As we come upon this Thanksgiving holiday, I find we have so much to be thankful for here on the farm…some of them being things that maybe most people don’t get to experience.
We actually, unfortunately, didn’t put any effort into the turkey breeding season this spring, and didn’t get nest boxes set up for the hens until much too late. In spite of that, Millie managed to hatch out & raise one nice poult for us. And we are very thankful for that one, because I don’t think we’ll ever be able to eat a commercially raised turkey again now that we know what “real” turkey is supposed to taste like. The poult was immediately dubbed “Thanksgiving”, and she grew into a nice little bird who lived well until yesterday, the Tuesday before the holiday.
Jeff was off work, so it was butchering day. We only had the one bird to do, and I had heard people say that dry-plucking is easier/nicer than scalding & doing it wet, so I decided to try it instead of setting up all the normal equipment. Yeah…well…if anybody ever tries to tell you that dry-plucking is easier…DON’T LISTEN! We got most of the larger body, tail & wing feathers off fairly quickly, only to find that she was covered in pin feathers too, and the smaller feathers on the wings & legs were not coming out easily at all. I soon decided I was ready to see if the tap water in my milking parlor was hot enough to scald a bird. I didn’t even take the time to bother with a pot, I just plunked her in the clean sink & ran wide-open-hot tap water over the carcass. I knew my water out there was really hot but never measured a temperature on it. Thankfully, I can now report that it is indeed “scalding hot”. Soon those remaining feathers were easily removed, and I had a nice, clean bird. Good to know.
And so, “Thanksgiving” will be joining us for dinner on Friday (since Joel has classes at college yet on Wednesday & can’t drive home until Thursday) at our lovely new dining table. I’m so thankful to have a new table & chairs, as our old table was literally about to fall apart after 25 years of hard use.
We were also extremely thankful for our woodstove earlier this week. Our main heater quit & needed repaired, so things were a bit chilly for a day & a half, but not half so chilly as it would have been without a nice fire roaring in the stove. At least it happened now, and not in the middle of really cold winter weather! And thankfully, we have a shed full of firewood stacked up for the winter…a lovely sight.
Another lovely sight is a barn full of hay for the cows. We also were able to fence another large section of pasture on the Headwaters property this fall, so we are thankful to have plenty for the cows to eat this winter. And it’s a really good thing we do, because it allowed me to make a spur of the moment purchase recently. Yes, I’ve added more cows to the herd…again. These girls hail from RdoubleD Ranch out in WA, and they are really something! I’m so excited to have them, and here’s why.
I first saw Lucky listed for sale a few years ago, and though I really would have liked to have her, at that time there was no way I could make the purchase. I kept going back to their website & looking at her & wishing, but told myself that if somebody else bought her, then it just wasn’t meant to be. And if I was meant to have her, then she would still be available when we were able to buy her. After a while, Lucky was taken off the market & retained in the RdoubleD herd, and I breathed a sigh of relief. She got tucked away in the back of my mind & life went on. Then recently, I learned that Monica was downsizing the herd, so I thought I’d check their website again to see what she might have available. And lo & behold, there was Lucky, listed for sale! I am so, SO thankful to have the opportunity to finally buy this girl. She truly is an amazing Dexter!
Well, I figured if I’m shipping Lucky the whole way from WA, she might as well have some company for the 2,500 mile trip, right?! So now I also officially have a cow Addiction…such an appropriate name. And for good measure, Monica added in a weanling heifer that she hadn’t had time to do anything with, who is as yet unnamed. They had some pretty rough weather to travel through last week, but thankfully they made it safe & sound, and are settling into their new home nicely. I am quite thankful to be able to bring in three girls of such high quality to my herd, as they will be a big benefit to our breeding program. I look forward to the improvement they will bring.
So, there are some of the “farmy” things we are Giving Thanks for this year.