It seems as if summer was going to last forever this year out at the ranch. We have an early start to the garden and still the harvest of summer veggies continued into the entire month of September. As compared to the previous year, this was amazing. However, when the calendar turned October we begrudgingly began to shuffle our feet towards preparations for the change in seasons. We all know the warm weather has got to end. So, row covers start making their appearance once more and we begin to watch our nighttime low temperatures to see if we should start to close them to protect the garden plants from too much rain, or, dare I say, frost. My bet is our first frost won’t hit us until late this month or even into November this year.
The herd got its annual check-up from the vet which included gelding some of the more randy alpacas. We like to have everyone’s vaccinations up to date before the cold weather sets in. Since there are no freebie visits to the pastures during the winter, they have to remain in the sacrifice areas around the barn. This means close quarters through the cold months. So anything to assure good health through the cold months is prudent.
The chicken tractor made its way over to the chicken coop where it will remain parked this winter. The birds did a fine job of tractoring the llama poop piles. We noticed a significant drop in the fly population this season making this a resounding success. Letting the birds out during the day to forage substantially decreased the amount of purchased feed we needed to give them which was an added bonus for the budget. Now comes the hard part. We start to harvest the roosters from the tractor to the freezer for meat and promote the hens from the tractor to the coop. We’ll do this slowly over time taking two or three birds for processing since we do it all by hand. Today, we started with the two extra roosters in the coop that we were hoping to be hens. Elvis is our rooster we’re keeping so these two other guys had to make some room. So looks like roast chicken is for dinner tonight!
As if to put an exclamation on the change in seasons, we got our first dusting of snow returning to the peak of Mt. Pilchuck, our visible barometer of winter. Of course it came with a good dose of rains here at the lower foothill elevations, but nonetheless there is no longer any confusion as to whether summer is done dishing out its warmth. Time for some leaves to start changing on the trees; maybe the maples will finally take the hint.