Wrapping Up

It’s that time of year.  Chickens are long gone.  Pigs have gone to the butcher.  Turkeys went this morning and come back from the processor tonight.  [Pick up is 8pm, for those who have reservations!]  While I will miss my giant white lawn ornaments, I will enjoy them on my plate.  The curtains are closing on another busy season.

I still have to can applesauce and tomatoes, which presents a totally different work flow than chores.  I can’t say I am looking forward to this part of process, the inside the kitchen part.  I prefer hauling feed bags to stirring bubbling pots.  I wish I loved canning.  I do love the satisfaction of eating the finished product, and so I will toil and trouble.

Bob has been living on his bicycle.  We even took it to Clifton Springs on our vacation this past weekend.  He rode to the park, Meeps took her balance bike… leaving Scott & I in the dust wondering where our babies had gone.

We are so blessed to live on such a big, beautiful lake.  We don’t take advantage of it nearly enough.

We finally got our water line put in to the goat shed and the new out building.  Next we need to connect fittings.  I hope this part of the process doesn’t take another year to complete, but I am thankful for the step in the right direction.  Not hauling water jugs in snowstorms is very appealing.

The children had no shortage of entertainment here this summer.  We spent countless hours perched on top of their play structure, watching crews work.  First we had new windows put in, which meant saws and big glass.  Then we had our outbuilding put up, which meant giant augers, cement trucks and a big bucket lift.  Then we had a massive tractor and tree spade arrive and stay for the day, clearing out the trees from inside the outbuilding.  Last was the water line, which brought the piece de resistance: The Mighty Excavator.  It made a 3′ deep trench which snaked all over the back lawn, much to the delight of the children.

The pleasure of heavy machinery!

(There are two children standing on the tracks on the left side, with tongues out and fingers in their eyes, dancing in ecstasy over the excavator).

Every year teaches us something new.  I have joked in the past that we know we are improving because we kill less stuff.  If unintentional death toll was actually the bar of success, we failed big time this year.

We only managed to get 65/100 chickens to butcher thanks to raccoons and heart attacks.  We were endlessly trapping coons, which while helpful, is ultimately not how one would prefer to spend ones morning, nor is finding the maimed poultry corpses in their wake.  It was a bad year to be a chicken on the Duncan Farm.  At least I didn’t STEP on any chickens this year.  We lost more in the beginning this year too (2% is average for us) to the point where Meeps pointed out a sickly looking baby chick and asked if she should “get a log”.  (To cull them).  Next year I will be extra cautious with travel during the brooder weeks and I will be even more vigilant with feed storage and quicker to break out the not live for very long traps.

I had to put down little Cindy Ray, whose birth I attended like a first time parent.  We recently had a vet out again to assess her mother Suki.  Suki has always been a suck, she is the lowest on the totem pole and loves to rest her head on my shoulder while I hug her.  Turns out Suks has pleurisy and is a chronic pneumonia carrier.  We have to put her down before we can even think of bringing another animal here, which we would be doing soon for winter breeding.  Next year I will stop hugging my goats.

I have put the love I have for my farm directly into my animals and forged relationships with them that I should not have.  I expected Suki would be a long standing fixture in our herd, based on nothing but my own desire to have her in my life.  It was a mistake on my part.  We can raise them in a manner we find ethically acceptable and still bask in the joy of their being without crossing over a line of attachment.


Hard lesson learned.