A few weeks ago, I was a little worried if we had made the right decision in our move and starting this. So worried in fact that I put in for a job and Mike did too. Between the 2 of us we could have made enough money to stay afloat until we figured out what to do. Was a very scary time for us. Had a lot of people telling us it was going to work out, and a lot of people asking questions but not a lot of work lined up. Things were looking a little dim. We got one antelope in and had a few samples left from the open house and they decided to have the whole thing made into bologna. More on this later :)
Then Hunting season started. In the first weekend we filled the wild game cooler and started falling behind. We had 2 beef to cut up and no time to do it. Took forever to cut the one up because about every hour another deer would come in. I had ordered just enough supplies to get started and realized that we had no where near enough. In a panic I found a local place that delivers to Fort Benton every week and had the paper I needed. One hurtle cleared! We had the bologna done and on a trip into Great Falls for spices, I delivered it to the mans work. We started to get caught up but that week Mike and I worked 94 hours in the shop. Most of that time trying to figure out how to make this work better. Wind the second weekend of hunting season helped us out. We were able to get caught up and didn't have a lot of deer come in so we could actually get in the game cooler again.:) Had 2 beef come in that week that were scheduled ahead of time also. In the middle of the week, a guy showed up with an antelope and wanted it all made into bologna. He had tasted it from the order I dropped off 2 days earlier. He had another tag to fill and went and filled it so he could have some of his own. Then drove it almost 70 miles to us to have it made.
We have been steady since then. Have made about 250 lbs of bologna and sausage, 90 lbs of jerky and processed 24 deer, one elk and 8 antelope. I have 110 lbs of sausage and bologna to make tomorrow and 150 scheduled for next week out of the 4 deer and 2 elk in the cooler. Of course we ran out of casings!!!! They are ordered and will be here mid week. A lot of folks have told us they have more tags to fill and word of mouth is spreading so we are getting more and more.
Now this was holding us for now but hunting season ends Thanksgiving weekend. (Yeah, you PA people, 5 weeks of hunting!) We were still a little worried about the beef prospects. Oh and we still were not flushed because we were still buying supplies and paying bills as fast as we were making money with very little left.
This week has turned it all around. We have 3 beef that need cut next week, along with over half a cooler of wild game. And it looks like a good hunting weekend. We have all the supplies ordered for the next 3+ weeks, and Michael and Tara are on their way out so we will have enough help to get it all done. We also have been getting calls for beef like crazy. Have 7 more beef scheduled before Thanksgiving. Also have a few more that will need done in December. 1 of the beef is from a rancher that sells about 15-20 a year and 2 of the ones in December are from another rancher that sells about 15-20 a year, another of the beef is from a rancher that has a large extended family all over the county that raise beef. To put this in perspective we need about 6 beef a month to cover all our costs and live.
Mike and I have decided that we are not going to take the other jobs. Way to busy. Mike also has been getting mechanical jobs on the side. And Michael has 2 standing job offers now if we don't have enough work for him.
Things are looking better but we are very tired. I had planned to spend 2 whole days loving on the grandkids when they get here but I don't think that is possible right now. Will spend every available minute with them and take them shopping when I get a chance.
Sorry I have no pictures but we haven't really done anything but cut meat for 2 weeks now. LOL Work is good. I will have some pictures when the kids get here. Can't wait to see those faces!!!!!