Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

A Farm Day To Remember.

Posted on | September 10, 2011 | 5 Comments

It started out in the usual way.

Milking, of course.

While some kids were in the barn, some kids were copying recipes out of my latest cooking magazine for the monthly meal plan.

Then there were roosters to be butchered.

Which normally isn’t very exciting.  But for the first time ever, we ended up with chicken with the skin on.  Not because we planned it that way.  I expected to skin the roos, just like we always do.  However, as soon as we started to skin we found the feathers pulling out in our hands.  So we dry plucked.  It was easy.  Quick.  And the birds came out sooo pretty.  Mmmmm.  Nice crispy chicken skin!

Maybe it was because most of our birds have started to molt.  Perhaps we managed to pith the birds without meaning to.  It could be that we just deserved a break and the universe gave us one.  In any case, we got so excited with the dry plucking that we might have underestimated the job of cleaning up the feathers.  Note to self:  throw them in a trash bag, not on the ground.

While we raked up feathers and cleaned butcher knives and soaking bowls, the little ones shredded newspaper for the nest boxes.

And then the older ones pulled out the nest box bedding that got soaked during the passage of the last hurricane and replaced it with fresh.

While The Other Half started up the tractor to spread compost, we released the mother guinea and her keets from the garden.  The keets are so big now that they are running out of bugs and starting to eat watermelons and tomatoes.  Of course, letting them out should have been as easy as opening the gate.  But, as you may have realized by now,  nothing is ever easy with guineas.  As soon as we got them out (which took 5 people), they lined up outside the fence, squawking to get back in.  Oh, guineas…..

Next it was time to rescue the yucca plants from the wild daisies that grew up around them this summer.

Although we did have to leave a clump of weeds around the yucca in the middle….

…because someone was living there.

Finally, it was time to head up to the house.  Although heading up to the house with the tractor is a lot more fun than it sounds.

Before everyone was totally exhausted, the kids filled the bird feeders.

Then, just as I had promised, we headed into a neighboring town for a 9/11 remembrance event.  Washington, D.C. residents can say what they want, but no one does patriotism better than small town America.

Not only were first responders and their families invited (unlike some cities we know), they were given a free Hursey’s Bar-B-Q  sandwich and a drink as a thank you.

Yum, yum, you’re welcome.

The kids had a chance to explore lots of public safety and rescue equipment.

Including some I hope they never have to actually use.

And despite the fact that I love the sight of a man in uniform,  I love this enchanting vision even more.

The order!  The organization! Are those labels??!!!  Be still, my Type A heart!

When the kids had finished collecting souvenirs like these frisbees (Yes, frisbees, not hats.)…

…and jelly bracelets from the Forest Service (Who knew they were still using Smokey the Bear as a mascot?)…

…we stopped by the local art council exhibit and enjoyed the life size sculptures reenacting famous works of art.  But this art wasn’t just for looking at.  Here the kids join in J. Seward Johnson’s creation Were You Invited? It’s based upon Renoir’s painting, The Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Really, is there anything cooler than standing inside a painting??

After a quick stop for ice cream, it was back to home and back to work.  Don’t think there wasn’t some complaining over that.  But rocks needed to be moved out of the new wildflower bed, which will cut down on the erosion of the ditch and decrease the amount of mowing to be done on a slope next year.

Plus the herbs were ready to be harvested and popped into the freezer.  Fresh home grown herbs make all the difference in winter soups and stews.

Just before bed, there were eggs that needed to go into cartons.  There are always eggs that need to go into cartons.

Now you might be thinking that farm kids have it awfully hard.  I suppose they do.  But I try to remind myself when they start whining, that I’m not just raising kids.  I am raising adults.  Adults who, hopefully, recognize that there’s a time for getting chores finished and a time for relaxing and having fun.  Adults who know that when work needs to be done, it just needs to be done.  Adults that don’t just worry about what they want to do today, but what they need to do to be prepared for tomorrow.  Adults who are the backbone of their families.  Their communities.  Their country.  After all, I ask myself:  If my kids aren’t  making America strong, whose kids will?

In remembrance of September 11, 2001.  To those who died.  To those who serve.  And to those with the future of America shining in their eyes.


5 Responses to “A Farm Day To Remember.”

  1. Lisa
    September 11th, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

    Here! Here! Well said, as always…

  2. Jill
    September 11th, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    That is a sentiment I’ve heard (and not just in my head) lately, we’re raising adults not kids… congrats and thanks for your service!!

  3. Jennifer
    September 11th, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    Wow! Great post! What a great day 🙂

  4. Michelle
    September 23rd, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

    What a fun day! I enjoyed the story along with all the great photos!

  5. Sharon
    August 24th, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    Thanks for this post! I found it in a search for an image “Luncheon of the Boating Party” because I’m reading Susan Vreeland’s historical novel about Renoir and the painting. Now I know about the sculpture park, and I will plan a visit. Awesome!

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