article by Joel Salatin in which he talked about hiring help for your farm. He suggested that the first employee you hire be someone who does the job that is your least favorite. Because he disliked leaving his farm to deliver his food, his first employee was a delivery driver. If I think about my least favorite job on the farm, I'd have to say it's gardening. It is really hard for me to say that because I want to do it all! But I'm an animal person. I love the livestock. I don't exactly love gardening, but I love the fresh produce, which is why I garden. So, logically I should hire someone for the garden.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out? Because we don't really make money on the garden, so hiring someone to work in there didn't make much sense. But if I think back to my original goals, it was supposed to be a market garden. And with 32 acres, we have plenty of room for a very productive market garden. We just need someone who has the knowledge and desire to do the growing. We can provide the land, the seeds, and the equipment. They could also sell the produce at a farmer's market, which would provide a source of income that we could share.

I don't have all the details worked out yet, and I need to do a bit of research to figure out how to make this work. But it seems to be a much better idea -- and something that I really want to do -- rather than selling off the animals.

4 comments:

Denise said...

Over in England started by River Cottage (there are videos on Ytube) they have a program where people who have land sign up and people who want to farm it sign up and then they are matched up. There might be one here in the US. Just not sure. Hope you can find someone for your garden.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Too bad you came up with this idea at the end of gardening/farmers markets season. Maybe contact local Chamber of Commerce to find participants in Farmer's Market to contact. You could give them free choice on growing on part of the acreage and set aside area for your own use and produce you want, sounds like a win/win good luck on finding the right fit. I think I would want to find someone established vs. than a "newbie/wantabe" first timer. Some Farmer's that participate in the market here have large farms and would have the extra help or someone with a large family that needs extra space. Good luck, excellent idea.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Great idea Deb. Keith and I struggle with this all the time. We need help. Can't afford help but if we had help we could generate more income to pay for the help YIKES! Keep us 'posted"

Anton said...

That's a very wise suggestion. I've always gone about it the other way around--hiring people to do tasks I don't mind so much and saving the dreadful things for myself to do. You've given me something to think about! Keep us updated on how it works out.

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