Ooof… what a year this has been.
All in all, I feel rather blessed to be coming out of this year mostly unscathed. Or maybe I am just having memory loss as I read back over my last post about the trials we have over come. HA! No,, I think I am simply a warrior spirit who can not be shaken. While leaving my city job and working for myself full time seemed a terrifying feat (with all the current world matters) it actually proved to be the best decision possible for our family and homestead.
I was able to focus more on my livestock, raising them in such a way that would produce the highest quality by products of milk, honey, eggs and fiber. I also put more focus on the garden which led to a massive harvest that I was able to dehydrate and can to supplement my food expenses this winter. We had a hard year for the honey bees but were still able to sell just as much honey as the three years prior and even put up enough honey for ourselves to get us to our spring harvest. We winterized early and are keeping our prayers flowing that we will see a decent number of hives survive.
My husband and I took a road trip and bought a cow horse for me to break as my own. I had grieved for over a year and a half in the loss of Johnny boy the thoroughbred I had broke myself over seven years ago and I was finally ready to open my heart to my next best friend. She came with the barn name “Lola” and papered as Hv Nu Chex to Cash which sounded like a good omen, especially when I heard she was born on our wedding day! So far I couldn’t be more pleased with how quickly she is learning and her kind disposition. I know we will go places!
My soap and yarn sales started gaining traction at the end of summer and online purchases were the highest I had ever seen by the end of fall. December has been an incredible month for me to sit at home and simply work and perfect my craft. And orders continue to trickle in every day. I am looking forward to what January and February will bring our homestead.
I changed directions with my weaving and began making mohair cinches this year which seemed oh so fitting since I raise angora goats and love all things fiber and horse related. For those of you that do not know, cinches are the piece under the horse that keep the saddle in place. Cinch making gives me creative liberty because I can hand dye the cord used for the body of the cinch and then customize the accent yarns in such a way to really set me apart from other makers. I plan to eventually go in a direction of creating a cinch that can also double as a wall mural if I can stop for long enough to put into action what I have in my minds eye! I am always keeping my hands busy it seems.
Then, I fell into a niche of using the mohair scraps from cinch making to make a “recycled” yarn. I pull the mohair cord strands apart and then card them to create a new fiber cloud which I can spin into a completely new yarn. No waste! Again, a self sustaining homestead win. I mentioned my trick to a few groups on Facebook and my new niche took off like wild fire. I now have over thirty cinch makers boxing up and mailing me their fiber waste to be turned into a new customized yarn. What have I gotten myself into?
I tease, I am actually over joyed that there is a market for this sort of “recycled yarn” and it makes me feel that much closer to the goal of running my own mini mill one day. It might not be feasible on the off-grid homestead but I do have a sense that one day soon I will be raising angora goats at a larger scale and milling my own fiber in a warehouse somewhere. Similar to the Tillamook factory where there will be observation walkways for schools, fiber enthusiasts and clients to take a tour and see the process up close, yet at a safe distance. Pipe dreams are kind of my thing. *sly smirk*
Well that is all I have to report for now, sorry this post jumped around so much. I just could not contain my excitement that this year is coming to an end and that blessings have abound even among all the yuck of 2020. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays (if you celebrate something else ❤ ) as well as a Happy New Year that will be here before you know it.
Stay positive friends and keep your chin up. You never know what blessings are around the corner for you. All my love- Story from your homestead with a view