Tassels, Talons, Ramshackle Shacks: Fall
September 29, 2012
It’s fall already.
Because we moved up here in the middle of that freak October blizzard last year, this is our first proper New York autumn. The foliage is nearly at its peak, there’s a perfect crispness in the air, apple cider, mums, wool sweaters, etcetera, etcetera. It’s all so lovely. Here’s what else is happening:
As described in a recent post, I quit my job back in May. It was a deplorable place that I am ashamed to have been a part of and my only regret is not leaving sooner. But my last day of work was May 12 and I have yet to find another job. It was nice to have the time this summer to devote to the garden and the animals, but our family austerity program has recently been kicked into high gear.
Bailey has been incredibly supportive through the highs and lows of the job hunt and I don’t know what I would have done without him. Every few weeks or so, I get so fed up that I’ll throw my hands in the air, curse my student loans, and start filling out an application for a position like “Roller Rink Snack Bar Attendant” or something. But he’s always there to talk me off the ledge.
I have submitted approximately 35 resumes for jobs ranging from veterinary assistant to paralegal to admissions counselor to line cook. I may be more qualified for some than others; and I’m surely overqualified for many.
Times may be tough, but we’re not discouraged. We keep truckin’ right along. And to be honest, we have everything we could ever need right here on the farm. We’re good on milk and eggs, we have about 100 jars of tomatoes, pickles, and such in the pantry, many pounds of corn and beans in the freezer, and in just a couple of weeks, they’ll be joined by a pig, a lamb, and a few dozen chickens and ducks, with a round of rabbits not far behind.
I’m sure you’re wondering “But where are you fellas going to put all of that stuff?”. Well, we were wondering that too. We spent months looking for a used freezer online, but it’s so hard to know what you’re really getting. So my father and stepmother generously offered to gift us with an early Christmas present/investment in the farm, and our brand new 25 cubic foot chest freezer was delivered yesterday. It’s beautiful.
Did you know that new chest freezers come with all of these adjustable dividers and baskets these days?
With so much storage capacity and unbelievable energy efficiency, this freezer is sure to change our lives forever.
He Dazzles with Tassels
Though I have not been going to the office everyday, I’ve stayed very busy. In fact, I’ve taken on a new hobby. We could maybe call it an obsession. Borderline addiction. You see, when I’m not applying for jobs, working in the garden, canning and preserving, tending to the animals, or doing other general farmy duties, you can probably find me making a wreath. Remember the corn husk wreath from last month?
Well, one turned into two, then into four, then eight. In exchange for a wreath, a farmer friend let me give his corn field a little trim. And after just a few hours of snippin’ and whistling ABBA songs, I walked away with two garbage bags full of tassels.
I totally plan on getting into the local craft show circuit next year. Give me a folding table and some middle-aged ladies and I’ll make a KILLING.
The Tassel Traditionalist
With a touch of sass:
I found this piece of hub cap in a forest in Massachusetts:
A rectangular tassel wreath with Indian corn accents is the perfect frame for our one-of-a-kind Barbie locket-clutching chicken talon charm:
Mrs. Pamuk, our Spanish Black turkey hen, hatched out nine poults (baby turkeys) a few weeks ago. Then the whole family suddenly vanished. It is possible that she took them somewhere to raise them and will come back soon with a bunch of adolescent turkeys trailing behind, but it is more likely that they’re gone forever. So that’s quite unfortunate.
On a positive note, the Royal Palm turkey that we’re raising for Thanksgiving dinner is putting on a little bit of weight and looking good. He’ll be a far cry from a 20 lb. Butterball, and we are very happy about that.
Bunty had her second kindling of bunnies about a month ago. They recently made the transition from ugly rat babies into cute bunny rabbits, so that’s nice.
I feel much more prepared for rabbit harvesting this time around. They were a little too old last time, so the whole process was a bit “tough”. This time, dispatching should be easy breezy. And the younger meat can be pan-fried instead of stewed!
Mackenzie Phillips, our other breeding rabbit doe, is also pregnant.
Two weeks ago, we introduced our seven adolescent goats, which had been living separately from the big girls, to the rest of the herd. They’ve enjoyed spending their days frolicking on pasture with their moms and aunties, and there has been virtually no bullying. In fact, Agatha, one of our Toggenburg does who lost her kids this spring due to a very difficult pregnancy caused by toxoplasmosis (read about that experience here) seems to have taken the little ones under her wing. Aunt Aggie watches over, naps with, and plays with them. We’re excited for her to have kids of her own next spring.
The littles sneak away to nibble on some willow branches:
Speaking of kids, YumYum, our oldest Guernsey doe is pregnant! She, too, had a failed pregnancy this spring due to toxo. But a couple of months ago, we noticed that she was widening, and then she started bagging up. We don’t know when she’s due, but it’s safe to assume that she’ll be kidding within the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we get to say things like “Hey, have you gotten a good look at YumYum’s vagina this morning?” “Yeah. It’s not slack and leathery. No ooze. It won’t be today.”
We finally separated our buck and rams from the girls. They have a nice paddock with a view and a cuddle hut. The ladies should all be starting their heat cycles very soon and we didn’t want any more oops babies.
Like all of the other structures that we build, their ramshackle shack is obviously pieced together with scraps of this and that, but it does its job just fine.
There was some pretty serious head butting for a day or two, but they’ve worked through their differences and are enjoying their bachelor pad.
In other news, we made a gallon and a half of homemade ketchup (catsup, if you will), so that’s fun. A guy we know is coming out to the farm next week with all of his plucking/scalding equipment and is going to show us how to process chickens and ducks, which should be great. A veterinarian friend came and neutered Cookie Salad on the picnic table and we got to watch; it was fascinating. And there’s a special new addition to the farm, but I think that warrants its own post.
Stay tuned; there should be much excitement in the next couple of months. Between YumYum’s kidding, the pig and lamb processing, and autumn baking, I think that we’ll have a lot to share.
Oh, and here are these: