It has been another amazing week on the farm. A long, tiring, exciting, nauseating, new experience filled, week on the farm.
First I should probably explain that my weeks (in my head) start on Thursday, because that is my first day back to work after having two days off.
The beginning of the week was nothing out of the ordinary, chores, feeding the beef hear, nothing too bad. Except the breeding pigs kept tearing down their water, and we could not figure out why, though we suspected it was because they are on the end of the line of several pig paddocks and so might not have as much pressure. The last straw came on Saturday when they broke their waterer and part of the hose attached. That was when it really hit home that we needed to do something about the water pressure. John (the farm owner) helped me fix the fountain and hose, and I went and attached it, and he turned up the pressure. Since then all has been well with the breeding stock, and the boar has stopped following me around whenever I go in to feed them.
The next exciting thing happened on Saturday. Recently the sheep herd had been moved to a back pasture, but this pasture is prone to predation, so they are brought out every morning, and back in to a closer safer pasture at night. This is achieved by several people herding on horse back. Saturday night Chris (the other farm own) asked if I would like to help, and I excitedly accepted. They put me on Colby (Chris’s horse) with Chris leading on the way out there, and on the way back I rode Dude the draft pony on my own. All done bare back with bridles. It was beyond exciting. The next night I rode Dude all on my own and actually helped with the herding, and through Shanty’s (youngest daughter) encouragement even successfully cantered. It is a pretty incredible feeling. Though I still have no idea how to turn a horse and not fall off while they are cantering, but I suspect there will be plenty of time to learn. After the first night I offered and asked if I could help every night, and I fully intend to do so.
During normal weeks I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, but this week I was asked to stay on Tuesday to help with chicken processing and instead have Wednesday and Thursday off. I milked in the morning, and it began to mist, and then poured, so I was slightly went by the time I got to helping process the chickens. With a pair of tweezers in my hands for the next 6 hours or so I helped pluck feathers from the birds. I couldn’t imagine how some of them had been doing similar tasks since 6 in the morning, when we finally finished around 5. It was a crazy day, but I learned a lot. Like chickens are way easier to catch when it is dusk/dark because they are calm and starting to sleep, than in the middle of the day when they are fully awake and prone to flapping their wings in your face.
I really need to try to get out and take pictures sometime in the next week, but I promise they are coming!
Overall everything has been going wonderfully, and I am really happy. There are things I wish I had done before I left Illinois, but I have a lot of life ahead of me, and plenty of time. I am really missing everyone from home, but having been so quickly accepted into the farm family helps ease some of that. Feel free to text (though my phone doesn’t get great signal) or message me, I will reply when I can and would love to hear how everyone is doing!