Yesterday was the last Sunday before the Cambridge Farmers Market starts up. We had a very, very long Saturday, and were slow moving in the morning. We started chores about 20 minutes later than usual, but according to the livestock that was basically a criminal act.
I set to milking the goats first thing, a task that's become significantly easier in the past few weeks. Fiona has finally decided that the milking stand is not her enemy, that it means grain, and that if she stops tap dancing I will be right quick about it. Her bucklings are enormous, solid and feisty. Noelle is ever the gentle girl, we don't need the headlock to milk her, she stands and munches happily as I go about my business. Her daughter, Blanche is a little timid, but that'll change as she realizes food comes from us, and not just from mama. Last week I picked up 4 new goat kids (we've got to be nuts) from our friends down at Edgwick Farm. We're closing our goat herd- that means all babies will be born and bred here, no stock brought in- and we needed a few more does to make that happen, plus an extra buckling for meat production due to the loss earlier this month. Edgwick had graciously tended the new babies for a week while I planned the road trip down (3 hours each way) and they are settling in nicely. When the milk pail was full, I went up to the barn with it directly. We still had milk in our fridge for coffee, and we've been feeding what we milk to the new babies, it's not enough for the day, but it's enough for one feeding and they best on the fresh raw source. It doesn't take long to bottle feed 4 hungry kids, (pics to come soon) but in the time I had milked and fed, Kim had taken care of all 3 chicken brooders with shavings/feed, and tended the rabbitry.
We set out on taking care of the field stock together- chickens (most of which are ready for butchering), turkeys, pigs, ducks... but we left moving the fence for the grazing goats/lambs until later in the day.
Back up in the farmhouse, we had pancakes and coffee and chatted for a bit, lulled by the smell of lilacs. After breakfast, we set to getting the yard cleaned up, our last chance to tackle it on a weekend together. While Kim mowed, I weed whacked and it looks pretty darn picturesque at the moment. As much as a working livestock farm can, at least. Then we planted and watered a bunch of edibles in the vegetable garden. It's a tiny garden this year, about 1/3 of what I usually do, but it's unreasonable to want to do much more this year. I'm hoping once we get the rest of the fencing up, the facility done, and some reliable staff sorted I will have more time to garden. This year it's just essentials- tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, chard, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, kale, zukes, cukes... probably some herbs. I traded a chicken for some veg starts at the market on Saturday, we have a lot less variety this year without a greenhouse or the time to start seedlings. But still, it'll grow and help keep the winter stores flush, so I'm happy it's well started. There's time to add on as we can.
By this time it was nearly lunch, so we came in to eat and cool off. I set to setting up a hammock we acquired with the a view of the garden and the fields across from the farm. Nothing will set a tired soul at ease then a gentle swing in the breeze after a good mornings work.
Since it was Sunday, we took a nap out on the screened in porch, me draped over the wicker couch and Kim curled on a blanket in the sun, Swanson beside her. It was indulgent and luxurious. Soon though, it was time for chores again, with plenty to do.
I wrangled Junie, our pet sheep down to the lower field to join her friends after being isolated for a few weeks while I did a health check on her after a long winter. She was thrilled to be reunited with her grass-eating friends, who had managed to disconnect their electric fence at some point during the day and were roaming free. We moved the fencing to fresh grass, repaired the disconnect and provided fresh water. We checked on the ducks, who are anxiously awaiting my finishing the fence so they can enjoy the pond, which hopefully I can complete this week. Then it was back up to the barn and field to go through the whole usual routine again. It was near 4 by the time we finished, and after a quick trip to make sure we had enough milk for the kids in the morning- I got the grill ready for dinner.
This is how the days go this time of year, work- eat, work-eat, work-eat, work-sleep. It's satisfying and yesterday was, believe it or not, a pleasantly paced day. The weather was spectacular, we were here together and since it was Sunday no email pressure or business management to really attend to. We're suited for it, this steady pace- I can't imagine wanting to lay about for more than a mid-day nap.
We ate a dinner fit for kings- a spatchcock grilled chicken, seasoned lightly, potatoes and grilled asparagus picked moments before. It was flavorful and satisfying, a perfect late spring feast. Then it was once again time to feed the baby goats, shut down the barn doors, make sure the pigs had water. We go to bed tired, full, and content. Farm life is a rotation of tasks and preparing for tasks this time of year. But the sun is warm, the food is good, and the lilacs smell divine. I'll take it.