Agrarian Enterprises on the Internet

I recently read two e-books published by John and Lisa Mesko at Lighthouse Farm. The books, titled As a Hen Gathers Her Chick and Goat’s Milk For Your Maidens were written by Lisa and they are the first two volumes in what the Meskos call The Homestead Series. These books are well done and a delight to read.

Both books are centered around John and Lisa’s two young daughters and how they learn about the chickens and goats that become a part of their family’s homestead. These are primarily teaching books and an excellent introduction for young children to chickens and goats. Children will learn what the animals eat, where they live, how they act, how their young are born, and how the mother cares for it’s babies. There are plenty of great photos to go along with the text.

But the books are not just about animals. They are also about a family that works together and enjoys their Christian-agrarian lifestyle. Thankfulness to “the good Lord” pervades each story. Unlike the average farm-animal book for children, The Homestead Series is distinctly God-honoring and family centered.

I see from the Lighthouse Farm web site that the Meskos are planning to make a DVD of their Homestead Series books, with Lisa doing the reading. That should prove to be more “child-friendly” than an e-book and I look forward to seeing them.

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The Meskos have also revised and republished in e-book format two books from the 1870s. They are part of the Dare To Do Right series. I like what the web site says about these books:

“...the Dare To Do Right series of books harken back to a time when the predominant worldview of the American society was the Christian worldview. Even those people who did not profess to be Christians understood the Christian worldview, where right was right and wrong was wrong, where the authority structure of the family was practiced, revered, and honored.”

I have downloaded one of the books, Grandfather’s Faith and plan to read it to my two youngest sons soon.

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Those of you who have read John Mesko’s Blog,Antithesis in Agriculture, or listened to his Plain Talk interview, know the Meskos are returning to John’s parent’s farm in Minnesota. They will be farming and pursuing their multigenerational Christian-agrarian vision there.

It is not an easy thing to make a living as a small, independent farmer these days. With that in mind, many people, like John, are turning to the internet, and using a variety of creative ideas to help generate income for their family enterprises.

I know many of you who are reading this are either doing, or planning on doing, much the same thing to support your own agri-preneurial ventures. I think this is good and it is very inspiring to me. Maybe I’ll even get my own web site up and running by the end of the year

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I see John is planning on producing instructional videos, including one about how to process chickens. I think there is a big demand for that particular video. And I think I heard in his Plain Talk interview that he’s planning a video on butchering goats. I wish there were a video out there for butchering pigs. I think I will need it next fall.

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One last thing... Even without a web page, I have used the internet to market my agrarian books, most notably the Whizbang Plucker planbook. In fact, were it not for the internet, that book would probably never have done as well as it has. And, based on my experience, I want to share a bit of advice with those of you who are starting home businesses.

That advice is, very simply, not to get discouraged if things don't come together and produce the desired results right away. Good things take time. I encourage you to take a long-range, sustainable view of your endeavors. Lay the groundwork without overextending your resources, provide a good quality product, and give it time to bear fruit. "Little by slow" as an old Italian farmer I one knew used to say... "Little by slow"

4 comments:

Scott Holtzman said...

I’d have to concur with you on this one Herrick. Funny thing is when we started the Catskill Coffee Company I took a long hard look at the business models out there. We looked at what we would like ~ something I call the “Romantic Model”, then I looked at what would generate the fast $$$ in the shortest time, this I call the “Fast Buck”. What we settled on was what I call the “Grow it Slow” model that allowed us to enjoy the process and develop business partners & friendships along the way.

Our business model avoided the debt trap of high overhead. Which would of consisted of a coffee shop (with lots of books) in a small town that didn’t meet the economic criteria for a higher end café. The funny thing is some one did exactly what I was going to do, bought the building that my wife and I were looking at on the market. I’m sorry to report the shop has yet to open, that was over a year ago, spoke to the guy ~ he ran out of money. I still wish him well & hope he does get it off the ground.

We market our company as a Hudson Valley Micro-roasted of select single bean coffees to bakeries, cafes and small eateries. We warehouse & roast from our home and look toward developing an excellent product and constancy in our roasts and our profile of each coffee we offer. We do not direct market to the individual consumer (though that will come) and to date ~ we don’t have a web site. (that will come as well) Now we do sell to some individuals (who gently prod us) but I’d have to say I have maybe 6-8 regulars (individuals) who buy our product direct.

What we do have is a happy husband & wife who work well together and have not grown rich in $$$ but have made the business pay for it’s self, and that’s a start. When you go at something with the knowledge that you will not fail, quit or turn back. Then time really is “on your side” so you enjoy the ride and see how it goes……

(Sorry I wrote so much, but the subject struck home with me!)

HomesteadHerbs said...

I've been trying to determine how to get a home business growing so that I don't have to come into the corporate world every day. I believe I've got a plan ans slowly but surely we have started to process. It's a very long range plan, but a homebased plan nonetheless. I've been talking about it to my daughter for a while now, and I think she's got the bug! The other day she said something to the extent of, "If we're going to have a family home-based system I better start learning how to do some of these things!" If she had been smaller, I would have given her a swirling hug! Our Lord is good to us.

KSMILKMAID said...

It has taken five years for our little farm to take off. I really hated the length of time. It seemed only in the last year has it dramatically increased. Looking back, I see that waiting time as so essential to our development of who we are and why we do what we do. I would encourage everyone to take their time and enjoy the scenery on the wait. God has so much for us to learn in the process. The process is sometimes more powerful than the end product.

Great reminder!!

JM said...

Herrick,

Thank you for the wonderful plug. In all honesty, you must know that your Whizbang Books, (I don't even remember where I heard about them first, years ago) are one of the key businesses which inspired us. We are going slow for sure, but we believe in the product, and as Scott so adequately said already, we love the means to produce it!

Thanks again, and many blessings..

JM