Monday, August 22, 2011

Still mostly summer

The rain tip taps an uneven beat on the metal roof as it falls heavy from the Birch trees that surround the house. The fog is thick and envelopes the hillside and valley, working it's way over the forest floor. All is still as every creature must be sleeping in this late summer morning. Our rooster is not well and thus he no longer crows. He has a broken wing - escaped a fox I think. I thought it might heal if I taped it to his body, alas I think we need to put him out of his misery. He has been a good rooster.

Golden leaves lay scattered on the ground. There are clumps of yellow in the trees. The green summer lushness is fading to a worn out looking green. The trees look sapped, and the fireweed and grasses are wearing down, growing rusty and copper in places. I find myself thinking enviously of slower times; winter days with time enough for lounging, time enough for reading and knitting and house cleaning. I'm tired. I've been battling a cold for three weeks and I'm finally almost back to normal. I'm overwhelmed with everything there is to do and I'm not sure where to begin.

Last week I focused on berries. I spent two afternoons picking cultivated raspberries away from the house, and got about fourteen pounds total, the equivalent of a few gallons I think. On Saturday we drove for three hours round trip to pick blueberries in the rain. The kids spent the afternoon with Grandma in the travel trailer (thanks mom), while I actually enjoyed picking in peace, despite cold hands. The berries were big and plentiful. I only made it out to pick blueberries twice this year and have totaled about five gallons which is less than I usually have in the freezer going into winter, but this year I think it will have to do. I have been freezing the berries and haven't found time to make jam yet.

We butchered fifteen Cornish Cross last weekend. They were nice size, between five and seven pounds. There are more to do when D has another day off. Our doe Asia, surprised us with a doeling this week. We thought kidding season was over until she started growing an udder this past month. I was planning on breeding her for the first time this fall. Fortunately I recalled the late March day, where I'd arrived home from the Sustainable Agricultural conference to find all three bucks had jumped the fence and were in with a few does. The snow level was high, and the electric fence had been grounding out... So, now we have a fall baby. I had figured out Asia's due date and had been putting her in her own stall at night. She kidded on day 145 of her gestation. I had set my alarm for 3 am to check on her, and low and behold there was a doeling on the ground when I got up. I hadn't realized she was quite that close to kidding. Thankfully, moma did it on her own. The doeling is strong and healthy, black and brown, and her name is Brie, Wild Roots Brie to be exact. I've been having to hold Asia a few times a day, and direct the doeling to Asia's right teat, as Asia has been preferring her daughter to nurse on the other side, and the fuller and tighter the right side gets, the more stompy Asia gets about letting Brie nurse on that side.

We've got two female Peking ducks sitting on eggs, which are due to hatch this week. I should have gathered the eggs, but I'm a sucker for wanna be mamas - when it comes to broody hens that is. On warm rainy days, I think everything will work out. There will be time for the ducklings and Brie to grow strong before the weather gets too fierce. There will be time to harvest the garden before frost. Time for firewood and cleaning up outside. The weather is mild today, it still looks mostly like summer, but tomorrow could feel crisp and cool like fall. We've already had cool enough days that I've pulled out the kid's hats and gloves from last winter, and even their new winter boots. The days of bare legged children running around outside are coming to an end. For today, it is still mostly green and thus still mostly summer.

1 comment:

Buttons said...

Emily I love reading your posts. You are such a hard worker, it brings back memories of my own journey and all the trials and tribulations of farming on your own.
I admire your work ethic and your dedication to your family and your self preservation.Enjoy your fall. B