My seasonal position at the Cornell Research Farm is now on it’s Winter break.
Working there for the Summer was good and I’ll miss working with the guys there.
The job will be available next May and I’m more than welcome to start back up next year.
I did look for and apply to a number of jobs for the Winter but nothing panned out.
I think it’s a sign.
It’s not that I don’t have work to do.
I have plenty of work to do to get our farm up and running!
It’s all volunteer at this point of course.
Mostly a labor of love with a few unexciting chores thrown in.
There’s a big gap between starting up a business and becoming economically viable.
On the farm end of things, we’re right smack dab in the middle.
Creative freedom isn’t free
What I’ve realized recently is that I have this special window of opportunity before me.
I have time.
And time is valuable, a precious commodity not often appreciated nor truly understood.
When I was young I had what seemed an infinite amount of time.
Maybe you felt the same way?
I could play guitar all day and write songs from dawn to dusk without a care in the world.
It was like being an artist-in-residence in my mom’s basement.
I had creative freedom and was able to test the limits of my imagination daily.
Now the artist is on a farm.
I’m here focusing on the farm and my head is finding it’s way back to that creative space of my youth.
80 acres of blank canvas to paint.
The difference now is viability.
But my subconscious is telling me you’re not on a farm to make money, you’re farming to make art.
Artisan bread, artisan cheese, beer and wine are some of the kinds of hand-made crafts their makers put their love, devotion and time into creating.
Every operation takes time to develop.
Can I make art and enough of it to share with the community that will sustain our family?
One shot to make it viable
So I’m treating this as my one shot.
And I’m going to make it count.
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda, Star Wars
I might not get this type of opportunity again.
Now that the #tinyhouse is near completion, there are lots of things I can fully devote my time to:
- Get the barn in order and get the dairy to where it needs to be
- Put in tile drainage in the pasture and fencing to prepare for livestock
- Finish renovating the garage and begin setting up the nano brewery
First and foremost, we’re going to be building a wood-fired bread oven in the Spring.
And it is in this aspect that you can help us.
You can help us build a bread oven!
You’ve probably heard a lot about crowd-funding and the success it can bring some small businesses with a good product that is in need of funds to get started.
Well we’re going to go a different route: the micro-loan.
It’s through a site called Kiva Zip.
With Kiva Zip, it’s more like a crowd-sourced loan where your friends, families and peers support a small business with a monetary amount that is paid back interest-free over a 3 year period.
Kiva Zip is a good match for where we are in our farm business.
We’ve also been endorsed by Cornell Small Farms Program which will provide a matching funds for every supporter we get up to $10,000.
I’ll have more details as we get closer to launching our loan campaign.
We’re amazed at the support and help we received so far and think that this program will really get us off the ground!
Window of Opportunity
In this window of opportunity, there is a lot of work to be done and I’m looking forward to it.
I feel pretty confident that by Summer 2016 we’ll definitely have one and maybe two operations up and running at the farm.
With time on our side, we can be creative in our decision-making and frugal in innovating how we get products to market.
We also know full well that some income needs to come in to make it viable.
And that’s the short-term goal: to make enough to keep it going, so we can keep on being creative in developing our operations and markets.
Like Seth Godin says in the Bootstrapper’s Manifesto:
“Surviving is succeeding, and each day that goes by makes it easier still for me to reach my goals.”