Saying good bye to a good friend is hard.

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A week ago we said good bye to a very good friend, a dog who has been with us for 16 years. We were so lucky to have her that long. Does that make it any easier to say good bye? Barely, although it should. We know though that this little girl was struggling at the end and so we gave her the peaceful ending she deserved. The Vet was wonderful, we never even went in the clinic. There is a pretty spot on a river right behind the clinic, and it truly was a peaceful painless end. Well, painless for her. We still are trying to find our center in a house that feels oddly off balanced without her presence.

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This is our good old girl in her favorite pose, surveying the area in what we called her Princess of the Farm pose.

We miss her.

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Then strange things happen, like a surprise calf, and a reminder of endings and beginnings.

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The garden is growing in leaps and bounds. The San Marzano tomatoes I have been lusting for are still green but are getting to be a nice size, and there is NO possible way, short of a tornado taking them out, that I could run out of tomatoes, salsa, tomato sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce etc. this year, it’s just won’t be possible with over 20 tomato plants!

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Peppers are coming in nicely, all three varieties.

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My lovely eggplant.

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The chickens are getting so much bigger the last few weeks. Coop number three is almost done, at which point we will break up this group of 26 birds. The 8 hens will move to another coop and the roos will stay in this hoop tractor with an attached coop, however, the remaining roos days are numbered. These Delawares are supposed to be harvested in 12 weeks, I am going to let them go to 14 weeks which puts us at the last weekend in July. Last time, which was our first time butchering, it took us 6 hours to do 6 birds. That was from start to finish or from catch to clean up. This time I know it will go considerably faster but processing 20 birds will be quite the marathon, likely a two day marathon. The reward? We will eat only our chicken this year. We will know it was treated properly for all it’s life, and that we will be eating chicken that ate our grass, organic feed, garden scraps and bits of pig liver (from last years pigs) in the hardest part of winter. In October when our new hens are laying our older 4 hens will become stewing birds and so that adds 4 more birds for a total of 24 chickens in the freezer this year. Half of a chicken feeds the two of us for dinner and that makes 48 dinners for the two of us. That is almost a chicken dinner a week, but when I add in the broth it will make, that becomes the base for many more meals. This Fall we will bring our first steer and one of our hogs to the locker. (Two of the hogs are sold one will be ours, of which we will sell some of by the cut.)

We are reaching a new level of self sufficiency.

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Nice to have a neighbor that says, I can’t possibly pick all those berries, come and get ’em! Beautiful and delicious.

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Pretty nice late night snack?

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