Alexander bought two shoats (weaned piglets) on Memorial Day when they were just a few weeks old. He takes care of their fencing, feeding, and a little back scratching too. He makes sure their water tank is full and that they have shelter. He plans to take them to the processor around Christmas or after the New Year. This is his business now, and he’s doing great with it.
Larry is almost 6 years old, and he’s so watchful. He’s been our shepherd for over four years, and we have never had coyotes in the barnyard. Even through laming season, we’ve been so grateful for his presence among the sheep. When neighbors walk their dog down the road or ride their horses, he’s always on the alert and lopes to the fence line staring down the passersby.
We recently sold five rams and will be looking for a mature ram in the near future. We currently have 14 ewes in the pasture and 4 going to the processor soon. Eva manages the flock. She feeds them morning and evening, keeps their water tank full and clean, and gives them fresh hay bales. Eva also keeps and eye on any pregnant ones. She loves and dreads when lambing season starts. Eva’s really quite astute with the sheep, and we trust her judgement and responsibility.
We have 14 chicks that will be egg layers in a few months. Isabel takes care of the chicks keeping them warm with a heat lamp and safe in the pen in the barn. They eat like there’s no tomorrow, so she fills their feeder often and water too. They’ll join the 17 hens and 2 roosters in the chicken tractor in the next couple of weeks. William takes care of the chickens. He opens the coop at dawn, makes sure they have feed and water, and he closes the coop after dusk. Sometimes he remembers to add straw to the nesting boxes. Isabel and Providence gather eggs daily after lunch. Nora washes the eggs and puts them in egg cartons. When we sell farm fresh, pastured eggs, the profits go to lots of different hands.
Our barn cat Pearl had 5 kittens. They get held all the time. The kittens sit on girls’ laps while they do school, get carried inside warm sweatshirts in the yard, but they do sleep with their mama on the hay. Nora feeds the mama cat and tries to keep the rooster away from her food throughout the day.
The farm stand went really well this summer. The girls are a little but older and took more responsibility. Isabel and Nora sat at the farm stand speaking to neighbors, meeting their dogs, answering their questions about our farm goods, and giving them their change back. Alexander, Eva, William, Isabel, and Nora had helped to plant the vegetable garden and had weeded it for many weeks, so they earned the profits of the farm stand.
Even though the summer garden has yielded up it’s fruit, several varieties of pumpkins, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are still going strong. We harvested the last of our cabbages yesterday and made this delicious stew. The meal was simple and hearty and bread pudding was baking while we ate. The air has been quite crisp in the evenings, so it all felt very much like an Irish night. Hey, a girl can dream.
The variety of raspberries that we have produces in June and in September. This is the largest berry we’ve harvested to date. The bushes are so full everyday! We add raspberries to everything, and this year we finally made raspberry jam.
William transitioned to being our main beekeeper this late spring, although Nathan sometimes does still gear up with his bee suit and checks on them. This is our first year doing honey comb. It is so delicious in hot tea! Samuel likes it on yogurt while William eats it by the spoonful. It is fine to chew the wax and eat it. It’s also fine to chew it and then spit it : )
I hope you enjoyed hearing all about our recent farm days!