The boys are practicing their instruments as I write this post. These long winter evenings are perfect for catching up on activities that are placed on the shelf during the other three seasons. Peter usually goes to the barn to milk the goats about 5:30, and then we have supper. That gives us plenty of time afterward to relax and read a good book -- or play music.
I am still plugging away at dehydrating our onions and cooking up pumpkins for freezing. We had good crops of both this year, and I am thankful for that. A couple of days ago one of the boys came in to tell me that someone had left the extension ladder up to the 2nd floor from the main floor; this meant that all the cold air from the top floor had free access to the main floor where the pumpkins, potatoes and onions were being stored. During cooler weather we keep insulation boards as a covering between floors to keep out the cold air that comes in from the still open soffit area by the roof. The extension ladder is kept down unless someone needs to get into the next level. The boys hauled in the onions and we discovered our white onions had probably gotten too cold somewhere along the line and were mostly mushy, but thankfully the yellow onions were still okay. We got busy and filled the dehydrator with another load of chopped onions, and have yet more to go. We have quite the scent of onion when we start the drying process! The dehydrator sits on a table in the living room area.
This afternoon while I was baking bread the guys butchered two of our four pigs. They decided to take the bossy one first; she was also the largest. When they went into the pen to get her body, the other one they planned to butcher managed to escape from the fence. All that is needed to catch a pig is the bucket used to feed them scraps! Ours happened to be empty, so placing a pumpkin in the bucket was all that was needed to catch her. Their bodies are hanging in the woods near the house, and tomorrow afternoon we will probably begin processing the meat. I feel like I'm still recovering from processing venison, but we'll sure be thankful for the meat in the freezer.
Butchering animals has never been -- and probably will never be -- my favorite event on the farm. The gun shot brought tears to my eyes, but I rise to the occasion when the meat is brought in and we get started in the process. Our pigs have always seemed like dogs: friendly and curious animals. It is important to put their lives into perspective, and be thankful for how their life provides life for ours.
This is JP, one of our barn cats.