My second excuse is that on the first day of October, the does finally decided that yes indeed it was fall, signaling that a young doe's fancy turns from food to bucks. As a result, there was a succession of five days filled with seven restless, bleating does followed by me leading a parade of various bucks twice a day back and forth from their pen in the back field to their anxiously awaiting mate. Because does only stay receptive to breeding for 12 to 24 hours, breeding of individuals has to occur within a very short window of opportunity or else one must wait 21 days for does to cycle again. Because we hand breed, each buck is put in a pen with one doe and then removed after a successful mating. Later in the day the mating is repeated to help insure a successful breeding. WIth one or two does coming in to season each day, that made for a lot of hiking back and forth with anxious, smelly bucks.
Gratefully, by my birthday on the 7th, matings for October were successfully completed and I could actually take a day off for my birthday (third excuse). I had friends come by to visit my bucks (and maybe us?) to check out potential suitors for their does. This visit culminated in the great "chicken swap" the next day. She needed a rooster for her flock and I ended up with an excess of them. She had a few extra hens. So Voila! I have more hens and her chicken "Wild One" can set on fertile eggs and be happy and fulfilled.
Also on my birthday, Don and I had a great visit with Leslie and Diane where we spent the afternoon at their house. We ate a late lunch/early dinner of manicotti that was worked off playing four games of cornhole. But then we packed it all back on again eating birthday cake.
This brings us to Monday the 8th which was the day of the actual chicken swap (fourth excuse). I took the rooster that I had grabbed the night before off the roost, and took him to town. My friend is an urban farmer of sorts. She doesn't live in town but just outside the city limits. I admire her accomplishments raising food (veggies, milk and eggs) and fiber in a non-farm setting. We scooped up some extra hens and put them in dog crates for their short journey to their new home.
|My new chickens.|
I'll pick Wednesday as my fifth and sixth excuses. Wednesday was spent gathering and organizing produce and craft exhibits to enter in our local Black Walnut Festival. I do have to admit that Don did most of veggie organizing though. He also always enters the Black Walnut woodworking competition which pays $25 for first place. It used to be $75 but I suppose the economy has taken a toll on everything. The exhibits were taken to town Wednesday evening and entered in the agricultural and craft exbibits with the rest of the local entries. It is always fun to see how one's largest sweet potato stacks up against your neighbor's largest sweet potato and if that walnut lamp Don spent hours hand sanding is deemed worthy of the $25 prize. First place for the agricultural exhibits pays $3.00 so we always hope to at least win gas money to get our stuff to town and back.
Wednesday was also the time to pick remaining veggies in the garden before the first predicted frost of the season. We seem to be overrun with peppers of all colors.
|Asampling of the peppers.|
Thursday was busy with salvaging the green peppers after the first killing frost of the season. It was right on time because our growing season on average ends on the 10th of October and by gosh if it wasn't dead-on this year. I'm beginning to feel like those folks who start hiding excess zucchini in people's cars. We made an ATV trip around our back road that is populated with hunting camps to give a huge bag to a friend who is here to escape the heat of the deep South for a few weeks to enjoy the lovely cool fall weather. Fortunately he likes peppers. I'll use this day as excuse number 7.
Friday was miscellaneous chore day in the morning culminated by a trip to the fair in the afternoon with my childhood best friend who lives out-of-state. Definitely a GREAT excuse so that will be number 8. Because my Spinone (dog) Tia is so adept at opening gate latches I decided it was time to repair a few of them. The goats are pretty good at it too so I have come home a couple of times this week to a galloping goat herd greeting me in the driveway. It was also time to change the in-line sediment filter in our spring-fed water system. I also used today as an opportunity to start ripping out dead garden plants. Our spring is adjacent to the veggie garden and I had to wait for the spring to cycle so I could be sure the pump hadn't lost it's prime. Flow is slow this time of year so it didn't ever cycle back on in time to go to town for the afternoon so getting the pump back on-line had to be postponed until evening. I did get a lot of plant debris cleaned out though while I was waiting.
This brings us to Saturday (today!!!),. I'm going to publish this NOW before I have to come up with more excuses and besides Heidi says: