We started The Tiny Farm in June of 2016. That’s when we decided to take a dream and turn it into reality. We dove in head first and tested the waters. We took in animals and built pens; in that order. We planted gardens and checked the weather; in that order. We started projects and then started new projects without completing the first ones. We did things wrong.

In other words, when we dove in head first we hit bottom and got our collective heads stuck in the sand for a while.

It’s 2017 now and we’ve learned from our mistakes. We’ve reviewed the problems and come up with solutions. We’re still in for the long run, even though we’ve decided the run will take a bit longer than we first anticipated. We’ve become grounded and right side up, pulling our heads out of the sand and placing our feet on the ground.

So where does that leave us? Well, in very real terms, it leaves us standing in a half cleared patch of land with a number of critters running around and a barn that still has a long way to go before it is transformed into a tiny home. It also leaves us with more accurate and reasonable expectations of progress. We’ve downsized our livestock to be both more manageable and effective. Downsizing was mainly in respect to our chickens and rabbits.

We still have our three little pigs (Hansel, Gretel and Charlotte) and we suspect that Gretel is pregnant.

We also maintain the original three goats (Murray, Lucy and Annie) and again we suspect that Lucy is pregnant.

We’ve reduced our chicken flock both through choice and predators. It became clear to us that they were producing too many eggs for us to consume and there was not enough local demand to justify attempting to sell the eggs. Also, the retail cost of eggs dropped so dramatically that selling them was nearly impossible regardless.

Where the rabbits were concerned, both space and feed costs played a factor in our decision. There simply wasn’t enough of a market for the kits to justify the costs of maintaining the breeders. This concern was compounded by predators and the issue of protecting the rabbits in a limited amount of space. The Tiny Farm is located on approximately one acre of land which forced us to house some of the rabbits in an attached location. Although this was easily accomplished, it made it difficult to keep a watchful eye on them at all times.

After weighing all factors and re-evaluating the situation we went back to the drawing board and took a critical look at the actual GOAL of The Tiny Farm. From the start, The Tiny Farm was intended to be a working photo studio. A homestead scenario that people could come to for unique portrait opportunities, whether those portraits be farm inspired or animal inclusive. We chose to specialize in child and family portraits which is why we have been selecting miniature animals. We wanted smaller models that children would be less likely to be afraid of.

As we move forward in 2017 we’ll continue to build that picturesque place we first envisioned, but we’ll do it in a more financially responsible manner. Along with refurbishing the old barn, we’ll begin building permanent and safe enclosures for our livestock. Our goats will be first on the list as they’re the ones that have effectively escaped from every pen we’ve made for them so far. We have chain link fencing on hand and ready to install as soon as we purchase posts.

After the goats we’ll construct permanent homes for the pigs, chickens and rabbits, in that order. We’ll also continue to expand our gardens until we eventually have four tiny vegetable patches. These will be broken down as two open fields, one greenhouse and one raised bed garden. Within the next year we’ll also create a tiny pond, and THEN we’ll add fish, ducks and geese. We’ll do everything in stages and complete each phase before moving on to the next.

There is one other change that we’ll be implementing immediately. The Tiny Farm will no longer be named The Tiny Farm. Henceforth, let it be known throughout the lands that our new name is:

UniVaca – The Tiny Farm.

For an explanation of this change keep an eye out for an upcoming post that will give details on the meaning and development of the new name.

As always, from our farm to your home, have a great week!