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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Farm expenses, life expenses

Mama went to get feed for the animals yesterday afternoon. We spent almost $200 for feed which will last us about three weeks – possibly a month. After getting all the feed out of the truck bed and partially distributed, Mama asked me is we needed to keep all the animals we have, or if we should get rid of the more expensive ones? That is a better question than I initially gave her credit for asking. Do we need all the chickens we have now, or the goats, or the potbelly pigs? We could definitely shrink our chicken flock considering the amount of feed we have to provide vs. the eggs we are getting. Giving up the potbelly pigs could be a good move also. I tried to talk Mama into letting be take our largest potbelly to the meat market but she said she would not be able to eat the meat produced by that particular pet. I am now considering putting the pet pig with the feeder pig on our next meat market run. Maybe I could get away with that. As for the goats, since we have not had the opportunity to sell any of them, they have been an expense with long-term hopes of producing an income. We will be going to Bowie to get Millie, who we hope is bred this time. Having those babies added to our herd could change our view of ownership for the better. We have yet to discover the issues in selling them, but that should happen this year.

We are planning on selling several head of cattle this Spring, so we will have that income to work with. I have maintained that six head on the land we have it too heavy a burden to that land which produces an additional cost by requiring supplemental feed to keep the herd healthy. And any animal Mama owns is going to be healthy – regardless of the associated cost. I am not sure where cattle prices are right now but selling a calf produced on the farm is a low-cost form of income. I will gladly take those opportunities. One heifer and her calf are a particular frustration to Mama because of the wild nature they continue to display in spite of her efforts to calm them. Those two will be the first two to go to the stock sale. Additionally, we had a heifer that had a problem calving last year and we are considering selling her also. She is fat and healthy looking, but now may be a good time to let her go to accomplish a needed herd reduction. That would leave us with two heifers and one calf – until the heifers have their calves is a couple months. That would be about right for us. On the rest of the animal reductions, we will approach that one decision at a time.

As for normal life expenses, Nate showed me an app when he was here that allows me to upload receipts. I started using it on January 1st and am already shocked by the amount of money we have spent – only halfway through the month. It has gotten our attention as the receipts start to tally up an expense record that is not necessarily reflective of what our budget needs to be. Curtailing the spending is not as straightforward and issue at it seems in casual discussions.

More work is coming there.


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