Summer on the Farm

September 22, 2017

A season of growth. Just as Spring brings new beginnings, late summer is time to reap the harvest of our hard work.

The last time I updated you on our recent move to our 5-acre mini farm in Snohomish was in June.  Where does the time go? And where did the rain go? This summer will go down (at least in my mind) as the driest and best growing season I can remember.

Sunflowers in the garden

It feels as though our approach to fall hit us like a cold, wet, ton of bricks.  One day it was 80 degrees and the next I was wearing a heavy sweater and rain boots. Nevertheless, the vegetable garden seems still to be in full swing. Considering I got a relatively late start the garden has done incredibly well this year, producing enough tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, kale, peppers, lettuce, onions, and even watermelon, for us and to share with friends and family…and the animals of course. If you grow your own food you know how gratifying it is to come home and pick your dinner. I will miss that when the cold really hits.

The Animals

And lessons learned

I’m pretty sure that if you asked anyone who lives on a farm they would agree that life is never dull, and something new happens every day. On this day I both witnessed something I had never seen before and learned a valuable lesson. You see, for months our duck, Quackers (who has been raised with chickens and therefore thinks she is a chicken), has stood on the floor of the coop at dusk, as all the chickens got in their favorite spots on the roost (they all seem to prefer the window seat), focused, and then made an attempt to fly to the top of the roost with the other chickens. Every time she does this she fails and falls to the floor, wings flapping, feathers flying. Part of me was sad for her, and part of me giggled, thinking “silly duck, you’ll never be able to roost, you have webbed feet”. Yet she tries. Every. Single. Night. On this night it was was no different. Except for the fact that she made it! And there she sits at the top of the roost, in the prime window-seat spot no less. If this duck never gives up, why should we?  Don’t let someone tell you that you cannot achieve your goals!

A lesson in determination

Charlie Ryan Gosling is no longer a gosling and blends right into the flock.  The only way to tell which one ‘he’ is, is to listen to his raspy noises that sound much different than the others. The 10 fluffy chicks that I brought home are close to full grown hens (no sign of a rooster yet, although time will tell).

The chickens and Quackers enjoying squash from the garden

The guineas are also getting big and are in a perpetually awkward stage that I suspect they may never outgrow.  They sure are strange looking creatures. The jury is still out on if they will be the voracious insect eaters that they are proclaimed to be.  Right now they are enjoying flying out of the run and into the vegetable garden and eating my cilantro and green beans.

We may not be the prettiest but we can fly the highest

Sherman the sheep’s health took a decline in the past few months.  I had the vet out to see him recently and the news was not good (how do you get so attached to a sheep, I had to ask myself as I choked back tears when she told me what I knew to be the inevitable). His list of ailments was long.  She also told me she thinks he is about 13 years old, and that sheep typically live to be about 10.  So, he has had a good, long life.  We agreed to put him out of his pain and made an appointment for her to come back in a few days so that I could prepare.

To make him more comfortable in the mean time she trimmed his feet, cleaned out a couple of abscesses in them, gave him a shot of antibiotics, and an anti-inflammatory to help with his severe arthritis.  I started giving him high doses of aspirin wrapped up in dried figs from our fig tree, along with treats of fresh vegetables from the garden. Within a day he showed so much improvement I couldn’t believe it.  It is so good to see the twinkle in his yes come back from relief of the pain. I sent Dr. Laura a video of him trotting around, while days before he could not even walk into the barn. She was amazed!  So much so that we decided to cancel our ‘appointment’ and give him some more time. It has been a couple of weeks now and, while I know this is likely temporary, he is still doing great.

Old man Sherman

The dogs are constantly being taunted by all the birds, and Angel loves getting donkey kisses from Joy and Moe. Angel has also proven herself to be quite the skilled mole hunter (two down, many more to go!). She is a terrier after all.  Call us crazy (I know we are) but we are now considering fostering a dog. With all the misplaced pets from Hurricane Harvey it has us wanting to help.

Donkey kisses

Our two little donkey foals, Joy and Moe, are cuter than ever!  They weren’t supposed to come to the farm until October but I since we live co close, the woman I bought them from agreed to bring them and their mamas to us and let them be weaned at our farm. I have been working with them getting used to their halters.  They love to be brushed (which they always follow up with a good roll in the dirt…sigh). They are truly the cutest and sweetest animals and I just love spending time with them every day.

The cutest babies ever!

Moe & Joy

Until next time…

Heidi

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