Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cart before the Goat?

I'm getting ahead of myself.  I had originally intended to learn small skills and work my way up to the bigger stuff.  But the heart wants what the heart wants and apparently the heart wanted goats!  Part of the push to get goats started because for the last two years I've observed a certain pattern on craigslist.  Come the fall, people start to sell off their extra livestock for cheap.  I have no proof of my theory, but I'm figuring that as people start to evaluate their winter feed needs, they start to liquidate their surplus animals.  I wanted to get in on this trend this year instead of next.  I had made arrangements to rent pasture in the prairie about 20 minutes away by bike/3 minutes by car.  I'm starting out with a 112' x 70' spot.  For the time being, the temporary pen is 25' x 8'.  I'm pretty proud of myself on the construction of the goat house.  Most of the materials used were free for the taking.  The base is free pallets from my husband's work, then 5 bales of straw ($3.50 each) form the lower walls and the top half is an old metal truck canopy.  There are windows and a flip up door.  The whole thing is waterproofed with free billboard tarps.

I've started with 3 goats.  I got the cute little mini togg(Nigerian/Toggenburg) doeling above for $60, $75 each for two sister doelings that are half Nigerian, and a quarter each Lamancha and Oberhasli.   For the time being, I'm just going to learn the skill of keeping livestock alive over the winter.  Once I have mastered that skill, on to breeding, kidding and milking!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

You only get to pick two

I used to make costumes for a living, kinda.  Let's say, I made costumes to make sure I could survive, because my job wasn't enough.  More specifically, I made what I call replica movie costumes.  Oh, you want to be Princess Leia for Halloween?  I can do that.  In the replica costume/cosplay world, you can have a costume that is accurate, cheap or fast, but you can't have all three.  If your costume is made quickly and accurately, you are going to spend a ton of money hiring someone to make it for you.  If you really want cheap and accurate, you are going to spend a great deal of time finding materials in your budget and then you are most likely going to spend tons of time machine and hand sewing, depending on the costume.  I once made an Arwen Mourning gown from Lord of the Rings for a client and I was behind on my timeline.  I stayed awake for 20 hours doing nothing but hand embroidery!  Lastly, if you don't care about down-to-the-last-detail accuracy, your costume can most likely be made cheaply and quickly.

In my prepping plans, I have tried to employ a similar dynamic.  I've observed that preps can be obtained cheaply, quickly and easily, but never all three, sometimes you only get one.  If you are rich, you can stockpile an impressive stash quickly and easily, but it will cost a pretty penny.  Good compost for gardening can be relatively effortless and low cost, but it takes time for the compost to work.  You can raise small livestock cheaply with fodder or expired food stuff from the stores, but you have to make the effort of picking it up or growing it everyday.  Growing food cheaply takes some time, but the canning and preserving take a great deal of effort.

Since I'm not affluent, the option for me is to focus on the preps that require more time and effort to obtain.  I watch craigslist quite frequently, especially the "free" section.  Great things can be for the time and effort of picking it up, and many things that people just want to get rid of can be used in an unconventional way to give it new purpose.  Take an old pickup truck canopy/shell.  I've found several photos online of people re-purposing them as chicken coops and goat houses.  Eureka!  I head to craigslist and there are 4 in the free section, begging to be picked up.  Free chicken coop, right there.  I took the time to figure out the closest and cheapest suppliers of bulk beans and grains.  Even just a little time and effort can bring down the bottom line.

So, time to develop the "skill" of saving money on preps, goodness knows I need to!