Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday on the Farm

   I tell people that I'm retired. After all...I am doing what I love, don't have to go to a "job" where I have a "boss", and don't make much money. But, on a farm, every day has some work involved. The great thing about being a farmer is that I get to do work that doesn't feel like Work. If you have a passion for something, "work" isn't a four letter word!
   So Sunday is another work day really. But, it is pretty quite today. The hunters bagged their deer the last two days so we haven't heard much blasting going on this morning. I started a batch of homemade bread (using the oatmeal bread recipe from Tasha Tudor's Cookbook...great!) and it will rise on the radiators all day before baking this afternoon. We will go get some firewood from a pile of left over sawn wood (see the picture to the right), staying out of our own woods until after the hunting weekend is over. And, we'll do chores of course, as the animals are our partners on the farm so we take care of them and then they'll take care of us.
   Marty likes to cook and we've declared Sundays this winter as cooking days. He tries out new recipes and tries to use all the great food we were able to "put up" this year. We still have apples in our walk-in cooler. I'm hoping we can get out the old apple press today and make some apple juice to have for the upcoming holidays. I would also like to try a preserved apple ring recipe. This is like the old fashioned candy apple rings but without the red food coloring. (We stay away from preservatives, food colorings, and fake sugars.)
   It is still fairly warmish out (60 degrees), although more windy lately. We attempted to burn our six acre re-created prairie plot yesterday. It would've been the first time we burned it in fall, usually we reserve the burn for March. But, we were interested to see how it would change the prairie. Different plants like fire at different times of the year. Some of the flowers will do better with a fall burn, some with a spring burn. We also were wondering if a fall burn would remove some of the weedy plants that are coming in. luck! We had a good southeast wind, but the plants might have too much moisture in the stems still. Or the humidity might've been too high. Whatever the reason, it didn't want to burn. So, we'll try again later this winter if the weather permits.
   And, for those of you who are wondering about what I'm holding in the profile photo. That is Yote (Yo-tee). Yote is a coyote. Last year I heard the chickens squawking and carrying on in the front yard so went to investigate. And, there was Yote. He had a hurt leg, was very hungry and weak, and was very tired. I was able to very carefully pick him up and take him to the house. You might notice that I am holding the scruff of his neck. I wouldn't suggest just anyone picking up a wild animal. I was lucky enough to have some training when I worked at a Natural History Museum in Alabama and when I worked at Birdsong Nature Center in Georgia. So, we gave him a little food, called the vet, and she suggested a rehabilitation place for wild animals in Hudson, Illinois (about 40 minutes drive). And, that is where he be fixed up and put back into the wild.
   Some ask why we didn't kill him...and don't coyotes get our animals? Very simply, we have never lost livestock to coyotes. We have coyotes around, but they usually stay away from the house area. The poultry and sheep are in their houses at night, and the pigs aren't bothered by the coyotes. Therefore, since they don't pose a threat, and they are a natural part of the life cycle, we let them be. They tend to eat rabbits and mice more than anything else. And, if they get a deer that would be okay. We sometimes have up to 80 deer eating our alfalfa so they could use some winnowing out. But, that is the story of Yote the Coyote.
   I hope you are able to enjoy some good home cooked food for the holidays, maybe something from a friendly farmer you might know. Happy Thanksgiving!

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