Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fall on the Homestead

Fall has been gentle and glorious here in Iowa. The pastures are still green and the parkas are still buried in the closet. There is much daily activity on the farm as it is a season of beginnings and endings.

Several Golden Egg customers mentioned their desire for local pasture raised turkeys. After a bit of research I decided to give it a whirl. We started off the month of May with a small flock of heritage turkeys. Heritage birds are different from your run of the mill commercial bird. They take much longer to mature - up to seven months- and they are able to breed naturally.Turkeys grow quickly and they soon found themselves outdoors plucking up grasshoppers. The eleven of them spent the summer moving around the pasture with the safety of their little cattle panel shelter and some solar powered poultry netting. They also spent a fair amount of time on the deck, on the trampoline and in the raspberry patch! Heritage birds are great flyers. Fortunately they are easy to herd and prefer to stick together. (Unlike chickens!) As Thanksgiving draws near, so does the end of their time here on the farm. They are beautiful birds enjoying a wonderful life. I am hopeful that the the families that purchase them can taste that!

We added two new goats to our herd as well. They are not for the dinner table, but I hope their milk will be. Natalie won an Alpine doeling from the Iowa Dairy Goat Association this summer and we bought another sweet little doe to be her friend. Our Nigerian dwarf does, Luna & Lolo, just ended their date with a handsome buck. They should have kids in March and then I will be able to milk.  I am looking forward to some adorable goat kids jumping around and trying my hand at making cheese. More on that excitement in about 150 days!

The other exciting beginning here at the farm is the arrival of our new five year old appaloosa llama, Sunny. Natalie and I hijacked a friend's minivan and drove her home. How can anyone resist a polka dot llama? She and I are learning how to work together. Right now I call her a "guard llama" but I hope she will one day read Llama, Llama books with kindergarteners. Rich just shakes his head....

Life on the farm is dirty and tiresome and amazing and a gift all at the same time. This life stretches me to learn new skills, meet interesting people and be a part of the thriving local food system here in Johnson County. I celebrate each sunrise over the pond that I am surrounded by incredible beauty and blessed with an amazing family and loyal loving friends. Blessings to all of you!