Endings and Beginnings

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. -Seneca

In our lives, we experience a lot of beginnings. And  a lot of endings. Not always is one tied to the other. Sometimes things just end. Door closed. That’s it. Other times doors will shut, but as the cliché goes, another will open. We peek through the open door: curious, scared, and anxious about a new opportunity. Take it? Or not. Your choice.

For Cliff and I, we chose to pull a door shut. But as soon as we did, new door after new door opened, and we just knew we had to walk through them. Moving from one beginning’s end to a whole new beginning. And that’s what’s gotten us at the precipice of a grand new adventure.

A few weeks ago, I talked about letting our herd of Jersey cows go. This past week, our Holstein herd- the 200 cows, heifers, and calves that have been OURS since we got married and bought them from Cliff’s dad in 2002, were sold. These girls have been our identity as farmers for 15 years! Such a mix of emotions.

Dairy farmers know that there’s good(ish) years, and there’s lean years. Dairy farmers are used to riding out the lean years while waiting for the good years. That gets old. Our farm is pretty established, we were doing okay on the other things that Cliff was working at, so we decided to look about the possibility of selling the cows, hard as it may be, and run our farm without the dairy cows.

Pulling a door shut.

While we were wresting with this decision, we heard of a dairy for sale in Maryland, about 15 miles south of us. The owners are a couple who wanted to retire, but they have built a wonderful, successful business with their dairy. They hated to see all their hard work disappear. We could see the opportunity they’ve created and didn’t want that to disappear, either! Could we take over? Could we run the business they’ve established? I’ve always had a pie-in-the-sky dream for our farm at home. I wanted to do farm tours, agro-tourism, and sell our product direct to the customer. But our location just wasn’t right. The start-up and building a brand would take years. The dairy that was for sale? Ice cream store. Corn maze. School tours. On-farm milk bottling. Home delivery routes. Brand identity with loyal customers.

Door opening.

Now we had another decision to make! Would we throw ourselves into taking over and running this new business? So much to think about, plan for, talk through, stress over, and pray about! While wrestling with THIS decision, Cliff’s brother informed us that HE wanted to buy our cows! He would take ownership of the cows, but they’d get to stay right here! What a relief to know our girls would get to stay right here with us. He’d rent the barn from us, buy feed from us, and other than ownership of the cows, not much would change here at all!

Door opening.

After countless emails, phone calls, texts, and a million other details I won’t bore you with, it soon became clear to us this was something we couldn’t ignore. One door shut for us, but after more opened, and we received confirmation from so many sources, we made a deal with the owners and are moving forward towards making a dream come true.

So here it is… our big adventure:

We partnered with friends of ours that we’ve worked with over the years, and as of March 1st, the four of us will be the new owners of Kilby Cream in Rising Sun, MD. !!!!

We’re working with the owners, and they really have great employees on board, so we’re hoping for a smooth transition. Be sure to give us a follow on the Kilby Cream Facebook page to keep up with things happening on the farm, at the store, and with the home delivery routes.

Here is the Kilby newsletter about the change.

We are so excited to work with the Kilbys through this transition, and look forward to continuing what the Kilby family started. As Mr. Kilby is so fond of saying: “Maryland is the land of opportunity!” 🙂

 

 

 

 

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