When I saying “using your resources,” I don’t mean cheating. Although, admittedly, if you can use your resources properly then it’ll make things so much easier that it might feel like a cheat. You have to use what is already at your disposal and learn how to know what even is at your disposal to begin with. Everything you have has a purpose, you just have to exploit that purpose. Like anything else, you want to get the most out of those resources. If you don’t, it’s a waste.
So, how do you get the most of what you have? The main way is to make things pay for themselves. Just like when I got started with my goat-oriented ventures, I had a major expense: My goats of the time were expensive, and they weren’t paying for themselves. I wanted to keep them, but I knew I had to afford them. So, I used them.
I did lots of research on ways to make money with my goats and eventually settled on goat landscaping, as it seemed both the most lucrative and the simplest of the options I discovered. Now my goats pay for themselves and my college.
But sometimes ideas don’t just pop into your head, you have to look into them and find them yourself. Thankfully, we live in a world of technology, specifically Google. The world is at our fingertips, and with it, the mass of human knowledge. It’s not that hard if you know what you want and know how to use Google. I’m not teaching you Google. I don’t get paid to teach people how to use their search engines. If I do, I’m charging Google a commission fee.
Anyways, some of the best ways to use your resources is actually to re-use them. For me, I’m huge on improvising items or using things others wouldn’t. I have no shame in improvising. Always remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Besides, a lot of times you can both benefit by taking that trash off someone’s hands for them. The trick is helping others to help you. For example, with my goats I like to use nontraditional feedstuffs. The biggest of these are bamboo, spent grains, and natural dewormers.
In the state of Tennessee, bamboo is considered an invasive species. Lots of my neighbors have it, but for some reason there’s none on my property. I’ve got it worked out with one neighbor, Ruth, to get both bamboo and honeysuckle brought to my goats as she takes them down.
Similarly, I work with a distillery in Sevier County, Tennessee to get their spent grains. For those who don’t know what those are, they are the remaining grains that have already gone through the fermentation process. The brewers can no longer use them, hence why they are called “spent” grains. Normally, the distillery would have to pay someone to tote these grains off and dispose of them. However, for me these grains aren’t spent. They’re perfect. With alcohol already in them and high grain concentrations, these grains are perfect for my goats’ digestion. There’s a lot of science behind that, but I’m not explaining that either.
I also am big on using natural dewormers such as pine clippings and pumpkins. At my house, there are a lot of pine, so I can cut off branches here and there, or cut down smaller trees to provide my ruminants with a wormer that they won’t build resistance to. The same goes for pumpkins, although I don’t have any growing on my property. Instead, I look into people in my area with pumpkins shortly after Halloween. Lots of people carve pumpkins and then they go to waste after the holiday season, so I pick them up and let my goats enjoy a tasty, healthy treat that also fights worms.
In all of these cases, I found a problem I had (needing cheaper feed alternatives and wanting to keep my herds healthy inexpensively) and a problem that someone else had (needed to dispose of invasive species/spent grains/used pumpkins) and combined both our problems into both of our solutions. Problems are one of your number one resources in life. You just have to exploit others’ (and your own) problems for mutual benefit. If they win, you win. If we all win, then that’s obviously a good thing.
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