Harvey’s back!!!!

Have you ever had the kind of day where everything you touch somehow goes wrong? The kind that has you looking skyward and yelling, “Really?” It all started when I had a horrible nightmare about 5 minutes before my alarm went off at dawn. I’ll spare you the details, but after I told Gene about it he said I wasn’t allowed to watch The Walking Dead anymore.

So I’m already mightily Woolcreeped out when I stumbled into the yard to do chores. Imagine my horror when I looked in the pasture, only to find Woolimina lying on her back with all four legs stuck straight up in the air. If you were going to prank someone with a cartoon looking fake dead sheep, that’s exactly what it would look like. The only thing missing was giant “X’s” over her eyes. I screamed her name, and was so relieved when her head moved. She’d somehow gotten stuck on her back, so I had to physically roll her over. (Which wasn’t easy, by the way. She’s a bit of a Large Marge now.) After stumbling around for a few minutes, she headed straight to her food bowl. So that crisis was averted. I did some research, and apparently sheep can just … get stuck like that. Especially if they’re standing on a slope. I guess that’s why they get sheared on their backs, it makes them shut down. Thank god I’m a helicopter farm mama and found her right away, because if they don’t get turned right side up fairly quickly it can be fatal.

IMG_0741Now fast forward an hour to the email I sent my boss snarkily asking if we were still having our virtual phone meeting because he was 15 minutes late, which I sent approximately 7 seconds before realizing I’m the idiot who wrote it on the calendar wrong and it’s next week. Turns out it was a good thing I didn’t have a meeting, because I looked out the window just in time to see Porkulous The Persistent’s butt disappearing into the chicken coop. I had to wake up poor Gene early so he could fix the fence before going to work. And just as Gene sat down to eat his breakfast, Porkulous the Powerful ripped an entirely different fence panel down, then stampeded off with a snort of delight. Needless to say, Gene was almost late to work.

DSC06697So then I decided to take the dogs for walk, since I had a doctor appointment in town and would be gone for the afternoon. I knew it was cutting the time close, since I needed to leave in 30 minutes, but I figured we’d just go to the end of the road and back. Chupi picks that moment to have a potty catastrophe, which necessitated an immediate bath. And a good bit of speeding to make the appointment on time.

And when I got home? You guessed it. Porkulous the Pesty was out and about again. I had to call our neighbor down to help rebuild the fence. And by help, I mean I stood around and watched him while he fixed it. I was too busy fending off the 300-pound, mud drenched, happy bundle of joy that decided he wanted cuddles. Again. Which set an official record, by the way. I went through every single pair of jeans I own, and our washer smells horrible.

Harvey PartyBut you know what? None of that matters, because today was awesome! Harvey came back!!! After a months-long bunny bender, he finally came home. He must have been fairly happy to see me, because he rammed the back of my legs from behind. I was ecstatic to see him, even though his sneak attack brought back fleeting memories of my earlier nightmare. He looks amazing – he’s just as fat if not fatter than when he left, so he’s been living the good life out in the woods. He demanded Wheat Thins, of course, and I ended up giving him about a quarter of a box. I also gave him a plate with a selection of his favorite treats – welcome home Harvey!!! You were missed.

Why does Costco have Christmas decorations already???

free pigIt’s official – fall is here. Watermelon treats have been replaced by pumpkins from the garden, which Gene helpfully throws off the deck so they blow apart in an explosion of yumminess. The only one who isn’t fond of pumpkins is Porkulous the Picky, ironically enough. Apparently there is something pigs won’t eat. He is doing well, and growing quickly. Big enough to break out of his pasture area repeatedly, actually. He digs his snout under the hog panels, then yanks his head up with sufficient force to drag the t-post out of the ground. It’s hard to be mad at him, though. He gallops around the yard with such gleeful abandon, making cheerful whuffling noises and running from one interesting thing to the next. I’ve taken to letting him out for an hour or so to explore the pasture, and he wanders back into his pen once he’s sure I’ve put a few treats in his dish.

DSC06764He has a fondness for apples, so every time one falls off one of the trees, I give it to him. Even though the trees are young, we’ve gotten quite the bumper crop. And I was ecstatic to see we got our first two pears, even though they’re approximately two inches long. Perfectly formed, but the size you’d find in a dollhouse. I’m assuming they’ll be more properly sized next year. But the most exciting harvest this year without a doubt is the pineapple. After two years, it’s finally ripe! It was also on the small side, but so tender and sugary and delicious. And I get to brag that I’m eating locally grown pineapple. How many folks around here can say that?

happy sheepMost everything has been harvested from the garden now, so I opened it up for the chickens and ducks to rampage through. The Brussels sprouts are the most popular, especially with Woolimina. She can skeletonize an entire stalk within minutes. As soon as they’ve eaten everything, I’ll shut them out again and plant the cover crops for the winter. The only real failure this year was the delicata squash. For some reason, it never ripened. Apparently I got it into the ground too late. It looks beautiful and cheerful, but insides it’s colorless and tastes really bland. But it won’t go to waste – I cut them in half and give them to the chickens. Squash seeds are one of their favorite snacks.

I’m acarrots 2lready looking forward to what I’m going to plant next year. I’ve tentatively decided the shining star of the garden will be leeks. I got absolutely addicted to making potato leek soup this summer, and rapidly used up all the ones I grew. So next year I’ll need several more rows – at least. And we’ll need way more potatoes. I also discovered that kohlrabi is amazing when you roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper. I grew a ton of it, thinking I could sell it with my other produce at the market down the road. But apparently its bright purple, slightly squid-ish appearance frightens people. Good thing I like it so much! The carrots were a big hit, though, so I routinely sold out of those. I’m particularly excited about a variety I found to plant next year – they’re black! The seeds are from India, called Pusa Asita black carrots. It’s a new open-pollinated variety that’s jam packed with anti-oxidants, plus apparently it stains everything purple. How cool is that?