A week ago one of the days came that eventually arrive in the farming year, and when they do I am always surprised by the relief I feel. Our roasting chickens went to the butcher last Friday with my husband, and mid-afternoon we had a visit from our favorite livestock haulers who took the pigs to the butcher as well. That night we did a little happy dance and got to toast the end of another season of work. The meat in the freezer is such a great feeling and even though we love the animals that it comes from, when those chores are no longer front and center, it sure is a good feeling.
On Saturday we went to pick up the roasting chickens at the butcher in West Gardiner (Weston’s Meat Cutting) and on the way we stopped at the renowned AI Diner in Gardiner to have some breakfast. It was raining and I didn’t think of taking a photo until we were just about on our way out, but we enjoyed the morning immensely (the food is lovely, too!). It’s nice to get in the truck and not be able to do anything but knit and chat and watch the seasonal changes in the area as we drive through. I am so often caught on my little hamster-wheel of off to work in the dark to rush right home to chores and dinner, without taking a different route. It’s certainly nice to turn left instead of right some days!
This morning our 50 roasting chickens arrived at the post office. We have been madly trying to get their little spot ready for the big day, in the back of one of our greenhouses. (Hot working in those greenhouses at this time of year is an understatement!). At 7:30 exactly, our post mistress gave us the call and we ran over to receive those beautiful little chicks. I know that very soon they are going to be very tasty dishes, but there is nothing as cute as a baby farm animal, any and all of them. They provide endless entertainment with their antics and their enthusiasm for the business of life. And so begins another cycle of animal husbandry!
Our friend Jolly claims that our roasters taste better because I read them the New York Times. I don’t, really, but we chat about world affairs and literature many times every day. The discussion is always pretty one-sided, but it’s the one place I can go where no one talks back!
Temporarily I hope. The last week or so has been hectic and just a little bit nuts. When the day is over and it’s time to clean up from dinner I am more than halfway to bed. In the summer break it’s always a game of playing catch-up from the school year and then suddenly we are back to work and my list is only half accomplished!
We are getting ready for our broiler chicks to arrive on Thursday; milking and cheese-making is getting into gear; general cleanup and organization is going on as well as getting ready to move the ewes down to the pasture (down the street). We had a lovely 4th of July at the neighbor’s house for a big picnic after the Round Pond 4th of July Parade. It was a very lovely way to spend the 4th. Sawyer entertained us all and we got to chat with folks that we only see a few times a year. So all is well. I am doing a lot of knitting and will blog about that another day! And soon, I hope :*)
We have had a lot of inquiries about how some of the animals are coming along, especially Banjo the bottle goat. He is now over a month old and doing very well. He is down to two bottles/day, but he is eating up a storm at the hay feeder. I kept offering him that late night bottle, but this past week he only played with it when I went out, so I decided just to give him the two. He really is a sweet boy, and just follows us around while we do chores. I have to make sure to remember to get him back inside as we get so used to having him running about!
Then there are those adorable piggies! They are really growing like crazy. Not as friendly as some of the pigs we have had in the past, but they are getting used to us little by little.
And the real eye-popper is always the chickens. They just grow so fast you can almost see it happen. This breed of roaster acts so much more like egg-layers than the CornishX we usually get that I am totally amazed. They are active little foragers which hopefully will keep their legs strong so as they grow they won’t weaken and keel over dead as their body mass increases. Their feathers are popping out, and it’s lovely to see the range of buff and reddish coloration. The guinea keets are growing fast as well (boy are they fast little buggers!).
And so it goes.
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!