It's (almost) Thanksgiving, and we have had so much to be thankful for this year. Both Dan and I and our animals are healthy, which is always the biggest thing to be appreciative of. Considering the less-than-ideal growing season, our garden did splendidly overall. We were able to put up enough hay not only to get through the winter, but with enough extra we had no worries about buying another cow. Virtually every jar I canned sealed up, and all the new recipes I tried this year turned out to be delicious. A majority of both the goats and sheep born this year were girls, so we're building up our herd and flock faster than expected. And we are especially thankful that so many people remembered our farm and came back as customers after a 3+ year hiatus, and we also met many new friends this year. I'm thankful for LocalHarvest giving me the space to write this blog, and grateful to all of you who take time out of your busy lives to read it.
Although you might expect us to be having a feast of homegrown food tomorrow, we are traveling. Both Dan's parents and my mom live in the middle part of the state, so it can be tricky to plan how to make an 8-hour round trip, have time to enjoy family, and make sure the animals are fed as well. Unfortunately this year, Dan and I won't be together, but we'll each be spending precious time with our own families, and we can cook a homemade feast another day. Dan and his brother left today to see not only their parents, but their grandfather as well. He's getting up in years and is not in the best of health, so every holiday is precious. I will get to do some heavy lifting to burn off all of that turkey, as my mom just bought a house, and since the closing was this week, my siblings and I will pay for dinner by helping her move. Although she told me more than once that she wants us to enjoy our time together, she's also excited about boys with trucks coming!
It's hard to leave the farm, you always worry that something will happen and whoever you left in charge won't be able to handle it. Dan tried to make things as easy on me as possible tonight by filling up all the self feeders, bringing the cows in early, and making sure there was plenty of firewood in the house for me to keep warm. I came home from work, optimistic I would have an easy night, just collecting eggs and feeding a bit of hay to the critters in the barn. As I walked to the barn in the drizzling rain, I noticed Dixie seemed a bit upset. This made sense because Dixie is afraid of pigs, and Wilbur and Charlotte were near the pond, which is part of the pasture but NOT part of the hog run! So I've got nearly a ton of loose pork, and I'm not sure where Fern was lurking. Bribery is always the best option in these situations, so I grabbed a feed scoop, opened the hog house door, and nearly had a heart attack when Fern jumped up on the boards inside, looking me in the eye and waiting for her dinner. I fed her, opened the inner pen door, and went outside rattling my feed scoop and calling the other two pigs for dinner with the "Woof, woof, piggies!!" they are used to hearing. Char gladly trotted right behind me and into the pen. Wilbur didn't want to come in the building, he wanted through the fence, and it is now pouring as hard as it's rained all year. As the water drips down my sleeves and collar, I'm chasing the 750-pound boar around with a feed scoop. Mildly annoyed, he uproots a part of the fence and heads for the feed inside. After making sure all doors and gates are latched, I need to figure out why he didn't get shocked by the electric fence during this stunt. I replace the fence post he knocked down as best as I can and head for the fencer up by the house. It's not clicking, so there is a problem. Following the extension cord, I find it's not p[lugged in. So that is an easy fix, and I'll hope all is well when I leave in the morning for my turkey day journey. Dan will be home by evening chore time, and I'll have a few days to spend with my family. Dan will even be running the stand for me on Saturday so I don't have to hurry back. I do feel bad that I'll miss our last open weekend for the year, but I know Dan and Matt will be just as capable of running it, so feel free to stop by and stock up for winter!
From our farm to your family, we wish you safe travels, plentiful tables, and quality time with the ones you love. Happy Thanksgiving!