Before I could even begin to write today's post, I had to just sit and think. I'm sitting at the dining room table and watching the geese on the pond. It looks so effortless and relaxing the way they seem to just float across the water. If you think about it though, you know that they're paddling their feet underneath. But that's what geese do. It's in their nature to be paddling gracefully across the pond. By contrast, they look clumsy and awkward on dry land.
People sometimes tell me that I make my lifestyle look easy. I always laugh. It's not easy, but I love what I'm doing -- just like those geese. The past three days are a perfect example. They're a bit of a blur. Every moment was packed, except when I was sleeping, and I only had four hours of sleep Friday night!
On Friday, an aspiring apprentice took the train from Chicago to spend a day with us, seeing what we do and deciding if this is really what she wants to do next spring as an independent study for five weeks in April and May. While she was here, we had to go about our daily chores, which included (on that day) breeding goats and trying to stop the sheep from breeding. We had to catch the rams to relocate them 1/4 mile away from the ewes so that I don't wind up with a flock of unregisterable lambs next spring.
On Friday, our new milking machine arrived. We generally milk no more than 10 goats at a time, because that's about all that our daughters can handle, and I can only do about four at a sitting before my hands feel like they're going to fall off. (I know I'm a wimp!) So, after seven years of hand milking, we finally decided to take the plunge and get a two-goat milker. With everything else going on, we only had a few minutes to unpack it and give it a cursory look. When Mike's Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday, it's going out to the barn, and we'll figure out what kind of adjustments we need to make in order to start using it.
Saturday began at 3 a.m. as Mike and I headed down to Arthur with our paltry nine turkeys that we raised this year. It's the smallest number of turkeys we've raised since -- well, ever! (You can read more about our turkey hatching woes here and turkey-coyote woes here.) Anyway, we arrived at the poultry processing facility at 6:30ish and were able to unload immediately, which was great because our day was just beginning!
After a quick breakfast at Yoder's, we headed back up I-57 to Champaign to attend U of I's Organic Gardening Day. I was worried about being able to stay awake with only four hours of sleep, but it was not a problem. (Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.) After 20 years of struggling with gardening, I've finally decided that trial and error isn't always the most expedient way to learn things. (Yeah, I can be a slow learner sometimes.) So, when a friend told me about this workshop, I figured out how to make it work (after briefly whining about it being on our turkey processing day). I have a lot of info that I can't wait to share with you, but it will have to be spread out over the next week or two.
Yesterday, Mike and I delivered turkeys and took home Sarah, our wonderful apprentice, whose three weeks was already over. This was the first year that I helped deliver turkeys, and it was fun to finally meet some of our customers (very few compared to previous years). It was sad saying bye to Sarah however. She's been an awesome apprentice, and after about the third time yesterday that I said, "I miss Sarah," Mike joked, "If you're going to get this attached to interns, you can't have any more." I put on my best toddler-pouting face, and he laughed.
It's very quiet around here today. I can hear the ticking of the clock on the wall. It's just me, because Mike and Katherine are at school. Jonathan is spending a week at his grandparent's helping take care of his grandfather who has Alzheimer's. Margaret will be arriving home from U of I tomorrow, and I can hardly wait to see her. Although I have to teach tomorrow, I need to get started with my Thanksgiving cooking. I have a cranberry sauce recipe that says you can make it up to a week ahead of time, and I need to bake my pumpkin cookies. I need to make a batch of chevre today, so we can use that for chocolate truffles and a pumpkin cheesecake. Life isn't slowing down any time in the foreseeable future, but I love it -- and that's the important thing, right?