Early this morning Indy and I helped round up the turkeys.
It was one of those perfect autumn mornings when the colors of the leaves that are remaining of the trees are still beautiful and there's a chill in the air, but it's not cold yet. The kind of morning you wish you could hold on to forever, or at least make last as long as you can, knowing winter is just around the corner.
I was excited about today. Harvest day. Or probably better described as 'drive the turkey's to get processed' day. And luckily, Indy is a pretty good sport and was excited to help Papa, help get the turkeys all loaded up for the two hour trip.
My niece Rachel and her husband Dalton are taking them in to the processor and we met them at the big mobile henhouse to wrangle them into the horse trailer.
We have lots of animals here on the farm now but the turkeys have probably been the most fun. The pigs are pretty fun too, but since the turkeys get to free-range during the day and love being where the action is, so it's not unusual for us to find them in the schoolhouse playground...
or sitting in the gator...
or joining me in the cemetery as I spend some time beside Joey's cross...
They have been a joy to have here on the farm and in some ways, it's disappointing to see them go. But then again, Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away and we'll get to enjoy them again, in a whole different way. We've raised and harvested a lot of chickens here on the farm through the years, but this is the first time we've raised our own turkeys. Rachel and Dalton and I had fun wrangling them this morning, one-by-one.
And Indy was a big help, or at least she felt like was, which is important.
We got to tell them goodbye, and Indy may have even them given a kiss or two... as we loaded the last ones up.
Rachel and Dalton have been a big help here at the farm for the last six months or so. They've fixed up a nice little camper and are living by the river, just across the road from us, so we get to see them almost every day. I think the first time I wrote about them in the blog was on their wedding day here.
Rachel now manages the new Marcy Jo's Muletown restaurant and "farmer Dalton" (as the kids at school call him) works full-time here at the farm and the schoolhouse. He helps to integrate the kids' daily chores and all the things they're learning about caring for and raising farm animals into their everyday curriculum. He's a big help for Mrs. Rebecca and the kids all love him.
They'll be back later today with an empty trailer, and then in the next week or two, they'll make another trip to pick them up, that will ultimately be saving us all a trip to the grocery store to buy "butterball turkeys." This will be the first time our family will giving thanks for our own turkeys as we gather around the Thanksgiving table.
If you'd like to follow along with Rachel and Dalton as they share their Hardison Mill Homestead journey and stories, visit their Instagram page @hardisonmill_homestead.