Let's get started....
We all know Thursday is not officially part of a weekend (unless it is some sort of holiday weekend) but I want to include it anyway. Let me start with the fact that I was out of state from Monday morning to Thursday afternoon. I went to Virginia to visit my family and yes, I had an amazing time! Someday, I think I might want to move back down there. But I digress.....I arrive back on the farm around 5:30 pm and began to unload my Jeep. I had a feeling that something was awry on the farm so I hopped on the Quad to perform a perimeter check. I went to the pond closest to the elementary school, where the kids usually sneak in to go fishing, and found nothing out of the ordinary. So, I begin my trek over to the back pond....the first thing I notice was that the area had been mowed and it looks great! I look over to my left and I see them. Two teenage boys in the boat, in the middle of the pond, are fishing. I turn the Quad off and yell over..."Heeyyyyy, How's it going? You know there is no fishing allowed, right?" Well, of course, they said they didn't know, began to row back to the bank and gathered their things to leave. They thanked me for not calling the cops and got out of there quickly. That was initiation part one.
Saturday was pretty smooth....It began at a Farmer's Market and I had a great day. Sales were super, I met a lot of nice people and made some very good connections. Set up, tear down and the trip to and from was quick and easy. Then as I was restocking the freezer for the next's day's market.....initiation part two began.....I heard a man's voice say "It wasn't me!" and I stepped around the corner of our farmstand to see a man carrying a little fawn who had been hit by a car. It was badly injured and we both knew it would not make it. He set the little deer down in the grass and said "I just couldn't leave it there to die in the road. I hope you don't mind that I moved it into the grass here". All I could say was "it's okay" and he left. It died immediately and I stood there with a little dead deer at me feet and knew I could not just leave it there. I had finished my task of loading the freezer and locked everything up. I picked the fawn up, laid it in the back of the Quad and went to get a shovel. I've never had to bury anything before but I did that day.
Sunday was THE day. I was alone on the farm....here's the things that happened, I may get the order mixed up but here goes....
- I was up at 6am to harvest for the day's Farmer's Market. This is not unusual for a Saturday or Sunday...just part of the list of duties performed.
- Three calves got out of the pasture and were on the wrong side of a permanent fence in a very open field which makes it quite difficult to get them back where they belong. I managed to herd them back to their place with no help and without the use of minerals. Whew!
- I spent a bit of time in with the turkeys as I refreshed their woodchips....they are silly, funny and not so smart. It is quite amusing to observe them.
- I saw, on two different occasions, a mink. I did a little research later and found out that no farmer wants mink on their farm....they steal chickens and turkeys.
- I fed the pigs, alone, for the first time. To me, that's a big deal!
- As I was feeding the pigs, I discovered one of our Large Black sows had farrowed. I had to count the live piglets and remove any stillborn. Removal of dead piglets is pretty easy when you have a partner to distract Mama Pig as she is very protective of her litter. I was by myself, so I had to do quite a bit of ducking and weaving to get inside the pig hut, count piglets and search for any that needed to be removed. Nobody wants to get caught by Mama Pig when they are inside her hut with her babies! I got in and out, job complete, just in time as she realized I was too close for comfort and raced back to her babies.
- I spent a bit of time inside the large pasture with our feeder pigs. They needed a refill of their water and a freshen-up of their wallow area. I squatted down and just hung out with them...they were all very curious to see what I was doing. They crowded around me sniffing, snorting and exploring.
- Of course, I worked the Farm Stand and was able to give a mini-tour to a couple of friends who stopped in.
So, this may not sound like much to seasoned farmers or to folks who know nothing about farming, but for me it felt like a threshold crossed..... and I'm rather proud to say.....I did it!!