In the meantime, I will begin the arduous task of yard clean up, taking the truck around and picking up dog bones, sticks, debris and twine lost through the summer. Then the lawn mower tractor will pull a pallet around to level the ground and clean up the poop to some degree and on the September 9th, the ducks and geese will be mostly gone and the chickens will soon follow, leaving the yard back to almost empty. The chicken coops need to be placed, insulated with bales and tarped for winter and the coops not in use be parked out of the way.
The sheep and goats will go to the auction in mid September too so there will be many less to feed this winter. Yesterday I pulled up the amaranth and will feed it to the birds, goats and sheep. It is edible in all parts and the seeds are highly nutritious and a good source of protein, but each plant produces nearly a thousand seeds, so the harvest must occur prior to the seeds becoming ripe or the subsequent years will be a fight with the amaranth.
There is always so much to do and it seems so little time in the late summer and early fall, and it is a race before the snow comes. At least this year, I am not purchasing more wood. There are about 5 or 6 cords left and since it will be used as a supplement to the furnace this year and not the sole heat source, that should suffice.
Getting the chickens to use the coop again rather than roost in the trees, will be a challenge as usual. They will have to be caught and locked in the coop for a week straight to get the idea. The ducks are no problem. They seek shelter once the wind is cold and they will readily go in their hoop coop and stay warm. There are still quite a few chickens and ducks sitting on nests though and the nights are very cold for little ones. The Khaki Campbell hatched her eggs today, though it appears that the Rouen drake bred the duck and some other ducks laid in her nest, because not all the babies are cute tiny Khaki coloured ducks. The Muscovy ducks should hatch their clutches in the next few days, as Muscovy ducks do take longer than the others. There are three chickens on nests of various stages as well. Those critters surely do multiply quickly!
And then the snow will come and I will sequester inside and take up my other hobbies. The animals will try to stay warm and eat a lot and we will do our best to wait out the cold until spring once again comes and breathes the hint of new life on the farm . What a blessed way to live, this life among the animals and nature!