Fall is rolling down a very steep slope towards winter here at Whippoorwill Creek Farm and we have (largely) gotten out in front of the change in weather.
Earlier this week Beth and I spent a full afternoon cutting what we hope is at least a winter's worth of wood for our wood stove. Dead-standing Elm (killed by Dutch Elm Disease) and Hedge (more officially known as Osage Orange) made up the biggest part of what we cut, the hedge coming from 80-year-old fence posts that have finally been retired from service. Our prepared wood pile is, for us at least, impressive and we also have a lot of wood left over from milling for the new barn to cut into wood stove-sized bits as well. Plus, we enjoyed ourselves while cutting the wood—we “made joy happen” as Suzanna de Baca reminded us not long ago.
We also brought our goats into their shelter for the winter after Beth finished the rehab of an old hog building for them. Currently, it houses our kids, while Bucky and the does participate in the annual seasonal breeding festivities. After that party shuts down, we will move the kids in with the does and Bucky and his best buddy, Wether #2103 (a castrated buck is called a wether"), will be housed in the he-shed over the winter, away from the girls.
Alas, this season is also the time when we say goodbye to some of the boy kids (aka wethers). They will meet their last worst day on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as they head off to the sale barn in Kalona, leaving their sisters to carry on the family genes.
Our Muscovy ducks have temporarily (we hope) moved down to the pond after a traumatic incident with Beth's brother's dogs at the house (I won't go into details). Unfortunately for them, the pond froze over yesterday, and we are now watching them walking around the surface wondering how the water got so hard. They continue to return to the poultry house for food and the occasional overnight stay and will probably be back for good when the pond goes into deep freeze for the winter sometime in December.
The new farm cat, Abe, has decided that with the cold, inside is far better than outside for most of the day. He streaks past our legs whenever the door opens, trying to reach the comfort of the couch. I never thought I would have an indoor cat, but here we are.
The cattle are slowly acclimatizing themselves to this early cold weather, but not without a lot of complaining. We moved them to a new pasture just before the weather changed, one with quite a lot of green (if now frozen) grass. It kept them happy for a couple of days, but now they seem certain that some other pasture would be better, and perhaps warmer. The malcontents among them bawl whenever they see us, just to let us know that their predicament is untenable, as far as they are concerned.
We are also working on our barn/guest house/kitchen, though the work has slowed dramatically since the cold hit. We are on schedule for a barn raising (complete with a crane and scissor lift) on Monday or Tuesday of next week. The frame will go up, followed by the interior roof. Once we accomplish this, we may very well be done for the season unless milder weather prevails. We will take video of the barn raising this week!